Step Up and Give 110%
January 3, 2009 10:35 PM   Subscribe

What are some good sarcastic comebacks for those tired phrases you hear a million times? Eg, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" "Think outside the box" or "Does this make me look fat?"

One of my favorite examples was from Newsradio, where Dave, when given the ol' "But I'd have to kill you" line, quips, "Okay, but it better be good." Anything along those lines?

Personally, I wish an athlete whose team is down 0-3 in a playoff series would go, "Forget one game at a time, we're gonna try to win all four games tonight. It may be unorthodox, but it's our best shot."
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Grab Bag (46 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Does this make me look fat?"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:45 PM on January 3, 2009


No, eating like a pig makes you look fat.
posted by furtive at 11:15 PM on January 3, 2009


"Think outside the box"
"Try telling that to a dead man."
posted by furtive at 11:18 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Better late than never."
"Yes, but even better never late."
posted by furtive at 11:19 PM on January 3, 2009


Steven Wright kicks ass on just these kinds of phrases. Two cases in point:

"It's a small world."
"But I wouldn't want to paint it."

and

"You can't have everything."
"Yeah, where would you put it?"
posted by miss lynnster at 11:30 PM on January 3, 2009


it is what it is
I mean really?.....
I know, right?
posted by yoyoceramic at 11:33 PM on January 3, 2009


"There's no I in team"
"But there is a U in fuck off"

One of my few original contributions to L'Esprit de l'escalier
posted by lalochezia at 11:52 PM on January 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


No, the fat makes you look fat.
posted by strangecargo at 11:54 PM on January 3, 2009


"The early bird gets the worm"
"But the second mouse gets the cheese"
posted by sambosambo at 12:04 AM on January 4, 2009 [15 favorites]


"I'll be right back"
"Thanks for the warning."
posted by sambosambo at 12:08 AM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, your huge behind does.
posted by furtive at 12:23 AM on January 4, 2009


It's late and I can't think of any specific examples, but in all seriousness try watching some Marx Brothers movies. Groucho's humor often hinges on these sorts of exchanges, and they're old enough to be somewhat obscure these days if you decide to borrow a few zingers. Actually, just looking at his wikiquote page it seems he had that sort of turn of the tongue in regular life too.
posted by CheshireCat at 12:27 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"We missed you last night."

"Next time, aim better."


"Why are you so short?"
"Because before you are born, God gives you a choice. You get so many cells and you get to choose body or brains. I made my choice and obviously, you made yours."


Another one I invented for the same guy as received the prior:

" Claire... I'd offer you a penny for your thoughts, but I don't have time to wait for change."


"Fauxscot's Rule of the Conservation of Assholes: If a major asshole leaves an organization, a minor one will grow to take its place." (Spontaneously issued in response to the retirement of group manager at Raytheon way back in the 80's.)


Personally, I do this reflexively. Once I had a boss who joked that he coveted my late wife. He quickly suggested a wife swap and said he'd call his wife and ask tell her to brush her teeth. I told him I'd call mine and tell her to put hers in. He retired from the field defeated. The entire exchange took 5 seconds.

Another time, a secretary asked me in a large group if I'd had sex with my wife before we were married. I told her that while I would not respond directly to that since I was a gentleman, I would attest that a few years back, I did get screwed by her entire family.

In the south, we have special schools where they teach us metaphor and reparte. We do not normally reveal the existence of these to the enemy, by which I mean northerners. In the north, there are analogous institutes of arrogance. By contrast, their existence is well known.

Actually, native southerner Mark Twain made a living by moving directly into the heart of Yankeedom and doing what comes quite naturally to us.
posted by FauxScot at 1:57 AM on January 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


sambosambo: “The early bird gets the worm”

My favourite response to this has always been: “The early worm gets eaten”.
posted by nfg at 3:58 AM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mad magazine had snappy comebacks as a regular feature for years and were collected in books . They'd always offer three responses to these kinds of phrases, and if memory serves me correctly, not just questions.
posted by history is a weapon at 5:59 AM on January 4, 2009


[almost anything] -> "That's what she said."

"The early bird gets the worm!" -> "Who wants worms?"

Good call on Groucho!
posted by gjc at 6:57 AM on January 4, 2009


"There's no I in team."

"No, but there's an M and an E."
posted by futility closet at 7:01 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"There's no I in team."

"All the I's are in 'millionaire'"
posted by -harlequin- at 7:08 AM on January 4, 2009


"The early bird gets the worm!"

"But what does the early worm get?"
posted by Miko at 7:36 AM on January 4, 2009


"We need to think outside the box"
"That presupposes we can think inside the box"

Jeremy Piven / Ari Gold has some excellent comebacks on Entourage
posted by jasondigitized at 7:51 AM on January 4, 2009


I wouldn't suggest using "that's what she said". It's as least as tired as these other phrases.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:55 AM on January 4, 2009


"Can I ask you a question?"

