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Top 10 Darkest Comedy Shows

VO: Phoebe de Jeu
Can you even do that on TV? Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Darkest Comedy Shows. For this list, we’ve made our choices based on a mix of how dark the humor is, as well as the quality of the shows themselves.

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Can you even do that on TV? Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Darkest Comedy Shows.

For this list, we’ve made our choices based on a mix of how dark the humor is, as well as the quality of the shows themselves.

#10: “Wilfred” (2011-14)

“Wilfred” tells the story of Ryan, a man who sees his neighbor’s dog as a man who wears a dog costume, while no one else does. It adapted the plot of its Australian predecessor, but took on a much grimmer tone. When a series opens with the main character trying to commit suicide, you know you’ve got a pretty darkly humorous series. Throughout four seasons, this crude and rude dog provided a twisted light in Ryan’s melancholy life. Dog jokes aren’t in short supply - neither are sex, drug, and mental illness gags. If you love dogs (and who doesn’t?), this show should be on your watchlist.

#9: “Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories” (2013-14)

Tim and Eric have no shortage of wonderfully hilarious and bizarre series. This one is easily the darkest, but no less hilarious or bizarre. It’s an anthology of horror-comedy stories, kind of like a humorous “Twilight Zone.” Some of these plots include a doctor who eats toes, a man who torments his neighbor until he agrees to hang out, and a man who decides he wants to be an adult baby. A successful mix of off-the-wall, gross-out, and shock humor raises this anthology above its contemporaries. Come to think of it, it’s arguably too unique to really have any contemporaries.

#8: “Rick and Morty” (2013-)

Everyone knows that “Rick and Morty” is one of the most creative comedies on television in the 2010s. But most viewers miss the philosophical themes that recur throughout the series. Rick is a scientist who travels through the multiverse with his bumbling but lovable grandson. While doing so, he illustrates his apathy for other iterations of his family and even himself, with even his selfless acts turning out to be self-serving schemes. It takes a daring show to literally destroy its own universe in the sixth episode, but one of TV’s best-written comedies pulled it off in a way that provided the show with a unique and thought-provoking viewpoint.

#7: “You’re the Worst” (2014-)

Some of the best dark comedies work by utilizing a main character who is... well, an ass. Jimmy is a selfish and mean man who begins to fall for Gretchen, who is just as cynical and self-destructive as he is. Rounding out the cast are Lindsay, Gretchen’s friend who married a man for money, and Edgar, Jimmy’s roommate. The show tackles depression, PTSD, drug addiction, and infidelity, but never takes itself too seriously. Jimmy commonly expresses his extremely nihilistic views to anyone who will listen, but still won’t fail to betray anything for his own self-serving purposes. He’s the worst. Get it?

#6: “Childrens Hospital” (2008; 2010-16)

The missing apostrophe for its title is far from the most offensive thing about this comedy series. A satire of the all-too-common medical drama, on this series, most of the doctors are narcissistic, self-involved people who care little about their child patients. It can be a little disturbing when much of the comedy stems from treating sick youngsters, but the show is just so ludicrous, it manages to work. Adapted from a webseries, there’s a huge amount of non-sequiturs, fourth wall breaks, and fake commercials that keep the audience on its toes, always showing little regard for political correctness.

#5: “Baskets” (2016-)

Could you even think of something more entertaining than a sad clown played by Zach Galifianakis? Playing a dual role as twins Chip and Dale Baskets, the series mostly focuses on Chip, a clown school dropout who returns home to California. The show turns dark when it revels in Chip’s misery, which it does at almost every turn, and it features a brilliant turn from Louie Anderson as his mother. With these talents, along with co-creator Louis C.K., the series reaches the heights of sad comedy by treating its main character like a punching bag, but somehow also endearing us to him.

#4: “BoJack Horseman” (2014-)

BoJack is a depressed alcoholic former sitcom actor... who is also a horse. Undoubtedly one of the most irreverent shows to be found on TV, it builds a world consisting of humans and animals living side by side with seriously dark undertones. Like “Rick and Morty,” it revels in existential nihilism, both mocking and seriously portraying issues such as mental illness, death and addiction in interesting and unique ways. Seriously underrated and unlike anything else, it’s a surprising rollercoaster of emotion that can pack a joke full of emotional resonance and entertain at every turn.

#3: “South Park” (1997-)

This masterpiece of modern satire raises a middle finger to… well, everything. Nothing is off limits in the town of South Park, from Scientology to child abduction, and none of it is taken seriously. After two decades on the air, the show still manages to stay relevant, which is owed mostly to its weeklong production process. The episodes are made only days before they air, allowing them to reflect current events more effectively, and more boldly, than any other show. Endlessly quotable and always shocking, there’s much more to see here than just jokes about poop. Although, truthfully, those never get old.

#2: “Louie” (2010-15)

In 2017, the comedian behind this series confirmed multiple sexual misconduct allegations that were brought against him. While we in no way condone his behavior, it can’t be denied that this – in hindsight - gives perspective to “Louie.” Louis C.K.’s stand-up style is marked by his pitch-black observational viewpoint on a variety of subjects, and the series translated that to the screen perfectly. Though it marries a plethora of comedic styles, it actually, more than anything, basks in its darkness. Whether he’s telling a story about sex, fatherhood, or day-to-day life, there’s a razor-sharp edge to things. It’s not always easy to watch, especially following those real-life revelations, but the laughs and the social commentary are definitely there.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Happy Tree Friends” (1999-)

“The Addams Family” (1964-66)

“Wonder Showzen” (2005-06)

#1: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2005-)

This series began in 2005 with an episode titled “The Gang Gets Racist.” With a start like that, there was no doubt that it would venture into some pretty edgy territory later on, and it didn’t disappoint. Following the misadventures of five friends who own a bar, the show sees these sociopaths proving to have little to no understanding of what’s acceptable. Watching them work out their idiotic schemes result in comic gold time and time again, tactfully edging the line between hilarious and straight up offensive. Terrible people have never been quite this fun to watch.

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