Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Roundup

Some favorites and a selection of duds from Tuesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

I really enjoyed this caption joke from Raysism in the Flag Football post. The crowd ate it up. Nice work.

Gamboa Constrictor cracked me up with this wonderfully clever wordplay joke in the Redcoat Sportscasting post. I had to think about this one, but it was worth it. Great joke.

I laughed aloud at this funny recontextualization from RXF=Q, also in the Redcoat Sportscasting post. I was surprised this one didn't get more attention, especially at the start of a thread.

Theodore Donald Kerabatsos dropped one of the day's very best comments with this sensational Pac-Man joke in the Fucking Ghosts post.

Here's a devastatingly funny caption joke from Bevraj of Choice, also in the Fucking Ghosts post. So good. Later, he earned a round of applause for an excellent wordplay joke in the Juggalo Gang post.

Walk Off HBP hit a pair of grand slams on Tuesday, first cranking this humdinger in the Juggalo Gang post, and later knocking me over with what I'm calling the Comment of the Day in the Andre Agassi post. Great, great, great, great, great comment. I laughed and laughed at this.

Here's a very funny caption-style joke from Hit Bull Win Steak in the Whiny Jets post. There are probably a few different ways to deliver this punchline, including the old "pictured:" set-up, but this particular approach is a little more patient and loads up the punchline nicely.

And finally, this recontextualization from unstarred commenter Bellwether Johnson drew a snort from me, a promotion, and a round of applause. That's very, very funny. Nice job.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter JayBarkersHat pooped out this shameless hack-job in the Wake Up Deadspin post. That exact joke had been made, only better, down thread. His joke isn't the worst, but hack-jobs irritate the hell out of me. Take the extra few seconds to scroll down the page and make sure your joke hasn't already been made.

And finally, this yadda-yadda-yadda, blah blah blah offering from longtime Mad Bastards All annoyance nightelfmohawk in the Redcoat Sportscasting post. I've only been back in the business of commenting on Deadspin comments for two days, but already it seems that dealing with this kind of commentary will be a headache. This kind of thing is, apparently, no longer against the rules, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. As I understand it, there is now room on Deadspin for thoughtful, articulate, not-intentionally-funny commentary and discussion, but this comment pretty plainly doesn't meet those criteria any more than it meets the be funny standard. nightelfmohawk is the master of commentary that is neither funny nor insightful, and I will once again advocate for the removal of this person's featured status.

Comments were quite a bit better today than yesterday. I actually left a fair number of pretty damn good comments off today's Roundup, in fact. Keep it up, you brilliant rat-fuckers!

Do Juan.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Roundup

Some favorites and a selection of duds from Monday's commenting. Thought I forgot about it, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU? (I did.)

, in no particular order:

I chuckled at this dig at Sidney Crosby from Sonar Jose in the Hairy Guy and Gladiator Costumes post. Simple and effective.

Same Sad Echo cracked me up with this sad horse joke in the La Russa Foal post. Most people went with La Russa-the-drunk jokes, which is fine, but I appreciated the unique angle of approach on this one.

RMH=J submitted the best of the La Russa-the-drunk jokes with this beautiful one-liner, in the La Russa Foal post, earning a round of applause. Nice work.

Here's another great La Russa-the-drunk joke, this time from Eddie Murray Sparkles, in the La Russa Foal post. I'm the kind of guy who will almost always laugh at a good La Russa-the-drunk joke, and this was a very, very good one.

Unstarred commenter breakfuckslamwich earned a promotion and a round of applause for this elegant wordplay joke in the Shaq Book post. That's good for a chuckle.

And finally, I roared with laughter at this caption joke from Bevraj of Choice in the Concussion post. I'm surprised this one didn't get a little more attention.

Total Fucking Duds

Either I'm off my game or the commentariat is - there were a lot of fucking duds today. A lot of lame-ass puns, a lot of blunt-ended one-liners, a fucking shitload of inane chatter. I left a lot of this crap alone. What follows is a small sampling.

DubaiatNight got nothing from the shredded remains of the Brett-Favre-has-a-small-penis meme with this pancake flat, paint-by-numbers, utterly dead-on-arrival pile of crap, in the Donovan McNabb post. DubaiatNight is a featured commenter, presumably he can do a hell of a lot better than this. But for now, you're suspect.

Unstarred guy kluivertus offered some astonishingly unnecessary and embarrassingly obvious fantasy football wisdom in the Steelers/Patriots post. Ooof.

And finally, here's ye olde video joke from unstarred guy BobsCountryBunker in the Liquid-and-Towel Valet post. Be funny. Yourself.

Yeah, so, I forgot about this Roundup. Still, it is not yet midnight in the part of the world that matters, and here it is! That's a victory there. Here's hoping all you wonderful sumbitches are woofing down candy, drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol, and having wild, acrobatic sex with nubile young supermodels.

Goooooooooooo DUAN!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Return of the Hack

You know what I feel like doing? Roundups.

That's right. Beginning Monday, October 31st, Mad Bastards All will once again spit out daily commenting Roundups during the work-week.

I'm going to say that these Roundups may not be quite as comprehensive as the previous round. I'm also going to say that they may not happen as frequently - I may take a day off here and there. I'm going to say all these things to my spouse, my family, my therapist. Then, I'm going to dive back in the rabbit-hole like a lunatic and ruin whatever headway I've made in the past few months. Ah hell.

It seems quite a lot has changed while I've been away, including these recently announced changes that will allow for the non-humorous commenting that has long driven me crazy. Not to worry - these changes seem to be part of a longer-term goal of emphasizing Deadspin's commenting, whereas some other somewhat recent changes seem to have had the effect of discouraging commenters.

Well, we're here to help you sort some of that out. Or, at any rate, to berate you while you sort it our for yourselves.

So, have a great week, an even better weekend, and a sensational Halloween. Starting that very evening, the all-seeing all-mocking eye-in-the-sky will be back in action. Gamboa, I'd go ahead and double down on those window treatments.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Totally Unsolicited Proclamation, Illuminating Nothing

So, this came to me, from former Deadspin commentor International_Poise_Conspiracy. I think I can verify the identity: It's written in the characteristic faux-eloquence that suggests a person with a vast appreciation of poetic prose and a tenuous grip on the English language. Plus laudanum.

"While it is nice for my asinine, FORGETTABLE self to forever be remembered by the Cool Kids Table, I must report I am not Analysis Rube. However much he and I might agree, I have no idea what he is on about, and only learned of him on one of my once every two or three days stops at the Spin to see what is hep in the world of sport.

As well, I should point out, after my whooping by Barry Petchesky, I acted like a man, or as much like a man as a pantywaist lard ass like I am can pact like a man, and trifles not with Deadspin, as commenter, anymore. I did try, once, to comment, postban, but only via quip, not harangue. It went nowhere, and I gave up. I suppose I am tiring of being not funny.

Which is improvement, no?"

So, that solves the mystery of which I have zero knowledge. A cursory search tells me Analysis Rube is some chump the ninja has been grappling with for a short while. It can't have been IPC - it's simply too coherent. There's something wonderfully charming about IPC's always-disintegrating style - it's as if the peyote kicks in mid-sentence, and a simple idea is turned into a cooky, nearly-indecipherable word-salad.

