21 Sitcoms Featuring Standup Comic Geniuses

The worst-kept secret in the TV industry is that comedians and stand-up comics are much better actors than anybody gives them credit for. Funny folks understand what it takes to deliver their lines better than anyone due to years of signature punch lines and monologues. They also significantly understand human emotions and random situations that cause joy and distress because their acts often involve critiques or satires of similar scenarios. 

TV executives used to be dedicated to greenlighting sitcoms starring stand-up comedians, especially in the 1980s through the mid-2000s. We want to rank the 22 best sitcoms starring stand-up comedians ever made. You’re sure to find one of your childhood favorites on our list!

1. Seinfeld (1989-1998)

Seinfeld Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander
Image Credit: West/Shapiro Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment.

The show about nothing was a phenomenon like no other in the 1990s. Jerry Seinfeld partnered with Larry David to create a sitcom that capitalized on the former’s unique brand of observational comedy. From the frustration at not being able to remember where you parked to the struggles of not self-pleasuring for an extended time, Seinfeld always found a way to glean keen insights and laughs from the most average, everyday occurrences. 

2. Home Improvement (1991-1999)

home improvement
Image Credit: Walt Disney Co.

Tim Allen was on top of the world in the 1990s. He was a movie star with appearances in Toy Story and The Santa Claus, and he was everyone’s favorite dim-witted dad on Home Improvement. Playing Tim Taylor, Allen grunted and blundered his way through life for eight seasons of family fun. The show featured plenty of Allen’s comedic insights on gender roles and machismo, but it was always presented in an extremely palatable format to children. 

3. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)

everybody loves raymond
Image Credit: HBO Independent Productions. 

Ray Romano sometimes felt like an afterthought in a sitcom featuring many brilliant performances. Ray Barone wasn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer, but he meant well and tried his best. Surrounded by unruly and demanding family members, such as his parents Frank and Marie (played by the fantastic Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle), Ray is always causing jealousy, distrust, or frustration in the funniest ways imaginable. 

4. Roseanne (1988-1997)

Roseanne Roseanne Barr, Laurie Metcalf
Image Credit: ABC.

While she isn’t exactly the most popular comedienne in the world anymore, and she was kicked off of her own show’s reboot, Roseanne Barr was a rock-solid star of this revolutionary 1980s sitcom. Roseanne was a visceral, raw depiction of lower-class America during a time when so many other shows liked only to depict their wealthier counterparts. 

5. The King of Queens (1998-2007)

the king of queens
Image Credit: CBS Productions.

Who doesn’t simply love Kevin James? The cuddly comedian’s humor was like getting a big bear hug every week when you tuned into The King of Queens. James played Doug Heffernan, a delivery driver who just wants to go to work, come home, hang with his friends, and enjoy the company of his wife when she isn’t getting upset at his oft-clueless nature. This show is considered a spinoff of Everybody Loves Raymond.

6. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)

The Cosby Show Bill Cosby
Image Credit: NBC.

Watching The Cosby Show was comfort food for the soul in the 1980s. Starring Bill Cosby as the quintessential TV father of the time period, the Huxtable family was perhaps the most important fictional brood of the 20th century. The series was vital to the growth of diverse programming on network television, with many other Black comedians getting a chance at their own show after Bill Cosby set the standard here. 

7. Ellen (1994-1998)

Ellen: The Puppy Episode Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge
Image Credit: The Black/Marlens Company and Touchstone Television.

Before becoming the most popular daytime talk show host of the 2010s, Ellen Degeneres starred in her titular sitcom that explored feminism, LGBTQ+ themes, and more. Ellen is most remembered as the vehicle through which Degeneres came out as lesbian when her character did so in “The Puppy Episode”. 

8. George Lopez (2002-2007)

The George Lopez Show Tv Series
Image Credit: Fortis Productions, Mohawk Productions, Warner Bros. Television.

If you grew up in the late 2000s, close your eyes and think back to those late nights you fell asleep on the couch before being prompted to go to bed by your mother. You probably have the theme song of George Lopez, “Low Rider,” playing in your head as we speak. The show was sentimental for those who grew up on it and remained one of the only multi-camera sitcoms to ever focus on a Latino family. Lopez’s humor focuses on stereotypes surrounding Mexicans, but episodes always close with a lot of heart. 

9. The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)

The Carol Burnett Show
Image Credit: mptvimages.com.

Before she turned in one of the best dramatic performances of 2022 on Better Call Saul, Carol Burnett had been living in the bask of her past glories on The Carol Burnett Show. This brilliant leading lady was revolutionary as the lead actress in her own sketch comedy series in the 1970s, with the subjects of the skits being focused on musical numbers and light-hearted humor of the decade. 

