Category Archives: Humor

Time to reorder

Photo Apr 09, 12 55 02 PM Photo Apr 09, 12 55 33 PM Photo Apr 09, 12 55 38 PM

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What’s Rocking Tim’s Online World Lately?

Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh (2015)
Gold, Frankenstein & Myrrh (2015, Photoshop collage, Me)

April 2015

“I thought, maybe I should go with the whole idea of it being boring. What’s the most boring thing I could do just to annoy everybody? And the most boring thing that I could think of to do, which would really go against the grain for the MTV generation … was a talking head: a middle-class white male in a suit, talking to them in a really boring way about music videos.

And I thought, “Oh yeah, I’m on to something here. This is really dull and uninteresting.” “

I grew up in the 1980s and the Max Headroom character was one of my favorite things on TV. Whether it was his stint as a guest VJ on MTV or the futuristic TV drama they made around the character, I was in love with the look they created and his goofy, irreverent manner.  I was too young to know what social satire or political commentary meant but this looked and sounded like a future I could get behind.

Speaking of things I was too young to understand, I really shouldn’t have been reading this series as young as I did.  Covenant is one of the most difficult-to-like antiheroes ever written. Centering 9 epic fantasy books around a rapist is a move so bold it borders on the insane but that’s what Donaldson did.  As the writers of these reviews mention, sometimes the series is more admirable for what it attempts than what it actually accomplishes, but I have to say this: I have forgotten many, many books I’ve read over the years but the Thomas Covenant Chronicles stuck with me. Take that for whatever it’s worth to you.

I’ve never been much of a Buzzfeed fan (please don’t throw oranges at me) but this is the craziest, most amazing human interest story I’ve read in ages. When I first met the internet in 1993, I flipped out. I couldn’t believe I was chatting to people at other colleges and OTHER COUNTRIES, instantly, for free. Us net fanatics were very much the minority back then but I didn’t care. I’ve never seen the internet as a source of revenue, I still to this day see it the same way I did then: a beautiful, free and open source of information and communication with other human beings. Stories like this are vindication and a reaffirmation that us idealistic internet dorks were right all along. Yeah, you can invest in tech stocks, and the net has made shopping instant and easy, but the truth is that it is so much more than that. I hope young people growing up in an online world won’t take it for granted.

Forgotten Doctor Who Incarnations

(repost from October 2012)

This week two of my friends posted their Doctor Who rankings:

http://reversingthepolarity.blogspot.com/2012/10/lets-play-rank-doctors.html

and

http://where-there-had-been-darkness.blogspot.com/2012/10/ranking-doctors-right-way.html

I really enjoyed both of their lists, despite Josh being completely wrong about Matt Smith.  In return I thought I’d remind them about a few of the Doctors they missed.  It’s inevitable, I suppose, when you’re dealing with a TV series spanning decades, that folks are going to forget about some of the various eras.  Let’s take a look at how the forgotten Doctors rank in my humble opinion:

8.) Chester Ringbladder

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I don’t hate Chester as an actor, per se.  You just have to see him as a wise-cracking D.I. in the UK crime drama Investigative Scenario to appreciate the depth of his craft.  The problem is that the Who writers didn’t know what to do with him.  For the entirety of his 3-year run in the 1980s, he only left the Tardis TWICE.  Once was to combat the Kwylar menace in “Energy Brand” and the final time was just before his tenure ended in the fan favorite episode “The Fox, The Leaf, and the Inkwell.”  It was in this later episode that he nearly came into his own against Viceroy Miseron and his army of Pygmy Digitars.  The rest of the time this version of the Doctor was inside the Tardis tinkering with the mechanics of the craft, insisting that he “could overclock the megaprocessors to get three more centuries on the upswing,” whatever that means.  Those years have their share of fans, however, due to the adventures of Ringbladder’s wolfgirl companion, Forge McKay.  Forge’s pluck and intellect carried the series as she was forced to defeat foes without the Doctor’s help.  Who can forget all the times she stalked out of the Tardis in a fury with the Doctor’s voice trailing after her:  “I can’t leave now, the quantum injector’s just arrived in the post!”

7.) Martin Unctuous

doc7

The cherubic Unctuous has always gotten a bad rap and I have to agree with consensus on this one.  Lord knows what the producers were thinking when they signed off on this 1994 two-parter.  Perhaps the Stateside success of the John Hughes-penned “Baby’s Day Out” convinced them that skewing younger was the next logical step?  The piss-poor explanation of this incarnation — something to do with the remnants of the Master scattering across the universe at the end of “Survival” and poisoning the Doctor, thereby necessitating a regeneration?? — was bad enough but fans rebelled when the Doctor came back as a toddler with the infamous line “I’m vewwy sweepy. May I take a time nap, pwease?”  He later traveled to the toy planet Funn-17 and bested the robotic demon Santa to free the planet’s timid elven race, who rewarded him with a new sonic screwdriver that squealed “Hooraayy” when he used it.  The less said, the better.

