How to Run a Joke into the Ground

Some strips come easy. Others take work. I struggled with the original idea for this one for days, then threw most of it away when I sat down to actually write it. Then I struggled to rewrite it for a long time. When I finally got to the assembly phase, I dug into the archives to get the funeral artwork. You can only imagine my delight when I discovered I'd gone to all that trouble to rewrite a strip I wrote over three years ago.

Expect a few reruns next week. I'm taking this as a sign that I need a break.

 

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Reader Comments (46)

It's nice that now you're planning on living longer. Don't seem to have updated the leisure wear, however.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Dude! That make this a _meta_ running gag! Pretend it's deliberate!

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlegion

Is the guy in panel four wearing the same headgear as Lando Calrissian's assistant?

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam H.

If it makes you feel any better, I think bringing this strip back only made it funnier.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterabi

I kinda like the comparison between this one and the old one - very different emphasis.

In the old one, the featured running joke is reasonably funny, and it comes about naturally in conversation, and it's presented subtly at the funeral.

In this one, the running joke is lousy, and is introduced unilaterally (which commonly produces unfunny jokes), and he uses it, knowing it annoys everyone, and uses it just for that purpose, and trolls his whole funeral with a pre-recorded video.

They show the two sides of a running joke well, imo :-)

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Azzy

You may have broken the meter by which meta is measured, sir.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

You should add the 'HA!' bubble from the original version. :D

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawn T

'Course, this now means that some time in 2014 he's gonna have to do this one again.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLonePaladin

Awesome, the comments from the previous strip point out that you had cribbed the funeral artwork from an even earlier strip.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

do a couple strips that are completely out of the ordinary, (maybe not even BI strips) don't rely on any of your own standbyes, see if that recharges your creativity, or conversely, makes you miss the thing you already do well.

Or something.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterray friesen

Scott, you now have no option to put this into your will.

I've always said, jokes are like wine and cheese: better with age and reuse.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertom

Quality repeats itself.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwendybird

Is the guy in the fourth panel Lardass McBackgammonboard?

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I think you're safe on this one; the two comics are significantly different.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterACF

In this one, the cause of his early funeral is quite clear.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRaj Chaudhuri

Have a well-deserved rest Scott, you've earned it.
Everyone needs to charge their batteries once in a while.

... and then come back flying like a Duracell ninja.

Good strip by the way. The wordplay on "run into the ground" really makes it. :-)

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSkywalker

The same head gear as lo-bot his name is lo-bot.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I was going to say, I do recognize that last frame! Enjoy your rest Scott :)

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJawfin

Sadly, it doesn't look like you will live longer at all. In your funeral video you look just the same age as the rest of the strip!

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertimmo

This comic is like if your Running Gag comic and your Meme comic (I forget the exact names) had a baby.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Are we really doomed to have discs on our shoulders in the future?

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkenryan

Scott, I can understand the frustration of working hard on something you thought was original only to find out that you had forgotten you had done something very similar. While the premise was the same, you ran this one into the ground unlike the previous one that was similar.

What you do is unique and keeps me comming back everyday (well, at least Mon, Wed, Fri). I am on my second trip through your books as there is so much you do that I am surprised you don't repeat yourself more often. Many of the greats take successful themes and put twists on them. The human populace in general likes the comfort of knowing what to expect, just look at the comics in the paper that have rarely changed in the last 30 years.

As the commentor, ACF, said, you are safe. Nothing to worry about here.

I enjoyed this one and don't feel you are coasting or even getting stale. This one was a success no matter how similar to the other one.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC

Your only option is to write another one of these comics, and put it in your actual will to have the comic presented at your funeral. Then you will have created the ultimate metajoke.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhistumness

>> Are we really doomed to have discs on our shoulders in the future?

I think those are water wings - you probably have to swim everywhere because of the rising water levels.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

Ah, Basic Instructions. They never fail to make me smile. And your facial expressions in this strip are several of my favorites. At the risk of coming across as an annoying know-it-all (which may or may not be accurate), did you know that "resurrect" is spelled incorrectly in panel four? Great strip overall, though.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterathene1985

We want Missy! We want Missy!

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Silberstein

This might be a 're-hash' but I think it's much funnier than the original. Well done!!

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNitroDuck

"Are we really doomed to have discs on our shoulders in the future?"
==============

LOL. Awesome comment.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNitroDuck

Typo alert: In panel 4 'resurect' should be 'resurrect'.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAengil

You followed the instructions from years ago. You let it fade away and then dredged it up. And it is far funnier than ever before!

Great work on this, and enjoy your well-deserved break.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterContrajoe

Reruns are one thing; subtle recycling of postures and gesturing from strips of the past is always welcomed. Panel one has the "Jazzy Hands Of Fury" look and oft-used panel 2 stance is "VIOLENCE FIGHT!"

Thanks for being eco-friendly Scott !

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Sweet funeral. I'd totes attend.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbaardvark

I somehow suspect that you've not only done this on purpose, but several years from now, the subject of recurring jokes will return, yet again, funeral scene included.

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Chosen One

Lardass McBackgammonboard! That still makes me laugh!

April 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCayzle

Scott, it simply does not matter if this comic is fresh or not.

You got to wear the Smoking Jacket! That's right... hard video evidence that there ARE occasions where it is fully appropriate attire.

So... win? Yes.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterradulla

Also...

http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2010/3/31/how-to-get-maximum-enjoyment-out-of-an-internet-meme.html

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuck Flicks

take a break Mr. Meyer. We will be here when you are ready. Seriously, creative work isnt a faucet so rest, relax, go on a native american dream quest, I dunno know. Maybe have fun.

You been giving us plenty of entertainment for years now and for that I am grateful.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterisiah

I think both jokes are pretty funny, and a "virtual rerun" is better than a real rerun :)

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrisL

Why it helps that this is a web comic. I had no idea what the theme from Magnum P.I. sounded like. So I found it on YouTube, and read this comic again while listening to it.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMP

Fracking awesome!!!

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjake

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