8 Absurd Jokes That Predicted Real Life Events
Comedy can be a dangerous business. It's hard to make the world look ridiculous when it's always finding new ways to make itself look ridiculous.
For instance, back in August of 2009, Cracked.com columnist Cody Johnston posted an article about Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (the "comedic" "minds" behind Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans) and created a fake trailer for Vampire Movie, citing it as a likely candidate for Seltzer and Friedberg's next film.
One year and 10 days later, Vampires Suck was released in cinemas.
We've got plenty more ideas where that came from, Hollywood.
So in a way, making comedy gives you the ability to predict the future. It's happened again and again:
30 Rock Predicts the KFC Double Down
In the first season of 30 Rock (which for the uninitiated, is a sitcom set behind-the-scenes of a SNL-style sketch show), Tracy Jordan is having money problems and is advised to come up with a product to put his name on and sell. He comes up with the ridiculous "Tracy Jordan Meat Machine."
30 Rock - The Meat Machine
Tags: 30 Rock - The Meat Machine
The Meat Machine is a dual-press grill that burns three pieces of meat together into a "food ball." Tracy sells this as an alternative to sandwiches, saying that you'll no longer have to "suffer through the bread part of your sandwich." It's classic Tracy: He's a character with ridiculous ideas and grotesquely indulgent appetites. This all-meat sandwich was the product of the writers trying to think of the saddest, most misguided form of excess that a man like Tracy could come up with. That was 2006.
There really is elegance in simplicity.
Somewhere, a man or woman working at the KFC headquarters saw that and thought, Hmmmm ...
Four years later, they would unveil the KFC Double Down: A cheese and bacon sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken instead of bread. Also, it looks like this:
Via Michael Saechang
That's right; it's actually quite a bit more deadly than what Tracy was suggesting. But the spirit is the same: You no longer have to suffer through the bread part of your sandwich. Hell, they basically borrowed that for their ad campaign:
"Meat is the new bread," indeed.
Ricky Gervais Predicts Kate Winslet's Holocaust Movie Oscar
Extras was Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's next project after their success with The Office. In this HBO/BBC series, Gervais plays Andy Millman, a film extra who is desperately trying to get work as a serious actor. Each episode features a number of very well-known guest stars, whom Andy always manages to rub elbows with. Though from our understanding, this is not how the life of an extra works.
"Natalie Portman! Can you let me out of the extras pen so I can ask you a couple of questions?"
In a 2005 episode, Andy is in a Holocaust film starring Kate Winslet. As always, he gets a chance to talk with her, in hopes of getting a speaking role in the film. What follows is this scene:
Andy commends Kate Winslet for doing this film to keep awareness up about the Holocaust. However, he is shocked when Winslet replies that the only reason she is doing the film is because "if you do a film about the Holocaust, you're guaranteed an Oscar."
We'd like to pause here and note that Ricky Gervais may be the only person who can make a Nazi uniform look adorable.
Fast forward to 2008, and Kate Winslet has a leading role in The Reader, a Holocaust film. The film is well-received, but not overly so. Nevertheless, it is nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Winslet. And we think you can guess how that turned out.
Here's a hint.
Which just goes to show that the Oscars are exactly as predictable as we all think they are.
Chappelle's Show Predicts Trading Spouses
In 2003, the short-lived but much beloved Chappelle's Show featured this sketch as part of its first season:
The sketch, entitled "Trading Spouses," was a parody of the reality show Trading Spaces, wherein neighbors got to redecorate one room of the others' house. In the sketch, two husbands trade families for a month. They live with the family, raise the children and essentially control the entire household.
What could be wackier than this?!
It's a standard comedy formula: take one element of the real thing, and exaggerate it to ludicrous ends. But TV executives are continually looking at their current lineup and trying to do the exact same thing.
Thus, a year later, FOX created a show with that exact premise, and it was actually called Trading Spouses. The only difference from the "ridiculous" idea put forward by Chappelle was the amount of time spent with the other family, and the family member that went (wives instead of husbands). They should have known better than to try to mock reality TV. Hell, they were lucky to get a full year out of it before the real shows caught up.
Oh. Right. This.
Saturday Night Live and The Onion Predict Ridiculous Razors
Saturday Night Live has been around for 36 freaking years now. When its very first episode aired back in October of 1975, it was considered cutting edge. Also, Gerald Ford was president and razor blades only had one blade.
Sorry folks, we've got another five years before Gerald Ford jokes are OK. Here's a razor.
One of the "fake commercial" sketches in that very first episode (the transcript of which is here) was for a ridiculous razor called the "Triple-Trac." Get it? It's a razor with three blades! Ha! What an absurdly surreal idea!
You have to understand that dual-bladed razors were new to the scene at the time, and considered a ridiculous gimmick. So they were just going with the laughable logical extension of that "more blades = better somehow" idea. Of course, if you have bought a razor recently, you know it's hard to find one with just three blades. It was actually 23 years later, in 1998 when the Gillette razor company introduced the MACH3: a three-bladed razor.
Hundreds died in the testing phase alone.
Then in 2004, the Onion ran a story with the headline "Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades," a supposed commentary by the clearly crazy CEO of Gillette.
The real-life version, who we're hoping is equally insane, said, "Good idea!" and the five-bladed razor appeared 18 months later.
Above: The end of the beard as we know it?
MADtv Predicts Jason X
Say what you want about MADtv, but the sketch comedy show (with no real connection to the old MAD Magazine except for the name) ran for an astonishing 14 seasons, from 1995 until 2009.
A few of those seasons were even good.
In their very first season, and just their third episode ever, they did a fake film trailer for Apollo the 13th: Jason Takes NASA.
