A Catch-Phrase that's slightly different every time—the same phrase structure, but with one or two words different each time it's used, either completely at random or somehow related to the current situation. Perhaps the most famous is Robin's "Holy ____, Batman!"
Subtrope of Catch-Phrase and a prime source for the "mutation" part of Memetic Mutation—turns of phrase like "X is the new Y" which behave this way are sometimes called 'snowclones'. Unrelated to Mad Libs Dialogue.
NOTE: Examples should be formatted like a "Mad Libs" page, with the missing word or phrase made as specific as possible. We want [plural noun] who [verb] them to understand the [abstract noun], after all! Blank lines appear when the gap can be filled with pretty much anything.
- Playstation's Long Live Play ad campaign has Kevin Butler, VP of [silly fictional department].
- This is a standard trope for Ad Bumpers on TV shows, especially syndicated shows, but also shows up on Saturday mornings as well. It usually follows this pattern:
"[show] will return / be (right) back after these messages.""We now return to / (And) now back to [show]".note
- Early Cartoon Network bumpers sometimes had the network refer to itself as "The [random noun or adjective] Network". For example, when the network aired G Force, it sometimes referred to itself as "The Lightspeed Network". Another example is when Wildfire aired as part of its "Look What We Found" showcase, when the network referred to itself as "The Boss Hoss Network".
- "[Name of regularly scheduled program]note will not be seen today / tonight, but will return next weeknote / tomorrow / Monday at it's regularly scheduled time."note
- It isn't done very much anymore, but as recently as the 1990s (at least) CBS would occasionally have this, especially for their daytime showsnote :
"Stay tuned for [name of next program], next over most of these CBS stations."
- Nozomu Itoshiki, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: "I'm in despair! [The subject of today's episode] has left me in despair!", or with the change to the manga's translator: "It's hopeless! I've lost all faith in [subject of today's chapter]!"
- Codename: Sailor V: "[suitable person/group] may let you but I won't!"
- Updated in the followup as "[person] may forgive you, but I/we won't!"
- "Moon Power! [disguise] ni na-re!! (loosely: turn / change me into [disguise]note )"
- Karin: "[The subject of today's episode] is embarrassing!"
- Himawari!! has two. Yusura describes things being "[adjective] like a(n) [animal]". Azami has "According to my information, [useful information]. Also, [useless trivia]."
- Soul Eater: Crona's "I don't know how to deal with [whatever is in front of them at the time]!"
- Eyeshield 21, Monta: "[verb] MAX!"
- Gintama: Katsura occasionally twists his catchphrase of "It's not Zura, it's Katsura" into "I'm not a [noun], I'm Katsura" or "I'm not [adjective], I'm Katsura". Even if that winds up blowing his cover, he still does it. And sometimes, he also twists it like "I'm not [noun]/[adjective], I'm [name]/[noun]"
- Pokémon's Team Rocket's mottos, particularly in Sinnoh. Bulbapedia has a complete list. They're too long to put here, though "Listen, is that a/n [adjective noun]/[noun] I hear?" "It [verb]s to me loud and clear!" is a common one.
- And when defeated and going offscreen, they used to cry out that they are "_____ing off again" (usually "blasting off"). It was a normal Catch-Phrase in the Japanese.
- Cilan has "It's _____ time!" in the Japanese version, originally starting with tasting time, we have now had various times including, but not limited to, fishing time, science time, detective time, and unbelievable time. The dub does this to a lesser extent, with "evaluating time" being his default catchphrase instead of "tasting time".
- Possibly due to either almost missing it or perhaps really loving it (or both) the dub has been adding extra "It's _____ time!" phrases for Cilan starting from Facing Fear with Eyes Wide Open. They added two extra along with "It's lunch time~!" and "It's fishing time!" these being "It's fishing wrap it up time!" and "It's Pokéball time!" and they've continued to do so with the following episodes. Plus, it's not just that, but TPCI has also been having other character imitate Cilan's phrase.
- Black Butler: "A Phantomhive butler that can't do [insert ridiculous task here] isn't worth his salt!"
- In the official manga translation, it is: "I am butler to the Phantomhive family. It goes without saying that I can handle a [situation] such at this."
- Fullmetal Alchemist: This [item or ideal] has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!
- Shakugan no Shana: "My [adjective] [noun], Margery Daw!"
- Sky High of Tiger & Bunny: "_____! And _____ again!"
- One Piece:
- Brook has: [Common phrase that includes a body part (eyes, stomach, etc.)], wait, I don't have [said body part]. He also uses: [Expression of relief at being alive/terror at the prospect of being killed], however, I am already dead.
- Usopp will often come down with some kind of extremely specific disease that prevents him from going to islands he thinks are scary.
- My Monster Secret uses "Actually, I am...", typically when a new character is revealed to be a vampire or werewolf or other unusual being, though it also crops up in more dramatic contexts. Also doubles as a Title Drop, due to the phrase being the manga's original Japanese name.
- Calvin's Dad from Calvin and Hobbes has "[Whatever Calvin's complaining about] builds character." Eventually, Calvin parodied it by combing down his hair, taking his father's glasses, and yelling, "Calvin! go do something you hate! Being miserable builds character!" which dad, annoyed, admitted was Actually Pretty Funny (Calvin's mom, meanwhile, was literally on the floor, laughing uproariously).
- Obelix from Astérix:
"These [ethnic group]s are crazy!"
- Grouchy Smurf from The Smurfs: "I hate [whatever we're talking about]!" In the original French, it's "I don't like [whatever we're talking about]!"note
- Spam Dotcom from Silex and the City: "If they had _____, the dinosaurs would never have gone extinct!"
- The air traffic controller in Airplane!:
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit [habit]!
- Father Malius of Happy Hell Night has "No [something]"; i.e. "No sex", "No parking", "No STV" etc.
