The 100 Best Things in Comedy We Were Witness To in No Particular Order of 2012

It’s January 1st, 2013, which means 2012 is officially over. That means that we can finally and assuredly post our 100 Best Things in Comedy We Were Witness To In No Particular Order in 2012 without worrying if we were going to miss a really great joke at some New Year’s Eve Party (full disclosure: we worked on New Year’s Eve instead of partying in order to get this list ready). There are some repeats because some people like Louis C.K. and Kyle Kinane are probably going to make our list for something every year, but plenty of new things that you might have overlooked here at The Comedy Bureau.

So, now enjoy our favorite comedians, albums, specials, sketches, podcasts, tweets, shows, festivals, moments, etc. from the past year.

1. Jon Dore and Rory Scovel make a tradition out of doing something amazing on Conan with their latest appearance/interruption.

2. Chris Gethard not only has one of the best shows being broadcasted despite its public access format, but he also got adopted by IFC, hitchhiked to Bonnaroo, and has kept an amazing Tumblr answering almost any question asked of him whether it be about comedy or feeling better about life in general.


3. Sarah Beattie/@nachosarah was one of our favorite Twitter accounts this year with biting self-deprecating humor “I just dropped a steak on the floor and declared that it was ground beef why the fuck am I single”

4. Modern Comedian by Scott Moran is hands down one of the best looks into the process of comedy, especially since they’re looking into the comedic processes of Kurt Braunohler, Ben Kronberg, Todd Glass, Rory Scovel, and more.

5. Todd Glass had one of the most amazing episodes of WTF! w/Marc Maron by coming out as gay as well as making his podcast The Todd Glass Show one of the funnest experiences to listen to and also had one of our favorite moments of the year with handling a heckler by saying, “I believe in you. You’re better than this.”

6. We got to see Jim Jefferies do an hour of brilliant stand-up comedy, which, to our surprise, he opened up and made himself vulnerable when talking about relationships after saying cunt a bunch and doing anti-religion material. Basically, we can’t wait for Legit on FX this year.

7. This year, Louis C.K. makes this list for revolutionizing the business of comedy yet again by selling tickets tickets independently for his tour, hosted a very memorable episode of SNL, and earned his self-improsed hiatus from his critically acclaimed series Louie until 2014.

8. Sketch group Goatface (Aristotle Athiras, Hasan Minhaj, Asif Ali, and Fahim Anwar) shows what happens when a “man on the street” bit goes awry.

9. Andrés du Bouchet returns to our list for writing, in our opinion, the funniest sketch about drawing penises on foreheads ever.

10. Will Weldon got to be a Fresh Face at JFL Montreal this year as well as kill it on Twitter @oldmanweldon with both original material and RT people who tweet about taking meetings, not to mention being one hell of a stand-up.

11. Keith Apicary (Nathan Barnatt) is a dancing fiend no matter his retro sweater, hair, and glasses as shown in his audition for a Kimberly Cole music video.

12. In promotion of This Is 40, Albert Brooks showed us all how to be the perfect late night guest on Leno and Letterman.

13. Joe Pera’s submission video for The Andy Kaufman Award this year is deserving of an award for best submission video in quite sometime.


14. Stephen Colbert had a banner 2012 with chatting with Maurice Sendak and creating “I Am Pole (and So Can You)” (that Tom Hanks did the audiobook version for) as well as his unbelievable Colbert Super PAC during the election.

15. James Adomian’s debut stand-up album “Low Hanging Fruit” is proof positive that he’s you should be trying to see live wherever he is playing. 

16. The long awaited hour comedy special, Whiskey Icarus, from Kyle Kinane was well worth the wait and it was our privilege to see Kinane work it all out.

17. The Bitter Buddha is not only a documentary about one of our favorite comedians, Eddie Pepitone, but a wonderful documentary of its own accord by director Steve Feinartz. It’s still making the rounds on the festival circuit, but will hopefully play in a theater near you soon.

18. While at JFL Montreal this year, one of the names we had never heard, but we were so glad to learn was Joe Machi. See why with his Fallon set.

19. David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook deserves all the accolades it’s getting for pulling off being a dark romantic comedy about both sports betting and mental illness.

20. Please give Bill Burr a travel show. Just a camcorder and him walking around taking shit about everything is hilarious

21. Amidst the thick field of podcasts, one of the new ones we were excited to see get started was Call Chelsea Peretti where Peretti basically deals with the Internet calling her.

22. Maria Bamford’s Special Special Special is not only a fine hour of a comedy special, but it’s also a great reassurance from Bamford that life is going to be alright no matter what happens (like accidentally killing your dog).

