Here, watch me ruin something funny by trying to explain it

On July 5, 2010 by Eden M. Kennedy

I know that not everyone digs Kate Beaton (DANIELLE), but I am not one of them who doesn’t.

I’ve been reading a book about comedy writing that Alice recommended, so I thought I’d take a minute to try to figure out what makes Beaton’s cartoons so funny to me. In this one, it’s when she lets the king get over-serious about total nonsense, in the exact same way that I am tempted to get over-serious about these cartoons. Irony!

She’s also really good at undermining great authors that we’ve been taught to respect so much that we’re afraid to breathe when we’re around them.

That appeals to me, as someone who’s been somewhat oppressed by higher education, and who read just enough Kierkegaard to make me dangerous at cocktail parties, but not enough to earn more than a C on the final.

The rest of the time, it’s the way she has old-timey people speak in the current vernacular.

So, hey! That was uneducational, wasn’t it. Sorry, I’m still getting used to this blogging thing again. I’ll get it worked out. Don’t you worry.



37 Responses to “Here, watch me ruin something funny by trying to explain it”

  • I like her (a little bit), I swear! I just get sick of her internet overexposure.

  • Call me weird but I think it’s funny too.

  • That sound you just heard? It was me laughing out loud. We’re friends for a reason, yo.

  • Some people are just funny because they are…like you, Mrs. Kennedy, but Mike Sacks is funny because his name is funny. All joshing aside, the “comedy writing” link es muy malo.

    Keep writin’, we’ll keep readin’.

  • Well, I had never heard of her. And now I think I will make my husband a shirt that says “old as balls” for his next birthday. So, consider me educated and whatnot.

  • The last one made me laugh. Thanks for sharing!

  • God I love Kate Beaton. I want to borrow her brain.

    For me it’s her use of the vernacular. A huge pet peeve of mine is that historical fiction is overwhelmed with ‘My Lord’s and all this stiff, fusty, unbelievable dialogue that the present day bestows on the past. I envy her drawing style so much, too.

  • I want to read a book about comedy writing! But your link is b0rked. :(

  • That is freaken hilarious. Thanks for introducing me to her! a durp durp….lol :)

  • God, Srah, thanks for the real link, I’d “fixed” it TWICE and still couldn’t make it work!?

  • I love the king staring so intently at the “durp a durp” routine. That is funny.

  • Oh god she is hilarious! And brilliant! And I have just spent three hours reading her stuff instead of working. And I’m paying for it now.

    It’s not her FAULT she may seem overexposed to some. Good stuff gets overexposed. Just quit reading so many blogs and it’ll stop. I for one didn’t know she existed! Thank you, Mrs. Kennedy!!!

  • I mean, you can’t really feel any older than “balls”, can you? Even a middle aged woman’s upper arm flab does not compare to the perception that balls are just older.

  • I’m sorry, Danielle, I didn’t mean to make you take ANY heat for something that you obviously had been far more exposure to than some of the rest of us. I think I’ve just been so removed from a lot of popular stuff that maybe I overasserted here. Everyone, Danielle is awesome and far hipper than I am, so be cool.

  • That should be be “had far more exposure to.” Thank you. Jesus.

  • OK OK. Sorry Danielle. But she’s funny. And I live under a rock.

  • Hmmmm. Well, I’ve never heard of her before and I must say that I don’t see what would make you crack up with hysteria. It’s mildly cute but only in the way that makes me smile instead of out and out laugh.

    • I don’t recall promising that you’d “crack up with hysteria,” but smiling in mild amusement is absolutely appropriate here.

  • I love Kate Beaton! I can’t give any kind of rational analysis of her work without just deteriorating into a slobbering fanboy. My wife doesn’t quite get it.

  • Everything I know about Canadian history I learned from Kate Beaton. She has a way of making characters come alive that never fails to grab me. And shake me vigorously until I stop giggling.

  • Also, I’m dangerous at cocktail parties for entirely different reasons.

  • I think you’ve nailed one of the elements of humor writing, which you do so effortlessly but some of us have to study — the verbal tension of old timey people with modern language is funny. Which is also why we think Betty White is funny. She says “balls.”

  • I want hair-curls like that, that look like balls-curls. Suggestive and shit.

  • I am laughing hysterically. Love these cartoons. Going to pass along your post – thanks Eden! lol!

  • I had never hear of Kate Beaton. The panel with Charlie D. and his vision of hotness (durr) alone is enough to make me laugh out loud. Thanks, Mrs. Kennedy (and Danielle!) for exposing we, the underexposed.

  • I thought the old as balls one was hilarious! Never heard of this Kate Beaton but that is okay never heard about lots of people LOL

    Popping over from an article that featured your blog as being successful money wise :)

  • “Show me some respect.” This first “cartoon” gets me rocking back and forth like an autistic child on a case of red bull. This is my first time at (via Yahoo link) and I’ve never heard of Kate Beaton. But of one thing I am unanimously decided, Mrs. (am I being presumptuous here?) Kennedy, Mrs. Beaton and countless other women of the “sex and the city generation,” get their minds and anecdotes on so completely backwards, that I wonder how long it will be until they truly tire of living their lives in the locker room with the guys. By all that is holy, natural and biological in this universe, when will understand themselves? The cartoon may be accurate, if the captions are reversed. It is man, whom in all likelihood would incline to chide the jester as “nonsense” and it is women that would most likely seek to defend his essence, as she does the “career” of child-rearing. Does no-one have a sense of the true reality behind social illusion? Or maybe this is all well executed irony and the jokes on me. Nevertheless, I suppose it is high time the modern woman revisit Camille Paglia, “Sexual Personae” no doubt, and re-teach themselves the truth behind their gender.

    • It’s actually “show some respect” (for the jester) not “show ME some respect” (as I think you imagine the queen is demanding? I’m not actually sure what you’re reacting to at all, frankly). I also enjoy the fact that you, as a solitary individual, declare yourself capable of a unanimous decision.

  • I think old as balls is going to be my new favorite saying. I lurve you.

  • Ah, Mrs. Kennedy, I giddily jump with butterfly claps to confess, you are, in fact, peering into a dark well of bottomless humor. And who says I’m a solitary individual? On the contrary, I have many personalities that are quite contentious at the dinner table, it’s a rue to have them agree, entertainment subsides, but low and behold, the truth transpires!

    P.S. I’m glad you enjoy my, facts, they can be a well balanced bouquet with the right cheese.

  • I read about you on Yahoo! this morning. I thought it would be fun to look into this whole “blogging” thing. It sounded like fun. For some reason I assumed your blog would be similar to reading Erma Bombeck’s columns. I was disappointed. First I see the ad about Tampons. No big deal but the wording at the bottom threw me into a different state of mind. Then I thought that “Erma” is probably aware of the ad but the times have changed. She puts up with it but SURELY she herself is classier. Then I read your post about you writing what you want and if someone doesn’t like it they can go fornicate with themselves. Very sad for me. Even more sad for your mother and grandmother. I’m sure they had higher hopes for you.

    • Who on God’s green earth told you to expect Erma Bombeck here? Don’t try to make your limited expectations my problem. My mother liked my blog, and she was proud of me, and if you’d read through almost nine years of archives, you might know that. But it’s easier to be a judgmental dick, I know.

  • Erma? Eden?

    Anyway, I saw the write up on Yahoo, too! Thumbs up, Mrs. Kennedy!

  • I must be a snob. I like Roz Chast eversomuch better. But some fun nonetheless.

  • P.S. ERMA??? no no nononononono. We like Eden eversomuch better than Erma.

  • Kate is also a dear AND she is only 25 years old. She rocks so much harder than almost anybody else.