Ladies and Germs

Possibly coined by Milton Berle, this is a variation on the respectful greeting "Ladies and Gentlemen" with which a speaker or performer traditionally addresses their audience from the stage. Usually takes one of the following forms:

  1. "Ladies and X", where X is usually some corruption of "gentlemen".
    • A little less commonly, "X and gentlemen".
  2. "Ladies, gentlemen, and X".
  3. "X and Y," if the writers are clever enough, with plays on "ladies" and "gentlemen" respectively.

Although the phrase is usually Played for Laughs, it also sees more serious use when the greeter wishes to acknowledge a non-binary gender dynamic.

Generally not used as an insult against X — but compare gender-based versions of My Friends... and Zoidberg.


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  • More than one sketch comedy troupe: Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, bozos and bozettes ....
  • Hosting the 2006 Oscars, Jon Stewart said, "Good evening ladies, gentlemen... Felicity."
  • Eddie Izzard often addresses his audience as "Ladies and Jellyspoons..."
  • From the highly esteemed Goon Show: "My Lords, Ladies, and other National Assistance holders..."


  • Cars:
    Mater: Ladies aaaand gentlecars!
  • Parodied in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: Before Dewey Cox's band plays a Buddy Holly-esque song, the MC at the high school talent show uses the "ladies and germs" line on the audience. For some unexplained reason, the entire crowd finds it much more humorous than one could expect they would.
  • Kinky Boots has "Ladies, Gentlemen, and those of you who've yet to make up your minds" as the traditional greeting in the club.
  • Appears in Muppet Wizard of Oz as "Ladies and gentlemen... and unisex penguins."
  • In A Night at the Opera, Groucho Marx's character begins his speech to the opera attendees thus: "Ladies and gentlemen...I guess that takes in most of you."
  • Star Trek: Nemesis, before his musical number, Data addresses the audience as "Ladies and gentlemen... and invited transgendered species".
  • Played straight in the SWAT team scene in Se7en.
  • A Knight's Tale: "My Lords, my Ladies... And everyone else here not seated upon a cushion!"
  • The white rabbit from Disney's Alice in Wonderland: "Your Majesty; members of the jury; loyal subjects; [dismissively] and the King..."
  • In the 2001 Dune movie, Paul gets a little drunk and takes the piss out of the Harkonnens by pretending to make a speech as the Baron.
    Paul: "Gentleman and ladies! I use the terms loosely."
  • A Bug's Life:
    Slim: Ladies and gentlebugs! Larvae of all stages!
  • Om Shanti Om:
    Om: "Ladies, gentlemen....babes..."
  • In Iron Man 3, the Mandarin introduces himself at one point with "Ladies, children, sheep..."
  • Flying Down to Rio:
  • At the end of Robots, Bigweld starts his speech with "Ladies and gentlebots".

