20 Times TV Made Us Laugh in 2018
If you haven't binged The Good Place, you're in a bad place.
They say laughter is the best medicine. Well, if that’s the case, then the past year of television is practically a panacea! From ragtag heroes futilely trying to escape the underworld (The Good Place) to talk show hosts pulling pranks on action stars (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) to cult classics coming back in an actually hilarious and fitting way (Arrested Development), 2018, more than any other year in recent memory, has been full of laughs.
So, without further ado, here are the most uproarious, side-splitting, spit-take funny moments that aired on the small screen in 2018. You may want to keep your drinks out of arm’s reach; a good laugh can make you feel better, but it sure can’t clean up after an actual spit-take mess.
Judge takes on the gang’s case because “she’s bored” (The Good Place)
The Good Place is arguably the best comedy on air right now, and it just keeps getting better. The second season was strong as a whole, but one of the best moments was the introduction of Judge (Maya Rudolph).
After hearing all about the infamous “Judge,” who determines people’s fates in the afterlife—whether they go to the Good Place or the Bad Place—we’re expecting someone stern and intimidating. But then we get a whimsical, unfiltered Maya Rudolph casually eating a burrito and flirting with Chidi (William Jackson Harper). It’s unexpected and, quite frankly, perfect. The best part, though, comes at the end, when she has to decide whether or not to hear the gang’s case, even though they broke the rules to present her with it. Her decision? She’s “super bored” and would rather hear them out than watch yet another episode of Bloodline.
David gets schemed by a group of teenagers (Schitt’s Creek)
The comedic acting in Schitt’s Creek is seriously top notch, and these actors better be looking at some Emmy nominations this year. Any scene with brother and sister David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) is stellar and loaded with chemistry, and the one in which Alexis points out how David is being fooled by shoplifting teens is no exception.
Alexis, being a former shoplifting pro herself, easily recognizes that the group of teen boys frequenting David’s shop are robbing him blind, but David is too distracted by their compliments to see it. He clearly wants the kids to think he’s cool and completely falls for their tricks when they tell him his sweatshirt is “dope.” A gem of a line here is when David responds to this compliment with, “I got it at a boutique in Prague that is only open on Sundays, so.” We’ll laugh at any gag poking fun at how much we all crave the approval of hip teens.
Coach Steve loses his virginity (Big Mouth)
In “Steve the Virgin,” an episode of Netflix’s latest and greatest animated comedy, viewers learn what we had suspected all along: extreme man-child Coach Steve (voiced by Nick Kroll) has never had sex. Or, as he puts it, he has never gotten “to do sex on a lady.” In this episode, he finally gets his chance, and when the big moment comes to a pinnacle he immediately screams out “thank you, I’m sorry!” Let’s vote to make this the official virginity losing anthem.
Bojack gives a long-winded eulogy at the wrong funeral (Bojack Horseman)
The latest season of Bojack was met with a lot of critical acclaim (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), in no small part due to the episode “Free Churro.” Bojack bombs his mother’s eulogy in the best way he knows how: through heaps of self indulgence and endless bad jokes.
Bojack spend the entire episode eulogizing. But, we don’t see the attendees of the funeral until the very end when, Bojack goes to open his mother’s casket, as she had requested. It’s then, in the last moment of the episode, that Bojack asks a room full of frogs, “Is this funeral parlor B?” Clearly, he had stumbled into the wrong funeral room and gone on a long, revealing rant about his family trauma—one that made viewers think Bojack had grown significantly as a character—to a room full of strangers. Once again, Bojack Horseman gives us a sharp punchline that backtracks any shred of emotional growth.
DeMarcus Tillman explains how he’s a team player (American Vandal)
Netflix brought us another hilarious season of the mockumentary sensation American Vandal, with our two leads investigating a high school fecal accident this time around (someone spiked the lemonade with laxatives). The second season wasn’t quite as strong as the first, mainly due to a less charismatic cast on the whole. However, the charm and hilarity from season one lives in on the character of star basketball player DeMarcus Tillman (Melvin Gregg). He has the confidence of any high school athlete that the student body praises—unchecked and limitless.
A shining moment of Tillman’s is when he’s explaining how “he’s no more important than the other players,” and makes his point by bringing over a tiny player, Squeak. “Squeak is just as important as me. Like, sometimes I be low-key wondering why he even play basketball, ‘cause he not that good. I think his mom probably signed him up or something.” The pan over to Squeak’s fallen face as DeMarcus delivers this line is priceless.
Mac theorizes why women and gay men get along (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
This show has built a reputation for itself as one we can always rely on for big laughs. It’s on its thirteenth season and still going strong, delivering humor-packed episode after humor-packed episode. In “The Gang Solves the Bathroom Problem,” there’s a debate about who can use which bathrooms, according to gender. Because this show is what it is, every argument is horribly off-base.
