A T-shirt with a funny phrase or funny image. Really popular in Real Life
In fiction, it's not used unless there clearly
is a purpose. Often it's to comment on the shirt, to use the shirt to "spice up" a character, or simple Rule of Funny
Either that, or it's The Merch
A Super Trope
to And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt
A Sister Trope
to Goofy Print Underwear
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Anime and Manga
- Characters in Bleach occasionally have humourous or interesting slogan shirts. A good one is one Ichigo's wearing in an early chapter; an angry face with "Speaking is NOT communication" in the mouth.
- In addition, whilst in his Gigai, Renji often wears a shirt saying 'Red Pineapple', a not so subtle reference to his oh-so-spikey hair.
- And let's not forget Ichigo's pink shirt with the words "Nice Vibe" on it.
- In the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch anime, Rina has a shirt with a cute little penguin on it that reads, "It's cool." Might have been more appropriate for Caren, but hey, who can complain?
- Sid Barret of Soul Eater often wears zombie T-shirts, because he's a zombie!
- Cromartie High School: The slogan on Mechazawa's shirt changes with every cut practically, to something apropos.
- Air has Gao Gao Stegosaurus. And a picture of stegosaurus.
- Welcome to the NHK has a Satou wearing a T-shirt with a misspelled obscene russian word◊.
- Great Teacher Onizuka wore some fairly awesome T-shirts, ones that the artists' assistants would complain in their omake comics about how complicated they were to reproduce by hand.
- Minami-ke has Kana's "I Am Boss" T-shirt.
- Dragon Ball: Vegeta's vibrant pink "Bad Man" T-shirt.
- It doesn't make any sense, but there is also a random unnamed man who appears from time to time wearing a T-shirt that says "The Super Saiyan" on it- where the heck did he get that?!
- Arakawa Under the Bridge: ORE NO T-SHIRT (translation: "My T-shirt", imagine this being said in the most Mundane Made Awesome way possible)
- Tomo of Azumanga Daioh is at one point seen wearing a T-shirt reading "Wild". Yes. Yes, she is.
- Shugo Chara! has Tsukiomi Ikuto◊ and his "Free Hugs" T-shirt.
- Fisher Tiger's "Frog? No. Hippo." shirt from One Piece, which features a picture of a hippo the top half of which looks like a frog (although we later learn that the reason he wore it was not funny)
- K-On!: When Yui is hanging out at home, she almost always wear t-shirts with various words written in katakana on them, ("Honeymoon", "Champion", "Celebrity"...). Plenty are avaliable through the official TBS store.
- Lovely Complex has a prequel/Where Are They Now collection of stories called Lovely Complex Plus, in which Yoshi is seen wearing a shirt with a very interesting phrase on it.
- In an early issue of Marvel Comics' Thunderbolts, the team was trying to infiltrate an evil organization's base by pretending to be new civilian recruits. Moonstone used her Unlimited Wardrobe power to make an "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt whose arrow kept pointing to different people.
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has a shirt that changes every time it's in the panel.
- Newspaper Comics example: Shelf-Life in Zippy The Pinhead has a constantly changing shirt.
- Timmy in Associated Student Bodies wears a shirt that displays a different slogan in each frame he appears in. All of them are gay-related jokes, for example "Parking in rear" "Yes I suck" and "I'm not gay but my boyfriend is"
- During Walt Simonson's run on Thor, Volstagg the Voluminous spent several issues wearing an "I♥NY" T-shirt, over his traditional Asgardian attire.
- Similarly, when his travels take him through Heathrow, Young Loki of Journey into Mystery picks up an "I♥London" T-shirt to wear over Asgardian garb.
- Bill Willingham likes to have some of his Deadpan Snarker characters wear a shirt that reads "EVERYONE SUCKS BUT ME".
- The eponymous Harry from Haagse Harry usually wears a shirt with a different text in every panel. Often they're political satire.
- In Cristy and Mel's Warped Mirrors story, at one point Duo needs to get knee surgery. Among the (custom printed) oversized shirts he buys before going under the knife, Duo gets one that roughly says, "Patient gown? We don't need no !@#$%*& patient gown!"
- In Harry Potter's Do Not Meddle In The Afairs Of Wizards, Harry gets sent to Azkaban but when he kills Voldemort after V reveals he had gotten Harry framed, he is forced to go back to Hogwarts. Harry decides to wear several of these T-shirts at Hogwarts both because his clothes had been burned by his schoolmates before his imprisonement and as a way to rebel against having to go to Hogwarts. They range from "Don't piss me off, I'm running out of places" to "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups", passing by the tried and true "Your town called. They want their idiot back."
- In Clerks II, Randall modifies his uniform to say "Porch Monkey 4 Life" after he learns "porch monkey" is a racial slur and decides to "take it back."
- Brad Pitt's T-shirts in Fight Club.
- Adam Brody wears a Fight Club T-shirt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, both of which star Brad Pitt. This is a Celebrity Paradox.
- There was that shark-eating-a-kitten shirt from Pineapple Express, which turned out to have been stolen from an independent designer without his knowledge.
- Chad Danforth wears a lot of these in High School Musical movies, many of which the actor, Corbin Bleu, designed. Most notably "I Have My Own Background Music", which he does. The audience could even vote on a shirt of his for the second film.
- In the beginning of Notting Hill, the main character's sloppy flatmate tries on shirts to wear on a date. "I love blood." didn't work. Neither did "Get it here." with an arrow pointing down. "You're the most beautiful woman in the world." seemed to work ... until he turned around. "Fancy a fuck?"
- In Once upon a Time in Mexico Agent Sands, a corrupt CIA assassin, wears several stupid t-shirts in the film. One has "CIA" written in large block letters, with "Cleavage Inspection Agency" written in tiny font beneath. Another one has "I'm With Stupid," with the arrow pointing downwards, which actually belonged to Johnny Depp.
- In One Crazy Summer, the Stork Twins (they aren't really) wear a matching set of shirts. One shows "I'm with Stupid" and an arrow to the side, the other says "Stupid" with an arrow pointing up. The idea is that the stupid one stands to the left. However, this twin is so dumb he stands on the right. The smart one tells him he's gotta be on the other side for the joke to work. Cue the dumb one moving to the other side and facing the other way.
- Val Kilmer's Chris Knight in Real Genius is a quintessential example. Among his wardrobe are shirts with such messages as "Surf Nicaragua," "International Order of Gorillas," and "I *heart* toxic waste."
- Owen Wilson's titular character in You Me And Dupree (he's Dupree) wears a T-shirt with a picture of a gnome and the caption "Say Hello To My Little Friend."
- Priestly from Ten Inch Hero is very fond of these. The ones he wears read: "Tip me or die", "Cat, the other white meat", "It's tourist season - shoot them at will", "You know what your problem is? You're stupid.", "Surf naked", "Orgasm donor - ask for your free sample", "Save a tree - eat a beaver", "I sell crack for the CIA", "No one knows I'm a lesbian", and "You can read!"
- Bill Murray's needy character in What About Bob? travels unbidden to his psychiatrist's vacation home, and spends much of the time in a t-shirt that reads "DON'T HASSLE ME, I'M LOCAL."
- In Shaun of the Dead, Ed spends the whole movie with a shirt bearing a log of timber with the caption "I Got Wood."
- In How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, the protagonist comes to work on the first day of his job wearing a T-shirt that says "Young, Dumb & Full of Come". His boss is not amused.
- Bring It On has a character called Missy played by the excrucible Eliza Dushku. Her first scene has her wearing...well, this.◊
- The Doctor Who New Adventures novel The Also People, riffing off the Doctor's tendency to introduce himself with the sentence "Hello, I'm the Doctor and this is my friend [companion's name]", mentions that on a previous adventure the Doctor's then-companions bought a matched set of shirts from a custom screen-printing stall saying "Hello, I'm Ace and this is my friend the Doctor", "Hello, I'm Benny and this is my friend the Doctor" and "Hello, I'm the Doctor and this is my friend [delete where applicable]".
- Fun with t-shirts happens in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, too. In EarthWorld, Anji thinks about getting a t-shirt that says, "I'm a Main Character, Don't Kill Me", in the hopes that it will help her survive her unwanted adventures in time and space. In another book, the Doctor ended up involved in an election and Fitz got a shirt made that said "I'm Voting for the Doctor" with a picture of the Doctor's face.
- Maeve, the Winter Lady of The Dresden Files, gets one in each of her appearances; the first reads "Off with his head" and the second reads "Your boyfriend wants me". Both of them are very tight.
