THE GOOD PLACE
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.
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.
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.
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 India, and it continues in the same riotous, quick-fire vein as previous seasons.
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?
New third season episodes drop onto Netflix every Monday, while the first couple of seasons are already available in their entirity.
The best trips are either with friends or alone. Take heed from Rani Mehra. A young Punjabi Indian woman from Delhi who went alone for her pre-booked honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam. Why? Because her fiancé left her a day prior to the wedding.
Stings right? Nah, not when you can do everything you were restricted from doing in India. Her self-exploration begins from alcohol and dancing. Sounds like a Stuff team member.
Well this is a bit weird: rather than one of those one-off stand-up specials that Netflix is so keen on commissioning these days, here we have the first two of a series of three stand-up specials. But then this is Dave Chappelle; the enigma, the legend, the king of self-destruction.
This is a man who was always fond of pushing peoples' buttons, who walked out on $50m TV deal, and who has spent the last decade only occasionally stepping into the spotlight to be furious about the entertainment industry - but if you're expecting fireworks you might be disappointed.
That's not to say these aren't enjoyable sets. On the contrary, there are chuckles aplenty as Chappelle riffs on topics close to his heart such as Bill Cosby, the comedy scene, racial inequality and OJ Simpson, but the two shows are also lacking the sort of bite that many will be expecting.
Other than some 'bits' on LGBQT themes that some will find insensitive at best, this is enjoyable but safe stand-up. Which would be fine - but this is Dave Chappelle. Hopefully the third, yet to be released, show will be a little more progressive and edgy.
I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore
Ruth's general despair at the state of humanity gains focus when she decides to go on the hunt for the person or people who've robbed her. Enlisting the help of her socially deficient neighbour, Tony, she follows the trail deeper and deeper into a weird, criminal rabbit hole full of odd, dysfunctional characters, many of whom have themselves been let down by modern life.
While it starts out as (and looks in the trailer to be) a quirky, hipster comedy, I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore turns extremely dark and nasty at times. It's still funny, though - as long as you like your comedy pitch black.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
Does anyone not like the Coen brothers? Maybe there’s a woman somewhere in Minnesota who refuses to watch their films because Joel didn’t ask her to the prom in 1971. Maybe there’s a man somewhere in Cheshire who’s never seen any of them because Ethan looks like the sod who ran over his dog. But the rest of us are all on board, right?
Fargo (1996) was the breakthrough movie that made their reputation for somehow managing to be funny, warm, dark and grotesque all at the same time. The Big Lebowski came two years later and it’s every bit as watchable, with John Goodman and Jeff Bridges in a ramblingly daft story of money, revenge and bowling.
Beverly Hills Cop
The '80s were rife with comedy action films, and Beverly Hills Cop was the funniest, most action-packed of the lot. And it still stands up now.
A huge part of it is Eddie Murphy's cheeky charm as Axel Foley, a reckless Detroit detective who goes off the books to investigate the death of his friend. His enquiries take him to Beverley Hills, where he's very much a fish out of water, butting heads with the local police and aristocratic criminals.
If you haven't already seen it (seriously?!) you must rectify that immediately. If you have, Beverly Hills Cop really is every bit a brilliant as you remember. The two sequels aren't much, er, cop, but they're also on Netflix if you want to complete the trilogy.
This show quietly stumbled into our lives quite randomly back in 2010, and we were hooked from the first five minutes. It revolves around Sterling Archer, a misogynistic, crazy-yet-capable agent for the (unfortunately-named) spy agency ISIS. His mother's the boss, his ex-girlfriend is a rival spy, and the rest of the team are crazy and psychopathic enough to ensure that there's never a dull moment. The writing is clever, the dialogue is comedically timed to perfection, and the animation style is gorgeous. A word of warning: you will have a strong desire to purchase a slightly darker-black turtle neck after viewing.
A Netflix exclusive, this animated series features Arrested Development’s Will Arnett as the titular Horseman, a, er, “horse man” who enjoyed success while in a popular 1990s sitcom but now lives in a haze of booze and self-loathing as a washed-up former star.
Set in a skewed version of Hollywood in which humans live alongside anthropomorphic animals, BoJack Horseman features a strong cast (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul plays BoJack’s best friend Todd) and strong writing, and the 26 episodes available now (two seasons plus two specials) will be supplemented with a third season, due to arrive later in 2016.
