Central Snark


Unidentified Flying Post by mattresspolice
Thursday, 1 November 2007, 10:37am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

So I get home from taking the kids to their Halloween shindig last night and I see an email from the shapely and brilliant Lady Lampsha asking whether I can do a post for today. And I was like, hey, sure, because it’s not like I have to do a post for my own site or prepare for a meeting with these guys in the morning or anything.

Then I run across this item about how Dennis Kucinich once saw a UFO at Shirley MacLaine’s house, which prompts the question, “What is it with Dennis Kucinich and hot redheads?” I mean, I’m starting to think this guy really does know something the rest of us don’t. I mean, besides how to make a tin foil hat. And yes, Shirley MacLaine was cute once, about six lives ago.

Of course, this is going to make great fodder for talk show hosts and comedians, who are known for their ability to identify every flying object they’ve ever seen. Actually, I think you have to have some kind of mental disorder to claim to never have seen an unidentified flying object. I mean, haven’t you ever felt something whizz past your head and thought, “What the hell was that?” That, my friends, was an unidentified flying object. Or maybe a june bug.

I can’t identify three quarters of the flying stuff I see. I mean, I’m pretty sure that a lot of them are planes, and the quieter planes tend to be birds. And the smaller birds are usually insects. But the odds that I can tell you what kind of airplane or bird or insect it is are usually pretty slim.

In any case, I really did see an actual UFO once, by which I mean something that I’m pretty sure wasn’t a bird, plane, insect or Dennis Kucinich. It was shaped like a profile of the planet Saturn — a circular shape with a ring around it. Except, unlike Saturn, it was orange. At least, I don’t think Saturn is orange. I’ve never been there.

I was nine years old when I saw it. I was letting our cat out. Or maybe in. It’s not really important where the cat was. I opened the door and saw this orange thing in the air, moving around crazily in the sky. It looked like something that was being projected on a screen, except that it was in the sky above our garage, where I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any kind of screen. I’m not very observant, but I’m fairly certain we never had a movie screen above our garage.

Kucinich said that when he saw his UFO, he “felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind.” When I saw my UFO I felt confused for a while, and then bored — which is, coincidentally, how I feel whenever I hear Dennis Kucinich speak. It zoomed around for a while for no apparent reason (the UFO, not Kucinich), and eventually I got tired of the pointless alien spaceship maneuvers and went inside. I never saw it again.

It’s true that I make up a lot of wacky stuff for these blog posts, but I swear I’m not making this up. I really did see a weird orange thing flying around in the sky. So I ask you, does this mean I’m insane, or unqualified to be president? Of course not. Does it mean I’m sane, or qualified to be president? Probably not.

My point, if I had one, would be that seeing a UFO doesn’t make one insane — although this stuff about Kucinich hearing directions in his mind has me a little scared. I mean, what did they tell him exactly? And why won’t he tell us? Sounds a little fishy to me. Come to think of it, though, somebody must have told him that hot redhead thing.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Humor-blogs.com!

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A Compelling Protagonist by mattresspolice
Monday, 17 September 2007, 8:34am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

diesel avatarFact 1: A while ago I promised Snuppy I’d do another Snark post for her.

Fact 2: Snuppy insists she doesn’t like The Family Guy.

Fact 3: Snuppy recommended this craptastic book, which I then tore apart because I’m a book snob.

Fact 4: I feel just a little bit bad about that. Not much, but a little.

Fact 5: I’ve mentioned several times that I’m actually working on a novel myself — a fact which makes me a prime target for ridicule.

