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Top 10 British Comedies

October 12, 2011

There’s a lot going for British comedy — it’s not afraid to be intelligent. It’s not afraid of having underachieving losers as main characters. It’s not afraid of having a slower personality-driven story. Here are my favorites:

1. Red Dwarf

One of the most creative, intelligent, and personality-driven shows ever made. This show excels in the characters, who you have to love.  That is something British Comedy often does better than American television.

2. Monty Python’s Flying Circus

It’s not always great, but it is often very intelligent and it’s probably the most revolutionary of any British comedy ever made.

The “best of” Monty Python now has an “official” webpage at youtube.

3. Spaced

Simon Pegg was famous after making Shaun of the Dead, but he was even more entertaining in this show. Again, this show is very creative, intelligent, and personality driven. You can now see it free on Hulu.

4. The Office

Quite similar to the American Office, but Ricky Gervais is hilarious and irreplaceable. You can see it for free on Hulu.

5. Black Books

Bill Bailey is one of the most intelligent stand up comics and he delivers well in this extremely strange sitcom with wonderful characters. You can see it free on Hulu.

6. Father Ted

A hi-jinx filled comedy that reminds me of Pinky and the Brain because of all the outrageous scheming going on. The characters do very well as the sort of classic “loser” underdogs we know and love. You can see it free on Hulu.

7. Coupling

A fast-paced comedy that is “situational humor” at it’s best. The complex and intelligently developed interactions play out perfectly. At least some of the time. You can see it free on Hulu.

8. Is it Bill Bailey?

A great excuse to watch Bill Bailey stand up comedy along with some random sketches (often featuring Simon Pegg). Reminds me a little of the new show Louie (starring Louie CK) — or vice versa.

9. Peep Show

It’s creative in its use of the first-person perspective and narration (mind reading). It has a lot of low-brow humor mixed with intelligent humor. Again, the characters are losers, but they are a lot of fun. You can go here to see it on Hulu.

10. The Inbetweeners

More low-brow humor and shock value, but still a fun show to watch. Quite similar to Peep Show in the obsessive endless quest for sex and loser/underdog characters.


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