A burgeoning blogger recently asked me to read something she was about to publish online, and because I was bored I took a few minutes out from my rock star existence of streaming Doctor Who to click the link. By the way, I don't always do that, and it helps if you're an attractive female between the ages of 18 and 25 who first butters me up with porn. (If you're under 18, however, then send that porn to my buddy Michael Swaim, and be sure to include the phrase "Pursuant to your Repeated Request" in the subject line).
In any event, even though the link took me to some solid writing, I noticed a few things that could be improved. Comedic conventions that we all take for granted and use over and over again even though they've lost their humor years ago. Like 21st century rubber chickens and chattering teeth. Things you recognize as funny because of their association with comedy, but still seem to hold no inherent humor. There's just no reason for these "jokes" to continue. Much like circus clowns, they must have been funny at one point, but now they just inspire nightmares.
"And I know where each and every one of them is buried!".
So I started to gather up a list of things I don't want to see bloggers doing anymore. (Unlesss a rift in the time/space continuum drops me off in 2005). Please note, there are many more things people do online that aren't funny, but here are comedic conventions that I still see being used by people who are
It is incredible to me that this comedic convention still persists. It goes a little something like this. You write down the truth that you're hiding or the truth that you actually want to say, but can't, and then cross it out. And just like that, comedy!
So, for example, if I wanted to do a strike through version of the opening paragraph, I'd say something like:
Last week, when someone asked me to read something they wrote, I was busy
streaming Doctor Who in my boxerssnorting cocaine off the asses of several super models. Ya get it? See the truth was in the struck out part. It's as if my computer doesn't have a delete button and I was forced to cross out the horrible truth I was compelled to write for some reason.
And then you have the version where the strike through is used like a hidden insult or slander. Something like "Ke$ha is a
It's like I want to call her a skank, and yet, for some reason, I can't call her a skank, but then I call her a skank anyway, but then I cross it out because suddenly I'm not that bold.
Look, I'm not being holier than thou. I used a strikethrough joke in one of my very first Cracked blog posts. Y'know, back in the days when this site had a blog and we were bloggers. Back before that young rapscallion Daniel O'Brien raised the bar on all of us by writing full-blown, funny columns. (I still haven't forgiven him). But that was in 2007, and to be quite honest, I was just stoked that I actually knew how to work the HTML code to make the strike through happen.
See how much easier this gig used to be?
Now to be honest, this is far from merely a blogger offense. The old "Too Much Information/TMI" and its cousin, "thanks for sharing" are used by all sorts of horrible people who should never be allowed to reproduce sexually. But I see bloggers using it too by talking about people's "TMI moments." Even that annoys me. People keep saying it, but when was the last time anyone has laughed at it?
I guess what bugs me most of all is the unearned arrogance of the user. As if the speaker is the cock-sure, sophisticate who has the proper breeding to discern that talking about ginormous dumps or masturbation is not typical conversation fodder. Guess what? 9 out of 10 dudes discussing their jacking technique or quantifying their poo fully understand they're defying the typical rules of conversation.
I supposed there are strange social outcasts who think others will be enthralled about what they do with their boogers. I guess such a creature might need to be told that this is the kind of information that's not supposed to be shared. But it's still not a funny way to say it and odds are the dude talking about boogers is either deliberately defying social convention or, even more likely, being explicit for comedic effect. And while eating boogers might not be funny, it's still funnier than saying "TMI."
I mean, I'd rather read a blog about the various ways a blogger wipes his ass then someone else's blog saying "TMI" about the asswipe guy. And it's not just because TMI is a humorless cliche, but because asswipe guy is putting himself at risk of seeming awkward for the sake of humor. TMI guy, however, is trying to be cool and establish himself as part of society by enforcing TMI rules. What's funny about being a respectable part of society? You're a blogger. Already half-way to pathetic outcast. Just own it.
Pictured above: Owning It
What's a good way to express superlatives? Y'know, superlatives. What are superlatives? A superlative is a word that describes something of the highest kind, quality, or order. Y'know something that is the Best. Thing. Ever!
Why use italics or bold or, y'know, words, when you can just use too many periods?
Waterworld? Worst. Movie. Ever! You Might Be A Zombie And Other Bad News? Best. Book. Ever. Edouard Manet? Best.19th Century French Impressionist Painter Whose Last Name Is One Letter Away From Another French Impressionist. Ever! Well, okay. Maybe I misused it in the last one, but you see what I mean. There's got to be a better way to express something that you apparently think is the greatest thing ever besides saying Greatest. Thing. Ever!
It's not even specific. You could call mile high club oral sex and Shakespeare's King Lear, the Best. Thing. Ever.
Although, in fairness, if you met this King Lear in an airplane restroom,that phrase might apply to both.
If you're taking the time to be all dramatic and extreme, how about using something really descriptive? Because using the "___. ____. Ever!" to describe extremes is about as creative and amusing as saying things are "made of win" or the simple declarative, "fail." *
*I came very close to including those on this list too, but those are really things people say in texts, comments, and statuses as opposed to blog posts.
Back in 2006, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens used the term "series of tubes" while explaining the Internet. The poor description was cited as an example of the Senator's unfamiliarity with the Net. Similarly, the term "Interwebz" is a deliberately awkward mixture of Internet and the Web put in the plural form which is also awkard. The point being that more than five years ago these were some phrases conveying ignorance of the Net.
"I didn't think people would keep making fun of me online way past the point of it being funny. Then again, I guess I don't know a lot about the Internet."
Yeah, more than five years ago. But despite the time passage and despite that even my mother (who still doesn't use ATMS) has never mispronounced the Internet or failed to understand what it is, this "joke" somehow persists. Bloggers use it incessantly. First it was annoying because much like TMI, the facetious use of the term implies that the writer is hip enough to know how to pronounce the Internet and understand what it does. Congratulations. My father is pushing 80 and recently installed all new drivers to run 64 bit programs. You're awesome.
But I don't even think that's the point of the joke anymore. There's just some sort of widespread online delusion that using these terms with nothing more is somehow smile-worthy. It's the greatest example of wrongheaded e-thinking since a billion people gave thumbs up to a Fred video on YouTube.
If this country has the good sense to reject other things it found funny in 2006 (like Dane Cook) then can't we agree it's time for this cliche to go too?
"Everyone will still be doing this is 2011. Trust me."
Maybe a little confusing with those blanks, but this is the device where you insult/describe someone, usually with an adjective ending in "y" and a noun with a "Mc" pre-fix. Some examples might be:
Unlike the other entries on this list, I still kind of enjoy this. It's a fun construction and one that that surprised me when I first saw people using it because I thought I invented it in college by calling my friends "Douchey McFuckface." But it's just too easy, and we've all used it just too damn much. Much like your mom.
See? Even though the gratuitous use of a mother joke there was kind of funny, I wish I hadn't done it. The way I felt after I did your mom. Because now we just all feel a little dirty and used now. Much like your mom. Y'know, your mom: Clappy McGenitalWarts.
See? Doesn't matter if it still gets a laugh, it's tired and worn out from all the abuse. Just like your mom's . . . well you get the point.
Also, thanks to Liz Coleman for the ___. ____. Ever! suggestion.
Things could always be much, much worse.
The cops will come swooping in the seconds the credits roll.
You've probably never heard of it.