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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

45 Comedy Things We're Looking Forward to in 2014

2014 is poised to be an especially exciting year in comedy with a whole shit-ton of high-profile movies, shows, standup specials, books, web series, and podcasts set to debut in the next twelve months. We rounded up all the most exciting comedy things that are coming your way in 2014 in this handy guide, from NBC's new Fallon/Meyers late night lineup to the long-awaited return of FX's Louie, from Tina Fey's post-30 Rock series to John Oliver finally getting his own Daily Show-esque show.

45. Brooklyn Nine-Nine's big post-Super Bowl episode

Brooklyn Nine-Nine was one of our favorite new comedies of 2013, and Fox is giving the show a well-deserved post-Super Bowl spot alongside an episode of New Girl that features the musician Prince as a guest star in his sitcom debut. Brooklyn Nine-Nine's post Super Bowl episode has big guest stars too, with Fred Armisen set to return and Adam Sandler guest starring as himself. (Feb. 2)

44. 22 Jump Street

Jonah Hill's 21 Jump Street reboot wound up being one of the best big-screen comedies of 2012, and the sequel finds Hill and Channing Tatum's characters going undercover as college students and sees the return of Ice Cube, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, and directing team Phil Lord and Chris Miller. (Jun. 13)

43. The final Greatest Event in Television History ever

Adam Scott told us last year that his series of Adult Swim specials, The Greatest Event in Television History, will end with the fourth installment, which is set to air sometime in early 2014. There are no clues yet as to what opening credits sequence Scott and his friends will be recreating, but we're expecting this to be the greatest Greatest Event yet. (TBA spring)

42. Andy Daly's new Earwolf podcast

Comedian Andy Daly is set to host a new podcast for the Earwolf network. Called The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, the series will find Daly and Superego's Matt Gourley digging through Earwolf's vaults of submitted podcast pilots and unveiling a different one with each episode. All of the episodes are for fake shows recorded by Daly and Gourley, which sounds like a pretty exciting and unconventional premise for a podcast. (TBA Feb.)

41. Kurt Braunohler's Comedy Central web show

Kurt Braunohler's show, The K Ohle, was one of the best new podcasts of the year, and Comedy Central has taken notice of his abilities by giving Braunohler a new untitled web series described as "a multiformat interview show where each guest is interviewed gonzo-style in unexpected locations." (TBA)

40. The Duplass Brothers' HBO show, Togetherness

It's been a couple years since the Duplass Brothers' last movie, but they're turning their talents to HBO for their first-ever writing/directing project for TV. Their show, Togetherness, is a comedy expected to debut within the next year or so. Starring Mark Duplass, Amanda Peet, Melanie Lynskey, and Steve Zissis, Togetherness follows two couples living under the same roof while balancing their relationships and individual dreams. (TBA)

39. The Simpsons killing off another character

Don't get us wrong, we're not looking forward to a major Simpsons character dying, but it'll at least be interesting to see who the show chooses to off and hopefully, it'll be better-received than Family Guy killing off Brian the dog this year. Showrunner Al Jean started dropping hints about which Simpsons character would pass away this past fall, saying that it is a character that the voice actor/actress has won an Emmy for portraying and that it's one who's appear on the show at least twice. (TBA fall)

38. Last Comic Standing

NBC's on-again, off-again standup reality series Last Comic Standing has a mixed reputation in the comedy community, but we're curious to check out the revamped version of the show, which will air this summer and be produced by Wanda Sykes. Last Comic Standing has given exposure to a ton of comedians — both good and bad — and hopefully, the new season sees some talented folks make it through and get a career boost. (TBA summer)

37. Parks and Recreation's 100th ep

NBC's long-running sitcom Parks and Recreation is about to reach an important milestone this month: the show's 100th episode. The show will be returning from a short hiatus next week with the 100th episode, which was co-written by showrunner/co-creator Mike Schur and its star Amy Poehler and follows Leslie Knope coming up with a scheme to get back on city council. The new year will also bring the departures of cast members Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones in an episode expected to air early in the year. (Jan. 9)

