"Carrageenan, Monteljohn. Can you detect me to the nearest bus stamp?"
Using Inherently Funny Words
or random gibberish to humorous effect. Often used in Surreal Humor
. Contrast with Word Salad Horror
(unless dealing with some serious Black Comedy
The (usually derisive) phrase "monkey cheese
" is also sometimes used to describe such humor.
Occasions in which Word Salad Humor
may be employed:
- Rowntree's "Randoms" campaign had people dropping the names of the various shapes of the sweets into otherwise normal dialogue.
- The Happy Noodle Boy one-shot comics in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez.
- Jhonen Vasquez's works in general have a lot of this.
- In addition to his usual gross-out humour, the infamous Comics Nix also makes heavy use of this trope. Typically, he'll use a mish-mash of completely unrelated and often obscure words to describe something or someone, occasionally hiding exactly one relevant term among them.
Shai shai skagalak
- Bulbous Bouffant by The Vestibules takes the surrealism inherent in the sound of words and eventually turns it into a kind of poetry.
- The song "Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot" by Carumba.
- Comedy music act Worm Quartet's lead singer (and sole member) Shoebox has numerous songs that consist entirely of syntactically correct gibberish. If you listen long enough, things like "my prostitute has evaporated" almost start to make sense.
- "Drinking Out Of Cups" by Dan Deacon, a spoken word piece that later became better known when Liam Lynch (The Sifl and Olly Show) made a short animation to go with it. Passages like "Who's this guy? Mr. Balloons? Mr. Balloon hands?" and "I'm in love with the seahorses. They're fuckin' unreal. I love them, they're like all the clocks..." were the result of him acting like a macho Long Islander stereotype and spontaneously responding to things he saw while watching a TV on mute (although some people have other ideas about its origins).
- "Francium" sung by Hatsune Miku.
- Many of The Muppet Show's musical numbers were acapella non-verbals arranged for a song-like quality. Especially funny when done with characters whose speech is incomprehensible. Even moreso if the original is in a language the audience doesn't understand anyway.
- Taken to its logical conclusion by Eric Idle in the Rutland Weekend Television sketch 'Gibberish', which takes a typical television interview, then simply removes the dialogue and replaces it with random silly words. The sketch with Henry Woolf was then reprised with Dan Aykroyd for American audiences on Saturday Night Live.
"I see. Rapidly piddlepot strumming Hanover peace pudding mouse rumpling cuddly corridor cabinets?"
"Sick in a cup! Toejam whisper tap Sunderland shower-curtain, ice wallpaper cups grounchingly rubber king wrapped butter kissing-feathers definitely pheasantry daughter successfully douche dinner-bottom."
"Machine wrapped with butter?"
"Machine wrapped with butter."
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Cartoon Planet just loved this trope, with segments featuring Space Ghost, Zorak, and Brak just saying a single word, such as "pants", back-and-forth to each other for no reason.
- From Monty Python's Flying Circus (one of a vastly enormous number of examples):
Raymond Luxury-Yacht: That's not my name.
Interviewer: I'm sorry, Raymond Luxury Yach-t.
Raymond Luxury-Yacht: No, no, no. It's spelled Raymond Luxury-Yach-t, but it's pronounced 'Throat-Warbler Mangrove'.
Interviewer: You're a very silly man, and I'm not going to interview you.
- In Gilmore Girls, after Lorelai has just pointed out to Emily and Rory that both "oy" and "poodles" are very funny words
Lorelai: In fact, if you put oy and poodle together in the same sentence, you'd have a great new catch phrase, you know? Like, oy with the poodles already. So from now on, when the perfect circumstances arise, we will use our favorite new catch phrase.
Rory: Oy with the poodles already.
- The "Alex Trebek Has Gone Insane" segment of Conan. Through creative editing, Trebek ends up saying things like "J.Lo is slang for someone who communicates by extrasensory means with other Japanese yeast exports."
- Calvin and Hobbes, of all comics, occasionally dabbled in this:
Calvin: Hey Dad. Know what I figured out? The meaning of words isn't a fixed thing! Any word can mean anything! By giving words new meanings, ordinary English can become an exclusionary code! Two generations can be divided by the same language! To that end, I'll be inventing new definitions for common words, so we'll be unable to communicate. Don't you think that's totally Spam? It's lubricated! Well, I'm phasing.
Father: (Making the peace sign) Marvy. Fab. Far out.
- Zippy has run on this trope for thirty years now.
- George Carlin (in a list of everyday expressions that make no sense):
"In your own words." You know, you hear that a lot. In a court room or a classroom, they'll say "tell us... in your own words." Do you have your own words? Hey, I'm using the ones everyone else has been using! Next time they tell you to say something in your own words, say "Niq fluk bwarney quando floo!"
- In Dogg's Hamlet by Tom Stoppard, most of the characters speak a language called "Dogg", which consists of English words given different meanings.
- One of the villains in superhero parody Spandex Force is the aptly-named Professor Aphasia. He weirds the player character out so much that after his first appearance, the box on the side which slowly reveals a picture of the current chapter's villain as you gather clues to their whereabouts remains blank.
