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Three Stooges Shout-Out

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The Three Stooges are one of the most popular comedic ensembles of all time, especially in the United States, where they are virtually an institution. In the rest of the world their popularity and fame are not as huge as Laurel and Hardy.

But a sure sign of the tremendous effect they had on popular culture is that most American films, comic strips, animated cartoons and TV series will feature a Three Stooges shout-out at one point. Most of the time their typical catch phrases and sound effects will be uttered ("Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk", "Wiseguy, eh?", "You numb chucks", "Soitenly", "Woob Woob Woob", "I'm a victim of circumstance", "You knucklehead",...) and three characters will mimic typical Stooges shticks by starting to bicker and hit each other with typical nosetwirls, pokes-in-the-eye, a hollow sound whenever a head is hit,...


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Squid Girl has three MIT scientists: Harris, Clark, & Martin. Other characters refer to them as "the three stooges" (lit. "San Baka Trio", or the "Three-Idiot Trio"note ).
  • The Ojama Brothers of the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX dub act like the Stooges.

    Comic Books 
  • Cerebus the Aardvark has en encounter with the "Three Wise Fellows" — three fools who engage in hijinks such as clamping pliers on one another's noses while kidnapping him when he is mistaken for the Messiah.
  • The Flash has battled a trio of Stooge-like villains known as Winky, Blinky, and Noddy.
  • One of Garfield's previous lives in Garfield: His 9 Lives was a Moe-like cat leading two mouse exterminators (his dimiwtted owners) resembling Larry and Curly.
  • The Far Side has done some cartoons about the Stooges, such as depicting a Mount Rushmore-style monument with their faces or showing a scene from Leona Helmsley meets the Three Stooges.
  • Never outright confirmed, but Guy Gardner's surly attitude, outdated dialogue, and bowl cut all suggest to be inspired by Moe Howard.
  • One G.I. Joe comic from Marvel had some Cobra mooks based on them delaying a major character for a couple panels, which goes as well as you can expect.

