Chapo Trap House
Do you think Donald Trump is a thin-skinned moron who’s also fully capable of destroying the country? Do you wish Hillary Clinton had spent less time doing the mannequin challenge and more time campaigning in the Rust Belt? Do you refer to the Breitbart author and professional troll as Milo Yabba-dabba-doo-opoulos? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re the prime audience for Chapo Trap House, the official podcast of the dirtbag left.
Plenty of podcasts talk about politics. The distinct feature of Chapo — created in March by Twitter comedians Felix Biederman, Will Menaker and Matt Christman — is its tone: It balances irony and snark with a firm passion for leftist politics. The show jumps from somber discussions of American foreign policy and its bloody ramifications to gleeful speculation about the sexual pathologies of centrist political pundits (trust me, they’re really fascinating). To paraphrase Christman, Chapo fills the void between The Daily Show’s snide apathy and Chris Hedges’ sanctimonious moralizing.
Evidently, that void is pretty popular. The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi and The New York Times’ Greg Howard have all appeared on Chapo. While the show has no corporate sponsors, it takes in more than $25,000 per month via Patreon subscribers. Now with co-hosts Virgil Texas and Amber A’Lee Frost in the fold, the show will keep advocating for vulgarly brazen leftism over the next four years of Trump’s presidency. As Trump unveils his ghoulish plans for the country and the Democrats continue to focus on reaction GIFs instead of state legislatures, that perspective will be sorely needed.
— Ryan Romano
Everyone could use this one-minute video of Jolene the dog losing her collective mind as she encounters a human-size version of her favorite toy, Gumby.
Look, 2016 has been a pretty crazy year. At times you may think it’s been full-blown insane — but not for dogs. Dogs don’t follow politics. Dogs don’t know who won the 2016 election. Dogs didn’t watch the Golden State Warriors blow a 3-1 lead. Dogs like Jolene know their priorities and stick to them, with one of the core tenets of dog life being toys.
And when you are presented with a fully-grown man dressed as Gumby, you don’t question that for its weirdness or questionable taste in costume. You jump on that and have a grand ole time.
— Andrew Dunn
Joe Biden/Obama memes
They were everywhere. In the weeks following election night — and even before — memes of President Obama and his goofy, lovable, semi-confused buddy and bromantic lover Vice President Joe Biden saturated the internet. In the fallout of a crazy election, the images consoled millions of social media-addicted millennials looking for a bit of political humor.
There was that one of Obama and Biden holding hands because Biden said “I wanna freak out Mike Pence.” Another of Biden telling a stone-faced Obama that he ordered a wall of taco trucks to surround the White House. Or another of Biden, a cheeky smile on his face, informing Obama that he left a fake Kenyan passport and a prayer rug in the White House. It was all silly, but it was something we all needed. It gave us a little chuckle, a brief distraction and an avenue to express a political message accessible to the masses.
— Josh Magness
My co-worker almost got hit by a car trying to catch ’em all. A group of Australians followed a Sandshrew into a police station. A man was caught cheating on his girlfriend due to the game’s record of where his Pokémon were caught. And my brother and I ended up in the woods next to my house at midnight in our pursuit to become the very best that no one ever was.
When Pokémon Go was released July 6, the everyday lives of its players were drastically changed. Gone were the days of running around your neighborhood for the sake of exercise, now it was just to hatch your eggs. When entering your local grocery store, it was practically impossible to make it to the produce section without tripping over some Team Mystic groupies (sorry not sorry, Valor is where it’s at) trying to claim the gym. Instead of stopping by Dunkin’ Donuts for your afternoon coffee, now it was just an excuse to stop by the lure someone placed there.
Pokémon Go will go down as one of the best things from this year, because even though it had a short popular stint, it actualized our childhood dreams by incorporating them into reality.
— Leah Brennan
Kermit the Frog
At every University of Maryland new student orientation, an overly-enthusiastic tour guide will take you to a statue of a man and a frog chatting outside Stamp Student Union. The man is Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, and sitting beside him is his greatest creation: Kermit the Frog.
As many superstars within a group do, Kermit left his lead role and friendly cast on “The Muppet Show” in search of a solo career. Little did Kermit know, he’d become one of the most prominent internet memes of all time.
In his latest work, Kermit can be seen sporting a dark hoodie in his wildly popular spinoff meme of the classic angel on one shoulder and devil on the other.
Me: Start studying for finals
Me to Me: Nah, write 200 words on why Kermit the Frog is the best random thing of 2016
This isn’t the first time Kermit delivered us meme gold. His meme career took off in 2014 with his iconic sipping tea photo. Some of his other successful pieces have been sitting-on-couch Kermit, looking-out-car-window Kermit and surprised-face Kermit.
In 2016, Kermit solidified his place in the meme Hall of Fame. And at 61 years young, the frog still has plenty of memeing left in the tank.
— Casey Kammerle
Shirtless J.R. Smith
The Cavaliers may have won the 2016 NBA finals, and, yes, the Warriors may have blown a 3-1 lead. But most importantly, Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith won our hearts by (intentionally) losing his shirt.
It all started in June in Las Vegas, where Smith was spotted partying shirtless with his Cavaliers teammates at the XS nightclub. Upon returning to Cleveland for the Cavaliers’ victory parade, that shirt was still nowhere to be found.
Smith, America’s most unlikely hero, the same man who previously direct messaged a fan on Twitter to gauge her interest in sex by asking if she was “trying to get the pipe,” transformed into a national sweetheart by leaving his nipples perennially exposed. This is 2016. This is our world. This is what we deserve. J.R. Smith #freedthenipple and, simultaneously, freed our souls.
— Cameron Neimand
Joanne the Scammer
2016 was a messy year. Going into the reasons behind the mess at this point seems redundant — if you really need an explanation, scroll over your Twitter newsfeed from the past couple of months. When trying to come up with the best ‘random’ thing to happen this year, I seriously had some trouble choosing. After all, this was the year of the Kim & Taylor feud, Pokémon Go and Hillary Clinton’s infamous ‘delete your account’ tweet. But like I said before, 2016 was messy. What better thing to come from it than a messy bitch who lives for drama?
Joanne the Scammer is that person. Joanne’s claim to fame came via Twitter, where she made a name for herself as a conniving con artist with a fabulous lifestyle. Although she is technically a fictional character, her hilarious twitter presence and relevance even got her invited to the VMAs over the summer. Moral of the story? Pettiness can really make things truly iconic.
— Taylor Stokes
In the midst of one of the most divisive elections in American history, a hero, sporting a scruffy yet neat moustache and a relaxed fit sweater, emerged. Arguably, some of the funniest tweets of the year were results of a question on energy policy asked by the once-average everyday man, Ken Bone.
Perhaps it was his distinct fashion style that elicited a feeling of comfort, or perhaps it was the complexity of the question he posed during a tense town hall between the two presidential candidates. Regardless, his was a voice for our people that sent the internet into flames. Halloween costumes and countless memes were made in honor of such a character, while Bone himself capitalized on his perceived “hugability.” Even just looking at this man, it’s clear the bright eyes behind a pair of such fashionable lenses convey hope to the people.
At a time when it seemed like the two sides could agree on nothing, there was something we all held in common, and that was the hilarity of Ken Bone. The humor derived from his memes provided the country with a sense of unity before the results of the 2016 election. While Bone may have been outed on Reddit, his role in the election cannot be ignored. So thank you Ken Bone, for bringing bipartisan laughs across the board.
— Lillian Andemicael