About 2-3 pounds! Duh!
Ok, seriously. A henway is a type of joke where the first person in a conversation uses a term in a way that leads the other person to respond with "what's <term>?". The first person then replies with the punchline (often a pun, although it doesn't have to be.)
Some of the most common henway terms are "<noun>way" note
, "<noun>fore" note
, "<noun>do" note
, "Grecian urn" note
and "yoors" or "yaws" note
Also known as a "Pun Trap". The best way to subvert the standard form if someone tries it on you in Real Life
is to ask "What's that?"
A favourite of the Pungeon Master
, and of anyone else who has had a bit too much snoo or updog lately.
Just about any Knock Knock Joke
is a Henway.
Compare Mathematician's Answer
, Not Actually The Ultimate Question
, Rhetorical Question Blunder
, Who's on First?
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- In this ad, Fozzie Bear recycles bottles, cans, paper and snoo. Then he lampshades the trope at the end.
- Lampshaded in one Josie and the Pussycats story, Alex Cabot III is kidnapped and held for ransom while the band is at a gig in Greece. As part of the ransom, the payment has to be delivered in an urn. The girls go to a shop, and once they are given one by the shopkeeper...
Clerk: And if you say, "What's a Grecian urn" there will be war between our countries!!
Melody: (Confused) But, I wasn't...
- One strip of Thrud the Barbarian had the central character (recast against type as a Renaissance fop) taking a barstool in ye medieval tavern and saying to the next guy along:
Thrud: I say, my fellow - have you done your chores?
Next Guy: Eh? What chores?
Thrud: Mine's a pint - cheers!
- Batman uses the Henway joke in order to defeat a telepathic cyclops, in Batman Odyssey.
Film — Animated
- The Lion King
Pumbaa: Hakuna Matata
is our motto. Simba:
What's a motto? Timon:
Nothing! What's-a motto with you?
- Another example comes in one of the short series, Around the World with Timon and Pumbaa.
Timon: (holding up an empty coat-hanger) Here, hold this sarong.
Pumbaa: What sarong?
Timon: Nothing, what's-a wrong with you?
- In Rango, the townsfolk explore a cave that one character explains is a dried-up aquifer, which leads to the exchange:
"What's an aquifer?"
"Well... it's fer aqua!"
- In South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, the Mole, a mercenary working for La Résistance, checks off what the boys needed to get for him:
Mole: Did you get ze mirror?
Stan: Got it.
Mole: And ze rope?
Mole: And ze buttfor?
Kyle: What's a buttfor?
Mole: For pooping, silly. *lights and drags on a smoke, presumably celebrating a well-laid trap*
- Chicken Run:
Mr. Tweedy: (being attacked) Mrs. Tweedy! The chickens are revolting!
Mrs. Tweedy: (not looking) Finally, something we agree on.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2:
Brent: Dr. Manny, this is delicious!
Manny: I call it Manny's gorilla stew.
Brent: So how do you make a gorilla stew?
Manny: You keep it waiting for two hours.
- From Yellow Submarine, as Old Fred and Ringo walk past a room full of displays:
Old Fred: Say, what would your friends be doing here?
Old Fred: Displayin' what?
Ringo: Displayin' around.
- Hercules has a reference to one of the more well-known ones: "He could tell you what's a Grecian earn!"
Films — Live-Action
- The Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd movie Spies Like Us includes the following exchange when the two hear a strange loud noise:
Aykroyd: It's a dikfer!
Chase: What's a dikfer?
Aykroyd: To pee with.
- There's a Running Gag like this in Airplane!.
Witness: Striker was the squadron leader. He brought us in real low. But he couldn't handle it.
Prosecutor: Buddy couldn't handle it. Was Buddy one of your crew?
Witness: Right. Buddy was the bombardier. But it was Striker who couldn't handle it, and he went to pieces.
Prosecutor: Andy went to pieces?
Witness: No. Andy was the navigator. He was all right. Buddy went to pieces. It was awful how he came unglued.
Prosecutor: Howie came unglued?
Witness: Oh, no. Howie was a rock, the best tailgunner in the outfit. Buddy came unglued.
Prosecutor: And he bailed out?
Witness: No. Andy hung tough. Buddy bailed out. How he survived, it was a miracle.
Prosecutor: Then Howie survived?
Witness: No, 'fraid not. We lost Howie the next day.
Prosecutor: Over Macho Grande?
Witness: No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande. Those wounds run... pretty deep.
- Big Fish, is full of tall tales and shaggy dog stories, but there's one simple gag that really stands out.
Ed Bloom: It's a metaphor.
Will Bloom: What's a metaphor?!
Ed Bloom: Mostly sheep and cows to graze in.
- Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a Hurricane of Puns, but one of the most memorable is after the titular character has hit her head on a movie marquee:
"How's your head?"
"Well, I've never had any complaints..."
- From The Muppet Movie, where Gonzo suddenly takes to the air at the Bogen County Fair via a bunch of helium balloons.
Kermit: Gonzo! What are you doing?