The premise seems to be based entirely off the fact that the movie Apollo 13 had the number 13 in the title, so they thought, Hey! 13! Friday the 13th! What if we did a mashup of those two movies, and wound up with a laughable premise where Jason goes to space?!?!
"And then maybe we do a mashup of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Can you imagine!"
And no matter how cheesy the franchise got with each sequel, the idea of a Friday the 13th movie on a space station populated by bouncy co-eds having sex with each other would be ridiculous. So ridiculous, that it took a whole six years for them to actually make that very movie.
The film would be called Jason X, in which Jason Vorhees is captured by the government and cryogenically frozen. The unstoppable killing machine later thaws out in a space station in the future, filled with bouncy co-eds having sex with each other.
Bouncy co-eds may be the only true constant in all of space-time.
Jason X was the lowest grossing Friday the 13th film of all time, and wasn't good by any stretch of the imagination. However, while it was certainly loaded with cliches, you can't quite call it unoriginal. After all, MADtv certainly didn't predict Jason dunking a girl's head in liquid nitrogen and smashing it against a countertop, or Jason being shot to bits by a modified sex robot (seriously) and being rebuilt by nanomachines as Uber Jason.
This is what franchise death looks like.
Seinfeld Predicts that Frozen Yogurt is Hiding Fat
In its fifth season, Seinfeld aired an episode called "The Non-Fat Yogurt." This was in 1993, when frozen yogurt shops were appearing everywhere nationwide, claiming all of the taste of ice cream, and somehow none of the fat.
It was the fey dream of a younger world.
But in this episode, Jerry and Elaine become regular customers at a non-fat frozen yogurt joint, only to find they're gaining weight at a rapid pace. They begin to suspect that the yogurt may not be as "non-fat" as it claims. As it turns out, they're right. They actually have some of the yogurt tested, and find the secret ingredient of non-fat yogurt is lots and lots of fat.
This plot was a complete invention of the writers, and not based off any real scandal. However, it seems that this episode got some people thinking, and a few months after the episode aired, New York Magazine published a study of various desserts that claimed to be "diet" or "non-fat." As it turned out, the frozen yogurt industry were just as lying and dishonest as we'd always secretly thought them to be. Only one of the 10 frozen desserts tested was as healthy as it claimed to be. The others contained up to 276 more calories and 12.5 grams of fat more than they claimed to.
"Also, we dust the fruit with arsenic."
Really, is there any more underestimated tool for social change than the sitcom?
Monty Python Predicts the Rise of Furries
We're hoping we don't have to explain who Monty Python are, but suspect that we probably do for some of you. They were simply the most well-known and respected comedy troupe in the world back in their day.
Their sketches and movies were a unique combination of topical and absurd. So much so that this surreal style is now referred to as "Pythonesque." But not even they could outdo real life.
The second episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, way back in 1969, featured one such "Pythonesque" sketch entitled "The Mouse Problem."
Intended as a satirical view of homosexuality and the controversy surrounding it, the sketch takes the form of a news report, investigating a growing social issue of men dressing up as mice as a sexual fetish. These "mice" go to parties, eat cheese and squeak, and these behaviours have resulted in a public outcry against the lifestyle. The newsreader is joined by two guests: an anonymous "mouse" insider, and a psychologist who poses the question: "Who here can say that they have never been sexually attracted to a mouse?"
OK, maybe that one time we got hammered at Disney World. But that hardly counts. And we were way more into Goofy.
This sketch fails to remain "Pythonesque" in the age of the Internet, thanks to "furry fandom," a phenomenon so popular that we're assuming more of you have heard of it than have heard of Monty Python -- 2008 played host to nearly 40 conventions for furries. And a recent survey shows that while most furries consider themselves entirely human, nearly half admire qualities of other animals, and 3.5 percent truly think of themselves as animals.
Only 1.4 percent of those animals bear any resemblance to a living creature.
And as for the sexual fetish aspect of it, well, that's something you can take up with Google Image search. Have fun.
Laugh-In Predicts the Fall of the Berlin Wall and Reagan's Presidency
If you're under 50 and have no problem with children on your lawn, you could be forgiven for not having heard of Laugh-In. Running from 1968 to 1972, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In was a very successful sketch comedy show that featured a combination of topical satire and sexual innuendo. A recurring feature of Laugh-In was their "News of the Future" segment. They would report made-up news stories to mock current political and social issues. Two such stories can be seen in this clip:
The first "News of the Future" story in the above 1969 clip contains the following line: "There was dancing in the streets today as East Germany finally tore down the Berlin Wall." OK, that's pretty weird, but it's not that amazi- wait a minute, when did he say this story was from? "Berlin, 20 years from now, 1989."
... HOLY SHIT.
Above: Berlin, 1989.
OK, so they predicted one major world event, right to the year that it happened. Freak coincidence. It's not like they did the same thing again ... oh wait, they totally did it again.
The second clip shows them mocking the idea of former actor Ronald Reagan becoming president. It's true that Reagan was already the governor of California at the time, much like Jesse "The Body" Ventura once was the governor of Minnesota. In other words, he was in politics but the idea of him in the white house was laughable (look at how the audience howled at the words "President Ronald Reagan" in the second "News of the Future" story).
He would go on to become the third bullet-taking-est president in American history.
Of course, a little more than a decade later, Reagan did win the presidency, his term ending the very year their "news of the future" segment took place. So, has anyone done a wacky "Donald Trump as president" sketch yet? Laugh all you want, it may seem strangely prescient in, say, 2017.
And we're legitimately sorry if this prediction comes true.
For instances of pop culture predicting the future, check out 6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song and 7 Completely Unrealistic Movie Plots (That Came True).