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Oscar Dementiev
Oscar Dementiev

Cracked Funny

The magazine Wired has called Cracked "addictive", "hauntingly funny" and "terrifyingly well-informed".[62] Mother Jones called "one of the hottest humor sites on the web" and said its content includes "some of the most uproarious and sage commentary on the interwebs", describing it as "striking the right balance of pop culture, bawdy humor, and intellect".[63] In one month, Cracked users spent over 255 million minutes on the site, which is 5 times more than Comedy Central's site and 9 times more than Funny or Die.[5]

Cracked Funny

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You ever have that funny friend, the class-clown type, who one day just stopped being funny around you? Did it make you think they were depressed? Because it's far more likely that, in reality, that was the first time they were comfortable enough around you to drop the act.

Because Cracked is driven by an army of aspiring comedy writer freelancers, the message boards are full of a certain personality type. And while I don't know what percentage of funny people suffer from depression, from a rough survey of the ones I know and work with, I'd say it's approximately "all of them." So when I hear some naive soul say, "Wow, how could a wacky guy like just ? He was always joking around and having a great time!" my only response is a blank stare.

So I don't know Robin Williams' situation, and I don't need to -- I can go scoop up an armload of examples without leaving my chair. As one of the head guys at Cracked, I'm surrounded by literally hundreds of comedy writers, and I inhabit the body of one. Kristi Harrison recently wrote about the psychological dark side of being funny, and was speaking from experience. Or, here's John Cheese talking about his recent adventures on antidepressants. Here's Mark Hill on his depression, here's Dan O'Brien on his social anxiety, here's Tom Reimann on his, and here's C. Coville on the same. Here's Mara Wilson on having an anxiety disorder, here's Felix Clay on regret, here's Gladstone on emotional trauma, and Adam Brown on almost dying from cough syrup addiction. Those are just the ones off the top of my head. You get the idea.

Yeah, and Chris Farley just made wacky slapstick movies about a fat guy who falls down a lot, right up until he stopped his own heart with a drug cocktail. The medium has nothing to do with it -- comedy, of any sort, is usually a byproduct of a tumor that grows on the human soul. If you know a really funny person who isn't tortured and broken inside, I'd say A) they've just successfully hidden it from you, B) their fucked-uppedness is buried so deep down that even they're in denial about it, or C) they're just some kind of a mystical creature I can't begin to understand. I'm not saying anything science doesn't already know, by the way. Find a comedian, and you'll usually find somebody who had a shitty childhood.

3. You soon learned that being funny builds a perfect, impenetrable wall around you -- a buffer that keeps anyone from getting too close and realizing how much you suck. The more you hate yourself, the stronger you need to make the barrier and the further you have to push people away. In other words, the better you have to be at comedy.

Be there when they need you, and keep being there even when they stop being funny. Every time they make a joke around you, they're doing it because they instinctively and reflexively think that's what they need to do to make you like them. They're afraid that the moment the laughter stops, all that's left is that gross, awkward kid everyone hated on the playground, the one they've been hiding behind bricks all their adult life. If they come to you wanting to have a boring-ass conversation about their problems, don't drop hints that you wish they'd "lighten up." It's really easy to hear that as "Man, what happened to the clown? I liked him better."

As for me, I haven't thought about suicide in a long time, not since high school, when a guy talked me out of it, though to this day I doubt he realizes it. So, I lived on to wind up with a job where one of my tasks is to ban people who follow him from one comment section to another telling him he's not funny and should kill himself. Is that ... irony? Shit, I don't think English has a word for what that is.

Oliver Stone turned his Vietnam experiences into this sobering war drama. Platoon wanted you to know there was definitely nothing funny about a conflict that had needlessly destroyed so many lives.

Look, there are whole posts dedicated to chronicling the funny parts of the final installment of the acclaimed trilogy. That said, what most people remember about The Return of the King is its epic grandeur, not necessarily its side-splitting moments.

Was Sylvester Stallone ever more charming than he was here? Soon to be better known for action spectacle, he first broke through with this disarming story of a local loser who gets a shot at the title. Stallone played Rocky as an unassuming sweetheart, a guy who was just naturally funny without trying to be. Rocky was corny, but it was a good kind of corny.

