Let’s talk about adult cartoons. We’re not talking about anything super racy here, just cartoons that were created with adults in mind – in other words – cartoons that aren’t for children. They may have some swear words, some mature themes, but just to be clear, we’re not talking about anything that’s full on rated-X here.
Some of these cartoons for adults are created with layers so that they can appeal to grown-ups and children alike, where the more mature jokes will go over the heads of the kids but will provide an extra layer for adults to enjoy.
Family Guy gets a lot of shoutouts on lists like this, but it’s a pretty dumb show and it’s essentially edgy jokes for children, rather than relying on any semblance of clever adult humor. That’s fine, but if you’re looking for some better cartoons for adults, we’ve got you covered.
F Is For Family
This is the creation of famed comedian Bill Burr, one of the top comedians in the game right now. They’ve already pumped out 4 seasons and the series is still going strong. It’s exclusive to Netflix, so you’ll need a Netflix account (or a friend with Netflix) to stream F Is For Family.
The show takes a look at life in the ’70s, when Bill Burr was growing up. He voices the father character, and it’s all loosely based on his own life and experiences growing up in this era.
“Follow the Murphy family back to the 1970s, when kids roamed wild, beer flowed freely and nothing came between a man and his TV.”
The Murphy’s are a dysfunctional family that fight and argue but love one another at the end of the day. This was a time before men talked about their feelings and when women were expected to do everything around the house. Okay, maybe some things haven’t changed all that much.
The show also stars Laura Dern, Justin Long, Sam Rockwell, Mo Collins, David Koechner, the incredible musician Haley Reinhart, and more. It’s an incredible cast of voice talent saying words written by a fantastic writing staff based on the stories of one of the top stand-up comedians – what’s not to love? If you haven’t checked out F Is For Family yet, add it to your watch-list, it’s a must-see as far as Netflix adult humor cartoons go.
Rick & Morty
If you’ve ever heard some nerd running around chanting “I’M PICKLE RICK! I’M PICKLE RICK,” then it’s understandable why you might not have been in a hurry to run and watch Rick & Morty. Not to mention some of the smugness about having to be “very intellectual” to appreciate the show, even if some of that was said ironically, like the famous one below:
To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty. The humour is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer’s head. There’s also Rick’s nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into his characterisation- his personal philosophy draws heavily from Narodnaya Volya literature, for instance. The fans understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these jokes, to realise that they’re not just funny- they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike Rick & Morty truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn’t appreciate, for instance, the humour in Rick’s existential catchphrase “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub,” which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev’s Russian epic Fathers and Sons. I’m smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as Dan Harmon’s genius wit unfolds itself on their television screens. What fools.. how I pity them. 😂
And yes, by the way, i DO have a Rick & Morty tattoo. And no, you cannot see it. It’s for the ladies’ eyes only- and even then they have to demonstrate that they’re within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid 😎
When you’re done cringing, take some time to check out Rick and Morty because it’s actually a pretty clever, fun, and funny cartoon for adults and teens alike.
If you’ve judged it based on its fan base, you are doing yourself a disservice. Everything that gets really popular will have some cringeworthy fans associated with it, but that’s just the cost of admission.
Justin Roiland and Dan Harman are proven commodities in the world of comedy, and they came together to create something pretty special in Rick and Morty.
Archer stars H, Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, and more. Archer is on it’s 11th season already, after premiering in 2009. This show centers around an intelligence agency that does things their own way, to say the least.
Fans of Arrested Development will recognize at least a couple of the cast names, along with some of the dry cleverness you’d find in Arrested Development, too. This action comedy is very highly rated by fans and critics alike. Here’s a quick sypnosis written by an anonymous user on IMDB:
At an international spy agency, global crises are merely opportunities for its highly trained employees to confuse, undermine, betray and royally screw each other. At the center of it all is suave master spy Sterling Archer, whose less-than-masculine code name is “Duchess.” Archer works with his domineering mother Malory, who also is his boss. He also has to deal with his ex-girlfriend, Agent Lana Kane and her new boyfriend, comptroller Cyril Figgis, as well as Malory’s lovesick secretary, Cheryl.
If you haven’t seen Archer before, it’s worth checking out a season or two. One reviewer recommended Archer for fans of other popular animated comedy shows that have started to lose their shine, then went on to reference Family Guy, American Dad, South Park, and The Simpsons. If those shows are in your wheelhouse, Archer is one that you just can’t miss.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
ATHQ is centered around three anthropomorphic fast food items named Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad. The pilot episode debuted in late 2000, and the official debut was in September of the following year. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a surreal black comedy that aired on Adult Swim, the late-night programming block of the Cartoon Network.
The show stars the voice work of Dave Willis, Dana Snyder, Carey Means, Matt Maiellaro, C. Martin Croker, Mike Schatz, and Gregory Alan Williams with narration by rapper Schooly D.
At one point, this was the longest running show on Adult Swim, spanning 11 seasons and nearly 150 episodes and wrapping up in 2015. In 2017, Adult Swim was asked why they didn’t make more episodes, and they responded “we might”.
If you want to get caught up before a potential future return of Aqua Teen Hunger Force season 12, it’s well worth the watch. The episodes are just over 10 minutes each, so you can cruise through it quickly and it’s well worth the watch for anyone who enjoys other shows mentioned on this page.
We mentioned South Park in the introduction to this list so it deserves a spot, even though it kind of goes without saying. To leave off South Park would be like having a list of 60’s folk musicians and not mentioning Dylan. Now, everyone’s heard of South Park, and most people at least kind of enjoy it, even if it’s lost a little steam over the years.
South Park takes a “both sides are nuts” stance on certain social issues that it lampoons, which can rub some people the wrong way, especially in cases where one side is clearly the problem, or clearly more-nuts than the other side, but this also ensures that a decent chunk of the population doesn’t feel alienated, and in turn, they’ll be exposed to some ideas and viewpoints they may otherwise not come into contact with if they’re staying in their own little media bubble. There’s value in speaking to everyone, especially for a show that so heavily relies on satirizing politics, current events, and different philosophies.
BoJack Horseman is a human-like horse character who had previously starred in a 90’s sitcom, before succumbing to years of substance abuse. The show picks up as BoJack is trying to get his life back together, dealing with the contrast of being a huge star to his show getting cancelled and losing his status. The titular character is voiced by Will Arnett, with Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris and Paul F. Tompkins all lending their voice talents to the series.
This is a dark show that deals with topics like depression and alcohol abuse, it blends comedy and tragedy making it a tragicomedy (You’ll probably recognize these comedy/tragedy mask tattoos.)
GQ magazine described it as “the benchmark by which all comedies of the decade can be judged”. BoJack Horseman got off to a bit of a rough start, but by the second half of the first season, people started coming around and after a six year run that concluded in 2020, many regard it as one of the greats as far as animated adult shows are concerned.
What’s your favorite adult humor cartoon? Did we miss your favorite?
Hopefully you’ve got an idea or two of adult humor cartoons that you can watch now, but if we missed any classics or newer gems that you think should be included on this list – please leave a comment and we’ll put together a shortlist with additional recommendations.