The best Netflix original comedy series to help you survive this week

Great Netflix comedy series tend to fly under the radar, but we’re here to remedy that.

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Netflix is releasing new original content every week. This constant flood of new arrivals can seem overwhelming, especially when your watchlist is already over-populated with titles you never find the time to get to. Between buzzy series, compelling documentaries and Oscar-worthy movies, there’s so much original content available that binging it all would entail quitting your job and becoming a hermit.

No wonder some hidden gems end up slipping through the cracks. And when it comes to comedy, that’s a shame. With a few notable exceptions, comedy series aren’t as hyped as drama releases like Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why or The Witcher. You may be missing out.

True, Netflix original comedy shows are a mixed bag. But for every flop (we’re looking at you, Real Rob), there are three other charming series that will more than make up for it. The service is still experimenting with formats and genres, looking to satisfy even the toughest subscribers out there. As a result, regardless of what type of humour you fancy, it’s impossible not to find at least one title that will appeal to you.

From animated shows featuring a talking horse to a touching dramedy about life in prison, there’s something for everyone. To help you make sense of the madness, we’ve picked the best of the best.

1. Medical Police


  • Year: 2020
  • Cast: Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel

Is Medical Police ridiculous? Sure. Does that make it any less worthy of your attention? Definitely not. The show is a parody of spy thrillers and it follows two American doctors stationed in Brazil who uncover a deadly virus and are recruited as government agents to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the outbreak and find a cure.

Medical Police is a spin-off of Childrens Hospital, a show that parodies the medical drama genre. But if you haven’t seen the original, there’s no need to worry. Medical Police more than stands on its own and is consistently funny. More importantly, it offers viewers a memorable ride as the two doctors go from Brazil to Germany to Italy, getting themselves in all sorts of silly situations in the process.

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2. BoJack Horseman


  • Year: 2014
  • Cast: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Aaron Paul

BoJack Horseman, although critically acclaimed, might be Netflix’s most underrated comedy series. It’s an animated show that centres on a has-been actor who just happens to be a horse. Because you see, the series takes place in an alternate world where humans and anthropomorphic animals live side by side. In Season 1, BoJack, the protagonist, is struggling to relaunch his career by writing a memoir with the help of a ghostwriter.

Despite a rocky start, the show grows on you, mainly thanks to the clever dialogue and skilled voice work. And after you’ve watched the first few episodes, the series starts to throw all sorts of emotional punches your way. Despite its satirical tone and countless visual gags, BoJack Horseman is one of the most realistic depictions of depression ever portrayed on television. It also deals with trauma and self-destructive behaviour.

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3. Master of None


  • Year: 2015
  • Cast: Aziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Noël Wells

This acclaimed series won three Emmys and a Golden Globe, among other numerous accolades. Master of None follows Dev, a millennial who navigates life in New York while trying to jump-start his career as an actor and elevate his dating life. The series has charm, heart and humour, which makes it stand out from the crowd in spite of the familiar premise.

Master of None tackles subjects from immigration to religion to sexism in an extremely compelling way. And besides sharp observations about life, romance and culture, the show also offers an amazing soundtrack and great performances by the entire cast. Master of None might not change your life, but it’s likely it will help you become a better person. Worst-case scenario, it will simply remind you to treasure all the small joys that come your way.

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4. One Day at a Time


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Rita Moreno

A remake of the 70s sitcom with the same name, One Day at a Time revolves around a Cuban-American family. The show focuses on a single mum dealing with PTSD, her kids and her Cuban mother, all living under the same roof. And despite being a comedy, it tackles important issues such as immigration, sexism, mental illness and racism, to name a few.

One Day at a Time is compulsively watchable due to its cleverness and touching nature. The series takes the formula of the classic family sitcom and elevates it to fit modern times. It’s familiar, yet incredibly refreshing. You’re clearly missing out from not tuning in.