10. The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978)

The Bob Newhart Show (1972)
Image Credit: CBS.

One of the true pioneers of the standup-to-sitcom format was Bob Newhart. His titular program was an ingenious avenue for his deadpan humor as he played a psychologist surrounded by brash and sometimes quirky supporting characters in his practice and his family. Newhart would have even more success in the 1980s with the subsequent sitcom Newhart.

11. Mad About You (1972-1978)

Mad About You (1992)
Image Credit: TriStar Television.

Paul Reiser and Holly Hunt were standout stars of this oft-forgotten 1990s sitcom about the trials and tribulations of a married couple who try to overcome the many different aspects of being freshly wedded. Reiser has a very amicable demeanor in his comedic style that repeatedly welcomes viewers to the screen. 

12. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000- Present Day)

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Image Credit: HBO Entertainment.

A bit like Seinfeld but with all of Larry David’s unique humor undiluted by anybody else, Curb Your Enthusiasm is like getting a front-row seat to whatever is happening in David’s mind at any given second. One of the longest-running shows in cable TV history, the series isn’t for everyone, but if you love observational humor and absurd situations, this will be a riot. 

13. Sanford and Son (1972-1977)

Sanford and Son Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson
Image Credit: NBC.

Red Foxx’s iconic 1970s sitcom was a precursor to many brash, racially-focused entertainment and media that would dominate the airwaves in subsequent years. Sanford and Son is a sharp sitcom about a father and son who often come into contact with diverse groups of people who Foxx’s character has a loud, often inappropriate opinion about. 

14. My Wife and Kids (2001-2005)

My Wife and Kids (2000)
Image Credit: Touchstone Television.

Damon Wayans stars as the head of the Kyle family, a typical Black household living in Connecticut in the early 2000s. The series does a great job putting its own spin on the traditional old-school series of past decades that put zany family members and friends in the orbit of the main character, much to his chagrin and short-tempered patience. 

15. Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)

Everybody Hates Chris (2005)
Image Credit: CBS Paramount Network Television.

Chris Rock is the narrative voiceover in the background of this downright hilarious homage to his childhood growing up in New York. Much like Rock’s stand-up routine, the show’s humor is derived from his opinions on Black family households, racism in the United States, commentary on finances, and classicism. Think of this like a modern version of The Wonder Years

16. The Nanny (1993-1999)

Fran Drescher
Image Credit: TriStar Television.

Fran Drescher is a trailblazer in her own way, taking just the right amount of physical comedy from Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball and combining it with her vibrant Brooklyn accent to form protagonist Fran Fine. The Nanny had a distinctive New York vibe in the 1990s, but it still felt a lot different than other shows that took place in the boroughs. The show focusing on the found family as Fran becomes more involved in the lives of the household she nannies for is always fun to see. 

17. The Bill Engvall Show (2007-2009)

The Bill Engvall Show (2007)
Image Credit: Parallel Entertainment.

Bill Engvall came to the sitcom game a little later than his peers, but this short-running show on TBS was a funny little piece of comedy for those who enjoy Engvall’s blue-collar sense of humor. Jennifer Lawrence plays the Pearson family’s oldest daughter in one of her first roles before transforming into a movie star in the 2010s. 

18. The Bernie Mac Show (2001-2006)

The Bernie Mac Show (2001)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Bernie Mac’s sitcom was quite a bit more meta than other comedians’ shows because he plays a fictionalized version of himself who remains a famous stand-up artist in the show’s story. The Bernie Mac Show was a hit for FOX in the early 2000s because it gave earnest and funny commentary on Black households. 

19. The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004)

The Drew Carey Show (1995 - 2004)
Image Credit: 1996 Carsey Werner.

He’s more known for hosting The Price is Right now, but Drew Carey was quite the funny sitcom star on The Drew Carey Show before he became game show famous. Unlike many other shows starring comedians, this one didn’t surround its star with a family and make him a dad, instead going for more of a workplace show vibe. 

20. Mork and Mindy (1978-1982)

Mork & Mindy (1978)
Image Credit: Paramount Television.

Usually just thought of as Robin Williams’ introduction to the world of TV and film, Mork and Mindy was a perfect platform to show off Williams’ zany and chaotic humor to a broader audience. The series shows the funny situations of an alien and a human who move in together and eventually fall in love with hilarious results. 

21. The Jeff Foxworthy Show (1995-1997)

The Jeff Foxworthy Show (1995)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Television.

Not exactly a long-running series, The Jeff Foxworthy Show was another plug-and-play standup comedy show that put Foxworthy in the role of a sitcom dad. His humor, which usually focuses on Southern stereotypes and redneck jokes, was good for a niche audience but didn’t always enthrall the masses.