Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Roundup

A goddamn shitload of favorites and a nearly-equally-robust helping of duds from Wednesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

In the Wake Up Deadspin post, bigredgambler used a feature from the post's photo as the basis for what amounts to a funny caption. He was not the only person to go with the "that guy looks like a zombie" theme, but his comment was nonetheless successful. Nice work.

Newly starred commenter Rare Endangered Vuvuzela contributed a pair of winners today. His recontextualization joke in the Wake Up Deadspin post is charming and silly and earned a pair of +1s. Later, in the Kris Humphries post, his nicely-built wordplay joke earned a round of applause. Congratulations, and good luck.

Also in the Wake Up Deadspin post, Hit Bull Win Steak took the first crack at the "that guy looks like a zombie" joke, and with significantly less subtlety, but sometimes that kind of thing works. Finding that right balance of subtlety in delivery is so tricky. In this particular comment, Hit Bull Win Steak used caps and punctuation as a way of imparting a specific voice to his comment. This is a technique I would caution against getting carried away with, but here it really works. Reading it as an exclamation is important to appreciating its sense of humor.

This comment, in the Willie Mays post, encapsulates everything we love about Eddie Murray Sparkles. So confidently delivered, and such a simple premise, and he's the single person who saw that angle on this post. Look, Eddie Murray Sparkles is one of the commentariat's standard-bearers when it comes to structuring comments, but what really makes my head spin around is his ability to find totally unique sources of humor within pretty much every post in which he comments. It's pretty amazing. This comment knocked me over, and was one of the day's very best.

IronMikeGallego had a couple of winners on Wednesday. His Willie Mays comment was right up there with Eddie Murray Sparkles' in terms of ingenuity and strong delivery. I looked at it, processed it, then sat back and said, "God damn." Later, he left an outstanding take on a nickname in the Bernard Hopkins post, cracking me up in the process. So good.

The final jaw-dropper from the Willie Mays post comes from unstarred commenter Achiever. This is a glimpse at why Achiever was once a featured commenter: this was the very first comment in the Willie Mays post, and it's the kind of comment that's so good it's intimidating. That is a hell of a comment.

The Drinking post brought out a lot of crap, but this enormous thread made it all worthwhile. +1s to Tulos_Mullet, In Re Hightower, Steve_U, Same Sad Echo, UweBollocks, unstarred commenter Stads_NC, DJ Jazzy Jeff Weaver, Phintastic, IronMikeGallego, Fendi Hotdogbun, Walk Off HBP, Landycakeboss, and SavetoFavorites for their excellent contributions.

I laughed aloud at this simple offering from Carmen McFanzone in the Bernard Hopkins post. There's no careful structure here, it's just a hilarious observation.

SavetoFavorites didn't stop with contributing to the aforementioned thread; I giggled at his dig at Victoria Beckham in the David Beckham post, and guffawed loudly at this quote joke in the Bryan Stow Lawsuit post. That second comment destroyed me; I was already enjoying it, and then I read "deceased" and nearly died. Excellent job.

OnTheTwelfthNightOfLloydChristmas was yet another guy who had it going on Wednesday. This comment, in the Tornado Video post, is an outstanding pull. It took me a minute, but that was part of the beauty of the joke. So fucking fantastic. And later, this joke in the Kris Humphries post took a little more set-up, but boy does it pay off. Excellent, excellent work.

Same Sad Echo also contributed a pair of winners outside of the Drinking post thread: this wonderfully silly (and gross) dig at Kirstie Alley came from way out of left field, and that's a big part of why it works so well. Later, I chuckled at another out-of-nowhere punchlines, this time in his contribution to the Mitch Albom post. Hilarious.

All Over But The Sharting returned from the ether today and contributed this hilarious and long dialogue joke to the Mitch Albom post. Again, the punchline of this joke is perfectly placed, but even more impressive is this; unbelievably, this is a recontextualization. It has all the mechanics of a recontextualization joke; the punchline fundamentally relocates an important idea from the post and infuses it with all new meaning and humor. The joke is not in the punchline, it's in the way the punchline alters everything before it. Simply sublime. No hiding, you. The crowd demands more, and this is exactly the kind of thing I want to be talking about over here on Mad Bastards All: new and wholly different ways of maximizing the impact of a joke idea.