So there you have it. International_Poise_Conspiracy is not Analysis Rube.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Great Comments I Somehow Missed and Which Have Now Grown Moldy in My Inbox

Submitted, in most cases, by your fellow commenters.

This comment was submitted to me ages ago as a hat-tip to Norm_De_Plume for his "perfect example of riffing on a joke." Nice work.

This comment from Gamboa Constrictor was submitted by none other than Deadspin's own Jack Dickey, who was made to "guffaw and cringe at the same time." We've come to expect nothing less from ol' Gambooey.

This comment from dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac was submitted as an example of a contribution that deserved a little more attention than it received. In this case, it received zero attention.

This comment, also from Gamboa Constrictor, was submitted as a favorite comment of the year and compared to "hitting a grand slam in game 7 of a World Series." Apparently, the nominator and his wife still laugh about it.

This comment from IronMikeGallego was submitted for being a terrific DUAN contribution, and despite getting a fairly huge amount of praise immediately. Nevermind - it's terrific.

This comment from Bevraj of Choice was referred to as COTY-worthy. This is not the first time a Bevraj of Choice comment has been so-nominated. The guy's a powerhouse.

And finally, I was asked to comment on this comment, from Raysism, in the recent (and incredible) Spider Bite post. I won't comment on it much, other than to say that it is excellent, that I laughed aloud when I read it, and that I would not have seen it ever if not for the email heads-up.

Unbelievably, I still have some material coming down the pike. It will be interesting to see whether anyone actually reads it. But, at any rate, I'm posting it. I am no longer saddled with my obnoxious 9-5 job, as of this very evening. Though I will be very busy - too busy, by far, to even dream of resurrecting the daily roundups - I will now have enough free time to at least read Deadspin comments, and do some honest-to-God writing now and then. Sense-of-perspective free, dignity-annihilating, eyeball-searingly highfaluttin pieces on the mechanics of humor as they relate to the business of offering comments on a sports website will, against all reason and logic, be included under the heading of "honest-to-God writing", much to the disbelief of the many legions of decent folk who have long since abandoned any hope of salvaging even the flimsiest remnants of meaning in my continued existence.

Up next: why jokes about Taylor Buchholz's vagina-like psyche, a bunch of lazy layabouts in Somalia, and Amy Winehouse's minor self-control issues are fine by me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me. (It's Really You.)

So, I had this whole long piece put together here about the +1 and my own indefensibly simplistic rant on the topic last week, and it was to go atop the following programming note. However, it's been a couple of days now and [hopefully] nobody cares anymore about the +1 mess. The crux of the piece was that dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac and I ultimately agree on the use of the +1, although we approach it from different angles (I think). Make great jokes and appreciate the great jokes of others. If anyone's still interested, maybe I'll post it sometime down the line. At any rate, for now, let's leave it in the vault.

Now, that programming note:

It's very possible that you've read your last Mad Bastards All daily Roundup. Way back in March or whatever, doing a roundup was as easy as looking for Steve_U's three best comments, picking a joke from shuttledik to rough up, brainstorming a few preferably-hyphenated ways to call someone a moron, and slapping the whole thing together quickly. It took me 20 minutes. And nobody knew this thing existed. It was a goofy intellectual exercise, a way for a scatterbrained person to organize his observations into something coherent. In short, I could skip a dozen roundups or not bother with links and it didn't matter. Then, sometime in spring, our first love Gamboa Constrictor outed us to DUAN, significantly upping the ante. Sometime around then also, as folks got more and more comfortable with the new Deadspin and some of the quirks and bugs were worked out, commenting started to surge back to previous levels. Keeping up with that surge has been hugely time-consuming. I'm embarrassed to say I have spent as long as 4 hours on a single roundup, which is roughly twice the time I spend each day on things that lead to a paycheck. Still, the attention was fun and I like to think we had an interesting conversation or two about mechanics along the way. But now, and for now, I'm no longer able to keep up in a way that is interesting but not enormously time-consuming. I can chronicle good and bad comments, but digging up any meaningful analysis is increasingly difficult. Redundancy abounds. That redundancy is additional weight. It's a mad, spinning whirlpool of neuroses. My psyche is in tatters. Just last week, I killed 2 dozen tourists from a perch atop the Washington Monument. I'm sure it was in all the news.

I'm sure we'll still push out the occasional Profile in Commenting and as many long-form pieces as I can talk myself into, but look: Deadspin commenting seems to be in a very healthy place these days. It was decidedly not back in March. Little did I know, back then, how impossible the roundups would be to maintain if things ever picked back up again. Going forward, I expect I'll nod in the direction of some hugely successful comments, especially if I feel like I have something interesting to say about them. Similarly, I reserve the right to beat up on the occasional piece-of-crap comment with as much vitriol as I can muster. I like writing things. Just not daily roundups. Or, at any rate, boy oh boy do I not have time to do those right.

Here are some numbers you might find interesting:

We started the Roundups in March 2011, roughly.

March Pageviews: 175 (of which I'm sure 169 were me)

As of April 20th, we were on pace for about 250 or so pageviews for the month. On April 21st, in DUAN, Gamboa Constrictor announced our existence.

April Pageviews: 11,207

May Pageviews: 13,573

June Pageviews: 18,652

Our five most popular posts were:

1. I'm Having That Dream Where I'm Wearing Only My Underwear in Public, from April 21st. This was our response to being outed. 651 pageviews.

2. Thursday Roundup, from June 2nd. I have no idea why this particular Roundup was our second most popular post ever. 444 pageviews, most of which came that evening.

3. THERE ARE NO LAUGHS BUT THOSE THAT OBEY, from June 3rd. This was our response to a back-and-forth that took place in our comments. 424 pageviews.

4. Guest Lectures in Commenting: dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac, from April 28th. Our first ever Guest Lecture, coincidentally featuring the +1. 354 pageviews.

5. Profiles in Commenting: AzureTexan, from May 5th. In my humble opinion, our finest moment as a blog and the most fun I've had doing this thing. 324 pageviews.

To be clear: I'm not shutting this thing down entirely. I'm just stopping the roundups immediately. If someone wants to step in and do some roundups, email madbastardsall@gmail.com. It might take me a few days to find your email - I'm steadfastly avoiding that email account in the wake of the +1 debate. It looks like all hell's breaking loose in there.

Thanks for reading. Keep doin' your damn thing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Wednesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

Here's a damn funny one-liner from ClueHeywood in the Pene en Paz post. I thought that was a brutal misspelling for at least a minute while I considered the joke. Yes, I'm a moron.

And here's an excellent dig at Tony Romo from our guy All Over But The Sharting in the Roy Williams post. After the first sentence, you have an idea where this joke is going - it's going to be a shot at the recent playoff futility of the Dallas Cowboys. I am endlessly interested in the various avenues to tension/release, and this is one of my favorites.

Here's your comment of the day, from AzureTexan in the Roy Williams post. AzureTexan was on fire on Wednesday. For my money, he's as consistently funny as anyone on Deadspin. In the WNBA Violence post, his Jeffrey Dahmer menu was flat-out hysterical. And finally, here's your other comment of the day, in the Michael Beasley post. I fucking roared with laughter when I read this. Excellent job.

