Give me your worst (Dark Comedies)...
January 18, 2011 9:55 PM   Subscribe

TV-Filter: Help me find VERY Dark Comedy / Cartoons

I just rewatched the adult cartoon show 'Monkeydust" and it got me hankerin' for some more dark comedies that I haven't seen. So let me tell you what I have seen:

- Monkeydust (twisted cartoons that deal with the rough parts of life in the UK)
- Starved (comedy about eating disorders)
- Wonder Showzen (adult themed puppet show)
- Nathan Barley (funnier than most of the other shows, but still relatively adult)
- Nighty Night (wife attempts to get rid of her husband by telling everyone he is dead)
- Reggie Perrin (2008) (funny show at first, but you watch as the main character stops being funny and starts being crazy)

I'm sure I'm blanking on more of these, but let me know of anything else you might be aware of. I don't know much about the Adult Swim shows, but they look like some of them could be pretty wild.
posted by darkgroove to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Cartoons

It's a yearly collection that shows in movie theaters. Originally the two guys created an alternative to the Tournee of Animation, but when they included a few rather tasteless cartoons those turned out to be the fan favorites. Eventually they concentrated exclusive on such things.

But you can also watch some of them streamed from that web site.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:04 PM on January 18, 2011

Moral Orel is really creepy and dark. It was a stop motion animation show that aired on Adult Swim. It handles religion and the general horror of family/small towns.
posted by troublewithwolves at 10:10 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Second Moral Orel.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 10:11 PM on January 18, 2011

The original The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is worth seeking out: it's very much of its time, but I'm not sure why they tried to remake it.

Jam (though I prefer the audio Blue Jam). The League of Gentlemen. Snuff Box. Four Lions. Cartoon-wise, you might like Modern Toss, which made it onto IFC.
posted by holgate at 10:16 PM on January 18, 2011

Superjail. (The episode currently on Adult Swim's website is particularly awesome.)
The cartoons of Don Hertzfeldt, esp. the Oscar-nominated Rejected.

In the live action realm, you owe it to yourself to check out every. single. thing. that Chris Morris (co-creator of Nathan Barley) has ever done. Brass Eye, Jam, The Day Today, and his feature film Four Lions are all basically awesome, to one extent or another. Charlie Brooker (other co-creator of Nathan Barley) also has a very amusing show called Screenwipe. (I understand that his show Dead Set was also good, but I never saw it.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:24 PM on January 18, 2011

If you like Nathan Barley, make your way through all the Chris Morris (The Day Today and Brass Eye), Charlie Brooker (Morris and Brooker were responsible for Nathan Barley.. Brooker's also responsible for Screenwipe), and Armando Iannucci fare. Great stuff. There's a lot on YouTube and I'm sure you can find them on other streaming sites.

Here's Time Trumpet:
Episode One part 1, part 2, part 3
Episode Two part 1, part 2, part 3
Episode Three part 1, part 2, part 3
Episode Four part 1, part 2, part 3
Episode Five part 1, part 2, part 3
Episode Six part 1, part 2, part 3

I have a friend who would probably recommend 15 Storeys High to you.. I'm not a Sean Lock fan, but that might work. Have you seen Peep Show? I don't know if that counts as 'dark'? That seems a little subjective?

posted by Mael Oui at 10:29 PM on January 18, 2011

The Maxx
posted by SassHat at 10:32 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Argh, doesn't it just figure that I wouldn't close the SECOND /i in a whole long post?
posted by Mael Oui at 10:33 PM on January 18, 2011

Damnnnn.. and I also took too long composing my post so that Sticherbeast got to all my recs before I managed to post. AND it's all slanted. Just ignore my post!
posted by Mael Oui at 10:37 PM on January 18, 2011

Response by poster: @ Mael Oui: I *LOVE* 15 Storeys High (I own them all) and I have also seen all of Peep Show (but I would say it isn't too dark).

@Sticherbeast: I have the first season of Superjail around here somewhere, I'll need to get around to that. Also, I'm currently downloading Four Lions, I forgot that I saw the trailer for this a while ago and wanted to see it.

@Troublewithwolves: I'm grabbing Moral Orel as we speak.
posted by darkgroove at 10:38 PM on January 18, 2011

Happy Tree Friends
posted by philip-random at 10:41 PM on January 18, 2011

Puppets Who Kill
posted by Sys Rq at 11:04 PM on January 18, 2011

posted by nicebookrack at 11:24 PM on January 18, 2011

Robot Chicken? (claymated dark sketch comedy reimagining '80s tv shows. might be more insanity/stupidity than you want.)
posted by sninctown at 11:32 PM on January 18, 2011

Psychoville, by The League of Gentlemen's Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith.
posted by Bodd at 1:21 AM on January 19, 2011

Hmm... Cowboy Bebop came to mind, but I don't know if it was really that dark. It was really good, though, and definitely had some dark elements.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 AM on January 19, 2011

The darkest Chris Morris show is definitely Jam, which is just completely upsetting. Highly recommended. Blue Jam is even better if you like smoking drugs.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 2:30 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Good recs so far. I'd say you'd like the following:

Human Remains
15 Stories High
Snuff Box
The League of Gentlemen
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace?

