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Western Animation / Show Biz Bugs

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Tea, for two...

"Show Biz Bugs" is a 1957 Looney Tunes cartoon starring Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. In this short, Bugs and Daffy are costars in a stage show, but Bugs is getting top billing and all the applause, while Daffy gets (very distant!) second billing and complete indifference from the audience. Jealous, Daffy tries both one-upmanship and sabotage, until desperation drives him to blow himself up. (This finally works.)

Directed by Friz Freleng. A variation on the scene where Bugs and Daffy dance onstage was used as the opening credits for The Bugs Bunny Show, a Looney Tunes compilation show that aired on primetime and, later, Saturday mornings for nearly 40 years.

"If they like those examples, they're starvin' for some real tropin'!"

  • The Ace: All Bugs needs to do to get a roaring ovation is just stand on the stage, let alone do any entertainment acts. Daffy, needless to say, is not amused.
  • Adaptational Explanation: In most works that follow this short's formula, including its reuse in The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, the audience either consists of Looney Tunes mainstays (most of them with a valid reason to snub Daffy) or has an ending gag explaining his unpopularity (eg. Carnival of Animals where the audience turns out to consist of Bugs-like rabbits). In this cartoon, the audience consists of normal (and mostly unseen) people who just seem to hate Daffy for not being Bugs.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Daffy may have an obnoxious ego, but he is genuinely talented as a dancer if nothing else and deserved better from the audience for it.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Either reason it may be, the only one of Daffy's acts that musters any applause is the one that literally kills him.
    Bugs: That's terrific, Daffy! They love it! They want more!
    Daffy's ghost: (floating heavenward) I know, I know, but I can only do it once...
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Daffy finally managed to put up an act that won him the audience's applause, at the cost of his own life.
  • Bowdlerization: The scene at the end of this cartoon where Daffy performs his final act by drinking dangerous chemicals is almost always edited on broadcast and cable TV, but in different ways:
    • The BBC version of the cartoon ends with a fake fade-out on the shot of Daffy black and smoldering after getting frustrated by Bugs missing the final note on the booby-trapped xylophone and deciding to do it himself. The BBC version also adds applause after the ending xylophone gag just before the cartoon ends.
      • CBS and numerous local stations aired this short the same way as on the BBC, but without applause added.
    • Cartoon Network has, at times, aired the original ending uncensored. When Cartoon Network began airing the short censored (around 2000), the scene of Daffy drinking the gasoline and nitroglycerin was removed and replaced with a frozen shot of Bugs staring at Daffy from off-stage and continuing with the gunpowder, uranium 238, and the match. In 2003, another censored version aired that was similar to the version that aired on CBS. As of 2011, the ending has been shown uncut and uncensored.
    • The syndicated Merrie Melodies version, several other local stations airings, and the version that aired on ABC's The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show left in the ending, but cut Daffy drinking the gasoline, so it looks as if he drinks the nitroglycerin first. This is also how the short is shown in The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie.
      • Speaking of The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, when that movie aired on The Disney Channel (yes, you read that right. Disney actually once aired a Looney Tunes movie), Daffy's death-defying act was edited so severely that the only scenes left were Daffy holding the bottle of nitroglycerin and the explosion from after the match swallowing (making it seem as if Daffy's holding the nitroglycerin caused the explosion).
    • Nickelodeon's version cut the part where Daffy strikes the match, asides to the audience "Girls, you better hold on to your boyfriends," and swallows the match (making it seem as if he exploded from "shaking well" after swallowing the uranium 238).
  • Chirping Crickets: The audience's reaction every time Daffy tries to entertain them.
  • Dance-Off: Daffy dares Bugs to beat him at dancing. Bugs gets applause by tapping Shave And A Haircut, while Daffy's more energetic "Jeepers Creepers" tap routine gets only Chirping Crickets.
  • Delayed Causality: Occurs after Bugs saws Daffy in half.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Daffy finally getting his applause after blowing himself up can be this.
