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Funny Paper

The "Laziest Negro of the Year" Award

July 16-23

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 7/25/2001

DEADLY SIN OF THE WEEK DEPT.: Sloth, baby, sloth. It's time to lie down and take a load off. Just look at Monday. Beetle Bailey leads the way, ostentatiously waggling one finger at Sarge to burn a calorie. Meanwhile, Mr. Wilkens lounges in his underwear and eats "sherbert" [sic] in Curtis, Wendi Karol tries to rest through her migraine attack in Rex Morgan, M.D., Michael and Deanna go to bed in For Better or for Worse, Loweezy reposes in a rocking chair while Tater pumps a bellows to cool her off in Barney Google & Snuffy Smith, Jon tells a motionless Garfield he's a "lump," and two restaurant workers fail to serve Morris and Ernest in The Middletons. And in The Boondocks, Riley continues his summer schedule of sleeping till 2:30 in the afternoon, prompting Huey, on Tuesday, to ask if he's trying to win "the 'Laziest Negro of the Year' award."

But is Riley the Laziest Negro of the Year? There are more contenders than we can count. Garfield is still napping on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Momma's sluggard Francis is stretched out on the beach. Thursday, Willy tells a fellow drinker that "Ethel thinks I'm the laziest man in the world." Friday, Snuffy Smith is so soundly sacked out that Tater can draw on his bare feet with out waking him; Saturday, he and Lukey compare notes about whose side of the tree stump they're lazing against is more comfortable. "Thar's nice cushy moss on this side!!" says Lukey, who's presumably facing north. And on Sunday, the big purple copyright-infringing dinosaur in Green Earth Guardians dozes in a hammock.

And then there's Cathy, who spends the week fretting about work, only to sink into a crumb-covered stupor on Saturday. "I just want to sit here like a big, happy blob," she tells Irving on the phone, "watching idiotic TV in a dumpy sweatshirt, eating carry-out and not caring about anything." We have a winner! Cathy is the Laziest Negro of the Year!

"READERS RESPOND" DEPT.: To the curious reader who wanted to know what was up with the "Tito's sweating" line last week: It was not a line from a Japanimation movie, though we kind of wish it had been; it was a paraphrase of an old Eddie Murphy routine about the Jackson 5. Thank you for caring. And a helpful Canadian reader supplied the answer, courtesy of Usenet's rec.arts.comics.strips, to our question about why a visitor in Family Circus was wearing a sweatshirt that said SCRATCH + SNIFF: "The man is Phoenix radio personality Bill Heywood (Bil Keane lives in the Phoenix area). From [his] web page . . . 'Bill has dedicated himself to making a difference in the community. He is the co-founder of the Scratch and Sniff Awards, an annual event that raises money to end euthanasia for homeless dogs and cats'." Thanks, Canada! You know when we say mean things about the nationality of the For Better or for Worse gang, it's not because we're bigoted against your country. It's just because we think anti-Canadian bigotry is funny.

DECONTEXTUALIZED DIALOGUE OF THE WEEK DEPT.: "Have fun, you two . . . and bring binoculars!"

KUDZU: Tuesday brings another rare guest appearance by Kudzu, as his emasculating mother fails to appreciate his poetry. O, absent titular hero/ Neglected by Doug Marlette/ That Carter-era zero/ Why haven't they canceled this fucking strip yet?

JUMP START: Young Doctor Appleby meets a new playmate, Notary Public. Come again? Who are her parents, General and Banana Re?

ZIGGY: Tom Wilson and Tom II repeat their previous product placement almost verbatim as Ziggy asks the post office for "Snoopy stamps" on Monday. Maybe he's using them to return the Snoopy commemorative plate his dog bought last week.

B.C. The cavemen play golf all week. Wednesday, the titular Mr. Before Christ himself is startled when a dog appears on the fairway. "Twenty-eight!" he yells. See, it's like "fore" in dog years . . . you know, fore times 7 is 28. This is an unusually sophisticated piece of word- and mathplay for Johnny Hart. Not funny, but sophisticated. For Johnny Hart.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: More lingo from the 51st State, as Deanna tells Michael his dinner's in the "micro." The "micro." At least, we assume that's a Canadianism.

MOMMA: Friday, Francis and Thomas scheme unsuccessfully to kill Momma, dismember the corpse in the bathtub, and end the strip. Oh, wait, that was us. Sorry. Actually, Francis and Thomas scheme unsuccessfully to get a look at Momma's will. Hyuk! Saturday, Momma tries to steer daughter-in-law Tina into divorce or adultery. For real. We didn't make that up.

SALLY FORTH: Hilary misses out on the week's sleepathon, spending the week battling insomnia as she worries about world peace.