  • Spider Robinson, in many Callahan's Crosstime Saloon stories: "Genties and ladlemen".
  • In Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C. S. Lewis, the titular toast is introduced by Screwtape with the words, "Mr Principal, your Imminence, your Disgraces, my Thorns, Shadies and Gentledevils..."
  • In the Star Wars Expanded universe, it seems like the standard form is "ladies and gentlebeings".
  • In Eric Frank Russell's anthology Men Martians And Machines, chronicling the adventures of the crew of the spaceship Upskadaska City, the Martian members of the crew start speeches to the (all-male) crew with "gentlemen and adults." Since the Martians are male too, this is not a gender distinction but a piece of Martian snark.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity, Miles opens with 'Ladies, Gentlemen, Honourable Herm', which is an accurate form of address for the genders present.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The End of the World": "Ladies and gentlemen and trees and multiforms..."
    • "The Long Game": "Ladies, gentlemen, multi-sex, undecided or robot..."
    • "Midnight": "Ladies and gentlemen, and variations thereupon..." Used twice, the second time with rather more strain than the first.
  • Henrietta Hippo uses the Trope Namer "Ladies and germs..." as part of her pathetic comedy act in an episode of New Zoo Revue.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Homecoming" has "Ladies, gentlemen, spiny-headed looking creatures..."
  • Hawkeye would use the Trope Namer "Ladies and germs" on at least one early Mash episode.
    • Also, in the episode where Colonel Blake appointed Hawkeye chief surgeon, Hawkeye began his acceptance speech, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen...and anyone in-between."
    • On at least one occasion, the snooty Major Winchester greets Hawkeye, BJ, and Radar with, "Gentlemen...and Corporal."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Odo once had to get the attention of everyone on the promenade with, "ladies and gentlemen." After a pause when he realized he still didn't have Morn's attention, he added "and androgynous species."
    • Although, it's worth noting that Morn has been addressed with masculine pronouns at any other given point in the series. Since he is the only Lurian we ever see in the entire Star Trek franchise, it could just be how his species prefers to be addressed.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Spirit Folk", the Emergency Medical Hologram is playing an Irish priest in a holodeck program, and gets some funny looks from his congregation when he talks of "man or woman, husband and wife, photons and forcefields..."
  • An episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy used "ladies and germs" during an episode on...well...germs.
  • An scene of iCarly shows Freddie walking into the room, saying, "Hello ladies. Or should I say lady and Sam."note 
  • On The Suite Life on Deck, we get "Ladies and Quentilmen" from London. It wasn't said with any mean subtext, she's just that dumb.
  • In an episode of Will & Grace, Karen is making a grand entrance at a gay rights rally, and announces "Ladies, Gentlemen, and undecided."
  • In one episode of Red Dwarf, Lister begins a toast with "Gentlemen, and skutters." In his defense, there are no women on board... and technically only one man. The other characters are a cat, a hologram and an Artificial Intelligence.
  • Billy Crystal opened one Academy Awards show with "Ladies, gentlemen... and Felicity Huffman." (The joke was that she had been nominated for her role as a transsexual in Transamerica.)
  • In one episode of The Big Comfy Couch, Loonette took on the role of a circus ringmaster and said, "Ladies and jellybeans! Boys and gorillas!"
  • Tales from the Crypt: Everyone's favourite storytelling zombie has this gem:
    Crypt Keeper: "Welcome, boils and ghouls!"
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus; during the Confuse-a-Cat sketch, at one point a Long John Silver impersonator announces, "My lords, ladies and Gedderbong."
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has "ladies and germs" as an added note of sarcasm and incredulity when Matt Albie remembers to his ex-girlfriend (and the audience) that she doesn't have the right to question who he is dating because she broke with him, and she did it by e-mail.
  • The Dinosaurs episode "Germ Welfare" has a scene with a germ greeting other germs with "Ladies and gentlemen..." after which they all laugh and then the germ says, "just kidding. I mean ladies and germs..."
  • Midsomer Murders has a Pompous Windbag starts a speech at a funeral addressing the ladies, gentlemen, honroable members... and not-so-honorable members, the last one directed at some politician who brought his mistress along.
  • Quark. Dr Otto Palindrome is introduced this way. It becomes an Overly Long Gag when a Reveal Shot shows he's addressing a roomful of aliens.
    "I want to thank you all — ladies, gentlemen, humanoids, multiforms, polomorphopods, genunites, tun-guans, transtodulites."
  • In the episode Big Brother in Glee, Sue Sylvester addresses the club with "Ladies and gays..."

  • From Dr. Dre's The Chronic album: "What up, niggas and niggettes..."
  • Rapper Slick Rick begins his song "Mona Lisa" on The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick with the introduction "Ladies, gentlemen... and lowlifes."
  • "Business", from Eminem's album The Eminem Show, begins with him saying to listeners, "Bitches and gentlemen..."
  • The immortal Anna Russell began her "Introduction to the Concert (By the Women's Club President)" with, "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen ... and others. — I'm sorry, of course I know all our members are ladies and gentlemen. What I meant to say was, some of you have brought friends."
  • A live recording of Finnegan's Wake by The Dubliners begins with Ronnie Drew addressing "The Lord Mayor, Your Excellencies, ladies, gentlemen... and fellow peasants".
  • Emilie Autumn addresses her audience as "Ladies, gentlemen, and all those undecided or in-between".
  • Cher addresses her audience with "Ladies and gentlemen...and you flamboyant gentlemen."
  • Meat Loaf addresses his audience with "Ladies and gentlemen...brothers and sisters...." while doing his impression of a Southern Baptist minister.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • A Bloom County strip features a grade-school math teacher (who may or may not be drunk) addressing his class as "ladles and gentlemints" before embarking on a lesson about fractions, which is simply a thinly-disguised rant about his low pay.
  • Garfield once greeted his audience as "Ladies and Germs" while on the fence for a show.

     Oral Tradition  
  • A famous rhyme/faux speech begins with the words "Ladles and Jellyspoons". Past that there are many versions, but it always begins with those words.
  • The 'One Fine Day' rhyme sometimes starts with 'Ladies and gentlemen/hobos and tramps/cross eyed mosquitoes/and bowlegged ants...’

