The 20 Best TV Comedies of All Time
Are you planning on going on a laughter marathon this holiday season? Here is a list of the top 20 television comedies of all time to choose from.
The list of the top 20 best television comedy shows is based on the IMDb list. They are available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, Disney Plus, or other streaming platforms to save you the hassle of searching on the internet.
Seinfeld is a television sitcom that aired from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998.
The television series has 180 episodes and ran for 9 seasons. Seinfeld features Jerry Seinfeld as fictionalized himself, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, and Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer.
The sitcom revolves around Jerry Seinfeld and his close friends' personal life. Jerry is a mediocre standup comedian in the television show just like his real life. His apartment is the center of the show and is often visited by his friends.
George is a character based on the show's co-creator Larry David, he is depicted as a loser with virtually no self-confidence who lies about his profession and almost everything. Furthermore, he is also very jealous of others' achievements but is reliable to his friends.
Elaine is Jerry's ex-girlfriend on the show. The two developed very good friends after their relationship ended. Julia's character Elaine is often described as the mixture between the show's co-creators Jerry and Larry's girlfriends during their early days.
Cosmo Kramer is Jerry's neighbor from across the hall. He has a very naive, uneducated, and impulsive personality but he is also quick-witted, helpful, and empathetic at times. Kramer is very good at pleasing people and inventing various schemes which do appear to work in the beginning by later get him in trouble.
The combination of these four characters has helped Seinfeld to stay at the top of the top comedies of all time chart for over two decades now. Seinfeld is available on Netflix to stream.
2. I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy is second on our list of Top 10 television comedies of all time.
The show aired on CBS from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, and had 180 episodes for 6 seasons. The show revolves around Lucille Ball's character Lucy Ricardo and her husband Desi Arnaz's character Ricky Ricardo. Their best friends and landlords Ethel Mertz played by Vivian Vance and Fred Mertz played by William Frawley also appear frequently on the show.
Lucy has minimal marketable skills but yearns to get into the showbiz industry but her attempts end in disaster almost all the time. She often sings with a harsh voice and saxophone in the show. However, she does have good dancing skills and shows her moves a few times on the television show.
Lucy's husband Ricky is a bandleader and singer. He is thriving in the showbiz industry but his patience is often tested by his wife. He rants in Spanish when he gets angry and his temper is tested by his wife's unnecessary spending on clothes and furniture.
Despite the show ending in 1957, it still gains over 40 million views every year in the United States of America according to the show's Wikipedia profile. The show is available to stream on Hulu.
3. The Honeymooners
The Honeymooners is a comedy television series that is based on the life of a New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden.
The show follows New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden played by Jackie Gleason, his wife Alice played by Audrey Meadows, Ralph's friend Ed Norton played by Art Carney, and his wife Trixie played by Joyce Randolph.
Ralph is a bus driver of Gotham Bus Company based in New York City but he is trying his best to get rich quickly and thus falls into the get-rich-quick scheme. He is often depicted making poor choices in his life making things funnier for the audience. His wife Alice is a patient woman but has a biting tongue for sarcasm. She often replies to her husband's poor decision-making with biting sarcastic responses.
The show was remade into a film in 2005 starring Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Gabrielle Union, and Regina Hall. Similarly, due to its popularity around the world, the television series has been adapted into several languages around the world.
The Honeymooners' classic 39 episodes are available for streaming on Amazon Prime Videos.
4. All in the Family
All in the Family is an American sitcom that revolves around a working-class man Carroll O'Connor and his family.
The sitcom is originally adopted from the British Television series Till Death Us Do Part, but with added content for American viewers. The show featured different controversial topics including racism, antisemitism, infidelity, homosexuality, and the Vietnam War among others.
Despite featuring such controversial topics, it was number one in Nielsen ratings for five years from 1971 to 1976. The show revolves around the daily life of an average American family including Archie Bunker, Edith Bunker, their daughter Gloria Bunker and her husband Michael Stivic.
All in the Family features the clash between the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers as Archie has a narrow-minded view but Gloria and her husband Michael have a much more liberal perception of society. They hardly come to an agreement on any given topic.
5. The Simpsons
While talking about comedy television series, how can we not mention The Simpsons?
