The 2011 UPROXX People Of The Year Awards

As the icons of journalistic integrity at People magazine have taught us, limiting an annual award to just one person can be a dangerous task. By naming Bradley Cooper the “Sexiest Man Alive,” People enraged a major faction of the North American celebrity worshipping audience by snubbing super hunk Ryan Gosling. Sports Illustrated hit a home run by naming Pat Summit the Sports Woman of the Year, but Mike Krzyzewski as the Sports Man of the Year? Many people believe that he is the purest form of evil in this universe, and therefore a questionable choice. Even Time magazine snubbed me and Bono by making “the protester” its Person of the Year.

That’s why we chose to broaden our selections for the UPROXX People of the Year, because, sure, Kate Upton may be awesome, but she certainly wasn’t the greatest person in the world in 2011, despite what I may have written at With Leather. So we chose to honor – and dishonor – many people this year for their amazing – and incredibly terrible – efforts at making this world a better place to blog in.

As always, feel free to disagree in the comments or tell us who we excluded while shaking your hockey sticks of protest in rage. After all, our Person of the Year will always be our readers. *winks, blushes*

When comedian and actor Louis C.K. announced that he was releasing his latest show video exclusively on his website, we were like, “That’s cool.” When he said that the video would only cost $5, we were like, “Even cooler.” When he posted on his website that he had reached over $1 million in sales in a matter of weeks, we were like, “That’s really cool for him.” But when he announced that he was donating $280,000 of the money he earned to various charities, well, that was probably the coolest thing that one of the entertainment industry’s coolest guys has ever done.

Add to that his hilarious forgotten password email response and the fact that he actually let Dane Cook make a cameo on “Louie” and sort of redeem himself for his reputation as a joke thief, and Louis basically just kicked a lot of ass this year.

Forget for a moment that it’s a blogging commandment to be in love with actress Alison Brie. This recognition isn’t completely about looks (please see: awesome Alison Brie GIFs). Sure, the fact that she has mastered both adorable and sexy is incredible, as not many actresses can pull that off. But she’s also a hell of an actress.

For me, she jumped to a new level of awesome in the Christmas episode of “Community” this season, with her hilarious “sexy” dance to recruit Jeff Winger to join the glee club. I know, it’s not nearly as cool as donating $280,000 to charity for no reason, but there’s not really any science to this list either. Alison Brie is awesome. Deal with it.

As I wrote in my Top Sports Moments of 2011 feature for With Leather, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow redefined the idea of a polarizing sports figure in his rookie season. It’s not because he has played just well enough to help his team to an AFC West title (in control of their own destiny at time of publication) or that he chose not to electrocute dogs. It’s because he’s a very devout Christian who thanks Jesus every time he begins a postgame interview, and people either love him or hate him for it.

As a joyous follower of Sky Cake, I don’t really care if Tebow thanks Jesus, Allah, Moses or the Flying Spaghetti Monster after games, but millions of people actually do. Because of Tebow, people across the country – from dinner tables to sports bars to cable news shouting matches – have made Tebow’s faith a point of debate. That’s pretty remarkable for a guy whose job is to just win football games.

Life was pretty good for U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner for the first four or five months of 2011. He was wildly popular in New York and gaining political steam across the country as a brash, in-your-face progressive visionary with the makings of a future president. Then he sexted pictures of his dong to random girls he was meeting on Twitter and it all went to hell.

I used to have incredible political ambitions and Weiner is the kind of guy that I wanted to be like. Then I realized that nobody – and I mean absolutely nobody – in politics can be as good as they seem. I’d love to know at what point a person develops such a feeling of invincibility, especially someone whose every move is under a microscope. It’s incredibly arrogant for a guy like Weiner to think he can get away sending pictures of his bulge to girls, especially since politicians NEVER GET AWAY WITH THAT. But at least he gave us some good laughs.

This needs no explanation. If you believe that you’re a man’s man, then you should aspire to be like Ron Swanson, the fictional director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department on NBC’s “Parks and Rec.” Before I die, I want to fashion a canoe out of a tree, just like Ron Swanson. I also want to bury gold in my backyard and eat a Meat Tornado. It’s good that TV gives us role models like him.

Whereas Jon Stewart has the ratings and the national credibility for his sincere efforts to expose the bullsh*t and bias of cable news media and the hypocrisy in American politics, Stephen Colbert has the actions to couple with his hilarious caricature of 1% blowhard/fake man of the people Bill O’Reilly. Colbert’s greatest feat this year was the formation of the Colbert Super PAC, through which he has vowed to use his fans’ donations – all of whose names he aired for months on his show – to fight back at a political system that has become more about lining pockets than fixing the country.

