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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Obscure References in Bo’s Songs—a Fan Glossary

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

Happy Mother's Day to all the fellow moms out there! 🎉


To celebrate, I'm going to give you all a lesson in the ABCs of Bo fandom!



For younger fans or those outside of the U.S., there are likely MANY jokes and bits in Bo's works that might go over your head.


Here is my glossary of some of the more specific and often obscure references that litter Bo's comedy. As an elder millennial who knows way too much pop culture trivia, I was able to pick up a lot of these quickly, while other items eluded me until I looked up the notes on genius.com (a fantastic resource!).


Let's dive in!


A

  • AT&T—"Ay...ay...AT&T" (Sexting): one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United States. It's not easy making that name sound sexy, but Bo accomplishes it!



  • Atticus Finch—"Atticus Finch, killing, mocking" (Words Words Words): the father of Scout in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus was memorably played by Gregory Peck in the 1962 film adaptation.


B

  • Bagel Bites—"Who are you, Bagel Bites?" (Social Brand Consultant): a snack food brand known for their mini bagel pizzas. This brand is particularly nostalgic for American millennials because of the catchy jingle—"Pizza in the morning/pizza in the evening/pizza at supper time/When pizza's on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime!"

***Fun fact: I learned much later in life that this jingle is just a rip-off of the '50s McGuire Sisters song "Sugartime"—childhood memory destroyed lol


  • The Blind Side—"Lord help me channel Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side" (Comedy): a 2009 drama starring Sandra Bullock as a white woman who takes in a homeless Black teen and helps him become a football star. She won the Best Lead Actress Academy Award for her performance!


  • Blow Pops—"Gay dads, blow pops, another sucker" (Words Words Words): another childhood fave, these are lollipops with gum at the center. The brand also had one of my favorite '90s ads!


  • Bugles—"Bugles' take on race" (That Funny Feeling): another snack food, these are corn chips shaped like horns. People used to call them "witch fingers" when I was a kid!



  • Butterfinger—"roll up your sleeves and get to work...and sell Butterfingers" (Social Brand Consultant): this chocolate and peanut butter candy bar was famous in the '90s because Bart Simpson was the spokesperson (its well-known tagline is "Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger"). Not my favorite candy, but it's pretty good in a pinch!


C

  • Charlie the Unicorn/Charlie Bit My Finger—"Charlie the Unicorn bit my finger" (Welcome to YouTube): two viral videos of early YouTube mashed together into one joke.


  • Cheez-Its—"Jesus, please don't sneeze your Cheez-Its" (Hell of a Ride): another popular snack brand, this time for baked cheese crackers.

***Fun fact: Bo has a Vine where he asks for a rhyme for "Jesus" and then gets smacked with a box of Cheez-Its!


  • Chocolate Rain—"Your favorite coat has a doo-doo stain/I pray to God that that's chocolate rain" (Welcome to YouTube): this is from another classic viral YouTube video, a song called "Chocolate Rain" by Tay Zonday.


  • Chris Crocker—"and Chris Crocker's not...no he's hotter" (Welcome to YouTube): Yet another early YouTube star, her video of a mascara-smeared fan berating people for mocking Britney Spears ("Leave Britney alone!") went viral after Britney's mental breakdown in 2007. She's trans and currently goes by Cara Cunningham. Bo also mentions her specifically in his how to be a YouTube star video!


  • Conjunction Junction—"I thought AIDS was a butt virus, like conjunction junction conjunctivitis" (Words Words Words): this is a song from the '70s educational program Schoolhouse Rock that taught kids how to read and write.



  • "Crank that funky shit to eleven" (Hell of a Ride): having speakers go "to eleven" is from Rob Reiner's influential mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. In this scene, one of the rockstars (Nigel Tufnel, played by Christopher Guest of Best in Show fame) shows the director how his amps are superior because they "go to eleven."

***Fun fact: Bo's frequent collaborator Kate Berlant was deemed a nepo baby online partially because her mother built set pieces for the film, including the memorable Stonehenge scene!


D

  • Debra Messing—"Debra Messing's fingers in a holy place/Hail Mary full of Grace" (Rant): an American actor best known for her role as Grace Adler in the NBC sitcom Will & Grace. She also played Mary Magdalene in the 1999 Jesus miniseries.


  • Dippin' Dots—"I wanna know when Dippin' Dots is going to condemn child sex trafficking" (Social Brand Consultant): a classic ice cream brand, this "futuristic" dessert of ice cream pellets is a favorite in my family (I prefer real ice cream though!)


  • Double Dare—"Every Saturday Double Dare with my main man Marky Marc" (I'm Bo Yo extended): one of the most successful programs on Nickelodeon, this game show featured trivia and lots of often-gross family obstacle courses.


