Vlogbrothers was originally a one-year project starting on January 1, 2007 under the name Brotherhood 2.0. The project consisted of the two brothers swearing off textual communication with each other, only corresponding through video updates — one after the other, every weekday of the year, and no more than 4 minutes in length. After the year was up, the enthusiastic reception from the fanbase they had accrued — with the massive bump in traction they received from Hank's song "Accio Deathly Hallows" making YouTube's front page being no small factor — led them to continue uploading videos.
Since then, their fanbase has grown extensively, due not only to the success of their videos, but also music, books and various charity works. Fans are known as "nerdfighters"note (nerds who fight, not people who fight nerds), and the collective subculture surrounding the fanbase has been dubbed "Nerdfighteria". They even have a Memetic Hand Gesture (two crossed-arm tucked-thumb Vulcan salutes), a motto ("Don't forget to be awesome", or "DFTBA"), and an ongoing mission: to fight "world suck" (generally unfavorable things in the world) through social activism.
They are the organizers of VidCon, the world's first and only convention dedicated to internet videos. Both now also host another channel Crash Course, where each brother gives lectures on subjects they're knowledgeable about, and Hank also hosts SciShow, filled with various science news videos. In addition, Hank produced The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and The Brain Scoop, a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and a show about museum taxidermy, respectively. John and Hank are also hosts on the mental_floss YouTube channel, from the magazine mental_floss which gave John his first ever writing job, on which once a week either John gives a nerdy triviatastic list video or Hank gives a quiz video.
- Hank Green
- John Green
- Crash Course
- The Brain Scoop
- The Art Assignment
- Healthcare Triage (not produced by the brothers, but the team behind this also work on Crash Course and Mental Floss)
- Animal Wonders, as of May 2014, is partnered with Hank
- Games With Hank
The Vlog Brothers provide examples of:
- Abandoned Catchphrase: The brothers have a variety of inside jokes and catchphrases that have fallen out of favor over time. Examples include:
- French the Llama.
- I am a giant squid of anger!
- Who the eff is Hank?
- Even their motto, "Don't forget to be awesome," has been drastically downplayed as of late.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: John has several prepared.
- And Call Him "George"!: John would name his puppy-sized elephant Louis, and they would be the best of friends.
- Angry Dance: "5 STARS FOR ANGER DANCE!!"
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Hank made a video (and song) about the demolition derby in response to incredulous comments from people who thought derbies were fictional.
- Anti-Love Song: Hank sings "Florida" like a regular ballad love song, but it's actually about how much Florida sucks.
- "The Adorable Cannibal" may also be an example because it is actually a love song, but a really weird one that overlaps love and sexual attraction with food cravings, and eating with making out.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Hank: It's now time for me to tell you what I'm thankful for, which is a wonderful brother who is a brilliant writer, an awesome bunch of people who watch me make a fool out of myself on YouTube, an amazing family and a loving wife who will carry my dead weight through all of Super Mario Brothers Wii.
- In "Why are Barns Red and Kardashians Famous":
- In "Literally Hitler", when asking when the "Golden Age of America" was, he lists out several dates in history (and notes the problems present in each era) before getting to 1985, where "unemployment was higher than it is today, median household income was lower, and you were more than twice as likely to be murdered. Plus there was no Snapchat."
- Artifact Title: The Hankgames channel is as of now converted into John's FIFA channel starring the AFC Wimbly Womblys.
- Eventually, Hank decided to make a new gaming channel for himself called "Games with Hank"...which is now on an indefinite hiatus.
- Asian and Nerdy: Deconstructed by Hank in his "Why are Barns Red and Kardashians Famous" video (he's answering Google's top most-asked questions starting with "why are [insert letter of alphabet here]", and A happened to bring up "why are Asians so smart") by explaining that Asian-American culture has been shown to value intelligence. In spite of this, he still says that "positive stereotypes are still stereotypes, so you should be ashamed of yourself."
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The basis of one of Hank's jokes in "51 Jokes (in Four Minutes)".Q: How many kids with ADD does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Let's go ride bikes!
- Awesomeness Is a Force: The official definition of a Nerdfighter is someone who is composed of pure awesome instead of tissue, bones, etc. Also, the mission of Nerdfighteria, to increase awesome and decrease worldsuck. What more could you ask for?
- Badass Baritone:
- Tiny chicken disease activates John's husky voice. As seen here.
