April 19, 2008

Seven Jokes That Came True

Some jokes are funny because they're true. Here are seven jokes that were funny because they weren't true, yet.

Joke: The Chris Rock Show (1997)

Reality: OJ Simpson's "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened" (2006)

In their first ever sketch, the writers of HBO's "The Chris Rock Show" really did predict that OJ would one day come clean and tell us with a wink how everything happened. Chris Rock's comedy was always fearless - his guest for that premiere episode was Johnnie Cochran. There was a little bit of luck in how close Chris came to foretelling the future, but it wasn't magic. He just extrapolated OJ's smug attitude and thought, "Where is this heading, and how can we take it one step further?" Unfortunately, like so many writers on this list, they underestimated how far their subject would go.

Unfortunately, Pootie Tang has yet to come true.

Joke: Mr. Show's "Blowing Up The Moon" (1997)

Reality: Toby Keith's Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American" (2001)

When "Mr. Show"s Bob Odenkirk and David Cross wanted to lampoon the aggressive American pride of country music in 1996, they wrote "Blew Moon," a patriotic music video by "C.S. Lewis, Jr." Lewis celebrates an absurd NASA plan to blow up our lunar neighbor by standing in front of the Stars and Stripes with a guitar and warning the celestial object, "You don't mess around with God's America." It was therefore surprising when, five years later, real-life country musician Toby Keith, in an equally pompous though far less ironic move, decided the best way to respond to our crucial post-9/11 international relations was by throwing on a Stetson hat and informing the Middle East, "We'll put a boot in your ass." Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" expresses a nationalistic desire to do to every country east of Turkey what "Blew Moon" wanted to do to a heavenly body. And while the Moon may seem the more foolish target, unlike the Middle East, it doesn't have Kalishnikovs and angry Muslims.

Joke: The Onion's "Fuck Everything We're Doing Five Blades" by the CEO of Gillette (February 2004)

Reality: The five-bladed Gillette Fusion (January 2006)

The Onion's classic "Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades" wasn't the first time someone predicted razors growing out of control. MAD Magazine did an article about a seventy-six bladed razor in 1979, and twenty years later MADtv produced a fake commercial for the relatively tame Mach 20. The Onion's article still feels the most prescient. They predicted not only the number of blades in Gilette's Fusion line of razors, but also the Lubrastrip ("Put another aloe strip on that fucker") and even the trimmer blade that rests on the back of the cartridge ("Make the blades so thin they're invisible. Put some on the handle. I don't care if they have to cram the fifth blade in perpendicular to the other four, just do it!"). Most importantly the humor doesn't come from an absurd number of blades, but from the nationwide pissing contest between Gillette and their competitors.

Joke: Donald Kaufman's script in Adaptation (2002)

Reality: The script for Identity (2003)

(SPOILER WARNING: Major plot points of Identity revealed below)

Of all movies in the "film within a film" sub-genre, 2002's "Adaptation" lives up to its self-referential premise best. Rather than poking fun at tired Hollywood stereotypes ("Actors are vain! Movie producers are greedy! Take that, showbiz!"), Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's story of a neurotic screenwriter finds humor in the un-originality of movies today. Specifically with The 3, an achingly predictable script about a schizophrenic serial killer. But where audiences saw a clever critique of boring movies, Columbia Pictures saw its next paycheck: Identity, released a year later, is essentially The 3 with John Cusack thrown in. In the thriller's third act we learn the cops, the victims, and the killer all exist in a one person's mind. In addition to renforcing Adaptation's commentary on the lack of creativity in manstream films, Identity proposes the theory that the interior of the human mind looks like a motel, and our sub-concious is Ray Liotta.

Joke: The Simpsons "Last Exit to Springfield" (1993)Reality: Batman & Robin (1997)

In that wondrous pre-political era when Arnold Schwarzenegger was content blowing shit up in front of a camera, you didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict the Conan the Barbarian star would continue making his signature awful puns. But, as always, The Simpsons took the Blue Ribbon for Schwarzenegger-based humor when the cartoon's Arnold doppleganger, Rainer Wolfcastle, punches his way through an ice-sculpture at an evil millionaire's soirée and cries, "Ice to see you." But if the Simpsons's writing staff thought the ill-fitting pun would deter future future filmmakers from having Schwarzenegger recite "ice" jokes, they grossly underestimated Batman and Robin director Joel Schumaker. Not only did Schumaker have Arnold as Mr. Freeze bring back the "ice" pun, he subjected viewers to 90 minutes of low-temperature-related quibbles in a film that explains why Christopher Nolan saw the need to hit the RESET button on the Batman franchise.

(Special thanks to Scott Gairdner for his remarkable "Mr. Freeze" montage.)

Joke: Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)

Reality: Rocky Balboa (2006)

Long Before the God-awful Scary Movie franchise ruined the goofball genre with six years of Britney Spears jokes, the Zucker brothers (Airplane! , The Naked Gun) turned zaniness into an art form and provided Leslie Nielsen with work for fifteen years. But even the Zuckers weren't immune from the pop-culture humor that soured the Wayans Bros.' Scary series into what are now the shitteist reels of celluloid currently festering in American theaters. That said, the 1982 sequel to their Airport spoof, Airplane!, was at least prophetic in its requisite pop-culture jokes. A brief gag in Airplane II: The Sequel shows a theatrical poster for Rocky XXXVIII and a feeble, geriatric Stallone in gloves and boxing trunks. Who would have guessed that, 24 years later, a 60-year-old Stallion would return to the ring in earnest for Rocky Balboa? And, being released in the early '80s, not only does the joke predict Balboa, it also predicts Rocky IV and V.

Joke: The Critic's "Hunch! The Musical" (1994)

Reality: Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Short-lived but well-remembered, The Critic's bread and butter was pop culture parodies. Every week the writers challenged themselves to come up with more terrible-yet-plausible movies for their critic, Jay Sherman, to endure. One memorable sequence lampooned Disney's tradition of turning macabre fairy tales into sugar by making Jay endure a Broadway musical based on the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Just two years later, Disney was selling plush dolls of Quasimodo with an adorable and soft wart over his eye. Both the Critic and Disney's musical Hunchbacks turn the book's villains into heroes, take out the sex, and let everyone live at the end. The only thing Jay Sherman didn't see coming was the direct-to-video sequel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2.

Via Collegehumor.com

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