I also guffawed loudly at this delicious joke from Eddie Murray Sparkles in the WNBA Violence post. I was surprised this comment didn't get a little more attention. That's a goddamn perfect recontextualization.

brought the house down with this joke in the WNBA Violence post. Phintastic can knock one out of the park just like everyone else. The problems come up when he settles for the easy crap. I'm willing to consider the notion that some commenters are volume scorers, to borrow a basketball term. I wish it weren't so. Anyway, this was a great comment.

Here's a terrific comment from unstarred commenter AirBratz23 in the MLB Infographics post. AirBratz23 is, in my opinion, much too worried about starrings and the like, and that lack of focus often shows up in his commenting. This, however, is a great job, and for his efforts his comment was promoted and showered with praise. More of this, kiddo.

I am in agreement with IronMikeGallego: this comment, from MarkKelsosMigraine, in the Angry Doris post, is hysterical. By the time I got to Ulysses S. Grant, I was positively giddy about where this joke was going. Goddammit, that is fucking hilarious.

And finally, here's an awesome little paragraph from Stev D in the Barry Halper post. I chuckled aloud at this. Stev D has a particular style as a Deadspin commenter: his comments frequently suggest a hilarious, goofy obtuseness, and the more acquainted you are with that style, the funnier each successive comment becomes.

Total Fucking Duds

Here's something truly confusing from unstarred commenter Beall49 in the World Series Baby post. Are we to believe that Beall49 is a member of the Giants? Or are we to extract humor from the sheer arrogance of the line? Or is it, in fact, meant to be funny at all? I will never know.

This is just a shameful Drew Magary impression from unstarred commenter PenskeMaterial in the Angry Doris post. This happens so, so often. Drew is funny and distinctive, and your knock-off is not. Develop your own commenting style.

Unstarred commenter AirBratz23 earned a rare double today, crapping the bed with this lousy rent-a-joke in the Angry Doris post. C'mon, guy. This will never do. AirBratz23 has been around long enough to know better than this.

Unstarred commenter Bubbleman! Don't Metalblade me bro! should be banned for not caring one iota about the rule of Deadspin commenting. He demonstrates that attitude in this small thread in the Michael Beasley post. This guy sucks. Get rid of him.

And finally, here's a perfectly valid observation from unstarred commenter Todd Bertuzzi Chiropractic in the Wimbledon post. Obviously, Deadspin's comments section is not the place for a perfectly valid observation. Save that stuff for DUAN, and you might have yourself a real conversation starter.

Thanks for reading, hombres. I'll be back on schedule soon. Or not. At any rate, hey, kick ass.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Tuesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

Hit Bull Win Steak brought the house down with this loud contribution to the Outtakes post. Obviously the caps serve to impart tone to the joke, and that's at least half of the humor here.

Also in the Outtakes post, dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac cracked me up with this simple one-liner, reworking the notion of "stars" into a clever dig at Bart Calendar. Nice work.

And finally (that's right, only three), Eddie Murray Sparkles contributed this hysterical recontextualization to the LeBron's Decision post. I'm still chuckling about this one.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter EsotericPopCulturePun was viciously mocked by the comment_ninja for this wholly worthless contribution to the Derek Jeter post. I was recently engaged in a conversation about this kind of commenting, and it's worth getting into a little bit: there seems to be an entire group of [mostly] unstarred commenters who fundamentally misunderstand what Deadspin commenting is all about. Way back in April, we ran a piece entitled "It's as if you don't even know what we do around here.", wherein we tackled this apparent misunderstanding. I'd just like to tack on a little frustration and hostility: Deadspin is not a chat-room. It's not a community forum, at all. It's absolutely not a place where you write things because you like to be read. It's not an open-mic, it's not a conversation, it's not an exchange of ideas. No matter how much you may want it to be those things, it is never, under any circumstances, any of those things. Your attempts at usurping Deadspin's comment privileges for things other than making strangers laugh are glaring and boring and wholly unwelcome. We make jokes here, and that's it. Jesus, that should be so simple and so so so fun. Why in God's name would anyone ever deviate? Why would anyone ever feel compelled to write "durrr I hate the Yankees and Derek Jeter durrr" when they could, instead, make jokes and be funny and laugh and have a good time? This astonishes me.

Guvmint_Cheese missed the mark badly with this miserable, joyless, dead-on-arrival offering in the Toe Sucking post. At least it's an attempt at humor, but look; farting out some wholly unoriginal version of a roadkill meme is virtually as hostile to Deadspin's standards as flouting the rules altogether. Most new commenters have been guilty of this at one time or another. Here's the thing: at best, Guvmint_Cheese was shooting for a C+ with this comment. Don't ever do that. Not every comment has to be sophisticated, but every comment should be shooting for an A.

And there it is. Before I send you off to DUAN, I just want to say this, and some of you will no-doubt disagree strongly with me, but remember: I can delete your comments:

In my opinion, the quality of Deadspin commenting rises and falls along with the amount of feedback commenters get for their work. I have observed a marked decline in both the funniness and the creativity of Deadspin comments recently since a DUAN thread convinced everyone to stop throwing +1s around. There are those among you who will cite any number of opposing ideas, such as: +1s should only go to the best of the best; +1s create and enforce a herd mentality; +1s lead to unspoken quid pro quo arrangements between commenters; etc. Okay, fine. My retort is this: +1s lead to better jokes. All you need to consider for this to hit home is the notion of a stand-up comic delivering a routine to a room full of perfectly silent observers, versus delivering a routine to an approving, engaging crowd. Performance and energy and humor thrive on encouragement. When a commenter leaves a good joke and it echoes in an empty chamber, his confidence suffers. It does. Not one Deadspin commenter who I have ever observed can claim to regularly experience anything different. On the other hand, a good joke that is affirmed by another or a crowd of commenters emboldens the commenter and helps create the kind of fun, joyous, supportive environment where humor thrives.

So, admonitions from dour, joyless, pinched-sphincter types notwithstanding, fucking engage your fellow commenters. If you like the joke, if you laughed, if you think it's worth a +1, fucking give it a +1. It may not look pretty on the page, but goddammit, if Deadspin aspires to have the funniest comments section on the internet, shelve all the other crap and recognize that the quality of commenting is served by this kind of feedback.

So there. Happy fucking DUAN.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Friday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

I laughed at this outrageous comment by SavetoFavorites in the Wake Up Deadspin post, and when I say I laughed, I mean I really fucking laughed. Sustained, uncontrollable, out-of-breath style laughter. I think it's fair to say, at this point, that SavetoFavorites has developed a specific voice with this kind of joke, and that the recognition of that voice in each subsequent offering makes the jokes funnier and funnier. In other words, by now, the long, whimsical, off-the-wall-silly comments have become SavetoFavorites' "olive oil voice and guinea charm" jokes. And that's a good thing. I mean it when I say I spend all day laughing at his stuff.

