Every year we report on the comedy that becomes news, but there’s also plenty of news that becomes comedy. The stories that late night talk shows write monologue jokes about– the stories that become source material for comics on stage, the stories that fed thousands of twitter jokes, the stories that become parody videos, SNL sketches, and fodder for weekend update. These 15 stories dominated social media for days, spawned Halloween costumes, and were talked about endlessly on talking head television.
In 2014 we looked back at the Fappening, Donald Sterling, and Rob Ford. In 2015, we obsessed on a liar (Brian Williams), a slaughtered animal (Cecil), and the Kardashians (Cait and Khloe). In 2016 it was more of the same, but this time a different liar (Lochte), a different slaughtered beast (Harambe), and a different Kardashian and her husband (Kimye). In 2017, Trump dominated the news but it was also the year of April the Giraffe, the Bro Romper and Tiki Torches.
This year, when we weren’t talking about Trump, these were the biggest stories.
In January, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency activated its civilian early warning system with a message sent to cellphones in the state that read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Families hid their kids in manholes, and chaos reigned down upon Hawaii until it was discovered that the message was sent in error. It was supposed to say it was a test alert. It took 40 minutes to correct the mistake. Sounds hilarious right? Okay maybe not not at first…but later….it was irresistible fodder for comedy. Colbert started a four minute bit on the story calling this the worst thing you can wake up to on your phone other than realizing you drunk tested your girlfriend’s mom, “send nudes.” Jimmy Fallon commented how crazy it was that Trump failed to comment on the news for a full 24 hours, which is odd since “fake news” is his thing. Trevor Noah focused on a man interviewing on Hawaiian news who calmly took an Uber to the airport to evade the missile. Kimmel joked that for 38 minutes, Hawaiians were seeking shelter under MaiTai umbrellas. And of course there were endless tweets joking about the embarrassing gaffe.
In February The Eagles win their first Super Bowl and we got 3 days of insane viral videos between winning the NFC Championship, Winning the Super Bowl and then the victory parade in Philly. Philly went ballistic, there were fires, there was shit eating, there was dancing on awnings, there was pole climbing despite greased poles and more. There were more greased pole jokes going around the internet and comedy clubs than at a gay porn roast. You even had drunk Kevin Hart getting a bit snubbed after the game which was hilarious. And yes, there was Big Dick Nick. Of course every late night host covered the excitement in their monologues, and there were plenty of jokes in the clubs and it was all trending Philly talk on twitter for days. Watch some of the videos here.
Corey Feldman tweeted that he was “Stabbed” in March. While Feldman said he was stabbed with a sharp object, police know of no injuries and have no suspect or weapon descriptions. A month later, the LAPD announced that it was no longer investigating an assault report that Feldman had filed with the department because the statute of limitations had expired. Feldman also spent the year working on a documentary about abuse in Hollywood titled “Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys.” It feels wrong to laugh at the story, because Feldman obviously has some issues, but it’s an impossible topic for anyone funny to ignore.
As seen on Twitter,
“Whatever happened with Corey Feldman after he stabbed himself, I mean, when he got stabbed?”
“the hospital reports that there are no lacerations. Anyone else confused as to how non-stabbing stabbings work?”
“Corey Feldman: I was stabbed in the stomach. LAPD: No you weren’t. Corey Feldman: It’s being treated as attempted murder. LAPD: No it’s not.”
“Corey Feldman claims he was stabbed by people that want him dead. Police are currently questioning the Earth.” — Gilbert Gottfried
In February of 2018, Elon Musk strapped a Tesla roadster onto a rocket and shot it into space. They put a mannequin they called Starman in the driver’s seat before launching it. It was one of the most amazing sights to see all year. It also was irresistible source material for jokes. What else do you need to read– there is a Tesla roadster, driving around in space. that’s enough. Here was the live stream of the car floating in space.
Prince Harry married the American actress Meaghan Markle and this year they got married and proved that the world still goes cray cray for a royal wedding. The twist on this marriage- the bride was an American, and a former actress who starred on the USA Network series Suits and Deal or No Deal as a briefcase girl. It was a fun wedding with plenty to tag- one of the standout moments from the wedding itself was when Bishop Michael Curry went “off-script” in 13 minute sermon. Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir sing ‘Stand by Be‘ from the West End of the Chapel providing another highlight. Meaghan also had family drama leading up to the wedding with her father who was seemingly trying to capitalze on the event. He had a heart attack a week before the wedding and was also doing interviews commenting and Meaghan looked terrified. Meaghan’s half-sister also tweeted “Act like a humanitarian act like a woman! If our father dies I’m holding you responsible, Meg!” It was a three ring circus, and the world was glued to the tv throughout. Weekend Update covered the wedding on Saturday Night Live with Michael Che saying “suits actor Meaghan Markel married some unemployed dude who still lived with this grandma.”
