68: Five Thirty

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Five Thirty
The 8th panel is my favorite
Title text: The 8th panel is my favorite


At 5:30 AM, one's sleep-deprived or prematurely-roused mind sometimes comes up with things that seem like nonsense later.

None of the twelve panels in this comic seem to have any correlation with one another, each one being its own "story," and none of them really make any sense. It is unknown whether Randall really wrote this comic while awake at 5:30 in the morning, or if he wrote it while completely alert and is trying to pass off his rejected ideas by saying what one's mind may experience when trying to process information at an hour when the person is not used to being awake.

Explanations of the individual panels (numbered left to right, top to bottom)[edit]

  1. "'80s night" is a special theme many nightclubs hold, inviting their guests to wear fashions that were popular in the 1980s while playing dance music from the same period.
  2. "There is no Tuesday" is likely a reference to the line "There is no spoon" in The Matrix. Jack the Ripper was an infamous serial killer in Victorian Britain. Jack Black is a rock star and actor. A possible explanation to the panel is the person on the right asking the one on the left who coined the phrase “There is no Tuesday” originally.
  3. There doesn't seem to be too much to this panel that isn't self-explanatory, but it's possible that there's a reference to the Civilization series of video games, in which it's possible (albeit unlikely) for medieval soldiers to attack and destroy 20th-century military helicopters.
  4. Stick figures standing upright are indeed drawn without any thought as to which section of their legs are the shins.
  5. Two Cueballs seem very upset about "daylight savings" as indicated by them shouting shit ten times (and have started to pronounce the 11th instance). It's hard to tell what they are actually doing and what the black blobs at the ends of their arms should represent, given that Randall normally doesn't draw hands on his stick figures. One guess is that they're both wearing watches, one on each of their combined five arms. In that case, they are upset because they forgot to adjust all their clocks for DST. Daylight saving time (DST) was not due until April 2nd in the USA in 2006, more than a month after the release of this comic. This seems to be the first to use DST as part of a joke, but it is far from the last time that Randall has made it clear that he is not a fan of DST, which he sometimes directly mocks. Alternatively, the two Cueballs represent two clocks, the right one with only hour-hand and minute-hand, but the left one also with a seconds-hand, and it is these hands that are drawn. In that case, the left Cueball is one hour ahead of the right Cueball, as his shortest arm points down left at around 8 o'clock (with the seconds-hand above, and the minutes-hand at 20 minutes past), and the right Cueball has his hour hand at 7 o'clock and the minute hand also at 20 past. This would explain both the three arms, the "hands" at the end of the arms, and the different length of especially the left Cueball's arm, and finally why they are so upset about one of them apparently forgetting or not observing DST.
  6. "Ointment" may be a reference to the infamous lotion scene in Silence of the Lambs, as the panel appears to be invoking horror movie visuals.
  7. The farthest left angle is labeled theta. The joke is that finding the cosine, the length of the adjacent leg divided by the length of the hypotenuse, would be difficult as the adjacent leg is poorly drawn and does not resemble a straight line to be measured.

    Alternatively, the line fuck the cosine resembles the slogan fuck the police.

  8. Lots of jokes have been made out of the template "does liking X make you gay?", where the speaker is afraid that he may be a homosexual. Here, the speaker has apparently transformed into a mermaid at some point. His friend seems to be eager to both turn into a mermaid himself and confirm himself for a homosexual.

    Another explanation may be that the friend thinks that a man who was a mermaid for five minutes should be homosexual afterwards, because he simply can't imagine something else about it. In this explanation, the friend has no interest in others being gay or not; he just thinks that this may be a realistic progress.

  9. Waving a gun around and declaring that things you hate are "for pussies" is stereotypical "macho" behavior. Possibly, the man with the gun is going to cut the other man's hair with bullets because it's more "macho" than going to the barber.
  10. This doesn't seem to mean anything whatsoever. However, both of the characters say something irrational: "My hair is bleeding" is irrational because strands of hair can't bleed, and "√3" is an irrational number.

    The first statement may also have something to do with the prior panel (as cutting one's hair with bullets does not tend to end well).

  11. A bachelor party is a traditionally raucous party that is thrown for a groom on the night before his wedding. Because these parties can be wild (involving drinking and such), this may explain why the figure is upside down.
  12. Likely a reference to the "ant on a rubber rope" thought experiment. The experiment does not end well for the ant according to Randall, likely because the paradox often ends up with incredibly long amounts of time until the ant finally gets to the other side of the rope. So the ant does not die from getting stretched, but rather from the rope stretching and leading to the ant having to walk for inconceivably long periods of time.

The title text could actually refer to two different panels. If a person chooses to read the comic left-to-right, top-to-bottom (which is more likely given that this is the order in the official transcript), the eighth panel could be the one with where Cueball asks "Does being a mermaid for five minutes make you gay?" However, if a person chooses to read the comic top-to-bottom, left-to-right, the eighth panel will instead be the one with Cueball hanging upside down shouting "Bachelor party!"


