Monday, January 19, 2009

Comic 532: Stop me if you've heard this before...

dick jokes!
OK so here is the thing with the dick jokes: I'm just going to write a post about the general concept and list the xkcd examples, which aren't a particularly common thing but they are just so pathetic, so totally-desperate-for-humor that they seriously piss me off, to use a phrase which I realize now is a bit unfortunate in this context.

So in addition to all that other dick joke crap, which I've written about before but not as thoroughly as I plan to soon, there are some serious problems.

Now I don't know how many of you understand the context here, which is an old joke that is told more or less well on this forum post. We know that the comic is referring to the joke, because if you don't know about the joke, the logical conclusion is that he asked for a "miniature pianist" and then received a "miniature penis" which would in theory replace the current one. That of course would make the final line, from the woman, very confusing indeed.

So we know that the point of this comic is to refer to the old "Twelve Inch Pianist" joke. And the problem that that leads to is the same one we had with the horrible Bill-Watterson-would-be-rolling-in-his-grave-except-that-he's-still-alive comic from last week: All it does is refer to the previous funny thing (assuming you think the piano joke is funny) without adding anything new at all to it. What's the point? That he went the other direction, asking for a pianist and getting a penis not the other way around? That's not the point of the Old Joke. That's basically just a pun - "pianist" sounds like "penis." The end. What's the joke here? Same thing. Worse though, because it's not original and isn't even pretending.

Also: Using the shot in panel two for scale, assuming a vaguely normal sized human head, that grand piano is maybe 6 to 8 inches long, and the person playing it would be maybe 2 or 3 inches long, tops. So if he asked for anything larger than 2-3 inches, the little fellow would not be able to play the piano, and if he were 2-3 inches or less that girl at the end would not be so impressed. This actually bothers me almost as much as that other stuff.

Anyway, there are so many things wrong with this comic in so many very different ways. It sucks in all sorts of interesting ways.



    I totally did not get this comic at first.

    The best I could do was that maybe she was supposed to play his piano, or that maybe it was a CS joke that had gone over my head.

    Humor = fail.

  2. It's not a humor fail just because you didn't get it dude. The joke isn't too complicated, you just have to have heard the pianist joke before.

    It's marginally funny, but meh. I like how he did it, but it was only kind of good. *shrugs* Definitely not great.

  3. I liked the joke reversal in that normally the joke runs such that you end up with a 12-inch pianist rather than what you originally asked for... it got a few chuckles from me.

  4. Doesn't this directly contradict Smooth move, Randall.

  5. Carl, it's almost to the point where they could take their own category.

  6. Uh... How do we call Anon repliers again? I remember something to do with squids and hugs. Sqhuggles? That's not it. Anyways,
    Anonymous said:
    Doesn't this directly contradict Smooth move, Randall.

    That was BEFORE he spent all of his comedy gold.
    In reality, it IS true he signed the devil's contract in exchange for all of that comedy gold. Now that his time is up, all the gold the devil has provided is being turned into comedy fools gold.
    Think about it. Makes perfect sense.

    On the other side of the coin there's a pretty clever reversed 30cm pianist joke.

  7. I don't mind a good dick joke, and I can forgive a highly contrived set-up as long as it's clearly intended to be ironic (as in "ha ha aren't laboured jokes stupid"), but this comic has neither the former nor evidence of the latter. Kinda lame.

  8. Seconding the cuddlefish: he flipped the results of the punchline, so kudos on a successful humor experiment. Next time, though, would he please make his subversion funny? Randall must be on a one-man mission to kill dick jokes instead of waiting for 15-cm culture to move on.

  9. family guy called and wants its obscure jokes back.

  10. I didn't get it until i looked at the forum on the xkcd site. I just hadn't heard the joke before. If I had, I might have actually gotten a good laugh. I must say I am impressed by the apparent amount of actual humor here. He's actually playing off a real joke that doesn't invovle Vista or Palin, even if it is dicks.

  11. The problem is that even if he's reversing it, it's just a recycled old joke (and yes, it's old, even if you hadn't heard it before). Next he'll just have a joke based off of the relative decision-making processes of road-crossing chickens.

  12. I got a chuckle out of this one, but I guess I am in the apparent minority of people that have heard this joke before AND remember it from the 6th grade. The reverse of the original punchline was amusing, but still just shy of plagiarism. Though this time not of the Calvin & Hobbes variety.

    Also, for the record, Carl. Just because something is a dick joke that doesn't make it a bad joke. Consider the following:

    good_joke + dick = good_dick_joke.
    bad_joke + dick = bad_dick_joke.

    in my opinion bad_joke > bad_dick_joke but (most)good_dick_joke > good_joke.

