A Smug Bearded Dick With Ears Walks Into A Bar


I studied this one for a while, trying to figure out what the smug bearded jerk’s massive word balloons were supposed to mean. “Suspend his disbelief” in what? Life? Death? Funerals? Roulette? The continued existence of Bob Dylan? Then, after some really annoying pondering, it started to make sense, sort of, in a roundabout and stupid way. I believe that what Les means here is that he refuses to acknowledge that he’s getting old and will die relatively soon, choosing instead to willfully ignore this harsh reality. Which is really out of character for Les when you think about it, as the guy’s entire identity is based around death. Unfortunately though, not his.

Anyhow, this is what happens when BatYam tries to out-clever himself. Everything devolves into a weird, half-assed mess where you end up wasting valuable minutes trying to figure out what the hell is going on. He could have simply said “I try not to think about it” and saved all kinds of word balloon space, but he’d have just wasted it anyway. God I hate Les so much, curse all you people who say “I’d even prefer a Les arc over this”. Never, ever wish for that, it’s bad mojo.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

56 responses to “A Smug Bearded Dick With Ears Walks Into A Bar

  1. batgirl

    My guess is that the intended sentiment is : Life sucks but it’s all we’ve got.

    • Epicus Doomus

      And if he had just said that instead of packing those word dirigibles with gibberish, perhaps the strip wouldn’t have been so unbearably ponderous. But you know Les, always using a thousand words where two or three would have sufficed.

      • erdmann

        Batty didn’t have time to write Les a short comment, so he wrote a long one.
        Geez, this is almost as ponderous as something out of “9 Chickweed Lane.” All that’s missing are a bunch of archaic, multi-syllabic words and a couple references to actors who have been dead since the 1960s.
        Otherwise, I think a lot of folks can identify with not wanting to think about one’s mortality. It’s getting harder to pull off at my age, but I’m simply not ready to stop for death.
        Unfortunately, I have it on good authority that death is quite willing to kindly stop for me.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Yesterday had a reference to Bob Dylan, whose career has been dead since the 1960s.

    • hitorque

      But Lester by any measure has one of the most adversity-free, non-sucky lives on the comics page of any legacy drama character aside from say, Judge Parker or Rex Morgan (both of whom have an endless procession of strangers desperate to give them highly valuable material goods or services for free or at a 95% discount)… And no matter how passive-aggressive douchebaggy Lester gets, it is absolutely im-fucking-possible for me to find anyone in the Funkyverse who doesn’t admire him and believe he’s the Son of God suffering for our sins… And say what you will about Krankenschaaften, but at least there are characters in goddamned Centerville who clearly don’t like the guy and his laughably dangerous jackass antics…


  2. Gerard

    I’m still mystified by what he’s trying to say. If he’s suspending his disbelief, it doesn’t follow that he’s coming to terms with reality. It usually means that one is temporarily accepting something to be true that one doesn’t normally accept as real.

    What I do take to understand out of this strip is that The Author has a very dark overall view of life.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Sorry for the incomplete identification. Not sure how it posted incompletely

    • Epicus Doomus

      I have to assume he means that he’s going to ignore the fact that his imminent death is always looming over him and just pretend it isn’t true, which isn’t really an especially original thought. The game (life) is rigged (we’re all gonna die eventually) but the alternative is just sitting there waiting to die (like with Lisa) so he’ll pretend otherwise (as if he’ll just live forever). It’s kind of an odd sentiment to voice at this poor woman’s funeral if you ask me.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Here’s a poem:

        Madam Life’s a Piece in Bloom
        by William Ernest Henley
        Madam Life’s a piece in bloom
        Death goes dogging everywhere:
        She’s the tenant of the room,
        He’s the ruffian on the stair.

        You shall see her as a friend,
        You shall bilk him once or twice;
        But he’ll trap you in the end,
        And he’ll stick you for her price.

        With his kneebones at your chest,
        And his knuckles in your throat,
        You would reason — plead — protest!
        Clutching at her petticoat;

        But she’s heard it all before,
        Well she knows you’ve had your fun,
        Gingerly she gains the door,
        And your little job is done.

