Summary of “Patton Oswalt has a very good take on Heath Ledger’s Joker”

Pondering the origins of the Batman universe’s Joker has proven to be a fruitful pastime, one that changes and evolves depending on which version of the character you’re exploring.
There are a few stories out there-Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, for example, or Tim Burton’s Batman-as well as a partial origin tale that just unfolded in Telltale’s recent Batman: The Enemy Within game.
No matter how many origins emerge we’ll forever be left to ponder the past of Heath Ledger’s take on the character in Christopher Nolan’s seminal The Dark Knight, a film that acknowledged the character’s nebulous backstory by having the character continually blur the truth by cycling through a number of manufactured origins.
Now, Patton Oswalt, an astute scholar of pop culture, has a new take on the character.
Fans have long speculated that Ledger’s Joker is ex-military in an evidence-laden Facebook post, Oswalt ponders whether he’s actually ex-military intelligence, with a specialty in interrogation.
The way he adjusts his personality and methods depending on who he’s talking to, and knowing EXACTLY the reaction he’ll get: mocking Gamble’s manhood; invoking terror to Brian, the “False” Batman; teasing the policeman’s sense of loyalty to his fallen, fellow cops; digging into Gordon’s isolation; appealing to Harvey Dent’s hunger for “Fairness.” He even conducts a “Reverse interrogation” with Batman when he’s in the box at the police station-wanting to see how “Far” Batman will go, trying to make him break his “One rule.” He constantly changes his backstory.
There’s some good back-and-forth happening in the post’s comments as well, and Oswalt’s been updating the post with insight gleaned from his fellow theorists, as well as new revelations he’s stumbled upon, including allusions to Abu Ghraib.
One fan, for example, points out the ways in which The Joker “Directs” the Batman interrogation: “Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy,” Joker says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Strategic Mind of Ali Wong”

With a romantic comedy co-starring Randall Park in the works and a memoir structured as a series of letters to her daughters being published by Random House next year, Ms. Wong is about to join the A-list, a club that few women or Asian-American stand-ups are let into.
After she finished her set to loud applause Ms. Wong drove home, pumped some milk for her baby, went to sleep and woke up at 7 a.m. to breast-feed, while her husband, Justin Hakuta, took care of their 2-1/2-year-old daughter.
There hadn’t been another until the current ABC series “Fresh Off the Boat,” for which Ms. Wong wrote.
There have been signs of a growing Asian-American comedy audience, said the stand-up Sheng Wang, who points to the success of the popular U.C.B. variety show “Asian AF” in both Los Angeles and New York as well as that of Ms. Wong.
When asked why there have been so few Asian stand-up stars, Ms. Wong hesitated, avoiding the question.
The first time Ms. Wong became pregnant, she confessed, she was so worried that her husband would not love their child that she gave the baby a Japanese first name and his last name.
It’s a notable admission, particularly since at the same time Ms. Wong was taping “Baby Cobra,” which sharply attacked how our culture has such low expectations for fathers.
An earlier version of this article misstated Ali Wong’s status with the series “Fresh Off the Boat.” She used to write for it; she is not currently a writer on it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “If You Think You Hate Puns, You’re Wrong”

Either way, having to deal at all with the demand that wordplay be acknowledged is probably the reason so many people think they hate puns.
Some puns are just interruptive white noise while others have the power to make people stand up and scream.
The good news is that puns are also embedded in everything people do like, and in the right hands they are tiny word-shaped miracles.
Think Kanye West on the song “Otis” Think of all the greatest gutter-filthy insults on Veep, like when someone refers to the gangly Jonah as “Jizzy Gillespie.” Think Seth Meyers monologues, Daily Show chyrons like “Mess O’Potamia,” or when Donnell Rawlins said on Guy Code, “The only loofa a man should have in his house is Loofa Vandross.” Puns are, to use a dicey second vegetable metaphor, the onions of comedy.
Most people who think they hate puns actually just hate lazy, shopworn, shitty puns-and the tah-dah flourish with which they’re executed.
They hate puns that sound lifted from popsicle stick jokes, or ones that are drawn from something someone said five minutes ago, the context melting away like popsicle juice running down your fist.
One thing bad puns have on other jokes is that after passing a certain threshold of Bad, their very badness suddenly becomes the joke itself.
There’s a kind of math undergirding most jokes, but puns are especially equational.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Letter of Recommendation: Rodney Dangerfield”

These were the stations on the via dolorosa of Jacob Cohen, a.k.a. Rodney Dangerfield, whose comedy I hold above all others’.
While other comedians of that era made their names in television and film, Dangerfield made his with stand-up.
Dangerfield spent years on them; he once told an interviewer that it took him three months to work up six minutes of material for a talk-show appearance.
If there’s art about life and art about art, Dangerfield’s comedy was the latter – he was the supreme formalist.
In a YouTube clip of him performing on “Sullivan” in 1969, Dangerfield’s face is the unsettling bluish-pink of raw chicken.
In the decade that followed, Dangerfield eliminated everything from his act but the setups and punch lines.
Most comics use the setup and punch line like a nail and hammer, but Dangerfield used them as a theremin player uses her hands, to bring forth strange, unexpected effects.
You can watch one at the close of a Dangerfield set on the “Tonight” show.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Riveting Host in Late Night”

In his first years on TBS, Mr. O’Brien still seemed haunted by losing “The Tonight Show,” but his series now has the pleasing eccentricity of someone who doesn’t care about ratings or expectations.
Mr. O’Brien’s brand of silliness has always been delightfully, often gruesomely askew.
They won’t age well, and Mr. O’Brien, generally speaking, aims for jokes that depend less on the news cycle than his competitors do.
This even extends to how Mr. O’Brien handles politics.
While he does an ordinary joke or two about President Trump every night, he also produced one of the most truly daring episodes of political comedy this year, with a September show shot entirely in Israel and the Palestinian territories, one of his many episode-long forays into other cities.
Mr. O’Brien floated in the Dead Sea, engaged in some terrible haggling with street vendors and delivered a minute-long history of the area that covered thousands of years.
Much of the special was simply Mr. O’Brien unscripted, making a connection with game strangers and turning that into an amusing scene.
Comedy doesn’t need to serve a political end to be important.

The orginal article.