    Fan Works 
  • The Wrong Reflection: Eleya comes aboard a mirror universe Cardassian ship and tells the gul in command to "have Larry, Curly, and Moe point those toys [referring to their disruptor rifles] someplace else". Lampshaded when one of the Mauve Shirts with her wonders where in the heck Eleya, a Bajoran, heard of The Three Stooges. Eleya continues to refer to the trio of mooks as Larry, Curly, and Moe for the remainder of the chapter.
    Eleya: Academy roommate was a fan. Her payback for me dragging her off to a Serenity screening.
  • His Lie in April: Kousei Arima calls his friends Kaori Miyazono, Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari The Three Stooges when he admonishes the three of them for unintentionally seeing him naked (only from the waist-up, though; they only see his bare chest) after he fell asleep in his bathtub.
  • The Bolt Chronicles:
    • Played with regarding Corabell, Dorabell, and Mae in “The Seven.” The first two examples play the trope straight, being names of the Stooges’ wives in Dizzy Doctors and The Sitter Downers. Subverted in that the third dog’s name is Mae instead of Florabell.
    • Invoked in “The Baseball Game” for the outfielders' names.
      The heart of the Schooners batting order was its outfield. Consisting of Larry Kuselias, Moe Petrie, and Sam “Shemp” Guranovich, the hard-hitting trio had been dubbed "The Stooges" by the enthusiastic fanbase.
    • Mittens disparagingly compares the pigeons Vinny, Joey, and Bobby to the trio in “The Protection Payment.”
      Mittens: Those knuckleheads make the Three Stooges look like quiz kids, but at least they always manage to come through with the goods.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Army of Darkness when Ash is trapped in the cemetery and does several Stooge-inspired pantomimes with the skeletons attacking him.
  • 1986's Stoogemania is chocked full of Stooge gags, with the main character Howard F. Howard, who starts seeing the Three Stooges wherever he goes, and even wanders into the neighborhood of Stooge Row, located between the fictitious "Shet Up St." and "Nyuk Nyuk Blvd." In order to fight the epidemic, the Stooge Hills sanitarium is founded, and after everyone has graduated and is cured, they decide to play a few of their shorts, and everyone comes to acceptance and still enjoy the Stooges' comedy. The main character Howard F. Howard is a reference to Moe's, Larry's, and Curly's last names of Howard, Fine and Howard, as well as the recurring phrase spoken over the intercom in 1934's "Men in Black".
  • In Baby's Day Out, the three villains may as well have been named Curly, Larry, and Moe.
  • In the 1981 film Gas, a gas station attendant who is being interviewed by a news reporter does his impression of Curly Howard for the camera.
  • In Pulp Fiction, when Vincent takes Mia to Lance's house after she overdoses on heroin, Lance is watching The Three Stooges short "Brideless Groom" and Emil Sitka chants his famous line, "Hold hands, you lovebirds."
  • In Life Stinks, Goddard Bolt (Mel Brooks) and the J. Paul Getty bum (Rudy De Luca) get into a slapstick scuffle about which one of them is richer.
  • In Short Circuit Number Five after outwitting and powering down three of the same model robots sent to capture or disable him reprograms them to perform a Three Stooges routine and leaves them to be found by Nova's (the company trying to recapture him) team.
  • The 2012 film The Three Stooges, naturally, a remake with new actors playing the long-deceased trio.
  • The three trolls in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey bicker in a similar manner to the Stooges.
  • In There's Something About Mary, Ben Stiller's character attempts to do one of Moe's eye pokes on his dog, only to be paw-blocked like Curly would do.
  • "Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard" can be heard over the intercom at a hospital in Inspector Gadget (1999).
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the way Mrs Lovett cries "A customer" once Todd erupts into her shop is eerily similar to Larry's "a costumer" cry in Sing A Song of Six Pants.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire contains a trio of One-Scene Wonder characters named Lharys, Kurleket and Mohor, confirmed by Word of God to be a tribute to the Stooges.
  • George and Harold of the Captain Underpants books attend Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. Now why anybody would name a school after Curly is beyond us.
  • Kim Newman's Warhammer novella "The Ibby the Fish Factor" features, as minor characters, three dwarf slapstick comedians who call themselves the Three Little Clots. The description of their act is directly based on the Stooges.
  • In Douglas Preston's novel Jennie, about a chimp raised as a human child, the family's son introduces Jennie to the Stooges on TV and she adores them. The mother does not approve, calling them a bad influence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MADtv (1995): The Three Stooges are spoofed as paid assassins along with David Faustino as their target in a parody of Menace II Society. The sketch featured Orlando Jones as Curly, Debra Wilson as Larry, and Phil LaMarr as Moe.