The only conclusion one can logically draw from these five facts is that I need to (1) do a post for Snuppy in which I (2) illustrate how funny The Family Guy is, thereby (3) demonstrating my own good taste and (4) redeeming myself in Snuppy’s eyes while simultaneously (5) making fun of myself. Therefore, I present to you, Stewie Griffin grilling Brian about his novel:

I’ll admit that The Family Guy is uneven, but to me it’s worth it for moments of brilliance like this. One of the things that I love about The Family Guy is the way they push a joke so far that it becomes almost unbearable and then rounds the bend back to funny again. The Family Guy is what The Simpsons would be if the writers had the freedom to say, “You know what would be cool? If Homer got attacked by a giant chicken for no reason in this scene. The chicken fight would go on and on and on, like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, and then eventually it would just end and we’d pick up the plot where we left off.” Sometimes those kinds of bizarre tangents are hilarious, sometimes they’re a disaster, and sometimes they’re both. I find it fascinating, because the tangents pull you completely out of the story, so that you feel like you’re watching the writers writing the show, rather than just watching the show.

Anyway, I really am working on a novel. I’ve probably started about 30 novels in my life, never getting past chapter four. This one is different. I’ve actually written about 110 pages of this one so far. I’ve shown the first 80 pages to a few people, including my wife, (not so) Crummy Joel, and even our beloved Snuppy. If any of them are to be believed, it’s not bad. Mrs. Diesel, in fact, keeps bugging me to tell her what happens next, which is a good sign.

Of course, I don’t actually know what happens next, because I’m making it up as I go along. I have a very vague idea of where the story is going, but I start each chapter without knowing what’s going to happen in it. My rule of thumb is to end each chapter with an explosion. Well, sometimes it’s a pillar of fire or an earthquake, but generally something blows up at the end of each chapter.

If it sounds like I’m not taking this novel-writing business very seriously, you’re right. I originally conceived of this as a Serious Novel about a fallen angel who takes refuge on earth because he has doubts about the Divine Plan. But knowing how all of my other Serious Novels ended up, I decided to write a parody of that novel. I decided, in fact, to make a joke out of the idea of writing a novel. So I incorporated a lot of pointless explosions and plot tangents that don’t go anywhere, like the Family Guy‘s chicken fights.

The book was never really supposed to make any sense, but in a weird way things started to come together. I realized my characters are stuck in the same situation as the rest of us: they’re surrounded by inexplicable and pointless events that seem to have been devised by someone who is just having a little fun with them. At one point a character remarks on a particularly odd coincidence, and another character replies, “Synchronicity. You’ll be seeing more and more of that. Don’t read too much into it. It’s just a way of keeping things moving along.” He’s referring to the Divine Plan, of course, but he’s also referring to the fact that I, as the author, needed an odd coincidence to keep the plot moving.

I keep piling up bizarre and arbitrary events, but the characters somehow find the connections between them. It’s an uncanny experience to have characters you’ve created make sense of the world that you’ve constructed for them, despite the fact that you weren’t sure the world made any sense to begin with. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though. I often start a blog post having no idea where it’s going. I end up incorporating references to Night Court or the Planet of the Apes and somehow it all comes together in the end. Usually. In fact, I might even write a post that starts off with a Family Guy clip making fun of the idea of writing a novel, and ends with me explaining to you how writing a novel is like an episode of the Family Guy. And neither one of us has any clue how I got there.

Humor-Blogs.com is where friends become enemies and enemies become friends.

~ Diesel



Oh Tay! by Snuppy
Thursday, 23 August 2007, 8:40am
Filed under: funny..., music music, Pop! goes the Diesel | Tags:

oh tay!IF it’s Thursday, it must be time to mock DIESEL. Why? Because we want to… and, more importantly, because we can.

WE’VE grown used to pulling up next to the empty parking spot reserved for our so-called friend, Diesel. We’ve grown into the habit of pimping his blog/t-shirts and/or “book“. We’ve grown old waiting for that e-mail telling us he’s finally written another winning clever and/or hilarious post. That said, we have NOT grown accustomed to pulling a topic out of our asses and/or thin air. Which is why, we suppose, on days we’ve got nothing worthwhile and/or hilarious to say, we’ve grown to rely heavily on YouTube.

