Patrick Lenton: the funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet)

Because of my job and my personality and my high school trauma (I was too hot to be likable), I am forced to be in a constant state of high alert on the internet. Every day for me is like we’re evacuating the president, klaxons ringing, red lights flashing, long-legged women in power suits handing me thick binders – except instead of moving an old important man to a bunker, we’re just finding memes on the internet to compile and send to our filthy little readers.

The sheer input of new information I have been forced to guzzle down every day like a thirsty orphan lamb is upsetting, like a never-ending game of bob-for-apples, with the water being the internet, apples being things happening online, and the strong forearms holding my head under the water being the insatiable demand for content from the digital media industry. It’s made me both deranged and incredibly jaded, where I’ll be able to watch the latest viral comedy video without feeling a flicker of emotion, then claim I “am screaming” about it. I am not screaming – I am simply enduring.

Because of this, it makes the things that stand out – the few things I genuinely find funny on the internet – like diamonds in a pile of shattered glass, more meaningful, more special. I’m not saying they’re necessarily BETTER, just that they’ve lodged in my broken brain, fizzing gently. I think what links them is that they’re all gently stupid, all absurd and all best appreciated with a lovely blank brain.

I’ve spent a lot of time dissecting why this is my favourite SNL sketch, maybe too much time. Obviously, it’s mostly a marvellous vehicle for Kristen Wiig and her horrendous talent for physical comedy. But the sketch itself is so delightfully odd: a hyperbolised version of Liza Minnelli and a Jonah Hill character need to get out of an apartment to watch the Cats musical but, before they can, Liza must turn off a lamp. That’s it. Wiig’s interpretation of Minnelli is so heightened and absurd that she literally cannot do a basic task. It’s so weird and funny. And the torrent of absurd dialogue is the icing: “Will a Fosse neck do it?”

It will.

The juxtaposition of a Mother Teresa quote with the font from a Goosebumps book is very funny, that is all.

As part of Pride month a few years ago, Billboard did a series called Spilling the Tea, where it talked about a whole bunch of queer issues with drag queens, which is a great idea. But this moment when an earnest Derrick Barry points out that people “don’t know what Stonewall is” and is then forced to explain it by the host is pure comedy. “That was fighting for gay rights and people were killed,” she explains confidently, before being corrected by Willam. The schadenfreude factor is high; watching a drag queen attempt to be serious then show her entire ass is the real winner here.

The Vörös twins are a TikTok phenomenon, two goofy lads living in Toronto who have monetised the “extremely stupid” brand of online jokes. This meme was their most viral hit. The uncharitable have said that they’re being stupid for clicks – and the twins have said they’re “in on the joke” themselves. Having watched hours of their deliberately obtuse content, I don’t think it’s a scam – I think they have a unique ability to tap into a very stupid part of themselves. It’s like art or something, and the layers go all the way down.

Moral panic on Twitter is always amusing, especially when it’s something as deeply dorky as policing bodies – but also the phrase “buttock world” is inherently funny. One of the greatest joys of my stupid life was watching that phrase trend around the world because of this – and I had to ask, if it was Buttock World, did that mean that there was a buttock solar system? A buttock galaxy? For all the flustered dads out there, we can only hope not.

A lot of the god tier Clickhole articles have been discussed in past submissions to this column but this one deserves remembering. It made me laugh like a drain and was an extremely savvy parody of that particular era when BuzzFeed pivoted entirely to quizzes. The comedy trope of absurdly escalating the misspelling of things has been cutesified by millennials since this article but I think it still holds up.

The smartest thing Netflix ever did was commission drag queen royalty Trixie and Katya for their series I Like to Watch, where they simply watch shows on Netflix. It’s always highly enjoyable; I honestly fill this entire article with moments from it. But this moment, when they are watching Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, is both funny in the sense of the gag and hilarious just watching them laugh at themselves.

Here’s the time that RuPaul got roasted about insensitive statements about trans representation on Drag Race, went into damage control and tried to post a vaguely supportive statement to fix it, and SOMEHOW managed to Google “train flag” instead of “trans flag”. Go ahead, girl, give us nothing.

This TikTok is just two people watching one of the greatest films in the world, Mamma Mia, and discovering that it is, in fact, a masterpiece. I find this so wholesome and funny, I go back to it when I need a pick-me-up.

If Lamp is the funniest SNL sketch, then Super Showcase Spokesmodels is the show’s funniest live performance of a sketch – it’s pure chaos, and it’s genius. The comedy comes from watching a bunch of funny people challenge themselves with escalating absurdity and find the sheer stupidity of what they’re doing so funny that they can’t help but break. If you don’t laugh when Bill Hader finally cracks, I have no hope for you.

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