Sometimes, things make me laugh and I can't put the reasons why into words. Like Firesign Theatre during its heyday -- the troupe doesn't tell what I'd call "jokes," per se, but Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him and How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All crack me up. Is it the sheer oddness? Well, partially ... but it's more than that. Later albums, which have the exactly the same form, hardly make me laugh at all. What's the difference? I have no idea. If I played you one of Firesign's best albums and you didn't laugh, I'd be hard pressed to convince you that you should.
I was the only person laughing during a screening of Joe Versus the Volcano on its original run (though it's turned into a cult fave since then). This is one of my favorite scenes. Does this even make you break a smile? I think it's a classic. "I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?" Hahahahaha. But it's just the same line repeated over and over. Why is that funny? I don't know. But go ahead -- put this in your Netflix queue.
You know what else makes me laugh? The Wikipedia entry for Pop-Tarts.
You might wonder why I was even looking at the Wikipedia entry for Pop-Tarts. Fair enough. They were mentioned in a column I was editing, and I wanted to check the spelling. (Yes, "Pop-Tarts" is hyphenated, and yes, that's the kind of job I have.)
This is so wonderfully, beautifully deadpan that it simply makes me laugh out loud:
Pop-Tarts is the brand for a flat, rectangular, pre-baked toaster pastry made by the Kellogg Company. Pop-Tarts have a sugary filling sealed inside two layers of rectangular, thin pastry crust. Most varieties are frosted. They can be eaten without being warmed, but are often warmed inside a toaster. They are usually sold in pairs inside foil packages, and do not require refrigeration.
Is it just me, or is that funny? It's like they're explaining breakfast junk food to a Martian.
I'll open this up to discussion. What makes you laugh but you can't explain why, exactly?
UPDATE: Concerned reader God Is My Codependent points out that there seems to be a growing Pop-Tart cult. Try clicking around the Wikipedia links and you'll find some really odd info. Like this, from a BBC-hosted wiki (I think):
In 1971, Milton the Toaster arrived on TV screens across the USA. Milton was square, white and huggable, and was often seen toasting Pop-Tarts right up until his advertising campaign was cancelled in 1973 due to fears that children might hurt themselves by hugging hot toasters.
Is this true? Oh, who the hell cares. It's on the Web, and it's funny!
UPDATE UPDATE: Unreliable information on the Internet? Impossible! This YouTube entry claims to be from 1975-1976 and shows Milton the Toaster alive and well.
The mystery deepens.