XKCD Isn't Funny - #1466 - PHONE CHECKING

I wonder which of the XKCD phones she's using to check the website.

This is one of those weird cases where I thought it was funny before realizing I'd misinterpreting it. I read the "Site's down."/"Weird." exchange in the last panel to mean that the site was actually a prank of some kind designed to mess with the type of pricks that are aware of their flaws but don't do anything about them. However, the alt-text and explainxkcd both contradict this.

The actual joke is that the site is down because it's overloaded, and all of the compulsive phone-checkers were keeping it down by refreshing so much, which is actually kind of clever. Once again, XKCD's insistence on expecting the reader to imply a large portion of the joke causes the joke to fail. A simple caption below the bottom panel "due to the amount of people refreshing, the site wouldn't come online until two hours later", etc, would work fine in getting the punchline across.

It's a point in Randy's favor that he shows the two people meeting up in the first panel, it makes the conversation seem a lot more natural than his usual material. The point may have to be taken away for the phone's teleportation in and out of frame.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1463-1465 - "Week of December 26th, 2014"

Hello everyone and welcome back to XKCD Isn't Funny after my impromptu Christmas vacation. And since, as of writing, it is the day after Christmas, I'd like to say thank you to all my readers for putting up with me for a year. I'd also like to thank Randall Munroe for giving me a place to carve my own little niche in the Internet. Thanks, readers. Thanks, Randy.

This is a comic that I actually had to think about why I didn't find it funny, which... I guess is a plus? This comic doesn't work because it's just too simple, it's just two (or three, depending on how you read it) people being stupid. That's not funny just by itself, there needs to be a context for it. A guy throwing butter out the window isn't a joke, it needs to be clarified that he wants to see a butterfly.

I really like that this comic has a raison d'etre, to use a phrase that's more pretentious than is really required by the situation. It's Christmas, here's a Christmas-based joke. The issue I have with this comic is that, as a hypothesis, the idea behind the last panel is flawed. If Santa Claus is indeed evacuating himself in our houses, what's stopping him from flushing?
Here's an idea for an alternate (better) punchline: they discuss the overall economic effects of Santa's flushing. Think about it! Santa flushes every, say, hundredth house. There are roughly 125 million (inhabited) houses in the U.S., which means that Santa would be flushing 1,250,000 times in America alone. The average cost of a toilet flush is 6/10ths of a cent, which means that every Christmas, Santa's been using up $7500 of hard-earned American money (more as we go back in time and toilets get less efficient).
Anyway, from this review I've learned it's really easy to mistype "Santa" as "Satan".
It's mildly interesting to me that this is the second time I've done a week's worth of reviews in one post (which isn't going to become the new standard, if anyone was worried) and both times end with an XKCD PHONE.
XKCD PHONE 2 is definitely an improvement over the first, with a semi-decent pun and an actually-pretty-clever intentionally stupid marketing slogan. However, most of my criticisms of the first still stand, such as the inherent lameness of the joke: "imagine if a phone was terrible".
At least the wall of alt-text is gone.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1462 - BLIND TRIALS

I like this one, a lot, actually. The mental image of someone getting sugar pills and thinking they're having sex is just inherently hilarious to me (although it's even better in reverse). So maybe he could have done a little more to bring that image out, but really this is fine. If I had to make a criticism, it'd be one I've had about all his comics about someone giving a public speech: I wish that we could see the audience. I wish it felt more like an important speech. The disonance between the dramatic setup and the absurdity of the joke would make the joke funnier.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1461 - PAYLOADS

I feel like I shouldn't even be touching this one, I have so little to say about it. Infographic comics in general are always a pain since I'm a "comedy" "reviewer" (those quotes are there to let you know to read them in the loosest sense possible) and infographics aren't even trying to be comedy.

Aren't horses kindof a crap unit of measurement? It doesn't specify if it's the average horse weight or anything, that seems like it should be more clear.

Really, that's my only issue with this, taking it purely as a piece of information. I can't even criticise it for being another thing Randy can hawk on his store: I'd sell out in a heartbeat if I could and I'm not going to be a hypocrite.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1460 - SMFW

Those of you following my twitter feed (those who aren't, I honestly don't blame you) are aware that I've been sick for the past few days. On Monday, when this comic went up, I was running a fever of 103.

And let me tell you: When I'm out of your mind on fever and all the perscription medication I could get my hands on, this shit is hilarious. I must have laughed for like, a solid minute at this. I also forgot to take off my socks before getting into the shower.

It's weird seeing this comic again in such a different mindset. I don't even remember why it was funny, just that it was.

