We’re sure you’re already hounded by the “X no. of days left for 2022 to end and I’m still processing 2019” memes, so we will not state the obvious. But that doesn’t mean we won’t remind you of all the insane things that have happened in the world of comedy this year. From Will Smith and Chris Rock cosplaying their Eagle Gang and Bichchu Gang fantasies, to Munawar Faruqui going from a real life lock up in 2021 to a reality TV Lock Upp in 2022, with Kangana Ranaut as the warden.
So much has happened this year that you’d be forgiven for forgetting a major WTF or two. So here’s a little recap, in no chronological order.
1. How Can He Slap?
Most of us in India woke up to the news of the ‘slap’. Except for nerds who make watching insufferable movies their entire personality, not a lot of people particularly care about the Oscars anymore, at least not the ceremony (there has been no survey on this topic, this is just the writer’s opinion). A glance at the viewership figures over the years will tell you that. But, in no way does this mean that the Oscars don’t have a massive cultural impact.
On 27 March, as the otherwise dull Academy Awards were underway, Will Smith got up from his seat to slap Chris Rock on live TV. Rock had made a joke on Jada Pinkett-Smith’s bald head, a touchy topic for the actress who has been public about her struggle with Alopecia.
The moment shocked the world, providing tons of content to meme-makers everywhere. It remained the biggest headline for weeks to come and popped up in comedy sets for months after.
Will Smith faced disciplinary proceedings and has been banned from the Academy for 10 years. Chris Rock was given a standing ovation by patrons of the opening show to his Ego Death World Tour, in his first appearance after the slap. What will happen in 2023? Shall we keep the popcorn ready?
2. Hold My Beard
Beard Lives Matter? We’re not so sure about that, but the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) definitely thinks so. The said committee filed an FIR against comedian Bharti Singh for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.
In May 2022, an old clip featuring the comedian went viral on the Internet, where Singh (along with Jasmin Bhasin) joked, “daadi-mooch kyu nahin chahiye? Daadi-mooch ke bade faayde hotein hain! Doodh peeyo, daadi muh mein daalo, sewaiyon ka taste aata hain. (Why shouldn’t you have a beard or moustache? Beards and moustaches have big benefits. Drink milk and put your beard in your mouth. You will taste sewaiyaan.)” Singh also made jokes about her married friends spending their entire day removing lice from their beards. Singh was later forced to apologise—though not for how bad the joke was, just for hurting the sentiments of a community.
3. From Lock Up To Lock Upp
Having already faced a few weeks in jail, many protests and numerous show cancellations, Munawar Faruqui signed up to participate in a reality show named Lock Upp. The comedian—who has been bearing the brunt of right wing hate fueled by politicians aligned with the BJP—jumped straight onto a show hosted by Kangana Ranaut, a known purveyor of, you guessed it, right wing hate. Make that make sense.
Faruqui eventually won the competition and was awarded a cheque of Rs. 20 lakh and a car. In the show, the comedian revealed a number of intimate secrets, including that he was once married and is also a father. Free from both lockups, Faruqui is now busy rapping, featuring in music videos and tweeting about the new season of Bigg Boss.
4. James Corden Is ‘A Tiny Cretin Of A Man’
James Corden has had quite the year. It started with the comedian announcing that he was planning to leave The Late Late Show by 2023. In October, Corden’s image of an affable, Carpool Karaoke singing man came under fire because of what the Internet now calls #OmeletGate. Keith McNally, the owner of famous New York City restaurant Balthazar, took to Instagram to announce that he had banned Corden from the restaurant, because he was allegedly “the most abusive customer” he had ever encountered.
The ban was reversed in less than 24 hours as McNally updated the world (with an Instagram post) that Corden apologised profusely.
Corden also addressed his behaviour on his talk show.
But… that wasn’t all. Come November and Corden would have to deal with another call out, this time for stealing a joke. The comedian was criticised for making a joke on Elon Musk taking over Twitter in his monologue which turned out to be a copy of a joke earlier made by Ricky Gervais.
Corden acknowledged the plagiarism but gave a half-baked apology, “Inadvertently told a brilliant Ricky Gervais joke on the show last night, obviously not knowing it came from him. It’s brilliant, because it’s a Ricky Gervais joke. You can watch all Ricky’s excellent specials on Netflix.” And we thought Cats was the worst thing he could possibly do.
Bonus round: Just this week former Spice Girl Mel B named Corden, alongside Gerri Halliwell and Jessie J, as one of the “biggest dick-head[s] she’d ever met.” Tell us how you really feel, Mel.
