Happy Fun Ball

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One of Happy Fun Ball's numerous warnings

The "Happy Fun Ball" was the subject of a series of parody advertisements on Saturday Night Live. Described as a "classic that can sit right up there with Dan Akroyd's Bass-o-Matic",[1] it originally aired February 16, 1991 on NBC and was brought back for several "Best Of" specials. The topic of the skit is a toy rubber ball, the advertisement for which is accompanied by a long series of bizarre disclaimers and warnings, including "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball".

Concept[edit]

Written by Jack Handey and voiced by Phil Hartman,[2] the ad featured three "kids" portrayed by Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks and Mike Myers. The brief commercial declared that Happy Fun Ball (produced by Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited), just $14.95, was "the toy sensation that's sweeping the nation!" However, this positive message about the innocuous-seeming toy was undercut by a much lengthier number of bizarre disclaimers and warnings, including "may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds" and "If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, seek shelter and cover head." Ingredients include "an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space"; said ingredients are not to be "touched, inhaled, or looked at" if exposed due to rupture. Viewers were also warned, "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball." The sketch ends with a slogan for Happy Fun Ball: "Accept no substitutes!"

The parody lampooned advertisers, pharmaceutical companies, toy manufacturers, chemical companies, absurdly long legal disclaimers, alien conspiracies, and even mentioned the 1991 Gulf War (stating that Happy Fun Ball was being dropped by US warplanes on Iraq). This sort of easily produced sketch allowed Saturday Night LIve to remain up to the minute with the culture.[3]

Happy Fun Ball was presented as one of the sponsors of the first Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer sketch (aired November 23, 1991), with the claim that Happy Fun Ball was "Still legal in 16 states. It's happy. It's fun. It's Happy Fun Ball."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Totally Sweet 90s: From Clear Cola to Furby, and Grunge to "Whatever", the Toys, Tastes, and Trends That Defined a Decade, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, Brian Bellmont Penguin, Jun 4, 2013
  2. ^ Podcast: Jack Handey, Author, TV Writer and Creator of "Deep Thoughts" Posted Fri, 05/30/2008 by Jesse Thorn Maximumfun.org
  3. ^ The Everything Guide to Comedy Writing: From stand-up to sketch - all you need to succeed in the world of comedy, p 167, Mike Bent Adams Media, Jul 18, 2009

External links[edit]