  • That '70s Show: An episode features three of the characters acting out an imaginary Three Stooges short called "Pie Guys".
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Suicide". the foreign woman Jerry is seeing asks him who the Stooges are and he promises her that he will "show her the Stooges".
  • SCTV had John Candy who did a dead-on Curly, teaming with Eugene Levy as Moe, and Joe Flaherty as Larry (also seen in the one-man show 'Give 'em Hell, Larry')...Candy would also incongruously play Curly as the lead in 'Ben-Hur'.
  • The Pretender had a few:
    • During the first season, Jarod discovered The Three Stooges for the first time, sitting in a diner. He later makes a video of himself doing Curly's schtick to taunt Miss Parker.
    • In the second season premiere, Jarod was posing as a medical school professor named Dr. Howard. One of his colleagues was Dr. Fein.
  • In an episode of Night Court, Bull decides to get a toupee. While browsing a catalog and passing over more expensive toups (such as the "Shatner Turbo 2000"), the salesman suggests one of their economy hairpieces: the "Shemp."
  • In one Christmas episode of Home Improvement Tim is getting ready to set up his usual over the top holiday decorations when he is told that there are new rules for the contest this year. Namely, that the three wise men of the Nativity must be the actual three wise men, not the Stooges.
    • In an Halloween episode; Brad, Randy and Mark all dress up as Moe for Halloween
  • One of the later episodes of M*A*S*H has Major Winchester forced to teach western medicine to three Korean doctors that he condescendingly refers to as "Larry, Curly, Moe". They later treat ''his'' condition and reveal that they also knew about the Stooges.
  • One episode of Roseanne had a character wear a Halloween mask of The Stooges, and does the "Spread out!" gag with it when walking out the door.
  • Happy Days: When the fight between Richie, Ralph and Potsie against some greaser bullies commences (episode "Joanie's Weird Boyfriend"), Fonzie comments to Carmine Ragusa "Didn't we see this in a Three Stooges film?"
  • In one episode of Mann & Machine, Eve Edison, an android, attempts to learn about human behavior by watching Three Stooges shorts.
  • The Sweathogs on Welcome Back, Kotter are helping at Gabe's apartment following his wife having a baby. After some mishaps, Horshack comments "We are doing the work of three men here. Larry, Moe and Curley."
  • Friends: In "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break", Ross' clumsy attempts to have a picnic in Rachel's office in the middle of her taking calls about a shipping mix-up has her saying over the phone "I'm sorry, I'll have to call you back. There's a Shemp in my office."
  • On 3rd Rock from the Sun, Tommy, Sally and Harry tell Dick they've been watching the "three funny men on TV". When Dick shows no recognizance, they do an eye-poking, face slapping Stooge routine. Dick assumes they're referring to The McLaughlin Group.
  • My World… and Welcome to It:
    • The last of the three fights between John's grandfather and a bully of similar age who is trying to force him to pay an illegal bridge toll is especially cartoonish, heavily reminiscent of The Three Stooges. Here, John's grandfather bests his tormentor with a series of pokes to the eye interspersed with punches and nose tweaks before pushing him into the river. Occurs in "The Mating Dance."
    • In "The Night the House Caught Fire," a group of clumsy and clueless firemen respond to the call and wreck the downstairs of the house with axes and water from a fire hose (without determining whether there was a fire or not — and it turns out there isn't). The gung-ho lead fireman is played by Joe Besser, best known nowadays as a member of The Three Stooges during the 1950s. Besser also plays the equally overzealous head policeman in "Darn That Dream," who answers a call to John's boyhood home accompanied by a gaggle of cops. He arrests John and his family, convinced they're intruders.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • The beginning of the music video for "Like a Surgeon" has Al in scrubs walking down a hospital corridor. A woman's voice on the P.A. system says, "Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard."
    • "Eat It" parodies Michael Jackson's "Beat It" music video, showing one of the gangs in "Eat It" whooping like Curly while running offscreen.
  • "The Curly Shuffle," by the Jump 'N' the Saddle Band.
  • Rubber Chicken Films did a parody of Young M.C.'s "Bust a Move," entitled "Bust a Stooge"
  • On some of their tours, Rush would have the Three Stooges theme play right before they go on stage. Can be seen in the Grace Under Pressure Tour video.
  • The jokey booklet of the only album released by Brazilian band Mamonas Assassinas has as the three guys who recorded them on studio "Rick Bonadio (Moe), Rodrigo Castanho (Larry), Junior Lane (Curly)".