Gonzo: About seven knots!
- Man on Fire:
Pita: "What's your girlfriend's name?"
- In some deleted footage for Lucky Number Slevin, one of The Fairy's bodyguards makes these repeatedly.
- A Hard Day's Night:
Norm: "Ringo, what are you up to?"
Ringo: (peering from magazine) "Page five."
- From Spy Hard:
Agent Bishop: Sir, we have intercepted a disturbing video on the rock of Gibraltar.
The Director: Well, what is it?
Agent Bishop: It's this really big rock sticking out of the water on the south coast of Spain.
- From the aftermath of a particularly surprising moment in The World's End:
Gary: What the fuck does WTF stand for?
Steve: *emerges from hiding* What the fuck?
Gary: Oh yeah.
- From the Marx Brothers' Animal Crackers, when Admiral Spaulding (Groucho) is proposing to two women at once;
Mrs. Rittenhouse: Why, that's bigamy.
Admiral Spaulding: Yes, and it's big of me too. It's big of all of us, let's be big for a change.
- In the novel Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn, an astrophysicist goes to torturous lengths to include the abbreviation SNU (meaning "Solar Neutrino Unit", and pronounced "snew") into a conversation, just so the person he is talking to can ask "What's SNU?" The inevitable response is "Nothing much. What's new with you?"
- The same "joke" was in Pogo, with much less setup, starting off, "That's got a lotta snoo to it, boy," and continuing as above.
- Hawkeye set up the same joke in an episode of M*A*S*H, when while doing minor surgery he asked the nurse for "snoo".
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
They passed a yellow door on which it said: STOREROOM NUMBER 77—ALL THE BEANS, CACAO BEANS, COFFEE BEANS, JELLY BEANS, AND HAS BEANS.
"Has beans?" cried Violet Beauregarde.
"You're one yourself!" said Mr. Wonka. "There's no time for arguing! Press on, press on!"
- In the Callahans Crosstime Saloon story "Two Heads are Better Than One", Jake regales the bar's patrons with a tall tale of his illustrious ancestor Grandfather Stonebender, who "built the pyramids, freed the slaves, cured yaws!" When Mike Callahan gamely asked, "What's yaws?", Jake answered, "Why thanks, Mike, I'll have a beer."
- In The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, the mad girl Auri lives in the space beneath the Arcanum, which she calls "the Underthing." When Kvothe asks her to show him around, intending to sneak into the library, she feigns shock at his audacity in asking to see her Underthing.
- Happened once in Encyclopedia Brown. Someone asked Encyclopedia, "What do you know about Browning?" and Encyclopedia responded, "Not much, I've never browned."
Live Action TV
- Subverted in Red Dwarf. When Lister is told of an item called a wormdo, instead of asking "What's a wormdo?" ("Wriggles along the ground, of course!"), he derails the joke by asking, "What's that then?"
- And it just goes straight downhill from there.
Rimmer: Would you like a wormdo?
Lister: What's that, then?
Rimmer: What's what?
Lister: A wormdo?
Rimmer: What about it?
Lister: Look, is this still the opening line?
- One segment of The Daily Show showed a senator made an addition to a bill, then another added a "but-for" clause that said the other one couldn't add his. Jon Stewart then said he responded by asking for a ban on all "dickfores".
- A similar joke was found in an outtake for Australian children's show "Agro's Cartoon Connection":
Agro (puppet): Oh, where did I put my piecost?
Ann-Maree Biggar (human co-host): What's a piecost?
Agro: About $1.10!
Ann-Maree: Has anyone seen my henway?
Agro: What's a henway??
Ann-Maree: Oh, about five kilos [kilograms]!
Agro: Has anyone seen my dickfor?
Ann-Maree: What's a dickfor?
Agro gives an all-knowing glance at the camera; Ann-Maree gasps and shoves him aside.
- Subverted nicely with this exchange:
JD: Now I don't want you to worry, because your procedure is being performed by Dr. Dahman.
Patient: Who's Dr. Dahman?
JD: No, no...say that again, but without the doctor.
Patient: Who's Mr. Dahman?
JD: No no, just say the last name.
Patient: Who's Dahman?
JD: I'M DAH MAN! That was fun...it was fun, uh, doing that with you.
- The Office (US)
- Jim introduces Mike to this concept with the following joke. However, whenever Mike tries this on somebody else, they fail to respond properly. Eventually Dwight answers right, but Mike botches the joke anyway.
Jim: This place smells like updog.
Mike: What's updog?
Jim: Not much, what's up with you?
- And then Michael's attempt after trying on 7 other people...
Michael: This place smells like updog.
Dwight: What's updog?
Michael: Ha! Ha haha! Um... how are you?
Dwight: I'm fine, how are you?
- An example from The Drew Carey Show:
"You know, microbreweries are the second fastest-growing industry in America, right behind butfores."
"What's a butfore?"
"If you don't know, you'd better stop eating!"
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 has a numbers of these:
Crow: Hey, Joel, what's a Herringway?
Joel: About a pound...
