Happy 2014, everybody!
Before we plunge forward into the new year, let’s take a look back at what caught the fancy of comedy fans over the past year. Here were the 10 most popular posts of 2013 on The Comic’s Comic, and what they said and still say about us.
Anthony Jeselnik’s Comedy Central program smartly showcased its host’s sharp-tongued brand of humor, and no matter how many times he said the word “panel,” Jeselnik never undersold the madcap mayhem that was his show’s panel segment — pairing up comedians and letting them loose to deliriously funny effect. Jeselnik’s show may not have lived to see a new season in 2014, but any and every late-night program would do well to book panels like this show did. Fortunately for us…we’ll have @midnight four nights a week throughout 2014 after Colbert on Comedy Central.
9. What’s that, you say? That’s what. Bo Burnham released his new comedy special, what., for free on YouTube in mid-December, and racked up more than 1 million views in its first two weeks. It’s so good, plenty of people wanted to read my review of Bo Burnham’s what. to make sure they weren’t the only ones amazed by the 23-year-old’s showmanship.
Chris D’Elia co-starred with Whitney Cummings for two seasons on NBC’s Whitney and will lead a cohort of male stand-up comedians in a midseason sitcom on the Peacock Network in 2014, Undateable. D’Elia also released his first hour stand-up special late in 2013, White Male Black Comic. And found himself a big fan in a white male black singer with millions upon millions of fans in Justin Bieber. And Bieber, in turn, was able to have a laugh at his own expense at the end of the year as it turns out 19-year-olds with massive fame and fortune act out just like other 19-year-olds, but even more so.
Silverman released her first pure stand-up special late in 2013 with We Are Miracles on HBO, and independently let us in on her failed NBC pilot, “Susan 313.” But when she appeared as a guest on FXX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell in September, she still was smarting from the James Franco Roast. Sure, Silverman has roasted and been roasted several times over the years with both Comedy Central and the Friars Club, but what made this time around different was the fact that the men on the dais all made it seem like Silverman was an aging spinster or worse. Since then, she has turned 43. That’s so old, you guys! 43!?
Sounds like men still had a problem with funny women of any age in 2013. Let’s hope for better this year. We can do better, fellas.
The power of Artie Lange on the radio endures as big news for his fans. Artie! The Artie Lange Show airs on DirecTV, SiriusXM and Premium Radio Networks, as well as via podcasts.
Da Bears! Combine that long-running Saturday Night Live catchphrase, with a current TV ad catchphrase — “Discount #DoubleCheck” — plus George Wendt and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as the Bears fans foil. Repeat for 17 weeks of the NFL regular season. Since NFL games are the most-watched programs on TV, that brought a lot of people online to check out the spots again and again.
This magical night in February also predicted a follow-up encounter with Kevin Hart, which happened. As for their tour together? Stay tuned. Rock is still working on his new hour-plus of material, while Chappelle did tour both as a solo headliner across America and over several nights at Montreal’s Just For Laughs, as well as starring as the main attraction among many for a Funny or Die summer arena tour. Stand-up in arenas? With Chappelle rounding out the bill in front of that many hot, tired drunken spectators? What could go wrong? We’ll still have those nights in February 2013 at the Cellar, and I’ll still have that photo from my iPhone that shot around the Internet.
Aisha Tyler isn’t Drew Carey, The CW isn’t ABC, and not all celebrity guests are professional improvisers, but the rest of the short-form improv gang you still know and love still know and love short-form improv. Turns out plenty of people tuned in to see Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie make up funnies, and that, in turn, has prompted The CW to give a second look at once again programming more comedy and sitcoms on its primetime network schedule for 2014.
We lost some huge names in comedy in 2013, the larger than life mad genius of Jonathan Winters for one. There were other stars of the screen who died last year, including Marcia Wallace, Kumar Pallana, Eileen Brennan, Mel Smith, Gary David Goldberg, Jean Stapleton, Mickey Rose and Don Payne. They all received tributes far and wide in the media. Dan Pasternack shared a rare film he made with Winters here so you could see the gentle giant of comedy one more time doing what he loved to do.
The Comic’s Comic made sure to make note of the passing of comedians who left a mark on audiences and left them laughing. R.I.P. to Jay Leggett, Monty Hoffman, Kenneth “KD” Brown, Bernard “Bernie” Sahlins, Rahn Ramey, Scott Kennedy, Hal “Chickie” Spear, and Charlie Hill.
Late in 2013, media people were claiming it the year of the hoax, perhaps partly to cover their own butts for having covered so many hoaxes as if they were actual news stories.
After three decades, everyone is still chasing the legacy of Andy Kaufman, who turned our concept of reality into a joke so long-running, it’s continuing to pay dividends now. Not only with an art exhibition full of Kaufman’s collections, “Creating Reality,” in New York City that opened 2013, but also the tour de force that happened when Andy’s living brother, Michael Kaufman, insinuated at the Andy Kaufman Awards in November that Andy was tricking him into thinking he indeed had faked his own death and birthed a daughter, who just-so-coincidentally made her public debut at that very awards ceremony.
True or not, everyone was quick to believe in the possibility and then rushed equally fast to squash the story and expose it.
Which just goes to show just how magical the Kaufman allure remains, no matter where or how his remains remain.
And also reminds me that there remains a place for The Comic’s Comic and a need for original comedy journalism in 2014.
So let’s get to it!