        That’s what I think we should think of; however, what comes more readily to mind is the fact that we hear the lyrics to the “M*A*S*H” theme in the movie and reflect on whether “Suicide Is Painless” and on TV, we just hear the music.

        A cynic, it’s said, knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. What a Batiuk knows eludes definition.

        • hitorque

          The somber opening theme to the M*A*S*H* movie was brilliantly ironic since the entire movie from start to finish is a paradoxical affirmation of life and everything that is good in it…

          • billytheskink

            And even that somber theme song tips its hand by having really dumb and over-the-top lyrics. Robert Altman insisted that the song be “the stupidest song ever written” and claimed that his 14 year old son Michael wrote the lyrics in 15 minutes after he was not satisfied with the stupidity of the lyrics he had written. Reportedly, Michael Altman earned many times more in royalties for his lyrics to “Suicide is Painless” than his father was paid for directing M*A*S*H.

            Les could be doing that here if he had any history at all of self-awareness. Nope.

  3. Sourbelly

    Does it get any lazier than this? Batdick burns three word blimps poorly retelling an ancient joke. Then he adds an extra, confusing “punchline” that isn’t funny in any sense of the word.

    This is violently pointless.

  4. billytheskink

    There’s this joke about a salesman in Old Westview who stopped by Montoni’s for a slice… when he noticed folks gathered in the back. He asked the guy behind the counter what they were doing, and the guy said there was a Defenders cabinet in the back, but that a couple of kids who called themselves “Crazy” and “the Eliminator” were always hogging it… The salesman went back to play anyway, saying hogged or not it was better than dealing with that cranky bus driver from Centerville.

    • Epicus Doomus

      A Westviewian, a Centervillian and an Akronite walk into a bar. The Westviewian says “pizza”. Everyone smirks.

  5. none

    I audibly scoffed upon viewing the strip today. Any initial reaction beyond silent pensive loathing is rare, so my hats off to the chef there. Too bad that this is what he prepared.

    Nothing about the woman, still. How she lived. How she died. Do we know how she died? I don’t think it was mentioned. Just dead. Let’s move on to the important things, right. Surely, my readers will find this interesting. I will discuss this funeral in a sensitive and thought-provoking manner, just like how Comics Kingdom describes my work. Yes, that’s right. That’s very fitting here. This is good. This gives me pleasure to create and share with the world.

  6. ComicBookHarriet

    My take on today’s strip is that Les weakly holds to a nominal belief in a higher power, and maybe even a notional affiliation with generic religion, even though he really thinks he’s too good for organized Christianity and it’s all probably a scam anyway, because it beats believing that oblivion awaits.

    Like the most petty, egotistical, and assholeish affirmation of Pascal’s Wager ever uttered.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      He believes in the church of Dylan.

      Stupid old hippie. Ha, now you guys are the old, out of touch people who can’t get with the program. Thought it would not happen to you eh?

      • Rusty Shackleford

        PS: The same criticism can be applied to me. I know I am getting older as some things are just strange or scary. But I do not preach to younger people nor endlessly criticize everything they do. I also do not think my generation is G-D’s gift to the universe.

  7. Mela

    Good grief just stick him in the grave with his classmate put him out of his misery already.

    • batgirl

      Mary Sue was on all evidence a sweet and good-natured woman. She doesn’t deserve Les shoved in with her. Stuff him into Lisa’s urn instead.
      You can cremate him first if you like.

  8. Hitorque

    1. And there encapsulates the Funkyverse philosophy… And it’s meta as all fuck because Lester O. Moore takes a worn but perfectly serviceable joke and he strangles any possible humor out of it with his awful timing by speeding through the setup and delivering the ‘punchline’ with his signature droll mopey depressing monotone… Because a punchline delivered in the most painfully nihilistic and unpleasant way possible magically transforms it into a sage, insightful piece of dime store commentary on the human condition (or at least it in the world according to Thom Batiuk)…

    1a. Can I quote an old Russian saying told to me by a friend? “Live and scratch… When you die the itching stops.”

    Hell, can I quote Charlie Brown? “Live is like an ice cream cone— You’ve got to learn to lick it!!”

