Tag Archives: joke

Why You Think It’s Funny and I Don’t

When asked advice on how he would do the old slip on a banana peel gag, Chaplin was once quoted as saying “Instead of slipping on a banana peel, have a large woman walk up, see the banana peel and step over it, and drop into an uncovered man hole she didn’t see ahead of her because she was so busy being smug while looking back at the banana peel she just smartly stepped over. Courtesy JeTamme Derouet (Charlie Chaplin historian, paid expert and top contributor) http://www.charliechaplinclub.com.

I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of humor, but many of today’s comedians don’t make me laugh. I’ve watched Adam Sandler, Will Farrell and others, wanting to be amused; begging to be amused; hoping to be amused, but being disappointed. Have I gotten that old?

The other day I heard a comment on NPR that pointed out how today’s humor is more slapstick, while the humor of the mid to late 20th century was more intelligent and thought provoking – not that everything today is slapstick, or that everything from back then was intelligent (after all, that same time period included the “Gong Show.”) The speaker pointed out how the older material used humor to convey a message. I believe there’s some truth to that.

Look at how Richie Pryor used humor to make a huge statement about the idiocy of racism. Supposedly, he wrote the script for “Blazing Saddles.”) Bill Cosby’s view of life in his stand-up comedy was outstanding, and his characters converted to cartoons with a message.

“Firesign Theatre” parodied just about everything, while salting the material with obscure references to computer technology, radiology, physics, and especially classical literature. These types of comedy got funnier over time because you caught more of the hidden jokes. (“Will you look at the mouth on that gift horse? I’ve never seen anything like that!”)

There’s hope, though. I like the tee shirt emblazoned with, “There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don’t.”

And of course, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged).”

And, yes, just as Shakespeare (the original) was corny, intelligent humor can be corny as well.

A neutron walked into the Atomic Bar and asked the bartender, a proton, for a drink, which the bartender poured and served.

“How much do I owe you?” asked the neutron.

“For you, no charge,” replied the bartender.

[And if that isn’t bad enough…]

“Are you sure?” asked the neutron?

“I’m positive!” replied the proton.

Seeking Unindicted Co-conspirators

Now that I have your attention…


If you study ancient history and old texts, you may have heard of a novel written in 1969 that was deliberately written to be as awful as possible. Each chapter was written by a different author.

It was awful.

Any good writing was edited out to make it even more awful.

It contained a lot of sex.

It became a best seller.

The authors disclosed the hoax.

It sold many more copies because the hoax made it even more intriguing.

Now I have no desire to write something awful, but I thought it might be fun for me to start a story, introducing the characters and the general scene, then pass that on to another author to write the next chapter, etc.

Each chapter would be published on this blog, although any authors who agree to participate could either link to this blog and/or publish the entire work on their own blog. I figure each “chapter” would be about 300 – 1000 words, just to make it easy.

If you’re interested, let me know either by comment or by e-mail (steve@sfnowak.com). I’d like to line up who’s interested first so we’d know how many chapters we’d be writing.

If you’re a regular reader but not interested in personally contributing, you could cheer others on and convince them to volunteer.

On the other hand, if you’re a regular reader and have no interest in this whatsoever, not even in the slightest, here’s the thought for the day…

You get up in the morning and stop at Starbucks for a coffee and see the inevitable tip jar. You catch the subway to work and pass a street musician playing, his guitar case open in front of him to collect tips. Maybe you’re in the service or retired military, so you shop at the Commissary; there are signs that remind you that the people who bag the groceries work only for tips. At dinner you tip the waitperson. Since you had a few adult beverages, you take a cab home, and tip to cab driver. You stay at a hotel and you tip the chambermaid.

Given the current state of affairs would it surprise you to find a tip jar at your doctor’s or lawyer’s office?

How much of a tip would you leave?

Now, comparatively speaking, don’t you wish you had been more interested in contributing a chapter to the story?