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Monday, March 20, 2006

Can blogging be funny? By Andrzej

According to Wikimedia a blog (defined as a “portmanteau made by contracting the phrase web log”) 1 is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. Blogs can focus on a variety of subjects including food, politics, theatre, local news or merely be the lonely ravings of some sad sack from Nebraska who thinks the world needs to find out about how mean the check-out chick was to him that morning.

It is generally accepted that blogs existed from the mid 1990’s and after a slow start the number of blogging sites around the world grew exponentially. For instance the Blogging Software site Xanga, which hosted 100 online diaries in 1997, had grown to over 50,000,000 as at December 2005. 2.

Prior to blogging becoming popular, Internet writers had to direct their rambles to the specific email sites of their recipients, which could be limited if they had no friends or if they did not have their address book handy. With blogging anyone in the world who is interested can view a blogger’s web site. The handy attributes of a blog site are that it allows for easy creation of new pages, filtering of content by either date or subject matter and allowing content from other authors.

Having said all the above the question must remain – are there any blog sites worth reading? Or more specifically, as far as my personal bent is concerned, are there any which are funny or entertaining?

Sadly after many hours of dredging the World Wide Web it appears harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is to find a teaspoon of laughter amongst the veritable series of mountain ranges of dross and dribble.

Searching Google under the title of “Comedy Blogs” I was directed to www.top-blogs.com. This led to a great comedy site “Dumbshit of the week” which highlighted the stupidity of certain members of the human species however it was mere reportage rather than any funny insights. Attached to this site were a number of blogger’s sites including funnyjpm.com and shutuped.com. Funnyjpm seems to specialise in recycling lame and tired old jokes, which should be taken out and shot. Further most jokes require the use of media player applications, which I can’t be bothered downloading just to read a joke. Shut up Ed is a site hosted by some pimply-faced jerk (and I’m being kind) who thinks that puerile, pornographic and paedophiliac jokes are hilarious. Sorry, I don’t.

Given my annoyance with American sites I crossed the Atlantic to Australia’s motherland, home of the Queen of Australia, and birthplace of Monty Python, the Black Adder, Alf Garnett, Steptoe and Son et al –surely they know about funny? I tried www.britlog.com and searched the various offerings under the category humour only to find they were either not funny or did not open at all (in fact 3 out of 4 failed to open).

I next tried the site www.bbc.co.wk./comedy however the blogs on offer were news items from various journos – they were interesting (such as finding out that Issac Hayes has quit South Park because he doesn’t find jokes about scientologists funny or appropriate but reckons jokes about Jews, Christians and Muslims are) but hardly mirthful.

Closer to home I found our very own Melbourne based blogger and fellow screenwriter Ms Fits, who has been revealed to be none other than the grand-daughter of Frank Hardy, Marieke Hardy. She provides the following photo and blurb about herself from her blog site reasonsyouwillhateme.blogspot.com 3:

About Me

ms fits -- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

“ Irritatingly smug 29 year-old television writer who yearns to be Bob Ellis but will settle for Bob Hart. At least he gets free meals. Fat cunt.”

Her site is a cheeky and irreverent view of the world from a woman who doesn’t care what others think of her. As befits the granddaughter of Frank Hardy her diatribes are against the Howard Government in particular and Liberals and conservatives in general. She certainly is provocative and frequently hilarious and occasionally has a Danny Katz like whimsy about her. For instance on the 17/3/2006 she replies to an admirer as follows:

“Anonymous said...

dear ms fits,
do you think it's ok for me to have developed, in the manner of coolsie funster, a debilitating crush and an undying devotion to you even though i've never seen you?
yours sincerely,
hopelessly devoted

That's a lovely thing to write, Anon. Although it could turn out terribly bad for both of us. What if you see me and you are instantly repulsed by my unsightly hunchback and Wendy Harmer-esque cleft palate? You will be awfully disappointed. And how will I feel? Briefly feted and then once again rejected due to my physical hideousness. I will most likely turn to drink and/or free-form jazz. THIS IS A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN.
p.s. call me.”