23. Comedy Central’s Mash-Up hosted by TJ Miller and created, directed, and produced by Jordan Vogt Roberts might have been several years in the making with its original iteration as The Blerds, but we’re glad the sketch/stand-up mix finally made it to televisions across the country in 2012.

24. Martin McDonagh’s 7 Psychopaths might be one of the most underrated comedies of 2012 with how brilliant all of it’s layers were and how fantastically dark the humor was, as is the style of McDonagh.


25. Los Angeles finally got the live comedy festival that it could be proud of thanks to Abbey Londer in Riot LA

26. Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction, a previously Seattle based show, relocated here to LA along with its creator Bryan Cook, thankfully, as comedians doing fan fiction about the Geico gecko, Diners Drive-ins & Dives, and Occupy Wall St./Black people has proven to be hysterical.

27. Tig Notaro’s unplanned album “Live” that was an impromptu set about her cancer, pneumonia, mother dying, and break-up is absolutely amazing and deserving of it selling enough copies that it would have made the non-comedy Billboard charts.

28. Getting to see him perform several times to roaring laughter and applause (always at the end of a show because no one , be part of his taping of his album Standard Operating Procedure and even just casually chatting with Sean Patton has made for some our best times in comedy in 2012.

29. Jen Kirkman has a great book coming out this year “I Can Barely Take Care of Myself”, has brought a fresh comedic perspective in working on her material about her divorce, and started off a show the way we should always start off a show by singing a holiday song and hugging people in the audience.

30. It is tragic that Dan Harmon was ousted from his own show, Community, on NBC last year. Yet, that has made Harmon channel his creativity and spirit towards wonderful things like Harmontown, Anomalisa, and a project developing at Adult Swim and Fox.

31. The first ever LA Podcast Festival was a hit as several non-Californians who seemingly listen to every episode of every comedy podcast and we’ll be looking forward to the next one.

32. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained might be one of finest films, but certainly is one of his funniest (even with the violence and language that people seem to always complain about with Quentin). 

33. Rory Scovel had one hell of a 2012 in making this list again with his awesome Comedy Central half hour, appearances on Conan and Ferguson, a great car commercial, and having a show being developed around him at ABC.

34. Armando Iannucci’s political comedy genius is finally getting some appreciation with the HBO series Veep.

35. The legend of Patrice O’Neal and his comedy lived on in one spectacular album called, Mr. P.

36. Set List, The Improvised Stand-Up Show, finally got made into a TV show. While it’s only in the UK for now, we were at some of the tapings to see the likes of Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, Fred Willard, Hannibal Buress, and more pull off the feat of making up comedy in front of a TV audience.

37. Kurt Braunohler has been rewriting messages in greeting cards with something way funnier and better than what was originally written and placing them back. We hope that we’ll stumble on one at some Rite-Aid in LA this year. 


38. Dave Hill compiled a great book in Tasteful Nudes, covered the Olympics in spectacular fashion for the BBC, and wrote some great erotic short stories on his Twitter. Just a typically awesome year for the awesome Dave Hill.

39. This sketch on Wits APM with John Moe featuring the voices of Rifftrax Live and Maria Bamford, and more,  written by Alison Agosti & Lauren McGuire was one of the funniest takes on Wizard of Oz we’ve ever seen.

40. Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee gave us all the inside look into what hanging out, as a comedian, with Brian Regan, Larry David, Michael Richards, and more is like, hopefully giving you an idea of the inner workings of really successful comedians.

41. Along with his fantastic memoir of his turbulent teenage years Kasher in the Rye, Moshe Kasher and his stand-up has gotten to a whole new level that’s enthralling, aggressive, and yet so eloquent. Please see him whenever and wherever you can.

42. Katie Crown tries to interview Nathan Fielder in a tree for Treeterviews. The only other thing we’ll say is just watch.

43. Jim Hamilton made our list again from going from his still really funny Twitter account, releasing his first stand-up album Poems About the Ocean, and being himself and great on Fallon

44. John Hodgman’s trilogy of Complete World Knowledge was completed and released as a box set, even though the world didn’t end like Hodgman had suggested.

45. Yassir Lester’s Twitter account @yassir_lester has been one of the funniest of 2012 almost, by Yassir’s own admission, trying to tweet things in order to lose followers.

46. Thing X, just launched this year gathering the left over writers from The Onion, had a great web series in having Xpert Matt Beacon (attempt to) explain how to do things while being clinically depressed.

47. Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe is just out and out hilarious, but also densely filled with plenty of stuff to find for multiple listens/watches. Please get it or listen/watch again ASAP.

48. Guy Branum’s competitive talk show: Talk Show: The Game Show has been one of the most innovative and funny things we’ve seen all year. Talk show guests/comedians actually compete to have the best interview and can get points and/or yellow/red cards, so we got on board with it immediately. 

