A couple of months ago, there might have been mornings when you didn’t feel like getting out of bed, putting yourself together, and spending eight hours at work surrounded by coworkers…but maybe now it doesn’t sound so bad? If it’s still going to be a little while before you return to your desk, maybe these office comedies can help you feel like you’re back at your office, drinking the crappy free coffee and dreading the meeting that could have been an email.
Late Night (2019)
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is the host of a long-running late-night talk show that may be on its last legs creatively, and is steadily losing its audience. Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling, who also wrote the screenplay) is hired to the writing staff despite her lack of experience, helping to revitalize the show, though network pressure to replace Katherine with a hotter young male comedian (Ike Barinholtz) still looms.
Great News (2017–2018)
Ex-30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield created this sitcom about Katie (Briga Heelan), a segment producer at middling newsmagazine show The Breakdown, whose work life is upended when her worshipful yet intrusive mother, Carol (Andrea Martin), is hired as an intern. Nicole Richie kills the little screen time she gets as Portia, The Breakdown’s glossy cohost.
Before changing comedy on I Think You Should Leave, Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin cocreated this sitcom (with Joe Kelly and Sam Richardson). After inheriting a successful local Detroit ad agency from his father, Tim (Robinson) partners with his best friend Sam (Richardson) to continue making commercials, though the two are frequently hampered by bad ideas, overconfidence, and drunkenness.
Silicon Valley (2014–2019)
Richard (Thomas Middleditch) has a good job as a programmer at Hooli, a gigantic Bay Area tech company. On the side he’s developed a data-compression algorithm, which he successfully pitches to a venture capitalist so that he can start his own company. Richard and his friends then spend the next several years learning how the tech world really works—when he’s not accidentally causing scandals or making himself sick from the stress.
Better Off Ted (2009–2010)
Veridian Dynamics is a large global conglomerate that employs scientists, generally to research and develop technologies Veridian will be able to sell to the military for billions of dollars. Divorced single dad Ted (Jay Harrington) liaises between the researchers and the suits, trying to curb the worst impulses of his soulless boss, Veronica (Portia de Rossi), while also flirting with his colleague Linda (Andrea Anders).
30 Rock (2006–2013)
Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), harried creator and head writer of The Girlie Show on NBC, is aghast when Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) comes over from GE to run programming, and orders her to add a new performer to her cast: the famously unstable and unpredictable Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan).
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Before cocreating Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Aline Brosh McKenna adapted the best-selling novel of the same name into this beloved film. New grad Andy (Anne Hathaway), despite a disdain for style, ends up as second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance), the powerful and terrifying editor of a legendary fashion magazine.
The Thick of It (2005-2012)
Though Armando Iannucci is best known in the U.S. for creating Veep, one of his most treasured series in his native U.K. is The Thick of It. A savage satire of British government, the star of the series is Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), a spectacularly profane fixer whose ruthlessness in preserving his party’s power knows no limits.
In Good Company (2004)
Dan (Dennis Quaid), the middle-aged head of ad sales for a successful sports magazine, has his career stalled when a corporation called Globecom acquires his publication and installs Tyler (Topher Grace), an MBA half Dan’s age, as his boss. Dan does his best to maintain friendly relations with Tyler, including inviting him over for dinner, where Tyler takes a liking to Dan’s daughter, college freshman Alex (Scarlett Johansson).
In this dark romantic comedy, Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal) recovers from in-patient treatment for self-harm and takes a job as the assistant to attorney Edward (James Spader). Edward is an extremely strict taskmaster, punishing Lee for every typo, and she eventually figures out that he is drawn to her submissiveness and enthusiastically enters into BDSM play with him.
The Office (2001–2003)
This British mockumentary, set in the Slough office of a paper company, revolves around David Brent (Ricky Gervais, who cocreated the series with Stephen Merchant), the regional manager whose oblivious idiocy is an exhausting trial for his employees. Against all odds, a flirtation endures between office pals Dawn (Lucy Davis) and Tim (Martin Freeman), despite Dawn’s long-term fiancé, who works in the warehouse. The format spawned remakes in several countries, including…
The Office (2005–2013)
…this U.S. adaptation, set in Scranton. This time the cloddish regional manager is Michael Scott (Steve Carell), abetted by sycophantic assistant to the regional manager Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson); flirty receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer) and salesman Jim (John Krasinski) fill out the main cast.
