Saturday Morning Oys – November 14th, 2020

A Tomversation sent in by RobS:

This Strange Brew sent in by several contributors–RobS, Andréa, kedamono –in different categories, but we’re going with Oy:

Again RobS and Andréa spotted the same panel comic. Has “crisis actor” become a normalized term in contemporary discourse?

Yay! For once Teresa gives us a funny straightforward pun , without a totally mysterious drawing or collage:

(Wait, was that a touch of Ewww?)

Contributed by Andréa:

A That-is-Priceless double-take pun from Anon:

66 Comments

  1. I don’t get the underwear one either. Also, is the guy supposed to be at a long table, leaning his elbows on it? Then his shirt front doesn’t work, so it is more likely he is sitting in a lake.

    Also also, long johns are underwear, are they not?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mens-Quality-Thermal-Johns-Underwear/dp/B00I05IXGA

    Also also also, I have heard of “crisis actors”, though as something weird various Americans are accused of being; I don’t think I have heard of any incidents here in the UK where victims of crimes and terrorism have been accused of being fakes and actors.

  2. Sorry, that pic wasn’t supposed to come up – it was just a bog standard link to an Amazon sales page.

  3. He’s at a donut shop (or has been to one) and obtained a bunch of the donut-like pastry, éclair shape but not iced, called Long Johns. These he then stuffed inside his street clothes (for warmth? for layered protection?), wearing them instead of the long underwear also known as Long Johns.
    Granted, this is not normal behavior. But still pretty straightforwardly inferred!

  4. @narmitaj, my previous comment was directed to Powers’s remarks, as I had not seen yours. I am probably going too far in inference to take the counter as a restaurant or diner or donut shop counter rather than his table at home. But I don’t get what you see as amiss about his shirt front. Anyhow, yes indeed as you say ” long johns are underwear, are they not?” But he says he is out of underwear, so we must reject that meaning of Long John and go to the pastry meaning.

    I’m just fond of Frog Applause and called this comparatively realistic and a straightforward pun as something of an exaggeration, I have to admit — but in comparison to her usual mysterious impenetrable surrealistic pillow drawings, it was striking!

  5. narmitaj says: Sorry, that pic wasn’t supposed to come up – it was just a bog standard link to an Amazon sales page.
    I’ve taken the liberty of un-embedding it (by quotation). Let’s see if it now serves as a clickable link. \
    (In any event, your point is clear and correct: One well-established meaning of “long johns” is a suit of long underwear.)

  6. @Narmitaj: a crisis actor is a person engaged to portray a disaster victim during emergency drills to train first responders.

  7. Thanks for that definition, Olivier. I am sad to tell you it has taken on a strangely loaded and ugly additional sense in American fringe political discourse. (And then also in mainstream news media reporting on those fringe phenomena.) This is why we were a little hesitant about reprinting the cartoon, but thought finally that mention of the phrase would not be a political flame.

  8. Put me in the column with those not understanding the long johns one. I think I get the joke, or rather the invitation to empathize with the character’s laziness and resourcefulness, but I don’t see how it’s a pun.

    Also, I was distracted by the phrase “he quit my job” (a mistake, I assume) in the midlife crisis actor panel.

  9. Oh, wait, the crisis actor is a doppelganger for the man speaking, apparently acting out the latter’s fantasies. Makes a tiny bit more sense now.

  10. I have no idea in which region(s) “long johns” also refers to a pastry product, but I have never heard the term used for anything other than “winter underwear”, rendering the caption to CIDU status.
    P.S. I don’t understand the drawing, either: it looks like the artist’s original “blue pencil” rendering has been reproduced along with the inkwork. Even with the “pastry” explanation, those sketchmarks do not seem like they support that conclusion.

  11. The term is explored and explained at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_John_(doughnut)

    And some quotation:

    The Long John is a bar-shaped, yeast risen[1] pastry often coated with glaze or icing. They may be filled with custard or creme. The term long John is used in the Midwestern United States. In other parts of the United States, such as the Mid-Atlantic, long Johns are sometimes marketed as éclairs; the two pastries look similar but are created with different types of dough and fillings.

    There is also a “Other names” section.

