100 jokers who shaped modern comedy
Illustration by Giacomo Gambineri
4,000 years of humor
At Vulture, Jesse David Fox talks about 100 sketches and one-liners that changed humor forever — from the Marx Brothers to The Simpsons, Richard Pryor to Amy Schumer.
The oldest joke on record, a Sumerian proverb, was first told all the way back in 1900 B.C. Yes, it was a fart joke, Fox says, and adds “it’s just a shame we’ll never know the name of the Sumerian genius, but much easier to assign credit for innovations in joke-telling, which is exactly what Vulture set out to do with this list of the 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy.”
Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Surely you can’t be serious.
I am serious … and don’t call me Shirley.
Airplane! is arguably the quintessential cinematic example of brilliantly stupid humor, and this joke may be the stupidest — and therefore, the best. The 1980 classic abounds with quotable one-liners and layered jokes that improve with time, but no one steals the show more than the straight-faced Leslie Nielsen imploring Robert Hays to land their out-of-control plane.
THIS & THAT
How Joan Didion the Writer Became Joan Didion the Legend
In Vanity Fair, Lili Anolik writes:
In a 1969 column for Life, her first for the magazine, Joan Didion let drop that she and husband, John Gregory Dunne, were…in Honolulu “in lieu of filing for divorce,” surely the most famous subordinate clause in the history of New Journalism.
The poise of it, the violence, the cool-bitch chic—a writer who could be the heroine of a Godard movie!—takes the breath away, even after all these years….Didion…is a brilliant writer, sentence for sentence, among the best this country’s ever produced…
Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne at work in Trancas, California, in 1972.
By Henry Clarke/The Condé Nast Archive.
What I do want to do is get her right. And… since 2005, when she published the first of her two loss memoirs, one about Dunne, the other about Quintana, her daughter, she’s been gotten … egregiously wrong… I’m talking about the canonization of Didion, Didion as St. Joan, Didion as Our Mother of Sorrows.
Didion is not, let me repeat, not a holy figure, nor is she a maternal one. She’s cool-eyed and cold-blooded, and that coolness and coldness…is the source of her fascination as much as her artistry is; the source of her glamour too, and her seductiveness, because she is seductive, deeply. What she is is a femme fatale, and irresistible. She’s our kiss of death, yet we open our mouths, kiss back.
12 Powerful War Novels that Transcend War
That war stories must occur in strange lands far from home, filled with bullets and blood, remains a powerful fallacy, novelist Matt Gallagher writes at Off the Shelf, and, he adds, the consequences and effects of war can’t be contained so neatly.
“Stories of war are stories of love, stories of loss and longing, stories of hope. Stories of war are stories of before and after, of inheritance and memory. The best stories of war are so much more than stories of armed conflict. They are stories of humanity.”
Democracy by Joan Didion
To call this a Vietnam novel would be both accurate and far too constraining.
Set against the backdrop of the Fall of Saigon, DEMOCRACY chronicles an ill-fated romance and the beginning of the end of the American empire.
17 Uncomfortable Images That Tell The Cynical Truth About Our World
Art has the incredible ability to reveal uncomfortable truths about our world and evoke some serious emotions, a story in Higher Perspective says.
Truly, the modern world is pretty crazy and strange. It’s easy to ignore it – it’s pretty much all our culture tries to get us to do. That’s why Joe Webbart, an artist responsible for making these collages, decided to step up and reveal the truth.
“All of my images are hand-made, without the use of computers,” writes Webbart. “I find the images in newspapers, magazines given on trains, buses and bins. My collages work to a basic rule of sourcing just two or three images. With these I can reinvent the original scene to communicate a new idea. I suppose I’ve become fairly anti-technology. Although I now promote my art on websites, own an iPhone and use Facebook. It’s confusing, I wish I had been born 100 years ago.”
Quote of the Day
There’s only one month for this?
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