The Funniest American TV Comedy


The laughDB database is dedicated to the funniest comedy movies, stand-up comedy and TV series.

This section is for TV comedy series from the USA. By default they are presented starting with the ones ranking highest on the laugh-o-meter, but you can also sort them by year, title or IMDB rating.

Funniest American Comedies sorted by Laugh-o-meter (descending)

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Parks and Recreation posterParks and Recreation
      2009 | USA | Laughs: 8.6 (Laugh Out Loud) | imdb: 8.6
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This show is a small-government version of The Office in olden days when it was funny, but without the cliff-hangers and dramatic tension that bring viewers back but do little for comedy. There may be some office romance in this Parks Department of a small Indiana town, but will they get together, or won't they? We don't care. Like in Seinfeld, there is no profanity (it is NBC), and as in Seinfeld each episode is self-contained, with two or three strands that get resolved by the end: the only hook is that you want to watch another one to laugh and smile some more.

Here is my assessment as I was nearing the end of season two: "So far, the show is terrific. Each episode makes me laugh. Some TV series in the history of television have delivered more laughs, but few have been more consistent." As if to prove me wrong, the show then hit a rough patch but recovered early in season.

In season 4, there was a noticeable drop in quality. Season 5 was even worse, with the honorable exception of the character of April, who carries much of the show's comedic weight—what little is left of it.

It seems a typical case of a good thing having run its course, the writers having run out of inspiration, and the network wanting to stretch it out as long as the ad revenues flow in.

We'll see if Season 6 does any better. (Last viewed: September 2013)

More About Parks and Recreation:
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      laughDB's full page for Parks and Recreation

The Big Bang Theory posterThe Big Bang Theory
      2007 | USA | Laughs: 8.2 (Laugh Out Loud) | imdb: 8.1
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

Two young physics geeks live across the hall from an attractive but resolutely non-geeky young woman. This series was recommended to me several times but somehow the description never grabbed me, perhaps because of the idiotic way in which Hollywood tends to portray "geniuses"—you know, the guys who crack the code at the door with a few keystrokes.

My lady companion more or less forced me to start watching it a few days ago, and… so far, two episodes into season one, it's excellent. It's very funny, there's lots to laugh at, and at this stage the episodes are self-contained, free of the "will they / won't they get together" junk they feed viewers when the writers run out of inspiration.

Visually, the show has a late-eighties or early-nineties quality, perhaps designed to remind us of the good old days of Seinfeld, or perhaps Friends, two shows that also spend a lot of time with friends walking in and out of an apartment. Indeed the boys' pad in The Big Bang Theory has an insisting resemblance to the girls' pad in Friends.

• Seasons 1 and 2 were excellent pretty much across the board.
• Season 3 was much weaker, with some very poor episodes thrown in (13, 14, 17).
• At the start of Season 4, it feels like the show is back.

Much looking forward to watching more of this show. (Last viewed: December 2013)

More About The Big Bang Theory:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother DVDHow I Met Your Mother (a.k.a HIMYM)
      2005 | USA | Laughs: 8.1 | imdb: 8.3
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

The show starts out following a group of New York professionals at the age when many channel the time left over from advancing their careers on a quest to find the life partner known as "the one".

As with most shows spanning many seasons (eight at the time of writing), it is unequal. I approach such shows by renting entire seasons from the library and using IMDB to locate episodes with a rating higher than 8.3. With this approach, I spent some very pleasant hours with HIMYM, which often made me laugh.

I haven't watched recent episodes, as the show lost me in later seasons, when characters (by the nature of things) were forced to evolve into roles they were not meant for when the first scripts were written. Some people become funnier as they age, but most don't, and in that respect the show's characters follow the norm.

At some stage I jotted down a list of episodes that I thought had merit of some sort, but I can't quite recall what—hopefully comic merit, my obsession. For what it's worth, here is that list: perhaps a place to start and see if the show appeals to you.

