The world’s funniest analogies

by on September 16, 2011 at 6:51 am in Education | Permalink

From this longer list (funny throughout), presented by Bill Gross and (possibly) derived from student writings, Jason Kottke provides his favorites:

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

His comment:

That first one…I can’t decide if it’s bad or the best analogy ever.

I liked this one:

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a
real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or

1 David September 16, 2011 at 7:01 am

I found that list years ago, and I still love it.

It turns out that they aren’t really from student writings though:

2 joshua September 16, 2011 at 7:56 am

You, sir, have shattered me with the truth. But the lines are no less funny… the John and Mary line has made me chortle for years.

3 dan1111 September 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

Also, this one:

“The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling
ball wouldn’t.”

is similar to a memorable line from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

4 William September 16, 2011 at 8:17 am

Thanks, David. It defies credulity that the “vocabulary” one could be unintentional humor.

5 Alan September 16, 2011 at 8:50 am

The last one is suspiciously precient:

“Joe was frustrated, like a man who thought his claim to fame was occasional appearances in a weekly humor contest, but in fact is known to millions as a stupid high school student who writes unintentionally humorous bad analogies. (Joseph Romm, Washington)”

6 Andrew' September 16, 2011 at 7:26 am

Heard some of these on Car Talk. Hat tip Tom and Ray.

7 Patricia Mathews September 16, 2011 at 7:33 am

These two are actually good, though:

Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one
that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law George. But unlike George,this plan just might work.

I’ve read ones like the latter in many a detective story and they always give me a giggle.

8 Marie September 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

I laughed out loud (in the literal sense) at the train word problem one, but luckily my coworkers aren’t in yet.

The snopes article makes sense. Most of these feel too well thought out to be the accidental work of high school students, though I can hear a 14yo I know telling me about the pin-hole viewer.

9 Scoop September 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

My favorite, or should I say favourite, from Blackadder III:
Disease and deprivation stalk our land like… (he struggles to make a good analogy on the fly, cannot and concludes) two, giant stalking things.

10 Dan Weber September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

I was expecting this one and missed it, so I had to look it up:

The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

11 Steve Horwitz September 16, 2011 at 9:51 am

“The sea was angry that day my friends – like an old man at a deli trying to send back soup.” – George Costanza.

Best. Analogy. Ever.

12 Jon Peltier September 16, 2011 at 10:59 am

That’s from one of my favorite episodes. “Marine biologist? You know I’ve always wanted to pretend I was an architect.”

13 Jim September 16, 2011 at 11:08 am

Jerry: “I can’t date a woman who doesn’t laugh. I’m a comedian! How can I date a woman who never laughs? That’s like…. I don’t know. It’s like something.”

14 Chris September 16, 2011 at 10:04 am

O’Malley’s Bar by Nick Cave is 8 or so minutes of funny analogies.

15 Mike September 16, 2011 at 11:27 am
16 Mike September 16, 2011 at 11:29 am

Sorry. Should have read the snopes page first.

17 Rob September 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I laughed like a hyena standing astride a rotting hippopotamus carcass.

18 Pragmaticon September 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

You guys should check out the Lyttle Lytton contest. It’s essentially a contest to provide the opening sentence to a book that will likely be horrible, and the goal is to shoot for comedy that seems unintentional.

There are years worth of entries.

“At the peak of a golden career Liu Yan lost control of the very limbs that experts say made her dances so magical.”

“Great Caesar’s Ghost!” Amy sputtered. “What glorious lovemaking!”

“There was only one man salubrious enough to assuage my hunger for love — senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).”

19 DKN September 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

If you enjoy this kind of humor and have any interest in cycling (or even if you couldn’t care less about cycling) I recommend the Bike Snob NYC blog. I think it’s one of the funniest things on the internet. A sample:

“You simply can’t fight this kind of stupidity with reason–it’s like trying to verbally coax your shoelaces to untie themselves, or showing your dog a PowerPoint presentation about why he shouldn’t eat his own feces.”

20 John September 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

While not exactly an analogy in the vein above I liked the quote below, from :

“Sometimes the red sun would set first, sometimes they’d set touching each other, sometimes they’d set at the same time; it’s a very dynamic sunset — no two would be the same,” explained Doyle. “You’d have, of course, two shadows — but If you wanted to tell the time by them, you’d probably need calculus.”

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