Animal Machine Gag YKTTW Discussion

Animal Machine Gag
Humor that arises from treating a living animal like a machine.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-12-29 23:37:24 sponsor: octopedingenue (last reply: 2015-11-15 10:22:12)

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The comedy trope of living animals being treated like the literal version of Automaton Horses.

Take a horse, for an example. The horse is a living creature, not a Mechanical Horse, but its owner treats it like a car or other machine: filling up the horse's "tank" with water/hay as "fuel;" treating horse theft like car theft and even using the horse equivalent of Lojack, giving the horse racing stripes, taking it through a "car" wash, even "winding" its tail like a clockwork key to make the animal start moving.

There will be jokes about horsepower.


Usually seem in cartoons. Related to The Alleged Steed, the horsey version of The Alleged Car.


  • At the 1991 Academy Awards, host Billy Crystal arrives onstage riding a horse in reference to the movie Dances with Wolves. When he dismounts, he hands the horse off to a parking valet to lead away, then points a car alarm remote at it and chirps it.
  • In a 2012 ad for Pace Picante sauce, a man who buys salsa made in New York City uses a car alarm on a horse.
  • A recurring trope in Discworld:
    • At least one Igor in Ankh-Morpork has taken up veterinary surgery in a "chop shop" fashion, meaning that a stolen horse whose markings are too distinctive for resale may reappear on the market with a different set of legs.
    • In Going Postal,a horse is "booted"- i.e., hobbled by a disabling device the way cars are.
  • In the Porky Pig cartoon "Ali Baba Bound," a camel is tanked with water or gasoline and its humps subsequently move like an engine pumping.
  • Several examples from The Far Side cartoons:
    • a clumsy cowboy knocks over a row of outlaws' horses in front of a saloon, in parody of knocking over a row of bikers' motorcycles in front of a bar.
    • a farmer out in the fields uses his "cowphone" to call his wife.
    • a horse tied up outside a saloon is sitting on a jack with its legs missing, in a parallel to tire theft.
  • The Flintstones is MADE of this trope: dinosaurs serve as living construction cranes, airplanes, elevators, etc.
  • Order Of The Stick:
    • In this strip, a camel is shown drinking from what appears to be a fuel pump at a gas station.
    • In this one, Haley complains to the owner of a parking lot that her horse has taken damage, but the owner asserts that management is not responsible for the condition of mounts.
  • In Prep and Landing, they rev up the engines on Santa's sleigh. This is done by an elf who psychs up the reindeer.
  • Sengoku Basara: My horse is a motorbike. Your argument is invalid.
  • In The Simpsons, the family is in exile on an island, and Homer tries to use a pelican as a cement mixer in parody of The Flintstones. When Homer tells it to say something witty, it falls over dead.
  • Steamboat Willie has Minnie Mouse playing a goat like a hurdy-gurdy by cranking its tail.
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Two-Gun Goofy", Pete as an Old West bank robber treats his horse as a car, parallel parking it on front of the bank (crashing into the other horses in the process) and leaving the "motor" on.
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