What's funny about potatoes?
June 14, 2006 2:01 PM   Subscribe

What is funny and/or interesting about potatoes?

I've been given the opportunity to draw a weekly strip for a magazine with a very limited audience: potato farmers.

The obvious thing to do would be to make a strip about a potato and his adventures. So I'm not going to do that. Off the top of my head, I think the adventures of some sort of personified blight might be more interesting, though that could change.

The thing seems to be completely open—I just need to make a strip that would "give a potato farmer a chuckle". I need to learn about potatoes, I guess; probably the only way to make something that's funny about potatoes is to know a lot about them.

So, does anyone know any interesting facts about potatoes, or little bits of interesting trivia?
posted by interrobang to Home & Garden (90 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

you can run a clock on them.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:07 PM on June 14, 2006

Its about time someone started catering to the potato farmers of america.

- Dan Quayle (too soon?)
- potatoes can get corns. Like feet!
- Meat and potato guys can't express their emotions! thats funny stuff!
- Tuber is a funny word
posted by ZackTM at 2:08 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

One day at a party I met a girl, the fiancé of my co-worker who worked as a food scientist. Mostly she studied rancidity, like how food goes rancid and how different chemicals can mask that (apparently most of the meat we eat is rancid. Anything on pizza, except (she said) pizza hut).

Anyway, apparently there's a chemical in potatoes that makes you feel much more satiated then you actually are after eating them. So her company was making this "diet pill" out of the skins of potatoes where this chemical was concentrated. So they bought tons and tons of potatoes, skinned them (to make the diet pills) and then they threw away the rest of the potato. Their biggest expense was disposing of all these tons and tons of peeled potatoes.

Anyway, I thought that was kind of funny.
posted by delmoi at 2:11 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Cheryl Wheeler wrote a wonderful song about them.
posted by neurodoc at 2:12 PM on June 14, 2006

There's got to be some way to work in a conspiracy-theory-nut baked potato who wears a tinfoil hat.
posted by smackfu at 2:20 PM on June 14, 2006

The Nameless Purple Potato is the Superman of the tuber universe.
posted by clh at 2:21 PM on June 14, 2006

There might be some ideas at the PEI Potato Museum. Fun place - I've been twice!
posted by GuyZero at 2:22 PM on June 14, 2006

Northern Maine is a place that is pretty thick with potato farms. It's also a pretty quirky place. The public school kids there start school three weeks early, then get three weeks off in October to help with the picking of the potatoes.

My first instinct was that it would be best to have the strip be about the farmers themselves as opposed to the potatoes. I'm sure there are lots of funny things that actually happen on the farms. But you'd have to get a potato farmer to tell you stories.

Then I thought maybe instead of a strip about adventures of an anthropomorphized potato, it would be funnier to have it be about a farmer who converses with his potatoes that speak but are otherwise normal. Then I remembered that potatoes live underground, so that would be a problem.

Once, I was in Southern Maine (NOT many potato farms there), driving around this guy who was in Maine for the first time from like Oregon or something. He saw all the cow fields and said "so, is it safe to assume that these are all potato fields?" I thought it was kinda funny. But maybe on the larger scale, it's not. Unless the strip clearly showed cows in the fields. Then maybe it would be a little funny. But more in a WTF? kind of way.
posted by lampoil at 2:25 PM on June 14, 2006

I would suspect that people who are potato farmers, unless they are totally hands-off CEOs of large potato farming corporations, are interested NOT in potatoes per se, but in the business of farming them. The stuff that will give them a giggle is not about potatoes, but about the business and the farm-type activities and the situations people find themselves in when they are potato farmers.

Therefore, I'd recommend talking to some of the potato farmers (NOT to the employees of the membership organization that may be paying you to do the strip). Go straight to the readership. Ask them how they've enjoyed their careers, what they would say to someone looking to get into the business. People love to talk about their memories and the little quirks of their line of work. Ask them for funny stories: what was the weirdest problem you ever had on the farm? Cutest practical joke among the farmhands? Oddest wildlife moment? What did you hate the most and what did you really look forward to in your day? What are some of the pitfalls of the business, the things that make you hit your forehead with your hand and mutter in irritation?

