Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Perry Bible Fellowship

Gurewitch, Nicholas. "Now Showing." The Perry Bible Fellowship. Accessed 3.29.09.
The Perry Bible Fellowship is a web comic that highlights absurdity or irony in mostly fictional settings and focuses heavily on the artistic aspects of the medium. Rarely does the strip express political views or attempt to change the reader’s opinions with a joke, but it sometimes makes observations about modern culture (this comic being one of those cases). This strip is obviously critiquing our society’s view of ancient wars and conflicts. Instead of learning any lessons from these historical events, the general populous seems to only want to see some stupefied and epic version of what was once a serious conflict. So the author turns it around on us. Instead of going to see a movie like Troy, people in the future may go to see a movie about World War II (which is an event still in the recent memory of our society) that is equally as shallow and nonsensical, and this hypocrisy is what allows for a humorous look at our culture.

The End of the World This flash animation first appeared on the internet a few years ago, but I can’t find where it was originally published, or who the author was. This version is posted on the website Albino Blacksheep (based in Toronto, Canada), which relies on members to submit content.
This classic flash animation attempts to explain how the world will end and it mostly pokes fun at two things: the political position that the world and its most powerful nations are in and cultural stereotypes. The eagerness of President Bush to wildly fire off America’s nuclear arsenal and create a nuclear holocaust is obviously an attack on his cowboy attitude, while the cigarette smoking, lazy, and effeminate Frenchmen play directly into their stereotype. Although making fun of stereotypes is not exactly the highest form of comedy, I think the nonsensical and silly attitude that the animation takes on allows for this somewhat distasteful humor to be pretty funny. On the whole, I think the flash is simply laughing in the face of death, while poking fun at the human race and all of its absurd qualities.

Wonder Showzen

John Lee and Vernon Chatman. Wonder Showzen Season 1 Episode 4: Diversity. Originally aired on MTV2 on April 1, 2005. Clip URL: Posted 2007. Accessed 3.29.09.

Wonder Showzen was a satire that took the form of a children’s show. It takes an absurdist view of our world, and tries to explain what is wrong with it in terms that kids might be able to understand. However, as the disclaimer at the beginning of the show states: “WARNING WONDER SHOWZEN CONTAINS OFFENSIVE, DESPICABLE CONTENT THAT IS TOO CONTROVERSIAL AND TOO AWESOME FOR ACTUAL CHILDREN. THE STARK, UGLY, PROFOUND TRUTHS WONDER SHOWZEN EXPOSES MAY BE SOUL CRUSHING TO THE WEAK OF SPIRIT. IF YOU ALLOW A CHILD TO WATCH THIS SHOW, YOU ARE A BAD PARENT OR GUARDIAN.” That essentially sums it up. The themes dealt with by this show range from God, religion, human nature, human conflict, and especially popular culture (aka: how stupid we can be). The show is extremely dark and cynical, but still manages to be funny through its highly ironic and sarcastic tone.

The Pain - When Will It End?

Kreider, Tim. "Silver Linings of the Holocaust". The Pain - When Will It End?. Posted 2.22.2006. Accessed 3.29.2009.

This comic was made during the fallout of the Danish cartoon fiasco of 2005. Word got around that an Iranian newspaper was running a contest for the best holocaust comic, and Tim Kreider decided that he had to make an entry. As he states in his "Artist's Statement" (go here and scroll down), Tim's goal was to make an entry worthy of winning the contest without being anti-Semitic or simply denying the holocaust. This particular comic touches on the themes of sexuality, identity, art, society and justice by pointing out "silver linings" in a very facetious manner. The strip as a whole, however, is a bit harder to pin down, but basically his brand of humor is very similar to that of the New York Times, except with more vulgar and sexual jokes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

South Park, "All About The Mormons"

Parker, Trey and Stone, Matt. South Park, "All About The Mormons" S7E12, 11.19.03. Comedy Central.

In South Park nothing is out of reach to be made fun of, the creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone made a vow when they began that if they ever find something that they refuse to make fun of, whether for money reasons or personal reasons, they would stop writing and producing South Park. From Jews to Red Heads to AIDS and Cancer to disabilities and to celebrities, South Park is unafraid to point out what they think is wrong with society. Through satire, by making the majority of the townspeople bumbling idiots and 2 of the main characters, Stan and Kyle, the voices and eyes of reason, the show has successfully lampooned pretty much everything you can think of. To an audience of mature teens and adults.

In this episode Mormonism is ridiculed, but so is religious intolerance. A mormon family arrives in town and we are shown the history of Mormonism, and the audience can clearly see that it is ridiculous. Many members of the community do not want the mormon family to stay for fear that they will have a negative affect on the children. The religion has successfully been made fun of, but at the same time, so are the people who are intolerant of Mormonism (and any other religion for that matter). In South Park, literally no one is safe, even the writers, who both make fun of Mormonism but also recognize that people are entitled to their own beliefs, and, as long as they don't impose their beliefs on others, they should not be treated as any less than others.

This episode and all other south park episodes can be viewed for free at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Annotations and Comedic profile


Annotation 4

Chatham Mayberry

"Stem Sell." The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Comedy Central. March 16, 2009. Viewed April 1, 2009.

