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Funny comments that aren’t funny

November 8, 2017

There’s a whole recent crop of humorous, or would-be humorous remarks that seem to pursue one wherever one goes; pick up a newspaper, switch on the radio, turn on the telly or simply overhear a conversation and there they all are. I’m thinking of, for instance, “What could possibly go wrong?” as a comment on a set-up clearly fraught with peril (“Barbecues? Lots of alcohol, a blazing grill and children running about all over the place – what could possibly go wrong?”) ; “No pressure, then” to comment on an obviously pressurised situation; “said no one ever”, to describe an unconvincing slogan or bit of dialogue; “what he said” to indicate support for a complex proposition that one isn’t confident of getting right; and, most annoying of all, “see what I did there” as a comment on one’s own laboured or unfunny joke.

They all have the same air of tired, lazy irony, and are so well-worn they give the impression of hanging between a set of droopy, frayed inverted commas. For God’s sake, please, can we have some new humorous remarks?

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  1. Simon Carter permalink

    How do these tropes take hold? Can I add “He’s standing behind me, isn’t he?”
    Similarly for many years any chase in a British comedy setting would include someone on a bike who wobbled then fell into a ditch and someone fishing by a canal who then fell into the water. Did anyone ever laugh at this? Or someone drinking, usually tea who would then spray it everywhere to indicate shock.

  2. Yes – all excellent examples. I must admit I quite like the tea-spraying one, though…

  3. Mark Brafield permalink

    I can think of a couple of other examples, but I am not sure which category they fall into. I actually think are quite funny, but you may not. One is ‘conversations you don’t often hear’, as in, ‘conversations you don’t often hear; that flat-pack furniture from Ikea was much quicker and easier to put up than I was expecting’. The other, which I do like, is ‘on a scale of’; ‘on a scale of one to stupid, he was stupid’.

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