YESTERDAY, our beautiful friend and bloggy-co-conspirator, TEH PENGUIN, asked the question “How Stupid Are We?”. Tho’ we don’t have the answer, we do know there are a lot of incredibly stupid people out there. For example, close to 7 million folks have already tuned into the following video (without the benefit of even one crummy commercial, CRUMMYJOEL), which, as you’re about to discover for yourselves, is “stupid”, at best. Here’s what we know after listening — there are literally millions so desperate to be “entertained” they’ll watch and/or listen to anything. Sadly, we can now be counted among them. Blame Diesel for abandoning us in our hour of need, forcing us take drastic/desperate measures in order to provide a small amount of amusement. Then, enter the musical abyss known as: Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain.

MMM. Chocolate rain. In theory, sounds so tasty, in this song, so… wrong.

*Please note: we entitled this post “Oh Tay” and featured the picture at the top of the page for 2 reasons: 1) Tay is the first name of the kid responsible for this stupid song (duh) and B) “Oh Tay” reminded us of the hilarious character created by Eddie Murphy for SNL, back in the 80’s, “Buh-weet” — based on the beloved character “Buckwheat” (played to enduring/endearing adorableness by wonderful child actor Billie Thomas) featured in a show we watched with great glee when we were growing up, Our Gang (aka The Little Rascals). Oh tay? Oh tay!

~snuppy

It’s raining chocolate-covered HAHAHA’s at Humor-blogs.com.



Wake Up and Smell the DIESEL by Snuppy
Thursday, 26 July 2007, 8:35am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

OH JOY. Just when we think we’ve got nothing left to say, we find out it doesn’t matter. Er, what we meant to say, is that we have an announcement to make. One, we hasten to add, will be found, at the very least, moderately confusing for a good many of you, and mildly amusing for the rest. Brace yourselves, here goes:

diesel avatarSO there’s this guy, see? Name’s DIESEL, see? And he wrote a book, see? A funny-yet-humorous book based on his even more hilarious-yet-laugh-out-loud funny posts, see? And he’s planning to sell it, see? Maybe let us take whatever money we might have otherwise spent on Penicillin and/or groceries to buy his book, instead, see? Even tho’ we’ve had that hacking cough for well over a week now and/or have probably read most of the material in this so-called “book” over the course of the year — or so — since we first met this guy, see? But wait! There’s more! As you’ll soon see, see?

AFTER he begged us to advertise the “book” launch and/or whined about how much he does for the Snark, we agreed to help and/or whined about the fact that we’ve been busy “entertaining” a certain lively/lovely visitor from Iceland. That’s when Asparagus Boy — which is what we call Diesel in the privacy of our fragile little minds — offered to make it easier. And by “make it easier” we mean he wrote a “let’s get Diesel’s book sales off to a rousing start” post for us. We kid you not. And, not only did he provide a few of his own “well-chosen words”, he plucked ’em down in 4 — count ’em fourdifferent postettes, featuring the aforementioned “well-chosen words”, Antisocial Commentary book coverwhich he (and we) hope will entice one and all to race over to MATTRESSPOLICE.COM, in order to plop down the aforementioned “big bucks” for the purposes of buying the aforementioned “book”. And, by “big bucks”, we mean $11.95 + S&H, or $9.95 to pre-order — and get an autographed copy (which might be nice, since we hear Diesel has excellent penmanship). And by “book”, we mean “Antisocial Commentary — Something Something Smart, Funny, and Clever“. Or something something like that.

Whatever the “book” is called, here’s what “Diesel” wants you to know, depending on who you are and/or how much you like him, and/or how much we like you:

~4 Ways to Help Launch My Book and/or Sell, like, a Million Copies~ by Diesel. (Illustrated by us. No, not the book, the 4 “postettes”. Yeesh.)

