The Best Jokes In The Whole Of The Simpsons
According to the some people I messaged
|Ben Jenkins||Sep 11|| 10||22|
We’ve all got a bit of time on our hands lately, so I got to wondering - What is the best joke in The Simpsons? I bothered some funny people I know to find out.
Pixelated Boat - Cartoonist
Homer Eats 64 Slices of American Cheese
Why: What kills me about this bit is that Homer didn’t stay up all night eating cheese out of impulsive, uncontrollable gluttony. He started out with a plan to eat 64 cheese singles and he stuck with it, even though it took him all night and he blinded himself in the process. Homer transcends the dumb guy comedy archetype by being stupid in such specific, strange ways. The bounds of his idiocy are unknowable.
Michael Hing - Radio Presenter
Why: It's a perfect bit of observational humour about how frustrating Pictionary can be, but as with a lot of the best jokes in the Simpsons, that joke is really just the set up to the 'actual' joke: how pathetic Kirk is.
The punchline as well, Kirk fumbling to draw a door as a "cool" way to exit the situation "It's a door, use it!" and it failing dismally, makes me cackle every time.
Naomi Higgins - Writer
A Whole New person, Lisa
Why: Rewatching the show as an adult I often wondered why Marge would stay with Homer, and this moment where you see her delusion kills me. She has thoroughly convinced herself that Homer is a good husband, and even her 8 year old daughter knows she has to appease her here so she doesn't lose her mind.
Mark Sutton - Writer/Producer
The Biggest Bird Seed Bell You Have
Why: I think it's the many many blanks we have to fill in ourselves here. How was this supposed to work? How would the bell get to them in time? Is the idea that the bell would distract the birds? Why would it be too big for this life-threatening emergency? How goddamn big was the bell? The Simpsons has a habit of overplaying great minor characters (Disco Stu, Yessss guy etc) but I reckon Moleman is used just the right amount and has so many great moments: Boo-Urns, Edgar Allan Poe House, the orange eating class, "it's like kissing a peanut","You're certainly doing your job today Mr Sun!" - classics all.
Tom Walker - Comedian
I Didn’t Even Give You My Coat!
Why: Because the still of Hank Scorpio is one of the funniest facial expressions in the whole show and to be weird and intellectual about it, the fact that it’s a completely still image after establishing Scorpio as a hugely dynamic and active person is such a great contrast.
Also because it’s my favourite type of joke: someone attempting a terrible trick, whether it fails or succeeds.
Guy Montgomery - Comedian
I Nicked It When You Let Your Guard Down
The entire sugar subplot in this episode is so fucking funny. To even get to this point, Homer has stolen the sugar from a jackknifed truck driven by Hans Moleman, unsuccessfully tried to sell the sugar door to door and is so paranoid about the earning potential of the sugar that he is sleeping in front of it with a baseball bat to ward off thieves. When Marge accuses Homer of being paranoid you almost think the sugar dream is over but Homer keeps it alive by pulling from his sugar pile the exact thing he is afraid of, a sugar thief.
Dave Harmon - Host, Dragon Friends
Why Did I Have The Bowl, Bart?
Why: I think most of my favourite stuff is Milhouse moments and that line is particularly so great because it's Milhouse relitigating a really significant and arguably traumatic memory of a betrayal by Bart out of nowhere, getting worked up all over again because Bart's lie made no sense and then just having to let it go, unresolved as yet another petty indignity. He's not a good friend!
It's also very tragic because he says it in a way like he's trying desperately to hold onto empirical evidence of an obvious wrongdoing that he's worried will slip away.
Demi Lardner - Comedian
I Just Think They’re Neat!
Why: Because the implication that she's tried multiple times to get her child to take a potato to school is so funny. She's a woman redefining what it is to admire the root vegetable. Also, she's holding the potato in such a funny way
Bec Shaw - Writer
Go Back To Your Own Country!
Why: Because nobody gets to me like Marge! She has the ability to tear out my heart, so when she’s funny, it kills me in a good way. Marge is the voice of reason, and it’s the best and funniest when she gets to act unreasonably.
Also, telling The Count to go back to his own country is just incredibly funny.
James Colley - Writer
I Shouldn’t Have Stopped For That Haircut.
