2016! We’re nearly there. Oh god, it’s been such a long, eventful year. Horrible really. Who knows what shit will have gone down between me writing this and it being published? Nothing is surprising. But still, there were good comedy things this year. Quite a few actually once we started trying to make a list. Here are all the ones that managed to poke through the unrelenting grimness of 2016 and made someone at HeadStuff laugh.
How great is Issa Rae though? Insecure (HBO/Sky Atlantic) was funny and sad and honest and didn’t let any of its characters off the hook for any of their bad decisions. And if you’re white and didn’t cringe during any of the scenes with Issa and her co-workers then you need to watch it again because she got us. She got all of us. Also, everybody acted the hell out of every scene. All of the episodes are on Sky On Demand right now if like me, you’re over trying to keep track of torrents. Oh, and the MUSIC. Solange obviously released one of the albums of the year but her work as Insecure‘s music supervisior makes her a 2016 comedy MVP too.
How great is Rachel Bloom though? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW/Netflix) is funny and sad and honest and doesn’t let any of its characters off the hook for any of their bad decisions. And the songs! I Have Friends made it into my Spotify Most Listened To Of 2016 list because it makes me so happy and that’s before we even get to Settle For Me, Sexy Getting Ready Song, You Stupid Bitch, Face Your Fears and all the others. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is about a collection of deeply unhappy people in denial hurting each other (except for White Josh who is pure and good) but it’s also really, really funny. Like, really funny.
When Someone New Starts At Work
Still my absolute favourite thing of the year.
I’ve been a Donald Glover stan for years and years. He can do anything as far as I’m concerned. His career so far has been restlessness, leaving 30 Rock for Community then leaving Community to focus on Childish Gambino (sidebar: how good is Awaken, My Love! right?) and Atlanta shows some of that restlessness e.g. following up the episode where SPOILERS Van gets fired with an episode set entirely in a very serious talk show along with fake ads. The main thing I take away from Atlanta though is that Donald Glover knows what he wants to do and he’s got this. Glover’s Earn is a much quieter, more internal character than the affable doof that was Community‘s Troy Barnes and the various personas found in his Childish Gambino work. Zazie Beetz also does incredible work as kind-of girlfriend/co-parent Van.
Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen Do A Wordsearch
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I’ve become a big big Ana Fabrega fan this year. Her Instagram stories are The Best and also there’s this, where she has trouble with a wordsearch and asks Fred Armisen to help.
With a flurry of Superhero movies over the last 8 years there have been many critics and cinema-goers alike that feel the formulaic troupes may be getting old. The fourth-wall breaking, lewd, crude Deadpool definitely did not fall into that category. If it is action-packed comedy you are after full of pop-culture references, perfectly choreographed fight scenes, often ad-libbed hilarity and a few dick and fart jokes for good measure, you need to look no further. – Paddy O’Leary
Comedy Bang Bang
The Earliest Show
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I loved The Earliest Show. I think I included it every week in Tittererer’s Digest when it was on. Here’s the full playlist for it including ONE WHOLE HOUR of outtakes. AN HOUR.
If you have not checked out Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite on Netflix yet, stop whatever you are doing (which I guess is reading this) and go do that now. Bamford has been called “the funniest woman in the world” by Judd Apatow and you soon realise how correct that statement is as you step into the mind of the fantastic comedian and actor. The fact that Bamford can deal with varied issues from light to dark, throughout a show this bizarre is a testament to her acting and the writers’ talent. From love and loss to suicide and psychosis, Lady Dynamite is the true-ish tale of one of the great talents in comedy, and one you may have missed. – Paddy O’Leary
All Four Of Us Are In Love With You
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God, this is so good. I think about this a lot and shout “WHO SHOT JFK” (in my head, not out loud) during quiet bits in songs now. The Mess Around you guys, it’s a special thing.
David S. Pumpkins
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This was the meme that warmed hearts all around the world at the beginning of the year before 2016 went completely up in flames. It’s just two young guys, a pair of FRESH AF white vans and a beautiful friendship. You could see in Daniel’s eyes that he loved every minute of it. Unfortunately the original Vine is gone, but the YouTube link remains.
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Ali Wong’s Netflix Special, Baby Cobra
This is one of the best hours of standup you will ever see. Wong performed her set while EXTREMELY pregnant, and tackles sexism and racism while explaining why she trapped her husband with a baby so she could pursue her dreams of never working again.
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