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Funny / The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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  • When Ford explains that he and Arthur escaped the destruction of Earth by "Hitching a ride":
    Arthur: Excuse me? Are you trying to tell me that we just stuck out our thumbs and some green bug-eyed monster stuck his head out and said, 'Hi fellas, hop right in, I can take you as far as the Basington roundabout?'
    Ford: Well, the Thumb's an electronic sub-etha signaling device, the roundabout's at Barnard's Star six light-years away, but otherwise, that's more or less right.
    Arthur: And the bug-eyed monster?
    Ford: Is green, yes.
  • "You'll need to have this fish in your ear."
  • The entire "whale and petunia falling to the planet" sequence.
    • The whale thinks, "I wonder if it'll be friends with me? Hello, ground!"
    • Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was, "Oh, No... Not Again!". Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.
      • In the third book - “Life, the Universe, and Everything” - we do find out why the bowl of petunias thinks this. Arthur Dent is diverted to a cathedral of hate made by a creature called Agrajag. Agrajag is the final incarnation of a creature that Arthur Dent has killed many many times. The cathedral is a memorial to all the ways Arthur Dent has killed the bodies of the soul now living in the body of the creature Agrajag.
        In other words, Agrajag has reincarnated and been subsequently killed by Arthur hundreds and possibly thousands of times. He blames Arthur. This is why the bowl of petunias, an incarnation of Agrajag, says, “not again.” what we learn about the nature of the universe is that reincarnation is real, and that it is every bit as absurd in its administration as every other aspect of life. Although that is perhaps not a revelation.
  • Arthur and Ford imprisoned in the Vogon ship.
    Arthur: It's at times like this I wish I'd listened to what my mother told me.
    Ford: Why, what did she tell you?
    Arthur: I don't know, I didn't listen.
  • Ford being an utter troll a few seconds earlier counts as well...
    Arthur: So this is it, we're going to die.
    Ford: Yes...but. No. Wait a minute! What's this switch!?
    Arthur: Where!? Where!?
    Ford: No, I was only fooling. We are going to die after all...
  • And of course the scene with Zaphod and the Total Perspective Vortex. "Hey, is that a piece of fairy cake?"
    • "If I told you how much I needed this," he said ravenously, "I wouldn't have time to eat it." He ate it.
  • Oolon Coluphid's Trilogy of Philosophical Blockbusters: Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who Is This God Person Anyway?
  • In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
  • The whole section on where missing pens go. One scientist figured they escaped via wormholes, and eventually tracked down where the pens supposedly fled to. "They found only an old man who claimed that nothing was true, although he was later discovered to be lying".
    • As to the man himself, on becoming a nuisance with his insistent claims, he was sent into tax exile, the usual punishment for people "determined to make a fool of themselves in public". Incidentally, Zaphod Beeblebrox is noted to have a moderately successful second-hand biro business...
  • "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't".
  • "Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it."
    Ford: That's beside the point! The point is that I'm turning into a "perfectly safe" penguin, and my colleague here is rapidly running out of limbs!
    Arthur: Oh, that's all right, I've got them all back now...admittedly, they're a little longer than I'm used to.
  • The way that our heroes conduct a conversation with Shooty and Bang Bang, the Galactic cops who have them cornered behind a computer bank, in which every trope of stand-offs in dodgy 70s cop shows is parodied:
    Bang Bang: Now, listen to us, Beeblebrox, and you better listen good!
    Zaphod: Why?
    Bang Bang: [momentarily nonplussed] Because it's gonna be very intelligent... and quite interesting... and humane.
    Zaphod: Okay, fire away. [ZAP] I mean, shoot. [ZAP ZAP ZAP ZAP KAPOW]
    Bang Bang: Oh, sorry. [chuckles] Little misunderstanding there.
  • Ford trying to continue an intellectual conversation and explain the beginning of the universe while hammered!
    Imagine, see, you get this bath. And it's made of ebony. And it's conical. And then you get some sugar. Or white sand. Doesn't matter. Sugar and/or sand. And then you fill the bath and open the stopper, see, and all the sand, all the sugar kind of spirals down. But that's not the clever bit. The clever bit is, you film it happening. No, wait, that's not the clever bit - the clever bit is when you go to watch the film, you put the film in backwards. So everything kind of spirals up to fill up the bath. [That's not how the universe began,] but it's a marvelous way to relax.
  • ''BELGIUM!''
  • Two in the Frogstar Scout Robot scene. First:
    *scout robot whizzes past*
    Zaphod: What was that?
    Hitchiker: Frogstar scout robot class A looking for you.
    *larger scout robot whizzes past*
    Zaphod: And that was...
    Hitchiker: Frogstar scout robot class B looking for you.
    Zaphod: And that?
    Hitchiker: Frogstar scout robot class C looking for you.
    *gigantic tank-shaped robot rumbles into view and demolishes nearby building with its tracks*
    Zaphod: Holy photon, what's that?
    Hitchiker: A tank. Frogstar scout robot class D come to get you.
    • This bit becomes even funnier in the radio version, where it's revealed that the scout robots actually knew Zaphod was there, and called the Frogstar tank to get him.
    • Second: Marvin has been left alone with no weapons to deal with this tank-robot. After a long guessing game in which the tank tries to discover what they've armed Marvin with to stop him, he finds out they didn't give him anything.
      Marvin: I'll tell you what they gave me to protect myself with, shall I?
      Tank: Yes, alright.
      Marvin: Nothing.
      Tank (angrily): Nothing?
      Marvin: Nothing at all, not an electronic sausage.
      • The tank, after ranting some more, decides to take out his anger:
        Tank: I think I'll smash the wall down! *does so* I think I'll shoot down their bloody ceiling as well! *does so*
        Marvin: That's very impressive.
        Tank: You ain't seen nothing yet, I'll take out this floor too, no trouble! *does so... and falls down*
        Tank: Hell's bells! *smashes itself to bits on the ground fifteen stories below*
        Marvin: What a depressingly stupid machine.
  • "For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen."
