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I used to know this cartoonist named Sam Henderson. One of his regular gags was called “…is always funny.” A man slipping on a banana peel is always funny, for example. A pie in the face is always funny. A guy coming home to find his wife in bed with another man is always funny. Someone holding his nose in the presence of Limburger cheese is always funny.
My favorite entry on this list is gorillas. A gorilla is always funny. Not a real gorilla like the ones found in the wild, mind you — those are interesting in many ways but not particularly amusing. But a gorilla in pop culture are always funny, because it always looks like some guy in a gorilla suit, and that is always funny.
The comic effect is easy to demonstrate. Wonder Woman? Pretty lame. But Wonder Woman fighting a gorilla? High camp. Scantily clad women being tortured by Nazis? Heinous. Scantily clad women being tortured by Nazis and a gorilla? Hilarious.
All of which brings us to the comic book cover shown at the top of this page, which I stumbled across while researching something else. As you can see, it shows a gorilla in a library.
Holding a gun.
Plotting world domination.
While reading the classics.
Now that’s funny!
The whole notion of gorillas as fearsome creatures (fighting Wonder Woman, torturing chicks, pulling a gun on a librarian) seems odd. Like, why not a lion, or a bear, or something that can, you know, rip you to shreds? Part of it, obviously, is that gorillas look a lot like us, so we don’t just see our own fear reflected in their eyes — we see the primitive version of ourselves. And once that concept achieved iconic status via King Kong, it became a standard pop cultural trope. But me, whenever I see a “scary” gorilla, all I can think of is a guy putting on his gorilla suit. Which is always funny.
I’ll say this much for that comic book cover: It made me want to buy the comic book, which is exactly what a cover design is supposed to do. Seriously, how is that gorilla gonna take over the world by reading Moby Dick? I’ll know soon enough, because I just found a copy of the comic book on eBay for a buck. Will advise.
You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with uniforms, and the answer is nothing. It’s just what I felt like writing about today, because it’s not every day you see a gun-toting, literature-minded gorilla. Thanks for indulging me.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Adidas is continuing its Day-Glo and Zubaz with this year’s McDonald’s All-American uniforms. … The Formula 1 season begins this weekend, and Heikki Kovalainen will be wearing an Angry Birds helmet (from Dane Drutis). … Hmmm, ya think BYU is wearing enough jersey patches? (From Drew Sova.) … Love the Scottish-themed striping on Dunedin High School’s football helmet (from Josh Coney). … “My wife is working in Rio for the next week and found a pretty cool shop that does Brazilian soccer club throwbacks,” writes Justin Rectenwald. “Looks pretty great.” … Addition by Subtraction Dept.: The Florida Panthers are scrapping their third jerseys (from John Muir and Dane Drutis)). … This is awesome: a site that shows sports logos translated into crochet format (great find by Jake Kessler). … Russ Havens has created a presentation on this history of ticket stubs. … A reader who prefers to remain anonymous checks in with the following: “I work on the show Modern Family. I found this helmet on set this week. The first thing I noticed was that the emblem is embroidered, like on the Cubs’ batting helmets. Then I realized it’s the helmet that Tom Selleck wore in Mr. Baseball.” … Really ugly new uniforms for the Philadelphia Soul (from HHH). … New uniforms for the Japanese table tennis team (from Jeremy Brahm). … Also from Jeremy: The Orix Buffaloes will be wearing 1984 Hankyu Braves throwbacks for four games this May and June. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Ya think maybe Jonathan Broxton’s pants a bit oversized? … Long Beach State has some pretty cool hoops uniforms. … If you click through this slideshow, you’ll see lots of ASU football players wearing knee pads (the kind you slide onto your leg, not the kind that fit into the football pants) during their spring practice. Interesting. … Brewers and Padres went blue-vs.-blue yesterday (from Brian Williams). … Live in Seattle and have nothing to do tonight? Scott M.X. Turner’s band, RebelMart, is playing at Shadowland.