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  "Does a bear poop in the woods?"

This is when Bob asks an obvious question, and Alice responds with a similar example meant to illustrate the obviousness of the answer to Bob's query. It's commonly Played for Laughs by having Alice respond with an example of something that isn't immediately obvious, or something that would be obvious to the character but not to the audience.

The standard form is "Is the sky blue?" Another commonly-parodied question is "Is the Pope Catholic?" There are several vulgar (but funny) versions. The kiddie version is "Does a bear poo in the woods?" (Adults use it too, but with stronger language, or mixing it up the previous for amusement) Bonus points if someone then points out a relevant exception to the obvious statement.

Closely related to Ask a Stupid Question.

Examples of Is the Answer to This Question Yes include:


Advertising

  • A series of recent Geico ads uses this.

 Spokesman: Could switching to Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?

Comic Books

  • In one Archie Comics story, Jughead asks Reggie if he likes money. Reggie replies, "Is there snow at the North Pole?"
  • In the first Spider-Man-Superman Intercontinuity Crossover, when Superman leaves the fight against Doctor Octopus to stop a tsunami, he asks Spiderman if he can handle things there. Spidey, snarky as ever, replies "Do Warner Brothers make films?"

Film

 Ray: You think there's a connection between this Vigo character and the... slime?

Egon: Is the atomic weight of cobalt 58.9?

 Mr. Arrow: We're about to get under way. Would you like to observe the launch, Doctor?

Doctor Doppler: Would I? Does an active galactic nucleus have superluminal jets?

[[[Beat]]]

Doctor Doppler: [sheepishly] I'll follow you.

  • In Free Willy, the owner of the park asks Jesse if he can have Willy ready to perform? He replies, "Do dogs pee on brick walls?"
  • In Cars 2, Mater at one point asks "Is the Popemobile Catholic?" (We later see said Popemobile - riding in a Popemobile).
  • Subverted in Guest House Paradiso:

 Eddie: Is the Pope a catholic?

Richie: Yes.

Eddie: Is he? I never knew that.

 Leo: You sure this will work?

Mike: Is, like, Arnold Schwarzenegger hard to spell?

[[[Beat]]]

Mike: Yeah.

 Agent Kujan: You know a dealer named Ruby Deamer?

Verbal Kint: You know a religious guy named John Paul?

Literature

  • The Discworld Hold Your Hippogriffs versions are "Is the High Priest an Offlerian?" and "Does a swamp dragon explode in the woods?"
    • Susan uses "Does a bear poo in the woods?" in Thief of Time, with a footnote explaining that that's what teaching primary school does to you.
  • The Foundation prequels used "Is the Emperor fat?"
  • The Fourth Bear has "Do I shit in the woods?" (said by a bear, naturally).
  • In the Doctor Who-Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire, Ace says, "Does the pope wear a funny hat?" Watson, who met the pope earlier in the story, replies, "Not the last time I saw him."
  • In one of the Savannah Reid mysteries, Savannah asks her friend Dirk if he wants some ice cream. He begins with "Do bears sh-" and Savannah cuts him off, explaining that there's a minor in the house.

Live Action Television

  • In one episode of Friends, one of Ross' girlfriends (Cheryl) asks him whether he'd like to come in, and he replies, "Did Homo erectus hunt with wooden tools?"
    • In another episode, Chandler is asked by a collegue whether he wants a cigarette. He responds: "Would Joey like two pizzas?" She doesn't get it, since she never met Joey.
  • In Scrubs, JD answers a question with this:

 JD: Do chickens wish they could fly?

Kevin Casey: I don't know.

JD: Oh, I like to think that they do.

  • Kelly in Married... with Children mixes up the two most frequent examples, saying: "Is a bear Catholic?"
  • In the Red Dwarf episode Emohawk, when Starbug is on fire and Lister spots a planet with an ocean:

 Lister: Can you get us there?

Cat: Does mouse shit roll?