- Harry Dresden himself is really fond of these: "Invest in America—Buy a Congressman", "Eat it? I wouldn't sit on in" (worn by Susan in Fool Moon, but it was Harry's), "Pre-Fectionist", "Come to the Dork Side. Do not make me destroy you.", and Molly got one too: "If you can read this, you’d better have bought me dinner" in really small letters and maybe even Michael: "John 3:16"
- "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."? That's not very funny
- As the xkcd example below shows not all Fun T-Shirts are that funny, but considering who Michael is and what happens to him later that Bible verse is beautifully in character and is a brilliant piece of Foreshadowing.
- In the comic version of "Storm Front" we see "Easter has been canceled / They found the body" and "Magic Man".
- Deconstructed in Thud!! which suggests that "fun" is a horrible over-stimulated experience completely unrelated to actually enjoying oneself, and says one of the signs is a shirt reading "I Want It!"
- In Night Watch, the comic relief wears a T-shirt that depicts a Russian marine cutting the throat of an American soldier with the caption: "We can remind who won World War II!"
- In the Cut & Run series, Special Agent Ty Grady has a very large collection of these T-shirts. He gets a new one every couple of months from his Force Recon teammates. Most of the early ones revolve around his status as a law enforcement officer.
Live Action TV
- From Gorillaz, fictional vocalist 2D has a tendency to this, drawn to him by Jamie Hewlett. Shirts with words and pics, like T-Virus (a nod to his love for zombies), Shoot To Ill, Tazar Yoot, Captain Howdie (a nod to The Exorcist), a Spider-Man shirt, Orphan, a kitten with the word Kinky under it, Killer Look, and even just the number 3. The count goes on and on.
- No More Heroes: Travis Touchdown's shirts. Reward for the most appropriate one goes to "You say PSYCHO Like It's a Bad Thing" (PSYCHO being in pink letters).
- Travis Bell in Killer7 wears a variety of muscle shirts throughout the game, usually bearing one-word slogans that sometimes tie into the plot. The one exception is a powder-blue tuxedo in a church.
- In Nethack, you can actually read T-shirts. You can check out the list of T-shirt messages here: http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/Shirt
- The 100% Completion bonus in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is in the same vein. It says, "I Completed Vice City and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt".
- Both of these (plus the Order of the Stick example below) might be references to The Secret of Monkey Island, where Melee Island's treasure turned out to be a shirt reading "I found the legendary lost treasure of Melee Island and all I got was this lousy T-shirt".
- These shirts are common as part of the Virtual Paper Doll aspect of the Saints Row games.
- In Saints Row The Third, Pierce founds the "Planet Saints" clothing chain just to sell off a warehouse of shirts with the gang's Catch Phrase "Saints Row, Bitches!".
- In the Flash animation "Geeks In Love", there's one of these that's randomized. The shirt changes every playthrough.
- The main characters in Questionable Content wear T-shirts that generally involve some sort of indie or geeky Memetic Mutation. When a shirt gets a favourable response from readers, it's made into a real shirt and offered for sale.
- Lampshaded in one strip where Marten explains to Pintsize how he manages to never wear the same shirt twice.
- That was a guest comic, and possibly a good-natured Take That from a webcomic artist still working a day job...
- And then, probably not coincidentally, Marten was later shown wearing one or two of his earlier shirts for a second time...
- In fact, lots of webcomics do the same thing, since that's how they stay funded.
- Helen Narbon's "evil" T-shirt in Narbonic has an 'i' dotted with a heart. Awwww.
- She also wears a succession of other cute T-shirts in the early strips at the expense of continuity. The author's notes version talks about each one in detail.
- Rumisiel from Misfile has a T-shirt that has an unsmiling Smiley face and the words "Have a Day", which can also be bought from the comic's store: Here
- Used commonly in a Polish web comic ''Random wanderer Tom saves the Earth. And Dog.'', where one of the main characters, Wisnia (eng. Cherry), has an interactive T-shirt showing his emotional state. Clearly visible in this strip.
- Night School has the Mysterious Asylum Inmate with the "Emoticon Eyepatch" who wears a shirt that reads "Welcome to my happy place". It's not quite a T-Shirt, in fact I think it's on the character's straitjacket, but if they ever sell as T-Shirt with that on it, I'm buying one.
- Kate Beaton's younger self frequently wears a shirt with a boat drawn on it, captioned: Boat! The boat is excited for the invention of the T-shirt.
- xkcd shows us how some of those shirts might not be fun at all.
- Largo in MegaTokyo often wears T-shirts with 1337 slogans on it, which invariably become popular enough to sell in the site's online store.