The show started airing on December 17, 1989 and has since aired 736 episodes making it the longest-running American animated series, longest-running American scripted primetime television series, and longest-running American sitcom.
The television comedy series The Simpsons revolve around the family which includes members Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The family lives in the fictional town of Springfield and depicts an average American family. The show parodies the American culture, people, society, and television. The show is also famously known for predicting the future.
Full seasons of The Simpsons is available for streaming on Disney Plus, Apple TV, and Hulu.
6. The Andy Griffith Show
The Andy Griffith Show focuses on the life of Sherrif Andy Taylor.
The sitcom is based on a fictional town Mayberry, North Carolina with around 5000 people in the sleepy, slow-paced community. The lead character Andy is a widowed person with a laid-back and level-headed approach to his law-enforcement career. His career encourages out-of-town criminals and moonshiners to flourish.
However, his approach to problem-solving with meditation and excessive discussion makes him popular among the people of the fictional town. His personal life is equally complicated as he tries to raise his son who often tests Andy's parenting and patience. Other main characters in the show include Andy's cousin Barney Fife, Andy's son Opie Taylor, and Andy's aunt Aunt Bee.
The Andy Griffith Show never placed lower than 7th in Nielsen ratings during its entire run and ended the show in number one on April 1, 1968, after airing 249 episodes in 8 seasons. The show is available for streaming on Apple TV.
7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show features Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards.
Mary is a single, independent woman in her 30s who recently moved to Minneapolis in 1970 from her native Minnesotan. She is an independent woman working as an assistant producer for a news show on a fictional television station WJM, the show follows her personal life and work life.
She then befriends her boss Lou Grant played by Ed Asner, newswriter Murray Slaughter played by Gavin MacLeod, and anchorman Ted Baxter played by Ted Knight leading to her promotion to the producer of the show but her duties remained the same. She constantly gets in trouble while throwing parties.
Mary Tyler Moore explored workplace discrimination, the pay gap, and other such issues in a comedic plot according to the show's Wikipedia profile. The show earned 29 Primetime Emmy Awards and 3 Outstanding Comedy Series awards consecutively. The show is available for streaming on Apple TV and Disney Plus.
8. The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Dick Van Dyke Show explores the home and work life of Robert "Rob" Simpson Petrie and Laura Petrie.
Robert "Rob" Simpson Petrie is played by Dick Van Dyke and his wife Laura Petrie is played by actress Mary Tyler Moore. Robert is the head writer of the fictional show Alan Brady Show and Laura is his stylish wife. The show follows Robert as he encounters comic scenarios in his day-to-day work and personal life.
Robert and his co-writers of Alan Brady Show often make jokes in their work given the nature of their job. They are often seen pulling one-liner insults on their buddies in their workplace. The rest of the time Robert's personal life with his wife Laura brings on the laughter, they live in New Rochelle, New York, where they are together raising their son Ritchie Petrie.
The show ran for five seasons and a total of 158 episodes were aired between October 3, 1961, to June 1, 1966. The Dick Van Dyke Show is available to stream on Peacock and FuboTV.
Cheers is an American sitcom focusing on the owner and bartender of Cheers bar in Boston.
The lead character Sam Malone played by Ted Danson is a former baseball player who ran his career to the ground with alcoholism, he is also famously known womanizer in the show. Sam hangs out with his regular customers in his bar while they drink, relax, and socialize.
Another lead character in the show is Diane Chambers, a barmaid in the Cheers bar. She is a sophisticated academic studying at Boston University but due to her financial situation, she reluctantly agreed to work in Cheers bar. She also had an on-and-off relationship with the owner Sam Malone for several seasons.
Other important characters include Coach Ernie Pantusso played by Nicholas Colasanto, Carla Tortelli played by Rhea Perlman, and Norm Peterson played by George Wendt. They all work in the Cheers bar and often hang out together there.
The show aired from September 30, 1982, to May 20, 1993, on NBC. During its airing total of 275 episodes aired in 11 seasons. Cheers is available for streaming on Apple TV+.
How can we forget Friends when we are talking about comedy sitcoms of all time?
The show follows six friends in their 20s and 30s as they navigate Manhattan, New York in their personal and work life. They often hang out together in a coffee house in West Village and discuss their personal life.