  • In Will and Grace: "Does a gay bear have anonymous sex in the woods?"
  • In Trailer Park Boys when Randy asks if Bubbles' model rocket will really launch, Bubbles responds "Does the tin man have a sheet metal cock?" At ~3:05
  • In According to Jim, Jim uses "is the Pope Catholic" when his daughters ask if he can do a headstand. He has to explain that the Pope is Catholic, so that means yes.
  • In The Middleman, comic geek Wendy Watson asks "Does Usagi Yojimbo kick ass?" Yes. Yes it does.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, in one episode, a teacher asks Cody if he's a bird watcher too. Cody responds with something like, "Do hummingbirds consume their own body weight in nectar every x number of hours?"
  • The Vicar of Dibley has a scene where Jim reveals that he's written to the Pope and asked him to make Geraldine a saint.

 Geraldine: The only problem is the Catholic issue.

Jim: Is the Pope Catholic?

Geraldine: ...Yes, that's the problem. And I'm not.

Jim: You're not?

Geraldine: No, Jim, none of us are!

Hugo: We're Church of England, Jim.

Jim: Since when?

Geraldine: Since 1534.

Jim: Well, you learn something new everyday.

Music

  • Carter USM, "Is Wrestling Fixed?"

 Am I un-H-A-P-P-Y? Does a newborn baby cry?

Did Elvis really die? Did Little Red Riding wear a hood? Did the Three Bears shit in the wood?

Is Humpty Dumpty fat? Does the Pope wear funny hats?

Is wrestling fixed?

  • A classic subversion: Thomas Dolby's song "Airhead" from the album Aliens Ate My Buick has this lyric:

 "You ask me if I love you/Does the pope live in the woods?"

  • The Cole Porter song "Do I Love You?"
  • The Rowan Atkinson - Kate Bush song "Do Bears...?" has a chorus that is made up entirely of these, although as the song progresses it starts to include questions like "Is the Bible fiction? Is 'true love' a contradiction?"

Newspaper Comics

  • In the comic strip Nancy and Hugo, Nancy is inquiring whether Hugo finds her pretty. He responds with, "Does a leopard have spots?" She takes it as a yes; turns out he was doing biology homework.
  • In an early Garfield strip, Jon asks Garfield, "Did you ever think you could win a cat show?" Garfield responds, "Does a baby go goo?"
  • The Far Side had a cartoon in which one bear asks another: "Is the Pope catholic? Does a bear... well I know you do, Angelo." It couldn't be run in newspapers, so no Getting Crap Past the Radar here.

Video Games

  • In Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, CJ has a tendancy to reply to Cesar Vialpando with, "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" whenever Cesar asks him if he was interested in making money by car racing. Confusion ensues.

 Cesar: Why you keep asking me that, holmes? I told you, I dunno. Where his Holiness does his business, is his business.

Web Animation

  • In a rare example of "Is the answer to this question no?" comes this exchange from the Homestar Runner short "part-time job":

 Strong Bad: Uhh... say, Bubs. I'm gonna need now off. Is that cool?

Bubs: Is Strong Sad cool?

Western Animation

  • Can't recall the details, but there was an episode of The Simpsons where Professor Frink used an obscure one, and the entire family turned blankly to Lisa, who told them yes, it was.
    • "Is Bismarck the capital of North Dakota?"
    • Another example is from the episode "Husbands and Knives", in which Bart is so impressed that Springfield's new comic book store owner (voiced by Jack Black) actually cared about his opinion that he asked if the guy was serious; he answers, "Does Galactus eat planets?"
  • In Futurama, the favored variant is, "Is the Space-Pope reptilian?"[1]
  • Class of 3000 had an episode that used this as a running gag. One memorable instance involves Madison asking Sunny a question, only to have Sunny respond with "Is my shoe closet visible from space?" (Which it is.)
  • On Angela Anaconda, Angela asks Nicky if he's serious about them being cast in the Abatti's Pizza commercial. He replies, "Hey, is the Pope Italian?" Gina, of course, corrects him.
  • In South Park, Stan's grandpa uses the "Does the pope crap in the woods?" variant.
    • And Cartman's version: "Is the Pope Catholic? And making the world safe for child molesters?"
  • In Phineas and Ferb:

 Candace: Rubber ducks? Are you serious?

Captain Kidd: Does a penguin fly?

Candace: No.

[[[Beat]]]

Captain Kidd: I'm tired of this conversation.

Notes

  1. He is, incidentally.
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