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Top 20 Family Guy Running Jokes

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
There’s so many running gags that we can’t pick just ten! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 20 “Family Guy” running jokes. For this list, we’ll be looking at what we consider the best running jokes in “Family Guy” history. These jokes need to involve specific scenarios, punchlines, or characters, so general characteristics of “Family Guy” like the cutaways will not count.

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There’s so many running gags that we can’t pick just ten! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 20 “Family Guy” running jokes.

For this list, we’ll be looking at what we consider the best running jokes in “Family Guy” history. These jokes need to involve specific scenarios, punchlines, or characters, so general characteristics of “Family Guy” like the cutaways will not count.

#20: Stewie’s Sexy Parties

This is definitely an oldie but a goodie. Stewie hasn’t had one of his sexy parties in some time, and we have to say, we kind of miss them. It was always hilarious seeing Stewie chase giggling women around the room at high speed, complete with the goofy Benny Hill-like music. We don’t really know what the point of this joke was, aside from it being yet another random idea that the writers threw in just because they could. Not that we’re complaining.

#19: Road House

“Road House” is definitely one of Peter’s weirdest catchphrases. It all started in Brian’s Got a Brand New Bag, when Peter bought the movie from Quahog Video. He subsequently kicked everything he could, accompanied by the confident “Road House” catchphrase. There have been numerous variations on the joke over the years, including “brown house,” “toast house,” and “row house,” and it’s even been stolen by Homer Simpson. By this point, we think the goofy catchphrase is more popular than the movie itself.

#18: “Play Me Off, Johnny!”

Are we the only ones who miss Vern and Johnny? For those who don’t know, Vern would randomly appear, joke about the characters’ predicaments, and then be “played off” by Johnny. The joke didn’t make any sense whatsoever, but its sheer randomness was part of its charm. Unfortunately, viewers quickly became sick of the duo and they were killed by Stewie in season five - although even that didn’t completely get rid of them. Maybe moderation was the key to this Vaudevillian duo.

#17: Tom & Diane’s Banter

Quahog 5 News is one entertaining news channel. (xref) There’s correspondent Tricia Takanawa, who is either unenthusiastically commenting on events or being totally wrecked by some freak occurrence. Then there’s Ollie Williams, perhaps the most succinct and hilarious weatherman ever. But the heart of Quahog 5 News is Tom and Diane, who share a weird combination of sexual tension and bitter hatred towards one another, as evidenced by their frequent (and hilarious) bickering. If only real newscasts were this much fun.

#16: Al Harrington

Al Harrington has become a bit of a breakout character. His claim to fame is of course the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubemen advertisement, but this being “Family Guy,” they can’t just let one solid joke go. Al has since appeared numerous times on the show, in full energetic salesman mode, and usually accompanied by some weird, elaborately-named product or statement. The writers even poke fun at how annoying he is in Back to the Pilot, when Peter smokes a cigarette during an Al Harrington cutaway gag.

#15: Bullying Meg

Poor Meg. She really doesn’t deserve the treatment she gets. But deserve it or not, Meg is often the brunt of many harsh jokes and violent actions. Her family, especially Peter, tend to ignore her and even tell her to shut up when she’s talking. She’s frequently bullied at school. Peter even once hit her with a baseball bat . . . and that’s not the worst thing he’s done. She rarely, if ever, gets thrown a bone, and it’s pretty conflicting. Can you laugh and feel kinda awful at the same time? Apparently, yep, you can.

#14: Butt Scratcher!

Everyone say it with us now – butt scratcher? Butt scratcher! The famous butt scratchers first appeared in No Chris Left Behind when Peter was selling them at a baseball game as a second job. Butt scratcher vendors have also appeared at the Lois-Deirdre Jackson fight and at Peter and Karen’s wrestling match. We know it’s immature, but there’s just something hilarious about grown men dramatically yelling “butt scratcher!” at each other. Plus, the whole concept of a butt scratcher is just ridiculous.

#13: Peter’s Personal (& Very Expensive) Vehicles

In The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire, Peter uses both his Petercopter and the Hindenpeter to quickly reach his destination, only to crash both of them into Joe’s property. Other vehicles have appeared over the years, including the Peterang and the Peterdactyl, but neither were as hilarious as the original two. How he found, afforded, or built them is anyone’s guess. Regardless, Peter’s ludicrous personal vehicles perfectly showcase “Family Guy’s” unique and utterly unpredictable sense of humor.

#12: Brian’s Crappy Books

#12: Brian’s Crappy Books

Brian desperately wants to be a world-renowned novelist, but nobody shares his enthusiasm. His first book, Faster Than the Speed of Love, was an utter travesty - Stewie constantly badgered Brian about his lack of progress, Lois made fun of the title, and it sold literally zero copies. And while his self-help book sold well, it was a shameless cash grab that resulted in Brian being insulted and humiliated on Bill Maher. Brian’s writing career is like a car crash – we want to look away, but we just can’t help ourselves.

