There are A LOT of “best of 2016” comedy lists out there – dozens and dozens of them. And with that many, how do you know who to trust? The “best” comedy books, the “best” comedy specials, the “best” podcasts.. .how are you supposed to figure out what’s really important: which lists are really the best “best of 2016” lists?
That’s why I’ve combed through all the 2016 comedy lists to name the top 13.5 best “best of 2016” comedy lists of 2016. This way you’ll know which lists are the most skillfully compiled, cleverest, and most worth your time. I’m not gonna lie: there was some tough competition out there this year. Only a select few made the cut, but what’s here is the cream of the crop. When it comes to comedy, this list is (quite literally) the best of the best!
Okay, am I crazy? Can you spot the problem with that title? I’ll give you a hint: some inhabitants of a city in the South East of England wouldn’t be too pleased.
.. .NO OXFORD COMMA! Wow, I don’t want to overstate this, but I think it must be said. Huge. Mistake. See, IIIII thought this article was about 1) club owners and 2) “the subset of bookers who were ALSO people who produce comedy.” Because that’s what that title implies. TURNS OUT the article is REALLY about club owners, bookers, AND people who produce comedy. Three separate types of people – not two. Talk about a bait and switch, people! This is why you gotta use oxfords!
That being said, everything else about the list is perfect. For example: adjectives. Here are just a few of the colorful adjectives that kept me entertained throughout this list: amazing, wonderful, incredible, infectious, most nuanced, and unique.
Look, I can let the grammar slide. Overall, well done. And I would have put this list higher in my list. However, when I was reading it, I spilled some soda on my pants. So, definitely not a great list. A good list? Definitely. I’m sorry, I could never call a soda-spill list a great list.
#12.5: The Best Comedy Books of 2016 – Splitsider
Why is this list so low on my list? Because I hate to read books! Sorry, I never liked to read. And this list gives zero shits about people who don’t like to read books. They don’t talk about anything I would care about as someone who never reads books! Things like: How big is the font? How many pages are there? Are there a lot of pictures to look at? Is there a SparkNotes link I can visit instead of Amazon?
Why is this comedy books list on my list then?
Because it had some GIANT positives: I like how the links in this listicle are orange-colored. I like the color orange. I also like that it had pretty pictures that I could look at instead of reading the text. But, then again, the pictures were pretty small, so I can only assume these books don’t have anything “big” to say.
A friend of mine purchased Norm Macdonald’s book (which is on the list) and MADE me read Macdonald’s favorite jokes from the SNL Weekend Update (which is in that book). The jokes were all about celebrities that I’m too young to know about so I did not laugh. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a really good book. I’m sure all the books on this list are fabulous, I just don’t read so there’s that.
#11.5: The 50 Best Podcasts of 2016 – The Atlantic
Is this even a comedy list!? No! And it beat the last two lists in my list; that’s how much I hate spilling soda and reading books! Yet, I say this list has just enough comedy podcasts to make it comedy-y: WTF with Marc Maron, Monday Morning Podcast, and You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes.
I also like this list because it puts comedy in its place. There’s barely any comedy on the list at all. As comedians, we think the world revolves around comedy podcasts where comedians just sit and talk. Nope. There are other ones too. We comedians need that reminder from time to time.
Also, I must say.. .a very catchy featured photo at the top of the page. The pink pops. It reminds me of cotton candy at a carnival which my mother never let me have because she’s a dentist but I imagine would taste very good so it’s a soothing hue. The recording equipment is thematically appropriate. Overall, fancy execution. Nice font.
#10.5: Three-way 😉 tie:
Top Ten Best Comedy Television Series in 2016: Vote for #1 – The Interrobang
Top Ten Best Comedy Stand Up Comedians in 2016: Vote for #1 – The Interrobang
Top Ten Best Comedy Comedy Specials in 2016: Vote for #1 – The Interrobang
What’s with all these lists, Interrobang!? (See what I did there?)
I think someone went list-happy. That being said, these are fun lists because they let you vote on whatever television series/stand up comedian/comedy special you want. And, when you click on the “vote” button, a new pretty description appears for all the options. Very interactive. Very pretty. Some of them are even orange.
More importantly, when I was reading these three lists, they were all so enthralling that I missed my bus stop (I was on a bus). Then, I realized that I had miscalculated and that I had actually not missed my stop at all and that it was in fact the next stop that I needed to get off at. The overwhelmingly pleasant sense of relief I experienced from this realization is what I associate with these three lists and is what pushes these IBang lists above the previous three lists in my list.
I just wish they put all these voting things together on one page. that would be nice.. .
#9.5: The IBang Readers Vote for the Best Everything in 2016 – The Interrobang
Oh look, they did! Whoops, I just now found this one. I can’t believe the IBang made my list so many times! How many lists do they have!? (I did it again) Well, this list definitely has to be better than those other three, because it includes all the #10.5 lists and more! More is always better, especially with lists. This list also convinced me to reconnect with my estranged godmother.
#8.5: Check Out 2016’s Best Late Night Standup Sets – Splitsider
Okay, now we’re talking! I may not like books, but who doesn’t like video clips? Here is a list, my friends! I mean come on, this is perfect! I get to watch a bunch of really great stand up comics do their thing? Yes please! Other benefits of this list: I mean LOTS of videos, alphabetical order, orange titles. I like orange. It might be my favorite color.
