18 Hilarious Shows Streaming Now On HBO Max
Controversial opinion: I love to laugh out loud.
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Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega (to editorialize for a moment, two of my absolute favorite stand-ups) co-created
Los Espookys with Fred Armisen. It follows four friends in a fictional Latin American country who want to turn their love of the macabre into a thriving business where they set people up to encounter horror movie–like situations in the real world. It's an unmissable show for everyone, but especially lovers of all things mysterious, spine-chilling, and of course spooky.
The Chris Gethard Show
If you've never seen an episode of this cult-favorite variety show, you're in for a real treat, as Chris Gethard welcomes guests onto his stage where the rules of the real world simply don't apply. Nobody can weave together a tender, hilarious, heart-warming story quite like Gethard, and his unique point of view comes across crystal clear in this one-of-a-kind show.
Based on Issa Rae's breakout web series
, this critically acclaimed comedy-drama follows Issa and her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) as they struggle to find satisfaction in work, love, and life as Black women in Los Angeles. But faced with doubt in her abilities from her mostly white coworkers and a fizzling long-term relationship, Issa vows to become a carefree version of herself and find a way to thrive among the chaos. A perfectly balanced, touching and funny show. The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl
The Righteous Gemstones
Even in its first season, creator, writer, and star Danny McBride's dark comedy about a televangelist family accrued quite the following. McBride, along with Edi Patterson (
Knives Out), Adam DeVine ( Workaholics), and John Goodman ( The Big Lebowski, everything) make up the larger-than-life Gemstone family, whose megachurch empire provides them with a lavish lifestyle antithetical to their teachings — but then again, pretty much everything they do is anythetical to their teachings. Worth a watch for Patterson's completely unhinged performance as Judy alone.
Flight of the Concords
We really did the right thing in the mid-2000s when we collectively became obsessed with the Kiwi musical comedy duo Flight of the Concords. Their show has all the brilliant silliness of their songs because, what do you know, it's chock-full of their music, as well as the antics of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie playing fictionalized versions of themselves bumbling around New York City.
seasons 1 and 2.
SNL alumnus and
now-heartthrob Bill Hader plays a dejected hitman who finds his passion in acting when instructed to kill someone in the LA theatre scene. As Barry Berkman, we get to see Hader thrive as a different kind of character than we're used to seeing him play — a darker, mellower, and more, ya know, hitman-y sort.
1 and 2.
A Black Lady Sketch Show
Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson, and Gabrielle Dennis are an unstoppable comedic force in this long-overdue show, which is the first sketch show with an entirely Black, female cast and writer's room. The sketches are singular in their cleverness and are performed by four of the best comedic actors in the game. There are currently only six episodes, but worry not! It's been renewed for a second season, and I have a feeling there's gonna be a lot more where that came from.
At Home with Amy Sedaris
truTV / Courtesy Everett Collection
The incomparable Amy Sedaris stars in this talk show meets sketch show meets DIY program that's packed with special celebrity guests like Jane Krakowski and Jason Sudekis as well as mainstays of the modern alt-comedy scene like
Ana Fabrega (co-creator and star of Los Espookys) and Cole Escola (whose comedy special released on YouTube at the beginning of quarantine is a must-watch in my extremely niche opinion). Help! I'm Stuck!
seasons 1 and 2.
TBS / Courtesy Everett
My love of
Search Party is strong and well-documented, and how could it not be with such an all-star cast, beyond excellent writing, and a unique take on the millennial experience. Alia Shawkat heads the cast as Dori Sief, who finds out a college acquaintance has gone missing and takes it upon herself to find her, with reluctant help from her friends.
2 Dope Queens
Comedians Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson host and star in this series of specials based on their hit podcast of the same name. The episodes are each filmed in front of a live studio audience, feature a ~famous guest~, and focus on a single topic, which could be anything from "New York" to "Hot Peen."
seasons 1 and 2.
Real ones remember when
High Maintenance was but a web series on Vimeo (also now available in HBO Max), but from humble beginnings sprang a cult-fave show picked up by HBO. The series follows a pot dealer known only as "The Guy" (played by co-creator Ben Sinclair) as he bikes around New York getting a sneak peak into the lives of his many eclectic clients.
Rick and Morty
Adult Swim / Courtesy Everett Collection
You've probably seen approximately five million people dressed as Rick for Halloween since this show premiered in 2013, so it's about time to dive in. This wildly popular cartoon follows the interdimensional adventures of mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his grandson Morty as they balance traveling through different realities kicking up trouble with family life at home.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
NBC / Getty Image
You've seen it on syndication as a kid sneaking in some late-night TV, but when's the last time you actually sat down and giggled watching some
Fresh Prince? For those of you who need a little reminder of what the plot is, just sing the theme song to yourself really quick — that pretty much covers it.
Audiences hungry for more Julia Louis-Dreyfus post-
Seinfeld were handed an incredible gift in Veep, where she plays the infuriating-yet-hilarious Selina Meyer, the fictional Vice President. Tony Hale ( Arrested Development) is simply excellent as her personal aide Gary Walsh, and a talented suite of side characters round out this spot-on, if sometimes *too* real, political comedy.
The Office (UK)
OK, I'll be upfront, I do not love
The Office (UK), but I DO think it's worth watching if you're a fan of the American Office. So many similarities! The first episode of each series is basically word-for-word, so it's a trip. And a ton of people like it! But did I once stop dating someone because they wouldn't stop insisting the UK version was better? Yes. Give it a watch so you can give your opinion on who was right, me or Paul.
Awkwafina is Nora From Queens
As the title literally tells you, this comedy is based on Awkwafina's start growing up in Flushing, Queens surrounded by her family. The series highlights Awkwafina's signature, spirited comedy style and features fan-favorites BD Wong (
Jurassic Park, Mulan) and Bowen Yang ( SNL, Las Culturistas).
Garfunkel and Oates
Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci are the titular folk music comedy group Grafunkel and Oates, who you may recognize from their
YouTube channel which enjoyed some early viral hits. The series follows the duo playing themselves trying to make it in the biz, and has a ton of fun songs that will help sweep you away from reality.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
*Cue iconically awkward instrumental* Larry David stars as Larry David being hyper-Larry-David-y in this sitcom that proves just because you "have it all" doesn't mean you can't pointedly complain about it. Famous friends guest as fictionalized versions of themselves and Jeff Garlin and Cheryl Hines co-star.
You TOO could be laughing if you subscribe to HBO Max (for
$14.99 a month) and watch some of these shows! What can I say, if you don't laugh, you cry. :)
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