23 Best Bits of 2023

Eep! What a year, folks. Here we are, (finally) at the end of 2023, tentatively hoping that the ole 2-4 will bring out the best of the world. But, before ’23 is gone for good (2123 simply not gonna happen at this rate), we thought it wise to look back at 23 of the very best bits, goofs, and gags that made this year great–or at least manageable. What you see before you are the culmination of months’ worth of chit-chats and friendly debates until we, the GOLD editorial team had whittled it down to just this widdle wist. Go forth and laugh, reader, you’ve earned it!

55 cheeseburgers, 55 fries

There are two bits from I Think You Should Leave on this list. In my humble opinion, as the list-maker, one bit made it on the list because of audience reaction and one made it on the list for sheer hilarity. This is the latter. The moment this sketch reached the absolute stratosphere? When the woman backs her car RIGHT UP and repeats the ridiculous chorus: 55 cheeseburgers, 55 fries, 55 fingers, 100 coffees. I ate it up. You’d have to be dead or boring not to love this sketch.

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Beth Stelling’s dad’s raccoons

If you haven’t seen Beth Stelling’s new hour on Netflix, consider it your homework—there will be a test! I’ve been a fan of Beth’s comedy for years, and this hour only deepens my admiration for her. The entire set is incredible, filled with family stories, hilarious act-outs, and, dare I say, a touch of prop comedy (not really, but her joke on the side effects of birth control is PURE GOLD). Picking a favorite bit from the special is nearly impossible, but I really enjoy her anecdotes about her eccentric dad. If you’ve followed Beth for a while, you likely already have an idea of what her dad is like. In this special, that picture becomes even clearer as she dives into her dad’s unusual…let’s call it a hobby. Without spoiling the hilarity, Beth reveals that her dad has taken up feeding a nursery of raccoons in his backyard. And yes, Google told me that “nursery” is the correct term for a group of raccoons. The raccoon count increases, and the story becomes progressively crazier and funnier with each detail. Beth’s act-outs and humorous perspective on the situation really drive the bit home. There’s no way to do this bit justice with words, so you’ll just have to watch “If You Didn’t Want Me Then” on Netflix to find out what happens. Trust me, you’ll want to know what “they sound like Halloween” means.

– Kristina Feliciano, @kristinacracksmeup

Weird Barbie

If nothing else, she was THE best Halloween costume of the year. AND she was so much more. Weird Barbie captured everything about how girls’ relationship to Barbie—and girls themselves—twist and tangle norms. AND she showcased everything that makes Kate McKinnon LEGEND. Yes, apparently she improvised “SANITATION.”

– Lynn Harris, lynnharris.net

Heidi Klum and the curse of the Halloween peacock

I mean, goddamn, what do I even say? Heidi Klum has pronounced herself to be the Queen of Halloween and boy does she COMMIT TO THE BIT. Remember when she was a worm last year? Well, this year she was a peacock and made her husband an egg. Why not? And just a side note, if you’re married to the Queen of Halloween, you’re gonna be part of the costume, that’s just part of the whole marriage thing. Props to Tom for going along with it.

– Ana Breton, @bretonana

Strike signs

This is the year of the strike. But, some of what we lost in television episodes, we gained in strike signs ranging from vengeful and snarky to silly and strange. Threats to spoil the (then) upcoming Succession finale were a mainstay, as were various puns about the heartless executives that kept this strike going for far too long. If you can make a teamster honk at a rally–you’re on the right track. But if you can make a teamster LAUGH at a rally–you’re winning the strike. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Mike was outski

If you’re a fan of wordplay and enjoy your favorite cartoon characters dressed in their best drip, boy, do I have a treat for you! For a while, it felt like every meme on social media were these ridiculously AI-generated images. You know the ones. It features iconic characters like Elmo and Mike Wasowsk, decked out in ice, wearing the freshest Jordans, and looking like their new rap album is about to drop. From the pure silliness of the images to the hustle culture-coded motivational quotes, this meme shows the beauty and madness of what AI can do. Listen, some of these memes are downright foolish. I didn’t WANT to like them. But when you see a picture of Sid from Ice Age smiling with grillz on and the caption is “The Ice comes with Age,” something comes over you.

– Kristina Feliciano, @kristinacracksmeup

Jujube turning into things

Jujube has IT. It’s physically impossible to tear your eyes away from her. She’s hot and funny, overflowing with charisma and charm. In Dungeons and Dragqueens, Jujube seems to be struggling with the rules of DND more than her companions. But like a champ, she takes things in stride. DM Brendan Lee Mulligan (a trained UCB alum) does some of his best work here, occasionally bending rules so that Jujube can make her shape-shifting powers work for her. If you wanna see the hottest puddle, and not-quite-invisible fairy in the realm…check out this iconic bit. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Yvie Oddly’s dad is hot

DID YOU KNOW that gorgeous glam weirdo drag queen Yvie Oddly NOT ONLY is excellent at standup and crowd work (I know this because I saw her host a show at Kings Theater) but also has a VERY HOT DAD? I know this because she sang her hilarious song about it on her recent Strange Love tour. It’s mostly profane social posts about him put to music, with a very catchy chorus I’ve happily had stuck in my head every since. Hottest of all? He’s super duper supportive.

