Believe it or not, one of 2015’s most eloquent moments took place when Amy Schumer stood in a beautiful gown at the Glamour’s Woman of Year Awards and said, “I’m probably about 160 pounds right now, and I can catch a dick whenever I want.” Let the pontiffs and politicians drone on; now more than ever, it takes a comedian like Schumer to shine a light on the issues that need our attention and action.
In honor of the comedians, writers and networks supporting comedy as a national reality check, here’s a list of comedians and moments that made us laugh and think in 2015.
Taught us about food waste in the US
Remember when John Oliver went on a hilarious yet painful rant about food waste in America? Besides going viral, this video taught us that America wastes enough food to “fill 750 football stadiums” while tons of families in the same country don’t have enough food feed their kids.
AMY POEHLER & TINA FEY
A peek at world problems vs. Hollywood
That time when Amy and Tina hosted the 2015 Golden Globes and cracked a joke about Amal Clooney, the internationally acclaimed social activist, accompanying her husband George as he claimed an award for his great but perhaps less meaningful accomplishments in Hollywood.
ABBI JACOBSON & ILANA GLAZER
Gave us a lesson on privilege
In this memorable Season 2 episode of Broad City, Ilana is in charge of babysitting a young kid from an upper class neighborhood in New York City. Throughout the episode Ilana exposes the boy to her day-to-day doings. In between selling used clothes for money and taking the subway, they boy confesses he has only ever ridden Uber cars, to which she responds: “Oliver, we don’t talk about Uber down here. Let’s play a game: I want you to look around and find the most disadvantaged person here and then we’ll give them our seats. Who do you think it is? It’s you, Oliver; you’re rich in money but poor in experience.”
Taught us about Asian stereotypes in pop culture
Aziz Ansari’s new show gained rapid popularity through its relatable and diverse cast of characters, but one especially on-point episode was “Indians on TV.” It opens with a painful mash-up of Indian portrayals over the last 20 years on American TV and film. The show goes on to depict the struggles and humiliations actors of Indian descent suffer at the hands of mainstream media — e.g. lots of turbans and accent requests from casting directors and agents.
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY & JORDAN PEELE
Helped us imagine a world without racial profiling
In a Key & Peele sketch this season, Keegan-Michael Key is cuffed by a police officer for no reason and Jordan Peele whisks him away to a Technicolor dreamscape called “Negrotown.” This wonderful town promises a “utopian world for black people,” with such perks as being able to catch a cab, not getting killed for wearing a hoodie and shopping without being followed.
Taught us about misogyny on TV
Inside Amy Schumer’s genius remake episode of 12 Angry Men replaces the movie’s original murder trial with a case of misogyny and stigmas surrounding women on TV. The episode is based on making 12 men decide whether Amy Schumer is attractive enough to be on TV. Who can forget lines like, “…the more she’s out there flaunting that chipmunk face, the more her type becomes acceptable.” With Amy’s verdict resting on her ability to give 12 men boners with her God-given looks, the episode savagely mocks the reality of women’s opportunities being based on looks.
A lesson on the Hate Class of 2015
Jessica Williams shined as a correspondent on The Daily Show, where her news segments grew quickly in popularity. A remarkable one before the end of her run with Stewart is her visit to a group of religious fanatics protesting the legality of gay marriage. Jessica dries up her crocodile tears by reminiscing on the couple of hours she spent with the “adorable bigots.“
Taught us how depressing GOP debates really are.
Remember, if tonight’s #GOPDebate is great for twitter assholes like me, it’s scary for the country. Okay, enjoy!— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 16, 2015
"We should be able to penetrate the internet. "The Internet’ is my Thai cleaning woman’s nickname.” #GOPDebate— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 16, 2015
Wolf: “Question for Governor Bush.”— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 16, 2015
Jeb: *groan* #GOPDebate
In 2014, Patton Oswalt participated in a campaign hosted by WeEconomy, where a series of filmmakers created shorts to comment and explain the economy in a fun and informative way. But in 2015, it was his Twitter session covering December’s GOP Debate that made us realize how much he really cares about this country — and how much we need him.