  • Former conservative Christian talk show host Allen Hunt used to compare Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano to the Three Stooges.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Marvel Super Heroes Advanced Set Judge's Book. In the sample adventure "Night of the Dreadnaughts", a trio of burglars is named Morris, Lawrence and Curly (i.e. Moe, Larry and Curly).

    Video Games 
  • Near the end of Quest for Glory I you can infiltrate the brigand's hideout. One of the encounters you must deal with is a trio of brigands based off of the Three Stooges, complete with their catch phrases. You ultimately defeat them with a series of your own slapstick actions.
  • Not only do the names of a trio of bosses in the international versions of Final Fantasy VI, Laragom, Moebius, and Curlax, sound very similar to the names of the Stooges themselves, but the trio even goes as far as to call themselves "The Dream Stooges".
    • In fact, they were explicitly called Larry, Moe, and Curly in the original US release, Final Fantasy III. However, they're simply called The Three Brothers of Dream: Sogno, Sueño, and Rêve note  in Japan.
  • While Batman is wandering around Arkham Asylum in Batman: Arkham Asylum the Joker will frequently quote the Stooges short "Men in Black".
    Joker: "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard."
  • A clown named Laurence "Moe" Curls appears in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
  • Diablo 3: There is a set of three unique skeletons named "Moek", "Larel", and "Karel" that spawn during one particular quest. There is an achievement for killing all three brothers in one blow called "Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck".
  • In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there's a jock pig villager named Curly in the English version. His catchphrase is even "nyuk!"

  • In the comic Modest Medusa, the titicular character often makes Curly's "woob woob woob" sound when fleeing a scene where she's caused trouble. note 
  • In Freefall, starting here here, Florence asks Sam to tell her a legend from his people. Florence and Sam decide on the story of how his people stole fire from the gods. The story of three great heroes named Mho, Lairee, and Coily.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the four ninja siblings are named Moe, Lari, Kurlijoh, and Shempu. Lari even has Larry's two poofs of hair that stick out on either side of his head.

