the 13.5 best “best of 2016” comedy lists of 2016

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!

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all the best free/super cheap comedy shows in New York City, according to comedians

I’m a New York City comedian. My non-comedian friends tell me all the time how they can’t see as much stand up as they want to because “When I go to The Cellar, I spend like $50 every time!” And that annoys me because the same exact comedians perform at free shows all over NYC! And big guests like Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and Jim Gaffigan don’t just drop in on club shows.. .they show up at some of these too.

So, I asked 50 NYC comedians which shows were the absolute best free/really cheap shows in the city. If more than one or two of them named a specific show, I added it to this list.

There are already a few lists out there about free comedy shows in NYC, but this one is the only one that.. .

  • is chosen by a bunch of comedians, not a writer/editor
  • is up-to-date.. .as of today, at least (12/27/16)
  • is this comprehensive
  • is listed by neighborhood – there’s bound to be one near you!
  • gives you such juicy links
  • has this Google Maps thing

Even though these (mostly) independent shows are free/cheap, a lot of them allow you to donate money that goes back to the performers. Please throw those comedians a few bucks if you do have the money!

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what i learned from performing stand up in an amphitheater for six Bolivian people – Michael Karlik

I was about one year into doing stand-up comedy. Naturally, I thought I was doing well (I wasn’t). Naturally, I thought I should be on more shows (I shouldn’t have been).

So when the Craigslist post said “Performers wanted: all types,” I responded immediately.

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why puns are NOT funny, have NO place in comedy, and are generally PUNderwhelming

Like any good citizen of the world, I absolutely HATE puns. They’re the worst! Puns are polar-izing; some people love them, but others can’t bear them. I must admit, sometimes puns are written so beautifully that they are awe-ful. But, when it comes down to it, puns are deplorable and everyone should think so. The only people who like them are old wheelchair-bound vegetables; when it comes to puns, no one else will carrot all. Please humor me and just stop telling those puns!

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the REAL secret to stand up comedy? there ain’t none! except for handshakes – Tim Unkenholz

Comedy truly goes hand in hand with handshakes. What is laughter, really, but an audience shaking hands with the comedian, with their mouths? Here we’ll talk about the most important part of any stand up comedy scene — the ritualistic devotion to grabbing each other’s hands as a sign of respect. It’s why stand up comedy is often called a “hand job.”

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from comedians to bloggers everywhere: go to hell! (except for me, my blog is cool)

“Look, it’s just us [here]. Blogs.. .what a bunch of bullshit!” – Paul F. Tompkins, The Wolf Den Podcast

If you’re a person with a heartbeat, you can agree that blogs are the worst thing to ever happen to human society and that includes Adolf Hitler. Bloggers should happily kill themselves, knowing they are doing the world a favor! Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. However, like any good comedian, I hate everything that bloggers have ever done. I’ve never read something a blogger wrote and thought, “Wow, I’m glad I read that! I definitely don’t want to kill whoever wrote this!” Any Joe Shmoe can write a blog to boost his self-importance; all you need are fingers to type. Who gives a shit about what you say! Boooo! Get. A. Life. Right???

Us comedians thoroughly despise bloggers. And rightfully so! Comedians are the truth-tellers of our society. They aren’t afraid to call people out, especially those faceless, soulless “writers” of the web who have no purpose in life other than to shamelessly wrangle clicks at any cost. Comedians provide the world a fantastic service: they make people laugh! On the other hand, bloggers complain. Laughter is positive; complaining is purely negativity. Bloggers bring people together to hate on others gripe about the state of the world. Nothing could be fucking sadder. Who wants that?

Bloggers are a bunch of no-good, self-important nobodies who don’t matter! That’s a fact. But, you shouldn’t just accept that as truth; there are a ton of great reasons why comedians think bloggers should jump off a damn cliff. As far as I know, no one has taken the time to carefully, thoughtfully, and meticulously put these degenerates in their place until now. So, here they are. Here are all the reasons that comedians think bloggers are jerk off fuckbrains.

