We could all do with a laugh right now. We could of course turn to novelty jigsaws or some hilarious memes, but we can do better than that. There is an ocean of incredible TV comedies out there for you to dive into, and to guide your swim through the waves of laughter we have put together ten top TV comedy picks. Chuckle away.
1. Brassic (Sky One)
Brassic drew all sorts of comparisons when it first aired on Sky One last year - Trainspotting, Shameless and (our personal favourite) an ‘X-rated version of Last of the Summer Wine’.
But really the only thing Brassic is like is … Brassic, the rip-snorting tale of a bunch of pals getting up to no good in the fictional northern town of Hawley.
Starring Joe Gilgun (who co-created the series with Danny Brocklehurst), Michelle Keegan Damien Molony and Dominic West, they will be joined in the second series by John Thomson and Bill Paterson. And - even better - a third series has already been commissioned.
What they say: ‘It is a hilarious, warm, brutal melange that works because it has heart without sentimentality and authenticity without strain.’ The Guardian
2. Red Dwarf (Dave)
Red Dwarf returns to Dave this week [9 April] in a feature-length episode of the long-running series aboard the eponymous spaceship.
The sitcom, which follows the adventures of the last human alive, Dave Lister (Craig Charles) and his shipmates Rimmer (Chris Barrie), Cat (Danny John-Jules) and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), began on the BBC in 1988 before it was fired up again by Dave in 2009.
The 90-minute special, The Promised Land, was recorded live in front of a studio audience and sees the return of Norman Lovett as Holly, the ship’s much-loved computer.
As Llewellyn told the Radio Times: “It’s a science-fiction sitcom where the comedy isn’t about the science fiction.”
What they say: ‘One of the funniest far-out sitcoms ever to hit the airwaves.’ Den of Geek
3. Derry Girls (Channel 4)
This ‘90s-set family-based comedy about teenagers in Derry (‘or Londonderry, depending on your persuasion – a troubled little corner in the north-west of Ireland’) is a nostalgic delight.
Lisa McGee’s ensemble comedy starring Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Nicola Coughlan drew early comparisons with another Channel 4 teenage comedy, The Inbetweeners.
But the backdrop of the Troubles gives Derry Girls a more profound sense of time and place. So it’s similar, but very different. With a third series commissioned, all episodes are available to watch on All4.
What they say: ‘Daft, profane and absolutely brilliant. The funniest thing on TV.’ The Guardian
4. Breeders (Sky One)
You don’t have to be a parent to fully appreciate Martin Freeman’s Sky One comedy Breeders, but it helps.
A tale of a couple struggling to cope with careers, ageing parents and - mostly - two young children, Freeman created Breeders with Chris Addison and Simon Blackwell. And like The Thick of It, on which the latter two both worked, it’s very sweary and very funny.
It’s also totally upfront about the challenges of parenthood. ‘You can be the happiest you’ve ever been and also the most strung out you’ve ever been, within a matter of minutes,’ said Blackwell. ‘That’s what we’re trying to show – that it can turn on a sixpence.’
What they say: ‘A hilarious comedy series [that] is almost uniquely truthful about parenthood’ iNews
5. Mr Bean (ITV)
It’s been 30 years since Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean first aired on ITV and his Jacques Tati inspired creation is still entertaining millions of viewers around the world.
Not bad for a man of so few words, and considering that only 15 episodes were ever made (along with two movies and an animated series).
His catastrophic adventures, available on the ITV Hub with more to watch on Britbox, makes for perfect family viewing in the difficult times we’re living in right now.
Plus, if your front room is proving a little bit, well, lively right now, it makes just as much sense with the sound turned down.
What they say: ‘Still baffled, bumbling, and beloved.’ New York Times
6. Hypothetical (Dave)
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, Hypothetical is the panel show which challenges comedians to answer how they would cope with a series of completely made-up scenarios.
Josh Widdicombe is the master of ceremonies while James Acaster is on hand to arbitrate on proceedings and dole out the points (don’t ask us - or him - how the scoring system works though).
Now into its second series on Dave, the challenge for the contestants - including Katherine Ryan, Richard Ayoade, Dara Ó Briain, Roisin Conaty and Tom Allen - is to make the answers as funny and absurd as the questions.
What they say: ‘A group of comedy pals simply mucking about … where the mucking about is well worth watching.’ Beyond The Joke
7. Moone Boy (Sky One)
"Ever wanted to be the imaginary friend of an idiot boy in the west of Ireland? Me neither. But there you go.”
So begins Chris O’Dowd’s mostly autobiographical Moone Boy, the wonderful coming of age tale of a 12-year-old boy (David Rawle) and his imaginary friend (O’Dowd).
Hard to believe but it’s been eight years since this first appeared on Sky One. Big on laughs with an even bigger heart, all three series are available on demand. Like a warm nostalgic comfort blanket, it’s an absolute treat.
What they say: ‘Funny, touching, creative and just wonderful to watch. Immediately great.’ Hollywood Reporter
8. Catastrophe (Channel 4)
Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s sitcom Catastrophe was perfect in pretty much every way.
The story of a couple who are flung together after a six-day fling, it ran for four series on Channel 4, co-starring the late, great Carrie Fisher, before managing what the Guardian described as the ‘greatest TV ending since the Sopranos’.
Searingly honest and wickedly funny, it’s all available to watch on All4. Probably not one to enjoy with the kids though.
What they say: ‘Catastrophe is hilarious, dirty, quick, and very satisfying - not unlike the sex lives of its protagonists.’ Slate
9. The Cockfields (Gold)
The Cockfields is a small but perfectly formed delight. Small because it ran for three consecutive nights on Gold - now available on-demand - but perfectly formed because it brilliantly captures the foibles, frustrations (and fun) of family relationships.
Co-writer Joe Wilkinson is the son heading home to the Isle of Wight for his 40th birthday, taking his girlfriend (Diane Morgan) to meet his parents for the first time.
And what a family it is - mum Sue Johnston, stepdad Bobby Ball, dad Nigel Havers and his dad’s new girlfriend, played by Sarah Parish. Not to mention his stepbrother, the scene-stealing Ben Rufus Green.
It’s very relatable. And very funny.
What they say: ‘This is excellent company to be in … so good at capturing how you can be so irritated by those you are related to.’ Chortle
10. Peep Show (Channel 4)
Rewind to 2003 and the very first episode of Peep Show is about to begin on Channel 4: ‘Despite being bullied on the street by the local children, Mark sets himself the task of sleeping with divorcee Toni from next door, basing his seduction technique on the Battle of Stalingrad …’
It’s enough to have us wanting to watch the whole lot.
Nine series and 54 episodes later, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain’s sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb is firmly established as one of the greatest sitcoms of all-time. And it’s all there to watch on All4.
What they say: ‘The richest, most human, enduring, and hilariously quotable sitcom of the decade.’ The Guardian