Another year has past and once again it’s been a pretty amazing one for comedy across the board, and it’s been hard to whittle each category down to a top 10. But here are our suggestions for the best tv, film and live comedy of the year, along with a couple of other lists as well.
10) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – The final season went out with a bang with a gag heavy set of episodes that also gave the show an extremely happy ending, which for once was well deserved and carried out not only effectively but in a very funny manner too.
9) Bojack Horseman – The format change where episodes mostly centred around one character in the first half of the season occasionally frustrated, but there were still some amazing moments in every episode and the second half of the season was lovely stuff indeed.
8) Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out – Glorious mayhem from Vic and Bob, this is British comedy at it’s best and that they’re still capable of creating such beautiful madness after all these years is astonishing.
7) Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Rachel Bloom didn’t quite land the ending and there were a few filler episodes early on, which is why this doesn’t rate higher, because the majority of the time it was a truly wonderful musical comedy drama.
6) Rick And Morty – It’s been a little patchy, and there were only five episodes frustratingly, but at it’s finest Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s animated sci-fi fantasy epic was as fantastic as ever.
5) Corporate Season 2 – A dark savage satire on life working for corporations the first season of this was superb and if anything the second was even better, it’s returning for a third and final season in 2020 and I can’t wait to see it.
4) Fleabag – A few people didn’t like the ending (and I kind of wanted Fleabag to end up with the priest myself) but whatever the case it was still a fantastic second series which finally gave Fleabag the hope for a non-bleak future that she deserved.
3) Jon Glaser Loves Gear – I almost had this as a three way tie for number one such is my love for the show, in which Jon Glaser became obsessed with an enormous amount of gear in genuinely painfully hilarious ways, and the plots tend to spiral off in completely unpredictable directions.
2) Joe Pera Talks With You Series 2 – I’ve gone on and on about how much I love Joe Pera a lot recently on the site, but with good reason, as this beyond gentle piece of gorgeousness is not only one of the funniest shows on tv, but one of the loveliest ever made too, and if more than four episodes had aired this year it might’ve taken the top spot.
1) The Good Place – Linked to the above and sharing it’s kindhearted nature, this has been the best network comedy of the century, which is a pretty bold claim given the existence of shows like King of the Hill and 30 Rock, but I love it to pieces, it’s a smart, heartwarming and incredibly inventive piece that’s also extremely funny.
Almost made the list: Worzel Gummidge, You’re The Worst, Ladhood, Pen15, At Home With Amy Sedaris, Russian Doll, This Time With Alan Partridge, Jerk, Shrill, I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, The Mind Of Herbert Clunkerdunk.
10) Booksmart – A great coming of age film which felt realistic and non-patronising, and was thankfully mostly free of gross out comedy, with two great performances from it’s leads.
9) The Velocipastor – A deliberately dodgy tongue in cheek b-movie, it might have a tiny budget but that didn’t stop it being extremely lovable and deserving of a place in your hearts.
8) Between Two Ferns The Movie – Perhaps a little slight but the movie version of the Funny Or Die web series was still gloriously funny in places, with Zach Galifianakis especially on top form.
7) Greener Grass – An absurdist, smart and surreal comedy about suburban mothers who try to out do each other, it’s one of the most unique films to have come out of America in years and Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe who not only wrote and directed it also star, proving themselves to be an impressive triple threat.
6) Stan & Ollie – A heart warming comedy drama with two fantastic central performances from Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, this really is something all a bit special.
5) The Day Shall Come – Chris Morris’s second film was a slight disappointment with the FBI scenes not quite working, but it was still better than the majority of movies released this year and contained some very funny moments.
4) Extra Ordinary – A supernatural comedy which did something pretty new with it’s concept, this is a charming Irish comedy that’s unpredictable and often hilarious.
3) One Cut Of The Dead – In a lesser year this would have taken the top spot, even though you might be slightly confused as to why after the first thirty minutes – but after that it becomes astonishingly good.
2) The Favourite – Released on New Year’s Day in the UK and so just eligible for the list, Olivia Colman’s performance was absolutely stunning and deservedly won her an Oscar, while everything else about the film is bloody fantastic too.
1) Being Frank: The Chris Sievy Story – A lovely, sweet and intelligent look at one of the funniest minds Britain’s ever had, albeit one with a slightly tragic edge to it, if you’re not a fan of Frank Sidebottom beforehand you will be afterwards.