6.) Jason Barrons

doc6

In the early 2000s the BBC began talks that would eventually lead to Christopher Eccleston’s stint as Doctor Who, but before that was this abortive series in 2003 that saw the introduction of the painfully trendy “Emo Who” (as the fans have deemed him) played by Barrons.  Smug and morose, this version of Doctor Who lacked any of the good humor or wit for which the best Doctors are known.  In the first episode he toys with the idea of taking on a raven-haired beauty named Denise as his companion after meeting her at a concert on Earth, but leaves without her when he discovers she’s “never even heard of the 100-string guitars of Sarris Prime.”  The best episode is “Malachai Depths” where the Doctor appears on a freighter in deep space crewed by an ancient race known as the H’pothren who refuse to acknowledge the Doctor’s presence.  As he explores the ship and finds out more information via the ships’ computer (played with surprising subtlety by Brian Blessed), he discovers almost too late that the H’pothren make their planet’s money by piloting old ships into a black hole to dispose of them, and since the race becomes more suicidal with age, the entire crew have volunteered for the flight and are calmly awaiting their demise.  Quarantine droids have built walls around the Tardis and The Doctor narrowly escapes after freeing his craft, but is left with a feeling of guilt that he failed to convince even a single crew member to leave with him.

5.) Ryuichi Kitano

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One of the more unusual outings for the Doctor was this non-canon film version licensed by Toei in 1984.  This rarely seen movie involves a bright light falling from the sky into a forest near Tokyo, out of which walks the Doctor.  Unaccustomed to Earth, he wanders into a school where he ends up accidentally walking into the girls’ locker room and being branded a pervert.  He becomes a student at the school, taking on the companion Kohei, a likeable nerd who confides his belief that the teachers are being taken over by duplicates.  Together they uncover a plot by the Cybermen (different from their UK versions) to replace each teacher with a robotic clone and then spread to the outside world.  As they defeat each teacher they get different colored gems.  Battling their way to the principal’s office, the Doctor confronts the leader of the Cybermen, Cybra, who grows to over 50 feet tall.  The Doctor and Kohei join the gems together and the Doctor becomes the giant MegaDoctor.  After a fierce battle, it looks like The Doctor is on the ropes, when at last Kohei can’t control his emotions and he involuntarily fires a psychic energy blast that destroys Cybra once and for all.  The Doctor says he must leave Earth, but he gives Kohei his sonic screwdriver and tells him to harness his ESPer powers and become the Earth’s protector, Doctor 2.  I might have ranked this higher except for the unnecessary lechery and the strangely dissociated personality of the Doctor himself.

4.) Carmen Dilling

doc4

When Ms. Dilling tried out for a role in 1979, she so impressed the producers that they gave her a spinoff series of her own as the first female Doctor, based in the 1940s.  It’s never fully explained how the Doctor regenerated into this form but hints are given that she may be from a different timeline and could, in fact, be a young relative of the Doctor, or perhaps an anomaly caused by some incident on a planet referred to only as The Planet of Rage.  She herself has only spotty recall of past events but knows that she likes the Earth and comes back to it again and again.  Over the course of three series, this Doctor gets a companion in the form of Michael Grey, a dashing inspector with Scotland Yard.  Standout episodes include “The Dragon’s Scale,” in which the Doctor travels to 1860s Hong Kong and outwits the alien Skweg who is disguised as an opium trader, and the 3-part “Garnet Star Trials.”  In the popular trilogy of episodes, The Doctor and Grey are thrown off course and find themselves on a space station near the red supergiant star Mu Cephei, where the last surviving Cepheians are on trial for war crimes against the Relipadians.  Grey agrees with the death sentence for the Cepheians while The Doctor is against it; however, the station’s stasis field begins to fail and The Doctor is occupied with fixing it before they fall into the star, giving the Cepheians a chance to escape using Grey as a hostage.  When Grey is killed in the ensuing firefight before The Doctor can intervene, the Relipadians manage to capture his consciousness using the only technology available for the job, the machinery used for carrying out the death sentence against the Cepheians.  After a tearful farewell, The Doctor turns her back on the Cepheians in a surprise ending, leaving them to be sentenced and killed by the machine that now houses Grey’s mind, and presumably Grey remains in the machine forever after.

3.) Felix Ash

Felix Ash

I love Ash’s tenure as The Doctor for several reasons.  One, his relaxed and gentle demeanor stands out amongst so many manic, action-oriented Doctors.  Secondly, he has a more casual manner of dress that perfectly matches his patient approach to things.  One of the more intellectual phases of The Doctor’s life, Ash’s time on the show was marked with more Earthbound storylines and some of the best companion interaction in the Mantis-headed alien Daniel.  Together they take on the Daleks underground in “Below,” machines run amok in the future in “Dreams Of the Fallen,” and my personal favorite, “The Man of Doom.” In the end of the prior episode, The Doctor and Daniel meet Henry Cowle, a disheveled man who says he’s been watching them for some time.  He says he’s being driven insane by an alien presence from the past that phased his grandfather out of existence when he was young.  The trio take the Tardis back in time only to discover that the man’s grandfather is an older version of himself seduced by the alien Queen Pylithia who raised the boy and planted a mechanized seed in his brain that would grow when The Doctor was near, drawing them back in time to a trap while the Queen destroys the present.  The three men escape and return to the present to find the Earth is a scorched wasteland.  Incensed, The Doctor tracks the Queen to another timeline, nearly destroying the Tardis in the process.  Henry attacks her and is killed when she triggers a self-destruct device, removing his presence from all timelines and preventing the destruction of the Earth. Daniel’s psychic powers shield himself and The Doctor while they fix the Tardis and make their narrow escape.