Here's an astonishing Dr. Seuss re-write from UweBollocks in the Wake Up Deadspin post. I have mentioned this before, but UweBollocks has a special skill when it comes to reworking pop-culture reference points into what are usually very clever wordplay jokes. Song and album titles, lyrics, celebrities, book titles and characters, television and movie references - I don't know if this guy's a pop-culture savant or what, but it's pretty damn impressive.

ToddReesingsTurfFacial cracked me up with the misdirection in this excellent Steve Phillips dig in the Bobby Bonilla post. Glad to see this one was promoted. When we talk about grinding, ToddReesingsTurfFacial comes to mind because, at various points in his commenting tenure, he's been as guilty of it as anyone. But when he takes his time and resists the urge to carpet-bomb each post, he can fire off some really terrific stuff.

IronMikeGallego wowed the crowd with this unexpected dig at (of all things) Alabama's congressional ballot in the Bobby Bonilla post. Where the hell did that come from? Nevermind - I'm apparently a sucker for direct shots at vulnerable targets. I will now go make fun of a homeless man for being dirty.

Theodore Donald Kerabatsos cracked me up with this hilarious Oscar the Grouch joke in the Deion Jr. post. This, of course, pulls the "darkening something inherently innocent" string, and I am powerless against that particular brand of humor.

And finally, I chuckled at this "beat the clock" joke from Same Sad Echo in the Asafa Powell post. It has that charming silliness that is characteristic of Same Sad Echo's best stuff. And I was in the mood for that on Friday. Many, many excellent Deadspin comments are clever and sophisticated and astute, but today I focused on comments that made me really laugh. I can do that.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter Yotto aimed too low with the delivery of this comment in the Wake Up Deadspin post. I chose this comment because I think it's an example of commentary (versus joke-making), and I think it's illustrative of the degree of difficulty in that kind of contribution. The idea behind this comment could be packaged as a punchline in a joke, but sometimes we are all put off a bit by the artificial tone of a joke versus the directness of commentary. But how to maximize the impact of an idea, how to make it funny, while maintaining the casual, authentic tone of commentary? Honestly, I have no answer for that. I suspect that the importance of the idea, of what's being said in commentary is magnified by the lack of set-up, and I guess the other part of the equation is the natural instinct for tone and timing the commenter brings along in his own easy style. I have no skill whatsoever for crafting or deconstructing this kind of joke, but I know when it makes me laugh, and this one did not. It instead made me cringe. It seemed grouchy and overly specific without any amount of wit to lift it.

This is probably the most joyless, uninspired way possible to make the "Lebron James is not clutch" joke, from unstarred commenter Orton hears a boo in the LeBron James Knockout post. Newer commenters sometimes fail to anticipate which angles to humor in a given post are likely to be saturated and tapped out within moments, and I suggest it's sort of an acquired skill that comes with time. But a post that deals with LeBron competing at anything in just about any way is likely to bring to anyone's mind the whole "LeBron is not clutch" angle. As a commenter, you don't want any part of the race to get there first - if anything, once you've identified which is the cheapest, easiest angle in a post, you want to avoid it altogether. But if you do decide to go for the low-hanging fruit, you can't also settle for a cheap presentation, which is obviously what happened here.

And finally, I'm not sure how this was ever supposed to work, from unstarred commenter albo in the Joe Paterno post. Again, it's an attempt at commentary, so I won't savage it too badly. I think the impact line here is supposed to be "wiry Italian grandpa strength", but I honestly can't come up with a way to make that actually funny. I almost feel like this would need to be part of a monologue or routine in order to tease out whatever humor is in there. Examples of wiry Italian grandpa strength or something. At any rate, for a one-liner, I suspect the idea just doesn't have enough juice.

On a side note, I recommend the individual members of the commentariat try to take it a little easier. Relax some. I know commenting is a bit stressful, and I fully acknowledge and regret the role Mad Bastards All might play in magnifying that anxiety, but it's supposed to be fun. Commenters should be rooting for each other. Commenters should be reading posts, making jokes, laughing at other jokes, slapping each other on the back, and hoping for the next great comment, no matter who it comes from. In my opinion, way too much energy is going into worrying about who has a star and why, who is getting +1s and why, who got mentioned on this stupid blog and why, etc. Deadspin commenting is fun, it's a hobby, it's something silly and joyful we do in a day to keep ourselves distracted. Take it easy. Know the rule of Deadspin commenting, do your best to uphold it, take pride in your comments, and let the other crap go. Believe me, we're shoveling enough of it over here for everyone.

And that's it, folks. Have a great holiday weekend.

DUAAAAAAN!! [said in the manner of KAAAAAAHN!!]

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Thursday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

AzureTexan cracked me up a number of times on Thursday, but never more so than with this delightful contribution to the Equatorial Guinea post. Jason Whitlock jokes aren't nearly as worn out as, say, John Amaechi jokes, but it nonetheless takes special care and creativity to pull something this hilarious from that trough.

This might have been the comment of the day, from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos in the T.J. Fredette post. The line Mom and Dad are Awesome made me choke with laughter. Outstanding.

Unstarred and unapproved commenter Poignant Theater hit a homerun with this outstanding comment in the Manhunt post. What an introduction! For his efforts, he was approved, his comment was promoted, and he received a handful of +1s. Keep it up!

Raysism slayed me with this Mork and Mindy joke in the Manhunt post. The line assfucking of a lifetime is devastating. I'm laughing as I read it again. So, so good.

Here's your other comment of the day candidate, from Clue Heywood in the Manhunt post. This one brought the house down. Great comment.

Okay, goddammit, here's another one, from Steve_U in the Manhunt post. Man, this one really killed me, too. It's a meta-comment, but it is fucking hysterical. Today included a lot of awkward, tortured commenting, but the comments that were good were really good. When I laughed, I laughed my ass off.

It wasn't until the very end that I laughed at this one, from SavetoFavorites in the Bob Hope Classic, but that last line destroyed me. I like to think that was kinda the idea: silly but mild tone setting up an uproariously funny ending. In that way, it has the set-up/knockdown effect, but in tone, not in content. Or am I overthinking this. At any rate, the sort of casual way it's thrown on there at the end, as if to suggest it just rounds out the picture, really cracked me up.

And finally, here's a sharp, funny little one-liner from Mantis Toboggan, M.D. in the Charlie Sheen post. Actually, Mantis Toboggan, M.D. had a few funny, successful comments on Thursday, but this was my favorite. Nice work.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter LBabe aimed way too low with this effort in the Chinese Cheerleader post. I'm not entirely sure why that's supposed to be funny, and I'm only giving it the benefit of the doubt that it is, in fact, supposed to be funny because LBabe generally does attempt humor. From time to time, we've talked about grinding over here on Mad Bastards All, and I offer this unsolicited advice to featured and unstarred commenters alike; a single A+ comment a day will make a much stronger impression than a dozen or more C+ comments. Sometimes, as a commenter, you want to be involved, you want to engage the group and join in the fun. Sometimes, you want affirmation and approval. But believe me, the more you casually drop unambitious, uninspired comments in Deadspin, the more other commenters will start to scan right over your offerings and ignore you. Resist the urge to engage Deadspin commenting as if it's a big party. Save your submissions for those moments when you really have something special to offer.