    So, it seems that Randall is trying to make his jokes better by adding dick, but is failing miserably because the jokes themselves are horrible.


    PS. I can't believe I just wrote dick that many times in a row.

  13. I never want to read the words "Randall" and "adding dick" in the same sentence ever again.

  14. What‽ No editing‽

    PPS. I can't believe I just wrote dick that many times in a row, and not one of them were preceded by "you're such a" or "suck my".

    PPPS. Ramsey, it appears that Randall has been adding suckage of the dick variety to his comic for some time now. So, get used to it.

  15. Ariel, you kill me. You kill my brain dead.

  16. Actually, I think you're missing the point. He asked for a pianist who could play the piano. Instead, he got a penis that can play the piano. It has nothing to do with size.

    The reason why I consider this to be a failed attempt at humor is because it fails to include the context needed to make itself clear. Not because I don't get it. I don't get half of his computer science jokes, but I don't mind, because I can see that they're well-executed. I don't think this one was well executed, because it relies on an obscure bar joke, and even people who have heard the joke apparently still don't get it.

    P.S. Sorry if this is a double post. I think blogger ate my first attempt.

  17. To B.F. Skinner, a pianist who could not play the piano would not be a pianist at all. Of course the joke is about size, and actually I think it's quite funny.

    To Carl: I know I don't usually try to make constructive comments on your blog... but I think you're trying far too hard. There's absolutely no need to comment on every strip and say "Referencing other jokes is not a joke and it sucks anyway", or "this is just a pop culture reference and it sucks anyway".

    Take my advice- take a couple of weeks off from the blog, then come back and comment on the ones that really suck (like that stalker-friend one, the relationship-chart comic, or Mr Hat's fucking ridiculous romance). You shouldn't feel like you have to write something every day- in fact that's a bad idea, since it makes some of your posts feel very laboured.

  18. Vlad: Does "Laptop Hell" qualify for a rant? Please?

    I think Carl's "trying too hard" is fine, so long as he reserves his anger for the worst comics. Here, it can feel like nitpicking, but his criticisms are still centered on the comic.

    Carl: regarding the scale of things: I thought the exact same thing about that piano's depicted size, but pay close attention to the last panel. Things seem to line up in just such a way...

    (That box is a stand-in for his penis. Don't know how he'll fit it into a stick-figure woman, though)


  20. The pianist comic was GOLD compared to the latest one. When the fuck did xkcd turn into 4chan?

  21. No. This joke is not about size. It is about dexterity.

    That is the only way it makes sense.

    It's not the size of the boat, it's the motion in the ocean, so to speak. That's why the girl is impressed.

    Maybe he thought he was asking for a miniature pianist, but he didn't use those exact words. He asked for a pianist that could play his piano for him. By that, he meant a miniature pianist, because obviously his piano is smaller than normal and a normal-sized pianist could not play it.

    However, he did not specify anything about size. Does the comic say he asked for a miniature pianist? A 12 inch pianist? A 3 inch pianist? No, the comic says he asked for a pianist that could play his (unstated: miniature) piano for him. He asked for a pianist of certain ability, not certain size.

    Therefore, the genie gave him a PENIS of certain ability, not certain size. His penis is probably the same size it always was. Now it is also musically talented.

    I could be wrong. I've been wrong before. However, Carl posted saying that the comic didn't really make sense to him, and I'm offering an alternate interpretation.


  22. Thomas: I don't know what the meme is from "Laptop Hell"... but it seems to have the Randall Munroe ring of dorkiness to it.

    What I meant was- Carl could write anything in this blog, and write every day, as long as it's funny. But what's the point of posting a boring critique of every strip? That's not funny. Carl clearly has a life outside the internet, so why feel he has to post so much?

  23. BF - I'm not so sure. The comic is obviously a reference to the "12 inch pianist" joke which is all about size. Not to mention that the whole point of the tiny piano and the fact that he can't play it is a matter of size as well.

    Vlad - you will perhaps be surprised to hear this but I totally agree. That's why I took three weeks off in December and let Thomas and Rob to the work for me. Perhaps you are suggesting a complete halt for a little while. It's not out of the question, though I think the blog's consistency is more of a strength than a weakness.

    I do hate the feeling that I am stretching too far on a comic - and I feel that way about once every two or three weeks, I would say, perhaps it seems far more often to you - but this was not one of those cases. Actually, I almost feel like I should have written more and been angrier, but I couldn't quite find the words. Perhaps in general I should be a little -a little- more eager to skip comics.

