Least Common Pizza Topping
The characters are hungry! Who wants to cook a meal when calling the pizza delivery place is so much easier? So they call the pizza place, and what do they say?
"I want a large pepperoni pizza with no anchovies
!" (Anchovies, by the way, are small fish, similar to sardines. They're really salty and really
smelly - very much an acquired taste as a pizza topping.)
dictates that no real pizza place would indiscriminately add the Least Common Pizza Topping to every order that did not specifically ask for it (and that chain pizzerias generally don't even carry
anchovies). Nevertheless, it's been seen a million times
and it is, very sadly, often Truth in Television
— as Pizza Hut is your witness, this is how every small child envisions ordering a pizza.
Slightly more justified if the person is ordering one of the specials, which might otherwise include anchovies.
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- One Domino's Pizza commercial had some kids freaking out after being presented pizzas for lunch containing toppings like pineapple.
- In Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon, this is a Running Gag between Amber and Justin. They always ask for a pizza, "hold the anchovies," and then laugh at the mental image of the pizza boy holding an armful of anchovies.
- In the British Sonic the Hedgehog novels, the Metropolis Zone rats like pizza with anchovies and olives, both of which the other characters find repugnant.
- In Good Omens, after Famine stops at a biker bar, the bikers find that the only food left is a cold slice of anchovy and olive pizza.
- One of the footnotes in a Discworld novel states that there is no excuse for putting pineapple on pizza.
- In the teen novel Stargirl, the Cloud Cuckoo Lander protagonist is trying to fit in as a normal teen, but seems to have trouble grasping certain concepts. When she orders anchovies on her pizza, her boyfriend has to inform her of this trope.
- Harry Dresden is offered tofu pizza at a film shoot in Blood Rites, which he insists is just wrong.
- In one of The Baby Sitters Club specials, each club member recounts an important episode from their life. Stacey mentions attending a sleepover with a new girl whom she wanted to introduce to her gang of friends. They disliked the girl and found her strange, partly because she asked for anchovies on the pizza they ordered.
Live Action TV
- Twenty One Jump Street episode "Gotta Finish the Riff"
Reginald Brooks: [ordering pizza for his hostages] I want 10 with sausage, 10 with pepperonis. And no anchovies. I see one anchovy and I kill the librarian.
- Friends episode "The One the Morning After" when Rachel is very pissed off with Ross:
Rachel: Yes, I'd like to order a large pizza.
Ross: No anchovies.
Rachel: With, uh, extra anchovies.
Ross: That's okay, I'll just pick 'em off.
Rachel: Yeah, and could you please chop some up and just put it right there in the sauce?
- This is one of Jane Espenson's Pet Peeve Tropes. She got her revenge by writing a Buffy the Vampire Slayer scene in which Dawn orders an anchovy pizza, then sings "Anchovies, Anchovies, you're so delicious/I like you better than the other fishes!"
- The cast of Power Rangers Jungle Fury works in a pizzeria. Fran has the others try chocolate-covered anchovies as a joke dish at the end of one episode; only RJ likes them, but since he's the pizzeria's owner...
- The Electric Company: In the original, common joke of many skits involving pizza, particularly (but not limited to) those with The Short Circus (the show's singing group of kids.
- On Supernatural, there was a version involving not anchovies, but a vampire who was worried that he may have had unsolicited garlic put on his pizza. It Lampshaded the unrealisticness of someone who worries about unsolicited anchovies, garlic, or such toppings with the delivery guy's reaction: He impatiently asked, "Did you order any garlic? Then no, there isn't any."
- An episode of The Big Bang Theory has a nonstandard anchovies joke, when Howard suggests that if their pizza has anchovies, then the group should allot extra bathroom time.
- Anchovies have turned up as one of the basket ingredients on Chopped, to the groans of the contestants.
- Not anchovies but still fits: Kramer from Seinfeld likes cucumbers on his pizza, which leads him to enter an argument with a restaurant owner (who was supposed to finance a pizzeria with him) over on if you can do such a thing.
