Some of the best TV shows of all time have gotten by on the merit of their cast. This goes double for comedies! Let's be honest — no TV comedy can survive on just the skill of one person. You need everyone to mesh well together to get each and every laugh. Comedy ensembles can make or break a show, no matter how good the writing, production, or direction may be. The chemistry between some of the best TV comedy ensembles of all time is nothing short of magical. Remove just one piece of the puzzle and your entire show could fall apart. There's a reason why the best comedy series of the last few decades have all been led by multiple stars bouncing off each other!
Not every comedy ensemble is created equal. Numbers differ, the chemistry of the cast can ebb and flow. But one thing always holds true: you couldn't do the same thing with different actors. These comedy ensembles have created (and, in some cases, continue to create) something unique in the scope of TV comedy. While comedy can often be reduced to one guy standing on stage with a microphone, these shows prove that hilarity also comes in bigger numbers! Here are the best TV comedy ensembles of all time, definitively ranked!
New Girl follows Jess (Zoey Deschanel) as she moves in with three men she doesn't know after finding her boyfriend cheating on her. Sure, that sounds a little iffy (she even found them on Craigslist!) but the concept became a hilarious TV show. Jess's chemistry with the guys is undeniable from the very start creating one of the most unlikely comedy ensembles in sitcom history. Throughout the series, there was a bit of a struggle pulling the attention from Jess and her somewhat annoying "adorkable" nature. Many of the funnier parts of the ensemble were left in the dust depending on the season which is why New Girl ranks low on this list.
This is by far one of the most off-kilter comedy ensembles of all time, but these students-turned-family really sold viewers on their affection for one another. The always-meta show brought together comedy stars new and old for its weird subplots and college shenanigans. Chevy Chase and Donald Glover once shared a TV screen. Legends! The only issue is that the whole ensemble didn't stay together for the entire run of the show. As people left and were replaced with others, the quality dipped. But the first few seasons bred one of the most legendary comedy ensembles in recent history!
It can be a little hard to look back on How I Met Your Mother fondly considering how abysmal the series finale was. But if you ignore how it all ended, it's easy to see that this is one of the finest comedy ensembles of all time. The show ran for almost a decade and in that time the cast got super comfortable in their roles and with one another. It felt like Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall's (Jason Segal) marriage was real and no one plays a womanizer like Neil Patrick Harris. The reason this one ranks so low? Ted (Josh Radnor). He drags the whole ensemble down on occasion and oftentimes the show would perform just fine without his whiny demeanor. Though I guess we have him to thank for bringing the whole group together!
Sure, the show is mostly about Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) but the costars that surround her make the show as great as it is. The main ensemble stays intact for most of the series, but recurring stars slip in easily proving the versatility of the cast. Anyone can come in and out of this show and mesh with Kaling, Ed Weeks, and Ike Barinholtz. They make the show great and lift it up when it's in danger of becoming another "rom-com" series.
There's a reason why the Netflix revival of the series wasn't quite as well-received as the original run: the whole cast wasn't together! Shooting schedules prevented many of the returning cast members from working together and it hindered the series. But the first few seasons of the show were incredible solely due to the insane stuff these characters did and said together. The Bluths are a perfect comedy ensemble because they feel like a true family — dysfunctional and perpetually annoyed at each other. At the end of the day, though, they are always there for one another. If not for the lack of interaction between characters in the Netflix seasons, this series would rank a bit higher.
Workplace comedies are always a perfect home for comedy ensembles. They have to actually work well together to sell the premise that they work well together on TV. Scrubs makes working in a hospital look way more fun that it probably is! Zach Braff and Donald Faison play the ultimate workplace BFF's and bring to life the trials and tribulations of moving up the medical career ladder. Braff's J.D. may have been the main protagonist but it was the parts of the show where everyone was able to get together that were the best.
When Happy Endings came along, it was touted as another show trying to be Friends. It may have been another copy-cat "friends in the city" show but it was one of the best to tackle the concept. It is clear from the very first episode that the cast is a perfect fit together. They bounce off each other flawlessly, creating one of the greatest friend groups in TV history. Too bad viewers didn't know what they had until it was gone. (Also too bad that ABC decided to air the first season out of order to reframe the show's central storylines.) Happy Endings remains a huge "what if?" show as it could have spent a decade on TV if not for the poor ratings. The ensemble was that good!
You don't stay on the air as long as Modern Family without a stellar cast. With this much time together as the extended Dunphy family, everyone in the ensemble has made their roles feel completely lived-in. Any great comedy ensemble not only makes us laugh, but makes us believe that they're as close as they appear to be on TV. With a cast that spans decades in age, you'd think it may be hard for them to all play off each other so gleefully. But you would be totally wrong. From the youngest member of the family to the patriarch that runs them all, there's no shortage of perfect scene partners. The only drawback to this stellar cast is that when you've been on TV this long, some of the gags and character quirks get a little tired!
Until this series came along, there wasn't an Asian-American fronted sitcom on TV for decades. It was well worth the wait, though, for this gem of a TV show. All hail Constance Wu, the star of 2018's Crazy Rich Asians and the glue that holds this ensemble together. The real key to this strong cast is how they work together seamlessly to depict the immigrant experience. From Grandma Huang (Lucille Soong), who doesn't speak any English, to the youngest member of the Huang family who has inserted himself so assuredly in American culture, the family dynamic between the separate generations creates not only hilarious moments but heartfelt ones too!
