2012 has been a great year for stand-up comedians. The Internet has allowed audiences to become much savvier about the comedy they consume. They, in turn, have responded by packing clubs and theaters around the country and performers have responded by raising the bar each year.
It was no easy task coming up with a list of the year’s best comedy albums, so we painstakingly narrowed it down to 13. There is a generous representation of style, substance and just plain good frikkin’ jokes. We want readers to weigh in as well with our Best Comedy Album of 2012 poll below.
“Mr. P,” Patrice O’Neal
Patrice O’Neal sadly passed away in 2012, but not before leaving fans with arguably one of the greatest comedy albums of the last 10 years. “Mr. P” includes his signature unapologetic, off-the-cuff style of engaging audiences and serving up his perspective on interracial couples and having cash.
“New in Town,” John Mulaney
While John Mulaney has quickly become a force writing for “SNL” (he is responsible for creating the Stefon character wit Bill Hader), he also found time this year to release his second amazing stand-up album.
“LIVE,” Tig Notaro
2012 has been the best and worst year of Tig Notaro‘s life. After a successful first album, “Good One” (which made our Best Comedy Albums Of 2011), Notaro entered the year riding high with appearances on “Conan” and “This American Life.” Then her mom died tragically, and then she contracted a life-threatening illness called C. diff., and then her girlfriend left her, and then she was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts…all within a period of four months. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Tig took all that pain to the stage and turned it into a hilarious set one night at the Los Angeles club, Largo. Louis C.K. claimed it was one of the best performances he’d ever seen, and released audio recording on his website.
“Standard Operating Procedure,” Sean Patton
Few may know who Sean Patton is, but the New Orleans native is making sure to change that with his first comedy album. With an act that never slows down and features material about love and fighting (both on the outside and in), Patton is poised to become the comedian you can’t stop quoting.
“Whiskey Icarus,” Kyle Kinane
Kyle Kinane was named one of Variety’s “Ten Comics to Watch” in 2010 and since then he has lived up to his placement. With “Whiskey Icarus” he continues to entertain audiences with his style of dark and honest truth, especially with the album’s closing track, “Rock and Roll Party.”
“Dangerously Delicious,” Aziz Ansari
On a break from filming “Parks and Recreation,” Aziz Ansari found time to grace the stage with his hard-hitting awkwardness concerning women and how to deal with racial slurs.
“Standup Comedian,” Demetri Martin
Demetri Martin‘s patient, laid-back style of comedy is a hysterical reminder of how much fun recognizing the ridiculous things in life can be. Things like strobe lights, Dalmatians and twins are all approached by Martin’s often imitated, but hardly duplicated style of comedy.
“Animal Furnace,” Hannibal Buress
Hannibal has been enjoying quite a ride and it’s safe to assume he’s one of comedy’s hottest acts in the country. With his signature drawl, Hannibal uncovers the ironies of sex after a date and vomiting on his second album, “Animal Furnace.”
“Smug Life,” Doug Benson
This past election saw the legalization of weed in two states. Doug Benson has been the comedian at the forefront of the glories of, um, herbal recreation. On “Smug Life,” he hits the mic (and his vaporizer) to joke about bud and read the Tweets of his audience members.
“Laugh at My Pain,” Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart’s “Laugh at my Pain” tour was one of comedy’s top grossing tours of 2011. His first major role in the film “Think Like a Man” landed in the top spot at the box office last April. Hart keeps it going with the release of “Laugh…” as an album in 2012.
“You Stink,” Jesse Popp
Originally from Detroit, Jesse Popp currently resides in LA where he is a writer for “Conan.” He cleverly addresses topics like fake Rolex watches and job interviews on “You Stink”; the first album from this comedian who we hope provides us with more.
“Mash Up Audiofile,” T.J. Miller
The aggressively absurd T.J. Miller recorded his first comedy album on the heels of releasing a comedy rap album one year ago. His jokes often reach outrageous heights as evidenced by the track “Karen and Me”.
“A Live at Central Park,” Reggie Watts
If you haven’t heard of Reggie Watts by now, then there is no way for us to describe his beatboxing, vocally surreal, audience mindf**k brand of musical comedy. “A Live at Central Park” has perfectly captured Watts’ ability to deliver a live performance that makes you laugh while bobbing your head.
Check out more highlights from “The Big & Best of 2012: A Year End Celebration Presented by T-Mobile”