Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Roundup

Quite a few favorites and only a few duds from Wednesday's commenting.

, in no particular order:

I laughed at this helpful rhyming from norbizness in the Wake Up Deadspin post. I may have been the only one, though. I thought the rhyming was pretty damn funny.

I really enjoyed this offering from All Over But The Sharting in the Nationals post, and it inspired a pretty damn funny reply, too. I love the format here. This joke could easily have gone "only a moron makes a 75 minute commute and pays $50 for a crappy seat at a baseball game and then raves about the food" only that's not funny or impactful. All Over But The Sharting found a hugely creative way of repackaging that idea into an interesting comment. I have this thing about media - different forms of communication; movies, music, sculpture, writing, etc. I'm always fascinated by a statement or idea expressed using a specific medium in a way that is entirely unique to that medium. For example, expressing sadness in music without language (language being something that exists across most media), or expressing a specific idealism in a movie exclusively through mise en scene. This joke (and quite a few on Deadspin) must be presented as text. To read it aloud or show it visually would diminish it. It requires text. The specific layout of text is the joke. Extra points for that.

Also in the Nationals post, this is a very clever joke by David Hume, and the crowd clearly enjoyed it. Now, some jokes benefit from tone, which, in jokes, is most often perceived audibly. With written jokes, language has to do what inflection and facial expression and body language can't. This joke uses "huh, I assumed . . ." to indicate a specific tone, which layers humor on top of the clever wordplay that forms the punchline. It would still be a good joke even if it just said "The defining element of most ballpark's foodcourts is sodium." David Hume just happens to be a confident enough joke-maker that he is able to boost that joke with language that makes it seem like a clumsy, goofball misunderstanding. Nice job.

MattinglysSideburns had another series of winners on Wednesday. My favorites were this, in the Nationals post, which I had to look up but is nonetheless an astonishing reference, and this, in the first Roberto Luongo post, which is hysterical and did not require an internet search (for readers of a certain age). I'm close to saying that MattinglysSideburns has cornered the market on obscure references. The thing is, I would never ever ever recommend this style of commenting to a brand new commenter: frankly, it's annoying having to look up references, so the reference has to be a fucking grand-slam. MattinglysSideburns has proven to be a master at this, and so it's a privilege to track this stuff down. But a lot of the obscure stuff I look up on a daily basis comes from unstarred types, and most of it is tortured and flimsy and just annoying.

Hard-charging unstarred guy Mantis Toboggan, M.D. left this winner in the Nationals post, earning a promotion and a +1. This guy's terrific. He has the batting average of a featured commenter. Sometimes, with an unstarred commenter, you know they won't just be starred, they'll be a stand-out featured commenter. Mantis Toboggan, M.D. has that look. Really impressive commenting.

At work in this joke, from AzureTexan, in the Historical Mediocrity post, is tone, wordplay, and the inherent humor of the unexpected selection of David Gates and Bread as the target of the dig. This joke would be solid with any reference, but significantly less funny (to me) if it had targeted a more contemporary or culturally relevant band. This is one of my favorite characteristics of AzureTexan: that instinct for unexpected silliness.

Raysism dropped perhaps the day's best comment in the 75-cent Store post. No explanation required; that's fucking hilarious.

MarkKelsosMigraine cracked me up with this contribution to the Soft Dirk post. It turns out, MarkKelsosMigraine has a talent for deeply unpleasant humor. This isn't nearly as disturbing as the Emmett Till joke, but the cringe is definitely part of the success of the comment.

IronMikeGallego had a pair of winners on Wednesday. The crowd enjoyed this wordplay joke in the Bryce Harper post (and a hilarious reply), and later, this hilarious offering in the LeBron post was similarly celebrated. You don't see many P-Funk mythology references these days. Nice job.

I was surprised this comment from Hatey McLife in the first Roberto Luongo post didn't get any attention. So sharp. I loved it. Have a +1.

Also in the Roberto Luongo post, I laughed at this offering from Bevraj of Choice. I know virtually nothing about hockey, but I'm so glad I was able to grasp this one. That's very clever.

In the LeBron post, I really enjoyed this contribution from DJ Jazzy Jeff Weaver. It combines an absurd idea with sharp language and an increasingly poetic delivery - smooth and delicious. To hell with punchlines!

I laughed very hard at this jack-in-the-box style comment from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos in the LeBron post. You know, there's a way to slow cook this joke that might also be funny, where a lot of elaborate set-up leads the reader away from the bitter, hostile punchline, but this condensed version of it is really fucking funny. The abruptness of the comment somehow makes it all the more wonderful. I can try to break down jokes and structure and why certain things work and certain other things don't, but there's no accounting for instincts. I can't predict when or why or how this specific kind of tone and/or delivery will work - trust your joke-making instincts. This comment slayed me.

And finally, also from the LeBron post, ScientificMapp's dig at silly Cavs fans was good for a chuckle and a round of applause. Nice job.

