The most innovative webcomic for quite some time. By some measures.
It seems that some people do not quite understand what we were trying to do with our web page: Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained.
For the benefit of any such readers, we offer this: An explanation of "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained":
As we have previously indicated (in the aforementioned web page), explaining a joke destroys the humour of the joke. This is a well-known principle of comedy.
The reason why explaining a joke spoils it can be summarised as follows: If a person is told a joke and does not immediately appreciate it through
then the abrupt self-realisation of the unexpected which forms the basis of humour is bypassed, with the result that the listener is merely mystified. The subsequent explanation of the joke then achieves three things:
This combination of factors results in the listener being nonplussed and unable to sustain a genuine feeling of amusement, even though the principles behind the joke (i.e. why it should be funny) are now clear.
Given all of this, why have we gone to such elaborate lengths to explain the humour behind Ryan North's Jokes Explained? After all, anyone who did not understand the subtleties of North's use of parody, satire, and deconstructionism to form a bitingly incisive and funny commentary on modern society and humour itself is not likely to appreciate these things to the level of finding them spontaneously humorous when they are painstakingly explained to them.
But on the other hand, there are many people who did fully appreciate the humour of Jokes Explained. Seemingly paradoxically, it is at these people that "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained" is aimed. Readers savvy enough in the principles of comedy and the subtleties of satire to understand North's motives and find his site humorous are also likely to notice the strong parallels drawn by "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained" to the very site it is purporting to—in all apparent seriousness—analyse and explain.
By employing the same principles of parody, satire, and deconstructionism that it is at the same time explaining, "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained" enters a new level of humour: that of meta-humour. It is a joke about a joke. This additional layer of complexity serves to increase the funniness by providing another, new focus for the reader who already understands the multiple levels of humour in Jokes Explained. Such a reader is also likely to appreciate the self-referential nature of meta-humour and see "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained" itself as an example of the type of humour it is explaining—it is making fun of itself—which deepens the cleverness quotient once more.
These additional factors—apparent paradox, meta-humour, and self-reference—serve to make "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained" funny in its own right, rather than merely being a cheap ripoff of North's own concept. A simple copy of North's site, explaining other common jokes—such as elephant jokes, for example—would be unoriginal and not particularly amusing. But by explaining the explanation, we achieve something new, unexpected, and—if we do say so ourselves—rather funny.
So there you have it, the explanation for why "Ryan North's Jokes Explained Explained" is funny.