- In Rubin and Ed, Ed Tuttle has his increasingly nonsensical references to things being either "[adjective] as a well-digger's ass" or "[adjective]-er than a well-digger's ass".
- Bobby Boucher's Mama in The Waterboy:
[Thing I don't approve of] is the devil! (Or "debil", as she says it.)
- Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet: Nick Carter always introduces his super cool devices as "a present from my friend [surname]"—his friends are Edison, Röntgen, Nobel, and Laser. Mr Laser apparently invented a solar gun.
- Children's fantasy novel series Fablehaven has Seth's "You mean awesome [topic]," as well as his tendency for replacing various unsavory-sounding adjectives with "awesome" if it piques the interest of his inner Nightmare Fetishist.
- Another novel by the same author, The Candy Shop War, has Pigeon's "I just like to read books about [noun]!"
- Sgt. Jackrum of Monstrous Regiment: "Upon my oath, I am not a [adjective] man." Which, to her credit, is the truth.
- Also, each of the Tiffany Aching books includes several variants on this exchange between Rob Anybody and Daft Wullie:
Rob: Wullie, ye ken I said I'll tell ye when there were times ye should [sound advice to help Wullie in social situations]
Wullie: Aye, Rob.
Rob: Well, that was one of them times.
- Eventually subverted as:
Rob: Wullie, ye ken I told ye that sometimes ye say exactly the right thing?
Wullie: No, Rob, I dinna remember ye ever saying that tae me.
Rob: Well, if I had, this would be one of them times.
- In the Tom Swift series, Mr. Damon would repeatedly utter the phrase: "Bless my [noun]".
- In the Tom Swift, Jr. series, the author wrote this enough that it became a joke known as a Tom Swiftie: [statement] Tom said [adverb related to the statement]. An example of a Tom Swiftie: "We must hurry," said Tom swiftly.
- In the narration of The Gallagher Girls novels, Cammie tends to provide emphasis in the form of "Yes, actual [blank]age." For example: "Yes, actual smileage."
- A Song of Ice and Fire: In A Dance with Dragons, Reek tries to remind himself of his name (he also has the uncharinging Catchphrase, "I have to remember my name") with the help of the Madness Mantra "Reek, Reek, it rhymes with [word that rhymes with reek]," such as sneak or freak. He also uses it sometimes with Jeyne: "Jeyne, Jeyne, it rhymes with [word that rhymes with Jeyne]", like plain or pain.
- P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith would often add emphasis to a statement thus—"The cry goes round: '[statement]'."
- In Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Mr Buttoo always addresses Haroun's father as "[adjective] Mr Rashid".
- Lazlo Woodbine in Robert Rankin's novels has two. After referring to a Noodle Incident he says "That cost me [a loved one], [a pet or artifact], [a position or body part] and [a period of time somewhere]". In more general situations he says "In this business [knowing or doing something relevant to the current situation] can mean the difference between [a convoluted metaphor for a good thing] and [a convoluted metaphor for a bad thing], if you catch my drift, and I'm sure that you do."
- In Book 1 of The Gospel of Loki, the chapters are all headed with a quote in the formula, "Never trust a [person]."
- Tom Cullen of The Stand, who is mildly mentally challenged and doesn't know how to spell anything, will often say, "M-O-O-N, that spells [word related to the topic of conversation]!" Accidentally accurate at one point when he says it in regard to the moon.
- The First Law has "Say anything about Logen Ninefingers, say he's [something]." About half the time it's a Badass Boast, and half the time it's sarcastic or Self-Deprecation.
- In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, the Sixth Doctor's companion Mel Bush is sometimes given the Mad Libs Catchphrase "Never mind the [fictional or historic character] [activity]!" based on the scene in "Trial of a Time Lord" where she says "Never mind the Sydney Carton heroics!"
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Miss Peregrine chides her children by telling them, "Polite persons do not [whatever they just did]."
- Journey to Chaos: Vaya Kloac is fond of something "A lady [[behavior that a Proper Lady is supposed to do]]".
- Bill Nye the Science Guy wants you to "take a look at this. It's our [Really-Elaborately-Named-Device] of Science!" *Triumphant trumpets*
- Jackass has "I'm [cast member] and this is [stunt/prank/segment]"
- The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin practically ran on these, with many of them falling into everyday use:
CJ: I didn't get where I am today by [action/behavior].
CJ: Neither I, nor Mrs CJ, have ever [action].
Jimmy: Bit of a cock-up on the ____ front.
Tom: "I'm not really an ____ person"
- Robin from the old Batman TV show:
Holy [object], Batman! (The "Batman" itself is optional.)
- Various Star Trek doctors with:
I'm a doctor not a [profession].
- Though he rarely said it while on screen, Chandler in Friends got shoe-horned both in-universe and out of it with:
Could [noun] be any more [adjective]?
- The Mr. Potato Head Show: One of Mr. Potato Head's catchphrases is "Who's ___? That's right, it's me/you!" The blank can be filled in with all sorts of things, like "clueless", "gonna be rich", or "a genius".
- The Muppet Show:
Cute. Cute [noun].
Crazy Harry: Did somebody say "[usually a word related to explosions, but sometimes just a random word]"?
- Or, usually after someone says a word related to explosions, but sometimes just a random word, and before the nearby characters say/yell "No!" and he depresses the plunger and causes an explosion anyway—if he doesn't get socked, that is:
- Family Matters: Urkel, in response to some insult or threat from Laura: "Ha! Yesterday you said [more severe version of Laura's line]! I'm wearin' you dowwwwwwn, baby!"
- Also, "Shhh! Not while I'm [verb]ing!" with a menial task like pouring or stirring for the verb.
- Kenan from Kenan & Kel:
Kel, bring a X, a Y and a Z and meet me at [place]. C'mon, [nickname]!
