First up, I need to come clean: unlike all the fine people who’ve contributed to this series so far, I’m not technically a comedian. Also, I acknowledge that constantly being mistaken for one represents a stain on the Australian comedy industry and I apologise for that – I’m always learning, I’m committed to listening and will try to do better, etc.
But as a writer and broadcaster who spends way too much time online, I delight in all the delightful, surreal and absolutely rank stuff I’ve reaped from the internet over the roughly 12,000 years I’ve been online, and I’m happy to share some of my bountiful harvest now.
Putting this list together was a trip down memory lane, spanning the “Bacon is good for me” kid to Keke Palmer’s quietly savage and fit-for-all purposes online response “Sorry to this man”. But here are some pearls I’ve bookmarked for those horrible days on the internet when we need some cheering up – otherwise known as “a day”.
1. When Kris Jenner’s Twitter got hacked
This list is in no particular order, but this tweet needed to come first. Because it’s likely nothing will ever beat it.
2. Black Comedy takes on morning shows (language warning!)
Written by Nayuka Gorrie, this brutal sketch for the ABC’s Black Comedy was filmed in the wake of Channel 7’s Sunrise broadcasting an ugly segment, in which three unqualified white people mused over the adoption of Aboriginal children – culminating with one panellist apparently dismissing concerns about the stolen generation and effectively recommending Australia restart a genocidal policy of forced child removal. This sketch not only flipped the script of one of the lowest moments in Australian TV brilliantly; it’s also eye-wateringly funny.
3. Pakistani tribesfolk eating western food for the first time
In lesser hands, Reactistan could be extremely racist. But having Pakistani villagers – many of them goat farmers – review and often excoriate white food is simply delicious. “People are physically weak only due to these foods,” says one villager discussing a Subway sandwich. Another compares boba pearls stuck in a bubble tea straw to when “goat poop [is] stuck in its intestines”.
Sometimes the reviews are sobering poetry, like the man who says: “By eating this we are always sick / Half of our money goes to these restaurants, the other half to doctors / We are trapped in this / Eventually we meet our death.” Absolute GOAT.
4. Steven Jacobs’ rooster
Perfectly Cut Screams is one of my favourite Twitter accounts, and it almost makes me feel patriotic that one of their best screams is Australian. The original video is here, but the perfectly cut version is majestic.
5. This guy’s lockdown plans
Covid-19 made 2020 a year of shared global dread and anxiety. But this returning Australian traveller’s response to how he planned to spend quarantine was the balm we needed at the start of the pandemic.
6. Ziwe: How many black friends do you have?
Bec Shaw – AKA Brocklesnitch – also featured this in her dazzling list, but I had to include it here. It’s one of the most shatteringly great things to have happened on the internet in 2020.
Ziwe Fumudoh’s Instagram Live interview concept is simple: take a recently publicly shamed public figure who’s been criticised over comments on race, and ask them questions like, “How many black friends do you have?” and “Name five Asians.” On one hand, to her credit, Ziwe is forgiving and humane. On the other: you will roar laughing. And most importantly, you will sweat.
7. Saturday Night Live’s Super Showcase spokesmodels
The only thing funnier than a comedy sketch blooper? When the blooper doesn’t stop, occupies the entire duration of the sketch and crescendos in the set being destroyed.
8. The only #TwitpicYourCelebBlock I care about
Usually, I’m unimpressed by commentary around who’s blocked whom on Twitter. Getting blocked by someone famous doesn’t usually translate to you being significant; it’s more likely you’ve acted like a jerk. But for some reason, this contribution to #TwitpicYourCelebBlocks still unravels me.
9. Oh, the fracking?
I adore Rupaul’s Drag Race, but the show is also regularly mired in controversies around racism, toxic fandoms and transphobia. Another recent controversy came after Rupaul basically told NPR’s Terry Gross that he lends land from his Wyoming ranch to fossil fuels companies to frack. Many queens actively stay out of the politics, so seeing Bob the Drag Queen and Peppermint accidentally bring the fracking up, and their subsequent reaction is a joy to behold.
For extra laughs, this compilation includes both the fracking moment and another moment between the two that explains why two words – “It’s fashion” – are now a catchphrase among Drag Race fans.
10. Real Housewives in ASMR
Real Housewives finales are famously stressful affairs, epic fights between women that somehow also pass the Bechdel test with flying colours. This ASMR take is not only very funny, it’s also unexpectedly relaxing.
Bonus: This video. Like the BBC Dad, it only gets better with every viewing. By the time the dog howls, I’m howling too.
Follow Benjamin Law on Twitter and Instagram