Today, DSH John suddenly appears, which is always unsettling. We can be grateful, however, that he has nothing to say, although he does smirk in the final panel.
BanTom favors us once again with unnatural dialog that exists only to introduce a pun. When Stephan Pastis does this in Pearls Before Swine, however, he builds elaborate chains of verbiage—so you know what’s coming, and the fun is in trying to anticipate the pun line.
The structure of today’s joke is much different. (To paraphrase the magnificent Alice from The Vicar of Dibley, and as a reminder, a joke is a story with a humorous climax.) Panel 1: Funky delivers the straight line, which contains the curious phrase “the band box is R.I.P.” Do people use R.I.P. as a synonym for dead in Ohio? If so, I haven’t heard it during my visits there. Anyway, he delivers the straight line: “Either the band box is R.I.P., or I bite the bullet and get it repaired.”
In Panel 2, in a case of premature jocularity, Crazy Harry delivers the punch line: “Biting the bullet would make you a very high-caliber person.”
And aye, here’s the rub: there’s still one more panel to fill. There has to be a second punch line, which I’ll not deign to reproduce here. And that utterly ruins the structure of the joke. Also, there’s smirking.