  12. Mitch, are you making a joke by providing a ridiculous explanation? Even if Long John is a common and well-known expression for a type of donut, there’s nothing in the drawing to indicate the guy has stuffed a bunch of them stuffed in his clothes.

    I’d say crisis actor has entered and would be a good pun but doing the dopelganger explanation (“my” job, and dressing the same) was too weird and distracting that I couldn’t understand it and it actually made me temporarily forget what “crisis actor” actually meant.

    The witches microbrewery one: I used to be perplexed by Bill’s “yes, the two phrases sound alike but is that all” dismissals of valid puns but…. yeah, witches brew things in kettles and microbreweries brew beer but is that all…. Is that really enough to amuse someone as a pun?

  13. Oh!…. he’s not sitting at a table. That long wide thing is what he is wearing as pants. He’s wearing one large long john over his waist (maybe under his pants) and it protrudes out like judhpurs out the side. See the line and his shirt front.

    “Also, is the guy supposed to be at a long table, leaning his elbows on it? Then his shirt front doesn’t work, so it is more likely he is sitting in a lake.”

    No. The guy is standing there with his hands discretely with his hands clasped in front of him while the longjohn in his pants extend out several feet to either side.

  14. Although I am familiar with the pastry called long johns, that was not apparent to me in the comic. Frankly, even after the explanation, I’m not convinced that’s the joke.

  15. “For the microbrewery one, I thought the joke (such as it is) was that the kettle was really small.”

    oh. that would be an acceptable joke (imo). but i think its just a coincidence the kettle is (not all that particularly) small.

  16. Glad I’m not the only one doubting myself for not seeing the “straightforward” pun. I’m from the Midwest and have heard of the term long john being used for both a pastry and underwear, but I did not see the joke there at all. What in the drawing makes anyone think he’s in a donut shop and has stuffed his pants with pastries?

  17. Woozy may be right about the guy ‘wearing one large Long John over his waist’ but I think the cartoon simply does not illustrate the pun or anything. It’s just unnecessary filler material.
    Then, the pun works as Mitch4 explained it: ‘he says he is out of underwear, so we must reject that meaning of Long John and go to the pastry meaning.’ The (disgusting) rest is left to our imagination.

  18. Add me to the growing group of those who doesn’t get the long john one, and doesn’t find the doughnut explanation straightforward.

  19. ‘he says he is out of underwear, so we must reject that meaning of Long John and go to the pastry meaning.’

    … or …. we could admit we are utterly flummoxed and don’t get it at all. I’m not sure I’d ever, given an option as something not being a joke at all and a word having an alternative but utterly unrelated meaning, assume it is the alternative meaning despite no visual indication of it whatsoever. I mean if the caption was “I couldn’t find my shovel so instead I swept the snow off with a broom” and the image was a guy sitting one his couch with a dog, I don’t think my thought process would go: well, sweeping and brushing the snow will have the same affect so that can’t be the joke, therefore the only possible explanation is that ‘snow’ is slang for cocaine and he just made a purchase with his dealer who happens to be a dog.

    Anyway, I think we can say “Yay! For once Teresa gives us a funny straightforward pun , without a totally mysterious drawing or collage” is maybe premature.

    (For what it’s worth, put me down as a “I never heard of a pastry called a ‘Long John'” camp. Although I’m experienced enough to know that just because I haven’t heard of something doesn’t mean it might not be extremely common…. but…. I never have heard of a Long John.)

  20. No, I hadn’t heard of long johns as pastry, so that’s a new one.

    I had only heard of crisis actors in the context of conspiracy theories about real-lie tragedies. I knew that when police, fire, ambulance etc do large-scale exercises of major public incidents and disasters they hire people to lie around and act wounded or sick or as demonstrators and the like, though I didn’t know they were the original “crisis actors”.

  21. “IIRC, vegetarian food is kosher, which would include most candy bars.”

    Most candy bars contain milk chocolate, which I believe takes them out of the vegetarian realm.

    And count me among those who never heard of long john pastries and, even now having heard of them don’t think much of that comic.

  22. Or maybe, there’s absolutely nothing here: just a guy saying he resorted to wearing unusual underwear, these long Johns lying forgotten at the bottom of the drawer, because he forgot to do the laundry.

  23. There’s very little in the drawing, so the fact that you can see his shirt front has to mean something–namely, the horizontal line can’t be a table or counter top; it has to be the long john(s). Stupidly impossible, whether long johns underwear or long john pastry, but what else is there?

