Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Disgusting Humor

Several years ago, a scientific organization of some kind determined with empirical precision the world’s funniest joke. I forget how exactly they did it. I believe it involved the use of the Internet and the most important criterion was that nearly all cultures and nationalities needed to more or less agree that this was without doubt a very funny joke. As best as I can remember it, the joke went something like this:

Two hunters are tracking their prey in the woods when suddenly one of them takes seriously ill. His face turns blue, he clutches at his throat, and then starts making the most alarming gurgling sounds. Presently he drops to the ground as if felled by a sledge hammer and lays there motionless.

His companion, in a blind panic, fumbles with his cell phone and, after dropping it once or twice and cursing through several misdialings, reaches emergency services. “You’ve got to do something!” he shouts. “My buddy’s had some kind of seizure and I’m afraid he may already be dead!”

The person on the other end, needing the distressed hunter to calm down so he can follow the critical directions needed to administer aid to his stricken comrade, replies in a cool, pacifying tone of voice, “Okay. First take a deep breath and then let’s make sure your friend is really dead.”

There’s a pause on the other end followed by the sharp report of a gun.

The hunter comes back on the line and says, “Alright, now what?”

After reading this, you might be thinking to yourself, “Is that really the funniest joke in the world?” I haven’t the slightest doubt you can come up with a whole slew of jokes you might think are funnier. But you have to agree it’s a pretty good joke, and chances are excellent you could tell this to anyone and expect a laugh. I have, and believe me, I’m terrible at telling jokes. It would take a horrible delivery to not elicit even a chuckle with this one.

What separates us from the professional comedian is that the comedian can tell jokes not nearly so universally funny and get people to laugh. I’ve watched many Seinfeld episodes that have the stand-up bits in them, and I’ll honestly admit to you right now that if you dress me in the same clothes as Jerry, put me up on that same stage with the same audience and have me repeat the same material, I will not get anybody to laugh. Seinfeld has that extra something — maybe it’s the comedy gene — that makes whatever he wishes to be funny, funny. I don’t.

What would be the ultimate test for a comedian do you think? To randomly select a page from the phone book and make people laugh while reading it? Perhaps that’s a bit extreme. So how about this: choose a completely crude, tasteless joke with a punchline that stinks, and see what Comedians X, Y and Z can do with it.

That is the premise to the movie The Aristocrats. Fifteen or so comedians take a joke well-known in their circle to be very tough material — a classic comedian’s joke — and have a go at it. Common to nearly all the tellings is a simple beginning and the punchline, which is, “The Aristocrats!” It’s the in-between part that makes the difference, because each comedian has to describe in his own words the filthiest, most obscenely-imagined “stage act” the deepest, darkest recesses of their minds can conjure. It’s scatological and utterly depraved, involving incest, violence, bestiality and anything else that would make your grandmother swoon into a dead faint. Be warned if you go see it: not very many nice words are used. Even Bob Saget, Mr. America’s Funniest Home Videos, is in this one; in fact, he’s among the raunchiest. Watching him unleash is own brand of unadulterated smut is nearly as shocking as an image of Santa Claus ogling kiddie porn. In the theatre where I saw it, several people walked out during the course of the movie. It’s that bad. But as bad as it is, it’s that good.

They saved Gilbert Gottfried for the end, when, during a New York Friar’s Roast in honor of Hugh Hefner just weeks after 9/11, he impulsively resorted to the Aristocrats joke after several other jokes of his bombed. He pulled it off brilliantly. Another favorite of mine was Larry Storch, F Troop’s Corporal Agarn, who gave a relatively clean presentation of the joke (he managed to work a gorilla into it). Others were the Smothers Brothers, George Carlin, Paul Riser, Stephen Wright, Penn and Teller and a bunch more. They even had a mime do it! Plus there were a gazillion other comedians in the film, but they only offered commentary.

The problem with the movie is that it’s edited like a music video. It’s an endless series of four seconds, cut! four seconds, cut! all the way through. The filmmakers never let any one comedian tell the joke from beginning to end without interruption except George Carlin, who actually didn’t tell it all that well. I’m guessing they were afraid of anyone getting bored, so they spliced and diced like madmen. But if you can get past that and the outrageous crudity of the joke itself, it’s a movie well worth seeing, at least in this typist’s humble opinion.

While we are on the subject of disgusting humor, I’d like to bring up a blog perhaps you’ve heard of: Idiots and a Journal of the Disgusting Girl at Work. It is indeed disgusting and quite funny. Only Cotton Mather or Jerry Falwell wouldn’t think this is one of the funniest blogs out there. The author tracks the antics of the worst white trailer trash ho you could ever imagine who happens to work in his office. However, take extreme caution: the language gets a bit coarse.

I would be curious to find out if there is anyone else out there who doesn’t think this blog is entirely on the level. Many of the posts and the author’s comments attending them have the look and taste of verisimilitude, but taken as a whole, it does seem a bit much. The woman, if she truly exists, has to be the stuff of legends. I can’t help but be reminded of the Washington Post columnist who years ago won — and subsequently lost — the Pulitzer for her coverage of a boy dealing with life in the ghetto; she later confessed the boy was actually a “composite” of several children (read: an entirely fictional character). So it could be here, although several people I know feel absolutely certain that Disgusting Girl all the truth and nothing but the truth. You be the judge.


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4:41 AM  
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4:58 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Oh great! The spammers found me.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I don't like a lot of raunchy humor, so that's a renter for me. I did think your joke was funny!

I think Disgusting Girl is not all true. There, I said it, but it IS funnny!

Lastly, that tall guy from "Whose Line Is It Anyway", I think you look so much like him, I expected you to be funny like that.