Ms.Fits sure is good and amazingly prolific (she appears to do about 20 blogs a day mainly in response to reader’s comments) but her political tirades can sometimes be tiresome and if that annoys you I can recommend my favourite site. After much searching I found (or rather blundered upon, since every site screams at you that they are the one real funny site) a vein of gold in the form of comedysoapbox.com. You gotta check it out – a blog site written by stand-up comedians for other stand-up comedians. I mean these guys have to know about funny – if they don’t get a laugh, they don’t eat and have to slink back to their day job as an insolvency CPA or insurance adjuster (the horror).

So far my favourite was Harris Bloom.

On the 15 March 2006 he told the world that he had a marvellous routine about introducing other comics as he hosted an Open Mic at the NY Comedy Club and the various intros he gave to the comedians who were in the wings about to appear. My favourites would have to be:
“ Our first comic eats breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill him. He is…”
“Goddamit, this next comic uses his tongue purdier than a $20 whore. He is…”
“Our next comic believes there is nothing like a shorn scrotum. Its breathtaking, he suggests you try it. He is…”

Further on the 13 March 2006 he slagged off against his creative writing classmates (I presume past) by using the form of a Japanese haiku poem since he thought they were short and pretty much perfect for insults. Samples are:

Your stories are lame
But they do serve a purpose
No more sleeping pills.

Your story moves me
In an unexpected way
I must throw up now.

Man this is one funny blog site.

Another good thing about the site is that it has some tips on blog etiquette from the editing comedian and comedy world mover and shaker Steve Hofstetter

Please Read Before You Blog
Posted on 11/01/2015 at 07:20 PM

“ It's awesome to see so many people blogging. But I wanted to throw in a few notes about the proccess and etiquette:

1) Please do not blog so soon after you've already blogged (i.e. less than an hour apart). If you think of something else to say, append your earlier blog. Blogging multiple times is kind of a cheap way to get hits.

2) Please post all discussion questions to the messageboard. The blog is read by fans as well. In fact, the majority of people reading the blogs are NOT comedians. That's why the blogs about people's lives (and not careers) get the most hits. (If you want to know what I mean, Adam Sank and Greg Manuel are positive examples).

3) Please blog when you have something to say, not when you want attention. "Guys, what do you think of this joke" is kind of needy. That's up to you if you want to come off that way, but if you just write what you're feeling, your audience will come to you.

We'll eventually be adding a feature where the blogs that make the main page will be hand selected. But until then, please just follow positive blogging etiquette so no one pulls their hair out over this. (No offense to our bald contingent).”4

In summary there is gold out there in blogland but you have to know where to dig. I am not as scathing as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Literary Editor Malcolm Knox who wrote “When was I last moved by something I read on a website?.. when did I last feel renewed by something I read on my phone?” But even he admitted, “The medium is less important than the urge to look at things afresh.” 6. And who would disagree with that?

References:
1. http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog 12/3/2006
2. http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog 12/3/2006
3. http://reasonsyouwillhateme.blogspot.com/
4. http://www.comedysoapbox.com/comedianstemplate.cfm?comedianID=88
5. Melbourne Weekly 15/3/2006 – “The world of log on and blog off.”
6. Sydney Morning Herald 14/1/2006, “Fiction as reality check.”

2 Comments:

  • Great to see you using a personal 'voice' in your writing -- but I would have liked it if it had kicked in earlier. Rather than starting with a rather dry definition of blogs, you need to suck the reader in right away -- most online readers move on if the first few words they read don't engage them.

    Gotta say though, in my experience, the sites that define themselves as 'funny' or 'comedy' or 'humour' are usually anything but... just as joke books are probably the least funny thing in the whole world to read...so I'm vey glad you found SOMETHING to make you smile out there.

    By Blogger Administration, at 12:13 pm  

  • You've given me some inspriation to keep seachng for blogs worth reading! I too found many blogs were not worth visiting after the first time round - no matter what whether they were intended to be funny or not. I have to agree about the Ms Fits blog - very good stuff.
    cheers
    Lynda

    By Blogger Lynda Morgan, at 4:50 pm  

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