“Don’t Look Back in Anger” is a song by either Bob Dylan or Oasis. I can’t summon the strength right now to find out which one. In any case, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is definitely also my advice toward people bickering about Year-End Best-of Lists. Hey eggheads: nobody cares how anybody ever sequenced their top 10 anything. Instead of looking back in anger, let’s look forth in mild curiosity toward the coming year. Will we laugh harder than we did in 2011—the year of the Arthur remake? (Actually, the Arthur remake is shockingly not terrible. Handle it!) The answer is yes, we will laugh harder in 2012 than we did in 2011. And then, as many others have prophesized before me, we will all by consumed by the gaping maw of the oceans as they rise up collectively against us. It’s gonna be a total bummer. At least some funny stuff will happen before then, though.
- Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie and Wanderlust are two movies that are alike in that they were both on this list last year. This time, however, they are really coming out for sure. Tim & Eric’s characteristically insane movie will premiere on Video on Demand in January, before shrimming into theatres March 3rd; while the David Wain-Ken Marino-Paul Rudd follow-up to Role Models is out February 24th.
- Eddie Murphy could potentially be funny in A Thousand Words, whose premise sounds like it fell right out of late-90s Jim Carrey’s wheelhouse. In it, a guy who stretches the truth a lot gets some sort of magical comeuppance. Okay! Catch the fever March 23rd!
- I Hate You, Dad has Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg as father and son, which is a dream come true for one of those two people. David Wain and Ken Marino are credited on the rewrite, so there’s that too. This one comes out June 15th.
- Project X is proof positive that “From Producer Todd Phillips, Director of The Hangover” is enough to get a star-free high school movie greenlit. March 2nd.
- Can Will Ferrell be funny en espanol? Let’s all find out together when Casa de mi Padre comes out March 16th.
- Can Apatow Factory stalwart Jay Baruchel write a movie? I mean, he did. He wrote Goon. It looks rather amusing. It’s coming out January 6th.
- If nothing else, it is funny that Three Stooges exists in 2012 and Sean Hayes is in it. Go see it with your dad! April 13th.
- If you are anywhere near age 30 right now, nothing will make you feel older in the coming year than American Reunion, which catches up with piefucker and the gang as they come to terms with mortgages, etc. Also, my band Piefucker & the Gang is playing Lit Lounge tonight. Say my name at the door and it’s $5. April 6th.
- Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who are Muppet-hot right now, follow up their beloved Forgetting Sarah Marshall collaboration with Five Year Engagement, which looks like it could potentially be the one to beat this year. April 27th.
- Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator is something we are all hoping is not The Love Guru. We are hoping so hard. May 11th.
- Say what you will about Seth MacFarlane. It’s probably true! In any case, he and Family Guy’s best writer Alec Sulkin teamed up on the live-action Ted, about a man and his teddy bear that comes to life. July 13th.
- Does anybody want to see Kevin James play a high school teacher who doubles as an MMA fighter? The answer is either ‘kinda’ or ‘leave me alone.’ Either way, Here Comes the Boom comes out October 12th.
- Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz knows comedy. Or maybe he doesn’t. Some of us will find out the hard way when Johnny Knoxville and Chelsea Handler (haha, what?) star in his Halloween flick, Fun Size. October 12th. Riki Lindhome is in it too!
- This is called This Is 40. This is Judd Apatow’s spinoff of Knocked Up. This stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann again, and also Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, and Albert Brooks. This is what I’m doing on the evening of December 12th, 2012.
- Some of you probably enjoy the writing of Tucker Max. God help you. His latest, Hilarity Ensues, comes out February 7th.
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the literary debut of “internet star” Jenny Lawson. It’s a mostly true memoir, so you know it’s good. April 17th.
- It has no official release date yet, but Julie Klausner’s YA novel, Muses, should be in stores at some point in 2012.
- H. Jon Benjamin’s sex-obsessed, Kenny Loggins-quoting superspy, Sterling Archer, has apparently reached out of the realm of animated fiction and written a book. There’s a chance, the show’s creators had something to do with it, but in any case, on January 12th, you may find yourself reading How to Archer: the Only Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails.
- Karl Pilkington is not overrated, nerds. You’re overrated! Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s wonderfully peculiar sidekick’s latest tome is based on his current, wonderful BBC series, An Idiot Abroad. It comes out March 1st.
- Baratunde Thurston of The Onion filmed his impassioned response to Donald Trump’s transparent bigotry earlier this year, which won him legions of new fans. On January 31st, Harper is publishing what is more or less his response to Stuff White People Like, entitled How to Be Black. Spoiler alert: it will be funny and sadly accurate.