- The Order of the Stick: "I killed a PC and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!" You can't buy the actual T-shirt, but you can buy a T-shirt with a hobgoblin wearing the T-shirt.
- So it's a recursive T-shirt, then?
- In Sluggy Freelance, Zoe occasionally wears surprisingly apropos t-shirts, such as "Why me?," "Gulp," or "Next day."
- Many in Something Positive, including Jason's Godzilla shirt and Davan's St. Patrick's Day offering: "Kiss My Ass, It's Irish".
- Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki: The god Thor arrives at one point wearing a T-shirt that reads, "Lightning! Fuck, yeah!"
- The Magic: The Gathering–themed T-shirt in this Penny Arcade strip.
- Immortals and aliens in El Goonish Shive tend to blend in with the general populace by virtue of wearing T-shirts that say things like, "You can't see me!" and "Ordinary High School Student." According to Word of God, the immortals really are Invisible to Normals, so the T-shirts are really just for the reader's benefit.
- Far Out There has quite a few of these, some of which have ended up becoming The Merch.
- In Hipster Hitler, Hitler wears a variety of amusing joke t-shirts that include "Triumph of the Chill", "Blitz or GTFO" and "heilvetica"
- Shannon in Bloody Urban has several. Usually he wears one that says 'Keep Calm and Carry On', but some other fun slogans include "Save a cow, eat a vegetarian" and "I Like NY platonically".
- In Men In Hats, Aram and Gamal get raptured, and return wearing souvenir T-shirts.
- Shows up a few times in Girl Genius. The most memorable reads "FOOLS! I will destroy you all! Ask me how!"
- Tiffany's "Battle Shirt" which declares her to be a "wanton wench", proving if you can't read then you should be careful about whose translation you accept.
- After receiving a knighthood Tiffany gains a nightshirt with "A Knight's Front" on the front, and "A Knight's Tale on the erm… reverse.
- In Ménage à 3, Gary almost always wears geeky T-shirts that make reference to Transformers or some other thing.
- James' most worn t-shirt in Roommates is the Gallows Humor variety of fun as it has a target right over his heart. In the spin-off Girls Next Door he also has several nautical themed ones (like one with an oldschool Old Spice ship logo)... he is an ex navy officer.
- Tyler Dawn from morphE wears a Courage Wolf T-Shirt with the phrase "Roll a Crit. Kill them all." and Curio wears a shirt with </Sarcasm> written on it.
- In Episode 6 of the TV Tropes original show Echo Chamber, Tom wears a shirt that depicts the Hindenberg crashing into the Titanic and is captioned "This is why we can't have nice things".
- In the Season 3 finale of The Tabletop Battlefield, a video podcast discussing, well, tabletop gaming, one of the presenters gave another a T-shirt that read, "All the Dice Hate Me," with a bunch of dice all showing 1s.
- In Kickassia, in the scene leading up to Spoony's transformation into Dr. Insano, he's wearing a shirt that reads "When I play doctor, I play to win."
- Kenny's mom in South Park has a T-shirt that reads, "← I'm with this idiot".
- Attila the Hun in Clone High wore a shirt that read, "Tibet Sucks!"
- SpongeBob SquarePants and his best friend, Patrick, once bought matching "best friend" t-shirts with arrows that point to each other. Hilarity Ensues when Spongebob inadvertently lets the arrow point to someone else.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart started making and selling a range of subversive or offensive slogan T-shirts, which proved incredibly successful for about 22 minutes. This may have been a reference to the fact that many schools banned Simpsons T-shirts when the show was young, but this episode came much later.
- In another episode, Ned Flanders' house is destroyed by a hurricane, so he and his family end up in the church shelter where his sons get some clothes.
We got new clothes from the donation bin! wearing a Butthole Surfers shirt
I'm a surfer!
Rod wears a T-shirt with "I'm With Stupid" on it and a pointed finger
Rod: Look, Daddy, Todd is stupid and I'm with him. walks to Maude And now Mommy's stupid! chuckles
- In an earlier episode when Homer helped getting Flanders' Leftorium back in business, Barney wears a T-shirt that reads, "Kiss Me, I'm Left-Handed", and has two women kissing him.
- In another one, Maggie was believed to be smarter than Lisa. Lisa won a t-shirt saying "I'm with genius" and Maggie got one saying "I'm with jealous".
