1995: MC Hammer Age

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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MC Hammer Age
Wait, sorry, I got mixed up--he's actually almost 50. It's the kid from The Karate Kid who just turned 40.
Title text: Wait, sorry, I got mixed up--he's actually almost 50. It's the kid from The Karate Kid who just turned 40.


This is the first comic to combine the My Hobby series with the theme of listing facts that make one feel old.

In the comic Cueball (as Randall, as it is his hobby) is asking White Hat if he wants to feel old. (This exact opening phrase was used by Megan in 1898: October 2017). Cueball doesn't wait for an answer, though like Megan did, but tells White Hat that MC Hammer just turned 40. Surprisingly, at first, this doesn't really make White Hat feel old, he actually feels this is rather normal (compared to his own age). MC Hammer is a pop rapper/singer who was most popular in the early 1990's for U Can't Touch This with the catch phrase Stop: Hammer Time, and shiny baggy pants often incorrectly referred to as parachute pants.

So at first it seems that Randall's attempt to make White Hat feel old has failed miserably. However in the caption Randall explains that this is part of his hobby. By "lowballing" the facts to begin with he can make people feel really old when he tells them the truth, so they learn that the correct number (age/years ago, your age at the time etc.) is even worse than the first opening statement.

In the title text he then tells White Hat the "truth": "Wait, sorry, I got mixed up--he's actually almost 50. It's the kid from The Karate Kid who just turned 40." This suddenly adds ten more years to MC Hammer's age, and the kid from the Karate Kid movies is already 40 years old. This likely makes White Hat feel old. In the original The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio was the actor who starred as Karate Kid.

The real blow, comes when White Hat (and most likely the reader), now intrigued goes home and looks these two people up on Wikipedia. Ralph Macchio was already much older than the kid he portrays in the movie, a school kid - he was 22 years old when shooting the first movie. On the day this comic came out, both MC Hammer and Ralph Macchio were 56 years old. And Ralph is the older one of the two being born in 1961, while Hammer was born in 1962. (In fact, Macchio is older now than Pat Morita, who played his mentor in The Karate Kid, was when that film was released.)

So even in the title text, the corrections are both "lowballed" facts, so still preserving the maximum effect while adding more credibility to the claims, so people already start to feel old before the last 6 years is added to Hammer's age.

Of course, this is assuming they do look it up, and if they believe Randall the first time, there is no reason to assume this will happen. However, then they probably already feel old from the first correction.

Note that in the other make one feel old comics Randall did not apparently indulge in this new hobby of lowballing facts. As far as we can tell, those were all accurate for the time the comic was created. But if this is a new hobby, we may need to examine newer "feel old" comics extra carefully from now on. (If we want to feel even older that is.)


[Cueball and White Hat are walking together.]
Cueball: Want to feel old? MC Hammer just turned 40.
White Hat: Wow.
White Hat: I mean, I guess that's not too surprising, right?
White Hat: It's been a long time.
[Caption below the panel:]
My hobby: Deliberately lowballing "Want to feel old" factoids to set up a bigger payoff later when they learn the correct number.

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Comic names overlapping comic numbers

Beginning on Monday, 21. May 2018 we will have comic numbers which are the same as other comic names.

  • That will be 1996, 1999, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2038. Not more right now.

Since xkcd uses only the number for navigation we have to adopt this or the navigation here will be broken.

In general we have three pages for a single comic. Here it is "1995: MC Hammer Age" AND two redirects "1995" as well as "MC Hammer Age". The redirect "1995" (the number) is used for navigation.

This means all those future comics and their named companions will have a disambiguation line on top AND the numbered page MUST redirect to the comic belonging to that number.

Do not hesitate to ask further questions, or just wait until the next comic is out. I don't expect that Randall will omit this number.--Dgbrt (talk) 14:02, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

Navigation bar

Hitting next on this page brings you to comic #768 titled 1996. This comic is #1995. I thought that there was an extra comic today at first. MrNinja (talk) 14:58, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, I decided to let it stay there as it is but on Monday that redirect will AND must be overwritten in the meaning of a comic number. That will happen a few times more in the future. --Dgbrt (talk) 15:03, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
It's either changed now or different on my iPad 1. For me it leads to a page with "1996" alone, like it's the comic number, but that's it. No name, no navigation buttons, nothing. NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:16, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, it wasn't me but the page is now empty. See my further remarks above. --Dgbrt (talk) 14:02, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

I suspect we’ll start needing Wikipedia-style disambiguation pages soon, given comic numbers that overlap other comic’s names. PotatoGod (talk) 16:13, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

As I recall, if you search a comic number or title, it lists matching comics. A lower number, like, say, to pick a random example, "199" would list comic #199 as well as comics #1990 to #1995 right now. I know the same goes for titles. I assume such disambiguation will lead to both comics being listed, and the user can click/tap the one they mean. Actually, checking now, actually running the search leads to a search results page which is essentially a disambiguation page (which is indeed listing the currently-blank 1996 page as well as the old comic named "1996"). NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:16, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Further discussions

"Hammer Age" > "hemorrhage", coincidence? 15:19, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

I came here from xkcd to find out who in the world MC Hammer was. (I guess I'm too old to really care, but I was curious.) At least there was a wiki link, but the explanation here could say something. 16:27, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

Because MC Hammer was so well known, everybody old enough to have been around back then - and therefore old enough to Feel Old from this - knows who he is. :) The explanation talks about him now. He was a One Hit Wonder with his song "U Can't Touch This" (to the music of Superfreak), including an iconic shuffling dance he did in the video with iconic puffy pants. SORT OF a One Hit Wonder, as he had a couple of others back then (I recall 2 Legit 2 Quit, not sure if it was numbers in the title), but oldies stations and segments only really play U Can't Touch This these days. NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:16, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Really? MC Hammer is on "oldies stations" nowadays?! If I didn't feel old from this before -- now I do! Passerby (talk) 21:06, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

But MC Hammer is actually almost 60? He's 56. -- Captaindomon (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

r/whooosh 21:22, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Guess Captaindomon didn't read the rest of the comic, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:16, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

I wonder what comic 2000 will be. Maybe it will be like 1000? 11:40, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

My question is about 2018, which comes out in 2018! SilverMagpie (talk) 16:44, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

Wow this works on my Kindle! Noy even fire to boot! Well done Jeff! Check Please! StillNotOriginal (Talk to me!) 00:01, 20 May 2018 (UTC)