As it is, I see what the point was supposed to be, but I just really don't see why this wasn't immediately scrapped. It's just really lame, with the picture serving no purpose but to make it count as a comic.

I think my issue is that the only way to tell if an acronym makes sense is to see the full phrase it represents. In this comic we only see the minimized version.

By the way I'm still working off the last of my symptoms so if this review sucks it's still not my fault.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1459 - DOCUMENTS

I'm sick today, that type of sick where it hurts to move and you can feel the fluids moving around as you tilt your head. I feel like I still have my full cognative functions, but it's entirely possible that this review will just be the bleary ramblings of a madman, in which case I'll redo this tomorrow.

Sometimes I'll read explainxkcd and I just have to wonder if it's the fans that are writing it or if it's actually some kind of giant redux of xkcdexplained. Here's a direct quote from today's page:

"When first saving a document, many programs will default to "Untitled", adding numbers to the end as more are created. However, in Microsoft Word the default filename is the first sentence of the document; if the document is still empty, the default filename is "Doc1" with the number increasing each time. In order to get such a file directory, White Hat would have to manually title all of his documents "Untitled"."


"Note that when performing this type of copying on Windows 7, the new file is named "<original name>_2", not "Copy of <original name>"."

What I think this comic was supposed to be was a kind of self parody that just crashed and burned, or rather, never got off the ground to start with. That's the only explanation I can think of for how Randy could get a simple thing like how default file names are created.

Really, this comic is basically #763 over again, but even worse.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1457 - SMALL MOON

I had to ask my friend for help with this one. Rough quote incoming:
"I don't know, man, it's just kinda there. I mean, I get it -or at least I think I do, but..."
and I am inclined to agree. I'm aware that the above sentence is an extremely vague piece of criticism, but I think it does stand.

There's an amorphous concept that I've come up with that I'm not sure exactly how to describe. It's more or less "some things are just inherently better or worse than other things". Even the best XKCD comic can't compete with an entire Ross Noble routine, and I could do the best possible cover of "Weasels Ripped My Flesh", but it could never be better than "Comfortably Numb".

In other words, this is a well presented, well executed comic that simply doesn't have a strong enough foundation. That might be my personal preference or anti-XKCD bias seeping through, but-

Oh, wait, I do have one genuine criticism: "Screw you." is an unnecessary addition that takes the focus away from the actual punchline, which might be what creates the "just kinda there" feeling, when the joke suddenly defocuses at the end.


XKCD Is Poorly Executed - #1457 - FEEDBACK

I've got pretty simple feelings relating to this one: decent idea, could have been executed better. And considering I've been feeling that way about a lot of comics lately, maybe my blog should be called "XKCD Is Poorly Executed", but that'd be far harder to brand, so just this one post for now.

I could see this joke being presented really well: we could see the full process behind picking up the pineapple and slowly coming to the belief that the pineapple holds the wifi somehow, and then after a longer buildup we find out the wifi is just randomly varying.

As it stands, this comic isn't really bad, but I feel like the pineapple is just a bit of "lol, random" rather than something that was actually thought about as part of the joke.

There's also a problem with the caption. "can make you crazy" just reads weirdly to me, like "I can drive you their house."

In conclusion, I watched Silence of the Lambs the other day and it was awesome, 10/10 would recommend.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1456 - ON THE MOON

I feel like I need a tag for these comics where there are two people just walking and talking, or just standing and talking. It just seems like a lazy way to format a joke, it's one step above a text only transcript. I'm not saying that every joke has to have a huge shaggy dog -style backstory to it, but I feel like Randy has this reliance on a very bland method of storytelling.

The pacing is even exactly the same as in #1345 (hey, that one also had three consecutive numbers in a row - maybe the similarity was intended?): Guy says something, girl 1-ups him, guy agrees because she's an abuser and he's too scared to argue, it's really sad actually.

This comic isn't the first time that Randy's complained about not sending people to the moon for a while, but the last time had a punchliney thing at the end, where this one just sortof trails off.

Let me show off my ignorance for a bit and make a slight counterargument that may indeed be completely wrong: we have been to the moon, we've proved that we can do it. Why would we go again, if going is the only purpose? Spaceships are expensive, if we're going someplace just to show how awesome we are, let's go somewhere new, like Mars.

If we go back to the moon, shouldn't we have a mission in mind other than 'get there'? For example: setting up a moon base so it's easier to travel to other planets and other moons in the future. Then we could set up bases there and spread throughout the universe, increasing the longevity of the race and allowing everyone to get a do-over on the whole 'enviorment' thing.

