Streaming with Laughter

Rusty Unger’s Favorite Comedy Series

'Catastrophe' | Credit: Courtesy

I have no favorite here; they’re all uniquely brilliant if you share my unerring but dyspeptic sense of humor.

Catastrophe (Amazon)

Created, written by, and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, this London-based rom-com has the most sharply written dialogue (next to Veep, I guess) on the air. It follows an American and Brit accidentally but chronically coupled through four seasons. What’s incredible is that the humor never slips off the high bar.

Summer Heights High (Netflix)

Is a mockumentary about an Australian high school. The actor-writer (Chris Lilley) plays parts ranging from the male drama teacher to the snotty girl exchange student to the boy rebel seamlessly and hysterically. One season.

Getting On (HBO)

You may have avoided this because of its setting on the geriatric “extended care” ward of a failing L.A. hospital, but give it a chance. The nurses and administrators are the main focus, all of whom are unbelievably great and hilarious actors. (Laurie Metcalf: Wow!). The situations are priceless, the payoffs sublime. Three seasons.

The Comeback (HBO)

Lisa Kudrow plays a washed-up Hollywood actress trying for the spotlight again. I can’t remember ever seeing the foibles of Tinseltown nailed down as expertly as here. Kudrow’s character is a deluded egomaniac whom you perversely just have to love. That there was no season three is a horrendous crime. 

Lady Dynamite (Netflix)

Maria Bamford plays a surreal version of the already-surreal Maria Bamford, a comic actress returning to show business after dealing with manic depression. Okay, this does not sound funny, but it’s a very unusual kind of funny. Still, don’t watch it within six months of watching The Comeback. Also, one season is enough.

Fleabag (Amazon)

All right; everyone knows about this already.

Dreamland (Netflix?)

In Australia, this was titled Utopia. I first saw it on Netflix, and now it’s a bit hard to track down (YouTube? whatever that is). There’s a newly formed office within a bureaucratic nightmare of the Australian government devoted to grandiose infrastructure projects stymied at every turn. More nuanced than in The Office, the characters are by turns well-meaning, officious, and moronic. You become so involved with their very funny intramural disasters that it’s hard to call it quits. Four seasons available ​— ​somewhere.


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