Andy Rooney wonders: What is funny?

Rooney ponders the demise of the funny papers

This commentary was first published March 28, 2010.

There's a lot in the newspaper every day but anything funny would fit on the head of a pin. I often use that phrase but I've never tried to fit anything on the head of a pin. I guess I say that more often than I use pins.

When I was a kid I used to read Gasoline Alley, Li'l Abner, Buck Rogers, Blondie; they were called "The funny papers" even though they were never very funny.

"The Funny Papers" are a thing of the past in some newspapers of course although I must say there are days when my newspaper could use one on page one. They call them "comic strips" now.

"Comic" is a pretentious name for funny.

The fact is people who can write really funny funny papers are scarce. It's hard for them too because, generally speaking, editors don't take to humor.

Humor is inimical to an editor's nature. I think that if someone came up with a good comic strip that had a story line and humor, it would sell newspapers.

The sad fact is there's no agreement on what's funny and what isn't. I'm funny sometimes, but I'm the only one who thinks so.

Written by Andy Rooney