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The 10 Funniest People, Videos and Things of the Coming Year

‘Portlandia,’ Hannibal Buress, the Onion News Network and more

Portlandia, Hannibal Buress, the Onion News Network, comedy

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'Portlandia,' Hannibal Buress, the Onion News Network and more

‘WTF With Marc Maron’

Acid-tongued, rage-prone satirist Marc Maron has been a stand-up-circuit fixture since the Eighties, hosting Comedy Central shows and befriending guys like Judd Apatow and Conan O'Brien along the way. But his new podcast, "WTF," may be his greatest achievement yet: a series of unvarnished shit-shoots with comedians that move from laugh-geek joke anatomy to quasi-therapeutic venting (Louis C.K. wept during his epic two-part interview). "The podcast began in desperation," Maron says. "I was broke, in the middle of a divorce, and I decided I needed to talk to my peers." Maron's guests range from comedians' comedians like Todd Barry to hip young acts like Aziz Ansari to megastars like Ben Stiller. The podcast has been good for his career — fans in the industry have approached him about developing other projects — but Maron says that's just a happy byproduct. "I'm doing exactly what I want to do," he says. "That's rare."

Jonah Weiner

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Lena Dunham

Call her the anti-Sex and the City: 24-year-old Lena Dunham, whose massively buzzy debut movie, Tiny Furniture (which she wrote, directed and stars in as a Lena Dunham-ish college grad who moves back into her parents' downtown New York loft), got her noticed by Apatow. He signed on to executive-produce Girls, Dunham's half-hour HBO pilot, which will air later this year if all goes well. The show focuses on a group of post-collegiate girlfriends: Dunham, Allison Williams (daughter of Brian) and Jemima Kirke, who played Dunham's best friend in Furniture. "I haven't seen stuff about what New York is like in the social-media age, in the recession," Dunham says. "We're all holed up in closet-size places in deepest Bushwick, tweeting at people." Apatow was blown away when he started working with her. "Lena is a very rare talent," he says. "She is insightful and hilarious and is actually in a good mood all the time. It's really weird. I have never seen that before."                           

D.S.

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Old Jews Telling Jokes

"A 98-year-old man walks into a sperm bank."

"A guy goes to the doctor, and the doctor says, 'Look, I don't know how to tell you this, but you've just got to stop masturbating.'"

"What is the difference between a Jewish mother and Rottweiler?"

If only the Borscht Belt comedians of yore could see what they've spawned: a generation of aging Jews who have found a rabid, online, mostly younger audience who just want to hear them tell jokes. It's an idea that seems like it'd almost be too easy, but New York-based Sam Hoffman knew he had struck comedy gold when he launched Old Jews Telling Jokes in February 2009. Since then, he and his producing partners have posted over 350 jokes on their website, OldJewsTellingJokes.com; edited a book (Old Jews Telling Jokes: 5,000 Years of Funny Bits and Not-So-Kosher Laughs), published in September, that was a Los Angeles Times bestseller; and have gotten the likes of former Knot's Landing actor John Pleshette, Sesame Street writer Norman Stiles and famed graphic designer Milton Glaser to share their favorite routines. And it should come as no surprise, but old Jews (60 and over, please) seem to have a near-endless reserve of humor: Hoffman and his partners will be in Boca Raton, Florida — home to many a Jewish grandparent — on February 3, filming another round of seniors ready for their turn in the spotlight.

D.S.

Splitsider

When the comedy website Splitsider — the first offshoot of The Awl — launched in September, it wasn't immediately obvious why the Web needed yet another site devoted to aggregating the humorous bits from around the Internet. Oh, how wrong we all were. Indeed, Splitsider has managed to carve out a niche in a crowded field by not just collecting the best of the humor on the Web, but also offering its own comedy-business-related content, including interviews with comedians and writers, and features like "A Somewhat Obsessive Guide to All 36 Seasons of SNL Streaming on Netflix."

D.S.