- Chris Gethard is the best. Get familiar, you philistine! The comedy writer and performer’s book comes out on January 10th, and it’s called A Bad Idea I’m About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgment and Awkward Adventure.
- The very famous Michael Ian Black has written another book, possibly motivated by a rivalry with Michael Showalter, who had a book on this list last year. In any case, You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations will be released on February 28th.
- Rachel Dratch, who was so good on Jimmy Fallon’s SNL episode last weekend, and also everything, has written a memoir that will hopefully swing more Tina Fey than Darrell Hmmond. Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle walks into your iPad on April 26th.
Here’s the thing, thanks to the rise of podcasts and also our crappy economy, it is not exactly boom times for the stand-up comedy album. Even Louis CK, one of our most reliable album guys, has found other means to deliver comedy unto the people, as you may have heard. As far as funny music goes, we basically just have Weird Al and Lonely Island, and they both put out new stuff in 2011. (Just think, this time last year, you hadn’t yet heard Michael Bolton sing about Captain Jack Sparrow.) In other words, there is very little grist for the mill over here.
- The recently deceased and dearly missed Patrice O’Neal will have a posthumous collection, Mr. P, released on February 7th.
- Doug Benson has announced plans to record his annual album on April 20th, a/k/a High School Stoner Awareness Day.
- Jimmy Fallon is riding the goodwill train of his mid-career renaissance right into the recording studio to cut an album of parody songs and skits. Looks like that island is going to be a little less lonely now. (I am so sorry. If it’s any consolation — I do hate myself.)
- Um, the SF Sketchfest is completely sick this year guys. Stella. The UCB Four. John Hodgman. The cast of Wet Hot American Summer doing a radio play. What? The festival runs from January 19th — February 4th and tickets are on sale now.
- Jerry Seinfeld is touring this year. Who are these people who aren’t going to see him?
- Fans of the Superego and Nerdist podcasts can go out and see their respective live shows, as they slowly make their way throughout the country.
- Jesse Thorn’s 4th Annual Max Fun Con is already sold out for June 1-3, but crafty ticket-hunters might be able to work something out. Last year’s performers included Andy Richter, Maria Bamford, and Greg Behrendt.
- Mike Birbiglia recently announced plans to tour his new one man show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, and it’s probably coming to a town adjacent to you.
- Lena Dunham made a real and funny movie which caught Judd Apatow’s attention, prompting him to take her under his wing, so to speak. The resulting HBO show, Girls, is debuting in April, and it looks pretty damn good.
- Louis CK proudly earned a third season for Louie, his much-lauded FX show. No premiere date has been announced yet, but expect it at some point in the summer.
- Bob’s Burgers was renewed for a second season and rejoins us next spring.
- The ensemble cast of The League, which includes Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, and Mark Duplass, recently announced that they were renewed for a fourth season, which should air next fall.
- Speaking of Nick Kroll, and of fall 2012, his new sketch show, The Nick Show Kroll, will begin airing on Comedy Central then!
- Some other new shows premiering on Comedy Central later this year include the sketch show, Key & Peele (January 31st), Russell Simmons and JB Smoove’s standup showcase, Bring the Ruckus (January 26th), and @Rob Delaney, which will air in the fall if there’s a just and loving God governing events.
- Also on Comedy Central will be several standup specials, including the hilarious John Mulaney’s New in Town (Jan 28th) and Hannibal Burress’ currently title-free special, which will air in May.
- 30 Rock returns on January 12th to NBC, and in theory Community should be coming back at…some point. We hope.
- It hasn’t even been that long of a wait, but it feels like forever since we’ve seen Kenny Fucking Powers do what he do. Luckily for humanity, Eastbound and Down returns for a third season on February 19th.
- Two new shows on HBO will definitely be worth checking out. Australia’s answer to Christopher Guest, Chris Lilley, is set to air his follow-up to the wildly underappreciated Summer Heights High in January. The show is called Angry Boys and it again features Lilley in multiple age-inappropriate roles. Also, another refugee from last year’s list that didn’t make it out in 2011, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s show with the diminutive Warwick Davis, Life’s Too Short, premieres on Feb 19th. FOR REAL THIS TIME.
- Explaining Billy Eichner’s Billy on the Street doesn’t do it justice, so just watch this for now, and then watch the show when it airs on Fuse in a matter of days.
- Finally, January 9th marks the much-anticipated return of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s Portlandia on IFC. Birds will be put on things, you’ll laugh, and some day we’ll all die.