Jokes you don't/didn't get

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    i know there’s the thing of “the joke isn’t funny if you explain it” but were there ever gags in Red Dwarf you didn’t get? and if so, what?

    i never quite got what Cat’s “stan and ollie” line in White Hole was about, for example. nor did i get what “see you in ten minutes?” (repeat x10) from Pete was all about, and also Rimmer’s “steers and queers, which are you boy?” joke from Meltdown



    “I believe he’s just discovered what shirt-tails are for”.


    International Debris

    Stan and Ollie are Laurel and Hardy, comparing Kryten and Rimmer to a pair of buffoons.
    See you in ten minutes is Doug stumbling around trying to find a joke and failing.


    Pete Part Three

    “Steers and Queers” :

    (It’s either a specific reference to Full Metal Jacket, or an Officer and a Gentlemen. Probably both; bearing in mind it quickly became tropey dialogue for line-up inspections).

    Stan and Ollie are Laurel and Hardy. It’s the Cat taking the piss out of Kryten and Rimmer by referring to them as a comedy double act.

    “See You in 10 minutes” is how longs Hollister thinks it will be before Lister and Rimmer fuck up again and get sent to his office. This is the limit of the joke. It is shit.


    Pete Part Three

    Ben Saunders

    “See you in 10 minutes” is just a bad example of Doug’s “if I repeat something 10,000 times it will be funny” crutch which you see in Krysis and the like. It’s only a very slightly humorous way for the boys to mess with Hollister with the time wand, and the best aspect of the whole thing is watching Big Mac McDonald’s have to say the same line over and over and over again, with him becoming noticeably bored/almost corpsing.

    I think I’ve said this before but I’d never heard of Tales of the Riverbank as a child so I didn’t “get” the joke, and just thought it was made up for the show, and that having made-up TV shows in Dwarf was just really good worldbuilding.


    Ben Saunders

    Any reference to 80s culture and stuff like James Last etc also went right over my head. And the joke about not wanting Glenn Miller(?) back, I distinctly remember my reaction being utter silence



    Wasn’t “see you in 10 minutes” meant to be the original ending to the episode, back when it was a one-part story called “Captain’s Office”?



    i remember getting the Glen Miller joke when i was younger, but most of the James Last stuff i didn’t get- i still laughed at the “Oh my god there’s James Last” from Meltdown though because even without knowing who he is, it still works as a joke.

    >you see in Krysis

    was incredibly confused as to what this was for a second, then i remembered that “maaaaargh” shit



    >Wasn’t “see you in 10 minutes” meant to be the original ending to the episode, back when it was a one-part story called “Captain’s Office”?

    yeah, i think that’s what the VIII DVD booklet says.


    International Debris

    See you in 10 minutes would probably have worked a lot better as an episode-ending joke rather than yet another thing to slow down an already tedious story.

    “Maaargh” works for me because it’s something with a certain intrinsic humour (it’s a funny sound and there’s no noticeable difference between the versions), so the ‘repeating it until it stops being funny and then becomes funny again’ thing has the opportunity to work. “See you in 10 minutes” isn’t funny in the first place.


    Ben Saunders

    It happens a couple times in the Dave era but fuck me if I can remember any of them. For me maaargh is funny to begin with, stops being funny, then just becomes a bit irritating.

    “And save Planet Rimmer” is another example I think of a joke just being repeated 27 times


    International Debris

    “And save Planet Rimmer” is something that I really feel should be funny, but misses the mark for some inexplicable reason. Maybe Chris overplays it.



    he seems to overplay a lot of his lines in the Dave episodes though, doesn’t he?

    one that really stood out to me was his borderline cartoonish delivery of “I’ve got FLAWS?” in Officer Rimmer


    Ben Saunders

    Barrie is on absolute top form here and there in XI and XII but also overplays a few moments, like those ones. And “you’re a moron”



    Quite a lot of the 80s references missed me, even though I was alive at the time and first watched Dwarf as an adult. Think it’s mostly footballing stuff that passed me by, like Peter Beardsley.



    Good old is there for all your reference-getting needs (up to December 1997).

    Or you could just have googled “stan and ollie,” “steers and queers” etc.



