The Best People Of 2009

The Worst People of 2009 list practically writes itself. You just throw a dart at Videogum, and whoever that dart hits, they go on the list. But where there is smoke there is fire. Am I doing it right? Whatever, this is a list of the Best People, not the Best Metaphors. Anyway, my point is that for every Worst Person there is at least one–maybe even more than one–Best Person. We live in a world of wonders! While it is true that some of these guys do not seem to get as much “screen time” around here as their awful counterparts, they are obviously very appreciated for what they do, which is basically be so great. So let’s take a moment and remember 2009 for who got it right. LET’S LET ‘EM KNOW!

January Jones

I’m not sure what happened this year. It’s not like this was the premiere season of Mad Men, or like Betty Draper was that much more of a sad sack mope-about than usual. Sure, the whole Henry Francis thing, but she fucked some random dude on a back office couch last year! And yet, January Jones broke OUT in 2009, in no small part due to her face. It was the same face as before, but it is definitely one of the best faces in the game. Admittedly, she gave everyone a bit of a scare with her robotic (Model JJ3000) Saturday Night Live performance, but whatever. Just no one bring it up in your wedding toast at our wedding.

Zach Galifianakis

Let’s welcome Zach back to the Best People list. He first made an appearance on the Best People of 2008 list for his work on Between Two Ferns and the Absolut Vodka ads that he made with Tim and Eric. This year, of course, he not only made more great episodes of Between Two Ferns, he also crrrrrrrrrushed the summer box office with The Hangover. That movie would not be that movie without him. He is definitely in a wolfpack of one.

Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase is so good on Community! It is just really nice to see someone who has maybe been out of the spotlight for awhile (“maybe”? I’m sure there is no way to tell whether or not Chevy Chase has been in the spotlight recently) get back in that spotlight. Not only does his performance on the show provide us with laughs, it also provides us with hope for continuing to lead productive and interesting lives well into our thousands (Chevy Chase is 750,000 years YOUNG). Oh, and HONORABLE BEST PEOPLE OF 2009 MENTION to Community’s Danny Pudi.


We have a pretty hard and fast rule around here, which is that if you are responsible for creating the hottest track of the year along with the tightest music video, you automatically get on the Best People list. And the fact that I just made this rule up does not make it any less hard or any less fast. You were crazy for this one, Bangs. And thank you for putting all the haters on blast. Shut up, haters.

Dina Manzo

I am not sure what it is about Dina Manzo, whether it is the dead eyes or the caricature-ish fuhgettabattitude, but DAMN. This Real Housewife of New Jersey is a firecracker, or as she would probably say, fiahcrackah. Just kidding, she doesn’t talk like that. She talks great. She talks like a normal human being who wants to murder and eat you. Love it.

Eric Wareheim

We already loved Eric Wareheim from his TV show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, and they had a great fourth season this year, with a pretty epic season finale featuring one of the most wildly (and hilariously) underused celebrity all-star casts ever. (Not to mention an epic Tommy Wiseau episode.) He and Tim Heidecker also provided one of the strangest but also best Late Night Talk Show interviews of all time. But Eric really stood out this year for making such weird music videos, mostly for Major Lazer, but also for Depeche Mode. He made similarly crazy music videos for MGMT and Maroon 5 (Maroon 5?!) last year, but we’re not talking about last year. We’re talking about this year. 2009.

James Gandolfini

Of course, in the life and career of James Gandolfini, 2009 is probably not a banner year. But, man, he’s the best. If you haven’t seen In The Loop yet, you should, it is a really good movie, but while watching In The Loop you are reminded of how good James Gandolfini is and how much you wish he was on TV again, or at least in more stuff that you could put in your eyes. He’s just a beast, literally, and who doesn’t like watching beasts on a more regular basis than they may have had the opportunity to watch them lately? Not to mention bonus points for just crushing Halloween this year. “I’m a zombie Kate Gosselin.” No, you’re a failure. Watch and learn.

John Hughes

The Summer of Death took many American Heroes, all of whom are in heaven now, doing stuff with or for or to the angels, depending. But John Hughes will definitely be missed. He was responsible for so many important memories to so many people, and had a huge hand in shaping a teenage sensibility, which, as you know, is one of the most exciting and powerful and lasting sensibilities. RIP, John Hughes. You are in heaven now, going easy on the Pepsi with the angels.

The Megan Fox Admirer

This photo is basically the inverse of the famous assassination photo from the Vietnam war. Well, not quite the inverse I guess, since they are both heartbreaking. But where the Vietnam photograph depicts horror, misery and despair, this photograph depicts TRUE LOVE. I feel like this kid has probably gotten a lot of guff in his life, but he does not have to take any more guff. This photo is a Lifetime Pass from Guff.

The Ranger$$$

The Rangersss brought jerkin to YouTube, and now jerkin is everywhere. Jerkin’ is all around us. Their dance videos are seriously just one of the funnest things to watch ever. Like, I’m kind of confused why anyone would even be reading this when they could be watching jerkin’ videos. I wish the Ranger$$$ were my friends.

Sharlto Copley

Remember District 9, you guys? That was great! Did you know that it was Sharlto Copley’s first movie? OK, well if you know so much, why don’t you marry it. For real, though, Sharlto Copley was really good in District 9. I hope that he is in a lot more movies, and that nothing bad ever happens to him, and that he never cries again, ever.

Wes Anderson

Sometimes Wes Anderson can be really frustrating. Like, the fact that he supposedly gets his suits tailored just a little too small for him so that he looks like some kind of middle aged Encyclopedia Brown is a bit too-too. And leading up to the release of Fantastic Mr. Fox this year, there were so many reports of him directing the movie via text message from the comfort of his Paris apartment, and it was kind of like, really? Really, Wes Anderson? And then it turned out that Fantastic Mr. Fox was the best movie of the year, so I guess he knew what he was doing after all. Well played, sir. (See also: The Worst People of 2009.)

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan is great on 30 Rock, everyone knows that. We don’t need a special list to talk about that. What we need a special list to talk about his Tracy’s somewhat earnest but still bonkers memoir, I’m The New Black, and the book on tape in which he abandoned his own script to talk trash about Chris Kattan. Something something Mango! And then there was his interview with Terry Gross, which was some of the most riveting radio of the year (and I heard a lot of riveting radio! You guys should definitely check out the Best Show on WFMU, and RadioLab on WNYC, if you are not already). Tracy Morgan: just one of the best.

Topher Grace

Uh, what do I have to say? Legend.