- Hank always sings "I'm Gonna Kill You" in this manner.
- Big Brother Instinct: It's rare, but John has occasionally shown himself to possess it.
- This comes up whenever he discusses health care reform, as he gets noticeably angry talking about how it was hard for Hank to get insurance thanks to his ulcerative colitis.
- Black Comedy: Hank has a penchant for this, strangely.
Hank: "Fatherhood's hard, but not that hard."
- In "Top 7 Tips for LIFE", Hank is demonstrating how to tie a figure-eight knot, he then shows how to tie a figure-eight loop...and realizes a little too late that he's just made a small noose.
Hank 1: What's the difference between camping and molestation?
- One of Hank's jokes in "51 Jokes (in 4 Minutes)":
Hank 2: I-I don't know.
Hank 1: Well, since you don't know...wanna go camping this weekend?
Hank: "Why doesn't Julius Caesar ever use his cell phone? Because he's DEAD!"
- Hank has a Running Gag of using "because s/he's dead" as a punchline to jokes about deceased people.
Hank: "Yeah, that might've gone too far."
- Hank even wrote a song called "I'm Gonna Kill You" about his murderous and disproportionate anger with people who annoy him for fairly small things.
- One of Hank's "nerdy pickup lines": "Hey, does this smell like chloroform?"
- Blatant Lies: On "Question Tuesday, the day that I answer real questions from real nerdfighters!", John frequently answers the question "Who the eff is Hank?" (whether or not it was actually asked) with some wordy description of a person, thing, or phenomenon which is quite obviously not his brother. To make it even more Blatant Lies, Hank himself has answered that question once:Hank: "Hank is a sausage covered in cornbread batter and deep fried."
- Bookends: "The Price of Fame", Hank's thoughts about the many comments on his Harry Potter, begins with the opening bars of the famous "Hedwig's Theme" from the Harry Potter movies and ends with the next few notes.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In this video:John: I'm a man, I'm a zebra, I'm a man-bra! Oh, wait, that's something else.
John: In your video on Wednesday, you talked about lexical gaps, like the fact that in Romanian there is no word for shallow, and in English we don't have a word for people who aren't virgins. Turns out, by the way, that there is a word in Romanian for people who aren't virgins.
- Happens a few times, inevitably:
- Hank likes funny stuff and nerdy stuff. Therefore, he made a video about funny nerdy stuff.
- And in "50 THINGS!! That I'm Thankful For":
- In John's "Sell Outs!" video, he says that Nerdfighters that had commented on his at-the-time most recent video had noted the ads surrounding the video were about either Scientology or mail order brides. He then stated that he didn't want Nerdfighters to become Scientologist mail order brides.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
John: Geese, mice...and oblivion.
- In "CONCUSSED Question Friday", John lists several of his fears (besides heights).
Hank: Loud. Uncomfortable. Hastily put together. Messy. Poorly planned. Sloppily executed. Sticky. Stinky. And the product was, more or less, er, similar to dog vomit.
- In "December 27th: The Gig", Hank's description of the similarities between the peep-wine blended mix he made and the gig that he played to five strangers (and his wife) while drinking said mix.
Hank: Katherine and I went and got breakfast downtown, we ran into some friends who were filming a movie, and I got to be in their movie. We went to see Win Win, the new Paul Giamatti m- awesome, really good movie. I read Clash of Kings on my back porch, Osama bin Laden was killed in a precision military strike, Katherine and I played Mario Kart Wii...
- In Hank's video on the death of Osama bin Laden (released a day afterwards), Hank notes how May 1, 2011 was a great day for him overall.
- Broken Base: Invoked by fans with the Zombies/Unicorns issue, a completely silly and non-serious break specifically because they decided there wasn't enough conflict. Serious version Defied, they make a point of avoiding topics they disagree on.
- Catchphrase: These are abundant.
- "The link is in the doobly-do." (borrowed from Wheezy Waiter)
- "Best Wishes!"
- ...In your pants.
- "God, I love librarians!"
- "French the Llama!" (sort of)
- "I'll see you on Monday/Wednesday/Friday."
- "Dude... no edge."
- "It's Question Tuesdaynote , the day that I answer real questions from real nerdfighters. Let's get right to it."
- "In a stunning turn of events" is a phrase commonly uttered by John, to the point where he named a video "A Stunning Turn of Events".
