Best Comedians Of 2014
1. Bonnie McFarlane has had an excellent year. She produced and starred in a popular documentary called Women Aren’t Funny which focuses on women in comedy and their perceived role in it. McFarlane interviews the likes of Joy Behar, Wanda Sykes, Sarah Silverman, Keith Robinson, Artie Lange, Jim Norton, Chris Rock, and two late-greats — Joan Rivers and Patrice O’Neal.
Add to that her very odd and honest podcast My Wife Hates Me that she co-hosts alongside her husband, comedian Rich Vos, which details the every day difficulties of marriage, and is as brutally honest as it is funny. It’s one of the most unique podcasts out there, and is likely darker than Serial. Lately, the format has changed to allow for guest-starring marriage counselors to help the couple with their problems — the likes of Ron Bennington, Big Jay Oakerson, Anthony Cumia and Jim Norton have all given a shot at helping them out. McFarlane herself describes it as such, “People have mistake my frustration with comedy.”
2. Hannibal Buress was having a great year even before he pointed out Bill Cosby‘s longstanding rape allegations. The former writer for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, Buress is the poster child for honest humor. His comedy is born of his life and he knows how to incisively tear it apart with a clarity and bravery most of us wish we had.
3. Louis CK didn’t produce a new album this year, but 2014 was still a highlight for his fans. The fourth season of his hit FX show Louie finally returned, and was the most experimental and exciting one yet. He also had his first hosting gig on SNL. Together, we received a steady dose of his absurd comedy and his breaking down of the little and big foibles and failures in our culture.
4. Andy Daly has been around for a while, doing standup and making appearances on Eastbound and Down and Reno 911!. This year he was given a show on Comedy Central called Review, a remake of the Australian series Review with Myles Barlow, where Daly’s Forrest MacNiel engages in various life experiences foreign to him and then reviews them for his show-within-the-show. Forest’s uncompromising devotion to the show’s mission often result in problems that bleed into his personal life, as you can see when Forest is asked to explore life as a racist.
5. Todd Barry has been around forever. His standup along with his recent turns on Louie have garnered him more attention, which he deserved anyway. He recently had a set on Conan which went viral.
6. John Oliver started out as a correspondent on a fake news show, and now he hosts one. Last Week Tonight has been influential on the Internet since its first episode. Oliver deals with world news better than the actual news, delivering fact and opinion in histrionic waves. Also, he brought down the FCC website.
7. Jim Norton is everyone’s favorite pervert. Norton has been doing comedy for half of his life, and has two hit radio show, a dozen albums, a pair of New York Times bestselling books, and a multitude of specials to show for it. Norton’s style is aggressive and truthful. He essentially rats himself out before someone else can. In recent years, Norton’s humor has altered to also include larger social concerns including the PC culture and media culpability. This year he began hosting a Dick Cavett-like interview show for VICE where his guests have included “Freeway” Rick Ross, Dana White and Mike Tyson.
Arguably, however, his biggest moment this year was earlier this summer when Norton delivered the keynote address at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. Norton did what he does best–implicating himself and by extension the rest of us for being tattletales and hypocrites. He did what all comedians strive to do, make a point and do it in a funny way.