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5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


  • Year: 2015
  • Cast: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane

One of Netflix’s biggest comedy hits, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is quirky in all the right ways. When a woman is rescued from a doomsday cult and lands in New York, she must navigate a world she didn't think even existed anymore. Determined to be seen as anything besides a victim, Kimmy puts on a happy face and quickly restarts her life. It’s a charming and endearing show that might not have worked without a brilliant performance from Ellie Kemper.

While the show’s originality will make you tune in, its heart will make you stick around. Despite its dark premise, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a hilarious, feel-good series. It's a story about losing yourself in the big city and finding your way in the process with a little help from your uniquely bizarre new friends.

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4 seasons

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6. Grace and Frankie


  • Year: 2015
  • Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen

How often do we get to watch a show about elderly women living their best lives? And when those women are portrayed by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, you know you’re in for a treat. Grace and Frankie follows two unlikely friends after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. The women are forced to live together and help each other cope with the surprising news.

The stellar cast definitely adds to the show’s appeal. Besides Fonda and Tomlin, we have Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen in supporting roles. The cast has great chemistry and it’s obvious from the very first episode that everyone’s having a lot of fun portraying these wacky characters. The series isn’t without flaws, but it’s highly entertaining and emotionally complex. And when it focuses on character-driven storytelling, it’s almost perfect.

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6 seasons

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7. Dear White People


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson

Based on the movie with the same name, Dear White People follows a group of black students who face social injustice at a predominantly white school. Besides the finale, each episode in the first season focuses on a particular character. It’s a rich, witty comedy that will give you lots of things to ponder upon besides making you giggle. The series explores life on campus through the eyes of mostly black students, who are rarely at the centre of the narrative.

Despite its satirical nature, the show makes storytelling its main focus, so viewers get a chance to connect with the characters and understand what they’re going through. All in all, Dear White People is relevant and necessary.

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8. Lady Dynamite


  • Year: 2016
  • Cast: Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson

Lady Dynamite won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. It’s goofy, it’s weird and it deals with some heavy subject material. The show follows stand-up comedian Maria Bamford as she’s trying to rebuild her life after spending six months away in recovery for bipolar disorder. Viewers also get flashbacks that provide insight into Bamford’s backstory.

The show mainly focuses on Bamford’s real-life experiences. It gives us a unique perspective from someone navigating personal and professional relationships while dealing with mental illness. More importantly, the show manages to keep things funny, which is a true feat.

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2 seasons

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9. Orange Is the New Black


  • Year: 2013
  • Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne

Although it leans more towards the dramatic, this Netflix hit is still perceived as a comedy-drama. It’s also one of the most watched original shows the streaming service has ever made. That’s probably thanks to the talented ensemble cast and wonderful writing.

Orange is the New Black revolves around Piper, a woman in her 30s who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's federal prison. However, especially from the second season onwards, the series shifts focus from Piper and gives Litchfield’s other, more interesting inmates their time in the spotlight. Overall, the show is a balanced mix of dark humour and grit, giving viewers an unfiltered look at life in prison.

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10. Love


  • Year: 2016
  • Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O'Doherty, Chris Witaske

This unconventional rom-com is a down-to-earth look at dating, exploring male and female perspectives on romantic relationships through the damaged main characters, Gus and Mickey. It’s a sweet comedy, but nothing close to sappy. In fact, it’s cynical enough to appeal even to the grumpiest of viewers.

Depending on the episode, you’ll find yourself rooting either for or against Gus and Mickey’s relationship. The two are an unlikely pair and both of them are reluctant when it comes to intimacy, love and everything else that comes with a serious relationship.

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3 seasons

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11. GLOW


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Marc Maron

Set in Los Angeles in the 80s, GLOW revolves around a fictionalisation of the characters and gimmicks of the 1980s syndicated women's professional wrestling circuit, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. At first sight, the series is mainly about a group of scrappy women learning how to wrestle. In fact, GLOW is so much more than that. It’s a story about women in all their messed-up glory and it takes the time to give everyone in the diverse cast a chance to shine.

GLOW is less about wrestling than it is about sisterhood and unlikely friendships between women. And not to be overlooked, Alison Brie gives the perfect performance as main character Ruth.

