Tonight Comedy Central airs The Fake News with Ted Nelms, which I pray will finally satisfy the ransom demands of whatever eccentric villain is dictating the network’s programming. It’s an hourlong news satire, not to be confused with Comedy Central’s slate of half-hour news satires, featuring Ed Helms as (roughly) himself and a cast of correspondents who all seem to be getting paid in drink tickets. Imagine Weekend Update, but about five times longer and somehow also five times dumber. In one running bit, Nelms (Helms, get it) reports on Hurricane Randy, a hurricane that hasn’t yet made landfall in Florida, so everyone on the ground is mostly pretty okay. In another, Donald Trump is stuck in a well. A well, folks! This from one of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s brightest stars. I don’t get why Comedy Central seems so insistent on parodying fringe right-wing media when nobody in its employ seems to have ever watched fringe right-wing media, but I guess they know something I don’t. Anyway, the special is bad and represents a depressing trend in comedy, one where safe, comfortable showbiz people gesture toward horrors in the world and pretty much just say, “Crazy, huh!” Here are 10 things you should watch instead.
1. Kate Micucci’s episode of the second season of Easy. She’s phenomenal! Like, actually really moving in a revelatory kind of way! And as a sidebar, don’t watch any other episode of the second season of Easy.
2. The Magicians. It’s a good show, but also, a fun trilogy of books.
3. The San Francisco-themed episode of Chopped. It’s called “San Franchopco” and the wrong chef won. No one talks about this!
4. Some birds. Flying, on the ground, paddling across a body of water—those are three of the five or so things birds do.
5. A fresh pie cooling on a windowsill. But don’t you dare touch…
6. Snowy Bing Bongs Across The North Star Combat Zone. This is a peerless short film by the New York-based comedy group Cocoon Central Dance Team. Weird! Great! What a title!
7. Your language, young lady. Ha ha, just a little wordplay to round things out.
8. Titanic. When was the last time you got the gang together and watched Titanic?
9. Just, I don’t know, whatever you’ve got saved on your phone. You must have something good in there. As for me, I have this video of my brother’s one dog, Lilah, greeting my brother’s other dog, Bartleby, after they spent some time apart:
10. Dust floating in a beam of light. Ah, the cosmic ballet…
Seth Simons is Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Follow him on Twitter.