ClueHeywood was in a groove today, first offering up my favorite of the "Mitch Albom is short" jokes in the Mitch Albom post, and later shocking and delighting the crowd with a stunningly raunchy priest joke in the Directional Wiping post. Holy hell. That second one is awful in the best possible way.

Unstarred commenter FutbolGenius earned a promotion and a round of applause for this very sharp dig in the Mitch Albom post. That's a terrific pull and an excellent comment. Great job.

Our guy Steve_U cracked me up with this straightforward contribution to the Bryan Stow Lawsuit post. I'm a big fan of this kind of joke, where a key word or rephrasing early in the set-up creates anticipation in the reader, so the punchline carries a sense of satisfaction in addition to the actual humor. You see this kind of joke a lot on Deadspin, usually in the I haven't seen a [whatever] that [whatever] since [whenever] template. It won't always work, but this particular version was a smashing success.

MarkKelsosMigraine dropped this obvious winner in the LeBron James/Drake post, earning a pair of +1s. The humor is not just in the wit of the comparisons themselves; this is also one of those "only MKM" types of jokes, where names like Wacka Flocka Flame and Lloyd Blankfein are used unapologetically and with virtually no overt tether to their reference. Furthermore, the enthusiasm of the comment is part of MarkKelsosMigraine's commenting voice.

This comment, from MattinglysSideburns, in the Kris Humphries post, is obscure. This is one of those times, though, where it can't be anything but obscure, because the obscurity is absolutely part of the joke. Obscurity for the sake of obscurity can be hugely annoying, but the joke here is not just "this is obscure"; this comment actually supplies a laugh from at least three different directions. First, there's the obscurity, the what-the-hell-is-he-talking-about, out-of-left-field humor. Second, the reference itself (which I won't explain but is absolutely worth looking up) is impressively sharp. And finally, there's the idea that someone would start an extensive tome on succession with a disturbing description . . . involving horses. This last one doesn't necessarily require any notion of what the hell he's referring to; the incongruity is funny, and it piques the reader's interest. At any rate, I laughed, then I looked it up, then I laughed hard, then I sat back and thought, "Jesus, that's something." Nice work.

And finally, here's a +1 for comment_ninja, for his hysterical take-down of unstarred commenter Tressels_Sweater_Vest in the Kris Humphries post. It really is the use of the word wee-wee to really hammer home his point that takes this from being a funny slap to an outrageously funny slap. Nice work.

Total Fucking Duds

Big haul today. Let's get right to it.

I'm not sure what unstarred commeneter FedorovsGoldenMane was thinking with this mess in the Willie Mays post, but that should have been redacted. It's not just the joke, which is bad, but the serious-tone follow-up that kills this comment. Don't do that. It ruins whatever impact your joke may have made. And in this case, the joke was obnoxious at best.

This comment, from unstarred commenter NobodysFault, in the Drinking post, is nothing but a flimsy excuse for a screen-cap. I hate that. It just couldn't be more plain that homeboy saw the word drinking and thought, "Hey, that's as good an excuse as any to drop a screen-cap in there!" Gah.

It's bad enough that schmendo decided to drop an unrevised, unadorned Homer Simpson quote in the Drinking post, but the fact that this same uber-lame concept had already been tried by some unapproved schmuck down-thread reveals the true depravity of this comment. Make jokes. It would be one thing if some unstarred commenter made this mistake, without the benefit of being able to see pink comments, but for a featured guy? Incredibly, indescribably lazy.

Unstarred commenter The Return of FiddlingWhileJimRomeBurns posted a link to a YouTube video in the Rangers Evacuation post without supplying any amount of original humor. That would make a perfectly fine DUAN thread, but it's a lousy comment.

Unstarred worthless sack of crap billikenmetz continued to troll Deadspin's comments today, first starting a short-lived meme with this clueless, tone-deaf "take-down" of Steve_U in the Rangers Evacuation post, and then, in the same post, offered this wholly worthless summary of his experience of the Texas storm. Let's be clear: this guy is a troll. He makes virtually no effort to be funny or offer anything even remotely interesting to Deadspin's commenting. The comment_ninja had his foot on this guy's throat today and let him up off the mat. I predict billikenmetz will not be long for the commenting world.

