The Biggest News Cycle Stories That Kept Comedy Busy in 2014

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Image by Dennis Hyland

2014 was a banner year for stories that dominated news cycles. Tragedy, sex, sports, and scandal – humor was found in all of them. Whenever there was a story that turned CNN into a one topic churn,  comedians were writing jokes about those same topics, whether it was for their stand up, for late night monologues, or even just for their twitter feeds. Here are the biggest news stories from 2014 that the comedy world couldn’t get enough of.

2014 was the year the ass broke the internet.  All throughout 2014 there’s been a trend rising and that trend is the worldwide obsession with a woman’s ass, leaving breasts as almost an afterthought these days.  Entire industries have sprung up around improving the ass. Kim Kardashian broke the internet with her Paper Magazine photo spread that was absolutely ass focused. Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez literally grinded their asses together for three minutes during a now infamous video shoot. And this year the internet gave birth to a shiny new big assed star, the Instagram phenom Jenn Selter.  Nicki Minaj released the Anaconda music video in 2014, and everyone had to take notice. We noticed it back in July when we posted our story asking “When Did America Become Ass Obsessed?” Well there’s no more questioning. Without a shadow a doubt, 2014 is the year of the ass.

In related news, the celebrity phone hack known as “The Fappening” became giant news over Labor Day weekend.  The fappening was watershed moment in celebrity porn — an event that would change the way people look at naked celebrities forever. In a day and age where celebrities go topless on the regs,  full frontal nudity is no longer shocking, and sex tapes are no big deal, The Fappening sent us reeling backwards.  After 4Chan and Reddit facilitated the distribution of a trove of stolen celebrity naked selfies, the world went ‘Leave it to Beaver’ shutting down anyone displaying the photos and shaming those who even dared to look. The celebrities who were hacked included Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Justin Verlander, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jessica Brown Findlay, Kaley Cuoco, Kirsten Dunst,Jill Scott, Ariana Grande, McKayla Maroney, Victoria Justice Avril Lavigne, Candice, Swanepoel, Emily Ratajkowski, Gabrielle Union, Hope Solo, Joanna Krupa, Kate Bosworth, Kristen Ritter, Leelee Sobieski, Lizzy Caplan, Mary Kate Olsen, Selena Gomez, and of course, Nick Hogan, among many others.

Staying in the world of pornography, our third story is the tale of Belle Knox, a Duke University freshman, who took the world by storm for doing something that didn’t seem to be that big of a deal– doing porn to pay tuition. She was a run of the mill porn star, not gaining any special recognition until a frat boy at Duke recognized her and outed her.  Belle went to the internet to tell her story and she became the world’s most popular porn star this year. The best part is she was able to get a sweet internship at, which can lead to a lot of great opportunities for her in the future.

Moving to sports, it was a bad year for the NFL.  It seems like we say that every year, but it just keeps getting worse.  This year, domestic abuse in the NFL kept the league in the headlines more than anything happening on the field.  Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson helped bring the NFL  a new level of bad press.  Early in the year a video was released that led many to believe Ray Rice might have been abusive toward his wife.  The full Ray Rice video was released later in the year, and the world went crazy, since the NFL only penalized ole Ray with a two game suspension. That was later bumped up to a full season. Only four days later it was revealed NFL superstar Adrian Peterson was being investigated for child abuse against his four year old son. Never has NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell been in so much danger of losing his job. It may be the biggest mishandling of a scandal in the NFL’s muddy history. Two giant blemishes arose in a weeks time for America’s most popular sport.

The NFL wasn’t the only league with a major scandal this year.  The NBA took a big hit when (former) Clippers owner Donald Sterling was outed as a raging racist. The incredibly old billionaire who has a black trophy girlfriend and owns a NBA franchise got busted by TMZ for saying a bunch of terribly racist things over the phone. The entire sports world turned on him, he lost his trophy chick, obviously, and his team, but he’s probably fine with all that since he made $2 billion more dollars selling the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer, natch.  This scandal stayed in the papers for months, with his outtress, V. Stiviano enjoying every moment.

Back to the NFL, where the big feel good story of the year fizzled out into a small pile of glitter on the floor.  The Saga of Michael Sam, who would in theory have been the first openly gay player in the NFL, came out of the closet while still playing in college.  His high draft number made it seem like this momentous event was going to happen, and so the press coverage was massive.  He was signed by the Rams and shared a big cupcakey celebratory kiss with his sweetheart.  He even won an ESPY before even playing a single minute in the NFL.  That’s where the rollercoaster crested and started to roll downhill.  Next thing you know he’s being cut by the rams, getting picked up by the Cowboys on their practice squad, getting dumped by the Cowboys practice squad and landing back on solid ground, where he ended up bashing the NFL on TMZ. That’s where we stand now with Michael Sam, and throughout this entire saga, it really hasn’t been about football. Oh, and there was supposed to be a TV show on Oprah’s network too before Jeff Fisher shut that shit down.