(Last viewed: April 2010)

More About How I Met Your Mother:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for How I Met Your Mother

Seinfeld DVDSeinfeld
      1990 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 8.8
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

I've made a separate page about the best Seinfeld episodes. (Last viewed: December 2008)

More About Seinfeld:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for Seinfeld

Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDCurb Your Enthusiasm (a.k.a CURB)
      2000 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 8.7
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

I haven't watched the entire series. These episodes made me laugh:
Krazee-Eyez Killa (Season 3, Episode 8)
The Seder (Season 5, Episode 7)
The Anonymous Donor (Season 6, Episode 2)
The Tivo Guy (Season 6, Episode 7)
The Reunion (Season 7, Episode 3)
The Hot Towel (Season 7, Episode 4)
Denise Handicapped (Season 7, Episode 5)

Season 8 was also excellent overall (it might be the best) and probably deserves watching from start to end.

The Special Section wasn't particularly funny, but of all the episodes I saw it was the best for psychological case study.
(Last viewed: August 2012)

More About Curb Your Enthusiasm:
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=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for Curb Your Enthusiasm

Friends DVDFriends
      1994 | USA | Laughs: 7.6 | imdb: 8.9
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This show does not feature the kind of smart comedy that makes you think; rather, it features situational comedy that makes you laugh—when it works. The show went on for so long (ten seasons!) that if you want to dive into it and have a chance to laugh, you'll have to pick your episodes.
In such cases, my strategy is to get a box set from the library, then to head over to IMDB to select episodes with a rating higher than 8.3. This considerably narrows the range of episodes I need to watch, and I find that with the exception of a few duds, most of these episodes are able to deliver smiles, and hopefully a laugh or two.

Here are some episodes I would watch again:
01x07 The One With The Blackout
01x13 The One With The Boobies
01x24 The One Where Rachel Finds Out
02x07 The one where Ross finds out
02x12 The One With The Superbowl, Part 1
02x13 The one after The Superbowl, Part 2
03x02 The One Where No One's Ready
03x21 The One With A Chick And A Duck
05x01 The One After Ross Says Rachel
05x02 The One With All The Kissing
05x05 The One With The Kips
05x08 The One With All The Thanksgivings
05x09 The One With Ross' Sandwich
05x14 The One Where Everybody Finds Out
06x17 The One With Unagi
07x11 The One With All The Cheesecakes
07x19 The One With Ross and Monica's Cousin
08x08 The One With The Stripper
08x13 The One With Chandler Takes A Bath
10x03 The One With Ross's Tan
10x07 The One With the Home Study
(Last viewed: March 2010)

More About Friends:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for Friends

The Office DVDThe Office
      2005 | USA | Laughs: 7.0 | imdb: 8.9
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

Of the US series, I only watched Season 2, said to be the funniest. These episodes most made me laugh:
The Fight
Performance Review
Drug Testing
Conflict Resolution
(Last viewed: February 2010)

More About The Office:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for The Office

Chappelle's Show DVDChappelle's Show
      2003 | USA | Laughs: 6.9 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.8
      wikipedia | who was involved?

In the first episode of the first season, there was a brilliant skit taking place in a photocopy business. I was ready to become a fan, but over the next few episodes, I found the show to be unequal.

In fact, the good hasn't outweighed the mediocre (or crass) enough to motivate me to persevere beyond the fifth episode. I might get there someday.

I haven't loved Dave's stand-up comedy concerts so far either. But I really enjoyed him in the movie half-baked. (Last viewed: May 2012)

More About Chappelle's Show:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for Chappelle's Show

Cheers DVDCheers
      1982 | USA | Laughs: 6.6 | imdb: 7.8
      wikipedia | dmoz | who was involved?

I'm not sure if this series set in a Boston bar is aging so well, but I've used IMDB to select episodes rating higher than 8.3 from the DVD set at our public library, and I've found those episodes very watchable, each able to deliver a laugh or two. If you've never seen the series and your "to watch" list is empty that's not a bad way to proceed, but if you've seen it before, you may not want to go out of your way. (Last viewed: September 2012)

More About Cheers:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for Cheers

Party Down posterParty Down
      2009 | USA | Laughs: 6.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia | who was involved?

A solid, short-and-sweet (twenty-episode) series about Hollywood caterers who would rather be pursuing their acting careers than dishing out appetizers. Loses a few points for several over-the-top characters whose overacting annoys more (much more) than it amuses—or amuses the actors more than it does the audience. This was one of these shows that improves over time: it hit a winning streak near the end of the second and last season, starting with episode 2x07. (Last viewed: August 2013)

More About Party Down:
=> Read what people say on Amazon
=> Add your own Review or Comments on
      laughDB's full page for Party Down

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