Donald Trump announced a new branch of the Military named the Space Force which is intended to have control over military operations in outer space. Ignoring jurisdictional issues, in March, Trump declared “We’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space – I said, maybe we need a new force. We’ll call it the Space Force.” In June he signed a Space Policy Directive-3 and directed the Pentagon to immediately start the process of establishing his space force as a sixth branch of the armed forces. This week it was revealed that the plan is to have the space force be a part of the Air Force. The goal is for the new branch to be completed by 2020. Like most Trump ideas, Space Force has been laughed at extensively.
In late June of 2018, a soccer team of 12 kids, ages 11 to 17, and their 25 year old coach, got stuck in a cave in Thailand for 18 days while trying to seek shelter from a storm. They traveled 2 and a half miles into the cave before realizing they couldn’t go out the way they came due to rising waters. Over the course of the next 18 days the entire world watched the rescue attempt. The effort was helped by over 10,000 people and a 100 divers. The children were ferried out of the cave one by one by former navy seals. While the kids were in danger, the comedy was somewhat contained, but once the kids were safe, all bets were off.
Papa John used the N-Word in a conference call with a marketing rep. And he got caught. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups Papa John said “Colonel Sanders called blacks N—–” and that the Colonel never faced public backlash for this. The company would drop Papa John from all advertising and he eventually stepped down as Chairman and the company itself stepped down as the official pizza of the NFL. Papa John eventually launched a website named Save Papa Johns where he claimed he was being silenced by the board. Is there anything funnier than seeing Papa John lose his empire after complaining about having to provide benefits for his workers? Sorry John, ya busted.
Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court Justice who ended up having sexual abuse allegations levied against him by Christine Blasey Ford. They both ended up speaking as part of his confirmation hearing. She was calm and composed. Kavanaugh came off emotional, erratic and angry. Kavanaugh talked in detail about how he liked to drink beer, and hanging with his buddies Squee, PJ and Tobin. We watched Senators ask questions about boofing, and devils triangles. It would have been funnier if it hadn’t resulted in a man who started crying under questioning being confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. The incident will be best remembered by a Saturday Night Live cold open starring Matt Damon.
Kanye West met with Donald Trump at the Oval Office in October. The meeting touched on racism, tax breaks, prison reform, alternate universes, mental health and the need for art programs in schools. They also spoke about North Korea where Kanye gave credit to Trump for stopping a war Obama wanted to start. Kanye was cursing and almost screaming at points during the televised meeting and hugged the President in one of the most bizarre moments ever televised involving a sitting President. Kanye said he brought Trump a Superman cape, and accused black people of getting too caught up in racism. And that was just early on. Twitter was locked in Saturday Night Live dedicated a cold open to the incident, which you can watch here. Jimmy Kimmel said about the meeting, “Not only was this a crazy conversation for this White House, this is the kind of conversation that would typically be held between people wearing hospital bracelets.” Trevor Noah joked, “There was a ranting lunatic in the Oval Office today and he had to sit there quietly as Kanye West did this.” And Jimmy Fallon said in a monologue, “If you told me 10 years ago that Trump and Kanye would be meeting at the White House, I would’ve said, ‘Oh my god. Kanye becomes president?”
Fortnite becomes what seems like an overnight video game phenomenon. This free to download game pits you against 100 other people all trying to be the last person standing in a “Battle Royal”. You jump off a sky bus to start the game, land on different parts of a map and then go to battle. Even though kids can’t purchase weapons or anything to get them an edge at winning, they spend millions of dollars on different “Skins” (Basically costumes for characters)They can also buy dance moves (Floss Dance and The Jump Dance for example). These dances are everywhere now, anytime you see a kid on TV they’re doing one of the dances. Some artists have sued. Fortnite is unstoppable and after Trump, may be the longest running headline of 2018. Those who understand what it is, have joked about it. And so have those who don’t. Watch the Fortnite trailer. Jimmy Kimmel challenged parents to sneak up on their kids and turn off the tv while their kids were playing Fortnite. Twice. The audience cringed when they were told what they were about to see. They knew. This video says it all.