5:42 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Lastly, that tall guy from 'Whose Line Is It Anyway', I think you look so much like him, I expected you to be funny like that."

I can see what you're talking about as far as looks go. I wish I was that funny. I'm not very quick-witted unfortunately.

5:50 AM  
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6:22 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

Wow are you ever getting spammed Schprock!

Anyway--I have the Disgusting Girl Chronicles from beginning to end (thanks to John!!!)
I flip back and forth--this can't be real-----it HAS to be real-you can't make this stuff up.

I am leaning toward the fact that it is not real. It just can't be real.
Having said that-its surely entertaining. Real or not.

And thanks for the movie tip--never even heard of it. I guess I'm too cultured for such vulgarity, huh.

6:50 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Spam spam spam spam and spam.
But I don't like spam!

Poor Mr. Schprock!

PS- Disgusting girl has to be at least a bit false. I mean, come on!! *shudder*

6:53 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

Oh and does anyone know where I can get parts for my Rainbow vacuum?
Its broken and I just don't know what to do with it.

6:56 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I guess I'm too cultured for such vulgarity, huh."

Yes, only we sophisticates can wallow in the mire and remain unsullied. (raises glass of port) (adjusts monocle)

"Spam spam spam spam and spam.
But I don't like spam!

Poor Mr. Schprock!"

Yeah, but look at the number of comments I'm getting now. I'm so popular!

"Its broken and I just don't know what to do with it."

Sorry Henry, can't help. I don't even know where to look. It's not like Rainbow Vacuum parts guys are knocking down my door, ya know?

7:24 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

Anytime I hear the name Larry Storch---I cannot help but hear in my head:
"It is balloooooon"


A glass of port---thats funny--got a chuckle out of me this morning, Schprock.

7:59 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Anytime I hear the name Larry Storch---I cannot help but hear in my head:
"'It is balloooooon'"

Right! Also: "Who says I'm dumb?"

8:31 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

I've heard of the movie, but it didn't sound like something that would float my boat. But that joke is one of my favorites.

I'm tempted to believe it's a real person. I worked with someone who was that graphic about her life and had that same disgusting mentality. There might be parts that are exaggerated, but after working in our office, nothing surprises me.

9:26 AM  
Blogger John said...

I'm still saying that the disgusting girl is in fact a real person and really is that disgusting. You can't just make stuff like that up about someone, to do so would make you a complete and utter ass. I say it's real, but if it's not, I can't keep reading it, because the idea that this guy is calling this girl a drunk and a cunt is infinately more disgusting and repulsive than anything he claims she's done.

But if she is real, it's hilarious.

9:35 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

Incidentally, check out the latest post:

9:52 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Bob Saget was on a recent Entourage episode, who never misses a chance apparently to be crude. I've always heard that about him, and I think I saw some of his raunchy comedy a long time ago. It is shocking, like catching your parents having sex.

10:10 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I just noticed "madman" has added an FAQ section to his Disgusting Girl site for all who are interested.

Scott, I'll never see Bob Saget the same light again. Because now I respect him!

Thanks for the link, Trina.

"But if she is real, it's hilarious.'

She's real if you want her to be.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

That cracked me up.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

Can't wait to see the Aristocrats. And now I'll have to jump on the Disgusting Girl bandwagon. Just when I thought it was safe to return from holiday, I get sucked in by new blogs. Hmph!

11:15 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Reading Disgusting Girl reminds me of that moth to flame metaphor. I know I'll go to hell for liking it. I try to look away . . . yet I cannot.

11:32 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

I used to work with a girl who talked about her sex life constantly in graphic detail. I could halfway ignore it, until weeks later, when I discovered her boyfried was my brother's best friend. Having the two worlds collide in such a vile manner nearly sent me over the edge.

1:44 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Did you tease him with any inside information? Like: "I hear you bank on the phrase 'size doesn't matter…'"

2:06 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

BTW- The Disgusting Girl blog may be funny, but I am never going back there! The phrase, "Gave birth to cottage cheese" was actually used! I had to stop on my way home that day to pick up some steel wool and a cranium saw. *shudders* Ew.

2:45 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I clearly remember reading that and exclaiming, "No way is this real!" It's very hard for me to believe anybody in a business environment could broadcast such a thing!

I do like "steel wool and a cranium saw," Nypinta. 10 points for that!

4:45 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

10 points? Woo hoo! :P

10:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

"I clearly remember reading that and exclaiming, "No way is this real!" It's very hard for me to believe anybody in a business environment could broadcast such a thing!"

How can work with Joe and say that with a straight face?

10:44 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...


Or should I say: that's what she said!

1:53 PM  
Blogger John said...

I mean, have you forgotten this little gem? Ahem...

Lick me, lick me. Everybody wants to lick me...

1:55 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Well, I guess I can't forget it . . . now.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Ben O. said...

Nice blog - It's late and I am browse-surfing across the blogopolis.

Here is a pretty good joke, that I feel I must tell -

Question - What is the difference between broccoli and boogers?
Answer - Kids won't eat broccoli.

Ben O.

10:15 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Ha ha! That's a good one, Ben (although my breakfast doesn't taste so good all of a sudden). Thanks for stopping by.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous funny pictures said...

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10:53 PM  
Anonymous funny pics said...

Even if you, specifically, aren't doing that, Carl certainly is. I don't see why your opinion should be given any more validity than mine.

But, regardless, "I don't like the joke" is not a very good criticism of a comic. No one person should be allowed authority over which jokes end up being posted simply based on whether or not they "like it".

1:08 AM  
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4:07 AM  
Anonymous funny clips said...

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1:06 AM  

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