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<   No. 485   2004-05-25   >

Comic #485

1 {scene: overlooking Mos Eisley from a clifftop}
1 Obi-Wan: Mos Eisley starship landing facility. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
2 Threepio: He obviously hasn't seen Master Luke's bedroom.
3 {scene change: Me, talking directly to the reader}
3 Me: Okay, I know what all you Star Wars fans are thinking.
4 Me: But you do realise that's totally irrelevant to the joke? Geez, get a life already!

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And hey, if I offended you, just think how much of a Star Wars nerd I must be to have thought that up.

Okay, it seems this one has baffled some people. Let me ask you one question: Did you at any stage think to yourself:

That's not right. It's "Mos Eisley spaceport", not "Mos Eisley starship landing facility".
There you go. Everyone gets a joke! Nobody leaves unsatisfied! :-)

On a more serious note, this is an example of what I think of as meta-humour. Firstly, I'm breaking the fourth wall by using myself in the role of writer of the comic, as a character within the comic. Then I, as the writer, address the reader directly. I, as the character of the writer, talk about other material within the comic strip. And I, as the writer, am engaging you, the reader, as another character within the paradigm of the comic strip.

The first two panels stand alone as a joke in themselves. If you never saw panels 3 and 4, you'd get a laugh (or at least a mild chuckle, I hope). I then use panels 3 and 4 to address issues raised by the joke in panels 1 and 2. This is the meta aspect of the larger joke. And I'm basing that commentary on what is going through your mind, the reader.

Now, since I don't know for sure what is going through your mind as you read the comic, I have to make an assumption. I choose to assume that some number of Star Wars fans will be thinking about the (deliberately) misquoted line in panel 1. Obviously, that's why I misquoted the line - there is a reason for these things. I don't generally misquote lines from the films for no reason.

If I'm right in my assumption about you, then hey presto, the larger joke works and hopefully you get a much bigger laugh than you would have got from panels 1 and 2 alone. At least that's the theory. (And you should realise that, as a humorous medium, I poke fun at my readers in a good-hearted way. If you feel offended by being told to get a life within the context of a good-natured joke, you probably shouldn't be reading Irregular Webcomic!)

If I'm wrong in my assumption about you, then you probably don't "get" the joke in panels 3 and 4. In which case, well, you can ignore panels 3 and 4 and at least get a smirk. It probably isn't as satisfying, but come back tomorrow and there'll be a new comic for you.

Finally, I don't make any apologies for pulling this sort of meta-humour on you. I'm a convoluted guy, and I have convoluted humour sometimes. If just 1% of my readers today got a rip-roaring belly-laugh, I'm happy. Humour is hit and miss. Different things appeal to different people, and I will not compromise my own sense of fun in order to try and make it a hit for every reader every day.

And, for those who complain that when I "explain" the joke I ruin the humour: Turn the annotations off! It's configurable, you know! ;-)

2013-05-17 Rerun commentary: I've gone into the details of the gag of this strip enough. Here I'll just point out that Mos Eisley is merely a few small LEGO pieces which fit into 2×2 studs of area on a baseplate, photographed to make them deliberately blurry so you can't easily make them out and so they look like they're way, way off in the distance.

The big give-away for anyone familiar with LEGO is that you can see the studs on the grey baseplate, which immediately gives you a sense of scale to compare the "buildings" against. If I'd done this with a featureless surface without LEGO studs, the illusion would have been more convincing.

LEGO® is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group of companies, which does not sponsor, authorise, or endorse this site.
This material is presented in accordance with the LEGO® Fair Play Guidelines.

My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
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Last Modified: Friday, 17 May 2013; 03:11:02 PST.
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