36 Comments

  1. Oh, okay. That actually clears it up for me. Is it a particular denomination or time period that would use that expression?

  2. Oh wait! Due to trademark/legal/satire reasons, in the Barney and Clyde universe the quirky single panel cartoon that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s was “The Other Side” by Larry Garson. And the readers in *our* universe are supposed to automatically get that and not be confused that in our universe it is called “The Far Side” by Gary Larson.

    Or maybe the cartoonist had a brain fart and briefly misremembered to title as “The Other Side”.

    So the joke is the chicken crossed the road to get into a “The Far/Other Side” cartoon.

  3. A devout Catholic acquaintance used to fond of the version:
    “What does a Christian cross himself? To get to The Other Side.”

    Personally my favorite riff is:
    “Why did the punk rocker cross the road? He was stapled to a chicken.”

  4. “@woozy in #1 makes sense”

    I do?????? I was being facetious!

    Andrea at @6 implies I could have been correct at @3 and maybe we just needed to wait to have it explained that in the B&C universe there is a Larsonesque cartoon called “The Other Side” and as part of the story arch Cynthia did a cartoon in the style of it and is now being sued for copyright infringement.

    Which, an in our universe where the strip is called the Far Side, what we actually read the original strip we weren’t *supposed* to get it in and of ourselves.

  5. @Woozy, the reason I thought your #1 was basically correct was not because the girl is being suicidal, but just dark, and thus using “the other side” to mean the land of the dead.

  6. Actually, are we *supposed* to assume the “plagarism” of the Monday strip is supposed to refer to the cartoon she drew on a Sunday strip? And to further to assume that that is a Larsonesque cartoon in the B&C universe called “the Other Side”. THis is expecting a *lot* of the readers (both comprehension and motivation to comprehension). But then again…. this is Barney and Clyde so it *does* often make such assumptions….

    But is the “patent infringement” unrelated and Barney just interupted? Is the patent infringement about the mechanical dog?

  7. Okay… took three or more readings but:

    his company is being sued for patent infringement. He brings up as an analogy a story about his daughter getting in trouble for plagiarism. Cynthia called it an “homage” and settled without admitting guilt. He’s suggesting they do the same. And for continuity, we can (if we wish) assume the plagarism was for a cartoon imitating the style of a strip called “The Other Side” which apparently exists in the B&C universe.

    That’s my analysis and I’m sticking with it. Until I come up with something entirely different.

  8. These comments are leaving me kind of confused… Mitch4 seems to be responding to something I didn’t see; woozy seems to understand the joke enough that his first explanation makes it obvious to me, but then retracts it… Andréa implies that this strip employs continuity between Sunday and daily strips, which if true, supports woozy’s second interpretation, only that interpretation seems extremely unlikely in light of his first interpretation…

    So, you have a chicken meditating in the middle of a road (though not levitating) — you can tell it’s meditating because of the closed eyes and wing fingers in that inverted “OK” position. The Other Side is a metaphor for Death. So, the chicken is trying to get run over. Ba-Dump-chink!

    A gothy teenagy girl writing a comic about death is a cliché, so woozy nails the comic by sarcastically saying suicidal teenagers are funny. Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes, after all.

    No more explanation needed for me; I’m ready to move on.

    But then the fact that her cartoon is done in the style of The Far Side is brought up, and also the fact that “The Other Side” sounds like “The Far Side”. Fair enough, but just extra flourishes — the joke has been explained. Maybe the author started with “Why does the chicken cross the road? To get into The Far Side” but rejected that as too specific a reference (though when has that ever stopped this strip before?), and went with this more general joke instead. But the joke as described above is still the main joke of the strip! Trying to mine out the failed/abandoned joke is all well and good, but the actual joke is still there!

