A Handy-Dandy List of Jokes That Aren’t Jokes


This post by Nickelodeon TV producing guru Dan Schneider (who also played Dennis on Head of the Class, which means that all his statements carry a certain authority) lists “‘comedy’ phrases that it’s time to stop saying,” lines that are inserted into comedy scripts, and stay there, when the writers don’t have an actual joke to put in there. I can’t really argue with any of these.

(1)  “Not so much” and its even more tired cousin, “Eh, not so much.”

(2)  “Too much information!”

(3)  “And by [that] I mean [this].”

(4)  “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.”

(5)  “Good times.”

(6)  “Did I say that out loud?”

(7)  “Thanks for sharing.”

(8)  “Hey, stop eating my dinner, Eatie McEaterson!” (or any similar phrase that ends in Blank-y McBlankerson).

(9)  “Really?!”

(10)  “It’s like a party in my mouth.”

(11)  “Hey, don’t go there!”

(12)  “Burn!”

(13)  “Alrighty then.”

(14)  “Ya THINK?”

I do find it interesting that “That went well” is not on the list. And come to think of it I haven’t heard it much in recent years, or its antecedent, “he took it better than I expected.” So it is possible for a non-joke to get retired if people decide to stop using it. Meaning that there is hope, fleeting though it may be, that no one will ever put “good times” into a script again (unless it’s done in a semi-ironic way like on NewsRadio).

One non-joke that is still used, didn’t make the list and should never be used again: “I said good day, sir!” It was funny when it originated in the movie Tootsie. It was funny the first few times some Tootsie-loving sitcom writers put it into their scripts. But now Tootsie is almost 30 years old, nobody remembers where the line comes from anyway. Let it go.

Oh, and “let it go” is also a line that should never be used again.

And now, another message from Dan Schneider:

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A Handy-Dandy List of Jokes That Aren’t Jokes

  1. You'd have to figure "that went well" would be retired, after being such a trademark of "Made in Canada".

  2. It may only have been scripted a few times, but I'm rather sick of hearing "that's what she said!" Can we agree to scrap that one, too, please?

    • That one is timeless and never gets old! …..

      (that's what she said!)

  3. So I'm the only one who thought 'I said good day, sir!' was from Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka?

    • I recall him only saying "Good Day, sir!" in Willy Wonka. here's the quote. I think it was Tootsie that first added the joke of following that up with "I said good day, sir!"

  4. So, if they stop overusing all of these, won't they need some brand new phrases to overuse? Any suggestions? I'm partial to, "So I shot him," or maybe, "Didn't I just tell you to shut up?"

  5. How about "ya think?"

    "totally awsome"

    "I'll bite"


  6. I agree, his statements tend to carry a certain WEIGHT (hahahahhahahahhahahahhahahahahhha!)

  7. I'm sure most of these still show up on a regular basis on any of the Disney Channel shows.

    • That's the ironic thing about seeing this list come from a maker of Nick shows — Those Nick and Disney sitcoms are the biggest offenders when it comes to letting these lines (delivered by a young actor with an unjustifiably snotty and sarcastic attitude) stand in for jokes. I think I've heard a lot of them on iCarly. Or maybe the fact that he makes these shows is what makes him so tired of these lines.

      "Really?" and "Burn!" would be the hardest for me to stop using (in real life, not scripts), because "Really?" is so reflexive and "Burn!" I usually use ironically.

      I seem to remember "I said good day" on NewsRadio at some point, being really sold by Phil Hartman's delivery.

  8. Actually, I had no idea where "I said good day, sir" came from. I mainly associate it with That 70s Show, which used (and overused) it as a catchphrase for Fez.

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