2.) The Faceless Doctor

doc2

The Faceless Doctor actually only appears in one episode of Jason Barrons’ time as The Doctor, a background presence in “Diamonds” that warns him of impending catastrophe.  As the episode goes on, he returns again and again, each time blurrier, his voice and appearance more terrifying and bizarre.  His origins were never explained except for hints that he may have been a product of The Doctor’s imagination as he was battling illness throughout the episode.

1.) George Northrop

Beating out William Hartnell as the oldest Doctor, George Northrop appeared in 1998 to universal acclaim, and it’s not hard to see why.  With his fedora, weathered jacket and bowtie, sword-cane and easygoing humor, he seemed like the crazy older relative everyone always wished they had at family gatherings.  Funny and quick-witted, this Doctor loved wordplay and was always ready with a bon mot, a pun, or a ridiculous portmanteau at the right moment and I love him for it.  He rambles through his three series of adventures like some sort of Mr. Wizard-In-a-Police-Box.  I could name highlights for miles, like his swordfight on the bow of a starship in “Shadow Vertices” or the time he cut The Master down to size with the word “plastic” in the BAFTA-winning “Moonlight”.  But I think I might like “Onward Ho and Up We Go” the best.

In this ep, The Doctor and his companion Maizy end up on an alien planet in a deadly labyrinth — “never before has your name seemed so apt,” he tells Maizy — full of traps thanks to the machinations of a giant eye calling itself The Other.  The eye tells the pair that they can have the Tardis back if they can survive the maze and get to its end.  Some people live there in small groups, scavenging what they can and staying put, others attempt to reach the far-off “Easy City” which supposedly marks the end of the maze.  Nobody has ever returned but that doesn’t stop our heroes as they progress from one part to the next, somehow managing to avoid the traps without even trying.  When a scythe swings out to cut The Doctor down, he’s tying his shoe; when a pit opens up to swallow him, he trips and misses it completely.  Word spreads far and wide, and soon an army of followers stretches out behind The Doctor and Maizy.  Meanwhile they’re having this ridiculous discussion about the best way to eat a carrot, punctuated by some of the silliest lines ever.  A sample from The Doctor, “The human tendency to cook a carrot is perpetuated by seventeen falsehoods, thirteen of which were put forth by the carrots themselves.  Have you asked the carrots themselves what state of being is most conducive to essential carrot-ine vivacity?  I have.  Liars, every one of them!  Carrot crunch creates a culinary confluence of cuspid curiosity and convivial craving.  As the Terrapetitians say, ‘Let not the carrot lead the way’.”

It’s completely stupid stuff and Maizy remarks that they’re not just going in actual circles, they’re arguing in circles too.  By the time they reach the end of the maze and find their way through the gate, their numbers are in the thousands.  But it turns out they’ve only managed to find the beginning, according to a small sign.  There isn’t a city, just a dense jungle.  But as the crestfallen crowd looks around, someone spots berries.  Another spots…carrots.  There is much jubilation.  Maizy looks tired and annoyed.  “It took us ages to get here!  Do you have any idea how long it’ll be, going back the way we came?!” she cries.  The Doctor winks and holds his cane up, pointing the way back into the maze.  “Each end is a beginning, each beginning an end.  A maze to amaze Maizy!  Onward ho and up we go!”

And so ends the tenure of my #1 forgotten Doctor.  And so ends this list.

Japanese Fans of American Movies

(repost from 17 Nov. 2012)

Just out of curiousity, I went to Amazon.co.jp recently and took a peek at what fans over there think about classic American movies.  The comments are an interesting mix of nostalgia and poetry, thanks to the drawbacks inherent in using an online translator. I did do a very small amount of editing when sentences almost made sense but not quite. I think it speaks for itself.  Here’s a sampling.

Goonies:

“Watching in the theater at the time of real-time, this became one of my favorite movies ever since.
It makes me remember such fun childhood secret base, the make-believe adventures.
Struggling actor, this may be weighed heavily on the power of production.
It is not a masterpiece, it is not a smash hit for sure.
Itself will be seen as one of the memories.”

“The presence of the girl, a pure heart and adventure boys! I saw for the first time decades ago and with two daughters by the age of 37, I realized that ‘You’re still a good movie.’ This movie has a good feeling irresistibly handmade. This movie is a work that remains in the heart forever! Masterpiece arranged with “ET” “Stand By Me” as a movie sister!”

Back To the Future:

“Blu-Ray is so too clear, and you know the face, such as makeup and lipstick Michael J. Fox! During filming at the time, it was that actors are like this makeup style. · · ·  Investigation of time period has been carefully considered; set, also costumes, interesting way of life of local cities that American Dream of 1955 at full speed is glimpsed.
The sound is not a narrow range, such as dance and party scene of scampering Delorean. Feel powerful enough and turn up the volume.
The contents of the work will be in the classic masterpiece now.”

“I was glad most, to hear a colorful subtitled voice! (it was dubbed in my first view of this movie.) Marty and Doc interaction dubbed mono tears! No matter how many times I do not get tired of watching people try color!
Viewing last scene after two hours, we instinctively clapped quickly in a row of the theater. Of course I love.”