36. IFC's The Spoils of Babylon

Over the past few years, IFC has been gradually developing itself into a comedy nerd haven, and their newest comedy, The Spoils of Babylon, comes from prestigious stock like all of the network's other recent stuff. Produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay via Funny Or Die, Babylon is a sprawling miniseries that comes from the Casa de mi Padre team of Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele. Featuring a large cast that includes Kristen Wiig, Tobey Maguire, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Haley Joel Osment, and Will Ferrell, the limited-run show has a lot going for it. (Jan. 9)

35. Judd Apatow's Simpsons episode

Back in 1990, the first thing Judd Apatow ever wrote was an episode of The Simpsons while he was in his early 20s. After he talked about it publicly in the fall of 2012, Simpsons producer James L. Brooks contacted Apatow to ask if they could produce the episode now, and he said yes. Obviously, the script will be updated, but it follows Homer being hypnotized back to a childhood state when his hypnotist dies, leaving him acting like a kid. It sounds pretty similar to Office Space, but it should still be cool to see an episode of The Simpsons that has this odd of an origin story and comes from a well-known comedy writer who's never worked on the show. (TBA)

34. Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail

Comedy Central has tons of standup shows on its lineup, but they made a rare and smart move this past year by opting to turn an existing live show in Los Angeles into its own TV series. The Meltdown is a popular LA standup show that Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani have been hosting out of a comic book shop for the past couple years, and the TV version, Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, produced by Ben Stiller via his company Red Hour, is expected to debut sometime in 2014. (TBA)

33. Mike Sacks's follow-up to And Here's the Kicker

In 2009, author Mike Sacks released an excellent collection of interviews with fellow comedy writers called And Here's the Kicker, and he's put together a sequel that's due out this summer. Called Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers, the book will be longer and more in-depth than its predecessor, featuring interviews with about a dozen writers. Sacks sent us a partial list of interview subjects for the new book last year that includes Adam McKay, Tom Scharpling, and Mike Schur, and there are about a dozen more big name comedy writers featured whose names have yet to be announced. (Jun. 24)

32. Playing House

Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham's short-lived NBC show Best Friends Forever didn't get a fair chance when it aired in 2012, but the duo is back with a new series for USA that they're starring in and creating together. Part of the USA network's new comedy push, Playing House stars Parham as a single mom raising her child with help from her career-driven best friend (St. Clair). Keegan-Michael Key, Brad Morris, and Zach Woods round out the cast, and this could be the start of a great original comedy lineup for USA. (TBA spring)

31. Search Party

After the rampant success of The Hangover back in 2009, you'd think movie studios would be taking more chances by trying out recognizable supporting actors in their first lead roles but for some reason that hasn't happened a ton. Search Party, though, follows in The Hangover's footsteps by casting T.J. Miller, Adam Pally, and Thomas Middleditch as its leads. It's the first movie directed by Scot Armstrong, Todd Phillips's longtime writing partner who co-wrote Old School, The Hangover Part II, and Road Trip, among other stuff, with him. The supporting cast includes Alison Brie, Krysten Ritter, Jon Glaser, JB Smoove, Jason Mantzoukas, and Brian Huskey, who will all hopefully be given their own movies someday. (Sep. 12)

30. Tammy

Newly-minted movie star Melissa McCarthy is set to star in the first movie she had a hand in writing this year. McCarthy co-scripted the comedy Tammy with her writing partner/husband Ben Falcone, who also directed the film. McCarthy plays a lady named Tammy who, after being fired and cheated on, goes on a road trip with her alcoholic grandma (Susan Sarandon). The supporting cast also includes Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Toni Collette, and Mark Duplass, and the film was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay via their company Gary Sanchez. (Jul. 2)