– Lynn Harris, lynnharris.net

Bathtub, helicopter sex scene

WOW. This is by far one of my favorite scenes of the year. This strange sexual roleplay is so funny that it verges on fully un-sexed. The helicopter? Iconic. The little voices? Spectacular. The insane prosthetic penis? Untouchable. I daresay this is not only one of the best bits of the year, but one of the best sex scenes of all time. Not the sexiest, but truly hysterical and, believe it or not, full of heart and honest to god great acting. Here’s my best attempt at typing a helicopter sound: Tuktuktuktuktuktuktuktuk! It figures that despite spending most of this season on the rocks, when Judy and BJ do reunite, they make a splash. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Angela Basset did the thing

Listen, I’m a musical theatre kid. If you think I’m gonna sit here and make fun of my girl Ariana Debose for her legendary BAFTA rap, well, you right. There’s a reason why people think musical theatre kids are cringe, it’s because we kinda of are! One thing about Gleeks, if we have the stage, we’re gonna Rachel Berry it. And sometimes, we bite off more Berry than we can chew. There’s so much to unpack here. First off, Ariana Debose? Immense talent—that goes without saying. And we love earnestness over here! I think what makes this performance so (and I say this with love) funny is that by the time “An-jah-lah-Bah-set did the thing,” Shorty was out of breath. But you know what? THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Camp or cringe? It’s both, baby! If comedy = tragedy + time, then camp = cringe + time. That’s just math! And even though the internet was BRUTAL to her, I’m glad she didn’t let that break her spirit. Because from one musical theatre kid to another: Ariana, you are ALL of us! <3

– Kristina Feliciano, @kristinacracksmeup

Brooke hosts a night of undeniable crazy

Lots of winners in what turned out to be the last season of the funniest show on TV. This season of The Other Two included standout performances from just about every cast member, somehow topping their incredible work in the first few seasons. But to me, THE EPISODE of the season is “Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good.” In an episode that includes drugging Ben Platt, Cary’s manic Les Mis-like musical plot, and maybe the saddest Pat(!) scene yet (if that’s possible?), it’s pretty damn tricky to pick the best bit. But for me, it’s Brooke being told she can’t say “crazy” or “insane.” Simple. Elegant. Funny as hell. I’ll miss Helene’s Brooke Dubeck most of all, I think. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Driving Crooner

“The Driving Crooner” is a hilarious sketch by Tim Robinson. In it, he plays someone who everybody initially thinks is a good citizen offering to be the designated driver. What his friends don’t know is that he has decals on his window and calls himself the ‘Driving Crooner.’ This character was such a hit that it turned into a huge meme all over the internet.

– Andie Braithewaite

Mr. G’s blackboard

Bottoms is the raucously violent movie that took Bushwick by storm. That’s just a quick joke about how gay and weird this alt-comedy take on Mean Girls turned out to be. I was struck while watching this movie (which I rented even though appeared on streaming the very next day) by how rich the joke tapestry is. There are small, silly Easter eggs throughout the entire movie. In one scene, for instance,  a football player is bizarrely caged in a tiny jail at the back of the classroom. But the big laughs in my humble home came from Mr. G’s evolving blackboard declarations. From “How to boil an egg” to “Feminism: Who started it? A) Gloria Steinem B) A man C) Another woman” Mr. G’s board got me in the giggles and the guffaws. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com


Transkids dominating musical theater

This year has been a political shitshow in the US. Transkids, tragically and predictably, took the brunt of the right’s vitriol. Banning Transkids in sports is only one small branch of the tree of hate, but because of that comedians decided that it was perfect for half-baked jokes! I can’t tell you how many of these jokes (good, bad, and in between) I heard this year. But the very very funniest one–one that made me sigh in relief as if a puzzle I’d desperately attempted was finally completed–came from Esther Fallick. I refuse to butcher this joke so here is a very abstract recap: the real issue isn’t sports, it’s all the closeted Transwomen getting the male lead in high school musicals. Join the GOLD Club to see the whole, fabulous joke during our Pride show. (Beware: the link is a fairly shaky Zoom recording, but the jokes are worth it!)

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Sex Education’s new school

THIS is the future that liberals want: the cheery, ultra-woke, gossip-negative, sex-positive culture at Sex Education’s fictional Cavendish College. It’s so sex-positive, in fact, that it has its own student-run sex therapy clinic. Also, beekeeping. Of course we find out it’s not as progressive-perfect as it seems…but that’s what makes it great satire. BONUS: If nothing else, watch this final season to applaud an iconic Hannah Gadsby.

