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 2017.
Last year we didn’t give this award to CQ because we thought it was too obvious. This year we realize that every minute we aren’t celebrating the greatness of Colin Quinn’s Tweets is a wasted minute.
Right now Bonnie is where Louis C.K. right before he hit superstardom. Let’s run down a few recent accomplishments. Aside from being a killer on stage, she wrote one of the best memoirs we’ve read in years, she just wrote and produced a short film that hasn’t been released yet but it’s hilarious, unique and bizarre, she produced the Rich Vos roast [see below], My Wife Hates Me is one of the best podcasts in comedy, and she’s constantly coming up with great ideas for live shows, and she’s in the process of making a sequel to her great documentary, Women Aren’t Funny. So now we can look forward to seeing Bonnie take over the comedy world. Let’s just hope she remembers one bit of advice- keep it in your pants.
In 2016, Kevin Hart and Amy Schumer proved to be the masters of getting media attention, and so they grabbed the first annual edition of this prized trophy. This year only one person in comedy found a way to stay in the media throughout 2017, and that’s Kathy Griffin. Using Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and a very healthy slice of TMZ, Griffin has made headlines all year long. Here’s to hoping she decides to streak through Times Square naked as the ball drops to cap it all off.
We got on the Marvelous Mrs. Maisal bandwagon too late to include it in our best tv series of the year awards, but the show is an absolute blast to watch. It follows Midge Maisal and her attempt to pursue her husband’s stand up comedy dream after he dumps her. The show is light and fun on the surface but with a core that’s dark and edgy with plenty that’s not safe for the kids. Pollak stands out as one of the best comedy performances of the year as her husband’s old school, New York, one-generation-off-the-boat-and-making-his-fortune-in-America father. Shout out to Tony Shaloub who also kills as Pollak’s machatunim (translation: in-law).
The Problem with Apu takes on iconic Simpsons character Apu, and skillfully communicates the effect that Apu has had on young aspiring comedians of Indian and South Asian descent. You might start off annoyed thinking its much ado about nothing, but Kondabalu has gathered an impressive crew who will sway even stubborn diehards. Now who is going to take on Groundskeeper Willie on behalf of Scottish caretakers everywhere?
Not only is Tim Dillon a great comedian, he also knows how to eat. If you are looking to branch out of your pizza rut, you don’t need anything but Tim Dillon’s Instagram to show you that your life is dull. Add in the fact that he’s constantly on the road performing at clubs around the country, and you can quit watching the Food Network altogether. Follow @TimJDillon instead.
On January 12, 2017, one hundred and fifty people were treated to the comedy show of the century. They each paid a $14 cover for a Wednesday 9:30 show and were surprised to witness what could only be described as Comedy Woodstock. Host Jon Laster brought up a megastar line up that included Ryan Hamilton, Dave Attell, Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, and Dave Chappelle, who brought Chris Rock back on stage to close out the show. Tough one to beat.
Every comedian has a stalker or two, but few have someone following them because they are trying to make an amazing documentary that will be raved about for years to come. When Berkeley answered questions about how he got Gilbert to agree to the doc, he said he didn’t. Gilbert’s wife Dara encouraged him to just keep showing up with his camera. Gilbert never told him to stop, but he was taking a risk that the infamously private comic would pull the plug at any time. Just don’t try this at home. Neils’ a pro.
As if George Carlin hadn’t already done enough for comedy, now his daughter Kelly has become an important voice in comedy’s history and future. Kelly has become one of the best advocates for free speech and important comedy, and has helped to keep comedy history alive, not only through her lectures, conversations, books and radio, but also by ensuring her father’s legacy. Kelly has undertaken the extraordinary task of putting together a team to catalog her fathers archives, and now when the new National Comedy Center opens in Jamestown, New York, an exhibition of the Carlin archive will be on display. Carlin archivist Logan Heftel worked with Kelly Carlin on the archives of 25,000 artifacts to organize and parse through Carlin’s saved audio tapes and notes and helped to create the posthumously released “I Kind of Like it When a Lot of People Die” which was released earlier this year.
There are a lot of famous mustaches in comedy. Nick Offerman, and Paul F. Tompkins both have impressive staches, and Steve Harvey is pretty proud of his. Historically it would be hard to top Charlie Chaplin and Groucho, but we think we have them all beat. Nobody rocks a lip rug like up and coming New York comic and 70’s refugee Ian Fidance. Get on board, the Fidance stache is where it’s at.
