Saturday, January 21, 2012


Dear blog,

Sorry I've been neglecting you lately. What can I say? It's been a busy week -- a busy, exhausting, soul-draining week. Anyway, as advertised, here is yukmeister William Shatner in the obscure 1984 TV show Funniest Joke I Ever Heard:

How do I love this clip? Let me count the ways.

  • It's William Shatner and therefore guaranteed comedy gold.
  • He's on a goddamned horse for the entire thing.
  • Before he even tells his joke, he gives us some personal background information ("I love horses.") and promises us that the joke is going to be "great."
  • He takes a minute and a half to tell this joke, which turns out to be terrible. This confirms a theory I once heard which posits that joke-telling is not about humor but rather about controlling another person's time.
  • The delivery of the joke is pure Shatner. He speeds through many of his words, lingers over a few others, and puts pauses where they absolutely do not belong.
  • Instead of just making the joke's main character a generic, unnamed baseball manager, Shatner chooses to make him Tommy Lasorda. So much for timelessness.
  • Shatner cannot resist playing up the drama of the baseball manager's desperation. ("He's losing his shirt! He's losing his mind!") In fact, Shatner delivers the entire joke with the fervor of an Old Testament prophet.
  • When, at long last, the punchline arrives, it is baffling. Shatner says the words so quickly that they're almost unintelligible. You figure he's going to say something like "Kentucky Derby," but instead he blurts out "Hialeah." Hi-ya-wha?

For the record, "Hialeah" refers to Florida's Hialeah Park Race Track, which apparently used to be quite a famed horse racing venue. Wikipedia says it's defunct or at least semi-defunct and might be turned into a ballpark for the Florida Marlins. The park's official website sees things a little differently.

Either way, now you know what William Shatner's favorite joke is.

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