The art of the comic parody has been seriously democratized in the age of YouTube, but it's refreshing to realize the greatest parodies still find a way to rise to the top of the heap. Here are ten we loved this year.
1. “Saturday Night Live” finds that the universal language is “Hello”
The weepy melodrama of Adele's “Hello” video warranted a parody, and this “SNL” short — featuring an eye-popping, surreal moment from host Matthew McConaughey — nailed it. By turning “Hello” into an orgiastic fever dream, it provided an unexpected angle on a pop culture phenomenon.
2. Amy Schumer renders a verdict with her “12 Angry Men” parody
It seems bizarre that one of the most trenchant parodies of 2015 would involve the film work of Lee J. Cobb and Martin Balsam, but Amy Schumer's sexism-destroying take on “12 Angry Men” — epic in its 20+ minute scope — is staggering and scathing. “Inside Amy Schumer” is like the sketch version of “Last Week with John Oliver,” a show that knows how to take its time carving up topical problems.
3. “Black Jeopardy” continues to know the correct response.
I'm glad we've gotten multiple updates on “Black Jeopardy.” The “SNL” sketch was fab when Louis C.K. was at the third podium, but Elizabeth Banks' turn was just as hilarious.
4. Funny Or Die discovers even more of the truth in “The Jinx”
“The Jinx” was fantastic and nearly unbelievable, so when Funny Or Die mocked Robert Durst's hilarious (and murderous) candor with this audio bit, they had absolute freedom to be as outrageous as they wanted. The Keyser Soze and JonBenet Ramsey shoutouts are particular highlights.
5. Lara Marie Schoenhals has some girlfriends she'd like to welcome to the stage
Taylor Swift's 1989 tour had plenty of outrageous guests. Remember when Joan Baez and Julia Roberts appeared together? Thankfully Lara Marie Schoenhals' parody of Swift's incessant guest list helped us to realize just how insane the spectacle was. Please welcome to the stage the female members of ISIS, ladies and gents. What do you think of that, Los Angeles?
6. Kim Davis razzle-dazzles them in “Cell Block Tango”
Kim Davis was such a glorious and stupid media phenomenon. We needed a Broadway gay to fully understand the scope of her lunacy, and Randy Rainbow (real name!) showed us the way with his “Cell Block Tango” rewrite. Ah, Kim Davis. She's like if a floor-length jean skirt were a person.
7. Amy Schumer is the new Mrs. Coach in “Football Town Nights”
The second “Inside Amy Schumer” clip to make our list is such an unexpected revision of “Friday Night Lights” that it deserves admission for its pure gall alone. But then there's the content itself, a damning and uproarious take on rape culture that gives Josh Charles a chance to better his performance in “The Foodroom” and the rest of us to marvel at Schumer's viperish genius. Unforgettable.
8. Maybe Neil Patrick Harris' “Birdman” parody was all the “Best Time Ever” we needed
Neil Patrick Harris' Oscar-hosting stint was surprisingly tepid, even though this unbelievable “Birdman” take was fabulous during the broadcast.
9. Weird Al's tempo is off in this “Whiplash” parody
“Whiplash” earned JK Simmons an Oscar, but his character was such a frightening psychopath that you wondered how he could ever be parodied. Lo and behold, Weird Al inserted himself into Miles Teller's seat and turned the movie into a scream-out-loud accordion-powered farce.
10. Andy Samberg would like to buy the world an Emmy http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#ec=Voc2ttdzocXchE97zWUvBYPEK8_kxLKi&pbid=581186617b814402a62766e9903b5347
Though this year's Emmy Awards weren't terribly thrilling, this necessary take on the “Mad Men” finale highlighted both Andy Samberg's impish talents and the legacy of the AMC series itself. Also: being killed with an Emmy is fun.