This comic spoofs the iconic quote from the 1988 action movie They Live, where the armed protagonist, upon entering a bank, states that "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum." This implies that the protagonist will soon fight the inhabitants of the bank, as he cannot do the other objective he came there for (chewing bubble gum). This phrase was also used by the title character of the video game Duke Nukem 3D and is often mistakenly believed to have originated in it. Furthermore, the phrase has itself been parodied by British comedy IT Crowd, and by Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the episode 521 "Santa Claus" ("Ho-ho-ho! I'm here to kick butt and lick candy canes, and I'm all out of candy canes!"), and a version appeared in the 1993 movie Dazed and Confused, where Clint says, "I only came here to do two things, kick some ass and drink some beer. ... Looks like we're almost outta beer." (Note that this movie was filmed in 1993 but set in 1976, and so the character in the movie wouldn't have known about the movie They Live.)
Former wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, who played the protagonist in They Live, died five days prior to the publication of this comic so this comic is most likely a tribute to him. The iconic quote was an ad-lib Piper himself came up with.
In the comic, Beret Guy stands in an open doorway with a strong light behind him, a typical pose in action movies when someone is dramatically entering a room. However, in this instance, Beret Guy claims that he is here to "chew bubble gum and make friends". He then offers a stick of gum to both Megan and Cueball, making it clear he intends to do both of his stated objectives. This is expected from Beret Guy, who is usually both naïve about the world and beings that surround him, and also friendly to them.
The title text seems to be a slight dig at the trope of a laconic hero who utters only a few gnomic words, as in the They Live scene. It is another variation of the line, with meta-humor. The speaker states that he is here to say 18 words and chew bubble gum, but reaches 18 words before he is able to finish his sentence. Thus, readers are left in ambiguity as to whether or not he is also out of bubble gum, as the line could end "and I'm all out of words", "and I'm all out of gum", or "and I'm all out of both." Of course if it is a tribute to Rowdy it could have been "and I'm all out of time!" And his time was up just then before that last word.
Strangely, though, Randall has not preserved the number of words in the original film quote: there are 16. There would be 18 if 'bubble gum' (which occurs twice) were taken as two words, but in the comic, it is clear that Randall takes it as one.
Beret Guy has previously indicated he has a finite number of words he can say in 1493: Meeting.
In 1110: Click and Drag Megan, walking out on to a platform on the left side of the tower Burj Khalifa, says "I came here to chew bubblegum... And I'm all out of bubblegum" to which Cueball walking with her replies "That's a shame" (see picture here.)
- [Beret Guy stands dramatically silhouetted in a doorway.]
- Beret Guy: I came here to chew bubblegum and make friends!
- [Beret Guy, in normal lighting, looks at Megan and Cueball who stare back. A silent beat panel.]
- [Beret Guy put his hand out offering a stick of gum to Megan and Cueball.]
- Beret Guy: Want some gum?
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I believe the title text refers to the story about Calvin Coolidge about making a bet to not say 3 words.Blawho (talk) 04:51, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- No. —Kazvorpal (talk) 16:43, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Duke Nukem says: "It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum...", not the other way around. Don't know if this is worth mentioning. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:24, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, I didn't know the movie quote. With this info in mind, I now think that panel 2 shows that Cueball is perhaps not making friends, so he decides to just go for the chewing gum option?? 22.214.171.124 08:40, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
I added that the dénouement was similar to something the naïve and childish Beret Guy would do, that okay? Completely sane (And not Anglo-Saxon) (talk) 11:27, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- The more I'm thinking about this thing the more I have to agree to 126.96.36.199. I think both possibilites should be mentioned in the explanation, since both behaviours would fit to Beret Guy's character. First: Comes in, says the quote (more or less) and does both, because he said he would. Second: Comes in says the quote, regarding the quote's origin having mind that only one of the options/actions have to be fulfilled and after looking at Cueball and Megan decides for "chewing gum" - or maybe "making friends" by gifting his bubblegum away... Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:35, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
He may also be making a reference to the reality show cliché "I didn't come here to make friends." 188.8.131.52 19:11, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- Title text
Title text only 16 words? I(1) came(2) here(3) to(4) chew(5) bubblegum(6) and(7) say(8) no(9) more(10) than(11) eighteen(12) words(13) ... and(14) I'm(15) all(16) out(17) of(18) --184.108.40.206 10:26, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- Title text 18 words, movie quote 16 words. Unless Randall takes the stuff in the movie quote as "bubble gum" where Randall's own text uses "bubblegum." Which is entirely possible, but weird. But then, what's not to like about "weird?" Taibhse (talk) 10:41, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- sorry, no native english - why is "I'm" counted as one word as it is "I am" which I would count as two words? Or is "don't" and "can't" also one word? -- 220.127.116.11 13:09, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- "don't" and "can't" are both also considered one word. In English, a contraction functions as one word, even though it combines multiple words. Don't bother asking why... the rules of English don't necessarily make sense. :-) Suspender guy (talk) 16:37, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- This is absolutely true. Basically, if it's not separated by spaces, it's one word, be there an apostrophe, hyphen or whatever. But the thing about English is not only do the rules not necessarily make sense, they don't necessarily exist, either, or if they do not everyone agrees on them, such as how many spaces to put after a period at the end of a sentence (used to be universally two, now that's quite rare); and whether to put punctuation inside or outside of quotation marks (I usually put it outside unless it's part of the quote, but that style is mainly restricted to computer manuals that are trying to avoid you typing in the sentence-ending period.) I still think English is harder to learn than Japanese (which is what most native English speakers cite as "a difficult-to-learn language") and I grew up speaking English.PsyMar (talk) 17:01, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
The description of the hovertext mentions "out of words" and "out of both"; might want to include the original, "out of bubblegum". Also, the deliberate truncation implies "out of time", which could relate to the possibility of it being a tribute to Roddy Piper.--Beth (talk) 12:44, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't wanna change Randall's work - I just want to mention that I came here to chew bubblegum and say only sixteen words ... and I'm all out of would be more close to proposed origin where a) 16 words [with I'm= 1] and b) only positive descriptions used. -- 18.104.22.168 13:16, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't see why it's so strange that he didn't use the same number of words. He wrote the sentence in a way that he liked, counted the words he used, then added one. There's no need to overthink this.22.214.171.124 19:08, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
- I agree with you, but people here love to overthink. 126.96.36.199 20:07, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Why would Rowdy Piper be one of only a handful of celebrities to be memorialized in XKCD? I started to make a list of celebrities who died during the span of the comic that are more deserving of tribute, but there aren't enough letters in the universe. —Kazvorpal (talk) 16:41, 12 November 2019 (UTC)