Author Topic: Woefully tenuous jokes  (Read 4985 times)

The Mollusk

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Woefully tenuous jokes
« on: November 09, 2020, 10:39:04 AM »
You know when there's some really shite wordplay employed just to make a joke land but there's so much skirting around logic or good writing that ... well, you know what tenuous means.

The one that made me start this thread was "Simpson Tide", the episode where Homer and friends join the navy for some reason because whatever. I can't remember if it's a good episode or not but there's a scene where the captain is giving a rousing speech at meal time:

Captain: Tell me young man, what do you want out of life?

Homer (reaching for bowl of peas): I want peas.

Captain: We all want peace! But it's always just out of reach. So, what's the best way to get peace?

Homer (using knife to get the peas): With a knife!

Captain: Exactly! Not with the olive branch, but the bayonet.

Why does Homer give a fuck about peas? How does the captain not see he's reaching for them when he says "I want peas"? How in the fuck is a knife "the best way to get" the peas? Of the three main cutlery items, it is unequivocally the worst one to use to pick up small, spherical foodstuffs compared to the fork or the spoon. Such a fucking dismal joke.


Arrested Development at its peak was masterful at deploying wordplay and references which were deft and tight enough to make it an extremely smart comedy, which is largely why the third season was such a huge disappointment, as it tried to keep up the pace but flopped in so many instances. The worst one that springs to mind is the plot where Michael thinks Rita is working for a mysterious British spy called "Mr F" but it turns out that it's just an acronym for "Mentally Retarded Female", fucking hell, cringing just thinking about that.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2020, 11:01:45 AM »
Arrested Development at its peak was masterful at deploying wordplay and references which were deft and tight enough to make it an extremely smart comedy

Michael to GOB: Get rid of the Seaward
Lucille (entering): I'll leave when I'm good and ready

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2020, 11:05:22 AM »
Michael to GOB: Get rid of the Seaward
Lucille (entering): I'll leave when I'm good and ready

Makes me laugh though to be fair.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2020, 11:08:27 AM »
Not really a woeful example, was it.
Terrific gag.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2020, 11:15:18 AM »
Simpson Tide is really one of the worst written Simpsons episodes. So they obviously play "In the Navy" and lol Smithers is there because Smithers is a gay lol

Woeful

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2020, 11:33:06 AM »
Arrested Development at its peak was masterful at deploying wordplay and references which were deft and tight enough to make it an extremely smart comedy, which is largely why the third season was such a huge disappointment, as it tried to keep up the pace but flopped in so many instances. The worst one that springs to mind is the plot where Michael thinks Rita is working for a mysterious British spy called "Mr F" but it turns out that it's just an acronym for "Mentally Retarded Female", fucking hell, cringing just thinking about that.

Some of the jokes in season 4 (I didn't bother with season 5) are dysfunctional beyond comprehension.

Fr.Bigley

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gib

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2020, 11:42:26 AM »
I agree with the OP. It never made sense that Homer suddenly craved fresh vegetables.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2020, 12:46:39 PM »
but if fresh vegetables are food, and Homer sees food...

The Mollusk

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2020, 12:49:41 PM »
That isn't the worst bit about the joke.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2020, 12:59:00 PM »
I've brought this other Simpsons example up before, and somehow there were posters here defending it as absurdist, rather than what it is, which is lazy "that'll do" word association:

https://youtu.be/tagnCKatOsg

Worse than the peas example I think.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2020, 01:00:11 PM »
Yeah that is utter shite.

JesusAndYourBush

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2020, 01:18:17 PM »
As a kid I used to hate those sort of jokes that go on for ages and ages and end on a corny pun.
So they way they seem to work is you only need to remember the punchline, something like "You can't get tulips from hamster jam" - you never remembered the rest of it, you made it up on the fly, being as rambling as possible, eventually to end on the punchline. I like puns, but when you have to go all around the houses with a long story... even as a kid that just seemed so lame.

The Mollusk

  • Exoskeletal junction at the railroad delayed
Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2020, 01:26:54 PM »
As a kid I used to hate those sort of jokes that go on for ages and ages and end on a corny pun.
So they way they seem to work is you only need to remember the punchline, something like "You can't get tulips from hamster jam" - you never remembered the rest of it, you made it up on the fly, being as rambling as possible, eventually to end on the punchline. I like puns, but when you have to go all around the houses with a long story... even as a kid that just seemed so lame.

It's frustrating because the convoluted nature of the writing is so glaringly apparent. You can literally visualise the writing process in your head, the worst kind of "start with the punchline and work backwards" method. Comedy doesn't have to be complex to be great, and obviously a lot of good stuff comes from abstract/absurdism, but when you can see all of the puppet strings you kind of gain an understanding as to why people think wordplay is such a low form of wit.

notjosh

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2020, 01:27:02 PM »
That peas joke is brilliant. If it was in Being There it would be regarded as a classic.

The worst example of this sort of thing that you hear in real life sometimes is the pretend mishearing leading to whimsical digression:

"Oh you said 'little polar bear'? Do you know, for a minute there I thought you said 'Lidl polar bear'! I was like 'hang on, are Lidl selling polar bears now?' That middle aisle just gets weirder doesn't it? Mind you if I was going to buy a polar bear I'd probably go to M&S! Can you imagine the adverts? 'This isn't just a polar bear...' Hey, what if Carlsberg did........."

