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#997: The King of Comedy, Part Two

February 27, 2015

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #994: I Haven’t Got Time for This Mickey Mouse Bullshit; #995: The Creative Process; #996: The King of Comedy, Part One

While working on this arc, I remembered back in Multiplex’s early days (like, when it was less than a year old and still focused mostly on movie jokes) some webcartoonist at some forum criticizing Multiplex for occasionally making jokes that rely on some degree of knowledge about a given film, rather than jokes that “anybody” can understand, saying the oft-repeated line Bill Helms refers to in panel 5: “If you have to explain the joke, then it wasn’t funny.”

(It’s not entirely relevant that when I looked at their own comic strip, their jokes were completely accessible and entirely unfunny, but I feel like mentioning that, anyway.)

That idea has always struck me as insanely stupid: I’m sure there are people who get absolutely every one of Penny Arcade’s video game jokes, but I sure don’t, yet I don’t immediately assume that it’s a flaw in their jokes when I don’t get them. It’s often a “flaw” in my knowledge — in my ability to make the connections needed to understand the joke. 

I still vividly remember and love this (very) early Dresden Codak strip, which relies on the reader being at least passingly familiar with Heisenberg’s principle. If you aren’t, the odds of you finding it funny are slim. If you are, though, it’s probably very funny. Or at least I think it is.

Anyway. /end ponderous musing about the nature of humor

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