1. THE OVER-THE-TOP RAVING ENDORSEMENT

Diesel is Young FrankensteinDiesel, the twisted genius behind the humor blog MattressPolice.com, has announced the publication date for his first book! Antisocial Commentary: From the Secret Files of the Mattress Police, is a hilarious excursion through the mind of Diesel. From topics as varied as James Blunt and the Incredible Hulk to global politics and perpetual motion machines, Antisocial Commentary is a tour de force of satire, sarcasm, and just plain silliness. Savor such essays as “The Force is Middling in this One,” which answers the question “What happens to someone in the Star Wars universe who isn’t quite Jedi material?” and “Harry Potter and the Inevitable Slide into Satanism,” which explores the nefarious connection between the works of J.K. Rowling and the minions of the Devil.

Antisocial Commentary will be published on August 15, but for a limited time you can pre-order a signed copy at a significantly discounted price. In addition to being an all-around great guy, Diesel is quite possibly the funniest blogger on the internet. This book is a collection of over 50 of most hilarious essays. I’ll be pre-ordering my copy today, and I suggest you head over to MattressPolice.com and do the same.

2. THE NONCOMMITTAL SUGGESTION

Diesel is a casual carefree authorDiesel, who runs MattressPolice.com, has announced the publication date for his first book! Antisocial Commentary: From the Secret Files of the Mattress Police, is a collection of over 50 of his best essays. These include “The Force is Middling in this One,” which answers the question “What happens to someone in the Star Wars universe who isn’t quite Jedi material?” and “Harry Potter and the Inevitable Slide into Satanism,” which explores the nefarious connection between the works of J.K. Rowling and the minions of the Devil.

Antisocial Commentary will be published on August 15, but for a limited time you can pre-order a signed copy at a significantly discounted price. Diesel is a good guy and an excellent writer. Help me show some support for a fellow blogger making his first foray into print. Head over to his site to preview the book or just check out some of his funny posts.

3. THE OFFHAND MENTION

Diesel needs a monkeyI wanted to mention that one of my fellow bloggers, a funny guy named Diesel, has announced the publication date for his first book. Antisocial Commentary: From the Secret Files of the Mattress Police is a collection of over 50 of Diesel’s funniest posts. Head over to his site, MattressPolice.com, and check it out. You can pre-order a signed copy, read a preview of the book, or just read some of his funny posts.

4. THE MERCILESS PAN WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE

diesel is a monkeyGet this: A guy who goes by the name “Diesel” has just announced that he’s publishing a book. Yeah, the same “Diesel” who is so painfully un-funny on his blog, MattressPolice.com. You may be wondering how in hell a hack like “Diesel” gets published. Simple. The same way every other hack gets published these days: He self-published the book through Lulu.com. You know, the place that ranks just below Kinko’s as a reputable publisher? Yeah, them.

Anyway, this book – which is mercifully only 159 pages long by the way, making it more of a breathtakingly dull brochure than a book – is a collection of Diesel’s “best” posts. Seriously. Gee, thanks, Diesel. Because I can no longer get to your website to read your interminable tripe since my anti-stupidity software flagged it as a potential hazard to my intellectual well-being. I can’t wait to get the hard copy version, because I’ve got an end table that has one short leg.

Of course, it’s going to be a while before I can fix that table, because the book isn’t even published yet. That’s right, he’s having a “release party” for a book that hasn’t been released. Supposedly you can “pre-order” a copy, whatever the hell that means. Sounds like a scam to me. He’s even offering “signed” copies at a discounted rate – presumably because anything that he scribbles his signature on immediately loses much of whatever value it started off with.

So if, for some unfathomable reason, you find Diesel’s tired, self-involved sarcasm amusing and you just can’t get enough of it on his website, head over to his site and experience one of the 100 biggest publishing sensations since the last Harry Potter book came out 5 days ago.

******************

HEY, what can we say? We don’t just like this guy, we lovelovelove him. And WE plan to buy up as many copies of his little “book” as we can, in hopes of selling ’em on eBay, once he makes it big with one of those “other” books he plans to write, assuming THIS one sells enough copies to make it worth his while. So make it worth HIS while, and, while you’re at it, OUR while, and while away an hour or two perusing the pages of his “book”. ~snuppy

*******************

Yes Virginia, there IS a Diesel on Humor-blogs.com… and he’s hilarious.



