When, at the end of any given day of being a person in 2019, you find you have zero energy left, you may want for nothing more than to just zone out and watch your colorful television screen.
And in these tired moments, you understandably don’t want to hunt for something to watch. You’re a gatherer, goddammit. To that end, here’s a list of a few comedic shows for you to gather and consume without thinking too much.
This list highlights shows that debuted new episodes this year and have storylines that don’t have a rigorous, season-long arch. Although a few of these shows are better watched starting at the beginning, you can pretty much go with any episode and find enjoyment.
These shows also don’t focus too much on existential crises. You have enough of that in your own life, so now it’s time to just zone out into the lazy river of streaming for awhile.
“Holey Moley” ― Hulu
Details: We’re starting this list with perhaps the most “zone out” show ever created. “Holey Moley” is a competition series that pits good mini-golfers against each other on ridiculous courses. It has some similarity to the 2000s Spike TV show “Most Extreme Challenge” and ABC’s “Wipeout,” in that much of the comedy in “Holey Moley” comes from course obstacles whacking the contestants and causing pratfalls. NBA star Steph Curry ― who also loves golf ― hosts this show and occasionally plays on the courses himself.
The presenting crew consists of Curry, Jeannie Mai, Rob Riggle and Joe Tessitore.
“Holey Moley” runs 10 episodes of around 40 minutes.
Read on: Vulture’s Jen Chaney wrote about the greatness of “Holey Moley” coupled with another competition show that debuted this summer with a similarly ridiculous title ― “Blown Away” ― that focuses on glass-blowing. Here’s Chaney:
There’s something vaguely inspiring in both of these shows, though. On Blown Away and, as ridiculous as it is, Holy Moley, the competitors deserve credit for putting themselves out there. Whether they’re holding a putter or a punty, they’re investing effort in something in a very public way and taking a risk. And they’re doing it to entertain those of us sitting at home, watching them do things while we do nothing at all. Like I said, these two programs are what summer TV is all about.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” ― Hulu
Details: Police detectives in Brooklyn get into hijinks together both on and off the clock. They’re good at their jobs and get results, even if their endearingly sophomoric behavior should suggest otherwise. Although this show debuted on Fox in 2013 ― and has earned two Emmys and nine nominations so far ― it moved to NBC this year.
The cast includes Stephanie Beatriz, Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti, Andy Samberg and Joe Lo Truglio. Mike Schur co-created the show.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” so far has run six seasons; episodes last about 20 minutes each.
Read on: Deadline wrote about NBC saving the show from Fox’s cancellation. Since Samberg and Schur have worked so extensively with NBC in the past and Universal TV (a sister studio of NBC) produces the show, it was always kind of weird that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” started its run on Fox. Here’s a quote in the Deadline story from NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt about getting this team back:
“Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “Mike Schur, Dan Goor, and Andy Samberg grew up on NBC and we’re all thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and best cast comedies in a long time will take its place in our comedy line-up. I speak for everyone at NBC, here’s to the Nine-Nine!”
“Los Espookys” ― HBO
Details: A group of friends in a Latin American country band together to create a business in which they create horror props for odd jobs such as scaring contestants out of mansion during an inheritance contest. The logistics of their jobs don’t make sense, but their love for what they do ground the nonsense in a relatable reality.
The cast includes Fred Armisen, Casandra Ciangherotti, Ana Fabrega, Julio Torres and Bernardo Velasco. Fabrega and Torres wrote most of the series, while Armisen has a co-writing credit on the first episode.
“Los Espookys” runs six episodes of around 30 minutes.
Read on: Torres just partnered with Vulture on an article highlighting his 10 favorite books. Here’s one of his recommendations:
“Odes,” Sharon Olds
I was never really much of an avid poetry reader, but for whatever reason Olds really connected with me. I remember reading these poems as a teenager and thinking, “Oh, she’s so fucking cool — this is a poem about the Pope’s penis.” For someone in a very conservative Catholic country, that felt so punk.
“Schitt’s Creek” ― PopTV/Netflix
Details: A wealthy family loses everything except for the ownership of a small, middle-of-nowhere town, which they once bought as a gag gift. Starting their lives over in this town, the family members grow into more well-rounded people, while still maintaining a few comically out-of-place trappings of aristocracy.
The show recently earned its first Emmy nominations, with placement in the Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress and Lead Actor categories.
The cast includes father-and-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy as well as Chris Elliott, Annie Murphy and Catherine O’Hara. Eugene and Daniel also created the series.