49. Cameron Esposito moved to LA this year and has quickly made her way as one of the most delightful people to watch in stage. You might have read our thoughts about her in The LA Weekly recently.

50. Though it was a fake promotion that Bill Murray was going on a party tour, he literally has been doing just that around the country including his appearance on Letterman last month.

51. TJ Miller’s Gorburger, RVC, Cashing In with TJ Miller with Cash Levy, his riffing on the stage lights and an off comment from a Marriott employee about Marriott Hotels into comedic magnificence, as well as hosting Mash Up only make us ponder what TJ will pull off in 2013.  

imagephoto by Rebecca Adler Rotenberg

52. The Nerdist YouTube Channel has made for some well produced, really funny online programming showing that the separation between great TV and the Internet isn’t that big.

53. Jason Woliner, the man behind the camera, for Human Giant and Eagleheart spent a good deal of his fortunes on making novelty t-shirts and cataloged what happened on a blog.

54. The Sessions is a beautiful, heartwarming, and emotionally gratifying movie about a poet in an iron lung trying to have sex. Definitely underrated for how little has been written about it this year. 

55. Thanks to Grant Lyon, Andy Peters, Matt Knudsen, and Jarrod Harris for a probably accurate reenactment of why John Hancock signature is so big on the Declaration of Independence

56. Eugene Mirman should give more commencement speeches as evidenced by this one at his alma mater this year.

57. Jon Daly absurdly merged the identities of himself and famous golfer John Daly to the point where ESPN took notice.


58. It was only a matter of time before Dana Gould figured out on his own way to do a podcast and make the wondrous Dana Gould Hour. That and impersonating Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius as Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain were great enough and yet Gould gave way more great comedy in 2012.

59. More undeniable feel good-ery/hilarity came from Reggie Watts: A Live At Central Park

60. Independent podcast collective Feral Audio started this year by the efforts of Dustin Marshall with shows from the likes of Chelsea Peretti, Duncan Trussell, Brody Stevens, Esther Povitsky, Sean Conroy, and more really funny people that should have a podcast.

61. Kevin Avery’s short film Thugs the Musical toured the film festival circuit to plenty of deserving accolades for being a mockumentary about black actors learning to be more black to get black roles.


62. John Mulaney’s 1-hr Comedy Central Special “New in Town” was such a delight that it could have been 2 hours and we would barely notice.

63. Bobcat Goldthwait not only made another great film, God Bless America, in his ever burgeoning film career, but has made quite a few live appearances that have reshaped our perceptions of his live act (i.e. he dropped the voice and has been telling some really hilarious stories)

64. As The Grawlix (Adam Cayton Holland, Ben Roy, and Andrew Orvedahl) and individually, it’s been great to see them touring at festivals (JFL Montreal, Riot LA, Bridgetown) and get a deal with Amazon Studios.

65. Hannibal Buress’ latest hour of stand-up, Animal Furnace, shows a Hannibal Buress with a little fire in him, which is a Hannibal that’s as funny as ever 

66. Sketch group Dead Kevin (Ahmed Bharoocha, Ryan O’Flanagan, Jack Roubichaud) has managed to reinvent the dynamic of three twentysomething guy roommates into something we looked forward to every Monday when there’s a new episode.

67. It’s rare that we get to see veteran writer, director, comedian Joe Wagner do stand-up, but whenever we do, it’s magical. Ex: getting an applause break from having an “intimate moment” with a female audience member by simply maintaining eye contact and trying to not touch hands.

68. David Wain’s Wanderlust is yet another underrated comedy featuring many members of The State in 2012 that you should pay no mind to its rating on IMDB.

69. Both Andy Sanford and Jimmy Fallon with the aide of Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, and more put a modern spin on the classic Abbott & Costello bit “Who’s on First?”

70. Byron Bowers had one of our favorite jokes in 2012, that should be even greater as as we only saw it in its formative stages. It starts out, “I like slavery,” and ends in an applause break and isn’t completely about the shock value of a slavery joke. Watch for the polished version this year.

71. The storytelling of Dave Ross has been exceptional in 2012, running one of our favorite storytelling shows, Two Headed Beast, as well as notching in two wins at The Moth.

72. Arrested Development was officially put in production for a whole season at Netflix

73. Oh Shit!, a Channel 101 series from Mike McCafferty and Mike Manasewitsch, broke nearly any and every rule of linear storytelling that we could think of and we couldn’t be more thankful for how funny it was.  

74. In seeing fantastic Irish comedian Dylan Moran do over an hour at Largo, he took a break in the middle to eat wine and chocolate on stage while grumbling that Americans don’t do intermissions at their stand-up shows. It was hilarious as was the other 80 or so minutes of fast paced, hard hitting material.

