The Stoner Comedy the Nazis Stole: Boy’s Club by Matt Furie

          In times of social and political uncertainty, there’s nothing quite as comforting as a stoner comedy. They require no mental effort to enjoy, are low stakes, and are gleefully apolitical. The closest thing any of these movies come to a political statement is that vague libertarian lite idea that weed should be legalized. Just to be clear: It should be legal, but you don’t need to base your personality around it. Pineapple Express and Workaholics are two of the dumbest goddamn pieces of fiction ever made, but they’re almost infinitely re-watchable because they’re funny and charmingly off-beat. Sometimes a bunch of slackers getting high and doing Hot Couch Guy shit is what’s needed to relax after a crappy day. Which makes what happened to Matt Furie’s comic Boy’s Club all the weirder. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a pile of weirdos took one of the characters from this webcomic, Pepe the Frog, and turned him into their symbol. These weirdos would eventually come to be known as the alt-right and to this day the term ‘Pepe’ denotes their weird mix of ‘baby’s first fascism’ and incel cultural grievance. It got so bad that Furie literally had to kill his adorable stoner frog cartoon.

            This is the kind of news story that will shave points of your IQ and deaden your faith in humanity the longer you read about it. Luckily, Boy’s Club is just the thing to restore that faith in humanity, while also shaving points off your IQ.

The Story:

            There’s barely a story to Boy’s Club. It’s about four early twenty-something roommates named Andy (a dog), Brett (a bear), Landwolf (a Bigfoot with sunglasses?) and Pepe (a frog). The book is a bunch of short vignettes of these four playing video games, watching TV, doing drugs and generally just bro-ing out. There’s no antagonist and the closest thing to a conflict occurs when Landwolf takes a shit the size of a party-sized baguette and can’t take a picture of it because his phone died (thankfully, they resolve the situation as a house by tossing it in the freezer). That’s kind of it with this one. It’s just 160 pages of four friends screwing around. The friends all look like really tall Muppets. Occasionally they take a bunch of drugs and hallucinate that their transforming into snakes, their own testicles or Falcor, the dragon from The Neverending Story. There’s no point to any of this and no grand moral is to be learned. Pepe likes pizza, Andy eats hot dogs, Brett dances in his bedroom and for some reason Landwolf shows his dick at least twice. As dumb as it is, it’s actually quite funny. The jokes are just absurd enough to be consistently hilarious. Pepe spends a whole vignette walking around in a “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian T-Shirt,” which I found absolutely delightful. He later spends an entire page mourning his phone because the battery died. That’s some god-tier dad joke shit and that made me laugh way more than I expected.

            In between the drugs and silliness there’s a tenderness between these four largely interchangeable stoners that comes on very strong despite the absolute zero character development throughout the whole book. They’re not afraid to hug each other, or show their roommates that they’re appreciated. They find a strange sort of zen in their hedonistic lifestyle that’s oddly reassuring. The outside world and its problems never cross their mind, mostly because they’re too high to leave their house a lot of the time. The summation of all their shenanigans and interactions leaves you with a sense that they’ll be fine, as long as they have each other to fall back on for a hug every once in a while. “Feels good, man.”

Quote of the Story:

              “I’m proud of that fart, but I’m gonna need some baby powder.” –Landwolf

Keep or Donate?:

               You know what? I’m keeping this one. I first read Boy’s Club like two years ago and fully expected to have this thing in the ‘donate’ pile by the end of this review. As I flipped through it however, I started cracking up like it was the first time I read it. For some reason, these four anthropomorphic slackers brightened my day. Best to keep them on the shelf for when I need an easy laugh.

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