Okay, shit, shit shit shit shit shit. I don't even know where to begin. This comic is terrible on so many levels. Now see, I came into this with every intention to be as fair as humanly possible to Randall, but I really can't find much of anything that I like about this comic. I feel I still have an obligation to find something good about what has been put forth from Randall's obviously very massive and powerful mind, but it's really taxing on me right now. I will do my best to compile a list of what is good about this particular comic:
-It was posted on time
-The boxes around each of the panels (excluding the 2nd one, for whatever reason) are very straight and quite well done
-The earth did not crash into the sun while I was reading the comic
Oh man. That's really... um... about it actually. I don't even know if we can count the boxes one since it was done with a tool [Carl adds: "you mean, done BY a tool! zing! ha ha, randall is a tool"].
Okay, now that that's over with, let's talk about what Randall did wrong with this comic.
Number one and the biggest, baddest, worstest: This joke is old, not original, and not funny. This joke has been done so many times before and it wasn't even funny then, it was novel at best. I've seen it in the Simpsons, Family Guy; hell, even fucking Seinfeld did this stupid joke in a bit of a different way (when Kramer was impersonating movie phone). Ever since there have been automated services on the telephone there have been people making this joke. Listen, Randall, if your joke can be independently invented by 12 year old kids, you are not doing a very good job as a comedian. And yes, he is supposed to be a comedian, he's writing a COMIC, not a blog.
Interestingly enough, this leads me to another disturbing point. By my understanding, a visual comic, like xkcd, is one that should combine both artwork and written comedy in a medium specially designed to make people laugh. If you can't draw, like evidenced by xkcd, you are a stand-up comedian or a blogger and that is fine you just avoid the artistic medium. If you can't make jokes, as evidenced by xkcd, you are an artist and that is fine you just avoid jokes and sullenly sit in coffee shops all day. If you can't do either, why even try to combine them? It's like if I said I couldn't play tennis or the guitar, but if I try doing them both at the same time I'd be fantastic. That's just fucking stupid.
Now let's get into the really specific content here. First of all, Randall is continuing his unhealthy obsessions with:
1. Being creepy as hell in general
2. Pretending the people are machines oh ho ho isn't that funny
3. Completely missing an (actually many) important, real element (s) that detracts heavily from the joke
Let's get to 1. Clearly, from the alt text, we see that Randall has thought this situation through pretty completely and decides that, if he were in this situation, he would make it as uncomfortable as possible for the other person. It's very obvious in this comic that this poor girl is just trying to avoid this stupid dunderhead that she inexplicably gave her real number to despite him having the intelligence of a sack of bricks, not being able to figure out what she was doing. See Randall, the problem with you writing creepy things is that you take yourself so seriously that people take what you say seriously too.
2. Oh man, this joke never gets old. It's one of Randy's favorites and it's one of the stupidest things imaginable. Why? It's. Just. Not. Funny. It's not! I think it's been covered enough here on this blog that I don't really need to say any more about it. The fact that I need to bring it up again is pretty sad, though; maybe think of a few new jokes Randy. If you need inspiration, at just about any bookstore you want you can buy 1001 jokes for nerds or 1001 jokes about sex both of which I think you'll enjoy. Be sure to tell them I sent you everyone will know me I think maybe.
3. This entire situation is just not going to happen. Ever, okay? First of all, why doesn't the girl just NOT FUCKING ANSWER THE PHONE? Oh, wait, I forgot that we don't really know how people speak or act in this comic. It's an entirely contrived situation right off the bat, which makes it less funny.
Let me take you aside for a minute to tell you about my Uncle James. He was a very close person to me and there was a time where he saw a big bunch of bikers in a bar okay. Or wait maybe they were in a circus yeah a circus. Okay and so now he walks up to them and says "Oh no would you look at that I am out of money at this current and present point in time I need more" and the bikers all look at each other and they say "well gee whiz sir we can be your ATM for now" and James gives them his card and they look at it and they give him money. Oh haha did you see what happened there? I should be xkcd.
I'm sorry but that story was important to me. Back to this comic. Once again, this sort of falls into the category of Randall not understanding how people work, but clearly this main character is the dumbest sack of shit ever to um sit in a chair. Somehow, inexplicably, he knows what it sounds like when the call cannot be completed. Yet, also, amazingly enough, he fails to realize that there's a very loud, very noticeable BEEP BOOP BOOOOOOPP noise before that message plays. ALWAYS. Characters that stupid are too ridiculous to be believable.
And somehow, he also doesn't notice breathing on the other end of the line? This girl surely has to breath or make other noises than what is on the recording, which omits all of those types of things. Yeah, I really believe this whole situation. It's really coming together for me.
Okay hang on I'm being really unfair. I need to end on a lighter note because I promised myself that I would honestly and truly say things good about this comic. I think I will try to suggest improvements.
I think the premise was okay but it really lacked that extra zing that would make it truly something entertaining. Yes, it wasn't that original or really that funny, but there are ways to have made it work. Instead, he opts for seeking out a very cliched situation to put a very cliched joke into. I do know that Randall is capable of putting his characters in unique or strange situations, so why didn't he do that here? He tried to force the realism of the situation down our throats when there was so much more to gain from being an absurd, unrealistic comic.
Also, I know I've said this already, but really work on the artwork a little more. At least fill in something interesting happening in the background or add some little visual bits of entertainment. It's far too miserably empty for such a poor joke to stand by itself.
Oh, wait! I just remembered, one good thing. Randall used timing almost properly here! There's no text after the "punchline" and it flows pretty much properly. There! I've said something good about this comic.