  • From an episode of The Burkiss Way:
    "Your majesty, your most royal highness, your grace, your excellency, your worships, my lords, ladies and gentlemen... tables, chairs, napkins and cruets... curtains, cutlery... things in the soup... gravy on the tablecloths... stars on Sunday, raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things..."
  • From an episode of Hello Cheeky:
    "Ladies and gentlemen...and Gladys Suavely..."
    • They also had this:
    "My lords, my ladies, my dukes, my duchesses, my earls, your most royal highnesses, ladies and gentlemen...the building is on fire."
  • Among the many nonsense expressions of The Goon Show was Seagoon's address, "Ladies and Gintlepong..."
    • One episode has Bloodnok start a speech "Ladies, gentlemen and wogs..." This line, and some similar later ones, are omitted from repeats on BBC7.
  • When he was on the Rick Dees show, Meat Loaf introduced the number one song with "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, cats and dogs, turtles and gerbils...."

  • In Cabaret, the MC doesn't change the wording, but makes his feelings clear whenever he says "Ladies!... and gentlemen."

     Video Games  
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal: Captain Qwark addresses the Q-Force: "Ladies and gentlemen... oh, and Helga." This evidently pleased Helga.
  • A very appropriate variation from Gilgamesh in the Game Boy Advance version of Final Fantasy V: "Now we fight like men! And women! And women who dress like men!"
  • Anarchy Online has "Ladies, gentlemen and Atroxes", the latter being described as epicene.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves: Sly needs to distract a group of mercenaries being hired by his Love Interest Carmelita Fox. So he runs into the room and says: "Attention assorted meatheads! And Lady... Anyone feel like some exercise?"
  • Every fight in Skullgirls opens with the announcer saying "Ladies and Gentlemen!", as the words appear onscreen. A question mark briefly appears next to "Gentlemen", a reference to the distinct lack of playable male characters.note 
  • The hosts of Nitrome's game Skywire VIP start their excessively long introduction with "Ladies and gentlemen... boys and girls... cats and dogs... and everybody else!"
  • Mettaton of Undertale opens his news report with "Beauties and Gentlebeauties".

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  
  • Linkara likes to open with "Ladies and gentlemen and others, welcome... to Atop The Fourth Wall."
  • On Homestar Runner, the Strong Bad Email "pizzaz" had Strong Bad addressing an audience on a Show Within a Show with "Good evening, mostly people."
  • Christian Weston Chandler's FUTURE MESSAGE, according to the introduction, is intended for "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and dudes of all teenages."
  • Cecil of Welcome to Night Vale once addressed his listeners as "Ladies and gentlemen and those of you not clearly falling into either category..."
    • The second-anniversary special opens simply with "Listeners of every kind..."
  • Arkada, formerly of DesuDesBrigade and currently of Podtaku is fond of "Ladies, gentlemen and others...".
  • The Selectives Lore podcast always begins with "Ladies and gentlemen, and variations therof..."
  • In the Jake and Amir episode "Girlfriend", Amir says "look who decided to show up, ladies and Germanies!"

