Lovers, they may cause you tears, once said a great thinker. So well might Mondays, MOT bills, siblings, allergies and toe-stubbings. The remedy is below, in this hand-picked collection of some of the warmest, daftest and most enjoyable comedies around.
Here is a run-down of cosy comedies old and new streaming on Netflix UK to put a smile on your face and a skip in your step. So, get yourself a nice cuppa, throw on a blanket and indulge in the pure silliness of some of these great shows.
Derry Girls – come for the 90s nostalgia; stay for the hilarious characters and surprising dabs of real emotion in among all the fun. Set in Derry back in the age of Take That and hair mascara, Lisa McGee’s sitcom is the story of a group of schoolfriends navigating life as teenagers in the direct aftermath of The Troubles. It’s sharply written, boasts an excellent cast and has real heart underneath all the laughs. Only the first six-episode series is available to stream at the moment, but series two (which aired earlier this year on Channel 4) can’t be far behind. It’s Even better news is that series three is on its way.
This Canadian comedy is a total joy, as are its characters. Plot-wise, you could think of it as a much warmer, less arch Arrested Development, in that it deals with a wealthy family that loses its fortune in one fell swoop. When the Roses (parents John and Moira, grown-up children Alexis and David) are forced to relocate to a low-rent motel in a decidedly unglamorous town, they gradually learn how to be a real family and what matters more than money. If that sounds schmaltzy, it isn’t. It’s just delightful well-drawn character comedy with wit and heart.
A Levy family production, Schitt’s Creek was co-created by father and son team Eugene and Dan, and co-stars daughter Sarah alongside the brilliant Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy. If you’re in need of a televisual hug, this is it.
Santa Clarita Diet
Not one for the squeamish, this silly, bright comedy about a well-heeled California family who undergo a serious change when mother Sheila starts craving human flesh, is a lot of fun. A great deal of that fun is down to the performances of Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, who are joyful as real estate agents Sheila and Joel Hammond, and the wry delivery of their teenage daughter Abby (Liv Hewson).
The episodes are short and snappy, the script goes to some delightfully dark places and the practical effects will be loved by fans of gore. As the show progresses, the mythology deepens and the concept proves that it has the legs for three seasons (it wasn’t renewed for a fourth).
Toast Of London
Did someone say Matt Berry? Well, he’s the star of this wonderfully absurdist comedy about an actor trying to make his mark on London’s theatre scene. Berry plays Steven Toast, the laughing stock of his family who comes crawling to his eccentric agent Jane Plough (“spelt P-L-O-U-G-H, pronounced ‘pluff’”) on a weekly basis to see what jobs she has in store for him. Having starred in a hugely controversial stage production, Toast is keen to find more high-brow roles to compete with his arch acting nemesis Ray Purchase (Harry Peacock) but rarely gets anything better than voiceover roles at the very hipster Scramble Studios. Here, he must deal with the likes of Danny Bear (Tim Downie) and Clem Fandango (Shazad Latif), who set Toast up to embarrass himself on a weekly basis.
The writing on the show is a pure delight with some of the best character names you’ll have ever heard. Enter Clancy Moped, Penvelope (“it looks like ‘Penelope’ when it’s written down but there’s a ‘v’ stuck in there”) and Heathcote Pursuit.
Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain’s cult favourite is the ultimate feel-good watch: you feel good because you know your life is nothing like the car crash lives you see on screen. Shot from point of view with narration from the two lead characters, Peep Show gives us a no-holds-barred look into the lives of Mark Corrigan (David Mitchell) and Jeremy ‘Jez’ Usborne (Robert Webb). They’re just about scraping by, with Mark working as a loan manager and Jez continuing to keep up the pretence that he’s a musician who just hasn’t had his break yet. You won’t find more relatable and thoroughly British responses to the antics that go on, whether it’s Mark’s desperation to run away from his wedding or Jez’s attempts to cover up his accidental murder of a dog. With the brilliant crack-addled Super Hans (Matt King) and Mark’s unhinged boss Alan Johnson (Paterson Joseph), you’ll be hooked.
