Para: We are villains who like to rhyme... Dox: In fact, we do it all the time. Para: You may think it's rather crass... Dox: But you can stick your cards right up your nose. Para: ...You were supposed to say "ass", brother. I thought we rehearsed this.
So... you're listening to a song, or are on one of those crazy planets where everyone speaks in verse. A rhyming couplet is set up, but rather than using a rhyme, the speaker takes it in a different, non-euphonic direction, either by speaking a different word, having it bleeped out, or cutting off an offending secti-part.
This is most often used for comedy: generally, the rhyme set up and subverted was clearly supposed to be a profanity. (If the replacement word begins the same way as the averted word, this amounts to a deliberate Curse Cut Short.) It's one of the myriad gimmicks used for Getting Crap Past the Radar, and when used this way is known as a "Miss Susie," after one of the most famous examples. Sometimes in this case the cut-off word will appear in a different context as a Midword Rhyme ("The steamboat went to Hell/-o operator") Doing this is the only way to get the worse Bawdy Songs on American network television — though of course the trope is much older than that: it's used in an Elizabethan broadside ballad about seducing a maiden, thus making it at least Older Than Steam.
Known as a mind rhyme according to The Other Wiki.
A subtrope of Last-Second Word Swap, with a little bit of—Diet Coke. Compare with Painful Rhyme, Rhyming with Itself and Midword Rhyme. Not to be confused with Lame Rhyme Dodge.
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Anime and Manga
A famous Tokyo Mew Mew fanart piece released just after the Macekre of the English dub does the "cut off" version:
Ichigo: Mew Mew Style, think I'll pass, English dub can kiss my—
Etrigan: Our heroes, quite noble, have fallen to hell; may they curse their eternal foul luck. And while these champions may triumph o'er street crime quite well, down here with the demons they're totally doomed.
Blue Beetle: That didn't rhyme!
Etrigan: So sue me.
The Maxx falls asleep watching cartoons in issue #5 and enters a surrealdream land where everyone talks and thinks in rhyme, including him. Upon his escape he discovers he can speak normally again, expressing this with a somewhat forced rhyme subversion:
The Maxx: It is different somehow, this land isn't mine! And my brain has been freed! I'm not thinking in... poetry stuff.
Somewhere in "Marvel What The..." Dr. Strange's silly assistant plays the Name Game with the magic formulas. Even with "Chuck", and as you know, you shouldn't do that. Dr. Strange violently cuts him short at the end and just a hurt "-uck!" results. Rhyme (and ears of the readers) saved.
The voice sample for the "Boing" synthesized voice in Mac OS uses a classic example of this:
Spring has sprung Fall has fell Winter's here And it's colder than usual.
[..]And then she'd bend over and suck on his Candy, so tasty, made of butterscotch, And then he'd spread whipped cream all over her Cookies that she had left out on the shelf If you think this is dirty, you can gofuckyourself!
Fairy Godmother: Now, um, where were we? Oh, goodness, yes. You can't go to the ball without, um...
(Cinderella looks hopeful about her dress, for the third time)
Fairy Godmother: A horse!
Cinderella: A-a-another one?
In Shrek, from the scene where little puppets in a machine sing a song:
Please keep well off of the grass Shine your shoes, wipe your...face.
Though they do complete a rhyme eventually:
Duloc is, Duloc is, Duloc is a perfect place!
Shrek the Musical makes a similar joke:
A princess full of sass And a dragon and a...donkey!
In the film there's also a subversion of sorts - "I like an honest fight and a saucy little maid / What he's basically saying is he likes to get...paid." Which is a rhyme, just not the naughty one that would have been there were it not a "children's film."
Cars: Lightning McQueen is trying to sneak out of his personal appearance:
Dusty Rust-eze: Winter is a grand old time Rusty Rust-eze: Of this there are no ifs and buts Dusty Rust-eze: But remember, all that salt and grime Rusty Rust-eze: Can rust your bolts and freeze your...Hey, look! There he is!
Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle But put me in summer and I'll be...a happy snowman!
For bonus points, he's shown jumping over a puddle while singing this. At least the Russian dub retains this joke, using a word that rhymes with the Russian word for "puddle".
The film also uses a darker and more subtle version in the song "Do You Want To Build a Snowman?", which sets it up to sound like Elsa is going to respond to her sister's question, only to be met with silence.
Tangled: Played comically during the film's opener "I Want" Song. Rapunzel - a (technically voluntary) but bored Hikikomori - sings about doing the chores, only to realise she's done them all within a quarter of an hour after waking up:
...Sweep again and by then It's like seven fifteen?
Some things in life are bad, They can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle, Don't grumble; give a whistle, And this'll help things turn out for the best.
There was this cat I knew, back home where I was bred, He never listened to a single thing his mother said, He never used the litterbox, he made a mess in the hall, That's why they sent him to a vet and they cut off his b- *pauses* ...bo...bo...bo...BOY!
A second verse that was later cut from the film did the same thing.
In the 1981 film The Private Eyes, the killer subverts rhyme in each note to the detectives. For example:
If Jock could talk, he'd give you a clue. But now that he's dead, what can you do? He deserved what he got. I don't regret it a bit. By the way, you're standing in bull ca-ca.
In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, thinking he's terminally ill, a strippergram/prostitute dressed as a nurse is sent to his house, and greets him (actually his sister) with the rhyme:
I heard that you were feeling ill, headache, fever, and a chill. I came to help restore your pluck, cause I'm the nurse who likes to... (the door is slammed in her face)
This was still too vulgar for network TV, and most showings have the door slam before the nurse says anything. Other airings show only the first two lines of her speech.
The father in Catch That Kid (a.k.a. Mission Without Permission) uses subverted rhyme when starting go-kart races to tone down the language:
Well, it's closer to a rhyme than the one Scott comes up with in the graphic novel during the same scene (for the record, the "fireballs" line is a rhyme in the graphic novel, by way of Matthew using "out" instead of "down"):
You think you're so great, but you're missing the point
You gotta have friendship and courage and whatever!
But from that point on, Phil Coletti was known as...Machete Phil!
The Don Knotts-Tim Conway film The Private Eyes featured a number of these.
In (500) Days of Summer, the main character Tom writes greeting cards. After he and Summer break up...
Tom's Boss: I'm a bit worried about you, Tom.
Tom: Oh? Why?
Tom's Boss: Well, your latest card reads: "Roses are red. Violets are blue. Fuck you,whore.
During Kill Bill Volume 1, The Bride is molested whilst in a coma by an orderly named Buck, who likes to...well, you know. When this movie is played on syndicated television, the rhyming swear gets amusingly censored:
Buck: "My name is Buck, and I'm here to...PARTY!"
In the movie "Trick" there is a song COMO TE GUSTA MI PINGA which begins thusly:
I told my friend the writer how happy I would be
If he'd write an opening number especially for me
But when he had it finished, it came as quite a shock
He handed me a song titled "How do you like my...."
The song "Back in Time" from Men in Black III has a subversion of the subverted rhyme- "Give credit where credit is due don't cha. / Know that I don't give a number two."
Non-profane use: In the novel The Fairy's Return, one character is constantly making up poems, but he always ends his couplets with a non-rhyming word, even when the word has an obvious synonym that does rhyme.
In Night Watch, Detritus trains new City Watch recruits, and teaches them his jody (which "somehow, you could tell it was made up by a troll"):
"Now we sing this stupid song Sing it as we march along Why we sing this we don't know We can't make the words rhyme prop'ly!
Roses are red And ready for plucking. You're sixteen, And ready for high school.
A long verse appears in Don't Pat the Wombat'
Mary had a little lamb, she also had a duck.
She took it round the corner and taught it how to
Fry some eggs for breakfast, fry some eggs for tea.
The more you eat, the more you drink the more you have to
Peter had a boat, and the boat began to rock.
Up jumped Jaws and bit him on the
Cocktails, ginger alle, fourty cents a glass.
If you don't like them shove it up your
Ask no questions, tell no lies
I saw the boogey man doing up his
Flies are bad, mosquitoes are worse
and this is the end of my silly little verse.
Sean Kelly's National Lampoon parodies of war poetry included two couplets by "Wilfred Owen, who in 1915 found himself at the front, under constant gas and artillery attack, and without his rhyming dictionary":
Clouds broke at evening, and the sun set red Flushing to rose the faces of the deceased.
The title of Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up: 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room, by James Carville and Paul Begala.
In Alvin Fernald, Superweasel Alvin left some dead fish in the office of a company which was polluting the local river and his sister left an accompanying poem which said that the polluter "killed them with a smell" and that "I hope you go to jail."