Why: This is my ideal joke. Incredibly silly, out of nowhere, and in a moment of sheer panic. It’s one of those jokes that takes a second to clock - that somewhere in their panic to race to stop an out of control monorail, they’ve stopped for a haircut. It’s a perfect line reading. A tinge of regret, as if just realising it was a mistake. It’s the kind of joke that I can imagine any lesser shows would cut for being too weird
Eleanor Robertson - Writer
Just Give ‘em One of These
Why: It’s set up as such a change of pace for Moe, like what is he doing? Outside the bar? With other interests?? Maybe he has this whole other healthy side we don’t know about. But then he grabs the shotgun and you’re like, yep he’s still exactly the same disgusting freak he’s always been. Speaks to the intransigence of character flaws in all of us, I think.
Bri Williams - Writer/Improvisor
Museums Don’t Have Foosball, Do They?
I think it’s just the idea that a) Homer has a pre-existing desire to beat works of art in a game and b) the fact that The Scream willingly submits himself to be trounced. Which is funny in and of itself for but some reason hearing the scream’s little feet patter up to the foosball deck just kill me.
Tim Batt - Comedian
Why: The Simpsons’ writing gets a lot of deserved credit but what’s rarely picked apart is the show’s ability to use film techniques to create visual gags. After the first season (which has a far more ‘cartoony’ style) Matt Groening really locked down the psychics to be almost identical to ours in the real world and that let the animators use edits and camera moves not usually seen in animated series.
With each realisation that the overweight and over confident Cayman Islands financier has revealed confidential client information about Krusty, the camera punches in. He started in a low angle midshot to showcase his power and comfort. But as he transforms from relaxed to panicked, the camera takes the audience literally closer into his terrified mind. We get a crash zoom in with each “Oh crap” revelation until a stressful and hilarious crescendo is reached and then it’s all disregarded because “it’s too hot today” as the camera relaxes back to a midshot and he slumps into his chair. 22 seconds; five written gags, one catchphrase, four sensational camera moves that makes me laugh every time I see it. Just an insane hit rate for TV comedy.
Scott Limbrick - Digital Producer
I Said, "Hop in."
Why: The instant shift from joy to pure menace when Mr Burns pulls his gun is delightful every time. Combining whimsy with a threat is, for me, always a winning combo.
This, plus the fact that Burns is wearing a hospital gown which, until this moment, has given no indication of concealing a weapon – and has absolutely no reason to. The writers have literally cheated us, and I love them for it.
Jenna Owen - Writer/Actor
Just Tape A Bunch of Cats Together
Why: Okay, obviously it’s inside baseball and personal to my interests (show biz) but it’s also the perfect observational absurdism that The Simpsons is supreme at. The reality of film is so deeply distorted but I love the irony of a yellow man telling me so. I love it so much I wish ‘Cats taped together’ was my biography title.
James Hennessy - Writer
It Was, Marge, Admit It
Why: Something so purely representative of Homer’s character that he would completely accept that Marge off-handedly said that she would literally murder Bart, and the fact he would accept that they would both get the electric chair for her doing that. The delivery is so good and it often gets forgotten with the “Probably misses his old glasses” line that comes right before it
Vic Zerbst - Writer/Actor
I May Or May Not Die Young. I Haven’t Decided.
Why: Like I know this is classic adorably precocious child trope energy, but I truly think Lisa is a perfectly conceived character who meant so much to me growing up. Here’s the full quote:
“Well, I'm going to be a famous jazz musician. I've got it all figured out. I'll be unappreciated in my own country, but my gutsy blues stylings will electrify the French. I'll avoid the horrors of drug abuse, but I do plan to have several torrid love affairs, and I may or may not die young. I haven't decided.”
That really spoke to me. She was so smart and ambitious and likeable and punk.
An eight-year old avoiding the horrors of drug abuse but happily diving into torrid love affairs? Special and good writing. Age/content incongruity always gets me.
Jordan Raskopoulos - Comedian/Streamer
Why: It has been a very long time since I’ve watched the Simpsons. Back at the time of airing I don’t feel like this moment was particularly memorable and, at the time, I probably would have gone with Homer calling Hank Scorpio ‘Mr Scorpion’ or the ‘I had a stroke’.
It’s only in hindsight that I’m finding it funny, I'm not sure why. Maybe because it’s some kind of truth to power thing it maybe because I now make a living nowadays getting fake bullied by my friends on Twitch.
BONUS! Me - Newsletter Author
Is Lisa At Camp Granada?
Why: Oh look I don’t know but it seemed like I needed to include my own one, and I remember really distinctly when I first saw this on TV air I would have been around 10 or so and I laughed so hard that my parents told me the leave the room. I think it’s Homer's big stupid face as he listens to the recording, and imagining him, in retrospect, believing that it’s his eight year old daughter on the tape, leaving them a regular voicemail.