Netflix began life as a convenient way to view other creators’ efforts in television and film-- first as a mail-in service and then as a streaming one.
Since those earlier days, though, Netflix has becoming a juggernaut. It has become not only synonymous with streaming platforms, but also famous for producing tons of its own original content.
Netflix hasn’t won much in the way of major awards (yet). There's been plently of nominations, with a few wins.
Still, there’s hardly a better source of large and consistent content out there. Netflix’s most acclaimed series might be its dramas like House of Cards, Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black.
Yet the streaming giant has also produced many comedies, which have hit both ends of the quality spectrum.
Like most of their original shows, Netflix’s comedies are overwhelmingly well-received. Whatever is in the proverbial waters over at Netflix’s creative centers, it's working.
However, that doesn’t mean the odd failure hasn't snuck its way on through to Netflix audiences.
Note that this isn’t every single Netflix original comedy. The shows that are excluded from this list weren’t ignored, they just didn’t fall into either of the two extremes. They’re fine, but neither good or bad enough to quality. These are the best of the best (and the worst of the worst).
With that in mind, here are The 10 Best (and 8 Worst) Netflix Original Comedies, Ranked.
18 Best: Big Mouth
In just look and style, Big Mouth seems like it belongs on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. In content, however, it is one of the raunchiest and most hilarious things to be available for consumption.
Big Mouth follows a group of seventh graders in the midst of puberty. The content of the series' crass, adult jokes shouldn’t need to be explained further. Whatever you imagine, it’s probably dirtier.
Coming from the minds of comedians Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and others, Big Mouth is as funny as it’s shocking.
Nothing is off limits and the show finds increasingly ludicrous ways to surprise the audience with its depravity.
At the same time, there’s an odd heart to Big Mouth. It perfectly encapsulates the weirdness and awkwardness of the preteen condition. It's about being on that scary cusp of tasting real adulthood but not knowing how to deal with it, at all.
17 Worst: Girlboss
The short-lived Girlboss might be more disappointing than truly awful. Still, this female-led comedy didn’t deserve more than the one season it got on Netflix.
Based on the autobiography of the same name, Girlboss adapted the real-life story of Sophia Amoruso who started her own company Nasty Gal.
Girlboss had an intriguing premise and solid lead actress. The fictionalized Sophia (Britt Roberston) wasn’t meant to be the most likable or sympathetic. Yet Girlboss went a little too far in making Sophia “complicated.”
She was just not fun to watch and even more fatally uninteresting.
The biggest failing of Girlboss, though, was that the series simply wasn’t all that funny. Britt Robertson did her best and Girlboss aimed for a dark comedy tone. Yet it ended up being far too dry, predictable and compelling to attract an audience.
16 Best: Nailed It!
In lesser hands, comedy competition series Nailed It! could come across as cruel and mean-spirited. Somehow Netflix makes a show built on disastrous baking experiments fun, light-hearted and highly enjoyable.
A lot of that has to do with the infectious joy of the very funny host, comedienne Nicole Byer.
Byer leads a panel of judges, as they evaluate the efforts of average jill and joe contestants. The cast tries to recreate beautiful professional cakes. The results are, almost always, disastrous.
The great difference between the goal and the final product provides the bulk of comedy as Byer and her panel harmlessly rib the hopeless contestants.
Nailed It! is a hilarious deconstruction of the typically perfect subset of reality TV involving baking. The contestants always come short of the series’ lofty title but it never stops being a joy to watch their low stakes failure.
15 Best: The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale
Netflix’s The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale does lose some points for creativity. The series, which consists of McHale, a green screen, and the occasional celebrity guests, is essentially E’s The Soup.
The Joel McHale Show is a transparent excuse for the host to show clips of various other shows and pieces of pop culture and mercilessly make fun of them.
Yet McHale (and his crew of writers) never pretends that the show is anything different. Biting, clever, and painfully self-aware, the show provides exactly what fans want from McHale.
The series is a weekly example of the comedic actor doing what he does best-- sarcastically skewering everything in sight.
The Joel McHale Show wouldn’t exist without The Soup and that (cancelled) series’ popularity. It’s still a blessing the quasi-revival does exist.
14 Worst: Netflix Presents The Characters
The Characters is one of the more obscure Netflix original series. There is an extremely good reason for that, though. This sketch comedy series appeals to one very specific and niche audience.
The concept of The Characters is a daring and admirable one. The series features eight up-and-coming voices in the comedy world and each comedian is given one episode-- an episode where they can do whatever they want.
The eight individual stars of The Characters have complete creative control. Sadly, there’s extraordinarily little about The Characters that is funny or interesting from an outsider perspective.
The Characters is a type of comedic auteur series that those within the industry adore. Yet for a non-comedian and causal viewer, The Characters is just a strange, disjointed and humorless mess.
13 Best: On My Block
An impressive percentage of Netflix's original series, both drama and comedy, are dedicated to teenagers. On My Block manages to break through the coming-of-age noise and deliver something that’s unique and refreshing.