  24. “Or maybe, there’s absolutely nothing here: just a guy saying he resorted to wearing unusual underwear, these long Johns lying forgotten at the bottom of the drawer, because he forgot to do the laundry.”

    1) But long johns are underwear and 2) as a “joke” I wouldn’t describe that as particularly “a funny straightforward pun”

    “Stupidly impossible, whether long johns underwear or long john pastry, but what else is there?”

    But lack of anything else isn’t necessarily an argument for. It doesn’t actually look like he is wearing either a pastry or underwear that is 12 feet wide. It just looks like the cartoonist can do perspective. Which isn’t surprising considering how she does hands and eyes…..

  25. Gee, I thought the long john panel setup to be fairly straight forward. The guy simply ran out of regular underwear, and has dug deep into his dresser drawer for the last clean underwear he has available…the long johns, which presumably will be uncomfortably warm to wear during the course of a normal day, indoors. I once mistakenly bought a pair of flannel-lined work pants. I found them to be very toasty to wear most of the year. More comfortable to wear in the middle of winter.

    Not high art, but somewhat amusing. I end up pressing my socks with holes into service once my good ones are all in the hamper, so I can see where the cartoon guy is coming from.

    I didn’t really pay much attention to the artwork in the comic. I think he’s just sitting at a generic table. I think the text is supposed to carry more weight here than the actual artwork.

    And I don’t recall hearing of the pastry. I think you guys are reaching here.

  26. Add me into the camp who’s never heard of the pastry called ‘Long John’. Underwear, yes, snack, no.

    In fact, before reading this post, I’d have been a little concerned if my wife told me she was going out to get one. It sounds like something you’d find in an adults only shop, or the name of one of the actors in a film you would buy there.

  27. I have certainly heard of “long johns” as a pastry, though it wouldn’t be the first thing I think of when I hear the term. And I think Grawlix etc. has got it; the point (such as it is, and it isn’t much) is just that the guy ran out of “regular” underwear and has to temporarily adapt by using uncomfortable “long john” type underwear. (And yes, I and I’m sure most of us do think of that is still counting as “underwear,” but apparently the guy in the cartoon does not, for whatever reason — likeliest reason being the cartoonist couldn’t be bothered to work with the idea a bit and somehow make it both clearer and funnier — well, I’d settle for just ‘clearer,’ musn’t be greedy.)

  28. There’s a lot of discussion of the joke, but not much resolution about what the “straightforward pun” in the OP is supposed to be. Maybe whoever wrote that could step forward and explain?

  29. Maybe Grawlix is right and it has nothing to do with pastries. If that’s the case, I don’t see a joke. Maybe if the guy had sweat pouring from his face, it would elicit a chuckle.

    On the other hand, if it really is a pun, then the artist could have easily made it clearer. Show the guy purchasing long johns (pastries) with the caption “Oh I’m not hungry. I just ran out of underwear”. Then again I guess that wouldn’t work for those who have never heard of that definition.

  30. “There’s a lot of discussion of the joke, but not much resolution about what the “straightforward pun” in the OP is supposed to be. Maybe whoever wrote that could step forward and explain?”

    Second that. I’m really very curious.

  31. Well, it’s not going to make you happy, since you’ve already seen it (several times) and rejected it. It’s the play on words between the two senses of “long john”. Say what you will about it not being a good joke, I think it’s undeniable that it is clearly a pun. (For the language community that has both meanings.)

    Suppose it weren’t a cartoon but a bit in a stand-up routine. “It was so cold yesterday, I bumped into a guy at my local Dunkin who said he ran out of underwear at home, so he was getting a bunch of long johns to use instead.” Pun, or no pun? (Still assuming the audience is part of the language community that has both meanings.)

    Mind you, I’m not one of those people who talk about pun as “lowest form of humor” — I think word-play can be top-notch comedy! But I don’t see successful comedy as criterial for being a pun at all. So this was, from that standpoint, straightforwardly a pun, regardless of whether it is a good joke, dontcha see?

  32. Mitch4, let me say that I really respect your opinion. And I am extremely thankful for your contribution to keeping this site going. That said, where do you see this pun from the comic?

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.