TODAY IN ESSAYS I WROTE ABOUT INSIDE JOKES:
Universal inside jokes: Proof of a greater American collective unconscious or proof that Americans, in general, are pretty un-fricking-original? How do these universally understood jokes come about? How are they picked up on? Is there a one comedic Kaiser Soze, who, instead of crimes, masterminds all the inside jokes and spreads them like a pop-culture plague to the entire country (including Alaska)? The mystery, like that of the Yeti’s existence or Rachel Ray’s popularity, cannot be answered. But it can be presented in pleasing list form. Here are the top five inside jokes that all of America is in on.
1) SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY
This phrase is used any time a conversation partner states that an event will take place/has taken place on Sunday. It is spoken in an announcer voice: deep, loud and monotone.
Joe: Lets play kick ball on Sunday.
Jane: Sunday, SUNDAY, Sunday!
This inside joke comes directly from the omnipresent announcer for monster truck television ads of the 1980’s. Whether we'll admit it or not, Americans love monster trucks. This is because we are a people that enjoy watching anything large crush anything small, especially when partnered with car-eating robots. But, whatever one’s personal preference, we’ve, each and every one of us, sat through the local cable monster truck commercials during our otherwise non-redneck programming. Clearly, for Americans, the experience stuck.
2) FREE BIRD
This joke is pulled out at any live music event, be it U2 concert, or a show in the back of a bar featuring various members of your high school faculty. When the band calls for requests, most of us Americans call for “Free Bird”.
Bono: Thank you Cleveland! Any requests?
Half the Crowd: Free bird!!!
Other Half of the Crowd: Ha ha ha!!!
Bono: F*cking Wankers.
From the epic rock song, “Free Bird” by the kings of country rock, Lynyrd Skynrd. The joke comes because it is a very long song and, being a piece that features an organ, a slide guitar, a guitar duel, AND a 4 min + guitar solo, a very hard song to play. Also, the 191st greatest rock song of all time as ranked by Rolling Stone Magazine. Also, a much better reference than the patriotic “Sweet Home Alabama”, a song finally put to rest in the grave of lame by the 2002 film with Reese Witherspoon and that dude that looks like Matthew McConaughey.
This hilarious pronunciation is substituted for the normal name of the discount retail Target, making it sound French, or at least, Hungarian.
Tommy: Where did you get that sundress?
Betty: Oh, I picked it up at Tar-ghey.
Tommy: Oh, ha.
Target considers it’s self to be a trendier and more upscale version of the respective ‘marts (IE K and Wal). American’s love trendiness, bargains, and being about to buy dandruff shampoo and moderately priced ottomans in the same store as pretty decent underwear packages. But we also love to take places with too much sooty attitude down a peg. Thus, the mocking accent on Target’s rather pedestrian name. Take that retail bourgeoisie.
4) Worst ____ Ever
When anything, such as a morning commute, is bad/lame, hip Americans say “Worst. Train-ride. Ever” in a nerdy, know-it-all voice.
Seymour: Uh, well, I found that comic book Convention less then, uh
Eliot: Worst. Comicon. Ever.
(Both high five, snapping their delicate nerd finger bones.)
This is the The Simpson’s character Comic Book Guy’s catch phrase. The character first appeared in the episode “Three Men and a Comic Book” in 1991 right in the height of the first generation “Eat My Shorts” tee-shirts mass banning from middle schools around the country. American’s needed a new hero to look to with an appropriately obnoxious and lofty attitude towards his own opinions, and good old Comic Book Guy was born. The character was rumored to be inspired by all the nerd-burger Simpson’s fans that rushed to fill the brand new “internets” with “posts” about how “bad” a certain “episode” of the cartoon had been. Proving once again that without a hefty serving of nerd, America would be much less funny.
5) Pahk the Cah in Havahd Yahd
Whenever an American meets someone who says they are from Boston, we ask them immediately if they ever “Pahk the cah” etc, in a hideous phonetic Boston accent.
Lisa: I was born in Boston.
Frank: Oh yah? Did you Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd?
Frank: Red Sox suck.
Lisa: (Shanks Frank in the head).
Harvard University is near Boston. Harvard has two “R’s” in it. Harvard Yard has three “R’s” in it. Logic leads us to a car, which you need to park. So in short, this feeble inside joke was breed from unoriginality and Good Will Hunting-quality word logic problems. Sadly, you are only allowed to park in Harvard Yard once a year on freshman move-in day. Urinating on the foot of John Harvard’s statue in the yard however, is encouraged as a daily event.
In the end, what do these inside jokes mean to all of us? Do they tie us together in a beautiful, if not slightly commercial way? Do they prove that we are all, despite our major differences, all truly more similar then we seem? Or does it mean that we all watch much too much TV? Science may never prove it. But I think its just lazy joke telling.
(all pictures licensed by www.creativecommons.com. We'll see if THAT'S legal.)