Hot Take: 2017 was Extremely Bad. There, glad we got that out the way.
Sure, the president might be a racist robber baron, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t also a misogynistic, science-denying, lava-cake-brained internet troll. His pernicious, poisonous policies have already caused irreparable harm to the environment and to the physical and psychological well-being of marginalized peoples. His unhinged unpredictability made every day feel like anxiety CrossFit camp. Trump, the barely sentient Onion headline, marked the death of satire and irony. It grew infinitely harder to find the humor in this hellscape. At times it seemed like laughter almost went extinct.
But even though 2017 might’ve been less of a Laugh Factory and more of a theater of Grand Guignol, across Twitter there were still comedians, TV writers, and just plain Fire Tweeters who reminded us that it was okay to laugh. And they reminded us how desperately we needed to keep laughing, despite (and to spite) the suffocating negativity. The court jesters throwing digital pies at the tyrant’s face, or better yet, making sure that sometimes it’s okay to forget he even exists. And we should thank them for it.
*Bob Ducca voice* The following is a list —in no particular order — of the 15 funniest Twitter accounts that you should’ve been following this year. “Millennial Comic” Dan Nainan is not on this list.
Congrats to Time’s Person Of The Year 2017, that nerd who jumped up on the counter at McDonald’s to scream about the Rick & Morty sauce— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) November 25, 2017
New York-based comedian Patrick Monahan is a one-stop-shop for sharp satire of pop culture, politics, and the state of social media discourse. He’s an active comic in the club circuit who you should definitely see perform live, but on Twitter you should come for his lampooning of the Trump family and stay for his unhealthy obsession with Frasier.
I think it’s unfair that crickets aren’t allowed to enjoy standup comedy without being openly dismissed — Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) October 27, 2017
Aparna Nancherla has writing credits on Late Night With Seth Meyers and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and has appeared in Crashing and BoJack Horseman, but as an active standup, she continually raises the bar with her dry, absurdist observations on everything from the minutiae of her daily experiences in New York to the current political circus. She recently released her debut comedy record Just Putting It Out There and will have a set on Netflix’s The Standups next season.
“am i comfortable dying with these assholes?” – how i enter every room in 2017— Ziwe (@ziwe) August 9, 2017
Ziwe Fumudoh’s writing resume is festooned with so many high-water marks that you’d think she had been doing this comedy thing for decades. She’s watched as her jokes made it to air on The Colbert Report, has frequently contributed to popular satirical sites such as Reductress and The Onion, and just recently she started writing for BET’s new late night show The Rundown with Robin Thede. You’d never guess that she’s only 25 and literally just getting started. Her Twitter is a compendium of perfect punchlines and comedy-gold cultural criticisms. Ziwe is destined to be a household name in no time.
My friend just bought her first house! I just used a piece of garlic bread as a napkin — Charlene deGuzman (@charstarlene) July 14, 2017
While lately she might be pivoting into more prestigious pastures (namely writing and starring alongside Melissa Leo and John Hawkes in Unlovable, her feature debut she developed with Mark Duplass), Charlene deGuzman cut her teeth in the UCB comedy community and opening as a standup for Patton Oswalt. It was her witty, whip-smart observational tweets on love and identity that initially generated an early following, which she then capitalized on even further with her short film, I Forgot My Phone, which has been viewed over 50 million times.
Truly insane how many times I’ve had to throw a gem, ring or priceless necklace into the ocean to protect a family secret— julio torres ~* (@juliothesquare) May 1, 2017
Julio Torres is responsible for some of the quieter yet supremely eerie pre-taped sketches to air on SNL in recent memory. They also happened to be some of the funniest and most original, too. Just take a look at “Papyrus” or “Wells for Boys” and you’ll see that that his sensibility is defined by mining humor out of the macabre and idiosyncratic. His brilliant new special recently aired on Comedy Central and his dark yet soothing deadpan was on full display. The economy with which he can construct a perfect joke — or tweet — is almost maddening.
🎶🎵🎶🎵🎶🎵🎶 He was a boy She was a girl Can I make it ANY more obvious? He was a punk She’s a valet She- shits- in- the- cars 🎶🎵🎶🎵🎶🎵🎶 — Patti Harrison (@Party_Harderson) August 11, 2017
The ease with which Patti Harrison can shift from offering a perfectly crafted fart joke to reinforcing the immediate importance of trans rights makes her one of the most exhilarating, entertaining comedians working today. A well-known presence in New York’s alt-comedy scene, Patti recently taught the establishment a lesson they soon won’t forget: After Trump’s vile attempt to ban trans military personnel from serving, Patti was invited on The Tonight Show to hysterically expose his heinous, inhumane hypocrisy. The viral clip brought her long overdue attention from the mainstream, which could only be improved with the more inclusive representation of trans comedians of color like Patti.
Anyone who didn’t invent something in the 1400s was an idiot— Megan Amram (@meganamram) November 28, 2017
With writing credits on programs that range from traditional sitcoms (Parks and Recreation) to the subversive (Childrens Hospital), Megan Amram is the personification of comedic versatility. Everything is in her wheelhouse, but her politically pointed tweets are truly transcendent. The GOP, white supremacy, and the insulting incompetence of our elected officials get skewered on the daily, with an especially sly but subtle ongoing joke about Trump serving as her pièce de résistance (Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it).