A bit of doggerel from Playboy's Party Jokes:
Little Johnny, with a grin, Drank up all of pappy's gin. Mother said, when he was plastered, "Go to bed, you little love-child."
Live Action TV
Happy Endings: Played with in the episode "The Marry Prankster", Brad is singing a song about himself, but his name doesn't quite fit.
Who's got a job? Bob's got a job Bob rhymes with job much better than job So I switched the name, but you know what I mean I got a job, job, a j-o-b!
You're the cutest of the Scoobies with your lips as red as rubies and your firm yet supple...tight embrace!
Which is incidentally a callback to an earlier verse in which Xander dodges a crudity without breaking the rhyme:
She is the one, she's such wonderful fun such passion and grace. Warm in the night, when I'm right in her tight ...embrace. Tight embrace!
Also inverted a few times in that same musical episode: there are several instances where a song is interrupted, and then it is always the case that the interruption rhymes, while there seems no obvious way the intended line could have:
She's just going through the motions, faking it somehow. She's not even half the girl she...ow!
Another example of that:
Xander: She clings, she's needy, She's also really greedy, She never - Anya: His eyes are beady!
Buffy: Will I stay this way forever? Sleepwalk through my life's endeavors? Distressed Dude: How can I repay— Buffy: Whatever.
Finally, while not used for profanity, the song "Walk Through The Fire" has the first two verses end with a rhyme for "burn" that is left unsaid. The rhyme is finally completed at the very end of the song.
Michael Kelso: If this van's a rockin'...we're in there doing it!
Colin Mochrie, of Whose Line Is It Anyway? fame, is very good at improv—but his talents do not lie in music. Inexplicably, during the American run of the show, Drew Carey's favorite game was Hoedown (his excitement at it visibly irritated Ryan Stiles at times), meaning it was performed very often. Mochrie didn't even try to sing most of the time, rhyming in a sort of chant. However, he gleefully subverted the format several times—in one about the lottery, saying he didn't care anymore, speaking briefly in tongues, running around the studio, and hugging an attractive audience member; another time, in a callback to an earlier gaffe with his microphone's battery, mouthing words but saying nothing, ending in "my battery pack!"; and once ending a hoedown verse about a traumatic event in "I lost the ability to rhyme" (which did not, obviously, rhyme with the previous line).
On the other hand, however, many of the other stars on the show, particularly Greg Proops, do this so often and easily that subverting a profane rhyme is called "Pulling a Greg" in the fan community. Example:
The other day my girlfriend said 'Greg, you wanna thrill'? She took me to a bridge at the bottom of a hill. She tied the rope to my leg and I ran out of luck. For when she pushed me off that bridge, I just yelled out 'wow'."
Drew did it at least once: "I hope soon that I get out all my stitches / 'Cause let me tell you, brother, they hurt like sons of guns."
Drew also inverted it in the "Children" Hoedown:
I don't pay alimony, I don't pay child support, I don't pay nothing of no kind of that sort, I get to keep all the money that I'm paid, How can you have any children if you never ever get l(BEEP)—hey!"
No less a performer than Robin Williams once used the above cheer in a game of Props.
Used by Ryan in an Irish Drinking Song:
And there I'll open a business, And I will get real rich, I am so happy I'll leave that old...Oh, hidey hidey...
Wayne Brady pretends to read a poem from an imaginary book:
My teacher was beautiful, a beautiful lass. But I was embarrassed in front of the class. I would sit in the back because I was quite a loner. And then I - oh!
During an Irish Drinking Song, Colin is set up to say a line that rhymes with trucker, but instead he just smiles and says nothing. Both he and the audience know what he could have said.
On The Muppet Show, during the Loretta Lynn episode, Fozzie, Scooter, Annabelle, and Link Hogthrob sing what's supposedly "The Rhyming Song". As might be expected, none of the lines in the verses rhyme. (They're also disjointed, but that's another story.)
He was looking very peaky and was feeling very grotty, And he spent all day on Sunday sitting sadly on the potty. So he came along to us, the Anti-Shoddy Goods Committee, And we told him very plainly why he felt so ruddy sh— shocking.
Catherine:This guy was about pucks,bucks and...chicks.
MythBusters had one episode where the hosts were testing myths regarding flatulence, and were attempting to keep things tasteful, generally by using the scientific term "flatus" in place of...the common term for such. Rob Lee also avoided using said "common term", generally via Unusual Euphemism (or else via less offensive terms), but there was one time he danced around the word using this very trope:
Rob Lee: We've all heard it: "Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you"...er, produce flatus.
In one episode of Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit has contracted "rhymitis", which forces him to only speak in rhyme. After he's cured, he sings a song full of these, with each followed by the chorus "And you know what the best part is? It doesn't rhyme!"
In a skit called "Lady MADtv (a spoof of "Lady Marmalade") on MADtv: "I'm the reason MAD's back for season seven / Disagree, well boo-hoo and tough luck / 'Cause to tell you the truth, I don't give a… huh…"
One episode of The Slammer opens with Mr Burgess composing a text in which says this week's show contained "wit, grit and sh... surely the best act we've ever had in the history of the show".
The UK consumer show That's Life once did a major story on fake diet pills made from guar gum, which apart from not working caused illness and flatulence. After the company had recalled the product, the show ended its final report with a big musical number, in which an actress who had appeared in advertisments for the tablets sang "I'm so sorry that I took part, / Guar gum just made me sick!"
On the last episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Fallon says that Tariq has made 130 bad rhymes. Tariq responds with
That's right Jimmy you've got a pretty good point
Now what do you say we rock this...place?
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "Lyre of Orpheus"
Orpheus looked at his instrument
And he gave the wire a pluck
He heard a sound so beautiful
He gasped and said O my God
The 1921 classic "Ain't We Got Fun" does the clean version:
There's nothing surer The rich get rich and the poor get — children.
The second time 'round, the poor get "laid off."
Obscure British Art-pop band David Devant and his Spirit Wife and Mr Solo (the lead singers solo project) do this a LOT.
Sometimes London don't seem too appealing Maybe youre lover is living in Deptford.
From 'Slip it To me':
And my Uncle thinks I'm barmy 'cause i don't pack my bag and join the navy.
From 'Black and White'
I woke up this morning, my head was full of rocks I couldn't remember the night before, I'd lost a pair of shoes
This song doesn't make it's own luck 'cause this song doesn't give a flying family planning clinic.
Furthermore the lead singer sometimes changes the lyrics which actually do rhyme when performing live. For instance 'Do you have plans in your head, you wish they'd all go drop dead' becomes 'Do you have plans in your head, you wish they'd fuck off and die'.
Some people say that bowling alleys got big lanes (got big lanes, got big lanes) Some people say that bowling alleys all look the same (look the same, look the same) There's not a line that goes here that rhymes with anything (anything, anything) I has a dream last night, but I forget what it was (what it was, what it was)
From Alice Cooper's I Love America:
I love my bar and I love my truck I'd do most anything to make a buck I love a waitress who loves to...flirt! They're the best kind
Another Alice Cooper example in "Working Up A Sweat":
The bandages come off today Really feelin' sick The hardest part's explainin' All these blisters on my...NOSE!
The MC Lars song "Internet Relationships":
Let me send you pics for your personal collection I hope they inspire you and give you a...smile
And his "Space Game":
And I'm from Mars, and she's from Venus She has ovaries and I have a...light saber
Stephen Lynch loves doing this in his songs.
"If I Were Gay":
"And if I were gay We would tear down the walls But I'm not gay So won't you stop cupping my...hand!"
"Vanilla Ice Cream":
"Just don't take it personally This is no attack But we will never last because I'm white and you are — also white..."
And in his El Ray Performance...
"I thought college life was great. Ed couldn't count from one to two."
And in "Gynecologist":
When your legs are open, I begin the gropin' But I fear I must be blunt I would just as soon not go near your balloon I think that I'll stick to your. . . front.
Double-Subverted, as it is a rhyme. Just not the one everyone thought it would be.
And triply-subverted in some of his Live performances (including the CD recording for Superhero), as he states that "I would never say "cunt" to an audience... ever!"
Also, from the same song: he "loves pu...tting womens' minds at rest".
Yeah, he'd whittle if it's light, he'd whittle if it's dark And if Noah was around, well, he'd whittle him an ark He'd whittle something new, and he'd whittle something old He'd whittle something hot, and he'd whittle something rather chilly...
Benny Bell's infamous song "Shaving Cream"; depending on the performance you witness, it has anywhere from 8 to hundreds of verses all in the form:
Our baby fell out of the window You'd think that her head would be split. But luck was with her that morning — She fell in a big pile of shhhhhhhhhhhhh— —SHAV-ing cream, be nice and clean Shave every day and you'll always look keen.
The Mora Träsk cover of this song, Skidvalla, substitutes ski wax for the shaving cream.
Inverted in the Dresden Dolls' The Jeep Song
I guess it's just my stupid luck That all of Boston drives the same black fucking truck.
Invoked and played by Voltaire during the whole song: The Dirtiest Song That Ain't.
Down in Carolina I met a girl with a nice [...] So I reached down between us And I whipped out my [...] Skipped right past the suckin' And got right down to [...] She turned and said: "I gotta ask, Would you slip it into my [...]?
The Assumption Song by Vito Petroccitto Jr. is entirely based on this trope.
There was an old farmer who lived on a rock He sat in the meadow shaking his Fist at the boys playing down by the crick Their feet in the water their hands on their Marbles and playthings...
'Series of Dreams' by Bob Dylan has a good example. Just the opening is quoted here, but the whole song avoids the use of the expected rhyme, although several other words appear in rhyming partnership with dreams.
I was thinking about a series of dreams Where nothing comes up to the top Everything stays down where it's wounded And comes to a permanent stop
Sneakily averted in "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream":
I decided to flip a coin, like either heads or tails
Would let me know if I should go back to ship or back to jail
So I hocked my sailor's suit and I got a coin to flip
It came up tails, that rhymes with...sails, so I made it back to ship.
Oscar Brand's "Clean Song" is probably familiar to devotees of Dr. Demento:
There was a young sailor who looked through the glass Spied a fair mermaid with scales on her Island where seagulls flew over their nests She combed the long hair that hung over her Shoulders, which shook with a wriggle and twitch "Come on, men" I cried, "there's a beautiful Mermaid a-sitting out there on the rocks!" The men all came running and grabbing their
Glasses (etc. etc.)...
Allan Sherman used this trope in one of the parodies in his medley "Shticks And Stones" on his 1963 album My Son, The Folk Singer; in this case, he detoured around what was then a borderline obscenity in Yiddish, the word "schmuck":
Oh, I'm Melvin Rose of Texas, And my friends all call me Tex. When I lived in old New Mexico, They used to call me Mex. When I lived in old Kentucky, They called me Old Kentuck. I was born in old Shamokin, Which is why they call me Melvin Rose.
The obscenity-ducking is inverted in Jonathan Coulton's First of May:
Grass below you, sky above, Celebrate Spring with a crazy little thing called... Fuckin' outside.
And in Chiron Beta Prime by the same artist:
That's all the family news that we're allowed to talk about We hope you come and visit us soon I mean we're literally begging you to visit us And make it quick before they [MESSAGE REDACTED].
In his "Kenesaw Mountain Landis", there's one that seems like this at first given his humor, but it turns out to just be an unexpected rhyme scheme (which does get respected the rest of the way):
Kenesaw Mountain Landis was a bad motherfucker He was seventeen feet tall, he had 150 wives He didn't do that much except he saved the game of baseball He put two and two together and he noticed it was four Now the treachery of Shoeless Joe can't hurt us anymore
"The Future Soon", which has the following lines:
I'll end world hunger, I'll make dolphins speak, Work through the daytime, spend my nights and weekends Perfecting my warrior robot race...
It's a bit of a stretch, but the intended rhyme is likely "Asleep", though an earlier line describes working "In a space lab in space," which rhymes but doesn't fit the meter of the song.
Alternatively, you can think of "speak" rhyming with the first syllable of "weekends."
Paul and Storm, who often tour with Jonathan Coulton, have one of their own in "Cruel, Cruel Moon." You keep waiting for them to sing "...and then rip me apart." but they never do.
Subverted rhymes aren't always obscured obscenities. From Brian May's song "'39":
And the night followed day And the storytellers say That the score brave souls inside For many a lonely day Sailed across the milky seas
Replace "seas" with the intended rhyme "way," and remember that Brian May's a Ph.D in astrophysics...and the song begins to make more sense.
On the other hand, in Good Company...
Soon I grew, and happy, too My very good friend and me We'd play all day with Sally J. The girl from number four
Popular cheer for cheerleaders:
Ra! Ra! Rhee! Kick 'em in the knee! Ra! Ra! Rhass! Kick 'em in the other knee!
Ah, but don't forget the inverted version:
Ra! Ra! Rhass! Kick 'em in the ass! Ra! Ra! Rhee! Kick 'em in the other ass!
Two, four, six, eight, our team is really great! Three, five, seven, nine, you lead petty little lives and you live in a cultural wasteland.
We will, we will, rock you down, shake you up, like a volcano, we'll erupt
Strap on the seatbelt, step on the gas, we're gonna kick you in the—EVERYBODY! (repeats)
Variation: In this performance of Roy Zimmerman's song "Ted Haggard Is Completely Heterosexual", there is the following couplet:
Zimmerman:Now Ted's a little haggard, but he's thankful for the schism, [audience laughter] Zimmerman: [speaking] "You're right, but wait for it." [sings] And you might find it hard to swallow...the syllogism...
Also, in "Saddam Shame":
Now we've learned our lesson: it's hard to conduct A war when the prewar intelligence sucked. Now some say the country is totally f...ar from anything a well-meaning superpower could ever hope to reconstruct.
And again in "Summer of Loving":
Find a white dress or a tux; It ain't nobody's business who a person marries.
And a cleaner, more subtle version in "Defenders of Marriage":
One summer evening when my woman was doing laundry I shared a six-pack with an old John Bircher And oh so wisely he imparted an ancient quandary To ponder: He Said, "It's nature versus...legislature."
Zimmerman really likes to do these. In "Romney Mitt, the Demon Barber of Wall Street":
Romney will slash, Romney will sever Will Romney ever apologise - not really,
You gave us digital and satellite, You never said they would be sh-ockingly bad!
And from "Tabloid Journalists":
They'd exploit any tragedy that makes them a buck, And if it makes things worse they don't give a f... ..Or your own protection you'd better beware, There are tabloid journalists everywhere.
And again in a song about the return of amusingly deformed vegetables, and what this might mean for Esther Rantzen (who spent the 70s and 80s anchoring a show that featured them heavily):
She knows very well she had the easiest job, Just holding up a parsnip that looked just like a kno .. ughty thing!
And again in "David Cameron Said Tw..", at the end of every verse (except the last one which just bleeps it out).
And yet again in "We Love Our NHS":
We heard your stories, we're here to bring the missing bit, And if you're losing your own argument, could just be you're full of shanana da da da da naa
And once more with feeling:
Are you having a happy Christmas? Just exactly how happy is it? On a scale of one to ten where one is great and ten is sh-ockingly bad
And his anti-English Defence League song "There Are Things Worth Rioting About":
Now they want to ration visits to your own GP,
It's the latest brainwave from Jeremy Hunt,
You might want to look at your priorities,
Or are you just a band of stupid racist cos there are things worth rioting about right now...
"Budget Air" is interesting because the subverted rhyme isn't obvious. In the version on the album Broken Strings, the phrase "budget air" is used to refer to the airline, but if you think about it, the internal rhymes in the line "Ain't no use in cryin' when you're flyin' budget air" would be even better if the line was "Ain't no use in cryin' when you're flyin' Ryanair". Which is what it was when the song was originally performed on The BBC consumer programme Watchdog.
And, of course, "Call Me During Doctor Who And I'll Kill You":
Call me during Doctor Who and I'll kill you
Sixteen years I've been waiting for this
Call me during Doctor Who and I'll kill you
Don't even think about ringing just to take the—call me during Doctor Who and I'll kill you!
Comedy artist Worm Quartet performed "Spatula", with multiple instances of the approaching mention of male genitalia being the cue for the chorus of "Spatula, spatula, spatula..."
It's parodied in The Folk Song Army (along with just about every other folk song trope).
The tune don't have to be cle-ver, And it don't matter if you put a couple extra syllables into a line. It sounds more ethnic if it ain't good English, And it don't even gotta rhyme. Excuse me, rine.
An even better example occurs in "My Home Town", where Tom Lehrer replaces an entire line with "I'd better leave this line out just to be on the safe side" or "We're recording tonight, so I'll have to leave this line out", depending on which recording you're listening to (the former for the original studio recording, the latter for a later live performance). The really funny thing about this particular example is that there is no line to leave out. Try as he might, Tom Lehrer couldn't come up with anything that actually rhymed and that sounded better than simply suggesting that there was a line, but he wasn't allowed to include it.
