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Gary Larson

American cartoonist

This article is about the cartoonist. For the rugby league player, see Gary Larson (rugby league). For the NFL player, see Gary Larsen.

Gary Larson (born August 14, 1950) is an American cartoonist, environmentalist, and former musician. He is the creator of The Far Side, a single-panel cartoon series that was syndicated internationally to more than 1,900 newspapers for fifteen years.[1] The series ended with Larson's retirement on January 1, 1995. In September 2019, his website alluded to a "new online era of 'The Far Side.'"[2] On July 8, 2020, Larson released three new comics, his first in 25 years.[3] His twenty-three books of collected cartoons have combined sales of more than forty-five million copies.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Larson was born and raised in University Place, Washington, in suburban Tacoma,[1] the son of Verner, a car salesman, and Doris, a secretary.[4] He graduated from Curtis Senior High School in University Place and from Washington State University in Pullman[1] with a degree in communications.[5][6] During high school and college, he played jazz guitar[7] and banjo.[1]

Larson said his family has "a morbid sense of humor",[1] and that he was influenced by the "paranoid" sense of humor of his older brother, Dan.[4] Dan played pranks on Gary, for example by taking advantage of his fear of monsters under the bed by waiting in the closet for the right moment to pounce. Dan "scared the hell out of me" whenever he could,[1] Gary said, but Dan also nurtured Gary's love of scientific knowledge. They caught animals in Puget Sound and placed them in terrariums in the basement, and also made a small desert ecosystem.[4]

In 1987, Larson married Toni Carmichael, an anthropologist. Early in their relationship, Carmichael became his business manager. "She's my pit bull, but she's a nice one," Larson has said.[1]

In The Complete Far Side,[8] Larson says that his greatest disappointment in life occurred when he was at a luncheon and sat across from cartoonist Charles Addams, creator of The Addams Family. Larson was not able to think of a single thing to say to him and deeply regretted the missed opportunity. Addams died in 1988.

Larson is an environmentalist. "Protecting wildlife is 'at the top of my list,' he says."[1] Currently Larson lives in Seattle, Washington.[9]

Career[edit]

Early cartoon work[edit]

According to Larson in his anthology The Prehistory of The Far Side,[10] he was working in a music store[7] when he took a few days off, after finally realizing how much he hated his job. During that time, he decided to try cartooning. In 1976, he drew six cartoons and submitted them to Pacific Search (afterward Pacific Northwest Magazine), a Seattle-based magazine.[7] After contributing to another local Seattle paper, in 1979 Larson submitted his work to The Seattle Times. Under the title Nature's Way, his work was published weekly next to the Junior Jumble.[10]

To supplement his income, Larson worked for the Humane Society as a cruelty investigator.[1]

[edit]

Main article: The Far Side

Larson decided that he could increase his income from cartooning by selling his Nature's Way strip to another newspaper. While on vacation in San Francisco, he pitched his work to the San Francisco Chronicle and, to his surprise, the Chronicle bought the strip and promoted it for syndication, renaming it The Far Side.[7] Its first appearance in the Chronicle was on January 1, 1980. A week later, The Seattle Times dropped Nature's Way.[10] Unlike Charles Schulz, who resented the name imposed by his publisher (Peanuts), Larson had no such qualms, saying, "They could have called it Revenge of the Zucchini People, for all I cared." The Far Side ran for fifteen years, syndicated initially by Chronicle Features and later by Universal Press Syndicate, until Larson retired with his final strip published on January 1, 1995.

Themes in The Far Side were often surreal, such as "How cows behave when no human watches" or "The unexpected dangers of being an insect". Often, the behavior of supposedly superior humans was compared with animals. For instance, a father explains to his son that a bird song is a territorial marking common to the lower animals, while surrounded by fences and dense housing. Animals and other creatures were frequently presented anthropomorphically. One strip depicts a family of spiders driving in a car with a "Have a Nice Day" bumper sticker, featuring a smiley face with eight eyes.

One of Larson's more famous cartoons shows a chimpanzee couple grooming. The female finds a blonde human hair on the male and inquires, "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" A representative from the Jane Goodall Institute thought that this was in bad taste and wrote a critical letter to Larson regarding the cartoon. Larson contacted the Goodall Institute to apologize only to find that Jane Goodall, who had been in Africa at the time of the cartoon's publication and only learned of it years after its initial publication, approved of it, stating that she found it amusing. Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon go to the Goodall Institute.[11] Goodall wrote a preface to The Far Side Gallery 5, detailing her version of the "Jane Goodall Tramp" controversy.[12] She praised Larson's creative ideas, which often compare and contrast the behavior of humans and animals. In 1988, Larson visited Gombe Stream National Park and was attacked by Frodo, a chimp described by Goodall as a "bully". Larson sustained cuts and bruises from the encounter.[13]

Larson's Far Side cartoons were syndicated worldwide and published in many collections. They were also reproduced extensively on greeting cards which were very popular, but these were discontinued in March 2009. Two animated versions were produced for television: Tales from the Far Side (1994) and Tales from the Far Side II (1997).[7][14] A 2007 Far Side calendar donated all author royalties to Conservation International.[1]

Retirement[edit]

By late 1994, Larson thought the series was getting repetitive and did not want to enter what he called the "Graveyard of Mediocre Cartoons."[4][7] He retired the strip on January 1, 1995, when he was 44 years old. Since retiring from The Far Side, Larson has done occasional cartoon work, including magazine illustrations and promotional artwork for Far Side merchandise. For the most part, he has also retired from public view: "He refuses to have his picture taken and avoids being on TV," Time magazine wrote in 2003. To Larson, "cartoonists are expected to be anonymous."[15]

There's a Hair in My Dirt!: A Worm's Story[edit]

In 1998, Larson published his first post-Far Side book There's a Hair in My Dirt!: A Worm's Story, an illustrated book with thematic similarities to The Far Side. The short book tells the story of an earthworm who feels that his life is insignificant. The main plot is told by the young worm's father and follows the beautiful (but slightly dim) human maiden Harriet, who takes a stroll across a woodland trail, encountering different aspects of the ecological world.[7][16] She admires it but knows little about the land around her, and that eventually leads to her downfall.

The story became a New York Times Best Seller on May 24, 1998.[17]

Other works and interests[edit]

Larson has been playing jazz guitar since his teen years.[7] He took advanced lessons from two famous jazz guitarists, Remo Palmier[18] and Herb Ellis. In exchange for guitar lessons from Ellis, Larson provided him with the cover illustration for the album Doggin' Around (Concord, 1988) by Ellis and bassist Red Mitchell.[19]

Larson drew a cover for the November 17, 2003, edition of The New Yorker magazine, an offer he felt was too prestigious to refuse.[20][21]

Larson voices himself in the Simpsons 2010 episode "Once Upon a Time in Springfield."

Awards and honors[edit]

Larson was awarded the Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award by the National Cartoonists Society in 1985 and 1988. Larson earned the society's Reuben Award for 1990 and 1994. Larson has been recognized for various individual strips by the National Cartoonist Society in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1995.

On March 15, 1989, a newly discovered insect species was named after Larson by Dale H. Clayton, head of the Committee of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. The Strigiphilus garylarsoni is a chewing louse[1] of a genus found only on owls. Wrote Larson: "I considered this an extreme honor. Besides, I knew no one was going to write and ask to name a new species of swan after me. You have to grab these opportunities when they come along." An 8" × 11" (20 × 28 cm) magnification of the insect appeared in the Prehistory of the Far Side 10th anniversary compilation, along with the letter requesting permission to use his name. Similarly, an Ecuadorianrainforest butterfly was named after him; Serratoterga larsoni.[4] The term "thagomizer", a feature of stegosaurus anatomy, was coined in a Far Side cartoon.[7]

Eighteen years after earning his bachelor's degree at Washington State, Larson gave the commencement address at his alma mater in 1990.[5][22][23][24]

Online presence[edit]

Since 1999, Larson has objected to his work being displayed on the internet, and has been sending takedown notices to owners of fan websites and users posting his cartoons.[25] In a personal letter included with the requests, Larson claimed that his work is too personal and important to him to have others "take control of it".[26][25] In 2007, he also published an open letter on the web to the same effect.[27] Larson has been criticized for not providing a legitimate online source for the Far Side series and negatively compared to cartoonists who have embraced the internet.[28]

In September 2019, the Far Side web site promised that "a new online era of the Far Side is coming!"[29][30]

On December 17, 2019, www.thefarside.com, authorized by Larson, and dedicated to The Far Side cartoon series went live on the internet.