Similarly, this offering from Helena Handbasket in the Equatorial Guinea post amounts to nothing. It lacks any amount of vision. I assume people are commenting on Deadspin because they like the emphasis on humor and the high standards of commenter approval. This kind of totally boring, indefensibly lazy stuff just doesn't measure up. Try harder.

Okay, so, this was a shorter roundup. The commentariat was not at all bad on Thursday, but there weren't as many knockout comments. There just weren't. I have my theories on why, but mostly, hey, keep going for greatness. As I said, the comments that were great were pretty fucking great.

Happy DUAN, sillies.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Wednesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

MarkKelsosMigraine took any number of shots at Kirstie Alley on Wednesday, and this was my favorite, in the Tulowitzki/Tejada post. I chuckled aloud at this.

This masterpiece from vodkanaut in the Hair Extensions post really cracked me up. The line [eyes dart from side to side] is just so damn funny. I'm laughing even as I type this. Really great comment.

Here's a masterful pun from our guy dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac in the Hair Extensions post. So, so many ho-hum puns are made every day on Deadspin, so it's nice to see a truly special one. Often, puns seem to be thrown up just to start another pun thread (which is fine); you know you've got a good one when folks skip right to the +1.

Unstarred commenter Buck Nasty earned a laugh with this excellent recontextualization in the Sean Burroughs post, and hey, look who promoted it! Awesome. For his efforts, his promoted comment received a pair of +1s. I'll say this for Buck Nasty: through all the hazing, he pretty consistently stuck to making jokes and trying to be funny. His stuff needs some work, but this comment was a clear winner.

Raysism earned a big ovation with this wordplay joke in the Sean Burroughs post. It's a well-made and confidently delivered shot at Staten Island, and the crowd really enjoyed it.

I laughed aloud at this plot summary from All Over But The Sharting in the ESPN: The Movie post. The whole thing's funny, but that final line is really hilarious. Nice work.

Bevraj of Choice dropped one of the day's very best comments with this fantastic wordplay joke in the ESPN: The Movie post. You don't often see a +1 from the comment_ninja. Take a bow!

UweBollocks earned a round of applause for a terrific shot at (of all people) Juliette Lewis in the Planking Slideshow post. I can't link to it, so you'll have to find it yourselves. It's worth the 8 seconds you'll spend looking for it.

I laughed very hard at two nearly identical jokes in the Intel Stupidity post. The first came from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos with this funny paragraph, featuring an actual punchline at the end in addition to all the humorous misspellings.

The second came from SavetoFavorites, and the humor here comes almost entirely from the misspellings, but that's okay because SavetoFavorites was good enough to squeeze the maximum amount of fun out of that concept. Great job.

And finally, here's something hysterical from Steve_U in the Mardy Fish post. The reference is funny and clever, but there's no question the structure of this comment significantly boosts its impact. I laughed aloud at this one.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter LBabe went self-referential in the Wily Mo Pena post, to my great annoyance. We don't talk about this kind of thing a lot because it doesn't usually happen very often, but in general, jokes and comments and threads that seem too desperate for personal attention annoy the shit out of me. LBabe is a fun, active, outgoing, somewhat chat-room-y commenter, which makes her dynamic in DUAN but occasionally sort of nettlesome in Deadspin. It's helpful, sometimes, to remind yourself that the vast majority of Deadspin's readers are not regular commenters, and so comments that point inward at the commenter are mostly inaccessible to them.

Unstarred commenter Lars makes a pretty fair argument in this wall-of-text in the Sabermetrics post. Simply put, Deadspin commenting is not the place to make a fair argument. That would probably be a pretty great thread-starter in DUAN, but it has no business in a Deadspin post.

Ooof. This is a brutally conspicuous trip-and-fall from SponsoredbyV8 in the ESPN: The Movie post. The "can't be redacted" part confuses me. Why couldn't it be redacted? Is that a functionality issue, or was it a case of bone-headed commitment? At any rate, I have absolutely no idea what about any part of that post or thread is supposed to be funny. EDIT: I'm told it is, in fact, a functionality issue. Ah well. Sure makes the case for being more selective in the pre-submit stage, doesn't it?

And finally, Hit Bull Win Steak disappointed with that stupid fucking "what's the over/under"' set-up in this comment in the Intel Stupidity post. I'm not saying it can't be done, but in this and every other case where it's been tried, the over/under line has sucked all the humor right out of the joke. There was probably a solid idea behind that thing. Maybe not.

Hey, let's have a fun-filled DUAN.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Tuesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

This is a hilarious caption-style comment from Raysism in the Wake Up Deadspin post. I suspect this was missed by some folks. There are none who would disagree that it is excellent.

Also in the Wake Up Deadspin post, SavetoFavorites cracked me up with this scouting report template. For whatever reason, I started laughing at the word "scrutable". At any rate, that's a welcome deviation from the normal, recognizable joke-styles seen on Deadspin. Points for creativity. Later, I enjoyed a hearty laugh at this silly offering in the Channing Crowder post. SavetoFavorites does silly about as well as anyone.

Here's an excellent wordplay joke in the Kawhi Leonard post by David Hume. It's interesting (to me) how something as simple as "Psssh" can add tone and personality and humor to a joke. David Hume is a master of this. And if I may depart from this analysis for just a moment to address something David Hume brought up in last night's DUAN: I, too, sometimes consider the increase in set-up/knockdown jokes versus a seeming decline in just funny commentary. Strictly speaking, commentary is different from joking. A joke that completely recontextualizes something from a post is not, strictly speaking, commentary on the post if it in no way reflects upon the content of the post. That's why it's important that jokes on Deadspin reflect the highest standards of joke-making, and it's why laziness is so appalling. And frankly, it's harder to make a funny comment than it is to make a successful joke. Jokes have structure and mechanics, comments have wit and tone. You can teach structure and mechanics, whereas wit and tone are organic. This is why I can use big words to blow hot air about jokes, whereas I only marvel at tone and brevity and haven't been a regular contributor on Deadspin in some time. Here's something I will attempt, in the interests of hopefully pushing the needle back toward equilibrium in the apparently zero-sum ratio of comments to jokes; I'm going to try to take it a bit easier on commentary than I might otherwise. Frankly, the degree of difficulty is higher and people who make genuine attempts at this kind of humor deserve a little latitude. So there. And in addition to causing a minor existential quandary, David Hume was good enough to drop a second winner on Tuesday with this fantastic shot at Jezebel commenters in the Jezebel Crosspost.

I laughed quite a bit at this contribution from Bernie Carbomb in the Sad Pittsburgh Headlines post. I'm still laughing at it. I found myself laughing at any number of mostly uncelebrated comments on Tuesday. I think Hatey scared everyone away from the +1. I mean, the guy's a fucking grizzly bear.

DJ Jazzy Jeff Weaver's hilarious effort in the John Salley post did earn a couple of +1s, and with good reason; it's awesome. I'm not sure I can define silliness, but I feel like I know it (and love it) when I see it. I laugh and I picture the author laughing. I loved this comment.