Would you look at that, it’s another tip top series from Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain and, this time, we’re in the world of the university student. Every British uni student will relate to this sharply written comedy about a bunch of first years thrown together in a uni house. It’s a culture shock, it’s a learning curve… and it involves more than a bit of booze. Fresh Meat‘s ensemble cast are fabulous as they stumble their way into adult life, with stand-out performances from Jack Whitehall as Johnathan ‘J.P.’ Pembersley, a former Stowe student born with a silver spoon in his mouth and Zawe Ashton as Violet ‘Vod’ Nordstrom, an eccentric slacker who knows all the drug dealers in town. Virginities are lost, love is found and exams are failed. It’s funny, relatable and moving all in one go.
Imagine a cartoon about teenagers going through the trials and tribulations of growing up and getting through high school. It’s been done before, you say? Not like this it hasn’t. Big Mouth is a crass adult animation that tells the story of puberty as it is… in every gross little detail.
Written by Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, it’s actually based on Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s teenage years. While Nick still awaits his bodily changes, Andrew is being plagued by the ‘Hormone Monster’, a physical manifestation of all his sexual urges. Wet dreams, periods, the awkwardness of first kisses… it’s all covered in excruciating detail over three seasons. Highlights include a sequence in which Nick imagines everyone in school as erect penises, and a school play sponsored by the Church of Scientology named 12 Angry Travoltas. “It’s a witch hunt, a b**ch hunt, a David Miscavige hunt!”
Hurrah! All ten seasons of Friends are finally up on Netflix and this means only one thing: hours of bingeing with the gang of New York pals. Yes, they couldn’t afford that apartment and yes, it was clearly filmed in a California studio but who doesn’t love this highly quotable sitcom? Rachael, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Joey and Chandler and names known the world over, just like we all know that Ross and Rachael were ON A BREAK and that Joey would approach any woman with his signature chat up line: “How you doin’?” You’re in for hours of nineties fun.
Another delight from across the pond, Brooklyn 99 is the brilliant, fast-paced cop comedy from Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Set in the NYPD’s 99th precinct, you’ll love the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Andy Samberg’s brilliant Jake Peralta, a childish workaholic who drinks exclusively blue drinks, and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), the office try hard who’s a sucker for a good filing system. While the entire ensemble cast shine, the cherry on top of the cake is undoubtedly Andre Braugher’s Captain Raymond Holt, a man who loves nothing more than listening to a recorder recital and looking at antique globes.
The IT Crowd
This show obviously needs no introduction from us, but here goes anyway. Set in the dingy basement office of Reynholm Industries, The IT Crowd follows IT technicians Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd) and Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) as they go about their days completely under the company’s radar. The department’s new relationship manager Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) shakes things up and suddenly the men have to adapt to sharing their space with a woman – and do some work, too. This cult favourite is packed full of hilarious and implausible situations and gets all the more brilliant when Matt Berry enters the cast in the second series as Douglas Reynholm, the new boss with a history of sexual harassment. Get ready for some nerdy laughs.
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee
If you’re in the market for some chilled-out laughs, look no further than Jerry Seinfeld’s coffee-oriented interview collections. It’s not your ordinary staged interview set-up as the Seinfeld star picks up a well-known comedian in a swish car and whisks them to a cool coffee haunt in their home town. It’s an opportunity to be a fly on the wall as interviewer and interviewee wander about shops, go for a drive and kick back and have a chat. Featuring comedy greats Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Steve Martin and many more (even the king of cool himself, Barack Obama), you’ll be lulled into a caffeinated binge-fest as the slow jazz and easy conversation makes you feel like you’re among friends.
See more comedy recommendations on our list of new British comedy TV shows for 2019 and beyond.