On July 7, 2020, Larson released a new section of the Far Side website entitled "New Stuff".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abcdefghijklWeise, Elizabeth (November 22, 2006). "Larson drawn to wild side". USA Today. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  2. ^Gustines, George Gene (September 17, 2019). "The Far Side Teases Its Return". nytimes.com. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  3. ^ abTaylor, Derrick Bryson (July 8, 2020). "'Far Side' Cartoonist Gary Larson Shares First New Work in 25 Years return". NYTimes.com. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  4. ^ abcdeFerguson, Kelly (November 12, 2007). "A Walk on the Far Side: The Life and Times of Gary Larson". Mental Floss.
  5. ^ abOlsen, Ken (April 24, 1990). "Larson to give '90 WSU grads unusual sendoff". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 1A.
  6. ^Angier, Natalie (April 28, 1998). "An Amateur of Biology Returns to His Easel". Science Times. The New York Times. 147 (51, 141). p. F5.
  7. ^ abcdefghiMcCarthy, Susan (December 21, 1999). "Gary Larson". Salon. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  8. ^Larson, Gary. The Complete Far Side. 1st ed. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel, 2003. ISBN 0-7407-2113-5
  9. ^Sailor, Craig (December 18, 2019). "Gary Larson went from Tacoma to 'The Far Side.' Now he's back, but on a new format". The News Tribune. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  10. ^ abcLarson, Gary. The Prehistory of the Far Side: a 10th anniversary exhibit. Kansas City, MO: Andrew and McMeel, 1989. ISBN 0-8362-1851-5
  11. ^Jarvis, Zeke (2015). Make 'em Laugh! American Humorists of the 20th and 21st Centuries. ABC-CLIO. p. 51. ISBN .
  12. ^Larson, Gary. The Far Side Gallery 5. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrew and McMeel, 1995. ISBN 0-8362-0425-5
  13. ^Hartley, Aiden (June 29, 2002), "Me rodo, you Jane", The Spectator, archived from the original on January 13, 2010
  14. ^Gary Larson at IMDb
  15. ^Stein, Joel (September 29, 2003). "Life Beyond The Far Side". Time.
  16. ^"New book rides wave of Viagra jokes". CNN. July 29, 1998. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012.
  17. ^"The New York Times Best Seller List - May 24, 1998 Fiction"(PDF). The New York Times. May 24, 1998. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  18. ^"Interview with GARY LARSON cont'd". Fresh Air. NPR. April 30, 1998.
  19. ^Mancini, Mark (November 28, 2016). "11 Twisted Facts About "The Far Side"". Mental Floss.
  20. ^"Online edition of The New Yorker, 17 November 2003, featuring the cover drawn by Larson".
  21. ^Cook, Rebecca. "Gary Larson revisits 'The Far Side'", Associated Press, The Lawrence Journal-World, 30 November 2003.
  22. ^Sorensen, Eric (May 13, 1990). "Dare to be weird, Gary Larson tells WSU grads". Spokesman-Review. p. B1.
  23. ^Wickline, Michael R. (May 13, 1990). "Wishing you weirdness". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1C.
  24. ^Olsen, Ken (May 14, 1990). "'Far Side' creator tells grads: be weird". Idahonian. p. 12A.
  25. ^ abMarshall, Rick (March 7, 2008). "Gary Larson and Our 'Far Side' Cease & Desist | ComicMix". www.comicmix.com. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  26. ^"Gary Larson sent me this email". Archived from the original on August 29, 2000. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  27. ^Larson, Gary (February 9, 2007). "A Note from Gary Larson". creators.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
  28. ^"Dear Gary Larson: Your Kids Go Out At Night; Let Them Be". Techdirt. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  29. ^https://www.thefarside.com
  30. ^Gustines, George Gene, The Far Side Teases Its Return, The New York Times, September 16, 2019

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Larson
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Comic Strip / The Far Side

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_51l32r5dykl.png

This is just some of the hilarious stuff you’re gonna see.

Classic single-panel Newspaper Comicby Gary Larson. Running from January 1, 1980 to January 1, 1995, it featured numerous talking animals, most notably cows, and frequent depictions of heavenand hell, along with various other stock settings.

The strip was also known for its use of scientific jokes and puns. A story Mr. Larson quotes in one of his anthologies tells of a science teacher who had Far Side cartoons mounted on a bulletin board. As his students learned more and more, they laughed at more and more of the jokes. This is pretty much the essence of The Far Side — witty, educated, nerdy humor that dealt with the world of animals and plants far more so than the mundane reality of cities and towns.

As a result of The Far Side's popularity, two species of animals have been named after Mr. Larson — an owl louse (Strigiphilus garylarsoni), and an Ecuadorian butterfly (Serratoterga larsoni), which Larson humorously admitted was the best someone like him was ever going to get. In addition, the distinctive tail spikes of Stegosaurs are called thagomizers in reference to one of his cartoons. An animated special, Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side, was also released in 1994.

Attention: Due to our policies regarding copyright law, the vast majority of Far Side strips cannot be used for page images. Also, Mr. Larson has requested that his work not be displayed online.

In late 2019, Larson launched an official Far Side Internet site, which reposts batches of old strips, and even includes some all-new material. However, Larson's requestSo I’m hopeful this official website will help temper the impulses of the infringement-inclined. Please, whoever you are, taketh down my cartoons and let this website become your place to stop by for a smile, a laugh, or a good ol’ fashioned recoiling. And I won’t have to release the Krakencow. — means that the aforementioned rules are still in effect. In 2020, he's begun to publish new strips.


The Far Side has named the following tropes:

  • Cow Tools: The strip in question is Actually Pretty Funny in its own unique way. It led to a lot of fuss, as people tried to figure what the tools were (Larson has said his mistake was making one of the tools look like a crude handsaw), while the joke was simply the idea of cows making any.
  • "Far Side" Island: A frequent setting, usually featuring one or more guys with scruffy beards.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Formerly "Tethercat Principle". Named for an infamous cartoon that featured two dogs playing tetherball with a cat on a rope. In The Prehistory of the Far Side, Larson speculates that one reason so many people were outraged was that, due to the static nature of the cartoon, the dogs never stop playing tethercat. You walk away and come back, they're still playing tethercat. You look at it a week later, yep, they're still playing. This is in contrast to the slapstick violence in animation, where Sylvester the Cat can be shot or stabbed, but a few seconds later is completely fine.

"Tropes of The Far Side":

  • '60s Hair: Many female characters in the strips feature beehive hairdos, usually paired with cat eye glasses. In the world of the strip, these are a universal signifier for mother figures and frumpy housewives, and are found on women of all species.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The "Dobie-o-Matic" gun.
  • Absurd Phobia:
    • Anatidaephobia: The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.
    • Luposlipaphobia: The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor (not a situation that it is absurd to be afraid of, mind, but one that is absurdly specific).
  • Acme Products:
    • The company A-1 is shown to make a variety of products (masks, life rafts, inflatable cows etc.) within the Far Side universe.
    • Actual Acme products occasionally pop up in strips.
  • Aerosol Spray Backfire: In one strip, a pair of explorers covered in insects notice with horror that they're using "On" bug spray (a popular bug spray in the US is called "Off").
  • Affair Hair: Found on the back of a monkey husband, apparently belonging to Jane Goodall.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: One cartoon is captioned "Midget westerns", featuring audiences watching Hang 'Em Not So High. They actually did make a midget western.
  • And You Were There: The final newspaper strip had Gary Larson wake up in bed next to all his family and friends, who happen to resemble a lot of the strip's more popular subjects. Of course, given that this is The Far Side, this probably came as a surprise to nobody

    Gary: And Aunt Zelda all the women looked like you and Uncle Bob all the cows looked like you and Ernie there were cavemen that looked like you and there were all these nerdy little kids like you Billy and there were monsters and stupid-looking things and animals could talk and some of it was confusing and... and... Oh, wow! There's no Place like home!

  • Animated Adaptation: Really! Two of them! Unsurprisingly, the first was shown on Cartoon Networklate night on Halloween. It also made one and only one appearance on CBS. Reaction from reviewers to the Zombie Ranch? Not good (the video release dubbed in a wacky travelogue voiceover to make the scene more lighthearted and less morbid). The sequel, which if anything upped the ante in terms of content, never aired anywhere in the US, but made the rounds at various film festivals. Neither are currently available for purchase.
  • Annoying Arrows: A herd of buffalo, several of which have half a dozen arrows sticking out of their backs, eye a dead one and ask "Say...maybe it's not just a bad swarm of horseflies."
  • Anthropomorphic Typography: One strip featured an anthropomorphic "h" arguing with her husband (an "R") and saying to him, "Yes! I've been seeing all the vowels - a, e, i, o, u... Oh, and sometimes y."
  • Anticipatory Breath Spray: Rusty makes his move (with a can of Dog Breath spray).
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: From 1986. Two fishermen look at mushroom clouds in the distance, one says "I'll tell you what this means, Norm — no size restrictions and screw the limit."
  • Arrows on Fire: "Hey, they're lightin' their arrows! ...Can they do that?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A section of Hell has rooms for murderers, terrorists, and "people who drove too slow in the fast lane."
  • Art Evolution: The art started out a bit more grotesque. When he first started the strip, he also apparently didn't even know about the existence of White-Out, and so to avoid making mistakes had a habit of not filling all of the backgrounds in (like a bulls-eye patterned rug that mysteriously vanished halfway across the panel) — he admitted that he preferred to "touch up" older strips to fill in half-completed background elements when they were published in collections.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Larson pointed out in the commentary for a strip that showed a mosquito husband returning home to his wife and quipping "I must have spread malaria across half the country!" that he got letters from irritated biologists informing him it's the female mosquito that bites. Larson's response...

    "I knew that. Of course, they have no problem that these mosquitoes also wear clothes, live in the suburbs, speak English, etc."