The problem with this approach is that your ideas might then veer into the possibly controversial. You've got to be aware of your audience and what topics are sensitive for them. For example, one of the farmers tells a hilarious story about a migrant farmhand putting one over on the mean boss. But can you really put a cartoon based on that story in a newsletter that, in all likelihood, is mainly read by the mean-boss crowd and up, not the migrant population? The story might be tellable by/to anyone in a one-on-one situation, depending on their politics and personal history, and you might do a really funny cartoon about it, but to distribute it to a whole subscribership of farmer bosses is probably unwise.

To recap: 1. It ain't the vegetable, it's the business of growing' em. 2. Know your audience. 3. No, really, know your audience.
posted by gillyflower at 2:26 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Having it take place underground is an interesting idea...
posted by interrobang at 2:27 PM on June 14, 2006

Having it take place underground is an interesting idea...

There you go. Make it about potatoes who are themselves potato farmers (maybe they grow a smaller, non-talking variety). Or you could make it even more meta and have it be about a potato who has difficulty coming up with a funny cartoon strip to draw about potato farmers.
posted by mattbucher at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2006

Contributed by my fiancée:

1. Potatoes have lots of eyes.

2. They are a member of the nightshade family.

3. There are always those crazy upstart 'new' potatoes.

4. They have funny names: German fingerling, pink blossom, yellow fin, desiree, rose fur, ruby crescent, bintje, red laSoda, etc. German fingerling potato meets Desiree the seductress potato!

5. Potatoes with green skin are toxic.

6. Potatoes are the #1 source of vitamin C in the American diet--simply because they are the most consumed vegetable!

7. Gas given off by onions spoils potatoes and vice versa--so you can't store them next to each other. (Onions that have gas -- ha ha ha ha ha ha).

8. Don't forget sweet potatoes, yams, and so on. Plus French fries, freedom fries.

9. A. A. Milne said: "If a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow."

10. An old Irish saying: "If beef's the King of Meat, then Potato's the Queen of the Garden World."

11. And, obviously, potatoes can be prepared lots of different ways: crinkle cut, waffle cut, fried, shoestring, mashed, smashed, roasted, baked--lots of puns in there.
posted by josh at 2:47 PM on June 14, 2006

Having it take place underground is an interesting idea...

There you go. Make it about potatoes who are themselves potato farmers (maybe they grow a smaller, non-talking variety). Or you could make it even more meta and have it be about a potato who has difficulty coming up with a funny cartoon strip to draw about potato farmers.

Or, potatos who are potato farmer farmers...and who pull the potato farmers into the ground when they're ripe...mwahaha
posted by leapingsheep at 2:50 PM on June 14, 2006

Then I thought maybe instead of a strip about adventures of an anthropomorphized potato, it would be funnier to have it be about a farmer who converses with his potatoes that speak but are otherwise normal. Then I remembered that potatoes live underground, so that would be a problem.

Instead of having them actually speak, you could just have a Garfield-style thought balloon emerging from the ground at the end of the strip to deliver the punch line. Maybe that's kind of a cliche but I think that's OK if the writing is good.

My idea was to have potatoes travelling to Europe to bring Sir Walter Raleigh to the New World. Hmm.
posted by teleskiving at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2006

I am going to feel free to brainstorm here.
My dad told me this story:

He sent off $1 in the mail for a sure-fire method to kill potato bugs from the back of a magazine. 6-8 weeks later, he got a slip of paper with thse instructions:

1) Place potato bug on hard surface.
2) Position rock over bug
3) Squash bug

Grampa Simpson reference: "For many years I was a tater farmer, but the shameful truth is the taters farmed me!"
You could have one narrative about the farmers, and another one about potato bugs and/or talking potatos taking place at a different scale, Fraggle Rock style. This lets you switch back and forth between the famer and critter scenes as jokes or writer's block demand.
to google: potato guns
gophers are a real problem for potato farmers
Monsanto-engineered "blind" potatoes, no eyes (most farmers I know actually like Monsanto products, despite many famous drawbacks)
krazy kat ripoff where potatoes replace bricks = money in the bank
this very helpful comment from wikipedia:
Patatas]][[wa: i like potatoes... delete this and I will be mad & delete stuff also!!!
Potatoes are one of the plants covered in Michael Pollan's very interesting book The Botany of Desire
and now it is time for me to go home.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2006

Just redraw a bunch of 10-year-old Garfields, except Garfield is a potato, Jon is a farmer, Odie is a carrot, lasagna is ketchup.

