Mar 27, 2008

Gagging For It*

Do you ever break out some first-class comedy stylings, only to have them completely fly over the heads of their intended audience?

I'll explain.

I was just on the phone chatting to my Dad, who was expressing concern about my health. You see, I woke up this morning with another bout of labyrinthitis, an inner-ear infection that affects your balance, and makes you dizzy (Big shout-out to Louise, my labyrinthitis sister sufferer over in Shanghai). I'm just chilling at home, and mainlining Stemzine, so I reckon I should be right soon.

But because I've had a couple of colds recently, my Dad was being very stern, advising me to go to a doctor, or at least take some vitamins. "You just make sure you look after yourself," he finished.

"I AM Dad," I replied. "I AM looking after myself!"

....Get it?

Now I know the old Lean Cuisine ads date back at least 10 years, but come on. Surely that catchphrase is ingrained into the Australian psyche? Apparently not, as my Dad pressed on with his "concerns for my welfare" (pfft!), and completely ignored the champagne freaking comedy.

Another example. I was at OfficeWorks last week buying some print cartridges, when I noticed a box of massive, neon-coloured plastic calculators. Goodness knows what kind of maths-brain needs a 30cm by 20cm calculator, but there they were, propped up next to a support beam near the cashier's counter.

So I plopped my cartridges on the counter and said to the guy, "Can you help me? I really, desperately need some giant plastic calculators!" He looked at me strangely, then spotted the calculators and pointed, looking somewhat confused, yet pleased he could solve my problem.

I realised it had completely gone over his head, and just waved my hands and tried to explain it was just a joke. He looked even more confused then. I just sighed inwardly to myself. Perhaps it's just the people I hang out with, but dammit, that would've scored major laughs. Hys-freaking-terical.

Has anyone else got good examples of great gags that failed?

*I've recently put Google Analytics on this site, just to see what the visitor stats are like. You can actually see what search terms people used that brought them to your site, so I'll be interested to see how many people who may have been looking for porn have inadvertently stumbled here instead.


  1. Nat, have you seen a photo of my giant remote that I mainly got for comedy reasons? When I got that, my mum thought I was taking the p*ss out of her eyesight.

    There are a few examples of jokes gone bad on my podcast. One I used on my last episode was about people who are scared of flying sitting down the back of the plane. After all, when was the last time you heard of a plane backing (maybe I should have said reversed) into a mountain?

    Get betterer soon, Nat! ;)

  2. Hey Erk,

    I couldn't agree more - giant props are comedy gold!

    And I always try to sit near the back of the plane- mostly so I'm close to the lavatory! ;)

  3. I get this frequently at uni--particularly with my younger peers.

    Mind you, all I have to do is effect a funny voice and they think I'm the Portugese version of Jim Carrey.

  4. I was very concerned on Tuesday evening when I realised I was singing an improvised song about 'buckyballs' to a room full of people ho probably didn't know a lot about nanotech.

  5. i think i've had what you have. but they called it benign positional vertigo or something.

  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one.
    I often say things like "go man GO!" (futurama) or when someone says "which bank?" I say "commonwealth"
    Clearly that's lost over in NZ because it doesn't exist.

    Another thing I do is quote myself or stuff I've written (like sketch characters). And it's funny to me, but a 'giant calculator' moment for everyone else

  7. Hey Mezz, perhaps that's a name for this syndrome 'a giant calculator moment'!

    Or perhaps that's just me big-noting myself.

  8. I seriously suspect we may be long lost twins... not only are you the only person I know who has not only heard of Labrynthitis, but has also had it more than once! (hugs btw), but my dad to this day INSISTS on me saying "Yes Dad, your little girl IS looking after herself" whenever he calls. I even had to say it once in the middle of the UN offices in Dili, East Timor. Yeah, real grown up.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

  9. I just want to know if you can sigh inwardly to someone else.

    If I was standing behind you at Office works and I happened to be sipping coffee when you said the giant plastic calculator line, you would definitely have been wearing nose coffee.

  10. Mmm, nose coffee. Is that decaf, at all, or can I expect a nose coffee energy boost?

    And Louise - yes, I'm all better after the "L" word attacked (Not that my parents believed me). Hope yours is still staying away...