Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
The joke here is the reverse of an old joke that appeared in rec.humor.funny. In the original, the punchline reveals that a small pianist is the result of a man's wish for a twelve-inch (one foot or 30.5 cm) penis which was misheard by a genie. In this version, Cueball wished for the twelve-inch pianist to a hard-of-hearing genie, with the implication that he instead received a twelve-inch penis. This piques Megan's interest.
A long-debated subject in human sexuality is whether sexual activity is more pleasurable for a woman when the man has a larger penis (and therefore whether woman desire men with larger penises). Although opinions on the subject seem to vary in surveys, a common stereotype is that women prefer or even seek out men with large penises, or at very least are turned off by men with small penises. Penis size has become associated with virility and "manliness", and another common generalization is that men would choose to have the largest penis, if it were possible to choose. The punchline of the original joke plays on the fact that wishing for a tiny pianist is a very unusual, interesting and specific wish, until the punchline reveals that the subject's wish was far more expected.
The title text is implying that, since Cueball's wish was misheard as referencing penis size, had the piano been even smaller, it would have only needed a three-inch (7.6 cm) pianist. This would imply that Cueball's misheard wish would have resulted in his being given a three-inch penis, which is below average and therefore, following the same generalizations as above, is seen as undesirably small.
Genies (or magic lamps) are mentioned in at least three other comics:
- [Cueball is holding a box with an open lid. A miniature piano is inside. Megan is looking at it]
- Cueball: My hobby is making miniatures. Check this out — it's a fully-functional grand piano.
- Megan: Woah — beautiful.
- [Cueball looks at the miniature piano.]
- Cueball: Sadly, I've never heard what proper music sounds like on it—the keys are too small to play.
- [Cueball closes lid to the piano.]
- Cueball: I once asked a genie for someone who could play it for me, but I think he misheard.
- Megan: ...are you doing anything later?
add a comment! ⋅ refresh comments!
Maybe I'm wrong here, but by looking at the size of the piano compared with Cueball and having read the title text, I wonder if the joke might be that he wished for a 4-5 inch penis instead? I wasn't sure enoough to go ahead an change it though. Athang (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- If you look at the piano compared to Cueball's forearm plus hand, they are approximately the same length. Considering how the average male human is slightly shorter in height (1.7 m) than a grand piano is long (2 m), a to-scale pianist would be slightly shorter than Cueball's forearm. The average length of a 1.7 m tall person's forearm plus hand is about 47 cm, so the pianist would need to be about 40 cm. (1.7:2 = 0.85 ratio. 47 cm * 0.85 = 40 cm.) 40 cm is almost 16 inches. In 526: Converting to Metric, 14 cm is labeled "penis", and according to the Kinsey Institute, the largest medically recorded was 13.5 inches (34 cm).
- Alternatively, the title text might have been saying "Good thing [the genie] didn't make [his penis] smaller [than it was before?], or [his penis would] need someone three inches tall to play [with] it." Tryc (talk) 15:20, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
- The extremely clear implication is that he asked for a 12-inch pianist, echoing the original joke. Occam's Razor and Megan's response support this view. 22.214.171.124
Currently, this comic is listed as being in the "My Hobby" series, but it doesn't fit the series description. It's not phrased as if this is Randall's hobby, it's more situation-specific than the other My Hobby comics, and the title doesn't start with "My Hobby:". Should it be removed from the list? Sciepsilon (talk) 22:19, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
- The first two words from Cueball are: "My hobby...". The category is appropriate here. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:16, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
- Agreed. 126.96.36.199
- Disagreed. It has nothing to do with the other "my hobby" comics, which all describes some weird trolling activity. This is just a guy making miniatures, a much more normal hobby. The ensuing panels of discussion doesn't fit the pattern either. 188.8.131.52 20:21, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
- Also disagreed. The "my hobby" comics are about Randall's, and not Cueball's (albeit his alter-ego) hobbies. They all begin vey clearly with the phrase "My hobby:" in superscript before describing that hobby for comedic effect. Here, Cueball's hobby is not the subject and punchline of the comic, but rather the set-up for the joke about the size of his erm... member. It might meet the letter, but misses the spirit of the "my hobby" rubric. Any person searching for a comic in the "my hobby" series would be pretty surprised to find this one. 184.108.40.206 08:47, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
- The pianis
Because someone doesn't understand the joke, I'll explain it here: "Twelve-inch penis" sounds similar to "twelve-inch pianist", so the genie in the joke and the genie mentioned in the comic misheard it as the other. Try saying it out loud in English. 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 04:34, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
- There is no mention of a "twelve-inch pianist" at this comic at all! And jokes I can find only misunderstandings on words like bucks/ducks and similar. The penis issue is always only raised at some comments. Furthermore the spelling "penis(t)" for "pianist" would be bad English — does this slang really exist? If so it has to be explained. Second: The link at the explain doesn't explain the penis issue. And finally citing the title text "Good thing he didn't make it smaller, or it'd need someone three inches tall to play it." would mean that a three inches tall Megan would have to "play" with a much smaller penis. Those penis jokes are still annoying, Randall just mentions a piano. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:10, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
- Twelve. Inch. Piano.
