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Top 10 Best Cringe Humor Shows

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Written by Trevor Fonvergne You know how they say it’s impossible to look away from a train wreck? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cringe Humor Shows. For this list, we’ve selected our favorite shows that often utilize uncomfortable situations in the name of comedy. We’re also considering shows that have aspects of reality television, as long as the host and audience are in on the joke. Special thanks to our user Ashjbow for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Best+Cringe-Humor+Shows
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You know how they say it’s impossible to look away from a train wreck? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cringe Humor Shows.

For this list, we’ve selected our favorite shows that often utilize uncomfortable situations in the name of comedy. We’re also considering shows that have aspects of reality television, as long as the host and audience are in on the joke.

#10: “The Last Man on Earth” (2015-)

Will Forte made a name for himself playing awkward characters on “Saturday Night Live,” and his first TV leading role played to his strengths. The show focuses on Phil Miller, a man who believes himself to be the only survivor of a deadly virus until he discovers there are others. Pairing Forte with Kristen Schaal, a queen of cringe, was a stroke of casting genius, as the two have a rapport that can only be described as uncomfortable, but in the best way. That’s not to say the supporting cast of quirky characters doesn’t hit it out of the park as well. It’ll make you squirm, but you’ll love every minute.

#9: “Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule” (2010-)

John C. Reilly plays the host of this faux docuseries to awkward perfection. Dr. Brule is, in a word, strange. On his show, he “checks out” various facets of life by trying new things and interviewing talking heads, some of whom are unaware that Dr. Brule is just a character. The humor’s entirely derived from the title character, who seems oblivious to the embarrassment he causes himself and his guests. The series even delves into black humor as he occasionally reveals horrifying facts about his childhood to strangers. Their reactions vary, but they share one similarity: complete and utter discomfort.

#8: “I’m Alan Partridge” (1997-2002)

British humor was an inevitability on this list, and our first UK entry comes in the form of Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge. After a failed career in television, he’s been reduced to a night show on the radio. For someone who interacts with people for his job, he really manages to always say the wrong thing. As he ignores social cues and desperately tries to reach his former... err, glory, he manages to exasperate everyone around him. Watching him deal with these unnecessary complications can be painfully hilarious. You’d almost feel bad for him if he weren’t such a jerk.

#7: “Flight of the Conchords” (2007-09)

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie released their first comedy-folk album in 2002. Five years later, the two Kiwis began their critically acclaimed series of the same name. This musical series follows two struggling shepherds-turned-musicians in New York, with each episode featuring at least one original song incorporated into the plot. The pair has kinetic chemistry and each song is comedic gold, though the characters in the show may disagree. That is, except their stalker, Mel, played by Kristen Schaal, making her second appearance on this list. It’s probably the most uncomfortable New Zealand export since Gollum.

#6: “Nathan for You” (2013-)

Some of the most agonizing television moments can come from pseudo-reality series, and this is only the first example on this list. Nathan Fielder remains incredibly straight-faced as he attempts to sell outlandish ideas to help struggling small businesses, which utilize them despite initial hesitations. It can be hard not to feel bad for some of the victims, who become clearly irritated at the show’s ridiculousness, but Fielder’s charming and oblivious performance is pure comic genius that will have you laughing and wincing with every crazy plan and quirky personality he comes across. And sometimes, he just might even be able to fool the American public as well as his clients.

#5: “Louie” (2010-)

We’ve all been in situations where we aren’t really sure how to respond. For Louie, that happens every day. As a forty-something divorced father, he tries to navigate his professional and personal life with little social nuance. Louis C.K. takes his series to the extreme when it comes to bizarre and radical circumstances to put its lead in. These strange situations may have you laughing while you’re launching yourself out of the room to escape. There’s no other show that matches this unique brand of humor, which is at times ridiculous, but always relatable.

#4: “Da Ali G Show” (2000-04)

Before Sacha Baron Cohen was nabbing an Oscar nomination for “Borat,” the character made his debut on this pioneer cringe comedy series. Along with Borat, Cohen played Ali G, a white man who is maybe a little too fond of black culture, and Brüno, a flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter. These alter egos would engage in sketches and interviews each episode, with the interviewees believing that these reporters were actual people and not made-up characters. Unsurprisingly, it generated a large amount of backlash from those mocked and some controversy for his dismissal of PC culture in his comedy, though this only heightened the show’s cringe factor.

#3:“The Eric Andre Show” (2012-)

Eric Andre has remained a cult figure for most of his career, but this isn’t due to his lack of comic skills: in fact, this show relies on his relative obscurity. In a parody of local public access shows, he creates one of the most bizarre offerings on television. An episode typically consists of an unwitting celebrity being subjected to a torturously awkward interview and the occasional prank, as well as some off-the-wall “on the street” segments. Though the humor at times borders on mean-spirited, there’s really no looking away from this surreal and sometimes horrific series of vignettes. You gotta wonder how many agents get fired for putting their clients on this show.

#2: “The Office” (2001-03)

The American remake of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais’ genius series had a longer run and is more widely known, but it wouldn’t exist without the original. Gervais stars as the narcissistic and delusional David Brent, the general manager of Wernham Hogg paper merchants. He often creates an uncomfortable work environment for his dysfunctional staff, which pulls off the impressive feat of having the awkward sort of chemistry that makes them as endearing as they are agonizing. A pioneer of mockumentary television, its interview segments give us insight into the characters’ thoughts and feelings, which added a new dynamic to the cringe humor genre, and forever changed the game.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Comeback” (2005; 2014)

- “Extras” (2005-07)

- “Review” (2014-17)


#1: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000-)

Though Larry David first came to prominence for co-creating “Seinfeld,” his real magnum opus came years later when he took the spotlight. In “Curb,” he plays a petty, out-of-touch fictionalized version of himself. He often misunderstands social situations and disagrees with certain social conventions, putting him at odds with just about every person he interacts with. With a mix of written comedy and improvisation, the series has cemented its unique brand of charm, garnering critical praise and a huge fanbase. Nearly every other show on this list has described David as one of their major comedic influences, and it just doesn’t get any cringier than that.
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