Rock is Dead by mattresspolice
Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 8:04am
Filed under: funny..., music music, Pop! goes the Diesel

DieselI will freely admit that I don’t know anything about music.

I don’t know anything about most of the other stuff I write either, but I’m less willing to admit that.

I do know that there was a time when musical virtuosos poured their souls into their music, producing works of genius that will live on for ages to come. That time was the early 90s, with the release of U2’s Achtung Baby and Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion 1 and 2.

I’m also pretty sure that music can’t possibly get any worse than Fifty Cent and Fergilicious. And I’m not just another old guy who is disgusted by what the kids are listening to these days. Well, ok, I am. But seriously, have you heard this crap?

Motley CrueWhen I was in high school, listening to music by the likes of Mötley Crüe and Poison, the grownups just didn’t “get it.” Guys in wigs and leather pants squealing operatic vocals that delivered a message of dimestore Satanism in time with mind-numbing percussion was cool, dammit. And you know what? It’s still cool. I can still rock out to Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me and Foreigner’s Urgent, and as far as I can tell I’m just as cool as I was in high school. I mean, hell, I still hang out with one of the guys on the debate team, and he’d tell me if I was slipping, right? Of course he would. Yeah, I’ve still got it. I think Night Ranger said it best in their song “You Can Still Rock in America” when they said, and I quote, “You can still rock in America.”

So I call foul on today’s music. I remember thinking, “When I grow up I’m not going to be square like my parents and listen to Mozart and Smooth Jazz™. I’m going to listen to kickass hardcore rock and roll! And you know what? I’ve lived up to my end of the deal. I still listen to rock, and not just sexually confused 80s hair bands. When grunge came along, I was like, “This stuff is dope.” Before there was illegal downloading, there was 8 CDs for a penny from BMG Music Club and changing your address. I snapped up CDs by Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nirvana. Then when rap-metal came along, I was like, “I can hang with this.” Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave? Hell yeah, I was on board. And I’m not just a metalhead either; I dig the classic rock and a lot of alternative stuff too.Rob Zombie

Then something weird happened. Kids stopped listening to rock music. Now they listen to insipid pop garbage by “artists” like the Black Eye Peas and James Blunt. So here I am, feeling like that crazy guy who waits for the bus in the phone booth every morning. “When’s the rock getting here?” I mutter to passersby, who hold their children close and shuffle past.

Are today’s youth just so mellow and well adjusted that they have no need for the likes of Nine Inch Nails or Nirvana? If so, then I think we as parents have let our kids down. We haven’t provided the kind of environment that produced tortured souls like Kurt Cobain and Trent Reznor. I say we drop all this self-esteem nonsense and start meting out harsh punishments for flouting convention. Stop treating your kids as if they were equals, and for goodness’ sake let’s all stop talking about our feelings. I want to start seeing some repression, needless belittling and arbitrary corporal punishment.

It will be hard at first, but with some luck in a few years some of those angry youths will become brilliant musicians. And with a little more luck, none of the rest of them will move into my neighborhood.

~ Diesel

Humor-Blogs.com can still rock in America. And sometimes Canada.



Self Starter by mattresspolice
Thursday, 5 July 2007, 8:10am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

DieselIt’ s been awhile since I’ve updated my resume, but one of the things you used to see on resumes all the time was “Self Starter.” This was meant to signify that you were the kind of person who would just show up for work and start doing what needed to be done without having to be told. You might, for example, make the coffee, sweep the floor, organize the place a bit, maybe even clean the bathroom if you’re feeling particularly motivated. But nobody appreciates that kind of initiative any more. “That’s not your job,” they’ll say. “Why aren’t you wearing gloves?” they’ll say. “Shouldn’t you be on the other side of the police tape?” they’ll say. What do they expect me to do, just stand around watching the front door until the detectives show up?