To provide some context, the entire song is a cheerful ditty about all the charming folks in his home town...and about how unspeakably, amorally depraved each one is. The elided line would have described some secret involving "That fellow...who taught our Sunday School", and "our kindly Parson Brown." Remember, back then it really was the love that dared not speak its name.
Now you're the only one here Who can tell me if it's true, That you love me, And I love me.
This is debatable, but I think they set up "exploited working class" to rhyme with "kiss my ass", but instead used "kiss me, son of god." If you know the song title, you can see this one coming.
Also in "Number 3", then averted on the third line.
A rich man once told me "Hey, life's a funny thing." A poor man once told me that he can't afford to speak. Now I'm in the middle, like a bird without a beak...
Fred Wedlock's 'Handier Household Help' [to name but one of his comic songs to do this]
And you can bung it down the toilet. You can spread it down your halls. You can buy it in pint canisters for putting on your...banisters. It removes the stains from carpet, the blemishes from glass, Keeps your radio free from static. It will fumigate your...attic. (And so on...)
In Draco and the Malfoys' "Potions Yesterday": We were teamed up in duelling class/But no one else believed that I could knock you on your bum
Sometimes inverted in concert.
From Deirdre Flint's Cheerleader:
A cheerleader might not have her GED but she's pursuing one.
A cheerleader might not be a CEO but she'll be...dating one.
The Arrogant Worms are often miscredited with The Assumption Song (see above). Although they never recorded that song, they have pulled this trope with I Pulled My Groin:
I pulled my groin, I pulled my groin
It hurts me when I skate, but not when I master...hills
The pirate-themed band The Jolly Rogers have recorded a song called "The Clean Song" (possibly NSFW) whose lyrics consist entirely of this trope, except for the very end.
In the same vein is a supposed "Old English Folk Song", sung here by Bob Saget.
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby, edgy and blunt
And cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my...soul
Used twice in the Bowling for Soup song "99 Biker Friends" which is insulting an un-named abusive boyfriend that titular biker friends and the band wish to beat up. The first time it was played straight:
Such a big man Such a little chick I think it all Goes back to your tiny...pick up truck
The second time was very much subverted:
Tell her that you're sorry Blame it on the beer Your dad was mean to you Your friends think you're...an asshole. And I do too Over compensating For your small shoe
The profanity-ducking version is subverted by The Pogues in "The Old Main Drag":
One evening as I was lying down by Leicester Square I was picked up by the coppers and kicked in the balls
The ending of Peter Gabriel's "Big Time":
Big time, my belly's getting bigger
Big time, and my bank account
Big time, look at my circumstance
Big time, and the bulge in my big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big.
Genesis pulled this to neat effect in "Land of Confusion". The rhyme of the first couplet in the refrain suggests exactly the opposite of the word used in the second:
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in
They almost totally avert the trope at the end, though:
Stand up and let's start showing
Just where our lives are going to
Another obscenity free example comes from "I Wish I was a Hudson" by...ummmm...the Hudsons.
...Where I'd quickly learn the system,
Start giving good advice
I'd drink a barrel of whiskey
And I'd eat my beans and...maybe some cornbread. Maybe some cornbread!
And I say that I'm Grrrrrrrrrrrrrowing tired of this shit
By the same artist, My Whole Family
My whole family thinks I'm gay
I guess it's always been that way
Maybe it's 'cause of the way I walk
That makes them think that I like...boys
Also by Bo Burnham, Sunday School
Did you know that Satan wears a cape
Made out of a rainbow flag?
And did you know that Jesus hates abortions
Unless the kid was a f- Jew?
We'll love him and raise him, till he finally leaves us
What should we name him? How about Adolf.
For reference, here is (one version) of 'Miss Susie', which originated as a jump-rope rhyme:
Miss Susie had a steamboat The steamboat had a bell Miss Susie went to Heaven The steamboat went to Hello operator Please give me number nine And if you disconnect me, I'll paddle your Behind the refrigerator There was a piece of glass Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her little Ask me no more questions Tell me no more lies The boys are in the girls' room Pulling down their flies are in the city bees are in the park Miss Susie and her boyfriend Are kissing in the D-A-R-K D-A-R-K D-A-R-K [fast] DARK, DARK, DARK Dark is like a movie A movie's like a show A show is like a TV screen And that is all I know I know I know my mother I know I know my pa I know I know my sister With the alligator bra!
A somewhat similar nursery rhyme-type song:
Three little angels, all dressed in white Trying to get to heaven on the end of a kite The kite string broke and down they all fell Instead of going to heaven, they all went to Two little angels...(This continues on until the end of 'one little angel'.) Don't get excited Don't lose your head Instead of going to heaven They all went to bed.
Done in one of Jib Jab's 'Year in Review' songs, where the lyrics cut to the same word, only in a different context.
Global market meltdowns, A bailout by the Fed Fanny, Freddy, AIG and Lheman crapped the Bedlam in Afghanistan The Big Three self-destruct Jessie Jackson threatened to cut off Obama's Nutjobs made a bigfoot And Spitzer's friend turned tricks Duchovny went to rehab 'coz he couldn't control his Dick needed a kickstart, the US needed gas Harry showed the world his wand and Miley showed her Ask me any question, I'll give it to you straight For your sake kid I sure do hope '09 ain't like '08
"Flavor of the Month" by Black Sheep:
Just a brown fellow
Who's not afraid of Jello
To the people of the world
I would like to say G'day
Tally Hall presents a pseudo-example of this for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag in the song "Haiku":
I've never thought much of formulaic verse anyway And rhymes are not my forte. [correctly pronounced as "fort"]
And then he'll teach you how to...find yourself!''
Many Country Music songs subvert a rhyme to "ass": "Honky Tonk Attitude" by Joe Diffie, "You Ain't Much Fun" by Toby Keith, "Men" by The Forester Sisters, etc. Diffie uses a "well", and the other two use a "yeah". Also in Jo Dee Messina's "I'm Alright", she just doesn't say the word at all: "Been on top of the world and off on our…" When Phil Vassar (who wrote the song) did his own rendition for a Greatest Hits Album, he sang "asses."
Chad Brock's "Lightning Does the Work" takes it a step further:
I've seen lightning blow a cypress tree in half
The thunder's busy talkin', and lightning's kickin'...(thunderclap)
And yet another, from "The Truth About Men" by Tracy Byrd:
If you wanna know what we're all thinkin'
It's nothin' too complex
Just somethin' cold for drinkin'
And a whole lotta S-E-yeah, that's the truth about men...
Little Texas gets the most brazen award for country songs that subvert a rhyme to "ass" here...not completing the rhyme, in the chorus, and then using said non-completion as the title of their song, in "Kick a Little". (Though you might not know it because they set it up to rhyme with "last".
Chico Buarque, Brazilian musician, once used this in his song "Cálice". This song was a heavy protest against the military dictatorship that occupied Brazil back then. The subverted rhyme was a way of Getting Crap Past the Radar, making it a rare non-comedic example. Being such a serious and powerful song, most people appreciate the subtlety. AND it actually rhymes better this way. Yes, Chico is a genius!! It's also unusual in that the substituted part is before the part it is supposed to rhyme (he substituted the word puta, that means bitch or whore, for the word outra, other).
De que me vale ser filho da santa
Melhor seria ser filho da outra
Outra realidade menos morta
Tanta mentira, tanta força bruta
I kinda did a translation for English-speaking people, sorry if it's bad, Cálice is very hard to translate.
They may tell you it's only their job, But they love it every bit, So when they say it's not their way they're talking a lot of hypocrisy They hate you!
Most iterations of the chorus to A Tribe Called Quest's "Ham N' Eggs" do use the expected rhyme ("Not at all"), but towards the end of the song it's momentarily switched to:
I don't eat no ham n' eggs
Cuz they're high in cholesterol
Afrika do you eat 'em? No.
Pos, do you eat 'em?
Hell yeah, all the time!
Also "Can I kick it", 'hair' is forced to rhyme with everything else, but not 'wear' or 'air'
Make a note on the rhythm we gave ya
Feel free, drop your pants, check your ha-ir
Do you like the garments that we wear?
I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you`ll savor
Doesn`t matter if you`re minor or major
Yes, the tribe of the game, rhythm player
As you inhale like a breath of fresh air
Dream Theater's "As I Am". Might not be intentional, but it works anyway. The phrase seems like it should be "You cannot touch the way I roll"
You're thinking too much
Where is your soul?
