Some of the best comedy moments defy categorization but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve recognition. Some of these ‘awards’ are genuine and some of them are a little tongue in cheek. Here are some of our favorite award-worthy happenings in comedy in 2016.
Bert Kreischer has turned Twitter into his playground with some of the funniest videos and posts all year, most notably his plea to become the next Speedo spokesmodel. You never know what you’re going to get until you see it. Bonnie McFarlane comes in with the tie for the best use of Twitter to publicly berate your husband, and also for the sharpest, meanest most cutting while still being funny Tweets on the internet.
Big Jay Oakerson brought the house down when he channeled Billy Idol for the Goddamn Comedy Jam at the New York Comedy Festival. It was so good, it has us wondering whether Big Jay needs to take a page from Andrew Dice Clay and open all his future shows singing with a full band.
Alec Baldwin may have gotten the most attention for portraying the President-Elect, but before there was Alec, there was Anthony Atamanuik who not only still pulls off the best impression, but he has performed as Trump live on tour, for television, for an album, and on @midnight. Winner and still champion, Anthony Atamanuik.
Never before was someone so great honored so badly as Lucille Ball when a horrific statue bearing her non-likeness was erected in her hometown. The new statue captures both the likeness and spirit of why we love Lucy.
It’s very likely that the Rick and Morty re-enactment of an infamous courtroom brouhaha is the only re-enactment of a court transcript in 2016, but even if there were thousands, Ricky and Morty would still take the prize. A lot of things are labeled “epic” on the internet, but Rick and Morty’s reading from the case of The State of Georgia vs. Denver Fenton Allen, truly deserves that title. Originally performed live at Comic-Con over the summer, the creative team behind Rick and Morty eventually added animation making the video truly award winning. Watch it here.
This summer, comedian and writer Billy Domineau who is a contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update set out to answer the question “how would the cast of Seinfeld have reacted to September 11th?” with a spec script that spread through the internet faster than Fappening photos. The spec episode entitled “The Towers” re-invigorated the nation’s love for the sitcom. It isn’t easy to get laughs using 9/11, but Billy’s efforts were a resounding success. Read more here.
Comedians Drew Michael and Junior Stopka wanted to create the most offensive cartoon of 2016 and succeeded. The story of a single gay father and his adopted son, Nathan, living in suburban America had a twist. The gay father wasn’t exactly a person- he was “9/11” visually represented as a SpongeBob-esque Twin Towers on fire, with a plane crashed into his head with tiny people jumping off his head to their death. The animation never really took off, you might say it crashed and burned. Watch it here.
You might think this honor belongs to Chelsea Handler who has entertained, titillated and regaled her audience with ample nudity on Instagram this year. Or perhaps you think Eric Andre deserves the title for his penis posts. But the honor for the best nudes in comedy posted on social media actually goes to the double team of Matteo Lane and Stavros Halkias for their naked holiday posts. The photos speak for themselves. Go to instagram.com/matteolane to see the photos in all their glory and hit up instagram.com/stavvybaby to see all the shots plus some extended solo work. Looking good boys.
Jonah Hill did a commercial for a London skateboard store and their collaboration with a sneaker company called “Palace x Reebok”. Hill awkwardly did the spot in front of a green screen which may turn out to be the greatest advertising tactic of all time. Advertisers just figured out that looking like you aren’t trying, makes you look cool, something high school sophomores have figured out since the dawn of time. Watch the weirdness unfold.
There were so many highlights at comedy festivals in 2016- truly brilliant moments in comedy- and it would be impossible to choose the best of them all. But perhaps the most unforgettable moment in all festival-dom was the night Sinbad hijacked Big Jay Oakerson’s crowd work show at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Sinbad took the stage dressed to the nines and things turned weird fast as Sinbad went from crowd work, to giving advice, to talking about Cosby and finally doing Q&A. Ten minutes went by, twenty, after thirty minutes, it was a comedy filibuster, with Sinbad holding court till 1am. Dazed audience members filed out into the evening after a 90 minute hang with Sinbad muttering things like, what just happened? And was that real? It was.
Every year you can argue about who broke out, who jumped to a new level and who had the hot show. This year, the undisputed title went to Tim Dillon who was pure fire on stage at New Faces in Montreal. You couldn’t go ten minutes in conversation at the festival without hearing people agree that Tim Dillon killed it and the buzz continues on.
The most infamous legal battle in comedy undoubtably goes to Cosby this year whose courtroom trials and tribulations continue to make the news. But the most fascinating legal battle with the worst outcome goes to Mike Ward for his battle with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal. Ward was ordered to pay teenager Jeremy Gabriel $42,000 over a joke made at Jeremy’s expense. Gabriel has a genetic condition that caused disfigurement and received a lot of attention when he got to sing for the Pope. Ward assumed that singing for the Pope was a Make-A-Wish Foundation type of thing, but then five years later, Ward realizes he’s still alive, and joked, in French, “the little fucker won’t die,” and said “that heartless little fucker is un-killable, I saw him at a waterpark last summer, I tried to drown him… nothing.” It may prove to be the most expensive joke in history.