  • Eat the Bomb: Basically what Daffy does when he drinks a large assortment of explosive substances and then swallows a match. This, finally, gets the audience's applause.
  • Entitled Bastard: Daffy has legitimate talent, but his ego leads him to believe he deserves main star treatment, something he is even willing to kill opposition over. Taken even further in its use in The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, where Daffy spends most of the time beforehand acting like a Jerkass to the audience, yet is dumbfounded when they don't give him a standing ovation afterwards.
  • Hostility on the Set: Invoked; even before Bugs and Daffy get on stage, Daffy has it in for Bugs: "Try not to trip me up with those big feet, please."
  • It Only Works Once: Daffy's ghost admits this of the Eat the Bomb trick as he ascends to heaven.
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: Daffy's Special Trick. It may be amazing, but he could only do it once.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While mainly due to ego, Daffy's complaints are justified as he's being treated as an second rate afterthought rather than the co-star he was.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When Daffy learns that he has been sawed in half, he casually walks off, holding his lower half while saying, "Hmph. It's a good thing I got Blue Cross."
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Daffy says this word-for-word when he senses an opportunity to off Bugs when the latter announces he's going to play a tune on a xylophone and tries to booby-trap the xylophone so that it blows Bugs up. Naturally, of course, Daffy's attempt on Bugs' life fails spectacularly.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: invokedDaffy has carefully trained some pigeons to do a little circus act. They fly away when he lets them out of their cage.
  • Produce Pelting: The one time Daffy doesn't get Chirping Crickets, he gets a tomato in the face.
  • Road Trip Across the Street: Daffy took a taxi to the theater, even though it was only a block away. He considers the one quarter fare highway robbery.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: Part of Bugs's act is to do this with Daffy. The audience goes wild, which enrages Daffy and leads him to tell how the trick was done — until he discovers he's actually been sliced in half.
  • Secondary Character Title: The title mentions Bugs, but the short is focused on Daffy as the Villain Protagonist.
  • Shave And A Haircut: "Dance... if you're not a coward!"
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: Everything Daffy tries, until the final gag, either goes horribly wrong or bombs with the audience.
  • Standard Snippet: Hey, it's Warner Bros., and they got a music library to promote.
    • The music heard before Bugs and Daffy go on stage as well as after Daffy's explosion act is "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover".
    • Bugs and Daffy soft-shoe to "Tea for Two".
    • Daffy attempts to hoof with great speed to "Jeepers Creepers".
  • Toilet Humor: A very mild example, given the time period, but still technically counts: Daffy enters his "dressing room" but quickly exits: "There can only be one explanation for white tile in a dressing room. (turns around sign on door, that reads "MEN") And that's it."
  • The Un-Favourite: Daffy normally ends up playing the scapegoat every time he's paired up with Bugs, but here it's blown to mammoth proportions, to the point where he actually kills himself onstage just so he can get a standing ovation.
    • He is also billed in incredibly small font on the theatre front underneath Bugs' name, and given the backstage toilet as a dress room. When Daffy gives the manager an earful, the latter excuses he is only treating his clients according to draw appeal.
      "That rabbit couldn't draw flies if he was covered with syrup!"
    • Bugs gets thunderous ovations just from walking onto the stage and standing there doing nothing for a long period of time. Daffy walking onto stage gets Chirping Crickets and, once, Produce Pelting.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: He doesn't acquire (extra) wings, but this is pretty much what happens with Daffy at the end of the short.
  • Xylophone Gag: Played completely straight, as Daffy wires the xylophone to explode when Bugs plays "Those Endearing Young Charms", only to blow himself up when he corrects Bugs' bad playing. (Also provides the page image.) This gag was a Recycled Premise that was previously used in "Ballot Box Bunny" and would be again in later in "Rushing Roulette". Incidentally, this is the first instance of the gag to use a xylophone, making it the Trope Namer.


Video Example(s):


Bugs Bunny's Saw in Half Trick

Daffy agrees to participate in Bugs' sawing in half routine.

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Example of:

Main / SawAWomanInHalf

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