You cannot touch the way I
Or tell me what to say
Toy Matinee's "Turn it on Salvador" contains this. Quoted directly from the lyrics insert:
Even tied, eggs you fried, out of luck
What the [some 15th century German word]
[some 15th century German word]
This may render the lyrics impossible for anyone to sing ever again, since the singer/main songwriter died, others might not remember the word, and it is incomprehensibly slurred and trailing-off; it sounds a tiny bit similar to "squawk."
"Chippy Tea" by The Lancashire Hotpots:
Her inspiration's Ready Steady Cook Am I eating it? Am I...It's Friday night, I want a chippy tea!
It were from a lass in Lancashire, her page had loads of hits I saw the pictures in her profile, she had absolutely massive too-ra-loo-ra-aye! and: She said she had no transport, so a lift she'd cadge And if I played my cards right, I'd get to feel her too-ra-loo-ra-aye!
In Eric Bogle's "Introduction Song", in which the members of the band introduce themselves, the bass player gets this:
I play electric bass, With an educated thumb, If you think my face is hairy, (instrumental line)
of Montreal's "My Favorite Boxer":
Hector Ormano is my favorite boxer. He goes smasho and everyone cheers. He turns big men into whimpering cowards. He's so strong and...how I adore him.
Then there is the Emilie Autumn version of the popular "Miss Lucy" song- here's just a part of it. (The rest can be found here.
Miss Lucy had some leeches Her leeches liked to suck And when they drank up all her blood She didn't give a Funny
Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden with "Big Fat John" (Prescott, that is):
He came from Hull, he was true grit. He was full of hope and he was full of integrity.
Played straight in Bob Rivers' A Visit From Saint Nicholson:
And a stiff drink for Mommy in a nice tall glass
She could really use something to kill that bug up her chimney
The bridge of Rin Barton's Favorite Tiny Cat has this:
Everything that happens, I know it's just bad luck
Even when I get home to find you've managed to poop on the wall, how did you even do that, what the fff-
-favorite tiny cat, you're my favorite tiny cat...
If I put my fingers here And if I say "I love you, dear" And if I play the same three chords Will you just yawn and say, "oh — It's all been done"
Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans":
Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise If we didn't fire our muskets 'til we looked 'em in the eye We held our fire 'til we seed their faces well Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave 'em — well...
Spoofed with "The Battle of Kookamunga" by Homer and Jethro. The missing word is not a profanity, though it would make the song racier.
We kept real still and we had our eyes a-glued We saw how they were dressed, they were swimming in the- well now...
Frank Zappa's "Father O'Blivion" has a rather prolonged one:
He was looking rather bleary
He forgot to watch the clock
'Cause the night before behind the door
A leprechaun had stroked, yes...
The night before behind the door
A leprechaun had stroked (he stroked it!)
The night before behind the door
A leprechaun had stroked his...
Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh - stroked his smock!
Harry Chapin's "W.O.L.D." serves up a mild variation of this, only with the "offending" word replaced with the thump of a drum rather than a different word:
There's a tire around my gut
From sittin' on my (* thump* )
And then there's Wodega, which is an entire song built on this.
Jon Lajoie's rap parody "I Kill People" manages to rhyme most of the time, however awkward and beige they may be. But when he decides to praise his own lines, well...read it and see.
Look around tell me what you see What's happening to you and me? God grant me the serentity, To remember who I am. Cause you're giving up your sanity, For your pride and your vanity, Turn your back on humanity, And you don't give a da da-da da-da...
Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer"
I am just a poor boy, Though my story's seldom told. I have squandered my resistance For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises.
Lady Gaga's song LoveGame:
I can see you staring there from across the block With a smile on your mouth and your hand on your HUH!
Also the chorus:
Let's have some fun, This beat is sick I wanna take a ride on your disco stick
The song "Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale" by Love uses an interesting variation of this. The last line of every stanza always trails off before a rhyme, but the word you'd expect to go there is then used as the first word of the next stanza. Thus:
What is happening, and how have you been? Gotta go, but I'll see you again And oh, the music is so loud And then, I fade into the... Crowds of people standing everywhere 'Cross the street I'm at the slop affair
From "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" by Big & Rich:
I'm a thoroughbred That's what she said In the back of my truck bed As I was getting Buzzed on suds
"Check Yes Juliet", by We The Kings, starts thus:
Check yes Juliet, are you with me Rain keeps falling down on the sidewalk
Another subverted rhyme to add emphasis to the lyrics is in Yoko Ono's "I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window"
I never had a chance to choose my own parents I never know why I should be stuck with mine Mommy's always trying not to eat And daddy's always smelling like he's pickled in booze
Done acappella with mermaids here. In the final verse, the subverted-rhyme scheme is itself subverted:
A: And when they were done with old Triton’s fair daughter B: They dropped her exhausted back into the water A: For each man on board had had a long stay with her B: In which time the sailors... (B puts hand over A's mouth to forestall interruption) B: ...had all had their way with her A: Only because she said it was okay with her.
Oded Gross's "Song That Doesn't Rhyme" is built on this trope:
This is a song I wrote, it's a song that doesn't rhyme. 'Cause I was in a hurry, and I didn't have the...patience.
You, by the phone You, all alone It's a long way back to Germany It's a long way back to Germany
The expected rhyme being "home".
There's this bit from Ludo's Rotten Town:
Heigh, heigh, yo-ho O're the Atlantic we go Drinkin' 'till we all get sick, And comin' up with limericks But we never quite remember how they end
The rap group Insane Clown Posse never blush at spewing filthy language, so they usually don't employ this trope. But, ironically, they do use it in an unexpected way in the opening verse of "The Headless Boogie":
It's Friday night Dark, scary Lonely walkin' through the park Cemetery And it's foggy Cold and smoggy I hear a dog A how-a-lin' doggy I'm scared Shoulda brought my shotgun Woulda, shoulda But I ain't got one So I watch my back Hey, what's that? The caretaker A dirty old hunchback I'd better run! Hide! Quick! Fast! He's comin' for my ass with a shovel (instead of "pick")!
From Angelspit's "Kill Kitty"
I am the fire
You use me to light the gas.
You are the paper
I use you to wipe my.
Double subverted by "Down in a Ditch" by Joe Diffie:
I'm runnin' this shovel way down in a ditch
When you're down in a ditch, it's a son of a gun
Every fool knows you'll never get rich
When you're down in a ditch in the Tennessee sun.
Jo Dee Messina's "I'm Done" subverts the rhyme because, if the word were there, it'd throw the meter off:
Oh, you had to scratch that itch
You deserve what you get, yeah, you and that…
Walkin' around, talk of the town...
"One More Drinkin' Song" by Jerrod Niemann:
And here's to bartenders tryin' to get paid
While the rest of us are tryin' to get... (guitar note)
Hey hey hey, what's so wrong
With one more drinkin' song...
A rather odd case in The Cave, by Mumford and Sons.
And I chewed my only necktie from the metal frame of my bed
Where I tied your wrists together spent all night giving oh you get the message don't you?
The Charlie Daniels Band's "Uneasy Rider" has this piece:
I called up the station down the road a-ways He said he wasn't very busy today And he could have someone out there in just about ten minutes or so He said, "Now you just stay right where you're at," And I didn't bother to tell the durn fool That I sure as hell didn't have any place else to go
And of course, there is the chorus line for "Last Kiss" by J. Franklin Wilson and the Cavaliers:
Well, where oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven, so I've got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave this world
"Hot Problems" by Double Take.
They see my blonde hair, blue eyes and class But they don't know I have a really big heart
Got kicked off the lectern at a worship song summit My hymns all plummet cuz church ladies still can't hum it But the kingdom of God, yeah I'm from it Man's religion gave me a fake red light so I'm a have to WOOP WOOP WOOP
You thought you took everything but you left something behind for me. I scooped it out, I bottled it up, and now it's there on the stand on the bed to remind me in case I ever forget you're just a piece of... poop.
And stop being such a whiny apprentice. Hoo hoo hoo...
The Dutch comedian André Van Duin in his song "I don't have my day today" goes through a whole list of bad stuff, including the following line that works the same in Dutch as in English:
Did you fall through the floor,
Is your sis playing ... mandolin.
"What Would Jesus Do" by musical comedy grip Axis of Awesome
Did you rise from the dead?
And did you give your life up
To save humans from bad luck?
Were you born of virgin birth,
Or did your parents just... have sex?