- From the "Cave Dwellers" episode, when the film's star appears in the credits:
Joel: How much Keefe is in this movie anyway?
Servo: Miles O' Keefe!
- One of these turns up in an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It concerns a wild animal called a Pycost. 89 cents.
- You can pretty much make a drinking game out of this trope watching Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and Hee Haw (same thing, different demographic; that's actually the only enjoyable way to watch these shows, as even the actors would admit.)
- Murray from Flight of the Conchords is a constant source of these when it comes to artists and albums:
I've told you, when you're in a band, you don't get with your bandmate's girlfriend - past or present. ... You get a love triangle, you know? Fleetwood Mac
situation. Well there- there was four of them, so more of a love square— but you know; no one gets on. ... Mind you, they did make some of their best music back then. Bret (nodding his head)
: "Rumours." Murray:
No. It's all true.
Bret: Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall".
Murray: I'll say he is...he's off the planet. Wants to freeze himself, doesn't he?
- Plus, after Bret has written a song dissing other rappers:
Murray: Who were these people you were dissing? The only one I could make out was Snoopy— what's your problem with him?
Bret: No, Snoop Dogg.
Murray:I know he's a dog, Bret. I'm not totally in the dark ages. I do go out every once in a while. He's lovable! Leave him alone.
- UK Comedy The Fast Show had character Arthur Atkinson do a whole sequence of these in the mock Hee Haw sketches parodying old music-hall comedies. The gags always involved corny sound effects like a slidewhistle, pie-in-face gags, or corny wordplay, such as:
Announcer: "This first story involves Arthur Atkinson, and he's not feeling himself."
Arthur: "And I'm not feeling anyone else neither, before you ask."
[cut to shot of audience cracking up]
- One in Spanish: The Mexican comedian Chespirito had a character, the old and crotchety Doctor Chapatín. The doctor always carried a paper bag which would never play any part whatsoever in the plot, except to punch whoever dared to say that he was old (this happened Once an Episode). But once, his nurse and one patient asked him directly about the paper bag and he finally answered: "Tengo queles" "¿Queles?" "Qué les importa" (that could be roughly translated as "It's nunya." "Nunya?" "Nunya business").
- In the M*A*S*H episode "Where There's a Will, There's a War", Hawkeye fondly recalls (via flashback) a time when the usually-humorless Margaret Houlihan started rattling off a whole bunch of these with him while taking inventory in the supply hut:
Hawkeye: Sulfa...where's the sulfa?
Margaret: The sulfa's in the living room.
Margaret: The sulfa's in the living room. Between the end tables.
Hawkeye: (astonished) Margaret, you told a joke!
Margaret: I'm tired.
Hawkeye: "The sulfa's in the living room." (starts laughing) I can't believe you said that!
Margaret: (laughing now, too) I told you I was tired!
Hawkeye: No, I love it! Somebody's finally been messing with your funny bone! Okay, sulfa...we got plenty.
Margaret: Sulfa so good. (starts laughing again) Morphine.
Hawkeye: No, thanks, I got plenty. (They both crack up, then start to compose themselves.) Digitalis?
Margaret: No, I'm keeping it a secret. (They both lose it for good.)
- Joey's being dumb rather than deliberately funny:
Rachel: See? Unisex.
Joey: Maybe you need sex. I had sex a few days ago.
Rachel: No, Joey, U-N-I sex.
Joey: Well, I wouldn't say no to that...
- And then Joey misunderstands a real word to set this up:
Monica: Hey Joey, what would you do if you were omnipotent?
Joey: I'd probably kill myself!
Monica: Excuse me?
Joey: Hey, if little Joey's dead, then I got no reason to live.
Ross: Joey, uh, OMNIpotent.
Joey: You are?! Ross, I had no idea. I thought it was like a theoretical question, y'know?
- There's also the new age doctor who tells Ross he has a "cundis".
Ross: What's a 'cundis'?
Doctor: Nuthin', what's a cundis with you?
- When Rachel is looking at an apothecary table in a catalogue:
Rachel: Oh! Look at this little drawers! Oh look-look it says that it holds 300 CDs.
Chandler: Ahh, just like the apothecary tables of yore.
Rachel: Your what?
- In the Season 3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Gingerbread", Buffy laments that she doesn't think anything she does makes a lasting difference, but at least she finally understands something that's baffled her for years.
Buffy: I'm like the boy in that story, the one who stuck his finger in the duck.
Buffy: (confused look)
Angel: (chuckles) It's another word for dam.
Buffy: Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now.
- If only Willow was there to hear about sticking fingers in dykes - I mean dikes.
- Skins did one of these in the S3 opener.
It's inexplicable, Pandora. Pandora:
Yeah, inexplicable. *beat*
What does inexplicable mean, Eff? Effy:
Can't explain. Pandora: [dismayed]
Alright, suit yourself then.
- A Muppet Family Christmas:
Fozzie: I didn't know you were a talking snowman.
Snowman: Actually, I'm a snooman.
Fozzie: What's a snooman?
