Exclaim!'s Top 10 Hilariously Good Comedy Moments

Best of 2015

BY Vish Khanna & Daniel Sylvester Published Jan 11, 2016

It was another amazing year for laughter in 2015. Despite climate change clearly telling us we're all completely fucked, most of us still found some time to shamelessly ha ha ha ourselves silly.

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.
Daniel Sylvester

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.
Vish Khanna   

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.
Vish Khanna

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.
Vish Khanna

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.
Daniel Sylvester

5. SNL's "Meet Your Second Wife" sketch
At the risk of hyperbole, this might well be the most perfect Saturday Night Live sketch, let's say… ever. After a couple of years of hobbling with its new cast and writing staff and some of its worst episodes in decades, SNL has occasionally radiated glimmers of genius this season, and "Meet Your Second Wife" is an absolute crown jewel of comedic revulsion and fulfillment.

Featuring Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler as the hosts of "Meet Your Second Wife," a game show three male contestants unwittingly agreed to participate in, the sketch gleefully attacks older men who date younger women by introducing a sampling of dudes to the young girls that they'll eventually ogle and seduce. It's a space-time continuum premise that is executed wondrously, with the in-studio audience genuinely shocked by the concept and its remarkable ability to one-up itself as it goes. "Second Wife" is a truly stunning feat in television comedy. 
Vish Khanna  

4. Ron Funches' The Funches of Us
When you can break up a room simply by chortling like a four-year-old, your set has a head start. Funches is a charismatic, laid-back dude whose manner is as funny as his material.

On The Funches of Us (Comedy Dynamics) turns a bit about pets into an allegory about racism and discusses the joy of raising his autistic son by suggesting he's a pint-sized gangsta. His crowd work is edgy enough that a member of his audience is placed in a test-of-character what-if scenario involving an ultimatum from terrorists.

Whatever he's delving into and giggling through, Funches is a charming master of misdirection, and the trip here definitely takes a scenic route.
Vish Khanna 

3. Norm Macdonald breaks down on his last Letterman appearance David Letterman fans were already feeling pretty low in the host's final weeks as the pioneering television master that every late-night staff and figurehead tries to emulate. Then, one of the most irreverent and absurd comedians of all time broke down in tears after destroying the room with a perfect set.

Norm Macdonald hit the stage in his customary, seemingly indifferent manner, but had clearly prepared an airtight set of jokes for the occasion. Everything he said was astoundingly funny; he killed. When it hits him that his time is up, he tries to tell a deeply personal story about his love of comedy and what Letterman has meant to him, and he sobs. Then, he tells the tale and delivers a joke by Dave himself before crumbling for good, as the unsentimental host walks over to rescue and thank him. It's one of the most touching moments in the history of Letterman's career and, as always, Macdonald's timing was impeccable.
Vish Khanna

2. Scharpling & Wurster break out with The Best of the Best Show 
After years as an underground phenomenon, radio duo Scharpling & Wurster toured extensively for the first time and showed up as guests on Late Night with Seth Meyers and WTF with Marc Maron. Why? Ostensibly because this past spring, the Numero Group released a massive retrospective box set called The Best of the Best Show.

This thing is a landmark, a comedic milestone that captures the unparalleled genius that Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster have conjured via scripted phone calls on Scharpling's radio program, The Best Show

The duo have perfected a subtle form of observational humour that manifests itself via a bizarre cavalcade of characters that are cartoonish, yes, but evoke people (typically with an interest in music or pop culture) that seem all too familiar. Wurster brings them to life via really high-level acting, often tapping into their surreal delusion, while Scharpling plays the role of the curiously empathetic and bemused host who's doing his best not to hang up.

Compiling fan and personal favourites over a 16-CD box, Scharpling & Wurster have done comedy fans a service with The Best of The Best Show. Whether this represents a memory jog or an intro, the bits here are revelatory.
Vish Khanna

1. Amy Schumer ran the world, the world was fine with that
From revolutionizing TV sketch comedy on Inside Amy Schumer ("This is where my poop comes out," she informed ass fetishists), writing and starring in the critically acclaimed box office Judd Apatow smash Trainwreck, an ingenious turn hosting SNL, releasing a Chris Rock-directed comedy special recorded live at the Apollo Theatre and basically making news highlight reels whenever she made a speech or photo-bombed Kanye and Kim, Amy Schumer clearly won 2015.

Schumer smartly played dumb, subverting stereotypes about race, sex, gender, substance abuse and more. She raised some ire along the way, but who doesn't in this age of outrage? Everyone's angry; few people can turn that into comedy. Amy Schumer fights back in such a nuanced and hilarious manner that no one knows what to expect whenever she's around. She's a rare talent, not to mention a strong contender for entertainer of the year.
Vish Khanna

Latest Coverage