- The "bucks/ducks" jokes are directly based off of the "twelve-inch pianist" joke.
- It's a pun. "Pianist" sounds like "penis", and "penis" sounds like "pianist". Seriously, the only difference between the two is the "an".
- The link does address the "penis/pianist" issue. Read the last line carefully. It says that because of the genie's poor hearing, instead of the wish he wanted, he got a twelve-inch pianist. He wished for a twelve-inch penis and ended up with a twelve-inch pianist.
- And the "three-inch person playing with a three-inch penis" just came from Tryc horribly overthinking it. The title text says that if Cueball made a three-inch piano instead of a twelve-inch one, the genie would've misheard "three-inch pianist" as "three-inch penis", which is less preferable to a twelve-inch one.
- I'm trying my best to not be rude, but the joke is right there and you can't notice it. 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 21:23, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
- I still can't see that Randall does mention any "Twelve Inch" issues here. So, if that is the first imagination to some people it has to be EXPLAINED. The link here isn't helpful, Gooogle neither.
- According to all my findings I would recommend a first section to explain the comic itself and then a second section how "penis-addicted" people would interpret this.
- And remember the miniature trebuchet from 1190: Time. Also a penis???
- --Dgbrt (talk) 22:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
- Ughhhhhhhh it's getting harder and harder to explain this to you
- Could someone help me out, here? 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 06:49, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
- I'm trying it simple: If this is a common joke somewhere in the US, maybe Midwest, or East, or wherever it has to be explained by that manner.
- The link to rec.humor.funny isn't a helpful explain because there is NO penis at this entire page.
- I'm only calling for a better explain!
- --Dgbrt (talk) 20:19, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
- The cited joke is an obvious pun on penis, without which the joke is dead. The comic is an obvious reversal of the obvious pun. There is ample provided context. If you can't provide concrete evidence/sources to refute the concrete source cited in the explanation, don't keep marking it as incomplete on the grounds that you don't get it. Davidy²²[talk] 20:22, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
- I was calling for a better explain. Done now by me and I still do not claim it's perfect. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:17, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
- So my NON PERFECT edit is removed by admin David. But please understand that the "In the original..." statement implies that the page on "rec.humor.funny" is the original. There is still no explain to the origin of this original penis joke for non native English speakers. Even Goooogle isn't helpful. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:34, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
- The explanation already provides a source for the joke, an explanation and guides the punchline for the slow. Your version of the explanation introduced six grammatical errors and omits context for the joke that the comic is derived from. Googling "Pianist penis genie joke" returns a pagefull of relevant results, including two Q/A sites where people ask for it to be explained, a Reddit thread where the original joke is discussed in great detail and the xkcd forum page for the comic where people repeatedly refer to the cited joke as the basis of the comic. Davidy²²[talk] 20:48, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
- Throwing in the towel. I was trying to get a better explain for non native English speakers. I accept this knock out. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:45, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
I find it interesting that for at least two of the Penis related comics there has been a very long discussion with Dgbrt before he could accept (or accept his defeat here on these pages) that Randall (as he actually often does) makes these kind of juvenile penis jokes (or your mother etc.) The other one I have seen is 450: The Sea Kynde (talk) 22:50, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
- I always thought the joke was supposed to be that the asked for a miniature pianist, and Megan's response was sarcasm.--220.127.116.11 02:18, 26 March 2015 (UTC)