Comics from 5:30 AM
[A succession of unrelated and completely random panels.]
Cueball: It's 80's night at the club. Wanna go?
Friend: There is no Tuesday.
Cueball: Jack the Ripper or Jack Black?
[Cueball in this panel is holding a glinting sword.]
Friend: You crashed my helicopter!
Cueball: Verily!
[A small figure is talking with a larger figure.]
Figure 1: Basically, neither of us have shins.
Figure 2: Over and out.
[Two men are shown: one with three arms, and another with just two. All arms have round appendages at their ends.]
Men: shitshitshitshitshitshitdaylightsavingsshitshitshitshitsh
[Two figures with pumpkins (carved with faces) for heads.]
Figure 1: You're out of ointment and out of time!
[A diagram of a right-angled triangle, with a theta at the smallest angle.]
Friend: Does being a mermaid for five minutes make you gay?
Cueball: I hope so!
[The friend is holding a gun to Cueball's head.]
Friend: Barbershops are for pussies.
Friend: My hair is bleeding.
Cueball: √3
[Cueball seems to be walking on the ceiling.]
Cueball: Bachelor party!
[Warning sign with picture of an ant.]

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Do we need to attempt to explain any of them? --Quicksilver (talk) 14:33, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Sure, the name of this site is explainxkcd.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:33, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Well then this sort of thing merits an incomplete tag, not pages for which the grammar is slightly off! There should be a tag for explanations that do not explain enough (Incomplete) that is separate from that for copy-edits and such. Blow me if many pages marked Incomplete are far more complete than this one. --Quicksilver (talk) 21:39, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Here's my attempt at a partial explanation: I always thought panel 10 (if you read it left to right, top to bottom) was making a joke on how both of the things said were irrational, "My hair is bleeding" for the obvious reasons, and "√3" as it's an irrational number. Panel 9 could be the guy's friend trying to cut his hair with bullets because it's more "manly" than going to the barber. RoseEmanuel (talk)

Just pointing out that when discussing the eighth (as well as the second, fifth, and eleventh) panel, it makes no diference whether you'r reading left to right or right to left (as long as your going side to side, top to bottom). if going top to bottom, side to side, this is true for the fifth through eighth panels.

Is it just me or couldn't the title "Comics from 5:30" also be deemed a panel (considering it's boxed in)? In which case I really have no idea what Mr Munroe's preferences are...

Does Mr.Munroe (or Dr.Munroe?) ever watch this? I bet he's smiling at his own genius (well deserved, of course) of making his fans quarrel over the random ideas he had. Just like black hat. (I do want to conspire and say he has an account with a pseudonym just to throw us off, if we ever came close to the truth. ) And yes, I do wear tin foil hats too. Duh! /s 21:22, 8 April 2014 (UTC)BK201

The first stick figure in Panel #5 seems to have three arms --gg109 10:26, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

  I though he was just waving his arm frantically, taking into account he was cursing frantically aswell Brackeel (talk) 05:34, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

The panel 5 figures appear to have hands, unlike regular figures, just as a clock has hands, and their hands appear stretched similar to the hands of a clock. Perhaps because daylight savings adds an extra hour the one figure got an extra hand, which appears about an hour in distance from the presumed original hand. The shitshitshit could be explained as onomatopoeia for a clock ticking sound. 09:52, 14 February 2016 (UTC)B Bandit

I thought the left one was flossing. also SHITSHITSHITSHITSHITSHITDAYLIGHTSAVINGSSHITSHITSHITSHITSH -- Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 15:17, 19 April 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Panel 11 - is He doing a kegstand? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

For some reason, I really like this strip. The complete chaos appeals to a part of me and made me laugh uncontrollably the first time that I saw this. This and Shrodener's comic appeal to the nihilist in me, having chaos+swearing=pants-shitting hilarity. That is why my username ends in 68. RedHatGuy68 (talk)

Panel 8: could the figure on the right hope that becoming a mermaid makes one gay so that his friend, now a presumably gorgeous (and female in body) mermaid, could be attracted to him? 16:55, 26 July 2016 (UTC) (talk) 16:48, 26 July 2016 (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

How did anybody decide who's Cueball and who's "Friend"? I find it especially questionable to call someone "friend" who points a gun to your head. Fabian42 (talk) 14:35, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

Has anyone considered that the title of the comic and the alt text combine to make 538, the stat website of which Randall is a huge fan? 23:09, 8 April 2020 (UTC) Jury

I think panel 10 could be a reference to power edd. Added. Knit cap (talk) 12:23, 8 December 2020 (UTC)

you're probably thinking of the episode 'matt sucks', 'cause at the end of that episode, after a misfire with the stake gun, edd and tom are pinned to the wall (obvs dead, 'cause they've been stabbed a whole ton), and tom's hair bleeds. however, in the episode 'poweredd', tom's hair does not bleed. -lance 19:23, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
True. I only realised that about half an hour or so after I wrote that comment, then I forgot to correct myself. Knit cap (talk) 11:51, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

I always thought the 10th panel (reading left-to-right and then top-to-bottom) could be a pun, with 'root three' sounding like 'root-free', i.e. Cueball's hair is bleeding because it doesn't have roots connecting it to the scalp. 15:30, 26 August 2023 (UTC)

Isn't Jack Black such a good actor? (insert Bowser emoticon here) Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 19:59, 18 April 2024 (UTC)