Snowman: Nothing. What's a snoo with you?
Fozzie: Ah, Christmas. Time for Santa Claus and his eight prancing reinbear.
Snowman: That's reindeer.
Fozzie: No. That's snow, darling!
- Also from The Muppet Show, when Fozzie coerces Kermit to feed him the line, "Good grief, the comedian's a bear!" Fozzie answers, "No he's-a not, he's-a wearin' a neck-a-tie!"
- "Do you like Kipling?" "I don't know; I've never kippled."
- "Can you play hatless?" "I don't know, who wrote it?"
- "Do you enjoy bathing beauties?" "I don't know, I never bathed one."
- "Do you know there's someone trying to sleep up here?" "No, but hum a few bars and we'll fake it!"
- Jim Ignatowski was taking his driving test, leading to this classic gag:
Jim: What does a yellow light mean?
Bobby: Slow down.
Jim: Okay. What...does...a...yellow...light...mean?
Bobby: Slow down.
Jim: Okay. OK. Wwwwhhhaaaat dooeesss aaaa yyyeeeellllowwww lllliiiight mmmmeeeannn?
- In another episode, Latka Gavis leads Louie dePalma — possibly unintentionally — right into one of these:
Louie: What's this?
Latka: It's a kebble.
Louie: What's a kebble?
Latka: 110 kebble make a lithnitch.
Louie: What's a lithnich?
Latka: 270 lithnich make a matta.
Louie: What's a matta?
Latka: I don't know, what's a matta with you?
- On That's My Bush!, Larry, George W. Bush's wacky neighbor, would use one of these almost Once per Episode.
- In one episode, someone else gives the punchline instead (responding to "Stardoo" with "It twinkles!"), making him very, very angry.
- Larry also did the "Hindu" punchline, though unenthusiastically, when George in fact asked him what a Hindu was.
- Subverted in one episode where spies tunneled to the White House:
Larry: Say, George, there's a hole dug in your front porch.
George: I get it, Larry. I'm supposed to say, "What's a hole dug?" Ha ha.
- On one occasion, Larry actually started to do the Trope Namer joke but was cut off by George, who was in the middle of some hijinks and didn't have the time for it.
- From an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Will corrects Carlton's usage of the word "dis":
Will: That's dis.
Carlton: I don't care if it's dis, dat or the other thing!
- Some of the puns on A Bit of Fry and Laurie took this form.
John: You have a daughter, I believe?
Peter: Yeah. Yeah, Henrietta.
John: Did he, did he, I'm sorry to hear that.
- In one episode of Blackadder, Baldrick is running for office and tells his boss he thinks his first name is "Sodoff", because all the other kids used to say "Sod off, Baldrick!" Blackadder notes him down as "S. Baldrick". Later Edmund is interviewed.
Interviewer What does the S stand for?
Interviewer Yes, I guess it's really none of my business...
- Crime Story - at a block party cookout, Polish cop Krychek is quizzing black cop Clemmons on Polish food. When he gets to garachki Clemmons is stumped - turns out it's what you use to open a garage door.
- Corner Gas: In "Crab Apple Cooler":
We could play euchre. Oscar: Euchre
? I hardly know 'er! Lacey:
Or Twister. Oscar: Twister
? I just met 'er! Lacey:
Or maybe we could just play charades. Oscar: Charades
? Ha ha... I hate charades
Charades it is. Lacey: Good thing I didn't say "poker."
- From the Salute Your Shorts episode "Ghost Story":
Dina: ...It's something 4 out of 5 doctors recommend.
Telly: Which doctors?
Dina: Exactly, witch doctors...
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- In the "Black Magic Police" sketch, when a reporter dramatically asks, "Just what are the police up to?", an especially stupid-looking cop looks up from a book he's reading and answers, "Oh, I'm up to page 39, where Peter Pan first manifests himself."
- Also, the two pepperpots turn to alternative entertainment after Radio 4 explodes:
Pepperpot #1: Oh, dear. The radio's exploded.
Pepperpot #2: Well, what's on the television, then?
Pepperpot #1: Looks like a penguin.
Pepperpot #2: No, I didn't mean what was on the TV set. I meant what programme.
- Not surprisingly, Police Squad! was built on this trope. The most famous example:
Det. Frank Drebin: Wait a minute, let me get this straight: Twice came in and shot the teller and Jim Fell.
Sally Decker: No, he only shot the teller, Jim Johnson. Fell is ill.
Drebin: Okay, then after he shot the teller, you shot Twice.
Sally: No, I only shot once.
Capt. Ed Hocken: Twice is the hold up man.
Sally: Then I guess I did shoot Twice.
Drebin: Oh, so now you're changing your story.
Sally: No, I shot Twice after Jim fell.
Drebin: You shot twice and Jim Fell?
Sally: No, Jim fell first and then I shot Twice once.
Drebin: Well, who fired twice?
Capt. Hocken: He's the owner of the tire company, Frank.
Drebin: [pauses] Okay. Once is the owner of the tire company and he fired Twice. Then Twice shot the teller once.