ZIPPY: Griffy laments the debasement of the bagel and the failure of his TV deal. Zippy enters one of those National Poetry Contest self-publishing things. Funny Paper feels a haiku coming on: Happy submission/ The pinhead broadens his scope/ Unlike his author.

MARK TRAIL: Mark and Rusty continue to look for ginseng/bear-gallbladder poachers, as the Hillwilliams clan continues poaching ginseng and bear gallbladders. Monday's strip steps outside the Hillwilliams home for a wildlife panel of raccoons tearing through the family's garbage. Mother Nature is avenged!

Sunday's featured animal: the stupendously large blue whale, "the largest animal that ever lived," four times heavier than the brachiosaurus. "The animal's blowhole is so large that when it blows, the sound can be heard several miles away."

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Wendi Karol keeps battling her headache, telling June she spends all her spare time in her musty basement. "Frankly, I like the smell," she says. "It reminds me of my grandma's cellar." Ah, those happy childhood afternoons, locked in Grandma's cellar. Upstairs, in the other half of the artists'-district disease cluster, Chef Tito is stricken with a nosebleed--on Sunday, so the gushing blood is really, really red. Yum. Thanks, Wilson + Nolan.

MARY WORTH: The cocktail party comes apart, and Dawn Weston cancels Wilbur's half-formed plans for a dinner with man-hunting Liz. "I've had a flank steak marinating since morning!" she says. "Apparently Wilbur forgot he promised to grill it! . . . He also forgot he has a column to finish for tomorrow's deadline!" Deadline, schmedline, says Funny Paper. When Dawn gets her father alone, she hits him with a question: "Is Liz Hoag pushing your buttons?!? . . . Answer 'Yes' or 'No'!" "Pushing your buttons"? If we were Wilbur, Funny Paper would be forced to answer, "Huh?"

APARTMENT 3-G: Margo has lunch with her birth mother Gabriella, who announces, to Margo's discomfiture, that she's planning to open a restaurant in New York. "Instead of saying I'm your birth mother," Gabriella says, mollifyingly, "why not say I'm your family's friend?" Margo smiles in relief, but she has another concern: "Can we not talk about your other career?" she asks. "I'm not ashamed of having been a maid," Gabriella says. "Well . . . I am," Margo replies.

"How was lunch with Gabriella?" Lu Ann asks afterward. "I offended her," Margo says. "I didn't mean to. . . . I was just honest." Hey, Margo, we're going to be honest too: You're an evil, thoughtless, stuck-up bitch.

GASOLINE ALLEY: Walt, in a fit of telemarketer-fueled dementia, starts doing a Jerky Boys routine on everyone who calls the house. "You're such a grinch, Walt!" Phyllis says. He's a grinch because he hates telemarketers?

DOONESBURY: Zonker reveals that he's driving with a fake driver's license he bought online.

CURTIS: Ray Billingsley introduces the Wilkens' new neighbor, vest-wearing, Wimpy-style moocher Delroy Pogsdale. "Have you any large Tupperware tubs I could borrow?" he asks. ". . . I wouldn't hold it against you if you wanted to fill those tubs with oxtail stew, spaghetti or fried chicken--you know, to test their durability."

LUANN: Luann discovers that Mrs. Horner, the elderly shut-in she's visiting, gets around more than she does. "Life was too interesting to stop for one man," Mrs. H. says merrily.

THE PHANTOM: As she flies home from Africa, Victoria Carter, clinging to her priceless souvenir necklace, tries to remember her drug-and-fever-fogged adventures with the Ghost Who Walks. In Saturday's last panel, George Olesen, Penciler, and Keith Williams, Inker, have managed to give Victoria a meaty Jennifer Aniston schnozz.

In the Sunday plot line, the Phantom ambushes and takes out the soldiers stalking Prince Bakhmet in "a deadly game of hide-and-seek." Lots of high-impact Graham Nolan superhero panels here, culminating with the Phantom overpowering a soldier from behind and apparently preparing to nibble on his ear.

PRINCE VALIANT: Val struggles for his life against three historically accurate Roman "retiarii" gladiators in the Cloaca Maxima.

ONE BIG HAPPY: Ruthie's manual hygiene flunks the "twiddle test." "It's not fair! Sticky looks clean!" she complains.

JUMBLE: A FAIR FARE, "WAGED" A BATTLE, ABBREVIATED, OPPORTUNITY, UNDER "WRAPS", "BURN" OUT.

FAMILY CIRCUS: Sunday, Bil Keane half-awakens under a "CARTOON IDEA" lightbulb thought balloon and scrawls down his inspiration, only to find it illegible by daylight. Which might help explain how a punch line like "How come we never see any 'GO' signs?" ended up in Wednesday's paper.

MARMADUKE: Marmaduke robs a pizza delivery truck. It's cute when a Great Dane does it.

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