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12. Big Mouth


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Maya Rudolph

Big Mouth may revolve around teens, but adults will find plenty to enjoy here as well. The animated series is all about the messiness of adolescence, following a group of youngsters, including best friends Nick Birch and Andrew Glouberman, as they deal with problems typical to adolescence, often of a sexual nature.

The show earned great reviews from critics, but if body humour isn’t really your thing, you should stay away from this one. It has the tendency to veer towards gross territory every now and then. Otherwise, Big Mouth is hilarious, has an excellent voice cast and serves some harsh truths about puberty in an honest and clever manner. If you want to re-live those awkward years of high school, now’s your chance.

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13. The Kominsky Method


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Michael Douglas, Alan Arkin, Sarah Baker, Nancy Travis

Created by Chuck Lorre, The Kominsky Method revolves around two elderly friends: acting coach Sandy Kominsky and his long-time agent, Norman Newlander. Together, they tackle life’s curveballs with humour and heart as they navigate their later years in Los Angeles, a city known for the emphasis it puts on youth and beauty.

Elevated by two wonderful performances from Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas, the series is a thoughtful portrayal of ageing. The Kominsky Method also does a great job at showcasing how important friendship can be as you get older and loss becomes a much bigger part of life. If you’re in the mood for a comfort binge, this makes for delicious viewing.

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14. Living with Yourself


  • Year: 2019
  • Cast: Paul Rudd, Aisling Bea

What’s better than one Paul Rudd? Two Paul Rudds, of course. Living with Yourself centres on a man who undergoes a mysterious treatment to become happier, only to eventually discover that he's been replaced by a better version of himself. With two of him now out in the world, life becomes even more complicated.

This charming little show has a quirky sense of humour, but it also tackles serious questions about identity. Plus, seeing Paul Rudd acting opposite himself is pure joy. Surprisingly emotional, Living with Yourself is a series that will likely stay with you long after the end credits roll.

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15. Atypical


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Keir Gilchrist, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Amy Okuda, Michael Rapaport

Atypical follows Sam Gardner, an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum. When the show starts, Sam decides it might be time to start dating. As he becomes more independent, his mother struggles to find a life outside of being his guardian.

Engaging and sharply written, Atypical does a great job at explaining how Sam feels during certain situations. At the same time, it shines the light on the rest of his family and tackles issues related to parenthood and sexuality. Overall, it makes for a heartwarming and feel-good binge.

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16. After Life


  • Year: 2019
  • Cast: Ricky Gervais, Tom Basden, Tony Way

Created, executive produced, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais, After Life is a dark comedy that revolves around a man who is in shambles following his wife’s death. He contemplates suicide, but decides instead to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he wants. Which can lead to some pretty funny situations.

After Life balances between affecting drama and dark comedy, greatly benefiting from an excellent performance from Gervais. The plot is somewhat predictable, but that doesn’t rob viewers from enjoying the show, which at its core is all about grief, growth and moving forward.

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17. Santa Clarita Diet


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson

This delightful horror comedy revolves around a married couple, Sheila and Joel, who lead a pretty typical and quiet life. However, it all changes when Sheila goes through a dramatic change and starts craving human flesh. As you might imagine, this really takes a toll on their family life, as they need to find a way to keep Sheila fed without alerting the authorities.

Besides the intriguing premise, Santa Clarita Diet is the perfect blend of gore and hilarity, having plenty to offer to those with the stomach to tune in. The chemistry between Barrymore and Olyphant is off the hook.

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18. On My Block


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, Brett Gray, Diego Tinoco, Jessica Marie Garcia

On My Block is a charming coming-of-age comedy about four bright and street-savvy friends who live in a rough inner-city Los Angeles neighbourhood. Just like life, the show alternates between funny and sad, winning bonus points along the way for its realism and willingness to focus on underrepresented communities.

The show offers plenty of jokes, but it also features emotional moments that will hit you right in the feels. The struggles these kids face are real. You’ll find yourself rooting for them in no time.

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