Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Friday's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Steve U dropped an excellent, tricky little screenplay-style joke in the Daily Screencap post. So good.

Our guy IronMikeGallego contributed this winner in the Hugh Douglas post, earning a big round of applause. I'm still chuckling about this one.

Here's a funny-as-hell spin on the High School Highlight post from BronzeHammer. It's really the final line that brings this joke home. It's not so much a punchline as it is just a really funny impersonation. Good stuff.

Dave Algonquin (WWTD?) reworked a song I'd love to never hear again into a damn funny comment in the Lawrence Taylor post. Nice job layering on the silliness. For his efforts, a major haul of +1s.

Eddie Murray Sparkles used a provocative opening line to set up readers for an unexpected punchline in this awesome joke in the Stephen A. Smith post. I love this kind of misdirection. I've read a thousand Eddie Murray Sparkles jokes now, and even I was nervous about where this one was going.

This is probably your Comment of the Day, from All Over But The Sharting in the Stephen A. Smith post. Another big dramatic playaction fake on this one, leading to a stinging commentary on ESPN's First Take. That's really great.

Bring Back Anthony Mason went slightly meta with this comment in the Car Hurdling post, but what makes this joke funny (for me) is the notion that the poor guy's tumbling action is subject to the same kind of style review as the move in an earlier post. The comment also reflects upon the absurdity of a thread from that post (more below), which is also pretty funny.

Madoffs Mets scored a winner in the Car Hurdling post with this one-liner-ish contribution. This is a neat kind of joke; the setup is virtually 100% of the humor. The whole laugh comes from the way the final line defies the reader's expectations. The punchline itself packs almost no surprise or humor for the simple fact that no one is surprised or scandalized by Kobe having skipped college. We laugh because Madoffs Mets turned that simple truth into an unexpected finish for his dig at the subject of the post. I suppose misdirection is the theme of the day.

Raysism strengthened his pun in the Chris Cooley post with a fun little accent touch. The line in brackets puts in our minds a very specific look, turning a reasonable pun into a sardonic passive-aggressive dig. The comment almost functions as a screenplay joke, wherein the line becomes a genuinely awkward moment between the deliverer and the kid. That's a hell of a joke.

Total Fucking Duds

This, started by apparent moron digdug in the High School Highlight post, is one of the worst, most embarrassing threads in Deadspin history. What a fucking mess.

I won't bother linking to it, but the Stephen A. Smith post comment section was, predictably, a sorry show of stupidity and ugliness. Here's the full content of an unsolicited email I received about it:

Boy, that sure is some "intelligent discussion" in that Stephen A. Smith post.

/kills self

Enough said.

Hey, have a great weekend, humorous types. It's been a good week for commenting. Here's to next week being even stronger. Now let's have a rockin' Friday DUAN.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Thursday's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Bevraj of Choice cracked me up this morning with this silly misunderstanding joke in the Scott Fujita post. Each component piece of this joke is funny, from rap/wrap to Fujita/fajita to the choice of El Pollo Loco. I'm still chuckling about it.

Here's a funny recontextualization from Raysism in the Scott Fujita post. This joke could work another way, too, in that it can be read as a misunderstanding on the part of the commenter, and that's also damn funny. Either way, Raysism's interpretation really does make the quote from Fujita funny as hell. Nice job. Later, he went with this hysterical one-liner in the Slow-Roasting Cop post. This joke spawned something of a comedy pyramid, but it stands alone here. There's nothing wrong with trying to get a pyramid going off someone's joke, and it's damn hard to identify when it is inappropriate. In this case, I feel like Raysism's joke is fucking fantastic, the kind of thing I wouldn't want to put my own similarly-themed joke up against.

A couple of commenters took this angle in the Australian Baseball post, but I thought DubaiAtNight had the winner. His joke stays just far enough away from the reference that it requires a little work from the reader, and it also spins the reference into an imaginative new use. That's good hustle.

All Over But The Sharting dusted off ye olde Herschel Walker reference for this funny . . . um, dialogue (?) in the Lolo Jones post. If there was any juice left in the Herschel Walker thing, you had to know it was going to be a commenter of All Over But The Sharting's caliber who'd ring it out.

Here's a joke that had to be made, from Poignant Theater in the Falling Shark post. I picture a dozen commenters perched over their keyboards waiting for the right sequence of words to pop into their heads. Poignant Theater got there first and did well with it. I don't mean that as any sort of criticism at all; in this case, there really was a Greg Norman/The Shark joke to be made, and someone had to assemble it. Just because it's right there for the taking doesn't mean it's any less funny. In fact, there are whole joke formats that rely upon a device whereby the punchline of the joke is tipped right at the outset. Point is, not all punchlines have to be a surprise. This is a solid joke.

