It seemed like the Internet was imploding when Drake blessed us with his flashy new moves in the “Hotline Bling” music video. The minimalistic set allowed viewers to gawk indefinitely at the 28-year-old rapper’s quirky dancing, which quickly racked up over 307 million views and infinitely more imitators. In true 2015 fashion, fans took to social media to share their interpretations of Drake’s choreo. Memes circled the web of Drake tossing pepperoni slices, destroying at Wii tennis and playing with light sabers. Even Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined the revolution as Ellen DeGeneres superimposed his Drake-inspired moves onto the Hotline Bling music video stage, yet another example of the way politics were taken just as seriously as this generation’s most prominent rappers. Drake taught us to pair turtlenecks with sweatpants and reminded everyone in 2015 to dance like no one was watching.
— Danielle Yacobson
2015 was the last year of a period of upheaval in the late night space, as staples such as Jon Stewart and David Letterman said goodbye, and newbies, like James Corden, took the reins. Cordon treats his show like a variety show, with similarities to the current version of “The Tonight Show.” He is best known for his Carpool Karaoke segment, where he and a singer will drive around in a car. However, my favorite segment was this one where Corden and Alanis Morissette updated the lyrics of Morissette’s hit “Ironic” for the digital age. Instead of “rain on your wedding day,” there’s “An old friend sends you a Facebook request / And you only find out they’re racist after you accept.” Or, “It’s a traffic jam when you tried to use Waze.” He and Morissette have a clear chemistry, which makes their mid-song interactions even more fun. Corden is an under-the-radar talent and is actually beating Jimmy Fallon at his own game. Hopefully 2016 is a year where more people notice his talent because he’s only going to be creating more segments like this.
— Alex Intner
BuzzFeed has no shortage of hilarious videos to distract us from our responsibilities, but this video takes the cake. The video, featuring the leader of the free world, promotes the launch of healthcare.gov, but mostly reminds us how cool the President is. No platform is out of bounds for Obama to reach constituents, and BuzzFeed is no exception. In under two minutes, the President shows us how relatable he is by practicing his finger guns and checking himself out in the mirror, taking pictures with a selfie stick, stumbling over the pronunciation of “February,” doodling a picture of Michelle in a notebook and practicing some fake free throw shots while no one’s looking. He even sarcastically mutters “Thanks, Obama” after he fails to dunk a cookie in his glass of milk. Though 2015 was filled with criticism for Obama, he takes amusement in it while getting a message out, making this one of the year’s most entertaining videos.
— Shir Avinadav
“Saturday Night Live” might not be as funny as it once was — according to my parents and a bunch of other people who were watching it before I was born, etc. — but every once in a while, they come up with something truly hilarious. A sketch titled “Close Encounters” is one of the best that “SNL” has seen in the past few years, and it went viral for good reason. Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon and host Ryan Gosling are interrogated by government officials (Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan) about their alien abduction. While Strong and Gosling had experiences with a creature made of “pure light,” McKinnon’s character had a different ordeal, with 40 gray aliens, steel bowls and a lack of pants.
McKinnon’s performance is what makes the sketch an instant hit. Breaking character is something “SNL” ’s actors generally try to avoid, but “Close Encounters” wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if the actors didn’t break. The mirth in McKinnon’s eyes as she ashes her cigarette and gently begins “batting” Strong’s “knockers” as a demonstration is reason enough to press “replay.” Gosling just gives up, laughing into his shirt. They are having just as much fun performing as we are watching, and that’s what makes it great. That, and Kate McKinnon.
— Sophia Kaufman
I watched DJ Khaled’s “Motivational Speech” on YouTube for the first time before finals in December. My roommate, her sides splitting, grabbed me as I was heading out to study and handed me her phone. Just under two minutes, the video centers on Khaled, wearing a sweatsuit and bling, as he delivers an inspirational speech that’s absurd and uplifting at the same time. The gist of the speech is this: “We the best. You smart, you very smart. You loyal,” and his catch phrase, “Another one.” As he explains, “another one” refers to push-ups or crunches, where you get on the floor while Khaled coaches you to your better self. The “All I Do is Win” producer repeats the phrase several times, emphasizing that we should “win no matter what,” whether it’s finishing a set of push-ups or buying houses for our mamas. Ridiculous? Yes. But exactly what we needed to get through the semester. Another one!
— Hailey Middlebrook