Take me to your leader (phrase)

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Graham's original cartoon

"Take me to your leader" is a science-fiction cartoon catchphrase, said by an extraterrestrial alien who has just landed on Earth in a spacecraft to the first human it happens to meet. In cartoons, the theme is frequently varied for comic effect, such as a pun on the phrase to suit the setting, or the alien addressing an animal or object it assumes is an earthling.

It is believed to have originated in a 1953 cartoon by Alex Graham in The New Yorker magazine. The cartoon depicted two aliens telling a horse "Kindly take us to your President!"[1][2]

By May 1957, when the "Mr. Zero" episode of the Adventures of Superman aired, the phrase was already a popular cliché.

In science fiction[edit]

The phrase is also frequently used in parody science-fiction media. Notable examples of its use include:

  • "If it's not too much of a cliché, take me to your leader. If it is too much of a cliché, take me anyway."
(Luke Skywalker, in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (2008))
  • The phrase is used in the form of an extraterrestrial message to Jodie Foster's character in Robert Zemeckis's 1997 film Contact.
  • "I want you to do something for me", she said, and unexpectedly laughed. "I want," she said, and laughed again. She put her hand over her mouth and said with a straight face, "I want you to take me to your leader."
(from Life, the Universe and Everything (1982) by Douglas Adams, describing Trillian addressing the inhabitants of Krikkit)
  • Numerous uses on BBC television series Doctor Who (1963—present), usually spoken by the Doctor in a tongue-in-cheek or annoyed manner
  • Titles of songs, albums, and other works - see Take Me to Your Leader


  1. ^ The Yale Book of Quotations, Yale University Press, 2006, p. 320, ISBN 9780300107982
  2. ^ "What Do You Say to an Alien?". New York Times. February 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-12. The first words of a conversation initiated by aliens were immortalized in a 1953 New Yorker cartoon by Alex Graham: 'Take me to your leader.'