Monday, January 31, 2005

Two Inside Jokes

By happenstance, I ran across two inside jokes today.

  1. Mornington Crescent, a game developed on the BBC radio show I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue, which apparently sprang from the show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again.

    There are abstruse pages about Morningon Crescent. And quite a few sites that delve deeply into the lore and legend of the game.

    This page has a charming implentation of the game in java if you scroll down a bit.

    However, if you want to have the inside joke blown, it's revealed here. I suspected as much early on, but it was good to have someone write about it who had experienced it in the trenches.

  2. The second inside joke is one that has purportedly been a standard gag backstage for comics for many decades. It's called "The Aristocrats" and is the basis for a movie of the same name by Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller and the Showtime series Bullshit!) and Paul Provenza. The movie features over a hundred famous comedians (such as Drew Carey, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Eric Idle, Eddie Izzard, et al.), many of them household names.

    I'm not totally sure if the "joke," and therefore the movie, is on the level. Perhaps, recursively, they've made up this so-called "inside joke" so they can have another inside joke that we non-comics don't know about.

    Warning: everything I've seen about "The Aristocrats" as a joke is incredibly filthy. There is a video of the South Park characters telling a version of the joke that is horribly disgusting, and yet Jillette says it's not even in the top five filthiest versions in the movie.

    In the links above you can find (but do not follow them if any profanity, much less horribly disgusting profanity, offends you), you can find a link to the video of the South Park characters telling the joke (very vile, not for under 21 years of age), and a report of Gilbert Gottfried using the joke at a Friar's Club Roast (again, very vile). And much more that one should not download if squeamish.
I suppose I could write about the nature of inside jokes. Or perhaps of anti-humor, or Shaggy Dog Stories, or trolling. But I'm not up for that.

But, oddly, in one day I ran across two elaborate inside jokes that I don't recall having heard of before.

How did I come across them? "The Aristocrats" was featured on The Sundance Channel's programs about the current Sundance Festival, which I watched in part for information about the Strangers with Candy movie. I ran across Mornington Crescent when looking for some old BBC comedy, since podcasting has left me and my new MP3 player cold. This nice fellow has a remarkable set of (non-filthy) old BBC radio programs featuring Stephen Fry up in MP3 form. The main show I was interested in, broadcast in 1987-88 (I think), was Saturday Night Fry, and featured Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, and Jim Broadbent, and is an example of the ilk of British humor I really enjoy (self-referential, playful with language, and sharp), but which I'd never heard before. Recommended.

Not to mention that Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Jim Broadbent, and Emma Thompson have each gone on to some pretty spectacular things after this little comedy show.

If you're into British comedy, by the way, watch Spaced (by the fellows who created the very savvy and funny Shaun of the Dead). It's currently (as in at this very minute as I post) playing on the Trio Channel on cable in the US. I liked Shaun of the Dead a lot, but Spaced is even richer and more hilarious.

1 comment:

april fools jokes said...

Perhaps a little bit off topic, but here's a very cute joke...John was furious when his steak arrived too rare. "Waiter," he shouted, "Didn't you hear me say 'well done'?"
"I can't thank you enough, sir," replied the waiter. "I hardly ever
get a compliment." From Sam at:basicjokes.

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