I can’t believe Taylor Swift put this song on her new album. Disgusting and irresponsible. pic.twitter.com/lSdmxoqATQ — “Youthquake” isn’t even a word (@pixelatedboat) November 10, 2017
Boat is an unnamed Australian tweeter with a prodigious gift for fabricating outrageous memes and quotes and convincing thousands of gullible, reactionary users that they’re authentic. A very talented cartoonist as well, Boat has mastered the tightrope balance of meshing blue humor with highly-charged yet enlightened political commentary that yields something close to high art.
Through his Super Deluxe videos, Vic Berger carved a lane into popular discourse by literally distorting it. He’ll take clips of interviews and news events and apply his trademark bizarre, fever-dream editing that highlights the absurdity of the famous charlatan crooks around us. An off-kilter zoom-in here. A prolonged silence or scream there. A dollop of orange coloration on a particular president’s face and an air horn peppered throughout and you’ve got yourself a Vic Berger surrealist special!
my uber driver just farted and locked the car windows i’m in saw 8 — jaboukie young-white (@jaboukie) June 11, 2017
Jaboukie Young-White is the joke-writing wunderkind who has his finger on the pulse of each social media trend, from the popular memes down to the more esoteric patterns of communication. And he repurposes them for his pitch-perfect comedic concepts that transcend the digital space. His jokes— which speak truthfully to the struggles of the millennial experience — go viral with the frequency of Seinfeld asking, “What’s the deal?” There’s an interdependence between his tweets and the jokes he tells on stage, as he workshops one-liners and bits online to use for his sets on stage, and vice versa. He just recently announced he is writing on the second season of Netflix’s hilarious runaway hit series American Vandal.
I’m extremely proud of my dad bod.I mean, I assume it’s in there, my father stopped screaming on day three. — Daniel Kibblesmith ⛄️⚔️🦖 (@kibblesmith) November 14, 2017
Daniel Kibblemith is a staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and his ability to condense complex, nebulous policy decisions into perfectly crystallized comedy bits is part of the reason why his boss has the number one late night show in the ratings at the moment. Kibblesmith doesn’t mask his contempt for the sanctimonious, divisive actions of this administration in his tweets either; instead he masterfully uses Twitter to poke holes in their hypocrisy and flip their odious rhetoric against them with satirical precision. Even his book, Santa’s Husband, is delightfully sweet yet specifically tailored to troll those who perpetuate the “War on Christmas” canard.
laugh at hannity fans smashing their keurig machines if you must, but don’t forget that in 2003 conservatives poured out french wine over the iraq war and now there’s no more france — KT NELSON (@KrangTNelson) November 12, 2017
To call Krang a troll would be reductive, as his tweets reflect a nuanced grasp of Leftist politics and K-Street conduct. But his ability to get the Beltway pundits and MAGA monsters to react so petulantly to his ridiculing of the very fabric of their being is what in the biz call “expert-level trolling.” Whether he’s taking the right media to task with farcical memes and sarcastic one-liners or calling out Twitter’s hypocritical ToS (he was recently suspended for saying Twitter is too lenient on Nazi accounts, thus proving him right), Krang makes for an educational, entertaining follow.
Khadi does parody videos better than anyone else on the internet. Recreating music videos or pop culture moments with original music and characters (in which she typically embodies multiple in one setting), Khadi employs impressive slapstick routines and a Lucille Ball-esque method of physical comedy in her elaborate performances to find new and inventive ways to mock the already highly mocked.
2005: Will wait 3 hours for a Sean Cody clip to download from Kazaa. 2017: Will only watch porn starring people I align with politically. — Joel Kim Booster (@ihatejoelkim) October 23, 2017
Joel Kim Booster’s comedy album Model Minority is regarded as one of the funniest, most refreshing works of standup this year, and for good reason. His stage presence — which seesaws from eclectic enthusiasm to sarcastically subdued with ease — coupled with his witty, punchy joke telling makes him one of the more uniquely exciting young comics to watch. And his Twitter presence is no different, as his tweets range from the perfect throwaway punchline (“Trump leaving Twitter is the new poppers: Only lasts for 30 seconds and it left my asshole fully dilated”) to the more conceptual, as seen in this tweet.
when i told u all i had to get my dick surgicly shortened b/c i slept on it wrong and injured it, i opened myself to you, and you Spat on me— wint (@dril) May 14, 2017
If aliens landed on earth and asked me to explain just exactly what Dril does, they’d liquidate me with their photon blasters for failing to comply. Because it’s almost impossible to describe the method to his madness. It’s beyond performance art. It’s beyond mysticism. It’s post-post-post-post-post modern comedy writing (and Dril would probably subliminally roast me in a tweet for even saying that). It’s like someone translated English into three different foreign languages then back to English again. Rife with non-sequiturs, strategically misplaced punctuation and a masochistic streak, Dril’s tweets provide an ongoing commentary on humanity that operates on a different wavelength. But trying to crack the code is part of the fun, making the comedy bountiful and forever bewildering.
Erik Abriss is a writer living in Los Angeles.