2016’s best comedy specials

Not only can Bo Burnham make you laugh, he can also sum up how you feel about 2016 and its human counterparts — straight white males with problems — in one look.

Let’s be honest, 2016 was anything but funny. The world is a giant mess and it’s not magically going to get better in the New Year. So let’s look back on when comedians tried to make the best of a really bad situation because maybe that’ll make us all feel better for, like, a millisecond.

Big Fat Quiz of Everything


This is not a stand-up comedy special; this is better. Six guests (usually comedians) compete on this quiz show that is normally aired around Christmas. This year they did three special episodes and, honestly, bless them. While some guests are serious contestants, most have no idea what the fuck is going on. They’re just there to make jokes and it pays off. Stayed tuned for a fun fact about the host, Jimmy Carr, later.

Michael Che –  Michael Che Matters


The first time I watched this, I was blown away by how funny Michael Che is. He has great bits for all current events. One of my favourites was about how African Americans’ struggles are constantly forgotten, but we will never forget 9/11 because #AllBuildingsMatter. Another hit is when he starts talking about how Jesus was probably a shitty carpenter. My only complaint was that he joked about wanting Donald Trump as a best friend. Yikes.

Bo Burnham – Make Happy


I may be biased because I saw this special live, but it was awesome. His comedy was insightful and hilarious. My favourite bits were about how terrible stadium country is and a song about Straight White Male problems. While not everyone may be interested in musical, introspective comedy, I would highly recommend this special to anyone.

Ali Wong – Baby Cobra


Not many comedians would film a special at seven months pregnant. Honestly, that might be a good thing, but something about Ali Wong gyrating on the floor made me feel like everything was going to be okay for a while. Her big joke is how she doesn’t want to work anymore and I can 100% get behind that. She will also talk about anything to do with sex. And I mean anything.

Iliza Shlesinger – Confirmed Kills


Iliza’s pretty problematic, but try to power through it. She has some feminist jokes hidden in there. She does a brief bit about the party goblin (fans will already be familiar with this term) and it killed me while simultaneously feeling too real. I also really liked her bit about the ridiculous names we call our grandparents despite how many people they probably killed in the war.

Bonus: Worst Comedy Special of the Year – Jimmy Carr – Funny Business

The only redeeming part of this comedy special was Jimmy’s ridiculous laugh that is both hilarious and makes it impossible for you to take him seriously. His jokes are problematic, and not even funny. Stick to what you know, Carr. We all know your only talent is being the punching bag on Big Fat Quiz of the Year.