- Once performed in meta-joke form as " bring something, something, and something else, and meet me there."
- Subverted when he asks Kel to bring him coffee with sugar, and Kel returns with Sugar and Coffee, two hyperactive talk show hosts from another recurring sketch.
- Get Smart had several of these:
"[Outrageous statement.]""I don't believe you.""Would you believe [slightly less outrageous statement]?""No.""How about [totally lame statement]?"
- "This is KAOS! We don't [action] here!"
- "Ahh, the old [extremely specific noun] trick. That's the [number]th time this [month/week]."
- "That's the second [adjective]est [noun] I've ever seen!"
- "Don't tell me [bad news]." (someone tells him) "I told you not to tell me that!"
- The Pushing Daisies narrator: [Person] was [number] years, [number] weeks, [number] days, [number] hours and [number] minutes old when [event].
- The Colbert Report:
- "I don't see race. People tell me I'm white, and I believe them because [humorously observed benefit of being a member of the racial majority]."
- "Great [noun]? Or GREATEST [noun]?" although most often this is said of George W. Bush.
- X or Y? Pick a side, we're at war.
- Boy Meets World: For at least half a season early on, it seemed every episode gave Cory a chance to declare, "I'm [whatever's being discussed] Boy!"
- Sue in Glee: "Do you think this is hard? Try [Refuge in Audacity]. That's hard!"
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
"It's Jim Henson's [proper noun] Babies!""[Noun] of the Ollllld West."
- Top Gear, regarding the Stig: "Some say [humourous "fact"]. And [different humourous "fact"]. All we know is he's called the Stig."
- A variation: "All we know is he's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's [related nationality/profession/lifestyle] cousin!"
- Leverage has several, the most common being Nate saying, "Let's go steal a [thing you couldn't possibly steal]!"
- Also Elliot, "It has a very distinctive [characteristic]," when asked how he knows what something is based on a sound/feel/etc.
- Kamen Rider Kabuto:
Tsurugi: I am the man who will stand on top of [whatever he's trying to do at the moment]!
- Kamen Rider Den-O:
Ryutaros: Mind if I [verb]? Can't hear your answer!
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? (the US version) featured, at the start of every show, Drew Carey introducing the plot by saying "Welcome to Whose Line Is It Anyway, the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter. That's right, the points are like [thing that doesn't matter]."
- Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor wears a [item of clothing] now. [Items of clothing] are cool.
then later:Amy: Wait, so we're in a tiny bubble universe sticking to the side of the bigger bubble universe?The Doctor: Yeah. No! But if it helps, yes.
- "[Adjective] [noun], [same adjective] [different noun]" For example: "New mouth, new rules" and "Big bag, big laptop", both from 'The Eleventh Hour'.
- "The [gendered personal noun] who waited."
- New from Series 6. The Doctor: "Imagine/It's like [an idea]. Actually, it's nothing like that, but if it helps
" (as in:
The Doctor: Imagine a great big soap bubble with one of those tiny little bubbles on the outside.Rory: Okay.The Doctor: Well it's nothing like that.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete occasionally uses "This is [person]. And this is [person's posession]" as a substitute for Big Pete's usual, varying Opening Monologues, specifically during the shorts when brevity was of the essence.
- Angus Deayton on Have I Got News for You had "The words 'X' and 'Y' spring to mind."
- Beakman's World
[Assistant]: [Wacky intro phrase]! It's time to [verb] your [alliterative and anatomical noun]! Here he is, the [synonym for "leader"] of the [alliterative scientific noun], the [another leader synonym] of [another alliterative scientific noun], the [semi-famous person] of the [rhyming semi-scientific phrase], the one, the only the Beakman!Ding ding ding DONG!Beakman: You [verb] 'em, I'll [rhyming verb] 'em, let's [obscure but real dance]!
- Hannah Montana: when someone said something surprising, Miley would respond with "[General Description of Person] say whaat?" Such as "Mean Girl say what?" to the Alpha Bitch, "Songwriting daddy say what?" to her dad, "Teenie Weenie Meanie say what?" to Rico, "Big Blonde Sack of Drama say what?" to Jake Ryan, everybody had their own version.
- On Project Runway, judge Michael Kors will frequently describe a terrible outfit with some variant of: "She looks like a [adjective] [Always Female occupation] going to [social event] in [geographic location]."
- Psych: "I'm Shawn Spencer, and this is my partner [ridiculous fake name for Gus]." Also, "Gus, don't be [a/the] [noun phrase]."
- SportsNation's Colin Cowherd opens every episode with "HELLOOOOOO nation! I'm Colin Cowherd, that's Michelle Beadle! This is SportsNation, the show that [insert topical reference here]."
- Sesame Street ends every episode with "Sesame Street was brought to you today by the letters __ and __, and the number __." The letters and number are those which were most prominently featured in the episode.
- The BBC Sketch Comedy Sorry, I've Got No Head has several of them.
- "Nothing's free these days." "Except for those free [thing, usually followed by a strange Noodle Incident on why they aren't allowed those any more ]."
- "Remember [person]?"
- "He would have loved that [singer]."
- "So what happened to [same person]?"
- "I think I picked [country] by mistake. Is that a problem?"
- "Do you have trouble [everyday action]? [More specific rephrasing]? Well, that's because you're using a [random object] instead of [object normally used for task]!"
- "You're going to use your time machine to go into the future and see [something] so we can go to the [building] earlier!"
- "It's got 10 [safety gear]. 11's too many. 9, and I might as well go jump off a cliff."
- When he fronted Nevermind The Buzzcocks, Mark Lamarr frequently used "People criticized [group's song], but I [mild compliment]. I say [compliment] I [mild insult]. I say I [insult] what I mean is I [really scathing insult, often involving self-torture]. Having said that, [vague compliment]."
