Watch on YouTube TV

The History of Comedy

Watch live TV from 70+ networks
Free unlimited cloud DVR storage space
6 accounts per household included
$49.99/month.
Cancel anytime.
CNN Original Series examines the historic influence of comedy in an eight-part documentary. Archival footage and contemporary interviews with comedy legends, scholars and current stars combine to explore what makes people laugh and how comedy has affected history's social and political landscape. Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Jimmy Kimmel, Kathy Griffin, George Lopez, Keegan-Michael Key, Conan O'Brien, Patton Oswalt and Dick Cavett are among those interviewed. The series begins by profiling "blue" comics like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. Subsequent episodes detail women in comedy, political humor, parody and satire, comedy ripped from the headlines, the dark side of comedy, comedy in race and culture, and comedy found in everyday life.

Latest episodes

VOD available
Exploring the fascinating mind of the comedian and the difficult road that many seem destined to take -- where mental illness and substance abuse are remarkably common.
VOD available
Examining how comedians find humor in the simple daily experiences we all share to make us laugh.
VOD available
Exploring family-friendly comedy and the struggles of abiding by strict network censors.
VOD available
Examining the many different ways that comedy has lampooned and influenced politics over the years.
VOD available
Exploring the passing of comedic legends and how the connection with their audiences makes the loss more significant.
VOD available
Tracing the origins of topical humor from the invention of the monologue to the fake news shows of today.
VOD available
The history between animation and comedy.
aired 361 days ago
How sexual humor, one of the oldest forms of comedy, pushes the limits of both comfort and political correctness.
VOD available
Exploring and celebrating the greatest female comedians of all time and how they were able to succeed in every genre where humor is found despite rampant sexism and prejudice.
VOD available
A look at groundbreaking comics, including George Carlin, Dick Gregory and Lenny Bruce, who embraced the risqué side of comedy and risked careers, prison, and even their lives to fight censorship.
VOD available
The history of comedic duos and the evolution of comedy teams.
VOD available
Exploring the evolution of racial humor; how comedy can cross cultural barriers to unite people.
VOD available
Demonstrating how effective and funny it is when something serious is twisted slightly.
aired 500 days ago
Exploring the history of sketch and improv comedy and how it evolved into a significant part of comedic talent today.

Similar on YouTube TV

Comic and political provocateur W. Kamau Bell hosts this CNN original documentary series in which he travels to the far corners of America to explore race-based subcultures. Using humor to soften his experiences, Bell willingly subjects himself to awkward situations -- like attending a cross-burning, hate-mongering Ku Klux Klan session -- to demonstrate "the many diverse and colorful definitions of America," CNN says. Bell also visits a gated retirement community, experiences inner-city policing, spends time with spring break revelers, speaks to prison inmates, and travels to the Last Frontier.
With the Vietnam War, the British Invasion, Woodstock, the Civil Rights Movement, and JFK's assassination, the 1960s represent, perhaps, the most consequential decade in U.S. history. It was a period of monumental social and political change, altering virtually every aspect of American life for future generations. "The Sixties," a 10-episode documentary executive-produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog, explores the people, events and discoveries that defined how citizens came to think about their government, their place in the world, and themselves. It combines archival newsreel footage, personal movies, interviews, and comments by historians, journalists, politicians, celebrities and others, bringing new perspectives about a landmark decade.
Executive-produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog, CNN's eight-part documentary picks up where the network's critically acclaimed and highly-rated series "The Sixties" ended. Episodes examine the people, events and cultural touchstones that defined the '70s, delving into everything from the impact of the Vietnam War to the unprecedented scandal of Watergate. Also covered are the Iran Hostage Crisis, the sexual revolution, the Munich Olympics massacre, and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. The documentary combines archival newsreel footage, personal movies, interviews, and comments by historians, journalists, politicians, celebrities and others, bringing new perspectives about a consequential decade.
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers hosts this CNN original series, an eight-part look at complex true stories of America's covert operations. The newly declassified missions are recounted firsthand by agents from all 16 U.S. intelligence bureaus, providing viewers with unprecedented access to a secret world of espionage. The missions span time periods from Cold War-era Moscow to modern-day Iran, from the streets of 1980s Cuba to Beijing of today. Among the stories covered are the military's hunts for Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Narrated and co-executive produced by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, "Race for the White House" captures the high-stakes drama, dirty politics and Machiavellian schemes employed during history's most dramatic presidential elections. Using archival footage, interviews and stylized dramatizations, each hourlong episode tells the story of one presidential campaign, "a four-year, no-holds-barred battle to become the most powerful person in the world, culminating in a single night of heart pounding tension," says CNN. Among the races covered: Abraham Lincoln/Stephen Douglas, John F. Kennedy/Richard Nixon, and George H.W. Bush/Michael Dukakis.
The third installment from executive producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog, following in the footsteps of critically-acclaimed series "The Sixties" and "The Seventies," tackles 10 years shaped by exceptionalism and excess. Like its predecessors, "The Eighties" intersperses rare archival newsreel footage, interviews, and comments by historians, journalists, politicians, celebrities and others, painting a perspective-rich picture of a vibrant decade. Episodes examine the age of Reagan, the AIDS crisis, the end of the Cold War, Wall Street corruption, the evolving TV and music scene, and everything in between.
Award-winning journalist and author Lisa Ling reports on unconventional lifestyles in the U.S. The former co-host of "The View" introduces viewers to subcultures and communities that are extraordinary and sometimes dangerous, and her interpersonal skills prompt interviewees to discuss matters they don't share with close friends or even family. "I have always believed that the more we know about each other, the more evolved we become," Ling says about the intent of the hourlong documentaries.
Tom Hanks executive produces this series "The Nineties" with Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog. "The Nineties" delves deeply into the decade that brought about the rise of the internet -- it may have been dial-up but it still brought great joy and frustration -- and many other technological advancements such as DVDs --the VHS became a dying breed once DVDs came about -- and stepping stones in culture, politics, fashion, and music. The decade also saw the rise of six famous friends living in Manhattan and a young man in brightly colored cardigans, suspenders, and glasses.
Romesh Ranganathan is one of the most popular stand-ups in the UK, and he takes on the task of uprooting his entire family and moving to Los Angeles. Ranganathan's family includes his wife, three kids, his Sri Lankan mother, and his eccentric uncle. Follow the family as it seeks to rebuild life from scratch, with all of the obstacles surrounding an overseas move. Ranganathan also books himself a daring gig in which he needs to sell out a 6,000 seat theater in just three months.