Shoeless Funkman

Haha, a man is carrying a purse, isn’t that funny? I’m almost positive that Batiuk has done this gag before, where the entire strip is just “isn’t it funny that a male is carrying a purse?”.  I also find it extremely unlikely that a hospital worker would find it at all remarkable and worth pointing out.  Does she do this every time a woman has treatment and needs someone to hold her purse?
As a comparison to actual humor, just look at Seinfeld. Instead of just having a guy carry a purse, you had Jerry saying it was a “European carryall” and it was actually very funny. With most of his jokes now, Batiuk just takes the first step towards something that could maybe be funny, and then just quits and calls it a day.
Case in point-it would have been a lot better if we could actually see Funky’s shoes in this panel. For all I know, Funky is barefoot, or wearing official Flash shoes.  But then I guess we wouldn’t get to see the close-up of Holly’s terror while Funky is making a wisecrack feet away.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

55 responses to “Shoeless Funkman

  1. William Thompson

    And the doctor is wearing a nice watch, with hour and minute hands, as do almost all people these days. Meanwhile Holly looks as though the doctor has just said “If we amputate now, we can save this foot. But the rest of the body is a dead loss.:

  2. Mr. A

    This reminds me of a Baby Blues Sunday strip that I saw years ago. Darryl and Wanda are out shopping somewhere, and Wanda asks Darryl to hold her purse while she goes to the bathroom. Darryl spends most of the strip experimenting with different ways of holding the purse: letting it dangle from one finger, swinging it in a loop, and so on. He eventually concludes that “there’s no dignified way for a man to hold his wife’s purse” (or words to that effect).

    That was clearly a superior “man carries purse” joke, because A) it showed some visual imagination, B) it centered on Darryl’s emotions, and C) it wasn’t a pointless distraction from the actual plot happening on the other side of the room.

    • spacemanspiff85

      That’s how you take a premise and make a funny joke out of it. Batiuk just stops with the premise. It’s like the only page of a joke book he ever read was the index.

      • Epicus Doomus

        On top of that, BatYam’s stupid medical gags are entirely cynicism-based. An inherent part of every joke is that “medical professionals” are kind of jerks and furthermore you need to know that going in, as “medical professionals are all kind of jerks” isn’t necessarily a universal opinion, contrary to what he might think.

        Now if both the medical professional and Funky were smiling during this exchange it’d have changed the entire tenor of the gag, as the cynicism would be replaced with wry friendly banter, but that would go against the grain of the theme here, which is that all medical professionals are kind of jerks. Plus they CAN’T smile, as obviously the pandemic is still raging in Westview’s Medical District, which is certainly understandable as the Medical District is always jam-packed and standing room only.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The whole tone of this panel is off-putting. Holly’s obviously in serious pain; shouldn’t that be the center of attention? Why are Funky and a nurse trading lame quips in the middle of this? Why are they in the examining room at all? Why is Holly’s serious injury such a minor note in her own story?

        • Charles

          Yeah, the eyes on both characters ruin this joke as much as anything, and it obviously wasn’t much of a joke in the first place.

          The nurse’s eyes aren’t suggesting gentle teasing. They’re questioning Funky’s manhood. “Nice purse, swish.” And Funky’s stricken look suggests that she’s right to look at him with such contempt: “You’re right, I’m such a swish! My wife asks me to do her a favor and all I can do is…. do it for her! I’m the worst excuse for a man in the world.”

          I can’t write Funky’s comment in the above paragraph in any way that suggests he’s not being sarcastic, but you’re supposed to read it as if he isn’t. The guy really is ashamed and embarrassed that his wife asked him for a favor and he wasn’t man enough to refuse her.

  3. Sourbelly

    This anti-story has dragged on for so many weeks, I’m going to pivot to the positive:

    Ayers did a nice job with the jacket hook on the door. Nicely done.
    I have no other positive remarks to make about today’s strip. Have a great day, everyone!

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Upvote to Ayers for drawing the coat hook so well, and to you for pointing it out so I could properly enjoy it!

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    Well, at least in today’s strip Holly isn’t a shrewish Xanthippe lashing out with her barbed tongue at those trying to help her.

    By the by, according to that doctor’s aforementioned nice watch, the time appears to be either around 1:25 or 5:05. Assuming Holly’s mishap came at halftime of a game that started around 7 or 8 at night, that’s quite an ER wait. Perhaps that explains why her mom–whose name escapes me at the moment–isn’t in the ER fulfilling her womanly duty of carrying her daughter’s purse. Instead poor Funky is stuck holding the bag, with hilarious consequences.

    Looking forward to Thursday’s suspense-filled ankle bandaging, Friday’s introduction of crutches, and Saturday’s drive home. .

