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!!]


  1. Great stuff, as always. Uwe is indeed a confirmed pop culture savant. For example, he can tell you every hotel room Justin Bieber has stayed in for the last 8 months, and exactly what color his pajamas were each night.

  2. Just got caught up on a week's worth of comments and roundups that I missed. Excellent work throughout.


  3. IronMike, don't be so modest. If we we're talking silent films or prohibition era pop-culture, you'd school me. Mainly because, unlike you, I wasn't alive back then.