Herman Cain’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for President started as just another random guy throwing his name into a hat. But then a funny thing happened – people really started to like the guy. He went from being the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza – which is awesome during 2:30 a.m. visits to Hess, by the way – to an honest-to-gosh threat to upend the typical Republican Party retreads, and his honesty and brash attitude were refreshing, to say the least. Even when he referred to Middle East countries as “Ubeckybeckystan.” Gotta give the guy credit for his sense of humor, right?

Then came the fall from glory. Woman after woman began stepping forward with accusations that Cain had sexually harassed them in the past. Cain denied the allegations, of course, but it was too late. An underdog can never overcome that kind of negative attention, no matter how many random polls he’s allegedly leading in. At least he sold the hell out of his book, though.

Make no mistake, this was an awesome year for rap. While I didn’t think that the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration “Watch the Throne” lived up to its massive hype (a few too many UNNNNNNs and HNYAAAAAs for my taste) I was quite pleased with the efforts of the Beastie Boys (“Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2” was great), Kendrick Lamar (“Section.80” was awesome) and Lupe Fiasco (“Lasers” was phenomenal), among others. But after some of my fellow UPROXX colleagues and other random Twitter folk had raved so much about Childish Gambino’s “Camp,” I finally caved and listened. It was perfect.

You could say that it help’s Donald Glover’s cause that I love “Community” so much, but that’s the reason why I was hesitant to listen to it. I didn’t think it could be good. I’m glad I was so wrong.

I figured that I already made her the 2011 Celebrity Sports Fan of the Year and gave her Dougie dance the top sports moment of the year at With Leather, so I wasn’t going to not have Kate Upton somewhere on this list. It’s all about priorities, people.

I don’t drink scotch. My boozes are tequila and bourbon, and yes I have tried them together, thank you for asking. As some of my friends have recently crossed the 30-year barrier in age, they seem to think that they need to act more sophisticated and age appropriate when choosing their alcohol, so they’ve been drinking scotch. “Good for them,” I’ve thought while ordering another car bomb.

But then Johnnie Walker hired Mad Men starlet and the Internet’s favorite redhead Christina Hendricks to be a spokesperson and I was suddenly like, “Well then, I think I need to get me some of that scotch.” Hat tip to JW’s marketing team on this one.

Until he showed up in the owner’s box at a Miami Dolphins game to celebrate Marc Anthony’s birthday with Will Smith, I had no clue who Pitbull was. Then I heard his music and thought, “Mike Vick’s job isn’t done.” But he’s apparently wildly popular with the kids these days, so Dr. Pepper hired Pitbull to sing “Let’s Have a Real Good Time” to a repetitive beat while random people breakdance under a highway overpass in Miami. Being from South Florida, I can tell you that the only things that happen under a Miami overpass are drug deals and homeless naps.

It worked out in Dr. Pepper’s favor, though. I didn’t buy more Dr. Pepper because I like Pitbull, but I’ll be damned if there weren’t days that I’d be walking down the street and suddenly found myself mumbling, “Let’s have a real good time… let’s have a real good time…” Damn you, Pitbull.

Plenty of famous and talented people die during the span of the year, but like the audience applause during an Oscar memoriam, some people are clapped for a little louder than others. That’s not to say that they’re more important, but we definitely remember the passing of some more than others. This year, it was the untimely deaths of Apple founder Steve Jobs and comedian Patrice O’Neal who hit us harder than others.

For Jobs, his passing wasn’t completely unexpected, as he had been battling pancreatic cancer before he died from respiratory arrest in October. The innovative genius’ passing was met with myriad tributes and celebrations of his life. O’Neal, on the other hand, hadn’t even his stride yet as one of the best comedians in the world, before he died from complications after suffering a stroke in October. We can only hope that he and Greg Giraldo are putting on one hell of a show right now.

Then there are the deaths that don’t upset people so much. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall received a great deal of criticism when America celebrated the death of Osama Bin Laden back in May. His complaint was that we didn’t even know the guy, so how could we be happy that he died? To that question, I offer a big, hearty *fart noise* and I will continue to high five people and raise a beer in honor of the Navy SEALs every May 2 for the rest of my life.

As for Moammar Gadhafi’s death, it simply proved that people can only take being ruled with an iron fist and living in poverty for so long before they will strike back and show that democracy is a powerful force. And I like to think that was the last thing that went through his head when an angry mob dragged his dying body through the streets of Tripoli.