Best. Comic. Ever.
posted by rikschell at 2:53 PM on June 14, 2006

I read about the coolest humanitarian project. It takes place in Toronto, Canada where the winters are brutal (minus 40 degrees). These high school kids have joined a charity and came up with an idea to help the homeless. They bake potatoes. Yes,the humble potato is bringing comfort to (and saving the lives of) many people. The kids put hot baked potatoes in socks and hand them out to homeless people to keep them warm, and when the warmth wears off, the person can eat the potato for a source of fiber potassium and energy. Did you know that one potato can keep a sleeping bag warm for 5 hours, and a pocket warm for 3?

Never underestimate the power of a potato. Ever.
posted by FeistyFerret at 3:00 PM on June 14, 2006 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: This is all great, everyone. Please keep it coming.
posted by interrobang at 3:02 PM on June 14, 2006

Allegedly bicycle racers used to eat baked potatoes to keep their energy up in those olden days before PowerBars, et al.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on June 14, 2006

Potatoes are members of the nightshade family. Some members of that family are major sources of food for us, but many members of the family contain poisons.

Potatoes are both. The meat of the tubers is nourishing and tasty, but green skins and eyes coming out of the tubers are quite poisonous if they're not treated properly, because they contain alkaloids intended to keep things like you and me from eating the plant.

Other commercially-important members of the family are tobacco, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. Belladonna is also part of the group, and it's the one that gives the group its reputation for being poisonous because it contains rather large amounts of atropine.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:28 PM on June 14, 2006

God, a while back Applebee's had this horrible commercial that re-vamped "Do You Love Me?" and there was this line that always stuck in my head: "Do you like-a my potato?"
I say it a lot.

My favorite kind of potato? The couch potato.
posted by mattbucher at 3:31 PM on June 14, 2006

The potato is also so nutritious all by itself that it provided the Irish tenant farmers with a high-calorie, reasonably balanced (vitamins and the like) diet, enabling them to work/live under otherwise untenable conditions. Thus, when the blight hit, it devastated the Irish farmer's nutritional uptake to the point of famine. Not sure there's much funny there - but the Irish tradition has some great potato-based food: champ and colcannon to name but two.
posted by dbmcd at 3:41 PM on June 14, 2006

I don't think you're going to get anywhere with this unless you start spending time around potato farmers. That's the way to find out what they'd find funny.
posted by reklaw at 3:41 PM on June 14, 2006

Response by poster: I don't know any potato farmers.
posted by interrobang at 4:01 PM on June 14, 2006

You could have crime fighting potatoes (weapon: gas - you know, ethanol) and rival tuber gangs like the malangas, the yuccas, etc.
posted by necessitas at 4:07 PM on June 14, 2006

There is a scene in a movie (I forget which), that is set in a karaoke bar. The person on stage starts to sing "Let's call the whole thing off", but they've never heard the song before. When they get to the potato and tomato part they break off and say that the song doesn't make any sense.
Trivia, [The world's largest potato chip was produced by the Pringle's Company in Jackson, TN in 1990. It measured 23' X 14.5']!!, I assume they have incorrectly used the foot mark.
posted by tellurian at 4:08 PM on June 14, 2006

Poke around the Potato blog (there is a blog for EVERYTHNG these days)
posted by necessitas at 4:09 PM on June 14, 2006

I am definitely for the from-the-potato's-perspective comic as drawn underground. What do potatoes do for the months when they are growing? What kind of hijinks do young, immature potatoes get mixed up in? Wikipedia says that

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the worldwide production of potatoes in 2005 was 322 million metric tons:

What happens when these potatoes from different parts of the country meet up in a bag of potato chips?