E

  • Easy Bake Oven—"Easy Bake Oven was just a phase" (My Whole Family...): A classic kid's toy of the '90s, this lightbulb-heated mini oven could be used to "bake" mini cakes and cookies. The commercial made it look a lot cooler (and easier!) than it was in real life.


  • Evander Holyfield—"Like Mike's Evandering/Fuck your ears, I'm pandering" (Country Song/Pandering): In 1997 for their rematch, Mike Tyson fought Evander Holyfield in the boxing ring. Tyson memorably bit a chunk out of Holyfield's ear, and everyone was shocked and disgusted by the event, leading to Tyson being disqualified. This is one of Bo's most clever lyrics, in my estimation!

***Fun fact: Mike and Evander went on to sell ear-shaped edibles together. Crazy!


F

  • FEMA—"on a crusade to cruise AIDS and blast FEMA" (Rant): the Federal Emergency Management Agency is a bureau of the US government. The reference here is to the Hurricane Katrina debacle where FEMA did not provide an adequate response to the flooding in New Orleans. This was also when Kanye said "George Bush doesn't care about Black people"...so a very long time ago!


G

  • Gatsby—"I got a green light, Jay Gatsby" (Hell of a Ride): Jay Gatsby is the main figure in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby. In the story, there is a mysterious and symbolic green light across the river that Gatsby obsesses over.


  • Girl’s Bag—"I've got a girl's bag and a V-card" (Nerds): a messenger bag that's considered "girly" because it's worn like a purse



H

  • Helga Pataki—"Hatin' other rappers like I'm Helga Pataki" (Words Words Words): Helga is a female cartoon character in the Nickelodeon animated classic, Hey Arnold! I loved her as a kid because she was brash and mean to her peers but had a sensitive side as well (and an enormous crush on "Football Head").


  • Hulk Hogan—"You're a writer like fucking Hulk Hogan's a street fighter" (Shakespeare): one of the most iconic pro wrestling stars ever, Terry Bollea continued to be influential by shutting down Gawker...plus, he had a terrible reality tv show on VH1 with his family called Hogan Knows Best!

***Fun fact: Bo actually MET the Hulkster in real life as a child, and that photo of him and his siblings with Hogan can be seen on his bedroom door in his early YouTube videos!


  • Hungry Hungry Hippos—"I hate catchy choruses and I'm a hypocrite...hungry, hungry hypocrite" (Words Words Words): a popular kid's game where gluttony is the main object (hippos devour as many marbles as they can). There was yet again another popular ad campaign for the game, which makes me think Bo just watched a lot of TV for lyrical inspiration lol.


I

  • iPod—"In the back, I sit and I nod/to the beats that are bumping from my iPod" (Rant): Apple's flagship mp3 player for music on the go with incredibly memorable ads of silhouettes dancing. Everyone had one back in the day (I also had a Nano and a Video iPod).


  • iTunes—"But they can't use iTunes so...Fuck 'em, who needs 'em?!" (Repeat Stuff): and where did you buy those mp3s? iTunes, of course! This revolutionary music service from Apple provided single songs for 99 cents, effectively killing the CD industry in the process. It now goes by the name Apple Music.


J

  • Jeremiah Wright—"Right? Not like that Jeremiah Wright guy" (Hell of a Ride): President Barack Obama's former spiritual adviser, he was known for his controversial comments about AIDS and Black people in America.


  • John Elway/Elton John—"I was John Elway, now I'm Elton John": Elway was a famous quarterback for the Denver Broncos, thus a symbol of American masculinity. John is a flamboyant performer known for his outrageous costumes and playing the piano (hmm...maybe he DOES have more in common with Bo than I'd assumed haha).


K

  • Keebler elf—"and since women are bitches blew a Keebler elf" (Rehab Center for Fictional Characters): this is another mythical spokesperson for the snack brand, Keebler. His name is Ernest J. Keebler or Ernie, per the company's press release.


L

  • Lite-Brite—"My skin Lite Brite like at night what you write by" (Hell of a Ride): this is yet another popular kid's toy with a catchy jingle ("Lite-Brite, Lite-Brite/Turn on the magic with colored lights"). They have changed the design since the little lightbulbs were not safe, similar to the Easy Bake Oven.


M

  • Macarena—"Turn up your nose, strike that pose, Hey, Macarena!" (Rant): where to begin with this fad. So, America collectively lost its goddamn MIND in the nineties, and everyone had to learn this silly dance that went with the 1995 Los Del Rio remix. It was a moment, for sure.



  • Marc Summers—"Every Saturday double dare with my main man Marky Marc/Summers, Falls, Winters, and Springs" (I'm Bo Yo extended): This is actually two nineties references in one! First, Marc Summers hosted the Nickelodeon program Double Dare (see above for more information). Second, "Marky Mark" was the stage name for Mark Wahlberg when he performed with the Funky Bunch.


