- Dave Thomas American-Statesman staff
Today is National Gibberish Day. I know, you didn’t even buy a card or take the day off or anything. Coming on the heels of its more famous sibling — International Talk Like a Pirate Day — National Gibberish Day has no discernible significance or history. It is, fittingly, little more than calendar gibberish.
Let’s make a thing out of it.
Today we are counting down some of the best popular culture characters who spoke gibberish. Let’s get some ground rules out of the way first.
Limited speech is not gibberish: Sorry, Hodor and Groot and Animal from the Muppets. You do say your word(s) quite well.
Mumbling is closer, but still not gibberish: Sorry, Milton from “Office Space.”
Different languages are not gibberish: Sorry R2-D2 and Chewbacca. You guys are actually very eloquent, I’m sure.
I’m not getting into trouble for this gibberish: Sorry, no links to Brad Pitt’s f-bombing Irish Traveler in “Snatch” and I’m not touching Mushmouth from “Fat Albert.” Neither he nor Bill Cosby have aged well.
With that in mind, let’s count them down:
No. 10. The teacher from “Peanuts”
One of the go-to examples that everyone thinks of, but is it really gibberish? Or is it just how the young characters interpret someone so far removed in age? Does it work the other way? I have three kids and, yes, they sound like this a lot of the time.
No. 9. Norm Crosby
I didn’t know about Norm Crosby until a Facebook friend suggested him, but I learned two things quickly. A. It’s not really gibberish, but “interpolating malapropisms” (thanks Wikipedia) and B. Is that opening shot of Dean Martin just the creepiest thing or what?
No. 8. Donald Duck
I haven’t watched Donald Duck in more than three decades, but I might start. The clip above was censored because people thought he was cursing. Youtube commenters say he’s actually saying “Says who?” but I like it just the way it is.
No. 7. Dawn Lazarus
I’m not sure why male characters are best known for gibberish, but it’s refreshing to see Vanessa Bayer’s meteorologist on SNL stake a claim for equality, even getting a serious look from slate.com.
No. 6. Cousin Itt
You remember the Addams Family character, right? My favorite bit of trivia from his Wikipedia page is that in Spanish he’s known as “Tio Eso” … “Uncle That.”
No. 5. The Minions
Years from now, these guys will top this list. They won’t get any more promotion from me, except to share that their Wikipedia entry calls them “small, yellow melodious henchmen” and I am totally naming my next band The Melodious Henchmen.
No.4. Blob from “Gigglesnort Hotel”
The dark horse on this list. Seriously, I have no idea what’s going on here, except that Blob sounds like a hilarious drunk uncle and that I hear cocaine was very prevalent in the 1970s.
No. 3. The Swedish Chef
Now we are getting serious. The Swedish Chef is near and dear to my heart and he makes the top three and I will fight anyone who says that Beaker is the better gibberish-speaking Muppet. Sigh, ok. Here’s a link for people who disagree.
No. 2. Gabby Johnson from “Blazing Saddles”
Now who can argue with that? The satirical sendup of the mumble-mouthed and often aged comic-relief character you find in many of the classic Westerns is actually one of the best of the genre.
No. 1. Boomhauer from “King of the Hill”
Voiced, impressively, by creator Mike Judge, Jeffrey Dexter "Jeff" Boomhauer III (Wikipedia, again), is every Texan you ever didn’t know what on earth they were saying.