Sunday, July 19, 2009

Comic 611: Destructive Behavior

mr hat has a big headI'm going to be honest. I read this comic and thought, "Really, this isn't so bad. I almost like it, a little." Upon more thought, I can't quite justify this - all sorts of little problems show up - but still, let the record show that I was, for some reason, positive about this comic. What can I say - maybe I'm a sucker for that sort of humor-through-exaggeration, the way each example Mr. Hat gives is an order of magnitude more complex and fucked up than the last.

Not that there aren't problems; for one thing, this "disaster voyeurism" as a concept is not so new as Randall may believe; Neil e-mails me to point out that George Carlin (one of the most popular stand-ups of the last few decades, of course) had a super similar concept in his 2005 "Life is Worth Losing" TV special. Read it yourself; go down to the last really long paragraph (or just ctr+f and look for "fire"). I don't think Randall deliberately copied it, of course, I just want to point out that it's not such a clever or new idea. Obviously, Carlin does much better things with it.

Then of course there's Randy's textbook "but wait, there's MORE" continuing to add dialog after the punchline. In this case it's that pesky "entirely different conversations" line. Why? Why does it exist? What does it add? You have Mr. Hat going off on crazy rants about hunting men on horseback and you have to end your comic with "WELL, GUESS HE'S JUST HAVING HIS OWN CONVERSATION, HUH" and it just brings down the level of the humor so much.

A little while ago I remember writing that Mr. Hat was basically a terrorist, and that seems to still be true in full force. What happened to him being just a classy asshole? Whatever, I can't be too picky I guess.

I've said before that I hate it when Mr. Hat stories just vaguely reference funny things he has done without showing us or telling us what they were; so I am glad that at least here Randall had to use a modicum of creativity and tell us what WACKY antics Mr. Hat was up to.

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Many thanks to Mal (mal from xkcdsucks) for pointing this next part out in the comments last time:

Apparently there's this webcomic called "Sheldon" ? I dunno, I had never heard of it. But in any case, a comic from a few days ago bore a striking similarity to a certain xkcd from a few months ago. See the relevant Sheldon and the xkcd yourself. Now this phenomenon is nothing new to readers of xkcd sucks - ahem, cough, ahem - but what comes next makes the story different. The author of Sheldon, in a blog post, acknowledged that his comic was really similar to the xkcd, similar enough that it was reasonable to be suspicious. Read that post. How classy is that?

I wish Randall would do something like that when he copied jokes. If he did, I would not hold anything against him. I believe - usually - that the mistake was wholly unintentional. But when Randall refuses to admit that his comic is so damn close to say, an SMBC from the week earlier, he just looks like a dick. I hope he sees that post on Sheldon and sees how damn classy the author looks when he writes it.

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stay tuned later tonight for an announcement about crazy upcoming guest posts.

40 comments:

  1. Everyone below this post is a faggot.

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  2. Man, I want Chaotic Neutral BHG back!

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  3. Everyone above this post except for Anonymous at 4:52 is a faggot.

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  4. I'll never understand why Randall, a professional homorologist, ALWAYS explains his joke in the last sentence. It happened with the giraffe-IM-talk joke, and like a million others. If he'd stop doing that, many of them would go from actively bad strips to just more mildly crappy webcomics in a sea of mildly crappy webcomics.

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  5. I forgot to put in the word "placid" :(

    Anyway: yeah, I more or less agree with you, here. (Which makes for a dull comment, but nonetheless.) Usually I'm more lenient on the thing-after-the-punchline thing, but here I can agree that it's a bit clunky. There's got to have been something witty she could have said there instead.

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  6. @Asher
    Just like Tim Buckley, a man known for raping humor itself, Randall believes that his audience are a bunch of morons who need everything spelled out to them.

    "Hi people! Here's the joke for today. Oh and to not leave any idiots out there in the cold, the joke is funny because [insert reason]."

    Notice the subtle irony here.

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  7. Hahah Wilhelm. Nicely played.

    I liked this comic. Though all your suggestions would have improved it.

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  8. Yeah, but Tim Buckley DOES need to explain his joke.
    Because all his viewers are morons.

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  9. Tim Fuckley tells jokes?

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  10. HURRAY! I'm a faggot!

    What do I win? An evening out with Rob or something?



    Oh, right, the comic. Ummm... I agree with... everything Carl said.

    Weird, that. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY HEAD, CARL?

    That lends itself to an iconic statement about Carl needing to evacuate my cranium, but I, for one, will not make such an anti-intellectual joke.

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  11. I'd compare it to a high school freshman ending a paper with "In conclusion"

    I don't think he does it because he thinks his readers are 'tards (though they are surely are). He just does it because he's a numbers guy trying to do the words with story and the art and the man people are complicated.

