The 14 Most Highly Anticipated TV Comedy Events of Early 2024

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The 14 Most Highly Anticipated TV Comedy Events of Early 2024

Somehow we made it through the wilderness, i.e., the double strike of 2023’s summer and part of the fall. And now, all the scripted shows that got put on hold are about to come back. Below, we’ve collected some of the most exciting announcements for the first quarter of 2024, both returning favorites and intriguing new titles. (Note: This is just what we know about as of this writing, and all of these dates are potentially subject to change.)

‘Only Murders in the Building’ on ABC (1/3)

2023’s dual entertainment strikes made for an unconventional TV season. ABC went a little harder on its unscripted and game shows (hello, Golden Bachelor), but as its scripted shows ramp back up for premieres in the late winter and early spring, it’s borrowing from its corporate cousin. Only Murders in the Building has been a hit on Hulu since its premiere in 2021, and now, ABC viewers who don’t subscribe will get to see what all the fuss has been about — and test their own sleuthing skills against those of Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez).

Season 16 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ on MTV (1/5)

RuPaul’s Drag Race, admittedly, tests its queens on a variety of criteria: beauty, fashion, acting, dance, spokesmodeling, charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. But, for me, these are all secondary to comedy, since queens not only have to perform in explicitly comic sketches and roasts; they must also show us they can be funny off-the-cuff in their talking-head interviews. Will Mirage outshine Hershii LiqCour-Jeté? Will Plasma wash out Morphine Love Dion? I can’t wait to find out.

Season Four of ‘The Great North’ on Fox (1/7)

A mainstay of Fox’s Sunday-night animation block since its premiere in 2021, The Great North is coming off the bench, having had its slot occupied by Krapopolis throughout the fall. A sibling to Bob’s Burgers, sharing animation style (and studio) as well as some common writing talent — including North co-creators Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin (who, full disclosure, are friends of mine) — the fourth season kicks off fancifully. When Ham (voice of Paul Rust) has to prepare a speech for a public-speaking class, his family tries to inspire him with stories borrowed from Top GunGood Will Hunting and The Matrix.

‘Grimsburg’ on Fox (1/7)

Since breaking out on Mad Men, Jon Hamm has shown off his comedy chops all across media; seemingly, no part is too small, including turns in animation as a talking toilet (Bob’s Burgers) or anthropomorphized plate of spoiled scallops (Big Mouth). At last, he has lined up a role at the center of an animated comedy, and one he apparently believes in strongly, since he’s also an executive producer. In Grimsburg, he plays Marvin Flute, a detective as good at murder investigations — and, incidentally, dollhouse furniture construction — as he is bad at being a husband and father. The cast also includes Erinn Hayes as his estranged wife, journalist Harmony; Rachel Dratch as Stan, their son; and the prolific Alan Tudyk as Marvin’s nemesis, Dr. Rufis Pentios.

‘Jacqueline Novak: Get on Your Knees’ on Netflix (1/23)

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is, famously, a place for comics to present one-person shows that are deeply personal and deeply funny. Get on Your Knees satisfies both requirements, revolving as it does around the topic of oral sex. A triumphant Off-Broadway run in 2019 was to have been followed by a tour the next year; it ended up happening in 2021 and 2022 instead, and all of us who missed it live will soon be able to watch it at home.

‘Kevin James: Irregardless’ on Prime Video (1/23)

Lots of celebrities turn into memes for reasons beyond their control and possibly against their will. Few of them will be secure and witty enough not only to acknowledge and be chill about it, but to rename their tour to reflect it while said tour is in progress. For the Prime Video special version of his latest stand-up set, Kevin James reverted to the original title, Irregardless. But what you or I choose to call it in hearts is none of his concern. 

‘In the Know’ on Peacock (1/25)

Last year, Peacock passed one of its most comedy-snob-targeted shows off to Netflix (and we’ll come back to it — keep reading). While In the Know doesn’t cover the same material as Girls5Eva, it will likely attract the same audience. In the platform’s first original adult animation show, Mike Judge (King of the Hill) and Zach Woods (Veep) team up for the first time since they worked together on Silicon ValleyIn the Know is set at the eponymous, and fictional, NPR show; Woods voices Lauren Caspian — “NPR’s third most popular host,” per Deadline, but less of a Terry Gross-type favorite of the literati than a likable idiot. The show finds Lauren interviewing human guests from the real world. If this is even half as funny as Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist or Space Ghost Coast to Coast, it’ll definitely be worth checking out.