Rare Endangered Vuvuzela
also had one of today's uncelebrated winners with this Antonin Scalia/Jeopardy joke in the Supreme Court post. I needed a second read on this one, but it was worth it. Sometimes the jokes that require that pause are more successful for it. In the Pisswater post, this re-working of a popular commercial was one of the day's very best comments. It doesn't follow any traditional premise/set-up/punchline format - it's just a series of funny lines made funnier by their particular context and the strength of the reference. I particularly enjoyed the Rome, New York bit. Heckuva job.

MarkKelsosMigraine slayed me with this recontextualization in the Rex Ryan post. The very notion of a My Dinner With Andre video game is funny, and the way it's worked into this recontextualization is fantastic. Good joke-makers layer humor in this way; the recontextualization isn't just used to target a common cultural reference point - instead, it's used to bring in an even funnier original idea, one that subtly references MarkKelsosMigraine's particular oeuvre. I laughed aloud at this joke. Nice job.

All Over But The Sharting cracked me up with this offering in the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar post. This joke is silly (which I love), but it's also successful for the clever way it flips the content of the post on its head. This kind of joke interests me for the way the punchline is telegraphed early in the delivery; once you read "Garry Kasparov", you have a sense of where the joke is headed, and then the joy is in having that expectation of wit and silliness satisfied. It has a set-up/knockdown effect, but without any misdirection. Different avenues to humor . . . delicious.

Goddammit, I roared with laughter at this one-liner from MattinglysSideburns in the Jack McKeon vs. Twitter post. I'm still laughing, I really am. Here's a very special +1. Excellent comment.

And finally, here's a wonderful, wonderful recontextualization from Eddie Murray Sparkles in the Face Kick post. This is one of those 'atta boy comments, where in addition to laughing heartily, you want to pat the author on the back for having the stones to go with tone and character over a staccato, mechanical, textbook delivery. It would have been okay if he'd said something like "This was an early marketing slogan for Sudden Death 2" or whatever, but obviously the use of conversational style makes it exponentially funnier. That other option is safe and standard and joyless and obligatory; his chosen delivery is fun and open and downright audible. Great, great job.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter THEaquino stuck his head in the lion's mouth with this lazy, utterly unoriginal offering in the Kawhi Leonard post. That he survived is plain luck; other commenters in that same post were roughed up by a righteous comment_ninja. Do better, homes.

Here's a clumsy, scattered half-effort from unstarred commenter BruteSquad in the Supreme Court post. Who in the world cares what anyone thinks about the affiliation of a minor league outfit? Tighten up your contributions, friend. Kudos to LBabe for trying to turn that thing into lemonade.

Oh boy. What the hell is this, from unstarred commenter Return_of_Kevin_Mack in the Pisswater post? I have a feeling this thing might be funny (in an awkward, sledgehammer kind of way) if delivered in person under the influence of drugs right circumstances. It obviously fails miserably as a Deadspin comment. Again, tighten up your contributions. This thing is all over the place.

This is a horrible, shamefully unoriginal pun made worse by a dreaded self-aware-slashie from unstarred commenter CardinalDevil in the Rex Ryan post. Please, folks, if you think it's bad, just don't submit it. There's no rule that says you have to comment. I know it's hard to resist sometimes (boy do I know), but you're not doing yourself any favors by submitting a bad comment you're already ashamed of.

And finally, unstarred commenter whiskerbrisket submitted ye olde video comment in the North Korean Lightning post. Gah. This is a losing battle. I wish people would never do this.

Alrighty folks. Have a great night. Goooooooo DUAN!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Roundup

Favorites and duds in no particular order.

, in no particular order:

I'm convinced nobody else saw this comment from Gamboa Constrictor in the Wake Up Deadspin post. That's the only possible explanation. Because I roared with laughter when I read it. It is hysterical. I will accept your thanks in advance.

David Hume's offering in the Play of the Year post also cracked me up. For whatever reason, food jokes work. I have the hardest time describing this particular kind of humor, so I'm going to waste use a lot of words and hopefully it'll amount to something: it is funnier (it just is) to take a target with an obvious vulnerability and savage that vulnerability. It's not something to be proud of, but look: a joke that cleverly asserts that a $900 meal at el bulli is actually comprised of sawdust and coyote-meat could be funny, but a joke that rather bluntly asserts that they serve garbage at an obvious hole like Applebees is somehow funnier. I suppose it's the added characteristic of cruelty, but that doesn't sound very nice, does it? It's funny because it's cruel. Is it inherently funny to strip something miserable of its flimsy remnants of dignity? Jesus, I'm laughing even as I think about it. But there's this: asserting that something grand is shabby rings hollow and even bitter, and lacks the wit that usually powers a punchline - it's not true. Brutalizing something for an obvious vulnerability is witty for the simple truth of the connection it makes between target and reference, and allows for the kind of outlandish comparisons that can, themselves, be funny, while apparently carrying the humor-booster of, well, cruelty.

So there.

Here's something daring and creative from our guy dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac in the T.O. Injury post. Okay, so the first part of this joke establishes something: surgery is taking place (premise), doc calls for item, item is handed back(set-up and rhythm). Rhythm is important because it reinforces the premise and therefore our expectations with each repetition. Expectation here is twofold - surgery entails certain specific events x the sequence seems to include those events in a specific rhythm. As is the case in all good jokes, that reinforced tension is commuted, in this case immediately after [stitches up wound] when the scalpel is again requested. But unlike most other jokes, the punchline doesn't hit at that point - in fact, the betrayal of expectation creates more tension in this joke, as we wonder where the hell it's going. The punchline comes at the very end, where it belongs, but that dynamic - where the punchline does not, itself, reverse our expectations - is interesting. Nice job.

Hatey McLife deserved a little more love for this comment in the Marv Albert Recap post. There's an interesting mechanic at work in this joke, too: the punchline exists throughout the entire joke, but Hatey McLife was good enough to put a heavier line there at the end, the finishing touch to the punchline that makes the reader go back and reconsider and discover the punchline from the beginning. These happen from time to time on Deadspin - vodkanaut does the occasional subliminal message joke - and they're usually a delight. This, from Hatey McLife, is a great example of this kind of humor at its best.

Here's another joke I suspect most people missed: an especially creative Olive Garden joke from All Over But The Sharting in the NHL Draft post. I have obviously become a big fan of these, and this one is especially funny for transplanting the format to a different circumstance and then imparting it with characteristics ostensibly unique to that circumstance.

UweBollocks does this kind of joke very well, as seen here in the Bunny Man post: one of his particular commenting strengths is cultural reference points, be they music or movies or books or celebrities, and the particular use of them as something like puns or wordplay jokes. That, and murdering transients. And this is obviously a fucking fantastic example of that style. Excellent job.

And finally, here's another example of Eddie Murray Sparkles's mind-boggling how-did-he-catch-that jokes in the One-Armed Man post. I needed a minute with this one, but it's just astonishing. And seriously, it would take me a fucking year to come up with this: one-armed . . . one hand to type with! Ummm . . . left handed! So . . . what worthy, remotely sexual words can be assembled entirely from the left hand position of a typist? I'd have to leave this task to the next generation, like the fucking Sagrada Familia or something. Eddie Murray Sparkles makes me feel dumb, and yet, I love him. Strange.