Drebin: ...and Jim fell and then you fired Twice.
Drebin: Okay. All right, that will be all for now, Ms. Decker.
Capt. Hocken: We'll need you to make a formal statement down at the station.
Sally: Oh, of course!
Drebin: You've been very helpful. We think we know how he did it.
Sally: Oh, Howie couldn't have done it. He hasn't been in for weeks.
Drebin: Well. [pauses] Thank you again, Ms. Decker.
Drebin: [to Capt. Hocken] Weeks?
Capt. Hocken: Saul Weeks. He's the comptroller, Frank.
- Later, as they're arresting Sally, Capt. Hocken addresses two cops standing nearby.
Capt. Hocken: Sergeants, take her away and book her.
Drebin: [addressing each officer as if introduced] "Sergeant Takeraway, Sergeant Booker."
- The Nanny
- Alluded to in Doctor Who, "Parting of the Ways" as a bit of a Stealth Pun:
"Rose Tyler. I was gonna take you to so many places. Barcelona. Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona. You'll love it, fantastic place, they've got dogs with no noses! [laughs] Imagine how many times a day you end up telling that joke, and it's still funny!"
- Used by Benny Hill in a skit where a brother and sister team claim to have climbed the highest mountain ridge in the world.
Sister: No, he tells the truth!
- On one episode of Raw a detective demanded to know Road Dogg's name. He said, "First name 'Deez'. D-E-E-Z. Last name...'Balls'. B-A..."
- The Goon Show makes a similar joke about "hendus".
Weatherman: "Gale force hendus are sweeping in from the East. That is the end of the hendu warning."
Seagoon: "Pardon me, but what's a hendu?"
Greenslade: "It LAYS EGGS!"
Seagoon: "And you say they're blowing from the East?"
Seagoon: "Stand by for Easter Eggs!"
- Hello Cheeky took great delight in giving subversions or variations on the old "Jamaica?" gag.
Tim: You know, the other day I was walking through the town, and I overheard two women speaking. One of them said "My husband's gone to the West Indies," and the second one said "Jamaicim?"...and the first one hit her.
- Or this exchange, taking place in the West Indies:
John: My wife has gone to England.
John: No, she went of her own accord. ...It's not working...
- Abbott and Costello did this all the time. For example, from the episode "Costello's Farm":
Abbott: What kind of cow have you? A heifer cow?
Abbott: A heifer cow?
Costello: Nah, I gotta whole cow! I gotta whole flock o' cows!
Abbott: No, no, no, stupid! It's not flock, it's herd!
Costello: Herd o' what?
Abbott: Herd of cows.
Costello: Sure I've heard o' cows!
Abbott: No, no, no, I mean a cow herd.
Costello: What do I care if a cow heard? I ain't said nothin' to be ashamed of!
Abbott: Oh, just forget it, Costello. I'm not in the mood.
Costello: Not in what mood?
Abbott: A cow mood.
Costello: Who cares if a cow mooed?!
- Henny Youngman is the Trope Codifier, period. End of story. Just four words: "Take my wife - please!"
- From the play Shiek, Rattle and Roll:
"He was a Muslim, I think. Or a Hindu."
"What's a Hindu?"
"Scratches around in the dirt and lays eggs. Get it?
- From a long exchange in The Pirates of Penzance:
Major General: "Now, as I see, you are only repeating the word "orphan" to show that you understand it."
Pirate King: "I didn't repeat the word often!"
Major General: "Pardon me, you did indeed."
Pirate King: "I only repeated it once."
Major General: "Ah, but you repeated it!"
Pirate King: "But not often."
Major General: "STOP! I think I see where we are getting confused! When you say "orphan", do you mean "orphan", a person who's lost his parents, or "often", frequently?"
Pirate King: "Oh! I see what you mean. Frequently!"
Major General: "Ah! You said "often", frequently!"
Pirate King: [getting irked] "No, only once."
Major General: "Exactly! You said "often", frequently, only once!" (bursts into song)
- The Foreigner: Betty Meeks offers to make breakfast as Ellard explains what 'a zillion' is to Charlie:
Meeks: Hominy grits?
Charlie: A zillion!
- Episode 303 of Sam & Max: Freelance Police has a Pollosaurus Henway. Sam falls for it.
- In the first two Discworld games there's a dialogue routine where a character makes a statement that prompts Rincewind to say 'What's yours?' with the expected response.
- Arthur, King of Time and Space is fond of this one.
- Wonderella's tried to do this with "dickfor", but so far either nobody's fallen for it or nobody's had the nerve to question her. (Alternatively, it's just a Stealth Pun by the author.)
- Of course not, Wonderella wouldn't fall for any joke that Clonerella knew unless she had spaced out.
- Tweep has Grumpy Bear Jack, when asked if he was ready for the night's outing, announce he has twisted his courage to the sticking place.
Milton: "Screwed", Jack.
Jack: I'd say.
- One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has the "buttfor" variation being played by a priest administering to a criminal on death row.