EDIT: Changed animal to avoid confusion with chocolate biscuits.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2020, 01:39:36 PM »
The worst example of this sort of thing that you hear in real life sometimes is the pretend mishearing leading to whimsical digression:

"I thought you said you were from Iran"

JesusAndYourBush

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2020, 01:52:24 PM »
As a kid I had a "Chivers Jelly Bumper Fun Book" that you obtained by sending off some coupons on the back of the jelly packets.  There was a jokes page, I remember one of the jokes was "What jelly do you find at Wimbledon?" Jelly Jean King

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2020, 01:57:46 PM »
They call it Jello Jean King in america

Ray Travez

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2020, 12:06:34 AM »
As a kid I used to hate those sort of jokes that go on for ages and ages and end on a corny pun.
So they way they seem to work is you only need to remember the punchline, something like "You can't get tulips from hamster jam" - you never remembered the rest of it, you made it up on the fly, being as rambling as possible, eventually to end on the punchline. I like puns, but when you have to go all around the houses with a long story... even as a kid that just seemed so lame.

A friend of mine once related how irritated he was with his work colleague, who started out telling what my friend thought was quite an interesting story about his dad being really into tractors. A curious personality trait, tell me more. So the tale went on and on, completely duped my friend, who then felt cheated and angry at the denouement when the chippy catches fire and the dad runs in shouting, I'm an EX TRACTOR FAN! Like, if you're going to tell a joke that crap, make it end quickly; and don't pretend it has value as a genuine anecdote.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2020, 12:38:54 AM »
Not sure it really fits in this thread, but I always thought it was a bit of stretch in Detectorists when Lance said "I really won the lottery the day Maggie left me". The "really" feels like an awkward insertion that no-one would actually say, just to make Sophie think he's speaking metaphorically. (And he's not done it on purpose - he's as confused in the next few lines as she is).

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2020, 12:50:38 AM »
As a kid I used to hate those sort of jokes that go on for ages and ages and end on a corny pun.
So they way they seem to work is you only need to remember the punchline, something like "You can't get tulips from hamster jam" - you never remembered the rest of it, you made it up on the fly, being as rambling as possible, eventually to end on the punchline. I like puns, but when you have to go all around the houses with a long story... even as a kid that just seemed so lame.

A frog goes into a bank to get a loan...

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2020, 12:51:39 AM »
A frog goes into a bank to get a loan...

Yeah Norm kind of proves that these are all in the telling.

The Cloud of Unknowing

  • And that's... okay
Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2020, 12:59:00 AM »
One I remember from school had the punchline "Abscess makes the fart go 'Honda'", and if you said it wasn't funny you'd get a Chinese burn.

Lemming

  • Better a "lapdog to a slip of a girl" than a.. GIT
Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2020, 05:19:29 AM »
Red Dwarf, Series 12, Timewave. Rimmer says something like

"My brother told me the most important thing was the clitoris, and I thought he said 'spit on her wrist'."

It's straight-up the worst joke I've ever heard in a supposedly-professional TV comedy. It's fucking terrible. It doesn't even make sense. It's impossible to believe nobody stopped this at any stage during script writing. The entire episode is horrible but, other than Johnny Vegas massaging his nipples, this is the absolute nadir. It's lucky the script called for Rimmer to be in physical pain while delivering the line, because it allows Chris Barrie's obvious cringing "what the fucking hell are they making me say" reaction to blend into the performance unnoticed.

Chriddof

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2020, 07:03:31 AM »
How in the fuck is a knife "the best way to get" the peas? Of the three main cutlery items, it is unequivocally the worst one to use to pick up small, spherical foodstuffs compared to the fork or the spoon. Such a fucking dismal joke.

I remember as a kid in the 80s there was a sort of proto-meme (don't know what else to call it) that cropped up in comics and things a lot, where parents were forever telling off their kids not to eat their peas from a knife. I don't know if it was an actual thing or just something someone made up as a joke many years ago, but the knife / pea thing is an actual reference to... something.

FAKE EDIT: Turns out it happened a lot in Warner Bros / Tom & Jerry / etc style cartoons. I also remember it being in The Beano and stuff like that.

There's also this curious bit of history which expands on the above.

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2020, 07:21:19 AM »
Hans that does dishes is as soft as Jervais, with mild green hairy lipped squids.

Jockice

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2020, 07:41:48 AM »
No, I'm Tessa Sanderson!

Jumblegraws

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Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2020, 07:56:37 AM »
This is at least the third time I’ve referenced this joke on CaB, but Roy Chubby Brown at one of his shows: “I hear Charlotte Church is getting through sixty ciggies a day. I thought there was no smoking in church?”

Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2020, 08:04:56 AM »
'I said 'Rocastle', not 'Roy Castle'.'

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Woefully tenuous jokes
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2020, 08:57:21 AM »
Surely everyone here has heard the poem

"I eat my peas with honey, I have done all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny, but it keeps them on the knife."

And now people really, apparently, believe English people eat peas with a knife.

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