    There I’ve just given Batiuk two free nuggets infinitely better than whatever pseudo intellectual bullshit Lester is trying to shovel…

    1b. And once again, while I can appreciate that everyone has different ways of personally processing their own mortality, motherfuck Bert and Ernie for cracking jokes at a funeral while not sparing a single thought about the decedent or her mourning family. I’ve never been overly religious, but as someone raised Christian, these people are crossing the fucking line..

    1c. And yes I’m still outraged at Dinkle’s New Orleans funeral march *IN CHURCH* last year… Godless heathens.

    2. You know what’s the most depressing? That two middle age friends who have known each other for their whole lives have been talking about death and dying and not once have they mentioned the question of an afterlife… Not once have they focused on the things they love and cherish in THIS life. Not once have they even given us the cliche “I’m going to really start living out loud now!/I’m going to hug my kids tonight and call up all the relatives I haven’t seen in years!” Not once has Les shown any gratitude for this outrageously charmed and financially comfortable life he’s been leading. Not once has Dr. Funkberger shown any gratitude for having the strength to turn his life around and getting a second chance instead of drinking himself into the grave at 35… These asshole idiots make me sick! If daily life is so unbearable, Funkberger can just cash out of Montoni’s and move to Scottsdale… Take an RV trip from one end of North America to the other, I don’t give a damn! And Lester… Even before Lisa’s Movie Project 2.0, he EASILY had enough cash to quit teaching, start collecting his overstuffed pension checks, buy a yacht and spend the rest of his life pinballing around the Caribbean or the Mediterranean with Cayla (remember her?)… TL;DR version: BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH BECAUSE IT CAN BE GONE IN AN INSTANT; AND IF YOUR DAILY LIFE SUCKS THEN DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE IT!!

    (I’m off to scream that final message to myself while looking in the mirror… Maybe then it will finally start to take root in my mind)

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “Live or die, but don’t poison everything…” — Saul Bellow, “Herzog*

      • hitorque

        Based on his hot takes I’ve read about black folks, this Bellow character managed to do all three…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The worst thing is, this strip thinks it’s saying “make the best out of what you’ve got” but it stars two people whose do the opposite at all times.

  9. be ware of eve hill

    tb;dr (too boring; didn’t read)*

    * The strip, not the blog.

  10. be ware of eve hill

    Funky Winkerbean and Les Moore, the worst duo to hang around graveyards since William Burke and William Hare. ⚰️

  11. J.J. O'Malley

    Frankly, Woody Allen did it quicker and funnier with his “We need the eggs” monologue at the end of “Annie Hall”…and even now he seems only slightly more creepy than Lester Moore.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It reminds me of Emilio Estevez’ “three Chinamen playing Fantan” speech from Young Guns II.

  12. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    WTF is he trying to say? This site https://www.awn.com/blog/willing-suspension-disbelief defines the phrase: “In a nutshell, the willing suspension of disbelief means the people in the audience know that what they are seeing on stage or screen is a pretend reality, but they are pretending that they do not know that. They accept the given premises of the story being told in order to empathize with the actors. An example would be knowing that Superman cannot, in reality, fly – and then pretending that you don’t know that. The storyteller tells the audience that, in this story, a man can fly. The audience suspends its disbelief and goes along with that premise.”
    My favorite time to suspend disbelief is when I see Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino”. Warning: spoiler alert for the wild ending.
    Leonora is planning to elope, but when her lover Alvaro climbs a ladder into her room, she has second thoughts. Her father comes in, and seeing an intruder in her room calls upon his servants to seize him. Alvaro pulls a gun to keep them at bay, but realizing that he’s holding a gun on his future FIL, he throws the gun aside. Of course, the gun goes off, killing Leonora’s father. He curses his daughter before he dies, and In the following confusion, both lovers go on the lam, but separately.
    This site: https://stageagent.com/shows/opera/1724/la-forza-del-destino says it better than I can. “Leonora’s brother, Don Carlo, hunts them. He is certain they are responsible for murdering his father, and he wants vengeance for the crime. In several surprising coincidental meetings, and through many disguises and mistaken identities, Carlo and Alvaro actually end up saving each other’s lives, unaware that they have been aiding their sworn enemies. Through a strange twist of fate, Alvaro and Leonora both seek refuge in the same monastery at separate times, and live there unaware of each others’ presence until Carlo finally tracks Alvaro down. Their fierce fight takes them to Leonora’s door, and she runs to aid her dying brother. In his final moments he cannot forgive her crime and stabs her as she tries to care for him.”
    It is the grandest of grand operas. To quote stageagent.com again, “La forza del destino is a fine example of grand opera, with all of the Verdian tropes; gypsies, soldiers, royalty, monks, rousing choruses, and of course, excellent music.”
    Last night we had Bob Dylan, REO Speedwagon, and The Dictators. Tonight I invoke the spirit of Guiseppe Verdi.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy-5CAb1Kkc At about 17 minutes in, Alvaro convinces Leonora to elope, just before her father comes in. Your mileage may vary. Now I’m off to listen to singers of the last century perform the different roles.
    TLDR: TB does not know what suspension of disbelief means.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      SOSF. The only place on earth where someone would enthusiastically reference a 19th century Italian opera when complaining about a nonsensical two panel comic strip and know for certain that the tangent would be enjoyed.