Star Wars

“Speaking of why “Star Wars” is interesting…
There is a theory on that.
They have followed in setting the stage for a sci-fi, poetic view of the world that humanity has inherited Lush cotton.
Yes.
A universal narrative flow that, in the underlying, attracts the viewer.
That’s right, too.
But do you yourself say you were stunned.  It was a production that does not show the full extent of its hull, suddenly at the beginning of forever, even after the giant spaceship.
All began here, a watershed of any SF movie,
Monumental work. You lose the history of movies if you don’t watch at least once in a lifetime.
Come.”

“I met Star Wars for the first time when I saw it in the theater, a special edition in 1997. I was nine years old at the time, had been clinging to the armrest of the seat. In the rush of the Death Star scene I likely fell into the illusion of infinite space. Made me feel even more widely the universe and the dark theater big screen. Considering now, I think we were able to watch this movie at the theater and I was really happy. I wonder if it is not a great success as a remake of Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress.”
I wept to figure out trying to make a movie interesting and obedient! Lucas Bonus and the splendor of the documentary. Do not miss the hot talk of the coaches that have been attracted to Star Wars!”

“When this series is still in theaters, SF things were not interesting at all to me. I was totally addicted to this world, very interesting and I watched with a light heart. I think “The Empire Strikes Back” was particularly well done. The second film of the trilogy is a role model so that it is difficult to make “Back to the future2″ very good. In the scene where Luke’s arm is cut, my voice has become almost involuntarily leave. It was leaving in the middle of the H · Ford scene also. It is something that is now unthinkable.  Unfortunate wee bit is Toshiro Mifune is almost casted as Obiwan-Kenobi during fabrication of the first work. I did not realize that he has also turned down offers as the face of Dazu Vader in the third film.”

“[George Lucas] has not limited changes to STAR WARS, the masterpiece, over and over again, changing the version, he changed, the goods change hands-
Yea, Yea do Godfather too. · · · if you do things like that [won’t it] become pandemonium to resell the fan with it?
Old version is important so that everyone in the theater at that time as fans can always enjoy cheaper version later.
I think that I am angry, I think I’m a little different.
I do not have [the Special Edition version of Star Wars]. It is not a good DVD because I enjoyed the old unprocessed material,,,
Although I think that somehow I also wish that I bought [the Special Edition version] there is no way I would like it.”

Blade Runner

“From this movie I was able to understand “revenge” the first time in my life. It may seem unreasonable for Roy (Rutger Hauer). From the perspective of a Replicant, killing President Tyrell was a legitimate action. The “Blade Runner” uses “biological violent harm”, rather than normal methods, such as “detention, arrest” of a “man who has committed a crime.” The replicant Roy was the subject of the “kill-capture”. When he shed tears like a human being, like any one of the characters, in a moment, then the audience lived with him in the movie. Never have I seen a movie like this!”

“I went to the cinema in Namba, Osaka when the film was first produced. I was a junior high school student and I thought I knew the synopsis in magazines in Japan.
(Advertising rattle alert! → Ads lie to the customer!)
I was very impressed that the lights of Dotonbori are the same as the Blade Runner landscape, because it was like being in the movie after leaving the theater! There was also a nice uncle who sell the chestnut next to the exit.
Impression at the time was of a movie that makes you feel to be adult somehow. I do not know the meaning of that.
Time to watch the DVD only, please I want you to stop the wet work momma.”

“It is a masterpiece of SF movie filled with a lot of imagination.
Combination of Syd Mead and Ridley Scott.
The show is reproduced beautifully with a decadent air in the near future
A presence of Rutger Hauer’s replicant is overwhelming.
With intelligence, “Rebel Machine”, many masterpieces
Maybe it is the royal road of SF that it has created.

Rutger Hauer acts beautifully.
And the words of Harrison Ford are good.
“Say Kiss Me” is something I want to say once.
It is tantalizing words.
In [the Director’s Cut] narration is turned off. And therefore you’ll be able to concentrate on the video. It has become something more impressive.
It’s also good music of Vangelis.

When the end theme is flowing, I reached a time of bliss.”

Jurassic Park

“Since the story is very solid, a fantasy world is in front of your eyes. It seems to be what is happening in reality. In a scene they are attacked by Dinosaurs Zaurus. Raptor is looming. It is as impressive as you might want, such scenes many times your eyes can see.”

“This work was released in theaters in 1993, and became a hot topic for the realistic dinosaurs. I think it is a matter of course, because the movements and facial expressions of the dinosaurs are too great. And the difference is full of humor and emotion, the masterpiece I enjoy with my family. Steven Spielberg makes work that gives the excitement to the viewer always. I think it will not change in the future. First of all do not kill the children. The best meaning of Spielberg’s work is to be with each other. I want you to make a variety of work in the future also. Apparently there is also a plan of part “4”, I want to achieve by all means. I want to experience the excitement of that.”

“While said movie is a dinosaur movie, there is very little CG time of the dinosaurs appeared. Spielberg has made it very effective with limited usage of CG. It does not put out the dinosaurs suddenly from the beginning. In the darkness thin, I bring a human scream at the beginning in the first attack by a Velociraptor because of the “eating sounds”, and the cry of the dinosaur. It does not show the dinosaur. It still does not show. . Velociraptor’s actually reveal is the middle of the story.  Technique of this is tantalizing. Stagecraft to fear becoming arrogant. It has been successful for the advantage of the fact that the poor usage of CG can be used in cost issues, creating a more enjoyable entertainment.
There are a lot of animal disaster films. Watch this movie for Spielberg techniques, and the subject matter of the ultimate class that dinosaurs became foul.”

How To Tweet Funny (But Not Original)

twitter

When the website Twitter opened its doors in 2006, few could have guessed how popular it would become.  In case you’re somehow unaware, tweets are now widely quoted in news stories around the globe, and various news agencies and websites annually post lists like “The Funniest People On Twitter” and “25 Twitter Accounts Worth Following.”  Twitter accounts have been licensed for books, television shows, and films.

Twitter celebrity now has actual cache in our society, for better or worse.  On Twitter, Popularity is the currency that buys Celebrity, and Funny is one of the fastest ways to popularity.  Life sucks and people want to forget it for five seconds by laughing at a tweet.  It isn’t right, it isn’t wrong, it simply IS.

So you’ve got a Twitter account and you want to be funny.  But how do you do it?  You look at all those popular accounts and you think, “There’s a secret code I can’t break.  How do I step into the velvet shoes worn by the likes of Patton Oswalt and @dogboner?”  I’ll tell you how.

But why those pesky three words at the end of the article title, “But Not Original”?  We’ll get to the subject of originality eventually, but it simply comes down to this:  funny isn’t just an algorithm.  You can’t fake the funk or the funny, and people will know when you try and fail.  However, if you use some of these ideas, at least you’ll have a starting point.  Put tab A into slot B and see what happens.  Why not?  Come on, it’s only fucking Twitter.

Hashtag Riffs / “That Awkward moment When…” / Anti-Pickup Lines / RT If…

  • @THEKarlaPacheco: Shit grits on Tuesday, buy a baby coffin on Thursday. #newfolksayings
  • @ShittingtonUK: Imagine a small hammer. Something a pigeon could use. Now ask yourself: Why does your character fear change? #confusingwritingadvice
  • @IamEnidColeslaw: That awkward moment when I tried starting a slow clap in the hospital after my uncle died.
  • @mattytalks: Girl did it hurt when you fell from heaven? No, cool. Then let’s talk about who’s going to pay for my fucking roof
  • @MarloMeekins: RT if you admire the restraint people have around you because of your insurmountable sexiness

These are the bread and butter of funny tweeting, the most basic level.  If you’ve been nervous about making your humor move, try these on for size and see how it feels.  They are the comfort food of funny tweets, like mom’s macaroni & cheese.  They won’t challenge you or your readers too much, everyone’s familiar with them.  They’ll take you back to those halcyon days of 2009, when funny tweets still seemed original and the world felt full of promise to you instead of walking around looking up all the time for that casket lid that’s slowly covering you in darkness.

Twitter-Specific:

  • @MarloMeekins: someone un-retweeted me. I’m going to take a walk, skip some stones on a lake, stare at the lake and reflect on this grim experience
  • @tartpop: No more applications or resumes, just tell your prospective employer your twitter account & go back to bed.
  • @RexHuppke: Guys, stop “friending” me: Twitter is for people I like but don’t know. Facebook is for people I know but don’t like.
  • @LarryBlanken: My parents didn’t retweet me enough.
  • @HoneyUnhinged: Hey, elite Tweeters: Please be sure to rotate your body’s lying position on the couch every few hours to avoid bed sores.

Once you’ve been on Twitter for awhile, you’ll really start to see the patterns, the generic tropes, and the things that make Twitter what it is.  That’s what led me to write this stuff in the first place.  You may want to address some of these things in tweet form, like the people above.  The difficulty ramps up every year, however, as more and more people become jaded to the system and they’ve probably seen dozens of Twitter-specific gags over the years.  I’m not saying this comedy well is dry, but the water level is dangerously low.  If you’re going to tweet this kind of thing, really polish that joke until it shines.

Toying With Corporations:

  • @NeilHamburger: Intermittent Explosive Disorder. RX: mood stabilizers @Aeropostale: Hitting something that’s broken and expecting it to work again.
  • @fart: some people have prosthetics you ass “@BurtsBees: Our lip balm is 100% natural, just like the people who use it! How are you 100% natural?”

Some of you reading this may be corporate drones hoping to “spice up” your Twitter account to get more followers who will spread the word about your product, blah blah synergy blah.  This article isn’t really for you because of a very important truth:  Corporate accounts are neutered.  They can’t swear, they can’t tweet controversial opinions, and they can’t attack other accounts without raising the ire of the hive-mind.  You can hurl abuse at McDonald’s on Twitter and they’re not going to bite back because it means bad publicity.

As you can see from the tweets above, corporate accounts want to interact with consumers but they’re so afraid of offending people that they frequently just post some inane question in an attempt to foster a “dialogue” (by which I mean, someone will answer the question and naturally have to re-tweet it with their answer, which means getting the brand into other people’s consciousness).

