Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Week In Review And Then Some

First with the awards.

Last Week's Swinging Dicks

In a massive six-way tie for third place, co-winners of a collection of armed and loaded mousetraps from my freezing cold basement: StuartScottsEye, Gamboa Constrictor, Bring Back Anthony Mason, Madoffs Mets, Theodore Donald Kerabatsos, and The Amazing Sneijderman, with 2 Favorites each in the past five days.

Here's my favorite comment from StuartScottsEye from last week. Such a complete joke. Great job.

Here's my favorite comment from Gamboa Constrictor from last week. It's a great Idiot joke.

Here's my favorite comment from Bring Back Anthony Mason from last week. Really, either of his jokes from Wednesday could be here. They were both spectacular.

Here's my favorite comment from Madoffs Mets from last week. Silly goose.

Here's my favorite comment from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos from last week. This guy's unbelievable.

Here's my favorite comment from The Amazing Sneijderman from last week. That's a great one-liner.

In an only slightly less annoying five-way tie for second place, co-winners of a collection of sprung mousetraps from my freezing cold basement: Eddie Murray Sparkles, Raysism, Steve U, RMJ=H, and IronMikeGallego, with 3 Favorites each in the past five days.

Here's my favorite comment from Eddie Murray Sparkles from last week. Smart and goofy and great.

Here's my favorite comment from Raysism from last week. A perfectly executed dig.

Here's my favorite comment from Steve U from last week. This joke has a really funny payoff.

Here's my favorite comment from RMJ=H from last week. This one killed the crowd.

Here's my favorite comment from IronMikeGallego from last week. It's like a pump fake that sends half the defense scrambling 30 yards in the wrong direction.

And alone in first place, proud winner of a collection of brutally mangled and mostly frozen mouse bodies from my freezing cold basement: DougExeter with 4 Favorites in the past five days.

Here's my favorite comment from DougExeter from last week. Another excellent one-liner.


But there's more!

The Monday Comment of the Day from StuartScottsEye.

The Tuesday Comment of the Day from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos.

The Wednesday Comment of the Day from SavetoFavorites.

The Thursday Comment of the Day from Madoffs Mets.

The Friday Comment of the Day from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos.

Congratulations, all.

The Unwelcome Lesson of the Week

So, many ages ago, Earless and I spent some time talking about joke-making, and out of this conversation emerged an approach to jokes that essentially treats a punchline like a hunk of beef. And, because Earless is smart and articulate and also a great joke-maker, he did most of the talking and I did the oohing and ahhing. But I have the blog and the rest is history. So, forget everything in this first paragraph and continue reading below.

The general idea is that there are two basic ways of cooking a hunk of beef: hot and fast, and low and slow. And, because I was just watching Alton Brown on television, I feel qualified to talk about why you might want to cook one hunk of beef hot and fast and another low and slow.

Hot and fast cooking is for those very tender, very tasty cuts of meat that could be eaten raw - really, you're cooking the meat at all because you, Manly Master of Nature, believe you can improve upon its God-and-cow-given deliciousness. But really, a nice thick cut of grass-fed beef tenderloin requires the briefest touch of a smoking-hot pan or grill for a good sear, and you're letting the fresh, blood-red interior carry the meal. That's where the action is. Minimal seasoning, minimal cook-time, just a quick application of high heat to give the outside a nice crunch and seal in the juices. Delicious.

Then there's low and slow, and low and slow cooking is for tough, fibrous, somewhat less delicious parts of the cow: the ribs, the shoulder, the butt, the parts of the cow certain fancy types might otherwise toss to the dogs. Barbecue is brined and rubbed and cooked over low heat for half a day and then served with spicy, vinegary sauce because, hey, it's not exactly made from the most wonderful part of the pig. Beef brisket - same deal. Low and slow is all about the untapped and deeply hidden potential of an otherwise forgettable hunk of meat.

When you or I look at a cow, we see a big loud smelly animal chewing cud. When I look at a dead skinned cow, I see a room spinning round and round and then blackness and then my wife standing over me with a look of grim resignation and a nice man holding smelling salts. When a butcher looks at a dead skinned cow, he sees opportunities. A relatively inert hunk of muscle hidden in the most docile part of a docile animal? Top dollar. A big strong hunk of thickly fibered muscle from the animal's powerful hindquarters? Barbecue. Brisket. One way or another, he sees potential, a way to turn that part of that animal into something delicious, and therefore something worth trading for money.

The Deadspin commenter is not so unlike the butcher. Each post is a slaughtered cow, freshly skinned and cleaned and oh God where's the bucket [blacks out]

. . . hanging there . . . wwwrrrrviscera exposed . . . oh God . . .

[smelling salts]


Each post requires that you, the butcher/joke-maker, have the creativity and wisdom to see, within the content, avenues to humor, opportunities, potential. And each avenue, each angle, will require an application of language that falls somewhere between hot and fast and low and slow. And you will generally know the difference via your own honed sense of how funny an idea is all on its own. But, as we all know from watching Steve U and SavetoFavorites and Gamboa Constrictor and Theodore Donald Kerabatsos, there's potential everywhere in that post. Every cut of meat can be salvaged by the right application of heat, and every angle in the post can be salvaged with the right application of language. Maybe your limp pun isn't ready to carry the plate in a one-liner, maybe it needs dialogue or a big long paragraph, or maybe it needs to be an Idiot joke. Apply words and creativity as a chef would apply heat, and you're on your way.

