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Americans Binge-Watched Nostalgic Comedy Shows During The Pandemic [Infographic]

When Americans were confined to their homes during the pandemic, streaming and video games were among the most welcome activities to stave off boredom. At the same time as people were bulk buying toilet paper ahead of tremendously uncertain times, new shows like Tiger King became all the rage. As it turned out, most viewers relied on nostalgic comedy shows to provide a welcome dose of happiness and old classics enjoyed a major resurgence last year. That’s according to Nielsen who reported that Americans watched some 1.3 trillion minutes of comedy programming across national television last year. While it wasn’t a blockbuster year for comedy overall with the genre sinking 9% in popularity, Nielsen states that its data clearly shows that Americans turned to tried-and-true comedy shows when they needed a break from reality in a difficult year.

The appeal of nostalgic comedies was enhanced by their availability across multiple platforms and one show in particular proved the most popular with viewers. Last year, Americans binged nearly 97 billion minutes of Friends, making it the most-watched comedy show of 2020. Despite the overall dip in the comedy genre, Friends experienced a 30% increase in minutes watched compared to 2019. The Andy Griffith Show came second in the ranking with 58 billion minutes watched, followed by Roseanne with 20 billion minutes. The strongest growth was seen in Family Matters with the amount of viewing time rising by an impressive 392%. Regional data shows that people in Pittsburgh binged the most comedy in 2020 with viewers averaging 126 hours of content.

*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)

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