If recent events have left you with a comedy void, help is at hand, writes Sam Brooks.
The other week, it became public knowledge that popular comedian Louis CK had sexually harassed multiple women, as revealed by a report in the New York Times. Undoubtedly, this has left a lot of people feeling conflicted about his award-winning sitcom Louie; it becomes hard to like something when you find out the main driving force behind it is a total creep.
So what do you do about those feelings?
First, examine them, because self-examination is healthy and productive. Second, figure out what shows will fill that new gap in your televisual love. Third, feel better about yourself and the shows you watch by watching these risky and funny shows lead by wonderful women.
, which stands for the gorgeous ladies of wrestling, is the most drama-leaning pick on this list and has by far the biggest ensemble. What starts out as a show about a plucky actress finding a gig ends up being a surprisingly deep and layered show about forming friendships in the most difficult and bizarre of circumstances, these circumstances being creating a women-only pro wrestling league in the 80s. Plus you've got Betty Gilpin doing some of the best acting on TV, as a soap actress who is dubious as hell about lowering herself to a pro-wrestling show.
Lady Dynamite (Netflix)
Maria Bamford is the best comedian working at the moment, and the first season of Lady Dynamite was a truly strange, dark and beautiful comedy - the kind of show you feel is made just for you, although if it was, that would be a terrible business model. Bamford's struggles with depression, her career and her love life are specific and endlessly relatable; watching her is like watching the funniest person you know peel back their skin and show you what's inside. Season two just came out, so it's a perfect time to catch up.
Jane the Virgin (on Netflix)
If it looks like a soap opera, that's because it is a soap opera. But it's also, like most of these shows, a surprisingly layered and thoughtful experience. I've never seen a show that tackles class, race, motherhood, gender, and even faith, in such an even-handed and gentle way. And somehow, it manages to do this all while getting up to hijinks that wouldn't be out of place on Shortland Street (we're talking evil twins and mistaken parenthood here). It's a special show, and a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Netflix)
Don't be fooled by the name (or else be fooled by it, it's your life), because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is not only one of the best shows on television right now, but it can also fill the musical comedy hole in your life left by Flight of the Conchords, Garfunkel and Oates or maybe even Glee. Playing a woman who chases her high school crush across the country, Rachel Bloom is a full-on star in an old-school way, she sings, she dances, she pratfalls, but where Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes her, and the entire premise further, is that it shows the damage her actions have on those around her, and herself. It's seriously compelling (and hilarious) stuff.
Chewing Gum (Netflix)
And from the other side of the ocean, we've got UK's Chewing Gum, which tells the story of a highly religious virgin who decides that she wants to get into the world of sex and romance. Probably not one you want to watch with your parents, your kids or anyone with whom you're not immensely comfortable. Chewing Gum mines as much relatable awkwardness as it possibly can without ever becoming cringe humour. Michaela Cole, who also created it, anchors the show in a very hearty and real place; we know this girl, we may have even been this girl, and she makes sure we feel every awkward beat.