It’s funny because Momma is down to her last five bucks and her son is a thief.
Many, many comic strips have terrible dialogue, but the dialogue in Funky Winkerbean and sister strip Crankshaft is terrible in its own unique way — not from lack of craft or attention (Hi, Crock!), but its very opposite. Stare at a simple line like “How’s your room?” long enough and you’ll start to ask yourself if readers will remember the characters are traveling, or maybe think the question is whether they have enough room, say, to swing their arms or something? Then it’s down the rabbit-hole: “How’s your hotel room?” could be any hotel, so let’s go with “How’s your room in the hotel” to make it clear this Esteemed Figure is staying at the main convention hotel and not some off-strip dive, then plaster “Music Educ Asso t” on the wall for good measure. Despite all that work — no, because of it — you wind up with overwrought phrases that seem unambiguous, but which no actual human would ever utter: “solo car date”, “dead man’s singles”, or “space heater in the basement” (for “water heater”).
More fundamental is the Quip Fail at the heart of this strip. Hotel ratings use stars, not letters, so “B-flat hotel” makes no sense even coming from a
band leader Music Educator. My guess is that the joke started out star-related — maybe Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever? — and then got reworked into its present form. But if “B-flat hotel” is really your punchline, own it, don’t bury it in these wads of bumf. Put it at the end, where punchlines go: “I won’t be staying there much, so I don’t mind a B-flat hotel.” And spare us Beardo’s in-strip affirmation of your character’s dubious wit. Exactly.
Wizard of Id, 2/21/13
It’s funny because it’s not golf.
Got that? A joke. Now laugh, God damn you!
— Uncle Lumpy