What Is Clunkline?
Welcome to Clunkline, where you are the butt of our jokes.
Clunkline is a comedy website hosting all kinds of original content. It was created and is maintained by a stock of writers who almost exclusively all have some kind of association with the city of Pittsburgh, and we’re not sure yet if we’re proud of that. We needed a place to throw all the crap we make that gets rejected from actual respectable websites. Clunkline became that place.
What does Clunkline mean?
According to my coinage, a clunkline is the opposite of a punchline. It’s a postmodern invention, part of what is known as “anti-humor”. Anti-humor doesn’t mean “not funny”. It means that a joke is set up, and then expectations are defied and no punchline is delivered. This is especially effective with the worst, most well-known, unforgivably lame jokes. The joke becomes self-aware: it knows it’s stupid, and clubs you over the head with its stupidity. The joke, in this case, is on the listener. I think that’s what this comes down to: we don’t care about you. We want to laugh at you. The customer is always annoyed. Caveat phallus.
A horse walked into a bar. The bartender said, “Why the long face?”
And then the horse pooped.
“Well, y’see, it’s funny because…”
Anti-humor amounts to deliberately ruining a joke. It becomes an art form when the resulting joke is so amazingly horrid that it becomes funny again. (Ideally.)
But joke telling ≠ comedy, and likewise, anti-humor is more than just joke-telling. There’s whole stories, whole routines, that have anti-humor endings. Bill Cosby and Monty Python did some excellent routines like this. And people have started to realize: jokes, predictable routines… they’re tired, they’ve been done, they’re hackneyed and boring and unfunny. These days, to defy expectations, you have to do something truly stupid. And that is where clunklines come in. Yeah… they’re definitely an acquired taste, but after you hear the same joke, see the same concepts, watch the same routines, read the same articles, over and over again, you start to want to make fun of comedy. A clunkline’s purpose is to destroy a formula. If you call that a formula, well… fuck off.
So why name this website after that idea? Clunkline is not only about anti-humor (not by a long shot), but my particular brand of comedy tends to lean in that direction more often than most comedy writers’. And hey, the domain name was available.
Why do you have a flying tank as your mascot?
It felt like it fit. We needed an image that summed up the feeling of this website. Grabass_Champion and I were looking through a bunch of images I found on the intertubes for something like that and we saw the Antonov A-40. (It is one of the only images you’ll find on the site that we didn’t create ourselves.)
“Wait… what’s that?” he asked me.
“It’s a flying tank. It’s a classic example of trying to do multiple things at once and doing neither of them well. The Soviets built it, go figure.”
He paused. “I don’t think we have to look any further.”
“Yeah… trying to do too many things at once, a stupid idea by a bunch of commies, it fits perfectly. Although… I’m surprised that in that picture, it is, in fact, flying.”
“Well, y’see,” I explained, “when you drag something heavy behind something that actually flies, and drop it, it must necessarily pass through air before it crashes into the ground.”