I haven't been posting much lately, and as recompense, I've decided to share with you one of comedy's deep, dark secrets. This is highly classified comedic intel, known only to Cracked bloggers, Carrot Top and that guy that reveals magician's secrets (he snuck into a meeting once). The other bloggers will probably shove me into the drier again for this, but I'm kind of getting used to it, and I tossed some Oreos in there in anticipation, so I think I'll be good.
The secret is this: We only have five jokes. That’s it. We dress them up, add or subtract zombies or vaginas wherever we see fit, but at the end of the day, the six active Cracked columnists could count the number of different jokes we know on our penises, and we’d still have Brockway’s penis left over. Of course, it could be argued that Brockway’s penis is itself a strange kind of joke, but it’s not really funny “ha ha,” if you know what I mean.
That’s why most comedy writers are so insecure. Just as Joseph Campbell boiled n95 percent of storytelling down to seven or eight basic plots, we’re worried that someday, someone will pull aside the curtain and reveal Oz to be little more than an organ-grinding monkey wearing plastic hillbilly teeth.
Well, I won’t be that betrayer. I’m not about to enumerate the several joke archetypes upon which all humor is founded, but I will tell you one of them: failure. Watching someone fail at something, or undergo misfortune, makes us feel better about our own shitty lives, and that’s something we humans find hilarious. The Germans call it “schadenfreude,” and it roughly means “child hits father in balls with football while Bob Saget narrates.”
That’s a sobering thought for comedians, because it means that no matter how much we polish up our jokes; no matter how precisely we deploy the word “nuggets” or how many parallels we can draw between Sarah Jessica Parker and a moldy beet, a video of a moron failing at something will almost always be funnier.
Which in turn explains why so many of us end up using “fake failure” in our comedy. Count off your favorite comedic characters (Homer Simpson, Borat, Michael Scott) and you’ll find that one thing they all have in common is being pathetic failures. But just when we think we’ve cornered the market on pathetic, along comes a true artist, a group dedicated to proving to all us would-be failures that succeeding to fail will NEVER be as funny as failing to succeed.
Watch, and wonder.
SIDE NOTE: that video not only illuminated the very essence of the comedic failure/success enigma, it also unwittingly mastered every other known form of joke, invented three new ones and caused the Marx Brothers to come back to life (although being interred in coffins, they quickly suffocated again).
Call me a deserter, but based on the existence of this video, I’m ready to predict that these young men commandeer and dominate all forms of comedy sometime in the next decade. Sorry my fellow comedians, but we had a good run. You just can’t compete with that. His PANTS WERE ON FIRE. And did you see the end? DID YOU SEE THE END?!
To see more of what these totally not gay guys have to offer, check out their fabulous homepage at whatthebob.com. For proof of the limitless entertainment possibilities found therein, look no further than this blurb on their front page:
“How did we come up with the name What the Bob? In December 2004 we wanted to make a web site so we were thinking of some names and we came up with What the Bob.”
I’m rofling so hard right now the fact that I can type a sentence is no small miracle. My choice is clear: I can either stand by my brethren, squelch this video and work tirelessly to pioneer and perfect exciting new forms of humor, or I can bow down to the “I’m On a Couch” phenomenon and sell out my craft for 15 minutes of fame as the guy who brought it to the attention of the world at large.
Judging by the fact that you just watched the video, I think you know which path I’ve chosen. This monotone, incoherent video has corrupted me with the sheer power of its viral memetic potential. It’s like someone marinated the One Ring in Midi-chlorians: I am powerless to resist (also invisible). Lead, O glorious video, and I, your humble servant and first disciple, shall follow.
4chan’s taken meme credit for too long, Crackedheads. Let’s get on this shit. I want to see remixes, Photoshops, t-shirt designs. I want this Dugg, Farked, YTMNDed and drunkenly tattooed. I want the “I’m On a Couch” boys to make “David After Dentist” look like “David Reads Quietly.”
The Johnstones have started the ball rolling, but it’s up to us to get this amazing video from a paltry 2,000 views to an astronomical 3,400. I will settle for nothing less.
Make me proud.
When not writing for Cracked, Michael compares this video to the ones at Those Aren't Muskets! and weeps.