10) Michael Legge – The Idiot – An hour of anger and vitriol about Legge’s frustrations with life, and those who do and say ridiculously stupid things, sees the comedian at his very best.
9) Lucy Pearman – Baggage – A surreal piece of madness that starts with Pearman coming on to the stage wearing a suitcase and only gets sillier and funnier as it goes along.
8) Off Book – A recording of the US podcast where they improvise a musical each time, it was not only bloody funny but also filled with extremely catchy songs to the extent I wish they’d transfer the musical they came up with to the West End.
7) Courtney Pauroso – Gutterplum – an insight in to the nature of youth, love, and age, Pauroso’s performance is stunning and hilarious too in what was a must see show.
6) Neil Hamburger – No One Loves A Hater – The (sometimes) anti-comic at his best as he delivers painfully funny gag after gag and tears in to those he doesn’t like in shockingly funny fashion.
5) How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying – A semi-amateur production of the fifties musical this was stunning stuff, with performances so good that it deserves to be a massive West End hit.
4) Michael Brunström – World Of Sport – A gorgeously surreal, absurd and occasionally just plain odd bit of comedy as Brunström explores the idea of winning and losing through the use of some rather unusual games.
3) Spencer Jones – The Things We Leave Behind – The best thing Jones has done yet which is saying something considering how good his previous work was, a mix of hilarious prop comedy and surprising pathos from the man.
2) Joseph Morpurgo – Work In Progress – A work in progress was the second best gig of the year? Yep, as crazy as that sounds Joseph Morpurgo was majestic and all kinds of stunning and I can’t wait to see the finished piece in 2020.
1) Stewart Lee – Tornado / Snowflake – After Content Provider I’d fallen slightly out of love with the man but this is an amazing return to form as Lee tries to find his place in the world in a show which is his best since 2008’s 41st Best Stand Up Ever!
Almost made the list: Paul Currie – Trufficle Musk, Steve Vertigo – Murmuration, Archie Henderson – Jazz Emu, Villain Interrupted, Ian Lane – Paperweight, An Audience With Yasmine Day, Jordan Brookes – I’ve Got Nothing, This Is Your Trial, The Dollop, Peter Fleming – Have You Seen?, Comedy Auction.
Streaming / Tv Stand Up:
10) Paul F. Taylor – Pick Of The Litter – A very daft, occasionally slightly Harry Hill-esque set which shows Taylor to be a pretty damn great comedian.
9) The Worst Of Dr George Ryegold – In which the disturbing Doctor tells his stories from his slightly less than illustrious career which are filled with extremely funny moments.
8) Joz Norris – The Incredible Joz Norris… – A mixture of quite odd comedy and stories about his upbringing, Norris is a strong joke writer and someone I’m now extremely fond of due to this show.
7) Daniel Muggleton – Let’s Never Hang Out – An admirably assured set from this Australian comedian who with his very first hour impresses greatly.
6) Paul Sinha – Shout Out To My Ex – If you only Sinha as a quiz show star then you need to check out his stand up immediately, as he’s a fantastic comic with a huge amount of astute observations and very funny jokes.
5) Michael Legge – Jerk – Legge’s second appearance in this article, and deservedly so, his latest show The Idiot is slightly better but Jerk was still a bloody great piece of comedy.
4) Anna Mann – A Sketch Show For Depressives – The comedy creation of Colin Hoult, Mann’s an actress who’s never quite had the career she wishes she had, but that doesn’t stop her being full of hilarious anecdotes and observations about the acting world.
3) John Luke Roberts – All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With A [FX: GUN RELOADING] And A [FX: CASH REGISTER] And Perform Some Comedy! – One of the silliest shows I’ve ever seen, and one of the best too as Roberts describes twenty four different Spice Girls with each description funnier than the last.
2) Rachel Parris – Best Laid Plans – A mixture of stand up and songs that is absolutely sublime, with Parris proving to have an amazing voice and talent for music, which led me to fall madly in love with Parris’s amazing comedic brain.
1) Joseph Morpurgo – Hammerhead – Morpurgo’s fourth show saw him claim to have just performed a one man version of Frankenstein with him now taking part in a Q&A with the audience in what’s one of the best live shows available to view on any streaming service, and it’s worth subscribing to NextUp for this alone.