    • He has admitted, though, that he's been bugged (no pun intended) with himself at certain scientific errors that have been pointed out to him by readers—such as one showing polar bears and penguins in the same habitat.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Another quip from The Prehistory of the Far Side: "There should be a special confessional where cartoonists can go and say things like 'Bless me, Father, for I have sinned — I have drawn dinosaurs and hominids together in the same cartoon.'"
    • But in one case, science followed art. When one of Larson's cartoons named the tail-weapon of Stegosaurus the "thagomizer," paleontologists said Sure, Let's Go with That.
  • Artsy Beret:
    • One strip has an artist who uses his shoe to paint pictures of squashed bugs. The artist wears a red beret and paint-stained smock.
    • The cover of Wiener Dog Art, a collection of strips, features an artist dabbing wiener dogs in paint and rubbing them on the canvas, parodying a style in midcentury abstract art. The artist wears a beret and a paint-stained smock.
    • In another strip, an painter (signified by his beret), who is trying to paint a still life, yells at the anthropomorphic fruit in the bowl to settle down.
  • Ascended Meme: The "Thagomizer", a joking name for the spikes at the end of a stegosaurus' tail provided by "the late Thag Simmons", is now an official scientific term... because scientists realized years later that it didn't have a name.
  • Ash Face: One strip sees this happen to God, as a kid, after trying to use a chemistry set to make a chicken.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin:
    • One strip had a polar bear with a Paper-Thin Disguise — a penguin's beak — pretending to be a penguin.
    • The cover of the book collection The Chickens Are Restless depicts a duck with a false chicken comb among the mob of chickens.
    • Another strip had a herd of cattle talking about how there was a spy among them, with an obvious two-person cow costume in the middle of them.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: As vikings are storming a castle, one is trying to call their attention to gold fish in the moat. Larson admitted that was pretty much him on the bridge.
  • Author Appeal: Science, bugs, anthropology, Westerns, and jazz music. And beehive haircuts.
  • Author Avatar: Larson's is a short, fat kid with glasses and a flat-top haircut.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: Played with in one strip. Two musicians in a saloon see an Obviously Evil cowboy coming in, so one tells the other to start playing in a minor key (rather than going silent).
  • Babysitter from Hell: The strip where a couple admonishes the actual witch (broomstick and all) they hired for cooking and eating their children. Not just one, but both!
  • Bad Humor Truck: One strip shows neighborhood kids hiding from a "Liver and Onions" truck, and another features the "Vaccination Van" making its rounds. Also, the failed marketing ploy "I Cuss, You Cuss, We All Cuss For Asparagus!".
  • Balloon-Bursting Bird: One comic had a pair of aerial balloonists staring up in horror at a woodpecker about to burst their hot-air balloon.
  • Beach Bury: One strip has a kid burying his father with the following (paraphrased) caption: "Billy, the tide's coming in... Billy, unbury Daddy now... You don't want Daddy to get angry..."
  • Bears Are Bad News: From time to time.
    • One comic has the Ranger Mafia sending someone to "sleep with the bears"... that is, dressing him up as a garbage can and dropping him off in a national park.
    • Then you have the scientist who disguises himself as a bear to try and decipher the bear tongue. He's accepted for a while... until one of the real bears notices the zipper on his costume.
    • "Look at these teeth! Look at these claws! You think we're just supposed to eat honey and berries?!"
  • Beehive Hairdo: Standard, along with cat-eye glasses, for women in his strips.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved:
    • One of the most controversial comics featured a female gorilla finding a blond hair on her mate and accusing him of doing "research" with "that Jane Goodall tramp". The intended joke is that the female is making a hilariously incorrect assumption as to what Goodall's research involves, but many readers thought it was implying actual bestiality on Goodall's part and were outraged. Goodall herself was said to have found the strip Actually Pretty Funny
    • The strip "Red Cloud's worst nightmare" showed an Indian chief mentally resolving to kill himself when his daughter runs away with her new boyfriend... a buffalo.
  • Best Served Cold: "Remember me, Mr. Schneider? Kenya. 1947. If you're going to shoot at an elephant, Mr. Schneider, you better be prepared to finish the job."
  • Bird-Poop Gag: One strip depicts people and a dog with targets on them and the caption "How birds see the world".
  • Black Comedy: The strip loves to show characters getting hurt, killed, or eaten- implying it is just as funny, too.
    • In The Prehistory of the Far Side, there was a strip that had a snake inside a baby's crib, and a gigantic bulge in the middle of the snake (presumably the baby) rendering the creature unable to exit the crib, with the snake looking annoyed. Immediately following, Larson says "You didn't see this. Turn the page."
    • Another example from Prehistory of the Far Side was a strip of crocodiles 'Bobbing for poodles' (with that as the caption, and the inside of the bucket thankfully obscured). Larson's comment for it was along the lines of "Thank goodness I didn't go with my original caption of 'Bobbing for babies'."
    • The strip with a mother having just given birth. The doctor cuts the umbilical cord and the baby deflates and flies all over the room like a balloon. Larson mentions that he didn't even try to submit this one after he had finished it, and that he was originally going to add written sound effects before his sanity prevailed. He did, however, eventually publish a rather similar comic depicting a baby "deflating" in a similar way in a hospital nursery. The caption? "Belly button slipknots".
    • One that did get published had ants carrying a (live) baby. According to Larson, he originally submitted a version where the ants were carrying an elderly man, but that was rejected, and the baby version was published.

      "You idiots! We'll never get that thing down the hole!"

    • Another has a pair of spiders who built a web at the bottom of a playground slide.

      "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings."

    • Yet another one has a pair of crocodiles sitting, stuffed among the remains of a team of explorers.

      "Some cheesecake would be good right now."

    • One comic features an Archer William Telling on a boy with a ridiculously oversized head (as in literally bigger than his body), on which is perched a tiny, barely visible apple, the caption being: "William Tell's less fortunate son, Warren."
    • A strip titled "Horse Hospitals" shows a row of anthromorphic horses with their broken legs up in slings, while all the doctors are carrying rifles and you can hear a loud "BLAM!" coming from behind the nearest curtain.
    • Another strip features a farmer carrying eggs from the henhouse passing a chicken carrying a baby from his house.
    • And yet another one had two nurses shooing an alligator out of a hospital nursery, with the implication that it's already eaten many of the occupants. They seem oddly nonchalant about it, evoking a farmer shooing a fox out of the henhouse.

      "Git, you rascal, git! Heaven knows how he keeps getting in there, but you'd better count 'em"

    • There seems to be a theme here.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: In one cartoon, a woman calls her dog home through the window, getting it excited and encouraging it to run, while we see on the interior that she's boarded the dog door completely shut and the dog will run straight into a solid surface.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: One strip has a very large lady calling around the house for her Mister Muffykins while the reader can see that the dog has been reduced to a Butt Sticker.
  • Blood Knight: As one medieval soldier explains to another during a battle. "Win or lose... I love doing this"
  • Bottom of the Barrel Joke:
    • Played for Laughs with at least two strips captioned "It was late and I was tired."
    • And one where the caption was a mock-interview with the cartoonist about whether it's tough to come up with ideas ("Sometimes")... and the strip itself is a flock of ducks yelling "Chicken!" and ducking out of the way of a chicken thrown over their heads.
  • Bowdlerize: Larson submitted one cartoon with a mammoth examining a flattened caveman on the bottom of his foot, with the caption, "Well, what the... I thought I smelled something." The version that made it to the newspapers was, "Y'know, I thought I heard something squeak." (Arguably, the implications of the last one are worse than the original, going from "mammoth stepping on caveman, whose smell makes the mammoth think he stepped in dung" to "mammoth stepping on caveman, who screams in agony as he is crushed to death".)
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: One strip showed a spider dropping silk after a fright.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A boss fires an employee in one comic for all the insulting stuff he was thinking about him, saying they're in a cartoon, so he can see his thought bubble and everything in it.
  • Brick Joke: One strip had Santa threatening to turn his reindeer into venison if he heard any more complaints, and a later strip showed him at a typewriter printing up "9 Ways to Serve Venison".
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Implied in the strip where one Mr. Schneider is confronted by the elephant he shot in Kenya, seeking revenge.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The sight of world-wide nuclear war prompts one astronaut to ask his fellow, "Well, what about this, Mr. 'We-Won't-Have-Time-for-Board-Games-in-Space'?"
  • The Butler Did It:
    • One strip shows a murdered butler at an international butlers' convention, and a detective complaining that he hates to start a week like this.
    • Another strip shows a detective accusing the butler of goring and trampling a man to death as he sits next to the literal Elephant in the Room.
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock:
    • A man on a plane is about to flip a switch from "Wings Stay On" to "Wings Fall Off" while trying to recline his chair.

      "Fumbling for his recline button, Ted unwittingly instigates a disaster."

    • Also a man operating the soundboard at a concert starts turning up the knob marked "Suck".

      "Raymond's last day as the band's sound technician"

