When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to identify the funniest video content of 2017, I guess I’ll do it, sure. There’s a lot to sift through, really just an impossible amount, so this list cannot possibly be considered reliable or comprehensive or even well-written, but I hope you’ll share it on social media anyways. For our purposes I think it’s fair to include late night videos that had a second life online, since that’s how a good deal of us ingest those videos these days. Me, for instance—that’s how I ingest those videos these days. I also want to give an honorable mention to two pieces of video content that don’t qualify for our purposes: 1) that shot in The Last Jedi when a big scary spaceship descends from above and then turns out to be an iron ironing some First Order uniforms, and 2) that bit in Lady Bird when Lady Bird opens the door to jump out of the car and then, hard cut, her arm’s in a cast. Really great visual jokes, if you ask me! All right, here we go, in no particular order, one critic’s favorite funny videos of 2017:
Cuplicated is a real, or possibly fake series on the real, or possibly fake streaming platform Vioobu. It’s a prestige drama about comedian Craig Healy, former host of Funny Or Die’s clip show Clip Cup. But in Cuplicated, being a comedian isn’t always so funny after all—or is it? Impossible to say. No, but, it’s not.
Like any classic sketch format, “person pitches whacky ideas” is a disaster in a wrong hands and a miracle in the right hands. Ana Fabrega’s (and director Matt Porter’s) entry to the genre on The Chris Gethard Show is as good as it gets. She pitches a series of (either dreadfully mundane or laughably ambitious) digital shorts to Gethard and J.D. Amato, who respond with loving skepticism. Perhaps too loving—I can’t tell if Amato is breaking character when he’s grinning all those times he’s grinning? But I like to think it’s part of the bit, and either way it’s a fitting foil to Fabrega’s deadpan, which is one of the deadest deadpans you ever did see. Also, there’s a line about a water tower that I’ve muttered to myself probably every day since I first watched this. Very good stuff, very good stuff indeed.
I very much love this silly little lo-fi short by Tynan DeLong, featuring him and Anthony Oberbeck, Lorelei Ramirez and Colin Burgess. It’s about a group of friends making a reshoot of The Matrix, and then some other stuff happens. The jokes are all hyper-specific and totally grounded—I especially like the recurring bit about handshakes—and the piece moves to a strangely affecting ending. This is one of those rare sketches where the characters all feel 100% human, if a tad off-kilter, and the turn feels simultaneously inevitable and way out of left field. If you like what you see, I highly recommend the rest of DeLong’s channel, too.
2017 was the year of the large son: Don Jr., Eric, Michael Flynn Jr., Wyatt Koch (lol). Well, no son is larger than Joe Pera’s future sons, as described in his delightful appearance on Conan last March. He also talks love, parkour and Christmas, but the highlight of the set is by far the drawn-out prognosticating, with crowd work!, about just how tall his sons will be.
I already plugged this short film by Cocoon Central Dance Team a couple weeks ago, but here I am plugging it again. It’s unlike anything else on Planet Earth and you gotta watch it! Here it is, via Topic.
The less said about this wonderful, inexplicable sketch by Tim Platt, the better.
It’s hard to choose just one of the many ingenious videos ClickHole published this year, but I think this one wins. It’s such a simple, beautifully executed joke, one of those so-obvious-you-would-never-in-a-million-years-think-of-it gags ClickHole does best. A close second: “Devastating: Watch This Guy Realize That When He Overhears People At Work Talking About ‘The Hamburger Dipshit’ They’re Referring To Him.”
Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney are expert parodists who have previously taken on ’80s-era action movies and ’90s-era soap operas. In “unSOLVABLE,” they tackle true-crime serials with pitch-perfect intensity: reenactments, wigs, a host with magnetic gravitas, zany talking heads scenes—they’ve got it all! Also a sentient toaster.
Weston Haney wrote and stars in the sketch, directed by Doron Max Hagay, about a guy carrying home a big bowl of spaghetti after a dinner with friends. There’s a panhandler, some banter between friends, shades of a love story and maybe some subtle commentary on the impossible burdens millennials are inheriting from baby boomers, but at the heart of it all: just a guy and a biiiiiiiig bowl of pasta. Have you ever seen a bigger bowl?? As for me, the answer is no.
This Nanners Comedy commercial parody penned by Lana Schwartz envisions a new world, perhaps even a better world, but actually definitely a much worse world, in which Amazon offers a male version of Alexa, Alex, who’s just a real drag, even if you totally agree with his reasonable take on Fleet Foxes.
Sisters Weekend is a Brooklyn-based trio that makes wig-heavy, surreal short films and funny videos. They released a whole bunch of great work this year, including several videos for IFC’s Comedy Crib. I have selected “Celebrity All-Star” because it’s the first one I watched, though I think they are all pretty equally weird and great and singular. I also enjoyed “Gelato,” a series they created with Amy Zimmer which just dropped on Funny Or Die, too. It’s all prooobably the kind of thing you will either love dearly or hate with all of your soul, but I hope you love it!
What can I say about “Papyrus” that I have not already said? This, I suppose: It’s still the funniest sketch SNL has done this season. Ball’s in your court, Lorne.
If you enjoy Brendan O’Hare and Cory Snearowski on Twitter, which at least 62 thousand people do, then you will enjoy this video they made about what might happen if two air marshals arrive to their flight, wait for it, four days early. I guess they had access to a small plane and decided to make a sketch? And then they did it, they made the sketch. It’s got that same youthful, charmingly naive sensibility that makes them such distinct humorists, and I always love a good thing-exploding-that-you-wouldn’t-expect-to-explode joke. Two thumbs up from me, says me.
I don’t know what this video by We Bare Bears writer Mikey Heller makes me giggle as much as it does, but it does, and so here it is, for you, my dear readers. Happy New Year.
Did I miss your video? I’m sorry. Please send it to me and I’ll check it out next year.
Seth Simons is Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Follow him on Twitter.