16 Comments

  1. To “Break” a horse is to get it accustomed to being saddled and ridden. The joke is that after all that effort, the horse wants to pursue a different career path. Subtle, but it is the New Yorker after all.

  2. The horse didn’t want to be his partner because it was wild/uncivilized, so the cowboy broke it.
    But now the horse is broken (i.e. civilized from the cowboy’s pov), it still doesn’t want to be his partner, preferring another career path / to work alone.
    Slight political comment as well (colonialism viewed by itself as bringing civilization to foreign cultures)?

  3. What @dvandom said. I think it is a play on the idea that comics are broken and have traumatic backstories. Seinfeld says that isn’t true of him… FWIW

  4. Standup comics ‘get a break’ that launches their career. So, now that the horse got his break/is broken, he’s going to pursue a career in standup. Also funny because horses don’t sit.

  5. ” I think it is a play on the idea that comics are broken and have traumatic backstories. ”

    Nah, just standup comics. My first wife was an improv comic and she had had a happy childhood (and even a pretty happy marriage, I think.)

  6. Didja ever notice that standup comics are, like, broken people? I mean, what’s up with that? For instance, take me … please! No but seriously folks….

  7. I think Brian is onto something. When a manager introduces a performer, it’s said that he or she “broke” the artist. But I still feel like we’re missing something here.

  8. Possibly also a Bo-Jack Horseman reference? He did standup before becoming an actor and is pretty broken over most of the series.

  9. I think it is a play on the fact (or myth??) that horses stay standing up, even while sleeping, most of the time.

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