I don’t want you all to think I am leaning on a punchline here that everyone has seen a hundred times: the hand-up-the-puppet’s-butt joke. Maybe the first time you laughed at that was when someone said it about Yoda, or even Kookla. No, there’s a reason that joke is in the second panel and not in the first or second punchline spot: it’s not what I intend to be funny.
I’ve done this before…tried to take a universally known joke and use it in a broader context. The reason I like to do that is that “jokes everybody knows” are like “TV shows everyone knows” or “historical events everyone knows” or “small annoyances of life that everyone knows.” They’re another part of that collective unconscious I’m trying to tap into when I write a gag.
Humor in the face of a grim situation has to be my favorite kind. Making fun of one’s own suffering is a more meaningful kind of humor than most, and imbuing this girl with that ability makes her an admirable character to me.
And hey, if you haven’t ever heard a hand-up-the-puppet’s-butt joke before, I’m not above taking the credit for bringing one to you.