  • From the Secondary Phase, the book describes the motto of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Department, "Share And Enjoy", and brings up how the company song is sung on special occasions by a choir of robots. Unfortunately, due to the expected malfunctions, the robots sing a flattened 5th out of tune. Hilarity Ensues, both in tonal dissonance and in utterly bizarre lyrics.
    Share and enjoy!
    Share and enjoy!
    Journey through life with a plastic boy
    or girl by your side.
    Let your pal be your guide.
    And when it breaks down or starts to annoy
    Or grinds when it moves, or gives you no joy
    Cos it's eaten your hat or had sex with your cat,
    Bled oil on your floor or ripped off your door,
    And it gets to the point you can't take any more,
    Bring it to us, we won't give a fig.
    We'll tell you:
    "Go stick your head in a pig!"''
    • Followed afterward by the Guide stating "now imagine that it was worse."
  • This little exchange:
    Ford: How do you feel?
    Arthur: Like a military academy. Bits of Me Keep Passing Out.
    Arthur: If I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it?
    Ford: We're safe.
    Arthur: Oh good.
    Ford: We're in a small galley cabin in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.
    Arthur: Ah. This is obviously some strange usage of the word "safe" I wasn't previously aware of.
  • "We're going to get lynched, aren't we?"
  • "Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?"
  • A clever joke that you probably didn't get the first time round:
    Ford: It's unpleasantly like being drunk.
    Arthur: What's so unpleasant about being drunk?
    Ford: You ask a glass of water.
  • The revelation that the most offensive word in the galaxy is "Belgium" happens while Zaphod is dangling from his fingers thousands of feet in the air, and we learn that "it is only ever used by loose-tongued people in moments of extreme peril" because, of course, Zaphod is such a person. Sure enough, he uses it in an attempt to get Ford to rescue him ("Belgium, man, Belgium!"), but it doesn't work because Ford loses his footing and soon they're both dangling, leading Zaphod to top the "Belgium" gag:
    Zaphod: You stupid Ghent!
  • During the disproving of God's existence we have this little gem:
    Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
    • This doubly funny for North American readers, who are largely unaware that this refers to what they would call a "crosswalk." Getting killed at a "zebra crossing" brings up images of being trampled on an African plain, which just adds an extra level of surrealism to the original line.
  • On the long-collapsed glory days of the Galactic Empire: "Men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri."
  • Marvin. Just... Marvin. Right from the word "go".
    Marvin: I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed right now.
    Marvin: "Would you like me to pick up a piece of paper?" Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and you want me to pick up a piece of paper. Call that job satisfaction, because I don't.
    • Funnier still in the Live-Action TV adaptation, where it talks in Machine Monotone.
  • Just after Marvin's introduction, we get the first mention of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation:
    Guide: The marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as "your plastic pal who's fun to be with". The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy describes the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes" (with an additional note to the effect that the Guide would welcome anyone looking to take over the post of robotics correspondant). Curiously, a copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica that had fallen through a time warp from a thousand years in the future describes them as "a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came".
  • The Guide's summation of Earth, of all its history, fauna, flora, every man and woman and child, every hero and tyrant and lover and poet that ever was: "Harmless". Later, thanks to Ford Prefect's fifteen years of unintentional research, it gets spruced up a little. To "Mostly harmless".
  • The fate of the scientist who invented the Infinite Improbability Drive: Lynched by fellow scientists, when they decided the one thing they couldn't stand was a smartarse.
    • It's mentioned that the technology used in the Infinite Improbability Drive was developed to break the ice at parties by causing the hostess' undergarments three feet to the left. Many respectable physicists wouldn't stand for it, partially because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they never got invited to those sort of parties.
  • While leaving the Restaurant at the end of the Universe, Marvin reveals he could see The Answer inside Arthur's mind.
    Arthur: ... and?
    Marvin: It amazes me how you can manage to live in anything that small.
  • Arthur's battle with Mr. Prosser about finding the plans to demolish his house.
    Mr. Prosser: The plans were on display.
    Arthur: On display? I had to go down into the basement to find them.
    Mr. Prosser: That's the display department.
    Arthur: With a torch.
    Mr. Prosser: The lights had probably gone.
    Arthur: (acidly) So had the stairs.
    Mr. Prosser: But you found the plans eventually.
    Arthur: Oh, I found them. In the bottom drawer of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused loo with a sign on it saying "beware of the leopard"!
    • Finally, Prosser stops playing nice;
    Mr. Prosser: Mr. Dent, have you any idea how much damage the bulldozer would suffer if I just let it roll right over you?
    Arthur: How much?
    Mr. Prosser: None at all.
  • Deep Thought pointing out to the philosophers how the wait for the Answer could benefit them.
    Deep Thought: So long as you keep slagging each other off in the popular press, and as long as you have good agents, you can keep yourselves on the gravy train for life. How does that sound?
    • In the book, the second flashback confirms that the two philosophers did exactly that, becoming the most celebrated pundits of all time.
    • In general, Deep Thought's contemptuous dismissals of the rival claimants to the title of "greatest computer of all time".
      Deep Thought: Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff.
  • A minor one is when two intruders to the philosopher and Deep Thoughts chamber demand entrance, with mention made by Adams of one casually elbowing a pretty young secretary trying to stop them in the throat.
  • The entire scene with Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth. Grumpy Old Man incarnate, and he's dead.
  • The scene with the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Happy Vertical People Transporter, trying to convince Zaphod that he'd like to go down a floor rather than up, followed by the Guide's explanation on Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Happy Vertical People Transporters (and the explanation in the radio show that their invention led to the reinvention of the staircase, and the reinventor funnelling his untold wadges of cash into therapy for deranged executives of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation).