  • Captain Obvious: A cartoon depicts two Bedouin on camels in the middle of the desert, and the caption is "Hold still, Omar. Now look up. Yep, you've got something in your eye all right. Could be sand."
    • Another strip shows two jungle explorers encountering a native tribe with one man dressed in distinctive, wildly colorful and ornate regalia, looking down on them from where he stands on the backs of two other tribesmen. "Hey... this could be the chief."
  • Cat/Dog Dichotomy: Many strips feature the conflict between cats and dogs as the punch line.
  • Cement Shoes: Played with. One strip has the fish mafia give somebody Styrofoam shoes so he can "sleep with the humans".
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Inverted in one strip show a tribesman carrying a TV while fleeing from a band of angry suburbanites.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In Tales From The Far Side I, there is a 15-second "Meanwhile... back in Egypt" segment that consists of a desert marketplace full of locals who eventually stop and wave at the viewer before going about their business. Unlike the rest of the special, there's no weirdness whatsoever. But in the sequel, there's a segment with amoebas at a party that's abruptly interrupted when their "world" goes sideways. The camera cuts to a man putting down a mostly-empty water glass... then pulls back to him and his family exiting the same exact Egypt scene (sans waving) from the first special.
  • Chicken Joke:
    • One strip shows a chicken looking across a road at a sign that reads "THE OTHER SIDE. Why do you need a reason?"
    • Another features a female chicken telling her returning husband that she found a blonde feather and doesn't buy his excuse that he's only been crossing the road to get to the other side.
  • Circling Vultures: The subject of several gags, one example being a depiction of "the perils of improper circling": two of the vultures bonk heads in mid-air.
  • Closer Than They Appear: In one cartoon, a car's outside rear-view mirror shows the angry eye of an unspecified but huge creature. At the bottom of the mirror it says, "Caution, objects in mirror closer than they appear."
  • Clucking Funny: Including a cartoon where a farmer returning home from collecting eggs in the chicken coop passes a chicken returning to the coop after collecting the farmer's infant child...
  • Comically Inept Healing: One strip had a husband trying to practice home surgery on his wife using a Time-Life book and complaining that she's thrashing around too much.
  • Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch:invoked Larson apologized for the "Hell's Video Store" comic after actually watching the movie Ishtar, because he had not seen it at the time he did the comic and had only used it because of its reputation. He later admitted that the movie was funny.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: "Mr. Thingy", for someone who won't talk for normal methods. This also counts as Buffy Speak.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: In one strip, a farmer unwittingly dooms humanity when he tries to shake hands with an alien visitor whose head has an unfortunate resemblance to a human hand.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: A real life example. It's almost impossible to find pirated copies of Far Side books online, partly because Gary Larson put out an open letter asking people not to distribute it illegally.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • "Toby vs. Godzilla"
    • The Pillsbury Doughboy vs. a paving contractor.
    • God trouncing someone in a game show. The other man hadn't even scored once. (Larson later said he felt bad for giving the contestant a zero score, but realized that if he had given the guy even 1 point, he'd be sure to get hate mail from people who couldn't take the joke of a normal person beating God to the answer buzzer.)
    • The aftermath of a fight between a chicken and a cowboy. The chicken was shot, but the cowboy got nothing except some egg on his face
    • A Jeopardy! episode featuring Einstein, Edison... and some random guy who barely scored 100. In his defense, though, he was pretty sure his buzzer was broken.
    • A group of martial artist just happen to notice that aliens made of bricks and wooden boards are invading right outside their dojo.
  • Darkest Africa: Essentially presented a la Tarzan movies, and often featuring the man himself.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: One strip features an Indian chief's daughter running away with a buffalo.
  • Dead Guy Puppet: In one strip, a bear entertains his cubs by making two human skulls ask each other if there are bears in the cave.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: One strip features two men and a woman trapped on a desert island. Much to the delight of the one man, a meteor takes out the other.
  • Déjà Vu: A hippie stops at a house to ask for directions; upon noticing that the person he's speaking with is an elephant-bird-giraffe-man, he says, "Oh, wow, deja vu."
  • Desert Skull: One uncaptioned cartoon shows a pair of oxen pulling a covered wagon across the desert, turning their heads as they pass a bovine skull.
  • The Dinnermobile: One comic depicts a regular occurence in Dog Heaven: Once every hour, a truck made entirely out of ham drives slowly across the clouds, and all the dogs get to chase and eat it.
  • The Dinosaurs Had It Coming: Smoking is apparently "the real reason dinosaurs went extinct".
  • Directionless Driver: One comic had an elderly couple driving on the surface of the moon. The wife exclaims "Oh, for heaven's sake — NOW look where the Earth is! Move over and let me drive!"
  • The Discovery of Fire: One comic had a caveman who claimed to have invented fire—but it's actually just a wooden cut-out of a campfire. The caption notes that he was exiled from the tribe over "the Firegate incident".
  • Divine Misfile: Ernie is sent to Hog Heaven by clerical error.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Parodied in one strip when a cow suddenly leaps up in a courtroom and proclaims, "All right, I confess! I did it! That's right! The cow! Ha ha! And I feel great!"
  • Don't Eat and Swim: One strip had a young snake with a large lump in his belly attempt to go swimming at the beach. His mother tells him to wait a whole week before going in.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    • There is no explanation for the infamous "Cow Tools" cartoon.
    • A cartoon has a cat with two wooden front legs sitting in a pet shop next to a fish bowl containing a piranha. Larson says he tried multiple times to come up with a good caption, before realizing the visual gag stood on its own.
    • The Complete Far Side reveals that Larson was infamous for this. Him and his publishers receiving letters asking them to explain a strip was a regular occurrence, usually resulting in them writing back with a concise explanation (which, expectedly, made it less funny).
  • Door Dumb: At a school for the gifted, no less.
  • Dragons Versus Knights: A couple of strips play off of the enmity of knights and dragons, skewed in the dragons' favor. One features a dragon handling the scalding hot armor of a freshly roasted knight and calling for his wife to hurry up with the hot pads; another has an irritated dragoness scolding her husband for eating in bed and leaving leftovers (i.e., knights' armor) all over the sheets. Another has dragons failing to attract knights with a dummy and concluding they need a real damsel to hold captive.
  • Dreary Half-Lidded Eyes: Uncaring or bored characters are drawn with straight lines for eyes, implying half lids but sometimes resembling Eyes Always Shut.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • Invoked. Larson has a friend with a very strange sense of humor, so whenever he called and said "I loved today's strip!" Gary figured, "I've offended half of America."
    • As The Complete Far Side shows, Larson would regularly receive hate mail by various readers demanding the comic be pulled from the paper for various reasons, focused on material ranging from the religiously offensive to the scientifically inaccurate.
  • Dumb Dinos: Dinosaurs don't come across as particularly intelligent for the most part. In one cartoon a T. rex is shown to have poor grammar, and in another a group of dinosaurs are laughing at a mammal as it begins to snow.
  • Dungeon Shop: Played for Laughs when a traveler in a Thirsty Desertencounters a tropical fish pet shop. Don't ask the logistics of how a such a shop remains supplied in the middle of a desert or how many customers they get.
  • Eat My Dust: One strip shows the crew of the Santa Maria sail past the Pinta, waving a giant banner reading "EAT OUR WAKE PINTAHEADS".
  • Elephants Never Forget: One strip has a dejected elephant sitting at bar, bemoaning that although he drinks and drinks, he never forgets. In another, an elephant confronts the man who shot at him during a hunting trip, reminding him of the exact date that it occurred.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The Trope Namer appears in a strip, being lectured by an employer about his speech.

    Employer: The problem, Mr. Fudd, is that you've been having a subliminal effect on everyone in the factory. We're proud of our product, Mr. Fudd, and there's no company in the world that makes a finer skwoo dwivuh... dang! now you Got Me Doing It!

  • Epic Fail: One strip has a cowboy losing a quickdraw... To a sloth.

    Bystander:"Well, the sloth nailed him. ...Y'know, ol' Hank never was exactly a 'quick draw'."

  • Eskimo Land: On several occasions.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Several strips. "Situation's changed, Jules...take my buffalo gun and hand me the mime rifle." Another strip has an Ice-Cream Koan asking, "If a tree falls in the forest, and it hits a mime, and no one's around, does anyone care?"
  • Everything's Better with Cows: To the point that Larson even joked about renaming the strip The Cow Side.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: A recurring subject in the strip, often alongside cavemen. In fact, the word for the spikes on a stegosaurus' tail, "thagomizer", came from The Far Side.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Used occasionally, but no more so than any other animal.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" (After this particular comic saw its share of controversy, Larson was worried that he'd offended Dr. Goodall herself, and was intensely relieved to find out she loved it. She even wrote the foreword for a Far Side collection. He in turn visited Gombe Stream National Park and got bullied by a chimp.)
  • Fallout Shelter Fail: One strip in a bomb shelter where a woman is berating her husband for stockpiling a wall of canned food... and no can opener.
  • Fictional Video Game: The "Stampede" segment of the second Tales From the Far Side. A cow in a barn plays it, running over a bunch of cowboys (and also Elvis for some reason), but ultimately runs into a slaughterhouse and loses.
  • Fight for the Last Bite: In one strip, a man mentions how he wants to eat the last slice of beef despite already being full. Meanwhile, a dog's eyes are just poking up over the far edge of the table, staring at him.
  • Film Noir: Parodies multiple times. For example, one panel has an elephant seeking revenge on a big game hunter, done in a style Larson directly compared to a Humphrey Bogart movie.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: A frequent setting for the strip.
    • "Ok, sir, would you like inferno or non-inferno?... Ha! Just kidding. It's all inferno, of course — I just get a kick out of saying that."
    • "HEY! Who keeps turning down the thermostat?!?"
    • Nerds in hell: "Hot enough for ya?"
    • One in which people are being marched into hell via a cavernous hall with one of those hand-knitted plaques saying "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," which they all eye nervously.
    • Said to one demon by another as the two watch this one clueless idiot of a man whistle merrily as he toils away in the mines of Hell: "You know, we're just not reaching that guy."
    • Scotty in Hell.
    • Devils in an office are laughing at the submissions pulled out of their suggestion box.
    • "Watch out! These plates are hot!"
    • A painter has just painted "999" on Satan's office door in hell. Satan doesn't look happy, and the painter says he "must have been holding the dang work order like this!" (ie: upside down).
    • "C'mon, c'mon — it's either one or the other" The choice is between two doors, labeled DAMNED if you do and DAMNED if you don't.
  • Fish People:
    • Two strips have essentially the same gag. In one, a diver is taking a huge fish out of the ocean and notices a fish man taking a captive woman into the ocean. A more lighthearted one features a guy carrying a surfboard running towards the ocean to catch some waves. Then he notices a fish man carrying a wagon running out of the ocean to catch some hills.
    • One comic has a fish man rising out of a swamp, with a battered-looking frog telling him, "Go get 'em, brother."
    • A fourth comic had a heron trying to swallow a fish man, which is clearly far too large to fit down its throat.
    • A fifth has one on a date with a human woman. He tells her that he resents the term "swamp thing" and prefers to be called "wetlands-changed mutant".
  • Flock of Wolves: "Is anyone here a real sheep?"
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven:
    • "Wish I'd brought a magazine."
    • There's even one for dogs, where, every hour on the hour, a truck made entirely of pressed ham lumbers its way through the clouds... and the dogs can choose whether or not to join in the chase.
    • "Life on Cloud Eight is alright, but the folks next door really seem to be living it up."
    • The human Ernie accidentally gets sent to "Hog Heaven".
  • Fly in the Soup:
    • One comic inverted it. A giant fly is seated at a table, with a bowl of soup on his head. A human, sitting at the same table, exclaims, "Waiter! What's this soup doing on my fly?"
    • Another has a fly who's fallen into a soup bowl, while another shouts to her from the rim: "Tread soup, Deborah! I'm going to get help!"
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Appears fairly regularly. One strip has him getting into a heated argument with The Igor in the middle of a diner, much to Dr. Frankenstein's embarrassment.
  • Freudian Couch: Used often, although in the 10th anniversary retrospective, Larson said he considered the device a cliché and described how having an animal visiting a human psychiatrist would frequently break his own Willing Suspension of Disbelief and cause him to start questioning everything about his comic.
    • In one instance, it was a disembodied eyeball (who was suffering from incredible hostility to the outside world), which was nearly invisible in the newspaper versions. Most readers either missed the eyeball entirely or thought it was just one of the buttons sewed onto the couch. In his 10th anniversary retrospective, Larson briefly tried to defend the cartoon before admitting that, yes, it sucked.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • One strip features a man drifting on an rubber life boat in the middle of the ocean, and watching a news report on a portable TV. The newscaster then mentions that the company has recalled that particular type of raft because a defect in the production causes it to gradually lose air, and eventually sink in a manner of days.
    • Another strip has two other bedraggled wayfarers in a similar raft being attacked by navy ants.
    • In one strip two men are stranded in the desert and are so badly dehydrated they are reduced to crawling and hoping that the direction they are crawling towards will lead to water. One guy notes that it's not a cheerful sign that a camel is crawling towards them.
  • Funetik Aksent:
    • Parrot mimicking, "Hey boid! Shaddup! Hey boid! Shaddup!" to a gangster loading a gun.
    • A meeting of the bird mafia: "Have all the boids arrived?"
    • Another strip depicts some gangsters going out "boid watching".
    • With dolphins:

      Scientist (with headphones): We're getting another one of those strange 'aw blah es span yol' sounds.