Huey Lewis and the News: One of their many hits, The Heart of Rock and Roll, invokes the trope towards the end of the second verse:
When they play their music, that hard rock music. They back it with a lot of flash. But it's still that same ol' back beat rhythm that really, really kicks them in the... (The expected rude rhyme "ass" is never sung, and the song goes to the chorus instead.)
I'm gonna be your girl tonight I'm gonna make you apple pie I'm gonna wear my cherry red I'm gonna give you lotsa
The line cuts off and goes straight into the next verse in the chorus which repeats the last two lines, but adds "room in bed" to the end.
Note that due to her accent, 'tonight' and 'pie' actually do rhyme and are not examples of this trope.
The Poxy Boggards have a rather explicit song called "Hey Nonny Nonny" that incorporates this trope, both with one part of the group oversinging the other at a crucial word, or simply changing the expected word. The chorus, as an example of the second variety, goes:
Be they ugly or unsightly
or just plain make you sick.
Every girl is pretty
with her lips wrapped 'round your...
Hey Nonny Nonny
Hey Nonny Nonny
Hey Nonny Nonny
Hey Hey Hey
In Taco's "Tribute to Tino," he described Valentino thus:
If you don't save yourself for marriage, you're a whore-able person
Musical comedian Stephen Lynch does this in his song about how much he loves black women:
Just don't take it personally, this is no attack
But we will never last because I am white, and you are...also white
Trout Fishing In America does this in their song "Why I Pack My Lunch," which is about exaggeratedly terrible cafeteria food:
Good food's rare as Halley's comet
This stuff makes me want to... Leave the table
From the Travis Shredd song "Smoove Flava":
Looky merfdog, back behind the keys
Growlin' like a demon, bring ya to your knees
He plays the purty piano parts and drives a big ol' truck
Plus he really likes to... frolic
From the Katy Perry song "Dark Horse" Featuring Jucy J:
Cause once you're mine
There's no goin' back!
Subverted and then inverted by Cherry Ghost in the song "Bad Crowd"
Her brother's in the National Front
Thinks Martin Luther King is a c...ondescending, stupid old son-of-a-bitch
From the Throwing Toasters song "The R.A. Song":
It was a shock to this poor fellow,
When the students went and filled his room up with red Jello.
And as if that didn't royally suck,
He then walked in on two students who were just starting to f...ffffeed their dog.
Barnes & Barnes has these lyrics in the song I Hope She Dies.
My girlfriend left me a month ago.
I hope she gets hit by a truck.
She split and hurt my big ego.
Now there's no one to kiss.
The Dutch band Doe Maar has a very famous one in the song Pa, where they sing Ik doe de dingen die ik doe/ met mijn ogen dicht, which translates as I do the things that I do/ with my eyes closed. Because of the word doe everyone expects the line to be met mijn ogen toe, but instead they use a synonym dicht.
Meghan Trainor's "Dear Future Husband" has one it lampshades:
I'll be sleeping on the left side of the bed
Open doors for me and you might get some... kisses
Don't have a dirty mind, just be a classy guy
Variation from the musical Altar Boyz: The song is about waiting until marriage to have sex. The line rhymes, but it's still not the word that the audience might be expecting:
So 'till then, I'll have to master...my own fate.
"Fie on Goodness" in the musical Camelot contains the following lines:
Ah, my heart is still in Scotland
Where the lasses woo the best
On some bonny hill in Scotland
Stroking someone's bonny...
Fie on Scotland, fie!
Fie on Scotland, fie!
In the musical My Fair Lady, Eliza causes pandemonium at the Ascot races by shouting, "Come on, Dover! Move your bloomin' arse!" Shortly afterwards, Freddie is about to rhyme "farce" by repeating her words when Mrs. Pearce interrupts him.
Later, Eliza sings in "Without You":
You, dear friend, who talk so well, You can go to Hertford, Hereford, and Hampshire.
Higgins' "Why Can't the English" has a very subtle one:
In France, every Frenchman Knows his language from A to Zed (The French don't care what they do actually As long as they do it in bed pronounce it properly.)
Mrs. Lovett: Is that just revolting, All greasy and gritty? It looks like it's moulting, And tastes like... Well, pity A woman alone...
At the very end of the show, Todd and Mrs. Lovett are singing a reprise of "A Little Priest": "Life is for the alive, my dear, / So let's keep living it, really living it—" and then Todd flings her into the oven, making the implied, but never sung, last line "in here!"
Although it's not used for comedic effect, Company features one in Poor Baby:
There's no one In his life, Robert ought to have a woman...
There's another one that is used for comic effect at the end of Barcelona, the morning after Bobby and April have slept together and she is getting ready to leave to be on a flight to Barcelona. Bobby makes the usual false pleas that she stay, clearly wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep, leading to this exchange:
April: That's not to say That if I had my way... Oh, well...I guess...okay!
In a reversal of this trope's conventional use, "Feelings," from the Bock and Harnick musical The Apple Tree: after Eve sings at some length about how nervous and dreamy she gets around Adam, she concludes with:
Is there a source for this congestion That I must learn to rise above? Is there a name for this condition? Yes, there's a name, and it is hell!
From a sanitized version of "Beauty School Dropout" in a junior high production of Grease:
Well, they couldn't teach you anything; you think you're such a looker, But no customer would go to you unless she was a...fool!
And when all your neighbors are upper class You won't know your Joneses from your Astors. ... When we're in the dough and off of the nut, You won't know your banker from your butler.
In the Lippa version of The Wild Party, Burrs sings in "Make Me Happy" (while waving a loaded pistol):
We've got a situation: Shit or get off the pot! Whaddaya say? You wanna give her away Or do you wanna get— On your knees?
In The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan, Katisha is trying to reveal to the chorus that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado, but she keeps getting interrupted: "No minstrel he, despite bravado! He is the son of..."; "I'll spoil your gay gambado! He is the son of..."; and so on. Fortunately for Nanki-Poo, the chorus is Genre Blind enough that they don't realize that the word that keeps getting cut off must be "Mikado".
Mercury: There was Mélisande, A platinum blonde (How I loved to ruffle her locks). There was bright Aurora, Then Pandora, Who let me open her— Chorus Girls (not half a beat too late): They couldn't compare to us!
In Curtains, near the end of the song "It's a Business", after using several inappropriate words without qualms:
Carmen: Yes, green's my favorite color, And I don't mean on the grass It's a business. And the shows I do do business, And I'm good at doin' business, And if you don't like my business, sweetie, Blow it out your... Guys: Business!
Played with in the song "Thataway". The script offers this line to alternate with the original or be used in its place for younger productions.
Cowboys: What's that music? What's that dance? What's that stirring? It's romance!
The original line?
Cowboys:What's that stirring? In my pants?
It's not exactly a rhyme, since it's just the same word over and over again, but from The Book of Mormon:
"Here's the butcher! He has AIDS! Here's the teacher! She has AIDS! Here's the doctor! He has AIDS! Here's my daughter! She has Aaaaaaaa wonderful disposition..."
In Wicked, during Elphaba's birth in "No One Mourns the Wicked":
I see a nose!
I see a curl!
It's a healthy, perfect, lovely little - (her father and the midwife realize she's green and start screaming)
The song "Random Black Girl" from "Homemade Fusion" by Kooman and Dimond:
The designers can't light me
Director don't know my name
And the makeup artists think
We all wear the same shade
And Mr. Stage Manager thinks I got too much sass
And the costumer don't know what to do with my big old...black...head, oh!
In The Unsinkable Molly Brown, the last rhyming word in every chorus of "Belly Up To The Bar, Boys" except the last is conveniently interrupted in "Miss Susie" fashion, e.g.
Belly up, Belly up to the bar, boys, Better have a few more. Never whirl with a three-toed girl Or a discontented wh— Horrible example, like the girl whose name was Carrie...
A The Now Show example from someone other than Mitch; Marcus Brigstocke's Dr Seuss poem about the Copenhagen summit has Gordon Brown taking a stand:
He suggested the EU should lead from the front So the Mail and Telegraph called him something very unpleasant indeed
Played straight and subverted on How Green Was My Cactus when Little Johnny Howler and John Fosters (the Cactus Island counterparts of Liberal party politicians John Howard and John Elliot) appeared as The Two Johnnies, and Fosters demonstrated that he had no understanding of what actually made the gag work:
Fosters: A brawl broke out outside Parliment House last night, during which Seanator Ros Kelly was punched in the belly... Howler: ...the Honorable Barry Jones broke a few bones... Fosters: ...and Senator Steele Hall was kicked in the carpark. (pause) Shouldn't that have been 'balls'?
