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ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks / MGM Worldwide Television Distribution

The 7 Best Comedy Central Shows To Celebrate 3 Decades Of Laughs

With so much Comedy Central programming to choose from, where does one begin? These seven series are a good start, as they are some of the best in the network's history.
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Comedy Central has done quite well for itself as a network since it launched in June of 1991. Now a household name, they are trying to maintain their output of high-quality, unique comedy shows. Considering how many groundbreaking comedy programs they’ve offered viewers in the past, we know they can bring us even more.

Iconic series from Comedy Central that have aired in the last 30 years include The Daily Show, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!, The Man Show, Strangers With Candy, Reno 911!, Stella, The Sarah Silverman Program, Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Broad City, The Jim Jeffries Show, Another Period, and plenty more.

The channel also has big things planned for the future. Upcoming shows that are set to air sometime in the next year include Beavis and Butt-Head, Washingtonia, Fairview, Jodie, and The Ren & Stimpy Show.

With so much programming to choose from, where does one begin? Comedy fans will love this compilation of the best Comedy Central shows out there. These four shows are pretty much guaranteed to have you laughing all the way through. If you’re ready to laugh, start with these incredible sketch shows from Comedy Central. And don’t forget to mark your calendar to prepare for all the new programming the network has in store!

Nathan For You

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ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks

This docu-reality comedy series aired on February 28, 2013, on Comedy Central. Comedian Nathan Fielder portrays a version of himself who graduated from business school “with really good grades.” Fielder’s mission is to help struggling business owners grow their profits through unique ideas implemented by Nathan and his team.

Nathan For You’s antics were behind real-life mainstream moments, including the infamous Dumb Starbucks in Los Feliz as well as a viral video of a petting zoo pig rescuing a goat stuck in a pond. The video was completely fabricated in an effort to bring attention to a California petting zoo.

The video rapidly raked in millions of views after Fielder’s team uploaded it to YouTube in September of 2012 before the first season of Nathan For You even premiered. And this is just one episode, people! Nathan For You is a must-see.

South Park

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ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks

Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park is famously one of the longest-running animated shows of all time. In August of 2021, Comedy Central renewed South Park for up to at least Season 13, plus 14 new movies. That means the show will go on until at least 2027, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continued past that.

The series has been airing on Comedy Central since August 13, 1997. In the last 24 years, the show has garnered five Emmy Awards, an Annie Award, four Online Film & Television Association Awards, and a Peabody Award. Listing all the other awards the show has been nominated for would take so long, just trust us when we say: It’s a lot.

South Park has always offered some of the most uncensored commentary on pop culture and social issues that one can find on TV.

Chappelle’s Show

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ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks / MGM Worldwide Television Distribution

Chappelle’s Show is a classic. Created by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan, this sketch series ran on Comedy Central from January 22, 2003, to July 23, 2006. Although Chappelle left the show abruptly during the third season, critics praised the series throughout its run.

Famous sketches that made Chappelle’s Show legendary include “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” “WacArnolds,” and characters such as Tyrone Biggums, Leonard Washington, and Clayton Bigsby.

The show ended after three seasons, which Chappelle later attributed to burnout, loss of creative control, and an apparently uncomfortable working environment. Considering he just released The Closer on Netflix to wrap up his million-dollar deal with that platform, I think he’s doing okay despite his Comedy Central show ending on a rough note.

Key & Peele

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Viacom Media Networks

Key & Peele, starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, ran on Comedy Central from January 31, 2012, to September 9, 2015. In an article from 2017, Dave Chappelle himself explained that he’s a big fan of the show. However, he feels they had more success with the sketch formats he wasn’t able to fully explore on Chappelle’s Show.

“I’m a fan of [Key & Peele],” he said. However, when it came to his own series, there were “certain conventions of the show that the network resisted. I fought the network very hard so that those conventions could come to fruition…And [Comedy Central was] like, ‘Well, that’s 10 minutes long. It should be five minutes long.’ Why should it be five minutes long? Like, these types of conventions. I fought very hard. So when I watch ‘Key & Peele’ and I see they’re doing a format that I created, and at the end of the show, it says, ‘Created by Key & Peele,’ that hurts my feelings.”