  • "There is a theory that if anyone ever discovers exactly what the universe was for, it will instantly be replaced by something even more inexplicable and weird. ... there is a theory this has already happened."
    • In the radio series, there is a third theory: That the previous two were made up by the editor of the Guide to sell the book. "Of these three theories, this is the most convincing."
  • The Guide's war on reality, beauty and truth, when they get sued for inaccuracy, hire a poet to testify beauty is truth, truth beauty, and try to get reality itself blamed for being neither beautiful nor true. The judge agreed, "and in a moving statement, found life itself in contempt of court, and had it duly confiscated from everyone in the room, before going off to enjoy a pleasant evening's ultragolf."
  • The discussion on the planet ruled by democratically-elected lizards: "The people hate the lizards, and the lizards hate the people. But if the people don't vote, the wrong lizard might get in."
  • The Guide's advice on what to do if you find yourself trapped under a large boulder with no hope of rescue: Consider how good life has been to you so far. Alternatively, if it hasn't been good to you (which, if you are trapped under a boulder, is far more likely), take solace that it won't be bothering you for much longer.
  • The entire section the Guide has on the universe, and its imports (none), exports (none), rainfall (only in the radio version, also none), population (might as well be none, anyone you meet is the product of a deranged imagination), money (some, actually, but either worthless or totally useless) and sex (technically none, but all those imaginary people have to do something to pass the time).
    • The part on the money itself, where it describes the three main currencies, one of which (the Altarian dollar) has recently collapsed, the other (the Flanian Pobble Bead) can only be traded for more of itself, and while the third (the Triganic Pu) has a simple exchange rate of 1 Pu to 6 Ningis, a Ningi is a coin 6,800 miles long across each side, and the banks refuse to deal in small change. "From this, we can derive that the galactic banks are also the product of a deranged imagination."
  • Shooty and Bang-Bang the cops, and their insistence that they're not just mindless thugs.
    Shooty: I don't go around gratuitously murdering people and then brag about it in seedy space ranger bars. I go around gratuitously murdering people, and then I agonise about it to my girlfriend!
    Bang-Bang: And I write novels! But I haven't been able to get any of them published, so I'll warn you, I'm in a mean mood!
  • In the radio version, after the discussion on the "How, Why and Where" stages of galactic development, it also elaborates the three phases of warfare, the "Retribution, Anticipation and Diplomacy" stages, which are summed up thus: Retribution ("I'm going to kill you because you killed my brother.") Anticipation ("I'm going to kill you because I killed your brother.") And Diplomacy ("I'm going to kill my brother, and try and kill you on the pretext that you did it.")
  • Marvin's advice when the organisms find themselves trapped in a spaceship with a horde of angry Haggunenons.
    Marvin: If I were you, I'd feel very depressed.
    Zaphod: Terrific. Monkey-man, you got anything?
    Arthur: On the whole, I agree with Marvin.
  • From the radio version, Arthur vs. the Nutrimatic drinks machine...note 
    Nutrimatic: If you have enjoyed the experience of this drink, why not share it with your friends?
    Arthur: Because I want to keep them. Will you try and comprehend what I'm telling you? That drink...
    Nutrimatic: That drink was individually tailored to meet your personal requirements for nutrition and pleasure.
    Arthur: Ah. So I'm a masochist on a diet am I?
  • The Wise Old Bird sharing the dark story of the Blight of the Robots, much to Arthur's confusion:
    Arthur: What happened, did they all turn against you?
    Wise Old Bird: Oh, no. No, no, no, far worse than that. They told us they liked us!
  • On the days of the Galactic Empire, mention is made of how everyone became exceedingly rich. "This was perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of, because no-one was really poor (at least, no-one worth mentioning)."
  • Vroomfondel the philosopher, who's clearly more invested in being a Weird Trade Union representative than in being a philosopher. But he's doing better than Magikthise, at least.
    We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
    • The sheer fact Adams named two characters Vroomfondel and Magikthise to begin with.
  • From the tertiary phase, the section on the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax, and their tendency to take their anger out on anyone or anything nearby, their own selves included, helped by the Simpleton Voice they're given. Apparently the best way to deal with an Armorfiend is to just leave him alone, as he'll start beating himself up.
  • Also, when the Wikket Gate is undone, the Guide takes a moment to explain the nature of sound effects, and how in this instance, the notoriously cheap staff of the Guide could've stood to go that "extra light-year", rather than just banging a novelty coffee cup on an editor's desk. It then goes on to plug a company who do award winning moments of silence, such as [ ] and [ ].
  • In the radio version of Mostly Harmless, everyone ends up at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. While there, Zaphod gets a phone call from a certain someone, who is slightly less dead than previously thought.
    Marvin: You asked for a babe wash. Due to staff shortages, I am your babe.
    • "Spend a few thousand million years in a job and eventually you get promoted. I have my own bucket now. Finally, I am somebody."
  • Everything about the dolphins, the second smartest species on Earth.
    • "Man thought he was cleverer than the dolphins because he had achieved so much; the wheel, war, New York, and so on, while all dolphins had done was muck about in the ocean having a good time. Dolphins thought they were cleverer than man for precisely the same reason."
    • Dolphinkind's attempts to warn man of the impending destruction of Earth, which they'd long known about (after all, the plans were on display for fifty years beforehand). However, their attempts were misinterpreted as attempts to punch footballs or play for titbits. Their last try was mistaken as an attempt to do a backwards somersault through a hoop while whistling "The Star-Spangled Banner". It was actually "so long, and thanks for all the fish."

