35. 'Not Necessarily the News'
Topical comedy shows aren't meant to last, and looking up old episodes of HBO's monthly satire, which ran in various configurations from 1982 to 1990, can be an exercise in expiration dates. But though it's often cited as a forerunner to The Daily Show — or, more recently, John Oliver's new HBO half-hour, Last Week Tonight — the bits of NNTN are the loopy parodies that transcend their proximate inspirations: It doesn't hurt to know that Star Trek: The Beat Generation ("Permission to beam up Lawrence Ferlinghetti") dates from the year the sci-fi franchise's The Next Generation launched, but it's also not necessary to understand the gag. Of all TV's fake anchors, Stuart Pankin may come closest to nailing the passive-aggressive faux gravitas of the small-time newsman, and Rich Hall's Sniglets are truly timeless — or rather, orosuctuous.—SAM ADAMS