Mac claims that his new gay identity makes him right in any argument, and while making one of his incorrect points he mentions that women and gay men get along so well because “we both like dudes and find women’s bodies disgusting.” This line is the perfect example of how this show has mastered making despicable people so enjoyable to watch.
John Oliver purchases Russell Crowe’s jockstrap (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver)
John Oliver’s weekly talk show is consistently funny and well-put-together, a feat not every late night show is able to accomplish. Aside from tackling the current political climate, Oliver also likes to have his fun on the show by using his hefty HBO budget to pull off big stunts.
This season, he attempted to keep one of the last Blockbusters in the United States—the Anchorage, Alaska, location—open by buying some items from Russell Crowe’s auction, and donating them to the dying video store, in hopes of creating a memorabilia museum that tourists could visit. Crowe’s jockstrap, which he wore in Cinderella Man, was going for $600, but Oliver claimed he would not pay that much for it. Instead, he paid $7,000 for the jockstrap—and nearly $80,000 grand on memorabilia altogether.
For his part, Crowe “retaliated” by donating the entire $80,000 to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital—specifically, to create a ward dedicating to aiding koalas suffering from chlamydia, a condition that has gone rampant in the Australian koala population, causing the creatures to suffer everything from blindness to paralysis to even, in extreme cases, death. The ward was christened “The John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward.” (The Blockbuster has since closed.)
A trailer for a movie “with a strong female lead” (The Break With Michelle Wolf)
Unfortunately, Netflix announced the cancellation of Michelle Wolf’s talk show, but the sketch “Featuring a Strong Female Lead” lives on Youtube forever (or at least until a DMCA letter is issued). The sketch is a spoof on movies about women that are clearly written by men, where the “strong female lead” is completely two-dimensional and doesn’t resemble any woman who has ever existed. The line that will really get your goat is when the narrator says, “She has sex with male prostitutes—because that’s a thing women do.”
Kelli gets Tasered at Coachella (Insecure)
This show is a guaranteed hit whenever the leading ladies are all together, and that is the case in “High-Like,” when they all get together for a trip to Coachella. Soon enough, everyone gets very inebriated. One thing leads to another, and, before you know it, Kelli finds herself in a fight. A security guard Tasers her, and she pees herself as she yells out, “Remember me different!” May we all be remembered different than our most “Kelli” moments—but also, bless Kelli.
Robin Thede brings us social commentary via a Stranger Things parody (The Rundown With Robin Thede)
BET gave us the first late night show with a black woman as the host, but sadly it was cancelled after one season. The show’s short lifespan surely can’t be due to the quality of the comedy, because it was loaded with comedic gold. The writers really found their stride when it came to the prerecorded sketches, and a particular stand out was Racist Things. It’s a spoof of Netflix’s Stranger Things where the “upside-down” backwards universe is a party where racism doesn’t exist. The sketch cleverly brings in multiple details from Stranger Things, and the best reference is when the “ominous” message written on the wall of Christmas lights is, “This place is lit.”
Eve is as hungover as we all usually are at work (Killing Eve)
Finally, another show starring Sandra Oh! And boy does Oh show us what we’ve been missing by not making this happen before now. So much about this show is so darkly funny, but one of its exceptional comedic moments is in the pilot episode, which is a testament to the quality of this show.
Eve is apocalyptically hungover and convinces her friend to give her the last few bites of her croissant. Then, she shows up for a meeting late, where she attempts to eat the rest of the croissant unnoticed. Sure, on paper the moment might not exactly come across as side-splitting. But, to anyone who’s been in a Monday morning strategy meeting while not exactly at 100 percent—so, everyone—it’s downright hilarious, especially given Oh’s flawless facial expressions and comedic timing.
The fab five teach a group of firemen how to dance (Queer Eye)
Viewers were given quite the treat in the season one finale of Queer Eye. The fab five show a group of hunky firemen their best dance moves, and it goes as not-so-smoothly as you would expect. Karamo demonstrates how to do the “sexy Magic Mike,” which entails running and sliding onto your knees as you rip off your shirt. One of the firefighters gives it a try, except he fails to realize that this move cannot and should not be done in shorts. His bare knees hit the gym floor hard and it’s played back for us in slow motion. The result is peak physical comedy.
An absurd lobster version of Les Miserables (SNL)
SNL was tasked with covering a chaotic year, so unsurprisingly a lot of their sketches were political. Most of the sketches based on current events are hit or miss, and are essentially slightly hyperbolized versions of reality. That’s why the sketch “Diner Lobster” was so refreshing.
The premise of the sketch is that a man (Pete Davidson) orders the lobster dinner in a diner and hilarity ensues. The waiter (John Mulaney) is absolutely appalled at the injustice of the order, and when he brings out the live lobster (Kenan Thompson) the scene turns into a recreation of the musical Les Mis. The theatrics and irrelevance of the sketch is what makes it so enjoyably hilarious—it has everything the live sketches have recently lacked.
