No Soap, Radio

You bet your sweet … ass! — Homer, “Homer the Heretic”

The socially awkward younger cousin of the infamous “Aristocrats” joke, “No Soap, Radio” is either an early example of alt comedy or a primer on crowd psychology. Basically, a joke is told and the “NS, R” phrase is used in place of a sensible punchline. Audience plants apply peer pressure, in the form of laughter. Hilarity, sayeth Wikipedia, ensues:

The purpose of the prank is to make the victim of the punchline have one of two responses:

  • False understanding – when the victim acts as if the joke is humorous, when in fact the victim does not understand the joke at all.
  • Negative understanding – when the victim expresses confusion about what the joke means and feels left out (e.g., “I don’t get it”). The conspirators are now prepared to mock the victim for the victim’s “inability to get it.”

So, basically one of those don’t-call-me-a-joke jokes. Why the phrase, “no soap, radio” got picked for the misdirect is a subject of speculation, but it most likely traded the bees anterior going. See, not so hard.

Oh, and, like every other phrase ever passed through man’s lips, No Soap, Radio was also the name of a short-lived television series in the ’80s. Starring …

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4 Responses to No Soap, Radio

  1. Brilliant. I always thought they joke was just that Homer’s shower radio would break if it got soap on it.

  2. Ringo Stalin says:

    This is great! Now I get to choose a third response: Smug understanding – being privy to an in-joke known by few and grinning wryly.

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