Specific to the TV series

  • The illustration that pops up when the Guide says, "Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys..."
  • During the entry on Vogon Constructor Fleets, the visuals during the last part.
    • First, "The best way to get a drink from a Vogon is to stick your finger down his throat..."—image is simply text to the effect of "It's too disgusting to show you".
    • Second. "...and the best way to irritate him is to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal." First it shows the same images of the Vogon grandmother and the Beast from earlier in the entry, then it shows the latter actually eating the former.
    • The firelighters are labelled "another great idea from Beeblebrox Enterprises". Explains both so much, and so little.
  • The "Poetry (Worst In Universe)" section, adapted from a paragraph in the first book. Entry no. 2 retitles Grunthos the Flatulent's massive epic as Zen and the Art of Going to the Lavatory, and even includes an excerpt:
    Relax mind
    Relax body
    Relax bowels
    Do not fall over.
    You are a cloud.
    You are raining.
    Do not rain
    whilst train
    is standing at a station.
    Move with the wind.
    Apologise where necessary.
  • The end of the saga of the two alien armadas swallowed by a small dog now comes with an illustration of said dog happily wagging its tail after having eaten them.
    • Before that, the Vl'hurg and G'gugvuntt War, depicted as an 80s video game, complete with score (final score - 1900 all). Then the dog gets its own score.
  • From when the ship lands on Magrathea, Zaphod tries bigging things up.
    Zaphod: (as music builds up) We are not going to be great. We are not going to be amazing. We are going to be... AMAZINGLY AMAZING!
    (music reaches crescendo)
    Marvin: Sounds awful.
  • The trigger happy cops giving Beeblebrox an ultimatum:
    Shooty: Beeblebrox, either you let us arrest you, and beat you up a little - though not too much, because we are opposed to senseless violence - or we blow up this entire planet!
    Bang-Bang: And also, one or two others we saw on the way in! (the two nods triumphantly at one another)
  • "It ain't easy, being a cop!" "What did they say?" ""It ain't easy being a cop."" "Well, that's their problem, isn't it?!"
  • On the subject on Earth people being embarrassed by their ancestors, and never inviting them to dinner, the Guide helpfully provides an image of a nice party, with a chimp swinging from the chandelier, over which the words "THIS NEVER HAPPENS" flashes.
  • At the end of the same section, it talks about some people believing that even the trees had been a bad move and that no one should ever have left the oceans, it's Douglas Adam from behind, naked, that is shown going back into the ocean.

