If you spend any time on Twitter, you’re wasting your one wild and precious life.
Also, you likely know that there’s an ever-changing library of popular joke setups, the memetic phrasings used to package reaction to the indignity of the hour in an agreed-upon format. Some of them were funny the first couple times and are still being squeezed for the last drops of laff juice. Others started off making no sense and have only gathered meaning through overuse. And still others make the leap into the offline world, perplexing those who spend their leisure time doing meaningful things.
So for those people, who presumably read this newsletter while forest bathing, here is a list of the Five Twitter Setups You Meet in Heaven as drawn from a recent meta-thread by @skoog (trust me, he’s a big deal) and his comedy Twitter followers, all linked within.
1. The slapdasher
How it works: The bar to tweeting is extremely low, so how do you signal that a tweet is not your best material? Just add “Send tweet” at the end, as though you were dictating it to Alexa. Or boldly announce “That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
What it means: I am above this material, but only slightly.
2. The pretend pretension
How it works: After making a grand statement, say “In this essay, I will” or “Thank you for coming to my TED talk.” In the immortal words of Skoog: “that’s such a cop out but it really does lighten a usually too deep observation about a dumb subject.”
What it means: I am below this material, but only slightly.
3. The scroll-stopper
How it works: Want to make your message stop those twitchy thumbs from passing right on by? Change the format to stand out.
What it means: I’m YELLING this so you SEE it.
4. The blank dialogue snippet
How it works: Twitter’s value as screenwriting software can’t be overstated, and some of the best jokes come in this form. Three great zero-act plays:
To instantly slot a joke into this format, have someone say it in response to nothing. As Samuel Beckett didn’t say, every tweet is a stain on silence.
What it means: Why is anyone saying anything, right?
5. The big finish.
How it works: So something not-terribly-interesting happened and you want to share it? Why not add a line at the end like “but that’s showbiz baby” or “that’s just the kinda guy I am.”
What it means: I am aware that life is mundane.
At their core, all these setups are about the distinct lack of a need to say anything. You could just ... not? When filled with a clever observation, these formats taste like a buttered, toasted sesame-seed bun. When they’re the main event, they’re a nothingburger. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Quick quips; lightning
“All great truths begin as blasphemies. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
— George Bernard Shaw
“Food offers the perfect excuse to use the good dishes. Send tweet.”
— Fran Lebowitz
“Vulgarity 👏 is 👏 simply 👏 the 👏 conduct 👏 of 👏others.”
— Oscar Wilde
Me: That’s GWQ No. 55, though Get Wit Quick is actually the name of the doctor, the monster’s name was Elements of Wit: Mastering The Art of Being Interesting.
Me: Sure, just tap the ♥️ below, thanks!