Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday Roundup

A selection of favorites and duds from today's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Here's a successful straightforward pun from Gamboa Constrictor in the Phil Jackson post. It is not the official position of Mad Bastards All that puns = bad, only that bad or easy or cheap puns = bad.

Also in the Phil Jackson post, here's something unexpected and funny from All Over But The Sharting. Later, his outrageous quote in the Mitch Albom post was one of today's funniest comments. Nice work.

Steve U cracked me up with this sharp dig in the Mitch Albom post. Sometimes, this type of humor is almost too available - everyone goes for the "short" joke or the "fat" joke and most of the time the attempts fall flat. After all, how many different jokes along those simple lines have we already processed? But when done right (as with anything), it can still be terrific.

David Hume took the Mitch-Albom-is-a-goofy-shrimp angle and drove it way out to left field for this short dialogue in the Mitch Albom post. I laughed at this.

So, I laughed at this awful recontextualization from IronMikeGallego in the Mitch Albom post. Couldn't help it. There was a conversation today about whether and/or where the line is drawn for what is appropriate fodder for jokes. Are kids off-limit? Tragic death? The tragic death of kids? Meh. I say it's all in-bounds. What is the effect of a joke about dead kids? Where's the damage? I submit, by way of defending jokes about Conor Clapton, the case of one Bernie Carbomb, who famously edited a flat-out hysterical recontextualization because of concerns over the tastefulness of the topic. The joke was wonderful. Wonderful. I do think it's important to tread carefully when handling potentially touchy topics, but if you've got something strong and it so happens to rely upon the shock factor of quoting a dying Pat Tillman, do it, if for no other reason than I will laugh at it.

Here's something funny from Mantis Toboggan, M.D. in the Dave Barnett post. As I've said before, I'm a big fan of this kind of set-up. The obvious cadence of it primes you for the punchline so effectively, you're just waiting to laugh by the time you get there. I am especially fond of this sort of thing, jokes that do more than hand over a punchline - the set-up actively positions both the punchline and the reader so the two will meet with maximum impact.

Now, the funniest comment of the day came from unstarred guy daze in the Dave Barnett post, and it is hilarious. It's such a bizarre, disturbing, and surprisingly specific description. The more I scroll between the comment and the picture, the funnier it gets. Great job on this one.

And finally, I was reminded today that I'm a total sucker for Tony LaRussa jokes, and so I laughed at this simple dig from Raysism in the Secretariat post. You know what I like about Raysism? For the most part, his comments are breezy and uncomplicated, with a reliable tone that resonates even in his simplest, most elegant jokes. From time to time, he seems to settle into grinding, and that's bad, but even then, his batting average is admirable.

Hey, no Total Fucking Duds tonight. There were some shitty jokes around Deadspin today, but nothing that rose to the level of exceptionally awful. Or, anyway, nothing that inspired me to compose paragraphs in anger.

Enjoy your evening, everyone. See you over in DUAN.


  1. Love it!

    Also, I think Hume's joke roped in the "Pinocchio, a famous liar" angle as well as the "Albom is ridiculous and tiny" angle.

    Daze's line was excellent.

    1. Though it may sometimes seem like it, I try not to fully unpack every joke every time, lest I explain all the humor right out of them.

      That said, I certainly don't mind if folks do that in the comments. Feel free to dissect every joke as much as you like.

      And, yeah, that daze line is something different for Deadspin and MBA, and I'm not sure it's the kind of thing that can be reliably pulled off, but it sure worked in this case.

  2. One of the great simple pleasures of this blog is getting to laugh at these jokes all over again the next day.

  3. As was mentioned on another Balog, it is great to see Mantis back and knocking them out of the park. He's among the very best when he's around and getting him back before the PowWow switchover could be the sort of boost the commentariat needs to keep everything rolling seamlessly into the strange new world.

    I'm shocked the Tillman joke made your list, but I'll take it. As I've said many times, my little brother has done tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and it was tremendously difficult for my family when he was gone, so I hope people don't think that I find the death of soldiers to be funny (as opposed to the death of civilian contractors, which is hilarious), but that recontextualization jumped into my head and I ran with it. It was a little out there for me, given that I've never used a swear word or worked blue on Deadspin, but I'm glad someone got a laugh out of it.

  4. I take issue with the notion that I'm sometimes "grinding". To me, grinding is putting out a high volume of poorly-constructed, poorly-edited or poorly-thought out jokes, just to see if one of them hits. I don't think I've ever done that. I erase plenty of shitty jokes, and sit out plenty of posts, and I only post stuff that I think is funny (perhaps a low threshold, granted, but still).

    Of course, I am definitely a high-volume commenter when I'm at my desk. But that's my personality. I talk a lot, and I think most things are funny (or an opportunity for funny). That being said, I'm as streaky as the rest of you, and plenty of my stuff only makes me laugh (well, maybe me and BronzeHammer).

    I think it’s important that we not discourage high-volume commenting just for the sake of discouraging it. I don’t know if all of you can see the pink comments, but it doesn’t look good out there. I think it’s great that we have some guys who only spit A+ comments (TDK, et. al.) and that we have some high-quality guys who are able to contribute as their schedule permits (Mantis, et. al.), but we are going to get absolutely run over in PowWow if a bunch of us aren’t making a bunch of funny comments. If you have something that you think is funny, I want to read it – period.

