10 TV picks: funny people

Here are 10 TV shows to put a smile on your face, a whole bunch of ‘funny people’ from stand-up to sketch shows, politics to panel games, and travelogue to comedy drama. All of them available to watch now.

A Black Lady Sketch Show - Sky Comedy

Created by comedian Robin Thede to address the lack of black women’s representation in American TV comedy, A Black Lady Sketch Show debuted to critical acclaim on HBO last year.

Now British viewers get the chance to enjoy the triple Emmy-nominated show, the first US television series to have a writer’s room made up entirely of black women.

Thede stars alongside Quinta Brunson, Ashley Nicole Black and Gabrielle Dennis with guest stars including Angela Bassett and Pattie LaBelle. It’s distinctive, overdue, and very funny.

What they say: ‘Rife with brilliant bits … funny, irreverent, subversive and self-aware.’ Variety

The Fast Show: Just a Load of Blooming Catchphrases - Gold

Gold’s loving tribute to this all-time classic sketch show was - in the words of one of its instantly familiar catchphrases - brilliant!

The Fast Show: Just a Load of Blooming Catchphrases featured classic clips and interviews with its stars, alongside brand new material including Swiss Tony, Rowley Birkin and Ken and Kenneth. Suit you, sir!

The show also included touching tributes to members of the team no longer with us, including Caroline Aherne and executive producer Geoffrey Perkins.

What they say: ‘A rare delight … left me breathless with hysteria.’ Daily Telegraph

Eight Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown - Channel 4

It was a one-off experiment that has become a much-loved mainstay of the Channel 4 schedules.

Its two component parts were already impressive enough but Eight out of 10 Cats, which began as part of Channel 4’s 30th birthday celebrations in 2012, manages to be more than the sum of them.

It’s still a words and numbers game but really it’s a showcase for some very funny people to do what they do best, including Aisling Bea, Joe Lycett, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Ryan, Joe Wilkinson and presenter, Jimmy Carr.

What they say: ‘A comedy classic.’ Digital Spy

Two Weeks To Live - Sky One

Expect the unexpected with new Sky One comedy, Two Weeks To Live, a fish out of water tale of love and revenge starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams and Fleabag’s Sian Clifford.

Williams plays Kim, who has been living with her mother in the wilds of Scotland after the mysterious death of her father.

Only now entering the real world, she visits a local pub where a seemingly harmless prank goes horribly wrong in a plot that involves murderous gangsters, corrupt police officers and a load of stolen cash.

What they say: ‘An action-packed ride though a weird world with proper laughs and a strong sense of fun as well as jeopardy … A blast.’ Chortle

It’ll Be Alright on the Night - ITV

In an ever-changing world it’s reassuring to know that the blooper reel will always be with us.

It’s 43 years since It’ll Be Alright on the Night began on ITV, presented and written by the late, great Denis Norden.

And who better to present this latest collection of goofs and gaffes from the world of TV and film than one of ITV’s funniest stars, David Walliams, who returns with a new series on Friday [11 September].

What they say: ‘A goat runs amok in Judge Rinder’s court, Olly Murs is attacked by a fly on The Voice and a Love Island contestant discovers the dangers of wearing high heels on television.’ Radio Times


Comedy Game Night - Comedy Central

If only party games were this much fun when we did them at home. Liza Tarbuck is our host for Comedy Game Night featuring two teams of comedians and celebrities captained by Sue Perkins and Guz Khan.

Guest contestants including Alexandra Burke, Joe Swash, Clare Balding, Andrew Maxwell, Sally Phillips and Big Zuu go head-to-head in a series of ‘fun, entertaining and hilarious games, testing their pop culture knowledge, acting skills and nerves of steel’.

A homegrown version of the Emmy award-winning Hollywood Game Night, it airs on Comedy Central before being shown again on Channel 5. Let the games begin.

What they say: ‘A flock of famous faces have their wisdom, wit and willingness to look just a little bit foolish pushed to the absolute limit.’ Beyond The Joke

The Russell Howard Hour - Sky One

Comedian Russell Howard is back on Sky One on Thursday [10 September] with a fourth series of his topical stand-up show.

With special guests and in-depth interviews, Howard is on a mission to ‘mock the madness behind the world’s headlines’.

The new series includes the return of Good Deeds, celebrating everyday generosity, and a new slot called Life Lessons in which he asks famous friends for advice. Always an hour well spent.

What they say: ‘Politicised and hard-hitting … a treat.’ Daily Telegraph

Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years - Dave

This three-part documentary narrated by David Tennant is the definitive story of one of the UK’s longest-running and best-loved sitcoms.

Red Dwarf, which began on the BBC in 1988 before being fired up again by Dave in 2009, now spans some 74 episodes and a feature-length film which aired on Dave earlier this year.

Interviewing key contributors including all the main cast, Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years explores the sitcom’s troubled genesis and how, in an alternative universe, its leading role could have been played by the late, great Alan Rickman.

What they say: ‘A look at the troubled origins of what was soon to become the most celebrated and successful sci-fi comedy ever, as told by the people who were there.’ Radio Times

Secret Scotland with Susan Calman - Channel 5

Comedian Susan Calman is the perfect guide on this Channel 5 travelogue, telling the untold tales behind some of some of Scotland’s most familiar - and sometimes less familiar - locations.

Glasgow-born Calman takes an in-depth look at her home country’s history and uncovers some of the most fascinating characters and stories it has to offer.

The warmest and most enthusiastic of travel companions, Calman is never afraid to join in, making this an illuminating and always entertaining journey.

What they say: ‘Genuinely fascinating … Susan Calman is a pocket-sized delight.’ Saga

Sarah Millican: Control Enthusiast - Channel 4

It will be a while before stand-up comedy returns to what it was, so what better time to enjoy Sarah Millican’s stand-up show from 2018.

Control Enthusiast was greeted as a potty-mouthed delight by her fans, a winning routine that the comic took on a 141-venue tour around the world.

Millican famously tells it like it is and Control Enthusiast is no exception. Not for the feint-hearted.

What they say: ‘Unashamedly filthy, shocking and exactly what we needed to hear.’ Liverpool Echo

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