In this episode of the Daily Show, Jon Stewart and his assistant reporter/ comedian John Oliver comment on President Obama's executive order to reverse President Bush's that stopped funding for stem cell research. Jon Stewart is a television host, comedian, media critic, and political satirist, that has hosted the Daily Show since it started in late 1999. John Oliver joined the Daily Show in July 2006 as the senior British Correspondent. The Daily Show is a political satire show whose purpose is to analyze both politics and the media from a comedic standpoint. In this clip John Oliver makes a Bush impersonation to degrade Obama's action regarding stem cell research, stating that science is not the answer. That religion is more reliable than science, and that this country was founded to be a religious country not a scientific country. John Oliver is commenting on Bush's backward policies about science, by impersonating him as a sort of religious idiot. This piece is a satirical piece, with the second level being a message about how necessary stem cell research is to finding cures for some of the worst diseases out there. The audience of this piece is usually left leaning, meaning they are generally liberal. The audience of this episode would most likely agree with John and Jon in that Obama is doing the right thing to enable government funding of stem cell research. The audience would also agree that Bush's policy of anti-stem cell research was wrong and backward.

Annotation 3

Chatham Mayberry

"Sony Releases New $tupid Piece of Shit that doesn't Fucking Work." The Onion News Network. March 1, 2009. Viewed April 1, 2009.'t-fucking-work

In this particular comedic, bogus, and absolutely hilarious report by the Onion News Network on Sony's new product, two reporters, Brandon Armstrong and Jeff Tate, portray this product as worthless. This report was shown on the Onion News Network, a branch of the Onion News Paper. The Onion News Network makes fun of news by reporting news stories that are completely made up, but report them as if they are reporting real, serious events. This seriousness makes this particular clip about the new stupid piece of shit Sony just released, hilarious. This particular report is extremely satirical. The subliminal or second level of this clip is that it is meant to point out how complicated technology. The audience that is watching this clip will be able to identify, because most all of us have had trouble with hooking a gadget up to the television or computer. Coming from personal experience, whenever we try to watch a video in Lit 101, we always have a problem with the sound or hooking the television up with another gadget. Technology can be extremely frustrating sometimes, and that's what this report is trying to play off of. The audience of this piece will most likely agree with the point this report brings, that technology is extremely complicated nowadays and trying to learn how to use new technology is extremely frustrating. 


Annotation 2

"1997 Flashback."  The Colbert Report. Comedy Central. February 29, 2009. Viewed April 1, 2009.

The main actor/ producer of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central is Stephen Colbert. Before starting the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert was a correspondent on the news parody show, "The Daily Show" which starred John Stewart. The Colbert Report airs on Comedy Central where it is one of it's premium shows. In this clip, Stephen Colbert is basically making fun of how decrepit technology was back in 1997, and how much more advanced technology is today than it was 12 years ago. Colbert is making fun of the technological prowess of 1997, through his own experience. In the clip, Colbert satirizes the slowness of dial-up internet. Dial-up was a technology we all had to endure back in 1997, and Colbert plays on his personal frustration with dial-up by having his mom call while he was on the internet, thus disconnecting the dial-up service. By filming this, Stephen Colbert is portraying to the audience how far technology has come since the dial up days of 1997. This clip serves a mocking yet insightful purpose. It is meant to mock the technology of 1997 yet it also serves to show just how far technology has come in 12 years. This clip allows us to take a step back and appreciate how lucky we are today to have the technology we currently possess. This clip was meant to entertain, and the audience it was meant to entertain  includes everybody of all ages, who have access to a television. The audience will likely see this show, and be taken aback by how far technology has come in 12 years.

Comedian Profile

Larry David

Notable Works
- Co-creator of the television series "Seinfeld"
- Creator of "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
- Wrote and starred in ABC's "Friday's"

Notable Achievements
- won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993

Five Themes common throughout his work
1) Absurdity
2) Humor
3) Alienation
4) Friendship
5) Nihilism (belief that life is pointless)
Chatham Mayberry

"Everything's Amazing: Nobody's Happy." Late Night with Conan O'Brian. NBC. October 2, 2008. Viewed March 31, 2009.'Brien/video/clips/everythings-amazing-nobodys-happy-10208/1049744/

The comedian being interviewed on Late Night with Conan O'Brian is known as Louis C.K. This particular interview took place on the NBC television show "Late Night with Conan O'Brian." This show/ venue is a comedy show that centers around Conan O'Brian, but every show Conan O'Brian interviews a new guest. On this particular show, Louis CK and Conan O'Brian are discussing societies ignorance of how intricate and amazing technology is in today's society. Louis CK talks mostly about his past experiences/ observations of how ignorant people can be when it comes to technology. Louis CK and Conan O'Brian are trying to make the audience realize how easy we have it with all of the miraculous technology that surrounds us. The two of them are attempting to make the audience appreciate all of the technology we take for granted. The purpose of this interview is to be insightful through a comedic voice. An interview like this is designed to make people step back and appreciate all the little things in life. In this case, so people will appreciate all of the technology that we use in our everyday life. The audience this is intended for is anyone who has access to technology all around the world. The people who generally watch this show, middle-aged adults looking for some entertainment right before they go to bed at night. The audience watching "Late Night with Conan O'Brian" most likely will be indifferent to what Louis CK is talking about. Why should they take the time to be thankful for the technology they have when they are already too busy. 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cyanide & Happiness

Cyanide & Happiness is a daily web comic from This comic usually address immature types of humor, but it does it in very interesting ways. They make heavy use of their ability to draw what normally would be impossible. Often the jokes are a play on words, or a presentation of an alternate way of viewing commonly used analogies and phrases. Most of their work pokes fun at analogies by drawing what they literally would mean to show people how silly the phrase really is. People are unlikely to discontinue their use of these phrases because of this comic, but it is still very effective at shining a critical light on what we say. It causes people to look more closely at their wording, and what they actually mean, as opposed to loosely throwing out phrases whenever they feel like it. The entire website is devoted to various different forms of similar things so it is highly likely their audience is one that agrees with them and already enjoys what they are doing.
Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin, Dave McElfatrick. Cyanide & Happiness. 2000-2009. Explosm.