CSotD: Seriously funny

As Constant Readers know, I do politics on some days and humor on others, but I’m often conflicted by in which category I should put Tom the Dancing Bug (AMS). Ruben Bolling’s talent for satire may not make me laugh aloud but it often prompts a grim smile.

This one prompts a grim smile in grim times, and there’s grace in that, in part because it takes a particular talent. Was Lenny Bruce a comedian or a political commentator? George Carlin? Dick Gregory?

It wouldn’t be hard to find out why the question is relevant: Book a comedian into a theater one night and then book a political commentator into a theater the next. See which sells the most tickets.

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and you’ll sneak up on people and get them to think if you can also get them to laugh.

But you can’t always get thoughtful humor in front of an audience. Lenny Bruce was busted for profanity, and Carlin famously listed the seven words you can’t say on television, or, at least, that you couldn’t say in simpler times.

Those days are not over. The third season of “The Problem with Jon Stewart” has been abruptly canceled, apparently because Apple TV decided they didn’t want him making jokes about China or AI, Reliable Sources reports, citing a NYTimes story.

Big Brother is watching, but he’s not laughing.

Fortunately, we are.

Granted, this Too Much Coffee Man would have gotten a bigger laugh if it had run a little closer to the news story that obviously inspired it, but at least we know what kind of lag time Shannon Wheeler works with.

It needed that real-world tie-in to elevate it above a simple gag, which might have gotten a smile but certainly not a laugh. In this case, even a month later, I laughed.

Of course, I laughed at the news story, too.

Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) is often overtly political and, in fact, Jonathan Lemon attended this year’s Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention, which more strippers should do if they’re working in that end of the trade.

In this particular case, it’s more of an “I told you so” than a breakout of new information, but that’s how political standup works. John Oliver and Jon Stewart often research material and bring new information to their audiences, but Bruce and Carlin specialized in telling you what you already knew in a way that made you stop and rethink it.

I, too, was also completely puzzled by the whole NFT thing and relieved to hear that the fact that I didn’t get it was about them and not about me.

Schadenfreude may not be an admirable emotion, but it’s often irresistible, particularly after you’ve been dismissed as a nitwit.

Time wounds all heels, eeven-shwally.

This Speed Bump (Creators) also deals with wasting money, but in a far more argumentative way.

People pay extraordinary amounts to attend some concerts, most notably Taylor Swift’s, but she’s been at the forefront of trying to rein in ticket scalpers, so she’s not insensitive to the issue.

People who have been to her concerts say the entertainment value is extraordinary. Would I drop that kind of money to see her, or any band?

No, but, then again, I’d rather spend a grand to see a good concert than spend twice that to be stuck on a cruise ship for a week or to buy a jet ski I might use three times a year.

So if nothing else, it was thought-provoking. I’ve now compiled a mental list of things that I think would be a bigger waste of money than going to a really good concert.

In this Frazz (AMS), Caulfield broaches another economic topic, but on a far more mundane level.

As Mrs. Olson should know, the cost of “drive-up coffee” kind of flies under the radar. If you shell out a grand to see Taylor Swift, you have to think about it, but you can pop five bucks here and five bucks there and never notice how much it adds up.

But it does: If you buy a cup five days a week, by the end of the year you could have bought that concert ticket instead.

And I like kombucha but can’t justify the price there, either.

Edison Lee (KFS) sent me into a deeper, more convoluted reverie, because, first of all, I don’t think anyone eats canned spinach anymore, but that gelatinous goop is what gave the vegetable its nasty reputation.

It used to pop up in our school lunches, which is how I learned to eat it with vinegar, but I doubt any schools would dare serve it now that Lunchables have tweaked their ingredients just enough to no longer be classed as junk food.

Having a school assignment ask questions based on canned spinach reminds me of when I was Edison’s age and we were still expected to learn about bushels and pecks as well as rods and furlongs, units of measure from an era when farm kids learned the economics of their business and their education ended after eighth grade.

College is the current goal, while the canned vegetable aisle at the grocery store has become a very short shelf.

As for the story arc just concluding in Zits (KFS), I understand the joke, but the overt hostility between generations is too depressing to make me laugh.

Our cat went missing once and, while I’m not a cat person, I moved heaven and earth to find it, on behalf of my kids. But I guess gloating might be another response.

There was a woman on NPR the other day hawking her book on why she never had kids, which I didn’t feel a need to know.

I’ve seen a lot of people who probably shouldn’t have had kids, so hats off to those who figured it out in time. You don’t have to justify it to me.

Meanwhile The Barn (Creators) hit just as I heard someone else on NPR talking about a study that showed kids who start in on screens too early become nearsighted at a prodigious rate.

But screens are a popular babysitter.

There’s all kinds of myopia in the world today, and most of it isn’t funny.

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Seriously funny

  1. I can set the braggart quailing with a quip;
    The upstart I can wither with a whim.
    He may bear a merry laugh upon his lip,
    But his laughter has an echo that is grim!
    When they’re offered to the world in merry guise,
    Unpleasant truths are swallowed with a will:
    For he who’d make his fellow fellow fellow creatures wise
    Should always gild the philosophic pill.
    —Gilbert & Sullivan

    1. In spite of all my meekness, if I have a little weakness, it’s a passion for a flight of pointed jokes.

  2. If a cup of coffee is $5 and you buy five of them per week, that’s 5×52, or $260–one quarter of a thousand-dollar ticket. You’d have to give up avocado toast, too.

      1. You’re right. It’s 5x5x52. Off by a constant. Thank you. I prefer tea myself, which explains my ineptitude at coffee math.

  3. Edison Lee bothers me. It’s too important for him to get a good grade to give it up in favor of wit. It would seem more in character for him to give this response and then provide the number of cans offered, leaning into the distinction like the little jerk that he is.

  4. I will never understand how canned spinach still exists when fresh spinach is 1000 times less nasty.

    And yeah, as someone who has lived his entire life on low income, small purchases can add up fast.
    I’ve managed to save quite a bit since I tend to avoid stuff like $5 coffee on a daily basis (though I have other vices)

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