Naming the 10 best comedy shows is surprisingly harder than it looks. TV has produced some of the most amazing comedy shows and sitcoms over the years, but they’ve also been guilty of producing some of the most cringe-worthy dreck anyone has ever seen as well. Here are ten comedy shows that have done very well against the odds.
“Monty Python’s Flying Circus” Want to know why this show is considered one of the best comedy shows? The show's bits and numerous quotes are still immediately recognizable despite going off the air in 1974. It also made international stars out of its entire cast.
“Friends” Sure some people hate the very idea that a very marketable, WASP-y set of twenty-somethings could ever be considered one of the best comedy shows, but in their day they were the most watched show on television. Once the show had ended, virtually the entire cast were millionaires several times over.
“Seinfeld” Granted, for everyone who hated “Friends,” there were people who were slavishly devoted to this best comedy show “about nothing” in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, who was initially asked what the show was about. The story about Jerry, his best friend, ex-girlfriend and wacky neighbor had fans LMAO-ing for nine years.
“Cheers” It was the little show that wouldn’t quit. The simple premise of displaying the lives of the patrons of a bar owned by a washed-up baseball player went through eleven years of multiple cast changes, several writers and a few set controversies, but produced ratings that most studios would kill for. It’s no wonder that any list of the best comedy shows will usually include this one.
“Frasier” “Cheers” and its cast were so popular even at the end of its run one of the more popular characters, Frasier Crane, was spun off into his own show, which itself last another eleven years. Not only did it make its star, Kelsey Grammer, one of the richest men in television at the time, but he also nearly set a record having consistently played the same character for 22 years.
“The Office” (English version) Fans of the Americanized version of “The Office” may love the show, but nothing compares to one of the best comedy shows ever aired, the original Ricky Gervais version of “The Office” that the NBC shows is based on. While it only lasted fourteen episodes, the tragi-comic take on a drab office facing its own demise was one of the best shows of a generation.
“The Carol Burnett Show” Often overlooked when critics are looking for productions to place on a list of the best comedy shows, Carol Burnett’s cast of players were some of the best improv comedians of their day, coming back week after week to keep fans rolling in the aisles with laughter. The show eventually made comedy legends of every member of the cast.
“The Simpsons” Its modest beginnings as a series of comedy shorts on “The Tracey Ullman Show” didn’t really portend the future of the longest running and best comedy show of all time. Starting as its own show in 1989, it has completed nearly 500 episodes as it tells the story of a dysfunctional family in the small town of Springfield.
“WKRP in Cincinnati” One of the best comedy shows set in the unique setting a Midwestern radio station, “WKRP in Cincinnati” is now hailed as one of the best shows with one of the most creative casts ever assembled for sitcom TV.
“30 Rock” Tina Fey took her success as head writer of “Saturday Night Live” and spent the next few years telling the story of a group of complete set of self-involved losers on a fictitious show on NBC. Like “WKRP,” the show has been repeated praised and hailed as one of the best comedy shows on TV for not only its stellar writing, but its excellent cast.