1. Warning: Due to Covid-19 concerns, this year’s Boston Marathon has been transferred to OZ. Please excuse any temporary difficulties in maintaining your filming schedule, and please keep Toto on a leash.

    P.S. This isn’t a CIDU, this is a CTBCNTUETHEIPITH, meaning a “Comic That Bill Claims Not To Understand, Even Though He Explained It Perfectly In The Headline“.

  2. The runners ought to step out of the way, but with their sense of entitlement as runners they probably won’t. Their mistake, as the Tin Woodman has very obviously got an axe, the same axe that chopped all his own body parts off and which he apparently uses to chop the heads off animals the party meets. So I think the implication is he will cut these joggers down. A panel drawn a few moments later would show a ghastly and gory scene.

  3. Unfortunately, the runners all failed the post-race drug test after running through the poppy field.

  4. Even though Kilby claims that Bill understands the comic perfectly, and has explained it in the headline, I still don’t understand it.

    I understand that someone will have to step out of the way, but why is this supposed to be funny? What does this have to do with the Wizard of Oz? Would it be equally funny if just showed two groups of people walking down a narrow hall of a building, and you knew that one group was going to have to step out of the way?

  5. Oh, I had a completely different take on it. It looked to me like a bunch of tourists running toward the famous group.

  6. I believe the rule is “The guy with the axe has the right of way.”

    narmitaj is correct of course, in that the runners are terribly entitled and think they can take the entire width of the YBR instead of going into single file. Instead they will barrel directly at the group, getting far too close and spraying infectious droplets all over with no concern for anyone else. This has certainly been my experience and I do wish I had an axe.

  7. I guess it *isn’t* actually funny if you analyze it but then ….most jokes aren’t.

    A marathon is a common occurrence of modern life and a bit irritating if you didn’t plan around it and run across one unintentionally in your daily excursion. It’s just not what one would expect in the Wizard of Oz and the juxtaposition is odd and quirky.

    I imagine most people impression would be … it’s humor. They are on the yellow brick road and what if they saw something the most people might see on a road but is completely out of character for the Wizard of Oz story….

    I don’t think anyone stepping out of the way has much to do with it.


    Okay, for my feeling mundane things are completely out of place in Oz. *Adults* should barely exist in Oz and certainly not any adults with …. jobs… and who …. run on the weekends… and who organize a marathon and take up the roads….

    Okay…. I thought it was self-evident. I really did. Sue me.

  8. I recall seeing a clip of a race where a TV crew got the bright idea to set up a camera in the street near the start of the race. Participants were going around the setup until one guy with his head down crashed right into it.

  9. My band director would (facetiously) offer cash prizes for maintaining formation in parades even if it meant bowling over a cameraperson. Or a judge.

  10. woozy: I dunno, “It’s not what you would expect” isn’t generally a sufficient explanation for why something is supposed to be funny. Lots of things would be out-of-place in the Wizard of Oz: car salesmen, The Federal Reserve, the collected works of Herman Melville, etc. . . Simply putting them in the Land of Oz wouldn’t create an identifiable joke.

    Thinking about it more, I’m guessing the humor is supposed to come from thinking of the task of navigating through a marathon as being such a difficult obstacle, that it’s akin to dealing with flying monkeys, monstrous trees, poppy fields, etc. . . It’s humorous to think of dealing with a marathon as a challenge on par with those things.

  11. Back when I saw this the first time I took it as the “something you wouldn’t expect”. Specifically, something Dorothy & her crew wouldn’t expect. “Follow the yellow brick road”, they’re told. And it’s a scary experience with apple-throwing trees, poppy fields that put them to sleep, etc. And then in the middle of all of this comes a running race – making the whole experience kind of surreal.

  12. I remember that as a kid, I always imagined this panel showing the interruption of a musical number. Something like:

    “Oh, we’re off to see the Wiz-” (*rumbling approaches*)

    The composition is key here, as the joke reads subtly differently if your eye sees the marathon runners first or Dorothy and co. first. That blank space in the middle forces you to one end or the other, and then taking in who is in the other end completes the joke. It’s a common trope for Larson: two worlds are about to collide. Exactly why is never explained, and “what happens next” is of course never answered. The contrast makes the humour but I don’t think this is his best attempt.

    More successful, to me, is the one where a man is racing towards the ocean, hoisting a surfboard above his head, while the Creature From the Black Lagoon races out of the ocean, hoisting a wagon in identical fashion. The contrast makes it absurd, but it’s the fact that the man is doing a double-take at the sight while the Creature sees nothing unusual about it makes me laugh.

  13. ““It’s not what you would expect” isn’t generally a sufficient explanation for why something is supposed to be funny. ”

    Of course it is! How many jokes can you think of where the explanation was anything else?

  14. I think this could be funny as well with a big truck coming up the road instead of the marathon runners.

  15. Umm, this is what it is like going out and walking around here. The first time (of two) we went for recreation groups of people were coming at us every couple of blocks – we would take side trips up the cross streets or cross to the other side of our street to avoid them (something one could not normally do as we live on a 4 lane main road that normally can be crossed – or even pull the car into – without being run over, but the lack of traffic made it possible.

    Second time we were walking (not for recreation) we had dropped off our car to have a new battery put in and were walking home – again had to cross the street to avoid groups of people.

    When we took our second walk for recreation we went around the corner to a quieter street to hopefully avoid the groups such as above on our street. It was even worse there as children were riding bikes, people were having garage sales etc. All with people walking to them and none distancing or wearing masks. Then again, we have been wondering if people have a distorted idea of how long 6 ft is – perhaps they just think it is only 18 inches.

  16. Reading the comments on this blog makes me think that I live in an especially considerate area. Here joggers and other pedestrians will generally go into the street, or cross all the way to the other side, to avoid sharing the sidewalk with others.

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