Well, I’m sorry, I’m a self starter. I don’t wait around for people to tell me what to do. In fact, by the time someone gets around to telling me what to do, odds are that I’m hip-deep in something far more important, and whatever they want me to do is just going to have to wait. I’m like a pit bull. The only thing that’s going to make me release my vice-like grip on whatever task I’m currently obsessed with is to dangle an even bigger, juicier task in front of me. If you want me to do something, your best bet is to hold it behind your back so that I can just barely get a glimpse of it, and maybe wrap it in bacon. Then I’ll be like, “Ooh, forbidden bacon!” And then you’ll “accidentally” loosen your grip on it and I’ll drop whatever it is and lunge for your thing. I’m surprised my employers never learned this trick. I can be a pretty good employee if you know how to manage me, and you don’t mind losing a finger once in a while.

Take our beloved Snuppy, for example. If I worked for her, I’d probably be dead from exhaustion (or bacon-induced coronary) by this point. What’s that you’ve got there behind your back, Snuppy? Guest post for the Snark? Wrapped in bacon? Woohoo! I can build my house later. I always thought that Maslow rated shelter on the high side anyway. What? Put together a book of my Mattress Police posts? Yeah, that’s what I want to do! And is that bacon I smell? Forget this novel I’m working on, let me at that bacon-wrapped book idea! And then another Snarkster mentions something about t-shirts, and I’m like, Yeah! So what if I’ve been working on this master’s degree for four years? What I really need to do is design my own t-shirts!

So yeah, I’m a self starter. I can start things like nobody’s business. You know what would be a fantastic trait to go along with being a self starter? Being a self-finisher. If I had a nickel for every project that I’ve gotten 90% done but didn’t quite finish, I’d have a big jar of nickels sitting on my counter, plus one extra nickel for never quite getting up the motivation to cash in the nickels at the bank.

The funny thing is, about 9 months ago I was finally getting a handle on all my unfinished projects. I laid to rest a software application that I had been trying to get to market for about three years, resisted the urge to learn to play the guitar, and made plans to quit my job so I could finish my other outstanding projects (basically my house, my master’s degree, and a screenplay I’d been toying with). No more projects, I told myself, until I finish at least one of these.

Then one day I was screwing around on MySpace and I wrote a goofy blog entry called What I Learned Today from a Sea Turtle. And then I wrote a dummy movie review called The Widow of Turmeric Falls. And I kept writing them, just for fun. That grew into MattressPolice.com, which then spawned Humor-Blogs.com and guest posting at the Snark. My discovery that I was halfway decent at humor writing prompted me to scrap my morose screenplay and start on a humorous novel. Then Antisocial Commentary, a compilation of my Mattress Police posts. A post about Antisocial Commentary prompted an email from a friend asking me if I wanted to pitch a book to an editor she knew. So now I’m working on that as well. And then there’s my ex-employer, who keeps taking me up on my exorbitantly expensive project proposals. I can’t say no to that kind of money, so I’m working on projects for them too.

Anyway, if you’re wondering why I’m not around much any more, that should explain it. I’m really trying to wrap up the Antisocial Commentary book and the other book proposal this week, but my motivation always lags when I get this close to being done with a project. Somehow once something starts to become real, it loses its appeal for me, and I want to get working on the next Big Idea. I guess this post is my attempt to (1) take a break from the craziness, (2) let you all know where the hell I’ve been, (3) get up my motivation to get this crap done. Any encouragement you can give me would be much appreciated.

~Grindstone Diesel (no, Snuppy, not “Rhinestone”)

I can’t hear you over the laughter coming from Humor-blogs.com!” said the blind man to the deaf mute, as he picked up his hammer and saw.



Humor Books Suck by mattresspolice
Thursday, 21 June 2007, 8:28am
Filed under: funny..., Pop! goes the Diesel

DieselI’ve been thinking about writing a book for a while. By “a while,” I mean like six months, but in truth I’ve been thinking about it since I was about seven. It’s only recently, however, that I’ve started to think about writing a humor book. If you’re familiar with my site or the stuff I’ve written for the Snark, you may be surprised to learn that it’s only recently that I really started to write humor seriously. And if you don’t think you can write humor seriously, you should see the joke that my non-humor writing was.

