Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Lea Thompson Joke

I wish I could do this more justice, but The Lea Thompson Joke's legend may, in fact, grow by the fact that I can't directly remember the circumstances.  All I remember was that at work last week, my co-worker Ken made the single funniest possible Lea Thompson-related joke that anyone has ever made and will, in all likelihood, ever make again.

It wasn't a dirty joke or anything --- that's not the reason for my lack of memory as to the exact wording and circumstances.  While I love a good dirty joke as much as anyone, the fact that The Lea Thompson Joke was clean makes it even more impressive, in my opinion.  It didn't need any smut, it was just an absolutely perfect bit of wordplay that relied on a few things…

a) knowledge of Lea Thompson.  Now, I'm assuming that everyone reading this knows who she is, but just in case, here you go.  *pause for cries of OHHHHH, HER and possibly forehead slaps.*  Frankly, there's no shame in not knowing who she is --- I need to remember sometimes that not everyone has my Abed-esque memory of pop culture.  This may sound like bragging but c'mon, it's discussing how I can recall obscure 80's actors, how is that a good thing?

b) knowledge of Lea Thompson's roles.  Obviously, "Back To The Future."  That's the gimme.  There's also "Caroline In The City," which despite being on the air for four (!) seasons and its place as the go-to reference as one of the shitty shows NBC tried to build as a timeslot hit between Friends and Seinfeld, is still pretty obscure.  That said, I knew of the show and Ken knew of the show, hence another reason why the joke landed as it did.  Also, the genesis of the joke began somehow by discussing "Howard The Duck," which is incredibly probably Lea Thompson's third-best known role.  Which leads to...

c) knowledge of Lea Thompson's rather crappy career choices.

Okay, so, the joke began with Howard The Duck.  Yes, this movie actually existed.  I've never seen it, but all I know is that it was a huge bomb and that Lea Thompson was involved.  This, by the way, was her follow-up film after breaking out as a star in Back To The Future.  Yikes.

After a few twists and turns and jokes about Lea Thompson's awful career choices, it eventually led to me saying that her career had gone so wrong that she was working as a temp at some building in New York.  I want to say FedEx since we had mentioned FedEx in some oblique way earlier.  So, I go, "she's actually working as a temp at FedEx now.  Tough break for Lea."

Ken's reply?  "Well, she is In The City."

And that just killed me.  One of my hardest laughs to any joke in a while, and my hardest laugh to any form of media since watching "Wanderlust" and Paul Rudd's scene of trying to psych himself up in the mirror.  (If you haven't seen the movie, let's just say it involves him talking about his dick in a voice that sounds oddly like Goofy.)

As I said, it was the perfect storm of wordplay, a clever joke and an audience that both knows the subject and LOVES groan-worthy puns.  And it will go down in history as the greatest possible Lea Thompson Joke.  How would it be matched?  Who would possibly even attempt to match it?

I am fully aware that just reading it on the page, it doesn't sound funny whatsoever.  Whatever.  I'm sure reading about the moon landing, today's kids are like, "whatevs*, astronauts on the moon, I'm over it."  Admittedly I'm not doing the joke justice simply by relating just the last line of the setup and then the punchline, but really, you simply had to be there.  The Lea Thompson Joke will stand forever.  Respect.

* fun fact: 'whatevs' auto-corrects as 'wharves.'

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