The Blue View by Boxjam

I'm feeling very alone.

I don't think there is a person in this world who would say that they see me as their best friend. I have never been, and I'm sure never will be, a godfather. I've never been elected to lead a group, no matter how small.

I draw a 'comic strip' called BoxJam's Doodle, which is more doodle than comic strip, and more drawn than seen or read.

I've always thought I was funny, and that has been the thing that made me feel like I have something to offer. Believe it or not. That's the thing. That's my best shot at being remembered. I can't sing, or play an instrument, I can't act, I'm not outgoing, I can't draw, but damn it, I'm funny.

Now I'm not so sure.

In fourth grade, I wrote a sketch for my elementary school's talent show. News report. Silly. I thought it was funny. When we auditioned the sketch, Mrs. O'Leary stopped us partway through, and said, somewhat disgusted, "another silly act." She decided we could only do ours if we combined our skit with another few kids who had also auditioned a newscast sketch. Everyone else was allowed to do what they wanted, but we had to combine or be dropped. She wanted us to combine with that other skit which had fart jokes! How could she just lump our hard-written slapstick with that!? Besides, my parents could never see it with the fart jokes. We gave up. David Gross ended up doing a skit with his sister, Rudy Keiser played the flute, and I did nothing.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. On various message boards, as everyone knows, most discussion eventually ends up being not about the ostensible topic of the message board, but about the posters instead. On one message board I frequent, out of the blue, someone decided who was the funniest person there. Wasn't me, of course. It was a guy who I don't find particularly funny, but rather just incessant. Other people were also named as funny during the ensuing discussion. My name didn't come up. On another message board, same thing happened – no mentions.

I was in a couple of improv troupes – ran one – but was certainly not the star. I thought I held my own. Maybe I didn't. I wrote a sitcom script that an agent picked up. Nothing ever came of it, but I got an agent, and I thought it must have been funny. Maybe not.

Maybe I'm just not funny. Even at work – my last job – the guy who was recognized as the 'funny guy at the office' wasn't me. Not that I want to be the 'funny guy at the office' – I mean, that's the pathetic guy, but still, yes I do.

Being funny is a big part of my identity. I want to be the quiet guy that everyone, one day, realizes is funnier than the rest of them put together. Doesn't ever happen.

Maybe I'm not funny.

The weird thing is, people that are supposed to be funnier than me, in peer groups, don't usually strike me as so funny. They usually strike me as obvious, and persistent. Not always, of course. Plenty of webcomics actually are funny – that's different – part of the reason people are webcartoonists are to test out their funny chops. It bugs me in other groups, though.

If I'm not funny, I am really depressed. Because then I'm not good at anything. Maybe that's why I'm not anybody's best friend, or godfather, or civic leader. I'm just an also-ran in this life. But I want to be funny.

So if you ever wonder why I don't just stop the strip, there's your reason. Even if Keenspot were to drop me, those damned doodles would show up somewhere. It's the Internet. Try to stop me. I'm going to put out a book, too, even though Keenspot's not interested in doing it with me. And some day, a few people will remember a few doodles as some of the funniest stuff they ever read.

And if I ever see Mrs. O'Leary again, I'm going to sucker-punch her.

BoxJam is a contributing columnist for Comixpedia.

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  1. Humor is one of the major intangibles. I had problems fitting in when I was a child because I had a highly developed sense of irony and I would laugh at things my age group didn’t think were funny.

    Obviously, those doodles are fulfilling a need for many people, and some of them may find certain aspects more hilarious than the intent. (Lord knows that when people speak of how much they like my “punchlines” I always wonder what crack they’re smoking.)

    You don’t have to be the funniest guy out there to win; you just have to realize that a certain elite percentage of the world understands your genius… and that they don’t tend to comment in threads about “the funniest person out there.”

  2. Wow…get out of my head Boxjam.

    For the record, I find the doodle a very refreshing change of pace from other strips. I can’t say that I’ve ever fell out of my chair laughing but I always seem to smile when I read one. That, to me, speaks volumes about your work.

  3. Nice article. I often feel sorta that way, myself. When I think about my own strip, it’s not the zaniest or the outwardly funniest strip out there. It’s my strip. It’s not South Park or even Mall Monkeys. It’s my strip. I’m slowly evolving it to where it will be and that’s where it will stay. I don’t strive to be “that guy” in any situation anymore. I strive to be me. Charles Schultz went through a lot of that, so I guess it’s a good sign. Good luck to ya, guy.

  4. One of the funniest people on the Internet doesn’t think he’s funny?

    Of all the BoxJams in the world, you’re the BoxJammiest.

  5. BoxJam, if you had any IDEA how funny you are you might become totally goddamn insufferable, and nobody wants that. The Doodle is hilarious precisely because it stands firmly in that small circle of insecurity and waves its meek flag proudly.

    Besides, there’s a world of difference between being funny and being a Laff Riot. Have you ever seen an interview with Steven Wright? Charles Schultz? They aren’t crack-ups on a daily basis. It’s what they PRODUCE(D) that’s brilliant. I’d rather be funny in product than funny in conversation, and it’s often amazing how strongly those two skills do not go together at all.

    I love funny people.

    I tend to hate Laff Riots.

    Funny people smile and nod and say observant things. Laff Riots are the fuckers in the bar that run around yelling woohoo and making fun of the band and vomiting on your shoes. Dennis Miller is pretty funny. Chris Farley was a Laff Riot. I trust I’ve driven the point into the ground now.

    Everyone loves BoxJam. Those that don’t haven’t met him yet. That’s the stone truth, brother.

  6. Mrs. O’Leary is a cow! (Oh the humor!)

    Anyway, boxjam, I always thought you were funny. But you are a thinking man’s funny, which will never be funny with the masses, really. Because the masses are freakin’ morons. Most people want to be entertained in a passive manner instead of asked to think about an entertaining idea. That’s why toilet humor exists. They aren’t asking much from the audience.

    I think a lot of the great comedians do both. They have smart, subtle humor shored up with dumb obvious humor.

    Anyway, I say stick with it!


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