- "As you can probably tell from the gray speckled walls behind me..." John's in an airport.
- "Movie Magic!" John's way of calling attention to blatant edits in his videos.
- "[Falsetto whine] is the sound that my anxiety makes."
- John often starts videos by saying the following after his opening catchphrase: "Today's video is like X...it comes to you in one/two/three part(s)."
- "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: Zombies vs. Unicorns, which started in the community of YA novelists and has since spilt over into Nerdfighteria, dividing even the Green brothers themselves. Hank is pro-unicorn, and, while John is not exactly pro-zombie, he is definitely anti-unicorn.
- Cloudcuckoolander: This video.
- John. A common joke among nerdfighters is to say, "remember, this man is an award-winning novelist."
- Continuity Nod: Occasionally bringing back old jokes.
- Continuity Lockout: Because the series is so long-running and there are so many videos- they passed a thousand on the main channel alone in September 2012 -many jokes and references can easily be lost on new viewers. Sometimes even John and Hank forget how some things got started.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The brothers have a longstanding rule that they have to keep their videos under four minutes or face punishment. For example, Hank once went two seconds over the time limit and was forced to spend fifteen hours in a local Target store.
- They have, however established a rule that videos CAN be longer than four minutes as long as they are educational videos, videos with montages, or videos that are exactly 4:01 long* . For example, John's video on the history of the political situation in the Ukraine and Hank's video on the Egyptian coup and history of Egypt's political parties. In addition, while the punishments themselves are generally suggested and chosen by the community, there is a standing rule that Sarah and Katherine both have veto power over the punishments selected.
- Dada Comic: Hanklerfish Comic, a Nerdfighter-made Tumblr host to comics and sketches of flesh-colored anglerfish bearing the Green brothers' faces that is also rife with references to Vlogbrothers content and various Nerdfighter community memes.
- Different in Every Episode: The past couple of years, Hank's videos will feature a different poster in the background in each episode.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- Basically the gist of the punishments. For example, going two seconds over the time limit will score you a 15-hour stay in a local Target.
- Hank's song "I'm Gonna Kill You" deals with him getting murderous anger over small annoyances.
- Do Wrong, Right: John feels this way, saying that if you're going to insult him and/or people he cares about, you ought to at least do it "with some reverence for the English language."
- Drunk with Power: John got drunk with a very nerdy kind of power in one of his videos. "I will have the teaching power. I am the English teacher! I am mad with power!!! [violent camera shaking]" It was closely followed with a more toned-down comment:People in the neighborhood look at me funny when I scream into the camera while walking.
- Epic Fail: Hank made a video recounting the top 7 epic-est fails in history, with most of them involving cases of And You Thought It Would Fail.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Who would guess that the Vlogbrothers are a couple of brothers who vlog?
- Exact Words: Near the start of this video from Hank, he says "I'm not gonna dump a bucket of ice water over my head", referring to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Later on in the video, two people dump two buckets of water over his head, so technically Hank stayed true to his original statement.
- A caption does lampshade this.
- Expospeak Gag: John referring to kissing as "monogamous face-licking".
- Expressive Hair: John's hair gets puffy when he gets anxious (because of a nervous habit of running his hands through it). "Puff Levels are unusually high today." Sometimes the Puff Level will steadily increase over the course of a video.
- Face Your Fears: John is afraid of heights, but he faced his fear and stood up on top of a table to raise money for his favorite charity. It took a long time for him to muster up the courage. He also later rode the Frog Hopper as a punishment.
- Fan Community Nickname: Nerdfighters. The name came from an early video in which John encountered the game Aero Fighters and, upon misreading the title as "Nerd Fighters", wondered what he could do with an army of nerds. The nickname is widely and officially acknowledged.
- Fan Disservice: John's "Fitness for Nerds" video, which contains an amount of belly that is far above the margin of comfort.
- Filk Song: Many of Hank's songs. This Isn't Hogwarts, Dead Boy's Girlfriend, The Man Who Throws the Tetris Piece, I'm Not Edward Cullen, and lots more.
- Flipping the Bird: In "November 14th: Florida (from LA)", Hank states that despite being "dizzy" with all the stuff that he has to do, he can do one thing...flip off a red Hummer.
- Follow the Leader: In-Universe; the series as a whole stemmed from the two falling in love with the archetypal Vlog Series structure pioneered by Ze Frank.
