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Electric Joybuzzer

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Even Liu Kang falls for it.

Antoine Rotelli: What if we say no?
The Joker: Well, Tony, nobody wants a war. If we can't do business, why, we'll just shake hands and that'll be it...
Antoine: Yeah?
Joker: Yeah.
[Antoine shakes hands with the Joker, only to start twitching and smoking]
Joker: Oh, I got a live one here! [cackles maniacally]

A joy buzzer is a prank device worn on the prankster's palm, consisting of a tightly wound spring inside of a small metal disc. When the prankster shakes hands with their victim, a button releases the spring, causing the device to vibrate intensely — a sensation that feels similar to an electric shock if you're not expecting it. In fiction, the "similar to" part is often ignored, and instead, joy buzzers use actual electricity — sometimes enough to cause serious injury or death, though many light-hearted versions simply inflict Harmless Electrocution. Don't ask how a battery big enough to contain such a powerful charge can fit inside of a device small enough to go unnoticed if you're not paying attention.

From clowns to big kids to kids with big brains, you can count on them pulling out one of these eventually. Usually made by Acme Products or a competitor.

Similar devices do exist in Real Life — however, they only deliver a small, harmless jolt, a far cry from the X-Ray Sparks that they often cause in fiction. See also Static Stun Gun, which covers any electric stunning weapon, and Handshake of Doom, which may be the result of a weaponized joy buzzer.


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    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Becomes a Chekhov's Gun in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker when the Joker's buzzer is thrown loose in his struggle with Batman, dropping into the circuits of the Joker's Kill Sat control circuits and fusing them out. Batman then gets his hands on it and uses it on the Joker while he's being strangled, destroying the microchip on Tim Drake's neck and permanently releasing him from the Joker's control.
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, councilman Arthur Reeves tells the Joker that it's Batman who has been killing off noted crime figures. The Joker employs a joy buzzer and makes a game show buzzer sound to tell Reeves that he's wrong, that's it's someone who "looks more like the Ghost of Christmas Future" (the Phantasm).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman (1989): When mob boss Antoine Rotelli asks the Joker what'll happen if he refuses to do business with him, Joker assures him that they'll just resolve things with a friendly handshake. Mollified, Antoine shakes the Joker's hand... but unfortunately, the Joker is wearing a lethal electric joy-buzzer, which fries Antoine to a crisp.
  • Trick or Treats: Christopher gets Linda with this prank. It's just one of the multitude of pranks he puts her through throughout the bulk of the movie.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Featured prominently. "The hand buzzer. Still our biggest seller." Marvin Acme's joy buzzer was designed to look like a fancy jeweled ring, befitting a millionaire businessman/prankster.

  • In Sourcery, a former Seriph of Klatch with an odd sense of humour has created a Death Course based on lame practical jokes. One of the traps is an unrealistic hand that pops out of the wall and waggles invitingly. Following the obvious wires from the back of it reveals a ceramic jar filled with acid to make a crude battery.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon rigs one up to use on Howard, powerful enough to nearly knock himself out when he tested it. When he uses it on Howard, however, he appears to collapse from a heart attack and is forced to administer a syringe of adrenaline straight to the heart, Pulp Fiction-style. Of course, Howard was faking it and it's all an elaborate counter-prank. Sheldon facepalms himself... and knocks himself out with his own buzzer.
  • Played with in Mr. Bean. In the episode "Mr Bean Rides Again", Mr Bean goes to great lengths to revive a man who has had a heart attack at a bus stop. He finally succeeds by connecting a pair of jump leads to a lamp post, and shocking the man's chest. When the man is on his feet again, he holds out his hand to shake Mr Bean's. Unfortunately, Mr Bean still has the jump leads in his hand, so the man is shocked again, the lamp post explodes, and the man collapses again.
  • Shining Time Station: In "Impractical Jokes", Schemer attempts to use this trick on Harry. He makes the mistake of installing it backwards, resulting in Schemer being the one being shocked instead of Harry.
  • In Supernatural, a confused kid with Reality Warping powers turns a normal joybuzzer into this. It not only electrocutes a man, but it's also later used to cook a ham. "That'll do, pig," indeed.

    Video Games 
  • This naturally makes an appearance in Batman: Arkham Asylum, in the special game mode in which you can play as Joker; one of his special attacks involves tricking an opponent into opening their hand, then grabbing it in a handshake and electrocuting them to death.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the card that purely inflicts Shock, which disables a random equipment of your enemy unless they unshock it with dice, is named "Buzzer".
  • LEGO Batman Trilogy: This has been a consistent part of the Joker's arsenal since the first game as both his grab attack and Finishing Move — starting from the second game, it can also be used to drain power sockets and charge generators.
  • The picture at the top of the page is one of Joker's attacks in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
  • No More Heroes: Destroyman uses this during the pre-battle on Travis by honoring their battle with a hand-shake and activating his Destory-Spark. He seriously thought he was going to die laughing from how Travis fell for it so easily.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: New Destroyman tries the Destroy Spark trick on Shinobu, but she can already tell that it's a trick and cuts his hand off before he can activate his spark ability.
  • No More Heroes III: One of the Destroyman robots attempts this trick once again with Travis, and the latter falls into it yet again. However, by this point, Travis is hardly bothered because he saw it coming anyway; he destroys the robot and then goes on to fight more like him before facing the real one for the last time.
  • Toontown: Corporate Clash introduces a new line of gags (attacks) known as the Zap track, where the level 1 Zap gag is a Joybuzzer. When in play, the Toon holds out their hand, and the Cog leans in to shake it only to get zapped.

