Back in the good old days of 2012, I had a revelation that the most punchable thing in the world was the look folk singers get on their face when they sing a line that they find really clever. You know the look — a sort of sideways glance while smirking. It usually happens as they sing a sarcastic line about “the government.” It sort of tells the audience, “You know what I’m talkin’ about. Let’s see The Man come back from that burn.”
I would like to formally apologize to folk singers everywhere, because it turns out I was wrong. The most punchable thing in the world is improv group photos.
Let me say right off the bat that I don’t have anything against the actual improv groups. I have friends in the industry, and the performances themselves can be extremely funny. But it is physically impossible to take a photo of an improv troupe without making them look like the most annoying assholes in the world. The skit being performed by The Deltones (above) may be the funniest thing ever done on stage, but all I get from that photo is, “You want some wacky? Oh, trust us, son, we got plenty of wacky. If you can’t handle a man pulling down his pants and standing in his boxers, you’ll definitely want to skip this zany exhibition!”
And trust me, “wacky” is the end goal. Improv groups are like old-school ’90s gangsta rap, each trying to out-“hard” each other. “You think you’re hard? You don’t want to fuck with me. I’m harder than anything you’ve ever seen before.” Except with wackiness.
The above picture is “Nutty By Nature,” and trust me, they’ll wacky the fuck out of your shit if you show up to one of their performances. And in case you were wondering, I didn’t make up that name. That’s what they genuinely call themselves, because it’s a federal law that if you’re in an improv group, your troupe name must contain at least one pun. Preferably one which conveys an appropriate level of wackiness. Seriously, look at them in this photo and tell me you don’t instantly think, “Holy shit, that is some next-level wacky!”
Did I mention white? Because they’re really goddamn white.
Again, they may be the funniest people who have ever walked this planet. But I’ll never know, because when I see photos like this, I spend the next week in jail for punching the next seven people I come in contact with.
That’s “Monkey Business Institute,” and they desperately want you to know that they are 1) wacky, 2) the whitest people you’ll ever see, and 3) no, seriously, they’re really white.
Aside from the lily-white wackiness present in 99 percent of these photos, the pattern seems to be: arms out, make a funny face, have a few people looking angry or violent, and always have the wackiest cast member of them all being extra wacky at the bottom.
Don’t even act like you don’t instantly know who the wackiest member of New Catch Improv is just by looking at the photo. And don’t pretend that after looking at it, you’re not going to punch a random person until they die of knuckle poisoning. It’s impossible.
Or hey, maybe you have way more willpower than me. If so, allow me to break that with a picture of Stanford Improvisors:
See, it’s different because there are TWO wackiest members!
I hope it’s just me. I honestly, genuinely do. Because if this is just a case of me being abnormally riled up by harmless photographs, that’s something I can solve. I can go to a psychiatrist and get therapy, and maybe some medication, and after a few weeks, I’ll be right as rain again. That has to be it, right? Is it normal to look at a picture of “Laughing Stock Improv” and instantly picture them all being on fire?
I mean, it has to be a psychological problem on my part, right? You guys are able to look at these pictures and just shrug it off? Like, you can see these two photos of Alpaca Suitcase and walk away, totally at peace with the world?
Guys? Please? Even this picture of “April’s Fools Improv Comedy Troupe” doesn’t send you into an emotional and literal blood orgy of rage?
See, the reason I want to know so badly who’s at fault is because if I’m wrong — if these photos make the rest of you want to suplex your monitors and phones into a fine dust — then it’s the improv groups themselves who are to blame. And if that’s the case, it means there is a legitimate portion of our society which sees these images and legitimately thinks, “That is hilarious! I will pay good, hard earned money to see that in person!” It means there are real people who see this photo of “W.I.G.” and make real-life plans to go see them, because people flailing about in wacky wigs is the ultimate form of comedy in their personal universe.
I’ll be honest: I don’t know if I can live in that world.
Watch John periodically lose his mind, sometimes while wearing a wacky wig, on Twitter.
Discover more punchable comedy offenses in 5 Popular Jokes That Only Make People Want to Punch You and learn how to avoid these mistakes in 4 Jokes No Should Tell (For Good Reason).
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