Jerry Seinfeld turned 40 year old bits into a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix and inspired a facelift at the Comic Strip on New York’s Upper East Side. Not bad for some dusty old notebooks.
Forget those diet fads that come and go. You don’t need to binge on Grapefruit juice or eat like a caveman or take diet pills. Want to lose weight? Quit drinking? Run a marathon? Just get on the Joe Rogan Show with Bert Kreischer and get him to accept the challenge, and suddenly you can do anything.
Thanks to the worldwide sensation of the Impractical Jokers, Sal Vulcano might be the first stand up comedian to be immortalized as an action figure. Looking forward to the lunch box in 2018.
2017 was the year for comedy tie-ins on TV countroom shows with a record-breaking count of two, three if you count Doug Benson’s comedy short series The High Court as a People’s Court tie-in. But if you don’t, then it’s all about Amy Schumer who was spotted by fans in the gallery watching an episode of Judge Judy, and Joseph Cumia, whose Reddit-related breach of contract case actually made it onto the People’s Court. Hopefully this starts a trend because we can’t wait to see more comedy disputes settled on television.
Tiffany Haddish is all over our awards this year including a nomination for best comedy movie for Girls Trip. But we gotta give a special award to Haddish for her erotic use of a grapefruit and a banana in particularly memorable Girls Trip scene. If you haven’t seen it yet, well..we’ve already said too much. This shit is on demand, so start demanding.
After the NY Comedy Cellar did some renovations to double the size of their kitchen, the Cellar’s infamous and historic table got moved– about four and a half feet. The backlash from comics who consider that table sacred was big and loud. Rather than fuck up the aura, the Cellar reportedly dished out a whopping 20k to re-renovate so that the table could end up exactly where it used to be, making it the largest bill to move a table in comedy history. They should have just called Moishe’s.
If you want to see how stunningly beautiful New York City can be, you just need to follow Emmpathy on Instagram. Emily Cohen is one of our favorite people in comedy- not only is she one of the faces who greets you when you go The Stand Comedy Club, she also spent over a year co-writing our New York City comedy listings. Give her a follow and then spend your weekend tracking down your favorite places.
It was the social event of the season. Everyone in comedy came out to see Rich Vos’ 60th Birthday comedy roast at the New York Comedy Cellar. For those of you who weren’t cool enough to be invited, or just couldn’t make it, the entire event was filmed and hopefully being edited for release. Netflix? Are you reading this? Chop chop!
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 our second annual Billy Beane Comedy Sabermetrics Award goes to an important but unsung hero in New York comedy– Rebecca Trent.
She is the business and creative force behind the Creek and the Cave, an idea so cool and hip that it probably shouldn’t even be able to exist in the 21st century. There have always been almost mythical figures and physical spaces that have helped move art forward. Trent is one of those figures, and The Creek and the Cave is one of those places. The Creek is a two floor complex in Long Island City with a Mexican restaurant and a cozy black box theater upstairs, with a smaller performance space, a pinball/game room a bar and outdoor patio, below. In 2017, for the rest of the world, business is business and there isn’t a lot of room for the nurturing young talent, but at the Creek, there’s always some new experiment, some new show, some new type of event going on. Rebecca is always putting the artist first, donating space that so people can workshop, offering free shows without minimums, and giving young and established comics room to test waters. Upstairs, you’ll find great stand up as well as wildly experimental shows. There’s the Week at the Creek series, weekly and monthly shows run by New York’s fledgling comics, and Trent has always been incredibly supportive of the newly migrated- comics who have built up reputations in other cities and have moved to New York only to find that nobody knows who they are…yet.
Trent herself is a sort of NYC version of a maternal godmother of comedy, particularly (but not exclusively) to comedy’s youngest. But this godmother has a tough, no bullshit approach, and she has to. Because she is so invested in this younger comic pool, if she didn’t have her guard up she’d be overwhelmed by comics looking for stage time and help. In addition to running the Creek creatively, she has the added responsibility of handling the business side of things, keeping the lights on, and the rent paid. And while those two jobs would be more than most could handle, Trent also is one of the best producers in the business. She’s co-produced Skankfest, Big Jay Oakerson’s What’s Your Fucking Deal show, and before Anthony Atamanuik brought The President Show to Comedy Central, she tour managed Atamanuik’s Bernie vs Trump tour with James Adomian. Before they became big, she was on board, and that’s something you can say about a long list of big names in comedy. Make sure you visit the Creek, spend some money there, and support one of the best that comedy has to offer.