- In Red Dwarf, perilous situations would often result in the Cat exclaiming, "That's it, we're deader than [outmoded item of clothing]!"
- In Community:
- Troy and Abed occasionally do a fake talk show they ended with "Troy and Abed in the mor~ning". Eventually this becomes a Mad Libs Catchphrase for when they're particularly enjoying something they do together, in the form of "Troy and Abed [in/doing something]" or other ways that fit the cadence of the original like such as "Evil Troy and Evil A~bed."
- "Shut up Leonard, I [statement implying knowledge of something that's supposed to embarrass Leonard, but that he's not really ashamed of]."
- NCIS would have Gibbs and others with this;
Set-up: It's [whatever problem there is]Gibbs: Well un-[said problem]
McGee: It's encrypted.Gibbs: Well, unencrypt it.
- For Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother, it's a Mad Libs Hand Gesture: the high five and variations thereof. He's done a "phone five" (if you don't do it on your end, he'll somehow know), a "tiny five" (with a kindergartener), a "hypothetical high five" (doing nothing at all), and a "high two" (in a flashback to a time when he was considerably less Barney-like).
- Nadia G has a recurring rant on Bitchin' Kitchen that goes something like this:
- El Chavo del ocho has a whole bunch of them, sometimes occuring one after the other:
Doña Florinda: ¡Y la próxima vez, vaya a ___ a su abuela! (And next time, go and ___ (to) your grandmother!)El Chavo (to Don Ramón): Señornote , ¿(a) su abuelita (le gusta) ___ (Sir, your grandma [likes] ___?)?Don Ramón (hits El Chavo with Kung-Foley in the background): ¡TOMA!El Chavo: Pipipipipipipipipipipipi "Don Ramón: "Pipipipipipipipipipipipi ", ¡y no te otra no más (makes Aside Glance to the audience) porque mi abuelita ___ (lit. "And I'm not giving you another one because my grandma ___.")note
El Peterete / Botija: Y la próxima vez, [varies depending on the situation].
- The "Los Caquitos" segments on both Chespirito shows have a recurring gag where El Chompiras says or does something stupid, then El Peterete (and later, El Botija) combs El Chompiras' hair for a minute or so, then hits him.
- 'Allo 'Allo!:
Edith: Rene! Why do I find you [in some form of compromising position] with a serving girl?Rene: You stupid woman! Can you not see that [Blatant Lies explanation which Edith buys]?
- Played with in the final episode, where Edith asks why Rene is leaving the cafe with Yvette and he replies "You stupid woman! Can you not see that I am eloping?"
- During the 1997-98 season of Wheel of Fortune; Pat Sajak would frequently introduce the Jackpot round by saying "Put down that [random object], Charlie, it's time for our Jackpot round". At least one incident had the item in question said to be a Viagra espresso.
- Shining Time Station
Schemer: Schemer's System of Success: [unethical practice or other bad advice].
- In Dinnerladies, Twinkle would respond to any joke at her expense with a sarcastic "Oh, ha ha, [name of comedian or comedy actor]." Or, on one occasion "Oh, ha ha, straight to video."
- In Lexx, the undead assassin Kai has no bodily functions, desires, or needs, and responds verbatim almost every time someone asks something of him.
Kai: The dead do not [verb].
- Die Sendung mit der Maus, after the intro was repeated in another language: Das war [language]!
- The Rock had a few of these, most commonly "Why don't you [noun/verb] your ass on out of here!" and "I'm gonna take your [noun], shine it up real nice, turn that sumbitch sideways, and stick it straight up your candy ass!". The first promo he'd cut during shows would also feature one, in the form of "FINALLY The Rock has come back to [show location]!".
- Car Talk: " and even though [NPR personality] [has an unpleasant reaction] whenever they hear us say it, this is NPR."
- On Hello Cheeky, Denis King always introduced himself with "Hi, fans! Denis "Nickname" King here!". Then there was this, which everyone got to deliver at one point or another—"Meanwhile, in a [location], not a thousand miles from [noun related to location] "
- I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue:
Chairman: and points mean [noun]. What do points mean?Audience: [NOUN]!
- The chairman always ends the episode with some phrase including Fate, Time, Hope and Eternity.
- In the Film Club round (titles of film suitable for an audience of [profession/interest]), Graeme Garden always finds some variation on the title Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, and in the Songbook round (songs suitable for [profession/interest]), Barry Cryer often finds a variation on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
- Also, this, with the default being "and points mean prizes". Usually half the audience would shout "Prizes!" as usual, and half the audience would shout whatever noun the chairman had said.
- Nebulous: Hideously deformed Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery poster boy Harry waits for the Professor to casually use a cliché involving a body part, and immediately shouts back at him "UNLIKE YOU, PROFESSOR, I NO LONGER HAVE THE LUXURY OF A [BODY PART]".
- Martin on Absolute Power: "I was going to [do X], but then I decided I couldn't be arsed".
- In the original Dragnet radio-show, every episode started with our narrator Detective Winters going: ''it was [DATE], and [WEATHER] in Los Angeles. I was entering the precinct when [CASE] '
- Miles Jupp on The News Quiz often credits the cuttings sent in by listeners with "Thanks to [name] for that piece of [nonsense/naughtiness/filth]" and starts the answers with "[Adverb]ly, this is the news that "
- Steve Punt explaining the rules of the specialist subject round (where a student and don both have to answer questions on what they study/teach) in The Third Degree: "If the don can't answer a question it can go to the student for a bonus, but there is no bonus for the don if the student can't answer. It's like [something asymmetric or unequal to do with the subject]."
- In Exalted, Sidereals can use special prayer strips bearing one of twenty-five Scriptures to enhance certain of their abilities. The Scriptures come in five sets of five, each set associated with one Sidereal caste/aspect of fate/astrological house, and the final line in each set except for Journeys is a perfect example of this trope.
