Netflix Presents: The Characters
GenreSketch comedy
Written byLauren Lapkus
Kate Berlant
Dr Brown
Paul W. Downs
John Early
Tim Robinson
Natasha Rothwell
Henry Zebrowski
Directed byAndrew Gaynord
StarringLauren Lapkus
Kate Berlant
Phil Burgers
Paul W. Downs
John Early
Tim Robinson
Natasha Rothwell
Henry Zebrowski
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Running time30 minutes
Production companyJax Media
Original release
ReleaseMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)

Netflix Presents: The Characters is an American sketch comedy television series that premiered on Netflix on March 11, 2016.[1] It features eight up-and-coming comedians, who each write and star in their own 30-minute show.[2] The comedians featured in the show are Lauren Lapkus, Kate Berlant, Phil Burgers, Paul W. Downs, John Early, Tim Robinson, Natasha Rothwell, and Henry Zebrowski.[3] Eight episodes were released on March 11, 2016. The following month, Netflix cancelled the series after one season.


Season 1 (2016)

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Lauren Lapkus"Andrew GaynordLauren LapkusMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
Lauren Lapkus lampoons reality dating shows, becomes a not-quite-foul-mouthed teenage boy, and transforms into a stripper with an odd music choice.
2"John Early"Andrew GaynordJohn EarlyMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
John Early embodies the overly dramatic half of an engaged couple, a dim bro on a bad first date, and a wistful Southern comedian mom.
3"Henry Zebrowski"Andrew GaynordHenry ZebrowskiMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
After being mistaken for Jim Gaffigan and having a run-in with a food cart owner, Henry Zebrowski is forced to observe his terrible past lives.
4"Kate Berlant"Andrew GaynordKate BerlantMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
Kate Berlant immerses herself in the world of a pretentious, eccentric artist who struggles to justify her work on a corporate branding campaign.
5"Natasha Rothwell"Andrew GaynordNatasha RothwellMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
Natasha Rothwell brings a diverse jury waiting room to life, plays a well-read homeless man, and portrays a doctor teaching a lesson about race.
6"Paul W. Downs"Andrew GaynordPaul W. DownsMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
Paul Downs goes all in as a monster truck meathead, a European VJ, a blind cop on a Segway and a man on a distressing date with his girlfriend.
7"Tim Robinson"Andrew GaynordTim Robinson, Zach KaninMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
Tim Robinson breaks out characters like a frenzied Rat Pack wannabe, a disturbed limo employee, a gun shopper with bathroom issues and more.
8"Phil Burgers"Andrew GaynordPhil BurgersMarch 11, 2016 (2016-03-11)
Filmed in a single shot, Dr. Brown inhabits three wildly different characters who convince strangers to come over for a birthday shindig.


The series was met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes's critical consensus reads, "Some Characters prove funnier than others in this sketch anthology, but they cumulatively add up to a hilarious showcase for a new generation of comedic talent."[4]

In 2020, Jason Zinoman of the New York Times revisited the series, saying "...if The Characters was a failure, it belongs to the tradition of Fridays and The Dana Carvey Show: noble experiments, unjustly overlooked, that in retrospect were a hotbed of comedy talent in early-stage careers."[5]

In December 2019, Vulture cited three sketches from the show (Natasha Rothwell's "Chiggers", John Early's "The Toast," and Tim Robinson's "Sammy Paradise") in their list of "The 50 Best Comedy Sketches of the Decade."[6]


  1. ^ "Netflix Orders Innovative Sketch Series 'The Characters' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 1, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "Netflix Sets New Sketch Comedy Series 'The Characters' For March". Deadline. February 1, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "Netflix's newest comedy is The Characters, and it looks super weird". The Verge. February 1, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "Netflix Presents: The Characters". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Zinoman, Jazon (2020-09-09). "Rediscovering an Ambitious Sketch Comedy That Never Caught On". New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  6. ^ Hoepfner, Fran (13 December 2019). "The 50 Best Comedy Sketches of the Decade". Vulture. Retrieved 1 December 2020.