Also, ditto sonofsamiam: Botany of Desire was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone.
posted by marxfriedrice at 4:11 PM on June 14, 2006

Mashed Taters is teh funnies!
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2006

instead of a strip about adventures of an anthropomorphized potato, it would be funnier to have it be about a farmer who converses with his potatoes

Yes, and you don't need talking potatoes to have people who converse with potatoes.

I imagine the protagonist running a potato bar, you know, a place where connaisseurs of fine potatoes hang out and taste tubers. He travels the world looking for potato farms that can produce the finest patatas.
posted by sfenders at 4:24 PM on June 14, 2006

Orphaned at a young age, millionaire playboy Bruce Tuber devotes his life to fighting crime. He is pondering a secret identity when a potato crashes through his window. He designs a Potatosuit and becomes Potatoman, driving the Potatomobile and wielding deadly Potatorangs.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:36 PM on June 14, 2006

Origins of the spud are also fascinating. You probably know that the Incas are responsible for cultivating the tater. Without New World farming, we wouldn't have freedom fries (or chocolate, or ketchup, or maize dogs, for that matter). Clearly, without Native American agriculture there would be no modern state fair industry.

According to this source:
The Incas were masters of plant domestication ... Their development of the potato was remarkable: from 8 species of weeds having toxic tubers to more than 3000 distinct potato varieties. They pioneered a seven-year potato crop rotation to prevent decimation by a nematode pest whose life cycle was six years and constructed an ingenious agricultural research station in the high Andes that reproduced growing conditions of different ecological regions of the empire. The base of the excavated depressions was consistently 15 degrees warmer than ground level and each agricultural terrace corresponded to 3000 feet (900 m) in altitude. Using this complex, the Inca could experiment with new crops and anticipate yields from anywhere in the empire, from the lowland rainforest to the ... cloud forest to the high Andes.

posted by rob511 at 4:57 PM on June 14, 2006

You can stencil with them.

Also, young kids in preschool usually use them for painting and stamping (along the lines of the above link, but ... messier.)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:58 PM on June 14, 2006

it would be funnier to have it be about a farmer who converses with his potatoes that speak but are otherwise normal. Then I remembered that potatoes live underground, so that would be a problem.

So it's a strip about a dead farmer who converses with his potatoes. The inevitable movie can be directed by David Lynch. Or David Cronenberg. Either one.
posted by languagehat at 5:10 PM on June 14, 2006

Idaho potatoes command a higher price out of state. As a result, most spuds consumed by Idaho residents come from Maine, Washington and California. More here

posted by yorick at 5:22 PM on June 14, 2006

My ladyfriend's family is from potato farming country in Long Island. They have the most wonderful collection of rocks that I have ever seen. Apparently, on the Long Island potato farms, the farmers have a custom of tossing the rocks that they find in their fields in the corners for anyone to take.

Strangely, most of the stones are potato shaped and colored. I imagine this is a specific trait of Long Island geology, but I've always had a chuckle at these stone potatoes that her brothers collect from the corners of the remaining potato farms.
posted by peeedro at 5:22 PM on June 14, 2006

This wouldn't be "Spudman" magazine, would it? It's the only magazine geared toward potato farms that I know of (meaning: it recently began showing up in my mailbox).

If so, well, "The Adventures of Spudman" would make a heck of a strip.