Here's a great little false-premise joke from Rare Endangered Vuvuzela in the Tank vs. Amputee post. I call it that because Rare Endangered Vuvuzela had a funny idiom he wanted to work into a comment and needed to tweak the content of the story to bring it in line with his punchline. By assigning Tank a certain position, he gave his punchline firm footing. I have no problem with that. In fact, it's a common device on Deadspin. The key is to not push the content of the post too far afield, otherwise the whole joke becomes weak and forced and more embarrassing than funny. But because it's not hard to imagine an antagonistic Panthers fan in North Carolina taking the assigned position, the joke moves into the idiom/punchline without a hitch. Good stuff.

Our guy SavetoFavorites left this outrageous comment in the Tank vs. Amputee post, earning a round of applause. Wonderful. As I have said on many occassions, SavetoFavorites does silly better than anyone. Clever is fine, witty is fine, shocking is fine, gross is fine. I really dig silly. Silly is hard to describe, but I am more likely to laugh at silly than I am at, say, clever, which is why I am a huge fan of this guy. Later, SavetoFavorites did this in the Slow-Roasting Cop post. That's a fucking riot.

Also in the Slow-Roasting Cop post, here's another false-premise joke, this time from Universal Enveloping Algebra. Again, Universal Enveloping Algebra creates a circumstance somewhat outside the content of the post in order to shoehorn in his pun. It works! It's distilling the rough content of the post down to a basic idea, then pulling that basic idea in a new direction in order to create a new circumstance, and then using that circumstance to present a punchline. It has to be done carefully, but it totally works.

Total Fucking Duds

This should be pink, from some fat-fingered shit-head called ChiGuy99 in the Lake Cabin post.

No, you're right, cheezymadman, the quality of news is determined by its suitability to your underwhelming knowledge and interest in various sports/athletes. Jackass.

And finally, here's a genuine attempt at humor that just falls on its face, from Fozberry in the Slow-Roasting Cop post. Compared to a lot of other junk on Deadspin the last few days, this is wonderful. Here are a couple of tips: I'd stick to a single punchline, especially when presenting what amounts to a one-liner. The first joke, the bit about "eating out", it's not the worst thing ever, although I think more needs to be done with the idea in order to make it actually funny. That's your one-liner. The second part, the "cannibalingus" bit, that was doomed to failure. The only way that works as a stand-alone concept is in some kind of pyramid, but even then, there's just not much there. The fact that both words start with the letter C and have a few syllables, that's just not enough. You'll want to take that word and dress it up in some kind of funny and/or charming and/or disgusting set-up, surround it with humor and let the method of delivery do some of the work. "Cannibalingus" isn't funny enough alone to be a comment. And the question mark? The question mark, believe it or not, punts your comment over the fence. That's like asking, "is my joke funny?" A joke that is uncertain of itself will never be funny. I think.

A side note: I really, really enjoy the NBA Shit List stuff. The comments are almost universally excruciating, but the pieces themselves have all been really terrific. Here's another +1 for whoever thought this up.

Goooooooo DUAN!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Wednesday's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Burner David Hume showed up again today with this excellent wordplay joke in the Moving Islanders post. Just like the real David Hume, this guy uses little touches to dress up his punchline in an added layer of fun personality. Homeboy should stick around for a while.

Here's a fast-moving, twisting-and-turning dialogue joke from Raysism in the Caron Butler Dance Party post. This is great. I really could go on and on about this joke. And so I will. One of my absolute favorite things about written jokes is finding those rare circumstances when a written joke has actual by-God timing. It's so much harder to pull off than one might initially think. Most of what goes into a spoken joke or a skit or slapstick is timing, the actual rhythm and pace of the delivery. With written jokes, structure and eloquence take on a more important role because there are fewer tools at the joke-maker's disposal to ensure the joke is read at any specific tempo. We all tend to read things first in our own voice and at a pace that is more or less determined by the speed of our comprehension, so assuming tempo will play any role in the success of your written joke is a dicey proposition, and many jokes fail because the author assumes the reader will hear the joke in their mind the way the author heard it in his own. What does Raysism do here that makes this a darting back-and-forth, and why is that important? Well, I suppose the use of simple designations (Guest 1, Guest 2) helps. Also, and rather obviously, there's no fancy language in there, not even a three-syllable word before the final sentence. And finally, Raysism's main characters here aren't weighed down with oppositional or even specific personalities, making it easy and inconsequential to read them both in the same voice. And it's all so important to the joke because, again, by allowing the reader to gather the words and their literal meaning at roughly the minimum amount of time needed to comprehend the punchline, Raysism allows the reader to experience the briefest of cognitive delays. In other words, we can't predict the punchline before we read the punchline, and in most jokes that surprise is hugely important to drawing a laugh. And it's not just the punchline, it's every twist along the way: the word "Butler" referring to someone other than Caron Butler, then circling back and defying our initial impression at the end. Remember the whole tense-expectation-converted-into-nothing thing? Here's a great example of how timing can play a huge role in facilitating that action. Great joke.