Season 12 of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ on HBO (2/4)

Curb Your Enthusiasm — the very loosely scripted sitcom about a very loosely fictionalized version of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David — has been threatening to end almost since it premiered. But this time, it seems like everyone involved, including HBO, might actually mean it. Even if you’ve drifted away from the show over the last decade or so, this could be the time to come back. What wish list guest stars did they finally land? Which previously unthinkable gags did they finally decide to try? I plan to find out.

Season Three of ‘Abbott Elementary’ on ABC (2/7)

In a remarkably short period of time, Abbott Elementary — all about the hardworking teachers at the underfunded public school that gives the show its name — has become one of TV’s most reliable feel-good shows, so its absence from the fall schedule due to the strikes was a particular disappointment. (Abbott’s second-grade teacher Janine Teagues would undoubtedly support the striking actors and writers; her alter ego Quinta Brunson certainly did, since she was on strike with both unions.) The Season Two finale took a romantic relationship off the table for Janine and Gregory (Tyler James Williams); how Janine chooses to fill the time she will have while she’s not dating him should keep her new students very busy.

Season Six of ‘The Conners’ on ABC (2/7)

As I wrote here at the end of its last seasonThe Conners isn’t always a delight to watch. Its mission of reflecting the realities of working-class life in 2020s America has meant that even when its characters aren’t digging themselves out of newly arising catastrophes, they’re still contending with a fairly high level of ambient misery. But with the coming sixth season very possibly being its last, I’m more eager than ever to see how these writers wrap things up (and make sure they do it better than the first Roseanne series finale, arguably one of the worst in sitcom history).

‘Stupid Pet Tricks’ on TBS (2/11)

In 2022, David Letterman launchedYouTube channel, surfacing clips from his early years in broadcasting for the first time in decades. Two years later, Letterman’s excavation of his formative years continues with Stupid Pet Tricks. Originally a recurring segment on NBC’s Late Night With David Letterman, revived for CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman, this half-hour version will be hosted by Sarah Silverman and feature, well, exactly what the title promises. (Here’s hoping Silverman can get through it without controversy so that we can focus on the cute animals.)

‘The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy’ on Prime Video (2/23)

It may be a while before we get more Poker Face, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be entirely bereft of Natasha Lyonne in our lives. Yes, there will probably be more Old Navy commercials, but soon there will also be The Second Best Hospital in the Galaxy, too. In this animated comedy, Lyonne and Maya Rudolph co-star as alien surgeons who are also best friends (much as Rudolph and Lyonne are in real life; they’re also both executive producers on the project). The cast includes Keke Palmer, Kieran Culkin and recent Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once). 

Season Three of ‘Girls5Eva’ on Netflix (3/14)

Fans of Girls5Eva — TV’s only musical sitcom about a barely successful early aughts girl group and my personal pick for 2022’s funniest TV show — have really been on a roller coaster since the end of the show’s second season in 2022. As mentioned above with regard to In the KnowGirls got canceled from its original platform, Peacock. Then it got picked up for a third season at Netflix. Then, those of us who follow Girl Busy Philipps (who plays Summer) on Instagram watched her behind-the-scenes photos and Stories as they shot the third season, finishing just before the strikes in the spring of 2023. And then we just had to WAIT. Thank god the wait is finally over, because I have got to see what these lunatics get up to on tour. 

‘Palm Royale’ on AppleTV+ (3/20)

AppleTV+ is, of course, a relatively new streaming platform that is still trying to define its ethos. Even so, its comedies have been a real mixed bag: You are probably either a Dickinson person (and if so, let’s talk about it, because I still miss it) or a Ted Lasso person. I’m not sure where Palm Royale — in which Kristen Wiig plays desperate social climber Maxine in 1969 Palm Beach — lands, but I’m curious to find out.

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