Author Topic: Broken funny bone

sam

Broken funny bone
« on: June 03, 2015 »
Cyclists aren't funny.

This of course raises several possible objections, including "Who are you calling a cyclist? I'm just riding a bike," and "You don't get to decide what's funny!"

As being a cyclist doesn't exercise me much, I'll briefly alight upon this very serious question: What is funny?

At this point many would open the dictionary to Robin Williams, and I'd agree.


It's a movie – make him move


Ditto Steven Wright, Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran, The Peep Show duopoly, and other wildly successful comedians who give that profession a good name. Fewer would nod their heads at the entry for, say, Garry Shandling, who I regard as sublime, but everyone's entitled to their opinion, even the unenlightened.

Fortunately for my powers of exposition, funny can't really be explained. It just is. This is why jokes which come with instruction manuals almost never go viral. Nor does funny consult the ethics lobe of your brain. Laugh when it feels natural, then feel guilty about it later, if you must.

The success of cycling humour partly depends on how subversive the joke is to cyclists. Everyone agrees you've got to be able to laugh at yourself; what they usually forget to add is that it should be in a way that also threatens to be uncomfortable. Many cyclists are as nunplussed by actual examples of humour as noncyclists are nonplussed by cyclists.



There is also an approved list of funny in the cycling milieu:
• Sheldon Brown. Brown was a technical genius, or at least someone very very dedicated to explaining that side of things to an appreciative audience (I'm not technically minded enough to pronounce on his actual genius). Funny? Not so much. His legendary April Fools were the stuff of legend, but only truly amusing to those who already regarded him as a cycling god. Like every other pronouncement I make, this is obviously my opinion, even when it coincides with fact.

• Ken Kifer. If anybody's keeping track, so far I have only been picking on dead men. Ken did much to advance the cause of cycling, just none of it was very funny. That was hardly his raison d'être. The main reason he's in this shortlist is because he had a section on his influential site linking to the sort of gentle unfunny humour that used to predominate in the cycling world before the nastier new normal.

• Bikesnobnyc. The bikesnob is genuinely funny, and a talented writer to boot. I think much of his popularity is because people are snobs at heart, and he tapped into that. He also has a mean streak, and an awful lot of people like that, too. Then there's the fact that anybody who rips off me, even if it's petty theft, clearly has good instincts.

I make no pretense to be a comedian. It's not even remotely on my career path. I write what I write, photoshop what comes tumbling out of my brain, and let the chips fall where they may.



Some of it probably is funny. Some might fall more under the label of self indulgent twaddle that critics have used, which almost sounds as if could be a term of endearment. Any laughs are commensurate with the absurdity of life. Perhaps, like Andy Kaufman, I'm really a song and dance man.




I was prompted to write this after losing almost two a half percent of my Twitter Followership because of a short work of absurdist, possibly humorous fiction which I personally feel went horribly right. You decide.

For many pedallers, cycling is too literally life or death not to be taken seriously almost all of the time. This includes not just commuters, but the sports fans out there. You don't have to look further than The Rules to see how seriously people take their Eddy Merckx.

I stopped reading the bikesnob a long time ago because it physically hurt to read someone I thought was that good. Fortunately later random reviews of his work gave me some relief on that score. Also, he became to me a writer it was largely unneccesary to read because he was such a known quantity.

In today's brave new world if it isn't liked, it isn't lol. You'll be lucky if they stop at wtf.



Yes, I know what a duopoly is. That's either an example of ha-ha funny or huh? funny, I can't decide.