Kim Jong-Il’s death wasn’t the result of a spirited uprising or even the tactical efforts of America’s badass elite forces. He just died of a heart attack, probably right after he hit his 18th hole-in-one in the same round of golf. After all, in case you didn’t know, he was the absolute greatest at everything ever and North Korea is the greatest country in the world. It certainly doesn’t have a severe food shortage and people are definitely not suffering from mass malnutrition and shortened life spans. That’s all just Western propaganda.

We send our respect to the mourning populace of North Korea, as we know that they are legitimately devastated over the loss of their excellent dictator.

This isn’t a political statement by any means. I just think this dog is totally awesome.

Two stories of unnecessary violence, two mostly happy endings, as they’d be happier if the violence never happened. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was another hot name in politics, as the Arizona democrat was seen by many as someone with a long career in politics ahead of her. On January 8, though, she was one of several people shot by a deranged 22-year old in a supermarket parking lot as she met with constituents. Thankfully, Giffords recovered and resumed her duties on August 1 when she appeared on the House floor and voted to raise the debt ceiling.

San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow attended a baseball game at Dodgers Stadium in March with his two children and some friends, when he was suddenly struck from behind by two reported gang members. His friends said that he was hit so hard that they could hear his head crack against the pavement. He spent the following months in intensive care, but he was finally able to leave the hospital and spend Christmas with his family. Sadly, his assailants were never caught.

If you’re a person who still says, “Winning!” or “Tiger blood” – I hate you. And we have Charlie Sheen’s incredible fall from grace to thank for that. After forcing “Two and a Half Men” into hiatus for his third stint in rehab in just one year, Sheen openly spoke out about his displeasure with the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre. Sheen was promptly booted from the inexplicably popular comedy and he decided that he could be a stand-up comedian instead. He went on tour in most major cities and was booed off the stage multiple times. Eventually, his porn star girlfriend left him and he was forced to sell his mansion.

But somehow he came out on top, because FX offered him a new show and he’s working on Major League 3. I guess the lesson here is do whatever the f*ck you want and you’ll be rewarded.

Earlier in the year, Harold Camping became a household name after he predicted that the Mayans didn’t know squat and the world wasn’t ending in 2012. Camping instead offered that the world was going to end on May 21. Most of us laughed, but some people really bought into it and his followers sold their belongings and gave all of their money – some of them gave millions – to charity. Then May 22 rolled around and they were like, “Wait, what?”

“Oops,” declared Camping. “I meant the world was going to end on November 21,” he added, while shoveling his followers’ money into suitcases. Camping had a stroke in June and we haven’t heard from him since a few reporters visited his house a few days after his failed prediction.

If you didn’t hear the song “Friday” this year, you are the luckiest person in the world. There should have been rehab groups formed to help people who damaged their brains trying to figure out how Rebecca Black became – and remained – so damn popular.

God save the Queen and all that jazz, but somebody make sure my sweet Pippa’s protected as well, OK?

Four months later and that Newsweek cover still chills me to the bone.

I like to imagine that babies really can talk to each other telepathically like in Look Who’s Talking, and when Beyonce gives birth to her first child with Jay-Z, that baby is going to look around the nursery and think at all of the other newborns: “Bow down, bitches.”

ESPN was once a marvelous source of 24-hour sports news and analysis. Over the past few years, though, it turned into the sports equivalent of cable news, with talking heads debating topics and anchors offering opinions more than facts. No man better embodied that rise of the mindless shouting match approach better than “First Take’s” Skip Bayless, who is universally loathed by sports fans and athletes, but is going nowhere.

The Worldwide Leader recently announced that not only can we expect more of Bayless in 2012 – “First Take” will have a strictly debate format – but all of ESPN’s programming will feature more debating and arguing than ever. All because people can’t help but watch Bayless shove his contrarian view in his opponents’ faces.

Ashton Kutcher once challenged CNN to a contest to see who could get to 1,000,000 followers on Twitter first. He won and then proceeded to turn the social networking site into his own little platform for brain farts and ridiculous ignorant comments, like threatening to sue his neighbor because he had construction workers repairing his house at 7 a.m. His Tweeting hit an all-time low a few months ago when he Tweeted that Penn State had #noclass for firing longtime football coach Joe Paterno.

Then someone pointed out to Kutcher, who champions the cause of fighting global child sex slavery, that Paterno was fired because his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, had just been accused by multiple men of being sexually abused by him when they were children in Penn State facilities. Kutcher eventually apologized and then hired someone to run his Twitter account for him, because it’s so hard to have a thought and know whether or not it’s appropriate to share, but it ultimately proved that instead of challenging CNN he should try watching it.