By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Well, gang, it's been one hell of a year, and What's So Funny is officially spent. Really, we're fucking exhausted. Beat. Sapped. Expended. Out of gas. It's gotten so bad that we've simply started listing synonyms in an effort to make this column long enough to declare it finished -- like 2005 itself -- and roll over and go back to sleep. And when we refer to a "synonym," we mean a match or a sameness, an adequation, if you will. How many words is that? Still not enough? Jesus. There's a term in the comedy world for what we're doing right now, and it's "phoning it in." Either that, or "bombing." One of those two. We're like the Brett Favre of humor writing: a storied and prolific career behind us, but now thoroughly washed up, hurling interception after interception out of pathetic desperation.
We're sure that the seasoned, grizzled reporters out there all felt this way at one point or another in their careers, and we're equally sure that those hardened journos have tricks to combat the ennui. Maybe they follow "leads" or shake down "sources"; maybe they move that first swill of hot, delicious gin up an hour to 10 a.m. But What's So Funny lacks the experience to know how to cope with this sudden valley in a lifetime of peaks, plus we moved up gin time months ago. So where do we turn for guidance at such a time? To the best and only friend we've ever had: television. And if television has taught us one thing, which it hasn't, it's that when ideas are getting stale in the writing room, when plots seem formulaic and characters mere cliches, it's time for a clip show.
So, dear readers, What's So Funny has resorted to compiling a highlights reel of the past year. May it do for you what montages of Cliff Huxtable, Alex P. Keaton and other '80s icons did for us. Perhaps just one remembrance will be enough to invoke joy in your little bosom, like the classic scene in which Cliff teaches Theo about responsibility using Monopoly money in the boy's bedroom, or when the whole Huxtable clan sings "Night Time Is the Right Time" on the staircase. Or maybe a recollection will fill you with horror, like the misguided episode of Diff'rent Strokeswhere Arnold and Willis almost get molested by the guy who owns the bike shop. Either way, it should help you package up the past year. So sit back. Enjoy. Savor. Bask.
In January, 2005 started out with a bang -- or at least a loud, reverberating, fart-like blast -- when the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation boldly announced to the city, the state, the country and the world that it was launching the most exhaustive study of public-park restrooms in the history of the universe. Rather than simply adopt Funny's suggestion that the city mount hidden cameras in random stalls and broadcast the results on the Internet, a task force held public meetings, studied the conditions of various baños and monitored traffic patterns of public squatters, making our boys the first in the nation to embark on such a visionary quest. Parks and Rec ultimately came up with a $4.1 million improvement proposal to renovate 28 restrooms and build ten more over the next twelve years, which the Denver City Council approved in October. Now Funny can finally look forward to a year of proper shitting.
There was plenty of shit in February, but who knew it would come in the form of a storm? University of Colorado officials found themselves longing for the simpler days -- back when all they had to do was justify date rape -- when the controversy around Ward Churchill, aka Uncle Tomahawk, hit critical mass, three years after the longtime prof wrote his now-infamous essay "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," which compared the victims of 9/11 to Adolf Eichmann. After a Hamilton College student actually read the thing, Churchill speeches were canceled, CU publicly apologized to the nation, and Governor Bill Owens, aka the wax-faced transvestite, flossed his visage on national television as much as possible.
Meanwhile, residents of Norwood decided to turn off their televisions and hit the books. And then burn them. Bless Me, Ultima, a novel by Rudolfo Anaya that is actually on the suggested reading list of First Lady Laura Bush, aka Joker from Batman, was found to be offensive by one -- that's right, one -- parent. But suddenly every copy in town was rounded up and thrown away, while seventeen women were burned as witches. Eventually, Norwood officials realized the error of their ways and allowed the book back in their schools. Somewhere along the line, former CU film students Trey Parker and Matt Stone planned a South Parkepisode mocking the town of Norwood, then abandoned that idea when they realized there was nothing they could add.
Speaking of nothing, nothing happened in March.
Aprilsaw more lunacy at the University of Colorado, when members of the school's Interfraternity Council decided that it was their rich, white, slave-owning, ancestor-given right to try to kill pledges with alcohol and then make them fuck goats, and they rejected the school's new restrictions designed to curb dangerous underage drinking. Beirut tables were christened, roofies newly minted, and members of Kappa Alpha Psi looked forward to plenty more "Dude, it's not gay, it's tradition -- now take your pants off" behavior.