Hope Springs Eternal

Link to today’s strip.

Serving the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!   May you look fondly upon the year to date, and may fortune smile on you in the coming months.  And yes, that includes you, Tom Batiuk.

Have you ever watched a comedian start a bit, and it just sits there and dies?  And instead of moving on to something else, the comedian just keeps going on with this bit, determined to persevere, and it just never gets funny, but more and more desperate?  And the audience goes from unamused to slightly hostile, and then gradually starts feeling embarrassed for the guy, and finally goes straight into concern for his well-being?

Yeah, that’s what I’m seeing this week.  None of this has been funny by even the most generous measurement, and throwing in terrible semi-puns just makes it more and more cringe-worthy.

I can kind of see the process here–“What would be funny for band members to sell?”  And Tom Batiuk thought “Mattresses, of course.”  And I’m sure someone–possibly–could make that into a funny week or so.  But there’s that problematic word again–“funny.”  Coming up with a funny premise is just step one–step two is to turn that premise into a funny joke.  Otherwise you’re stuck with a bit that never gets funny and makes your audience feel embarrassed for you.

That might, might get that comedian some sympathy the first time around.  But if he persists with that bit, thinking that sympathy is enough, he’s going to find his second audience consists of a few sleeping drunks, an irate bartender, and a scowling janitor anxious to start cleaning up.

There won’t be a third audience.

PS: If the “springs” bit is supposed to be a pun, I don’t think it works.  I may be mistaken, but mattresses don’t have springs, it’s the box springs beneath the mattress that are loaded with springs.  But I’ll admit I’ve taken a leaf from the Batiuk Book and not researched the Hell out of this.

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9 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

9 responses to “Hope Springs Eternal

  1. billytheskink

    And if this couple can spring for a new mattress, they’ll have to lay down enough cash to cover the cost and then stuff the thing into their pad.

    Come at me, Bernie Silver!

  2. DOlz

    I grew up watching Jay Ward productions*. As a consequence I love puns (I know, I know, but admitting there’s a problem is the first step), but these forced attempts at wordplay are painful. A good pun (yes, there are such things) should flow from the circumstances, not be jammed in like a oversized square peg into an undersized round hole.

    *”Rocky and Bullwinkle”, “George of the Jungle”, “Fractured Flickers”, and more

  3. Epicus Doomus

    For some sick reason this strip reminds me of an old “Playboy” gag I remember from back when I was still too young to be reading “Playboy”. The joke: The “Swinger’s Dictionary” defines “IUD” as “love springs internal”.

    I know, it’s kind of gross and has nothing to do with today’s FW, which as far as I can tell has nothing to do with anything at all. At first I thought the joke here was that they had to wait and continue holding the mattress while she consulted with her husband, then I realized this is a classic BatNom deadpan “groaner”-type wordplay-based gag. Then I became angry with myself for having the ability to discern that which only made me hate FW even more. This annoying little fat kid is still lugging around that disgusting mattress and exchanging banter that’s just simply way too wry for someone his age, it’s really starting to skeeve me out.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      You read a more polite version of Playboy than I did: the Unabashed Dictionary gag I remember defined “IUD” as a “Box Spring.” Which was still funnier than this joke.
      As for whether mattresses have springs… some do, some don’t. It used to be pretty standard for there to be ranks of coils wired together inside the mattress (remember the Simmons “Beautyrest”? Its whole selling point was that the coils were individually wrapped, which was somehow supposed to make it more comfortable). These days it’s common for mattresses to be made entirely of high-tech foam. But springs are still found inside many. None of which excuses this “joke.”

  4. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Stop with the jokes, lady! Schlepping this matress around is killing my back! Oy!”

  5. Yes, it is painful, Bernie…..then again, watching someone break apart right in front of us always is. We’re in the same horrible place the people on the Foobiverse are because Lynn Johnston is also going crazy and senile on us.

  6. bayoustu

    Sheesh- the “quality” of the “artwork” is deteriorating on a daily basis! By Christmas, it’ll just be stick figures with word balloons.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    Nice Thanksgiving message Batty. Oh well, it’s better than seeing ghost Lisa giving Les the thumbs up as he carves the turkey and gives thanks for Lisa’s death, a death from which he was able to profit through lots of book sales.

  8. Don

    Which is the odd strip out today: Beetle Bailey, Bizarro, Blondie, Funky Winkerbean, Marvin, Mutts, Rhymes With Orange, Zits?

    Answer: FW is the only one without a reference to the Comic Art Auction for Hurricane Relief (www.ha.com/ncs). If only there was an auction-based storyline FW ran that could have been a tie-in…