If it's not Spudman magazine, well, sorry -- the name "Spudman" has been taken.
posted by ewagoner at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2006

What the...? Clearly I meant "Spudman"
posted by ewagoner at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, it's "Spudman".
posted by interrobang at 6:07 PM on June 14, 2006

Potatoes did not become popular in protestant England because they are not mentioned in the Bible, Catholic Ireland was more sensible, to its ultimate cost (the variety which turned out to be so vulnerable to the blight was called 'lumper', a 'heavy cropper' but bland in taste). A standard Irish joke in poor pre-famine households, where hams hung from the rafters but were only taken down for the most important holidays, was that Sunday dinner was 'potatoes and point'-- at the hams in the rafters. George Bernard Shaw was a big potato head, and argued fanatically that a diet of p's alone could sustain life and health. Parmentier, in France, assured the popularity of p's there by establishing a large plantation outside Paris with armed guards instructed not to be too vigilant. Peasants stole the plants at night and planted them in their own fields-- voila!
posted by jamjam at 6:09 PM on June 14, 2006 [2 favorites]

What, no Mr. Potato Head jokes?
posted by Asparagirl at 6:32 PM on June 14, 2006

There is a recording somewhere of a woman singing the mexican hat dance song using "only the word potato." I do not, unfortunately, have a link. Perhaps potato farmers might be familiar enough with this for it to make the cartoon?
posted by bilabial at 6:36 PM on June 14, 2006

"Cheryl Wheeler wrote a wonderful song about them."

sorry neurodoc, it was not "only the word potato." Wish I still had a recording of that.
posted by bilabial at 6:44 PM on June 14, 2006

Why couldn't the potato princess marry the newscaster?

Because he was a commentator.
posted by thecjm at 7:06 PM on June 14, 2006

You need to read Pollan's excellent "Botany of Desire" and "Omnivore's dilemma". You will learn a lot about Potato farming.
posted by xammerboy at 7:21 PM on June 14, 2006

What with all the fascinating potato legend and lore being slung around here, I'd think a weekly potato "didjaknow" strip, narrated by a 40-eyed potato spinning yarns about his ancestors would do the trick.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:04 PM on June 14, 2006

Of course the above advice comes from a lifelong Prince Valiant admirer.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:07 PM on June 14, 2006

So take it with a grain of salt. And some sour cream and chives.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:07 PM on June 14, 2006

The distinctive sound of Harley Davidson motorcycles is often described as "potato-potato-potato." They even tried to trademark it.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:25 PM on June 14, 2006

There's the game hot potato.

And The Wiggles have a particularly vomit-inducing song about potatoes.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:36 PM on June 14, 2006

Mr Potato Head resource.
posted by tellurian at 11:11 PM on June 14, 2006

In addition to talking to the audience, I would check out other publications geared towards farmers, just to get a general feel for what they like, or at least what your potential employer is expecting.
They're weird.

Potato humor is much more difficult than it appears to be.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:12 PM on June 14, 2006

Oops, that should have been:

"They're weird, but maybe that's just the cartoons in the farmer papers my dad reads."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:18 PM on June 14, 2006

At the very end of the eighteenth century, British and American whalers brought old European species of potatoes to New Zealand. Local Maori took the seed, and cultivated them in great quantities to trade with and provision visiting ships. They'd paddle out in canoes and load woven flax kete full of potatoes (some bags weighing over thirty pounds) over the sides of vessels anchored off the coast, exchanging them for iron and glassware and cloth.

One of those species produces a long, narrow, purple-fleshed tuber, which looks just as its name—tutaekuri—suggests it should. This variety is especially popular with eco-conscious Pakeha (i.e., European) consumers who've started turning to Maori potatoes as an organic alternative.

Tutaekuri means 'dogshit'.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:14 AM on June 15, 2006

“Even a potato in a dark cellar has a certain low cunning about him which serves him in excellent stead. He knows perfectly well what he wants and how to get it. He sees the light coming from the cellar window and sends his shoots crawling straight thereto: they will crawl along the floor and up the wall and out at the cellar window; if there be a little earth anywhere on the journey he will find it and use it for his own ends. What deliberation he may exercise in the matter of his roots when he is planted in the earth is a thing unknown to us, but we can imagine him saying, ‘I will have a tuber here and a tuber there, and I will suck whatsoever advantage I can from all my surroundings. This neighbour I will overshadow, and that I will undermine; and what I can do shall be the limit of what I will do. He that is stronger and better placed than I shall overcome me, and him that is weaker I will overcome.’“—Samuel Butler; Erewhon.
posted by misteraitch at 1:06 AM on June 15, 2006

