Monday, March 24, 2014

Why isn't funny anymore redux

It has been a little under two years since I wrote a relatively negative article about, aptly named Why isn't funny anymore. It gets a huge amount of traffic to this day, for reasons unbeknownst to me, so I thought it would be worthwhile to take another peek at this infamous humor website and see how they are doing.

I decided to read an article titled "5 Dick Moves Your Bank Pulls (You Won't Believe Are Legal)," written by Spencer Lowe. Lowe is a good writer, probably better than me at least. I understood everything fairly well, and unlike the article I reviewed in my lambasting of, he never got overly political in his analysis.

Of course, it is hard to screw up an article demonizing banks, which most people besides bankers would probably identify with. Though, I am probably more familiar with their horrific practices than most, mainly because I listen to Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast, where he regularly roasts banks (I highly recommend him, that dude is absolutely hilarious!)

One thing I did notice, putting Lowe's article aside, is that Cracked has really changed in the past two years. Whereas before it was a real unorganized mess, it is now organized into various clearly defined categories. Overall, the site is much more pleasing to look at. Still, I am not sure if the content is all that improved.

Indeed, I tried to browse the "History" section of the website, as I am a huge history nerd. However, most of the links led to videos and not articles, which was pretty annoying. I would much rather read a list than watch two guys try to be funny when they are not.

Still, I honestly think that Cracked suffers from the format of its articles. I am not saying that I am an expert in history, though I am learned enough to where I know that I am going to find inconsistencies with the research done in that section. And honestly, that is OK, as long as it is funny. At the same time however, you need to make sure you are not taking such an authoritative tone in the article, as if what you are saying is definitive.

What I have learned doing actual university level research is that it is often better to be tentative with your findings and conclusions, rather than to be extremely sure of them, because there is a huge possibility that what you are saying is really just speculation and not reality.

At other times, reading Cracked is almost like reading a collection of undergraduate projects created for a lower division course on writing comedic articles.

Take, for instance, this article dubbed, "6 badass modern weapons that are way older than you think." It is kind of entertaining, but at the same time seems to be written for 13 year olds. I am really not trying to be a snob, but most of that list should be common sense to adults. Plus, as seen from the comments, the authors did not really do a sufficient amount of fact-checking (surprising since there were THREE authors to that extremely short article).

I wrote in 2012 that Cracked was a site read by 15-30 year olds. Based on what I have read today, I would say that their new demographic is 10-17 year olds. That is fine, I am not criticizing them based on this, it is their choice to define their own business model however they want. Still, they are necessarily going to keep losing their audience as readers age and become more educated.

So, while I found 2012 Cracked to be a bit too preachy, and perhaps overly analytical in terms of injecting political biases, 2014 Cracked is too...simple. It is, for lack of a better phrase, a mile wide and an inch deep.

Trust me, if you fit Cracked's demographic you will find a lot of engaging and interesting material there. But for those of us who are of college age or beyond, it is probably best to just move on.


  1. Cracked is even worse now.They're still advocating liberal point of view and spam feminist propaganda a lot,and they even had Anita Sarkeesian write an article for them.

    Lately i only read Seanbaby's articles,but he stopped writing a while ago,so there is rarely anything interesting or funny to see there.

  2. Thank you for your input. I always find it unfortunate when a non-political site feels the need to lean one way or the other; especially in Cracked's case since there's enough material from both the right and left for comedians to work with.

    I mean, it's not like I'm some gun-toting right winger, all you have to do is look at my recent articles about income inequality. Still, that doesn't mean I want my humor to become all preachy.

    Cracked is probably trying to latch onto the success of websites like The Huff Post, Mother Jones, or The Blaze, and in the process they're forgetting what initially made them great.

  3. Sadly, Cracked is still circling the drain of social justice warrior knob-gobblery. Seanbaby's Punchmaster stuff used to make me cry tears of laughter. In its place Cracked now has really shitty linkbait articles promising humour but delivering passive aggressive recycled Occupy talking points from Felix Clay or JF Sergeant.

    So Cracked is mainly aimed at this crowd:

    All right. 'Scuse me. Hello, we are
    selling magazine subscriptions for our
    community youth program. Would you like
    to help young people like us by purchasing
    a subscription of your choice?

    Oh wow, you guys shouldn't be doing
    that. Don't you know what you're doing
    to the world?

    Wha- whataya mean?

    MAN 1
    You're playing into the corporate game!
    See, the corporations are trying to
    turn you into little Eichmanns so that
    they can make money.

    Who are the corporations?

    WOMAN 2
    The corporations run the entire world.
    And now they fooled you into working
    for them.

    Are you serious?? We never heard that.

    We just spent our first semester at
    college. Our professors opened our eyes.
    The government is using its corporate
    ties to make you sell magazines so they
    can get rich.

    Ugh! Those dirty liars!


    MAN 2
    This is a really nice town you have
    here. That's why the corporations are
    trying to use you to take it down.

  4. Their worst writer by far is J.F. Sargent, he seriously seems to have a hardon for "Sexism everywhere" and "All men are evil", it's relly making me reconsider bothering with the site, whenever I see his name attributed to an article I get the urge to leave. So much cherry picking and playing fast and loose with the truth. At least there's still Bucholz and a couple of others.

  5. I'm a little late to the party but - and I'm piecing together what little I've found so far - Cracked seems to have suffered some strange internal shake-ups within the last two years. Insofar as I can tell, David Wong basically holds the place hostage in the sense that he sets the direction and tone of the site with an iron fist, all the way down to the kinds of comments he will allow in the boards. I'm not talking about removing inflammatory/dangerous speech here (which is understandable).

    Apparently there was an episode in which entire groups of comments were simply wiped out of the forums and message boards around late November/early December of 2012 at the hands of David Wong and John Cheese. It seems that after that event the site, as you say, became more organized but also simpler.

    I know David Wong wrote "John Dies in the End" which is also a film - it could be that in order to be more appealing to Hollywood sensibilities and also the bottom line, Wong felt he had to take the site in that direction or was told to by whoever owns it.

  6. Cracked in 2015 is now a shrill, unfunny, leftwing site. It's a shame how bad it's become. I used to read it regularly too.

  7. Bill Burr is a good litmus test to see if you're dealing with someone who appreciates humor. He's quite politically incorrect, which is anathematic to type of people described in these articles. People who like comedy but don't like him specifically can give credible reasons with his delivery or material. The social justice crowd will merely describe him as problematic, triggering, and/or sexist. Or they won't be aware of him, which is a red flag coming from someone claiming to be interested in comedy.

  8. Cracked hasn't been funny for years. They've morphed into a SJW site that lectures their audience on the evils of everything that isn't politically correct with a bunch of stupid poop jokes thrown in to give it a veneer of humor. Felix Clay's writing epitomizes what Cracked is all about these days. Dull, patronizing articles filled with amateur writing that can't go a paragraph without mentioning defecation.

  9. And now they've laid off the only good writers left. That means no more After Hours or OPCD episodes, the only actually enjoyable things Cracked had left.

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