First, a disclaimer: The Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2012 should not under any circumstances be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2012. They are as different as red satin cummerbunds and Liar's Dice. Duck liver and Spanish moss. Matched pearl necklaces and motorcycle handlebars.
For those of you itching to point out that some stories, especially those involving death, destruction, devastation and disaster are not proper subjects for this sort of fanciful folderol -- way ahead of you. Totally agree. Exactly why the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, Hurricane Sandy, Jerry Sandusky and the movie John Carter failed to make the cut.
Also left off the list are a few of the fiendishly frivolous footprints despoiling the sands of this annus horribilis such as Lindsay Lohan's continuing struggles with sobriety, that curious craze called Gangnam Style, the introduction of the iPhone 5 and Facebook's roller-coaster IPO.
That said, here they are -- the key stories from the past year providing the purest opportunities for major mocking and scoffing and taunting as determined by the executive council of the Comics, Clowns, Jesters & Satirists Union. Me.
10. Donald Trump. Assumes figurehead post of Birther Movement. Then refuses to shut up all year long, including several embarrassing tweets on Election Day. An ever-gushing political comedy material fountain with all the grace and elegance of tumbling dumpsters.
9. First Presidential Debate. Turned what was becoming a slam-dunk into a horse race. Seventy million Americans tuned in. But for some unknown reason, President Obama was not among them.
8. The entire GOP primary campaign. Party plays Candidate Whack-A-Mole for five months. Everybody takes turns beating Romney like a red-headed stepchild, including some folks who aren't even running.
7. London Olympics. Ann Romney's horse Rafalca competes in Dressage. Event where the horse and the rider perform predetermined movements. Which you would think would be illegal in Utah. But horse fails to medal and probably gets shipped home strapped to the fuselage of a 747. McKayla Maroney remains unimpressed.
6. Vice Presidential Debate. Joe Biden goes all Malarkey on Paul Ryan. Two words -- decaf. Bold Choice Ryan blames Obama for GM plant closing in '08. Fails to implicate POTUS in fall of the Roman Empire. But just barely.
5. Barack Obama comes out in support of gay marriage. Emerges from his own personal policy closet like a butterfly emerging from a conflicted cocoon.
4. Mitt Romney vows to get rid of Big Bird. Loses pivotal pre-adolescent vote.
3. Democratic National Convention. Specifically, Bill Clinton laying out the precise reasons why America should re-elect as president ... Bill Clinton.
2. Republican National Convention. Specifically, Clint Eastwood upstaging the nominee's acceptance speech by getting into an argument with an empty chair. Which he proceeded to lose. Probably upset him so badly he rushed back to the hotel room where he got into a squabble with his armoire.
1. Mitt Romney. All the charisma of a plastic picnic fork with three of the tines snapped off. May have run the worst campaign ever. And that includes New Coke, McCain/Palin and France in '39.
WILL DURST is a political comedian
and nationally syndicated columnist.