Specific to the books

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • Oh sweet Jesus, everything. Just in the first few pages there's the bit about the word 'bulldozer' going through Arthur's head, Arthur in the mud, Genghis Khan, putting a bag over your head when the world is ending . . . trying to describe it all would barely be shorter than simply posting the entire thing.
  • The foreman in the first book, who is distantly descended from Genghis Khan and repeatedly has urges to go tearing around the countryside doing the standard maim pillage burn routine.
    "...with two large axes crossed over the front door. His wife wanted hanging roses, but he wanted axes. He didn't know why, he just liked axes."
  • This bit of dialogue a fantastic commentary on the human condition, and is delivered absolutely perfectly in the television version.
    "I'd rather be happy than right any day."
    "And are you?"
    "No. That's where it all falls down, of course."
  • When Arthur and Ford are read poetry by Vogon Jeltz, Arthur says, 'Oh, I quite liked it, really', a clear bald-faced lie. (Though he's not known for his taste.) Ford latches onto the idea with both hands, and between the two, they deliver a completely nonsensical analysis of the poem which is a parody of academic literary criticism. Vogon Jeltz is either deeply, terribly amused, or somewhat less than.
    Vogon Jeltz: 'Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor'...death's too good for them.
  • The feelings that Deep Thought has for other computers. "The Milliard Gargantubrain?" said Deep Thought with unconcealed contempt. "A mere abacus - mention it not."
    • "Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff!"
    • And then it claiming a few seconds later, on the subject of another supposedly 'Great' Computer:
    Deep Thought: The Great Hyperlobic Omnicognate Neutron-Wrangler can talk all four legs off an Arcturan Mega-Donkey, but only I can persuade it to go for a walk afterwards.
  • Marvin saves the others from the cops, not via any actual heroic intent, but by talking to their spaceship. After but a few minutes, it commits suicide.
  • As the Heart of Gold flies late at night, a detailed explanation is provided of why each of the characters on it can't sleep - Trillian is bothered by her reaction, or lack of, to Earth's destruction; Zaphod is bothered by a re-emerging nagging feeling of being not all there, and Ford is excited about being on the road again and bothered by what's going on with his cousin Zaphod. Finally...
    Arthur slept: he was terribly tired.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

  • "In the beginning the Universe was created. This had made a lot of people very angry and had been widely regarded as a bad move."
  • In the second book, The Heart of Gold is being attacked by a Vogon ship and they can't move because the ship computer is too busy trying to make tea. The force-shield starts blistering and cracking under the sudden, unexpected attack. Ford thinks it would probably hold for about four minutes...
    "Three minutes and fifty seconds," he said a short while later.
    "Forty-five seconds," he added at the appropriate time. He flicked idly at some useless switches, then gave Arthur an unfriendly look.
    "Dying for a cup of tea, eh?" he said. "Three minutes and forty seconds."
    "Will you stop counting!" snarled Zaphod.
    "Yes," said Ford Prefect, "In three minutes and thirty-five seconds."
    • The original version of that exchange (in the radio program) was also hilarious:
      Arthur: I'm sorry, it's just that I was dying for a cup of tea!
      Zaphod: You soon will be, baby!
  • The Dangers Of Teleportation
    I teleported home one night
    With Ron and Sid and Meg
    Ron stole Meggie's heart away
    And I got Sidney's leg.
  • The first thing that hit their eyes was what appeared to be a coffin. [pause] And the next four thousand nine hundred ninety-nine things that hit their eyes were also coffins.
  • The Golgafrinchans are fairly stupid, but the Captain is absolutely hilarious.
    Number Two: Sir! They are trespassing on the ship!
    Captain: Oh, I expect that they probably just dropped in for a quick jynnan tonnyx, don't you, Number Two?
    • And then later...
    Number Two: May I remind you... that you have been in that bath for three years?!
  • The discussion about jynnan tonnyx, in which Adams manages to top the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster routine from the earlier book, telling how each civilisation in the galaxy has a drink whose name has the same phonemes, from "jinond-o-nicks", which is "ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature", to "Tzjin-anthony-ks", which "kills cows at a hundred paces".
  • The hilariously dark "Let's Meet the Meat" scene.
    ''"A very wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good," it said, "I'll just nip off and shoot myself."
    He turned and gave a friendly wink to Arthur.
    "Don't worry, sir," he said, "I'll be very humane."
  • The author’s description of what a Kill-o-Zap gun looks like:
—> The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. ‘Make it evil,’ he’d been told. “Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.’
  • The whole future tenses discussion, with the book by 'Dr. Dan Streetmentioner' that was so dense that it was mostly left blank to save on printing costs, and the "If You've Done Six Impossible Things This Morning" advert for the Restaurant At The End of Universe.
    All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for. This, many claim, is not merely impossible but clearly insane
  • The Golgafrinchans are trying to invent fire and aren't having much luck...
    Golgafrinchan Girl: When you've been in marketing as long as I have, you'll know that before any new product can be developed it has to be properly researched. We’ve got to find out what people want from fire, how they relate to it, what sort of image it has for them.
    Ford Prefect: Go stick it up your nose.
    Golgafrinchan Girl: Which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know. Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?
  • There is one man who was specially selected to be the behind-the-scenes political ruler of the known universe. Because he takes nothing for granted. Nothing.
    Ruler (to his cat): When the men come - or, when in my mind the men come to ask me questions, do they come in your mind too, kitty? Perhaps you think they're singing songs to you. (considers this for a moment) Perhaps they are coming here to sing songs to you, and I only think they're asking me questions. Who can tell? Who can tell...
  • The entire discussion on the Universe, its population (none, apparently, due to convoluted reasoning. Any people you do meet can be dismissed as the products of a deranged imagination), money (none... sort of. There is money, but it's either impossible to use, or has collapsed), and sex (a heck of a lot, because all those imaginary people have to do something with their time.)

