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Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most 

Ranker TV
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Updated February 14, 2020 4.7k votes 705 voters 24.3k views 34 items

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!

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1
Archer is listed (or ranked) 1 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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2
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 2 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
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmid... is listed (or ranked) 3 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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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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5
Lucifer is listed (or ranked) 5 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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6
Bob's Burgers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
carlybobarly added
Bob's Burgers (FOX, 2011) is an American animated comedy television series created by Loren Bouchard. The series centers on the Belcher family — parents Bob and Linda and their children Tina, ...more

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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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8
Silicon Valley is listed (or ranked) 8 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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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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10
The Middle is listed (or ranked) 10 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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11
Louie is listed (or ranked) 11 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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12
Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
kaykan added
Modern Family (ABC, 2009) is an American comedy television sitcom created by Francisco Bobadilla. The series follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family, all of whom live in suburban Los ...more

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13
Rick and Morty is listed (or ranked) 13 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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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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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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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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17
Future Man is listed (or ranked) 17 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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18
Master of None is listed (or ranked) 18 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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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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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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21
The Orville is listed (or ranked) 21 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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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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23
BoJack Horseman is listed (or ranked) 23 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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24
High Fidelity is listed (or ranked) 24 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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25
Broad City is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Highbrow Comedy Shows That Impress You Most
voting closed at #25
Broad City (Comedy Central, 2014) is an American comedy television series, created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. Two Jewish American women in their twenties experience adventures of ...more

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