- In Ozy and Millie, Millie spends quite a few strips trying to set up a situation where she asks Ozy "Do you want your palm read?", he says yes, and she gets to paint his palm with the bucket of red paint she's been carrying around. It never quite works out; Ozy figures out what's going on almost immediately but is perfectly willing to watch her continue to try.
- xkcd: Supercollider? I 'ardly KNOW 'er! (from this alt text)
- Pulled twice in this Nedroid comic, the second one's in the mouseover text.
- The "updog" version was used, then subverted on Coach Random.
- In Flintlockes Guide To Azeroth, someone innocently asks a question in the General Chat channel:
[1. General][Pisket] Need d00d 2 duel 2 lvls below me PST
[1. General][Greystroker] what does PST mean anywayz?
[1. General][Flintlocke] "Please Send Tell"
Greystroker whispers to you: what does PST mean?
You whisper to Greystroker: Please Send Tell, dumbass.
Greystroker whispers to you: i just did!
- Waterworks: (Spoiler link) Connie attempts to use the "updog" joke on Slick, who doesn't get it.
- In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Buster gets caught by three southern belle gators and all of them insist on marrying him. The father obliges, leading to:
Buster: I can't marry all three of them, that's bigamy!
Big Daddy: No, that's big-a me!
- "Drool, the Dog-faced Goblin," an episode of The Real Ghostbusters, contains one: At one point, our heroes are suddenly caught in a hailstorm. The hail then changes, leading to a set-up line that inspires Ray to do his best impression of Chico Marx:
Egon: This isn't hail. This is hominy grits!
Ray: Okay, boss, I'll-a bite. How-many-grits a' you think-a we see?
- The Simpsons
- In "The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase'', they welcomed special guest Tim Conway! Part of the joke here is that Conway's estimate is way off.
Homer: What's a Tim Conway?
Tim Conway: About 120 pounds.
- An example from a Show Within a Show parody of Hee Haw:
"I caught my wife in bed with my best friend."
"Yep. Bit him, too!"
- When Marge attempts to purchase a protective cup for Bart, the guy behind the counter feigns ignorance until she frustratedly spells it out: "C-U-P. I wanna C-U-Oh my god!".
- In "Four Great Women and a Manicure":
Homer: Armada? What's armada?
Moe: Nothing. What's a matter with you?
- Bart's prank phone calls to Moe's Tavern in the early seasons were all about this. He'd ask Moe to page such improbably-named patrons as Al Coholic, Amanda Hugandkiss, I.P. Freely, Bea O'Problem, Oliver Clothesoff, Hugh Jass, etc. That last one (Hugh Jass) turns out to be a real person who was in the bar at the time.
Bart: Uh, look, I'll level with you, mister. This is a crank call that sorta back-fired, and I'd like to bail out right now.
Hugh Jass: All right. Better luck next time. *Hangs up* What a nice young man.
- Not so subtle the time he asked for "ima hugemoronwithanuglyfaceandabigbuttandmybuttsmellsandIliketokissmyownbutt." It still worked, due to happening during a Halloween special wherein Bart had reality-warping powers.
- Herb Penguin does the old-fashioned one to Don in an opening to Beakmans World.
- From Jackie Chan Adventures:
Ratso: What's a Babylonian urn?
Finn: Probably more than we do!
- Arthur does the traditional version in one episode, with a race to the ice-cream place: "Last one there is a henway!" And then after arriving:
"You're last, Arthur. You're a henway!"
"What's a henway?"
"About 5 pounds."
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender , Aang is looking for an Earthbending teacher, and hears about an event called Earth Rumble 6. Asking a couple of local losers about it, he gets told it's on the island of "Nunya". What makes them lose is that, aside from Katara beating the answer out of them afterward, one of them jumps the line and answers the question before it's asked: "Nunya business!"
- Sushi Pack
- Comes up twice in one conversation in the episode "Where No Truth Lies." First, when the Sushi Pack ask Officer Flume "What do you have?" (meaning the crime) and she replies, "Oh, it's nothing, just a little cold." She then tells them about The Prevaricator, who made off with the mayor's prized collection:
Officer Flume: Anyway, go up to the ski lodge and talk to him.
Kani: The Prevaricator?
Officer Flume: No, the mayor.
- Comes up again, when the Pack talks to the proprietress of a small cafe. She tells them that The Prevaricator lives just up the road, but "it's a slippery slope," which the Pack take literally, so she replies that she was talking about The Prevaricator himself.
- When Danger Mouse is introduced to Egregious M. Murphy, he naturally asks "What's the 'M' for?" Murphy explains that the M4 is a motorway that goes to Wales."
- In a sing-along host segment of The Beatles cartoon, Ringo is taking diction lessons:
Ringo: I was practicing the exercise in this book. It teaches you how to pronunciate good like an Englishman should.
Paul: (agitated) The word is "enunciate!" "E!" "E!" "E!!" Don't you know the King's English?
Ringo: I know the Queen is!
- In The Fugitive Parody Episode of Johnny Bravo, this exchange occurs:
Officer #1: I want you to look in every corner! Search every highway, freeway, henway...