Nothing lasts forever and sometimes the sweetest comebacks can be short lived. This summer, NBC brought variety back to prime time with a new show, Marty & Maya. The show received mixed reactions from critics and audiences, but one thing that is indisputable is how much we realized we missed Short’s character, Jiminy Glick. It was a hit and run highlight of the year and who knows, maybe he’ll be back in Summer 2017?
Two comedy icons retired from long held talk shows this year and both of them immediately decided to grow outrageous beards. In an industry filled with bearded youngsters- it’s practically an epidemic- you would think that such a decision would go unnoticed, but the emergence from seclusion of Bearded David Letterman set the internet on fire. Bearded Retired Jon Stewart pulls a close second, but the Sasquatch-esque appearance of post-retirement David Letterman with full face fuzz is most award-worthy.
Nobody in comedy sucked up the time and attention of the media better than these two comics in 2016 and the race was too close to declare anything but a tie. Kevin Hart showed the world that there’s no such thing as too much social media dominating for his use of Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope, Facebook Live and any other means of reaching way too many people. Amy Schumer deserves recognition for being unable to sneeze or take a piss without the media reporting on it. If Schumer was even slightly related to anything that happened in 2016, her name was all over it. Not all of Schumer’s press was involuntary, she worked the press harder than anyone in comedy- gracing magazine covers, showing up at red carpets and appearing on stage wherever there was a stage. We can’t wait to see how these two top themselves in 2017.
Puppet acts may play big in Vegas, but among hardcore stand up fans, they’re generally as funny as a lead balloon with two exceptions. The Paul F. Tompkins led political satire series No! You Shut Up which wins honorable mention, and the hilarious Bill Burr Puppet Act performed by Junior Stopka (the only comic to make our remarkable achievements list twice), and Sean Rouse. Filmed in Daytona Beach as part of Stopka’s Comedy Killers Tour, this was one of the funniest moments of 2016. Watch it here.
World Champion Judah Friedlander’s appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was spotted by a reddit user. He appears in Maz Kanata’s bar, without much ado, but became one of the most talked about comedian appearances in a movie in 2016. We’d just like to point out that every movie should have a Judah Friedlander cameo. Are you listening Hollywood? Read more here.
One of the funniest moments in film in 2016 that didn’t make it to theaters was Chris Gethard’s scene from the Ghostbusters reboot. Oddly enough it made the bloopers reel show to the cast of Ghostbusters on the day the film wrapped shooting and got huge laughs. Gethard’s character gets punched in the face by Kristen Wiig. It was supposed to be a stage punch, but she nailed him. We were lucky enough to be on set or news of the great moment in film might never have reached the light of day.
Go-go-Ghostbustahs! Sometimes a cut is a good cut.
It makes sense that Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer are good friends. They’re both outrageous, they’re both hilariously funny and they also share the honor of telling the two best stories in comedy in 2016 on stage. Tom Segura shared his brilliant story about meeting Mike Tyson on a plane in his new special this year and on Conan and audiences adored it. Bert Kreischer finally immortalized the story about how he got his nickname The Machine in his special. Good luck trying to top these two in 2017 America.
David McDonald’s tribute and homage to one of this favorite movies of all time, Star Wars, was ambitious and awful at the same time. Using talents from the Compound Media podcast team, it’s a Star Wars movie that will haunt your dreams, nightmares and computer screen. Watch it here.
Watch Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball and you’ll have an idea of what comedy producers go through on a daily basis. Producing the best show on any budget, in any time constraint- whatever needs to get done, they’re the ones doing it. The audience sees the big show out front, but at every club, at every festival, on every set, there’s someone behind the scenes pulling the levers and most of the time they’re doing their job so well, that you have no idea they’re even there. They are hardcore comedy superheroes and they are scattered throughout the comedy verse. This year, we picked the perfect person to receive the first annual Billy Beane Comedy Sabermetrics Award- Christine Marie Evans. In 2016, she was one of the producers who made Skankfest happen, she is the woman behind WYFD, she produces the Bonfire radio show, countless festival events and shows. Ron Bennington from SiriusXM summed up how we feel about Christine. “Every scene has to have people who know how to make everything work. It’s a much rarer occurrence to find a great producer than to find a great comedian. Part of the reason is that it’s the producer’s job to worry about the entire show. Christine Evans is a thread that run through all of New York City comedy. I’ve seen Christine producing radio, clubs shows, and television and putting out fires at every event. I also think she has the best ear in comedy today. Everyone from mainstream headliners to open mic heroes that are ready to bounce to the next level. If a movie studio grabs her up, she’d be able to cast the next ten years of comedy blockbusters.”