Traditionally encyclopedias were associated with seriousness: serious people writing serious articles about serious topics. Pick up the Britannica or Columbia Encyclopedia or any of the scores of other encyclopedias out there and you don’t find much in the way of humor and levity. After all, the purpose of an encyclopedia was to cover a topic exhaustively. In print, space is limited. Any sentences spent on frivolous topics means sentences not spent documenting the length of a river in Africa or the career of a Swedish biologist.
With Wikipedia, space limitations are not an issue. Nonetheless humor is generally not a factor in Wikipedia. For all that the writers are thousands of people scattered around the earth editing articles while (in some cases) wearing pajamas, rather than academics with grey mustaches in tweed coats, the authors of Wikipedia articles seem determined to imitate the just-the-facts-and-not-even-the-slightest-attempt-to-provoke-a-smile style of older print encyclopedias.
However, because Wikipedia has space to write about absolutely everything, there are some articles where the contrast between the serious encyclopedia style and the nature of the topic just make the whole thing absurd. For example:
Dewey, Cheatem & Howe is the gag name of a fictional law or accounting firm, used in several parody settings. The gag name pokes fun at the perceived propensity of some lawyers and accountants to take advantage of their clients: the name of the firm is a pun on the phrase “Do we cheat 'em? And how!” This gag name is also used more broadly as a placeholder for any hypothetical law firm.
The second name varies somewhat, with regards to spelling (Cheetem, Cheater, Cheethem, Cheatham…) but also to the word it is based upon (Screwum, Burnham…)
“You have two cows” refers to a form of political satire involving variations of a scenario, where what occurs to the eponymous cows is used to demonstrate how certain political systems function.
And my personal favorite:
“Weasel Stomping Day” is a song by American parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic, which appears on his 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood. It is also one of six songs on the album to have an animated music video, created for the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken. It is the shortest track on the album.
This video appeared in “The Munnery”, the twelfth episode of the second season, which aired on September 24, 2006, two days before the album was released. Al has jokingly said that Weasel Stomping Day falls on June 31, a day that does not exist in the Gregorian calendar.
The lyrics describe a fictitious holiday, which involves putting on hiking boots and a Viking helmet, spreading mayonnaise on one’s lawn and stomping weasels to death. It’s indicated that the participants don’t know the history behind it and are at peace with the violent nature of holiday, doing it anyway because it’s “tradition” (similar to The Simpsons episode “Whacking Day” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”). The song’s cheery melody, reminiscent of animated musical specials of the 1960s, is contrasted by sounds of weasels being flattened; A splattered crunch, followed by a squeal. (The sounds were made by Al recording audio of himself smashing and biting into fruit.) Robot Chicken’s stop-motion music video generally follows the lyrics, and graphically depicts weasels being crushed, smashed, and pulverized in various ways. A character wearing a PETA T-shirt takes part in the weasel-stomping activities.