Short funny stuff.
August 21, 2012 6:09 PM   Subscribe

I need some great short texts (video clips, short stories, poems, comics, cartoons, pictures) that are funny. Ideally, I want a range of humour here: from Jackass to Shakespeare, from xkcd to Twain...pretty much anything someone finds funny at any level. Should be appropriate for mature 17-18 year olds.

The idea is that I can show/read the text with a group of 30 students and have them do a short analysis (in writing or discussion) of what makes it funny.

This school is fairly liberal, so feel free to suggest something that might be "on the line" and I'll try and post updates to gauge what is "over the line" here.

I'd love everyone to link to the text/picture if possible.

Thanks everyone!
posted by guster4lovers to Education (23 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Almost anything by the oft-mentioned Bill Bryson. I've linked to The Lost Continent, a travelogue that is howlingly funny. Howlingly! (And the chapters are short, for easy pickings.)
posted by scratch at 6:40 PM on August 21, 2012

There's not that much of it available online, but I find the 1990s New Golden Era WB cartoons (Animaniacs, Freakazoid!) to be pretty excellent bits of funny that works on a lot of levels.

It's not a short text, but Duck Soup should be seen by everyone.
posted by hippybear at 6:44 PM on August 21, 2012

I use this image when I'm talking to librarians about social media. There are a whole bunch of different parts of this image that you have to sort of understand in order to really get it.
posted by jessamyn at 6:44 PM on August 21, 2012

If you can find any Ivor Cutler (such as I'm happy or Old Cups of Tea) he was a master of the short and strange.
posted by scruss at 6:51 PM on August 21, 2012

Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons might work for this.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:55 PM on August 21, 2012

Far Side favorite: "So, Professor Jenkins!... My old nemesis!... We meet again, but this time, the advantage is mine!" (In Lego. The original, here, buried at the bottom of the comments, is still hilarious.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:09 PM on August 21, 2012

Here's a multi-textual snippet of Animaniacs, from Woodstock Slappy... Who's On Stage.
posted by hippybear at 7:13 PM on August 21, 2012

Oh, and much to my surprise, here is the entire cartoon, Woodstock Slappy.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also have to put in a vote for Tom Lehrer's "Be Prepared":

"Be prepared! that's the boy scout's marching song,
Be prepared! as through life you march along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well,
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:16 PM on August 21, 2012

Red Meat may be pushing the line.
posted by usonian at 7:42 PM on August 21, 2012

Julian Smith's PIE.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:58 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Louis vs. Rick
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:19 PM on August 21, 2012

I'm sure that Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy series is rife with quotes, and various Monty Python sketches would also work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 PM on August 21, 2012

She doesn't update anymore (sadly), but Allie Brosh's has >dozens >of >truly >hilarious >short >bits.

one more.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 8:27 PM on August 21, 2012

Totally agree with The Far Side.

These are the other things that make me happiest:

Hyperbole and a Half (all of them, but perhaps especially Dogs Don't Understand Moving

The Bloggess's Giant Chicken (language may be unsuitable)

This Natalie Dee Comic

This Savage Chickens comic

This Perry Bible Fellowship comic

Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts

Ian Frazier's Lamentations of the Father

Phillip Lopate's poem We Who Are Your Closest Friends

Dave Barry's Bad Song Survey (1, 2, 3 ) (though these may not be funny to 17-18 year olds who aren't familiar with the 'music').

Monty Python's Argument Clinic and Norwegian Blue

Steve Martins's Holiday wishes

Celebrity Lullabyes (warning: contains Ricky Gervais and Elmo)
posted by Mchelly at 8:32 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

A Dave Barry column.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:57 PM on August 21, 2012

David Sedaris, too.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:05 PM on August 21, 2012

I should have mentioned the texts for the class are:
Me Talk Pretty One Day
America (The Book)
Confederacy of Dunces (not sure I'll use this, as I haven't read it)
Dave Barry Turns 40 (not a fan of his, but might use it as contrast for Sedaris)
Monty Python: Search for the Holy Grail.

I haven't seen anything that is over the line yet (not even Red Meat). Thanks for the amazing suggestions - I've decided to go with an SNL Celebrity Jeopardy skit (with Sean Connery and Turn Ferguson) for the first day, and I'll make my way through these (and any future!) suggestions.

You guys saved me hours down the "funny video on youtube" rabbit hole...which I can't afford when I have three new classes to prep and students to teach tomorrow! I heart metafilter.

(and I'm TOTALLY using hyperbole and a half...I hadn't thought of using it until ya'll mentioned it. One of the funniest things out there on the interwebs)
posted by guster4lovers at 9:08 PM on August 21, 2012

Stan Freberg and the Declaration of Independence

"Surly to bed, surly to rise" was trotted out almost every day at my house growing up.
posted by phunniemee at 9:22 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, if you're looking for something on video that could be a chance bit of funny, there's this moment from the British quiz show QI:

"They say of the Acropolis, where the Parthenon is...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:18 AM on August 22, 2012

Doctor Fun
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:14 AM on August 22, 2012

Please use Confederacy of Dunces in your class. It's awesome.

I'm going to suggest Mitch Hedberg if you want some stand-up. He had some crude language but any of his Letterman appearances would be great for 17-18 year olds.
posted by jabes at 5:57 AM on August 22, 2012

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