(please correct me if those last two paragraphs were just totally incorrect and I'm being a moron)

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1455 - TROLLEY PROBLEM

This is a pretty good comic! I think it's a nice use of Black Hat and the setup is done very well, just enough information to make the punchline work, but not too much where he's giving unnecessary information.

I do think it's really stupid how the desk and No Hat both completely disappear in panel 3, and how the newspaper is apparently fully rendered when that adds nothing to the joke.

Actually the newspaper being there was a nice touch, it makes No Hat have a reason for telling Black Hat, they just read about it in the newspaper. Still no reason to have it done in multicolors, though; unless if you get it hi-res it shows a full article announcing the release of Half Life 3 or something.

[Edit:] Since writing this review, I've been informed that No Hat is actually holding a tablet displaying this SMBC comic. To me, that comes off as essentially adding a caption saying "This is what I was inspired by". However, it does serve the exact same purpose as my newspaper assumption, except in a more specific way, so I am unable to justify docking points for that.


XKCD Wasn't Funny - #609 - TAB EXPLOSION

Wow, I'd forgotten how big that comic was.

So! What we have here is a guy at a computer. For what appears to be twenty-two individually drawn panels, a guy is at a computer, which really does seem like a dig at the reader and other people like me who have nothing better to do than stay on the computer all day, but w/e.

At the end of this mass, which I am absolutely sure pretty much everyone just skims through because nothing happens, a guy is revealed to be looking at a website. The comic then hyperlinks to the website, thereby trapping you forever in the belly of the beast.

The reader is then actually left staring at the screen in confusion, either having heard of TV Tropes and therefore already having heard this joke because they have a whole page for it, or not having heard of TV Tropes and not getting the intended punchline.

What this comic is, is an ad. An ad for TV Tropes. If Randy had a tumblr instead of a website this would be a reblog of someone saying "Hey, just found out about this cool website called TV Tropes!".

Irregular Webcomic, which I pretty much consider XKCD but pretty decent most of the time, did this same thing in a not-terrible way: in the decription/rant under the comic, he'd link to TV Tropes every once in a while, sometimes with a little ">:D" type face, and that's really all that needed to be done. The joke everyone came to see stayed in the comic, and the link stayed in the description, with a little in joke that isn't worthy of actually being the point of coming to the site.

I'm going to say something that is apparently somewhat controversal: I like TV Tropes. Andrew does too, but he's busy making New Super Mario Bros Wii U 3 right now so you'll have to take my word for it.

TV Tropes definitely does have a creep factor going on, but let me tell you: It is amazing for finding new music. I wouldn't have heard some of my favorite artists (Mike Oldfield, Ayreon, Streetlight Manifesto, The Avalanches, Bomb the Music Industry!, Chumbawamba, Death Grips, entertainment for the braindead, [...]) if it wasn't for TV Tropes.

But even if TV Tropes was an undiluted stream of pure amazingness, I wouldn't give this comic a passing grade. Just like a standup comedian can't get away with saying "Wow, Frozen was a movie, wasn't it?", Randy can't get away with saying "Wow, TV Tropes is a website, isn't it?".

Also if anyone can think of a better name for this than "Classic Isn't Funny", please let me know.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1454 - DONE

More like "I am so DONE with Randall Munroe right now" if you ask me!

I really don't like how overwrought this entire comic is, when the joke boils down to another "I am taking this phrase literally" thing. There's a place for faux-drama, it's not when you're annoyed at a semi-common internet phrase.

We all know what this comic was inspired by. I recognize that kind of bitter sarcasm from all the times it's dribbled out of my mouth. Randy was looking at a video and, like an idiot, he read the comment section. He saw "That's it. Shut down the Internet. We're done." and instead of making a classic-Simpsons -style parody of the situation, he bitterly demeaned it.

And I am being a hypocrite here, because I have a bad habit of doing the same thing in conversations with my friends when I'm having a bad day or whatever, but I usually stop myself from posting anything like it (especially on here*).

But that's what really ruins this comic, the bitterness seeping through it: "So they did". I was going to say that it reminds me of Randy's "DO YOU GET IT?"-style political cartoons, when I realized that that's almost exactly what it is. The hairstyle of Katherine (for that is her name) is almost exactly like the girl from the horribly preachy #1370.

Also, does anyone else find it really anonying how ponytail walks in in panel five and abruptly disappears?

*although I did do something similar back on #1331 because I had just started and I AM A HACK I TELL YOU, A HACK.