Maybe it was the leap year. Maybe it was the recession. Maybe it was universal boredom with the status quo. But in 1992, some strange confluence of crankiness and impatience conspired to create what was, if nothing else, the noisiest year of entertainment in recent history — a year of feuds, furies, and flying flak. Many of our choices for 1992’s Entertainers of the Year were also entertainers of the ear: These 12 stars (as well as our picks for the year’s top newcomers) raised the collective cultural decibel level in sundry and astonishing ways. Hear that tinny clang? That’s the sound of the metal covers of Madonna’s Sex being flung open in eagerness — or slammed shut in indignation. That whoosh you just heard was the sound of Sharon Stone’s ice pick, flying straight at the viscera of moviegoers everywhere. That ggggrrrr in the background emanates from the always-active vocal cords of Spike Lee, ready to snarl at anyone who stands between him and the success of Malcolm X. And where’s all that loud, long laughter coming from? Meet the finest and funniest entertainers 1992 had to offer.