After a long day at work, we frequently don’t want to think about, well, work. There is, however, nothing quite like a workplace comedy to provide a hearty taste of relatability in addition to a heaping of craziness when it comes to charmed escapism. This particular genre of comedy is a tried-and-true reminder that a strong team of coworkers can make all the difference for getting you through the workday — even if it means tolerating silly pranks, delusional egos, or downright crazy situations. It is set everywhere from dull, poorly lit offices to bars, newsrooms, and beyond. From the origins of the genre to today’s instant classics, here is EW’s ranking of the top office comedies.
Table Of Content
- 1 30 Rock (2006-2013)
- 2 Abbott Elementary (2021-Present)
- 3 Archer (2010-Present)
- 4 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021)
- 5 Cheers (1982-1993)
- 6 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present)
- 7 Just Shoot Me! (1997-2003)
- 8 NewsRadio (1995-1999)
- 9 Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
- 10 Party Down (2009-2010)
- 11 Reno 911! (2003-Present)
- 12 Scrubs (2001-2010)
- 13 Superstore (2015-2021)
- 14 Taxi (1978-1982)
- 15 The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
- 16 The Office (2005-2013)
30 Rock (2006-2013)
Few jobs seem to be as enjoyable as working at a television studio, and 30 Rock doesn’t fail to make that seem to be the case. We should all be glad for this accolade-winning look behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live, which was created by Mean Girls writer Tina Fey and satirises her time there. The show centres on sketch-comedy creator and showrunner Liz Lemon (Jennifer Fey), who is compelled to work with Alec Baldwin’s slick network head Jack Donaghy to prevent turmoil from erupting between Tracy Jordan and co-stars Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) (Tracy Morgan). In Studio 6H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Liz tries her best to keep things in order throughout the course of seven seasons, but we’re thrilled to see all the mayhem and fun up to the show’s especially fantastic ending.
Abbott Elementary (2021-Present)
Although it may not seem like the obvious setting for a sitcom, Abbott Elementary by Quinta Brunson demonstrates that it is the ideal option. Abbott Elementary is a mockumentary-style comedy that combines Ted Lasso’s goodness and can-do attitude with the best aspects of The Office’s workplace dynamics and romances. It tells the tale of a group of teachers at an underfunded inner-city school who struggle to provide the best education possible for their students with the resources at their disposal. As the faculty and administrators of the school, played by Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter, and Janelle James, Abbott is endearing, belly-laugh funny, and features one of the best cold-open gags of 2022.
With its instantly identifiable visual style and wickedly clever script, Archer is not just a brilliant example of adult animation, but it’s also a standout workplace comedy that confronts workplace dangers head-on. Self-proclaimed super spy Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) works for Malory Archer (the late, great Jessica Walter), who is also his boss/mother. Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), Cyril Figgis (Chris Parnell), Ray Gillette (Adam Reed), Pam Poovey (Amber Nash), Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer), and Dr. Algernop Krieger are among the eccentric team of intelligence agents she (Lucky Yates).
The team travels to various locations, including the South Pacific, Europe, the ocean floor, and an international space station. The show makes fun of everything related to espionage, including quarrelling with the KGB and fiddling with the newest technological toys. In between the firefights, there is mystery, mayhem, and even a few stand-alone anthology seasons that are just plain great, like season eight: Dreamland. Why not adore it?
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021)
This critically acclaimed satire of vintage police procedurals was so beloved by viewers that (those viewers) were able to prevent an immature cancellation. To the dismay of his boss, the oh, so serious Captain Raymond Holt, Andy Samberg works out his comedic muscles as cocky detective Jake Peralta, who is equally interested in lazing around with his coworkers as he is in solving cases (Andre Braugher). In one of the funniest workplace series in recent memory, the squad is completed by the eager-to-please detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), the tight-lipped Sgt. Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), the sardonic detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), and the self-absorbed office manager Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti).