    The interesting implication of continuity between Sunday and daily strips is intriguing, but not necessary. Maybe the author was inspired to do the daily strip by the Sunday strip, but not that the one literally followed from the other. If the joke had been my imagined first draft (Why did the chicken cross the road? To get into the Far Side), that would clearly have been an homage — you’re allowed to reference popular culture without infringing copyright; I suppose her teacher might not know about Fair Use, but that doesn’t make her right. On the other hand, if it is the strip as we see it on Sunday, then the teacher is calling what is clearly an invocation of a style “plagiarism”, which for the assignment it isn’t and can’t be, unless the assignment is to create and write a daily syndicated single panel comic strip. Plagiarism is the exact copying of something without citation, so for the scope of this assignment, had she copied a well-know (or even not well known) Far Side specific strip, then yes; but to invoke the style as a reference is not plagiarism (for the scope a single assignment). It might be infringement, depending on the use it’s put to, but it’s not plagiarism! So unless there is a Far Side strip about a meditating chicken, the teacher is wrong. (Which, I guess, is the “real world” internal strip outcome anyway…)

    But none of this secondary discussion retracts the suicidal meditating chicken wanting to get to the Other Side joke…

  9. I thought it might be a “Far Side” parody given the capitalization of the words “Other Side” and the Larson-esque appearance of the truck driver. But woozy’s first comment made me think otherwise — the truck is about to kill the rather sanguine chicken, and there’s no connection between that and appearing in a long-dead comic panel.

    So maybe it’s both.

  10. larK saith: Mitch4 seems to be responding to something I didn’t see . I was discussing only the original strip (or I mean panel) posted at the top by Bill — even though much of the discussion has moved on to the followup posted by Andréa.

    I didn’t get it when I saw it at first. But, slightly indirectly, Woozy’s #1, however facetiously he intended it, helped me. The girl is not suicidal, but the chicken is! And “the other side” is, in this reading, just a euphemism for “the state of being dead”.

  11. I was “facetiously serious”. The only thing I could get originally was that Cynthia was making a joke about the chicken getting killed and going to “the other side” which isn’t that funny and joke being just that Cynthia is a creative but “different” kid. Which also isn’t funny.

    So I facetiously said “suicidal kids are funny” because… well, obviously they aren’t, but I figured this is a lazy modern day cartoon trope of “hey, I made an acknowledgement; that makes me quasi-deep; that’s as good as a joke” so I sarcastically said the joke is that suicidal teenagers are funny.

    But then I realized that the style was distinctly in another style and I got that it was supposed to be in the style of The Far Side. And The Other Side was capitalized. But…. the strip is the Far Side, not the other side, and… maybe in this universe there is an equivalent called “The Other Side”? Maybe it’s been mentioned before? But it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine the readers in *our* universe would be willing to swim in both?

    And then Andrea posted another strip which if it were a follow-up would make a weird retrofit sense. But Andrea’s was a monday panel and the Other Side was a Sunday and cartoonists seldom connect Sundays and Dailies in the same time frame … but it fits *so* well. And it even explains the weird Far Side/Other Side ambidexterity.

    So all it all…..

    Its weird.

  12. The big buzz of 2018 was that the “Why does the chicken cross the road?”-“To get to the other side.” classic was created with both meanings in mind (one being dying in order to go to the “other side”). While I will miss the standard-of-obviousness that I and (most people?) may have thought it was, the recovered(?) meaning now seems the obvious original joke to me. Either way, I am happy to think it will remain a standard as long as there exists chickens and roads.

  13. Why did the chicken cross the road? Because Colonel Sanders was on this side.
    Why did the chicken cross the road halfway? To lay it on the line.
    Why did the Hollywood chicken cross the road? To see her friend Gregory peck.
    Why did the egg cross the road? Never mind why. Was it before or after the chicken?

  14. “The girl is not suicidal, but the chicken is! And “the other side” is, in this reading, just a euphemism for “the state of being dead”.”

    That’s how I saw it when I first read it. The girl is ‘strange’ as she’s making a joke about death/suicide, which I’m sure is an adjective that has been attributed to many a dark humourist through the ages, and what I thought Woozy @1 was referring to. I laughed.

  15. Kevin A – Wait are you saying that the original joke has a double meaning and not just the one obvious meaning? Is there also more to the joke “Why do firemen wear red suspenders? To hold their pants up!”?

  16. “the recovered(?) meaning now seems the obvious original joke to me.”

    I disagree. I just think this shows 2018 people are self-serious and pigheaded. I think it is still obviously a self-fulfilling over-literalism. If people think they have “discovered” the “real” joke it means they are not only not deep enough to understand the logical absurdity of literalism, but they are so shallow a self-centered they think their shallowness is actually deep.

    This a bit like all the later found answers to “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” *None* of them are as funny or as good as the intended “I have no idea”.