– Lynn Harris, lynnharris.net

Pussy tatt

When I say that screams ERUPTED from everyone in the (packed) AMC Magic Johnson theater when Stephanie Hsu’s character dropped trow to reveal, finally, the pussy tatt… Joy Ride, the funniest movie of the year was totally snubbed by the Globes this year. I can’t believe it because the pussy tatt bit ALONE should get Cherry Cola and Stephanie both a joint Oscar. Do they do those? Let me leave you with this relevant joke: When it comes to comedy film-making, the devil is in the details. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Kevin James

The day Kevin James’ headshot went viral was the silliest day on the internet since the Elmo and Rocco beef. I don’t know who’s responsible for this leak, but this meme right here? FIRE! There’s so much to appreciate—from the coy hands in the pocket and the subtle smirk to the sheepish shrug, this photo just screams cringe comedy. Some memes die out quickly, but not this one. It unleashed a new can of Kevins that caught everyone off guard. While other headshots also made a comeback, the shrugging Kevin James stole the spotlight. And it just kept getting better. The meme gained such traction that it transformed before our very eyes. People took it a step further by Yassifying James, incorporating him into different meme formats, and even photoshopping what his feet might look like beneath the photo. Why, you ask? Who knows! It’s just GOOFY. King of Queens? Nah, more like King of MEMES!

– Kristina Feliciano, @kristinacracksmeup

Courtney Cox

Did I live in the town right next to Benton, IL? Absolutely. So, was I excited about this truly bananas show where RHONY starts LuAnne and Sonjia took to Southern Illinois in an attempt to revitalize the “tourism” of the town. This show provided more questions than answers: Why Benton? Why do LuAnne and Sonjia hate their jobs? Did they steal those wigs? Why did they buy a whole Target? But more than anything, it introduced the world to Courtney Cox (not that one). He accompanied the housewives’ terrible performance at the Benton Follies and he represented my mother in court. He’s Courtney Cox: one of the best bits of 2023… by simply existing. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

What’s a straight play?

Generally, a good joke is one that delights because it surprises. Like, I would never have thought of it that way! In a way, the best jokes are the ones that are somehow inevitable. Like, how was this joke not made before? The wee yet monumental “straight play”/”gay play” bit in Theater Camp is that kind of joke. OK, I’m sure someone will inform me that it HAS been made before, but whatever. Noah Galvin and Jimmy Tatro’s delivery, at least, deserves a Tony.

– Lynn Harris, lynnharris.net

Nandor goes to space

Ef, my dudes. This is so funny; I can’t think of this bit without cackling like a madman on the B train. There is deep emotional truth behind Nandor’s struggle to impress Guillermo, but the writers of this show have proved again and again that when the vampires are struggling with deeper emotional truths the show just gets funnier. This episode is certainly no different. Somewhere between Nandor’s claim that he is “The King of Space” and the impeccable headcam angle this bit (like Nandor) is launched into the comedy stratosphere. If your life is still (somehow!) missing these goofy vamps…what are you doing? Leave this list and watch this show. Consider that my charity work for the season. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

The janitor loves Broadway

It’s not often that I get to include a bit of LIVE comedy in this list. Because of the beautiful and poetic nature of THEATER, even the most successful moments (and bits!) are fleeting and poorly preserved. That said, Kate Berlant’s solo show KATE defies all rules of live theater, comedy, art, and performance at large, so…basically, I couldn’t NOT include this iconic bit. Somehow a beautiful mesh of characters from Field of Dreams and the Wizard of Oz, this janitor cracks me up. We do impressions of him around our house. Unfortunately, this show is too good to spoil even one other single detail: find a way to see KATE, you won’t be sorry. 

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com

Eldest boy

Ahhh, yes. The prestige age of television has sighed its last, harrowing breath. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but so is internet sweetie Logan Roy. This last episode is flushed with tiny, rock-solid jokes that remind me of Veep in its heyday–biting, vulgar, but pristine examples of word economy. Personally, I felt that two moments from this final dramatic sibling fight qualified for this list: “eldest boy” and “which one?”. If you watched the biggest finale of the year, you know what I mean, if you didn’t, you probably still will. That’s the thing about this bit, it went SO viral SO fast. MAX’s ability to time a viral meme (like the negroni sbagliato of yesteryear) is untouched by other networks. Eldest boy follows that iconic pattern: just enough inside Baseball, just the right balance of heartbreaking and hilarious, just a flat-out untruth.

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com


I was hooked the moment I saw a clip on Ziwe’s Instagram wherein George Santos pretends to know Marsha P Johnson. In general, I like to hold firm on not giving shitheads a platform. But watching this dumb boy get taken for the Ziwe ride (and all that entails)…..I mean that’s just funny! It just is! I don’t make the rules!! And now, thankfully, neither does George Santos! I toss and turn at night, dogged by a longshot dream of Ziwe at Saturday Night Live’s Update desk, hosting a completely revolutionized version of the classic segment… But at least for now we have proof that Santos doesn’t know who Harvey Milk or James Baldwin are at all, not even enough to try and fake it. I’ll leave you with this: slay boots the house down.

– Maggie Scudder, maggiescudder.com