#11: Surfin’ Bird

Like Al Harrington and the Vaudevillians, your mileage may vary on Surfin’ Bird. It appears constantly in the episode I Dream of Jesus and makes surprise cameo appearances throughout the rest of the series. And each time it’ll either illicit an appreciable chuckle or a groan, depending on how well the joke went over for you the first 10 times. Also like Al and the Vaudevillians, the show acknowledges the annoying nature of the joke both when Peter unplugs the jukebox, and gets hit in the crotch with a bag of nickels.

#10: Giggity!

Quagmire’s distinguishing characteristic is that he’s a ladies man - and a very creepy one at that, particularly in later seasons. Sex is always on his mind, and it seems as if he tries to sleep with every woman he comes across. He’s made countless inappropriate jokes and comments in his quest for pleasure, most of which are accompanied by some variation of his ridiculous catchphrase “giggity-giggity-goo!” We don’t know what the heck giggity-giggity-goo means, but then again, this is Quagmire we’re talking about. He’s a little…weird.

#9: Hwhip

It all started with Stewie asking Brian for some Cool Whip. Of course, this being Stewie, he decided to annoy Brian by putting emphasis on the h and pronouncing “whip” as “hwhip.” This joke has been repeated numerous times throughout the series and has even been used on other words like Will Wheaton, “ruined,” and “cruel.” It has since become one of “Family Guy’s” most popular running jokes, both in and outside of the show. Who among fans HASN’T said “hwhip” at least once in our lives?

#8: “Nooooo, nooooo”

We’re pretty sure that every “Family Guy” fan has taken on Consuela’s “nooooo, nooooo.” Consuela may be little more than a stereotype, but she’s become one of the show’s most popular background characters thanks to her authoritative attitude and hilarious monotone delivery. Her “nooo, nooo” catchphrase has become one of the show’s go-to running jokes, and it’s been used in many diverse situations, from denying Joe access to the Fortress of Solitude to condemning Darth Stewie for buying generic window cleaner.

#7: Cleveland’s House Is Destroyed

The “Cleveland’s house gets destroyed” gag first appeared in Hell Comes to Quahog, when Peter obliterates his house with a tank. It has subsequently been destroyed by a giraffe, the flying Griffin house, and even Peter himself as a human cannonball. The gag is so popular that it was even transferred over to “The Cleveland Show,” and it’s since become Cleveland’s primary contribution to “Family Guy.” When someone thinks of Cleveland, they undoubtedly think of him sliding down his ruined house in a bathtub.

#6: Stewie Trying to Kill Lois

One of the things we miss most about early “Family Guy” is Stewie’s utter hatred towards Lois. Stewie’s need to kill Lois was his primary motivation in the pilot, and he was so determined that he even made a laser gun disguised as a tuna sandwich in a futile attempt to murder her. This psychotic fascination with Lois has died down in recent years - he now seems more concerned with Brian - but it was a classic running joke of prime-era “Family Guy” that should never be forgotten.

#5: The Evil Monkey

“Family Guy” really loves to run with a one-off character. Case in point – the evil monkey that lives - or lived - in Chris’s closet. The monkey was first mentioned and seen in season three’s Dammit Janet, where it displayed its signature look and menacing pose. It appeared a few more times, mostly to Chris, before it was given an extensive and sympathetic backstory in Hannah Banana, which effectively killed the joke. Still, it was good while it lasted, and is a clssic example of “Family Guy’s” penchant for absurd, random humor.

#4: Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty has become the show’s most infamous running gag, and it all started in season five’s Bill and Peter’s Bogus Journey. We had no idea what was in store for us. The joke arguably came to a head in The Juice Is Loose, when the Conway cutaway lasted for three whole minutes. That’s about 15% of an entire episode running time! Fans are split on whether the Conway gags are brilliant, ballsy jokes or lazy wastes of time, but either way, you can’t deny its legacy.

#3: The Kool-Aid Man

n the pilot, the Kool-Aid Man bursts through the courthouse wall with his signature “OH YEAH!” after Peter is sentenced to prison. This happens again in Stewie Kills Lois, much to the judge’s displeasure. But things get really fun in Back to the Pilot, when Stewie and Brian distract the Kool-Aid Man and he misses his cue. It’s amazing how “Family Guy” can take a simple gag and do so much with it, like revisiting it and altering its outcome via time travel. There are few animated shows with this much ingenuity.

#2: Sssssss Ahhhhhhhh!

“Family Guy” knows how to make characters fall in the funniest ways possible. (xref) You probably recognize the “Family Guy fall,” which is when a character collapses with one arm behind their back. But the more famous method of falling involves a character, usually Peter, grasping their knee and wincing in pain for extended periods of time. This is arguably the original “gag that went on way too long but then looped back around to being funny again” joke, and it’s since become “Family Guy’s” signature running gag. That is, except for ooone other …

But before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Buzz Killington


#1: Ernie the Giant Chicken

The number one spot MUST go to Ernie the Giant Chicken. Unlike other “Family Guy” running gags, we don’t think anyone is tired of the Giant Chicken fights. They’re consistently hilarious and entertaining, and they’re also expertly animated and scored, showcasing the immense amount of talent behind the “Family Guy” scenes. Each fight is also progressively longer, more bombastic, and more inventive (like the backwards fight in Yug Ylimaf), which prevents the joke from becoming stale. Each time Ernie randomly shows up, we know we’re in for something great.

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