If it's Spudman, why not combine gillyflower's insight with mattbutcher's suggestion and have a single panel with two (or more) potatoes (a family?) sitting on a couch in front of their TV making comments about the state of farming today? That way you always have a stand-by joke of how they're sitting about while the farmers are doing all the hard work.
posted by patricio at 4:18 AM on June 15, 2006

Ireland and Belgium both consider the potato a national Big Deal. Belgium, for fries, which they invented (with mayonaise. YUM!). This is funny because, as noted above, the potato is strictly New World. Thanks, Incas!
posted by Goofyy at 5:51 AM on June 15, 2006

In my vast repertoire, I have a total of two potato jokes, which I have never had a chance to exercise.

1. Did you know that bad potato farmers are beekeepers? Sure they are. A beehive is a bee-holder; a beholder is a spectator; and a specked tater is a rotten potato.

2. Why shouldn't you bury bodies in the potato fields? Because the potatoes have eyes.
Why shouldn't you tell secrets in a corn field? Because corn has ears.

Thank you for this opportunity.
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:03 AM on June 15, 2006

interrobang wrote...
I don't know any potato farmers.

You need to go meet some, pronto. Attempting to write comedy for an unknown audience is the height of folly.
posted by tkolar at 6:13 AM on June 15, 2006

It could be about some stereotypical city people who sell their condo, move to the country (maine/idaho/long island/unspecified wherever) and buy a potato farm. People enjoy laughing at newbies. As you learn more about potato farmers so can your characters, and the jokes can move beyond the "where do i plant the french fries" level of sophistication to more subtle issues.
posted by mikepop at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2006

Response by poster: I dunno, that "where do I plant the french fries" thing made me laugh...
posted by interrobang at 6:53 AM on June 15, 2006

Clueless cityfolk jokes are pretty easy:

- wraps field in tinfoil for growing baked potatoes
- jumps up and down on the field for mashed potatoes
- tries to grow entire first crop in thousands of dixie cups, with potatoes suspended in the water with toothpicks ("that's how we did it in 1st grade science class!")
- etc

But once you learn more you get to do jokes about farm management, pest control, etc.

What you would also need is someone to be rolling their eyes at this cluelessness - whether it be the potatoes themselves, a neighboring farmer, or some sort of "potato support hotline" he can repeatedly call from the field.
posted by mikepop at 7:12 AM on June 15, 2006

My dad always refers to any non-working thing in a box or bag or other assortment of such things as a "dud spud"—bottle rockets, light bulbs, etc., but I have actually never seen a dud spud as in a defective potato. A little Googling turns up this article from 2000 about a sensor that can detect dud spuds, one of which can spread and cause entire bushel of potatoes to go bad. There's your villain right there, The Dud Spud.
posted by emelenjr at 7:47 AM on June 15, 2006

If you take a look at Savage Chickens you'll realize that comics are just a platform for funny dialog, wordplay or concepts. Substitute two potatoes (potatoheads?) talking for the two chickens and you've got yourself a comic.
posted by spock at 8:30 AM on June 15, 2006

What _sirmissalot_ said, but add a little bit of Ripley's Believe It or Not .
posted by klarck at 9:34 AM on June 15, 2006

Words and music by:
Cheryl Wheeler
[To the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance.]

They're red, they're white, they're brown
They get that way underground
There can't be much to do
So now they have blue ones too

We don't care what thay look like we'll eat them
Any way they can fit on our plate
Every way we can conjure to heat them
We're delighted and think they're just great

PO ta to po ta to po ta to po
ta to po ta to po ta to po ta
to po ta to po ta to po ta to
po ta to po ta to po ta to

Sometimes we ditch the skin
To eat what it's holding in
Sometimes we'd rather please
Have just the outside with cheese

They have eyes but they do not have faces
I don't know if their feelings get hurt
By just hanging around in dark places
Where that only can stare at the dirt

(Repeat Chorus)

I guess the use is scant
For other parts of the plant
But that which grows in view
Is eating potato too

I imagine them under their acres
Out in Idaho and up in Maine
Maybe wondering if they'll be bakers
Or knishes or latkes or plain

(Repeat Chorus)

(P) May 27, 2003

Penrod And Higgins Music / Amachrist Music
ACF Music Group
International Copyright Reserved
posted by Dave 9 at 9:53 AM on June 15, 2006

Bonsai Potato
posted by Hubajube at 10:43 AM on June 15, 2006

Some puns:

"Later, tater."