29. Richard Ayoade's The Double

Writer/director/actor Richard Ayoade has been doing great TV work in the UK for years now, but he crossed over into film in a big way with his feature directing debut, coming-of-age comedy-drama Submarine, in 2011. His second movie, The Double, is a comedy based on a Dostoyevsky novella starring Jesse Eisenberg as a guy driven insane by his doppelganger, and it's been getting positive reviews at festivals so far. (TBA)

28. Mike Judge's new show, Silicon Valley

We haven't seen a new TV show out of auteur Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Office Space) since his short-lived Beavis and Butt-head revival ended in 2011, but he'll be back this next year with a new comedy he created for HBO. Silicon Valley, co-created by Judge and his Goode Family cohorts John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, is a live-action show following a bunch of emotionally-stunted tech professionals in modern Silicon Valley. The series boasts an impressive ensemble cast that includes T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Middleditch, Angela Trimbur, and Zach Woods. (TBA)

27. Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy

Parks and Recreation star Chris Pratt is about to become a Marvel superhero, playing the lead in a summer tentpole action movie. Pratt missed a handful of Parks episodes this season to bulk up for the role and to shoot the movie, but it should be worth it to see the guy who plays Andy Dwyer in a completely new light. (Aug. 1)

26. Fey/Poehler hosting the Golden Globes again

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler knocked it out of the park as Golden Globes hosts last January, and as a result, they were asked back to host the ceremony this year and next. Get ready for awards shows to be good again for one night — or for the part of the night that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are on stage, at least. (Jan. 12)

25. Patton Oswalt's new standup hour

Patton Oswalt's new hour-long special, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time, is set to premiere on cable network Epix this month. This is Oswalt's first standup special since 2011's Finest Hour, so it should be pretty exciting to see the new material he's been working on for the last two and a half years. (Jan. 17)

24. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's The Interview

Seth Rogen and longtime writing partner/childhood best friend Evan Goldberg made their directorial debut with This Is the End, which wound up being one of this year's best comedies. The second movie they directed, entitled The Interview, is coming out hot on the heels of This Is the End and it has just as interesting as a concept. The Interview stars James Franco and Rogen as a talk show host and his producer who are tasked with assassinating a North Korean dictator. (Oct. 10)

23. Maya Rudolph's variety show

NBC won a bidding war for a new variety show starring Maya Rudolph. The untitled show, produced by Lorne Michaels of course, will make use of Rudolph's musical and acting abilities. The network ordered a pilot for Rudolph's variety series that will air as a primetime special in February before they make the decision as to whether or not to pick up the series. (TBA February)

22. Dave Hill's new radio show on WFMU

Tom Scharpling's beloved comedy radio program, The Best Show on WFMU, ended its 13-year run a couple weeks ago, and the station is giving the timeslot to comedian Dave Hill. The Goddamned Dave Hill Show will be recorded live and will feature a mix of comedy, call-ins, guests, and music, but let's just let it be its own thing and not compare it to The Best Show. (Jan. 7)

21. Amy Poehler's book

After the success of books by Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Chelsea Handler in recent years, memoirs from female comedians have become a big trend in the publishing industry, and last year, Amy Poehler signed a deal to to write a book that's expected to come out this year. The untitled tome is described by the publisher as "an illustrated, non-linear diary full of humor and honesty and brimming with true stories, fictional anecdotes and life lessons." (TBA)

20. St. Vincent De Van Nuys

Bill Murray doesn't take lead roles in movies often these days, but he's set to do so in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, a comedy about a debaucherous older guy who takes a neighborhood boy under his wing and teaches him all of his dirtbag ways. The supporting cast includes Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, and Scott Adsit, and the movie's director has a fun story about meeting Bill Murray, like most people who've met Bill Murray do. (Apr. 11)

19. The LEGO Movie

Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street) recently established themselves as some of the best comedy directors in movies, and their next film, a computer-animated movie about Legos, looks surprisingly good and funny. With a voice cast that includes Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, and the writing/directing prowess of Lord and Miller, this is one to look forward to. (Feb. 7)