- Occurs frequently in White Ninja Comics
- The Chef Brian strips from Ctrl+Alt+Del most definitely qualify as this. The phrases he says are sometimes almost comprehensible, so it's not entirely random, but altogether it makes no sense. The first one was apparently created as filler, and late at night, but it quickly became popular.
- Twisp and Catsby from Penny Arcade are a high class cat and demon(respectively) who live in an absurd world, and Twisp manages to exhibit Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness while only saying one word at a time. They were originally created as a parody of nonsensical things, but again, the fanbase became instantly attached to them.
- Known as Random-Access Humor in Sonichu. It's horrendously unfunny, even when compared to other examples of Word Salad Humor.
- Ozy and Millie, occasionally. Usually from Millie. "Armadillo! Armadillo! The cheese from Zimbabwe has lugubriously flattened my popcorn!"
- George Washington tried this once just to see if it's funny. It was.
- Grey Wolf's schtick in AH.com: The Series is basically halfway between this and Non Sequitur Thud.
- Phonetic "translations" of foreign-language songs misheard into the listener's native language often fall into this. "My loony bun is fine Benny Lava!" "Distort that tart in my nub!"
- Weebl & Bob: "Badger, badger, badger, badger. Mushroom, mushroom! Snake!"
- Awesome in Kansattica does this sometimes.
- Some of the answers in Tims Chemistry Exam fall into this trope, such as "fork + shoe = spleen".
- Bad Lip Reading, a YouTube channel that essentially does elaborate gag dubs of pop music videos (and later, also clips from films and TV shows), uses a lot of this kind of humor. Witness Rebecca Black singing about gang fights and chicken, Ludacris claiming to be "a magic man with a magic goose", and Miley Cyrus wanting to "get dumb and bang a wizard".
- @Horse_ebooks, at first glance, is a Twitter bot that tweets random, broken sentences from ebooks (actually part of a Viral Marketing campaign). Initially its tweets were about horses, with the creator running a number of similar bots that focused on other subjects (in a rather pathetic attempt at advertising a shady ebook website), but Horse_ebooks is the only one still standing, as it seems to have a talent for creating entertaining nonsense that inspired people to write fanfiction, draw comics and make posters. It's followed by over a hundred and fifty thousand people.
- Songs To Wear Pants To: Andrew Huang and fellow YouTuber Gunarolla have a series of shorts called "We Are What You Tweet", with dialogue submitted by viewers via twitter. Conversations full of wacky non-sequiturs ensue.
- raocow uses this all day. Less so now than in his earlier videos, which he thinks came off as forced.
- In The Nostalgia Critic's review of Godzilla (1998), he was annoyed by the movie treating the line "That's a lotta fish" as though it was a gut-busting joke, and declared even just having the line be "poppity pop pop pop" would have been a funnier joke.
- The vast majority of the popular jokes on Tumblr fall into this category. It's sometimes even used for insults, which can and often does lead to Narm.
- Bam Ham City◊
- "Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"
- Ultra Fast Pony discusses this in the episode "So Random!" Pinkie considers it the ultimate form of humor, but Cranky isn't impressed.
Pinkie: What are you talking about? Everyone wants to be my friend, I'm hilarious! Chicken strudel!
Pinkie: Why won't you laugh, you, uh, you stone-hearted... No, cold-hearted! No... you don't even have a heart! You have a stone... made of cold.
Cranky: No, you're not funny. You're just saying random words in a funny accent and thinking that's the same as comedy.
- Rejected's first sketch basically consists of a man saying "Mah spoon is too big" in various inflections, then an anthropomorphic banana appears and yells "I am a banana!", followed by a vacuum cleaner noise. It still manages to be hilarious.
- "Tuesday's coming. Did you bring your coat?"
- "I'm feeling fat, and sassy."
- "I am the Queen of France."
- Pinkie Pie, a character in the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, is well-known for being prone to quirky, nonsensical, random behavior, sometimes resulting in Word Salad-esque lines. The trope appears in an obvious form during "The Last Roundup", in which Pinkie Pie tortures Applejack with inane babbling until she confesses.
"Isn't that just the funnest thing to say? Pickle barrel, pickle barrel, pickle barrel! Say it with me: pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, chimicherrychunga
- SpongeBob SquarePants has examples like "If I'm lucky, one day Mr. Talent will rub his tentacles on my art!" (The title itself would probably count, if it wasn't a concise description of the protagonist.)
- Invader Zim, being another Jhonen Vasquez work, has it all over the place. Radioactive rubber pants, anyone?
- Durwood Fincher, a.k.a. "Mr. Doubletalk", has this as his main shtick. He pretends to be giving people serious interviews, but he mixes in Non Sequitur phrases with complete gibberish. His interviewees are usually too polite to comment on the nonsense, so they try to give legitimate answers to the gobbledygook. Perhaps best illustrated by his Catch Phrase: "What, if any, and if not, how much?"