XKCD Isn't Funny - #1646 - Twitter Bot

This is kinda just a more boring version of #349. To be fair to Randy, it has been more than a thousand strips since then, but

I don't actually have anything to follow that up with. It's been more than six years, it's hard to blame him for maybe forgetting he made a comic like this before.

Comparing and contrasting the two, though, #349 just has better presentation. Look at how the guy changes position. He's sitting, then he's on his stomach, then he's standing. It helps bring across his frustration and keeps the comic visually interesting. In this one, he puts his laptop in his lap and then puts it back on the desk. The fourth panel even keeps the same framing, with his head at the same level as the previous panels.

Now, it is not awful to have a repeated framing system in a humor strip. If Garfield had dramatic zoom-ins and crane shots every other panel it'd just be distracting. But the punchline of this specific comic is based on a sudden shift into dramatics, there should be a more obvious tonal shift. Two offscreen explosions do not a doombot make.

Also, why is he searching that while he's being shot at? That's just stupid. Hide behind cover, man! If you can run you're not in shock probably, so go outside and then look up what to do.

Actually, how is he searching that while he's being shot at? He's running and presumably having to avoid shrapnel and gunfire, he should not have the fine hand coordination to tap the little digital screen keys the way he'd need to.

(This next thing is even more petty than the last two so brace yourself) What search engine is he using? If he's searching on his iPhone in the last panel, it should have a different layout than the ones in the first three. And even discounting that, it still doesn't match up to any search engine layout that I'm aware of. Google would have the 'i'm feeling lucky' button, Bing and DuckDuckGo have magnifying glass symbols instead of a box saying 'search', and Yahoo! has the search button next to the search bar, not under it.

Assuming this was based off of his actual attempts at starting a twitter bot, I'm really curious what he was trying to do, since he doesn't use his regular twitter account. (I use mine, though, follow me!)


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1664 - Stargazing & #1665 - Toasts

I know it's a long shot, but does anyone happen to know who made that one song that goes like "and if I pretend to like Coldplay, she might let me see her naked, but probably not"? I downloaded it off of bandcamp ages ago but then I deleted it like a FOOL, I TELL YOU, A FOOL.

I've said it before, but I just don't get what Randy's going for with these 'what if someone was really bad at something' comics. Like it could be funny if they had to pretend to be an expert on something they weren't to save face, in a kind of 90's sitcom way. Or she could be bad at it in a way that obstructs another character from getting something, like there's a time bomb but the librarian has to check for ID and since they don't have any she makes them all pose for the picture and get IDs printed. Instead this person is just bad for no reason and with no consequence. The person isn't even being satirical or anything.

The bit about "can't happen soon enough" is kinda clever though, I like that part. I wish we got to hear the explanation though.

This is the kind of thing where I understand why he thought it would be funny. I can totally imagine having a great time if I was at a party and someone quoted the quote (is that something people do at parties?) and everyone started making snowclones of it. Like the other day I was hanging out with the fam and a bunch of us were cracking each other up by making food puns on classic literature since my cousin wants to open a book-themed restaurant. 

Maybe the joke would have worked if that was the type of situation being portrayed, everyone having a good time at a dinner or whatever. This presentation just feels soulless. Everyone's in their own box, we don't see who they're toasting to.

Beret's appearance makes me think that the joke could have worked if the first and last panels were the first two panels of a slightly different joke. Like, Beret's thing is that he's weird, right? Maybe he hears the original toast and doesn't understand why it works so he tries making his own version and it ends up not making sense. It could be funny for the same reason that it's funny to hear someone telling a joke really badly


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1642 - Gravitational Waves - #1643 - Degrees

I feel like this comic would have a lot more impact if we saw more of the effort that went into the making of the gravitational wave detector. Like, this probably cost NASA or whatever a trillion dollars, it already seems anticlimatic to have the GWD just the size of a desk. We should have a whole room of things all blinking away, after at least two panels of hard work by the science people trying to make stuff happen.

Speaking of which, if they already knows that it works, why are they just reacting to it in the second panel. The comic actually makes more sense if you read it backwards. It's funnier that way too, you expect them to be all disappointed but then they're all "Hooray!".

Also, the comic would be funnier if he took out the actual sciency stuff from the last panel. The two black hole merger things are (apparently) actual examples of events that the GWD could detect, and it really only distracts from the joke.

This is one of the times that Randy drawing half of a conversation's participants offscreen could make sense. If the guy was standing next to a window with a temperature thingy on it, it'd make sense that the other guy would be calling from offscreen. He's probably folding clothes or something and wants to get it done so he doesn't want to have to leave the room and stop.

As it is, we should see two stick figures, and Offscreen should start his sentence with "While you've got your phone open" because that is the Polite Phrase.