On My Block follows four lifelong friends, all from diverse backgrounds, as they enter high school.
It’s not much of a spoiler to say that entering this stage of education, with all its pressures, puts a strain on their dynamic. High school breaking up friendships isn’t that original of an idea. However, On My Block approaches it in just the right way.
The series is relatable, funny, and shocking emotional. The amount of investment the show inspires in its stars is remarkable.
On My Block is Netflix’s version of a sleeper hit and it deserves far more attention and recognition than it has gotten, so far.
12 Worst: Santa Clarita Diet
Like most of the “worst” entries on this list, Santa Clarita Diet should be much better. The series hosts movie star Drew Barrymore and the criminally underrated Timothy Olyphant as leads. This should be enough.
Things sound even more impressive when the premise is explained. It involves a suburban couple, Sheila and Joel Hammond (Barrymore and Olyphant), dealing with Sheila transforming into a zombie and having to eat humans.
Against all odds, Santa Clarita Diet is a lot more boring and unamusing than it sounds.
Barrymore and Olyphant both do their best, yet the humor just doesn’t exist.
Santa Clarita Diet manages to take itself far too seriously and be too ridiculous at the same time. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic or empathetic. Santa Clarita Diet has nothing to say that hasn’t been done by other, far better, series.
11 Best: GLOW
GLOW may stretch the definition of comedy, as the series has tendency to get very dour and emotional-- particularly when dealing with the arc of its main character, Ruth played by Allison Brie.
Ruth is self-destructive and a borderline depressed woman, outclassed in miserableness only by Marc Maron’s Sam Slyvia.
Somehow GLOW balances the serious stakes of Ruth’s downward spiral with the heightened ridiculousness in dealing with the formation of the series’ eponymous women’s wrestling league.
Ruth sleeping with her best friend’s husband exists perfectly next to her wrestling character, Zoya the Destroya, with her insane Russian accent. GLOW is often stupid but in the best way possible.
It has fun with the insanity of its premise and the real-life events of which its (loosely) based.
Best of all, GLOW makes the audience care about its characters. Everyone from Ruth to immature man-child Sebastian "Bash" Howard (Christopher Lowell) is a joy to watch.
10 Worst: Friends from College
Friends from College is a perfect waste of a tremendous cast. The premise of Friends from College is simple: it’s a hang-out comedy of a group of friends who all met in college.
With a cast consisting of such comedic heavy hitters like Cobie Smulders, Nat Faxon, Fred Savage, and Keegan-Michael Key, Friends from College should be able to do whatever it wants and be hilarious. Sadly, it’s not even close.
Friends from College appears to fundamentally misunderstand its strengths. There’s hardly any laughs to be had among the cast, despite the actor’s best efforts. Friends from College simply isn’t amusing.
The group at the center are full of very unlikable people who treat each other horribly. This could be a great premise for a raunchy comedy, but Friends from College is positively tepid.
The show wants the audience to like its horrible characters, while doing nothing to justify them.
9 Best: Master of None
Master of None is light on laughs. There can be long stretches of episodes that feel more like a drama than comedy. Yet even when Aziz Ansari turns his headlining series into a bit of soapbox, the series never stops being at least witty.
The show is clearly a passion project for Aziz and fellow executive producer Alan Yang. The pair have a specific point of view and they perfectly utilize the series to tell stories from that perspective.
Master of None focuses mainly on Ansari’s character, Dev Shah. Dev is a fictionalized (and much less successful) version of Aziz, but he’s just a gateway into the world of Master of None.
In two criminally short seasons, Master of None has tackled immigration, casual racism and, of course, the politics of dating. Every topic is treated with respect but also approached cleverly and from new angles.
8 Worst: The Ranch
The multi-camera sitcom used to be the king of comedy. The format of a cast telling jokes in front of a live audience (or laugh track) has produced some of the greatest comedies of all time.
Yet, in the modern day, this type of sitcom is almost non-existent. Netflix’s The Ranch makes you wish it was entirely gone.
The Ranch does have an impressive slate of actors from Sam Elliot to Elisha Cuthbert and even Ashton Kutcher. All of them deserve better material than what they’re given on The Ranch. There’s nothing wrong with the multi-camera format inherently.
The Ranch is just the laziest version of this type of sitcom.
The humor is broad and appeals to the lowest common denominator. Sam Elliot’s glorious mustache can’t elevate the dullest and most obvious jokes. It's cut and paste comedy.
7 Best: BoJack Horseman
BoJack Horseman is weird. There’s no denying it. If the animation style didn’t clue you in to the series' offbeat nature, then its core concept should.
BoJack Horseman exists in a world where animal and humans are on an equal level of evolution. In other words, it’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to marry a dog.
The series follows the title character, a washed-up horse actor, who once starred in a '90s sitcom. BoJack (voice by Will Arnett) is depressed and an alcoholic, both of which the series doesn’t flinch from exploring.
