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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » The Vine

The Vine: June 11, 2014

Submitted by on June 11, 2014 – 8:33 AM13 Comments


Sometime around 2005 or 2006, a friend set me a silly animated video — it may have been from the early days of Funny or Die, but I can't guarantee that (it could've also been College Humor or just some random MySpace page).

I don't even remember the plot, but there were two guys (I think maybe mad scientists?) talking about some plan they had.

At one point, one of the guys summoned their monkey butlers. And he did so in a very distinctive "MONK-EY BUTLERRRRS!" way that my husband and I still quote/reference regularly. This phrase has so thoroughly seeped into our stupid household lexicon that it was only a few months ago that one of us wondered, "Hey, what's that even from?" And since then, my attempts to track it down have been futile. (Shockingly, there doesn't seem to be an archive where internet videos are cross-referenced with their random throwaway jokes — and of course, the friend who originally sent it to me has no idea what I'm talking about when I ask him.)

So I'm hoping someone in the Nation might've seen the same video, and perhaps remembers its broader context better than I do. Or maybe you even know what I'm talking about. Either way, it would be awesome to rediscover the origin of this dumb inside joke.



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  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    Didn't The Simpsons have a monkey butler? It's been quite awhile since I watched but maybe that's the origin of the joke, if not the original video.

  • courtney says:

    sadly, it was either the clip above nor something Simpson's related. the monkey butlers were incidental to the cartoon itself (not that I can remember anything else about it, unfortunately). thanks, though!

    …any other ideas? I have faith in the Nation!

  • Amy says:

    I don't know what the clip is but now I want a monkey butler because my cat doesn't do anything helpful around the house…

  • DensityDuck says:

    Anything involving monkeys is funny, because…monkeys.

    I remember Randy Quaid in "Days of Thunder". "I send you guys out there to make my sponsors happy, and instead you look like a monkey fuckin' a football!"

  • Meri says:

    Amy: It's a running joke in our house that cats make the worst minions. So, yeah, sign me up for a monkey butler too.

  • Jo says:

    I have absolutely no idea.

    But the idea of a website that cross-references random jokes/quotes with viral videos is amazing. I would use that ALL THE TIME.

  • Sandman says:

    Don't your cats consider YOU the minions?

  • S says:

    using monkey butlers as search terms has only found the above videos. Do you remember more about the scientists or their dastardly plot?

  • Could it possibly have been something from Harvey Birdman, Sealab 2021, or Space Ghost? This sounds like Adult Swim from that era to me….

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @TOK, or maybe a throwaway reference by Bloo on Foster's Home?

  • courtney says:

    you know what, I've since been made aware of FHfIF (which I love), & as I remember it the clip definitely had a similar tone. I feel like the protagonists were humans, not…whimsical creatures, but that's not a bad lead.

    keep the ideas coming, folks, if you have 'em! I plan to keep checking this thread, hopefully to eventually share my glorious success at some point.

  • RC says:

    Maybe it's in one of these? or Unfortunately I can't verify, as the combination of my sucky (international probably doesn't help) internet connection, Adult Swim's sucky website, and… gnomes? means that I can't get more than 2 minutes in. Both look promising, though, and both are in the right time frame (2005).

    The more I think about it, the more I think it's a line by Phil Ken Sebben (voiced by the wonderful Stephen Colbert) in Harvey Birdman, although possibly in another episode. Maybe someone with a better connection can check?

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