I've met far too many people who go for cheap, easy, boring, unoriginal laughs with lines like these. Here's a list of "witty" quips that, with everybody's awareness and cooperation, will be dead and buried in 2002:
- I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Unless you are actually threatening murder, please stop using this line whenever you have a secret you refuse to share.
- My crack/heroin problem. People like to reference a nonexistent drug problem as a reason for being broke, forgetful, etc. The idea is that everyone knows this joker couldn't possibly have a problem with crack – that's for poor black people! or heroin – that's for poor white people! Nobody jokes about being addicted to pain killers, antidepressants, or alcohol because somebody might actually believe them.
- Body cavity searches. Ah, that time-honored source of mirth: anal intrusion. Only teenage boys (and teenage boys at heart) still make sodomy jokes. However, it's open season for all with the cavity search humor. When security is tight somewhere, it's not enough to ask, "Did they strip-search you?" No, you have to say, "Did they give you a body cavity search?" Again, I guess the humor here is that nobody actually believes that they will be in a position where someone will be examining their rectum for drugs or weapons.
- M. Night Shya - Shaya - Shamalamadingdong or whatever. Hey kids! Let's laugh at the Indian-American guy's unpronounceable last name! M. Night Shyamalan, writer/director of The Sixth Sense, probably had to deal with this throughout grade school; now that he's rich and famous, the joke has spread out among millions of wannabe cutups. For the record, it's pronounced "SHAH-mah-lahn".
- Can't we all just get along? Rodney King's tearful plea to the citizens of Los Angeles who, in April 1992, rioted over the not-guilty verdict of the four cops who beat him on videotape, has since become an over-quoted gag. Some dope always pulls it out whenever there's a minor disagreement amongst friends or coworkers.
- The quotable George H.W. Bush. Years after his presidency, people are still aping Bush's stillborn soundbites: "A kinder, gentler nation." "A new world order." "A thousand points of light." But they're not quoting them in context anymore. They're just parroting. Please, with Bush's even stupider son now running the country, we don't need any more reminders that American politics have regressed back to 1991.
- Where will we sit? Surely we've all walked into an empty movie theatre, looked out across the rows of seats, and muttered this to our friend, or heard our friend mutter it. The pinnacle of sarcastic wit it is not.
- Free Bird! Har, har! No matter who's on stage, or how rabid the fans are, or how electric the vibe in the room is, when you go to a concert, you can be sure that there will always be a moment between songs where some idiot thinks he's the first person to "request" the old Lynyrd Skynyrd standby from the band. Worse yet, somebody else always finds this funny.
- I love you, man! Said in a faux choked-up voice, this line is popular amongst armchair jocks who are "just joshing" with their male buddies. Often accompanied by a jokey bear hug. The scent of ambiguous homoeroticism is left in the air.