  • Funny Animal: Not to mention funny plants and funny protozoa ("Humor at its lowest form").
  • Funny Background Event: In the "Anatidaephobia" strip, look at the windows across the street from his office.
  • Fur Is Clothing: One strip has a man and a snake unexpectedly meet while skinny dipping in the same pond. The man has a pile of clothes on the bank, and the snake left his snake skin on land.
  • Furry Reminder: While most of the animals are anthropomorphized, many strips with animals rely on those animals' characteristics. Like a bunch of snakes who can't let their friend in because they can't work the doorknob.
  • Gangland Drive-By: One strip shows one of the cartoon figures partially erased, with a woman nearby saying, "My God, it could have been any of us!" The caption reads, "Drive-by erasings".
  • Giant Animal Worship: Parodied with a tribe of insects leaving a butterfly tied up to be taken away by a giant (to them) entomologist.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: A boxer's literal worst nightmare. "No matter what I do, he keeps going to the side!"
  • God:
    • Portrayed as a big guy with long white hair, robes and a beard. Has a good sense of humor. According to Mr. Larson, this is "the way most of us are pretty sure he looks."
    • In one strip he has the Earth in a pot and is holding a jar on it that says "Jerks" and is thinking, "...and to make it interesting..."
    • God (thinking of the Earth He's taking out of the oven): "Something tells me this thing is only half-baked..."
    • Making snakes out of clay, God muses "Man, these things are a cinch!"
    • While designing the great white shark, He wonders if He should put a happy face on its uvula.
    • Another has Him thoroughly trouncing the current champion of a game show, on which Larson noted that he was careful to make it clear that the champion had never once beaten God to the buzzer, as someone doubtlessly would have gotten upset.
    • God at his computer. It has a 'Smite' key.
    • He even had a cartoon depicting God as a small boy, standing amidst the aftermath of a child's chemistry set explosion, feathers everywhere, and the caption "God as a kid tries to make a chicken in his room." Larson noted that he wasn't really worried about people being offended by that one, but he was a little nervous about other potential consequences...
  • Going Down with the Ship: Except the Captain convinced the ship's cook that it was his duty instead.
  • The Grim Reaper: Appears in several strips.
    • The Grim Reaper as a child. He's a chubby skull-headed boy who likes playing with model cemeteries.
    • He does stands-up comedy, but only one person in the audience is brave enough to laugh at his jokes.
    • With boxing gloves, he becomes the Angel of Migraines.
    • He discovers his (human) girlfriend is cheating on him with Jack Kevorkian.
    • He and his wife have their downtime interrupted when a salesman comes literally knocking at death's door.
    • A passerby unwittingly has a brush with him (as in, bumps into him. "Watch it, buddy!")
  • Hall of Mirrors: "But which of us is the real duck, Mr. Frischberg, and not just an illusion?"
  • Hard on Soft Science: Averted. Larson's favourite branch of science seems to be biology, but he's also fond of anthropology, and besides everything from physics to psychiatry gets lampooned at some point or another.
  • Headless Horseman: The Horseman comes home from his day at work, and is greeted by his family, who are also all headless, including the pets.
  • He's a Friend: One strip has a police officer taking a man to jail. On the top bunk is a mentally insane man tearing apart his pillow with his teeth.

    Officer: Hey, Durk! New roommate, Durk! New roommate! Friend, Durk! Friend!

  • Hollywood Natives: Used as the subject of many gentle gags. One strip has one fleeing from a mob of angry suburbanites with their stolen idol (a TV).
  • Horny Vikings: Showed up pretty regularly, including one where they fought the "Wimpodites", who wielded pillows.
  • Hostile Hitchhiker: One strip has two women in a car looking at at a one-eyed man with a Hook Hand and a sign that says "Anywhere". The caption is "Come on, Cynthia, where's your sense of adventure?"
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: One panel showed a group of vultures and one of them says, "Well, I suppose you're all wondering why I've asked you here today...Ha, I've always wanted to say that."
  • I Ate WHAT?!: One cartoon had a crowd of scientists gathered around a cup with one of them saying, "What's this? Lemonade? Where's my sample of amoebic dysentery?" while another scientist on the other side of the panel is drinking from a glass with an Oh, Crap! expression on his face. Larson received letters from a few peeved scientists who wanted Larson to know that eating in a science lab is strictly forbidden (Larson knew that, but did it for Rule of Funny). Of course, since the cartoon is such an excellent depiction of why you don't eat in a lab, some labs use it in addition to the standard warning posters.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The collections with indexes feature sections for each letter of the alphabet. However, every letter but "T" is blank, as each comic is identified as "The one with the [x]".
  • The Igor: Often appears alongside a Mad Scientist and Frankenstein's Monster. One example has the Doctor holding an itty-bitty version of the monster's head and shouting at Igor for letting it go through the wash in his pants pocket.
    • Referenced in one strip depicting a bunch of scientists arguing amongst each other. The caption reads "Another case of too many scientists and not enough hunchbacks."
  • Intellectual Animal: Animals are frequently shown talking and communicating with humans like people.
  • Interspecies Romance: A frequent topic of humor.
    • Dog to sheep: "Confession time Mona: I've led you astray."
    • A relationship between a wolf and a sheep fizzled because the wolf's pack wouldn't stop heckling him and the sheep just ate the flowers he gave her. The original caption for this one was simply "Predator/prey relationships," but Larson became intrigued by the way the wolf was looking over his shoulder and decided to dig a little further into their relationship.
    • It turns out that chickens fantasize about sex with ducks.
    • "Dang it, Monica! I can't live this charade any longer! I'm not a telephone repairman who stumbled into your life — I'm a Komodo dragon, largest member of the lizard family and a filthy liar."
    • In one strip a woman is kissing a maintenance technician when her husband (a bipedal rhino) comes home early. She warns him that her spouse's eyesight is poor, but his hearing and smell are very good.
    • "It's this new boyfriend dear... I'm just afraid one day your father's going to up and blow him away." The boyfriend is a humanoid deer (and a bit of a loudmouth), and the girl's father is an avid (and annoyed looking) deer hunter.
    • Another one has a woman dancing with an anthropomorphic crocodile. "I'm originally from the shores of the upper Nile, and... say, did anyone ever tell you your pupils are round?"
  • In the Local Tongue: The Lone Ranger discovers that "kemosabe" is an "Apache expression for a horse's rear end".
  • Invisible Anatomy: The "Down at the Eat 'n Slither" strip, with snakes sitting at a bar, eating breakfast and reading the news. Larson himself lampshaded it in The Prehistory of the Far Side:

    "I have no idea how those snakes are holding up those newspapers..."

  • Ironic Hell: Fire and Brimstone Hell often doubles as this.
    • "Oh, man! The coffee's cold! They thought of everything!"
    • For musicians in particular: "Welcome to hell. Here's your accordion."
    • "Hell's Video Store" (only carriesIshtar) Larson later apologized for this one, having only heard of the film's dismal reputation when drawing the strip. Not that having an infinite number of copies of the same movie to watch for all eternity isn't a punishment either.
    • Charlie Parker's private Hell is a room in the traditional fire and brimstone Hell where nothing but New Age music is played.
    • "Hell's library" only has books of story problems.
    • "Bowler's hell": Whoa! Another split?... What a bummer! And the end of the lane is about fifty feet wide.
    • "Aerobics in hell": Three more, two more, one more, okay!... Five-million leg lifts, right leg first!... Ready, set!..
    • Satan leading a symphony conductor to a room full of hick-looking types playing banjos.
    • In one of the Far Side of Science strips, a physicist is led into a room full of astrologers.
    • Dog hell forces the dogs to be mail carriers.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: During the siege of the Alamo, a would-be entrepreneur is trying to sell T-shirts that read "I kicked Santa Anna's butt at the Alamo" and commemorative mugs. He's had to reduce the price from 3.95 to one dollar.
  • Kaiju: Larson saw a lot of monster movies as a kid, so giant monsters make frequent appearances.
  • Kangaroo Pouch Ride: Hannibal's first attempt at crossing the Alps involves riding kangaroos along the narrow ledges. It is implied to not have worked very well.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The police stop a man who's been hitting people with a hammer, only to discover he actually has license to do it.
    • A hunter gets away with entering a deer's home and killing it. The officer tells the deer's wife he was in season.
  • "Kick Me" Prank:
    • One time a bear had a "Shoot Me" sign on his back.
    • Another featured a flower with a "Weed me" sign on its back.
    • Two painters with one painting "I carry cash" on the back of the other.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes: One cartoon has two scientists squabbling over who gets the cardboard box that their Polaris missile came in.

    Your kids got the last one!