18. Jon Stewart's Oscar bait movie

Jon Stewart made an unexpected move last year when he left The Daily Show for three months to direct his first movie, a Scott Rudin-produced geopolitical prison torture drama called Rosewater. Stewart has never directed or written a movie before, but Rosewater's success or lack thereof will likely determine whether he stays at The Daily Show longer (he's currently signed on through mid-2015) or leaves to become a full-time movie director. (TBA)

17. Andy Daly's new show, Review

Comedy fans have known Andy Daly is one of the funniest people in the industry for years now, but the rest of the world is about to find out when he's given his very own show for the first time ever. Daly's show, Review, will premiere on Comedy Central next month after sitting in the can for a year or two. Review stars him as Forrest MacNeil, a professional critic who reviews a different life experience each week, like divorce, anonymous sex, and drug addiction, giving each one zero to five stars afterwards. (Feb. 27)

16. The How I Met Your Mother finale

After nine long years, How I Met Your Mother is finally wrapping up with a one-hour finale oddly airing in March and not in May along with the rest of the TV show finales. Come March, they mystery of how Ted Mosby and his future wife met will be solved, leaving audiences with enough time to get ready for CBS's spinoff How I Met Your Dad. (Mar. 31)

15. Broad City

Comedy Central is giving comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer their own TV show, based on their hit web series Broad City. Executive produced by Amy Poehler, the 10-episode first season will feature Hannibal Buress, Chris Gethard, John Gemberling, and more, in recurring roles, while Fred Armisen, Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Jones, Jason Mantzoukas, Seth Morris, Amy Poehler, and Amy Sedaris are set to guest star. You can watch the first episode early now via Comedy Central. (Jan. 22)

14. Wes Anderson's new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson gathered up a giant cast for his new movie, a comedy-drama called The Grand Budapest Hotel that follows the concierge at a prestigious European hotel and his trusted lobby boy. The movie stars Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, and a million more people. (Mar. 7)

13. A new SNL cast member

After the show was criticized for its lack of diversity in the cast, SNL held two showcase auditions of entirely black female performers late last year. Lorne Michaels told the Times that the show will be hiring at least one, if not two if the women, and that the new cast member(s) will start when the show returns in January. Seth Meyers will also likely be leaving in the next few shows to get ready for hosting Late Night, so SNL's cast will continue to shift as the season goes on. (Jan. 18)

12. The Alan Partridge movie's US release

Steve Coogan brought his beloved character Alan Partridge to the big screen in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, which was released in the UK last year but isn't coming out in the States until this spring. The film finds Coogan's downtrodden DJ character involved in a hostage situation at his radio station, and Alpha Papa received mostly-positive reviews upon its UK release. (Apr. 4)

11. The return of Girls

After nine months of off-season, Lena Dunham's acclaimed HBO show Girls returns with back-to-back episodes and a bigger-than-ever 12-episode season. (Jan. 12)

10. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Along with Seth Meyers making his transition from SNL's Weekend Update to Late Night, Jimmy Fallon will be moving from Late Night to The Tonight Show. House band The Roots and head writer A.D. Miles are sticking with Fallon for the new show, and The Roots are even writing a new Tonight Show theme song. Jay Leno's been hosting Tonight for the better part of the last 20 years, so it should be exciting to see some new blood headlining Tonight — as long as NBC doesn't quickly yank the show out of Fallon's hands like they did to Conan O'Brien a few years back. (Feb. 17)

9. They Came Together

David Wain's one of the funniest writer/directors going, and his new movie, They Came Together, is expected to come out sometime this year. Co-written by Wain and Michael Showalter, it's a twist on rom-coms starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, with Ed Helms, Max Greenfield, Michaela Watkins, Cobie Smulders, Michael Shannon, Jason Mantzoukas, and Michael Ian Black included in the supporting cast. (TBA)