If you’re not already an Andy Samberg fan (shame on you), Brooklyn Nine-Nine will make you one. That’s not to say he’s the only draw in this comedy cop show, though - the super-childish detective he plays is always at the centre of things, but each of the nutjobs he shares a precinct with have their own hilarious idiosyncrasies, not least of all the seemingly dry and dull Captain Holt.
It’s all as silly and immature as things get, and that’s just fine by us.
We're The Millers
Ever heard of a family that sells drugs and crosses borders, putting life at total risk? Maybe not. But the Millers family is just that, with a mix of wackiness and weirdness thrown in. It stars Jason Sudeikis from Horrible Bosses and F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ famous Jennifer Aniston, who pair up as fake dad and mom and hire two kids from the street. Yes, you read right, “hire”. It’s not even a real family, which would explain the daredevilry.
But in this case, David has no choice. No, really. There’s this drug deal that requires him to go from America to Mexico, and back, for which he puts together this fake family. All their lives change after one simple drug deal, and the irony here is simply ironic. The movie has quite a few twists and turns, but ends on a happy note, so you won’t need those tissues.
JIM JEFFERIES: FREEDUMB
Russell Howard fans, be warned: this is not the bland, inoffensive ‘satire’ that you’re used to. Aussie-born adopted American stand-up Jim Jefferies isn’t known for holding back and he certainly doesn't do anything to change that in Freedumb, his new Netflix exclusive.
If you discovered him off the back of his gun control routine ‘going viral’ after every mass shooting in America (so every few weeks then) there might be more jokes about potty training here than you’d expect but his Bill Cosby bit and the Donald Trump material shows he can still channel his inner Bill Hicks when he’s got a point to make. Just don’t watch it with your mum.
Brian “Limmy” Limond isn’t your average comedian. The Glaswegian was among the first comics to get his big break not on the standup circuit, in a sitcom or on a panel show but on the Internet; Limmy is a self-starter who has used tools like YouTube, Vine and Twitter to build a cult audience – and eventually get himself a TV show.
Broadcast only on BBC Scotland, Limmy’s Show! ran for three series and a Christmas special, and now all episodes are available on Netflix. Format-wise it most closely resembles a sketch show, albeit one that’s certainly more skewed and weird than the likes of Big Train or The Fast Show, with jarring musical interludes and no catchphrases. If your tastes lean towards the esoteric and slightly unnerving, you’ll find much to enjoy here – and sketches like fantasy late night phone-in Adventure Call and white collar petty criminal Mr Mulvaney will appeal to almost anybody’s sense of comedy.
Nothing much happens in Clerks. Some disaffected slackers go to work in their dead-end jobs. They argue with girlfriends, chat with mates, swear a lot. It all happens at a glacial pace, in black and white, on a budget of less than US$30,000 (around ₹20.5lacs) . Yet somehow, it’s one of the funniest films of the ’90s, a textbook example of how good writing counts for far more than glitzy special effects or big-name stars.
Peep Show’s ninth and final series has recently been added to Netflix (alongside the previous eight) so if you haven’t yet watched Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong’s groundbreaking sitcom – the longest-running in Channel 4’s history, no less – now is the perfect time to delve into the minds of David Mitchell’s Mark and Robert Webb’s Jez, two best friends and flatmates who stumble from one disaster to the next.
Peep Show’s “gimmick” is that we often see the action from Mark or Jez’s point-of-view, along with their inner thoughts as audible voice-overs. In the great British comedy tradition, self-delusion, self-hatred and social awkwardness frequently loom large here, and though both the main characters are indisputably despicable, selfish idiots, it’s impossible not to get sucked into their (often horrifying) antics.
Many a true word is spoken in jest, as they say – and Peep Show is as much a meditation on the human condition as it is a comedy show. As the joyless Mark internally remarks after his girlfriend takes him to a fairground, "I suppose doing things you hate is just the price you pay to avoid loneliness."
The concept here is simple: a soppy romantic gets chlamydia and has to work through his list of historic partners to break the news. Cue humourous flashbacks, tragic tales and a fair dose of relatable heartbreak.
It begins as a better version of Fresh Meat but, by episode three, the web of friendships, love interests and flashbacks works brilliantly to gradually reveal details that bring depth to the characters - a depth that’s matched by excellent, believable and, perhaps most importantly, funny performances.
Yes, there are ludicrous moments - with Joshua McGuire’s Angus providing ernest hilarity like a better Ross from Friends - but these only add to the general balance of light-hearted, amusing goings-on and deep, heartfelt drama. This is brilliant binge-fodder for romantics with a sense of humour.