It was nice of Randy to add in the good sides of Fahrenheit, even though it is the obvious inferior system. It feels charitable, and I approve. That last dot on the chart is really telling though. Who thinks "I am going to deliberately respond in a way that my friend will not understand for non-humorous purposes" and then thinks "Hmm... that probably makes me a bad friend."? Like, no, it makes you a straight up asshole. Say... that reminds me of a famous webcomic strip.

The 'radians' punchline just doesn't make sense. Like I'm all for making fun of stupid people and making fun of people who made innocent mistakes (especially if they are small children), but that's just not something someone would say. That's essentially saying gibberish, it doesn't have any relevance to the question. Randy should have made the guy say "Kelvin" instead, since that is an actual temperature scale, so it'd be technically correct but completely useless, unlike the radians answer, which is incorrect on a few different levels as well as being completely useless.

On an unrelated note, I don't know how familiar any of you guys would be with The Cringe Channel, but I'm mildly surprised a screenshot of this blog hasn't been sent in. The caption would be something like "This guy has spent more than two years 'reviewing' XKCD and complaining about how it's not funny."


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1640 - Super Bowl Context - #1641 - Hot Dogs

You know, I feel like Randy would be not uninteresting on a podcast type thing. One of those talky type podcasts where two or three people just have a conversation and the listener is just along for the ride. It'd be neat to hear his statistics which I'm assuming would be mostly accurate, and then the other people could be like "Oh, I wonder why that is? Maybe it's..." and everyone would learn and have brain juices flowing and stuff.

I don't think it works in comic form. It really just feels like he's showing off. It's like when Notch was complaining about how hard it is to be a billionaire. Excuse me for not being moved by Randy's plight of having too much knowledge to contain in his brain.

White Hat's appearance is also kinda confusing. If I didn't know his history, I'd say he was the reasonable one. That's the problem with having archetypes instead of dynamic characters, when they act outside of their usual boundaries it's offputting, even though it is more realistic.

Before I went vegetarian I used to just chop up the two leftover hotdogs and mix them with the leftover beans and onions in a bowl with some brown sugar, it was delish (that's 'delicious' for you people that aren't hip to the vibes).

I really wish we got to see he condom person. It could add to the joke a lot if we got even a smidgen of quasi-characterization. I'm not saying that we need their whole backstory, but it'd be cool to see a little bit of what type of person they are. Like, we'd get a different feeling of the punchline if it was Black Hat saying it than if it was some gross unshaven person.

I also really want to know why the person is putting hot dogs in condoms. The obvious explanation is that it's a dildo substitute, but just imagine the other possibilities! Maybe the other person has discovered that hot dogs cook really well in condoms, which could then lead into a fun double-subversion if he's then asked how he found that out and he says "Oh I was gonna fuck myself with one and I wanted to see if it was better or worse cooked. ...why, you don't do that?" Or, if it's Black Hat, maybe it's the start of some fiendish scheme to terrify the populace with floating penises (the condoms would be filled with helium).

Someone tell Randy to do a What If about how much helium gas it would take to float a thousand hot dogs in condoms.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1638 - Backslashes & #1639 - To Taste

Man, that The Life of Pablo sure is an album, isn't it?

So, first problem: this comic is text only. We are again forced to ask why it is a comic at all, if the entire content could be done on the blag.

The steady ramp-up of absurdity is done pretty well. It comes off as a bit uninspired to me, but I feel like that could just be the framing. It would be so easy to replace "backslash" with something else and have almost exactly the same joke. I don't get why Randy chose coding as a backdrop. It's not required to make the funny part funny, and it only limits the audience.

There's also the more nitpicky issue of ending the last set of backslashes with an ellipsis.  The implication is presumably that it goes on forever, but it kinda just distracts from the punchline. It doesn't really add anything. I'm also going to get even more nitpicky (the sound you just heard was me leveling up) and point out that adding an ellipsis also prevents it from actually being Ba'al's true name, since it's abbreviated.

Is it just me or is this a weird thing to make a comic about? It feels like some kind of unholy crossover between Seinfeld and Chowder: "So what's the deal with cookbooks? They say "add sugar to taste", but they never tell you how much 'to taste' means! I always just put all my sugar in and hope for the best."

From a purely art as storytelling standpoint, this is pretty bad. The first panel should have a closeup on the recipe, the way it's presented in-comic is exactly like how it would be if the paper was talking, which is confusing. In the third panel, we don't need to see him leaving, we could infer that he's left if that panel showed the stove unaccompanied. Then, in the last panel, the cart thing should be the other way around. He's walking backwards like that, he could bump into the stove because it's hard to see where you're going. It's the wrong way to hold one of those things.