"Your spuddy."
posted by Lillitatiana at 11:12 AM on June 15, 2006

I skimmed, so sorry if this idea was presented already.
You can a strip about a farmer that works his butt off, while catering to a huge potato that sits on his couch all day, watching ... I don't know ... NASCAR maybe.
He should be the good guy and maybe grouse about the potato once in a while, and the potato should probably have an attitude something like a mix of Bender/Garfield/Homer Simpson/Archie Bunker.
posted by forforf at 12:19 PM on June 15, 2006

The newbie city-folk potato farmer and the Potato Support Hotline is the winning idea so far in my opinion.

But, I would prefer a strip along the lines of a Far Side or Rhymes with Orange.

Perhaps not as intellectual obtuse, but a single-panel with incredible latitude solely because there is no usual setting or characters. Every panel could be different. No need to worry about the "perfect" setting.

But, barring that, the idea of the Tuber Support Hotline really cracks me up.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:42 PM on June 15, 2006

the thing about a single-panel, especially a far side-esque one is that you have to have a strong grip on the subject to be funny with less words. With a strip, you can lean on character development and have the luxury of setting up your jokes a bit more.
posted by mikepop at 12:49 PM on June 15, 2006

every see Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends? Cartoon Network or some such.

the character Eduardo on the show loves potatoes, one of the most common things he says is 'potatoes, potatoes!'

anyway, I recommend clips of that
posted by gkr at 6:18 PM on June 15, 2006

Potatoes Not Prozac.

Bubbles and squeak. Bubbles and Squeak is an English dish consisting of potatoes and cabbage stir fried. It got it's name from making bubbling and sqeaking noises while cooking.

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (scroll down, song sample #9)

You say either and I say either
You say neither I say neither
Either either, neither neither
Lets call the whole thing off

You say potato I say patattah
You say tomato I say creole tomatah
Lets call the whole thing off

Oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part and
Oh, if we ever part
That would break my heart

I say ursta you say oyster
Im not gonna stop eatin urstas
Just cause you say oysters,
Lets call the whole thing off

I say pajamas you say pajamas
Sugar, whats the problem?
For we know we need each other so
Wed better call the calling off off

Oh lets call it off, oh lets call it off
Oh lets call it off, baby lets call it off

Sugar why dont we call it off,
Im talking baby why call it off
Lets call the whole thing off
posted by nickyskye at 8:55 PM on June 15, 2006

Here's a 500 lb potato battery.
posted by tellurian at 12:53 AM on June 16, 2006

Response by poster: This is all great, everyone. Thanks!
posted by interrobang at 7:44 AM on June 16, 2006

Perhaps not particularly helpful, but
is the hep phrase for today's with-it, happening teens. Or was that yesterday?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:17 AM on June 16, 2006

If you're stuck for storyline ideas you can always start off with a couple of single panel movie parodies.

The Fry who loved me
Starch Trek
Lord of the Onion Rings
Schindler's Crisp?
posted by pierrepressure at 4:37 PM on June 16, 2006

This guy goes to the beach by himself, walks around checking out the girls, tries to start conversations with a few girls but gets nowhere at all. So, he strikes up a conversation with the lifeguard. He asked the lifeguard what he thought the problem might be, why won’t the girls talk to me?

The lifeguard tells the guy that he should get rid of the baggy swimsuit, for starters. “Go buy a Speedo and stop by a store to get yourself a small potato to stuff down the Speedo. That’ll get their attention, for sure.”

