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I'm surrounded by comedy all day, every day. It's mostly terrific, but it can also be sort of numbing. The more time you spend writing, editing, consuming, and performing comedy, the more familiar it gets, to the point where before someone even finishes the setup, you already know what the punchline is, and it's almost impossible for comedy to be effective without the SURPRISE factor. Being surrounded on all sides by jokes is certainly a good problem to have, but it's still a problem.

It also means that, when something genuinely does surprise you, the laughs come harder and louder and stronger. Whenever I'm feeling low, I search the Internet for unexpected sources of comedy. Here are some of my favorites.

Roger Ebert's Scathing Review of North

Roger Ebert was a journalist, critic, screenwriter, American treasure, and all-around super cool guy. Through his film reviews, Ebert taught America how to watch movies, and he always demonstrated an amazing patience and thoughtfulness in his non-film-related writing that inspired in me a lot of daydreams where he was my wise, kind, movie-loving grandpa.

And he hated harmless family comedy North so motherfucking much that I might never stop smiling.


One of my favorite things to see in the world is a rage that is in no way proportionate to an offense, so a little context is important here. North is a 1994 film by Rob Reiner about a boy (Elijah Wood) who, fed up with his parents, gets himself emancipated and seeks out a new family. Along the way, he has some side adventures and encounters many interesting characters, including Bruce Willis dressed as the Easter bunny.


I watched the film as a kid, and I remember it being mostly OK. Any time there's a movie where it seems like a child is in charge living in a world that's either without parents or without parental authority is usually a home run for kids. I probably liked it less than similar "kid hits the road to make it on his own"-type movies, but I seem to recall enjoying it. At the very worst, I would call North mostly forgettable and generally inoffensive.

But I'm not Roger Motherfucking Ebert.

In just under 600 words, Ebert absolutely destroys this movie, and it's so much fun to watch. North is a mediocre family movie, but in Ebert's eyes it's like eight holocausts. He calls the role of the main character a punishment to poor Elijah Wood and calls any of the other actors forced to be in this film victims, as if Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin, Bruce Willis, Kathy Bates, and Jason Alexander had killed a whole family and being in North was their court-appointed sentence. It's amazing, because if you watch this movie, I guarantee that you'll walk away from it and the worst thing you'll think is "Eh, that wasn't really worth my time."


This is one of Ebert's strengths; he doesn't review films in a way that's too academic or inaccessible, and he writes film reviews like a guy who loves the shit out of movies and knows how to rage if they don't love him back. I will never feel as passionately about anything as Ebert does about how much he hates this movie about a kid traveling around the world looking for parents. I love how important movies are to Ebert. I love how seriously he takes his craft. I love that he sees bad movies as a personal attack. And I love the glee that he surely felt when he wrote this review.


(Please remember that Roger Ebert thought Transformers was a "fun movie" with "grace.")

Everyone should strive to be as spirited as Ebert. If I put half as much energy into learning as Ebert put into hating this freaking movie, I'd have mastered time travel and used it to go back and kick North in the nuts and make it apologize for spitting on Ebert's mother, which, based on this review, surely it must have done at some point.

[I won't insult Roger Ebert's legacy by pretending I included this entry to eulogize or pay tribute to the man. I wrote this entry before learning that Roger Ebert sadly passed away yesterday. Mr. Ebert has always been a vocal fan of the site and was gracious enough to give us a quote for our first book, and I think it's fair to pre-emptively call that the most exciting thing that will ever happen to me. Roger Ebert could seamlessly weave poetry, insight, and hilarity into a film review. I haven't yet lived in a world that didn't involve Mr. Ebert telling me how movies reflected the modern world, and knowing that I will soon worries me a little bit. Luckily, I have another week to process that, because Roger Ebert was still reviewing movies right until the end, like the True G we always knew him to be. He's already reviewed the movies coming out this weekend, and I can't wait to read them.]


Sammy Sosa's Amazing Pinterest

Sammy Sosa is a retired baseball player. According to Wikipedia, he hit over 600 home runs. He is one of two players to reach 160 RBIs in a season and the only player in history to hit 60 home runs in a single season three times. He is very good at baseball.

None of that matters. Sammy Sosa will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: his Pinterest page.


You can view Sammy Sosa as either a plastic-haired robot programmed to swat at baseballs and get photographed or a grinning alien who is absolutely blowing his mission of fitting in on Earth. I choose the alien angle, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is the entire page is like that. Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can "organize and share things you love," which, on whatever baseball planet Sammy Sosa is from, translates to "pictures of me in suit hello smile goodbye!"


Every single goddamn picture features Sammy Sosa posing in his apartment at one of the two photo shoots he set up for his Pinterest account. His poses run the gamut, from Confrontationally Sexy ...


... to "Relaxing Casually Just Like One of You Hu-mans (HAHA, One of US Hu-mans I Mean)" ...


... all the way to Sammy's favorite emotion, Points at Things:


I know. You're thinking that surely this is a fake. It's an elaborate Photoshop. A joke account. Sammy Sosa is rich and likely has a PR team; there's no way this is real. Well, to that I'd direct you to the title of his Pinterest page:


Seems legit. Still not convinced? Well, just look at the caption on literally every single picture:


The defense rests.

"I am use phone for same as your purposes!"

I could look at this page for hours.

"Sideways peace for another baseball wins!"

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Eminem's "Lose Yourself" With "Mom's Spaghetti" Randomly Thrown In

I'm sure you think you understand the gist of this video by the title of this entry, and it probably doesn't sound funny to you. Just trust me.

Watch that video. Marshall Mathers is a rapper who spent years honing and perfecting his craft. "Big Mitch Baker" is an editor, probably someone who took a few classes in either film editing or audio engineering. I don't think either of them ever knew that they were both, from the instant they were born, marching down a path that would inevitably lead them here, to a version of the universe where a rap song featuring "Mom's Spaghetti" 30 fucking times exists. It's one of the dumbest things I've ever laughed at for two-and-a-half straight minutes.

Official NASA Transcripts

NASA apparently keeps transcripts of everything that our astronauts say while they're in space, doing their space thing. One of our writers, Maxwell Yezpitelok, brought this particular transcript to my attention. He subsequently turned me on to my new favorite blog, Distractions in Space, a blog dedicated to collecting interesting excerpts from these NASA transcripts. There are probably a lot of fascinating lessons and stories in those transcripts, but I only learned one thing: floating poop is a real problem for astronauts.


That transcript comes from the Apollo 10. I have no idea how this happened, I just thank the comedy gods every day that it did. A bunch of astronauts were out in space, doing space things, and then poop started floating around, and I got to hear about it, and now I'll never be sad again.


Hahaha. Gross. I can't even riff on this, because the visual of a bunch of astronauts watching a turd and arguing over whose it is and never finding out is funnier than anything I could ever come up with. It's just a hazard that astronauts never talk about in those videos they send to elementary schools. "It's really nice to see the moon up close, but sometimes you get hit by poop and you don't know the source because space is ... difficult. And we have one guy on our ship who is troublingly defensive about how sticky his poop is."


Finding this was, without question, the happiest day of my life.

Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's head writer (ladies). Cheer up, everybody!

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