Tracy Jordan, the 30 Rock character played by Tracy Morgan, lets some amazing non-sequiters fly. What makes them so funny is that you can almost see a logic behind some of them, but something has clearly gone seriously wrong.
"Always dress like you're going to be murdered in those clothes."
The joke happens in that split second where you get into his head, and see this as a version of the cliche "live every day like it is your last," and the line mothers use on their children sometimes to get them to wear clean underwear -- "how will you feel if you get hit by a truck and they find you and you are wearing dirty underwear?" Jordan's version makes a certain kind of sense, but it is too specific to be a proverb (it is about clothes), the imagery is too violent to be mainstream (being murdered), and it is undercut by the kind of wonderful force of thinking style is so important, you should care how you dress on the day you will be murdered, because certainly other people will notice. You want to look good on the pavement, of course.
"Live every week like it's Shark Week"
The revised cliche is the same: "live every day as if it were your last." But here there is no suggestion that your death (inevitable) will come through murder. Instead the "danger" is only suggested by the word "shark," an animal that is dangerous in real life, but not when seen on a TV screen as part of The Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week, which has specials on sharks. What is funny, and faintly disturbing here, is the psychotically literal way he thinks about that week of programming, how seriously he takes the advertising, which always looks like "Shark Week: It's Coming." A lesser show would have a crazy person say crazy things ("I'll kill you all!" "What?" "Nothing".) What makes this great is the casual way his insanity is folded into a version of sage advice, and gets to us before we know what it is.
A similar kind of casual insanity is when he is defending his behavior to Tina Fey with "Hey. Bird's gotta fly. Fish gotta swim. Chinese dude's gotta change back into a tiger at midnight." Its funny because the crazy is not the point of what he is saying, it is just an illustration of his sane point. And the real crazy is in assuming other people will know what he is talking about without question.
"Affirmative action was designed to keep women and minorities in competition with each other to distract us while white dudes inject AIDS into our chicken nuggets. That's a metaphor."
A lesser show would have stopped with that first sentence, which is standard conspiracy theory stuff -- he is a loon, we get it. But "its a metaphor" lets us see that he has some distance on what he is saying, of course that is not real. Except that the distance gained does not really make him seem more sane, because he neglects to tell us what he thinks it is a metaphor for. He assumes we will know.
In another episode Tina Fey comes to talk about a problem both she and Jordan are familiar with. She says forcefully "we have to do something" and he IMMEDIATELY says excitedly "Lets crash my car and see if the airbags go off!" A good part of being crazy is walking around with absolutely no context at all. It simply does not occur to him that she has something -- even a topic -- in mind. In spite of her tone, and her personality, he treats her like she is just bored and looking for something to do for fun. Even crazier is his idea of what would be a fun thing for them to do together. It has a child's "how does this work" enthusiasm, which makes you love him even though he seems dangerous.
After Jack hijacks Jordan's little league coaching job, Jordan says that the truth will out in his book "Betrayal, colon, what really happened with my baseball team, comma, disaster at knuckle beach, question mark." It knocks me out how he gets caught up in the idea of a lengthy faux-serious title, and the absurdity of vocalizing punctuation marks.
And over and above all of this is the fact that the character's name, Tracy Jordan, is so close to the actor's name, Tracy Morgan, so that you think that he might really think like this.