Issa Rae, executive producer, writer and star of Insecure.
Issa Rae, executive producer, writer and star of Insecure.

Cool Off With These Comedy Series and Specials

By Allison Picurro

Instead of braving the summer heat, why not chill out and unwind with a good laugh? Check out these comedies, perfect for however long you stay indoors.

I’m short on time.

My Favorite Shapes by Julio Torres

Time Investment: 1 hour

Torres, who serves as both a co-star and co-creator of Los Espookys, lets his otherworldly style of observational comedy shine in this short and sweet stand-up special. From an oval that wishes it were a circle to a self-conscious cactus, Torres brings life to his many shapes. If you’re looking for something a little off-kilter that will have you in and out in a flash, this is the comedy special for you.

I want something to watch with my friends.

Insecure

Time Investment: 3 seasons: 24 episodes, 12 hours

Forget navigating the crowds at the beach. Grab your pals and let Insecure take you to sunny L.A. from the comfort of your own couch. Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji star as best friends Issa and Molly, who are simply trying to become the greatest versions of themselves. Everyday life, uncomfortable experiences and romantic and professional aspirations keep getting in the way — but at least they have each other. Already a fan of Issa Rae’s comedy? Check out A Black Lady Sketch Show.

I like my comedy with an edge.

The Righteous Gemstones

Time Investment: 1 season: 9 episodes, 4.5 hours

Meet the Gemstones. They’re a famous family of televangelists, but beneath their long history of charitable work hides a layer of greed and deviance. Whether you’re a fan of creator and star Danny McBride or new to his darkly funny canon, rest assured this series will come with a bit of bite and a dash of blasphemy.

I’ve been meaning to watch this forever.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Time Investment: 9 seasons: 90 episodes, 45 hours

Larry David is inconvenienced. By everything: his wife, his job, his friends, his favorite restaurants — essentially the whole world around him. Thus is the basis of this series (wherein David stars as a fictionalized version of himself) and the reason for many of the jokes. With nine seasons to its name, this series will give you an excuse to stay inside for a while.

I’m looking for a fresh voice.

Ramy Youssef: Feelings

Time Investment: 1 hour

Ramy Youssef has a lot of feelings, and he wants to share them with you. The Egyptian-American comedian gets candid in this stand-up special, touching on everything from his complicated love for LeBron James to his father’s immigration story and unlikely connection to Donald Trump.

I’m in need of a ruthless satire.

Veep

Time Investment: 7 seasons: 65 episodes, 32.5 hours

“I’m the Vice President of the United States, you stupid little f**kers!” So declares Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to her incompetent staff in the first season of this series. It sums up everything you can expect from Veep: profanity with a side of politics.

I can’t deal with the FOMO any longer.

Barry

Time Investment: 2 seasons: 16 episodes, 8 hours

Now is the time to catch up on Bill Hader’s comedy about a hitman attempting to leave his life of crime to become an actor in Los Angeles. The Emmy-winning series, which also stars Henry Winkler, goes deep into its title character’s head and gets real about the difficulties of self-reinvention.

I’d prefer a cringefest.

The Comeback

Time Invested: 2 seasons: 21 episodes, 10.5 hours

Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow), a former sitcom star with a rapidly dimming spotlight, knows fame doesn’t come easy. So she agrees to a reality show about her attempt to relaunch her career — despite being completely out of touch with modern Hollywood. You’ll crack up, you’ll recoil and then burst into laughter again.