    • be ware of eve hill

      It happens. As I said a couple of days ago, my trip to the E.R. last December for a concussion and a sprained ankle lasted 6 and a half hours.

      My traffic accident occurred around 5:50 PM and I arrived at the E.R. around 6:15PM. I didn’t check out until well after midnight. It was a Friday night, and despite it being the height of the pandemic, they weren’t even busy. They had to contact my general practitioner for some bullshit litigious reason, and she wasn’t available. Please let me stroke out from a possible brain aneurysm, while you play phone tag with my GP.

      What gets me is that in today’s strip, there are three medical professionals attending to Holly at the same time. During my 6 and a half hour visit, I saw two nurses a few hours apart and one doctor. The total time attending to me was probably about thirty minutes. I saw the doctor for about five. How long should it really take for them to evaluate me for brain trauma, wrap my ankle, fit a medical boot, give/subscribe some painkillers, slap me on the butt and send me home? A couple of hours?

      • Rusty Shackleford

        But the “wallet biopsy” happens surprisingly fast.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Remember kids, the nearest hospital isn’t always the best choice.

          The E.R. was most likely near empty for a reason. Nobody wants to be taken there. A real St. Elsewhere. At least they were in my network.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            the nearest hospital isn’t always the best choice.

            Very true. But people don’t always make the best purchase decisions when their pain receptors are overloading.

          • billytheskink

            My parents had a very dim view of the nearest hospital when I was a kid, regularly referring to it as the “horse pistol” and “Probably Dyin'” (it was named after a late prominent local citizen whose name rhymed with “Probably Dyin'”). It was a small hospital in what was then an exurban town.

            One of the injuries I mentioned during my turn as a guest blogger last week, the one where I slipped on wet grass, happened when I was 10 years old. My dad tied my leg to a 2×4 for a splint, laid me across the back seat of his car, and drove me 15 miles to the nearest large hospital in the big city instead of taking me to the little hospital nearby. The ER there wasn’t a fun or fast experience either, largely because a donnybrook had broken out at a nearby disco or club or something and dozens upon dozens of bloodied young adults had flooded the ER… but it was undoubtedly better than being at Probably Dyin’, especially since I was able to have surgery on what turned out to be a broken leg right there at the big city hospital while the local one would probably have had to transport me into the city after x-ray anyway.

            Fortunately, by the time of the injury I mentioned last week that required the ambulance ride (same leg broke 11 years later, believe it or not), a large new hospital had been built in the area, only a few miles away. That ER was pretty fast (though maybe people coming in on ambulances get priority attention).

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    Funky still has no reason to be in the examining room, or in this scene at all. The strip spent two days establishing his bothersome presence, and got rid of a character the story should have been about. Well, I guess the story needed to exist first, but if it did, it would need Mommie Dearest in it and not Funky. I guess Batiuk needed to set up this joke. I’ve said it before, but he really puts a lot of effort into putting in no effort.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    Given the drawn-out pace that’s happening here and the filler material used to stretch this into four weeks, I’m surprised two days weren’t spent on questions about health insurance and Holly’s primary care provider.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    Just your basic sitcom-type throwaway sidebar time-killer gag, nothing to see here. I mean, it’s not the worst gag of all-time or anything, so there is that. Of course everyone at the hospital is a cynical wise-cracking jerk, taking out their frustration over being part of a broken soulless system on the helpless patients, but regular FW readers already knew that.

    Coming tomorrow: the doctor’s “we’re gonna need a bigger scale” gag falls flat with an annoyed Holly, as Funky looks on meekly.

  8. billytheskink

    The doctor examining Holly’s foot, is he wearing Les’ old glasses?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah Kes is such a maverick. What a man.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Say, aren’t those the visor-type glasses that Silver Age Flash villain Weather Wizard wore in the animated “Justice League” series? I’m just sayin’.

    • hitorque

      Those are ski goggles…

    • Mr. A

      Wait, wait, wait. Les’s book about John Darling’s death was, for lack of a better term, “historical fiction”? I always assumed it was a standard nonfiction true-crime book.

  9. be ware of eve hill

    Just throwing this out there. If I asked my husband to watch my purse, it would be on the ground between his feet. There’s not a chance in hell he’d put the strap over his shoulder. Some guys, huh?

    • be ware of eve hill

      I have to confess. I’ve changed my purse because it doesn’t match my shoes.

      Does Batty have some experience with this issue? His purse doesn’t match his bald pate?

    • I’ll toss this out. When my wife asks me to hold her purse, I hold her purse, and I’m happy to do her a favor because it’s an easy thing that makes her day easier, and I’ve never gotten any hassle about it.