5. Dave Chappelle Talked Shit Got Hit
Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage while performing at the Hollywood Bowl by 23-year-old Isaiah Lee from Los Angeles. Lee was armed with a replica handgun which contained a knife blade, Los Angeles police confirmed.
The assailant attempted to attack Chappelle backstage but was immediately overpowered by other performers, Chappelle’s friends and security. As per a report on CBS News, Jaime Foxx was among those who joined in the backstage scuffle. Following the attack, Chappelle—who was not injured—returned to the stage with several comedians, including Chris Rock who jokingly asked, “was that Will Smith?”
6. Trevor Said ‘No’ah To The Daily Show
Great subhead, no? Too good. Anyway, yes, The Daily Show Host announced that he will be stepping down as he wants to dedicate more time to standup comedy. In an interview to The Hollywood Reporter, we learnt that not even Noah’s representatives knew he was about to announce his exit.
Noah said he made the decision because, after strict restrictions during the pandemic, he realised this gig wasn’t *sparking joy*. “I found myself realising just how much I’d missed out on… [and] making the show wasn’t as much fun anymore, either.”
7. Elon Musk… had a great year.
Where do we even begin? After declaring “comedy is now legal on Twitter”, comedian Kathy Griffin’s Twitter account was suspended by Twitter for impersonating Elon Musk. The billionaire, whom Azealia Banks once described as ‘Apartheid Clyde’, got mad at Griffin because she had changed her Twitter username to Elon Musk and was encouraging US citizens to vote for Democrats in the upcoming elections. This was in response to Musk asking his followers/fans to vote red to keep the “balance of power” in check. A lot of already verified people did that, just to f*ck with Musk. They changed their names to ‘Elon Musk’ on the microblogging site and posted tweets that Musk would never, mostly because they were funny, something Musk isn’t, despite multiple attempts.
Basically, it went from this:
Since suspending Griffin, Musk has welcomed Donald Trump and Kanye West back to Twitter and unbanned their accounts. Trump has rejected this gesture, stating that he prefers sticking to his own social media platform—Truth Social.
Kanye, after his return, has said and tweeted such vicious anti-Semitic bullsh*t that even Alex Jones and Musk were shook, and he was promptly re-banned.
8. Ukrainian Comedian Commits To His Job Despite Country Being At War
Earlier this year, Anton Tymoshenko performed a standup comedy set in English for the first time in his life. He also performed standup comedy inside a bomb shelter for the first time in his life. Since Russia began their invasion of Ukraine, comedians have been performing (at really interesting locations) to lift the spirits of their countrymen. “This is my first stand-up in English, sorry for mistakes,” Tymoshenko wrote in the video’s description, “I wrote it in a week, so sorry if it’s not funny. I was in a hurry to avoid death.” Wow.
9. Comedian Joe Lycett shredded £10,000 on a livestream… or did he?
Posh Spice’s husband David Beckham (you must have heard of him, he’s famous apparently) came under fire for his role as an ambassador for Qatar primarily because of the country’s dismal record when it comes to the issue of workers’ and LGBTQ+ rights. Comedian Joe Lycett was one of Beckham’s most vocal critics, and because Beckham refused to end this deal, Lycett did this:
Or did he? Here’s the twist, Abbas–Mustan style:
Addressing Beckham, he said: “I never expected to hear from you – it was an empty threat designed to get people talking. In many ways, it was like your deal with Qatar, David – total [rubbish] from the start.”
This whole event received mixed reactions from the Internet. While some praised Lycett for bringing valuable publicity to the cause and that Beckham’s deal with Qatar is problematic on multiple levels, others suggested he should have donated the money to charity, which Lycett has said he did.
10. Malala and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas got mad at Hasan Minhaj
We end this list with the most random lafda that happened this year. Hasan Minhaj dropped a new Netflix special The King’s Jester. You can check out our review if you want to know how it is, but the aftermath of this special was Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and Priyanka Chopra unfollowing the comedian on Instagram.
One of his jokes was about Malala following him while he didn’t follow her back. This lead to Yousafzai unfollowing the comedian and him making content around it.
And this is how Yousafzai responded:
Minhaj also cracked a joke on Priyanka Chopra and her wedding to Nick Jonas, “Priyanka Chopra’s wedding was fake. Why can’t we say that? Who marries Nick Jonas unironically?” Guess this quip pissed Chopra off enough to echo Yousafzai’s sentiment and unfollow Minhaj.
Whoever thought this was a joke or a little gimmick to promote The King’s Jester should know that as of 9 December 2022, neither Yousafzai nor Chopra follow Hasan Minhaj on Instagram. Minhaj does not follow Yousafzai but he still follows Priyanka Chopra. Yes, investigative journalism is not dead, you guys!