  • Killer Rabbit: Many "cute" animals are dangerous in this strip.
    • In a quite literal example, one strip had a couple of guys being threatened by rabbits with guns.
    • Or the one where a hiker encounters a bunch of little happy forest animals, but notices that they are looking a bit too happy...
    • A group of poodles discussing their owner: "On the other hand, if we kill her, then the pampering will stop."
    • Night of the living dead chipmunks.
    • Another one has an old lady feeding birds at the park. One of the birds asks his friends "Who here has seen Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds?"
    • As noted above, ducks are evil.
    • A subtle one simply shows a man tumbling off a building ledge. Closer inspection reveals a small bird with him on the ledge with its foot extended, implying that the bird kicked the man off the ledge.
  • King of the Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus rex shows up quite a bit:
    • One cartoon had a T. rex bemoaning its inability to pass the potatoes because of its useless forelimbs.
    • In another cartoon, an exterminator is called in to deal with a butcher shop having a T. rex infestation.
  • "Kiss the Cook" Apron: A comic features a barbecue hosted by donkeys, with the cook wearing an apron that reads "Kick the Cook".
  • Knife-Throwing Act: A knife-thrower flashes an "Oh, Crap!" Smile at his enraged audience, when it turns out his "assistant" is actually an inflated dummy, which he has punctured with one of his knives.
  • Large Ham Title: "The Names We Give Dogs/The Names They Give Themselves" implies this.
  • Let's Meet the Meat:
    • A chicken being served chicken soup by his wife when he has the flu. "Will you relax? It's nobody we know!"
    • A chicken baking a cake takes a long hard look at her eggs...
    • A cow grilling burgers: "You're sick, Jessie! Sick, sick, sick!"
    • Another cow eating a steak (possibly on a dare) while his buddies look on: "Interesting... interesting... I'd say we taste a little bit like chicken."
    • Non-food variant: a calf wearing leather. According to his parents, he's only doing it for the shock value.
    • A more subtle example is one strip with a dolphin busy canning tuna in her kitchen while another in a police uniform is saying "Just a few more questions about your husband's disappearance and then you can get back to your canning."
    • A cow who got a job driving a butcher's delivery van.

Murray eventually took the job - but his friends never did speak to him again.

  • Lighter and Fluffier:
    • The "Wimpodites" and their ferocious pillow-fighting tactics. A common prey to vikings.
    • A mobster, to a guy he's trying to get information from:

      "Still won't talk, eh? Maybe Rudy and his wiffle bat can change your mind!"

  • Lightning Reveal: Subverted in the second animated special. The dangerous animals surrounding the dancing couple turn out to be stuffed... as does the male partner when the police drag the woman out of the taxidermy shop the couple was running.
    • Implied in "Scene from The Return of the Nose of Dr. Verlucci."
  • Look Ma, No Plane!: Inverted. A flock of geese are keeping pace with a passenger jet, and one looks over and sees another goose riding in comfort in the plane, making faces at the others through the window.
  • Lost at Sea: Another common setting for gags, often involving the castways' rubber liferaft being under threat of destruction in some humorous fashion.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: Implied in a strip that shows a boy with an ant farm and an off-page voice saying that if he really looks after them, maybe next year he can have "that puppy", implying he asked for a puppy.
  • Mad Scientist: Lots, often paired with monsters and hunchbacked assistants.
  • Maximum Capacity Overload: In one strip, we see a man on an elevator with several elephants, and he watches in horror as one more tries to get in. The max. capacity is shown as several thousand pounds.
  • Medusa: In "Medusa Starts Her Day" featuring one of his dowdy, bespectacled women showering, wearing a shower-cap through which a snake has poked its head.
  • Miserable Massage: Played for Laughs, in a strip where Captain James Hook from Peter Pan is visiting the job counselor Doreen, with Doreen stating "Okay, Mr. Hook. Seems you're trying to decide between a career in pirating or massage therapy. Well, maybe we can help you narrow it down."
  • Missing Reflection: One strip has a man ranting on a soapbox about vampires being everywhere. None of the passersby seem to be listening to him, and the reason why is apparent in a large mirror being carried across a nearby street behind his back, which shows a reflection of him alone.
  • Mobile Fishbowl:
    • One strip has a fish using a frogman suit with a line attaching it to a fishbowl.
    • Another shows a fish driving a bowl on wheels around a person on a beach before driving back into the water.
  • Moral Guardians:
    • Oh god, the Moral Guardians. Larson faced opposition from several groups who just couldn't let his "unique" brand of satire slide, especially if religion or torture was involved; several newspapers were sent letters from upset readers threatening to cancel their subscriptions. Fortunately for Larson, the editors rarely caved.
    • Interestingly, Larson himself conceded that some of these groups, such as Amnesty International, made very good points in their criticism and complaints. Also, he himself said that people's misinterpretation of the infamous "When car chasers dream" cartoon was his own fault.
    • On the other hand, the "that Jane Goodall tramp" cartoon aroused some outrage until Goodall herself finally publicly said that she thought it was Actually Pretty Funny.
  • Mouse World: A setting for many cartoons, ranging from rats and goldfish all the way to amoebae living in a miniature environment not unlike human civilisation.
  • Mr. Muffykins:
    • Actually subverted in one strip where the dog's owner, a large old lady, is seen getting her dog to run into a wall. He then notes in the commentary that the reason these dogs get so much hate may be partly due towards their owners' mannerisms.
    • Also see the poodles under Killer Rabbit, above.
  • Murderous Mannequin: There was a Sunday strip with a horror movie blurb spoof, Night of the Crash Test Dummies. Later used as the cover of a strip collection.
  • My Brain Is Big:
    • One comic had the cops rushing into the villain's headquarters — which had your typical My Brain Is Big guy as well as some huge-bodied, tiny-headed mooks — and shouting, "Who's the brains of this outfit?"
    • In another strip, Larson inverted it, by having a student with a head half the size of everyone else asking to be excused from class because his "brain was full".
    • And in another inversion, a stegosaurus lectures other dinosaurs:

      "The picture's pretty bleak, gentlemen... the world's climates are changing, the mammals are taking over, and we all have a brain about the size of a walnut."

  • Not Afraid of Hell: One comic shows a man in Hell happily whistling a tune as he pushes a wheelbarrow while everyone else suffers. One devil says to another "You know, we're just not reaching that guy".
  • Not in Front of the Parrot:
    • Including a caveman's parrot... saying "Grunt, snort... Grunt, grunt, snort."
    • A parrot is sitting on a branch over some quick sand, and two pith-helmets are seen partially submerged. The parrot is saying "Stop struggling, Simmons, you're pulling us in! Stop struggling, Simmons, you're pulling us in! Stop struggling, Simmons..."
    • The leader of a group of gangsters insists on having his mob repeat the address of their new safehouse aloud a hundred times so as to not forget. Said gangsters are hiding out in a pet shop full of parrots.
    • Another one with a lone gangster polishing his gun, and his parrot alternately whistling and saying "Hey boid, shaddup!"
    • Another with a very full python in a pet store, with the parrot repeating calls of distress.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: "Big Bob is tired of you saying he doesn't exist."
  • Not Where They Thought: In one strip, an alien is telling off another for getting not only the wrong planet but the wrong solar system.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Lampshaded by Larson about a particular strip:

      Duck: "So, Professor Jenkins, my old nemesis! We meet again... but this time, the advantage is mine!"

    • Also, an elephant wearing a jacket and hiding in an alley:

      Elephant: "Remember me, Mr. Schneider? Kenya. 1947. If you're going to shoot at an elephant, Mr. Schneider, you better be prepared to finish the job."

    • And an old man who somehow managed to survive having his head removed from his body, and existing as only a head now:

      Grandmother: "For heaven's sake, Henry, tell the kids a pleasant story for once — they don't always have to hear the one about your head."