The only downside? The title is kind of ordering me around a little bit, don’t you think? And I’m not gonna be like, “No, I’m NOT gonna check out 2016’s best late night stand up sets.” But, why not make it a little more open-ended, Splitsider? Make me feel like it was my idea! How about “Hey Fella! Do You Feel Like Checking Out 2016’s Best Late Night Standup Sets? Great! Here Are The Ones We Picked And We Think You’ll Enjoy Them. Again, No Pressure Checking Them Out – Totally Your Choice” instead? Well, maybe that’s even a little too assertive.
#7.5: 2016 in review: The 50 best comedy albums and specials #40 to #31 – The Laugh Button (just to be clear: NOT 50-41 or 30-1)
Okay yes: big move by putting Bo Burnham at #1. Gutsy work, Laugh Button. I appreciate your audaciousness. I also can’t disagree with Kyle Kinane at number two. But, it’s #31-40 on this list where the magic REALLY starts to happen. Aparna Nancherla, Rory Scovel, George Carlin, Jimmy Carr.. .? Everyone knows that 31-40 is where it’s really at.
Admittedly, at first, I thought the ridiculous amount of clicking you have to do to get through these lists was annoyingly obnoxious. I thought, “Do we really need to give every person’s special/album a different URL? I know there’s some material from some pretty big names on this list, but they’re not SO big that they can’t fit on one page of HTML.” Then, suddenly, I grasped the otherworldly benefit all that clicking afforded me: I now have the buffest clicking finger you’ve ever seen. It’s rough, it’s tough; it’s the John Cena of pointer fingers. Thank you, Laugh Button! .. .Button indeed!
#6.5: The 10 Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials of 2016 – Vulture
I agree with this one more than the last one so it’s better. No orange, though.
#5.5: The 10 Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials of 2016 – Paste Magazine
I agree with this one the most. Also I like how “paste” sounds way more British than “glue,” so I’m all in.
#4.5: The 10 Best Sneezes of 2016 – Splitsider
This one is funny! My favorite sneeze was the one I made when I was reading it. I guess I’m allergic to funny content!
#3.5: The Top 1000 Comedians of 2016 – Zach Broussard
Zach Broussard posted his annual list of the best 1000 comedians in the world.. .this time on billboards all over Los Angeles. I have a special emotional connection to billboards, since I ride a long board and my grandpa’s name is Bill. The list itself is very funny, but when it came to putting this list near the top of my list, humor didn’t even cross my mind. I bill support any list listed on large signs; they do everything but board me.
#2.5: 18 Fitting Ways To Celebrate The End Of 2016 – McSweeney’s
I gotta be honest, here.. .I don’t even understand McSweeney’s, but I know that I should want to write for it. That’s why this one is so high on my list. And also because I think its hilarious and laughed so hard, too (obviously). Great sense of humor and I definitely understand it. This list is a 2016/2016 in my book!
#1.5: Joe (this is the one that counts as a half)
Joe List is killing it lately AND he’s better than all these other lists combined. What is so great about him? First of all, he’s an entire human being, not just a catalog of things from 2016. Also, he was really funny in 2016. He’s been opening for Louis C.K., he co-hosts a hit podcast Tuesdays With Stories (with Mark Normand), and I swear I have a shirt just like that one he’s wearing in that picture! I’m actually wearing it right now! I bet you think I’m kidding, but I’m not even kidding. Literally the only difference is that he’s wearing his unbuttoned and mine is buttoned 5/7th of the way. We’re also wearing a different undershirt.
When it comes down to lists, I just have to pick the one who is wearing the same shirt as me. But, Joe’s not quite at the top for this year. There’s only one best of 2016 list that could possibly beat Joe.. .
#1: the 10 best “best of 2016” comedy lists of 2016 – a comedian’s notebook
Wow! This. List. Is. Amazing!!! It has everything! And it also has everything that everything lists! How could it be beat? Do you think maybe I’m a little biased? No, of course you don’t! Look at how pretty this list is! It’s purple! Which is, dare I say, EVEN BETTER than orange.
Humbly and honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed the comments on each of the lists that this list listed; the author did a really good job. Were there any flaws? No, not really. I don’t see any weaknesses. The competition wasn’t even close. Good luck next year, fellas!
Best live comedy of 2016 – The List
- Despite the website being called a list, this one was actually not a list. Had me very confused.
The Very Best of 2016 on The IBang! – The Interrobang
- Big list. Huge list. Has some other lists in it, too. Why didn’t it make MY list? Gotta give ’em something to hope for next year. Getting SIX lists listed in my list.
The Best Television Shows of 2016 – The Atlantic
- Some good comedy shows on here. But it isn’t a comedy list and also the Atlantic Ocean is one of my least favorite oceans, so I didn’t want to give them multiple spots.
The Comedy Luminaries We Lost in 2016 – Splitsider
- A little sad.
- I got tired of lists that had multiples of “10” in the title.
The 20 Best Comedy Sketches of 2016 – Vulture
- What do vultures know about sketch writing?
(some of these are actually better than the ones in my list)
This post was written by Stu Melton, a NYC comedian and creator of ACN. You can find him on twitter @tellsjokes.
The featured image is a mixture of a bunch of pictures of lists, taken from the supplied links.