ByArt-Peeter Roosve, writer at
I am interested in humanity, life and philosophy. Movies, TV shows and videogames are a fun way to explore them ;)
Art-Peeter Roosve

It's all subjective of course, but usually the best comedy is one that goes out of the norm a bit and doesn't make compromises. Therefore, popularity and quality of comedy don't always go hand in hand. As is the case with the following 5 examples. Bare in mind that all of these shows have met a certain level of popularity and definitely have a fanbase, but most are just a tiny bit out of the mainstream or, perhaps, slightly forgotten. Let's take a look!

Police Squad! (1982)

What is it?

A brilliant spoof of police procedurals and TV shows of 70's and 80's starring Leslie Nielsen ("Naked Gun") and written by Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker trio ("Airplane!", "Naked Gun", "Hot Shots").

Why check it out?

Coming back to my point about popularity and quality of comedy not always going hand in hand. This early 80's comedy show got cancelled after only six episodes. And yet, (in my personal opinion) it is one of the funniest pieces of televison ever brought to life.

As said before, the main premise of the show is that it satirises the cop shows of 70's. But that would be an understatement. In it's core, the show's humor is timeless. The focus is on sight gags, wordplay and absurd comedy.

In other words, this is the show that worked straight faced absurdist comedy into perfection. It is also the show that launched the "Naked Gun" movies and paid a big role in Leslie Nielsen's transition to comedy. Even the reason for the show's cancellation is hilarious: apparently, "the viewer had to pay attention to get the comedy".

Second City Television (1976-1984)

What is it?

A Canadian television sketch comedy show. Starring (among others) John Candy (Del from"Planes, Trains and Automobiles"), Eugene Levy (Jim's dad from "American Pie"), Catherine O'Hara (Kevin's mom from "Home Alone"), Rick Moranis ( Lord Dark Helmet from "Spaceballs") and Harold Ramis (Egon from "Ghostbusters")

Why check it out?

As an underdog rival to "Saturday Nigh Live" at the time, it had a really interesting brand of comedy. The show does not try to go out of it's way to set up a sketch about a single gag or punchline. Instead, it creates an absurd situation with absurd characters and just let's the actors have fun with it.

The show is (at times) refreshingly politically incorrect and features many great performances. The stand out, however, is John Candy, who really was able to bring his trademark heavy commitment to comedic characters.

Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third, Blackadder Goes Forth (1986-1989)

What is it?

British TV show that starred Rowan Atkinson as the anti-hero Edmund Blackadder, and Tony Robinson as Blackadder's lackey, Baldrick. Also, it stars Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry among others.

Series/season 1 is probably the weakest, but the second, third and fourth are comedy gold.

Why check it out?

This one is probably the most popular TV show on the list. But equally, it seems to be a bit forgotten.

The humor and comedy in it is dry British humor at it's very best.

As said before, each series is set in a different era. All follow the "misfortunes" of Edmund Blackadder (Atkinson), who in each is present at many significant periods and places in British history. Among the consistent factors troughout the show, is that Blacadder is always saddled with tolerating the presence of a dim-witted aristocrat.

The comedy is strong and very sharp. But the main appeal is Rowan Atkinson's portrayal of a very different but equally great character compared to his more famous Mr. Bean's character.

Also, the supporting cast is excellent with Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) really stealing the show. For example, the clip above is a scene where Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson), Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) talk about dictionary.

Whitest Kids U'Know (2007-2011)

What is it?

Extremely sharp and unapologetically funny American sketch comedy television program. It consists of Trevor Moore, Zach Cregger, Sam Brown, Timmy Williams and Darren Trumeter.

Why check it out?

These guys take no prisoners and don't make any compromises. They go as far as they can with a joke, but not for the sake of a cheap shock value.

Their sketches feature everything from absurd comedy to extremely sharp social and political satire and everything in between. The guys behind the show have said that Monty Phyton is their main influence and it really shows. Although, it still has it's own original feel as well.

The comedy is edgy and, very often, for a bit acquired taste. Therefore, it is probably not for everyone. But the show does stay true to itself and never backs off from an opportunity.

In Living Color (1990-1994)

What is it?

American sketch comedy television series. It was created and written by brothers Keenen and Damon Wayans who were among the stars as well. Also, among the stars were Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx, who really layed a fondation for their later succsessful movie careers.

Why check it out?

Much like the abovementioned "Second City Television", it offered a more loose and relaxed alternative to "Saturday Night Live".

It has a lot of good sketches and one should bring out Jim Carrey. Many people might be a bit too familiar to his comedic routines by 2016. And of course, like any comedian, his style is not for everyone. But one can't deny the sheer energy, he puts into the sketches.

The funny thing with comedy is that in all of it's absurdity and craziness, it actually offers the necessary dose of sanity for each person and society on the whole. And, of course, entertainment, which these five shows provide in abundance.

What's your favorite underrated comedy? Let me know in the comments below!


Latest from our Creators