- Forced Meme: John has been trying to make "French the llama" a thing since the 2009 Project for Awesome. Even among the nerdfighters, though, it's not particularly common.
- Grammar Nazi: John, although he often likes to pretend that he isn't because he believes the purpose of grammar is good communication and not to be an excuse for pedantry. Still...John: "You should probably know that in that context, 'you're' is a contraction, and any time you're contracting 'you are', it's spelled Y-O-U-APOSTROPHE-R-E. Omigod, youtube, before you click 'submit comment', read your comment and ask yourself, 'DO I MEAN YOU ARE?'. And if you do, you need an apostrophe."
- Happy Dance: A whole montage of them.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Averted with the Evil Baby Orphanage. They plot to take all of history's evil figures and not kill them but instead raise them from birth as awesome people in a secluded orphanage.
- Hurricane of Puns: "Mules Are So Half-Ass".
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every video from "hey now" to "How 'bout yours?" are named after lyrics of the song "All Star". The video right after "How 'bout yours?" contains all the words not put into a title, resulting in "I ain't she was with well and I so and it's and but so and I'll and".
- Inherently Funny Words: John's travelling on February 1st, 2007. "Okay, we're gonna walk through the airport and see if we can find anything funny. The word 'choate' is funny."
- In-Joke: Tons. Often confuse or are totally lost on new viewers — or in fact John himself, due to how long they have been vlogging for. Best wishes!
- Insane Troll Logic: If you like unicorns, you killed Tonks.
- Insistent Terminology: DFTBA is not an acronym because it doesn't spell anything. It is an initialism.
- Insult Backfire: Both John and Hank have mentioned in several videos the stupidity of negative comments that accuse them of being nerds/geeks (they take it as a compliment) or "gay" (this is not an insult anyway).
- Kubrick Stare: Hank throughout "I'm Gonna Kill You".
- Law of Disproportionate Response: Used heavily in Hank's song, "I'm Gonna Kill You", which threatens gruesome deaths on people that irritate him by slowing down the grocery store checkout lane, owning a giant SUV, and throwing a loud party late at night. "I'm usually a very peaceful person, but I'm gonna kill you."
- Lighter and Softer: They have their moments, but on the whole, they're the lighter and softer alternates to most of the other vloggers on YouTube.
- Memetic Hand Gesture: The Nerdfighter hand sign — two Vulcan salutes done with palms inward and arms crossed, accompanied by gun-cocking sound effects. Sometimes accompanied by "Hah hoo hah! NERDFIGHTERS!"
- Metaphorgotten: John has done this once or twice. After a nice, undecipherable one: "I'm a novelist. I make up metaphors for a living!"
- Moment Killer: OK, so they're already married and there's no Aborted Declaration of Love here, but in the "Fifth Anniversary with the Katherine" video, Katherine deftly assassinates a moment and keeps things from getting sappy: Hank starts stroking her hair. When she asks why, he replies "Because I love you!" She then asks him to do it again... And when he obliges, she licks his hand. Complete with "BLEAAAURG" sound.
- Motor Mouth: Both of them, big time, but John far, far more. After a few of John's videos, Hank's speech sounds downright leisurely, unless he's been given caffeine. Their motor mouth tendencies are heightened by the video editing with Jump Cuts to get rid of any and all non-amusing pauses.
- Muppet Cameo: During the 2016 Project For Awesome charity livestream, Big Bird made an appearance, even shouting off-camera "don't forget to be awesome!"
- Murder Ballad: Hank's "I'm Gonna Kill You" song, expressing his murderous discontent with people that tick him off for fairly small things compared to his reactions.
- Nerds Are Sexy: This trope has come up several times.
- Many viewers have commented on how appealing they find both John and Hank, and Hank has appeared on several blogs in lists of "certain people [the blogger] would like to do certain things with" (also known as the "celebrity do list" or "guilt-free three").
- Both brothers have talked about the hotness of nerd girls, John in response to a young viewer's question about dating (calling them a great untapped resource), and Hank, in usual Hank fashion, in a song.
- As shared on the effyeahnerdfighters Tumblr, Hank got lucky with knuckle tat. The two words people associated with him through writing them on his knuckles were "sexy" and "geek", in that order.
