Title text: It's commonly known that too much perspective can be a downer.
It must be part of the human condition that causes us to think that odd statements are sometimes more humorous than those supposed to be funny. Cueball makes a true statement, that his statement is not very funny. However, because he invoked irony and thus makes it self-referential, the sentence is now funny! The other guy (also a Cueball like character), producing a fake laugh, is probably not so sure that it is actually funny.
Now going meta: In 20,000 years, there might be no more humans on earth to find the irony funny any more. How ironic! Alternatively, the barren landscape would have occurred regardless of whether someone made the joke, so ironically the cautionary tale is completely meaningless, although still funny.
This is the first xkcd comic showing stick figure people, which eventually becomes a defining characteristic of the future comic series. It is thus also the first comic with Cueball (and the first with Multiple Cueballs).
Self-references was already used again in 33: Self-reference but has since been used most famously in 688: Self-Description. It was also used in the title text of 442: xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel and in 917: Hofstadter.
- When self-reference, irony, and meta-humor go too far
- A CAUTIONARY TALE
- Cueball: This statement wouldn't be funny if not for irony!
- Cueball: ha ha
- Friend: ha ha, I guess.
- 20,000 years later...
- [Desolate badlands landscape with an imposing sun in the sky.]
- This is the ninth comic originally posted on livejournal. The previous was 8: Red Spiders. The next was 9: Serenity is coming out tomorrow.
- Original Randall quote: "Too much perspective can do that."