1. THE DAILY SHOW / THE COLBERT REPORT
More than ever this year, Comedy Central's pair of flagship late night shows came together to form one solid block of insightful hilarity four times a week. Some of my favorite segments from The Daily Show's "best fucking news team ever" include Lewis Black on Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's, John Oliver at the World Cup, Wyatt Cenac as the Michael Steele puppet, Samantha Bee on all those lady candidates and "Jason Jones' Bayonne". Some of Jon Stewart's finest moments were his increasingly brilliant appearances as Glenn Beck, his insistent mockery of Rick Sanchez and his profanity-laced gospel tribute to Bernie Goldberg.
Highlights from The Colbert Report included Colbert one-upping Rahm Emanuel and calling Sarah Palin a "fucking retard," setting an example for Obama by beating up BP's Tony Hayward, and embodying Dr. Strangelove to oppose the "Ground Zero Mosque." And of course, Colbert kicked off the idea of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with his segment comparing Glenn Beck and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Rally was the comedy event of the year, from the initial teases through Jon Stewart's powerful closing speech. The clip that sums it all up is the moment when The Daily Show and The Colbert Report came together to make the joint announcement that they were combining the two opposing rallies into one, with a little help from the most powerful woman in America.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear Announcement|
The show that stands out this year for being the most consistently original and intelligent is Dan Harmon's meta-sitcom about the gang from Greendale. I was a big fan of Community's first season (particularly the epic paint ball episode) and as soon as I found out that it had been picked up for a second, I had high expectations. Season Two kicked off with a guest spot from Betty White, who got to rap with Troy and Abed then later spoil the plot of Inception. As the season has progressed, we've gotten to see Harmon take his premise further out there with a Charlie Kaufman-inspired episode in which Abed becomes Jesus, a reality-based Halloween zombie episode, and just this past week a heartfelt stop-motion animated Christmas special.
More than others comedies this year, Community has inspired loving YouTube tributes, like my own Saved by the Bell mash-up and this film noir promo. It's telling that the clip that in my mind best exemplifies this past year of Community was also made by a fan. It seemed strange when Abed barely appeared in the third episode of the season. But all you had to do was pay a little more attention to what was going in the background throughout the episode and you suddenly realized how truly brilliant this show really is.
3. 30 ROCK
In its fourth and fifth seasons, 30 Rock continued to be one of the most relevant comedies on TV. Tina Fey and her writers have an uncanny ability to invent new cultural touchstones in every episode. 2010's most memorable moments include "Adulteraisin," "Bitch Hunter" with Will Ferrell, "Pajamaralls," and the "Borkulator." But of course, the most important episode of the year was the live show in October, which brought all of the past guest stars out of the woodwork, plus Julia-Louis Dreyfus as flashback Liz. Natually, Tracy Morgan was the only actor to visibly flub his lines.
4. MODERN FAMILY
Modern Family had the esteemed distinction of unseating 30 Rock as 2010's Emmy Award winner for Best Comedy after only its first year on the air. The cast also happened to provide the one of funniest moments of the awards with this video co-starring George Clooney. Some of my favorite scenes from Modern Family in 2010 include Dylan using his iPhone to inadvertently re-create Say Anything, the genius casting of Fred Willard as Phil's dad and Cameron and Mitchell's non-controversial kiss. When it comes down to it, my favorite scenes always involve Phil Dunphy. Here's one of his funniest straight-to-the-camera monologues.
Louis C.K. debuted his newest show this year and absolutely hit it out of the park. Unlike his sometimes funny but ultimately failed HBO show, Louie on FX encapsulated his impeccable stand-up in the style of an even more uncomfortable Curb Your Enthusiasm. This show took comedy further than any of the others I've listed, taking chances that didn't always pay off, but were always admirable. The scene that stands out from the first season is a long sequence of Louie and his comedian friends playing poker and having a simultaneously serious and hilarious discussion about homosexuality. Consider it the funniest "It Gets Better" video of the year.
And now, the funniest clips from the best of the rest...
THE OFFICE - Kevin as Cookie Monster
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - "The Boy Who Can't See Glass"
PARKS AND RECREATION - Jerry's Presentation
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - Betty White's opening sketch
THE SIMPSONS - Banksy's Opening Sequence
CONAN - "Last Season on Conan"
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER - Zach Galifianakis smokes a joint