The movie that resurrected the Hollywood musical, Chicago features funny performances from Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere, each of whom is playing a schemer of one kind or another. Even the musical numbers are often pretty witty, combining electric choreography with smart visual humor.

I also like funny books. Not books about comedy, or memoirs by funny people -- I like funny novels. Funny stories with funny characters and good dialogue. I want books that are as funny as Ghostbusters or The Simpsons.

That's why it's so frustrating that, unlike movies and shows, it's almost impossible in this world to find funny damned novels. If you've ever spent time in a library or bookstore looking for a reliably hilarious novel, you already know what's annoying about it.

Have you ever been to the humor section at a Barnes & Noble? It's a freaking nightmare. Sure, some books that end up in it might be pretty funny (and one book found in the humor section in particular is not only the funniest book ever written, but also remarkably affordable), but for the most part, you'll find old comic book anthologies, books full of funny party jokes that are, without exception, horrendous and small coffee table books that started out as Internet blogs/memes.

You might find some (terrible) books that try to teach you how to be funny, but you certainly won't find any funny novels there. You'll find musings from Larry the Cable Guy and pictures of cats making stupid faces (these, in fact, might be the same book), but nothing that would make you say, "Hey, wow, this is like Wet Hot American Summer, but in book form!"

That's because they don't put novels in the humor section. Even if they're hilarious, they stick them with every other novel. And if you're digging through just the general fiction section, you'll have a hard time finding funny books, because ...

No novel ever written is completely devoid of jokes, so, as a result, the description on the back or inside cover of almost every novel says something like "At equal times heartbreaking, intense and totally funny, this book is a must-read" or "Exhilarating and sexy, with a great sense of humor!" Go into a bookstore and pick up any novel, and I guarantee you one out of every three will have either "surprisingly hilarious" or "flat out funny!" slapped on there. The government should honestly be able to step in and legislate the number of times publishing houses can advertise their books as "funny." The back of my copy of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections says "surprisingly funny," and I guess there are a few funny lines, but at the end of the day, it's a book about Parkinson's disease and an entire family that suffers from depression.

I don't know what the criteria is for getting "funny" slapped onto the back of a book, but I have to assume it's "having a number of different words," because that's the only thing that The Great Gatsby (heartbreaking and brutal) has in common with Christopher Moore's Lamb (almost impossibly hilarious), both of which have the word "funny" printed on the back cover.

Almost every truly funny book that I've found was discovered by accident. I'll go to a bookstore and pick something out either because of its cover (this is a good thing to do, children) or because the description on the back sounds like it might be funny. Since every description tries to make every novel sound funny, it's a total crapshoot. For every time I blindly stumbled into a Lamb or a Tricky Business or a John Dies at the End (now a major motion picture that just debuted at the Sundance film festival!), there were plenty of times where I ended up with a bunch of novels that were terrible that I won't mention by name because that would be rude (except for About the Author, which was so terrible that I'm still mad that I read it six years ago).

Tina Fey, one of the best writers to ever come out of Saturday Night Live, Paul Feig, creator of Freaks and Geeks, The Office's Mindy Kaling, Michael Ian Black and Patton Oswalt are all very funny, and they've all written memoirs or books of essays. And that's fine, because those books are great, but, again, if you're looking for a Simpsons episode in book form, you won't find it (except, perhaps, for that one written by a Simpsons writer, which is actually very good).

There are a few exceptions. Steve Martin writes novels and Hugh Laurie wrote The Gun Seller, one of the coolest and funniest books I've ever read, but for the most part, you're left wandering around bookstores, hoping that this random book that has "funny" in the description actually means it, because at any given time, the No. 1 book on Amazon in the category of humor is probably just a bunch of stories about Chelsea Handler fucking.

Most "Hilarious Novel" lists you'll find online stick almost exclusively to books published in the early 1900s (at the absolute latest), like they get extra credit for citing obscure older books that are usually less "hilarious" and more "surprisingly not dated" (I don't care how many New Yorker "Funniest Novels of All Time" lists it appears in, Tristram Shandy is not a fucking funny book). 041b061a72


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