I don't think Nathan Barley is dark at all but, as others say, if you like that get everything else Brooker and Morris have been involved in. Bear in mind that Brooker's original Nathan Barley cartoon is a thousand times better than the TV show.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:03 AM on January 19, 2011

I Am Not An Animal - an animation about a group of talking animals who escape from a vivisection laboratory. Completely insane and very funny.
posted by curiousorange at 5:18 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ren and Stimpy: The Lost Episodes.

I'm a bit of an animation nut and have seen quite a few oddities from a round the world, but this collection is VERY dark, twisted and disturbing ... and hilarious. They didn't have to please any network execs with these toons, so they pulled out all the stops and tried very hard to be as edgy and offensive as possible.

Also have you seen the sitcom Testees? This is by far the most outrageously funny US sitcom in decades!
posted by 00dimitri00 at 5:20 AM on January 19, 2011

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia. These people are sick. I love them.
posted by bijou243 at 6:17 AM on January 19, 2011

The IFC iteration of Greg the Bunny is pretty dark (and hilarious) - it's mainly film spoofs, but they are all over the place.

Speaking of IFC, Whitest Kids U Know is extremely dark, but is also pretty uneven. I'd suggest browsing their stuff on YouTube before committing to a season. (I think The Grapist is pretty funny, but my wife says it's way too dark to discuss in mixed company.)

Archer - Somehow FX stole the animated dark comedy crown from Adult Swim.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:26 AM on January 19, 2011

Monkey Dust
posted by daysocks at 6:40 AM on January 19, 2011

If you want dark, look no further than Metalocalypse. It's so funnily horribly uncomfortable that I have to turn it off sometimes.

Frisky Dingo is also like that.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:50 AM on January 19, 2011

Seconding Archer and robocop is bleeding's claim for the dark comedy crown. While a lot of it teeters towards the silly, Pam and Cheryl are always close by to keep it unbelievably twisted.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:52 AM on January 19, 2011

Something that's recently been running in Japan is a show called Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. It's...odd but the best way I can describe it is if Buttercup and Bubbles (of Powerpuff Girls fame) grew up as disaffected childhood stars, moved in together, and continued fighting crime. On one hand it's got something close to the same whimsical style of Powerpuff Girls. On the other hand, much of the comedy is extremely adult. For instance, Panty (one of the main characters) seems to have sex with at least one stranger per episode. Watch the first episode and see if it's what you're looking for. It's going to be subtitled-only at this point.

I'm not sure if I like it, personally, but I still want to watch it if only because it's rather strange to see that content and that art style juxtaposed just so.
posted by Phyltre at 8:01 AM on January 19, 2011

Seconding I Am Not An Animal. I can't believe how few people are familiar with it.

Oh, and Superjail! (also previously mentioned) is just so horribly bleak and psychedelically violent. It's wonderful.

I find a lot of the humor of Adult Swim-type shows (namely Archer & Frisky Dingo) to be all dependent on sociopaths being horrible to people. A little bit of that is good, but it does get old. I'm looking at you, Always Sunny.

Oh, some must watch web series: Puppet Rapist and Sexual Intercourse American Style. Really great.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 8:46 AM on January 19, 2011

I dunno if it's "dark" exactly, but if you like Ren & Stimpy, Morel Orel, and Archer, I'd include the Venture Bros.
posted by mdn at 9:42 AM on January 19, 2011

Nighty Night

...or anything else with Julia Davis. Don't think close to the bone, think missing limb.
posted by nicktf at 10:29 AM on January 19, 2011

...Of course it helps if I RTFA properly first!
posted by nicktf at 10:30 AM on January 19, 2011

Puppets Who Kill yt
posted by Sys Rq at 11:04 PM on January 18 [+] [!]

That's the one that I came in to mention, even if it's not completely dark.
posted by sardonyx at 10:45 AM on January 19, 2011

Louie! It's on Netflix streaming. If you like Louie CK, you'll probably like the show. I've watched the first season multiple times now and it still knocks me out, one of the funniest shows I've ever seen (and pretty goddamn dark).

Also seconding KITH: Death Comes to Town. It was super-dark and less absurd than their sketch comedy show (though still quite absurd!).
posted by dialetheia at 10:59 AM on January 19, 2011

Lucy, Daughter of the Devil used to be on adult swim. It's a lighthearted look at the battle between Jesus and Satan, when Satan's daughter Lucy is a total fangirl for Jesus. Usually contains some great cartoon death scenes.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:16 AM on January 19, 2011

John K. (Spumco) did three Yogi Bear shorts. Only one of which appears to be on YT.

Around the same time Gary Larson did an animated Far Side special.

If you want REALLY dark, then Happiness is the supermassive black hole of comedy.
posted by cmoj at 1:05 PM on January 19, 2011

Around the same time Gary Larson did an animated Far Side special.

He did two, FWIW.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:43 PM on January 19, 2011

You must see Brass Eye. Chris Morris at his brutal best, spoofing celebrities and nedia hysteria with deadly black cruelty.

Here's the first part of one of my favourite episodes: Drugs. I also strongly recommend the paedophilia one, to which the media being lampooned for their hysteria responded, beautifully, with... hysteria.
posted by Decani at 4:01 AM on January 20, 2011

Life and Times of Tim
posted by wcfields at 1:05 PM on January 20, 2011

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