Total Fucking Duds

I took it easy on the duds today. Here are three:

Unstarred commenter I Dream of Jeannie Zelasko made a mistake of youth[ful commenting] with ye olde video-joke in the Nationals post. IDoJZ has been around for a long time but is an especially infrequent commenter on Deadspin. I'm going to choose to believe that he'd move past this crap with a little more practice.

Also in the Nationals post, unstarred commenter Mr. Met's Morphine rambled on about something no one else on earth could possibly care about; his opinion of menu items at select establishments. My God, what was he thinking? That's not even remotely appropriate for Deadspin commenting.

In the 75-cent Store post, unstarred commenter Don't Bring That Kool-Aid To This Gin Party totally missed the mark with this rambling nonsense. I'm not trying to be a jerk or elitist when I say that the kinds of comments and jokes that are perfectly fine and humorous among friends or at a party simply will not work on Deadspin. The humor is completely lost. And beyond that, you're not putting a whole lot of effort into your contributions if you're settling for the kind of conversational humor that works with your family - we can't see your face or hear your voice or see your wild, waving hands. The best commenters on Deadspin are crafting sophisticated jokes with ingenious punchlines; suggesting that Mark Cuban sleeps with the Larry O'Brien trophy just won't stand out. There's nothing wrong with this brand of humor, it just falls well short of the standards of Deadspin commenting.

And finally, a short eulogy for The_International_Poise_Conspiracy, who was never much of a commenter and got away with a ton of snarking and meta-commenting: The_International_Poise_Conspiracy was the kind of commenter who curiously +1'ed a lot of forgettable comments and seemed to be mostly tone-deaf when it came to building his own jokes. That doesn't necessarily distinguish him from a great many unstarred commenters, but then there was the meta-commenting: no matter how many times he'd been warned away from it, he just couldn't seem to reign it in. Ah well. He finally got the chop for an unnecessarily hostile and totally inappropriate reply in the Soft Dirk post. So long, TIPC. I'm not sure you will be missed, except by the real victim of your banning: Gamboa Constrictor's edge.

Hey, go make something of tonight's DUAN.


  1. Loved the analysis of AOBTS and Hume's jokes. You totally delivered on your promise of a good roundup.


  2. Great stuff, as usual. The AOBTS idiot bit was one of my favorite things he's ever done. And that's saying quite a bit.

    /pours one out for TIPC

  3. DJ Jazzy Jeff WeaverJune 15, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Excellent work.

    The thing that kills me about the user that Tommy banned is the sheer idiocy of his comment. We're talking, way above and beyond standard internet commenter idiocy.

    The article was literally about how Nowitzki is an all-around awesome dude and never got enough credit, and this fucking moron comes along and says "HAHA ALL DEADSPIN POSTS ARE ABOUT HOW STUFF SUXX!!"

    Dude, there are plenty of Deadspin posts about how stuff sucks -- if you're going to make your asinine and idiotic comment, DON'T FUCKING MAKE IT ON A POST ABOUT HOW SOME DUDE IS AWESOME.

    And finally, does TIPC really not get the whole promotion/reply thing? Or was he trying and failing to make a joke?

  4. TIPC was a *true* deadspin troll - he was knowingly, intentionally went out of his way to needle and annoy people. He may have been an unfunny weirdo, but he wasn't *just* a clueless boob. His nonsense may have had a few fans in the immediate aftermath of the purge, when he represented a certain point of view, but that point of view, and his routine have become hopelessly obsolete.

    TDK, on the other hand, poops gold-plated lightning.

  5. To be fair, Mr. Met's Morphine IS right about the jalapeno-chocolate.

    It's been great-- if a touch more intimidating than I'd like to admit-- to see Hume get back in the regular swing of things; it's like a daily lesson in craftsmanship. Missed the AOBTS Idiot bit the first time through... a marvel.

    And not only is Toboggan looking good, but he's already developing a pronounced voice-- nebbishy and charming.

    Nice, tight wrap-up, Mr. S.

  6. Theodore Donald KerabatsosJune 16, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Hey, I popped my MBA cherry today... it didn't bleed nearly as much I'd been led to believe in sex ed.

    Just wanted to say that this blog is great and thanks for doing it. I don't always read all the DS stories and/or comments, so this is a great way to catch all of the creamy filling without having to eat all that spongy yellow cake. I appreciate your eye for comedy, MS... it's not always about the stars and +1's. Great work.

  7. TIPC was actually a fairly regular supporter of my commentary. And that, tragically, may be among the reasons I'm a 2-time destarred contributor.

    But this has been a pretty good week. More promotions Wednesday and for that I'm grateful. Keep up the very useful and insightful feedback MS et al.

    -- TRTF

  8. I cannot tell a joke to save my life, but I know one when I see one... And Todd Reesing Turf Facial, you ARE alright. Do not let being "unfeatured" deter you.

    Remember: it took President Camacho a year to get his star, at least a year, I should say, even if I saw it in the offing straightaway. Now, he is second to know with a sharp dart.

  9. Should be 'none', not 'know'.