At this sitcom set in Boston’s renowned real-life watering hole, Cheers, Ted Danson plays hot-tempered Red Sox relief pitcher-turned-bartender Sam Malone for 11 seasons. The close-knit team manages whatever comes through the door during happy hour and beyond with the help of coworkers like bright-eyed Diane (Shelley Long) and cynical Carla (Rhea Perlman), as well as regular bar flies Norm (George Wendt) and Cliff (John Ratzenberger). In the basement pub where everyone knows your name, future stars like Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, and Kirstie Alley make their debuts. Classic episodes like “Diane’s Perfect Date” and “Thanksgiving Orphans” are still relevant today.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present)
It’s a stretch to call this ground-breaking workplace comedy series “work,” but there’s no denying that “The Gang” behind Paddy’s Pub is one of the funniest teams of employees on our list. Together, Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Charlie (Charlie Day), Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Frank (Danny DeVito) frequently get into outrageous and embarrassing misadventures, almost always as a result of their own plans and narcissism, but we find it impossible to turn away as they sink to new depths each season. While some of the funniest episodes include “Gun Fever,” “The D.E.N.N.I.S System,” and “The Gang Goes on Family Fight,” be assured that almost every episode is top-notch.
Just Shoot Me! (1997-2003)
You’re sure to chuckle at the believable workplace comedy in Just Shoot Me! if you’ve ever had to accept a job because you had no choice. Maya Gallo (Laura San Giacomo) is made to work as a writer for her father’s fashion magazine Blush after she accidentally fires herself over an on-air joke. Over the course of seven seasons, Maya and her coworkers engage into all kinds of mischief and misunderstandings, including former model Nina (Wendie Malick), flirting photographer Elliot (Enrico Colantoni), and acid-tongued assistant Dennis (David Spade). Even if high-fashion isn’t your style, laughing at the office’s snarky remarks is likely to make you smile.
This one’s for the underdogs as NewsRadio investigates the workplace dynamics and chaos that may occur at a radio station that ought to be slow and sombre. We witness common man Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) get the position of director at WNYX, the second-ranked AM radio station in NYC. The station’s owner Jimmy James (Stephen Root) and anchors Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman in his penultimate role) and Catherine Duke (Khandi Alexander) are among the people Dave arrives with huge ideas to assist elevate. However, Dave ends up spending more time trying to subdue these people, often to no purpose. Fast-moving jokes, a tonne of satire, and a sprinkle of surrealism keep the show entertaining to watch. Joe Rogan, of all people, even appears on the show as the station’s electrician, creating for some hilarious slapstick that still makes people laugh today.
Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, does everything in her power over the course of seven seasons to encourage her coworkers at a small Indiana parks department to believe that anything is possible, especially creating a specific community park. It would be difficult to find a more upbeat (or waffle-loving) coworker. Leslie perseveres in a funny way despite her government-hating boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman in the part he may have been born to play). Aziz Ansari’s self-centered neurosis and Aubrey Plaza’s deadpan disdain for (nearly) everything are two comedic styles that Parks and Recreation successfully balances. This is best seen in the season four episode “Pawnee Rangers,” as he demonstrates what it truly means to “Treat Yo’ Self.” It’s a humorous business comedy that keeps us giggling all the way through to the satisfying conclusion.
Party Down (2009-2010)
“Are we enjoying ourselves yet?” Despite having only two seasons (until the upcoming revival! ), the quirky ensemble cast more than justifies the inclusion of this programme on our list. Party Down centres on a group of aspiring writers and performers who support themselves by working for a posh catering business while pursuing their goals in Hollywood. There are some real doozies, such the “Sin Say Shun Awards After Party” and “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday,” that the staff works at each episode, lead by Adam Scott’s eternally pessimistic Henry Pollard. Party Down is a great comedy to binge when you need to unwind after a stressful day at work.
