Comedy comes in many shapes and forms.
Today I find it even more difficult than the past to find genuinely funny comedians, due to the invasiveness of the almost paralysing influence of political correctness.
And that’s before you cover off those comedians of the past who just don’t strike the note for some people. For me, I just never got Jerry Seinfeld for example, or Friends, or The Big Bang Theory… even though I totally got Kaley Cuoco, but that’s where I’ll leave that line of thought!
One comedian who always struck a chord with me, however, isn’t even a comedian. He’s an artist. More accurately, he’s a comic writer, by the name of Gary Larson, a native of Tacoma, Washington state, who's celebrating his 69th birthday today.
For those of you who are long time fans of his, like myself and my old man, you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about. If you’re not, you might have to cast your mind back a way to the days when the News Limited tabloids ran a little strip called The Far Side.
The Far Side was a very surreal look at the world. Sometimes it would take a view of the world through the eyes of animals, or touch on awkward social situations, even everyday situations that we fear or think actually exist as conspiracies (The latter of which produced my favourite ever Far Side cartoon).
So, to honour Gary Larson’s 69th birthday today, 14 August, I thought I’d show you my ten all time favourite Far Side cartoons.
I think this one’s fairly obvious as to why we can appreciate it. We’ve all been there haven’t we? That morbid fear of missing a beat, giving the wrong answer or somehow likewise dropping the ball? Poor Roger, he’s just like us. As Homer Simpson said famously, it’s funny ‘cause it’s true!
This is my dad’s all time favourite, and I love it too. It’s just such a stupid premise. I mean, a cow standing up on its’ hind legs? But think about it. If you were a cow, wouldn’t you want some entertainment in your life, rather than just standing around in a field eating grass all day?
I have watched a grand total of approximately eleven minutes of The Sound of Music in my life. I just can’t get into it, but every human being with a rudimentary knowledge of Hollywood knows the famous song. But what happens if The Sound of Music turned sinister… well, more sinister than it already was, what with being set during the second world war?
The best part of this is that Jane Goodall’s staffers wrote to Gary Larson complaining about how offensive this cartoon was, even though Jane Goodall loved it! Larson even let Goodall republish the cartoon on a line of merchandise for her to use as a fundraiser for her research. I’m not one who goes all gooey and clucky for animals, but that’s just totally cool.
We’ve all been there, and I’m sure this is what it felt like the morning after you had that last bit of food which you really shouldn’t have… my only surprise was that it was the potato salad and not the leftover fish dish.
We've all locked ourselves out of the car and had the roadside assist guy come along and use the coathanger to get us out of our bind, and we all know that animals can't use coathangers, which makes this totally absurd, especially as animals are rarely seen as cunning and smart, even though they are. This one just spoke to me as patently dumb, unrealistic… and just hit the right funny spot.
Poor dog. Poor dumb dog. That’s all…
Yes yes, I know. You’re an animal expert and you’re going to mention that polar bears aren’t found in Antarctica, just as penguins aren’t found in the Arctic. Yes, Larson got plenty of correspondence on that too. But, just for a moment, think about the absurdity of being able to hide in plain sight just by wearing a face mask, and how often that can happen in a human context… well, I think it’s funny anyway…
I went to a selective high school in Sydney, and we had one girl in our grade who did
THIS. EXACT. THING. EVERY. TIME. SHE. VISITED. THE. FRONT. OFFICE. FOR. SIX. WHOLE. YEARS! It’s one hundred percent true.
… and my all time favourite…
Come on, you know this is totally, one hundred percent true and exactly what they really think!
It’s just so irreverent and brilliant, a different way to look at the world. And this is just ten of my favourites. There’s plenty more brilliant cartoons, such as smoking being the reason dinosaurs ACTUALLY became extinct, Einstein’s cleaning lady “squaaaaaaaaaaring” everything away, fire hydrants arriving to take over the world and being humiliated by the neighbour’s dog, the Tooth Fairy making explicit threats to take more than a tooth next time, William Tell’s unlucky younger brother, three pigs wondering what that huffing and puffing sound on the phone is…. Just google “Gary Larson Far Side” and sit back and enjoy.
Thank you for the laughs Gary Larson. Happy Birthday!