    Andre: Who are you talking to? Is it me? I hope it's not me. I hope you don't think I suck.

    Thomas: I bet you would write a better rant than I would on "Laptop Hell." If you want to, you know how to reach me.


    BF again: Yeah, but think how small it would have to be play the tiny piano. Very tiny! That is how tiny it would have to be.

    Vlad, again: I wish I knew the answer to that. I don't know why I feel like I have to write so much, but I do.

    Everyone: Sorry if changing the name of this post in the middle is weirding you out. I forgot to change it yesterday when I added all the new text.

    Blogger: Add "weirding" to your dictionary, dammit!

  24. this blog's consistency is more of a strength than a weakness

    Watch it there. You said the exact opposite about XKCD.

  25. @B_F_Skinner: Look at the alt-text. It's about size.

  26. "Also: Using the shot in panel two for scale, assuming a vaguely normal sized human head, that grand piano is maybe 6 to 8 inches long, and the person playing it would be maybe 2 or 3 inches long, tops. So if he asked for anything larger than 2-3 inches, the little fellow would not be able to play the piano, and if he were 2-3 inches or less that girl at the end would not be so impressed. This actually bothers me almost as much as that other stuff."

    An image, and alternate way of looking at the size:

    If we assume those are fairly short people (5' 1" for the guy, and an unknown figure in the low 4' x" range for the girl - her head is bent over a bit making it tricky), then that's still a massive 12" wang - if they're more normal height (say 15% more, or 14" meat missile), it's getting into the "I'd have said that was photoshopped, if it wasn't sitting there throbbing right in front of me" range. It's certainly massive for THEM, anyway - as demonstrated, if he's not careful, he might cause her some damage to her diaphragm. By which I mean "muscle that aids breathing", not "femidom".

  27. Abishek: I know, I know. It's terrible. But of course, I don't go quite so far as to say that I will update "without fail" and I am often late, as in this case. Of course, xkcd's consistency and insistence on always writing new comics is what means we get to see so many crappy ones, which in turn gives me more reason to post more often...

  28. If his penis were capable of playing his piano, he wouldn't have to lament that he's never heard what proper music on it sounds like, because his penis would be capable of playing the piano.

    So, no, that doesn't make any more sense.

  29. I've heard the joke this comic is based on many, many times. The humor stalled out on this strip anyway because I don't make a habit of remembering the exact wording to joke punchlines. I thought "oh, he's referring to the genie joke where the guy gets a small one... wait, why would the dude want a small... oh, right he wished for a 12 inch pianist."

    Investing that much thought process into a joke is only satisfying if the joke is INSANELY clever. Some dolt building a mini piano and ending up with a huge twanger does not qualify.

  30. All it does is refer to the previous funny thing (assuming you think the piano joke is funny) without adding anything new at all to it. What's the point?

    What makes this comic funny is that it provides an unexpected and weird new perspective on the old joke. That's the way humor works. The joke is that the guy didn't want a big penis, like all guys in these jokes are supposed to, but actually a small pianist.

    It's better than 533 or 531 or 529, which try to do the same thing but fail, because the idea is more original (it's not actually a dick joke) and better set up (appropriately subtle).

  31. This one felt more like nitpicking and a general assumption that if it includes something that existed before, especially if that thing is penises, it can't be funny.

    Oh well, I got a chuckle out of it.

  32. See, angry funny works for Maddox, this site is just creepy. Or more like jealous that you didn't think of it, got 'screwed' by Randall, or you live in the basement and hate yourself.

  33. and you're a pussy for filtering comments.

  34. if you had been here for the Ass Turds Troll you would be damn glad I am moderating comments.

  35. Hey Nonny Nonny MousseOctober 11, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    It's amazing how even retelling a joke he'd heard somewhere else, with as much time to think about how to phrase it as he wanted, Randall still managed to fuck this one up so thoroughly.

    I had never heard the joke before, but I thought it was pretty obvious what the guy was referring to in the final panel after thinking about it for a few seconds. Nonetheless, it still didn't make sense because Randall set up the joke so poorly that I was led to believe that the pianoman had asked for "the world's smallest pianist", "a tiny pianist", etc. - not a 12-inch pianist, who would require a larger piano in the first place. So I was left wondering why the girl would be so interested in a man who admitted his penis was tiny and ended up concluding that Randy was making another one of his cunnilingus "jokes", while also demonstrating a profoundly mistaken perspective of what heterosexual women want.