Reno 911! (2003-Present)
Reno 911!, a long-running parody of the reality series Cops, is unquestionably a Comedy Central classic, while being frequently politically incorrect. From their morning briefings to their attempts to apprehend a slew of violent criminals on the streets, the mockumentary-style series portrays the frequently overwhelming incompetence of the Reno Sheriff’s Department, led by Lt. Jim Dangle (creator Thomas Lennon). Along with the outstanding work of the main ensemble, which also features Cedric Yarbrough, Niecy Nash, and Kerri Kenney-Silver, there are numerous cameos by legendary comedians like Patton Oswalt and Keegan-Michael Key as miscreants. Reno 911! has even generated enough laughter over the years to inspire two films and a Quibi rebirth, which was continued despite that streamer’s decline in popularity.
Although hospitals may not seem like a place for humour, Scrubs uses a superb buddy workplace comedy to subvert the pessimism and gloom that is so prevalent in the medical industry. Through J.D.’s (Zach Braff) eyes, viewers learn what it takes for medical students — specifically his best friend Turk (and real-life bestie Donald Faison), on-and-off love interest Elliot (Sarah Chalke), and sassy RN Carla (Judy Reyes) — to succeed at Sacred Heart Hospital and endure the torturous tutelage of the irate Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). While there were undoubtedly some heartbreaking scenes, the main focus of the show is on quick witted humour, exaggerated daydreams (who can forget the “My Musical” episode? ), and discovering unconditional love for your coworkers.
Anyone who has endured working in the strange world of big-box retail should read Superstore. The sitcom and the sticky circumstances that Amy (America Ferrera) and her merry gang of shift workers encounter will make even those who have been fortunate enough to escape operating a cash register or stacking shelves giggle. This entertaining, relaxed comedy explores everything you’d expect to find at a megastore, including impossible-to-handle guests and super-sized sales. It is nearly entirely set at the St. Louis branch of the fictional chain store Cloud 9. In our A-rated review, EW dubbed the COVID-19 pandemic in the season six opener as the “peak for the series,” making Superstore stand out for its ability to seamlessly incorporate real-world problems.
The portrayals of comedic OGs like Danny DeVito (as tyrannical dispatcher Louie De Palma), Christopher Lloyd (as burnt-out “Reverend Jim” Ignatowski), and Andy Kaufman (as endearing mechanic Latka Gravas) remain relevant today even though this office sitcom first aired in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The reason Taxi succeeds is not because it focuses on the inner workings of the fictitious Sunshine Cab Company garage, which is located in the middle of New York City, but rather because it emphasises the humour present in the daily struggles faced by the cabbies as they pursue their hopes and dreams, even if they don’t always come true.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show must be taken into consideration if you want to explore the beginnings of office comedies. The jokes, zingers, and puns in this trailblazing sitcom are just as funny now as they were when it first aired back in 1970, in addition to being touching and entertaining to watch. Mary Tyler Moore portrays Mary Richards, a 30-year-old newly single professional woman who relocates to Minneapolis in pursuit of her television career goal. She accepts a position as an associate producer for the city’s lowest-rated station, and before long, she and her friends, coworkers, and prickly boss Lou Grant (Ed Asner), are solving one amusing dilemma after another. It’s fun to watch Betty White show off her comedic skills as flirtatious “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens, while Betty Ford makes history by appearing in the sixth season episode “The Seminar” as the first First Lady to appear in a television sitcom.
The Office (2005-2013)
One of the most cherished and endlessly rewatchable office comedies of all time is NBC’s The Office. The Office, which was adapted from Ricky Gervais’ British mockumentary-style sitcom of the same name, is at its best when Steve Carell’s frequently bumbling but endearing Michael Scott is in charge of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company’s Scranton branch and guides a pitch-perfect ensemble cast of relatable, everyday office workers (including breakout stars Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski) through the daily rigours of a mundane 9-to-5. Coworker romances and pranks, team-building excursions, and, of course, “Training Day” exercises that don’t exactly go as planned are all common. It’s one of the best workplace comedies to date and a must-see for anyone who has experienced firsthand how quickly a conventional office can descend into benign (for the most part) pandemonium.
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