- Nerdcore: Several of Hank's songs, including DFTBA and The Man Who Throws The Tetris Piece (especially the Dr. Noise cover).
- Nerd Glasses: Both wear glasses, but John has a special pair that are extra-nerdy. He chose them on purpose after realizing that his previous glasses didn't have many nerd points.
- Nightmare Face: Ladies and gentlemen, demonic Hank.
- Nonindicative Name: Just over half of the Question Tuesday videos are actually on Tuesdays.
- The Oner: John's video on bullying is composed of a single shot of John riding a train and staring into the camera for the whole 3 minutes and 20 seconds, overlayed with narration.
- Painting the Medium: Hank's "Kill your TV" video does this twice: once to display the 5 second gap between channel changes, and once to complain about aspect ratio mismatching.
- Pants-Free: In the episode aptly titled "Nerdfighter MARRIAGE PROPOSAL", John was asked by a fan to propose to the fan's girlfriend for him. He decided that an occasion like this necessitated nicer clothes than the t-shirt he started the episode in, then jump-cut to him adjusting himself in his seat, wearing a nice suit jacket and a dress shirt. When he called the girlfriend, did the proposal, and she said yes, John began cheering, and sprang out of his seat to reveal that he was still in his boxer shorts.
- Poke the Poodle: In "Positive Prank Calls":"Hi, this is Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers, and I just wanted to let you know that global poverty rates have dropped 30% since 1990, and they're on track to drop another 10% before 2015. She was talking and I just hung up on her. Ha! Ha, pranked!"
- Proud to Be a Geek: John, Hank, and Nerdfighters in general. John once talked about how "nerd" wasn't an insult, instead meaning that one prefers intelligence over stupidity and thoughtfulness over vapidity, and believes that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan.
- Psychotic Smirk: At the start of this video, John does one for a half-second after ramming Hank out of frame with his chair. Still managed to turn into a meme, though.◊
- Punny Name:
- In this survey, Hank plans to avert this trope. Any potential child of his will not be called Hunter, Olive, Forest, Lime...
- The brothers also named their childhood dog, a dachshund they got for Christmas, Red Green.
- And another pet (a snake) was named Blue Green.
- Quizzical Tilt: Bubbles the Nerdfighting Puppy was prone to this upon hearing new sounds. Once he stopped, the Nerdfighting community at large attempted to get him to do it again. Because it was eye-meltingly cute.
- Raise Him Right This Time: The Evil Baby Orphanage. The idea is that, instead of going back in time and assassinating famous dictators and other evil people, time travelers should abduct them when they're infants and bring them to the orphanage to raise them to be good people instead.
- A Rare Sentence:
- In "Top 10 Animal POWER MOVES", John describes how baby potato beetles compensate for their lack of a shell (which makes them easier targets) and ends up saying, "Fortunately, they have poisonous poop." He immediately lampshades the strange nature of the sentence afterwards."It's so rare in life that the word 'fortunately' precedes the words 'they have poisonous poop.'"
- In "Top 5 Zombie Apocalypses OF ALL TIME", John praises Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on its first sentence alone, describing it as "one of the great first lines in American literature"."It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."
- In "Top 10 Animal POWER MOVES", John describes how baby potato beetles compensate for their lack of a shell (which makes them easier targets) and ends up saying, "Fortunately, they have poisonous poop." He immediately lampshades the strange nature of the sentence afterwards.
- Running Gag: "Who the eff is Hank?", tiny chickens, airports, sock puppets, peep-eating contests, among many, many others.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: John's wife, The Yeti... until the end of the Evening of Awesome. Her very nickname is because she isn't caught on camera.
- Becoming a full-fledged Artifact Nickname with her hosting The Art Assignment.
- Shoutout: Lots and lots. To authors, poets, musicians, and scientists living and dead, to movies and books, to other video bloggers. For just a couple examples, see Hank's guitar, which is painted with the words, "this machine pwns n00bs", and John's laptop that has a sticker with the original words "This machine kills fascists".
- Sibling Team: Obviously. They were very amused by some speculation as to whether Hank was just a paid actor and the initial project was faked to get publicity for John's books.
- Sound-Effect Bleep: Used occasionally whenever Hank and John find themselves swearing. Emphasis on the word "occasionally".
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In Hank's video on Osama bin Laden's death, he notes that he saw President Obama's address on bin Laden's death with music from Mario Kart Wii playing in the background, and he promptly cuts to exactly that.
