When I was a kid and I first started to write down everything, I made a lot of lists. I got picked on by friends; they compared me to Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, a character who kept notes on the minutest details of his life. I have a list of my favorite words. I have a list of hilarious names. I have a list my favorite quotes, and those are split between the ones I heard in media or the one’s I heard firsthand. I guess never really stopped.
Even when I had children I wrote about everything on my mind. Your kids are always talking about superlatives. They are compiling favorites as they go. My kids asked me on a weekly basis what my favorite ice cream flavor was, or movie, or Christmas memory, or type of sandwich cheese. I was always ready with an answer.
Now I’m a few weeks away from 40. Should I just cave in and accept that making lists was a nervous habit I used in an attempt to control my surroundings, or just have fun with it? Yep. I’m gonna have fun with it.
This time, I’m narrowing it down, assigning real rank and making the effort to whittle the entries into cohesive lists. My criteria for each list is a little different, however one common element is that these are my favorites. I don’t think they are the world’s best, they are my best. Yes, I like Back to the Future more than The Godfather, but I know it’s not a better movie.
Also, and I may bring this concept to a bigger project, but I want to chop off the top entries. Since this is a personal list, there’s really no need to cover the top 3 or top 5 of each list, because everyone who reads this knows I love The Simpsons, Lost, Beastie Boys, White Stripes, George Carlin and fried chicken. I’ve made that abundantly clear. So, to make it interesting to me, I’ve made a few of the top entries exempt from these lists. I’ll mention the cast-offs quickly, and spend a little more time with the rest of the list. That feels good to me. Aren’t we all really on the rest of some list in life? In the back of the room being snarky at the best and the brightest?
My Top 20 Favorite Funny Things Ever (Non-Stand Up Comedy)
#20 - #11
Basically everything not spoken into a mic onstage is eligible. What is left off the list is:
Jokes and memories from friends and family.
The Simpsons, because it permeates my life still.
Saturday Night Live, because I’m in an ongoing feud whether or not I like it or not.
80’s comedies. Again, not sure if my favorite batch is funny or I’m just sentimental. I also hate the argument about things ‘standing up’ to the test of time. Most things don’t.
20 - The Hangover/Hot Tub Time Machine
It's a cheat, but these movies fill the same slot for me. They are two of the few rated R comedies that have made me laugh in the past few years. Again, I don’t look to movies for comedy much, but the surprise insanity of The Hangover and Rob Corddry-ness of HTTM were such a welcome surprise, they made the top 20.
19 - Adult Swim
It’s difficult to pick a single show. Sorry. They’re fifteen minutes long. I’m partial to the earlier stuff, SeaLab 2021 and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Did anyone ever catch Assy McGee?
18 - Megan Mullally
Interesting choice, huh? Here’s the reason: Every time she’s on a show, even as a guess star, she’s the funniest part of the whole enchilada. I dare you not to laugh at her scenes as Tammy 2 on Parks and Recreation. Hey, and you know what? Will and Grace was funny. There you go.
17 - Arrested Development
Perhaps the most over-hyped, yet deserving of at least a genuine helping of hype show of all time. Fantastically silly, smart writing and a great cast. My wife insists Jessica Walters (as Lucille) was the greatest part of the show. Jason Bateman as Michael was the perfect fall guy, Will Arnett as GOB was great and even the narratcion by Ron Howard made me laugh.
16 - Friends
This is the funniest traditional sitcom of the nineties. Period. Don’t be fooled by that other show set in New York about nothing. This show about nothing had comedy that came from a sweeter, more sarcastic, yet less dickish place. I just watched a few reruns and it’s still hilarious.
15 - Spongebob Squarepants
This is among a handful of great kids’ shows in the last ten years or so. It deserves its bazillion dollar success because it embraces something that few people respect anymore: Silliness. It’s just playful, fun, and the jokes are for everyone. And that rhymed.
14 - First time I saw Austin Powers
Remember when this wasn’t annoying as hell? To be fair to Mike Myers, these movies succeeded because of Dr. Evil. Oh, it’s been so long, Mike…
13 -Tenacious D
Amy and I loved this when it came out. I don’t anyone else who got onboard, but in 2001-2002 we laughed our asses off. A comedy rock album with filthy lyrics aided by Dave Grohl and Page McConnell of Phish? What’s not to like?
12 – Parks and Recreation
It’s fairly new, but I can’t recall a show that started so pale and dry and turned into complete gold by the end of the second season. A full cast of individual characters, each with their timing and personality. It is the most fun I have watching TV right now.
11 - Bill Murray
Honestly, if you don’t get why he’s here, I can’t explain it to you.
more to come -