This is an excerpt from the I’m Alan Partridge, 'Alan Attraction' DVD commentary where Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci and Peter Baynham talk about 'funny' numbers. I've always found it tremendously insightful.
- I love that comedy writers, good ones at least, even think about this stuff.
- They're right. 50 is funnier than 37. 37 is a try-hard number. 37 is the definitive 'random' number. 37 sucks the fun outta the room.
Here's an excerpt from a GQ interview with Kevin Smith, to really hammer the point:
GQ: Speaking of hockey, why do you wear the number 37 on your jersey?
Kevin Smith: That was the number in Clerks when Veronica, she'd sucked 36 dicks, and then Dante was like, "Thirty-six!" And he's like, "Does that include me?" She goes, "37." And he's like "I'm 37! 37! My girlfriend sucked thirty-seven dicks!" And my friend from high school, Mike Belicose says, "In a row?"
GQ: Was that number chosen randomly?
Kevin Smith: I knew a girl who I was very familiar with who had given twelve blowjobs, and I thought that, at that age, was excessive. So for [Veronica's] number to do something that would kinda shock Dante, I looked for a number that was high, but not ridiculous. And I talked to a lot of my friends that were girls, like, "Hey man, how many fucking blowjobs you think you've given?" And once you get them past the lie, you get to numbers that usually were in the double digits. But the highest one was maybe 28 or something like that. And I was like, "Good god!" So I was like, "I'll go for 37 because that's out there but not too out there." Fifty would just seem like too much. Thirty-seven seemed like a doable fucking number.
And everyone knows how funny Kevin Smith is. He uses 37 everywhere. He even brings up 50 as a counter example for Christ's sake. Get outtahere Kevin Smith, go sit with the Birds of a Feather guys.
For what it's worth, I'm a big fan of 100 but I worry I'm trying too hard in the opposite direction.