Along those same lines, here's another hysterical wordplay gag in the same post, this time from Eddie Murray Sparkles. I laughed aloud at this joke. It relies upon a more straightforward delivery, but benefits from the exact same delay. This time, it's understood that the reader will need a moment to assemble all the pieces of this joke and then locate the reference within the post, and that creates both the tension and the surprise. Of course, that mechanic is a signature move of Eddie Murray Sparkles.

More than one commenter took this angle in the Bobby Valentine post, but I happened to think this effort, from The Amazing Sneijderman, was the best. What can I say? A goofy cartoon reference punches up this joke. The visualization of the bus is half the fun. In other words, there's more to this joke than David Ortiz is fat. There's also the preposterousness of Inspector Gadget's bus, and offering a secondary device in a joke is an excellent way to turn it from clever or mean or smart to genuinely funny.

Total Fucking Duds

This is such an incredibly stupid thing to say, from asswipe Steven Berger in the LeBron James Technical post. It's the kind of brain-dead hostility that, once upon a time, was the exclusive domain of pink commenters, the kinds of pink commenters who fucking stayed pink. And the fact that it started a conversation is just hilarious, a perfect demonstration of the design of Kinja. Would it matter to anyone if that comment had been made by, say, a famous basketball player? Would that somehow elevate the comment or conversation to something worthy of the attention of intelligent people? No fucking way.

Here's something astonishingly lazy and lame-brained from some dummy called Apoc, also in the LeBron James Technical post. Thanks for filling us in, you fucking dipshit. What the hell made this a sentence worth even thinking about, let alone typing into a comment field?

This is just funny, from some wayward soul called amnigo in the Lowered Rims post.

What follows is a list meant to be representative of the kind of "conversation" that is now visible to anyone who visits Deadspin. It's important to note that none of this would have been visible to 90% of Deadspin's visitors before Kinja:
st_Jef said this.
HateJoe said this.
Joseph Finn said this.
DonDrapersLiver said this.
peeltopoop said this.
These people are fucking idiots, and I'm not saying that because I disagree with what they say. I'm saying it because they are stupid. Stupid people. And if this kind of commentary doesn't depress the shit out of you, doesn't make you grind your teeth and shake your head and yearn for the pre-Kinja days, you're obviously beyond help. These are not conversations worth having. These are the kinds of people who should be shamed and embarrassed by giant dramatic eye-rolls whenever they say shit like this aloud around other humans.

ProFootballComment is either a ringer for a disgruntled regular (in which case, BOOOOOOOOOO), or a hopelessly devolved neanderthal. Either way, Jesus, what a fucking dismal, comment. Yeesh.

So, in the coming days, I'll be scaling back the duds (again). Sometimes it's fun to say mean things about people, and sometimes it's useful to make a point, but once I've made all the relevant points and used up my thesaurus of hyphenated insults, the duds really turn into a drag. I'm sure they become as painful to read as they are to compile and write. Thing is, right now, the duds far outweigh the great jokes, and there's such a wonderful, awful variety. It's more difficult than you might think to leave some of this shit alone.

Hey, how about a good old-fashioned DUAN? Make it happen, turkeys.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Tuesday's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Here's a silly and fairly gross little gag from Bring Back Anthony Mason in Barry's excellent Rain post. I think of Bring Back Anthony Mason as a dependable high-average hitter; he tends to only comment a few times a day, and all of his comments are well-made and original and funny. Way back in the star days, in addition to COTY types and, of course, grinders, we had a healthy group of commenters who could be counted upon for one or two solid, quality comments a day, with the occasional knockout mixed in. Bring Back Anthony Mason is one of the best examples of that group. Very few throwaway comments, just a steady, dependable stream of good, funny jokes.

Here's a Raysismian joke from Raysism, in the Coach Meltdown post. Once upon a time, I mislabeled Raysism as a grinder, but here's the truth: he often gets there first, but he has a real and admirable talent for turning what he finds there (the medium-hanging fruit, shall we say) into something genuinely charming and funny. The Jesus=Tim Tebow thing isn't a particularly original angle, but he turned it into a funny, successful one-liner, and that takes some doing. I don't want to box the guy in, here; he does all kinds of jokes and most of them don't fit the above description, but he also does the early-and-often thing, and staying fresh and funny in that style takes a great sense of humor. Nice job.

Steve U left this great wordplay comment in the LSU Airbrush post, earning a handful of +1s. It's a funny enough reference, but the letter-perfect delivery really makes the joke. That's how the pros do it, right there.