So, the guy takes the lifeguard’s advice and comes back the next day. Things get worse and worse and the girls are practically running away from him. So, he goes to the lifeguard, again, to tell him that his plan wasn’t working very well.

The lifeguard listens for a bit then looks down at the guy’s new costume. “I see the problem. Dude, the potato goes in the FRONT.”
posted by RavinDave at 12:30 AM on June 17, 2006

Looking for info about Malcolm Dalglish' cute kiddie folk tune Little Potato ("You're my little potato, they dug you up, you come from underground!"), I stumbled into a thread about the potato in popular music. Could be fodder.
posted by mediareport at 5:07 PM on June 17, 2006

Forgive if up above:

Why did the potato cross the road?
He saw a fork up ahead.

How do you describe an angry potato?
Boiling Mad.

Why didn't the mother potato want her daughter to marry the famous newscaster?
Because he was a commontater.

Why wouldn't the reporter leave the mashed potatoes alone?
He desperately wanted a scoop.

What do you say to an angry 300-pound baked potato?
Anything, just butter him up.

What does a British potato say when it thinks something is wonderful?
It's mashing!

What do you call a baby potato?
A small fry!
posted by jeremias at 5:15 PM on June 17, 2006

Jeez, another annoying YouTuber link.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:35 PM on June 17, 2006

Schindler's Crisp was the funniest thing here, but I suspect that it might not go over as well in mixed company. For some reason, some people can't see the humor inherent in the holocaust.
posted by klangklangston at 3:22 PM on June 18, 2006

Maybe you'd like my friend's web comic Potato and Onion. It's about a potato and an onion.
posted by princelyfox at 4:37 PM on June 19, 2006

There's this classic bash.org quote about how potatoes denote true love:
IronChef Foicite: well, there's a lot of reasons
IronChef Foicite: i mean, roses only last like a couple weeks
IronChef Foicite: and that's if you leave them in water
IronChef Foicite: and they really only exist to be pretty
IronChef Foicite: so that's like saying
IronChef Foicite: "my love for you is transitory and based solely on your appearance"
IronChef Foicite: but a potato!
IronChef Foicite: potatos last for fucking ever, man
IronChef Foicite: in fact, not only will they not rot, they actually grow shit even if you just leave them in the sack
IronChef Foicite: that part alone makes it a good symbol
IronChef Foicite: but there's more!
IronChef Foicite: there are so many ways to enjoy a potato! you can even make a battery with it!
IronChef Foicite: and that's like saying "i have many ways in which I show my love for you"
IronChef Foicite: and potatos may be ugly, but they're still awesome
IronChef Foicite: so that's like saying "it doesn't matter at all what you look like, I'll still love you"
posted by Lush at 6:25 PM on June 19, 2006

You know, it seems like potatos just arn't really that funny.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 AM on June 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone. I'll post to this thread if anything happens.
posted by interrobang at 4:44 PM on June 21, 2006

Cold River Vodka makes vodka from Maine potatoes.
posted by initapplette at 2:30 PM on June 22, 2006

[potatOWNED] is the hep phrase for today's with-it, happening teens.

haha not exactly, but that's ok, it was worth the effort.

ANYWAYS, the point is that people are talking about potato farmers like they're different from the rest of us- they're people just like us and i'm sure they laugh at the same things. think about what makes you laugh, and if you can add a potato in there, that would make it attractive.
posted by alon at 8:57 AM on June 24, 2006

ANYWAYS, the point is that people are talking about potato farmers like they're different from the rest of us- they're people just like us and i'm sure they laugh at the same things. think about what makes you laugh, and if you can add a potato in there, that would make it attractive.


Dunno if this helps, but most of the farmers I've known have a rather cynical, somewhat quirky, situation-based sense of humor. And extreme political leanings (stay away!). Murphy's Law tends to be a big hit. And they really do like to laugh at the cityfolk who think farming is simple, or inexpensive, or in any way safe (as do I).

I have a lot of respect for the pototo. It's a useful thing, from breakfast to biomedical applications. Rivals duct tape.
posted by zennie at 3:30 PM on July 3, 2006

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