For comedy fans, the genre is not a “one-size-fits-all” category. There are people who are more partial to a good, old fashioned slapstick sitcom like Friends or How I Met Your Mother, others who might prefer a more “cerebral” type of humour such as Veep or Frasier (which is currently being rebooted).
And then, there are the people (such as myself) who love the kind of comedy that makes you simultaneously laugh out loud and internally ponder if your moral compass might be missing its north star.
If you are also one of these people then, while you might also love a good pie gag and laugh track, you’re probably also frequently looking for a show that can speak to your inner cynic.
Well, look no further, as ahead, we have rounded up some of the best TV shows for people with a dark sense of humour and where you can currently watch them.
One of the best shows ever created (in my humble opinion), the first three seasons of Arrested Development were about as close to perfect as television has gotten in the past couple of decades. The two subsequent seasons that were made for Netflix fell a little short, but still had hints of the humour that made the series a cult classic to begin with.
Centred around the supremely dysfunctional Bluth family, this show took the well-known “rags to riches” trope and injected it with the kind of wit and sarcasm I only wish I could get away with throwing around in my day-to-day life.
Featuring a cast that includes major comedy icons such as Jason Bateman, the late Jessica Walter (who delivers the best one-liners for sure), Will Arnett, David Cross and Tony Hale, plus amazing cameos from Bob Odenkirk, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Henry Winkler and more, Arrested Development cemented itself as one of the most quotable comedies of all time.
Written by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, who also take on the lead roles in the series, Catastrophe is a brutally honest look at the relationship that evolves between two people who fall pregnant after a drunken one-night stand in London.
Far from a rom-com, Catastrophe doesn’t shy away from the messiness of marriage and the, frankly, really crappy parts of sharing your life with another person while also trying to raise a child, do your job and grapple with getting older.
While it may sound like this series would be better filed under the “drama” (or “documentary”) category, Horgan and Delaney’s sharp wit and savage banter is what earns this critically acclaimed series a firm spot on this list of dark comedies.
Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video
You’re the Worst
In a similar vein to Catastrophe, You’re the Worst is a darkly comedic love story, but one that takes place between two pretty awful people — at least on the surface.
Gretchen (Aya Cash) is a music publicist who is selfish, self-destructive and chaotic. She meets Jimmy (Chris Geere), a commitment-phobic, self-centred author at a wedding and the two begin “hanging out” after hooking up,
Despite being completely dysfunctional, and surrounded by equally messy people, Gretchen and Jimmy grow closer, uncovering a story of mental illness, childhood trauma and deeply embedded insecurities.
Watch it on: Apple TV
I will never stop talking about my love of this (Emmy award-winning) show — never.
The series features the voice talents of Will Arnett as the titular character, a washed-up 90s sitcom star who is drowning in self-loathing and addiction. And, of course, he’s part horse. In fact, many of the characters in this subversive series, created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, are anthropomorphic but live alongside humans in Hollywood.
The show explores the themes of feminism, mental illness, friendship, substance abuse, discrimination, trauma, sexism and racism, while providing sharp commentary on the transactional nature of the entertainment business — specifically the way it uses and abuses people, yet leaves them desperate for more.
For all of its dark social commentary, there are constant moments of levity throughout Bojack Horseman by way of clever animal puns, ongoing gags and the wacky adventures of Bojack’s wayward housemate Todd Chavez, voiced by Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul.
Watch it on: Netflix
Look, there is a really good chance that you are already a die-hard Succession fan, because most people seem to be these days.
However, in case you are not, the gist of it is that the Roy family are some of the richest people in the world, but they are also some of the most terrible. The series revolves around the patriarch of the family, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), who seems destined to drop dead any day, prompting his children, and pretty much anyone he’s ever met, all fighting to take control over his monster corporation WayStar Royco.
We dare you not to laugh at the awkward brilliance of cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), the constant cringe-fests brought on by Kendall (Jeremy Strong) or the never-ending stream of word vomit (and sometimes actual vomit) that spews forth from Roman’s (Kieran Culkin) mouth.
Prestige television at its finest and damn funny at that.
Watch it on: BINGE
Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23
There are no words to describe how happy I was when I discovered I could watch Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23 on Disney+, after falling madly in love with the series while living in the US.
The plot revolves around a wholesome, Midwestern girl named June (Dreama Walker) who moves to New York after landing her dream job on Wall Street. After that dream job goes up in smoke, taking her luxurious corporate penthouse with it, June answers a Craiglist ad for a roommate and moves with Chloe (Krysten Ritter). It doesn’t take long for June to realise that Chloe is a total scammer with “the morals of a pirate” and that she tricks naive newcomers to the city into covering her share of the rent until she drives them mad and they move out.
June is tougher than she first appears though and the two develop a wacky friendship that could probably do with an intervention but delivers non-stop gags in the process. Bonus points to this show for casting James Van der Beek as a satirical version of himself, and for Van der Beek himself for absolutely nailing the part.
Watch it on: Disney+
Only Ricky Gervais could take a topic as sad as the loss of a spouse and turn it into some of the best comedy going around.
Gervais plays Tony Johnson who is widowed when his beloved wife Lisa passes away from cancer, making him even more cynical and standoffish than he was before. Resistant to his friend’s attempts at making him a better person, Tony goes through life saying whatever is on his mind and refusing to allow himself to move on.
What’s great about this series is that it takes the themes of how people expect someone to act when they are processing grief… and sticks a middle finger right up at it.
Watch it on: Netflix
This show has been on for more than 20 seasons, so I don’t think I need to tell you what it is about, or why it is brilliant.
Instead, I shall just include a clip from one of my favourite scenes ever and rest my case.
Watch it on: 7Plus