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I Just Might Die with a Smile on My Face After All: The Best Television Comedies of the Last Thirty Years

By Cindy Davis | Lists | September 13, 2012 |

By Cindy Davis | Lists | September 13, 2012 |

Larry David and I have a little something in common: We both have sets of rules in our heads, and we think the rest of the world would be better off following those rules. You guys really do know the rules already, but you don’t always want to abide by them. Now, I can be like Larry with my family and close friends, but with the rest of the world, I make an attempt to hold back. Not Larry. When he sees someone doing something wrong, Larry isn’t afraid to walk right up and say what’s on his mind.

He knows the rules and their time limits and he’s happy to pass them on.

He’s easygoing…

With that in mind, you can observe my generous nature by my actions after seeing a Facebook post by lowercase ryan. Prompted by Dustin’s Warming Glow piece Is This How You’d Rank the 12 Greatest NBC Comedies Of All Time?, Ryan “corrected” the referenced list, which in turn prompted several further “corrected” best of comedy lists. Even though, like Larry, I know what is right (My own list), I do realize my comedy tastes are not necessarily Pajiba representative. So like the good natured chick I am, I rounded up my fellow writers’ opinions and made what sense of them I could. By using a complicated algorithm (Excel and colored fonts), I was able to extrapolate the data to determine the shows with the most votes (based on lists by Dustin, Seth, Joanna, Courtney, Steven, Rob and myself*).

A good many shows received one vote each; basically a free for all. You can see our individual lists at the bottom of this post. So based on the votes, here are The Pajiba Best Television Comedies of the Past Thirty Years:

  • Two Votes

“Absolutely Fabulous”




“Louie” (NSFW/K)

“The Daily Show”

“The Simpsons”

  • Three Votes:


“Parks and Recreation”

“South Park”

  • Four Votes:


“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”



  • Five Votes:

“Arrested Development”


*You’ll notice a certain TK did not contribute to this list, and you may be asking yourself, “Self, I wonder why TK did not contribute to this list?” And I would answer you with this most inconceivable statement: “TK does not watch television comedy!” Please don’t ask me to explain. There is no sense in TK-land; it is just a dark basement wasteland.





Cindy Davis knows funny.