Office Space (1999)
Peter (Ron Livingston) toils as a programmer at a company called Initech, harassed by friendly check-ins from his many managers. When his girlfriend takes him to a hypnotherapist to try to get him to change his antipathy toward his job, the hypnotherapist dies mid-session, and Peter never snaps back into his old mindset, returning to work with a new laissez-faire attitude that makes him look like a confident, relaxed go-getter and sets him on a path to success—great news until he learns that layoffs are coming and his best friends won’t be spared.
At news station WNYX, news director Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) has to manage the big personalities of his on-air talent (Phil Hartman and Khandi Alexander), the station’s eccentric owner (Stephen Root), and Lisa (Maura Tierney), a producer who’s both Dave’s girlfriend and pretty sure she could do his job better than he can.
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on a ’40s screwball comedy! Hudsucker Industries president Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) throws himself through a window during a meeting and dies. Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman), knowing this means the company’s stock shares will be available to the public, hatches a scheme to tank the stock price by hiring Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), a boob from the mailroom, as Hudsucker’s replacement. Journalist Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh), smelling a story, gets herself hired as Norville’s secretary, but ends up developing tender feelings for him in the process.
The Larry Sanders Show (1992–1998)
While Larry (Garry Shandling) is the star of the successful network talk show The Larry Sanders Show, making the show requires countless hardworking staffers in the office: talent booker Paula (Janeane Garofalo); Larry’s personal assistant, Beverly (Penny Johnson); and especially executive producer Artie (Rip Torn), who has to keep stress from touching Larry, or at least try to, which generally means running interference between Larry and his annoying sidekick, Hank (Jeffrey Tambor).
Broadcast News (1987)
Jane (Holly Hunter) is a producer on a national nightly news broadcast; correspondent Aaron (Albert Brooks) has a crush on her that only rarely makes things awkward in their friendship. When Tom (William Hurt) is hired on from sports to be groomed as a new anchor despite his lack of knowledge or curiosity, Aaron is hurt that Jane would waste any time trying to coach him just because she’s attracted to him.
Nine to Five (1980)
Newly single Judy (Jane Fonda) starts work as a secretary at a large, busy office headed by Franklin Hart Jr. (Dabney Coleman). Though office supervisor Violet (Lily Tomlin) reflexively warns Judy away from Hart’s secretary, Doralee (Dolly Parton), on the basis of her fooling around with Hart, when the three actually talk, it turns out Hart invented the affair, and has also routinely taken credit for Violet’s good ideas. Together they decide to imprison Hart in his home, send his executive assistant on a long trip, and start remaking the office so that it becomes a better place for women to work.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977)
Following a broken engagement, Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) starts over in Minneapolis, taking a job as a producer on the nightly news. Mary’s work life with mensch newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), blowhard anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), and grouchy boss Lou Grant (Ed Asner) is balanced by her cozy hangouts with her neighbor and best friend, Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper).
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)
Adapted from the Broadway musical, the film follows J. Pierrepont Finch (Robert Morse) as he acts on the steps in the self-help book How to Succeed in Business and works his way up from window cleaner to vice president in charge of advertising at the World Wide Wicket Company, generally by scumbagging everyone who crosses his path.
All products featured on Vanity Fair are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Behold Dune: An Exclusive Look at Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, and More
— How to Watch Every Marvel Movie in Order
— David Simon on The Wire and His Equally Pissed-Off New Show, The Plot Against America
— Beyond Tiger King: 8 True-Crime Documentaries That Sparked a Second Look From the Law
— Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes on His New Series and the Beauty of a Scheming Woman
— All the New 2020 Movies Streaming Early Because of Coronavirus
— From the Archive: The Notorious Rivalry of Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, Hollywood’s Dueling Gossip Columnists
Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hollywood newsletter and never miss a story.