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  12. Willhelm, that'd be a lot better of a point on your part if I didn't write it for you two comics ago.

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  13. Tim Buckley
    more like
    Dim Fuckley

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  14. @Dr. Horrible
    I just went back to see if you had made that point in your guest post, and you never actually wrote that. You never said why Buckley explained his jokes, only that he did. But don't worry, if I ever repeat a point you've made, I'll be sure to give to the e-props you so crave.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Holy fucking shit, are you actually still talking about Dr. Horrible? Holy fucking shit. Holy fucking shit.

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  17. You know what, when in Rome...

    FUCK you Dr. Horrible. Fuck you.

    You betrayed us in the WORST way possible. I hope you die.

    If you ever post on this blog again I will show up where you live and strangle you with your own small intestine.

    (hey, this is fun! let's carry it over to the next thread as well)

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  18. Hey Dr. Horrible, think about what you post before you hit the fucking post button. We're laughing at you every time we find a Dr. Horrible post consisting of nothing but "This post has been removed by the author." like you did the last five fucking times YukYuk called you a shithead.

    In fact, just stop fucking posting altogether. If you really feel the need to, go to echochamber.me and post there.

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  19. LEAVE DR HORRIBLE ALONE!!11!1!!!
    *cries*

    /chris crocker

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  20. Guys this is neat and refreshing and hilarious and totally worth carrying over to the next 20 comment threads.

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  21. You bet your sweet bippy!

    Hmm, I need to update my slang a tad.

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  22. I like the post-punch-line thing. I admit I can't describe exactly why--it adds to the rhythm of the conversation. And as I've probably said 10 times before on this blog, it's also something that qwantz does a lot, hypocrite.

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  23. Qwantz does it qwantifiably differently, and at least half of the point there is that he is not following the traditional narrative structure/rhythm of a joke or comic.

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  24. People who make hate-blogs are insecure, and apparently some of the people that comment on them are homophobes. And children that just learned the word "fuck." And people who can't hold arguments in real life so they hold them on the internet so they can hide behind anonymity.

    GOOD DAY TO YE.

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  25. Rob, I'm dissapointed that you didn't say 'qwantzifiably'.

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  26. Sheldon's pretty cool. Yeah, it's not exactly a high quality comic, but it strikes me as a sort of pseudo-calvin and hobbes.

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  27. Randall is just writes alot and that really messes up what are kind of cut and dry ideas he has and sort of makes them more into scenes from Kevin Smith movies than straight jokes.

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  28. Oh come on, now. George Carlin riffs on disaster voyeurism years ago and that makes anyone else that riffs on it get points taken away for not being absolutely original? I hadn't realized that in order to be funny you had to make jokes about topics that absolutely no one had joked about before.

    It's one thing if Randall copies his own joke, or copies a joke from a comic you suspect he read a week earlier, but to have to be completely original in the face of years of comedic examinations of the human condition or you're ripe for mocking is just too high a bar.

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  29. The "What was that" was sarcastic, a way of steering the conversation to let her know what he'd done.

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  30. Fuck you Ink, I clearly said "I don't think Randall deliberately copied it, of course." My point, if you had taken two seconds to read it rather than just started yelling, was that this is an old idea, and that anyone who is like "Woah, Randall, that's so true, how do you think of these new thoughts that no one has ever thought of before" is being a dick. The point is that it's an old idea, nothing more.

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  31. Fuck you right back. I read the whole entry before posting. Doesn't change that your pointing out that it's not a brand new idea follows "Not that there aren't problems;" implying that it's a problem that this isn't a fresh, unmocked concept.

    Then you suggest that just because Randall made a comic about it that he believes it's a new concept. That's pure speculation on your end backed up by nothing. Perhaps he doesn't feel the need to shy away from a topic someone else might have made a different joke about in the past. You know, like pretty much every comic writer does.

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  32. Yeah, it is a problem. It's an old idea. It's a problem when your readers look at your comic and say "wow, sounds just like that George Carlin quote" and then e-mail me about it.

    Mr. Hat is always about being crazy and wacky and doing things differently from other people. I think Randall means everything he does to be strange, unusual, and new.

    fuck you a thousand times.

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  33. guys can you please stop with the public sex

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  34. Why, Amanda?

    Does it... excite you?

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  35. Perhaps, dear cuddlefish... Perhaps.

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  36. I disagree, I thought the extra comment itself was the real joke, as lacking in literary value (ie this joke could have gone in -any- comic) the insanity aspect was amusing.

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  37. It's MUCH older than Carlin. Back in high school debate, one Kritik that could be run on arguments that ended in nuclear was Disaster Porn, or D-Porn. I believe it was Baudrillard (would have to look it up) who discussed it, but basically a number of postmodern authors have noted how disaster pornography is used by the media, how it stunts empathy, is about schadenfreude, etc. It's old.

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