We’ve all been there. You’re at home, you want to watch something funny on Netflix – but you don’t know where to start. There’s just so much available that you end up watching old episodes of Gossip Girl instead.
OK, so maybe the Gossip Girl thing is just us. But you get the picture.
That’s why the Stuff team has worked tirelessly to find the best comedy TV shows available on Netflix UK. Take a look and we’re sure you’ll find something to tickle your funny bone.
The brainchild of Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, this Netflix Original is like Groundhog Day by way of Girls: an acerbic, cynical, substance-abusing New Yorker (Lyonne) finds herself experiencing the same day over and over, repeatedly dying in increasingly bizarre accidents, only to wake up once again in a bathroom at her own birthday party. Has she smoked something dodgy, or lost her mind – or is there something more profound and spiritual at work here?
Hilarious, outrageous and inventive, this is precisely the type of series that cuts through the piles of sub-par filler accumulating on streaming services; a reminder of those halcyon days not so long ago when every Netflix-produced show was a certified banger. At just eight half-hour episodes, it’s also refreshingly brisk; in other words, you won’t need to live the same day over and over just to get it finished.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
A riotous comedy-drama-thriller loosely based on the Douglas Adams-penned novels, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency isn’t like any other show on the box. In fact, it isn’t like anything else in the world – and it’s all the better for that.
The plot is far too convoluted to detail here, but that's precisely the point: as an “holistic” detective, Dirk Gently simply investigates crimes he happens across, following the most obscure and seemingly unconnected of leads as he does so. What transpires is a glorious mess of offbeat diversions, Technicolor characters and bizarre events taking in psychic powers, cats, dogs, homicidal angels, torture, some really lovely leather jackets and Elijah Wood. Best mainlined in a few lengthy sittings - it's too confusing – and too good – to watch piecemeal.
The arrival of every single episode of the 1990s’ most popular sitcom on Netflix feels like an occasion worthy of fanfare – even if, let’s face it, you’ve probably seen each any every one of them multiple times before on Channel 4.
For the two or three readers that don’t know, Friends is a long-running (10 seasons, over 10 years!) multi-cam sitcom about six… well, let’s call them “buddies” living in Manhattan. While it’s packed with great gags and compelling, series-arching plots, the show’s true pull is in its well-drawn and likeable characters. Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Monica’s struggles as they navigate love, career, life and everything in between are sure to suck you in, even if some of the writing and production values feels very dated when viewed through a 2018 lens.
Master of None (S1-2)
Comedian Aziz Ansari plays jobbing actor Dev in this New York-set series about life, love and tacos. Actually, one suspects Ansari is really playing himself (his real-life parents even play Dev’s onscreen parents), and a big part of the charm is watching him work through various subjects over the course of the series, which now numbers two full seasons.
It’s rather self-obsessed, and some viewers may find the whimsy hard to stomach, but it's also funny, charming and occasionally thought-provoking. Well worth a few hours of your time.
The Good Place (S1-3)
The only reassuring thing about dealing with greedy lawyers, grumpy cashiers and racist builders is the knowledge that they’ll eventually end up in Hell watching Made in Chelsea for eternity. Saying that, despite being an all-round bad egg on Earth, Kristen Bell’s character in this Netflix Original somehow ends up in heaven. Turns out even angels and demons can make mistakes at work.
While Bell’s performance stands out with her relatable struggles to fit into a world full of goody-two-shoes, Jameela Jamil’s outlandish vanity and William Jackson Harper uptight moral code will also subject you to a few giggling fits. And unlike most comedies, The Good Place has a plot that will keep you gasping and gawping until the very end.
American Vandal (S1-2)
With the obscene number of murder documentaries out there such as Netflix’s own Making a Murderer, it was only a matter of time until someone started poking fun at the genre – we just didn’t expect it to involve phallic graffiti.
American Vandal follows Peter Maldonado’s attempts to prove Dylan Maxwell’s innocence after the renowned prankster is accused of defacing 27 faculty cars at an American high school.