Officer #2: What's a henway?
Officer #3: Oh, about three punds.
"Not much. What's up with you?"
Shrieko: Did ya look in the updock?
Freako: Updock? What's 'updock?'
Shrieko: Nuttin'! What's up with you?!
- The Futurama episode "2D Blacktop" had this exchange:
Professor: Ah, perfect timing. I just turbo charged the ship's matter compressor.
Fry: What's the matter compressor?
Professor: Nothing's the matter, Fry, now that I've turbo charged the matter compressor.
- In an episode of Cartoon Planet, Brak tricks Zorak into asking "What's a matta?". Zorak retaliates by getting Brak to ask "What's a henway?".
- Popular Internet joke, usually involving Christian Bale's Batman and Heath Ledger's Joker:
Joker: "It smells like updog in here."
Batman: "What's updog?"
Joker: "Nothing much, you?"
- Cole's Law: Thinly sliced cabbage, with mayonnaise and carrots.
- Harry Potter joke:
Harry, I have to tell you something. I'm a werewolf. Harry:
Are you fucking serious? Lupin: That too.
But don't change the subject.
Ron: Harry, quick! Dumbledore's been in a horrible accident!
Harry: Oh my god! Was it serious!?
Ron: No, it was Snape.
Harry: Surely you can't be serious!
- A common U.S. Army prank involves calling a novice recruit and tell him to find a first class sergeant and ask him if he has a "pricky-7"... the first class sergeant's rank code is "E-7", and "pricky-7" sounds like "prick E-7". Hilarity Ensues. The setup often works because it exploits the existing naming convention for Army implements. Portable combat radios have designator names starting with "PRC"-such as the PRC-25 and PRC-77 'Nam era backpack rigs, up to the modern PRC-152. Thus, so easy to tell the rookie that you need a portable radio, type 7, modification E. Got that? PRC-E7. Go to the sarge and say you're looking for the PRC-E7.
- Urbate the boat. Urbating is the old practice of massaging the larger woodwork/ironwork of the boat (preferably with some water or special salves), to release built-up stress. Therefore, it is important urbate the various parts. In particular the mast should be urbated regularly.
- Another classic example is the hammerfore, which has also been spotted in a Keebler cookie commercial.
Person A: What's a hammerfore?
Person B: Pounding nails in.
- An ancient joke:
"What's a Grecian urn?"
"About six drachmas an hour."
- Subverted by The Goon Show, in the episode "The Mighty Wurlitzer":
I thought I saw a Greek urn buried in the sand. Moriarty:
What's a Greek earn? Grytpype: It's a vase made by Greeks for carrying liquids
I didn't expect that answer. Grytpype:
Neither did quite a few smart-alec listeners.
- Another (sub?)version of it appeared in Private Eye when financial crisis hit Greece:
"What's a Grecian urn?"
"A lot less since he joined the Euro."
- Another old joke, from a professor:
"You know, I went to Moscow once, did some nice sightseeing. There was this river—what was it called...?"
"Oh, it was disgusting!"
- Yet another old joke:
"My wife's gone to the West Indies."
"No, she wanted to go."
- This one's ascended a bit since the Led Zeppelin song, "D'yer Mak'er." North Americans still tend not to get it, because they don't have the right accent, so they usually pronounce it "dire maker".
- Done in a Blues round (in calypso form) by I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue:
- Weird Al Yankovic used a variant of this as the repeated "fade out" line at the end of "Wanna B Ur Lovr":
Girl, you must be Jamaican, because ja makin' me crazy...
- Or the alternate version:
- The folks at RPGMP3.com subverted this one along with some other jokes ("My dog has no nose." "How does he smell?" "He doesn't, he has no nose.") in one of their audio reviews:
My wife's gone to Jamaica.
Of her own accord?
- And still another old joke:
"I was playing card games with some African natives."
"No, I won!"
- And still another:
I went on vacation to that big city in Switzerland.
No, I nearly froze to death!
- This one works if you have an American and a Brit talking.
"Back home, I used to play a lot of football."
"Oh, you mean soccer?"
"No, I would never hit a girl."
- Variation used in a recent slapstick comedy
"Up for a game of football?"
The original asker then hits the closest woman
- From Bash:
"Did you hear about that actress who got stabbed? Reese... Reese something."
"No, with a knife."
- A popular nerdy one:
"In High School, my mom dated that physicist guy..."
"No, he was a jerk."
- The old one about Alaska made it onto Have I Got News for You, much to Paul Merton's shame.
What state is Sarah Palin from? Paul Merton:
Alaska. Alexander Armstrong:
Yeah, would you? Paul Merton:
] ...I'm now permanently associated with that joke.
- John Humphrys got in a good one in the episode he hosted, when Sean Lock asked him about having become a father at a lateish age.
Humphrys: I'm not in the first flush of youth, that's absolutely true... and I do have a three-year-old, that's true.
Lock: What's that like?