Still, Chappelle has nothing but love for Key and Peele themselves. He walked so they could run, and run they did. The five seasons of the show were critically praised, and the series even won a Peabody Award in 2013.

Futurama

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20th Television

Futurama isn’t technically a Comedy Central original, but if the network hadn’t picked up the show in 2008 after it was cancelled by Fox in 2003, we would have missed out on some of the best episodes of this series.

Thus, we feel Comedy Central deserves its credit for reviving one of the funniest animated shows ever–and one of the most critically acclaimed, as well. Futurama received 17 Annie Award nominations, 12 Emmy nominations, and four Writers Guild of America Award nominations.

The show’s very first episode takes us to New Year’s Eve of 2999, where pizza delivery boy Fry wakes up almost 1,000 years after tripping and falling into a cryogenic pod. He now must navigate the world of the future alongside his nephew, Professor Farnsworth; Leela, the cyclops captain of the ship; Bender, the robot; Amy, the rich intern from Mars; and Zoidberg, the ship’s resident alien and doctor.

Oh, and don’t forget Bender. He won’t let you ignore him even if you tried.

MST3K

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Vivendi Entertainment

The original Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is abbreviated as MST3K, actually aired on KTMA-TV, a now-defunct Minneapolis TV station, in 1998. Comedy Central showed great interest in buying the show, and they finally convinced the MST3K team to work with them. However, the show stayed in Minnesota so that they wouldn’t have to waste money filming in Los Angeles or New York.

The show takes place in a spacecraft that holds its human test subject hostage. Aboard the spacecraft, first Joel and then Mike must watch a series of bad movies meant to drive them crazy.

Comedy Central aired the series from 1989-1996. Later, MST3K moved to the Sci-Fi Channel for two years. Then, after shutting down production for over two decades, a revival series aired from 2017-2018 on Netflix.

Kroll Show

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Viacom Media Networks

Kroll Show is also a sketch comedy series, but creator Nick Kroll’s vision is centered around parodies of modern TV, internet culture, and other mainstream media. Many sketches are modeled after reality TV series like Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Others are modeled after drama series, such as the Degrassi parody “Wheels, Ontario,” about a high school in Canada where nearly everyone uses a wheelchair.

Comedian Nick Kroll and fellow producers John Levenstein, Jonathan Krisel, Monika Zielinska, and Jim Sharp put out three seasons of Kroll Show before their final episode in March of 2015. Recurring stars on this ridiculous and incredibly funny show include Jon Daly, Jason Mantzoukas, Ron Funches, Andy Milonakis, Kathryn Hahn, Bill Burr, Chelsea Peretti, Jenny Slate, and John Mulaney.

Many famous Kroll stage characters make it to the show, including dysfunctional teenage dad C-Czar, aspiring entrepreneur Bobby Bottleservice, publicity agent Liz G., California’s deadpan animal plastic surgeon Dr. Armond, old man prankster Gil Faizon, and wealthy party boy Aspen Bruckheimer.

Drunk History

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ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks

It’s hard to believe a series in which drunk comedians and other entertainers teach history lessons can actually be educational, but it’s.

This series, created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner in 2007, premiered on Comedy Ceentral in July of 2013. It ended after six hilarious seasons.

Waters got the idea for the show after listening to his friend, actor Jake Johnson (New Girl), recount the story of Otis Redding’s infamous plane crash. Waters realized it would be funny to record such a drunken rant, then have actors reenact the story as the storyteller described it.

Sometimes, simple ideas are the best ones. If you haven’t given Drunk History a try yet, get ready for the best history lesson of your life. Stories include the Watergate scandal, the making of Citizen Kane, the election of 1800, the Stonewall riots, the Wright brothers, the birth of hip-hop, and countless more.