That was the year that was

Chris Hallam looks back on 2012

So 2012 is almost over. How did the comedy world fare over the past 12 months?

It was…

A good year for women in comedy: To those of you still arguing that women aren’t as funny as men: it’s time to wake up! Ever heard of Miranda Hart? Sarah Millican? Tamsin Greig? Sue Perkins? Jessica Hynes? Olivia Colman? Funny writers like Caitlin Moran? Sharon Horgan? Katherine Parkinson? Rebecca Front? I’m not claiming full gender equality has been achieved or anything. But has the situation ever been better for British female comedy talent?

A bad year for Jimmy Carr: The revelations about his tax arrangements (now, apparently changed) have dented, rather than destroyed his reputation and coincidence or not, this year is only the second Christmas since 2004, that he hasn’t had a stand up DVD out.

A good year for Channel 4: They celebrated their 30th anniversary in style with a wealth of nostalgia for their many and numerous classic shows, a number of promising pilots for potential new ones as well as continuing ongoing success stories Peep Show, Fresh Meat and Friday Night Dinner. On the downside, they did manage to let their first ever comedy The Comic Strip Presents… slip through the net yet (again), this time to UK Gold.

A bad year for Justin Lee Collins: Enough said…

A good year for Sky: Despite being a terrible year generally for the evil Murdoch Empire, Sky comedy is continuing to prosper thanks to shows like Moone Boy and Stella.

A bad year for irony: Anyone expecting the London Olympics to be a satire-friendly laugh riot would have been disappointed as the Games were (shock, horror) a cynicism-free big success. On the other hand, some aspects of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony were a bit strange and the Chancellor George Osborne being booed at the Paralympics was also something of a hoot.

A good year for Jack Whitehall: With Bad Education, he had another sitcom success to accompany his ongoing role in the excellent Fresh Meat. He also has a new stand-up DVD out, was crowned the King Of Comedy at the British Comedy Awards. And he’s still only 24.  The bastard.

A bad year for departures: Tim Vine withdrew from Lee Mack’s sitcom Not Going Out. And Harry Hill left TV Burp after eleven years. What were the chances of that happening eh?

A good year for Armando Iannucci: The Thick Of It went out on a high, Armando won an OBE and achieved further US success with sitcom Veep. Even better, he really got under Alastair Campbell’s skin.

A mixed year for comebacks: Red Dwarf appeared on Dave with its first full length series of the 21st century. I enjoyed it but, it’s fair to say, not everyone agreed.

A bad year for Frankie Boyle: Is all this controversy really helping? Stop arguing. You used to just tell jokes.

And farewell then to comedy legends Clive Dunn, Herbert Lom, Max Bygraves, Eric Sykes and Frank Carson.

Published: 28 Dec 2012

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