A lot of really smart people have probably said a lot of really smart things about comedy. Imagine we just quoted one of them. (If you can’t say something smart, you can at least repeat something smart that some other asshole said.) Like something about how comedy is the cold hard truth in chuckle form, or the hidden secrets of the universe captured in a Harold). Or how it’s like jazz. Comedy is like jazz. People who want to look smart talk about jazz. People who want to look smart compare things to jazz. Comedy is like jazz! Comedy is something you hear in elevators and imported beer ads at Christmas time.
2016 is a year that will have comedy in it. TVs, movie theaters, comedy clubs, books, records, comics—they are all places where comedy can crawl out and try to make us feel something. Here’s the comedy Paste’s comedy editors are looking forward to in 2016.
1. Man Seeking Woman
FXX, Currently Airing
Writer and creator Simon Rich has crafted the “dating comedy” to end all dating comedies, adding an exaggerated and absurdist bent to common frustrations, showing how epic heartache can feel rather than how ordinary it may look. When Jay Baruchel meets his ex’s new boyfriend, it’s actually Adolf Hitler; or when his sister, played by Britt Lower, feels like her date is a little stiff, it’s probably because he’s actually a ‘50s-style robot. The show’s sketch sensibility makes it a great showcase for comedian guest spots with memorable roles from Sarah Silverman, Eddie Pepitone, Jon Daly, Brett Gelman, Jorma Taccone and others. Also the presence of Eric Andre as Jay’s partying best friend was a major highlight of season 1. The first episode of Season 2 started this week and we’re looking forward to more.—Grant Pardee
FX, Currently Airing
Any show that united the comic sensibilities of Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis would get our attention. Toss in Portlandia co-creator and Tim & Eric collaborator Jonathan Krisel, and the unique milieu of a rodeo in Bakersfield, and you have something that transcends the concept of a “must watch.” Baskets won’t feel like any other television comedy, and will probably be as depressing and emotionally harrowing as any good arthouse flick, but with these three involved it’s guaranteed to also be hilarious.—Garrett Martin
3. Hannibal Buress, Comedy Camisado
Somehow between Broad City, The Eric Andre Show, his own Comedy Central show and various movie roles (dude steals Daddy’s Home), Hannibal Buress still finds time for stand-up. His latest special Comedy Camisado hits Netflix the first Friday in February, and despite his ever-increasing fame he still has the same low-key charm that made you dig him in the first place. As funny as Buress is on the screen, he’s at his best on stage, and if Comedy Camisado is anything like his previous specials, it’ll be one of the best of the year.—Garrett Martin
4. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Late night TV is, let’s face it, kind of dick party. A sausage festival. A testicle extravaganza, if you will. So the announcement that Samantha Bee, formerly of the Daily Show, would headline her own show on TBS was so welcome. But let’s put aside our feminist critiqutes of talk shows that air after ten pm—the really important takeaway is that one of the best correspondents from the Daily Show will be gracing our television screens on a nightly basis. Premiering February 8th, Full Frontal will emphasize field pieces and sketch comedy and cover political topics—playing to Bee’s strengths. In a post Jimmy Fallon late night landscape, I’m ready for Bee to shake things up.—Gita Jackson
5. Not Safe with Nikki Glaser
Comedy Central, 2/9/2016
Nikki Glaser’s stand-up has always been very frank, and very funny, on the subject of sex. Now she’s bringing that sensibility to Comedy Central in a mixed-format show, with panels, interviews, and investigative pieces exploring ideas and perceptions behind sexuality and modern dating. Like most shows now this one is looking to have a strong presence on social media and the things they’ve done so far have been fun, like Nikki watching porn you could send to her on Periscope. As for the show itself, we’ll find out what it will look like in February but we’re excited to see.—Grant Pardee