Twitter is the perfect medium for comedians: It’s quick, text-based, and social, meaning that there’s a potential audience of millions for a great, concise joke. As such, we follow a lot of professional funny people, from Sarah Silverman to Aziz Ansari to Eugene Mirman. But we have found, often to our great surprise, that not all of our favorite comedians are funny on Twitter. Whether they’re saving their material for paying gigs, have other social media concerns outside of entertaining us, or just can’t translate what they do on stage to the Internet, they just aren’t making us laugh. We’ve rounded up ten top offenders after the jump.
As the tweet above illustrates, Seinfeld’s observational humor doesn’t translate too well to Twitter. The charms of his style are really all in the delivery, so while this ice skating joke may have been funny at his latest casino gig, here it just reads as peculiarly homophobic (what is “insane Gayness”) and grammatically unclear. Even in tweets where he’s not trying to make us laugh, Seinfeld’s odd syntax and stilted language are a dead giveaway that the comedian is still new to Twitter.
We’re big fans of Todd Barry — his live comedy routine is one of our favorites. But, as with Seinfeld, there’s something missing on Twitter. Barry’s act relies on his low, almost creepy voice and slow (yet always well-timed) delivery. In his tweets, like the one above, you can practically hear how he would deliver the joke onstage, but the words themselves aren’t funny enough to make us laugh.
Every once in a while, Chelsea Handler will say something funny on Twitter. And hell, we won’t argue with a tweet that says she’d be happy to pay more taxes. The really problem is that Handler often can’t fit her entire thought into 140 characters, and you have to click through a “TMI” link to get the rest of it. That kind of defeats the purpose of Twitter, and we rarely care enough to click through to the punchline.
Louis C.K.’s TV show may be brilliant, but his Twitter account — where he boasts over 666,000 followers — is almost entirely promotional.
From his sketch work on The State and as part of the Stella troupe to his stand-up, Michael Showalter is one of the most reliably funny comedians out there. But for some reason, he’s totally different on Twitter — he’s always taking pictures of things that aren’t that weird and then making jokes about how weird they are. Do you see what’s so hysterical about the tweet above?
Tracy Morgan should probably just hand over control of Twitter account to Tina Fey, too.
We don’t doubt that Margaret Cho could be funny on Twitter if she wanted to. That’s not really how she uses the platform, though — her feed is mostly comprised of stray thoughts, slices of life, publicity stuff, and other announcements. This is a shame, because we don’t think there’s anyone we’d be more excited to see live-tweeting a Republican debate.
Although we don’t share his libertarian politics, we were usually pretty into Penn Jillette’s Bullshit, co-hosted by his silent partner, Teller. While Jillette isn’t afraid to get political on Twitter, he doesn’t make a whole lot of jokes. Still, it’s hard to complain about that when he’s always dispensing intriguing links and interacting with fans and detractors alike. Perhaps that’s why he’s amassed nearly 1.7 million followers.
She’s stellar at impressions and wonderful on Saturday Night Live, but can anyone out there understand what Abby Elliott is tweeting about, ever? Aside from being semi-incomprehensible, she’s also guilty of serial, inane retweeting.
It’s funny because people who have AIDS are poor and rundown! Oh, wait. No. It’s actually just not funny at all.