For some reason, I always thought I was going to be a science fiction writer. I love sci fi, and I’ve written several sci fi short stories. You won’t find any of them posted or published anywhere, though, because they pretty much suck. I’ve got the rejection letters from a number of prestigious sci fi magazines (ha!) to prove it.

Here’s the problem: I don’t have the attention span to write serious fiction. I get bored with my characters and situations, and keep coming up with crazy new ideas that I want to incorporate. My characters start to question why they’re stuck it such dull, preposterous situations, and refuse to do what I want them to do. They crack jokes at inappropriate times, and their grave predicaments are undercut by my inability to comment on anything without irony. I guess the real irony is that I always thought this was a handicap. If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know what a talented writer can do with a cast of wise-ass characters stuck in a bad sci fi story.

I’m no Douglas Adams, but after 30 years of trying to emulate Isaac Asimov I’m finally starting to find my groove as a writer. I’m working on a compilation of my better Mattress Police posts, and I’ve been making some progress on a humorous novel about the apocalypse. If I ever do get a book published, it’s going to be something in the humor vein.

With that as my goal, I’ve started browsing the humor sections of bookstores to see what kind of humor books get published. This may shock you, but what I’ve determined is that most humor books are crap. Of course, it’s my opinion that most of everything is crap, but humor books certainly are no exception. The conclusion that I’ve come to is this: To get published, a book has to sound funny. That is, it’s got to have a title like 100 Ways to Kill a Penguin With a Banana or Bring Lots of Water: How to Make the Most of Your Vacation on Mercury. The problem with books like these is that except for the title, they aren’t funny. At all. Ever.

Here’s the reason: The title IS the joke. That’s why it sounds funny. The problem is, there isn’t a joke in the world that can be stretched to even a hundred pages and still retain any of its humor content. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself wishing for a nice punchy obituary section to liven things up a bit by the time you get to page four.

For example, there is a book called The Zombie Survival Guide. It’s a guide for what to do when zombies take over earth. Funny, right? It’s one of the most popular humor titles out right now. The thing is, it’s not funny. I browsed through it for about ten minutes before it dawned on me that the book had exactly one joke in it. Zombies, get it? It’s not a humor book, it’s a zombie book. If you like zombies, or you are a zombie, I’m sure you’ll love it. Personally, I had to put the book down when I began to groan and drool on the carpet at Border’s.

(Note: There are some exceptions, but these are almost all books by ‘name’ authors like Dave Barry or P.J. O’Rourke. Basically, the people who can get away with publishing a book that doesn’t have an extremely narrow theme.)

A friend recently put my in touch with an editor at a company that publishes a lot of humor books, and she confirmed some of my suspicions. A funny title, funny chapter titles, and funny pictures. That’s what sells. I pitched her a couple of ideas, one of which had a very narrow “guidebook” type theme (sort of similar to the zombie book), and another that was a much broader idea, which would allow me some wiggle room to write more in my normal semi-coherent ADD style. She liked them both, but basically said that for them to use it I would have to take out the first person stuff — which would make it a more formal, third person style book. (I should mention, on the off chance that she reads this, that she was just communicating the realities of the market, and I’m extremely thankful for her frank advice.)

Anyway, so now I’ve got an opportunity to write a book for a reputable publishing company, but the rub is that I’ve got to try to do exactly what I’ve just been telling you seems to be impossible: I have to take a funny idea, break it up into a bunch of funny sounding chapters, and then drag it out for 170 pages without ever breaking the theme of What to Do if Your Spouse is a Werewolf. (That’s not the real title. But hell, maybe I’ll pitch that next.)

So, any ideas?

~Hopeful Diesel

Look for How to Succeed at Laughter Without Blowing Stuff Through Your Nose in the comedy aisle at Humor-blogs.com.