So I guess you could argue that @NeilHamburger and @fart have technically helped the corporations by reminding their own followers that the companies exist.  But so what?  It’s fun to rattle the cage and run.  Anytime you can make corporate Twitter accounts look stupid, there’s no reason not to.  There really isn’t a downside and if your retort is even vaguely humorous, you’ll give your followers a chuckle.

Fake Facts / Fake News:

  • @nedroid: Geography Fun Fact: Canada was founded by John Candy
  • @FREE_FACTS: Fish never sleep because they are so full of rage
  • @barfcaptain: science finds birds to be dickheads. “fuck them” a scientist exclaimed
  • @ChaseMit: Scientists say men who drink beer daily reduce their risk of heart attack. As for livers, scientists said “fuck livers” and then high-fived.

As you can see from these false facts and from Karla Pacheco’s hashtag riff above, you’re going to need to let your hair down a little bit and get silly.  Well, not completely silly, exactly.  People are going to hate you if you just tweet in Baby Talk.  “Wisten evewyone, I just wuv to hug wadishes and womaine wettuce!”  When I say silly, I mean non sequiturs.  I know we’re jumping into the advanced stuff pretty quickly here, but you’ll have to master it eventually if you really want to turn heads in the crowded nightmare hellscape called Twitter.

Pro Tip: Try tweeting drunk.  Did it come out funny or just super sad?  If you wake up the next morning and discover that you got a bunch of retweets and likes because you tweeted funny observations about the people around you at the bar, or you hurled foul-mouthed insults at your houseplants, cool.  Alcohol seems to be your friend on Twitter.  But if you wake up and see that you just sent tweets to your various exes, pleading for another chance and included pics of your sobbing face?  Then you may want to avoid the drunk tweeting.

Fake Advice (Giving or Requesting):

  • @sixthformpoet: If you trip over in public, a cool thing to do is break into a jog, leave the country, have plastic surgery and change your name.
  • @dril: if anyone knows what to do if you accidentally swallow an entire cigar while running on the treadmill please contact StogieLad@Yahoo.com
  • @markleggett: Write the name of someone you hate on your body every day in permanent marker, so no matter how you die they’ll become a suspect.
  • @BoobsRadley: To scare off a mountain lion, try to make yourself appear larger with your clothing, or just shout “I LOVE YOU MOUNTAIN LION!” way too soon.
  • @bortflancrest: Is it normal for your right testicle to be larger than your other two?
  • @amosvernon: Any tips for how to get a pesky carpet out of my blood vat?
  • @virgiltexas: Teens often hide computer pornography in a folder called C:\Windows\System32. Delete this folder if you see it #ChristianParenting #Teaparty

Few things give me the satisfying laughter of a good parody.  Fake advice is a great form of humor to use on Twitter because everyone is familiar with how advice columns work, so subverting it for comedic reasons will resonate strongly.  If you need help getting started with this, just look at a real advice column somewhere and mimic the questions or the answers.  I just looked at a couple questions from a Sex Advice column and this one sprung to mind: “I brought home a one night stand & he panicked when I pulled out the blowtorch so I had to knock him out. Do I have to pay for breakfast?”

Okay, so it’s not going to win the internet.  But it took me all of 3 seconds to come up with it.  Imagine the re-tweetable hilarity you’ll come up with if you give it a few minutes’ thought.  Take note of how many of these tweets started out talking about one thing and ended up taking you in a different direction entirely.  The more unexpected the punchline is, the more people will laugh.  That brings me to the next section…

Illogical Conclusions & Misdirects:

  • @gavinspeiller: The thing I love most about my children is that they don’t exist yet.
  • @thepatrickwalsh: I throw you onto the bed and rip your blouse open. You’re mad. The blouse was a gift, and rather expensive. We quietly split a Coke.
  • @Mickey_McCauley: Slipped something in a girl’s drink last night. It was a little note that said “You’re awesome and I respect you!”
  • @Kendragarden: Still haven’t gotten over the fact that Pluto and Goofy are both dogs and that the babysitter showed me his penis.
  • @cakemittens: I’ll give you something to cry about! *dies holding your hand 41 years later*

Boom!  You were reading along and the ending came out of nowhere.  If you didn’t find any of those funny, it’s okay.  Humor is subjective and we’re not all going to laugh at the same tweets.  But I have to say that those are some damned fine gags and deserving of their many retweets.  In your quest to Tweet Funny, you need to at least find grudging respect for the craft those tweets displayed.  The more open you are to different forms of humor, the better your luck will be at snatching those thought crumbs from the invisible sky loaf hovering just above your head.

Puns & Wordplay:

  • @sixthformpoet: Short women hate being patronised, a little bird tells me.
  • @Boco_T: James Dean is in movies. Jimmy Dean makes sausage. James Deen uses his sausage in movies.
  • @tommchenry: Most egregious misuse of an organ: the music of The Doors or my penis?
  • @Andy_Dutton: If only there was a modern technique for removing the h from the word “hairbrush”.
  • @BrianFukushima: Sexy Kraft Singles are waiting to talk to YOU!
  • @gavinspeiller: “All abhorred!”- Bitter Train Conductor
  • @gerryboy67: there was a fight during the Far East table tennis karaoke after party. It was a Hong Kong Sing Song Ping Pong Ding Dong.

