There’s good comedies and there’s great comedies, and the thing that usually differentiates them is the presence or absence of a laugh track. I mean sure, there are exceptions like The IT Crowd, but on the whole, it’s way harder for a show to be funny without fake laughs and the occasional cackle in the background. If you want to partake of some real humour, take a gander at some of the shows on the list below, they’ll get you good!
When Jeff Winger’s fake law degree is revoked, he’s forced to enter Greendale Community college and join forces with the quirkiest study group of all time. They’re crass, crazy and totally meta, just the way a comedy should be. Oh, and there’s no canned giggles.
2. Arrested Development
Jason Bateman stars as Michael Bluth, a father who tries to keep the sanity within a family where chaos seems to be the norm, but who’s probably a little messed up himself. It also stars Will Arnett and Michael Cera, so you kinda already know it’s funny.
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm
This show stars Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld, playing himself. To put it lightly, he’s an asshole, and it makes for the some of the best cringe laughs you’ll ever see. The basic plots are outlined beforehand, and the rest is improvised, which is pretty insane considering how funny the end product is.
4. Peep Show
This series stars the comedic duo of David Mitchell and Robert Webb. You might recognize David Mitchell as the quickly-flustered host on several British game shows. They try to deal with everyday situations in the most British way possible, and you know British comedy is fucking ace. No laugh tracks on that shit!
5. Eastbound and Down
Baseball star and professional douchebag Kenny Powers, played by Danny McBride, frequently gets into trouble both professionally and personally, and deals with it in the worst ways possible (mostly with hookers and blow). Deep down inside though, he’s just a scared little dude… like really deep down inside.
6. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Officer Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and his squad of wacky but talented cops work the 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn. The cast is great and the unusual setting works wonders. Watch out for the Pontiac Bandit played by Craig Robinson, one of the highlights of this riot of a show.
7. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Probably one of the most fucked up shows on this list, having a laugh track on here would almost be an insult to the degenerate intelligence of this show’s creators and stars. It follows five ‘friends’ who run an Irish bar and consistently try to mess each others’ lives up as horribly as possible.
8. Silicon Valley
This show is based on creator Mike Judge’s own experience in Silicon Valley in the 80s. It follows a group of talented but socially inept programmers developing a startup that could revolutionise the data compression process, and the shit they have to deal with once word gets out about it.
A personal favourite of mine, this gem stars the same people it was created by. Adam, Blake and Anders (pronounced with a hard ‘ahn’) get stoned, strike out with girls and sing songs about squirrels, all while working at a dead-end telemarketing company. It’s the best.
10. Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s phenomenal comedic talent was finally given the spotlight with this show, where he tries to make it as an actor in New York. Apart from his hilariously lovable friends, guest appearances by his real (and insanely funny) dad make this show a must watch.
11. The Office
A list of comedies without laugh tracks wouldn’t be complete with this on the list. The Office made Dunder-Mifflin a household name (ok, maybe not a household name, but you know what I mean), introduced us to a wholly different kind of comedy, and also turned Steve Carrell into a meme!
12. Modern Family
This hilarious and often highly relevant show about 3 modern day families and how they deal with some oft-ridiculous situations was an instant hit, at least for me. It’s progressive, funny and it ain’t got no laugh track yo!
This medical comedy pretty much gave us our modern day definition of the word ‘bromance’, courtesy J.D. and Turk. They really raised the bar, incorporating elements that shows like these usually don’t delve into, and working them in seamlessly. Also, if you’re searching for a good burn to lay on someone, look no further than the vitriolic Dr. Cox!
14. Parks and Recreation
This show stars Amy Poehler as the relentlessly upbeat Leslie Knope, trying to better the parks and what have you in the town of Pawnee. As you soon find out, she’s not the only wacky one there however, because her entire team, and to an extent, the whole damn town is bat shit crazy, and we love it.
15. 30 Rock
This show stars comedic genius Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, head writer for a sketch show. It’s loosely based on her experiences as head writer for Saturday Night Live. It follows her trying to handle star tantrums while also entertaining the whims of her brilliantly arrogant boss, Alec Baldwin. This one’s another personal favourite.
Well that’s that. Watch and enjoy the sound of your own laughter, unencumbered by the guffaws of the pre-recorded.