- Serenity: "Love is [Koan]."
- Battles: "Survival is [noun]."
- Secrets: "To know the world is to [verb] it."
- Endings: "'There's always an ending,' said [someone or something]."
- In another Exalted example, the description of each of the Sidereal castes in their particular sourcebook starts with "Life is [noun/phrase relevant to the caste's purview]". Likewise, the description of each of the Terrestrial (Dragon-Blooded) elemental aspects in their sourcebook starts with a two-word sentence: "[Element] [verb which that element does]s."
- "That's the second [adjective]est [object] I've ever seen!"—Guybrush Threepwood in Monkey Island. (See Get Smart, above.)
- There's also "I'm Guybrush Threepwood, mighty [profession]." Usually, it's pirate.
- "I HAVE [emotion]!"—Fawful in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Throughout, it's "fury", though at one point, he says "I have fright!" The phrase gets more varied in Partners in Time, and even further in Bowser's Inside Story.
- Left 4 Dead: Francis' "I hate [thing(s)]". Except vests, or Steam.
- Left 4 Dead 2: Ellis' "I ever tell you about the time mah buddy Keith—"
- Nick: "[something about cleaning blood and guts]. Don't ask me how I know that."
- Team Fortress 2:
Engineer: Spy's sapping my [noun]!
[Subject] [Verb]in' mah [Object]!
- This one has become a meme
Anyone: That [class]'s a Spy!
- Doc Louis in the Wii version of Punch-Out!!. "What's your favorite kind of ______? Mine's chocolate!"
- Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. "What can you tell me about [topic of interest]?" / "What do you know about [topic of interest]?"
- Sanger Zonvolt of Super Robot Wars. "I am Sanger Zonvolt, the sword that smites [noun]!" Usually he smites evil (or cleaves it in Japanese), but special enemies have it replaced with something relating to them, such as God. At one point, he even Mad Libs his Evil Twin's catchphrase.
- A cheat for Age of Empires III makes the name of a unit's killer pop up above the victim, with "'d!" on the end, as a shoutout to Teen Girl Squad. Shot by a cannon? Culverin'd! Shot by American Militia? Minuteman'd! Get run over by the carriage on the end of a train? Caboose'd! And so on.
- Pirohiko from Zettai Hero Project has a variation on his "[blank] Ranger!" catchphrase for just about any situation.
- Prince Dreambert from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team says 'Be at one with [something]' at every other point in the game. Usually 'be at one with defeating this type of enemy'.
- Darius: "WARNING! A HUGE BATTLESHIP (name of boss) IS APPROACHING FAST."
- Jane Valderamma, in Saints Row: The Third, finishes her broadcast after every story mission with "This is Jane Valderamma, with your Steelport [relevant type of news]."
- Gyruss has "3 / 2 / 1 warp(s) to [planet]".note
- Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has Dekar's "the other thing I'm best at is [whatever is currently being discussed]".
- Kanami Mashita from Persona 4: Dancing All Night uses the phrase "I just have to [the action needed]]." Nanako copies the phrase whenever the two are together.
- "Colecovision presents [original creator]'s [game]"note
- Unlike in the English versions, whenever a character is unlocked or otherwise introduced in the Japanese version of both versions of Super Smash Bros. 4, it's always "[character] sansen!! ([character] enters the battle!!)".example
- Dragon Quest'': "A [monster] appeared." / "Command?"note
- "Nazi science sneers at ____!"—Colonel Haken in Irregular Webcomic!.
- Kiki from Sluggy Freelance:
- The Order of the Stick—Elan: [Verb], [verb], [verb], [verb] the [adjective] [noun]! In theory this gives a bonus to the action, in practice it usually doesn't make a difference or even actively messes up the attempt.
- Turn Signals on a Land Raider:
YOUR HUM4N ______
- Homestuck has all the catchphrases. All of them.
- Several lines from Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff mutate in this way as well, for example:
"and there [he/she] goes. The [person] HASS the [object]""the ____ ruse was a DISTACTION. [pronoun] [has/have] the [object].""you have to [verb] it [different verb]-ways!""[Subject personal pronoun] [appropiate conjugation of "be"] the star. it's [direct object personal pronoun]."
- "Adios, Torea[pun]!"—generally invoked by Vriska after doing something horrible to Tavros, whose IM handle is adiosToreador.
- One of them was discussed by Dirk, during a conversation with Caliborn.
uu: AND THE FACT THAT I MIGHT NOT CLuE YOu INTO YOuR FATE ALL THE TIME.
uu: DuE TO MY AGGRAVATED APATHY OVER THE MATTER.
uu: IS AN IMMuTABLE FACT. I AM STATING FOR THE RECORD.
uu: IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT GIVING A SHIT IS WHAT IS TAKING PLACE HERE.
TT: I feel like you've said something like that before.
TT: Different statements, but in that exact syntax.
- Dinosaur Comics, especially in the early years:
- T-Rex: Today is a good day I think for [activity].
- In Rusty and Co., Rusty's is "Eat [metallic object]?"
- The Tiger Knuckle school from How I Killed Your Master will readily announce that a hundred of something are as one to a Tiger Knuckle disciple.
- DM of the Rings has "Conan's ____!"
- Rip Haywire: "Sweet [Name] (Mc)_____!"
- Patty in General Protection Fault: "I don't 'do' _____."
- Homestar Runner:
- The Homestar Runner Wiki has a whole list of "Variable Word Running Gags", like Homestar's use of the phrase "Best/worst x bucks I ever spent!" and Strong Bad scolding The Cheat with "The Cheat! I told you to...".