Life, the Universe and Everything

  • The description of Arthur's living quarters, and his reaction to being reminded of it every morning.
    It wasn't that the cave was dark. It wasn't that it was damp and smelly. It was that the cave was in the middle of Islington, and there wasn't a bus due by for two million years.
  • Arthur's encounter with Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged: "You're a jerk, Dent. A complete arseholenote ."
    • Wowbagger's plan: he will insult everyone in the universe who ever lived. To their faces. In alphabetical order.
      • Whenever he's told this is impossible, he replies "A man can dream."
    • Those born immortal know how to cope with it. Wowbagger does not, and frequently enters a state he describes as "the long dark tea-time of the soul."
      • Early on, he used to turn up to funerals to laugh at the dead. Now he's jealous of them, "the bunch of dead bastards."
  • Even trapped together on prehistoric Earth, the Ford-and-Arthur comedy act continues.
    Ford: I have detected eddies in the space-time continuum.
    Arthur: Is he? [...] What's that sofa doing here?!
    Ford: I told you! Eddies in the space-time continuum!
    Arthur: And...this is his sofa, is it?
    • Ford's elaboration on his temporary madness right before it is even better.
      Arthur: I thought you must be dead...
      Ford: So did I for a while, and then I decided I was a lemon for a couple of weeks. I kept myself amused all that time jumping in and out of a gin and tonic.
      Arthur: Where did you...?
      Ford: Find a gin and tonic? I found a small lake that thought it was a gin and tonic, and jumped in and out of that. At least, I think it thought it was a gin and tonic. I may have been imagining it.
    • And the brief return many chapters later:
      Slartibartfast: Eddies in the space-time continuum you see.
      Arthur: So I hear.
    • As he and Ford chase the sofa across a prehistoric field, Arthur muses to himself that for once his day is going just as well as he'd hoped: he'd intended to go mad, and now he's chasing a sofa.
    • Arthur threw the Guide into a lake, only for Ford to fish it out again. When asked why he never told Arthur, Ford says it's because he didn't want him to throw it back in.
  • "There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
  • "...except for your sudden obsession with whelks."
  • Remember those poor, doomed petunias? Remember them thinking Oh no, not again? Well, it turns out to be a brick joke - a set-up for proof that Arthur really is the Butt-Monkey of the universe.
    ''Arthur realized that the arm [of his statue] that had previously confused him was meant to be seen summarily conjuring a bowl of doomed petunias into existence. This was not a concept that leapt readily to the eye.
    • Made even funnier in the audiobook, due to Agrajag being a Large Ham.
    • Agrajag created a neon sign that initally informs Arthur that his teleportation has been diverted, and to not be alarmed. It then changes to a demand to "be very, very frightened."
    • Agrajag notes that two of his lives were a rabbit Arthur skinned on pre-historic Earth to make a bag, and a fly that got swatted by said bag. His conclusion is that Arthur isn't just obsessed with murdering him, he's also staggeringly tactless about it.
    • How did Agrajag become aware of his cycle of death-and-rebirth? Arthur killed him so frequently that he started having deja-vu, frequently observing that the heartless git that had just left him for dead looked a little familiar.
  • The conversation between the cricket commentators about "mysterious materialisations on the pitch", to anyone who has heard "Test Match Special" on the radio it sounds like exactly how they would react to such a situation.
    "Well the supernatural brigade are certainly out in force", a radio burbled happily to itself.
    • The commentators have a conversation about whether or not anything like this has happened before, leading to a story of a streaker that one commentator had witnessed, and the other concludes that the story was completely unlike the events in front of them.
  • The "rules" to Brockian Ultra Cricket:
    • Pretty much everything about Brockian Ultra Cricket, really. Including the guide surmising that having a vicious war is actually less stressful than watching it.
  • In the British-English version, the Krikketmen steal the Rory Award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word "Fuck" in a Serious Screenplay. In the American-English version, they instead steal the Rory Award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word "Belgium" in a Serious Screenplay.
  • The people of Krikket, having lived in total isolation from the entire universe, have possibly the most understated mass freak-out on seeing said universe for the first time ever put to print.
    "It'll have to go." They said.
  • The first Krikket spaceship apparently looks like it was "knocked up in somebody's back-yard." Because it was.
  • The informational illusion Slartibartfast uses to teach Arthur and Ford about the Krikket War has sections devoted to trying to sell the viewer commemorative tat. He instructs the two not to buy anything, because he can't find the remote to fast-foward past it.
  • Why is Slartibartfast's ship designed to look like an Italian restaurant? It runs on bistromathics, a science based on how numbers operate completely differently on a restaurant bill.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  • The old lady on the plane, looking on as Arthur and Fenchurch join the mile-high club in the most unconventional way possible.
  • Arthur's phone-call to his former employer.
    Arthur: Look, sorry I haven't been in for six months but I've gone mad.
    BBC Department Head: Oh, not to worry. Thought it was something like that. Happens here all the time.
  • The conversation with Murray Bost-Henson, a tabloid journalist, and his revelations that the "Rain God" trucker is real ("Do you know how much they're paying this guy not to go to Malaga this summer?"), that Arthur actually sent him to the papers in the first place - he suggests Arthur pose under a hosepipe as the "man who made the rain god rain", and the "Week of the Weirdos" segment about the mysterious flying couple (see above).
  • The 'chronicler' Breaking the Fourth Wall and addressing the reader directly, possibly after being asked too many questions about Arthur Dent's personal life, is a hilarious strop on Douglas Adams part:
    "This Arthur Dent" comes the cry from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, and has even now been found inscribed on a mysterious deep space probe thought to originate from an alien galaxy at a distance too hideous to contemplate, "what is he, man or mouse? Is he interested in nothing more than tea and the wider issues of life? Has he no spirit? has he no passion? Does he not, to put it in a nutshell, fuck?"

