Sometimes I find myself in an absurd place, where I want to watch something that will make me laugh, but that isn’t light and fluffy. Dark comedy to the rescue! Come check out four shows that have filled my very specific humor needs.
Going by the Book
In case you needed a refresher on the definition like I did, dark comedy is media that makes light of a serious or taboo subject. For instance, Going By the Book makes light of bank robbery by having the very duty-oriented Jung Do Man, played by Jung Jae Young, take his role in a robbery simulation seriously.
Very, very seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that this decorated, dedicated officer of the law actually gets away with robbing the bank. But what makes it funny? Jung Do Man is NOT trying to be a successful bank robber! However, his very careful, detailed nature lead him to do his best in everything, and it turns out that he could be an excellent criminal if he wanted to. The contrast made me giggle a LOT throughout the entire movie.
(This used to be available on DramaFever — RIP — and I purchased a hard copy. You might be able to find it through Amazon Prime or OnDemandKorea.)
Definitely Not Today
Definitely Not Today is a short Chinese drama featuring Mi Chong, a man who’s ready to join his family in the afterlife, and Zhi Liu, a brash girl who lives on the edges of society.
Mi Chong saves Zhi Liu from drowning in a river, even though he was down there himself to end his life, and in return, she turns his life upside down.
Mi Chong’s deadpan portrayal of his “luck” — the death of his family one by one — and Zhi Liu’s quick wit drew me in right away, but it was their journey together, and their growth, that kept me invested.
Also, trying to keep track of the gangster boss’ stolen pet bird was hilarious.
(You can find Definitely Not Today on Viki.)
It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Because It’s Okay Not to Be Okay is a full 16-episode drama, there’s more of the serious stuff than the funny stuff. But the writing is excellent, and a lot of what I giggled at was the humor that naturally arose as these very different characters grew together and interacted. What can I say? That’s my favorite kind of humor.
Moon Gang Tae and Moon Sang Tae may have struggled HARD to make a life for themselves, but they also fought like brothers. Ko Moon Young’s very personality, when contrasted with Gang Tae’s serious nature, made me laugh and laugh. Those two were excellent foils for each other!
While mental illness and developmental delays were treated with love and respect, the situations that arose from those conditions were sometimes played for laughs, and played well. For instance, Moon Young and Sang Tae’s squabbling was hilariously on point. Definitely worth the watch.
(You can find It’s Okay Not to Be Okay on Netflix.)
Feel Good to Die
Feel Good to Die is an absurdist dark comedy, but cathartic in a way. Who hasn’t wished for a boss/supervisor/authority figure to permanently disappear?
Unfortunately for Lee Roo Da, played by Baek Jin Hee, she actually has to SAVE her boss from dying, or she’s doomed to repeat the same day over and over again. Also, the man is ridiculously easy to kill. In one early episode, he’s killed by a flying coffee mug, then by a falling wall clock. Not even a big one! But it takes him out nonetheless, and that may have been the death that made me laugh the hardest.
(You can find Feel Good to Die on KOCOWA.)
What about you, drama fans? What fills your very specific comedy needs? Drop down in the comments below and let me know!
Until the next ridiculous death, I remain–
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi