Monday, February 8, 2010

Comic 699: A Comedic Abortion

hurr hurr vaginas

What's up, fuckers? In an insanely irresponsible move, Carl has giving me posting privileges for the upcoming week. That's right - you've got to deal with me for an entire goddamn week, and there's fuck-all you can do about it. For those of you that don't know me, the name's Poore (more recently known as The_P), and I type this now with a Warsteiner in hand (and another in my belly) and a head full of incoherent, misomaniacal thought-pieces that I will vomit into a hat and then attempt to piece together into something that may or may not resemble an actual blogpost.

Now then, on to the comic.

I actually liked it. The first time I heard it. When it was a Demetri Martin bit (at 2:40). Now, some of you may say "But Poore, it's not the same - Demetri talks about trophies, not lab coats! THE JOKES ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT." Those people are retarded. If you thought that, you are retarded. The realization that one can buy a trophy, rather than wasting years of their life training for the activity in which one would win said trophy, and then lie to people to convince them they are a participant in said activity is pretty much identical to the realization that one can buy a lab coat, rather than wasting years of their life training for the profession in which one would wear said lab coat, and then lie to people to convince them they are a member of said profession. They're essentially two instances of the same Mad Lib (the alt-text is even more similar to Mr. Martin's version). And Demetri Martin did it a few years earlier. And he did it better.

So, Randall is a plagiarizing hack, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was cryptomnesia - this comic is still a tired, hackneyed piece of shit. Why? Well, if you're familiar with a little thing called the Millgram experiment, the idea that people will listen to anyone in a lab coat has been around since the early 60's. As far as comedy is concerned, the idea of someone masquerading as an expert simply because they look/act the part has been around forever. It's been done to death. Penn & Teller use it as a recurring comedic segment in their show "Bullshit!" (see the Bottled Water episode, for example, or...well, pretty much every episode has a segment like that). If you think real, real hard about it, you've probably seen comedy in this vein hundreds of times before. So, if someone wants to do comedy of this nature, it better be fucking phenomenal, otherwise I'm going to flip over to porn and jack off for the rest of the night. If Randall wrote for TV, my forearm strength would be fucking incredible.

If you manage to get past those first two glaring flaws that make this pile of bullfuck completely unfunny, you're treated to the joke of "hurr hurr he's telling her her babby won't come out her vag lol". Now I have a juvenile sense of humor. My Halo 3 service tag was "P33" because it looks like it spells "pee". I think the word "shitboats" is objectively hilarious. What I'm saying is I don't have very high standards. I appreciate wit and intelligent humor, but a good dirty joke will still elicit a chuckle. This comic still did nothing for me. Perhaps if he had used "orifice" (which is another word I find, in my immaturity, hilarious) instead of "opening". Perhaps if he had limited it to saying it might shoot out her butt instead of her vagina it would have been funny. But instead, I am treated to the mental image of a newborn clawing its way out of its mother's eyeballs. That's not funny - that's disturbing. That's fucking Eraserhead levels of disturbing. Here's a tip, Randall - gross-out humor only works up to a point. If it's going to give your readers visions of demon fetuses bursting out of people's heads, maybe you should reconsider.

So that's what were left with, folks - an unfunny, cliche, borderline disturbing shit-stain on the underwear of the Internet. That's what xkcd has become - the skidmark of the webcomic community. It's not bad compared to the pants-shittingly terrible likes of Boston and Shaun or Electric Retard, but it's still not something I want to see three times a week.

That concludes my first guest post. Feel free to leave your insipid bullshit feedback in the comments so that I can totally ignore it and then have sex with all the girls you like. See you assholes on Wednesday.

127 comments:

  1. Cue cuddlefish saying "it's not supposed to be funny, it's supposed to leave you in abject terror..."

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  2. "so that I can totally ignore it and then have sex with all -"
    Haha, jokes on you! We don't HAVE girlfr--
    "-he girls you like."
    Oh. :(

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  3. I'm on a boat!
    I'm on a boat!
    Everybody look at me cause I'm sailin on a boat!
    I'm on a boat!
    I'm on a boat!
    Take a good hard look at the muthafuckin boat!

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  4. it's not supposed to be funny, it's supposed to leave you in abject terror...

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  5. And he just had to somehow get in something about gravity.

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  6. I learned a new word from this, and it is a word I will use frequently.

    Thanks, Poore. You may be destitute in name, but you are rich in knowledge, and knowledge is the most valuable treasure of all.

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  7. So far, so good! And thank you for giving meaning to my previously empty and Demetri-Martin-free existence.

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  8. Another odd-numbered day, another shitty XKCD.
    (We start with Sunday at 0.)

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  9. Anon 4:53, if you're referring to "shitboats", you can thank this Married to the Sea comic, because that is where I learned it.

    (Also, Ambivalicious, you're welcome.)

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  10. Also, fixed the spelling error or some shit.

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  11. >"I think the word "shitboats" is objectively hilarious."
    >"objectively hilarious"
    >"objectively"

    RABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLE

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  12. Also, Dimitri Martin is unfunny.

    I was going to say he's the xkcd of stand-up comics, but right now that's Jeff Dunham.

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  13. I pretty much hate any stand-up comic that isn't Eddie Izzard.

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  14. What, no love for Mencia?

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  15. Ben, I used "objectively" there in only a semi-serious way. One of my favorite ways to add emphasis to a statement is to say something along the lines of: "That is objectively wrong. I don't even beleive in objectivity and that's objectively wrong!" It's a colorful use of the word.

    Also, it's "Demetri" with two e's and one i. *shrug* To each his own. Demetri Martin is like xkcd if Randall was actually good at obervational humor and could write dialog that was well-paced and funny enough to go along with his drawings. He's nerdy and quirky, but he doesn't pander, or carry the joke too far (with, for example, post-punchline dialog).

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  16. I don't like Eddie Izzard much either.
    Admittedly, the first - and last - instance that I've heard of him was his cake or death bit. It was plain unfunny. Whoever thinks that a two minute routine on the frankly obvious choice between a person wanting cake or wanting death is funny, has gotta be freaking kidding me. His outfit and dress choice do nothing for his act, and he's a rather average joke teller.

    Nevertheless, I know many people found that bit funny. If so, why? I found it frankly dumb, and were it a written script, I would have dismissed it as trash.

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  17. Hey now, Eddie Izzard can be very funny. Also: 'have sex with all the girls you like' sounds a bit like we get to choose how many.

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  18. Show me an instance where he is then?

    I may be over-generalizing by taking one instance and using it to describe him as a comedian. Still, if you're good at something, his work should be good through and through. (That of course, isn't to say that a good artist can't produce mediocre work, but just not much of it).

    & Rob, did I sound transphobic, or were you just assuming?

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  19. I may be over-generalizing by taking one instance and using it to describe him as a comedian. Still, if you're good at something, his work should be good through and through. (That of course, isn't to say that a good artist can't produce mediocre work, but just not much of it).

    Bro, for all you know, Eddie Izzard had one mediocre skit and you saw it. Your ass-covering is not so much successful ass-covering as a blatant admission that you made your judgment without having any idea what you were talking about.

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  20. Mostly just the comment about his outfit. I assumed you were not just making a sartorial critique.

    It's basically true, in my experience, that the bit everyone shares of any given artist, be they a comedian, a musician, a television show, &c, is not their best. The Cake or Death skit is a pretty straightforward 'playing out absurdities' routine, which I enjoy but it's not the most amusing thing in the world.

    I enjoy his style, which feels very extemporaneous, and which plays with the absurd in a fairly clever way, and doesn't feel like most comedians, which is 'observational humor which is mostly just complaining about something.'

    (wtf is with your ampersand? you can see the 'et' literature. is that just the font here?)

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  21. (that is just the font here. why is the ampersand so weird here)

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  22. I admitted that I made a quick assumption. I'm surprised you didn't realize that. That's kinda why I prefaced (Can I use that word here?) the post with "Show me an instance where he is"

    I don't want to sift through a lot of work and end up losing the time I spent. It'd be like telling me to read through Megatokyo and make an evaluation on how good it is. So I'd prefer, instead of someone blindly supporting the comedian, show me some of his work where he shines. It'd save me some time.

    Anyway, my comment on his outfit was made purely in the interest of comedic assistance. Like how in a comic, art accentuates the joke. In stand-up comedy, most people wear casual clothes. When I see something flamboyant, I wonder why first, and than I judge whether or not it assists the joke. Him being trans has nothing to do with it. (It was actually a rather bad critique, because being casually dressed doesn't influence the skit much either. I said it more because I tend to recognize irregularities in the norm rather than similarities)

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  23. May I cook the marshmallows? I smell something flaming. (this is about my 5th post on a blog!)

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  24. P, I would enjoy Martin more if his delivery weren't so painful. On his show, "Important Things", I actually tend to enjoy his sketches. But his Jokes segments, where he just does awkward standup, is just uncomfortable.

    Also, since I'm an enormous Mitch Hedberg fan, I can't help but suspect he's trying to be like Mitch, but since he lacks the humble, unpolished form, he fails at funny and just feels too hip.

    I like Izzard, but mainly because he's so intelligent.

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  25. Oh, I also enjoy Mitch Hedberg, from what I have seen.

    Mesoade, I don't have a sample sketch for you. I'm not a huge fan of stand-up in general. I'm not intimately familiar.

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  26. I personally like the Death Star Canteen sketch. It's wonderfully absurd.

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  27. Louis CK guys?
    Guys?

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  28. It is a given that everyone likes Louis CK. It's not even worth discussing.

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  29. See, Mesosade, once you realized that you'd made a comically ridiculous assumption, the sensible thing to do would've been to admit that you were ridiculous and retract your assumption. Not get all petulant and claim that obviously a stand-up comedian should always be 100% perfect, so people who judge him on the basis of a single skit can be accurate.

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  30. Guys, don't get bitchy and start nagging each other. Dudes make mistakes. Ladies also similarly makes mistakes. It's not the end of the world.

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  31. oh god why would you link those two comics they are terrifying in so many ways

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  32. Rule 1 of xkcdsucks: All humor should be 100% original. If Randall writes something that might have any kind of precedent, he is a filthy plagiarist, and the comic is not funny.

    __

    I see the "Its all been done before article" in just about every critique on this blog, and if it isn't in the actual post, someone brings it up in the comments. Pretty much everything has been done before... and unless you want to get stupidly technical, you have to agree with that.

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  33. The_P - You are a much better reviewer than Carl. You expressed your opinion with backing and in a funny way. You should take over permanently.

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  34. I wrote about why that is in one of my comic reviews, I think it was. It is not that it's been done before as such; it's the fact that the other things did it better. Originality isn't that big of a deal, since there's nothing new, but you should do it in a way which adds something or is better than previous instances, otherwise it's not really worthwhile.

    Think of it as a conversation. It can be really fun to talk about the same subject with multiple people or on multiple occasions. It's not fun to have the same conversation multiple times.

    Randy's problem is he never adds anything. When he does something that's been done before, he never inspires "Oh, that's an interesting take" so much as "yes, and?"

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  35. "I liked this joke when it was made by someone else! but when Randall makes it, it sucks! See, here's two paragraphs of justification. What do you mean, this applies just as well to the comedian I liked?"


    this sort of nonsensical, trainwreck-esque psychological gymnastics is why I keep coming back here. Watching you chucklefucks wildly post self-contradictory screeds of why xkcd is bad by virtue of being xkcd is almost as pathetically funny as watching randall try to make a decent joke.

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  36. In what way is anything anyone has said here self-contradictory?

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  37. I think he thinks that we're saying the joke sucks because it was done by Randall, when the fact of the matter is that it's an old joke with bad delivery, misdirected and broken punchlines, a perverse subjoke that sounds like the baby ripping itself out your chest alien-style. Basically he ignored every point made other than "Demetri Martin did it and it was funny, Randall did it retardedly" and ran with that one straight of a cliff lemming (or cuddlefish) style.

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  38. Oh, I think I've got it.

    So, Randall does a joke that Demetri Martin did once, which made Randall's joke unoriginal.

    Demetri Martin also once did a joke that Demetri Martin did once.

    Therefore, Demetri Martin's joke must also be unoriginal.

    Fucking brilliant!

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  39. Anonymous 1:12 = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous = Anonymous

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  40. I think there's something illogical about the poster. You said you liked the joke when you heard it the first time...but even the first time you heard it it was old. And 90% of the jokes you've laughed at are old. Why did you like it when it was told by Demetri Martin and not by Randall?

    And you didn't give a good reason you didn't like this version. You just said "hurr, hurr *joke*" as if that made it unfunny.

    Can we have Carl back? Please?

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  41. (a) I'm not complaining that the joke is old. I'm complaining the joke was done poorly, and because it's been done before that makes it both old AND shitty. If it were an old joke done in a clever or interesting way, maybe I would have liked it.

    (b) That only addresses about half of points. There still hasn't been a single one of you who has even asserted that the joke WASN'T poorly executed and shitty.

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  42. here i am reading a post at ease and a fucking anon has to go 4chan. using 4chan language outside of 4chan is lamer than this horrible comic. anyway, nice work Poopre

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  43. POORE I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DRINK OFF

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  44. NAME THE TIME AND PLACE

    IT'S ON

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  45. Aw shit!
    Get your towels ready it's about to go down...

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  46. Poore I think I love you in a special way.

    I think that yeah you should get more guest weeks.

    Fuck I don´t even read xkcd any more and just come here to see what you guys write.

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  47. Non-Demetri Martin example: Randall had the same sort of joke, but far better executed, in comic 451 (the literary theory one). This one is a huge step backwards. Fuck, it would've had the same effect if it were just a blank panel with the words "Did you know you can just buy lab coats? hehe, <3 Randall". The faux-doctor's dialogue does nothing other than imply the woman is impossibly stupid.

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  48. I THINK POORE AND I SHOULD DO A DRINK OFF GUEST WEEK WHERE WE EACH WRITE DRUNK RANTS ABOUT THE COMICS

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  49. Why did you have to mention those two other comics? Now I can't stop seeing horrible MSPaint drawings.

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  50. Okay, I thought the joke was well executed and funny. No babies actually came out of anyone's eyeballs, but we got to imagine a pregant woman being told that there is a risk. We are left with a moment of confusion before it's clear what happened, which is entertaining. It has a Millgram experiment vibe, but instead of hurting people, or for that matter taking advantage of them, it just mildly tweaks them. Basically it's a good prank.

    Also, the idea that everyone is so horrified by this xkcd when y'all frequently reference SMBC as a good comic is fucking outrageous. SMBC is covered with actual images of actual people killing themselves, eachother, children, etc. Same thing with Perry Bible Fellowship. I can't read SMBC because I have seen too many close up, carefully drawn depictions of people with bullets through their heads and I can't handle it.

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  51. And Poore, good review. I think you're wrong, but your review was actually entertaining, which is sort of the point. That's somewhat unusual for xkcd sucks.

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  52. this site is so stupid man. i feel kind of stupid wasting my time commenting on this, but i mean, maybe it'll do some good? relax dude. youve wasted so much time with site, so many hours ranting about how you hate a harmless web comic. those are bits of your live youll never get back. you could have been hittin on girls in a bar instead of dickin around on the internet. you could have been watchin some football with your friends, having a couple beers. but no. this. come on. man up. get rid of this stupidity. im also not a fan of the xkcd whatever-its a bunch of elitist nerds. but this isnt any better. yall have stooped to their level by even responding. so man up. get rid of this.

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  53. bro, i'm having sex with a girl and doing from with a beer bong RIGHT NOW AS I COMMENT, you're too busy being lame and wishing you could be an ALPHA MALE like me

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  54. Anon 11:13 - learn to capitalize and use proper punctuation.

    Anyway, that post took me a grand total of about 20 minutes (which included figuring out the blogger interface and getting the picture formatted and such), and I really enjoyed writing it (and was, in fact, enjoying a couple of beers while I did it). I then went and had dinner with friends. This doesn't dominate my life. It's something I do for fun every now and then. You are the one who needs to chill.

    Also, Mal, I am literally a bro - as in, I am the Vice President of a fraternity. We don't all conform to the stereotype :D

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  55. Guys I think you should stop this blog. Randall has put his whole life into this comic and when you criticize him like this it really makes him feel bad.

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  56. The REAL Dr. Horrible said he would never post again under that name! Therefore you are...AN IMPOSTER!

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  57. Amazing critique. A+

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  58. "im also not a fan of the xkcd whatever-its a bunch of elitist nerds."

    Well, that explains why you're not a fan of this blog, either.

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  59. First of all, Dimitri Martin is hardly the first person to make a joke about buying trophies. His little spin on it is evoking a lazy attitude about it (whereas other versions might have the person doing it to impress people or the joke might be how those impressed people are suckers) but even this aspect is not terribly original.

    Second, I agree with some of the other posters here that Randall's joke is about abusing perceptions of authority. If you really want to call him on it, cite the Monty Python sketch where different men keep coming in claiming they're actual psychiatrists and all the other men are either lunatics or part of an experiment to confuse the patient.

    Or the posted comic about grad students is good too but even then, the joke is more about how easy it is to sound like you're an expert in literary criticism than any of the technical fields.

    I have to say this blog is very entertaining. I go to XKCD, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I don't, and occasionally I see a comic and say "Well, they can't have anything mean to say about this one. It has what they said they wanted in this other blog post I read." But sure enough, you guys still manage to not enjoy it and complain endlessly.

    So Bad Its Good. That is all.

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  60. Or the posted comic about grad students is good too but even then, the joke is more about how easy it is to sound like you're an expert in literary criticism than any of the technical fields.

    Because that's totally a different joke.

    So Bad Its Good. That is all.

    Your Mileage May Vary, So Bad It's Horrible, WallBanger, DidNotDoTheResearch

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  61. I hope that is not a true story.

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  62. I am tempted to say that this was a pretty ok xkcd (talking about 700) since it had a nice lead up to the punchline (which it was literally) and, well as near as I can tell it was funny (sure I thought it was a lame joke, but I didn't want to vomit, unlike Monday's)

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  63. I don't understand comic 700. Why the fuck is Batman coming out of nowhere and punching a guy with zits funny? I...I really don't understand how it's funny.

    Is it funny because Batman is punching a teenager? I mean that's...maybe kind of funny but not really. Is it funny because Batman has nothing to do with the rest of the comic? If so then it's the same "Chef Brian" bullshit CAD pulled which ISN'T FUNNY.

    Dammit the world made sense ten minutes ago.

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  64. It's about Two-Face, the batman villain who has horrible burns on half of his face, and flips coins to decide who he kills.

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  65. The batman one is pretty good... reminds me of a C&H short.

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  66. So every single one of Randy's "attempts at science" somehow make half of his face look different than the other half and end with him flipping a coin and getting punched by batman?

    Wow. no.

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  67. Also why is batman's cape see through?

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  68. The really sad part is how you can just see this train of thought passing through the head of a disappointed man gazing tragically at his stubborn acne.

    Hey so here's a question I just had: do you guys think Randall really is into super heroes? Like, any more than seeing the popular movies and maybe a couple television episodes when he was a kid on accident? The evidence (the fact that all references to Batman, for example, are super vague and general) leads me to tentatively conclude that he doesn't read the comics. I mean, xkcd doesn't exactly hesitate to show off any 'inside' nerd knowledge its author has, so I doubt any potential level of marvel/dc babble has been silenced by modesty or restraint.

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  69. I don't think Randy is a hardcore comic book nerd. I was never that into superheroes, and I still get most of his references. He might have watched the TV series and most of the movies, and it's possible he legitimately thinks Batman is cool, but I don't think he's really that in touch with that element of nerd culture.

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  70. --"So every single one of Randy's "attempts at science" somehow make half of his face look different than the other half and end with him flipping a coin and getting punched by batman?"

    Wow. No.

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  71. @math_mage - read the title text. It says all his experiments end with him being punched in the face by batman.

    In the comic the character is punched in the face for flipping a coin and looking like two-face.

    So wow, yes. Unless all his other experiments makes him look like some OTHER batman villain.

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  72. Re: title text of the most recent comic, from Wikipedia, for those who seem to be having trouble with it:
    Absurd humor, or nonsense humor is a genre of comedy that relies upon "a violation of causal reasoning," with events or behavior that are "logically inappropriate."

    As for the comic itself, I thought it was funny when I thought stick guy was getting punched for being an obsessive nerd. The Two Face parallel I didn't get until afterward, and I found it a passable joke in the form of sub-text. My experience may not be typical.

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  73. I liked it better before I came here and found out it was a Two Face reference.
    I enjoy random acts of violence more than I think is socially acceptable.

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  74. Every time I see Nate post, I wonder if he's a troll trying to get people to think XKCDS goers are idiots.

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  75. I like how this xkcd manages to perfectly nail the "target demographics". This is definitely something xkcd-fans can relate to (except for the Batman part).

    "So wow, yes. Unless all his other experiments makes him look like some OTHER batman villain."

    Yeah, most of Randy's other experiments make him look like a Joker.

    Actually, like WCWedin I initially thought that the last panel is just random violence (just like the time when a raptor jumped on Randall for using GOTO operator). I'm not really sure which is funnier.

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  76. so:
    1) high school level maths/physics jokes
    2) FIRST robotics joke
    3) adolescent attitude towards relationships
    and now
    4) acne problems


    c'mon!

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  77. @ Anon 11:29:

    Nope, not a troll, just a bit dim. But hey, at least I'm willing to admit it.

    So now I realize it was a Two-Face reference which...still isn't all that funny. *shrug* I don't even think I would've found it funny if I had gotten it in the first place.

    Maybe because why would Batman mistake some guy with some acne for someone who had half their face burned off? It doesn't work.

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  78. I actually liked the recent one, if only because the punchline/joke 1) actually came at the end for once, and 2) wasn't easily foreseeable.

    (Not that it makes up for the last three. While I've long been in agreement with the blog's general premise that XKCD has been sliding into crap, the space elevator one was the first one that made me want to actually punch someone in the face).

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  79. I think the clinical trial/batman one is pretty good. If you don't find the joke funny then fair enough but it's original, it makes sense, the event leading up to the joke feel natural and it is well executed. The title text is a bit lame, but so what? That is the LEAST of my worries if we can get some decent comics.

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  80. The latest one is definitely structured fairly nicely. It builds up to the punchline without feeling too contrived, and the punchline is unexpected, doesn't have post-punchline dialogue, and to the point. He doesn't explain the joke to those who don't get it.

    In XKCD's heyday I probably wouldn't have given this a second thought. Today I find it pretty mediocre. It's like mashed potatoes that are cooked just right and at the perfect consistency, but there are no condiments.

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  81. I love how the latest comic isn't even trying to hide the fact anymore that it directly panders to the 16-17 year olds demographic.

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  82. The batman comic is really, really convoluted, but it's all worth it, as it makes a topical reference to that recently released movie, The Dark Knight.

    I can't wait until 2012 when Randall will release a slew of Avatar comics.

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  83. @Fred - I disagree. The Dark Knight was a popular movie across a much larger spectrum of ages.

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  84. Anon 12:52: I think he means 16-17 year olds, the people most likely to have bad acne.

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  85. Comic 700 perhaps marks the return of an actual joke instead of an observation.

    I'll be fair, I would have laughed if he somehow made the joke more clear.
    (I see Two-Face as a guy with half his face gone, not with zits, so when he sucker-punches a zitty teenager, I wondered why. And then it clicked)

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  86. Holy shit the Batman one is terrible.

    I have not hated an xkcd comic this much since the cartoon vagina.

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  87. I think the speed of the newest comic (700) is one of the main problems in the execution. He should've fleshed out more, or perhaps it's the too simplistic style (Which I normally have no issue with). What I mean is that the coin toss doesn't get a chance to insert itself into the mind of people since it comes so quickly, it's important people add the strings together the moment they see the last panel, or the punchline suffers. Here, some people might have to reconsider, and the coin toss isn't highlighted enough and he should've added more zits to make the two halves more distinct, sorta. Now with that said, I did get it and I do think it's a good comic compared to most new ones. Structure is good, he leads up to the punchline well enough and so forth, but to avoid confusion I think my criticism might have helped, perhaps (Since not everyone got the joke, seemingly).

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  88. Wow, Jay failed at trolling. I quite liked 700. Good time to have a decent one, I suppose - right on the hundred. I'm going to suggest that rather than it being "half face of zits = half burned off" it's the other way round. Half the face acne. The other half, the acne has been....burned off! (holy shit layers!) ('burned off' implied by the acid)

    So yeah. 700 is decent. And I'm glad it's a guest week, as we might actually get a blog post that will admit it. Heaven forbid Carl should like a comic.

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  89. 700 has surely been way, WAY better than xkcd's usual standards; mostly, I think, because the predictable science/geeky joke was subverted with something surreal and unexpected, but not completely nonsensical. And we know that xkcd is usually the LAST comic to do that kind of breaking of expectations: if you expect the joke to be something lame, pseudo-nerdy and pandering, 99% of the times you'll be DAMN RIGHT.

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  90. Dude, I can't tell if you're joking. I'm not trolling.

    I'm amazed that any of you like this contrived piece of shit.

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  91. I can actually imagine someone whose one half of the face has acne and the other doesn't to look like Two-Face. Acne can look REALLY horrible, with these big scars and everything. It's not a coincidence that the faces of people with acne get compared to the surface of the moon a lot.
    The problem is, however, that he simply draws some red dots, which is lesser form of acne (just some pimples here and there). That one wouldn't really resemble Two-Face.

    Anyway, what I don't like about this comic is that to me, it seems very forced. If you know the point and then look back, it seems that the whole comic builds up to this point in a very unnatural way. "Gotta make him look like Two-Face", "Gotta make him flip a coin somehow" (and of course "Gotta get a chart in it somehow" and "Gotta make it somewhat 'scientific'").

    I have to agree that the point is pretty unexpected if you read it the first time, though.

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  92. I mean, OK, I'll concede its execution is better than usual. Whatever.

    Maybe if the setup was anything like a real situation, or could plausibly occur in real life. But it's not. Randall did not think of the setup and go, "lol, that reminds me of Batman," he thought of the punchline and worked backwards. I guarantee it.

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  93. I made a noise. It wasn't exactly a laugh out loud, but it was a pleased noise. First from batman just punching him, which seemed random and unexpected, and then the dawning realization that half-acne guy tossing a coin was two-face.

    To call this a Dark Knight reference is a bit much -- Two-Face has been a Batman villain since 1942, with the exact same coin-flipping routine. I'm perfectly willing to accept that a bunch of people were introduced to two-face via the Dark Knight, and are most familiar with him there. But complaining it's not topical because The Dark Knight was released a long while ago is just a bit much. He was in several cartoon series, and in the Batman Forever, and the re-runs of the really old series.

    Have to admit I was a bit confused about the acne cream references from somebody my age.

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  94. http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/02/08/neil-gaiman-wil-wheaton-reenact-xkcd-strip/

    Hey, The_P (Rob, Carl, whoever you want to pretend you are today) when is Neil Gaiman going to give you tribute?

    Oh, that's right ... he will never give tribute to you, will he? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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  95. Fight those tears, man! FIGHT THOSE TEARS!

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  96. Neil Gaiman has pretty terrible taste anyway, so I'm not surprised.

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  97. Anon 4:00 - I don't need C-list celebrities to validate my existence.

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  98. "The batman one is pretty good... reminds me of a C&H short."

    I would just like to point out that xkcd is now considered pretty good if it reaches the standards of C&H.

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  99. Seems to me like the entire comic was just a way for Randall to express his newfound love of benzoyl peroxide.

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  100. To call this a Dark Knight reference is a bit much -- Two-Face has been a Batman villain since 1942, with the exact same coin-flipping routine. I'm perfectly willing to accept that a bunch of people were introduced to two-face via the Dark Knight, and are most familiar with him there. But complaining it's not topical because The Dark Knight was released a long while ago is just a bit much. He was in several cartoon series, and in the Batman Forever, and the re-runs of the really old series.

    So, what, referencing even older things somehow makes XKCD more topical?

    I'm really not convinced by anyone who says this has "good execution". It's got the basic framework of a correctly told joke, but it's so skeletal and obviously exposed. It's very rushed, and so the clanking machinery of him deriving the comic from the punchline backward is super obvious.

    The execution isn't as abysmally howlingly awful as most XKCDs, true. But I still resent the use of "good" to represent "mediocre-to-bad, but still better than Randall's ordinarily insufferable garbage." People tend to use it with Randall's art, too, where if he includes a visible background and a few slathers from the Paint bucket, it counts as good.

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  101. Jay, sorry to ruin the magic of comedy for you, but a lot of jokes are built up by starting at the punchline and working out a way to reach that point.
    it's also a good way to write a murder mystery.

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  102. Didn't like the comment this post is about either. Really kind of stupid, an attempt at shock humor pasted over an old joke doesn't make it funny.

    The Batman comic was good. Not good for xkcd, just good. Seriously, people saying it's not that well fleshed out, it's a 5 frame comic. Should he do one of his 20 frame ones so that he can put more into it? The execution was fine.

    Mal, when The Dark Knight came out did you say, "This is a really old topic, I don't know why someone decided to make a movie someone has already made a long time ago."

    NO. It's fucking timeless. Classic superhero references are always valid (please don't take that as "always good" or "never overused").

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  103. Shut the fuck basileus. Go sit in a corner and watch a shiny piece of foil for a while. You seem really easy to entertain. DUR DUR WHY IS 6 AFRAID OF 7? I'll give you time to figure that puzzler out!

    This comic made me embarrassed for xkcd. The move contrived lead up ever leads to such an unfunny payoff. So terrible. Yes he obviously worked backwards, but the punchline made the comic stillborn and it was done with the finesse of a middle schooler.

    Fuck you xkcd.

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  104. Chalk me up as a "no" for the Batman one too. Just felt contrived, and not contrived in the good way.

    Also, the three spots on Megan's face look like eyes and a nose, and it's really unnerving. And the blonde one looks like a catface.

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  105. I liked the Batman one, but looking forward to the post about it anyway.

    As for Neil Gaiman... so what? It's nice that he collaborated on this little project, but does that mean we need to bow to his tastes? Or that he's given a stamp of approval to ALL of XKCD's content regardless of varying quality?

    Besides, I would still love Neil Gaiman even if he admitted he was a fan of Kidz Bop.

    Er... maybe.

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  106. Oh wow, famous person participates in thing about other famous person, and an Anon who thinks that everyone who posts here is the same person is trying to . . . rub it in? Is that what's going on here? Like, "ha, a famous person likes this comic and not the blog, YOU SUCK?"

    I like Neil Gaiman but my purpose in life is not to please him. Sorry.

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  107. 'Jay, sorry to ruin the magic of comedy for you, but a lot of jokes are built up by starting at the punchline and working out a way to reach that point.
    it's also a good way to write a murder mystery.'

    A lot of jokes are also bad. Coincidence?

    No, seriously, do you think I don't know that? I was trying to succinctly express what kind of joke this is, not passing judgment on all jokes like it. Even if your joke was built backwards you don't want people to notice that, see?

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  108. Oh my God. For linking to Electric Retarded I now hate you for ever. I don't think I'll ever be able to scrub my eyes hard enough to get the images out of my retinas. I may actually need to remove my eyes and repace them with glass ones. If that doesn't work, I'm going to be really irked.

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  109. I think 700 was good. Not "good" as in "better than the other xkcd crap" but as in "actually good". Looking back on it, I see that it *is* very contrived. But I didn't see that when I read it first, and thus it didn't seem contrived to me then. Anyway, I got the Two Face reference although I didn't know about the coin thing. So, basically, fuck you. Stop reading the comic in search of flaws *first* (in case you do this).

    On a related note, what's up with all the anti-xkcd cuddlefish?

    - Anon 10:14

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  110. I don't read the xkcd comics looking for flaws. Sometimes I read one, and then, hours later, I think "I wonder what xkcdsucks says about this comic. I thought it was OK, but maybe it could use some improvements." But 700 was so bad. After I read it, I looked down and noticed my hands typing xkcdsucks.blogspot.com while my conscious mind was still reeling. It was like a primal, instinctive response to badness.

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  111. Look, assholes, it doesn't do you any good to go "WELL THE COMIC WAS ONLY FIVE PANELS, OF COURSE HE COULDN'T HAVE FLESHED IT OUT!"

    Maybe Randall shouldn't be trying to tell a relatively extended story, with a complicated buildup, in five fucking panels. He's not like Tim Buckley, where he is bound by OCD to always use the exact same format for every idea. Using five panels for 700 was a decision Randall made, and I think it was a shitty one.

    But I didn't see that when I read it first, and thus it didn't seem contrived to me then. Anyway, I got the Two Face reference although I didn't know about the coin thing. So, basically, fuck you. Stop reading the comic in search of flaws *first* (in case you do this).

    Nobody does this. Fuck you.

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  112. I'm not sure "fleshing it out" more would actually help, though. I like it the way it is now, setting things up JUST enough to bring in the punchline. If you don't get it right away, the elements are all there for you to look back and go "OH, right..." Nothing wrong with a good delayed-reaction punchline.

    If he tried to spend more time building up on the coin toss, I think that'd just make it look more contrived, like he knows it's a ridiculous situation, but has to waste 3 panels justifying and fanwanking and explaining it away.

    Unless, of course, he kept on fleshing it out to better Nate than lever territory, crafting a huge believable story about these scientific endeavors just to get in a silly Batman joke at the very end. But I doubt Randall would want to commit to that much drawing unless it was for a poster grab.

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  113. Comments on comics...

    699: someone said it and I agree: this is not XKCD, it's C&H wearing XCKD's skin. Come on, where's the "Romance, Sarcasm, Math and Language"? Where's the "science is awesome"? Nowhere, we have a crude joke with stick figures. Yay. No, wait, no yay; rahter, eww.

    700: I like the punchline, but the build up is contrived like hell! I had the same feeling of "punchline to setup work" here, it's transparent! I'm just hoping here Randall won't make this into a running gag...

    That's all for now. Mole out!

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  114. I haven't even been posting lately but I just had to comment on good 'ole 700 -_-

    To be blunt. I didn't get it. And it seems to me that a lot of people didn't get it on the first read through. I finished reading it and went, "Oh, it is supposed to be that disfigured guy whose name I never remember? How are we supposed to get that?"

    Apparently I didn't remember the coin flipping thing but since I didn't remember his name either... I haven't seen any of the semi-recent Batman films so I'm running completely on having last watched Batman over 8 years ago so I was apparently the wrong audience for this comic but REALLY. It seems way too complicated for five panels and I've been thinking about it on and off all day and I still have no idea how this joke could work. I... just... can't imagine it as funny. When Doctor McNinja talks about wanting to be Batman it's funny. When a random teenager gets punched by Batman... I don't get it.

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  115. As with the other cuddlefish who posted, I originally laughed because random violence is funny. Then I realized it was a play on TwoFace.

    I did actually laugh, so it's God-like in quality by the standards of recent XKCD strips. I don't know if I'm prepared to call it "good" by other standards though.

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  116. I didn't like the comic. Wasn't fond of the layout. The fourth panel was smaller than the rest, to the point where I didn't mentally connect it to the rest of the comic. This is one of those comics that you are forced to read twice, or three times, or four, until you finally get it. At that point, what's the point of laughing?

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  117. I disagree. I got it on the first read-through.

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  118. --"@math_mage - read the title text. It says all his experiments end with him being punched in the face by batman."

    Got that part.

    --"In the comic the character is punched in the face for flipping a coin and looking like two-face."

    Got that part.

    --"So wow, yes."

    Why? Does "getting punched in the face by Batman" ==> "Looking and acting like Two-Face"? That's backwards.

    --"Unless all his other experiments make him look like some OTHER batman villain."

    Sure. Or maybe they just threaten Gotham City in general. Or maybe Batman punches him for being such an idiot. Whatever. In any of these cases, your mockery is misdirected.

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  119. This is like the "All x's are y's, therefore all y's are x's" fallacy, only even more blatantly stupid. "This particular Y is X, therefore all Y's are X's" I guess. You suck, anonymous 10:16

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  120. "What, no love for Mencia?"

    Nobody shall ever love Mencia.

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  121. It bothers me that this entire review was centered around the fact that it's been done before... pretty much every joke has been done before, and is made funny by presenting it in a new way.

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