Mostly Harmless

  • Arthur and Ford catching up in the woods. The entire scene.
  • Ford deliberately running up huge expenses as a restaurant critic, culminating in trying to charge the purchase of London Zoo and the entire hotel he is staying in to room service.
  • This quote early on in the book:
    The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has, in what we laughingly call the past, had a great deal to say on the subject of parallel universes. Very little of this is, however, at all comprehensible to anyone below the level of Advanced God, and since it is now well-established that all known gods came into existence a good three millionths of a second after the Universe began rather than, as they usually claimed, the previous week, they already have a great deal of explaining to do as it is, and are therefore not available for comment at this time.
  • The fate of the history faculty of the University of Maximegalon:
    When the Infinite Improbability Drive arrived and whole planets started turning unexpectedly into banana fruitcake, the great history faculty of the University of Maximegalon finally gave up, closed itself down and surrendered its buildings to the rapidly growing joint faculty of Divinity and Water Polo, which had been after them for years.

And Another Thing...

  • Whatever else you may have to say about And Another Thing..., most of the business with the cows desperate to be eaten were pretty funny, especially the "I'll track down your entire family and not eat them!" bit.

Specific to the movie

  • The trailer. It's simply the in-universe's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's entry on "movie trailers", providing an example and a running commentary on the key elements. Guess which film it uses as an example.
    The Guide: The standard repository for all knowledge and wisdom in the universe is called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and it has this to say about movie trailers.

    Movie trailers are designed to give you an idea of the film in question in a very short space of time. [footage of Arthur waking up to find the bulldozers about to demolish his house] Typically, they begin with the introduction of a main character, who will very shortly have something utterly fantastic happen to him, that someone just had to make a movie about it. Often, this section is preceded by the words "In a World…"....[Earth explodes]....but sometimes not.

    Trailers also normally employ A DEEP VOICE that sounds like a seven foot tall man who has been smoking cigarettes since childhood.