Hey, enjoy the Pro Bowl, eat well, and be rested and ready tomorrow for another full week of kickass jokes.


  1. This is great. Great, I tell you. Great.

  2. If I ever quit commenting, it will be be because I spend all this time on that fucking website, and TDK shows up five times a year and makes my life's work look like a collection of Blondie comic strips.

    1. Ray, never compare your comments to Blondie. They have nothing in common.

      For instance, I have never masturbated to one of your comments.

  3. Why don't women understand how important it is to be featured on this list? My lady couldn't care less that I finally made it. She's gotta get her priorities in order.

    Excellent work.

  4. Man, I can't tell you how much I love reading your various analyses of comedy and Deadspin comments. In the years that I've been posting on the site, I've realized that being funny -- whether in a comments section, in a conversation, on a stage, or in a movie -- is not necessarily a trait that people just HAVE or DON'T have, it's something that takes work.

    I've always thought I was a somewhat funny or clever person, but it hasn't been until within the last five years though, that I started to think about why. I never thought much about the fact that when I was a kid I used to LOVE watching The Kids in the Hall, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and re-runs of Saturday Night Live (side note: do you realize how awesome Comedy Central used to be? Their entire afternoon lineup consisted of the aforementioned shows along with old episodes of SOAP, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Absolutely Fabulous. Tell me that's not 100 times better than the bullshit they have on today.) My whole life I believed that I watched those shows (and other funny shit) BECAUSE I had a good sense of humor... but more recently I'm realizing that the reality is that it's more of a chicken-or-the-egg type situation.

    Anyway, the thought never occurred to me until recently that my sense of humor isn't just something that happened to me. It's something that's been molded by the shows I watched, the people I laughed at, and the people I knew. My dad has a bit of a weird sense of humor and I've definitely inherited that from him. Old episodes of Flying Circus were the origin for my fondness for absurdity. Mr. Show taught me that shock value and smart comedy can exist in the same space. And on and on...

    A few years back I saw the the Jerry Seinfeld documentary "Comedian" and that's when I really started thinking about humor. Up until then, I guess I'd sort of assumed that spontaneity and inventiveness were what lay at the core of comedy, and that to analyze and examine comedy ran counter to its very essence. In the documentary, Seinfeld explores his own comedic process and examines the habits of other comedians. He shows that funny people don't necessarily make good comedians -- that comedy is a SKILL just like anything else. And if you want to be good at it, you need to think about it, and you need to analyze it, and you need to treat it just like any other skill that you want to hone.

    Comedy isn't a skill that shuns practice and analysis, it REQUIRES it.

    I realized that important distinction right around the same time I started trying to make jokes on Deadspin. And DS provided the perfect format to try and be funny in a way that allowed one to be thoughtful, creative, and intentional, and to receive instant feedback. It really was the perfect sounding board for people trying to make the internet's best dick jokes.

    When MBA started and you started your analysis, I can tell you, and I'm sure I'm not speaking only for myself here, that it was like a revelation to find out that other people were looking at comedy -- specifically in the Deadspin comments -- and analyzing it in a meaningful way. Your analysis, and the thoughfulness with which you approach it, is just fascinating and fun to read. Thank you for doing it.


  5. Your analogy about the joke-maker as butcher is so right on. Sometimes the joke is obvious or it just comes to you quickly and your only job is to do it justice by wording it right, finding the funniest way to say it, keeping it brief, and firing it off. Sometimes the joke, if there even is one to be found, is hidden somewhere in the carcass. It might require a lot of cutting, just the right seasoning and the perfect amount of heat and time in order to bring out the best flavors. My favorite thing about DS is seeing what other commenters can do with the same piece of meat. Sometimes I'm over here trying to slow-cook a piece of round, meanwhile BronzeHammer just plated a terrific carpaccio using the same cut. Or maybe I've still got my knife in my hand, going back and forth, wondering how I'm going to cut this thing up, and BoC just wowed everyone with a meatloaf. I love that. I love meatloaf.

    I could go on about this forever... but yeah, great work and keep up the occasional lesson... it is most certainly welcome.

    1. +1

      We really are all products of our surroundings, even though we do put a lot of effort into developing a humorous voice. I'm just sorry I watched so much Jim Breuer and MADtv as a kid. I really am.

      And great job, Shitehawk. I like when you go Longreads on us.

    2. Agreed on the role of nurture; that's why every single dialogue joke I've ever put to pixel is an acrostic, spelling out either a Paul Anka/Neil Sedaka song title or a sneering blurt about Jews.

      /And +1

    3. Hey, BH you should never apologize for your goat boy recitals. They're every bit as funny and relevant as when Breuer was doing it.

      And, StF, I've notiCed tHEre wAs something Peculiar about your jokes. I could never put my Finger on it. It's fUn to joke about, but antisemitism isn't Cool. Nor are AnKa and Sedaka.

    4. "Meanwhile, IMG is a vegetarian and he's desperately sweating over a portobello until he gets frustrated and just chucks out an empty bun with some ketchup and says "eat this you fucking assholes" and runs out of the room screaming hysterically."

    5. +1, IMG... that actually made me laugh.

  6. Great stuff from Shitehawk and TDK. Well worth the read.

  7. Funny-- I'm a meat artist? I've always envisioned myself as a brassy 'hole.

    Fantastic stuff, my man.