These British TV shows have all the best dark humor jokes
Let’s just say it as it is: British humor wins. The British are not afraid to venture into the acerbic, the inappropriate, and the darkest alleyways when they’re cracking a joke. They know how to make their audiences choke on laughter without losing hold of the absurdities of life. Let’s have a look at British shows that do this well.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
If you want a treat packed with British observational humor, sketches, sight gags, double entendres, and intelligent jokes, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is meant for you. One of the best comedy-sketch shows in television history, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is quite possibly the inspiration behind all the modern-day sketches. And that includes Saturday Night Live.
The End of the F***ing World
You know how sometimes certain shows receive a lot of attention, so you have a hard time nailing down if they’d live up to the hype? Well, The End of the F***ing World does. It follows the story of two 17-year-olds who don’t fit in. Based on a graphic novel, this show follows their journey on a road trip where adventure meets horror. As for the comedy, it never really goes away.
It’s not hard to imagine Rupert Grint – who we know as Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series – in a dark comedy. In Sick Note, he plays the role of a compulsive liar whose life is basically shattering in front of his eyes.
Not only is he failing grandly in both his personal & professional lives, but he also receives a fresh diagnosis for cancer. After learning of his diagnosis, everyone started treating him nicely. The twists don’t end there. As luck would have it, it was a misdiagnosis. So you can imagine the circus that follows from there.
If you haven’t watched Fleabag & crushed over the priest yet, you’re probably living under a rock. Phoebe Waller-Bridge shines with her dry-witted humor in both the seasons of Fleabag, a show that follows the life of this unnamed London-based protagonist who runs a cafe. The more you watch, the more you realize how life has broken her.
She’s lost her mother & best friend, so she’s living through the days in a haze. Grieving looks different on everyone, so consider Fleabag’s way of mourning unconventional. In the second season, she gets involved with a priest played by Andrew Scott – looking at the priest, who wouldn’t? – and in the process, unwittingly doles out profound wisdom.
Special shout-outs to the confession scene in the church, to Waller-Bridge’s monologue on feeling like a fake feminist, Belinda’s tirade on women & pain, and Olivia Colman for bringing such a nasty character to life. As Belinda says, “People Are All We’ve Got. So Grab The Night By Its Nipples And Go Flirt With Someone.”
Who can resist the perfect casting of Ricky Gervais as Tony, who was living his perfect life until his wife Lisa passed away, leaving him lost. We’ve got to say, the British know a thing or two about how grief changes people. Like Fleabag, After Life also takes a caustic look at this.
In After Life, Tony decides to deal with grief by stripping all filters on his words & thoughts. He does as he pleases, says whatever he likes, without giving a rat’s ass about others.
Created & written by Lisa McGee, Derry Girls brings humor to inane situations. It’s the kind of laugh-out-loud comedy that’s so rare these days. Derry Girls is the perfect combination: the 1990s, teenage girls, Ireland, coming-of-age comedy, and a lot of history.
We’ll admit, we have a thing for Olivia Coleman. In Flowers, she pairs up with Julian Barratt to play parents in an eccentric family. We all love a good family drama that goes deep into the dysfunction of families. Flowers brings so much more to the table – the children have unconventional inclinations, the troubled relationship of parents, the battle with depression, among other causes of friction.
Flowers makes for a great watch because it doesn’t let the darkness overpower the plot, instead, it revels in it.