Comedy is All About Timing

Whenever there’s a prominent death in the news, I always fear that I have something coming up in my strip that will seem inappropriate in light of it.

For example, during a week of strips where Rat was running for election against a dead U.S. senator, a U.S. senator died tragically in a plane crash.

Another example was in the summer of 2006, where one of my crocs was so annoyed by Steve Irwin’s accent he hoped he would die.  Irwin died two months later.

So it would stand to reason that in a week like this, Rat would be conducing a seance to try and talk to a rock star who has died tragically.  (Not to mention that in this same week of strips, Rat plays “schlocky pop hits from the ’70s” to try and lure fans of that music to their death.)

People think you can pull these strips, but you really can’t.  The next two weeks of daily strips and the next four weeks of Sunday strips are pretty much set-in-stone.   In theory, if an absolute emergency occurred, my syndicate could try and call all 600 papers where Pearls runs and try to get them to pull a given strip, but even then, they wouldn’t be successful with all of them (some editors would still goof and run it; some wouldn’t get the call, etc.).

All I can do is thank God the stars I mentioned were Jim Morrison and Barry Manilow.   And not you-know-who.

UPDATE:  Someone just wrote to me and pointed out the irony that the dead star Pig is thinking of has on white gloves.  He adds, “It’s a good thing you gave Humpty two white gloves or there would be a torch-and-pitchfork mob forming outside your house right now.”

35 thoughts on “Comedy is All About Timing

  1. What? So the casual mentions of “fall” and “king” are totally coincidence, too? Really? That blows my mind cause I thought it was a deliberate strip!

    That’s almost perfect timing, too. Just wow.

  2. Stephan,

    You have a gift. Embrace it. In a few months, I’m betting Rat will become clairvoyant.

  3. Torch and pitchfork mob defending a pedophile? America has sure gone downhill if that’s the case.

  4. It could have been my friends fault that you know who died. We were playing guitar hero, and we were quite bad. It was world tour, so singing was involved too; that only made it worse. The morning after that…I read the paper.


  5. I just think this is further proof that you’re an alien and can see into the future.

    Probably from some 2 dimensional world where animals talk. Yea, this whole thing doesn’t have anything to do with talent, it’s just an AUTOBIOGRAPHY..

    Think I’ll go lock the doors…

  6. Nice job, yet again!
    Especially since four stars have died this week: Michael Jackson, Ed Mcmahon, Farrah Fawcett, AND Billy Mays (today).
    Way to go Pastis!

  7. You are weirdly psychic. When I read this Sundays strip I had to visit your website (for the first time) and ask you if you could please draw a comic about me winning the lotto and being discovered by a modeling agency or something like that. By the way the image of pig and rat holding hands and closing their eyes is priceless!

  8. Hey, I’m a big fan of your strip, despite we don’t get it in Singapore. Maybe I should write to the local papers and beg them to print your comics.
    Anyway, I sympathise with your uncanny timing to always write stuff that may get you in trouble.

    Do you get much hate mail?

  9. Yet I was still thinking of him when I read this strip today. Scott Adams has the same problem. All you comic strip artists are just psychic.

  10. hey you’re a comic, and one of the best. irony is a big part of your art. when it hits close to what you’re doing, laugh. at least i will!

  11. Dude, You are a comic strip writer now. Quit thinking like a lawyer! Satire is all part of the comic strip genre, right? So, who better to satirize than famous people (no one wants to read a satire/comic about their neighbor, or themselves, right?) Think of your strip as part of the Zen Karma wheel. Play some music from JOURNEY, but please don’t draw a strip about Steve Perry. I like him.

  12. Trudeau wrote about Obenshain after the fact and nothing bad happened to him. I thinking that you will be alright.

  13. I feel your pain, SP. I just pulped a week’s worth of Billy Mays comics I had scheduled to run later in July.

  14. Ouch.

    And phew.

    If Rat or Pig were to reference health, wealth and long life for me, would that work too? Ah well. Just a thought.

  15. Dear Stephan,

    Please, PLEASE do some strips about Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, et al.

    I hope it works!

  16. Billy Mays died? I did a spoof on him for Drama homework two months ago. Crap. On an entirely different note I went to a college reunion (not my own, I am in middle school) and saw a guy with a t-shirt that read, “You read my T-Shirt. That’s enough social interaction for one day.” The reunion by the way, was misery. Utter misery.

  17. So, ask me what the most important thing about comedy is.

    Okay, what’s the most impor —

    — Timing!

    Ask me again.

    What’s the most important thing about comedy?

    Beat. Beat. Beat.

    T-i-m-i-n-g …

    About a dozen years ago, I invented the iPhone for a book I did. A shame they didn’t my model …


  18. Luke, did you recently comment on the Chippy and Lupus comic? It’s a small world!I put your comics on my favorites page, now, because I’m live off of funny comics strips.

  19. billy mays died but you didn’t cause it odd you should stop with the famous people or soon obama will be dead P.S.i’m pearls biggest fan

  20. I LOVE your quirky sense of humor. Knowing this just makes the comic that much funnier!

  21. “torch and pitchfork” mob? I thought that was called “stone the ogre…”

  22. Especially since two of the celebs you mentioned dxied of drug overdoses. Woo Eee Ooo…!

  23. You Should do a Comic Stating That (Strips are written far in advance and often can’t be Puled) and I Think more people Would understand.

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