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SW engineering, engineering management and the business of software

2012 01 19

Deconstructing Humors: The DoubleSwerve

One of @jf’s favorite webcomics recently published a comic that will launch a thousand ships. At least one ship. As long as your definition of ship is a series of articles written by me.

The comic linked above demonstrates a technique I call the DoubleSwerve™. At the most fundamental level, Humor can usually be broken down into two parts: the Pull and the Swerve. (You may have heard the older terms lead and punchline, but the snappy dressers have all switched.)

The Pull is where you immerse someone in the joke. Good jokes end up Pulling the listener in a certain direction.

Once the listener has established a direction, you’ve stopped pulling them, and they are going along of their own free will, the Swerve maybe unleashed. The intent is to diverge and introduce an different, unexpected thought. Like a wall of hamsters.

In panel 3, we are lucky enough to get the first Swerve. Most people at this point have been Pulled to where they expect the cliché followup, but the author brilliantly waits for the line break to Swerve.

In panel 4, we get the second serving of Swerve. Most people can only fit one joke in four panels. Tremendously efficient use of humor by Anthony Clark (@nedroid) ends up giving you 100% more guffaw per pixel.

Now let me show you the LeaveHangingSwerve™.

you may also be interested in some of the greatest hits of

〜 You Should Foster a Culture of Readability

〜 The Customer's Semi-Lucid Trance State

〜 ARC Best Practices

〜 Weighted Credit Pools for API Rate Limiting

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