    The goal is to create a piece of advertising that is original and exciting, yet intelligent and provocative. In other words: lots of things blowing up. [cue montage of explosions from other movies] Occasionally interrupted by a girl in a bikini.
  • The first thing we see of this film? A full-on musical number about dolphinkind's last message to humanity; "So long, and thanks for all the fish." It features this delightful lyrics:
    Your world's about to be destroyed / There's no point getting all annoyed
    Just lie back and let the planet dissolve around you
  • The airlock scene has an awesome moment of false hope being crushed for laughs: "So this is it? We're going to die?" "Yea, we're going to . . . No, no what's this? This . . . this is nothing; we're going to die."
  • Arthur: "Ford?" "Yes?" "I think I'm a sofa." "I know how you feel." AHHHHHHH!!!!!
    • Also, the scene where after using the improbability drive, everyone is animated as yarn dolls, then Arthur vomits as we return to live action, with one yarn thread sticking out of his mouth.
    • See both scenes here.
  • Almost everything Zaphod does, thanks to the over-the-top zaniness of Sam Rockwell's portrayal.
    Zaphod: In the name of democracy, freedom, stuff like that... I hereby kidnap myself, and I'm taking the ship with me! Woo!
  • The escape pod scene. Ford presses one of the pod's buttons twice, making a small wheel pop out that controls the pod's angle. Arthur tries to handle the pod but Zaphod briefly puts a blindfold on him for no apparent reason. The human then asks Marvin if he has any idea on what to do now that they are traveling far away from the Heart of Gold.
    Marvin: I have a million ideas; they all point to certain death.
    Arthur: Thanks very much, Marv!
  • One-headed Zaphod pretends he's shooting back at the attacking Vogons. Then he starts dancing like Michael Jackson.
  • Later, Zaphod keeps insisting the Vogon's homeworld is Magrathea.
    Zaphod: We made it! We're in Magrathea!
    Ford: It's not Magrathea.
    Zaphod: Yes it is! I know it!
    Ford: It isn't—
    Zaphod: Yes it is!
  • Trillian has been captured by the Vogons. How do they save her? By filling out a "Presidential Release Form". Yes, those exist. Of course, before this, Arthur tries filling out a regular release form beforehand, only to be kindly informed by the Vogon clerk of his mistake. It's like one of those bad days at the DMV.
  • Ford, Zaphod, and Arthur sitting down while waiting for Trillian to be released.
    Zaphod: Who are we waiting for again? {Arthur visibly tenses; Ford quietly places a hand on his knee to calm him} No, I'm serious.
  • The paddle creatures, which pop up from the dirt and slap people's faces whenever someone thinks of anything.
    Arthur: Stupid!
    • Extra commentary reveals these things are both the reason Vogons are flat-faced and why they're incapable of thinking.
  • After the heroes escape from Vogsphere, Jeltz declares his intention to personally track them down and put an end to this nonsense. Then a loud horn sounds. "Oh, that's one hour for lunch, everyone." And the Vogons plod off to get a meal. "I'll think I'll have the soup today..."
  • The climax of the film; The Vogons are shooting everywhere, our heroes are cornered, and then Marvin the chronically-depressed robot picks up the Point-Of-View Gun. He pulls the trigger, and the Vogons become so depressed that they just topple over.
    Trillian: Marvin, you saved our lives.
    Marvin: I know. Wretched, isn't it?
    • The bit before that:
    As lasers are going in literally every direction, everyone's running, while Marvin just mopes along hopelessly
    Marvin: I don't know what all the fuss is about. Vogons are the worst marksmen in the galaxy. Ow.
  • On beholding an incredible double sunrise from space: "Incredible. It's even worse than I thought it would be."
  • When the Guide mentions Oolon Coluphid's books, Where God Went Wrong and Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, their covers are, respectively, the female and male symbols.
  • Zaphod turns into The Chew Toy when Trillian turns the POV Ray on him repeatedly. Leads to a Mood Whiplash when Zaphod gets his hands on it, then tries to take revenge, but:
  • The "Really Deleted Scenes" from the DVD edition.
  • Ford and Arthur's reactions to Vogon poetry: Ford writhing in agony, Arthur...not so much.
  • Hearing Mos Def say the line "What if I told you I wasn't from Guildford?" is hilarious given that Mos Def is American. He doesn't even pronounce the town's name right!note 
  • The profoundly goofy smile Ford wears when he "introduces" himself to a Ford Prefect just sells the moment from the book.
  • The answering machine message left at Magrathea...
    Councilman: Greetings. This is a recorded announcement as we're all out the moment. The Commercial council of Magrathea thanks you for your esteemed visit, but regrets that the entire planet is temporarily closed for business. If you would like to leave your name and a planet where you can be contacted, kindly do so at the tone.
    Arthur: Closed? How can a planet be closed?
    Zaphod: For once, Aldus, I agree with you. Okay, computer. Keep going. Take us down.
    Councilman: It is most gratifying that your enthusiasm for our planet continues unabated. As a token of our appreciation, we hope you will enjoy the two thermonuclear missiles we've just sent to converge with your craft. To ensure on-going quality of service, your death may be monitored for training purposes. Thank you.
  • This exchange when Ford and Zaphod try to convince Arthur to enter a portal...
    Arthur: We can't just jump into that-...that! We don't even know where it leads!
    Ford: If we- If we pick the wrong, we just- we come back; we pick another one. It's no biggy!
    Arthur: What?! It's a big-biggy, Ford! A big-biggy! I mean what if it rips us all into tiny little atomic...particle thingies?
    Zaphod: This is the right one! I have a hunch!
    Arthur: Ford?
    Ford: His hunches are good! Arthur, I say we go!
    Arthur: Go with a hunch of a man whose brain is fueled by lemons?!
    • They help him concentrate.
      • Then after Arthur fails to follow them.
        Marvin: I told you this would all end in tears.
        Arthur: (high-pitched Angrish) DID YOU? DID YOU?!
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox's ad campaign. Appears on the soundtrack.
  • The Overly-Long Gag of the camera jump-cutting into outer space while Ford is holding onto Arthur and trying to hitch a ride on a Vogon ship and Arthur is screaming bloody murder before Earth is destroyed by the Vogons.
  • The bit at the end where the two mice try to take Arthur's brain and Arthur talks about how the most important thing in life is to be happy. The mice respond, in high-pitched voices:
    Lunkwill: Rubbish! We don't want to be happy, we want to be famous!
    Fook: Yeah, what's all this 'is she the one' tripe?
    Lunkwill: Take his brain!
  • Zaphod signed off on the order to destroy the Earth. Reason? He didn't realize what he was doing and thought he was giving out autographs.
    Trillian: "Love and kisses, Zaphod"?!....My whole planet destroyed because you thought someone wanted your autograph!
  • The last lines:
    Marvin: Not that anyone cares what I say, but the restaurant is at the other end of the Universe.
    (Cue the Heart of Gold screeching to a halt, reversing tracks and flying back at the viewer)


  • The sadly no longer in print audiobook version of the books narrated by Douglas Adams himself. The man definitely puts in some serious effort on the hammier characters.