Uh oh, we’ve reached this part, have we?  People seem to either love or hate puns.  But even the ones that make you groan in exasperation can still elicit grudging respect from your Twitter peers.  Besides, you probably have a dozen puns pop into your head every day, why not tweet the best of them?  If you think you’re a punster and want to get into tweeting them, check out some of the above accounts. Take @BrianFukushima, for example.  His account is a master class in how to make witty puns, portmanteaus, and other types of wordplay.

WARNING:  If you start making puns and your follower count drops sharply, that probably means your puns are more corny than clever.  Corny puns are the ones that give punnery a bad name.  Get a second opinion if you need to.  Corny will kill your Twitter Humor Reputation faster than that “hilarious” joke you’ve got about this morning’s natural disaster in the Caribbean.

Live-tweeting:

  • @BenariLee: “There’s Iron Man. She’s Catwoman. He’s Batman. There’s Daredevil & Elektra. Wolverine just won an award…”- me, watching the #GoldenGlobes
  • @hodgman: Bradley Cooper wearing a moustache is like the first time you heard a frat dude singing a Pixies song. #Oscars
  • @theleanover: “Being a millionaire isn’t enough. I want to read off a TelePrompTer during a show that preempts the Simpsons.” – #GoldenGlobes presenters
  • @Richter_Andy: Was on a plane during the Oscars, but I still want to wish everyone self-congratulations.

This is another touchy subject along with puns.  There are people who strongly endorse live-tweeting (watching a televised event and simultaneously tweeting funny things about it) and there are those who condemn it.  If you’re already famous, this is a no-brainer, go ahead and live-tweet.  Half of your followers are probably sycophants who will eat up any tidbit of “insider gossip” or any tweet that sounds like it.  But if you’re an average Joe or Jane like me, tread lightly.  One of my friends has a policy of unfollowing accounts that live-tweet because he doesn’t want to read 35 tweets about that awards ceremony you’re watching.  Know your audience, know your skill level.  Patton Oswalt can usually pull off a bunch of funny tweets during an episode of Downton Abbey.  You may not be able to do the same.

Pop Culture Tweets:

  • @peteec: If you really think about it, 9/11 was the Wright brothers fault.
  • @juliussharpe: The advice “The Gambler” gives Kenny Rogers is at best really basic and at worst completely useless.
  • @BrianFukushima: Are you there God? It’s a me, Mario.
  • @EliBraden: Burger King’s full name was Burger Luther King Jr.
  • @meganamram: WHY was Mario Kart not called “Mario Speedwagon”
  • @lanyardtwerk: “If you can’t handle me at my Durst, you don’t deserve me at my Fredst.” –Fred Durst

Do you follow the news?  Do you read books and magazines?  Do you watch television and movies?  Do you play video games or read comics?  If you answered yes to any of the above, congratulations.  You are amongst the elite 100% of people who are qualified to tweet about famous people and cultural properties.  The more famous the thing is that you’re tweeting about, the better the chance that your audience has heard of it and they may even be fans.  Commonality is a strong element of comedy and should not be underestimated.  Do you have any idea how many Star Wars jokes have spawned popular webcomics, movie and song parodies, and gotten followers for Twitter accounts?  Sit down and think about something you like.  Maybe you have a witty Game of Thrones observation in your head.  Maybe your love (or hate!) of a particular video game series will inspire a tweet so big that Favstar can’t contain it.  Sky’s the limit, my friend.

Quotes (Real or Fake):

  • @MarloMeekins: “love is like a fart: if you have to force it, it’s probably crap” -my great aunt
  • @ShitMyDadSays: “There won’t be humans in 500 years. Enough people choke themselves when they jerk off we gave it a name. We ain’t a species made to last.”
  • @vladchoc: Your first instinct is gonna be to spell “leopard” and “deaf” correctly. You’re going to want to resist that. — Best band manager ever.

Remember our friend the Fake Advice Tweet?  Here is its sibling, the Quote Tweet.  This may be something you overheard on the ‘L’ in Chicago.  It may be some off-color thing your zany grandma said over breakfast.  It may be something Napoleon never actually said but you think he should have.  If it makes you laugh, tweet it.  I’m not recommending opening a book of pithy quotes and just tweeting them all.  The more obscure or unexpected the quote is, the better.  And heaven knows, you don’t want to be known as That Twitter Account That Only Tweets Quotes They Found Somewhere.  Unless that’s the entire point of your account, like Overheard In New York.  But obviously, if that’s the case then the rest of this essay is pointless to you.

Storytelling:

  • @dril: “the ancient americans had over 20 words for sandwich but only 1 word for betamax.  fucked up but real” says a future man to his crystal son
  • @ShittingtonUK: “Aaand the blonde lady’s comforting herself with her fingers, bein’ her own husband for a spell.”—Old prospector narrates porn for the blind
  • @ReptileClinton: SON what did I tell you about drawing ancient runes with your Etch A Sketch? Don’t apologize to me apologize to the Elder Thing you summoned

Pure imagination is a powerful thing.  Combine it with humor and you could write Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  You might write The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Or you might just tweet a fucking hilarious miniature tale in 140 characters or less.  There is a definite art to this.  We’re into some Advanced Level, calculus-style Twitter shit now.  You either have it or you don’t.  If your brain doesn’t work like this, don’t feel bad.  We’re finally dipping our toes into the murky depths of originality now.  No more can you simply follow a flowchart to Laugh Town and wow your followers with a clever hashtag.  From here on out, we separate the truly gifted Twitterers from the wannabes.

