I’ve always found it odd that you eat cereal by the spoon full and not one piece at a time.
We sat down to play a family board game of world domination before lunch. We were having so much fun, I forgot to cook the food. That’s ok. When we started playing we knew it was a risk.
When I go shopping for new winter coats I try not to think of the price. Although they are expensive, I’ll spring for one with a shiny gray color on the inside. I’m looking for the silver linings.
I’ve started into actual blogging recently so like april 20th at Berkeley, it’s high time I start writing articles here. So without any more sails hitting women, I mean jibber-jabber, here’s some thoughts on jokes and how to make good ones.
How a joke works:
(He wakes up in the white house and gives speeches)
There’s pretty much a single phrase that explains what jokes are. They are a game of bowling. You are always just setting up pins and knocking them down. What that means is that you set up someone’s expectations and then you quickly remove it. There’s a lot of types of humor, and there are a few that don’t always fit this definition (i.e. anti-jokes), but it covers 99% of humor. (but 99% of all statistics are politically motivated anyway).
The intro to this blog post is a joke that sets up the expectation that “joke” means a gag, but I very quickly switch it’s meaning to poke fun of a politician. The joke requires the original expectations as well as a well timed shattering. This is why many pieces of regular banter are not really funny. I could have this entire blog post talk about jokes and at the very end say: “Speaking of jokes, did you hear what Obama said…” It’s sometimes a clever lead in, but the expectation is already gradually let down.
The nagging question for a lot of readers is why the joke should have been funny. (The nagging question for me is when I’m finally going to get off my butt and take out the trash.) It’s not funny for everyone because I specifically chose a polarizing joke. The expectations are not the same. ALL JOKES FOLLOW THIS PARADIGM. There has to be a seed of truth in the premise in order for the joke to be funny. Even jokes that don’t follow the bowling example, if there is no agreed upon premise it won’t be funny. Anyone who doesn’t describe the president as a joke doesn’t agree with that seed.
But on the exact same token (we’ll say it’s a Chuck E. Cheese token) just because some people don’t agree doesn’t mean that the expectations are not there for the next person. This is very often used in political humor where an oversimplified expectation is explained away so that one side can pretend it’s not funny. It generally amounts to pretending there was no joke because of some subjective beliefs. This is pretty dishonest. There was a joke, you just didn’t like it.
But that leads me to the way more important part. There has to be a seed of truth. I can use this joke:
Q: What did popeye eat for breakfast?
(I don’t know. Spinache)
A: Nope. Egg egg egg eggs.
But it wouldn’t work to say:
A: Nope. Pancakes with maple syrup.
Yes, there are anti jokes where I can continue to ruin the person’s expectation if they know what answer I should say, but we’re talking about the first time they’ve ever heard the setup of the joke. There is no seed of truth behind popeye and pancakes. So when jokers don’t bother to find out a real connection, they end up with crap. I see this all the time and it bothers me way more than it should.
The most recent string of jokes is some kind of anti-chuck norris facts. Pictures of upper crust ack-tors and drug offenders turned action star are supposed to be “cool” enough to invalidate existing jokes about chuck norris. If you have the expectation that Norris is nothing more than a washed up, B movie, actor then it is funny. But there’s an issue. It’s not true. The joke is barely skin deep. If you weren’t too lazy to google a biography, you might find out that he hold 5 black belts, 6 world titles, is a grand master in more than one art form, and is the first westerner to do anything close to this. You might also find out that he was Steve McQueen’s sensei, or that he is the reason bob barker beat up adam sandler in happy gilmore.
This bothers me not because it’s a differing expectation but because (what’s a butt because?) it’s lazy joke telling. Not just lazy, but its a meme that requires a rigid refusal to use google for about 30 seconds. What’s that? There’s a wildly more popular meme where you send people Let Me Google That For You links? It’s a fail so massive that all other memes are lending their shipments of fail to these lazy joke writers. It’s exactly like writing a lame pun raccoon that says “kanye west is so funny in those yo dawg pictures. I hope he does more geico commercials.” Just an insult to humorists everywhere.
So before you forget how to modulos 2 == 0, at least put some effort into it. Sheesh.