- Stalker with a Crush: While Hank's Helen Hunt song is supposed to be funny and non-serious, when the real Helen Hunt heard it, she thought it was this trope and took out a restraining order against him. A restraining order covered in flowers and smiley faces◊. (The restraining order is fake though, just so you know.)
- Stop Motion:
- Hank had fun with this in Denver Airport, through doing very basic stop motion animation with himself as the moving object. Somehow, nobody seemed to notice him lying on the chairs in various abnormal positions. He then set the animation to some music.
- In "15 Hours in Target", there's one segment where Hank splices frames together to make it look as if he's holding onto and riding his cart while he's in the air.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Hank put one together called "Willy's Song;" it was an amalgamation of all the bizarre sounds Nerdfighters had made in an attempt to get Willy to do his Quizzical Tilt again.
- Take a Third Option: In one of John's Question Tuesday videos, someone asked if he could do the "peanut butter face". Unfortunately, the question was asked while John was in an airport, but he did what he could.
- Telethon: The Project for Awesome is a, well, awesome subversion of this.
- Temporary Substitute: YA author Maureen Johnson (no, not that one) fills in once in a while.
- Tempting Fate: John mentions that waxing your legs can't hurt that much, because otherwise women would stop doing it. Whooops.
- Unusual Euphemism:
Hank: Ummmm...well...when a male member of a species loves a female member of the same species, he...deposits his uniphalangear haploid gamete on top of her much larger stationery haploid gamete.
- French the llama! Asshat. Warner Chilcott.
- And there are several videos in which John uses the names of famous poets in place of swear words.John: I'm a William Blake gangster, so of course you want my Samuel Taylor Coleridge. You're gonna wanna be all up in this William Wordsworth - Like oh Percy Shelley! Oh oh Percy Shelley! I'm the Lord Byroning Samuel Taylor Coleridge - WILLIAM BLAKE!
- When Hank explains to "Henry Hank" how babies are made. Double points for Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
- Hank's "nerdy pickup lines" in "31 JOKES FOR NERDS".
- Viewers Are Geniuses: While both John and Hank often take time to explain what they are talking about, for the most part they assume that the majority of viewers are Nerdfighters and, therefore, smart enough and nerdy enough to understand and be interested in the topics mentioned. Hank and John both make casual references to people, works, and terms many casual viewers might not understand. Also, John can go into literary-sounding musings or descriptions, often filled with quotes from his favorite authors as well as his own books.
- Also, Nerd Jokes. You have to be pretty familiar with scientific theories, literature, computer science, comics, psychology, anime, sci fi and fantasy, politics, math and physics, and/or famous historical scientists and scholars to get the jokes at all.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: From the "Eating a FAT SANDWICH" video:John: Uh... I'm just gonna freeze it right there, Hank, because a lot of young people watch our videos and they don't need to see a thirty-one year old man having what is known in competitive eating circles as a "reversal of fortune".
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: One nerdfighter asked John to propose to his girlfriend for him. John appeared to be just as nervous before the proposal (and as elated and relieved when she said yes) as an actual groom-to-be would be.
- Waxing Lyrical: In "People Who Love Giraffes", John answers the question of "What's the most embarrassing song you know all the words to?" by dramatically reciting a snippet of "...Baby One More Time".
- Writers Cannot Do Math: John has often had to call up "Resident Mathematician" Daniel Biss to do simple sums and even verify that one number is larger than another, and also infamously once calculated that there were 100 seconds in a minute.
- You Keep Using That Word: Beginning videos with "Good morning Hank/John/Nerdfighters" became a tradition even though videos are actually rarely made and not necessarily watched in the morning. Lampshaded by Hank.
- Your Mom: Used a lot more often than you'd expect.
Q: What do you call a cow with no legs?
- Jokes 16 to 19 in "31 JOKES FOR NERDS".
- From "54 AWFUL JOKES":
A: Ground beef.
Q: What do you call a cow with three legs?
A: Lean beef.
Q: Two legs?
A: Yo mamma!
John: Telling me its selling out to try to share my books with an audience is like telling Derek Jeter its selling out when he tries to hit balls hard. Or telling your mom its selling out if she hits balls hard. (cringes) I guess "your mom" jokes dont really work when your [Hank's] mom is also my mom.
- From "Sell Outs!":