  • Oh, Crap!: A very frequent theme.
    • The scientists at a viral pathology research building have one of these reactions when they accidentally drop a sample out the window into an open city street.
    • And another when one mistakes a bacteria culture for a glass of lemonade and drinks it.
    • Cows have them too, as when a wide-eyed cow, in a house with other, partying cows, looks into a freezer; the caption is "While Farmer Brown was away, the cows got into the kitchen and were having the time of their lives — until Betsy's unwitting discovery."
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Two cowboys and their stagecoach are held up by rabbits with guns. "This ain't gonna look good on our record, Jake," says one to the other.
  • One-Hit Kill: One of the caveman comics shows a giant mammoth brought down by a single arrow. One of the cavemen mentions that they should probably write that spot down.
  • 1 Million B.C.: Numerous examples of cavemen and dinosaurs interacting; a typical example has a tyrannosaur scooping up a mouthful of cavemen, and then spitting them out in disgust, with the caption reading "The days before soap." Rule of Funny aside, Larson expressed his scientific shame for doing these strips. (He did also do lots of gags with cavemen more accurately hunting mammoths.)
  • Only Six Faces: As Larson's art evolved, he eventually was able to settle on a base design for every type of character he needed, from men, to women, cavemen, and various animals. Of course, it was lampshaded occasionally. Notably in his final syndicated strip, where a cartoon version of himself parodies Dorothy's return from the Land of Oz and tells his family how everyone from his comic looked like them. The exception to this trope are Larson's alien characters which rotated in design regularly, reasonably enough.
  • Opaque Lenses: Any person in glasses will have lenses that aren't transparent, leaving their eyes obscured.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons have featured in a couple of strips, such as one depicting young dragons using matches to set their sneezes on fire and another featuring an irritated dragoness scolding her husband for eating in bed and leaving leftovers (i.e., knights' armor) all over the sheets.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • See the "Ass In A Lion Skin" entry.
    • One comic has a boa go to a cobra party with a cardboard hood on his neck that slipped off.
    • In another, a wolf dons a shoddy human costume hoping to enter a meat company's facility.
  • Paranoia Fuel: But what if a duck really is watching you?
  • Paranormal Gambling Advantage: One strip has Lois Lane tell Superman they're playing cards with the neighbors that week, and if Clark doesn't use his X-Ray Vision they won't bring the kryptonite.
  • Parental Fashion Veto: In one strip, a fly leaves for a date, with her father telling her to remove some of that makeup and the gallon of pheromones.
  • Parodic Table of the Elements: One comic has the caveman table, consisting only of the element "Dert" (De).
  • Parting the Sea:
    • In one strip, Moses, as a kid, parts a glass of milk.
    • In another strip, there's a divide through Moses' hair with the caption "Moses parting his hair".
  • The Pearly Gates:
    • One strip has Colonel Sanders (founder and mascot of KFC) at the Pearly Gates, thinking "Uh-oh" because the guards are chickens.
    • Another has a Klansman arrive wearing his hood, only to find a black St. Peter grinning while thinking, "I love my job."
  • Peeve Goblins:
    • "Car Key Gnomes" shows two garden-gnome like figures in a nightly living room picking a ring of keys from a pair of trousers hanging over a chair, with the apparent intent of hiding it under the couch cushions.
    • "Door Ding Gnomes at Work" depicts two elf-like beings in a parking lot using hammers to create small dents on the sides of cars.
  • Piano Drop: Subject of several gags over the years, including a vulture planning to drop one on a desert traveler about to reach water or piano precipitation keeping people indoors.
  • Perspective Flip: A lot of the strip's humor comes from gags about humans being treated the same way we treat animals, by other people, anthropomorphized animals, or aliens.
  • Primitive Clubs: The strip's cavemen often wield the classic wooden clubs in comedic ways:
    • A guy is about to brain an opponent, when his club "jams" on him.
    • Another caveman prepares "poison clubs" by tying small venomous frogs to them before battle.
  • Psycho Poodle: Two examples:
    • In one strip, three poodles are discussing murdering their owner. The caption reads: "Well, yes, that is the downside, Fluffy. When we kill her, the pampering will end."
    • In another strip, the owners of a poodle open the door to a cellar where the poodle with a crazed expression on its face is building a giant robot poodle. The caption reads: "And down here we keep Fluffy. We're afraid he may have gone mad."
  • Ptero Soarer: Again, lots of strips with these critters alongside cavemen. One has a caveboy bringing home an enormous pterosaur and telling his mother that the mother won't take it back because he touched it.
  • Public Domain Character: Pretty much everyone listed on that page has shown up at least once.
  • Puzzling Platypus: Scientists studying platypuses realize that they are rats wearing fake duck beaks.
  • Rain Dance: The strip where the Native chief is consulting a book called "101 Rain Dances" to figure out what the hell kind of dance he was doing... while it's raining eggbeaters.
  • Rake Take: The African Rakesnake, shown whacking an unsuspecting adventurer when he steps on its tail.
  • Rapid Aging: In one strip, Dick Clark's age suddenly catches up to him on live broadcast.
  • Readers Are Geniuses: Part of the strip's long-lasting appeal. This was discussed at length in the foreword to the 2nd Far Side Gallery by a PHD (specializing in slugs), who explained how most of the jokes work on multiple levels. For example, "Cape Buffalo Fear" is a play on the animal coupled with the then-recently remade movie — but this is made far funnier when the reader knows about the animal's propensity for getting revenge, to the point that they're the most deadly of the "Big Five" African animals.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • A recurring gag was having cowboys act like prissy socialites:

    I just can't go in there, Bart. Some fellow in there and I are wearing the same hat!

    • And subverted in another, where one cowboy chastises another for crossing his legs at the thigh.
    • A third with two cowboys in high heels about to face off— the joke being that, regardless of outcome, the Boot Hill will be irrevocably changed.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Some of the strips would probably never have made it to print if they were any lessextreme. The "Jane Goodall" strip is one such example, a comic strip about adultery is one thing, a comic strip about Monkey adultery is another thing entirely.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • Played with in one of Larson's very early strips, with a hugely fat and very ugly couple looking at a small snake, and the woman screaming, "Egad, it's hideous!"
    • Another has a very ugly boy chasing his equally ugly sister around with a snake with the caption, "And for the rest of its life, the young reptile suffered deep emotional scars".
    • Played straight when a reptile-house keeper suffered an attack of 25-years' worth of "the willies".
  • Rerouted from Heaven: One cartoon has a man and pigs in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, captioned "Through an unfortunate celestial error, Ernie is sent to Hog Heaven".
  • Revolving Door Casting: Larson codified the concept of the "gag-a-day, new-characters-per-strip" comic template, and he made it a point to explain that having regular characters wasn't his style as it was common convention for comic strips to have such by the time he started The Far Side.
  • Running Gag: Larson put out a few strips involving obscene phonecalls. One was the Three Little Pigs with the wolf huffing and puffing on the other end, the second was a cow chewing cud, and the third was an "obscene duckcall".
  • Saint-Bernard Rescue:
    • One cartoon has a guy in an outhouse in the middle of nowhere, yelling for help, cutting to a Saint-Bernard with a roll of toilet paper around its collar (The caption is "Far away on a hillside, a very specialized breed of dog heard the cry for help.").
    • Another is "Common rescue animals", featuring among others: a Saint-Bernard with a keg of brandy, a dolphin with a pair of swim trunks, a rhinoceros with car keys.
  • Safe Under Blankets: One strip shows a snorkel allowing a child to breathe comfortably while hiding under the blankets (showing the kid doing just that while hiding from a dragon and a werewolf).
  • Sand Necktie:
    • One cartoon features two cowboys buried like this by Indians. One is gloating about the shadow cast by his partner's hat. "Sure is nice in the shade, yessiree."
    • Another features two Indians dragging a cowboy overlooking several different anthills, each with neon signs advertising their cowboy-torturing skills.
    • Another features two Indians having buried a cowboy up to his neck by an anthill, one of the Indians calling the other one an idiot because he brought mayonnaise instead of honey.
      • A similar one has one Indian chiding another for sitting to watch, as "A watched head never gets eaten by ants."note A send-up of the English phrase "A watched pot never boils"
    • And another featuring "Charlie Brown in Indian country."
    • Overlapping with Beach Bury, one has a kid burying his father with the following (paraphrased) caption: "Billy, the tide's coming in... Billy, unbury Daddy now... You don't want Daddy to get angry..."
  • Sapient Cetaceans:
    • This comic takes a few jabs at dolphins; one is the dolphin whose husband is missing (dolphin cop: "We're going to let you go back to your canning in a minute...")
    • In another, dolphins are trying to communicate with scientists (on blackboard: kay pas-uh; aw blah es span yol).
    • In another strip a whale starts singing "I'm Just Singing in the Rain" to scientists recording whale song. (In the original version, the whale's song was "Louie, Louie". "Singing in the Rain" was used for international releases, and Larson admits it was possibly a better song choice.)
  • Satchel Switcheroo: Apparently luggage mix-ups can occur on an intergalactic scale.
  • Scandalgate: In one cartoon, a caveman impresses the rest of his tribe with his invention of fire — except the fire in question is just a wooden cutout, painted to look like flames. The caption notes that he was exiled from the tribe over "the Firegate incident".
  • The Scapegoat: One strip was as blunt as a sledgehammer with this trope.

    The world was going down the tubes. They needed a scapegoat. They found Wayne.

  • Scary Stitches: One cartoon parodies this by showing a Granny Classic sewing together a monster with a sewing machine.
  • Seadog Peg Leg:
    • In one cartoon, an old sailor is pointing at his peg leg and saying "Well, that's not such a bad story... But wait 'til you hear how I lost this!" to a man with a peg head.
    • Another comic features an infamous snake pirate, described as 'unmistakable with his one eye and pegbody.' Yes, he is literally just a head atop a single tall peg.
  • Sea of Sand: Several strips depict lost wanderers or local wildlife in deserts made up of nothing but endless rows of sandy dunes.
  • Serious Business: The aforementioned Jane Goodall strip drew an angry letter from the Goodall Society, upset at someone making a joke at the expense of their founder. Some years later, he was seriously confused when the Goodall Society asked his permission to use that same strip for fundraising purposes. Turns out that an employee took it upon themselves to express outrage on behalf of Jane Goodall, who as it turned out loved the strip; Goodall invited Larson to visit her Chimpanzee preserve and even wrote the foreword to a collection of Far Side strips. In this foreword, Goodall implied that she fired the representative who sent the initial angry letter.
  • Severed Head Sports:
    • Played for laughs in a cartoon about the invention of headhunting — cavemen are gathered on a volleyball court, and one of them notes that no one brought a ball, and one of the bystanders has a round, bulbous head...
    • Also shown with stick-figures in a cartoon done by seven-year-old Larson.
  • Shave And A Haircut: One strip had a group of gangsters use this as their secret knock - and it was easily figured out by the police raiding them.
  • Shout-Out: One strip has a group of boys waiting for their friend to come join them.

    Every Saturday morning, while his playmates patiently waited, little Normy Bates would always take a few extra minutes to yell at his “dog.”

