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Vaudeville Hook
Even a Large Ham can be cured.
Real Vaudeville shows would Drop the Cow on bad or overly long acts with "the hook", a shepherd's crook extended from offstage to pull away the performer. But in cartoons, you don't even need to be on a stage to get the hook. Any bad performance can get the hook, even if you're performing on top of a fence - it just reaches out from Behind the Black and drags you offscreen. Wearing a red-and-white vertically striped shirt and a straw boater makes you especially susceptible to this, as does dancing while holding a cane. Spending a while dodging the hook, continuing to perform all the while, before eventually getting snared is a common feature.

Though he didn't originate it, the hook is forever associated with Howard "Sandman" Sims, a tap dancer who would use the hook on bad acts at the Apollo Theatre.


  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, this happens to Donald Duck and Daffy Duck in the Ink-n-Paint Club. After several minutes of trying to sabotage one another's piano playing, Donald fires a cannon at Daffy's piano, flooring his own and destroying Daffy's. Both of them, along with their pianos, are dragged off-stage with hooks.
  • In the new The Muppets movie. One of these is used to grab most of the other Muppets during the montage.
  • Used in one of Hal Roach's Our Gang comedies, in which one of the mothers tried to drag her boy offstage with the hook... but kept missing him, first popping a couple of stage lights, then badly electrocuting herself when the metal crook got caught in the live socket.

  • A vaudeville performer (complete with fez and revolving bowtie) gets pulled off of an illustration by a vaudeville hook in the Murderous Maths book Desperate Measures for the joke "Why isn't my nose twelve inches long? Because if it was it would be a foot.".

Live-Action TV
  • The Muppet Show: Deployed in several episodes, including multiple times during the episode that showed the audition process for the show. Listed on the Muppet Wiki.
  • Referred to on The Daily Show in 2004 when, after winning the Oklahoma primary, Wesley Clark said, "Oklahoma is OK by me!"
    Jon Stewart: Clark then added, "Idaho, Alaska!" before becoming the first candidate in history to be yanked off stage with a cane.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? (the American version) has a slight Running Gag of Colin Mochrie carrying a joke for "Scenes from a Hat" a little too long (generally because Drew "forgets" to buzz him out), at which point Ryan Stiles, or occasionally Brad Sherwood, will come over and gently usher him off center stage.

Newspaper Comics
  • Garfield: Garfield sometimes gets the hook when he's doing his fence act.
  • One Farley strip, when Bruin Hilda was running for mayor of San Francisco, had the beaver sing a campaign song (to the tune of "Saw Her Standing There". Hilda is thinking "Get the hook".
  • The page image comes from a political cartoon, where Uncle Sam is obliviously showing off America's status as a world power while China calmly watches in the shadows, with a "Your fifteen minutes are almost up, Sammy..."

Video Games
  • The fan game Mega Man: Rock Force uses these in Charade Man's stage to try and pull the player into spikes.
  • Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O'Fun, when five objects are dropped during the juggling act.
  • Peacock from Skullgirls exits the stage this way when switching out characters.

  • Referenced in Basic Instructions, when Mullet Boss says that his great-aunt was a professional vaudeville "hook-dodger" — "she started as a bad singer, and the act evolved from there".

Western Animation

RimshotRecorded and Stand-Up ComedyTalking to Himself
The Sound of Martial MusicAdministrivia/Images Without a SourceVillainous Demotivator

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