Rabbit Test (film)

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Rabbit Test
Directed by Joan Rivers
Produced by Edgar Rosenberg
Written by Joan Rivers
Jay Redack
Starring Billy Crystal
Roddy McDowall
Joan Prather
Alex Rocco
Doris Roberts
Michael Keaton
Music by Pete Carpenter
Mike Post
Cinematography Lucien Ballard
Edited by Stanford C. Allen
Distributed by AVCO Embassy Pictures
Release dates
April 9, 1978
Running time
81 minutes
Language English
Budget N/A

Rabbit Test is a 1978 American comedy film about the world's first pregnant man, directed by Joan Rivers and starring Billy Crystal in his film debut. The title is a reference to the Friedman test, commonly known as the rabbit test, a medical procedure used for several decades in the 20th century to determine pregnancy. This was the only directing effort by Joan Rivers, who also plays a nurse in a brief scene, while her daughter Melissa Rivers also has a bit part.[1] Rivers' husband Edgar Rosenberg was producer.[1] Many actors made a cameo appearance, such as Imogene Coca, Richard Deacon, Norman Fell, Fannie Flagg, Alice Ghostley, Roosevelt Grier, George Gobel, Paul Lynde, Roddy McDowall, Sheree North, Charles Pierce, Tom Poston, Charlotte Rae, Jimmie Walker and Michael Keaton (in his feature film debut). It was also the only theatrical feature to be scored by the team of Mike Post and Pete Carpenter.


Lionel Carpenter is a night-school teacher who has bad luck with women. He remains a virgin until his brash cousin Danny (Alex Rocco) sets him up with a one-night stand. Soon after, Lionel starts feeling nauseated and vomits, eventually doing so onto Segoynia Savaka (Joan Prather), one of his immigrant students. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise, as it gives him an excuse to ask her out on a date, and a romance develops.

When Lionel meets Segoynia's fortune-telling grandmother (played by Roddy McDowall in drag), she intuits that he is the world's first pregnant man. This results in a series of gags relating to his pregnancy and people's reactions to it. One sideplot has Lionel being pursued by the army, as the President of the United States is afraid of what effect the widespread ability of men to conceive will have on population growth.

In the ending sequence, which is patterned after the Nativity, Lionel finally goes into labor. The camera rises to heaven where God announces to the viewers the successful delivery: "Oh my god... it's a girl!"


.[1] The hospital where Lionel goes for the delivery is called the Mary Baker Eddy Memorial Hospital. Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science movement, which does not utilize traditional hospitals. Whereas the similarly plotted Junior (1994) explains how its male protagonist gets pregnant (injection of a fertilized embryo into the abdominal cavity), in Rabbit Test this area is never delved into; Lionel simply has sex (he's on the bottom) and becomes pregnant.

See also[edit]

  • Junior, a 1994 comedy film about a pregnant man


External links[edit]