Happy Fun Ball
The "Happy Fun Ball" was the subject of a parody advertisement on Saturday Night Live. It originally aired February 16, 1991 on NBC and was brought back for several repeats. 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".
Written by Jack Handey and voiced by Phil Hartman, 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, 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).
Happy Fun Ball was presented as one of the sponsors of one of the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer sketches later in the decade, with the claim that Happy Fun Ball was "Still legal in 16 states. It's happy. It's fun. It's Happy Fun Ball."
This is a list of the warnings in the commercial:
- Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball.
- Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.
- Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.
- Do not use Happy Fun Ball on concrete.
- Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs:
- tingling in extremities
- loss of balance or coordination
- slurred speech
- temporary blindness
- profuse sweating
- heart palpitations
- If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.
- Happy Fun Ball may stick to certain types of skin.
- When not in use, Happy Fun Ball should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Ball, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability.
- Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.
- Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is also being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.
- Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
- Happy Fun Ball comes with a lifetime guarantee.
References in popular culture
- Unreal Tournament 2004 – When grenades from the grenade launcher cause the death of your adversary, the server responds with the message "Deceased player played with Shooter's happy fun ball".
- World of Warcraft – Certain enemies in the game world drop an item called "Happy Fun Rock", which may be thrown at other players. Also recently added was an Ooze pet which includes the tool tip "Do not touch, sniff, or even look at toxic wasteling for extended periods of time." Which is referring to one of the Happy Fun Ball warnings.
- Spiderweb Software – Many of Jeff Vogel's shareware games have had "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball" included in a 'hints' section.
- One of the levels in the Xbox Live Arcade game N+ is named "Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball", probably referring to the round shock drones introduced in the level.
- "Do not taunt Happy Fun Drepper", used in reference to GNU libc maintainer Ulrich Drepper.
- Girl Genius – The Webcomic references the "The HAPPY FUN BALL of DEATH" in the first panel of the comic from "Get Going, Hero Boy", mentions the return time. BEWARE!.
- Dragon*ConTV – In 2009, the video podcast produced 'Happy Red Matter Ball' a parody of "Happy Fun Ball" related to the J. J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek movie franchise. The video is based on the "Red Matter" plot device represented as a big red ball, referencing earlier Abrams projects (Alias, Mission Impossible III).
- Engadget – October 21, 2009, post replaced blue colors in AT&T logo with red and added a label stating "Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball" referring to AT&Ts lawsuit over supplier LCD price fixing.
- Superman The Animated Series's Toyman used a rubber ball against criminals, and called it a Happy Fun Ball. And just like one of its warnings in the SNL sketch, it did accelerate to dangerous speeds, enough to crush the armored car.
- In The Dresden Files RPG, both books have notes made by Harry Dresden, Bob the Skull, and Billy Borden. On the page with stats for The Merlin, Harry writes "Do not fight Happy Fun Merlin. Back away slowly."
- In Kerbal Space Program there is a small rocky object in orbit around Ike (moon of Duna) called the "Magic Boulder". On this boulder is a monolith listing warnings for the Magic Boulder, which are identical to those of Happy Fun Ball.
- Fan site containing .WAV samples of the skit.
- Transcript of the SNL skit.
- Happy Fun Ball Video, from NBC.
- Site containing a number of the happy fun ball warnings.