8. Mulaney

It was a long journey to get standup and former SNL writer John Mulaney's new sitcom on the air. Originally set up at NBC, who turned it down, Mulaney was picked up by Fox this summer, who ordered six episodes. Created by and starring Mulaney, the series is produced by Lorne Michaels and features Nasim Pedrad, Elliott Gould, and Martin Short in the cast. (TBA fall)

7. Late Night with Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers is set to become the fourth host of Late Night, following in the footsteps of David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon. Meyers has assembled an eclectic (but indiverse) writing staff full of SNL, Colbert, and The Onion alums. With The Tonight Show's legacy tainted by Jay Leno dicking over worthy hosts like Letterman and Conan, Late Night truly is the most prestigious comedy talk show these days and it should be a blast to see Meyers's version of the show. (Feb. 24)

6. The return of Nathan For You

Comedy Central's Nathan For You, which had an 8-episode run last winter, was one of our favorite new shows of the year, and it'll be back with a 10-episode season sometime this summer that'll probably see the show continue to grow and be amazing. (TBA summer)

5. Dan Harmon's Community comeback

After having been fired at the end of Season 3 from his show Community, Dan Harmon was rehired for the upcoming Season 5. He's brought his right-hand man Chris McKenna, who was a writer for the show's first three seasons, back with him. Harmon and McKenna co-wrote the season premiere and titled it "Re-Pilot," with Harmon describing Community 2.0 like this:

We decided that it made the most sense for us to pretend that we were writing a new pilot for a new show about a lawyer who had once gone to a community college, but was a very poor community college, with a bunch of people that he loved a lot. He had become a pretty bad lawyer by virtue of becoming a better person, and an opportunity comes up for him to return to school. As in the pilot in the first season, he’s coming there with nefarious motivations. It’s also reintroducing all of the characters as if they were new characters coming back to this place as well, and giving them all new places to stay.

On top of that, Chevy Chase is no longer on the show, Donald Glover is leaving after the first five episodes, and John Oliver and Breaking Bad's Jonathan Banks are coming on in a recurring capacity, so the show should feel pretty different this year and will probably be much cooler than Season 4. (Jan. 2)

4. John Oliver's late night show

John Oliver proved he was a fitting host of The Daily Show during his three-week stint subbing for Jon Stewart this summer. HBO noticed, and they're giving him his own weekly Daily Show-esque comedy show, which will air on Sunday nights. He's even snagged The Daily Show's old head writer, Tim Carvell, to come along with him. (TBA)

3. The return of Louie

Louis C.K. took a longer-than-usual break from his FX series Louie this time around, but after less than two years off the air, it'll be back with a whole new 13-episode season in May. Details are scant on the new season of Louie so far, and C.K. normally keeps surprises on the show pretty close to the vest, but each season so far has been better than the last. C.K. says the break "was for the good of the show. I didn't want to start making the show with diminishing returns, and I wanted more time to make it. I turned in some edits of the show that I knew weren't good enough yet, but we had to get it out. The year off was to kind of hit the reset button, take a couple months off to have a bit of a life and a reason to tell stories again." (TBA May)

2. Better Call Saul

Breaking Bad may be done, but the show's creator Vince Gilligan and writer Peter Gould are making a spinoff revolving around Bob Odenkirk's comic relief character Saul Goodman. The hour-long series is expected to debut on AMC sometime this year, and unlike its predecessor, it'll be 75% comedic and 25% dramatic. On top of that, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are planning on cameoing as their Breaking Bad characters in the spinoff/prequel. (TBA late 2014)

1. Tina Fey's new show

30 Rock ended its run this past season, but Tina Fey has created another show that NBC gave an early series order to for fall 2014. Tentatively titled Tooken, the comedy stars Ellie Kemper as a lady who just escaped from a doomsday cult and is trying to start her life over in New York City, which is a pretty exciting and ballsy concept for a sitcom. (TBA fall)