With more twists than a Thorpe Park rollercoaster and all the drama you’d expect from a show centred on American teenagers, it’s near-impossible not to get obsessed with trying to suss out the penis-drawing culprit.
At the time of writing, a second season has just been added. Those prone to binge-watching should beware...
Rick and Morty (S1-3)
The much-anticipated third season of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s animated sci-fi comedy series is now streaming on Netflix UK, and it continues in the same riotous, quick-fire vein as previous seasons (both of which are also available here).
Despite being rooted in sci-fi staples like multi-dimensional travel (and generally coming off as pretty convincing, science-wise - at least to this writer's non-physicist brain), Rick and Morty is chiefly concerned with being hilarious and irreverent as it follows the misadventures of a possibly sociopathic booze-addled inventor and his awkward teenage grandson. Does it succeed? Well, it wouldn't be in this list if it didn't, right?
People Just Do Nothing (S1-3)
A BBC comedy series that’ll appeal to both lovers of mockumentaries and aficionados of late ‘90s UK garage music. People Just Do Nothing is ostensibly a behind-the-scenes documentary about West London pirate radio station Kurupt FM, but it’s actually a wickedly funny – and certainly not unaffectionate – examination of the same kind of hubris and self-delusion as exhibited by David Brent in The Office, presented in much the same way.
The fact that the Kurupt crew clearly do know their Artful Dodger from their Pied Piper – they’ve performed live at multiple events, in character – adds an extra layer of authenticity to the whole thing.
If you're even slightly drawn to Judd Apatow's particular brand of mumbly, honest, relationship-based humour, you'll almost certainly enjoy this comedy drama series he co-created - now three seasons strong.
Love is a story of two directionless, loveless people at opposite ends of the loser spectrum who stumble into each other's lives and begin a relationship that doesn’t seem particularly healthy for either of them. This isn't laugh-a-minute stuff, but spending time with the substance-abusing Mickey (Community's Gillian Jacobs) and pathetic pushover Gus (Paul Rust) is an occasionally awkward, usually guffaw-inducing pleasure.
Inside No. 9 (S1-3)
Having made their name with The League Of Gentlemen and Psychoville, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith set about creating Inside No. 9 – three series (although only the first two are available here) of self-contained stories that have one thing in common: they’ll keep you guessing right til the end.
Whether it’s a death on a sleeper train, a game of hide ‘n’ seek with extreme consequences, or the silent episode about a pair of hapless burglars, the writing here blows most of its contemporaries out of the water, with a devilishly macabre twist in the tail. While it won’t always have you falling off the sofa with laughter, there’s normally at least one absolute stonker of a gag in each episode.
I’m Alan Partridge
Alan Partridge had already appeared on TV in The Day Today and fake talk show Knowing Me, Knowing You (the latter also available to stream on Netflix), but it was the two series and 12 episodes of I’m Alan Partridge that cemented Steve Coogan’s comic creation as one of Britain’s best-loved (or should that be most-hated?) comedy characters.
A sort of cinema verité sitcom that follows Alan around in his daily life as a failed TV presenter now slumming it as a local radio DJ in his home county of Norfolk, I’m Alan Partridge is rich with pathos, quotable lines and the sort of cringeworthy moments that Ricky Gervais later built a career on. Partridge’s Britain is one of Rover Fastbacks, owl sanctuaries, Travel Taverns, static caravans, driving gloves, attempts to wangle free power showers and terrible corporate event appearances – and it’s one that it’s a blast to spend (occasional) time in.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Jerry Seinfeld might not pop up on TV much these days (let’s face it, if you’re as rich as him it probably takes a lot of time and effort just getting down the driveway of your mansion), but he did make this passion project for the internet – and now the whole kit and caboodle has been acquired by and placed on Netflix.
Yep, all nine seasons (which Netflix has organised into four “collections”) are here, with each 15 minute-ish episode featuring Seinfeld picking up a celebrity (usually a comic or actor) in an interesting car and driving them somewhere to grab a cup o’ joe. It’s like an inordinately laid-back chat show, and a breeze to watch when you’re in the mood for watching something light and refreshing.