    To steal your baseball “batting average” analogy, I think it’s cool that we have some high OPS guys (EMS, Bev) and some Total Bases guys. I think I’m a Total Bases guy. I’m at the plate a lot, I don’t look at pitches, I make a lot of contact, and some of them find the gaps. Sure, I strike out sometimes. And, yes, I sit out a game or two. But I can switch hit. Plus, I’m a decent glove and I run the bases well. Okay, I don’t know how those last two sentences relate to the analogy, but I was on a roll and went with it.

    In any event, my point was something about me being pretty awesome, but now I’m just curious if there’s a bottom to this comment box.

    //knees you in the nuts when I’m hugging you

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Doh. Sorry, was just having fun with Ray. I'll save it for the balog.

    3. So, all I do here is calls 'em like I sees 'em. From time to time, it seems like you have a tendency to put a premium on being represented in every post, rather than on making the best joke in every post. That's just the view from the outside.

      Two quick things:

      1. One guy comments in every post, is functionally illiterate, has the sense of humor of a toddler, and his very best joke ever starts with "knock knock" and ends with "orange you glad to see me!!!1!" Most of his jokes are his C to B level stuff, which means for the rest of us, they're roughly Z-grade jokes. Another guy comments in every post, is smart and sharp and clever, has a terrific sense of humor, and his very best joke gets nominated for a COTY. Most of his jokes are his C to B level stuff, which means for the rest of us, they're okay but not great and don't often rise to the level of memorable.

      I'd argue that both guys are grinding. "Grinding" is a made-up term, so we can call it anything we like, but when I use it, I'm just referring to pumping a high volume of jokes that represent something less than your best stuff. While I don't think grinding is anywhere near the worst of offenses, I do think only posting your best stuff is better. That said, hey, if it makes you laugh, you should post it. Perhaps that's the distinction here. If so, well, there it is.

      2. The important takeaway from my write-up of your joke is not that you occasionally grind, it's that you're a terrific commenter with a distinct voice and style, that latter part being beyond any doubt the toughest trick to pull in the arena of dick-joke-making. Without any go-to jokes, your humor is recognizable in a crowd. To return once more to the baseball analogy, I don't think of you as a Danny Espinosa type, who swings at everything and misses more often than not and is more likely to strike out than hit for power. You're more of an Alphonso Soriano - lots of power, lots of bases, all your children's names start with "A", and you favor knee-length socks around the workplace, which strikes quite the contrast with your more conservative co-workers.

      Seriously, you're great. Most commenters grind from time to time. One need not bear the scarlet G for all time because of it.

      And hey, IMG, it was funny and I laughed, but I'm just trying to keep the comments from going in that direction. I picture a dozen Guys Who roaring in if I leave that door open, and I just won't have the time to moderate it.

    4. Yup, good call.

      Consider me Guy Who Had A Momentary Lapse In Judgment Brought On By His Love/Hate Relationship with Raysism, In Which He Loves Me And I Hate Him.

    5. MS, I was just giving you shit. I took what you said as a huge compliment, and not only because I take everything as a compliment. My general point is that I don’t consider it grinding because I don’t feel like I’m doing it for attention, representation, etc. – I just like crafting stuff that I think is funny. But I knew where you were coming from, and I hope you continue to call everything as you see it. We’re big boys. And pretend people, which makes it easier in a lot of ways.

      But I really do get concerned that the praise we (appropriately) give people like TDK, Sharting and others will scare newer and lesser commenters into thinking they shouldn’t hit Submit unless it’s an A plus, double-digit +1 type joke. I’d love it if we could all do that all the time, but it’s not going to happen. We need a group of jokes on every post, and sometimes it’s the ones you’d least expect to find funny that really crack us up, so I think people should feel free to submit a bunch of good jokes if they have them.

      Also, I’m sure you didn’t realize this, but just a couple of weeks ago I actually made a “knock, knock/oranges” joke, so for a minute there I wasn’t sure which person I was supposed to be in your example.

      And I do love IMG. He's a big reason that I'm now largely considered a funnier commenter than IMG.

    6. Mantis Toboggan, M.D.June 20, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Stepping away from the you-as-a-commenter stuff for a minute, Ray, I agree 100% with the us-versus-them idea that you proffered. I don't mean that we shouldn't welcome others who are attempting to bring the funny, but we need to set the tone. You nailed it when you said "If you have something you think is funny, I want to read it." Hand-in-hand with that, I think it's important for us to actively show appreciation for good comments. We can debate the merits of the +1 ad nauseam, but in this instance I don't think you can argue against it as a means of dictating the tone of the comments after the switch, a means of declaring "This is the kind of commenting we do here." Because if it's true that the ninjas aren't going to be around, it'll be left to us to maintain whatever perverse integrity we have over there.

      Thanks to you and IMG up there for the kind words, you gents are okay too I guess. Oh, and thanks to you too, Shitehawk. Forgot how much I enjoy reading these things. MANTIS, OUT.