"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 19 February 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Three-fisted Tales of...Mirth


[Dirty Jokes on Yahoo]

In the post-humor world of

comedy, one seldom encounters

"side-splitting laughter" - the

splitting has been internalized,

hidden inside behind hilariously

dour glares. And far from

"rolling on the floor, laughing

out loud," chuckleheads on the

net are more likely to be

popping Tylenols and massaging

ailing wrists. Audience reaction

is measured in the

barely-perceptible motions at

the edges of mouths. A little

up? Good. A little down? Good.

No movement at all? Not so good.



Bare-fisted, thigh-pummeling

mirth awaits... file under Yahoo:


The existential jolt provided by

this subdirectory is on par with

the yuks to be found Freud's

Jokes and Their Relation to the

Unconscious. Or, for that

matter, any given cable comedy

network. The guffaw isn't

entirely absent - it's entirely



[Journal of Nursing Jocularity]

Occasionally, the approach is

overtly clinical, as with the

Journal of Nursing Jocularity,

which admits from the outset to

concern itself primarily with

"the kind of jokes only nurses

and other health care providers

would get." Such stunning

self-awareness makes it

difficult to believe that

subscribers would be all that

surprised by the non-reaction

received by one woman who shared

her epiphany regarding the

similarity between performing

CPR on a full-arrest patient and

exercising along with an

instructional video:


When no one laughed, I was       
confused. A room full of women   
in leotards were staring at me.  
Their mouths were gaping, their  
eyes bulging wide. I looked in   
the mirror. Had I grown another  
head? Was I from another planet? 

"You were laughing while this man

I tried to explain how funny it  
was. Yet these humorless         
non-nurse earthlings continued   
to lambaste me.                  

We may "get it" (heart attacks

and other prolonged forms of

death are riotous, 'nuff said),

but this fate is not unknown to

many a Web humorist - look no

further than sad-sack jokesters

like Pointless, Shitty, and

Chump for examples of po-faced



[Ha Ha]

As any whimsical saboteur can

attest, the finest form of

revenge invariably revolves

around the theme of torture. One

of the most popular techniques

involves the straight-faced

delivery of long-dead banalities

and clichés worthy of Jim

Thompson's The Killer Inside Me -

in this context, posting

criminally unignored top tens,

overcirculated college joke

lists, and Bill Gates/Clinton

lightbulb jokes counts.


[Merriment Manor]

Deadpan, more than anything else,

could re-emerge as the linchpin

of a new comedic revolution,

signaling some influx of

doubly-disenchanted irony that

would end with smileys making us

smile again. Here, strict

utilitarianism may reap whimsy:

it's a good strategy to name

your rib-tickling rag something

raw like Comedy Magazine,

Merriment Manor, or Satire.

Satire makes for a head-twirling

test case. It's a toss-up

whether starting one's

publication with a dictionary

definition on satire, a short

quiz on satire, and quotes from

"renowned" satirists is an

epitaph or a mirror. :-)



But if Satire's approach to The

New Humor is akin to splitting

open the Golden Comedy Goose,

the pages of Giggle force feed

it with so many sweet nothings

you're soon left with

saccharine-flavored mirth pate.

An otherworldly site in more

ways than one, Giggle presents a

series of images which don't so

much aim to make you laugh as to

tickle you to death. Not

surprisingly, the experience is

somewhat painful.


[Tin Foil House]

Perhaps the most common (and

successful!) method of clownery

exploits witticisms

affectionately recollected from

our collective childhood. While

magazines like Rubber Ducky

hearken back to one's preschool

days, it takes a crack-up

journal like Your MoM to

effectively dissect the ribaldry

of teenage bravado. One

particular essay explores the

uses of tin foil as both a tool

and an art form. This is all

well and good, but we believe

tin foil is best put to use by

wrapping it around putrefying

beefsteaks. In that sense, it's

not unlike your mom. Ah, the

joys of "getting" humor so


courtesy of Dr. Pat Answers, Ph.D.