Written by Rodd Justice
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Topics: TV

Thursday, 6 December 2001

The government has commissioned a special report into the humour associated with events that are inherently unfunny.

Heading the investigation will be a team of experts on the subject, the creators of ITV's

"Sketch Show".

NOT FUNNY: Adverts in the cinema

Thirty-second trailers on television rarely get even a light chuckle. In fact, when adverts come onto the television, they are watched blankly, with little recognition. This phenomenon is also associated with people staring out of bus windows, on the telephone, or when passing by a homeless person. However, often the very same adverts get howls of laughter from people when they are on in the cinema. Why? They aren't any funnier; if anything they are less so, because the adverts make you wonder why you were required to pay a £4.50 entrance fee. To understand this phenomenon, the investigators intend to use a psychological test similar to the one seen in the cinema scene in the film "A Clockwork Orange". The government hopes that the research will lead to useful information on the nature of advertising.

NOT FUNNY: Afro-man

Yes, we all found it funny the first time we heard it.

That "child support" line was very daring, wasn't it? To be honest, the second time I heard the lame track I knew the novelty value had quickly worn off. I remember the incident; the moment of realisation. I was in my friend's car. I remember hearing the phrase, "have you heard this? It's well funny". I can see his hand turn to the dial to turn it up?louder, more penetrating. It was the loudest spell of mediocrity I've ever experienced. It grated. It chafed the senses. The song had lost all of its appeal. For the first time ever, I yearned for Theakston's voice to signal the end of the song, but even he couldn't let the nightmare end without saying "I love that track", and letting it play out to the full. How anyone can laugh at Afro-man, and the emotional, physical and audio torture that it put me through, I will never understand.

NOT FUNNY: Ralf Little

Ralf Little seems to be the most popular actor at the BBC. His wanton and sickening use of lad-isms is extremely annoying, yet his cocky approach at numerous award ceremonies seem to delight audiences. The low point for me was his appearance on Channel 4's chemical-toilet-inspired "Priory" show. Saying, "that's my bird".

References to "Loaded" and "FHM" followed, along with light chat about football. However, he has won even the critics over, with his spoof parody of genuinely amusing sitcoms, "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps".

NOT FUNNY: Microsoft/Bill Gates Satire

Satire is one of the most effective ways of provoking thought I am sure you agree.

However, the Internet is choc-a-block with highly un-amusing and knuckle-headed critiques of Microsoft, and it's megabucks owner, Bill Gates. Recent debacles include "Microsoft Buys the Oceans Because It Has So Much Money" and "Gates Marries Virtual Humanoid-Monkey". Many connoisseurs of Internet literature have raised some intriguing theories to this genre of twit-comedy.

Buff Miglorious, lecturer at Yahoo University, says, "many of the pieces are written on Microsoft Word, sent via Outlook, and viewed using Internet Explorer. Surely the authors of such pieces are either a) parodying their own use of Microsoft products, b) nerds angry that Mr Gates has stole the nerdy limelight or c) stupid beyond my wildest dreams". The answer is all of the above.

More to follow - RJ out.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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