There was a time when Thursday nights on NBC were the main source of well-written comedy on TV, and another when Sunday nights on Fox fought for that distinction. But now, the crown belongs to Wednesday night – it’s a jester clown in this case, but still – and it doesn’t just happen on one network anymore.
Here are the five best comedies you’ll be wise to fill your Wednesday nights with for the next few months, to at least try to keep yourself laughing until the weekend. Since Modern Family’s run on ABC has been an anchor/foundation for the midweek comedy boom, it serves as a multi-headed inspiration and won’t be seen in this list. Incidentally, we’re also hoping that ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, the ultra-rare Asian-American sitcom created by chef Eddie Huang, adds even more laughs when it debuts on February 4. But for now, Wednesday nights have never had it better.
The GoldbergsCreated by Adam F. Goldberg, ABC’s The Goldbergs is to the 1980s as The Wonder Years was to the 1960s, but with a far more comedic bent that employs the talents of Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLendon-Covey, George Segal and the three standout child actors. Timeless with its home videos and savvy pop culture use – that New Kids on the Block episode, right? –The Goldbergs is comedically accessible for the whole family and looks like it still has years to go before its creative highs get lost in the wood paneling.
It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaNow in the beginning of Season 10, FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the pioneers that brought legit hilarity to cable comedies, and it’s just as goddamned funny now as it was in the beginning. We’re only going into Episode 2, and both Charlie and Dee have already downed 70 beers apiece in an airplane, so not even the sky is the limit for this Gang. With a cast that will likely never lose their touch for physical comedy, timing, and loudness, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia makes everyone feel better by showing them there’s always something worse out there.
Black-ishIt’s shameful that there’s currently only one black family-fronted comedy on any of the major networks, but Black-ish is thankfully the chuckle-worthy success that might get more of them made. Now, Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne aren’t popping off jokes that are on the cutting edge of social humor, and I’m probably not the proper person to judge this series within the context of TV’s history with black characters, but any way you look at it, Black-ish has some really funny jokes and ways of expressing cultural individuality. And it’s only gotten better since it started.
Broad CityComedy Central is excellent at giving series to up-and-coming comedians that the non-stand-up world probably doesn’t know about, and Broad City is its latest masterpiece of wild and enjoyably bonkers comedy. Created by Ilana Glazer (as the passive wildcard Ilana) and Abbi Jacobson (as the more goal-oriented Abbi), Broad City is basically about two tight-on-money ladies having “adventures” in New York City while trying to keep their relatively benign lifestyles intact, with Hannibal Burress always there as Ilana’s cornball dentist boyfriend. (He has his own blog, for real.) Female comedy duos need to be the Next Big Thing, like that whole cake we bake and eat when we’re worried.
Man Seeking WomanJay Baruchel is one of those can’t-do-wrong actors that adds wholesome meekness to any project he’s in, and Simon Rich’s FXX series Man Seeking Woman is quite possibly the most surreal thing Baruchel has ever been a part of, and is a perfect fit. Sure, we’ve only seen one episode, which technically doesn’t give this series that cred it needs to be a must-watch on Wednesday nights, but that one episode had a real troll in it, guys, and an instantly classic use of a 126-year-old Adolf Hitler for a gag. It’s a weekend’s worth of absurdity in one midweek series.
And then there’s: The Middle (ABC) , Workaholics (Comedy Central), Hot in Cleveland (TV Land), Web Therapy (Showtime), The Exes (TV Land), and Barmageddon (TruTV), because I think that show is uncomfortably hilarious.