  • Miss Teen South Carolina—"The impact is evident/Miss Teen South Carolina just ran for Vice President" (Welcome to YouTube): another YouTube star, this video of Caitlin Upton answering a question SO badly at the Miss Teen USA beauty pageant went viral in 2007. This is also a reference to Sarah Palin and John McCain losing to Biden and Obama.


  • Mr. Bucket—"Drop the beat, then pick it up like Mr. Bucket" (Eff): a children's toy from the 1990s with a ubiquitous ad that would run on Nickelodeon constantly ("I'm Mr. Bucket, balls pop out of my mouth" was hysterical to my teen self lol).

***This was the inspiration for my ABC glossary. I'd realized few people under the age of 30 would know what this means, so I wanted to share my vast pop culture knowledge!


N

  • Nova, Lisa—"Am I the only one who thinks Lisa Nova's hot" (Welcome to YouTube): a former YouTuber, Lisa Donavan had a popular channel on which she would perform skits about celebrities, like Sarah Palin (which is what she was doing at YouTube Live when Bo performed).


O

  • Oedipus Rex—"Oedipus was the first motherfucker"; "It was Oedipus, those holy nights" (Words Words Words, Rant): It's a two-for-one! This is the classic Greek tragic figure in Sophocles' play who learns he killed his father and had sex with his mother through a prophecy that became reality, leading to him gouging out his eyes.

Bo mentions that it's one of his favorites in this 2011 interview:


Theatre: Shakespeare's crazy. What was his deal, right? But seriously, I love Shakespeare. I also really enjoy classic Greek stuff like 'The Bacchae' or 'Oedipus Rex'. I was supposed to go to college for theatre before I dropped out to do comedy. I was going to be doing experimental theatre – learning Jerzy Grotowski's physical approach. I've had fantasies of putting more weird theatre stuff in my act.

P

  • Patti Mayonnaise—"cuz I skeet her so hard people call her Patti Mayonnaise!" (I'm Bo Yo): Patti, along with blue-skinned Skeeter, refer to characters on the Nickelodeon animated show Doug. This is also legit one of my favorite Bo jokes (love how the crowd always enjoys it too!).

***Fun fact: Doug and Stimpy of Ren and Stimpy were both voiced by Billy West (who also does Fry, the Professor, Zapp Brannigan, and Zoidberg on Futurama). So versatile!


  • Peeps—"marshmallow Peeps covered in co-co-co-co-co-co-co-co-coke" (Rehab Center for Fictional Characters): a classic confectionery treat for Easter, Peeps are little marshmallow chicks in a variety of pastel colors.


  • Pimp My Ride—"Now go out and pimp their rides" (Eff): this was a popular show on MTV where host Xzibit would trick out people's cars with all kinds of stuff for free so the owners could flex their cool ride.


Q

  • Queer, Theater—"so if you could just listen up here/and listen to this theater queer's theater query here" (Shakespeare): a bit of a stretch, but I couldn't think of any other Q term. This was a term people used pejoratively to describe effeminate "theater kids" (and yes, "queer" was much more offensive to use in the '90s than it is now).


R

  • Ren and Stimpy—"I used to read a quick Nick Magazine/Ren and Stimpy, Tommy Pickles, and the games between" (I'm Bo Yo extended): one of my favorite animated shows ever, this Nickelodeon program was presumably for kids but had grotesque and often surreal imagery and very adult jokes. I loved the Log jingle (It's better than bad, it's good!).


  • Rice Krispie Guys (Snap, Crackle, and Pop)—"Cuz my wife's getting gangbanged by the Rice Krispie guys"; "Oh, snap...Crackle, and Pop cuz they banged your wife!": more brand mascots, this time for Rice Krispies cereal. Similar to the Keebler elf, Snap, Crackle, and Pop are gnome creatures and thus would be of sexual interest to a leprechaun in Bo's mind.


  • Ritz Crackers—"Why are only crackers staying at the Ritz?" (Bo Fo Sho): yet another snack food brand, this time for buttery crackers. Bo is also referring to white people as "crackers" here.


  • Robert Frost—"Say your name was Robert Frost and you couldn't write? That would suck./Well, I guess you could always go as Bobby Frost and own an ice cream truck." (Shakespeare): prolific American poet, most well-known for "The Road Not Taken."


  • Rolie Polie Olie—"Just stroll in, roll in your pole into Rolie Polie Olie's colon" (Words Words Words): this computer-animated kid's program was after my time (premiered when I was 16), but I'm guessing Bo just liked the way the character's name rolls off the tongue.


S

  • Sour Patch Kids—"Where are all the Sour Patch Parents?" (Binary Reality): a gummy snack food, these candy bites are sour and then sweet. My personal favorite is the Sour Patch Watermelon Slices (so damn addictive!).