- Garfield is the only one in his household who likes anchovies, and finds it a useful way of hogging the pizza.
- In the newest cartoon adaptation, he hates anchovies as well. Odd, considering he likes fish as much as any other adaptation.
- The J. Geils Band's "No Anchovies, Please" is all about this.
- Tom Smith's Domino Death references this with adding "no anchovies, please" to the list of the many offenses that will garner your death at the hands of the psycho narrator.
- The Firesign Theatre: "No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name...Danger!"
- There's a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona called No Anchovies. They have an order which goes "And, if you must... Anchovies."
- Used to hilarious effect in a Disney's House of Mouse episode, in a song Goofy sings about being a waiter. The line "hold the anchovies" is juxtaposed with a shot of Ariel.
- Played with in Futurama. Fry is a huge fan of anchovies, but when he finally gets some to share with the rest of the crew, everyone hates it except for Fry. And Zoidberg. Anchovies are actually extinct (because Zoidberg's people ate them all), but no one cares. Except Zoidberg.
- In another episode, the crew gets trapped in a cave with only pizza as food... which they all refuse to eat because, as Hermes points out, they've all been "poisoned with pineapple."
- This What-a-Cartoon cartoon features a pizza boy who delivers a pizza to the Arctic Circle, and is denied a tip when it contains anchovies.
- In an episode of M.A.S.K., the weakness of a giant blob to salt is discovered when it avoids eating the anchovies from a pizza. Every time this is mentioned, someone inevitably says: "Well, I can understand about the anchovies!"
- In Codename Kids Next Door, anchovies are the Delightful Children from Down the Lane's favorite pizza topping. The Kids Next Door once tried to thwart the delivery, but upon finding out that it's an anchovy pizza, they just let the Delightful Children have those pizzas from then on.
- The Oh-Yeah Cartoons pilot of Fairly Oddparents has this as a gag when Vicki orders Timmy some pizza with his slice containing not only anchovies, but fishing hooks.
- Developing a taste for anchovies is a reliable way to prevent others from stealing pizza, unless of course the other members of the group have learned the same strategy.
- Along with ordering more than five pizzas, ordering pizza with anchovies is sometimes taken as a hint that the order is a prank.
- According to one of the kids in a documentary from the late 1980s on street kids, it's a way to get a free pizza. He says if you order a pizza with something weird on it, like pineapple or anchovies, and don't pick it up, eventually the employees throw it out, because they don't want to eat it themselves, and then you can go get it out of the dumpster.
- Some Pizza Hut establishment still do have anchovies as an option even though they're not included on any pre-fab variety of pizza. However, there's generally only one tin of them in the cooler, and that's often enough to last the whole year.
- In the United Kingdom, neither Domino's nor Pizza Hut offer any standard topping with anchovies. Anchovy lovers are banished to the "create-your-own" ghetto.
- In the 1970s, Round Table Pizza's King Arthur Supreme (their pizza with "everything") did ordinarily include anchovies. Round Table is a California chain, so Hollywood writers could easily have been accustomed to ordering their own pizzas "hold the anchovies."
- This trope is actually averted in Italy, the home country of pizza (was served in his current incarnation since 18th century, while US only got pizza in the late 19th century), as anchovies are treated as a rather common topping. For example, the "Scilian" Pizza's only topping along with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce are anchovies.
- Also averted on a global scale: According to the Food Network, anchovies are the third most popular pizza topping in the world, behind pepperoni and Italian sausage. Indeed, anchovies are very popular as a pizza topping in Pacific Asia and are as standard in most large cities there as pepperoni or extra cheese.
- There's no such species as "anchovies", as it's actually a catch-all term for some 140 species of small marine fishes. As they're near the bottom of the fishy food chain, there are plenty of predatory sea creatures that love anchovies (but hold the pizza).
- The strong flavor actually comes from the curing process. Fresh anchovies are typically much milder in flavor. Of course, those who write the jokes are more familiar with the canned and preserved variety of anchovy.