- This was the main gimmick in Hanna-Barbera's old Shirt Tales Funny Animal Who Fights Crime cartoon. Don't ask me why a giant panda is the same size as a raccoon, and living in New York.
- Early Cuyler of Squidbillies is anatomically incapable of wearing T-shirts, but he does have a different slogan on his cap every episode.
- In the action figure line that spawned C.O.P.S.—but not in the cartoon—Berserko wore a T-shirt saying, "BAAAD is Good!"
- The main character of Dan Vs. is always seen wearing a shirt that says JERK. You can't accuse him of false advertising.
- In the Apocalypse episode of Family Guy Peter, after being declared mayor of New Quahog is seen wearing a shirt that says "Mayor This" with an arrow pointing to where his manhood should be.
- In an episode of Futurama at the tourist trap on the moon they were selling shirts that said "I'm With Stupid On The Moon."
- Never seen, but in Kids Next Door, Numbuh 1 managed to get past Tolinator, when his only disguise was a t-shirt that said "I'm Not Numbuh 1"
- Pinky and the Brain: Brain once created a papier mache version of Earth and planned to convince everyone to move there by offering free t-shirts with "I love Chia-Earth" on them to anyone who agreed so he'd rule the original Earth. It worked. Brain soon found out how lonely it is to rule a world where he and Pinky are the only living people. Then a meteor destroyed Earth and Brain decided to spend "every night" trying to take over Chia-Earth.
- Bruce Vilanch has a long history of wearing these.
- The "Choose life" shirts Wham! used to wear.
- ThinkGeek, a nerd merchandise Web site, has a delightful collection of shirts. Everything from the "+20 Shirt of Smiting" to the interactive shirts: battery-powered shirts which allow even more hilarity to ensue.
- The number of Web sites that offer T-shirts for sale is staggering, but woot.com stands out because the designs are made by site participants, the shirts change every day, and the designs themselves are usually pretty funny or artsy, not to mention unique.
- Underoos now sells the T-shirts in adult sizes, complete with the logos looking like the paint cracked.
- Film crews have occasionally used these to make barbs about directors. During the filming of Blade Runner, the (American) crew reacted to an impolitic interview comment by Ridley Scott about preferring British crews for their "Yes Guv'nor" attitude; their T-shirts read "Yes Guv'nor MY ASS", Scott and some of the production staff shot back with "Xenophobia Sucks". James Cameron (a Prima Donna Director which is a lightning rod for Troubled Productions) has been the target of several, including "You can't scare me. I work for James Cameron", "Life's Abyss and then you Dive", and "Terminator 3? Not with me!".
- Also on set for Alien cast members wore shirts saying "Will Rogers never met Ridley Scott", playing off the famous humorist's famous line.
- For an actor example, Christian Bale described his Batman Begins suit as "It's hot, dark and sweaty and it gives me a headache". The crew emblazoned this in shirts since it works well as a Double Entendre.
- Before the release of her album Enchant, Emilie Autumn tried to get a mainstream contract, but the recording company man acted so condescending towards her that she snapped and wrote in the white T-shirt she was wearing "Sorry, was I thinking again?". She later made a photo session wearing that particular t-shirt, and released versions of it with her other merchandise.
- Another making jabs at the media: Danica Patrick made a lot of news with her rookie performance in the 2005 Indianapolis500; her fourth-place finish seemed to overshadow certain other items in the race, to the point where two weeks later Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira were seen wearing shirts reading 'Danica's Teammate' and 'Danica's Other Teammate'. Dan Wheldon got in on it; his was 'Actually won the Indy 500'.
- David Tennant was known to wear T-shirts reading, "Trust me, I'm a doctor," during his run on Doctor Who.
- And don't forget George Lucas wearing a "Han Shot First" shirt◊.
- Ben Burtt has said that the sound crew for the first movie had t-shirts with an image of a Tusken Raider holding a boom mic over his head and the phrase "It's sound people, or worse!"
- Terry Pratchett likes his custom T-shirts. For example, after it had been announced he was one of two authors who had five novels in the Big Read Top 100 books, he arrived at the 2004 Discworld Convention in a shirt reading "Less Dead Than Dickens".
- There are t-shirts for this very wiki.
- Kevin Smith tells a story about the making of Dogma where then junkie Jason Mewes fell asleep during shooting. On being woken up his retort of "They just keep saying the same shit over and over" was so lauded as a perfect summation of the filming process that it became the crew t-shirt slogan for the production.