The lead characters in the show include Rachel Green played by Jennifer Aniston, Monica Geller played by Courteney Cox, Phoebe Buffay played by Lisa Kudrow, Joey Tribbiani played by Matt LeBlanc, Chandler Bing played by Matthew Perry, and Ross Geller. They all come from different walks of life but have many things in common including their complicated personal lives.
Friends aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, where a total of 236 episodes were aired in 10 Seasons. The show is now available for streaming on Netflix.
11. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom based on the life of five friends.
The show features Sheldon Lee Cooper played by Jim Parsons and Leonard Hofstadter played by Johnny Galecki their next-door neighbor Penny played by Kaley Cuoco and Sheldon and Leonard's friends Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali. All of them, except for Penny, are researchers at Caltech. Penny is an aspiring actress working as a waitress in Cheese Cake Factory until she finds her breakthrough. Later she works as a pharmaceutical sales executive.
The Big Bang Theory is mainly focused on science, especially physics, but also covers an abundance of socially awkward, geeky, and scientific character's personal life and friendship. They are mainly seen hanging out in their apartment or at Caltech's cafeteria discussing all sorts of unconventional topics.
The show also features many minor characters who are later promoted to starring roles including Sheldon's girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler played by Mayim Bialik, Howards's girlfriend-turned-wife Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz played by Melissa Rauch and a comic book owner Stuart Bloom played by Kevin Sussman.
The show aired for 279 episodes through 12 seasons from September 24, 2007, to May 16, 2019, on NBC. The show is now available for streaming on Netflix.
12. The Office
The Office is mocumentary, a fictional storyline presented as a documentary film.
The show revolves around a large ensemble cast working at a fictional company Dunder Mifflin Paper Company's Scranton, Pennsylvania. The show covers the company's day-to-day life at their work and sometimes their personal lives as well.
The main cast of the comedy television series includes Michael Scott played by Steve Carell, who is the regional manager at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Dwight Kurt Schrute III played by Rainn Wilson is a salesman and Scott's assistant. Jim Halpert played by John Krasinski is a sales representative.
The Office is an American adaptation of the British television series of the same name but several characters and settings have been modified to suit the American audience including the names and personalities of the characters.
The American version of The Office aired from March 24, 2005, to May 16, 2013, on NBC airing a total of 201 episodes in 9 seasons. The show is now available for streaming on Netflix.
Frasier is an American comedy series that is a spin-off series of Cheers.
The series Frasier starts after Psychiatrist Frasier Crane returns back to his hometown of Seattle and starts to adjust to his new single life, he ended his marriage at the end of Cheers before relocating to Seattle.
The new series entirely focuses on his new life of trying to live with his father and their constant adjustment. His father Martin has a mobility problem and they have very less in common to bond together. Frasier and Martin try to hire a caregiver for Martin but his peculiar choices make the task mammoth as they interview several people for the position.
Apart from his personal life, Frasier works as a call-in psychiatrist on the local radio station where he shares a good relationship with the show's producer Roz Doyle. Roz is a direct and sarcastic personality on the show.
Frasier aired 264 episodes during its 11 seasons on NBC between September 16, 1993, and May 13, 2004. The show is now available for streaming on Hulu.
14. Modern Family
Modern Family is an American comedy series featuring three families who are related to one another.
All three families live in Los Angeles and have distinct characteristics but are bound together through a patriarch Jay Pritchett played by Ed O'Neill. The show features everyday situations faced by families in the United States comically.
The show has a complicated family tree and features several supporting characters who make guest appearances in the show. The main characters of the show include Jay Pritchett played by Ed O'Neill, his wife Gloria Delgado-Pritchett played by Sofía Vergara, Jay's daughter from previous marriage Claire Dunphy played by Julie Bowen, Claire's husband Ty Burrell, Claire's brother Mitchell Pritchett played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mitchell's husband Cameron Tucker played by Eric Stonestreet.
Modern Family aired 250 episodes in its 11 seasons on ABC from September 23, 2009, to April 8, 2020. The television show is now available for streaming on Hulu.
15. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia features five friends with huge egos and comparably small brains.