      (I do have the advantages of being a tall, slender white guy. And I’m usually thinking about something besides the purse. So I have a vibe of ‘I know what I’m doing, thank you’, and that likely cuts off hassles before they start.)

      • be ware of eve hill

        I know! It’s not that big of a deal!

        I’ll admit the sight of my husband with my purse is somewhat comical. He’s built like an NFL lineman, and most people would consciously make an effort not to poke the bear. He has a great sense of humor, which makes it all the more baffling.

        In all due fairness, the person most likely to make fun of him would be me. “Oh, that bag is you, sir. I love the way it matches your outfit.”

        He’s such a loveable lummox.

  10. Clyde Rimsault

    I once asked my wife to hold my tool belt and she did!

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Wow, check out today’s Crankshaft, the last journalist quit.

    Like anybody cares. All y’all have been replaced by vloggers.

    If people wanted what you were selling, they would still be buying your newspaper. But now that the internet gave people choices, they took their business elsewhere.

    Still not sure how or why Batty still gets a check.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If you’re retirement age, and your company doesn’t have a potential successor lined up, that’s a pretty clear sign they don’t intend to replace your position when you go. Skip’s company doesn’t even have any other employees. And he must be well over 100 years old. So I doubt anyone will be sad if he goes.

  12. J.J. O'Malley

    On a somewhat unrelated note, has anyone checked out today’s “Crankshaft” strip? One-armed journalist Skip Rawlings is in Manhattan, telling the Lex Luthor/Daddy Warbucks-looking Mordor hedge fund CEO that he quits his job at the Centerville Sentinel. But this Big Apple showdown is part of the article that he’s been typing and Ed has simultaneously been reading for the last three weeks (look at Monday’s entry; Rawlings says “in print” that the meeting didn’t go well). This means that Skippy tendered his resignation in New York; drove back to Ohio; went to the office of the newspaper that he–the sole remaining Sentinel staffer–just resigned from; wrote a story detailing how he quit; and had it printed? And Mordor saw fit to pay for its publication?

    Battyuk doesn’t just paint himself into corners with his storytelling. He paints the walls, the floor, and the ceiling, then proceeds to stomp across all of them in seven-league boots. And when someone asks about the footprints left behind, he proudly exclaims, “WRITING!”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Oh, Lord, that is so stupid I don’t even know where to begin. You don’t resign from a job by driving to New York, stomping into your parent company’s office, and telling the CEO. You do it with your direct supervisor.

      Which brings me to my next point: Skip would have a direct supervisor. Because you can’t run a goddam newspaper with one person, even if all they’re doing is collecting wire stories and putting them in a layout. To say nothing of printing, circulation, human resources, advertising, graphic design, or covering more than one story at once. (And editing, but we all know editing doesn’t exist on Planet Batiuk.) If there’s only one person working for this paper, how is it even getting published? When does he get any days off?

      Let’s ignore all of that and focus on the hedge fund angle. If your company is down to one employee, the parent company has already sucked everything out of it there is to suck. They don’t give a shit if you take your ball and go home, Skip. No one-person operation anywhere is making some hedge fund millions of dollars, even if that person’s skill is laying gold eggs. Certainly not some bitter, crusty old journalist who types 5 words per minute because he’s missing an arm.

      But oh no! Look how worried Daddy Warbucks is that the one employee of a 15,000-circulation fishwrap in some dying Ohio exurb quit! Give me a break, Tom Batiuk. If some evil “hedge fund” lets your company drop to one employee, dropping to zero won’t bother them.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Skip could have stayed in Ohio and tried to raise funds himself to keep the paper going. He should be able to buy it for pennies on the dollar now.

        Still don’t why a big hedge fund would buy a business only to close it down, but I’m not a big time writer like Batty. Furthermore, why did the original owners sell in the first place? It’s not like the paper was a public traded corporation and they got forced out.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          I looked again at the *Crankshaft* strips and something leaped out at me.

          Skip Rawlings is inside an office and wearing a cap.

          Wouldn’t basic politeness and courtesy dictate removing it?

          Or is Skip related not only to Becky Blackburn Winkerbean Howard (she of the pinned-up sleeve) but to Ruby Lith (she of the cap while working at AK?).

          (It couldn’t be to B.D. of a Pulitzer Prize winning strip, who wore a helmet of some sort for decades!)

          As for Skip’s action here, well, let me quote a wise Otter:

          I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.

          And you’re just the guy to do it!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          My company gets bought and sold all the time. It’s for a simple reason: we’re profitable. Big holding companies like to keep us and just let us spin off money for them. And, amazingly, they continue to invest in us, because they understand the concept of “it takes money to make money.” They don’t some bitter, faux-rustic 90-year-old to explain Economics 101 to them.