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        Thanks, Harriet. Sometimes it’s more fun to talk about something that makes more sense than FW, like the time Carlo and Alvaro had their fatal duel right in front of the cave where Leonora was living as a religious hermit.
        Have you ever heard “Ace of Spades” played on a carillon?

    • Gerard Plourde

      “La forza del destino is a fine example of grand opera, with all of the Verdian tropes; gypsies, soldiers, royalty, monks, rousing choruses, and of course, excellent music.”

      And more plot twists than your average soap opera. By weird coincidence, “La forza” was the first opera I saw. New York’s Metropolitan Opera used to come to Philadelphia for a week as part of its now-defunct national tour program and performed in the old Convention Hall (now demolished and replaced by part of the University of Pennsylvania’s medical campus).

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        That was great when the Met toured the country. They had at least three semis filled with scenery, costumes, props…The chorus and orchestra would stay in town and the big stars would come in to sing the principle roles. They did seven different operas in six days. I’m sure you already knew that, but it was fun to take a trip down memory lane. The most I ever went to was four in one week. Unfortunately, they stopped touring in 1986.

        For $2 I got to see Beverly Sills, Pavarotti, Domingo, Richard Tucker… When Franco Corelli was retiring 8,000 people filled Cleveland Public Auditorium to hear him.

        Tomorrow I’m going to hear a Cincinnati punk band called Slut Bomb. At least they’re still touring, but they don’t have any Verdi in their repertoire.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Les, if there was a saloon in Westview with a rigged slot machine in it, you’d pout because it’s not respecting Lisa.

  14. gleeb

    As for “I’d prefer a Les arc over this”, I have only one word: Dinkle.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    “I’m still able to suspend my disbelief”? Les, WTF are you trying to say? That life is unfair but you…. choose to keep living anyway? That’s the default action. You act like you’re making some bold choice to live life to the fullest, but you’re really just choosing the path of least resistance. LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.

    You let your precious Lisa die painfully, because that was easier than trying to convince her that life was worth living. You did nothing when the hospital gave her a wrong diagnosis, because that was easier than fighting it – even though Lisa herself was a lawyer. You agreed to let the movie be made when you didn’t want it, twice, because that was easier than saying the word “no.” You led Susan Smith on, and let her drive herself into a suicide attempt, because that was easier than telling her the truth about your feelings. You let your daughter be an undergrad for 12 years now, because that was easier than telling her she needs to grow up. You spent all of Act I hanging on the gym rope, because that was easier than learning how to climb it, refusing to climb it, or just not signing up for gym class. And your spend your whole goddam pathetic life mourning Lisa, because that’s easier than coping with her death – and how little you did to keep her alive. Hell, the only reason you don’t kill yourself is because it’s difficult and you’re afraid everyone will laugh at you if you don’t do it right.

    So spare me your “disbelief”, Les. If there were a rigged slot machine, nobody would complain more about it than you. If there were a perfectly fair slot machine, nobody would complain more about it than you. If there were a slot machine that followed you around the casino, threw coins at you, and told what a great player you were, nobody would complain more about it than you.