In one episode of Just a Minute the panellists were given the topic "Why poems should rhyme". After the subject changed hands several times, Rick Wakeman finished it with the following (in the rhythm of a limerick):
There once was a man from Dundee
Who was stung on the leg by a wasp.
When asked if it hurt,
He said not very much,
It can do it again, if he likes.
(Variants on this limerick have been attributed to a number of comedians, including WS Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame. So this one was written 'about a century since'.)
From the play Saturday's Children by Maxwell Anderson:
Florrie: It's vain of its face It's vain of its figger It's just fat enough But it mustn't get - larger Willy: Rhyme it you dancing fool, rhyme it! Florrie: Um - it never uses bad words.
While the Dragon, the pig, ate his ferrets and pup,
Aye, best of his prize-winning er - she dogs.
In World of Warcraft the Forsaken have completely subverted a traditional rhyme with,
Roses are grey
Violets are grey
In Banjo-Tooie, Jamjars, who teaches you moves, does so in a rhyming style. Sometimes, he ends up rhyming the button names, which, while always rhymed in the original version, often did not rhyme in the Xbox Live Arcade version. You'd have the same problem if you played the original game in the US—Jamjars at one point rhymes the Z button with "red," which works in the UK—where "Z" is pronounced "Zed"—but not the US, where it's pronounced "Zee."
Also in Banjo-Tooie, Gruntilda, who has spoken entirely in rhyming couplets all through Banjo-Kazooie, and up to that point in the sequel, says "Oh, very well then" in response to a demand by her sisters to stop the incessant rhyming.
Korvak: Magic makes me happy, magic makes me glad, magic makes the voices quiet, and nothing rhymes with purple.
There's also Bard Roberts' shanty, recapping the "Great Brain Robbery" quest: "Mi-Gor tried to stop your heart's pace / Your foe's arm part anchor, part mace / Struck without delay / But him ye did slay / made him look a total...[beat]...moron."
Guybrush: We'll surely avoid scurvy if we all eat an orange. Haggis: And...! ...um... Bill: Well... Edward: ...err... Bill: Door hinge? Edward: No, no... Bill: Guess the song's over, then. Haggis: Guess so. Edward: Okay, back to work. Guybrush: Well, gee. I feel a little guilty, now.
In one part of SBCG4AP: Baddest of the Bands, the player has to help Homestar fill in the words to his song by directing him to food items. However, one of them doesn't pan out as expected:
Homestar: Bleu cheese or ranch. We can dine in, or we can take it to go.
Our food-related love makes me all tipsy, kinda queasy, like a...
In the 2011 edition of You Don't Know Jack, one of the commercials / sponsors is for a rhyming dictionary where the voice over consistently fails to rhyme any of his lines.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 provides us with the following gem, in a poem about the sheep of Gran Pulse titled "The Melancholy of the Lambs:"
It's hard to be sheep out here on the plain, Avoiding the hunters is such a terrible strain. Oh, I wish that once I could munch on some grass Without a man coming to pull a tuft from my...side.
In Are We There Yet? the puzzle for one of the Michigan tourist attractions, a red flannel factory, was a word search where a couplet was given after finding a piece of underwear; for example, "I see gallons, I see quarts; I see someone's BOXER SHORTS." Instead of a couplet, the response to a particular undergarment was "A BULLETPROOF VEST???" Another set of puzzles concerning the return of Hinckley, Ohio's buzzards consisted of a cryptogram which translated to:
Buzzard buzzard in the tree I hate the way you stare at me I wish you good I wish you well I wish you'd fly straight to
Followed by a different kind of puzzle which gave the answer "Iowa."
In Child of Light, everyone speaks in rhyme, save for the jester Rubella. Aurora and Igniculus constantly correct her when she goes off-script.
Here, Kilbil's the name, and rappin' is my thrill.
Just wait till you know me, I'm no run-of-the-...
Eight-tailed Yinchufriki* Jinchuuriki, I'm all for having brass...
If I drink Coke it's squicky 'cause it'll go right out my
The trope title itself is an example. If you don't get it...we can wait.
Cake Wrecks does it twice in the description of a wedding cake that appears to have sperm on it First "Roses are red,/Butterflies are blue,/Um.../Pardon me, but are those sperm on your wedding cake?" and then in Poem Option #3: Roses are red/And cake can be pretty./How sad for you,'Cuz yours looks all.../[eyeing children]/...unpleasant.
Para: We are villains who like to rhyme... Dox: In fact, we do it all the time. Para: You may think it's rather crass... Dox: But you can stick your cards right up your nose. Para: ...You were supposed to say "ass," brother. I thought we rehearsed this.
Also, in the middle of that duel:
Para: You have tricked us with your magic box! Dox: We invite you to suck on our co-<Bakura interrupts with praise for the move>
And at the end of the duel:
Para: It seems that we ran out of luck! Dox: It's just a card game, who gives a fu-<scene change>
Para: When we're through with you you will want to submit. Dox: If you ask me this clip show's a pile of horse sh-<cut to next clip>
Also played straight in the second Christmas special:
The Pharoh awoke the very next day, Wearing an outfit that made him look...uh, handsome.
And in "LEATHER PANTS~"
Marik: "We don't want vinyl or chinos or briefs/I am a criminal and he is a thief/and we are hot/hot, hot hot/we are quite sexy." Bakura: "Marik, that doesn't quite rhyme." Marik: "SHUT UP I AM LADY GAGA!"
A cult YouTube video parodies the Nickelback song Rockstar with new lyrics lampooning pop singers such as Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson:
I'm gonna dress myself without an ounce of class, Gonna make the boys all drool and stare at my...glasses
My car door's freaking out; it seems to be forever
In the concrete barricade; I wonder how I'm ever going to drive away.
This really isn't my day.
Sparks are flying, people dying, metal frying,
And I wonder if there's more to life or if I'll find that this is really it.
This game is a piece of work.
In thisI'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC episode with Deadpool singing: I'm sure that his power ring's a lot of fun/ but can it ever really be as cool as my M16 with laser sided scope oh my GOD I love this thing.
Break It Down, a short skit from the people who would later form Tally Hall, includes the following plan to make a quick buck:
"I have a better plan I'll marry a wealthy man." "Wouldn't that make you gay?" "Not neccesari-lay... ...I'll sleep in a separate bed, and I'll refrain from giving... [beat] ...kisses."
Remember that time that I saved your life? You were happy, I could tell.
You said something about how I was smart and I make your life a living heaven.
We do everything together like hide and go seek, your favorite game.
But I'm so glad that we found each other and I know you feel the identical way as me.
In the soundtrack for Season 9, Tucker's song "Bow Chicka Wow Wow Wow" has a variation that's something of a cross between this and Rhyming with Itself.
I'm so alone out in this canyon
Not one single girl in this canyon
Or anything rhyming with canyon
So call on me if you need a companion
It also has "Donut: The Musical", which is literally nothing but subversions and double entendres, sung by Ambiguously Gay and/or Camp Straight Donut. The main lyric is "Let me blow you... (uncomfortably long pause) ...away"; you can work out the rest on your own.
Jib Jab does this with "The Year 2008 in Review", sung to the tune of "Miss Susie". One example:
Baby Year 2008:Barack[sic] defeated Johnny So long to the far-right. Now McCain has many houses, But none of them are... White men got passed over, From Wasilla she was plucked; When the maverick tapped a hockey mom The press said, "What the..." Truck bombs in Islamabad; Bill Gates up and quit. Putin stuck his chest out, Told the Georgians to eat... Ships were seized by pirates, Ike and Gustav hit, Johnny's honey had a baby, But he said it wasn't... HIIIIISSS-tory's now littered With more famines, floods and wars. If there's one thing I am grateful for, It's that this job's now YOOOOUUUURS!
The Friendship is Witchcraft episode "Neigh, Soul Sister" features a couple of these in Sweetie Belle's song about the big race:
The race has begun We must run fast Jump over the mud Having a good time
Making tacky jelly Put it on your head We're gonna win the race Because I am a good racer!
The opening line of her earlier song might qualify, depending on where she was going with it:
Just because you feel upset Does not mean you have to yell
In the Prologue game of the Several Journeys of Reemus game, Liam the bear sings one of two short ballads at the end, depending on whether you got the "Reckless" or "Legendary" ending. The last two lines of the "Legendary" ballad fall under this trope:
Now the townsfolk gossip about this ingenious trick -
Wendy Testaburger did a version of the "Miss Susie" song in one episode of South Park.