Humphrys: [holding his hands a few feet apart] Well, it's about that big...
- One that can be modified with any word ending in "ing":
"Do you like Kipling?
"I don't know. I never Kippled."
- Liquor? I 'ardly know 'er!... etc.
- Rectum? Damn near killed 'em!
- Person A: Let's play a game!
Person B: How about poker?
Person A: Poker? I hardly know her!
Person B: Facepalm
- Or, if you're from Maine: Bangah? ("Bangor" pronounced with the Downeast accent.) I hahdly know ah!
- Gladiator? You bet he was!
- A political one:
"Nixon was out of the White House one day, making a speech in front of the United Nations. He didn't return until about one in the morning, and wandered into the Oval Office to make a note of something. But as soon as he walks in, he sees his wife sprawled across the desk, completely nude, and right next to her is... what's his name, the Secretary of State."
"No, they were having sex."
- In Texas Hold'em, the hand Jack-4 is known as a "flat tyre". The joke is reversed in this case, because the punchline is the question ("What's a jack for?") and will only be revealed when someone asks why the hand is given this name.
- Another one runs roughly like this:
Bob: Alice, I need you to run to the store and get me a mattababe.
Alice: What's a mattababe?
Bob: Nothing. What's the matter with you?
- One more:
Bob: My sister fell down a flight of stairs.
Bob: No, she still has some salvageable parts.
- Can you tell me what nationality Napoleon's parents were?
- There was this white guy wearing a keffiyeh standing in front of the pissoir in the Dubai airport... I sez to him "You may look like an Arab, but I know you're-ah-peein'!", ha ha ha ha....ew.
- "Could you pass me that [object]?" "Pass it? I couldn't even swallow it ..."
- A curious non-Scot meeting a man in a kilt:
"Is anything worn under there?"
"It's all in perfect working order, thank you."
- Australians sometimes pick on New Zealanders with the "What's a Hindu" joke above.
- "Are you Russian?" "No, I was just walking fast"
- In chat rooms:
Person A: What does idk mean?
Person B: I don't know.
Person A: No one knows!
- In a similar vein as the IDK joke, with a bit of Bilingual Bonus
Bob: He had a certain je ne sais quoi
Alice: What does je ne sais quoi mean?
Bob: "I don't know what"
Alice: Then why did you say it?
- More Bilingual Bonus:
Carol: How do you say "horses" in Dutch?
Carol: HOW DO YOU SAY "HORSES" IN DUTCH?
- One used with kids:
Person A: What are you eating under there?
Person B: Under where? (underwear)
- The Segway PT weighs about eighty pounds. When it was first introduced, many people didn't know what it was, and had to ask.
- Another joke, getting a bit old now:
"D'you know that racing driver, Niki something?"
"I SAID, DO YOU KNOW THAT RACING DRIVER, NIKI SOMETHING?"
Redneck: So, what school did y'all go to?
Redneck: WHAT SCHOOL DID Y'ALL GO TO?!
- "Ugh, I'm got some updoc all over my hair." "What's updoc?"
- Another variation: *sniff* *sniff* It smells like updog in here.
- A third variant: Upsexy.
Guy: What's upsexy?
Girl: Nothing much.
- "You have a dickfore on your forehead." "What's a dickfore?"
- I once knew a fellow who had snew in his blood...
- And there's this one:
: What do you catch a salmon with? Person B
: Salmon bait. Person A
: That's right! What do you catch a cod with? Person B
: Cod bait. Person A
: Right? Now, what do you catch an eyemaster with? Person B
: ...eyemaster bait?
"What do you call cold tea?"
"What do you call cold coffee?"
"What do you call cold ink?"
"Then go have a shower."
- In the Michael Lewis nonfiction book The Big Short, he describes a hedge fund manager named Mike Burry who wrote a proposal for a new fund, "Milton's Opus", dedicated to making a specific kind of trade Burry had developed an interest in. The book continues with a parenthetical:
("The first question was always, 'What's Milton's Opus?'" He'd say, "Paradise Lost
," but that usually just raised another question.)
- The Round Tuit is a key part in many engineering projects.
- However in Scotland, a Giton Weight can be substituted (Git on wi' it - Get on with it)
- An inversion comes in this physics joke: when someone asks you 'what's new?', respond 'C over lambda'.note
- And one more classic:
"Waiter, what's this fly doing in my soup?"
- In Houston Texas, there is a Restaurant called Kenny and Ziggy's, on their menu in the ala cart side order section is the item Duckway and for its price it says Ask Your Server! Here is a PDF Copy of the Menu, see Page 4
- A quote often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, and while whether he did say it is dubious, he had a reputation for being a Deadpan Snarker:
Interviewer: So tell me, Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?
Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.
- A completely apocryphal tale about famed downhill skier Picabo Street has her retiring from skiing to get a job in the Intensive Care Unit at some hospital or other. She isn't allowed to answer the phone in her new job, because hospital administration requires a standard greeting of "<first name>, <department>", so every time she answered the phone, she would have had to say "Picabo, I.C.U."
Not much, you?