XKCD Isn't Funny - #1702 - Home itch Remedies

This comic should have just ended in the second panel. Cut out the fourth line of dialogue, too. The funniest (and truest) part of the comic is "I just want sympathy".

Maybe it's just because I live in the northeast where everyone just hates things all day, but are weird home remedies actually a widespread phenomenon? I can't think of a single example I've seen in my life, at least not for bug bites. Hiccups, sure, because it's always fun to get your friends to hurt themselves, but not bug bites.

I think Randy thinks that any exaggeration is inherently funny. It can't just be "rub a mixture of honey and syrup on it" it has to be this impossibly elaborate thing. Just like every good lie has a little bit of truth, every good joke still reflects reality. This exaggeration goes too far out of the bounds of normalcy and becomes meaninglessly absurd.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1700 - New Bug & #1701 - Speed And Danger

I swear I can almost see the thought process that went into this. Randy was working on some code thing and he encountered a bug. Suddenly, inspiration strikes, and he begins writing comic #1700. But the only way he could think to make it funny was to exaggerate the wackiness of the bug he had. And then he didn't exaggerate it enough. Wacky would be "I keep intercepting private CIA communications" or "the screen turns green if I use the microwave". it's not "server crashes user password URL". BOR-ing.

Speaking of boring computer junk, I'm really surprised that computer crashes weren't put on the list. I don't know if it was an intentional avoidance of a cliche or if Randy just didn't think of it but either way I feel this comic is weaker for it.

This comic, as is, is pointless. It's definitely not funny. What the fuck is the joke? That faster crashes are more dangers than slower crashes? Yeah, I think most people who know what vehicles are know that, so it can't be educational either. Computers would at least add another dimension to the comic. 

Another thing this comic is missing is "normal cars". Also maybe "Mario Karts". This graph is so threadbare compared to the graphs I have come to expect from XKCD. 


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1698 - Theft Quadrants & #1699 - Local News

Why would it be bad if the tinyurl.com domain name was stolen.

I think when Randy was writing this comic, he assumed people would be able to understand it because he knew what he meant. And I am not going to ask anyone to bring out the pitchforks for that, I think every writer falls into that particular hole a few times in their career. However, that hole is one reason why editors exist and I would like to posit that Randy's content would be improved by one.

For example, I might have been able to discussed this comic's joke since I might have understood it.

This one had to be explained to me, but I don't hate it. Once I looked up all the big confusing words, I realized that this pun is totally solid. 

(For those who don't know: "nonlocal" doesn't mean 'outside the immediate area', it's some kind of physics thing about time travel (I think))

I've turned this comic over in my head a few ways and I don't see any simple ways the definition of 'nonlocal' could be explained without the pun being spoiled, so I'm just going to give XKCD a freebie with this one. Pretend, for the sake of this review, that all the other comics are good. This can be the one comic I don't get because it makes a high level reference. 

That said, I do think there was an easy segue into a second punchline. Just one more panel, same talking head dealy, but it's another chick and she's saying "Good evening, topping off the nightcast, previous news presenter Allison Zhurnalistka died from a mysterious ray, meaning I finally got my promotion". Possibly there could be a panel of the first chick flickering out of existence in between the two panels. 


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1696 - AI Research & #1697 - Intervocalic Fortition

I appreciate that Randy at least holds the pretension of being able to make fun of himself. However, if he wants to make a joke about how immature and lowbrow he is, maybe he shouldn't have followed it up with a joke about 'intervocalic fortition'. One of those words even sets off spellcheck, that's how obscure it is!

But that's getting ahead of things. The concept of the joke is solid, continuity issues notwithstanding. The art leaves me a little cold. The AI is supposed to be as smart as an adult (or at least still in the process of becoming less smart) but it looks like one of those old computers from the sixties.

I also feel like the comic could have been presented through action, rather than narration. Picture it: Scientists sit at a table, they're wracking their brains trying to figure out how to simulate a six year old's brain. "God damn it, men!" the guy in the biggest labcoat says. "We need to make a robot that thinks like a six year old or we'll never be able to cure abuse trauma!" Suddenly, from the corner of the room, someone pipes up. "Well" they start "We have an adult brain simulated, right? What if we just took that and made it dumber?" The head guy gapes "Brilliant! But how could we possibly bring the greatest mind science can create to the level of a child?" Cut to Randy entering the room, telling his escort "...more like PEE-search!". Same joke, just presented in a way that's more enjoyable to read.

I know of one person that would enjoy this joke, and he's the guy who made this. And is that an ad hominem? Yes. Next paragraph.

Even if I knew about the ludicrously obscure premise that this joke runs on, I wouldn't find it funny. It's just a joke he's done a few times before. "My Hobby: Lying". Boring. Done. Trite. At least show us some kind of future reaction panel where people are really confused about what you lied about.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1695 - Code Quality 2

Is this supposed to be like a roast? I don't think Randy knows how roasts work. You can't riff on something that the audience has no knowledge of. I mean, you can, but it's really hard to be funny about it. Insulting something we don't see is like recording a diss track against someone that doesn't exist. You could say anything and it'd be perfectly valid, since you're making it up.

Roasts in fiction can work. It's been a while since I've watched anything Seth McFarlane related, but I vaguely remember enjoying the episode of American Dad where they roast the alien dude. But with that we had multiple seasons -worth of established character traits and personality.

But, beyond that, a roast needs to have actual funny insults. This comic could work if it wasn't for the fact that the insults suck. They're all the same structure "This is like if [High Class Smart Person Thing] was made out of [stupid thing]". Simile insults are fine, but if that's all there is, that just shows uncreativity. At least switch for a straight metaphor once in a while.

It's also way too wordy. It should just be "It's like a poem". The author isn't important. The specification of the type of username isn't either, at least not to that extent. It flows much better if the phrase was just "bad usernames".

This comic is proof that Randy wasn't bullied enough as a child. If he had been, maybe he'd have at least been able to steal some of their lines.

That was uncalled for, I'm sorry. I just wanted to do insult comedy like the cool kids.