Not all news is sex and sports.  There’s also tragedy and comedy.  On the tragedy side, it’s hard to believe that it was just this year that a Malaysian Airliner went missing, and its even harder to believe that no trace of the airliner or explanation for its disappearance has ever been found.  The hardest thing of all to believe is that CNN ever stopped covering it, as it almost looked like they were going to have to change their name to the Malaysian Airline Network for awhile.  Yes it was a terrible tragedy. Yet the search for the missing Malaysian airliner kept the entire world captivated and glued to television screens. The conspiracy nuts of course, were all fired up and out of the wood work. Ping became a buzzword for a full month as search teams scoured the oceans. Flight 370 was the only thing the news cycle concerned itself with. Did the plane get hijacked by terrorists? Did it fly into a multi-dimensional wormhole? Was it sabotaged by CNN for ratings(yes that was a real theory)? Looks like we’ll never know what truly happened to Flight 370, but the conspiracy nuts will have a new subject to obsess over up there with the JFK assassination.

On the comedy side of the news, there was the bizarre and unending universe of Mayor Rob Ford.  Rob Ford broke out into our awareness in late 2013, but he didn’t achieve peak crazy until 2014. More and more videos kept coming out showing the Mayor of Toronto in increasingly bizarre situations and behaving like a madman.  Whether he was in a fast food restaurant swearing in Jamaican, or talking about his wife’s pussy, he was nonstop entertainment.  He was like Tommy Boy meets Marion Barry. And the world loved him.  You couldn’t find a monologue without a Rob Ford joke, and twitter just exploded with joy.  He even ended up getting his own TV show for a time. Now he’s settled down, but no politician was more gawked at than Rob Ford in 2014. Whatever Rob does in the future, he’ll be forever known as Toronto’s crack loving yet still lovable former mayor.  Here’s a compilation of some of Mayor Rob Ford’s most memorable moments.   We had dozens of Rob Ford headlines this year, and here are just a few favorites.  Rob Ford Schools Youth Soccer Goalie With His Mad Soccer Skills, Rob Ford Accidentally Voted Against Honoring Nelson Mandela And Olympians,  Rob Ford Does The Reporter Obstacle Course, Rob Ford Will Move His Clocks However He Wants, Mayor Rob Ford On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Rob Ford To Police Chief: Come At Me, Bro, Rob Ford Drops A Fresh Freestyle Beat, Rob Ford Demands Removal of Pride flag From City Hall,  Rob Ford Declares Bob Marley Day, Rob Ford Denied Ordering a Hit, Is Rob Ford Running a Jamaican Tourism Agency!?   The Rob Ford Guide to Christmas Shopping  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Caught Dancing in Council Session, Rob Ford Insinuates Reporter Is A Pedophile, Rob Ford Sex Tape!, Rob Ford Drops A Bitch In A Council Meeting, Rob Ford Doesn’t Need Outside P*$$y, He Has Enough at Home, 10 Life Lessons From The World’s Mayor Rob Ford.

One of the biggest stories in comedy this year, and no one ever saw this coming was the dethroning of Bill Cosby. Cosby- a giant- was brought down after Hannibal Buress made a joke about him while on tour.   A stand up routine don in Philly by Hannibal Burress got uploaded to YouTube and comedy legend Bill Cosby will never be seen the same way again. Dozen’s of women have come out claiming Cosby sexually assaulted them, painting a picture detailing decades of abuse. Cosby’s had tour dates canceled, tickets refunded, and his career forever changed. Most anyone associated with Cosby has distanced themselves, universities have cut ties with him and even the Navy wants nothing to do with Bill anymore.  The accusations were always there. He settled out of court with many of the women who have come forward, yet a minute long bit by a young upstart comedian has changed everything for Cosby. Everything. 2014 will live forever in the history of comedy and Hannibal Burress will be linked to Bill Cosby for the rest of his life.

It’s the movie everyone was and still are talking about, before they even saw it– Seth Rogen’s movie, The Interview. The talk about this comedy from the writing and directing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg began in the Summer even though it was scheduled for a Fall release in October. This past June, North Korea denounced the movie for its plot– an American talk show host and his producer get the opportunity to interview Kim Jong Un. They are then recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea’s “glorious leader” in a covert operation. The North Korean government called the film an “act of war”. The statement was considered an overreaction and Sony was so pumped about the film, the studio changed the release date from October 10, 2014 to the much bigger spot of Christmas Day.  It all took a serious turn when in late November, Sony’s email system was hacked and private (and embarrassing) information was released en masse. As the Christmas release date drew closer, the threats went beyond corporate espionage and into “September 11th” type attacks against theaters and movie fans. Sony Pictures decided to cancel the release of “The Interview” altogether after theater chains started backing out of its screenings. After an off-again-on-again series of decisions, and possibly more headlines than a real declaration of war, The Interview was released on VOD and in select theaters on Christmas Eve.

There were bigger stories this year– Ferguson, Ebola, and even world cup, but these ten were the stories that became the comedy go-to stories in 2014 filling late night monologues, twitter feeds and podcasts.

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