Wednesday, December 3

At What Price Is A Joke No Longer Funny?

I recently became aware of an eBay auction featuring arguably the Worst Album Cover Of All-Time, Ken’s By Request Only. If you remember from this historic post and this equally-historic follow-up, the CDP has sort of bubbled to the forefront of the Ken Universe ever since I got to the bottom of the whole By Request Only mystery a while back. To this day, I still get e-mails from people asking me if I have the album, or know where they can get their hands on a copy. In the last few years, I’ve only seen two copies of this album go up for auction, and they both have gone for over $100.

Damn, that’s a large price to pay for a punchline, isn’t it? I mean, seriously, what is the magic dollar amount that makes someone go from, “That’s awesome, man; I can’t believe you bought that!” To, “Wow…you spent a lot of money on that piece of crap; I feel sort of bad for you.”

I’ve been known to go a long way for a punchline. I sometimes buy records and movies for the sheer joy of having a friend rifle through my collection and go, “I can’t believe you own this.” I have always felt that humor came with a price, and the funnier the payoff, the higher the invested amount should be. As a general rule, however, I say $50 is my limit. After that, there are few things on the planet funny enough to warrant such an impulsive and unnecessary purchase.

So, off to eBay I went, to finally claim what should have been rightfully mine years ago. A copy of the Worst Album Cover Of All-Time for the guy that helped spread the humor of By Request Only to about a million more people than before. Unfortunately, because of this, I suffered from a phenomenon of my own creation (The Internet’s, really), and saw that the price was already way over $50.

One thing you should know about me is that, beyond knowing when to pass on an expensive joke, I cannot stand losing anything to anyone for any reason. With shaky hands, I placed my Maximum Bid.


One. Hundred. Dollars. Enough money to pay my electric bill for an entire month. For a record I will never listen to. A record that I will put on a shelf and explain to confused houseguests for the next 50 years, attracting nothing but confusion and looks of gentle pity.

The Buyer’s Remorse hit me before I had even won the auction. I instantly felt like crap. Clearly, the price at which a joke is no longer funny must fall somewhere between $50 and $100 for me. Fortunately, I was immediately outbid by someone that clearly had a sense of humor that was significantly more wealthy than my own. Thank goodness.

Sound off in the comments section and tell me the most expensive thing you ever purchased as a joke, and the rest of the CDP Network will let you know if it was worth it. Remember to send me your choices for the Best & Worst of 2008 by the end of the week.

Hmmmmm....I bought Mortal Kombat Armageddon for $50. Does that count?
I think that the ultimate irony would be if that album is actually really good.
HATHERY - No doubt; what if it's the Greatest Album Never Heard?


MIKE - Lulz; so did I!
I have a copy of Hell Comes to Frogtown.
Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever bought something completely out of a sense of irony or humor. Those have certainly been factors in purchases, but never the whole reason. I make a point of actually wanting/liking something before I pay cash moneys for it.

Yes, I'm a fuddy duddy.

(the closest I come is owning a DVD copy of "Teenagers From Outer Space," which I bought for $3 out of a bargain bin)
JT - Awesome; welcome back to the Wired.

EMILY - I have Teenagers From Outer Space! You should see my movie collection; it's nothing but crap. Awesome crap, but crap nonetheless.
That album cover is straight from an Olan Mills photo shoot. Have you gotten the Remembering Olan Mills email that's going around? It makes me laughs much.
*shudder* Olan Mills did all our church photography. I don't if it's their mission to make people look unnatural and confused, but they succeed at it every time.
HATHERY - Hilarious and true.

BERRY JO - I remember that e-mail from awhile back, I believe. The one I really enjoy is the collection of photographs of terrified children on Santa's lap.

Olan Mills: 'You're Gonna Be Embarrassed!'
I do remember, though, that they let you look at you pictures right away on the computer to select which one you liked. I was absolutely in awe of that in 1995.

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