If you’ve turned on a television, checked Twitter, or left your house this year, you know that 2016 had one definitive worst person. That person has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and will occupy the White House in January despite all the crackpot plans being floated around the Internet in too-little-too-late attempts to stop him. (And he’s already burning the people who elected him.)
However, 2016 was so awful that it gave us so many more terrible people to consider. It wouldn’t be fair to overlook the minor villains, would it? As we close out this most regrettable year, let’s remember some of the people who made it as bad as we thought it possibly could be, and then went and made it a little worse still.
From “Mallard Fillmore” to Larry the Cable Guy, conservative attempts at comedy always fall somewhere on the spectrum between lame and offensive. The O’Reilly Factor’s bro-on-the-street Jesse Watters pushed the limits of just how offensive he could be in one short segment of interviews in Chinatown. The main “bit” of the segment was mocking the elderly and those who speak English as a second language in a way that made Mickey Rooney’s performance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s look progressive.
Olympic Swimmer Ryan Lochte’s transition from lovable moron to international embarrassment was faster than his breaststroke time. The infamous frosty haired bro pulled the ultimate Ugly American act at a Rio gas station during last summer’s Olympics. Not only did he vandalize a gas station with some of his teammates, but he lied about it, claiming he was robbed, and then fled the country while his friends were still clearing things up with the police. Completing the public meltdown, he then went on Dancing With the Stars, because in America there is no such thing as hitting rock bottom.
Assholes always have accomplices. Billy Bush and Donald Trump’s now infamous (and it turns out, sadly ultimately irrelevant) “locker room talk” reminded men everywhere of times they heard heinous shit and went along with it. Bush was fired from the Today Show for his part in the “grab her by the pussy” bus banter, while the other guy involved in the conversation went on to become President of the United States.
The world’s most grating sports host in a world of grating sports hosts, Bayless was given an even larger platform than ever and a record payday to launch Undisputed alongside Shannon Sharpe on the newly revamped FS1. The two-and-a-half-hour long show allows Bayless to poke and prod at the sports news of the day with his legendarily low level of analysis. Just in case the whole affair wasn’t chauvinist enough, Joy Taylor serves as the attractive young woman who viewers can ogle when they get tired of Bayless’s ceaseless droning.
Gym users and bar patrons everywhere have been terrified as FS1 has crept onto their televisions, as Bayless’ campaign of making sports feel like a Fox News panel has reached new depths of depravity.
2016 was the year that Dunham went from “a voice of a generation” to “a voice a generation can’t stand hearing.” From her odd accusations toward Odell Beckham Jr., to sharing videos about “the extinction of straight white men,” to commissioning some of the most cloying writing of the year on “Lenny Letter,” Dunham became synonymous with the worst accusations toward out-of-touch leftist bohemia.
While his peers railed against the encroachment of fascism in America, late-night host Jimmy Fallon humanized Donald Trump while the world burned. Fallon’s gentle petting of Donald Trump’s hair became Nero’s fiddle of the American Republic, as we were reminded that art without a point of view isn’t much of anything. This is even worse than when he ruined every single sketch he appeared in with Will Ferrell by giggling through all the best punch lines.
One of the strangest phenomena of 2016 was the emergence of the “Alt-Right” in America. The Alt-Right is nothing more than young, well-coiffed, Internet savvy neo-Nazis. The former Breitbart editor worked closely with the Trump campaign, and will work with Trump’s administration as an advisor. It is safe to say that rhetoric championed by Bannon has led to hate speech and hate crimes throughout the country, and this should only continue as he plays a prominent role in the incoming administration.
Though Lewandowski was far from the most effective Trump surrogate this election cycle, he was certainly the most punchable. Fired as Trump campaign manager after being charged with the battery of a reporter, Lewandowski was predictably offered a punditry job at CNN. While there, he offered some of the most boorish, incompetent analysis on any network, including a needlessly cruel jab at Hillary Clinton on election night. He then left CNN, presumably for a position somewhere in Trump’s orbit. And he did all of this while collecting a nice severance package from his old boss.
Much has been made of the responsibility of government officials and law enforcement in undermining the protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline (and rightly so), but we shouldn’t forget about Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. ETP is the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, a company that hasn’t backed down once inch since the pipeline construction began. The recent work stoppage on the pipeline only happened thanks to the Army Corp of Engineers, which ETP plans to defy if possible. Don’t worry about ETP and Warren, they’ll be just fine. The CEO recently spoke publicly about just how optimistic he is about his company’s prospects under Trump.
The star of the year’s best (unintentional) comedy dug himself even deeper into his already cratered public image this year. Allegations arose that he was sexting with a teenage girl and pictures emerged of him sexting while his child was in bed with him. To make matters worse, this allowed the FBI to investigate emails sent by Clinton aide Huma Abedin in the weeks before the election, dredging up one of Clinton’s most damaging mistakes. Here’s hoping this is the last we see of Weiner in public life, but again, that’s what we said the last several times. He’s not even worth joking about anymore, as every joke has already been made.