Lucille Bluth claims building a wall was her idea (Arrested Development)
This year we were finally given the much awaited fifth season of Arrested Development, and critics were happy to report that it felt much more like the original three seasons than the fourth season—an experimental, time-hopping jumble of episodes—did. Most notably, the entire cast was back on-screen together, which is what arguably makes the show work so well.
In the second episode of the season, Lucille (Jessica Walter) watches Donald Trump announce his plans for building a wall on the Mexico–United States border and claims that it was her idea. Then, Trump states that he’s going to have Mexico pay for the wall, to which Lucille responds with, “Okay. That is a clever twist.” Walter’s delivery is impeccable as always, and her facial expressions make this line another Arrested Development classic.
Rogelio burns off River Fields’ eyebrows (Jane the Virgin)
The writing in Jane the Virgin is tight, fast-paced, and consistently sprinkled with little easter eggs at every turn. One of the most delightful jokes in season four is the character of River Fields, played by Brooke Shields. (Get it?) Shields plays an exaggerated version of herself, but in this universe her eyebrows are equally as iconic as they are in the real life. That’s why it’s such an unexpected, laugh-out-loud moment when Rogelio (Jaime Camil) accidentally burns off her eyebrows at a restaurant when trying to woo her with her favorite dessert—one that lights on fire.
Jessica Jones shoots down her opponent with one quippy comeback (Jessica Jones)
Jessica Jones came back to us this year, and she came fully equipped with what we love about her: bottomless sarcasm and high alcohol tolerance. This season she has some new enemies, one of which is a rival P.I. named Pryce Cheng (Terry Chen). During one of their first encounters, Pryce attempts to join forces with Jessica, but, as viewers know all too well, Jones works alone. Pryce keeps pushing and tells Jessica that he “never takes no for an answer,” to which she immediately responds with, “How rapey of you.”
Alice Cooper, a full grown woman, joins the high school drama club (Riverdale)
Sure, Riverdale is not a comedy, and in recent seasons it has become a ridiculous teen soap opera that no longer bothers to cover up plot holes. But there is one line from the second season that is so hilariously self aware that momentarily makes up for the fact that this Archie adaptation has become essentially lawless.
During a musical episode (I know) of season two, Betty’s (Lili Reinhart) full-grown mother, Alice, (Mädchen Amick) joins the cast of the high school play (I said I know). Kevin (Casey Cott) gives the audience a wink by saying, “There’s nothing more iconic than age-inappropriate casting.” This, of course, is a nudge to how this entire cast of “teens” is played by actors in their late twenties and early thirties, and that kind of tongue-in-cheek humor is what we’ve been missing from this show. We want more!
New Girl says goodbye with the greatest prank (New Girl)
All good things must come to an end, but luckily New Girl did so in the best way possible. The characters on this show have always loved a good prank, so having the series close out with the ultimate one felt like the perfect ending.
Throughout the final season, the gang had received eviction notices, which seemed to be foreshadowing a finale with Jess (Zooey Deschanel) moving out. That would make sense, seeing as the pilot was about Jess moving in. All seemed to be going to plan when they received the final eviction notice and packed everything up.
But just as they slam the moving truck door shut, a massive picture of Winston (Lamorne Morris), a.k.a., “Prank Sinatra,” flaps down with the words “Gotchya!” over his face. The eviction notices had all been planted by him as an elaborate, ultimate prank!
Annamarie Tendler steals the show (Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee)
Is Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee the funniest, most dynamic show on television? Definitely not. But did it have one of the funniest moments on television this year? Absolutely.
In an episode that was supposed to center on comedian John Mulaney, the spotlight was unexpectedly shone on his wife, Annamarie Tendler, instead. Seinfeld and Mulaney go shopping for a rug in the episode, and at the end they bring it back to Mulaney’s home to show his wife. She immediately throws shade and shoots it down with, “No. I don’t think this is going to work.” Her unrivaled confidence when telling Jerry Seinfeld—the most famous comedian in America, and perhaps the world—that she rejects his generous gift is solid gold.
Chidi writes an original song about…chili (The Good Place)
Upon realizing that he’s almost certainly doomed to wind up in The Bad Place, no matter what he does, Chidi has an understandable and relatable existential crisis. His coping mechanism is a bit less relatable, however. Chidi decides to make a giant pot of chili with M&M’s and peeps. Don’t worry, he assures us he has completely lost it by adding in a little jingle. “You put the Peeps in the chili pot and eat them both up! You put the Peeps in the chili pot and add the M&Ms. You put the Peeps in the chili pot and it makes it taste bad.” A Grammy-worthy performance, really.
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