T

  • Taco Bell—"But some slip through the cracks of the Liberty Bell/Did I say liberty? I meant taco, paco" (Words Words Words); "And we'll tackle the flaws in these obesity laws/in a segment that's sponsored by Taco Bell." (Channel 5): another two-for-one! This is a fast-food franchise known for very cheap Tex-Mex food (and a big hit with stoners).


  • Texted “HAITI”—"But nice cuz I texted HAITI" (Words Words Words): after a terrible earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the Red Cross was pushing for more relief to get to the country. One of the most popular ways to donate $10 was by texting HAITI on your cell phone, thus Bo is being "nice" because he was helping out.


  • Tommy Pickles—"I used to read a quick Nick Magazine/Ren and Stimpy, Tommy Pickles, and the games between" (I'm Bo Yo extended): the bald baby on the Nickelodeon animated show Rugrats.

Fun fact: Bo talks about Reptar, the Godzilla-like giant lizard media franchise in the show, during this Eighth Grade interview at DePaul at approximately 15 minutes in.


  • Tony the Tiger—"Every day I wake up, I get to work late/My boss says "Hey, what's up?"/I say that I'm grr...owing tired of this shit" (Rehab for Fictional Characters)—an anthropomorphic cereal mascot/spokesanimal for Frosted Flakes. He's iconic for saying "They're GRRReat!"

***Fun fact: Bo's voice for Tony is remarkably similar to the Hollywood agent in We Think We Know You!


U

  • Uncle Sam—"Molested by my Uncle Sam, is that incest?/I want you to smell my finger, does my nephew's scent still linger?" (Words Words Words): the iconic patriotic figure, Uncle Sam posters show a man pointing and saying "I want YOU" in the army.


V

  • V-card—"I've got a girl's bag and a V-card" (Nerds): slang for a virgin (they "have their V-card"), similar to "the race card" in terms of phrasal structure.


W

  • Walker, Texas Ranger—"Texas Ranger, no walker, get up, Chuck" (Hell of a Ride): this classic syndicated tv program starred Chuck Norris as Walker.

***Fun fact: Bo's good friend Conan O'Brien had a "Walker" lever that he would pull for a random clip of the show. Best part is definitely Haley Joel Osment saying Walker told him that he has AIDS.


  • What the Buck—"What the Buck will be back in a Jiffy Lube" (Welcome to YouTube): an early YouTube news channel, What the Buck was created by Michael Buckley.


  • Wheat Thins—"Will you support Wheat Thins in the fight against Lyme disease?" (Social Brand Consultant): another cracker snack brand.



  • Whitney Houston—"I got more lines than Whitney Houston's coffee table" (Bo Fo Sho): famous American pop singer, best known for her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." Despite being one of the best singers ever, Whitney got into trouble with her marriage to Bobby Brown and drug abuse took its toll.

***Fun fact: Being Bobby Brown is a trashy reality tv show about their family. Super-depressing in retrospect, but damn did I love that show (especially Rich Juzwiak's recaps!).


  • Wii Bowling—"We ballin', Asian, Wii bowling" (Words Words Words): the Nintendo console was extremely successful when it premiered, and one of its best games was Wii Sports, which featured Wii Tennis, Baseball, Boxing, and Bowling (everyone's favorite activity on the Wii, while I liked making Miis lol).


  • Wooly Willy—"I look like Wooly Willy with a really wooly willy" (Oh, Bo): this is a cheap toy you could typically buy at a dollar store or supermarket that had metal shavings that formed Willy's facial hair. Bo is saying his fake ID looks like the character (and he's got pubes lol).



X

  • Xena: Warrior Princess—"Cuz we're xenophobic warrior princess" (Words Words Words): this classic '90s TV show paired with Hercules and the friendship of Xena and Gabrielle was considered very homoerotic at the time by the media.


Y

  • YMCA—"Met a girl named Macy, had sex with her all day/but she was dyslexic, so I ended up doing the YMCA" (Words Words Words): this classic song of the '70s group the Village People is one everyone knows the dance moves to and it's done at all kinds of events (bar mitzvahs, weddings...and regrettably presidential rallies ugh).



Z

  • Zoom—"Start a rumor, buy a broom, or/send a death threat to a boomer/or DM a girl and groom her/do a Zoom or find a tumor in your—" (Welcome to the Internet): Yes, we all know what Zoom is now, but it was really hard finding a Z word, and I have seen many people mishear the lyrics (it's not "do a Zoomer," folks!). A digital necessity during the pandemic to communicate for school and work (and for The Dump interviews!).


Bonus:


  • 24602—"Hello, Patient 24602." (Left Brain, Right Brain): this refers to Jean Valjean's prison number in Les Miserables. Bo's number is one higher and, yes, he confirmed that it's on purpose in a Reddit AMA!


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