2016 is nearly over, and like many of you, we could not be happier. Here we are, once again ready to hand out some goofy fake awards to the most important and influential people, places and moments from the past year, and we can barely rise to the challenge. Why? Because 2016 has been the most flat-out unpleasant, uninspiring, unnerving year of the past decade.
A slew of artists and celebrities, from Gene Wilder to Leonard Cohen, shuffled off this mortal coil. The alt-right, a conservative pestilence made up of internet trolls, neo-nazis and vote-hungry Republicans, is on the rise. Terrorists carried out massacres across the country, while Black Lives continued to just not matter all that much. Climate change is definitely going to kill us all.
Jon Stewart wasn’t there to guide us through the most gut-wrenchingly divisive election in living memory. Voters decided to snub the most qualified presidential candidate in history because of her vagina and her inbox. And, of course, we’ve all been able to enjoy the wildly entertaining, ludicrously unprofessional, startlingly childish and downright dangerous exploits of a tiny-handed reality TV star with a penchant for taco bowls and Chinese-made neckties who is definitely going to make America suck again.
To hand out awards for “achievements” or “progress” or “fulfilled human potential” in a year this bad just wouldn’t be right. In that spirit, here are the winners of the 2016 Foggy Awards. They’re all just like 2016: the absolute worst.
WORST MEME: Harambe The Gorilla
A kid sneaks into a gorilla enclosure, the gorilla wonders what’s going on, Cincinnati police shoot the animal and the internet goes berzerk. In any other year, this story wouldn’t have cracked national news, but in 2016, the death of Harambe became a meme for everyone — from ironic hipsters trying (and failing) to sympathize with conservationists to racist trolls, who used the meme to target SNL star Leslie Jones. If everyone who had retweeted a Harambe meme had donated to the World Wildlife Fund, we’re pretty sure gorillas would no longer be endangered.
WORST RESTAURANT CHOICE: Mike Pence
Food snobs were gagging on their avocado toast after Vice President-elect Mike Pence tweeted a picture of himself and his family dining at a Chili’s while he visited New York, a town packed to the rafters with some of the best restaurants in the world. But hey, we get it. Sometimes a pizza from Grimaldi’s or a table at Momofuku just can’t measure up to a big plate of Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers®. The man knows his base.
WORST TRIBUTE TO A DEAD CELEBRITY: Audi
After what felt like seconds after the passing of the iconic rock god, Audi was capitalizing on David Bowie’s death with a commercial about a fake astronaut who yearns to be back in space, a dream that comes true when a sympathetic son hands his dad the keys to a sick Audi coupe. Cue the chorus from “Starman,” because nothing soothes a broken Bowie fan’s heart quite like hearing their champion’s music used to hawk German luxury cars.
WORST ELECTION NIGHT FEATURE: The Empire State Building Projections
It was bad enough Trump won. Did CNN really have to project his mug onto the side of the Empire State Building every time some flyover state decided to hand him some electoral college votes? Leave the iconic skyscraper alone in 2020. There are already enough buildings with Trump’s name on them.
WORST EXAMPLE OF MALE INSECURITY: The Ghostbusters Trolls
Let this be a lesson to anybody looking to reboot a beloved (and completely overrated) ‘80s movie franchise: keep the dude actors, or suffer the wrath of a bunch of internet misogynists hellbent on making sure a pair of breasts don’t get anywhere near a proton pack. The argument against this film (which was a perfectly fine reboot, by the way) was made even more idiotic by the outstanding casting choices: Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones are some of the most naturally funny people in the world.