Each of the five members of the gang has extreme personality traits including selfishness, pathological dishonesty, aggression, substance abuse, narcissism, and several other such traits. Together they own an unsuccessful and failing Irish Pub named Paddy's Pub.
They also have no regard for people in their surroundings meaning they go to extremes to achieve their desire and wants. According to the show's Wikipedia profile, they have tried locking people inside the burning room, pretending to become disabled to qualify for benefits, feeding people their dead pets, and several other sociopathic acts.
The gang includes Charlie Kelly played by Charlie Day, Dennis Reynolds played by Dennis Reynolds, Ronald "Mac" McDonald played by Rob McElhenney, Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds played by Kaitlin Olson, and Frank Reynolds played by Danny DeVito.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia started airing on August 4, 2005, and has since aired 162 episodes in 15 seasons and has been renewed until season 18 in December 2020. The show is available for streaming on Hulu.
M*A*S*H is a war-time comedy series that stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
The comedy series features an army hospital in South Korea during the Korean War. The show revolved around different members of the army doctors and supporting staff at the hospital as they embraced laughter as a healing technique during the war.
The series followed the life of its characters including Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce played by Alan Alda, Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan played by Loretta Swit, Maxwell Q. Klinger played by Jamie Farr among many more.
M*A*S*H ran for 11 seasons airing 256 episodes between September 17, 1972, and February 28, 1983. The show is available for streaming on Hulu.
17. The Bob Newhart Show
The Bob Newhart Show is an American comedy television show featuring the daily life of a psychologist.
Dr. Robert Hartley is a practicing psychologist based in Chicago. The show follows Hartley as he navigates his personal and work-life along with his wife Emily played by Suzanne Pleshette. She is very supportive towards her husband but has plenty of sarcastic traits.
The show also features Dr. Jerry Robinson played by Peter Bonerz, an orthodontist and very good friend of Hartley, Howard Borden played by Bill Daily, and Carol Kester played by Marcia Wallace.
The show aired for six seasons between September 16, 1972, and April 1, 1978, airing a total of 142 episodes. It is now available for streaming on Hulu.
18. The Larry Sanders Show
The Larry Sanders Show revolves around the staff and host of a fictional late-night talk show of the same name.
The television sitcom features the production of a fictional late-night talk show and focuses on host Larry, producer Arthur "Artie", and sidekick Hank Kingsley as they interact with celebrity guests on the show, negotiate terms with the network, and others. The show also features their power struggles in the production office. Furthermore, the show also features the personal life of Larry.
The Larry Sanders Show ran between August 15, 1992, and May 31, 1998, for 6 seasons airing a total of 90 episodes. The show is now available for streaming on HBO Max and Hulu.
Taxi is an American sitcom focusing on the bigger dreams of New York cab drivers.
The show features several employees of the fictional Sunshine Cab Company based in New York, the main setting of the show is in their fleet garage located in Manhattan where all the drivers gather.
The main protagonist Alex Reiger is the only staff who thinks of cab driving as his profession, others just think of the driving job as temporary as they try to make their way into bigger professions. However, their dreams of getting into a bigger profession are also yanked out before becoming a reality.
Other characters in the series include Louie De Palma played by Danny DeVito, Elaine O'Connor Nardo played by Marilu Henner, Anthony Mark "Tony" Banta played by Tony Danza, Latka Gravas played by Andy Kaufman and several others. They are struggling actors, failing boxers, college students, and single mothers in their personal life.
The show aired 114 episodes in its 5 seasons on ABC between September 12, 1978, to May 6, 1982. It is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Videos.
20. 30 Rock
The American comedy show 30 Rock features Liz Lemon as she tries to manage the production of a sketch comedy show.
Liz is the head writer of TGS with Tracy Jordan which is an NBC sketch comedy show produced in Studio 6H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. She works with her best friend and star of the show Jenna Maroney who aspired to become a dramatic actress. Liz also hired Tracy Jordan who is very unpredictable and conservative.
The show often features disagreements between Liz who is much more liberal and Tracy. The show 30 Rock also explores the personal lives of the characters and their complicated romantic lives.
30 Rocks aired between October 11, 2006, and January 31, 2013, on NBC featuring 139 episodes in its 7-season run. The show is available for streaming on Hulu.