XKCD Isn't Funny - #1726 - Unicode & #1727 - Number Of Computers
This comic comes off as very hypocritical considering the amount of times Randy's used "turn of phrase is taken literally" as a joke.
Does anyone remember Diary Of A Wimpy Kid? Back when it was a webcomic and good, there was this part where the kid has to hang out at his grandpa's and the only game they have is "Gutbusters" where you tell each other jokes and try to make them laugh, except all of the jokes are super outdated. The example given, as best I can remember, is "Putting financial stability before fiscal responsibility is like putting the cart before the horse."
This comic isn't quiiiite that bad, but it's still not a joke. I'll accept it as a statement, I'll even go so far as to call it 'not the worst thing I've seen this year', but it's not a joke. Even as a statement, it's pretty uncreative, a half-step up from cliché, and it doesn't do a great job at explaining why it's so difficult for unicode to do whatever it is they do.
I guess the visual makes it funnier - not that I'm saying it makes it funny, just that it's less unfunny.
If we were supposed to find humor in the guy trying to control the tides, it loses a lot of its impact when it's just a drawing of a simile. Like, I can suspend my disbelief and laugh at an actor pretending to be an idiot or a drawing of someone being an idiot, but when that idiot is then established to be just being dumb for the sake of a point, the dumbness is no longer "ha ha, he's being dumb!", y'dig?
"This is all setup with no punchline." - me, being an IDIOT as I wrote the rough draft of this post last night. HOw the hell did I miss that huge ass caption that MAKES this comic!?
Fun fact that I've been wanting to wedge into a review for a while now: for ages, my eyes just slid over the caption in #68 and I just interpreted it as the best series of non-sequiturs of all time.
My usual criticism of graph jokes would apply here, but I honestly can't think of a succinct way to turn this into a 'panel' comic 'comic' thing, with a 'plot'-type thing. This is the rare case when I think the graph + caption execution is actually the best way of getting the joke across.
A super nitpicky pedantic thing, real quick before anyone thinks I'm capable of actually enjoying anything: This comic only works for a specific definition of 'computer'.