    • batgirl

      To be absolutely painstakingly fair to Les Moore (because why not? no matter how much slack cut, he is still despicable) my 1970s high school experience was that PE / phys ed / gym was compulsory. Nor could one refuse any specific activity within the class.
      Signing up for a sports team was optional, so the football-will-impress-Mary-Sue-Sweetwater thing is on Les.
      I’m Canadian, and my elementary and high school time coincided with a campaign to make young Canadians fit, (and to use flouride) so it may have been different in Ohio for the young Batiuk.

      • hitorque

        Gym/PE was definitely mandatory at my high school in the mid-90s That’s why 40% of our grade was simply wearing our correct gym uniform with proper shoes and another 40% of the grade was just participation…

        • Epicus Doomus

          We had three quarters (we called them marking periods) of gym and one called “health class”, which would be human reproduction, drivers ed , crap like that. I frequently failed gym for non- participation, but I’d get a 100 in health, which would be enough to pass for the year. Sometimes my gym coaches would just give me a D minus just to be rid of me. I had no problem with playing sports, but I didn’t like compulsory things like square dancing or gymnastics, so I would just not show up and take the zero.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Oddly, in my high school in the early ‘70s a student could evade gym by rostering art class. I spent junior and senior year producing some of the most juvenile oil paintings and watercolors imaginable.

        • billytheskink

          Ditto for me, though one could fulfill the required 3 semesters of PE if they played on a sports team for 3 semesters. It wasn’t hard to make some team, it was a small school and teams like track and cross country took everybody who showed up (our laughable football team did too, but it was a new sport my senior year). In my case, I received my PE credit by being the equipment manager for the basketball team. I would have preferred to play on the basketball team, actually, but I didn’t make it.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        In my Ohio High School we had similar requirements, although we could choose to do running and weight lifting and that is what I did. We would run a couple miles then hit the weights. We could also choose to swim laps in the pool too.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        My gym classes turned out not to be the carnival of humiliation we were led to believe. By the time I started middle school about 1982, gym class was past the era of “having to climb the rope to pass,” and was mostly just messing around playing team sports for 30 minutes.

        I always found the Les vs. gym rope thing to be a little passe, but it was true enough for when the strip started.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Oh yeah, they tried to get us to climb the rope, and someone would inevitably suffer horrifying rope burns. Not me, though, as I just cut gym class those days.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Phys ed class at my high school was compulsory only for underclassmen. There was an option our sophomore year to take phys ed during summer school instead of the regular gym class. The summer school phys ed class consisted of two weeks of bowling, two weeks of tennis, and two weeks of golf. All on a pass/fail basis. You just had to show up and participate to pass. I’m glad my best friend talked me into it because it was a blast.

        When I was in the sixth grade, in Ohio, there was something called the Presidential Fitness Test. The school made a big whoop-de-doo about it, and exceptional students were supposed to win some kind of award. I completed all the tests and presumably passed. Never heard one way or another. 🤷‍♀️

  16. KMD

    Twenty years ago, when Kevin Costner was at the nadir of his career, he made a movie called “Dragonfly” which I had the misfortune of seeing. Costner played a doctor who lost his wife. Somehow, his dead wife was sending him messages through patients facing near-death situations. This led to some truly awful moments. When faced with a host of children dying from cancer, the film kept hitting us over the head with how miserable and unfair life was to the Costner character–as opposed to all the kids about to die. It was one of the least self-aware films I have ever come across and the filmmakers showed no empathy or even basic understanding of how normal people deal with grief. This week’s whole arc made me think of that terrible movie. Who cares about the dead woman and her loved ones? It’s all about Les. It always is.

  17. Dood

    Can King Features hire a goddamn editor?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “A guy walks into a bar. He sees people playing roulette. Bartender warns him that the game is rigged. The guy says ‘rigged or not, it’s the only game in town.'”

      There. I just told the same story in 32 words instead of 71. And it took me about five minutes.

  18. Perfect Tommy

    I think “ Windswept Graves” would make an excellent name for a band.

  19. Other than the typo in the obit, there was no real indication that Less & Funky were at the funeral of a person who once was a featured character in the strip (even if it was for a very short time). He may as well have had Less & Funky randomly pass by a graveside service of a total stranger and decide to stop, join the crowd and have their conversation.