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Sketch Anatomy: 2014 in Review

This year we launched a brand new column called Sketch Anatomy, in which we spoke with a dozen comedy writers and producers from shows like The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Conan, Broad City, and more to delve deeper into some of their favorite sketches, performers, and sitcom episodes. From Andy Kaufman's early '80s television appearances to Lonely Island's 2003 breakout web series The 'Bu, the sketches and shows analyzed so far have included Alex Blagg's take on the honesty behind Key and Peele's humor to how Emily Altman turned a conversation with her mother into a hit Inside Amy Schumer sketch. Here's a look back at the [...]

Saturday Night's Children: 2014 in Review

After three and a half years of highlighting the lives and work of SNL cast members, Saturday Night's Children finally wrapped up its run on Splitsider this year. From January to November, we took a look back at 22 former SNLers including original Not Ready for Prime Time Players John Belushi and Chevy Chase, deceased writers/cast members Michael O'Donoghue and Tom Davis, the lesser-known stints of Morwenna Banks and Dan Vitale, and powerhouse stars of the 2000s like Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Seth Meyers. Here's a look back at the SNL graduates who helped close out [...]

A Very Controversial Year in Comedy

It's been a big year for comedy and an even bigger year for controversy. Heroes have fallen, debates have ignited and feet have been inserted firmly into mouths. Social media once again played a major role in spreading truth, lies and everything in between. These are the stories that raised our blood pressure, ruined our dinners and kept us hitting refresh.

The Year in Comedy Podcasts

2014. The year the podcast came back! What? Did it ever leave? Well, no. But with major ink from hoary old analog readers like New York Magazine and The Washington Post trumpeting “the return of the podcast!” it seems mainstream has finally figured out podcasting is a thing. Podcast impresario Kevin Smith even featured Justin Long portraying a podcaster who is transformed — painfully, and against his will — into a walrus in the feature film Tusk this year.

It seems that comedy isn’t the only main driver for the podcast medium any more. This year saw the rise of “must listen” shows like Startup, a podcast about a [...]

The 16 Best Comedy Books of 2014

To add to your diet of comedy consumption which is likely already at critical mass, what with the comedy movies, sitcoms, sketch comedy shows, web videos, Twitter feed, and novelty T-shirts, here's your reading list: the best comedy books of 2014. This year had an especially delightful selection of comedy and comedy-related books. Here then are some of the comedy history, comedy theory, comedy memoirs, comic essay collections, and comic novels that stood out.

The Long-Running Sitcoms We Lost in 2014

Today, a sitcom making it to a second season is as notable as another return to Gilligan’s Island. Here, we pay tribute to some sitcoms we lost in 2014 that lasted longer than three seasons, and offer some options for those grieving their passing.

The 7 Best DIY-ish Comedy Albums of 2014

This is a collection of the best comedy albums I heard this year that aren’t by like huge rich comics like Jim Gaffigan or Aziz Ansari. Not that there’s anything wroooong with that, just every end-of-the-year list kind of ends up being the same thing and leaving out a lot of good shit that people just made themselves and put online. So this is a bunch of albums like that. And this is by no means all of them, just a few that I happened to find and like. God bless, and enjoy.

The Year in Interviews

In 2014, the Splitsider team did over 150 interviews to get the inside information about your favorite things in comedy. Here’s a collection of the year’s most notable quotes from our conversations with some of the best people involved in comedy today.

The Best Comedy Directors of 2014

As this column wraps up its first full year, I present the 1st Annual 2014 Comedy Film School Awards. These awards are determined by a voting body of one and hold all the prestige and none of the starpower of the Hollywood Film Awards. The idea is not to rank or give out superlatives, but rather use these names to discuss some of the most interesting work of 2014, why, and what this could mean for a larger comedy landscape this year and going forward.

The Year in Comedy Movies

When I look back on the year in comedy movies, a few indelible images come to mind. The two-beat punch of Morgan Freeman introducing Michelangelo the painter and Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle in The Lego Movie. Jenny Slate peeling off her shirt before giving an emotional and vulnerable monologue in Obvious Child. Matt Vogel as evil frog Constantine trying to learn Kermit’s voice in Muppets Most Wanted, a scene that made me think “too soon, too soon,” even though Jim Henson has been dead for almost 25 years now.

Also: Melissa McCarthy with a bag on her head in Tammy, and… um… Bradley Cooper making jokes about stealing somebody’s leg? [...]

The Comedy Legends We Lost in 2014

We lost several funny people of note in 2014, but the year was a real doozy for comedy legends in particular, including writer/directors, TV announcers, critical mentors, and legendary performers we grew up watching. Many of the people below had careers so vast and influential that they’re impossible to sum up in a single paragraph. But I’ll try. So let’s bum ourselves out and then lift our glasses in remembrance. They are sorely missed.

2014's Most Memorable Late Night Moments

It's been a truly momentous year for the late night talk show circuit with Letterman and Leno announcing their retirement from their longtime posts, creating a veritable mosaic puzzle of moving host pieces including the start of new eras at The Tonight Show and Late Night, a round of new Daily Show hires, and the crowning of Stephen Colbert as David Letterman's soon-to-be Late Show successor. The world of late night now extends beyond the major networks, and 2014 saw TBS's Conan and The Pete Holmes Show, Comedy Central's Daily Show, Colbert Report, and @midnight, and HBO newcomer Last Week [...]

What I Learned from Another Year in the Archives

The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

As I look back on the material I covered for this year’s run of From the Archives, I see a wide tapestry of comedy both [...]

The Definitive 'Best Web Series of 2014' List

You're going to see a lot of lists over the next 2 weeks. "Best of This" and "Best of That." Everything you've consumed or thought about consuming this year will be put into a sort of arbitrary context by some oaf who doesn't much like spending time with family and does like listing the 10 or 20 or 100 things he or she thinks are "super legit." It's pathetic, presumptuous, and totally subjective. This is not one of those lists for one reason and one reason only: it's definitive, objective, and 100% right in every way. You could argue with the selections, but you'd be wrong. So don't embarrass yourself. [...]