Total Fucking Duds

Today's one of those days when I'd rather think about winners than losers. What follows may be a bit underwhelming. We'll see.

Unstarred commenter CornWhole contributed absolutely nothing to the T.O. Injury post with this snotty quip. Nobody needs that sarcastic stuff. Think bigger.

Unstarred commenter Preopsician satisfied our be funny quota with this perfectly harmless offering in the Marv Albert Recap post. Be funny.

Unstarred commenter Mopy had a funny idea here (in the Bunny Man post), and this is one of those times when more is needed in terms of delivery. I talked about this on Friday (this morning): when the idea behind your joke is straightforward and simple, the delivery itself absolutely must be funny. With this comment, it would be funnier if Mopy simply went with something like "what kind of a creep announces his fandom by cramming his hand up a poor rabbit's ass?" (which is an awful joke and would be met with a large chorus of crickets). Something is better than nothing. That's not always the case, and you'll have to follow your instincts in making the distinction, but the sophistication required in set-up seems to be inversely proportional to the sophistication of the joke's idea. Or not.

Phintastic. Phintastic, Phintastic, Phintastic. Tsk, tsk. It's been quite a while since Phintastic's been on this end of a Roundup, but this lazy comment, from the Stylish Hat Trick post, is bad. In many ways, it's like Mopy's comment above. It's a super-simple, rather punchless punchline, and so it needs any amount of effort in set-up. Any amount of set-up. And there's not enough of a connection here to make that line, alone, worth submitting.

Here's something useless and pointless from unstarred commenter gs6456 in the Man vs. Lion post. Make jokes. Be funny. Not one person anywhere cares that you don't want to watch the video. I support your right to not watch the video, but do so quietly. No announcements are required.

This is a big disappointment, from unstarred commenter Freeman McNeil in the Deleted Scenes post. The lewd pun isn't so bad, but does it have to be framed as an inside joke? Does this joke in any way benefit from the use of the name Uwe? To me, it comes across as an excuse or cover for the pun, as if Freeman McNeil understood that a particularly lewd joke might not be received very well, and threw in an inside reference to soften the landing. Don't do that. Inside jokes are bad. Bad bad bad. If your joke needs cover, dump it.

And finally, here's a totally horrible, brain-dead ESPN.com comment from unstarred commenter twinturbo2 in the Charles Barkley post. What possible value does that comment have? What conversation could it start? Would anyone anywhere laugh at it? These are questions you shouldn't even have to ask yourself before submitting a comment. If this is the kind of thing you're inclined to submit on Deadspin, you have no business whatsoever being a Deadspin commenter.

Hey, have an excellent evening. Take some time and engage your fellow commenters over in DUAN.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Friday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

Cyrus_the_virus starts us off with this timely dig at Andy Roddick in the Wake Up Deadspin post. Extra points for the rare comment that operates in real time.

Bernie Carbomb cracked me up with this fantastic Möbius strip joke in the Jim Riggleman post. If there's one place on earth where you'd look for a great joke involving Möbius strips, it's Deadspin. Outstanding comment.

IronMikeGallego's first winner from Friday came in the Dead Wrestler of the Week post with this funny recontextualization. Taking a step away from the common template of this joke needn't be a big dramatic adjustment; in this case, IronMikeGallego more or less uses that template, but works it into the form of a sentence, so the joke flows a little better and has the impact of a one-liner. In the Haunted Hotel post, this offering was one of the funniest of the day. Möbius strips and gibbons: only on Deadspin.

Also in the Dead Wrestler of the Week post, I laughed at this recontextualization from MarkKelsosMigraine, which earned a nice ovation. Again, this joke steps away from the line-of-italics template. In my opinion, the joke flows a bit better and the punchline is therefore
a bit stronger than it might be if it followed the template. I mean, it's a funny reference anyway, but a great jokester doesn't let the reference stand alone.

Hatey McLife earned a huge round of applause for this magnificent one-liner in the Dead Wrestler of the Week post. Holy hell. No explanation required.

I giggled at this recontextualization from Raysism in the Dead Wrestler of the Week post. I realize I may be the only person who, as a rule, finds this kind of humor irresistible. Still, I thought this was funny and clever and it effectively darkened something inherently innocent. Great job.

Sheed's Bald Spot cracked me up with this Mariotti joke in the Haunted Hotel joke. Here the caps at the end obviously impart tone (if not volume) to the joke, which accentuates the humor of the reference.

Steve_U had a few humdingers on Friday. In the NBA Draft Kiss post, this super-clever one-liner earned a round of applause. This is a joke that gets better the more you consider it from various angles. In the Butchered Pronunciation post, this was one of the day's very best comments, and the crowd loved it. And finally, in the Outfield Fly Rule post, how about a funny, straightforward Menendez brothers joke? Excellent.

Here's Eddie Murray Sparkles's daily offering: a hilariously vicious shot at the hosts in the Butchered Pronunciation post. The lack of subtlety here is wonderful, in no small part because of the way it betrays our expectations of Eddie Murray Sparkles's commentary. Nice job.

This is a really creative, deliciously unpleasant contribution from dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac in the Goofy Knicks Fan Video post. We're seeing more and more of this lately; folks taking wholly original angles at humor with great success. There's no template for what dont-forget-where-you-came-from-cheese-mac did here.

I'm still chuckling at this Margot Kidder joke in the Drunken Hookup Failures post from DJ Jazzy Jeff Weaver. So we've done Möbius strips, gibbons, and Margot Kidder in a single day. This is why I love Deadspin.

And finally, here's a letter-perfect pun from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos in the Lleyton Hewitt post. Sublime.

Total Fucking Duds

Here's an utterly useless contribution from chakrabs in the NBA Draft Kiss post. What possible value does that observation have? Is that comment even remotely consistent with the standards of Deadspin commenting? Or am I missing something? I wish I could say that this kind of lazy commenting is unique to unstarred (or better yet, pink) commenters.

Unstarred commenter ColHapablap missed the mark with this goofy, juvenile offering in the NBA Draft Kiss post. Hey, at least it's an attempt at humor. And worse jokes have been submitted as Deadspin comments. But there's a fairly excruciating lack of subtlety in this comment. If the joke boils down to Jan Vesely had an erection after kissing his bombshell girlfriend, the structure of the joke needs to be something significantly more sophisticated than Jan Vesely had an erection after kissing his bombshell girlfriend.

Unstarred commenter En Vague submitted this needless, lazy quip in the Vancouver Riots post. Is there a joke there and I'm missing it? Assuming there is, this is maybe an example of an undercooked joke, which is something we talk an awful lot about. It's a fine line to walk between subtlety and schtick, but a good general rule is this: if your joke boils down to something really, really simple, the set-up and delivery have to be part of the humor, in which case you need a little more substance. Conversely, the more complex the idea, the more you probably want to stay out of the way of your punchline. As the obscurity of your reference goes up, the complexity of your delivery should go down, otherwise you're going to confuse and ultimately alienate the reader. Or not.

And finally, from unstarred commenter David Oliver comes ye olde video comment in the Vancouver Riots post. That's just never gonna cut the mustard, guy. Think bigger.