     Western Animation  
  • Futurama had a wrestling announcer say "Ladies, gentlemen and smizmars...". We don't find out what a smizmar is for a few more seasons.
    • Also in Futurama, Hedonismbot: "Courtesans and gentlefops..."
    • Speaking of Zoidberg, he actually Lampshaded this in Futurama. "Good evening, ladies and germs. (Rimshot) That wasn't a joke. I was talking to Dean Streptococcus."
  • Teen Titans: Cyborg does this just before revealing his hand-built T-Car to the rest of the team:
    Cyborg: Ladies and gentlemen, and whatever Beast Boy is...
    Beast Boy: (stops drum roll) Hey! Do you want your drum roll or not?!
    • At the time, Beast Boy had transformed into some obscure species and was hitting his belly to perform said drum roll.
  • Cow and Chicken: Chicken is in prison and The Devil the Red Guy, who is the warden, enters. The entire group of convicts are men. So Red goes: "Laaaaaaddddddiiiiiieeeeeeees!!!!!!!... and gentlemen".
    • Another instance in Cow and Chicken is when Cow wrote the school play "The Ugliest Weenie". They greeted the audience with "Ladies and Germans."
  • "Ladies and Gentlesnorks" is used in The Snorks.
  • Jimmy Neutron:
    • "Ladies and gentlemen... and Cindy."
    • "Lady and gentleman ... Mom and Dad!"
  • Used in The Fairly OddParents!:
    Timmy: Ladies...and Timmy Turner's Dad!
  • In the King of the Hill episode "That's What She Said", Hank considers a lawsuit against a new co-worker's boss-approved juvenile language and pranks:
    Ms. Borginnis: "Sexual harassment" is an umbrella term. It doesn't just cover women, but also men. And transgender individuals.
    Hank: * groans*
  • Eddy normally started out scams like this.
  • A funny corruption was used in an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, when Wilt got nervous on stage and after fumbling his introductory monologue several times, he tried to start again, but his note cards had become so soaked with nervous sweat that it came out as "Lardies and gestlemen" before he got dragged offstage.
  • Phineas and Ferb: "Friends, bullies, Irving..."
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Fillies and gentlecolts" is commonly used to address a crowd.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Shows up at least once at an event called "Robot Rumble".
      Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen- ah who am I kidding, just gentlemen.
    • In another episode, Bart introduces himself at a contest by saying "Ladles and jelly spoons!"
    • In the Treehouse of Horror sequence "The Island of Doctor Hibert," Homer addresses the animal/human hybrids as "manimals" and "invertibroads."
  • The referee in the Daffy Duck cartoon To Duck Or Not To Duck opens the boxing match between Daffy and Elmer with "Ladies and gentleducks..."
  • Visually taken literally in the Bakshi Mighty Mouse cartoon "Bat With A Golden Tongue." Trophy thief Ski Nose (a caricature of Bob Hope), about to disrupt a ceremony by stealing another trophy, greets the audience as ladies and germs. The tables are populated by ladies and germs.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: The line "Ladies and Jellyfish" is used on a few occasions.
  • The 1980s opening: "Boys and girls, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, cats and dogs, welcome to the world of Strawberry Shortcake!"
  • Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire: Bram of the Fangenschanz acting troupe welcomes the audience with "Ladies and gentle-mortals!"
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Weirdmageddon 2: Escape from Reality", Bill Cipher addresses a group of fellow monsters with "Ladies, gentlemen, that creature with like eighty-seven different faces..."
    Creature: "Eighty-eight different faces!"
  • In an episode of Arthur, we have Francine's dad saying to the rest of his family: "Ladies and, uh...ladies."
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers used a couple. The Queen's announcer in "Shootout" opened with "Ladies, aliens, and mutants!"

     Real Life  
  • The former German federal president Heinrich Lübke, an acknowledged and frequently parodied poor public speaker, is often reported to have begun a speech with "Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Negroes" while on a state visit to Africa. (Despite his track record, however, this particular quote appears to be an Urban Legend lacking actual verification.)
  • The current king of Sweden pulled one of these off giving a public speech a few years ago.
    "Distinguished foreign guests, Mr Speaker, Members of the Riksdag, Mr Minister of State, Chairman of the County Council.[Beat]Dear citizens of Örebro."
    • He was giving the speech in Arboga.
  • Reversal: the traditional start of some auto races, especially the Indianapolis 500, is 'Gentlemen, start your engines!'. Then the women started showing up, and a few wondered how to adapt. (A valid question, since for years there was only one woman driver at a time.) The eventual solution for those years was the somewhat awkward 'Lady and gentlemen, start your engines!' Now, however, the larger pool of woman drivers allows for 'Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!'.
    • NASCAR, by contrast, just uses "Drivers, start your engines!" now.
  • The Disney theme parks always opened announcements with, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!" Others have taken that up as homage or parody. At Disneyland, Bill Rogers provides this booming voice.
  • In England, the proper way to greet a crowd is "Ladies, gentlemen, and officers of the Royal Navy", due to a decree by Queen Victoria stating that officers of the Royal Navy are not considered gentlemen.
  • The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus (and circuses in general) often have the ringmaster begin the show with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages!"
  • John Lennon to the audience of the Royal Variety Show: "Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry..."
    • The tribute act The Bootleg Beatles topped this with Neil Harrison as Lennon saying "And the people in the really cheap seats, rustle your giros!" (girocheque = UK welfare payment)
  • There is some discussion about how "Ladies and Gentlemen" excludes those who consider themselves neither or both. Some suggest hosts say variations of those listed on this page.
  • In Israel, the audience is nowadays usually referred to as kahal nikhbad, ‘respected audience’.
  • In schools, assemblies, special events and guest talks sometimes begin with "Students and faculty" instead. If there's a high possibility of people who are neither, "members of the community" or "guests" is added as well.
  • German far-right political party Af D, in opposing a bill which would legally recognize 60 genders, cast their vote in a speech which began, "Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Gays, Lesbians, Androgonous, Bi-genders..." and went on to list all 60 proposed genders, ending with "and, of course, a hearty welcome to all 'Other' genders."