  • Showdown at High Noon: Parodied numerous times, such as the one cowboy that lost a quick draw to a sloth
  • Silly Prayer: In a strip, a dog prays to be able to see colour, along with his family and two other dogs named Rex and Tucker.
  • 6 Is 9: In one cartoon, a painter has just painted "999" on Satan's office door in hell. Satan doesn't look happy, and the painter says he "must have been holding the dang work order like this!"(ie: upside down).
  • Skewed Priorities: A fisherman's reaction to seeing several nuclear blasts going off in the distance? "I'll tell you what it means, Norm. No size restrictions and screw the limit!"
  • Sled Dogs Through the Snow: This comic, in which the idea of flat tires is applied to sled dogs.
  • Slower Than a Snail: One cartoon has a cowboy named Hank lose a quick-draw to a sloth.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: One strip has some cavemen gathered around a fire with expressions of agony on their faces as they roast their food with their bare hands. One points to another caveman wearing glasses, who is using a stick to roast his food. "Hey! Look what Zog do!"
  • Snake Charmer: One strip has a snake-charmer's cobra poking his head out of his basket wearing a pair of Groucho glasses, with the charmer thinking "I'll get him for this."
    • In a different panel, it shows a normal snake charmer with his flute glancing over at another guy playing a tuba with a giant basket (which we never see the contents of).
  • Snake Pit: One panel shows a family in a living room that inexplicably has a circular hole in the floor about three feet across, and is full of snakes. The dad is in the process of grabbing his kid, who is careening toward the pit on his tricycle, while the caption reads, "That was too close! Billy was headed straight for the snake pit when I grabbed him."
  • Sock Slide Rink: One comic depicts a child wearing socks being chased around a table by wolves — the caption reads "Luposlipaphobia: The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor".
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: In The Prehistory of The Far Side, Larson writes that he "really heard it" from readers when he published a cartoon depicting a male mosquito coming home from work after a hard day of sucking blood and spreading diseasenote It's the female mosquitoes who do the bloodsucking, not the males. "Of course," Larson japes, "it's perfectly acceptable to these people that mosquitoes live in houses, have jobs, wear clothes, etc."
  • Space Is Noisy: Discussed in an early strip that had a balding, lab-coated scientist jump up in the middle of a crowded cinema shouting "Stop the Movie! Stop the Movie! Explosions don't go 'BOOM!' in a vacuum!"
  • Species-Specific Afterlife: A number of comics were based on various afterlives meant for a specific type of creature, and the idiosyncrasies of what these creatures would find as rewards or punishments.
    • One strip features Dog Heaven, noting how once an hour a truck made entirely of pressed ham lumbers through it for the pleasure of habitual car chasers.
    • Another strip shows Dog Hell instead, where damned canines are forced to walk around with pooper-scoopers or deliver mail while wearing the uniforms of the post officers they chased and harassed in life.
    • Another strip shows a lone human soul standing in a crowd of pig souls in a Fluffy Cloud Heaven. The description notes that, due to some celestial management error, this guy's soul was sent to Hog Heaven by mistake. ("In Hog Heaven" being an antiquated expression for "having a wonderful time", it's another pun.)
  • Sperm as People:
    • In one strip, a bunch of sperm surround an egg and ask to be "let in".
    • One strip depicts a sperm cell with an outboard motor.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Played straight and subverted:
    • Two spiders say of their new web, "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings!" The web is at the bottom of a playground slide.
    • Another cartoon had two spider kids dangling a tiny human on the end of a thread over a balcony, freaking out their newspaper-reading father.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • Two strips had aliens that resembled crosswalk signals ("Our agents are posted at every corner, this world will fall swiftly!") and fire hydrants ("'Take me to your leader', I said...and then the most horrible thing happened!"note A dog peed on it. ).
    • A farmer dooms the Earth when he encounters aliens with heads that resemble human hands. In an effort to be friendly, he grabs their leader's head and shakes vigorously.
    • The first living thing a bunch of visiting aliens who look a bit like giant rear ends meet is a billy goat. The caption: "When worlds collide".
    • An unusual alien lands his Flying Saucer near a person, punches him in the face, and flies off. "Frank never knew what hit him."
    • Cactus-shaped aliens are emerging from their ship, as witnessed by two Eskimos. "They look like nothing I've ever seen!"
    • Aliens made of bricks complete with wooden block heads land right outside a karate class.
  • Stealth Pun: In the Gangland Drive-By entry above, the victims were "rubbed out".
  • Stopped Clock: In one cartoon, police are investigating a shooting at a clock store. The place has been shot to pieces, all clocks are reading the same time as each other, and the detective is wondering: "Well, we've got the weapon, a list of suspects, and their motives. Now if only we could determine the time of death...."
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Larson once did a cartoon with where a snake had swallowed Garfield (given that it had clearly swallowed something and Garfield's dish was nearby. Ironically, Jim Davis did a gag like that in one of his actual strips years before that.
  • Suicidal Lemmings: Parodied in a cartoon featuring one lemming among a horde running into the sea wearing a life preserver.
  • Suspect Existence Failure: A strip that has the caption: "Blast! Up to now, the rhino had been my prime suspect!" (The rhino was killed via a small dagger in his back.)
  • Take That!: The "Hell's Video Store" strip. Also, anything involving accordions. (Interestingly, Larson actually regretted drawing that strip when he watched Ishtar himself, not having seen the film before drawing that strip, and found it Actually Pretty Funny.)
  • Take That, Critics!: In The Prehistory of the Far Side, Gary Larson offers a response to the people who complain about his strip by drawing a cartoon version of himself sticking his tongue out at the viewer.
  • Talking Animal: Every now and then.
  • Tank Goodness: Psycho 3 features a tank driving into the bathroom to attack a showering woman.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female members of all species can generally be identified by their Beehive Hairdo and cat eye glasses.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Several, but one notable example of two ancient Chinese warriors standing upon the newly completed Great Wall; one of them boastfully states "NOW we'll see if that dog can get in here!"
  • Thing-O-Meter: One strip has a dog holding a "Fear-o-sensor" up against passing visitors.
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: Because they hit their heads on the door frame.
  • Thinks of Something Smart, Says Something Stupid: Tarzan swings through the jungle, rehearsing a number of ways to introduce himself to Jane. Upon actually seeing her, however, his far more eloquent introductions collapse into "Me Tarzan! You Jane!" much to his chagrin.
  • Thirsty Desert: Used in numerous gags. One, for example, features a man coming across a billboard ad saying he should have gotten their flask product that carries so much water it never feels empty, and in another, two travelers find a drinking fountain, but the first one puts his mouth on it.
  • Threatening Shark: The subject of several strips. One has a trio of them discovering the reason why swimmers always manage to flee them before they can get close enough to attack is because of their dorsal fins sticking out of the water.
  • Time Travel: An occasional theme, i.e. "Disaster befalls Dr. Fitzgibbon's cleaning lady when she mistakes his Time Machine for a new dryer."
    • Another one had a scientist travel back to the age of the dinosaurs and gets stuck there because his machine just ran out of gasoline.
    • Cavemen visit the present day riding their newly invented "Time Log".
    • Or when two scientists get stranded in the past by setting their time machines to the exact same coordinates.
    • One time travelling palaeontologist brings an enormous thermometer with him to settle the "warm-blooded/cold-blooded" debate once and for all. We see him approaching a dinosaur from behind, and the caption informs us that the question remains unanswered since he was never heard from again.
  • Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag: One comic strip shows a dog TV presenter introducing a talk show segment about dogs who drink from the toilet bowl — the dogs who will be talking are seen silhouetted in the background.
  • Totem Pole Trench: In a strip three dogs do this to make an attempt to catch a cat they were chasing who went up a tree. The dogs disguise themselves as a woman and have the fire department get the cat down for them.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: One strip has a cowboy shooting a man and then asking him random trivia questions. Another cowboy reprimands him for shooting first and asking questions later.
  • Torture Technician: "You know, Sven, you're great at your job. You can make a guy beg for mercy in nothing flat... but I'll be darned if you don't make a really lousy cup of coffee." Every time Larson set a strip in a torture chamber, he would get angry letters from Amnesty International a few days later.
  • T-Word Euphemism: One strip talks about "the D-word" in a Mensa convention. It's "duh".
  • Überwald: An occasional setting.
  • Understatement: A nerd says "hot enough for you?" to a fellow prisoner in hell.
  • Useless Spleen: "Having explored the heart of the jungle, the intrepid explorers now entered the spleen."
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Some of the jokes are pretty scientific and/or obscure.
  • Vile Vulture: The subject of several gags in The Far Side:
    • One famous strip has some vultures gathered around an unseen corpse. One of them is wearing the guy's hat and coat and says mockingly "Hey! Look at me, everybody, I'm a cowboy! Howdy, howdy, howdy!"
    • Another strip cartoon has a parched desert traveler crawling his way towards a pool of water. This prospect disappoints one vulture hovering above him, but a second vulture prepares to drop a piano on him before he reaches it.
    • Another strip features two elderly men feeding birds at a park bench, commenting on the smaller birds eating their seed but wondering why two much larger birds nearby just stare at them.
  • The Walrus Was Paul: Gary Larson got many calls and letters asking what the meaning of the infamous Cow Tools comic strip meant and simply said it had no meaning and the joke was just that cows would make weird-looking tools.
  • Waxing Lyrical:

    Detective: But look! Hundreds of bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up in string! Someone was after a few of this guy's favorite things.

  • When Trees Attack: One strip has a bunch of trees grabbing a logger and arguing about what they should do to him (such as cut him in half and count his rings).
  • William Telling: Another one that got Larson in trouble, it depicted William's less fortunate son Warren, who is shown to have a ludicrously large head; the trouble came when some assumed he was making fun of hydrocephalus.

    "So what do they think about Charlie Brown?"

  • Witless Protection Program: One strip has an informant interviewed on TV (in a darkened room)... so of course, a janitor comes in and turns on the light right when they cut to the guy.
  • Word Schmord: One strip has several characters saying some variant of the phrase: Neanderthals Schmeanderthals (mammoths), Indians Schmindians (Custer), Huns Schmuns (castle guards), etc. The caption is "History Schmistory".
  • Worm in an Apple: Two worms in a half-bitten apple watch in horror at the human child eating their home. One worm exclaims "Egad! It's got Uncle Jake!"
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: One cartoon shows a skydiver with a piano and an anchor coming out of his backpack.

    "Murray didn't feel the first pangs of real panic until he pulled the emergency cord."

  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: Parodied in one strip. A giant monster encounters an even taller sign which states "You Must Be This Tall to Attack the City."
  • Your Mom: One strip has a cow heckling a cowboy by saying "Yippy-I-Yo-Mama!"

Sours: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicStrip/TheFarSide
The Complete Far Side, by Gary Larson! 15 Years of Precise Work That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud.

I know where you have been. Sorry. Horror I'm still wrapped in a towel.

Larson snake gary

Her body shook, her eyes closed. The member fell out of her mouth, and she moaned loudly, pushing herself harder on her husband's penis. Andrey intensified the tremors.

The Simpsons Gary Larson

And it lasts forever. It lasts and lasts until it comes to comprehension of the fact that the explosion has already come and just became an extension of eternity. And the explosion goes on and on. And there is something monstrous in this.

Now discussing:

But what an orgasm. - I probably would have yelled at the entire beach, if not for a member in my mouth. I was shaking as if in a fever. And on me, Vitalik was writhing in convulsions of orgasm, pouring his seed into me.



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