    I remember not knowing who Paul Robeson was, or that Ishtar is considered to be one of the worst films ever made. Just maybe the Ishtar line was removed for Remastered because Doug saw the film and liked it.



    one other joke i didn’t get was in an episode of VII (i can’t remember which, they all sort of blend into one) where kochanski moans about how she hates being stuck with some “neurotic droid who’s completely obsessed with my pants drawer!” to which kryten responds “you mean I’m not alone?” what does this mean? is kryten being really self-deprecating or is there actually another android onboard going around perving over kochanski’s knickers?


    Ben Saunders

    The joke is him not noticing/recognising he is being called neurotic, surely?



    Kryten does say “Oh I see, you mean me” afterwards but it’s a bit hard to hear over the audience, who are laughing for some reason.


    International Debris

    For a long time, I thought “smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast” was just a bit of lolrandom nonsense. It took me a long time to work out that actually it means “even though I’m plunging into danger, I’m so good I’ll be back in time for breakfast, so make me some smoked kippers please”.


    Ben Saunders

    I think “stoke me a clipper” is something you can actually do, like stoking the flames of a lighter (?) And it took me until about last year to realise that

    It’s still a dumb line. But if it didn’t draw attention to itself by being the title of the episode it probably wouldn’t stick out as much.


    Pete Part Three

    I didn’t know what “rimming” was until Doug changed the title of “Natural Born Rimmers” because it sounded naughty. Oh, the irony.


    Pete Part Three

    Pretty sure “stoke me a clipper” is just nonsense, by the way.


    Ben Saunders

    It can mean add fuel to a lighter but whether it was intended to be sensical, probably not



    Yeah, my whole family smokes and we use that phrase about 20 times daily.



    With or without the Christmas bit?



    Since I read Clipper’s title as a nipper, I’ve associated it with the abstract concept of bicycle clips, because those were a thing I’d heard referenced disparagingly a couple of times in Dwarf (Dimension Jump, Only the Good). I’ve only just learned what they are.

    I didn’t know what a haggis was when I first watched Balance of Power, I thought it was probably a type of fish (haddock?) Even now I’ve lived in Scotland and eaten many haggi, I still imagine Rimmer’s counting up irradiated fish.

    I didn’t realise Blue Midget was a joke/pun until it was discussed here recently. I’d always known a red dwarf was a type of star because of my Weetabix space book, so I assumed blue midgets and white giants were probably legit star classifications too and never questioned it.



    I’ve always taken ‘stoke me a clipper’ as a malapropism. Nothing more complicated than Rimmer fucking up the line.



    “We got more chance of persuading a dentist to hang around an X ray machine.” Eh?


    Flap Jack

    “We got more chance of persuading a dentist to hang around an X ray machine.” Eh?

    I can’t imagine what caused you to remember this line in particular, clem. :P

    The joke (for want of a better term) is just that if you get your mouth X-rayed during a dentist appointment, the dentist will leave the room while it’s happening. That’s it.



    Right, thanks Flap Jack. I knew that but foolishly thought there had to be more to it. I dunno, maybe Cat’s saying dentists are hypocrites for subjecting their patients to X rays but not themselves. You know, the way the Cat’s always coming out with that kind of withering put-down about dentists.


    Ben Saunders

    Has Cat Ever Been To The Dentist

    I guess he went to the medi-bot in X maybe


    Flap Jack

    He might have gone as early as Future Echoes, given what happens to him in that episode.

    Though no virtual or robotic dentist would need to leave the room when the x-ray is being taken, so it still doesn’t make sense. The only explanation is that one of the others told him about it for some reason, or he saw it in a TV show or film. Maybe he binge-watched My Family.

    The real explanation, of course, is that Series VIII would just give random one-liners to whomever. Doesn’t really matter if it’s something the character might actually say.

    Also it was cut so does it really count?



    cat watches a lot of TV shows according to Back In The Red (he mentions it in the trial scene) so maybe he’s just picked it up from there



    idea- cat started watched the movie Blade Runner shortly before the events of Back To Earth, thus explaining all the references to it. TV shows no longer do it for him and he has moved on to films


    Pete Part Three

    Yes, he probably watched a shit sitcom episode where this unfunny observation was made.



    cat has been watching a lot of Red Dwarf



    >Good old is there for all your reference-getting needs (up to December 1997).

    It’s quite interesting reading through this. It’s astounding just how many general cultural references there are. It’s a wonder that foreign markets ‘get’ RD, considering how many jokes rely on having a minimal amount of UK knowledge.

    Maybe that’s why 8 is popular overseas, it has more accessible broad jokes, rather than quips about Felicity Kendal’s bottom.