    ……

    “Is there also more to the joke “Why do firemen wear red suspenders? To hold their pants up!”?”

    To ” =hold your pants up” is to walk with pride. A person who puts out fires is a utilitarian necessity, but the identity politics of a “fireman” is an image of masculine independence and macho sexuality. The redness of the suspenders identify them as both. This distinguishes them from any other basic drudge wearing pants and allows them to “hold their pants up”.

    That’s really the obvious interpretation because otherwise their is no significance to the suspenders being red. And as all suspenders support trousers regardless of the wearers’ occupation the “original” interpretation clearly can’t make any sense so, of course, my interpretation must always have been the original intent.

    ……

    So a hiker was trying to find a way to cross a raging river. He looks over and sees a woman where he wants to be and calls out “How do I get to the other side?” The woman calls back “You *are* on the other side”.

    ……

    Why did the turtle cross the road?

    — I don’t know, why?

    To get the Chinese Newspaper!….. Do you get it?

    — Uh, no.

    Neither do I. I get the Chronicle.
    ,

  17. Why do storks stand on one leg?

    If they tried to stand on no legs they’d fall down.

    …….

    Abe? Why are you in my wife’s closet?

    — Well, everyone has to be somewhere….

  18. “Why do firemen wear red suspenders?”

    Well, what else is there to do with them?
    The plaid ones are in the wash.
    It seemed like a good idea at the time.
    I dream of a world in which firemen can wear any color of suspenders that they wish, without having their motives questioned by special snowflakes who have never bravely faced a dangerous conflagration in their lives!
    I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
    Red is the color that my baby wore, and what’s more, it’s true — yes it is.
    A fish!

  19. Grade school favorite:
    Why are pool tables green?
    You’d be green too if somebody was hitting your ***** with a stick.

  20. What has 6 legs, is green, and would kill you if it jumped on you from a tree?

    A pool table.

  21. Geezer trivia. Which 1960’s comedy record includes this exchange?

    “Gosh, Porgie, it’s sp- sp- sp- spooky in here!”
    “That’s because we’re on … the other side.”

    Which side of the record is this exchange on?

  22. The chicken wants to get to “the other side”, that is, to become dead. The term as used by psychics who want to get paid for telling you that your dead relatives are fine, and by popular musicians such as Jim Morrison who did break on through.

  23. The Porgie reference would seem to narrow this down to The Firesign Theater, and it should be DON’T CRUSH THAT DWARF, HAND ME THE PLIERS, except that I recently re-listened to that one and don’t recall this specifid exchange. So, I don’t know, except it’s probably on “side three” of whichever album from either The FT or some group doing an homage to them?

  24. @woozy:

    Q: And what has 18 legs, is green, and would kill you if it jumped on you from a tree?

    A: A pool table. (I was just lying about the legs part.)

  25. @ Shrug – Snooker tables usually have 8 legs, so I didn’t find “18” that incongruous.

  26. “Q: And what has 18 legs, is green, and would kill you if it jumped on you from a tree?”

    A gang of three six-legged pool tables.

  27. My childhood had a different variation on the pool table joke:

    Q: What do you have when you have one green ball in one hand and ANOTHER green ball in the other hand?

    A: Kermit’s attention.

  28. I see 4 simultaneous meanings here:
    1) Getting to the other side (of the road) is the standard answer to the question.
    2) The chicken is making the meditation hands with its wings, meaning it is reaching nirvana.
    3) “Going to the other side” is a possible illusion to death, though not necessarily suicide, since the chicken is meditating while walking.
    4) One of the other comments mentioned “The Far Side” as a possible reference to single panel comics.

  29. Shrug: You’re right. It’s the Firesign Theatre, “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.” Specifically it is from the lovable, stupid movie High School Madness featuring lovable, stupid Porgie and Mudhead. Their high school, More Science High, has mysteriously vanished. In the middle of the night they break into the rival Communist Martyrs High School to see if it is hidden there. (It is.) Mudhead is frightened and the above exchange occurs.

    The record has two sides, as most records do, but instead of being labeled “Side 1” and “Side 2” or “Side A” and “Side B”, they are labeled “This Side” and “The Other Side”.

    Porgie’s line “That’s because we’re on … the other side.” is on The Other Side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s