User:Sloublues/It's been done

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“ You know what, I think I might be homosexual. ”
~ Oscar Wilde on half the articles on Uncyclopedia

Hey, I just flew in all the way from Los Angeles to be here, so my arms are really tired. On top of that, my face hurts from all the bars I walked into on the way here. What I'm getting at is that I'm not in a good mood to begin with. So sit down and shut up and listen to me. I've got a very simple message for you: You are not funny.

All those jokes of yours? They've been done. Over and over and over again. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I realize you don't understand why that's a problem, so I'll try to explain it. Without the aid of interpretive dance, thank you very much.

edit Surprise

“ We are no longer amused. ”
~ Queen Elizabeth on hearing the "oom" joke for the millionth time

See, a lot of humor relies on surprise to get a good effect. The punchline might be random, or it might come after a misleading set-up, but the object is to catch the audience off-guard.

It's like tickling. You can't tickle yourself because your nervous system knows what's coming, right? Laughter is funny like that. If the other person can see the punchline coming like that light at the end of the tunnel that always turns out to be a train, you're more likely to get interrupted than to get a laugh.

If everyone's already heard a joke, then don't tell it. Save it for your nine-year-old cousin or something. If you can put a good twist on it and tell it that way, then go for it (but also see my next point). Make the set-up interesting or surprising enough, and part of your audience might get caught up in it enough to forget that they already know the mother's going to eat that rare and expensive parrot.

Your problem is that you aren't putting a twist on anything. You're just regurgitating what you've heard or read from other sources. Some of your jokes are so awkwardly worded that I think you memorized them from one of those e-mails.

Speaking of which, here's a list of things that you should probably avoid ripping off:

  • Bumper stickers. This includes generic comments about the politicians featured on them. Remember: political jokes are funny only until they're elected.
  • One of those emails. The jokes tend to be recycled (whether from other emails or from other sources) to begin with.
  • Memes. That includes Internet memes, movie quotes, the whole shebang. (And again, see next point.)
  • Joke books. After a while, one catches on that their contents have been culled from other joke books, stand-up routines, popular songs, comic strips, and whatever passed for chain emails before the Internet existed.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of humor to be found in all these places. But if I wanted to read five hundred of those emails, I'd find a website specifically intended to host them. (Or I'd hack into your inbox.) If you want to drop a line or two from them into your conversation, webpage, or whatever every so often, go ahead. I'm certainly not innocent of that. But please, stop relying on Zero Wing and Monty Python to get laughs out of people. Or just stop trying to get laughs out of people every five minutes.

Occasionally you will find a counter-example, where the hilarity comes from the fact that you can tell what's going to happen. I think this tends to apply mostly to puns and physical humor. Roadrunner cartoons are a good example of this.


edit Applicability

“ In Soviet Russia, done beens IT! ”
~ Russian Reversal on this article

I admit it: I'm a sucker for a good Russian Reversal. But the key here is that it is good. You can't just reverse subject and object and expect the result to be funny. The result has to be satirical, or a genuinely silly mental image, or have some amusement value. Otherwise you aren't even running the joke into the ground; you're just using the structure without understanding it, like the blonde who threw the pin and hung on to the grenade.

This is a general principle. Don't fall in love with a type of joke and then go around throwing it at everything. That's no way to treat a lady. Or a gentleman . . . or a baby . . . or a joke.

“ Look, I've accomplished quite a few things I'm proud of. But call-waiting, Britney Spears, and all those other things I've apparently invented aren't among them. ”
~ Satan on being interviewed

Sometimes you don't have to worry much about applicability, because you can fit pretty much anything into the punchline. You still have to realize that, much like the chicken crossing the road, people have heard this set-up before, and the only point of interest is what you've chosen as the punchline.

[explain why the "guy goes to Hell -- X won the Y!" joke gets old on rehearing]

edit Denigration

“ Hey, you know what, I'm pretty sure YOU'RE homosexual. And ugly. And you eat poop. Hahaha, I am so witty. ”
~ Me on you

A page full of nothing but generic insults and potty humor IS. NOT. FUNNY.

It's been done time and time and time and time again on Uncyclopedia (and political discussions, among other things). We understand, you don't like that person, place, or thing. I may not like them either. But I don't think you're funny when you get into your foul-mouthed, mud-slinging mode. Frankly, I think you're an idiot with the mental development of a child. You neither amuse me nor convince me of the awfulness of your target. You just convince me that you aren't worth my time or attention.

If you want to rake a subject over the coals, do it with their actual and perceived attributes in mind. You want to say that Johnny Cash is an awful singer? Fine. What are some qualities of his singing? Well, he had a deep voice and he sang country. Don't just say "Cash was the worst singer ever, and whenever he performed his audience would die or kill themselves." and expect me to laugh. It's been done. Use an interesting hyperbole, preferably one that can't be applied to other singers as well as it could to Cash.

edit Examples I Have Not Yet Worked Cleverly Into The Text Above

  • Yes, unicorns aren't around anymore because they didn't get on Noah's Ark. WE GET IT.
  • Fine, Robert Pattinson is gay because he plays a sparkly vampire. Whatever. GET NEW MATERIAL.

edit One Last Thought

You know what else is worn-out and should therefore be avoided like the plague? Cliches.


edit See Also

Categories: Humor

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