2015-10-11

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1574 - Trouble for Science


I was so pleasantly surprised when I first read this comic. I thought to myself "Oh, a science comic that doesn't require you to know much actual deep science for you to get the joke, cool!". And then I got halfway through my review before checking explainxkcd and finding out that the first four are true things that have happened.

The way I was reading this comic, the headlines start realistic before getting progressively more absurd, making the reader go back and realize they're all lies. Now that I know the actual meaning behind the comic, I feel like it was supposed to be a "What next?" type of punchline. Like Randy's a standup comic all of a sudden*, and he's saying "So what's the deal with these things in the scientific community? Antibodies don't work, rat testing doesn't work... what's next, Bunsen burners cooling things down?"

The problem is, nothing differentiates the last headline from the others besides the heightened level of absurdity. Without anything to distinguish why that absurdity is there, the reader is left assuming that all other headlines are similarly absurd.

My suggested fix is that we go to the two people walking thing that Randy does occasionally. The setup is something like "Did you hear...", "Yeah, and..." etc, and the punchline is "I bet next year we'll find out Bunsen burners make things colder.". It wouldn't be a great comic, but I'd have nothing of substance to complain about, and any day I can't complain about a comic is a good day for Randy.



*Obligatory joke: I knew he could do comedy, I just didn't know he could stand up.