Oh and by the way, THIS blog is really cool, though.

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i went on tour for a month and you can too (maybe) – Patrick Hastie

I’m Patrick Hastie and you’ve probably never heard my name; reports of my fame are greatly exaggerated. I’m a stand-up comedian and in August I went on a 19-city tour with my friends, Albert Kirchner and Nick Pupo, called the YOUNG DINOSAURS TOUR. We did 30 shows in 27 days. It was crazy. It was daunting. It was absolutely fucking amazing. Since then, a lot of people have asked how we did it. So this article is going to tell you exactly how we did!

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the comedy “crime” of telling jokes that aren’t true

A friend mine told me this fantastic story that happened to her one time while she was dog-sitting. After she told it to me, I was like, “This is an amazing story. I have to share it.” So that’s the first reason I’m writing down my version of it here. The second reason why I’m sharing her story isn’t so happy.. .but let’s forget that for now and just enjoy the story first!

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the (honest) stand up comedy dictionary

A lot of “normal” people don’t know there’s a whole different language comedians use to talk about stand up comedy.. .which has led to the creation of “stand up dictionaries” in an attempt to explain our lives to humorless plebeians.

But this isn’t one of those fluffy-ass dictionaries for non-comics! This dictionary is for advanced, fluent stand up comedians! With the real, honest definitions – what the words really mean. This ain’t your grandma’s stand up dictionary (unless your grandma was a comic!).

Unfortunately, if you’re not a comedian, this glossary is about as useful as bringing a pocket French dictionary to France. So it might help a little bit. But you’re definitely still going to look stupid. Hey, it’s a start! Actually, it’s the perfect piece to read if, like my mother, you don’t particularly care for comedy but you have “a horse in the race.” With some practice, maybe your poor grasp on our lexicon won’t completely stick out like a sore incomplete idiom.

I know this isn’t an alphabetical list. And, yes, technically that’s what a dictionary is supposed to be. But the alphabet is overrated! Screw the alphabet! Who uses anything besides emojis anymore? screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-11-08-05-am That’s why I organized these words for maximal vocabularic retention (i.e. however I feel like it). I’m not sure if “vocabularic” is a real word, but it should be.

So. Below is the very first, very un-alphabetical edition of The (Honest) Stand Up Comedy Dictionary.

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you should meet your hero: what opening for Demetri Martin taught me – Phill Giliver

Imagine:

You’re a mechanical engineering student at Stanford University – one of the most elite colleges in the world. On a typical weeknight, you’re powering through your homework problems for Compressive Flow/Turbo Machinery, studying for an upcoming exam in Fluid Mechanics, building a solar power race car, presenting a camera mount (that you designed) at an engineering fair, or meeting with one of the four student groups that you’re a leader of.

Oh, and you do stand up comedy. You run an open mic at the campus coffee shop on Fridays where you perform in front of an audience of maaaaaybe 10 people. By the time the mic is over, there will be 3 of them left. One, an old man who lives in a trailer and plays his saxophone on the campus quad, comes every week just to heckle you – specifically you – about how your jokes aren’t funny. Whenever you get a chance, you make the forty-minute drive up to San Francisco to hit up an open mic (an open mic that isn’t much more popular than the one you run) and then you make the forty-minute drive back to campus.

One night, you get an email. Demetri Martin, one of the most famous headlining comics in America, is coming to your school. He’s going to be performing in front of an audience of 600. And you get to open for him.

That’s what happened to my friend Phill.

Phill Giliver is a student and open mic comedian based in the San Francisco Bay. This is the story of how he threw his hardworking college-student life out the window for one week so he could perform the set of his life.

A lot of people say you shouldn’t meet your hero because you’ll just be disappointed when you encounter them in the flesh. Phill found out what it was like to meet his. And he says, “do it.”

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