- In Teen Girl Squad, the girls wil cry out "Ow! My [body part or attribute]," when they get injured or killed. This is usually caused by the "comic"'s trademark cathphrase/running gag: "[noun]'d!!!" This descended from the first strip's use of "Arrowed!!!", and includes "404'd!!!", "MSG'd!!!", "Cerebellum'd!!!", and "Late 360 shove-it to boneless...'d!!!"
- Parodied in the Strong Bad Email "best thing". On the Show Within a Show "Limozeen: But They're in Space!", Limozeen's manager Teeg Dougland would always proceed whatever plot point he had to bring up with "I'm afraid I have some bad news, boys..."
- Today I Die: In a surprisingly beautiful usage, a Mad Libs Catch Phrase forms the skeleton for the game's poem.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: "Screw the [plural noun], I have [plural noun]!"
- Ask That Guy: [Looks up from his book] "Oh! [Foreign, or just made up, greeting]! Didn't hear you come in."
- The Cinema Snob has a couple:
- "If I want [X, typically a film genre], I'll stick with real [X], like [better-known but still obscure example], thank you very much!" note
- "You're about as [adjective] as [well-known actor deliberately used as a bad example]!"note
- Blogger Beware has a really weird one. At first he started out making reference to people disappearing halfway through the book (generally under "Platonic Boy/Girl Relationship"), and it happened so often it started mutating until eventually, every entry would make reference to someone, doing something, halfway through some event.
- Whenever Bailiff Jesse Thorn swears in the defendant and complainant in the Judge John Hodgman Podcast, he asks whether they'll "abide by the judge's ruling, no matter how insane/offensive/onerous/etc. it may seem."
- The Annoying Orange has "I'm not [adjective], I'm an Orange".
- Also, Hey [noun]!" "What?" "[noun that kills previous noun}"
- On Is It A Good Ideato Microwave This, safety is whatever host Jory Caron says it is.
Jory: Here at Jory Caron Laboratories, [something about safety]].
- Epic Meal Time: Every episode is closed with "Next time, we eat [X]", where [X] is something ridiculous and inedible.
- Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time:
- A variant of "Next time" at the end of almost every episode.
- "[cooking technique], if you want to. We won't; this is REGULAR!"
- The House To Astonish podcast always opens with "And in the week when [genuine news event], we ask [strange comics tangent]?" E.g. "And in the week when UBS Bank lost almost 2 million dollars to a rogue trader, we ask: is Uncle Scrooge's money bin now the only safe haven for your money?"
- Tobuscus opens every episode of Cute Win Fail with the phrase, "Hi, I'm Toby Turner. [Improbable statement], and this is 'Cute Win Fail'." Said improbable statement is then used as a Running Gag in the remainder of the intro.
- Pay Me, Bug!: Grif Vindh likes to take a word or phrase he just said, and
"clarify" it by adding "and by [word or phrase], I mean [short rant that includes the word or phrase]."
"[The Tyrelos hospital] is fascinating," Grif said. "And by 'fascinating,' I mean 'isn't it fascinating how little I want to go back?'"
- Washington of Red vs. Blue often uses the phrase "Worst [noun or action] ever. Of all time."
- The introductions to Cracked TV and its spinoff Does Not Compute, starring Michael Swaim. Cracked TV starts with "Welcome to episode X of Cracked TV, where [phrase fitting into the acronym S.W.A.I.M.]" On DNC, it gets a little more versatile. "Welcome to episode [cultural reference relating to episode number] of Does Not Compute. I'm your host, [two word reference with initials M and S]. With me as always is my co-host, clips of [some bizarre thing scoured from the bottom of the internet]".
- Mr. Regular from Regular Car Reviews has "Which <car brand> is best <car brand>?".
- Over time, Linkara (of Atop the Fourth Wall) evolved "Because poor literacy is kewl!" into one of these, with a random word or phrase replacing "kewl".
- Ninety Second Movie Reviews closes every video with "Well my ninety seconds are almost up [action relevant to film being reviewed]"
- The members of Game Grumps have a habit of using the catchphrase "<adjective>-ass <noun>."
- NYLOCKE! Dragon/Master of [X]!
- Matt from Two Best Friends Play:
- "It's [positive adjective] than you'd think, and [negative adjective] than you'd hope!"
- Black Hat Man from xkcd has acquired one in What If?: "What if we [increased the scope of the original question in a way that will eventually lead to massive destruction]?"
- The Evil Guitarist from the Pimp Lando series has this (overlaps with Phrase-Catcher):
Some character (usually Pimp Lando): Why do you call it the evil <noun>?
The Evil Guitarist: 'Cause sometimes it does this.
[<noun> does something to injure Mr. Smiles, who walks on just for the occasion]
- SF Debris: "But I'm no [career]/not a [career], I'm just a viewer with an opinion."
- CinemaSins has several, including "X is a dick to Y", "[actor] isn't doing [something they're famous for] in this scene" (eg. "Liam Neeson isn't killing anyone in this scene"), "Visionary [genre] director rips off [classic film]", and "No one will be seated during the [boring stuff happening] scene."
- They actually sell a shirt that says "Blank-ex-machina" because of how frequently use that particular phrase.
- Lowtax of Gaming Garbage responds to Shmorky pointing things out by saying that it's "nature's _____"
- Who Back When:
- Every review episode opens with "This is the one with [noun], [noun], and [noun]."
- Whenever jD has information about an actor's past work on Doctor Who:
jD: And [person] has a prior Doctor Who connection.
- In Noob, Sparadrap has the habit of describing things as "[adjective] of the dead". The franchise is originally French, and the "of the dead" part Gratuitous English.
- As It Occurs To Me: You do the [gerund] and I'll do the jokes.
- I have learned that the only way to defeat [noun] is to burn it!
- PlayStation Access: Rob will start the Friday lists with him saying "Hello. You've caught me (doing thing relevant to the topic of the week)".
- Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life:
"[episode theme] Day can be a very dangerous day."
- From Futurama, Hermes' "Sweet [noun] of [rhyming location]!"
"Sweet something of some place "
- "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" even had him traumatised (his office having been destroyed just before an inspection) and mutter:
- Also, Hermes': "That's [adjective]er than a [something to do with green snakes] on/with/in a [something to do with sugarcane].
- Judging from the episodes "Attack of the Killer App" and "The Bots and the Bees", it seems that Fry has "Shut up and [demand]!"
- When someone mentions a mineral, Bender sometimes proclaims, "I'm 40% [said material]!"
- Beauty and the Beast: "No one [verbs] like Gaston!" More a subject of Memetic Mutation than an actual Catch-Phrase from the movie, as he just says it during his Villain Song. In the House of Mouse, it went beyond Catch-Phrase to practically the only thing he ever said.
- Several from The Simpsons:
- Homer's "Mmmmm... [food item or something that sounds like one]... *gurgling sound*
- And there's Wiggum's "What a shame. [person or piece of equipment] had one day left to retirement"
- The Comic Book Guy often claims something is the "Worst. [noun]. Ever."
- Occasionally, he uses the variation "Best. [noun]. Ever."
- "Hi! I'm Troy McClure. You Might Remember Me from... such [type of movie]s as [title X] and [title Y]" (The last one will usually be something completely out of place).
- Lenny's "Ow my eye, I'm not supposed to get [food item or object] in it!"
- Homer's "The Simpsons are going to [exotic location]!"
- Mr. Burns: "Smither's who is this [insulting adjective]?
- Smithers: "That's Homer Simpson, sir, one of your [different insulting adjective]s from sector 7G".
- Homer: "Not now, [verb]ing!" or "Can't talk now, [verb]ing!"
- Some of the original shorts, where the kids misbehaved on a trip, ended with Homer telling them "This is the last time we're taking you kids to [place]."
- Making Fiends: Martin has "My [noun]!" as a running gag, with the noun either being a stolen item or injured body part. This was so belabored in the online version that that every single one of his sentences, exclamation or no, started with "My", with one exception across twenty episodes. (Two if you want to count the Translation Train Wreck that is the April Fool's episode.)
- "I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the [noun] that [verb]s your [other noun]. I... am Darkwing Duck!" The nouns and verb were usually relevant to the current situation.
- Ralphie from The Magic Schoolbus:
"Is it just me or [clause]?"
- Phoebe had one as well: "At my old school, [noun] never [whatever the current noun is doing]." Usually [noun] is "we" or "the bus."
- And Dorothy Ann has one too: "According to my research, [plot-relevant fact]."
- There's also Ms. Frizzle's "As I always say, [thing she has never said before]."
- Dr. Drakken of Kim Possible. His usual Catch-Phrase is "You think you're all that, Kim Possible! But you're not!" But he often changes it, especially if she has something new, or brought someone else with her:
"You think your ____ is all that, Kim Possible! But it's/they're not!"
- Notable subversion, in the first Grand Finale, So The Drama: "Maybe she is all that!" And another in the real Grand Finale, "Graduation", when Drakken wrongly believed that the alien invaders had killed Kim:
"You were a worthy foe. You were indeed all that!"
- Also, when Kim was beaten to the punch by Team Impossible.
"Kim Possible! You think you're all that! But they are!
- Notable subversion, in the first Grand Finale, So The Drama: "Maybe she is all that!" And another in the real Grand Finale, "Graduation", when Drakken wrongly believed that the alien invaders had killed Kim:
- Tom Slick: "There's no such word/phrase as [word/phrase] in racing."
- South Park. Eric Cartman: "I'm not fat, I'm [transparent euphemism for fat]!"
- The Spectacular Spider-Man (and Real Life!): "They just don't make [noun] like they used to."
- Garfield and Friends: "Whoever invented [noun] should be drug out into the street and shot." (It's usually "Mondays".)
- Quest from World of Quest: "I hate [whatever he's about to destroy]!"
- Father Time from Histeria!!: "The time, [time period]. The place, [place]."
- Pepper Mills, after getting an autograph: "Hey, you're not [media celebrity]!"
- Whenever someone (usually a historical figure) asks when Big Fat Baby last got a new diaper: "(Remember/You know) when [ancient historical/geological event happened]?" " yeah." "Before that."
- Whenever he was injured, the Dark Lord Chuckles, the Silly Piggy would let out an agonized groan of, "Oh, my little piggy [body part]".
- Bugs Bunny has been known to alter his familiar "What's up, Doc?" to fit the situation. Examples:
[facing a knight in armor] "What's up, Duke?"[dealing with Daffy Duck's greed] "What's up, Duck?"[hearing a baby cry] "What's up, Pediatrician?"
- "Mom! MOM!!! Phineas and Ferb are [action]!!"
"Ahh, Perry the Platypus, how [adjective beginning with a negative prefix]. And by that I mean completely [same adjective without the prefix, even if it's not a real word]!!"
"Ahh, Perry the Platypus, your timing is unexpected. And by unexpected, I mean um unexpected. What are you doing here? This is my week off."
- Subverted to hell on more than one occasion though .
- In Milo Murphy's Law, when Diogee shows up somewhere that he doesn't belong, Milo says "Diogee, go home! He's not supposed to be [wherever they currently are]."
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated plays with the classic line "And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling [person]s!"
- The 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has a few, including:
Raphael: I got your [adjective] right here!Splinter: As the wise [Ancient Asian scholar] said; [clause related to his son's foolish actions].
- Eddy of Ed, Edd n Eddy, in one episode, had "Welcome to [scam of the day]-land!"
