Apple TV+ is known perhaps first and foremost for its international hit Ted Lasso. But that heartwarming show about a bumbling soccer coach with a positivity streak a mile wide only scratches the surface of the streamer’s burgeoning comedy roster.
Comedy veterans and unlikely newcomers alike staked out spots in the ever-growing Apple TV+ lineup, offering laughs for the cost of emotional engagement with some deeply wounded and weird characters.
Ultimately, the best comedies on Apple TV+ are the ones that hurt a little.
Best comedies on Apple TV+
From workplace hijinks to murderous siblings to mystic musical realms, there’s every sort of comedy on offer at Apple TV+. Here is a look at the best straight-up comedy shows the network has aired so far.
Watch if you like: The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community
A good chunk of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia writing staff and cast migrated to Apple TV+ for the channel’s first excellent comedy series, Mythic Quest. The show centers on the fortunes of the staff at a hot Silicon Valley gaming company, led by egomaniacal genius Ian Grimm (played by Rob McElhenney) and his soft-touch, complete mess foil, Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao). In the first two seasons of Mythic Quest, the company staves off one crisis after another as the staffers prepare for their newest developments.
The show’s focus on the gear-grinding interpersonal conflict between the staff members — uptight and condescending Brad (Danny Pudi), confidence-free low man David (David Hornsby), prehistoric premise writer C.W. Longbottom (F. Murray Abraham), gleefully sadistic Joe (Jessie Ennis) — makes every bit of political development at the company all the more delectable. Season three of Mythic Quest arrives this fall.
Read our season two review: Mythic Quest fine-tunes its epic comedy for strong second season
Stream now: Mythic Quest on Apple TV+
Watch if you like: Fleabag, Derry Girls, Catastrophe
The delightfully grim Bad Sisters is a whirlwind of bad vibes. The Garvey girls spent the better part of a year trying to kill their brother-in-law John Paul, and each Looney Tunes-style attempt failed miserably while the wily bastard just got more miserable. And if they couldn’t kill him, how is it that JP’s lying in his grave even now?
Each member of the show’s miraculous lead ensemble of Irish actresses is well-suited to a different note of deadpan humor. And every episode crafted by Brett Baer, Dave Finkel and Sharon Horgan gives the outstanding cast a chance to be both hilarious and tragic.
From their bickering to their genuine love for each other, Bad Sisters never gives you a chance to calm your heart rate while watching this little, black-hearted marvel.
Read our first episode recap: Bad Sisters is a delightfully dark comedy
Stream now: Bad Sisters on Apple TV+
Watch if you like: Luther, Killing Eve, Sherlock
Mick Herron’s Slow Horses (or Slough House) mysteries are brought to cantankerous, hungover life in this show from a raft of producers including not-that-Will Smith, Douglas Urbanski and Justified’s Graham Yost. Slough House is the misfit dumping ground for people who scrub out of MI-5 for this or that professional screwup. And Gary Oldman stars as the grotesque head of this last stop on the way down for British intelligence.
River Cartwright (played by Jack Lowden) is the latest addition to the inauspicious crew, but he’s not just there because he blew a training mission. No, he found out something that the big wheels down there didn’t want him to. When the rest of the horses accidentally stumble onto another botched operation, their collective nemesis (Kristin Scott Thomas) is forced to lay her cards on the table.
As much a bedraggled spy show as a dark workplace comedy, Slow Horses is tense, exciting and inappropriately hysterical — sometimes all three at once. Season two should arrive later this year.
Read our first episode recap: Spy series Slow Horses comes out of the gate fast and sarcastic
Stream now: Slow Horses on Apple TV+
Watch if you like: Glee, Galavant, Pushing Daisies
Apple TV+ went all in on musical shows (Central Park, Little Voice, Carpool Karaoke, Mr. Corman) but Schmigadoon! proved the pick of the litter. In fact, it was the only one that wasn’t an excruciating chore to sit through.
Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele, Mad TV) and Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live) play a couple in a fracturing relationship who find themselves in the magical land of Schmigadoon after getting lost on a failed couple’s retreat. It’s a place where everyone sings and dances, and no problems seem to be allowed to be acknowledged. When Strong and Key’s real-world troubles are aired for all to see, it changes the tenor of life in the quaint village, maybe for good.
At times screamingly funny, at times just plain clever, this candy-colored fantasy from show creators Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio (Despicable Me) and director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, A Series of Unfortunate Events) is a musical comedy worth kicking up your heels for.
Read our season one review: Take a gamble on Schmigadoon!, the inventive Scream of musicals
Stream now: Schmigadoon! on Apple TV+
Watch if you like: Parks & Recreation, Up All Night, A.P. Bio
When Molly Wells (played by Maya Rudolph) gets divorced, she loses her social life and gains purpose. She starts spending time at a charity she started without realizing it. And she gradually grows to understand that there’s more to life than parties, spas, champagne, private jets and meals cooked by personal chef David Chang.
At her charity, a crew of philanthropists (played by Nat Faxon, Ron Funches, Joel Kim Booster and MJ Rodriguez) teach her to get back in touch with her roots, her responsibility toward her fellow man, and her humanity.
Frequently charming if occasionally too good-natured for its own good, Loot is at its best when it serves as a showcase for Rudolph’s brand of unselfconscious monstrosity. She’s one of our best comic performers and it’s always good to spend time in her company. (A second season of Loot is in the works.)
Read our full review: Loot is funny, but we’ve heard these jokes before
Stream now: Loot on Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.