Colin Jost’s Tenure At The New Yorker Consists Of Telling Exactly One Joke Over And Over — And He Can’t Even Do That Right

Colin Jost, the marble-skinned head of hair who is a head writer on “Saturday Night Live” and host of its “Weekend Update,” did a thing on The New Yorker today that was blatantly not funny. Not in a “I’m a feminist/person of color/marginalized member of a societal group that has been maligned yet again by a white person, this time in The New Yorker” not funny, just something objectively lacking in humor. The problem with his “I Will Slap You” piece isn’t just its inherent unfunniness though — it’s that Jost’s thing is to beat a joke into the ground, so tickled by his own cleverness that he doesn’t seem to notice its diminishing returns.

“I Will Slap You,” which I assume is some sort of underground viral marketing for NBC’s Uma Thurman miniseries, “The Slap,” is just a bunch of various riffs on the same joke — about slapping someone.

That’s right. I’ll slap you so fast you won’t even know what hit you.

I mean, you’ll have a pretty good idea. Because I told you in advance. But you’ll also be distracted by—what’s that?—a second slap.

This time with the back of my hand.

And, yeah, that is a Ring Pop. Berry Blast, bitch.

Which, you know, if that’s the funniest part I could find to paste, you get a sense of what the other 49 (really) ostensible one-liners are like. Maybe they would have been funnier if Jost had learned any other joke-telling techniques in the three years he’s been moonlighting at The New Yorker.

See 2014’s “Sign Here,” an endless series of attempted ha-has about signatures:

“X.” Hmm. See, that almost looks like a signature. … You know? The way idiots in old movies sign their names? No, no, no, I’m not saying you’re in old movies. I just think you should choose a more neutral initial. “P.” Excellent. Everybody’s happy.

Now, on page 19, we’re gonna need you to do a full signature again, then sort of a winking smiley face. Like you’re signing it but you’re being real playful about it. Like “Oh, you want my signature? Is that what you want? Well, come and get it, Mr. Man.” No, don’t actually write “Mr. Man.” That’s just a common fake name, like Mrs. Girl or Guy Dude.

Or 2013, which brought his list of potential summer movie sequels, in one-liner form, duh:

“Silverer Linings Playbook”—Double the garbage bags!

“Ar-went”—Prequel about Ben Affleck deciding to make “Argo” in order to escape from a location shoot in Iran for a fictional movie he hasn’t written yet.

“This is 42”—Leslie Mann and Jackie Robinson are the original odd couple.

January 2013’s “Automatic Reply” would have been cute if it hadn’t run on for quite so long, and it wasn’t, you know, 2013, where everyone is on e-mail at all times, even across the globe:

I will have almost zero access to carrier pigeons. This is less a function of my vacation and more a function of the year I was born. No one ever taught me how to use a carrier pigeon. (Where does one affix the message? Does one whisper the destination into the pigeon’s ear? Do pigeons have “ears”? Etc.)

I will have unpredictable access to messages in bottles. If you are trapped on a faraway island in the Pacific, the odds are that your bottle will not reach my office until after February 4th, at which point I will be “in” the office and can radio the nearest vessel for help. But if you are trapped on a nearby island, like the traffic island across the street from my office, please do not throw a bottle at my window. It will only disturb my vacation/nap.

I will NOT be checking my landline, which is a can attached to a string. I will be too busy digging a tunnel from my basement to my best friend’s basement.

Earlier in 2012, we somehow were gifted “Olympic Storylines to Watch,” which were almost as unreadable as the actual Olympics were unwatchable:

Kerri Strug: Myth or fake?

Is Hideki Fartasaurus a real athlete or is this signup sheet just a joke?

If Greece wins a gold medal, will they give it to Germany, like, “Ha ha, we owe you a bunch of money,” or will they throw it at Turkey, like, “Shut up”?

Though just that summer, Jost had written “A Few More Bank Security Questions,” which was actually, dare I say it, kind of funny:

What street did you really grow up on?

What is really your favorite Jane Austen novel?

Who is your least favorite nephew?

What was the last name of your first grade teacher’s second husband?

What was your mother’s maiden waist size?

What street would you have preferred to grow up on?

So there you have it. Colin Jost stopped being funny just as quickly as he started, sometime back in the summer of 2012.

[The New Yorker]