Unstarred commenter Balls State Explorer contributed this strange little nugget to the Bernard Hopkins post, to my utter confusion. Seriously? How in God's name could anyone have any amount of exposure to Deadspin's commenting and come away thinking that's an appropriate offering?

Similarly, what the hell was unstarred commenter Andrew Bates thinking with this comment in the David Beckham post? Dude, make jokes. For crying out loud. I can handle someone swinging and missing with an attempt at a joke, even a lame joke, but this kind of comment plainly does not belong, even without a Commentist Manifesto. Look around you! Is anyone else commenting in this way? That should be a huge, glaring clue.

And again, in the Kobe Bryant post, from unstarred guy elhebrewhammer. Nothing to see here, just a long admonition of Deadspin for their "misleading" header. Jokes on you, dummy - Deadspin has no integrity! Get it?! [dies laughing]

Horrible unstarred commenter EsotericPopCultureReference is a Lakers fan, apparently has no gripe with the next Lakers head coach being characterized as a "sideline prop", but wants everyone to know he thinks Kobe has a right to be involved in the search for said empty suit. Yep.

And finally, an honest entry in the So-Bad-It's-Almost-Good category, from unstarred commener poppanegyric, in the LeBron James/Drake post. Ooof. That is brutal. To be fair, this is an honest-to-God joke and required a fair bit of effort, but boy oh boy is it misguided. In general, I'd advise new commenters to start simply and work their way up to long-form, dramatic screenplay-type jokes. The effort to be funny is appreciated, but that thing's painful to read.

Hey, have a great night, stay safe from tornadoes (unless you're billikenmetz), and go lend your good cheer to tonight's DUAN.


  1. Another Herculean effort, another fantastic job. +1.

  2. I missed SavetoFavorites' Bryan Stow post joke earlier. I'm forever grateful that you are here to point those things out for us.


  3. Do you ever feature comments that did not receive a +1 or did not get promoted among the best of the day?

    For example, I thought AlcoMichalek's addition to the Drinking/Sinking/Shrinking thread was as good as any of the featured comments, and actually made me laugh more than most of the starred ones in that thread.

    Just curious whether a comment has to be promoted for consideration.

    /I'm not AlcoMichalek.

  4. Great piece. Ever since our run-in, I've taken a step back from commenting. I commented like 6 times back in December as a pinky, and came back at the end of April I believe, and was promoted within a day. I suffered some growing pains, and have learned from them.

    My advice to the grays is, unless you're Hedberg reincarnated, to once you get promoted, just take a step back and observe. You may be funny and your joke may be funny, but timing and structure are crucial elements that come with experience. And right now, I have no problem sitting on the bench spectating to gain that experience.

    And to Mad Bastards All, great work and keep it up. There's a DUAN Apology thread, and in that theme, I apologize.

  5. @Not AlcoMichalek [AltoMichalik]

    I absolutely would include a comment that was not promoted in the Favorites if it really stood out. I have not so far, but I came very close a while back with a comment from [searching] unstarred commenter Mantis Toboggan M.D. in the May 6th Wake Up Deadspin post. I wish I had, actually.

    It's just a hugely sophisticated recontextualization joke, where the commenter was willing to totally obscure the format, and hey-oh, look at the loaded punchline! In fact, I'd say the level of sophistication in this joke, combined with the general malaise of the commentariat when that comment was made, kept this totally worthy comment from being promoted.

    I regret not including it.

    So there.

    Here's the link to that comment:


  6. Anonymous: The answer to your question is yes, he does. My comment today got no special attention, but MS picked it up. So yeah, it certainly happens.

    While I'm here ... I've been around Deadspin forever, occupying that middle ground of the funny-but-rarely-guffaw-inducing. This forum has provided an invaluable education in what's funny, what's not and why. I can't track DS all day every day, but I make it a point to check here at day's end, because I know not only will I see the best (and worst) of the day, but I'll learn a little something about the art of a good joke.

    Anyway, as the author of a few Favorites and one Total Fucking Dud (thus far), I just wanted to add my name to the list of those offering +1s to the work you're doing here, MS. The effort is very, very much appreciated.

    - Carmen McFanzone