75. Eric Andre pitted himself in a battle against the talk show in 2012. Whether it be on The Eric Andre Show or doing something unplanned on Fallon, Conan, or Attack of The Show, Eric threw talk show conventions out the door for some of the biggest laughs we’ve had in 2012.

76. Front Page Films’ parodying of Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman with Pete Holmes, Matt McCarthy, and Oren Brimer almost makes want there to be more Nolan Batman movies.

77. Jake Weisman, for our money, made one of the best election jokes in starting the Romney Ryan 1840 meme.


78. Underbelly, a Cincinnati & NYC based show where stand-up comedians do anything but stand-up comedy, had a wonderful LA debut thanks to Ryan Singer and Chris Garcia. Watch for the next one at Echoes Under Sunset sometime this year. 

79. A time travel romantic comedy with Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza sounds great on paper. Turns out that Safety Not Guaranteed made very good on what that paper said.

80. Paul F. Tompkins’ hour special of stories about bad jobs he has had, Laboring Under Delusions, was plenty to make the list again for this year, but Paul F. Tompkins: The Video Game w/Jon Dore cemented his spot for sure.

81. Burning Love was beyond a pitch perfect parody of The Bachelor with Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, and more. There’s a season 2 that is set to appropriately be a parody of The Bachelorette we’re highly anticipating.

82. Mike Birbiglia’s film adaptation of Sleepwalk With Me in of itself is a terrific film all around. But, it should be noted that all the promotions of it with Joss Whedon calling for its downfall and Shelby Fero doing a role playing interview were also really damn funny.

83. Myq Kaplan has continued to be a perfect wordsmith, keeping it tight on his late night appearances on LettermanConan, and Ferguson.

84. Gungan Style from Funny or Die’s Nick Wiger perfectly, succinctly, and darkly summarizes our thoughts about Internet trends and their accompanying coattail chasers.

85. Seattle’s own Barbara Holm charmed us with her humor when she won a round of Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction with a decidedly cute, albeit still erotic, Spider Man story where she ends up living happily ever after and defending being quirky like every comedian defends being an actual nerd.

86. British comedian Simon Amstell’s new show he’s touring with, Numb, is comedy of a higher order. It makes you double over in laughter, feel good about yourself, but, most importantly enlightens you in a way that isn’t confounding.

87. We’re not going to say whether Key & Peele on Comedy Central hit its stride or not in its second season, but there were so many really funny sketches like this one or this one or this one or this one.

88. Thanks to Josh Fadem, we got to see Ron Lynch, Hannibal Buress, Wendy Liebman, Sean Patton, Brent Weinbach and The Whitest Kids U Know perform live for free with free cupcakes at Cinefile Video, that’s right a video rental store, in West LA. 


89. Brian Regan grossed over $1,000,000 in less than 10 shows in Salt Lake City, UT. We’re glad to see people still see live comedy in droves.

90. In response to having to pay airfare and hotel and not getting paid at SXSW as a comedian, Duncan Trussell redid the subtitles a scene from the film ‘Downfall’ so Hitler is responding to this predicament.

91. Conan O’Brien’s remote segments (reviewing video games, Triumph letting loose at Weiner’s Circle, visiting a costume shop with a mask of his face) have really been proof that he needed the breathing room of cable to still be the Conan we knew from Late Night and be on at 11PM. 

92. Though Nick Turner moved back to NYC and we miss getting to see him perform regularly, he had some of the funniest sets we saw all year like this one where he locked himself out of his car as well as a great web series in King Temp

93. Joe DeRosa made quite an impression with us this year with his truthful, incredibly personal stand-up as shown in this episode of Modern Comedian and his Official Comedy web series We Should Break Up.


via The Comic’s Comic

94. Andy Kindler’s State of the Industry Address is always a highlight at JFL Montreal, but was especially so as James Adomian opened as Andy Kindler, then Kindler closed with a 5 minute rant as a robot about Louis C.K.

95. Last year, Jackie Kashian made the list because of her podcast The Dork Forest, but this year we’re giving her a slot because of her sensational stand-up, especially the material dealing with the passing of family. Go see her when you can (she tours quite a bit).

96. Brent Weinbach’s Mostly Live off AST Records is what you have all been waiting for even if you didn’t know it or know who Brent Weinbach is; absurdist comedy at its finest

97. Brody Stevens is well on his way for his comeback from a Twitter meltdown with one hell of a set on Conan.

98. Tim Heidecker absolutely nailed an impression of a bad stand up whenever we saw him live this year to the point where it’s hilarious and, hopefully, people trying comedy won’t try to copy it.

99. Gallery 1988 had a slew of wonderful art tributes to comedy this year-Adult Swim, Arrested Development, Judd Apatow, and more.

100. Garfunkel & Oates really upped their comedy this year with just these two songs: The College Try and 29/31.