(That's me on the right!)
Personally, I have little to complain about with the year just ended. Yes, there are tweaks I'd have made here and there, not everything was perfect, but professionally and personally, I'd have to rank it among the better years, particularly of late.
But 2014 was a disastrous year for comedy.
In the course of those short 12 months, we lost (among others) Sid Caesar, Harold Ramis, Joan Rivers, Jan Hooks, Mike Nichols, David Brenner, Rik Mayall and possibly the most painful of all, Robin Williams.
Living comedians weren't exactly having the best of times, either. Ask Bill Cosby (who in all likelihood has not deserved to have great times for some decades now).
The Colbert Report ended its nine-year run. Craig Ferguson left The Late Late Show with no immediate announcement that he will be continuing his incredibly subversive take on a talk show anytime soon.
And late in the year, a relatively stupid stoner comedy from the guys who brought you Pineapple Express actually started a real international incident, to the point that the President of the United States had to answer questions about a Seth Rogen movie at his year-end press conference. There were threats of violence, although to date none has been perpetrated, thank goodness.
There were no comedy films (particularly non-animated ones) in the Top 10 of the year's box office grosses, according to a web site devoted to such tallies. There were all of three in the Top 20. Then you have to drop down to #34 to find another, and get to Dumb and Dumber To, which is a comedy technically in the sense that it isn't a drama.
Things were somewhat better on television, as has been the case for a number of years now. Discounting popular (if somewhat predictable) tired standbys like Two and a Half Men (who's the half-man now?), TV comedy has settled into a sort-of uncomfortable but sporadically interesting groove with such cool-but-funny shows as Veep and Transparent.
But as with most things, once the TV business settles on what is the new exciting thing, it replicates that thing mercilessly until you're sick of it even when it's done well. Veep begets Alpha House which is a variation on House of Cards which in turn leads to... who cares by then? I believe it was the radio comedian Fred Allen who once said, "Imitation is the sincerest form of television."
So with the end of 2014 comes a sincere plea: Let's hope there are more laughs this year. With everything else that's going on, we could certainly use them.
Happy new year, everybody!
Pitchers and catchers report in 46 days.