I feel like the joke would be a lot funnier if instead of the guy not being sure how much sugar to add, he was using the vague phrasing as an excuse to just eat sugary food. Or, if he got sugar, and then said "screw it" and just ate sugar right out of the bowl with a spoon. As it is, the guy is just sorta dumb. If you don't know what 'to taste' means, google it, brah.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1636 - XKCD Stack & #1637 - Salt Mine

I was totally laying in bed, just about to fall asleep, when my eyes shot open and I thought of my poor neglected blog. Such is the eventful life of an XKCD hateblogger.

I don't understand this comic at all. Something something something code maybe? I get that it's kinda like the XKCD phone series, where it's a bunch of really shitty features, but because it's framed in this software engineering setup, I have no idea how shitty they are, except for "some piece that works so nobody asks any questions", the best part of the comic. That is a relatable thing, we all have our things like that, but the relatability isn't the focus of the whole comic, so it's alright. The worst part (that I understand) is the Minecraft reference, since Minecraft is now solidly the property of amateur Let's Play channels desperate for views.

So the joke is that they built this huge expensive thing but it was really an excuse to get free salt. To eat, without any other ingredients. 

Who the hell just eats salt? I could get behind this comic if the food they were eating was like, apples, or rock candy, but salt??? Why would anyone just eat salt!!? That's like, you're just dehydrating yourself at that point! No!!!! 

I used to have this lowkey theory that XKCD was actually a giant code on behalf of Randall Munroe, and that eventually he'd post a thing saying "I tricked you all, my comics were just shitty to fit the code and I'm actually a genius" (this would explain why a comic got uploaded two days early but was replaced with another comic and later uploaded on it's "proper" date, even though XKCDs make sense in almost any order). This comic makes me think that he's actually an alien trying to understand humans. It's like that British guy who bit into an onion like it was an apple. It's so jarring that he would think that anyone would behave like this. I made a salt sandwich when I was like, four, since I liked salt on my mashed potatoes, and then I never tried eating salt in such a minimal way again, since I am a human with human taste buds who does not enjoy the taste of unaccompanied salt.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1634 - In Case of Emergency & #1635 - Birdsong

Usually when you see "emergency behind glass thing" in cartoons, part of the humor comes from the absurdity of needing that particular thing. My favorite example is from one thing I can't remember where they smash the glass and get the hammer inside to smash the glass for the chamber next to it. I understand the joke is like, you'd be breaking glass to repair glass, but it loses something without someone screaming "Oh no, the glass is going to break!" or something before seeing the glass. Also technically it's not really a visual oxymoron since you'd be breaking glass to repair other glass.

On a side note, do "in case of emergency break glass" things actually exist? Like I know you can buy novelty products but are there real glass breaking things that I've just never seen IRL?

This comic just makes no sense at all. That's an awesome song! Why would he get mad? If anything he should be trying to capture it to keep it as a pet and also bring it on Oprah and make money by exploiting its talents.

Pharrell, tho; this comic should have been structured way differently. The first panel should have the guy saying "What a beautiful day!" with some trees or nature imagery in the background, and the bird should only appear in the third panel (second panel in the actual comic) which would also be the last panel. The joke should be the bird is actually singing, end comic. Him getting mad just distracts from the actual punchline, since all it does is reinforce that he is annoyed by the song, which is not something that needs reinforcing.

The song should have been more famously annoying or shocking, though. Or maybe just go with the classic "Never Gonna Give You Up".


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1632 - Palindrome & #1633 - Possible Undiscovered Planets

"A Man, A Plan, A Canal: Panama" is my favorite palindrome, Randy, how dare you mess with it.

This is pure CouldBeATweet. Yes, it's very clever, but it is under 140 characters, the visuals mean nothing, and there is no context for it. Just use your twitter already. You don't have to tweet everyday, it's okay! Just tweet these jokes that have comics as window dressing instead of as content when you come up with them. And then make another joke into a comic!

Also follow me @Greg_Greenwell, I tweet deep thoughts sometimes.

I'm kinda lowkey wondering if #1632 was simple so he could spend more time working on this one. Also damnit I just realized I totally forgot to reference #631 in my review of #1631. #MissedOpportunities

At first I was kinda like "who put jokes in this science", like the jokes distracted from the facts, but then I realized that the comic is actually totally consistent. The silly bits aren't silly because they're untrue, they're silly because an ordinary science poster wouldn't feature them even though they technically are on the scale.

Some of the bits even made me think a little, and I love thinking! I'd never have considered that we can discount certain planet positions because we'd see them during the daytime, that gives me a new perspective on planet-hunting.

If this was just inspired by the Planet Nine thing, then Randy actually put effort into making it more than that, and that is super cool of him.

It doesn't really hold up as a joke, since we read from left to right and the funny bits are on the bottom left and there's a bunch of blank space in the bottom right, but it definitely holds up as an infographic with jokes in it.