Below, we look back at some of the past year’s key comedy releases, performers and breakthrough moments that we got our funny bone caught in.
Seriously though, climate change. What the fuck are we going to do?! Isn’t it obvious what we have to do?! Why aren’t we listening to the scientists?!
To see more of Exclaim!'s Best of 2015 lists, head here.
Top 10 Hilariously Good Comedy Moments
10. Nathan Macintosh’s I Wasn't Talking
Nathan Macintosh is the kind of comedian you could find at almost any comedy club across Canada — likeable, relatable and familiar. But the New York-via-Toronto-via-Halifax comedian has discovered a knack for taking the familiar and morphing it into something edgy, adroit and downright twisted.
Although Macintosh is mostly known as a clean comedian, on his debut album, he's not afraid to venture into darker territories, drawing on personal experiences to create smart and well-written bits that touch on his un-masculine demeanour, growing up without a father, and his love of hip-hop. With each bit only lasting around a minute, Macintosh uses his rapid-fire delivery to drive across his sometimes ridiculous and often poignant views on the Canadian experience.
On the surface, Macintosh may seem like your average club comedian, but I Wasn't Talking (out now on Comedy Records) proves that he looks deeper and works harder than your run-of-the-mill Yuk Yuk's joke-slinger.
9. W/Bob & David (aka the return of the Mr. Show brain trust)
The reunion century has been pumped full of a lot of gooey nostalgia jelly already, but few returns were as anticipated or surprising as Bob Odenkirk and David Cross reassembling the cast and crew of their fabled, influential sketch program, Mr. Show with Bob and David. Originally an HBO property that ran between 1995 and 1998, Mr. Show is generally regarded as the greatest talent laboratory of its era for alt-comedy.
Over four episodes on Netflix, W/Bob & David exhibits a unique kind of timelessness, rarely digging its teeth into anything particularly topical. While there are aesthetic tinges that recall the end of the 1990s and a few spoofs of contemporary culture and politics, the show essentially proves how funny and adept this confluence of people (including Scott Aukerman and Paul F. Tompkins, among others) is at writing transcendently edgy sketch comedy. Here’s hoping there’s more on the way.
8. Dave Hill’s Let Me Turn You On
Multi-talented surreal absurdist Dave Hill is a low-key dude who messes with stand-up conventions on his thoroughly entertaining record.
With its mix of live jokes performed at Union Hall in Brooklyn and monologues set to space-y guitar-led music, Let Me Turn You On is about as dynamic as it can be, and Hill's material and vaguely stoner-y presence are charmingly refreshing.
An unsettling, off-kilter feeling that reality is being fucked with is prevalent throughout Hill's record; his is a strange, cool world to live in.
7. Aziz Ansari’s hilarious, heartfelt Master of None
Hyperactive comedian/actor Aziz Ansari surprised everyone with his charming, heartfelt take on the latter days of bachelorhood in New York. Disguised as a conventional sitcom on Netflix, Master of None really is a coming-of-age story told over ten interconnected, cinematically produced episodes that have the style and flair of Woody Allen (not to mention observational fatalist acolytes like Larry David and Louis C.K.) in his most daring and uncompromising state.
If you’ve followed Ansari’s stand-up or read his acclaimed 2015 book, Modern Romance: An Investigation, you’ll recognize that, as Dev, he’s playing a version of himself, processing societal conventions about love and happiness and how life is supposed to work. He and his writers and cast bring a rare sensitivity to topics like aging, entitlement, decency, existential dread and interpersonal relationships. It’s funny because, if you’re dealing or have dealt with the same issues (and who hasn’t), it’s true.
6. Eugene Mirman’s I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome)
In a year where anti-humour made significant waves (see H. Jon Benjamin's Well, I Should Have..., the Neil Hamburger-starring indie flick Entertainment and the entire third season of Nathan for You), Eugene Mirman took the proverbial cake.
Released months after his underwhelming Netflix special, Vegan on His Way to the Complain Store, the stand-up portion of Mirman's fifth album comes off even more loose, edgy and illogical. Not only did the Brooklyn-based comedian release one of the most irreverent live albums of the year with I'm Sorry (You're Welcome) (Sub Pop), but the nine-volume special edition stands as one of the most confounding, unnecessary and brave releases in the history of recorded comedy.
After these 50 minutes of semi-structured jokes, Mirman's humour truly runs amok, as the next 528 tracks includes the comedian delivering meditation sounds, erotic soundscapes, a sound effect library, “digital drugs,” 45 minutes of crying and 195 orgasm sounds.
What makes I'm Sorry (You're Welcome) a true watershed release is that it presents the comedy album as concept, rather than product. Welcome to the world of avant-garde comedy albums — now with extra fart effects.