Gag-a-minute Linky

People liked something I put on Twitter during the deeply weird events of yesterday morning in NZ politics. It ended up on the Listener blog even (at 1pm). The best bit is that not ten minutes after I wrote that our PM came out with a line that really did sound like it was scripted by the greatest satirist of the antipodes:
“Key was asked if the investigation was an appropriate use of police resources.
‘The good thing is we’ve lowered the crime rate by seven per cent across the country so they do have a little bit of spare time'” (Source)

Humour is a funny thing. (See what I did there?) I’ve always been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes of laugh-getting, the hard graft that goes into working up a gag. Twitter itself is a bit like a giant gag-writer’s room, everyone chucking ideas and variants at the wall until something sticks. There was a great This American Life that looked inside the writer’s room for The Onion, and I’ve been listening lately to Robin & Josie’s Utter Shambles, which is a charming podcast that always seems to end up in a discussion about the nature of comedy-as-work. It’s an inside-baseball look at how comedians interact with each other and position themselves in relation to the rest of the world, and a reminder of just how distinctive is the comedian’s role in society. Highly recommended. The Alan Moore episode is great as a starting point, it’s how I got in.

The usual gang of idiots from MAD magazine had a reunion. Also: Podcast interview with Al Jaffee, who at age 90 is still drawing the fold-in at the back of the mag. Amaaaazing.

Bret McKenzie talks to the NYT about writing songs for the Muppet movie. Like this one:

Gnat questions the value of a degree in computer science vs. getting out into a startup. He’s been losing his former confidence in what was the right course of action. Of interest if you are, or someone you know is, heading towards university age and looking towards a career in coding.

Draw a Stickman

Graphic designer takes issue with that kerning game linked last week

Guy has the script for John Boorman’s 1970 attempt to film Lord of the Rings. He takes you through it. Sounds… wacky. And very 1970s.

Early Star Wars scripts! See how Lucas’s ideas evolved, if you have the patience. I’m more curious why no-one has tried to make a fan-film of one of these early versions…

Ayn Rand: she really, really admired a brutal murderer. Woman had issues.

Film critic Hulk on Happy-Go-Lucky. The all-caps Hulk-speak is exhausting, but stick with it if you’ve seen this film, because this is easily the smartest thing i’ve ever seen written about Mike Leigh’s semi-masterpiece.

The McRib as arbitrage.

Via Ivan: earliest known prank phone call. 1884.

Naomi Klein writes very damn well about climate vs capitalism. Highly highly recommended.

And finally, via Hannah, put some Caruso in your Christmas. Coincidentally, this is the five-year anniversary of when I put this gem in a Friday linky: