By Alison Tracy
December 28, 2015
Eugene Mirman’s latest offering I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome), a 540 track comedy album, is a great snapshot of his oddball style of comedy: a combination of mundane stories made hilarious by his eccentric viewpoint, angry letters to strangers with complete absurdities peppered in, and Q&A sessions with fans that end up in very, very poor advice. Mirman is a part of an alternative comedy alumni that’s been haunting clubs for years with similar comedians like Patton Oswalt, David Cross, and Dana Gould, but he’s recently come into well-deserved success as the voice of Gene Belcher on Bob’s Burgers. His 2015 album holds gems such as signing up for Christian Mingle as “PrincessThunderballs,” “Get out of Hell Free cards” and “Vegan on the Way to the Complain Store.”
Jon Benjamin has one of the most recognizable comedic voices. Benjamin has been a consistent ingredient in comedy shows for the past 20 years (you might know him from the days of Dr. Katz on Comedy Central), always lending a high comic element with his deadpan, low-key delivery. He had a brief sketch show with Jon Benjamin Has A Van, which showcased his ability to carry a live show, before moving on to his success with Bob’s Burgers and Archer. This year’s contribution of a Jazz/Comedy album, featuring cameos from Aziz Ansari and Kristen Schaal, sounded something like comedy mixed with the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. While lesser talents could take this concept and make it feel like a poor cash-in on a rising success, Benjamin has succeeded in making a unique mash up that you could listen to while having your morning coffee (and then promptly have to clean up the coffee you spat out because he said something completely absurd like relating soft jazzercise to a Nazi salute).
John Mulaney doesn’t look like a guy that has done anything in his life. Mulaney, by appearance, is the most boring button-down sixth grade science teacher you’ve ever glanced at. I’m not kidding. If you look up his Wikipedia page, John Mulaney looks like someone took their giant child to Lifetouch for their yearly picture day special. However, these mild mannered milquetoast boyish looks conceal one of the funniest observational comedians since Jerry Seinfeld made himself king of it (with the help of Larry David). Mulaney has been on a steady rise by churning out two comedy albums, while simultaneously writing for SNL and network television. He saw a hiccup with his disappointing sitcom Mulaney; however, he has a new Netflix exclusive special that demonstrates that his wit and writing abilities haven’t suffered in the slightest.
If you’ve watched Rick and Morty, you can easily recognize the talent that is Justin Roiland. The cartoon parodies Back to the Future by pairing a doe-eyed, horny, idiot teenager with his nihilistic, sociopathic, alcoholic grandfather in a series of bungled sci-fi misadventures across realities and time. It started as a small project, much like his House of Cosbys, and eventually found the life and success that it now has as Adult Swim’s current biggest draw. Recently, as a part of the crowdfunding success of a reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have agreed to lend their twisted humor to the show by joining the writing team, which will undoubtedly lead to some of the meanest riffs you’ll ever hear coming from Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo. To summarize the complete polarity that is his writing, as Season 2 of Rick and Morty closed with a compellingly sad ending, all fans of the show reflected their anxiety through the breakdown of Mr. Poopy Butthole, grabbing and shaking the pizza man, demanding answers about what Season 3 would reveal for Rick Sanchez and the Smith family.
I tried to avoid adding Louis CK to this list in a moment of hipster contrarianism, but just had to admit to myself that Louis has gained as much success and recognition as he has because he is truly a comedic genius. His timing, delivery, and ability to make the alienating absolutely hilarious is uncanny and relatively unmatched in the comedy world. He’s an example of a unique talent, crafted through decades of failures and successes that have allowed his stand-up and writing skills to blossom into the existentialist angry father rhetoric that has managed to captivate so many people. Louis has even gone the extra mile by releasing his past comedy albums completely on his own, often letting the purchaser name their own price for the album. What makes Louis CK so appealing is that he seems to be trying solely to make himself laugh, but other people just so happen to also see the joke. This is the man that wrote and directed Pootie Tang. You can’t convince me that Louis CK wrote the line “You ain’t come one, but many tine tanies” with a straight face, or the notion that he was making a commercially successful movie. Which is what keeps Louis CK on any top comedian list.
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