7 Hilarious Insults from Shows Not Necessarily Known for Laughs

Okay, Tony Soprano was the king of the dad joke
7 Hilarious Insults from Shows Not Necessarily Known for Laughs

The way that people speak to each other on sitcoms is frankly problematic. Imagine what would happen if you ever spoke to your friends the way Chandler Bing and Sheldon Cooper do. First, they would cry, then they would tearfully ask you if that’s really what you think of them, then they’d kick you out of their house and never speak to you again. Everyone would feel bad about it, and you’d lose at least one friend — more if any of your mutuals were around to witness, shake their heads and mutter, “Not cool, dude.”

You don’t see it so much on dramas because they can’t get away with saying, “Just kidding, bruh,” and it would be rightfully relationship-ending. When a prestige character does decide to go on the warpath, though, it can be even more blistering than any comedy. Whether they were already a known quantity of asshole or just ran fresh out of fucks to give, the zinger that would get a laugh track on NBC instead invites a chorus of “Daaaaaaaaamn.”

“Romulus, when you laugh, please do it in the same volume as everyone else. We didn’t get you from a hyena farm.”

Logan Roy never won any awards for Father of the Year, but the Succession patriarch would have been a definite contender in the extremely niche category of Scottish diss rap. He also would have cleaned up if they ever presented awards for bullying children into behaving (the Swirlies?). It never works because the Roy kids are the wildest of cards, but you can’t say he didn’t try.

“A German Shepherd’s shaved asshole won first prize.”

In the first episode of the second half of the last season of The Sopranos (say that five times fast), Tony is playing Monopoly with his sister when she draws the ever-awkward “Second Place in a Beauty Contest” card, telling Tony, “Go ahead, make your stupid joke.” His response gets him knocked out by his brother-in-law because The Sopranos was renowned for portraying the gritty reality of both mob life and the consequences of insults.

“All you people ever think about is how to get into somebody’s pants. You nasty. That’s why you got syphilis.”

No, this line isn’t spoken during a scene requiring the Grey’s Anatomy doctors to dress up as various communicable diseases for a presentation. There’s a very real syphilis outbreak at Seattle Grace, and while it’s not not a whimsical one, it results in both a breakup and a fist fight. Dr. Bailey had already shown herself to be a sassy boss, but you can’t call an underling nasty, and you definitely can’t bring their sexually transmitted infections into it.

“Born amidst salt and smoke? Is he a ham?”

Nobody would call the Baratheons a clever bunch; just because they conquered the throne doesn’t mean they deserved it, which is mostly what Game of Thrones is entirely about. That’s why, when Renly is chided by his brother’s hype witch for not addressing him properly as the prophesied savior, it’s surprising that he unleashes one of the best burns of the whole series. He pays for it in short order, but they can never take that victory away from him.

“You’re a tiny, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu.”

Cordelia Chase was the primary mouthpiece for Joss Whedon’s latent rage on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and this quip she fires off at Principal Snyder is possibly her harshest. Sure, it turns out he was conspiring with the demonic immortal mayor to maintain the supernatural stronghold over Sunnydale, which is rather Nazi-ish behavior, but we must advise against any vocal insinuations regarding your principal’s genocidal leanings or dick functioning. In fact, at the time, he was just trying to get the teenagers to stop groping each other in his educational institution, and we have to side with Snyder on that one.

“I wasn’t thinking about you when you were here.”

The best insults are one-ups, and this one was in response to evil lawyer Lilah Morgan after she tells Wesley not to “go thinking about me when I’m gone” after their steaming hot hate sex in season three of Angel. Again, this is something we don’t recommend saying to such a recent sexual partner while your genitals are still easily accessible, but to be fair, she is an evil lawyer, and not just in the way lawyers are usually evil.

“I can’t wait until next year, when all of you are in Vietnam.”

No one’s saying that those jerkasses who kept sexually harassing Joan in Season Four of Mad Men didn’t have it coming, but after she goes on to tell them, “When you’re over there and you’re in the jungle and they’re shooting at you, remember you’re not dying for me because I never liked you,” one of them responds, “Jesus, scorched earth,” and he’s not wrong. Once you’ve told someone you hope they die in imminent warfare, there’s no coming back from it. Sure, she gets the new guy who acted as the ringleader fired, but she still has to work with the rest of them. It’s gonna get awkward around the watercooler, is all we’re saying.

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