Television continues to be tremendous in series that are specifically designed to be comedies as well as dramatic series that have strong comedy elements and players throughout. If you’re not on the list, it doesn’t mean we don’t love and adore you. There are just too many shows this year that were top ten worthy. In choosing our favorite series, there was no magical formula. As always, we picked shows that made us laugh and surprised us with innovation, great casting, great writing and great performances. Have to give a nod toward Amazon Prime’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisal which became an Interrobang favorite too late to include in our list, but you should be watching. Season Two should be a shoe-in for 2018. Also want to send honorable mentions out to Baskets, Nick Kroll’s Big Mouth, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisal, and Season Two of Master of None.
Even as talented as they are, it’s almost hard to believe the WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER team could come back with yet another absurdist but hilariously funny hit season. All of our favorite cast members are back, and we still love every one of them. This is the third incarnation of the WHAS franchise. For those who aren’t up to date, David Wain and Michael Showalter created and wrote the first incarnation, which was released as a feature film in 2001. Fourteen years later Wain and Showalter broke all convention bringing back the full original cast to create a prequel series for Netflix, and now in 2017, a sequel debuted on Netflix as an episodic series with eight installations. The series stars David Wain, Michael Showalter, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Paul Rudd, Josh Charles, Elizabeth Banks and a cast that seems to encompass comedy itself.
SEARCH PARTY might not be classified as a pure comedy, but there is plenty to laugh at in this exciting series that debuted its second season in 2017. Michael Showalter is one of the creators and executive producers on the series, making this is second entry into our top ten list this year. Some of the great comedy talents who star in the series include Alia Shawkat, John Early, Showalter himself, and you’ll also see appearances from Kate Berlant, Rosie Perez, Parker Posey, Jay Duplass and Judy Gold. Season one ended with a shocking twist of events, and in season two we get to watch each character deal with the colossal moral swamp their actions left them in Brilliantly done and one of the best shows- comedy or otherwise- in 2017.
Pamela Adlon’s series BETTER THINGS was brilliant in Season One, and was one of our picks for the top ten comedy series in 2016. Season two has equaled or surpassed the show’s freshman season with moments of brilliance that range from deep sadness to laugh out loud hilarity. The phenomenal casting has proven even more prescient as Sam’s three daughters have aged into strong, more fascinating characters. Adlon has a gift for highlighting the ups and downs of motherhood and daughterhood and has created one of the best shows of 2017.
Jim Jefferies entered a very crowded and peril-filled market when he joined the ranks of those who talk politics and have guests late at night. Jefferies started strong and finished stronger. After the show’s initial run ended, Comedy Central ordered 10 more episodes which aired this fall. The season finale had the best ratings to date, and Jefferies announced that the show will return in 2018. Taking on the JIM JEFFERIES SHOW could have been seen as a risky move; Jim’s stand up career is popping and his fan base is gigantic, and not every new political show has taken off. But his risk payed off- the show is powerful and of all the politically motivated late night shows out there, Jefferies is the funniest.
Season one landed VICE PRINCIPALS on our top ten list last year and season two easily earned the dark comedy series a spot for 2017. Is this the funniest show of the year? That’s up to you to decide but there is no doubt that it is a strong contender. Danny McBride is just brilliant, as is Walter Goggins in their roles as competitive school administrators. We already loved them both but now we’ve also had the chance to become gigantic fans of Edi Patterson, who plays the Gamby shooting Ms. Abbott, and Georgia King who plays off and on again love interest, Ms. Snodgrass. Our only regret is that there isn’t a third season but on the other hand, the lack of the need to keep storylines open and play toward longevity is also one of the series strengths.
Packed with cameos and guest-starring roles played by the best stand up comedians in the country, CRASHING was a concept that we were bound to fall in love with. Pete Holmes and Artie Lange are the most consistent figures in this revolving door of comedy that shows the comedy world from the bottom up, and we can’t get enough of the show. It’s the most authentic show about the comedy universe, and it’s also one of the funniest. We’ve already seen season two, coming out January 14, and spoiler alert, it’s even better than season one. Pete Holmes created the largely autobiographical show, and Judd Apatow serves as EP.
Showtime’s look at stand up comedy in the 70’s, I’M DYING UP HERE, had a rocky start and was criticized almost universally for being too serious of a drama about comedy. But we couldn’t help but stick with it and throughout the season, we found ourselves enjoying the series more. The tone lightened as the episodes went by and by the show’s season finale, they were right where the show needed to be up front. There are still flaws in the series, but its hard to say the show doesn’t belong on a list of the best comedy shows of the year, and while we still hate the bad wigs, we’ve come to love many of the show’s stars. Ari Gaynor, Erik Griffin, Al Madrigal, Clark Duke and Michael Anganaro are standouts on the series and we’re looking forward to seeing if Showtime takes some of the critical advice in to account while creating season two.
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is Netflix’ TV Series adaptation of the 2014 film of the same name, with many cast members returning to play their original roles. The series shared a similar plot to the film with the satirical University newspaper, Pastiche,
BETTER CALL SAUL is not only one of the best comedies on television this year, and one of the best tv shows this year, it’s one of the greats of the last ten years. Not specifically designated as a comedy, the show has more than enough for us to include the show in our list, including two stars who are comedians. This season, comedian, actor, and comedic actor Bob Odenkirk played the role his younger self, Jimmy McGill, in all his complexity to perfection. And Michael McKean’s portrayal of Jimmy’s joyless older brother Chuck is so good, it may be too good; you find yourself so angry at Chuck that you almost hold his actions against McKean before you realize how crazy that is. The entire cast is phenomenal and as a bonus, we love seeing Joe DeRosa pop up every now and then.