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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 05/ 8/2009

When Is a Cop Doughnut Joke TOO Stale?

By Michael Cavna

The question on our morning table today: When is it time to retire a gag?

Tell a joke about bad airline food -- even on Amateur Night at the local Komedy Klub -- and you're instantly branded as a hack. Crack wise about a cop's "obsession" with Krispy Kreme and you deserve to serve a weekend in the two-limit drunk tank.

So what about in the funnies? This week, for instance, an otherwise brilliant "Doonesbury" strip -- during an otherwise inspired week -- exited on a throwaway line about blogging in one's pajamas. Long after "Dilbert" first depicted its upturned-tie cubicle dweller telecommuting unshaven and in skivvies, has the ol' Jammies Blogger joke lost any of its lustre -- OR is it more relevant than ever?

'DOONESBURY' (Source)Enlarge Image

Staleness is on the tongue of the beholder, but herewith are gags I wish cartoonists would retire for good, never to be used, even on Extreme Deadline:

1. Any online gag that invokes "Charlotte's WEB." Get it, "Web"?? Gack. So tired, that gag needs Red Bull and a double Frapp to get its blood going

2. Gags, for that matter, about super-long Starbucks drink orders. Way played out.

3. "Clueless" Amish.

4. Chatty mimes. (Exception: "Amish mimes" has possibilities.)

5. Cabbies who don't speak English. (Exception: "Drunken chatty Amish buggy-drivers" has possibilities.)

6. Jokes about Wikipedia's unreliability -- UNLESS it's pulled off with a witty twist (like in the "Dilbert" below).

7. Carrot Top.

What say you, comic fans: Which funnypage jokes are so tired, they should be put out to pasture?

'DILBERT' (Source)Enlarge Image

By Michael Cavna  | May 8, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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The Kid's Page was reduced to a forth of a page and Frazz wasn't on it. There's no link to Frazz on the comic webpage!!
PS. I guess there's probably no joke is ever too stale when there's a deadline looming.

Posted by: oldgal49er | May 8, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

If Garfield is on the KidsPage..OK, but if in real comics...emough with the spider slap.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | May 8, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm sick and tired of aged cartoonists making computer-related jokes that are unfunny and only serve to reveal that the cartoonist has no clue about computers and the Internet.

Posted by: bokamba | May 8, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

You're absolutely right - those tired jokes about cops in donut shops are completely passe'.
- Chief Wiggum, Springfield

Posted by: seismic-2 | May 8, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

oldgal49er - the "Frazz" comic is within the web comics tab on the comics page (

Posted by: jeremyjnorman | May 8, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

A little sensitive are we, Cavna? I'm an engineer and think pocket protector jokes are played out. I'm sure lawyers (shark fin), doctors (messy handwriting), accountants (green eyeshades), and librarians (granny glasses going shhhh) are way ahead of jammy-wearing bloggers on the list of offensive outdated professional stereotypes.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Anything by Marmaduke- God, that's getting old.

Posted by: Socalwhite | May 8, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

>> yellojkt:

Haha, Comic Riffs Rule No. 1: I never, ever blog in my jammies. Well, unless they are Italian silk (nothing but the best for 'Riffs readers) or are covered with blog-appropriate cartoon characters (if it's Friday, it must "Yoda day"--but perhaps I've said too much).

More semi-seriously: The ambulance-chasers, sawbones and bean-counters in my extended fam seem to *despise* those Outdated Offensive Professional Stereotypes (acronym: OOPS)--unless the jokes are really well told, in which case the relatives think they're the funniest friggin' gags known to man, woman or shark beast. As the accountants like to say: Go figure.


Posted by: cavnam | May 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm sick of the William Howard Taft and Anderson Cooper sharing a flat in London (or Prague, Brussels, etc.) gag. So very tired of it.

Posted by: sandart | May 8, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

The ol' blogger-in-the-jammies bit is bad because it became a cliche so quickly, thanks to the Internet. People aren't really resentful of, say, engineers with pocket protectors, but there's still a lot of people who resent these uppity bloggers who have, of all things, well-formed opinions.

Posted by: dfranzen70 | May 9, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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