- Double D has "It's all fun and games until someone [points out something dangerous about the current situation or activity]
- Pinky and the Brain, at least Once an Episode:
Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
Pinky: I think so Brain, but (something that has nothing to do with taking over the world)?
Pinky: (After hearing Brain's plan) Egad! Brilliant, Brain! ...Oh wait... no, but/what if [questions part of the plan]?
- Jean of Teamo Supremo: "I have to know this stuff if I want to be a(n) [occupation] someday."
- Agent Buck Rockgut from The Penguins of Madagascar: "[transitive verb] [noun]? You know who else [same action]? THE RED SQUIRREL!"
- Bert Raccoon, [profession or activity] ace!
- Muscle Man from Regular Show:
"You know who ELSE [part of what the previous character said]? MY MOM!"
- Inspector Gadget "Go go Gadget [item]".
- VictorAndHugo - Victor's insults directed at Hugo often take the form of 'Brain of a (item)!' and they are often tied in to whatever is relevant to the situation.
- Norman from Mighty Max tends to say "That's a big [object]," and "I eat [threat] for breakfast."
- The unnamed mad scientist from "The Missing Link." "And my name is " [character interrupts him with another name] "Yes, [name]! NO, THAT IS NOT MY NAME!"
- Dale Gribble from King of the Hill: "Have you ever tried [strange or insane action]?" and Hank would reply "You know I haven't!".
- Courage the Cowardly Dog, when suspicious of something, would often say "Something fishy's going on here or my name is [random funny name]. And it's not."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "Stare Master" makes a Running Gag of the Cutie Mark Crusaders shouting "Cutie Mark Crusaders [occupation or talent], yay!"
- Donna Tubbs on The Cleveland Show: "Sweet [food] and [another food]!"
- Transformers Animated has Captain Fanzone frequently say "This is why I hate machines!" It even became the title of his A Day in the Limelight episode. However, on rare occasion he hates something else.
- The Mr. Men Show has Mr. Stubborn frequently say "This [noun] is CHEAP!"
- Mr. Rude, too. "I'll give you [noun or adjective]."
- The Fairly Oddparents has Mr. Bickles' catchphrase, "It's always been my dream to [whatever project he's heading at the moment]."
- Popeye sometimes alters his closing song ("I'm strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach
") to fit the theme or Aesop of the short.
"No ifs, ands or maybes, I'll never has babies / I'm Popeye the Sailor Man"
"You spank kids I bet'cha, your conscience will get'cha / Says Popeye the Sailor Man."
"I guess he's not jokin', I shouldn't be smokin' / I'm Popeye the Sailor Boy?"
- The Magic Adventures of Mumfie: Scarecrow has "What if [bad event that might occur here]?"
- Grojband: Trina has "Hashtag [insert word here]!"
- House of Mouse
- In Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, Murky Dismal spends most of the movie referring to Lurky as "[random noun] brain"note . In fact, he only calls him by his actual a grand total of three times.
- Muppet Babies has a Running Gag where Baby Animal eats something, and then says "Good [whatever it was he just ate]! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
- Sonic Boom: Knuckles has "not cool, [character]."
- Animaniacs: Slappy Squirrel has "You remind me of a very young [classic cartoon character]."
- In Hey Arnold!, Lila thinks that everything is "ever so [adjective]."
- A minor character known to fans as "Peapod Kid" often says "Oh, my, that is terribly, terribly [adjective]."
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: "[name], your Angel of Death awaits."
- Whenever Earthworm Jim defaults to his usual strategy of blasting his targets indiscriminately, he tends to laugh maniacally as he yells out "EAT DIRT, [disparaging description of enemy]!". He may also replace 'dirt' with something else if he's using a weapon other than his standard blaster gun.
- Whenever somebody tells Mr. Cat a fact he finds unbelievable or shocking: "What do you mean, [insert fact here]?!"
- And there's Stumpy's "Are you [adjective] or what?"
- In Horsin' Around, the Show Within a Show of Bojack Horseman, the catchphrase for Bojack's character was "I've heard of (x) but this is ridiculous!"
- Shimmer and Shine: Shine has "It's like I always say, [something her twin sister points out she never heard Shine say before and Shine admits she just made up]."
- There are rare cases where, instead of saying she just made it up, Shine gives an explanation that basically means "it never made sense in context before".
- Rocket Power:
Tito: Like the ancient Hawaiian say [proverb of the day]
- Who could forget: "In Soviet Russia, [noun] [verb]s you!" A slight case of Beam Me Up, Scotty! in this case. Originally Yakov Smirnoff simply said "In Russia..."
- The Capitol Steps' "Lirty Dies" monologues begin: "There is nothing worse than [statement]. Let me say that again: there is wuthing nurse than [same statement with sweaters litched]."
- [Adjective][noun] is [same adjective] (Originally "Longcat is loooooooooong.")
- The Letter People "Hi, I'm [name], and my sound is the same sound that starts [adjective noun]."
- See also I Will Show You X.
- Ken Dodd, stand-up comedian, had "What a beautiful day! What a beautiful day for [insert wild, weird, rude, reckless, or otherwise energetic activity here]!" (E.g. "What a beautiful day! What a beautiful day for running into a nudist camp blindfolded and trying to shake hands with everyone!")
- X-ers gonna X.
- In Brazilian Portuguese dubs of foreign works (including anime, western animation, and Hollywood movies and TV), at some point viewers will hear:
Versão Brasileira (Brazilian version [by]): [name of dubbing studio]note
- The characters in the works of Dakari-King Mykan, due to his hatred of Character Development, can be best described as "[Character] is/does [their one personality trait]. That's it."
- Whenever the police arrest a suspect, they're supposed to say, "You're under arrest for / on suspicion of [crime or other law breaking]", followed by the reading the suspect(s) his / her / their Miranda Rights.
Statler: I think it's [negative adjective which is also a pun]!