    Web Animation 
    • In "The Joker vs. Sweet Tooth", The Joker uses his lethal joybuzzer to shock Needles Kane in the fight but it's only a minor inconvenience since Needles has survived the electric chair before.
    • In "Harley Quinn vs. Jinx", Harley attempts to finish off Jinx this way by first coaxing her to come closer. However, Jinx doesn't give her the chance and instead blows her up with her Fishbones.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", Darkwing gets sneaked up on from behind and buzzed on the keister with an electric joy buzzer twice — first by Goselyn, later by a possessed Mr. Banana Brain.
  • Dennis the Menace:
    • In "Dennis and the Kangaroo Cavalry", Tony Robinson uses one on Mr. Wilson when he shakes hands with him. Mr. Wilson is not amused, but Tony certainly is.
    • In "Marky the Menace", Dennis' cousin Marky uses one on Dennis when they first meet.
    • In "A Step Ahead", the second sister episode to "Marky the Menace", Dennis uses one on Marty, his babysitter, when he first meets him. Alice scolds him for it, but Marty is impressed, saying he hasn't seen one since he was Dennis' age. After Henry and Alice leave, Marty uses it on Dennis to even the score.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Fool on the Ed", Eddy uses a joy buzzer on Edd as a prank as one of the pranks he pulls on him and Ed after they unsuccessfully try to prank Eddy.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In the episode "Presto Change-O", Timmy wishes for a joy buzzer that will allow him to switch bodies with whoever touches it. He first uses this on AJ to get him to take his test for him while in his body, and later uses it on Francis so that he can beat Francis up while in his body. When Mr. Crocker tries to confiscate it, he and Timmy end up switching bodies, and Timmy has to get them back into their normal bodies before Crocker discovers Cosmo and Wanda.
  • The Flintstone Kids has a Bamboo Technology version of this in one episode. Barney's bratty younger brother Dusty "shocks" Freddy with a primitive joybuzzer (a bee tied to his hand).
  • In an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo comes across an old resident called Wally to praise his work as a prankster. Wally claims to have hung up his pranks and thanks Bloo by shaking his hand, giving Bloo an electric shock.
    Bloo: Hilarious... [faints]
  • In Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Monkey tries to get Tigress with a "joy luck buzzer". Tigress doesn't fall for it, and doubts that anyone would be stupid enough to do so, but Po does... repeatedly.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Griffon the Brush-Off", this is one of the pranks pulled by Pinkie Pie at Gilda's party. She greets Gilda this way, giving her Harmless Electrocution.
    • In "The Last Laugh", one of the gag items produced by Cheese Sandwich's factory is an electric joy buzzer. Pinkie uses it on Sans Smirk among her attempts to make Cheese Sandwich laugh, to no avail.
  • The Mickey Mouse short "Mickey's Rival" has a variation. After Mortimer plucks the buttons off Mickey's shorts, Mickey tries to do the same. He gets shocked, as Mortimer's buttons are connected to batteries hidden in his pockets.
  • The Simpsons: Krusty does this in "Homie the Clown" when handing diplomas and shaking hands to the clown college graduates. Homer avoids this and runs off, but Krusty tackles and buzzes him several times.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pranks a Lot", Patrick is a victim of this when he and Spongebob enter a prank store, and the buzzer looks like it really shocks Patrick.
  • In Static Shock, the Joker tries to use his buzzer on Batman, but Static takes his hand instead, absorbing the electricity. Static then returns the favor.
    Static: That was fun. Let me try!
  • Befitting his status as The World's Greatest Prankster, Andy Larkin of What's with Andy? uses one of these in a few episodes.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: You asked for it? This Cracked article cover sits as item #13. If you'll look at others, you may need Brain Bleach, though. (NSFW)
  • Here's one from the 1930 DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Fraternal Supply Catalog— one of many shock-inducing items available for those initiation ceremonies.
  • There is also a working pen, which causes an electric shock when you push the button on top of the pen. The harder the push, the more shock. (Something similar is featured during the end credits once on World's Dumbest.... The commentators are not amused.)
  • A similar gag item is a toy pistol that contains a laser pointer, but pulling the trigger shocks you, because the laser is actually turned on by pressing the pistol's hammer. That way, when somebody sees you playing with it and asks to borrow it, they will shock themselves when you give it to them.


Video Example(s):


A Pete Scorned

Pete seeing Mortimer pick on Mickey plays out like Pete caught Mickey cheating on him.

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