It sounds miserable and BoJack Horseman can get dark.
However, BoJack manages to balance a realistic look at a fake horse’s depression and rampant silliness.
The most frequent and easiest BoJack jokes are animal-based puns. However, more clever material abounds than “Beast Buy” and Jon Hamm being a literal pig, particularly the wonderfully weird episode, "Fish Out of Water".
6 Worst: Haters Back Off
Netflix aims a lot of its content at younger viewers. How else is it possible to explain their many, many teen-centric shows? So, it’s not too surprising that Netflix gave a series to a popular YouTube stars to try to build off her success. It’s just strange that that star was Miranda Sings.
Comedienne Colleen Ballinger created the character of Miranda Sings back in 2008 and has made a name off the ridiculous persona.
Miranda Sings is a parody of every egotistical singer of pop culture. She’s so heightened that she works in the short, bit-sized format of a YouTube video. A TV series dedicated to Sings is unbearable, which is perhaps why Haters Back Off bombed.
Haters Back Off followed Miranda Sings as if she was a real-life person, not a character. While not without its moments, the series was more excruciating than exciting. The intentionally unlikable Sings was far too much.
5 Best: One Day at a Time
Netflix’s One Day at a Time is a remake of a classic series, which is never a solid recipe for success. It’s starring role is Rita Morena as the central family’s matriarch. She's giving one of the broadest and loudest performances ever. Yet, somehow, One Day a Time works, especially Moreno’s portrayal of Lydia Alvarez.
One Day at a Time has been “updated” from the '70s original. Instead of a single mom raising two daughters, Netflix’s version is about a single mom, whose also an army veteran, raising a son and a daughter with help of her own mother.
One Day at a Time is heartwarming, hilarious, and surprising adept at tackling real-world issues.
The live studio audience of One Day a Time just enhanced the series. The crowd is extremely invested in the stories and the cast just feeds off their energy. It’s a reminder of how good classic sitcoms can when done right.
4 Worst: Disjointed
For such an acclaimed actress, Kathy Bates has made some eclectic (read: bizarre) choices. Bates seems to pick projects at random, which is totally her prerogative.
Sometimes the gamble pays off, Bates has done great work in even mediocre seasons of American Horror Story. Other times, though, it’s a waste for everyone involved, including Bates. Disjointed is the sadder latter example.
Disjointed is another case of Netflix mishandling the classic sitcom format. The show follows Bates, as Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, the owner of a cannabis distributor.
The intention of Disjointed is to be edgy and raunchy. Ruth’s a bitter, acerbic ex-hippie who curses like a sailor. Yet, Disjointed merely just playacts at pushing the envelope. There’s not an original bone it’s body; even if it is slightly odd to hear uncensored cursing with a laugh track.
It was rightfully cancelled after one season.
3 Best: American Vandal
The quality of American Vandal almost defies description. The series is done in a mockumentary style, parodying the true crime ilk of Serial and The Jinx. Although the central mystery has nothing to do with violence of any kind. Instead, its about the identity of who drew multiple male genitalia in a high school parking lot.
American Vandal is insanely bizarre and shocking deep.
The series totally embraces the roots of the true crime genre, making it delightfully clever. Yet the jokes work even for those viewers who aren’t true crime junkies.
This is because American Vandal approaches things from an angle that everyone can relate to: the uncertainty of teenage life.
American Vandal begins with a premise that sounds like a fodder for a Funny or Die sketch. It turns into one of the most realistic and heartbreaking hilarious looks at high school life. The actors look, feel, and sound like kids (even when jokes are being dropped).
2 Worst: Fuller House
The Full House revival, Fuller House, is one of Netflix’s most buzzed about shows. However, success and quality are mutually exclusive. Everyone might know about the existence of Fuller House and have watched a few episode. Fuller House is, in no uncertain terms, a good show.
Fuller House is an example of nostalgia running amok. The show is built completely on the back of the original series and offers nothing interesting in its place.
Fuller House is nearly identical to Full House. It has the same jokes, same archetypes, and same “wacky” sitcom plots. The only difference is the cast is older.
Fuller House is made for fans of the original. This is perfectly acceptable, but there should be more to a revival or reboot than just regurgitating the past.
1 Best: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was one of the first big series that Netflix ever grabbed. It’s remained one of it’s best. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was originally developed for NBC, intended to be a spiritual successor of sorts to 30 Rock.
However, NBC passed on the Tina Fey and Robert Carlock comedy. Their loss has been Netflix’s gain.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt features a few actors from 30 Rock past, including Fey herself. Yet it’s really been a starring vehicle for leads Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess. The pair shine in their roles as Kimmy and Titus. They deliver the signature rapid-fire comedic dialogue of Fey and Carlock, while still being incredibly lovable.
The humor of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is layers upon layers of comedic goodness. It’s the perfect binge watch to have again and again, just to get every hilarious line.
Do you agree with this list? What are some of your favorite and least favorite Netflix comedies? Sound off in the comments!