Most comedy isn't funny. A sense of humour is personal. Given that one hour of cat video is uploaded to YouTube every second, clearly, there is no accounting for comedic taste. Some people find Ellen DeGeneres funny. Others see a smug yet benignly vengeful isolate still trying to crack the cool group at school. At least she has walked away from the sitcom.
Prime-time free-to-air sitcoms are even less funny than Ellen. Two and a Half Men (Go, all day, every day) and Mrs Brown's Boys (Seven, Wednesday, 9pm) are the worst offenders. I don't know if I am more annoyed by the laugh tracks or the misogyny. It's all bad. These shows are big raters with time-honoured roots that, in retrospect, weren't actually funny either. Mrs Brown, if we step away from that rich long line of men in British drag, owes more to the broad and predictable humour of Are You Being Served?Two and a Half Men shares some unhilarious lineage with shows such as Happy Days. Ashton Kucher is just a tall modern Fonzie to Jon Cryer's Potsie. That would make the fat kid Ralph Malph and … there is nothing to be gained by playing this game any further.
Who wants to watch "Two and a Half Sober Women"?
Let loose from Chuck Lorre's stable this week, the much-hyped Mom galloped towards the lowest common denominator. Mom (Nine, Wednesday, 9.40pm) is a minimum-wage-woman-in-uniform comedy (Alice, Laverne and Shirley, Two Broke Girls, New Normal), which always finds a neurotic blonde waitress living her American dream/nightmare of whipping off that apron because she's really somebody. In an inauspicious opening episode (the biggest audience applause was elicited from Jon Cryer's appearance as a patron holding a menu in the restaurant), an AA waitress (Anna Faris) and her rehab Mom (Allison Janney) drag us into their trying lives without drugs and alcohol. Who wants to watch Two and a Half Sober Women? The brilliant Janney must have been waiting for a meaty TV role since she stopped sprinting the corridors of the West Wing, and she is still waiting.
She could have nailed that role in Veep, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is spectacular in this genuinely funny show about a tiny angry foul-mouthed US vice-president.
The best comedies are on Showcase and the Comedy Channel because blue humour and confronting vulgar language is almost invariably funnier than Mrs Brown's Boys. (Mrs Brown can say "feck" all day long and she is still as unfunny as f- - -.)
Between the nudity and awkward sex in Girls or the truly obscene rapid-fire dialogue in Veep, there is genuinely adult comedy aplenty on pay TV. Granted, there are bigger laughs on Parks and Recreation and Family Guy, but some of the newer breed of humorous drama (comedies without jokes) is to be found on pay, far away from Cryer and all of Lorre's other highly successful predictable comedies. Silicon Valley (Comedy Channel, Wednesday, 8.30pm) is a timely bit of business about Californian start-ups. Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead) introduces us to some soon-to-be-billionaires in their Googlesque landscape. I know, nerds have big-banged us for years, but these characters are fresh and three-dimensional. Silicon Valley looks like an indie film, not a renovation of the Central Perk set from Friends.
It took enormous restraint to steer clear of Game of Thrones in print this week. Great show. Short on laughs. It will probably fall to the folks behind Blackadder to deliver a comedy take on this ratings juggernaut. I wouldn't rule out guest appearances from zombies and Vikings. Fewer dragons, more drag and we'd welcome Mrs Lannister's Boys.