“Schitt’s Creek” runs five seasons of roughly 13 episodes that last about 21 minutes each.
Read on: Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson wrote a piece about his reluctance to believe “Schitt’s Creek” would be good, finally checking it out and subsequently becoming a full convert to its hilarity. I can relate to this journey. Here’s how Lawson begins his piece to explain what initially held him back:
For whatever reason, I was initially reluctant to watch “Schitt’s Creek.” For years, even. Maybe it was the title, which suggested something crass and obvious, a small-town satire of hicks and rubes and the snobs who scoff at them. Or maybe the Canadianness of the show off-put me somehow—though as a nearly lifelong “Degrassi” fan, a few “sore-ys” shouldn’t have bothered me.
“Archer: 1999” ― FXX/Hulu
Details: In this season, the titular Archer is still in a coma and so all the adventures take place in his head (just like the last couple seasons). In “Archer: 1999,” the team gallivants throughout space, almost getting themselves killed repeatedly, but always figuring out how to survive in the end.
The voice cast includes H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter and Lucky Yates.
“Archer: 1999” runs nine episodes of around 20 minutes, but the series as a whole has 10 seasons of around 10 episodes each. It has earned one Emmy and five nominations so far.
Read on: Samantha Nelson of The Verge called this season of “Archer” the “weirdest yet.” To illustrate this, Nelson wrote a deep-dive look into one of the character’s transformations this season, and described this character’s unlikely new role as such:
That’s finally changed this season: she’s playing an ace fighter pilot in the mold of “Battlestar Galactica”’s Starbuck. “I’m going to have to keep doing stupid fighter-pilot missions, and they’re so boring, because I’m so good,” she whines while making a list of pros and cons about whether she should rescue the crew from the gullet of a giant space squid in episode four, “Dining with the Zarglorp.”
“Rescue the crew from the gullet of a giant space squid in episode four, ‘Dining with the Zarglorp’” ― a lot of weird nouns in there!
“A Black Lady Sketch Show” ― HBO
Details: A sketch show that features an all-black, female main cast and a long list of guest black actors such as Angela Bassett, Laverne Cox, Lil Rel Howery and Larry Wilmore. Each episode features a variety of sketches, resembling the recent series “Baroness von Sketch Show” and “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.”
The main cast includes Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson, Gabrielle Dennis and Robin Thede. The cast, director and writers’ room are all black women.
“A Black Lady Sketch Show” runs six episodes of around 30 minutes.
Read on: Leigh-Ann Jackson of The New York Times did a primer on the various emerging black comedians in this show. Here’s part of her description for Thede, who created the show:
Named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch for 2019,” she previously hosted BET’s “The Rundown With Robin Thede,” a late-night news show that allowed her to riff on both pop culture and politics. (Fun fact: She’s the daughter of Representative Phyllis Thede of Iowa).
“PEN15” ― Hulu
Details: Two women in their early 30s play their middle school selves among a cast of actual young teen actors. The show is set in the early 2000s, so this blends nostalgia with the constant sight gags of the older actors going through emotional, pubescent transformations while surrounded by children.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle co-created and co-star in the show, which earned an Emmy nomination this year for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series category. Richard Karn (“Home Improvement”) also has a recurring role.
“PEN15” runs 10 episodes of around 28 minutes.
Read on: In an interview with Ben Travers for Indiewire, Konkle talked about the physical stress on her body from playing a 13-year-old.
“I really felt all that,” Konkle said, adding that she developed severe leg pain from all the running, jumping, dancing, tackling, and other outlandish signs of affection Anna shows Maya in the series. “I would have to remind myself I’m not 13, but actually 33, to realize why I was so beaten down. […] Our bodies for years to come will probably have issues.”
“The Other Two” ― Comedy Central
Details: Two flailing siblings in their early 30s live in New York and struggle to pay rent when their much younger brother unexpectedly becomes a pop star in the Justin Bieber mold. As their brother earns ungodly amounts of money and recognition, the siblings debate hitching themselves to this rocket ship ― even as it clearly ruins their brother’s childhood ― or continuing to pursue their own dreams on their own terms.
The cast includes Ken Marino, Molly Shannon, Drew Tarver, Case Walker and Heléne Yorke. Former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider co-wrote this.
“The Other Two” runs 10 episodes of around 22 minutes.
Read on: This is a more of a listen on, but I really loved an interview Kelly and Schneider had with the WGA East podcast “OnWriting.” Here’s a link to the show, but you can download it on the regular Apple podcast app as well.