*UPDATE* – Thanks to being featured on Freshly Pressed,
this post has gone viral. Thanks for visiting everyone; I love reading all of your comments and suggestions. Be sure also to check out the rest of the site, I’ve got a number of other lists, including the Top Ten Dramatic Shows of all time. This is a blog that focuses on pop, youth & underground culture with an emphasis on tv, film and music.
1. The Simpsons – Where to begin? It’s the longest running series for plenty of reasons. The characters, the writing, of course it’s difficult to maintain the same relevance and chutzpah over the years, but the classic episodes are timeless, and the series is a great mirror into the many flaws of North America. Here are the main actors being interviewed by James Lipton for Inside the Actors Studio.
2. South Park. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. If you look past the primitive quality animation, and listen to the dialogue and writing, you’ll be blown away at the subversive nature of the series. It does what comedy should do – push boundaries and examine many uncomfortable issues in contemporary society.
3. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Once marketed as “Seinfeld on Crack”, the description couldn’t be more accurate. Dark, insane and angry characters always trying to undermine one another, and Danny Devito make this a must see series. Interview with crew here with the backstory on how they got their series made.
4. Family Guy. Family Guy takes off where the Simpsons left. It is much cruder and takes more risks, which is what comedy is really all about. Sometimes it offends, but the genius lies in its creator Seth MacFarlane who plays at least 3 of the main characters. Check out the classic fight scene between Peter and his Arch-Nemesis here.
5. SCTV – So many incredibly funny characters from this show that I was introduced to when I was a teenager helped define the very twisted individual I am today. Whether it’s Dr. Tongue, Bob and Doug, Count Dracula, Ed Grimly, Edith Prickly… the list goes on and on. An amazing Canadian legacy that launched so many stellar careers, including John Candy, R.I.P.
6. 30 Rock – Tina Fey from SNL should be given credit as it’s creator, but really it’s Alec Baldwin that owns the show here. Great supporting cast as well, Tracy Morgan is as crazy and unpredictable as ever and Jane Krakowski is a vanity obsessed cringe inducing joy to watch. Plus it’s funny. Here’s a great clip where Jack and Tracy role play for a therapy session. Hilarious.
7. Gilligan’s Island – A comedy about a bunch of people stranded on a desert island. The characters are great. It was a really stupid predictable show, but strangely comforting. Like Kraft Dinner. You know it’s probably bad for you, but it’s kind of yummy sometimes. It also works well as a personality test. Would you go for the movie star or the other one? See the original intro and step back into time.
8. Seinfeld – A cultural phenomena that spawned tons of terms that everyone who lived in the 90s will never forget. A group of neurotic self-interested New Yorkers where nothing happens. On paper it doesn’t sound funny, but it is. How a show about nothing ever got made is a mystery, but thank God it happened. Here are 100 memorable quotes from the series.
9. Three’s Company- Not unlike Gilligan’s Island, this is one of the dumbest predictable shows that still somehow remains a classic. Regretfully I have nothing to add. Except it has one of the greatest theme songs ever written by a Human. Come and knock on our door indeed.
10. Curb Your Enthusiasm – Seinfeld’s creator Larry David’s show that is supposed to be about himself, but which he will say is not really about himself is nevertheless exceedingly funny. He plays a grumpy self-interested person that is extremely neurotic and socially awkward to put it mildly. Also a great supporting cast. Here’s a classic clip of him trying to buy weed off the guy that plays Hurley in “Lost”.
11. Saturday Night Live – Like the Simpsons, a powerhouse that has influenced several generations. Of course the length of the series means that the quality will vary wildly. Stick to the late 70s, then jump to the Will Ferrel days, then skip to the Lonely Island peeps and you’re good.
12. Kids In The Hall. Another favourite of mine in my teenage years. Classic sketches included “I’m crushing your head”, “Girl Drink Drunk”, “Chicken Lady”. A completely original sketch comedy series that encapsulate everything that is uniquely absurd, obscure Canadian humour.
Honorable Mentions: WKRP, Arrested Development, Whitest Kids U’ Know, Parks & Recreation.
Reader Suggestions (among many): Golden Girls, I Love Lucy, MASH, Red Dwarf, Monty Python, The Office, Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Mystery Science Theater, Cosby Show, The Two Ronnies, Taxi, Community.
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As with all my lists, these represent my personal top choices. The list is subjective. I’m happy to hear all of your suggestions. Humour is a very personal sentiment. Not everyone will agree with each other, and I haven’t included every single show I find funny. Keep the comments coming – I will try my best to add each one to the Reader’s suggestion list.
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