Conceptual Nouns:

  • @MarloMeekins: conveyor belt of grilled cheese sandwiches forever into your mouth
  • @EliTerry: A condom with a synthetic skin tip so you can still use your penis to play your favorite iPhone games.
  • @drugleaf: A chia pet that grows cooked spaghetti out of its holes instead of grass

As we move further into the territory of imagination, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Conceptual Nouns on Twitter.  These ideas may come to you when you’re lying around thinking or when you’re staring at an actual object somewhere.  I can’t begin to tell you HOW to come up with these tweets, just be aware of what your brain is doing.  Daydreaming is great, you just need to write down or type out your funniest ideas when they hit you because there’s no guarantee you’ll still remember that idea about “a car with four steering wheels so everybody gets to fight for their own destination” when you get home from work.

Complete Absurdity (“Weird Twitter”):

  • @wolfpupy: rat city isnt big enough for us regular size people [trips over cardboard rat building, destroying hundreds of rat businesses]
  • @dril: WHO SUMMONE D WRESTLERS TO MY YARD.  I DESPERATELY NEED STOMACH MEDS AND IM AFRAID TO GO LEAVE HOSUE.  MY BIRDBATH HAS ALREADY BEEN SUPLEXED
  • @drugleaf: when i die rig my coffin to blast Slayer at full blast when opened. grave robbers will be too busy headbanging to steal my sexy crystal eyes

Did I say puns are polarizing?  Weird Twitter is full of the kind of humor you get in Adult Swim cartoons on Cartoon Network.  Sometimes it’s so brilliant you feel like a new thought pathway just opened up in your brain.  Other times you’re laughing because it’s a tweet so dumb you need to be high to “get it.”  Sometimes you just have to shake your head in confusion and move on to the next thing in your Twitter feed.

The “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” nature of these tweets is such that not every tweet will be hilarious.  These accounts from the Weird side of Twitter often tweet dozens or hundreds of times a day.  Their followers are used to that and expect it.  Is this the humor you want to try?  Think hard about it and get ready to say goodbye to the “normal” folks on Twitter who probably don’t want to see your tenth tweet today about pooping razor blades.  I’ll admit that I’m old and it’s not really my type of Twitter humor, but I sure am glad somebody’s still out there being strange.

Stand-Up Comedy (including Autobiographical):

  • @joshgondelman: Birth was literally my greatest athletic achievement.
  • @RobDenBleyker: who is this Rorschach guy and why did he paint so many pictures of my parents fighting
  • @johnfreiler: if i owned a pornography store, i’d display all my dildos on a hot dog roller from 7-11
  • @wheatnik: My bucket list is just the words “afford things” written in orange crayon on a paper towel.
  • @fart: i saw an ad on craigslist once that said “free firewood, u collect it” so i wrote the guy and said “bud you just wrote an ad for the woods”
  • @DannyZuker: I’m constantly amazed at how different my twin daughters are. Lisa is so much more positive & confident than her sister Hog Face.
  • @robfee: My dad explained sex to me by putting a tape in a VCR & ejecting it over and over until he had an orgasm. It was weird.
  • @ladybirdj: If someone says they’re only human, give them a second look.  That sure does sound like something a robot would say.
  • @GreenishDuck: Crabs always look like they’re walking themselves out of an awkward situation.
  • @almightygod: “To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click ‘I agree’.”
  • @NotDeakins: I’m beginning to think the wireless mouse was invented just so there was one less thing to hang yourself with at work.
  • @CandyWarhole: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is an awesome phrase, but it’s a horrible way to tell your kid they’re adopted.
  • @AmberDonn: It’s weird how Alzheimer’s makes Granddad forget his pants all the time but he never forgets he’s a racist.

Well, we had to get here eventually.  Standup comedy is just as popular on Twitter as it is in real life.  The only difference is that the jokes are incredibly short, potent shots of funny, barely more than a punchline sometimes.  I consider this to be amongst the most difficult ways of being funny on Twitter because you can’t fake it.

There isn’t some funny hashtag you can riff on, some funny portmanteau you can make by jamming two words together.  You have to understand the mechanics of how comedy works: the setup, the punchline, and whatever that shit is in between.  The funny idea has to come from your own brain, it has to be somehow different from the joke everyone else is making about the same thing, and you have to know which words to put in which order to maximize the laughter potential.  It’s easy to screw up and it’s why so very few people get paid to write funny things.  There’s nothing I can say to help you with this one except to tell you the same advice new comedians get in the clubs:  keep practicing, trust your instincts, and hone your craft.

I’d like to leave you with a reminder that you don’t actually need to “choose” one of these Twitter humor styles.  You can tweet a hundred different things and have them all be from entirely different comedy disciplines.  I simply wanted to write a few of these genres down so you’ll be aware of what’s out there and why it works.  Stay ridiculous and happy tweeting.

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Disclaimer: Tim Hulsizer is not a professional comedian, he rarely gets retweeted, and it took him three years to crack 100 followers on Twitter.  His account is @glamcrackers.