It's nice to see Sponsored by V8 back in action. This joke, from the Plagiarism post, makes a series of very funny changes to content from a previous Deadspin post, relying upon the callback value of the original post to highlight the absurdity of the comment. A person who hadn't read the earlier post would have every reason to wonder what in the hell everyone was laughing about, and I'm totally okay with that.

This is just a hysterical thing to visualize, from Eddie Murray Sparkles in the Too Tall Okafor post. And it's another one of those in-plain-sight jokes! Love this guy. But, of course, that's not the Eddie Murray Sparkles comment you're waiting for; it's this one, in the Al Davis post. Holy shit, that's great. It's so hard to imagine any juice is left in the Jerry Sandusky angle, and yet, there it is. So, so good.

This joke, in the Ozzie Guillen post, is no less funny for having been made by burner David Hume. In general, I hate burners, especially asshole burners who can't think of a more interesting handle than "David Hume", but this is a pretty solid joke. I mean, for an idiot burner.

RMJ=H cracked me up with this funny quote in the Ozzie Guillen post. It's a clever joke, but the quote format, which allows RMJ=H to load up with personality, really makes the whole thing sing. Great stuff.

Here's a mostly awesome comedy pyramid featuring IronMikeGallego, Raysism, Jack Dickey, Eddie Murray Sparkles, The Amazing Sneijderman, I Like Cheap Beer, Pink Slime, RexsPodiatryst, KareemCheese, and others. Several very funny entries in there. +1s all around.

Total Fucking Duds

SteveGarveyPumpingChicks dropped this unwelcome prediction in Barry's excellent Rain post. It's inoffensive, yes, and there were worse things on Deadspin today. And I, too, am annoyed by The Sports Dipshit, but pointing out in as bland and straightforward and unimaginative a way as possible his predictability makes absolutely nothing of it. It's important to recognize the difference between the idea for a comment and a fully formed, finished comment. This comment is just an idea and does not rise to the standard of Deadspin commentary.

Shut the fuck up, Lamont Sanford, III. You're terrible. This is the kind of "conversation" we've gotten from Kinja, and it's crap.

Here's a worthless, pancake-flat quip from some dude called DeadHead in the Plagiarism post. Who on Earth would laugh at that fucking thing?

The irony of this goddamn comment makes my head hurt. Hey, Gallant17, pull your head out of your ass.

Hey, that's more like it! Now, off to DUAN, you funny types.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Monday's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Here's a classic little wordplay zinger from Bring Back Anthony Mason in the Lance Armstrong Rewind post. Nicely done.

Eddie Murray Sparkles dropped this goofy one-liner in the Pee-Wee Concussions post. This is sort of a sleepy post-Kinja example of Eddie Murray Sparkles' ability to assemble what is right in front of us into something surprising and funny.

And finally, I have to admit I laughed more at this comment, from Sponsored by V8 in the Spooky Stare post, than any other from today. It's meta, sure. But it's also damn funny.

Total Fucking Duds

This lazy pile of crap, from idiot rando War3agle3 in the Daily Screencap post, is just sort of par for the course these days, an example of the kind of uninspired, totally unoriginal commenting that has become the norm on Deadspin.

Erg . . . Erg! Erg, I'm sure, can do much better than this, in the Lance Armstrong Rewind post. Talk about low-hanging fruit. Booooooo.

Here's a kind of commenting I don't particularly enjoy: QuesoDeCabeza did it heredarth_farter did it here; and TheRescue did it here (all in the Lil Wayne post). It's just sort of a snarky, throwaway rhetorical question. Good comments can end in question marks, sure, but there was a time when Deadspin commenters recognized the difference between the kind of easy, mostly punchless stuff that might work at the bar among friends, and the kinds of jokes that deserve a dedicated space on a popular website right alongside the inventive, genuinely original stuff the best commenters sometimes churn out.

And finally, here's more crap, this time from some guy called TheComing in the Fake Injury post. There was plenty of this shit pre-Kinja, but it was all hidden from sight. Now? Virtually that entire comment section is devoted to people tossing around these canned, boring, totally uninspired angles, with nothing new or interesting to say anywhere.

So, a million years ago, I wrote these things before anyone at all read them, before I ever even wanted anyone to read them. And this was roughly what the comments looked like back then, immediately after the redesign; a lot of boring, shitty, style commenting, with a steady diet of Simpsons clips from norbizness. And I've gotta say, Roundups are a hell of a lot easier to write when there are only three noteworthy comments a day. Keep up the good work!

DUAN! Do I have to fucking beg?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hey Lookit!

Interesting how this happened on the same day everyone's favorite balog was apparently taken over by a time-traveling 14-year-old nerd from 1997.

Hey, those are some heavy-hitting commenters behind Heading for the Exits. And no aliases! Should be a hoot. Best of luck.