The cast of Always Sunny is by far the raunchiest comedy ensemble on TV! The Paddy's Pub gang are not great people, which is probably what makes them so hilarious. They guide each other in the wrong direction constantly and have no clue how to make an actual good decision. But that's why we love them! This ensemble works because of the chemistry the cast has off-screen as well as on. Stars Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day were friends for years before embarking on a TV show together. Oh, and McElhenney and costar Kaitlin Olson are married! When your relationships off-screen are so close everything on-screen is that much better.
The Good Place is the twistiest-turniest sitcom on TV, but it definitely doesn't need any gimmicks to be great. It gets by on the merit of one of the best comedy ensembles on television right now! While the show is asking big questions about morality and good vs. evil, it's quietly showing off how talented the cast is. Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, and William Jackson Harper are a fantastic foursome. Throw legendary TV star Ted Danson into the mix and you have a winning combination of comedic talents. The cliffhangers and jaw-dropping moments are fun and all, but we're here for the smaller character moments that show just how well these people work together.
This is truly one of the most dedicated comedy ensembles on TV. No matter what is happening on the show, everyone is always all in. The background gags and running jokes between the cast all thread themselves in naturally to the political action happening around them. Characters interact with whip-fast dialogue that seems almost impossible to follow. But they pull it off excellently. This is an ensemble that is comfortable with each other in the most intimate of ways on camera and can react to one another perfectly. There's a reason why the show and most of its stars have been awards nominees and recipients since Veep's inception!
This is definitely an office we would actually like to work in. The employees of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company comprise one of the largest ensembles on TV without sacrificing the tightness of the comedy. It doesn't matter who you pair together in a scene, you're getting comedic magic no matter what. The ensemble changed, expanded, and sometimes shrank throughout the years, but the tone and chemistry remained perfectly right throughout. That's when you know you have some talented actors working together!
30 Rock explored the inner workings of a sketch comedy show akin to Saturday Night Live, so it only makes sense that the ensemble is full of messy, hilarious, ever-changing characters. Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin lead the misfit NBC employees that run amok all over 30 Rockafeller Center. Let's be honest, Fey is hilarious but her schtick can get a bit old. That said, the show is truly the sum of all of its parts and everyone is made better by the people around them. Characters that may be annoying or too one-note on their own become hilarious and multi-faceted when they have interactions with others. This is an example of perfect casting and undeniable chemistry.
This show has one of the OG comedy ensembles. While other shows had vast, funny casts before this one, it was Cheers that used them in such a way that their interactions became the most important part of the show. In a place where "everybody knows your name" — everyone from the bartenders to the bar regulars interacts in unique and silly ways. There's romance, friendship, and always a shoulder to turn to when things go bad. This cast worked together perfectly as a "found family" of people who didn't go to a bar mid-day to drink but to be together. You really believed that the best part of their day was the part where they got to all hang out.
This is the prime example of not judging a TV show by its first season. Parks and Recreation's inaugural season isn't the best, but if you stick with it, you'll find the greatest group of misfits ever assembled on TV. This is a case of getting the exact right people together at the exact right time and creating something special. Every element of this ensemble is fundamentally different, but they never feel like caricatures and never feel out-of-place among their friends and coworkers. On the contrary, they even each other out perfectly — like Andy (Chris Pratt) lightening April (Aubrey Plaza) up and Ann (Rashida Jones) calming Chris (Rob Lowe) down when he's too wound up. When new people come along they don't disrupt the ensemble, they add to it. Because everyone is welcome in Pawnee!
This show about "nothing" was actually about one of the greatest sitcom ensembles of all time. Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards are the most recognizable TV foursome of all time. Sure, the show was named after Seinfeld, but that didn't mean that it was all about him. His friends Elaine, George, and Kramer got their fair share of wacky moments and storylines. All four stars became comedy icons just from their scenes with one another on camera. The magic between them was that strong! There's no denying that Seinfeld is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time and that has everything to do with the incredible cast.
This is one of the strongest ensemble comedies to come out of the last few years and with good reason. When you throw together heavyweights like Terry Crews and Andy Samberg, you're going to get good results! But it's more than sticking tried-and-true comedy stars together. Many members of the cast were virtually unknown before Brooklyn Nine-Nine began. Showrunners took the time to craft a cast that had chemistry and flowed well together instead of throwing together big names. Who would have thought to use Andre Braugher in a comedic role before this show?! The success of this ensemble is all in who was cast and how they were used!
Kelsey Grammer started as Frasier Crane on Cheers, so he had great ensemble comedy in his blood. By the time Frasier got his own show, the perfect cast was built around him to ensure success. There's a reason this show ran for 11 years and won 37 Emmy Awards! Grammer played off of his TV-brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) expertly, and it felt as if the two were really brothers. Throw their fake dad into the mix and you have a realistic portrait of a too-smart, too-silly, and too-dysfunctional family. Even bit players like Frasier's ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth), pop into the action of the series like they were meant to be there. This series will remain "Must See TV" forever thanks to the Crane family chemistry.
Could number one be anything else?! Of course not! Friends is the quintessential ensemble comedy — the entire premise is about these six friends being close. Rounds and rounds of casting calls and read-throughs led to the perfect six people to portray friends living life together in NYC. You couldn't have the show with even one of the core friends missing. They were all so integral to the functionality of the show! That's when you know you have an incredible ensemble — when there are no weak links. Networks have spent years trying to recreate the magic of Friends, and that has everything to do with it being the greatest comedy ensemble of all time!