"You just did. Would you like another?"
posted by rleamon at 7:57 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]



It would give me personal satisfaction to respond to such questions with "What is your favorite Michael Bolton album?"
posted by ezekieldas at 8:10 AM on January 4, 2009


"It is what it is."
My response; "No, it's not."

Mad Magazine did a lot of 'Snappy answers to stupid questions' many years ago, back in the late 1960's - 70's.
posted by X4ster at 9:02 AM on January 4, 2009


Maybe just responding to all of these with a silly smile and a big hug would work?

Harpo would have lifted his leg and hung it by behind-the-knee from his interlocutor's hand.
posted by mmahaffie at 9:26 AM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a Normism but it works on several levels at the IT help desk:

"What's Up?"
"Everything that's supposed to be."
posted by Mitheral at 9:52 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite response comes from The Golden Girls:
"Can I ask a stupid question?"
"Better than anyone I know."

And for some reason, a lot of folks (usually it's the woman) feels the need to confide in you, a propos of nothing: "My husband and I are trying to have a baby."
I always reply, "Well, don't let me interrupt you" and back away.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:02 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the movie Real Genius:

I'd like to see more of you.

I'll gain weight.
posted by cestmoi15 at 10:05 AM on January 4, 2009


"What time is it?"
"You mean now?"

This is my favorite Yogiism.
posted by easy_being_green at 10:36 AM on January 4, 2009


"Great minds think alike"
"Fools never differ"
posted by AceRock at 12:08 PM on January 4, 2009


"Two wrongs don't make a right"
a) No, but three lefts do.
b) No, but three rights make a left.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:34 PM on January 4, 2009


Q: Can I ask you a question?
A: 9 inches.

Only works if your a guy.
posted by vonliebig at 12:46 PM on January 4, 2009


Q: Can I ask you a question?
A: 9 inches.

Only works if your a guy.


Not necessarily...
posted by gjc at 1:06 PM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I was x, last time I checked."

"How often do you have to check?"
posted by Soliloquy at 1:11 PM on January 4, 2009


Actor: Does this costume make me look fat?

Dresser: Shut up, tubby, and get your ass onstage.

(Heard backstage in college. Dressers are known to be cruel, unfeeling things.)
posted by Vavuzi at 6:21 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Curiosity killed the cat."

"But satisfaction brought him back!"

---Grandpa on the Munsters
posted by eye of newt at 6:44 PM on January 4, 2009


These are great so far, guys, thanks. I'm just marking the ones that were particularly amusing to my tastes.

I agree about not using "That's what she said," especially as a fan of the US "Office." (Although I do enjoy a good "That's not what I heard.")

And there was that time from the pilot episode where Michael uses the "Wuzzzzup!" line, and Jim mutters, "I still love that... after seven years." Dead on.

I remember Al Jaffee's "Snappy Answers" from the '80s, although I'm not sure how applicable they would be in real life. Plus, they didn't really deal with the grating "I'm using a hackneyed phrase, but I still think I'm being clever!" stuff.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:09 PM on January 4, 2009


Q: Do you have the time?
A: Do you have the energy?

Also:

1: See you later!
2: Not if I see you first!
posted by ostranenie at 12:20 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Do I look stupid?"
"No, just fat and bald"
posted by Acacia at 1:46 AM on January 5, 2009


Some guy asked me for a cigarette, and then for a light; "Sure, you want me to smoke it for you too?"
posted by sambosambo at 2:52 AM on January 5, 2009


Q: Can I ask you a question?
A: 9 inches.

Only works if your a guy.


I once actually had a guy respond to my "can I ask you a question" with "Yes, they're real." I think the gender flip adds something to the joke.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:23 AM on January 5, 2009


From Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Vamp Girl: Does this sweater make me look fat?

Sunday: No. The fact that you're fat makes you look fat. That sweater just makes you look purple.
posted by duckus at 4:38 PM on January 5, 2009


Maybe just responding to all of these with a silly smile and a big hug would work?

Oh, but what would be the fun of that? Some people need to be taught a lesson, and nothing does that better than a dose of well-delivered, disarming sarcasm. :)
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:40 PM on January 5, 2009


"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

.."Yeah I'll make sure I tell that to my uncle who had polio".
posted by flutable at 3:22 AM on January 9, 2009


This might be late, but, thanks to another thread: "This one time? At band camp?"

I'd also like to add "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," "He threw him under the bus," and the never amusing "Can I get a discount?" (when they know they can't, but are joshing you, the poor retail worker).
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:43 PM on January 10, 2009


"Can I get a discount?"
"Don't be silly, I have no reason to put you down."

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."
"Well, except for little Junior, here... looks like we're kinda stuck with him 'til he's 18."

"This one time? At band camp?"
"You and your friends impressed eachother by using painfully unfunny movie quotes in everyday conversation?"
posted by miss lynnster at 1:52 PM on January 10, 2009


« Older psychonauts, advise please!   |   help me help my baby sleep Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.