Okay. I realize it is now Monday. A quick peek behind the green curtain will tell you that I'm currently moving from one residence to another for reasons involving a vagina. Internet service is dicey at best. Lots of work is being done, and trying to sneak away for a Roundup, especially during crazy-ass balls-to-the-wall weekend moving time, is like trying to tiptoe past a shark when you and he are both submerged in a 15 square foot tank. I love women, and this living arrangement will surely be an adventure, but you'll have to bear with me during this transition.
Or not.

At any rate, hey, I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine was exhausting. Soon, very soon, we'll be back on schedule.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Thursday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

All Over But The Sharting cracked me up with this effort in the Wake Up Deadspin post, proving that there's still plenty of juice in the "Jason Whitlock is fat" meme. Later, in the Dirk Tattoo post, this dig at Jim Gray showcases All Over But The Sharting's gift for patient, effective set-up. There are a million ways to short this joke ("Similarly, a Jim Gray homage tattoo features Lebron James's balls on your forehead", etc.), but a good joke-maker takes the time to build a set-up that allows that punchline to hit with maximum oomph. Nice job.

I really enjoyed this offering from Bernie Carbomb in the Unusual Red Card post, and was surprised it didn't get any attention. It's a different angle to the joke, it's an excellent pun, it has character and a nicely weighted punchline, and it got an honest-to-God chuckle out of me. Have a +1.

This is an excellent comment from unstarred commenter cobra.la.la.la.la.la.la in the Broken Trophy post. The recontextualization is hilarious, and he also had the good sense of humor to throw in a pretty damn funny end title for the memoir there at the end. There's a lesson here: take the extra minute or two and fully flesh out your joke before you submit it. Obviously, cobra.la.la.la.la.la.la could have stopped at making Trophy With a Broken Stick a working title for Heather Mills's memoirs and it would have been a worthy comment, but that little extra touch makes it all the funnier. Nice job.

Here's a giant, mostly terrific thread featuring AzureTexan, Steve_U, Eddie Murray Sparkles, Bevraj of Choice, All Over But The Sharting, Same Sad Echo, OnTheTwelfthNightOfLloydChristmas, MattinglysSideburns, Nine Bill Muellers, and unstarred commenters WhoWantsaWanstacheRide, Red Ned, and MaxErnstMankini in the O.J. Confession post. There are some seriously hysterical contributions in this thread. +1s all around.

This is just pure funny from DJ Jazzy Jeff Weaver in the Great-Grandmother post. It's also a startlingly clear example of premise-setup-punchline joke-making, albeit in the form of dialogue. Excellent job. Later, in the Kyrie Irving post, DJ Jazzy Jeff Weaver was good enough to demonstrate that there is, in fact, still juice to be squeezed from the "Brett Favre has a small penis" meme. One of my favorite all-time DUAN threads was 160-some comments long and ran the full gamut of roadkill memes, but the fact is, a good joke-maker can find an angle to humor in all the old, boring standbys. Today was a great example of that.

In the Great Grandmother post, sweatingmullets earned a round of +1s for spotting an excellent reference and packaging it confidently. On the rare occassions when sweatingmullets ventures outside of DUAN, he demonstrates some serious game.

Theodore Donald Kerabatsos dropped what I thought was the funniest comment of the day in the Phille Phanatic post. There's no part of this joke that isn't hilarious, but the specific use of expert language at the end really sends this joke over the top. I'm still laughing about this one.

Steve_U's Bein' Green joke in the Phillie Phanatic post really killed me. For whatever reason, it's these jokes that reference things from my childhood that I just can't get enough of. I think there's some broader uniformity to that sentiment, though: we all seem to respond with particular joy to jokes that skew or otherwise subtly darken subjects that seem inherently innocent. Turning Kermit the Frog's sweetly melancholy song into a genuine reference to pain or injury is just really fucking funny. Later, in the Nyjer Morgan post, this danger-of-taking-things-literally joke earned another round of applause. That's awesome.

And finally, here's (of all things) another Heather Mills joke, this time from Fendi Hotdogbun in the Nyjer Morgan post. Terrific. He took a unique angle on this one and courageously let the audience do some of the work. Robert Altman would be proud.

Total Fucking Duds

Unstarred commenter bofie stopped well short of submitting anything of value at all with this comment in the Softball Email post. I'm hesitant to say "this thing isn't even worth a discussion", but the simple fact is this: if you pay any attention at all to what goes on in Deadspin's comments section, you can't possibly think this kind of thing is appropriate. It doesn't at all rise to the level of being a joke. Maybe, maybe in a room full of friends you could deliver this line with a look on your face and a tone of voice and wild, crazy jazz hands and get a response. Crafting sophisticated jokes with language in writing takes a hell of a lot more effort and intelligence and nuance. This stuff will not do.

Unstarred commenter VanExelfor3 disappointed with this comment in the Softball Email post. It's not a bad idea at all, but the problem is, Steve_U had already made a nearly identical joke down thread, one that had been met with deserved praise. It's frustrating because Steve_U deserves that anyone reading the post will see his well-made joke fresh and enjoy it and appreciate his clever commenting. I can sometimes forgive a commenter stepping all over another commenter's work if they genuinely think they have a significantly better, more original take on the same or a similar angle, but obviously that's not what happened here. VanExelfor3 got lazy, probably didn't check to see if his comment had already been made, and then never scrolled down thread to even read the other comments. In fact, he submitted another comment in that same post only moments later, and still hadn't traveled down thread to see what other comments were made. It's just courtesy - someone gets there first and nails it, you leave it alone or redact.

This comment was also disappointing, from J. Henry Waugh in the Great-Grandmother post. Yes, that scene in The Big Lebowski is funny. Copying the line, while changing two whole letters, falls pretty well short of being original humor. It's not even really relevant, is it? Copied lines of dialogue and lyrics and unadorned photos or videos make me a little crazy. This joke boils down to nothing but "I have seen The Big Lebowski, and it is funny."

And finally, just what the hell's going on with this thing, from unstarred commenter MaxErnstMankini in the Great-Grandmother post? Truly, I have no idea what the hell's going on there. I click the link and I get the same photo. That's just an astonishingly long way from funny. As I mentioned above, unadorned photos almost never amount to a good comment.

You know, I've meant to say for a while now that the commentariat is looking really fucking formidable these days. Months ago, I was pretty down on Deadspin's commenting: things had gone the way of quotes from The Simpsons and half-assed puns and ubiquitous Brett Favre dick jokes. Shortly after the redesign, we published a piece about the apparent exodus of the most inspired commenters around and the general sorry state of affairs. I'm so, so glad that early dread turned out to be unnecessary. These past few weeks, it's been downright difficult to keep up with all the terrific commenting going on in virtually every thread literally every day. Even the gray guys seem to be making genuine efforts toward sophisticated joke-making, and I see half a dozen or more perfectly solid gray comments a day go unpromoted.

So, to all you magnificent mad-man (and women): bravo. Truly. I first came to Deadspin because of the magnetic, seemingly-impossible genius of the best of the commentariat, and I think we've got a present crop of commenters who will make that same impression on new readers every day. Keep it up, you wonderful sons of bitches.

And go do DUAN.