Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from today's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Here's a really terrific one-liner from Bring Back Anthony Mason in the Katie Couric Interview post. So creative. The meat of the joke is the unit of measurement, and Bring Back Anthony Mason gives us all the information about it before giving us its name, and he does it all in one tightly constructed sentence. That's perfect delivery. Obviously this stuff is sort of old hat for Deadspin regulars, but it's really impressive when measured against all the other, less successful ways this joke can be made. Later, Bring Back Anthony Mason delivered this amazing noir-ish joke in the Jim Irsay post. Most days, either of those jokes could be Comment of the Day. Just two spectacular comments.

Here's a great one-line dig from Raysism in the Katie Couric Interview post. I like the dry, bare-bones delivery on this one. In a way, it finds the middle ground between asserting the punchline as fact and just ripping the guy's style choices. I hope that makes sense. In other words, you could call the sweater ugly by just saying, "damn that's one ugly sweater", or you could create a fictional scenario to literally explain the choice of clothing. Raysism's joke reads like a dig, the kind of thing you might say to a coworker wearing a terrible sweater - it supposes how he came to be wearing it and uses the absurdity of the guess as an indicator of the ugliness of the clothing. I swear this all makes sense to me.  Later, Raysism earned a huge round of applause for this killer photoshop joke in the Redskins Catfish post. No analysis required - just look at that fucking thing. Good stuff.

Here's a charming reference from ScientificMapp in the Redskins Catfish post. It's hard not to love this. It's a clever enough pull, but the joke is funny for using a spot-on characterization of the Cathy comic strip as its conflict. It's sort of adorable, actually. Anyway, great joke.

Steve U was on fire today. Here's a dynamite one-liner in the Redskins Catfish post. I marvel at this. I have no idea where the inspiration for this angle came from. It would take me a week to come up with this joke. And here's another unexpected reference, this time in the Phone Log Spreadsheet post. This one might be a little easier to trace back to the words "area code". Still, the thought process here has to be something like area code to vast mental catalogue of songs and song lyrics to songs with area code or something that sounds like it to words and phrases in these songs that can be manipulated in one way or another to how to package this into a one-liner that doesn't waste all the mental gymnastics I just did in assembling the component parts. Incredible. And finally, Steve U used his most straightforward delivery for his easiest-to-follow punchline in this outstanding one-liner in the Eden Hazard post. Such a pro. Great job.

Sgt. Hammerclaw earned a huge ovation for this silly multimedia joke in the Phone Log Spreadsheet post. So, the whole idea of Manti Te'o passing off a handwritten document as an official Verizon phone record is funny enough, but the joke might be a bit dry if it isn't dressed up with little touches here and there. And the actual visual handwritten document is such fertile territory for adding one's own humor, anyway. I think this joke probably gets a handful of appreciative +1s even without the (wink wink) stuff and the scratched out lines and the exclamation points, but it's that stuff that takes it from being clever to something at which a person will genuinely laugh aloud.

Here's something silly and stupid and hilarious from RMJ=H in the Scarves post. That's a really goofy premise for a joke, and it could probably be delivered a few different ways, but I think ultimately it was important that RMJ=H kept it short. If he'd wanted to really go the Idiot route, he could have done the whole "Funny, I always thought the 'masque' . . . " thing, and that would have also worked. Still, the effect is similar: we're laughing at least a little bit at how completely ridiculous the suggestion is, and some of that laughter is pointed back at the author. When you make a joke like this, you do it knowing that people will be laughing at how stupid it is.

So, I guess I'm with the burners on this one, but I thought this long joke from burner VampireWeekendatBernies in the Manti Te'o Has Got Goodness post was pretty fucking funny. It's the collapsing-into-absurdity thing that shows up in a lot of funny long-ish jokes from time to time. I think there's sort of a subliminal trick to these, because, when you think about it, the collapsing-into-absurdity joke, when done well, follows almost exactly the standard narrative arc. I remember someone once suggested to me that the narrative arc is such an effective storytelling device because it follows the arc of . . . wait for it . . . an orgasm. Crazy, right? Whoa, we've just moved into our own bit of absurdity. Jesus. I have no idea where I was going with that. Oh, right, the idea that the narrative arc is something that we process subconsciously. Deep, man. Way deep. Ever notice how much easier it is to listen to a song written in 4/4 time than a song written in, say, 7/8? Takes a moment to get used to the awkward time, right? WE ARE INFECTED WITH STRANGE ALIEN PREFERENCES THAT WE DO NOT CONTROL.

There is no way this is not the Comment of the Day, from SavetoFavorites in the Super Bowl Tickets For HJ/BJ/etc. post. I fucking died when I read this. The balls section is maybe one of the two or three funniest things I have ever read. There's really nothing more to say about it.

This is pretty damn funny, from a burner called BreastonLargements in the Super Bowl Tickets For HJ/BJ/etc. post. Like the famous "banana wrapped in elbow skin" blurt from however long ago, this is just something someone says. And it is funny.

And finally, here's a clever one-liner from BronzeHammer in the Super Bowl Tickets For HJ/BJ/etc. post. It just sort of repurposes the content of the post into a different circumstance altogether, and both the new circumstance and the potential misunderstanding are really funny. And, for a cherry on top, it goes coarse at the end, using much more explicit language to deliver its punchline. There's no way that doesn't boost the humor of the joke. Good shit.

Total Fucking Duds

So, maybe the general wisdom these days is that I should cut it out with the duds. And I'm okay with that, I guess. I haven't decided one way or another, but for now I think it's probably safe to assume that most days there won't be duds. I don't want to remove the section altogether, and I doubt I ever will, but I have come to think that those of you who suggest that there are just too many horrible comments floating around each day to bother isolating a few are probably right. We'll see how it goes. For Wednesday, I skipped the duds. We'll see what happens with Thursday.

Keep doin' your damn thing. The comments have been great lately. You guys are the best.


  1. So Cobra's the last dud ever. Brutal. Forever enshrined. Lasting legacy. Eternal memory.

    But don't worry bud, I'm sure people won't remember once Deadspin breaks the story that Arsene Wenger's trenchcoat is hiding several African children.

    1. Okay, this made me laugh, Sneijderdick.

  2. Who do I have to kill to get the Comment of the Day?

    Oh, SavetoFavorites and Gamboa, you say? Be right back!

    1. Maybe you should just try commenting more.

  3. Much appreciated, although the tiny part of my brain that is still a scientist, immediately after posting, thought "Probably should have gone with 15 milliArmstrongs."

  4. It's been said before, but I just love the mechanics breakdowns here. I don't think humor analysis gets any smarter-- but still tinged with affection for, y'know, funny-- anywhere else online.

  5. It's obvious that you know "funny" when you see it. That being said, I'm really looking forward to reading your reaction to the gut-rocker that Theodore Donald Kerabatsos dropped in the "All the Nice Emails" story yesterday.