    Taiwan Tony

    >Felicity Kendal’s bottom

    If you’ve got ANYTHING to say about Felicity Kendal’s bottom, you can just about blummin well say it to me, first!



    >Maybe that’s why 8 is popular overseas

    VIII is more popular overseas? not trying to be a dick or anything, i’m just wondering where you heard about that



    I don’t think you really need to know who Felicity Kendall is to get the basic meaning of the joke though. Same with most of the references.

    Speaking as an ignorant Canadian here.


    Flap Jack

    Seconded. I had no idea who Kevin Keegan was when I first saw Series 1 (other than having the vague feeling that he was a genuine famous person), but the idea that the worst book ever written as of hundreds of years in the future – as judged quasi-objectively by an AI – would be such an ordinary one is brilliant.

    It’s basically just a variation on the Hitchhiker’s joke that the worst poetry in the universe was just written by some random guy from Essex. In that case, the person named wasn’t really famous either, so it especially didn’t matter when later versions anonymised the name.

    Though the update to the Kevin Keegan gag did ruin it, but that was because (a) they tried to make the new name inherently funny rather funny because of how ordinary it is, and (b) they made the football reference deliberately Sci-Fi-ish; it’s not because the author was no longer real.



    I knew who Kevin Keegan was (he visited my school once), but I always took the gag to be a specific dig at a real and recent celebrity best-seller, generally perceived to be not especially well-written.

    But googling and using the Red Dwarf reference guide, it looks like they made it up. The bloody book doesn’t exist. Or it just hasn’t stood the test of time and is now only remembered as a Red Dwarf joke.



    there is a book called Football- It’s A Funny Old Game, its just not by kevin keegan


    International Debris

    I think knowing who Kevin Keegan is probably adds a layer to it – there’s something about him which invites a certain idea of naffness – but yeah, the main joke is that ‘Football – it’s a Funny Old Game’ is a bit of a crap title for probably a bit of a dull book, and it’s been concluded that it’s the worst book ever written.


    Pete Part Three

    Kev obviously don’t write it for another 5 years. It’s around the time Cliff Richard gets shot.


    Ben Saunders

    The name of the author never even registered to me honestly, the punchline of “football – it’s a funny old game” is funny enough to me and I probably laughed over the author


    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    there is a book called Football- It’s A Funny Old Game, its just not by kevin keegan

    I used to have it – it was by Saint and Greavsie.



    “I’m so gorgeous, there’s a 6-month waiting list for birds to suddenly appear every time I am near.”

    is Cat talking about legit birds here (feathery flying things) or is he referring to women using slang? Bottom Live 3 did this bird/bird confusion as a joke I think


    Plastic Percy

    It’s the lyrics to ‘Close to You’ by The Carpenters.

    Why do birds suddenly appear
    Every time you are near?
    Just like me, they long to be
    Close to you.



    ohhhh, i’ve heard that song before! no idea why i didn’t realise the connection


    International Debris

    I’d like to be an arse and point out that the Carpenters version, while the most famous recording of the song, came out seven years after the first recording of the song by Richard Chamberlain. It’s a Bacharach & David song. And a bloody great one at that.

    It’s also one of those jokes that’s utterly terrible and utterly brilliant at the same time.


    Taiwan Tony

    Why do birds!
    Why do
    Why do

    Well you get the idea.


    Pete Part Three

    Let’s just post it for Bloodteller.


    Flap Jack

    I’d like to formally thank the Simpsons episode “The Way We Was” for obliterating any possible barrier I could have had to understanding that Cat line.


    Ben Saunders

    Isn’t it in Austin Powers 1? But yes, I think the Simpsons episode was my first exposure to it.



    > It’s also one of those jokes that’s utterly terrible and utterly brilliant at the same time.

    That is basically the entire comedic potential of the Cat as a character in one sentence.




    You know, someone should really post that clip from I’m Alan Partridge where he sings it.


    Pete Part Three

    It’s not in Austin Powers, Ben. It’s a Burt Bacharach/Hal David collaboration though, and has a similar composition to their songs; “What the World Needs Now”. (featured in Austin Powers IMOM) and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” (featured in TSWSM).

    It is in There’s Something About Mary though, just in case you were mixing up 1990’s Hollywood comedies.


    Ben Saunders

    Nah I was definitely mixing it up with What The World Needs Now, which to be fair has a very similar melodic structure, at least to begin with

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