Best Online Comedy:
10) Billy On The Street – Once a regular normal tv series this seems to only do short online specials these days which is a real shame as I miss the full length episodes, but it is at least still enormous fun.
9) Tim Vine TV – A new venture from the much loved comedian where he uploads short sketches and various other bits of comedy, all of which have been really great so far.
8) The Diary Of My Broken Vagina – A really great Channel 4 Comedy Blap which will hopefully be given a full series as comedian Fran Bushe writes about her journey to finally enjoy sex.
7) Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast – It’s been another sterling year for Herring with interviews with Michael Sheen, Max & Ivan, Nicholas Parsons, Jimmy Cricket, and the Do The Right Thing gang among this year’s highlights.
6) Demonologist For Hire – Which we haven’t reviewed yet but will be doing so soon as it’s a fantastic series, a very funny supernatural comedy which is smart and inventive stuff.
5) The Adam Buxton Podcast – Dr Buckles podcast is one of the best things on the net, and his two part interview with Chris Morris was an absolute must listen as well.
4) Ed and Joz’s Heist Movie – A superb pilot for a tv show I hope is picked up, it’s a low key affair where comedians Ed Aczel and Joz Norris decide to steal a vending machine, but their plan is rather poorly thought out.
3) Sam Campbell – Get Real Dude – Another one of Channel 4’s Comedy Blaps this is a superb sketch show which is incredibly inventive, gloriously unpredictable and laugh out loud funny from start to finish.
2) Content– A superb web series from Yiannis Vassilakis, Stuart Laws and a great selection of writers, this sends up those involved in a digital content agency in increasingly inventive and stunningly funny ways.
1) In The Meme Time – A sketch show produced by a group of not yet known comedians, it’s one of the best online series I’ve ever seen and packed with a great selection of extremely smart and funny sketches.
Almost made the list: Nothing, but there’s loads of stuff I haven’t listened to or seen this year that I need to catch up on.
Best Old Comedy I Discovered This Year:
10) Happy End – A film by the director of the sublime satirical western Lemonade Joe, this is Oldrich Lipský’s second best work as we get to see a man’s life backwards from his death to his birth, with it working on two levels as the man in question thinks it’s perfectly normal for existence to be like this.
9) Do You Want To See A Dead Body? – One of the only good tv shows Youtube have made, this sees Rob Heubel (soon to be seen in Netflix’s Medical Police) harass a number of his celebrity friends and show them a dead body, in a bizarre but extremely amusing show.
8) The New Big Ball With Neil Hamburger – A one off pilot for a game show, this sadly was never made in to a series which is something of a crime as it’s crazy and hilarious stuff and Hamburger definitely deserves his own show.
7) Justin Roiland’s House Of Cosbys – Four episodes of this animated show were made before Bill Cosby’s lawyers got involved, which is a real shame as it’s almost as good as Rick and Morty in places and shows enormous promise.
6) Colma: The Musical – A very low budget musical about three friends who graduate high school but don’t know what to do with their lives, it comes with a great script and some very memorable songs.
5) Frank Sidebottom’s Fantastic Shed Show – Somehow I missed this at the time but Frank’s oddball chat show is full of charm, guests happy to send themselves up and and all round lunacy that’s impossible not to love.
4) Au Poste! – Quentin Dupiex has created some of the weirdest films of the century with Rubber, Wrong and Wrong Cops, and this is another amazing work from him where a cop investigates a potential crime and everything spirals out of control.
3) Just Imagine – A truly quirky sci-fi comedy musical from the 1930s but set in the 1980s, this is a gloriously imaginative and quite weird film that even sees our characters take a trip to Mars and meet the residents there, and it’s definitely a must see.
2) Top Knot Detective – A crazy Australian mockumentary about a supposed Japanese tv series which is one of the best films of the decade, packed with absurdity, madness and a huge selection of hilarious ideas.
1) Cowards – Tim Key, Tom Basden, Stefan Golaszewski and Lloyd Woolfs short lived BBC4 sketch show is one of the funniest comedies the channel has aired, it’s packed with beautifully amusing ideas and that it’s only three episodes long is incredibly frustrating.
The Best Of 2018.