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That's the way to do it! -- Mr. Punch
Punch and Judy is a traditional puppet show, most familiar to British children as a seaside attraction. It is generally played by a single puppetmaster called a 'Professor', with two characters on the stage at any one time. These include Mr. Punch, a hunchbacked jester with a squawking voice and a big stick; his long-suffering wife, Judy; their baby; an unnamed ghost; Joey the clown; the policeman, and a sausage-loving crocodile.
As its history can be traced back to the 16th century, it makes all of the show's tropes Older Than Steam at least.
Punch And Judy provides examples of:
- Audience Participation: The children are expected to reply to Mr. Punch's Catch Phrase, "That's the way to do it" with a shout of "Oh no, it isn't!"
- Catch Phrase:
- "That's the way to do it!"
- "HE'S BEHIND YOU!!"
- "Who [insert random horrid act inflicted upon the baby by Punch]?"
- Comedic Sociopath: Mr. Punch
- Commedia Dell'Arte: Punch is based on the Pulcinella character.
- Hand Puppet: All of the characters, except the baby, though originally marionettes.
- Karma Houdini: In many versions, Punch is a psychopath who kills his own baby by throwing it out of a window, beats his wife to death with a stick, kills several other characters whom he encounters and finally outwits the devil himself to get away completely scot-free.
- Refuge in Audacity: The entire show, especially the violence, is played as outrageous comedy.
- Slapstick: The style of the show, even named after the type of stick Punch uses.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: In some shows Judy will get her hands on his stick and beat him with it. Though this is usually followed by Punch snatching it back and beating her with it.
- Villain Protagonist: Guess who?
Punch And Judy is referenced in:
- Famously Mr Punch gave his name to Punch magazine, supposedly being its editor.
- V for Vendetta (as one of the most creepy/horrible things the main character does [although he deserved it])
- Girl Genius
- In the opening of A Muppet Christmas Carol, Scrooge passes by a Punch and Judy show. One of the lines in his theme is sung by the crocodile puppet before Mr. Punch hits him with his stick.
- Kermit and Piggy watch a Punch and Judy show in a sketch of The Muppet Show and comment on the violence.
- A scene from The Muppet Show in which Kermit and Miss Piggy watch a Punch and Judy show is featured in An American Werewolf in London. Kermit's defense of the show's violence is immediately followed by two incredibly brutal scenes of violence.
- Jasper Fforde's novel The Fourth Bear, in which they are supporting characters.
- Riddley Walker, where it forms the main cultural legacy (along with the legend of St. Eustace) of our world and plays a huge part in the symbolism of the plot.
- Neil Gaiman's short memoir-graphic novel with Dave McKean, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch.
- The short story "Theatre of Cruelty" features a Punch-and-Judy show, only with enslaved gnomes instead of puppets. That's not the way to do it.
- In Monstrous Regiment, Polly mentions having seen one or two of these in town.
- Wyrd Sisters has a scene where the playwright Hwel, after being hit by two inspirations simultaneously, attempts to write what is effectively Richard III as a Punch-and-Judy show.
- Maskerade, discussing Granny Weatherwax's hatred of theatre, and resulting fascination with it, says that even the Punch-and-Judy men have stopped coming to Lancre out of terror of her glaring at them from the front row.
- The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
- It's also a baseball slang for a singles hitter.
- Something Positive
- Ian Hislop unexpectedly did a short impromptu imitation in an episode of Have I Got News for You.
- Tony Hancock co-wrote and appeared in a film called The Punch and Judy Man which features a Punch and Judy performer whose troubled relationship with his wife reflects the relationship between Punch and Judy.
- Real Life - if you've ever used the phrase "Pleased as Punch," it refers to Punch's habit of applauding when he has just committed some particularly violent deed.
- Hi-de-Hi! features Mr Partridge, the perpetually drunk, child-hating Punch And Judy man.
- The video game Dragon Quest VIII has a roaming monster named "Punchin' Judy" that fights the party with hand puppets.
- Harrison Birtwistle's opera Punch and Judy is a very violent take on the dysfunctional family. Benjamin Britten walked out of it during the premiere.
- A Punch and Judy set-up is seen in Wallace and Gromit's Grand Adventure: The Last Resort.
- Coldplay's video for "Life In Technicolor II"
- "Yoga" by The Mountain Goats
- In Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie's looking to kill some time, and watches a show. Of course, Bertie is engrossed by what, in his opinion, may be the absolute last word in entertainment.
- Joker in The Batman has a pair of clownlike brutes named this, which sets up the following joke: "By the way, have you met my associates Judy and ... Punch?" *POW*
- The Santa Clause: What's unusual here is that they don't beat each other up; instead, they just talk to each other and play nice. They are also most likely Living Toys, as they seem to be busy before Scott Calvin enters the room, and react to him dropping his pants.
- The Tiger Lillies have an album called Punch and Judy.
- Appears in the novel Rivers of London where the entire book is just one huge Whole-Plot Reference in disguise and Mister Punch is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Riot and Rebellion.
- Are You Being Served: There's an episode called "The Punch and Judy Affair" where they play life-size versions of the characters.
- Marillion have a song called Punch & Judy.
- In 102 Dalmatians, Chloe and her dogs meet up with Kevin, his dogs, and Waddlesworth the parrot to see one of these shows. Hilarity and disaster ensues when spotless Oddball sees the dog puppet wearing a spotted sweater and tries to get it, and then eventually getting tied up in a bunch of balloons floating while at it. After being rescued, the puppeteer gives her the sweater
- Figures prominently in the M.R. James ghost story "A Disappearance and an Appearance", as part of a nightmarish foreshadowing dream.
- Harpo Marx manages to get himself in a Punch and Judy show in Monkey Business.
- Rocko's Modern Life features a show-within-a-show called "Meet the Fatheads", which is pretty much Punch & Judy with 1990's gross-out humor applied--the husband and wife appear to be made of snot (or maybe just fat?) and spend most of the episodes belaboring one another about said heads with parking meters and having absurd arguments.
- The DCU villains Punch and Jewelee in Captain Atom and Suicide Squad dress like Punch and Judy.
- Cole Hawlings in The Box of Delights owns a Punch & Judy show, though this is something of a cover story.