          Also, Tom Batiuk doesn’t seem to understand anything about corporate ownership beyond “buy them and raid their assets.” That’s certainly the outcome sometimes, but not always. He doesn’t understand the concept of such an arrangement being mutually beneficial. He caterwauled on his blog about AT&T/Time Warner’s ownership of his precious DC, as if this arrangement was going to put comic books out of business. It seems to me an obvious case of Time Warner wanting to own a hot property, and adding a subsidiary that fits well within its media empire. I certainly haven’t noticed a decrease in ads for superhero movies.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          No, no, no, you forget Skip is a writer. And writers are the most brilliantly talented and irreplaceable people on Earth! They can get anything they want by stomping their feet and threatening to quit. It’s Les invoking his kill fee all over again.

          And back in Funky Winkerbean, Funky’s useless hanging around the hospital while his wife gets treatment for a serious injury is Les white-knighting Lisa all over again.

          • hitorque

            Exactly… This is just Lester’s infamous “KILL FEE!” with a new wrapping on it…

            “Now you own nothing!! Except for the office space, the company name, the office equipment, furniture, and exclusive rights to 240+ years of Sentinel archives (remember the Centerville Sentinel had been in print since the American Revolution(!) despite the fact that Ohio as we know it was little more than a series of small forts and animal pelt trading outposts at the time…)

      • billytheskink

        At least TB is consistent in that people in the Batiukverse regularly travel long distances to do business that could have been done over the phone or the internet. Les flying to New York so his agent could tell him that the Kent State vanity press was going to publish Lisa’s Story is the ultimate example.

        • The Duck of Death

          Working theory: Batty took a trip to NYC for “research purposes.” During that trip, he photographed the Flatiron Building. He was then able to deduct the “research trip” from his income taxes.

          He is obsessed with NYC for some reason, though all the evidence shows he sticks to the touristy areas of town and frequents the tourist traps, and that’s about the breadth of his New York fixation. I don’t get it, but then there’s not much about him that I do get.

  13. be ware of eve hill

    I thought Holly was taken by the ambulance to a hospital emergency room? Where they’re examining Holly today looks a lot more like an examination room in a doctors’ office than a typical E.R. stall.

    Did Holly already get a private room? Funky has clout! All bow to the Pizza King!

  14. Suicide Squirrel

    Yeah yeah, Holly’s broken ankle is an enormous tragedy and all but has anyone considered that she won’t be able to work? Who’s going to refill those coffee cups and eavesdrop on the customers’ conversations?

    Haha, how silly of me. What customers? Harry and DeadSkunkhead?

  15. Gerard Plourde

    “Where they’re examining Holly today looks a lot more like an examination room in a doctors’ office than a typical E.R. stall.“

    Excellent observation.

    Also, the story is that Holly broke her ankle, right?

    So why does the illustration show both an x-ray of her foot and the doctor examining that foot rather than the site of the break?

    • be ware of eve hill

      Good point.

      Shouldn’t Dr. Gropingfoot be wearing examination gloves? We could be here all day pointing out the errors. 😂

      The snide nurse appears to have some gloves in her right pocket. The examination rooms at my GP’s office have exam glove dispensers on the wall.

  16. Professor Fate

    This song has been going through my head all this thread.

    • Professor Fate

      We seem to have a serial down voter in the house. personally I don’t care but down voting Kristy MacColl is disgraceful.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        The serial down voter must think that the guy in the chip shop who swears he’s Elvis is actually Elvis, and how dare anyone deny it!

        Justice continues to elude Kirsty, Sonny Jim.

      • Suicide Squirrel

        The drive-by downvoter doesn’t care who they hit.

    • hitorque

      Wow I hadn’t ever heard of her before… Talented woman and such a tragically awful end.

  17. Suicide Squirrel

    Holly: “Doctor, can my hair fweep be saved?”
    Doctor: “I’m awfully sorry, ma’am. There was nothing I could do.”

    Holly Winkerbean’s Hair Fweep
    2007 – 2021

    • William Thompson

      “We can save it! We can make it bigger, stronger, faster . . . let it open larger tin cans . . . “

  18. hitorque

    Meanwhile in our SANE dimension, Dr. Funkman would have excused himself to take a piss, and while in the bathroom he would have removed his wife’s essentials from her purse (since she’s already checked into the hospital, Holly’s “essentials” for the next 6-8 hours should be nothing but her cell phone), hid the purse in his oversized jacket, walked out to his car in the parking lot and thrown the purse in the trunk… Wouldn’t have taken him longer than ten minutes….

  19. Westview Radiology

    Other than Buddy the sadly “missing in action” service dog of Wally is there any character in this strip that’s worth caring about or one can identify with? ??