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic: Done by Doug Walker and special guest reviewers Linkara and Spoony in their review of Alone in the Dark (2005) and Bloodrayne. The title card (seen atop this page) mimicks the opening logo of the Three Stooges and their fight near the end is done in typical Stooges fashion.
  • A Ghostbusters "premake" trailer, which imagines what that movie might have looked like if it were made in 1954, opens with a spoof of the Three Stooges title card. It pictures Dean Martin as Ray; Bob Hope as Peter; and Fred MacMurray as Egon.
  • Red vs. Blue has two references: when O'Malley mentions that " this fellow will make an excellent stooge. And I'm the one here with the most experience training Stooges.", Lopez replies with 'Nyuk, nyuk'; and much later, Lopez and his successor Lopez 2.0 are described by Sarge as "a couple of Three Stooges".
  • Youtuber Solid jj has a video series called "Stoogeposting," where he does voice impressions of the Stooges in brief shorts. At the beginning, he just adapted modern henway jokes like "Deez Nuts," but ended up taking them into the direction of original content more in line with their classic humor.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch featured the Stooges being brought to the present age via a time machine invented by Stone Cold Steve Austin to battle The Three Tenors. The Three Stooges (or, to be more specific, Curly) won.
  • Looney Tunes: In what is probably the earliest shout-out. the Porky Pig cartoon Wholly Smoke (1938) has three cigars resembling the Three Stooges rise out of a cigar box and each one gives him an eyepoke.
    • Another Porky short, Porky in Wackyland has a three-headed human like character with similar haircuts for each head who fight with itself in a similar way.
    • Porky's Hero Agency as Medusa turning three short versions of the Stooges to stone in the positions of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
    • Hollywood Steps Out shows caricatures of famous Hollywood actors of the time, including the Three Stooges poking each other's eyes in tune to the music.
  • King of the Hill: The episode "A-Fire Fighting We Will Go" contains several references to the Stooges. Including Hank calling the other three "knuckleheads"; Dale's constant singing of the Stooge classic "Swinging the Alphabet" (B-A-bay, B-E-bee, B-I-biki-bi B-O-bo...); and, of course, the classic Pie in the Face gag with Peggy's Frito Pie.
  • Uncle Grandpa: In the "Prank Wars" episode, three of the contestants at the Pizza Eating Contest look like Moe, Larry, and Curly.
  • South Park: In "Hell on Earth 2006" features notorious serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy sent to Earth to get a cake for Satan's party. They start fighting each other in typical Three Stooges fashion, but made Bloody Hilarious because they're mutilating each other. The title card even spoofs the ones from their shorts.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart the Daredevil", Dr. Hibbert says a lot of children imitate violence they saw on TV: "I won't even subject you to the horrors of our Three Stooges ward."
    • Homer watches them on TV in "Homer the Heretic" and chuckles: "Moe is their leader."
    • In "Duffless", Bart tries in vain to touch an electric buzzer with being electro shocked. He imitates Curly by saying "eeeh, certainly...nyak nyak nyak" and imitates Moe by saying "...a wise guy eh?...."
    • In "Bart's Comet", Skinner shows Bart the star sign of the Three Wise Men. In Bart's imagination he sees the Three Stooges in the sky.
    • In "Treehouse of Horror IV", Bart notices vampires behind him and Lisa. He starts making sounds that Lisa mistakenly believes to be imitations of Shemp and Curly.
    • In "Last Exit to Springfield" and "Deep Space Homer", Homer walks sideways on the ground making "Woob Woob Woob" noises, as Curly used to do. A bomb in the Schoolhouse Rock! parody in "The Day the Violence Died" also makes this noise.
    • In "Bart the Fink", Troy McClure mentions a previous show business funeral he hosted called "Shemp Howard: Today We Mourn a Stooge".
    • In "This Little Wiggy", Nelson imagines himself weighing the brains on the Three Stooges.
    • In "Sunday Cruddy Sunday", Homer, Wally and Chief Wiggum run away from Rupert Murdoch in typical Stooges fashion.
    • In "The Mansion Family", the doctor diagnoses Mr. Burns with "Three Stooges Syndrome", meaning that he has a multitude of medical conditions, but because they all cancel each other out, they can't harm him. The doctor likens the situation to The Three Stooges all trying to go through a doorway at the same time.
    • In "Weekend At Burnsie's", Homer gets addicted to medicinal marijuana and in one scene, he hangs out with Otto and they watch some Three Stooges shorts together. Towards the end, Mr. Burns gets into a slapping match with Homer and Smithers a la the Stooges.
    • In "Large Marge", former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton paint a house and start creating havoc à la The Three Stooges, with Bush as Moe, Carter as Larry, and Clinton as Curly.
    • In "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington", Homer and Bart are watching a very late episode of The Three Stooges where the comedians are in old age.
    • In "Simpsons Christmas Stories", the Three Wise Men behave like the Three Stooges.
    • In "Lost Verizon", during the flashback scene at Machu Picchu, the city's soldiers flee in panic from the conquistadores in typical Stooges fashion. The last one to flee whoops like Curly as he runs away.
    • In "Boy Meets Curl", the National Curly Trials are seen with everyone practicing to be Curly Howard. Moe Szyslak then says: "Wise guys, eh?" and slaps a long line of Curlys.
    • In "The Ten-Percent Solution", the Museum of TV and Television has a display of the Three Stooges' skeletons, with Curly's bones in a box.
  • Futurama: Doctor Zoidberg makes Curly's trademark "whooping" sound when "evading enemies" (sometimes after squirting ink), and sometimes makes Shemp's trademark "Heep, heep, heep" sound when frustrated.
    • Mom's three sons, Walt, Larry, and Igner, are expies of the Three Stooges.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show contains several. Billy West has stated that he based Stimpy's voice on Larry Fine, though he also repeats some of Curly's and Shemp's sounds.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: The title card for "Dumbbells" depicts Rocko, Heffer and Filburt as the Stooges (Larry, Curly and Moe, respectively). This episode provides the page image.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In a few episodes, the Joker has a trio of henchmen who resemble the Stooges and are named "Mo", "Lar", and "Cur".
    • One episode featured a villain named Dr. Milo, who also had two henchmen, with all three being expies of the Stooges. Larry was a woman tho.
  • Jabberjaw's voice is based on Curly Howard, although he also has a frequent Rodney Dangerfield shout out, as well (namely, complaining about not getting any respect)note .
  • One episode of Captain N: The Game Master sees Mother Brain, Eggplant, Wizard, and King Hippo get transformed into Moe, Larry, and Curly respectively.
  • In one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) Shredder awakens a spirit of an ancient Foot clan ninja master claiming to be the current grandmaster of the Foot clan. Splinter calls him out on this saying that Shredder does not know the Foot clan's most powerful and secret technique, the "Kur-Li Maneuver". Splinter then proves that he is a true master of the Foot style by performing the "Kur-Li Maneuver" in which he hypnotizes Shredder, paralyzing him, and then begins slapping Shredder around while doing his best Curly impression.
  • Pinky and the Brain were once joined by a third mouse named Larry, resulting in Stooge-like antics.
  • Scooby-Doo:
  • The Timon & Pumbaa episode "Space Ham" features the duo being abducted by aliens and forced to fight monsters in a gladiatorial arena, in which one of their opponents is a three-headed beast. Humorously, each head has the haircut of one of the Three Stooges: the right-head is Larry, the middle one is Moe and the left one is Curly.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The Dark Hand Enforcers Finn, Ratso and Chow are compared to the Three Stooges in-universe by Jade who even calls them Larry, Moe and Curly in "Sheep In, Sheep Out".
    Jade: Look, the Three Stooges!
    Ratso: Where?
    Jade: [snatches a map out of Finn's hand] Duh.
  • Hey Arnold! has Curly, one of Arnold's classmates, who shares Curly's name and Moe's haircut. He's also one of the most unhinged kids seen on the series (and that's saying a lot).
    • Eugene's surname is Horowitz, which is the same real-life surname of the Howard brothers (Moe, Curly and Shemp Howard were named in real life Moses, Jerome and Samuel Horowitz).
  • Mulan has Mulan's army friends, Yao, Ling and Chien Po. The trio consists of the grumpy leader, the innocent fat guy, and the guy in the middle.
  • Steven Universe: Only in the Latin-American Spanish dub, but still apt. In We Need to Talk, instead of referencing the Marx Brothers, Greg asks Rose "so how'd you meet Curly, Larry and Moe?" in reference to the Crystal Gems.
  • The Critic: In Frank and Ellie Get Lost, a flashback to Franklin and Eleanor's marriage shows the first time that Franklin drank, and also when his Cloudcuckoolander attitude started. Once he drinks, he starts imitating Curly's sounds and walking in circles routine. Kennedy and Eistein are there in the role of Moe and Larry, respectively. There's even a snooty fat lady to throw pies at!
  • The Madballs episode "Escape from Orb" shows three background characters resembling the Three Stooges among the inhabitants of Orb being forced to make a monument of Commander Wolfbreath.