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Early in my career I learned that whatever brain defect makes a person become a cartoonist is the same defect that prevents that cartoonist from having the same sense of humor as the general public. In other words, if I make a comic that I personally feel is hilarious, the public will be disappointed in it. They might even hate that comic. I've discovered that the most successful cartoonists have learned to write for the readers and not their own sensibilities. Normally I try to do that too.

The problem is that no jail can hold art. Sometimes I simply . . . have . . . to . . . create comics that I love and you don't. That happens about five percent of the time. And those comics probably appeal to no more than five percent of the public - the people who have similar brain defects.

The Dilbert comic for 2/13/13 is a perfect example. You can see from the online comments that the public isn't impressed. Personally, I find this sort of humor hilarious.

I'm generally attracted to humor that involves wrongness, rule breaking, or inappropriate behavior. The adult comic-reading public is mostly interested in humor that has the "That happens to me too!" element. To put it another way that is less flattering to me, I enjoy the same sort of humor that children do. All I've done is transition from fart jokes to indirect references to erections. It's the adult version of childish humor. I'm not proud of it.

I felt an explanation of this phenomenon was necessary because people act puzzled when one of my comics seems to miss the mark by a mile. One would think that after all of my practice even my misses would be near-hits. The reason for the bad misses on some days is that I can't help myself. Sometimes the comic is just for me and the few freaks that never lost their childish sense of humor.

For what it's worth, I consider it a failure of professional discipline on my part. But I can't promise it will improve.

 
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Feb 14, 2013
Wow, I guess I'm just a lame member of the herd. I really like "that happens to me too!" comics and thought the 2/13/13 comic was stupid.
 
 
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Feb 13, 2013
Nothing wrong with the type of humour, for mine the disconnect is in the delivery in this case. I found it funny but not hilarious.
 
 
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Feb 13, 2013
I thought it was funny. I like off color humor but it has to be good off color humor. For example, I was always amazed at what Chuck Lorre and company were able to get away with on "Two and a Half Men" and some of the humor was as much from the fact that the implication or double entendre made it past the censors as in the joke itself. A little of that is in the comic you reference, we can all imagine what is going on below the table but that you got it published is pretty funny as well.

The only humor I can't really enjoy is that which is based on someone being in an uncomfortable position and not doing anything about it. The TV show "Frasier" was expert at that.
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
I thought this was one of the funnier comics you've produced in quite a while....that's my defective brain speaking.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 13, 2013
Well, this cartoon made something in my brain think it was a little off-colour, but I'm perfectly okay with that. It was funny, and !$%*!$ in a way that nobody could rationally object to. Looks like a score to me, Scott....
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
@Mark Naught

[The problem isn't your sense of humor - the problem is with your audience.]

Thinking like that is what nearly bankrupted the American auto industry in the 70s. The customer is never the problem. Scotts attitude here, that comics that his readership don't appreciate is a professional failure on his part, is the correct one.

Having said that, I said this in the comments for the comic so Ill say it here; that comic wasn't that bad. I thought it was funny, but would probably have been better if, after the first panel, it had had some CEO/PHB inspired irony to the concept of building an emotional attachment to your customers instead of Wally fantasizing.
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
5 stars for that comic.

I must be defective like you which may be why Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkee Brain! is my favorite book. I even bought several copies and gave them to close friends.
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
Maybe it was just overstated. See my mash-up (and ignore the extra line that can not be removed).

http://dilbert.com/mashups/comic/178325/
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 13, 2013
¡Vivá la comicidad del baño!
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
The problem isn't your sense of humor - the problem is with your audience.

The audience is Dilbert's audience, which is for office humor, not bathroom or other lowbrow humor. Perhaps these two demographics don't cross much? I thought this strip was pretty funny, but I can see why people expecting office humor were mostly silent.
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
I don't think your failure was that your sense of humor is different from normal people, but that you made an amateur error of letting your own amusement get in the way of a clean delivery. And though I know very little about comedy, I know that delivery is everything.

The hardest I have ever laughed in my life was at a scene in a movie that involved someone with their hair on fire jumping into a pool. Now this is pretty standard slapstick - a staple of comedy - but the actors and director pulled it off so neatly that I was literally gasping for breath.

If the director had not put in the precision for so banal a gag, it would not have been very funny. Thinking something is funny on its own leads to a sloppy delivery.
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
Love your comics that have the "That happens to me too!" element. Generally I just don't find it funny if it's slap-stick type jokes, and I think fart jokes to indirect references to !$%*!$%*! are like mental slap-stick: instead of an idiot getting canned or walking in front or a car, you have an idiot saying something ridiculous.

BUT,

I do like it when slap stick is situational and not just set up. It can be funny when it is unexpected, or when it "fits" within a normal scene. And I do like fart jokes and the like when it fits and it's forced.

so I do find your comic funny because Wally doesn't force it. He's just like that.
 
 
Feb 13, 2013
Going off which webcomics are successful, I'd say there's a very large number of people who share said defect. Several popular ones engage in this sort of humor frequently enough that it's not unexpected.

I have to wonder if Dilbert would have gone in a different direction had it been launched as a webcomic instead - I suspect the audience feedback might have encouraged you to go the "Bingo" route instead of the office jokes route.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 13, 2013
I can honestly say this is the first Dilbert comic to make me laugh out loud in a long time. I appear to share your brain defect.
 
 
 
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