Entertainment

Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most 

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List Rules Only comedies currently on TV or streaming that are either in season or expected to return

If you are someone who thinks that modern sitcoms are too lowbrow, this list will give you hope. For audiences tuning into television to laugh and be intellectually stimulated at the same time, shows like Louie on FX and Review on Comedy Central are sure to entertain. Highbrow humor is still on the rise, as new shows like Last Man on Earth have truly impressed audiences who are tired of lazy jokes and broad humor. 


But what smart sitcoms are currently on the air? Highbrow funny TV can often be found on premium cable channels like HBO (which offers political satire with a show like Veep), and Showtime (which offers meta-humor with Episodes starring Matt LeBlanc). Some of that same meta-humor can be seen in Lisa Kudrow’s The Comeback, as well as the reliably intelligent comedy series Portlandia.

These award-winning highbrow sitcoms are not limited to subscription-only channels. In fact, the comedy writing on The Goldbergs, Broad City, and Community (from NBC to Yahoo) are all impressive and witty. Highbrow comedy shows also include animated series like Bojack Horseman on Netflix, Robot Chicken on Adult Swim, and Archer on FX. 

So if you're ready to be tickled and impressed, check out the shows on this list of current smart comedy shows. Vote up the ones you like the best!

list ordered by
1
Lucifer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Dallas Valerian added
Lucifer (Fox, 2016) is an American fantasy police procedural comedy-drama television series. It features a character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg taken from the comic ...more

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#104 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #53 of 78 The Best Teen Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Seriesfeaturing The Best Characters On 'Lucifer'

2
Archer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Archer (FXX, 2009) is an American adult animated black spy sitcom created by Adam Reed. The adventures and mishaps of secret agent Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and his colleagues, who are ...more

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#47 of 484 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made #110 of 394 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciatefeaturing Sterling Archer's Smartest Literary References, Explained

3
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more

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#3 of 722 The Best Cartoons of All Timefeaturing The Best Fake Words From The Simpsonslisted on Longest Running Animated Series

4
Veep is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #4
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Veep is an HBO television comedy series, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, set in the office of Selina Meyer, a fictional Vice President, and subsequent President, of the United States. The series ...more

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#233 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #123 of 394 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciatefeaturing The Best Characters on HBO's Veep, Ranked

5
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmid... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #9
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an American sitcom created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and starring Ellie Kemper that has streamed on Netflix since March 6, 2015. Originally set for a 13-episode ...more

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#212 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #595 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timefeaturing The Best Characters on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ranked

6
Bob's Burgers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
carlybobarly added
Bob's Burgers is an American animated sitcom created by Loren Bouchard for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Belchers—parents Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, ...more

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#79 of 722 The Best Cartoons of All Time #54 of 484 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Madefeaturing Every Single Store Next Door Pun on Bob's Burgers

7
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, NBC 2013) is an American police television sitcom created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), an immature but talented NYPD detective in ...more

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#107 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #54 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television Historyfeaturing The Best Characters On 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

8
Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
kaykan added
Modern Family is an American television sitcom that premiered on ABC on September 23, 2009, which follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family, all of whom live in suburban Los Angeles. ...more

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#28 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #26 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing The Best Characters On Modern Family

9
It's Always Sunny in Phi... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX, 2005) is an American television sitcom created by Rob McElhenney. The series follows "The Gang", a group of five depraved underachievers: twins ...more

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#62 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #94 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Timefeaturing 30 Dope Facts You Didn't Know About It's Always Sunny

10
Silicon Valley is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Silicon Valley is an American television sitcom created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. The series focuses on six young men who found a startup company in Silicon Valley. The ...more

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#186 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #738 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timefeaturing All The Hints Silicon Valley Ever Dropped About Jared's Tragic Backstory

11
The Middle is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #10
The Middle is an American sitcom about a working-class family living in Indiana and facing the day-to-day struggles of home life, work, and raising children. The show premiered September 30, ...more

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#80 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #213 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Yearsfeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The Middle'

12
Rick and Morty is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Kevin Klinker added
Rick and Morty (Adult Swim, 2013) is an American adult animated science-fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. Cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his fretful, easily ...more

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#232 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #101 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Timefeaturing The Schwiftiest Rick and Morty Characters

13
Louie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #13
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Louie is an American comedy-drama television series on the FX network that began airing in 2010. It is written, directed, edited, and produced by the show's creator, stand-up comedian Louis ...more

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#70 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #128 of 394 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciatefeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Louie'

14
New Girl is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #14
New Girl is an American sitcom television series that premiered on Fox on September 20, 2011. Developed by Elizabeth Meriwether under the working title Chicks & Dicks, the series revolves ...more

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#353 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #17 of 264 The Best Female-Led TV Showsfeaturing The Best Seasons of 'New Girl'

15
The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
The Goldbergs (ABC, 2013) is an American television sitcom created by Adam F. Goldberg and stars Wendi McLendon-Covey and Jeff Garlin. The show is produced by Goldberg, Seth Gordon, and Doug ...more

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#473 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #105 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television Historyfeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The Goldbergs'

16
The Last Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #16
The Last Man on Earth is an American post-apocalyptic comedy television series created by and starring Will Forte. The series premiered on the American broadcast network Fox on March 1, 2015. ...more

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#323 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #149 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcoms

17
Master of None is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #18 head_wizard added
Master of None (Netflix, 2015) is an American comedy-drama web television series created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. The personal and professional life of Dev (Aziz Ansari), a 30-year-old ...more

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#200 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcoms #39 of 52 The Best Feel-Good TV Shows

18
High Fidelity is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
High Fidelity (Hulu, 2020) is an American comedy television series adapted from the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby. A fan of music, pop culture and Top Five lists runs a local record ...more

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#165 of 264 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #14 of 57 TV Shows We've Already Seen (And Loved) As Both Movies And Books #93 of 120 The Best TV Shows Based on Books

19
Robot Chicken is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Robot Chicken (Adult Swim, 2005) is an American stop motion sketch comedy television series created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. Pop culture references fly thick and fast as stop-motion ...more

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#214 of 384 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #68 of 484 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Madefeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Robot Chicken'

20
Black-ish is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
kaykan added
Black-ish (ABC, 2014) is an American sitcom created by Kenya Barris. A family man (Anthony Anderson) struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly ...more

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#1,653 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #160 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcoms #16 of 85 The Greatest Black Sitcoms of All Time

21
BoJack Horseman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014) is an American animated sitcom created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett) was the star of the hit television show "Horsin' Around" ...more

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#611 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #153 of 484 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Madefeaturing The Best Characters On 'BoJack Horseman', Ranked

22
Portlandia is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Portlandia is a satirical sketch comedy television series, set and filmed in and around Portland, Oregon; it stars Carrie Brownstein and former Saturday Night Live cast member Fred Armisen. The ...more

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#328 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #236 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

23
Future Man is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #23 Luke Albright added
Future Man (Hulu, 2017) is an American comedy television series directed by Brandon Trost, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg. Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson), a janitor by day and a gamer by night, ...more

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#1,213 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #398 of 483 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

24
A Black Lady Sketch Show... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO, 2019) is an American sketch comedy show created, written, and starring Robin Thede. The show will include comedy sketches performed by a regular cast of Black ...more

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#187 of 264 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #410 of 483 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #141 of 156 TV Shows Most Loved by African-Americans

25
The Orville is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
Luke Albright added
The Orville (Fox, 2017) is a science fiction comedy-drama series created by Seth MacFarlane. Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) is captain of the U.S.S. Orville (ECV-197), a mid-level exploration starship ...more

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#61 of 92 The Best Dramedy TV Series #2,123 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time