4. Dennis Miller, Babe
In 1978, a fishing boat came upon a feral man on an island who spoke no known language. The crew easily overpowered the man and locked him in a room with only a Betamax player and a tape labeled Giggle Cove’s “All-Star” Laffs Volume VII. The man died almost instantly, but a mischief of rats crawled into his body and learned to mimic the sounds coming from the TV. You’ve probably already guessed this story’s ending, but seven years later, police found the bones of a fishing boat crew being chewed on by what they believed to be a man. They named it “Dennis Miller.”
Dennis Miller jokes are based almost entirely around timing and sarcastic nicknames. His punchlines are aimless words unrelated to joy, selected more for their hard k’s and bouncy g’s than their conceptual relation to the setup. For instance, a real Dennis Miller joke was “The place was emptier than an Oktoberfest in downtown Miami, babe.” When you’re done laughing, stop and think: How did that joke happen? Was that insanity of a punchline a last-minute replacement for “an Oingo Boingo encore” after he suddenly realized he was in fact opening for Oingo Boingo? Why Oktoberfest in Miami? Was he trying to pick a location that was specifically not German? Sober? Why name a seemingly random event and location? Why not name an event that would be comically unpleasant or unlikely, like a sushi bar in Topeka or a book club in Topeka or a clean penis in your momma?