Mrs Landers was a health nut. She cooked food in a wok. Mr Harris was her boyfriend, and he had a great big Cock-a-doodle-doodle, the rooster just won't quit And I don't want my breakfast, because it tastes like Shih Tzus make good house pets. They're cuddly and sweet. Monkeys aren't good to have, because they like to beat their Meeting in the office or meeting in the hall, The boss, he wants to see you so you can suck his Balzac was a writer, he lived with Allen Funt Mrs Roberts didn't like him, but that's 'cause she's a Contaminated water can really make you sick. Your bladder gets infected, and blood comes out your Dictate what I'm saying, 'cause it will bring you luck And if you all don't like it, I don't give a flying fuck.
From the episode "Royal Pudding"
"The Giant" a.k.a. Scott the Giant Dick: (deep voice) FEE! FI! FO! FUM! I SMELL KRAFT DINNER!
Adam: Bull shark! Porcupine! I don't know what! Going to this school's a pain in the— Jake: Adam! Adam: What? I was gonna say "neck". Jake: Oh. That's okay, then.
The painful thing about this is that the show can't go thirty seconds without a butt joke. Censoring it in the theme song is rather misleading.
Animal School Musical...in this one song Jake was singing, he subverted every single rhyme. And the song was about his incapability to rhyme.
An episode of The Fairly OddParentslampshades this, with Timmy being sent to the planet Yugopotamia, which has been conquered by the Gigglepies, an alien species that wear cuteness and rhyming as a hat. When Timmy inquires to their overlord about what they will do to their planet:
Overlord: We'll do what we always do, blow the planet up and move on to the next one! ISN'T THAT CUTE?
Timmy: That's horrible! And it didn't rhyme!
Overlord: [to the Gigglepies] He's on to us! GET HIM.
Garfield and Friends: 47's told in verse, except the last line which is not. Don't worry, folks, he wouldn't curse, but see the twist this cat hath...made:
Garfield: And now, this tale I must suspend / For I have come to...the finish.
Homer Simpson: I once knew a man from Nantucket… Bart: And? Homer: Let's just say the stories about him are greatly exaggerated.
There once was a rapping tomato. That's right, I said rapping tomato. He rapped all day, from April to May...and also, guess what, it was me.
Also from "Fat Man and Little Boy" with its own verson of 'Miss Susie' with Homer eavesdropping:
Lisa and Jamie (singing and rhyming): "Miss Lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell. Miss Lucy went to Heaven and the steamboat went to-" Homer (gasps) Lisa and Jamie: "Hello operator, get me number 9, and if you disconnect me, I'll chop off your be-" Homer (more gasps) Lisa and Jamie: "-hind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass, Miss Lucy sat upon it and cut her big, fat-" Homer (gasps, then passes out) Lisa and Jamie: "Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more-" (Lisa gets hit by a spitball) Lisa: "Ow! Spitballs!"
Yak:You sure are a clever guy. Now just follow Nob and I Norb: Dag I think you're really neat I like to sit and watch you eat It's cold in here, turn up the — Dag: He—music. Yak: LET'S TRY AGAIN! Let's not cast blame but this time Dag, just say your name! Norb: It looks like a good baguette, please give some to brother — Dag: Da—your name.
In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Unfair Science Fair", Dr. Doofenshmirtz recalls the time he tried writing poetry:
Doofenshmirtz: The movies are gray
The TV is black
The horses are running
Please bring me some food.
Or it could've just been a free verse poem. The comedic effect is the poem making no sense whatsoever, not because it didn't rhyme.
Epitaph: Here lies Cynthia Snell. She lived her life and went straight to -
Arnold: Huh. I can't read the rest.
And in a Pinky and the Brain cartoon set in medieval times with Pinky as a minstrel constantly missing obvious rhymes. In the climax Brain must choose between providing the right rhyme or completing the spell that will allow him to take over the world. Guess what he does.
From the Bagpuss song "The Boney King of Nowhere":
...Two mice came up from somewhere behind their Royal chum
They said, Dear King
Here is a thing
To warm the royal...
And stop you feeling numb
(For the non-British: the missing word is 'bum', which means 'bottom'.)
Sylvester: Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright. The band is playing somewhere, and, somewhere, hearts are light. And, somewhere, men are laughing, and somewhere, children shout, but there's no joy in Acme Acres. Mighty Buster has ... hit a home run!
Lampshaded by both Sylvester and Buster.
Sylvester: Say! That's not the way the poem goes! Buster: You're expecting me to strike out? I'm the star of this show!
Leela: That isn't what I meant!/That isn't what I signed!
Robot Devil: You should have checked the wording in the fiiine!...priiint!
The "Baxter Day" song from the ArthurChristmas SpecialArthur's Perfect Christmas has this— "We could just sleep late if that's what we wanted to do. We could even stay in pajamas all day and maybe eat a snack or... five."
"This Day Aria" features two consecutive examples:
Fake Princess Cadance: Vows, I'll be lying when I say That through any kind of weather I'll want us to be together The truth is I don't care for him at all! No, I do not love the groom In my heart there is no room But I still want him to be all mine!
Another instance happens in "Simple Ways", where Rarity falls for travel pony Trenderhoof, but Trenderhoof has a fascination with Applejack. Rarity tries to act like Applejack to win him over. We hear this gem from Trenderhoof:
Trenderhoof: Without farm life, there'd be much disparity These thoughts I think with great clarity Apples high to the sky, She's the one of my eye! That fruit-hauling pony named...Applejack!
From a birthday card, with the last word on the inside:
Jack wasn't nimble. Jack wasn't quick. He sat on your cake and burned his...corduroys.
Inspired by the classical nursery rhyme:
Mary had a little lamb and she also had a duck, she put them on the mantelpiece to see if they would fall off
A similar rhyme:
Mary had a little lamb She kept it very well One day she fed it dynamite And blew it all to...pieces
And another one
Mary had a little lamb She kept it in a bucket And every time the lamb got out The sheepdog tried to...put it back in again
An alliterative example: A number of popular science writers are fond of describing the basic drives of all animals (including humans) as involving the "Four F's: Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and Reproducing."
Roses are red Violets are blue I'm schizophrenic So am I!
Roses are red Violets are blue I've got Multiple Personality Disorder And so do we!
Roses are red Violets are blue I've got Dissociative Identity Disorder For goodness' sake settle on a bloody name for what we've got already!
Did you give your life up to save humans from bad luck?
Were you born a virgin birth or did your parents--have sex?
The Scared Weird Little Guys do a similar thing with their comedic song Christmas Day At least until the very end...
A Lipton ice tea commercial featuring a singing fish has a great averted rhyme.
Now you can make a tasty dish
'Cause tea with citrus goes great with—chicken
Another Mary poem:
Mary had a little skirt,
A slit went up its side,
And every time she wore the skirt,
The boys could see her thigh.
Mary had another skirt,
The slit went up its front,
But she didnt wear that one very often.
We must not forget:
Ms. Lucy had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Ms. Lucy went to Heaven
The steamboat went to -
Please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll chop off your -
Behind the 'fridgerator
There was a piece of glass
Ms. Lucy sat upon it
And broke her little -
Ask me no more questions...
And so on.
This is also the Miss Susie poem mentioned in the beginning of the article.
Popular jump rope game a while ago;
There was a man named Tiger Woods.
He had the cash, he had the goods.
Tiger Woods had all the luck.
How many women did he...HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH?
An older jump rope rhyme:
"Lincoln Beachey thought it was a dream To go up to heaven in a flying machine. The machine broke down, and down he fell, Instead of going to heaven he went to— Lincoln Beachey thought it was a dream..."
There is a Dutch poem which for the whole of the poem actually changes words to rhyme with the previous line. It's about a knight going to rescue a damsel from a dragon. The dragon agrees to let her go if the knight composes a verse on them - he doesn't get her: he can't rhyme.
The ABC Song, if you're British or Canadian:
Q, R, S
T, U, V
Y and zed...
The military cadence known as "Swing With Lulu" contains the following verses, among others:
Lulu's got a boyfriend
Her boyfriend's got a truck
Lulu shifts the gears
Her boyfriend likes to... steer
Some folks like the fishin'
Some folks like to hunt
When I am with Lulu
I'm always in her... car
At a certain public university in a certain eastern state, the men's glee club there maintained a deep repertoire of old and creatively dirty songs, one of which — called "High Above a Coopie's Garter" — employed an unusual version of this trope. The eight-line first verse, which the rhyme scheme clearly indicates should build toward the final word "...ass," instead ends with "...hmmmm." The second verse is then eight lines of humming, until the final word — "...ass."