5 Cliches That Become Hilarious When You Take Them Literally

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on July 1, 2014

in Funny

I love a good metaphor, cliche, or otherwise witty and symbolic saying. They are especially funny when used incorrectly, but that’s another list unto itself.

I was recently talking with someone who used one of these crowd pleasers during conversation and for some reason I mentally envisioned the literal interpretation of the words he said. I thought about it a few more times that day and decided to compile a list. To me, these cliches become much funnier when you stop and picture their literal interpretation:

“Going to hell in a handbasket”

Picturing anyone going anywhere in a HANDBASKET is intrinsically hilarious but specifically envisioning this whimsical fancy-free journey in such a dainty and comically undersized mode of transport ending at the front door of eternal torment and agony is even funnier.

hell in a handbasket underscoopfire.com

*side note: “Helena Handbasket” also serves as a more than adequate Roller Derby name.


“Costs an arm and a leg”

“Welcome to Best Buy, can I help you?”

“Why yes, I’m interested in purchasing one of your new Apple iPads.”

“No problem, sir.  Did you have any questions about it?”

“Actually no, I think I’m all set”

“Ok, I can ring you up right over here.  Would you like the optional protection plan?”

“Yes please. I value the piece of mind that your plan provides.”

“No problem.  After tax your total is an arm and a leg, please.”

“Hmm, ok… let me just… I have to… just… trying… to get this off… [retrieves bone saw from backpack] BRRRRRAAAGGGGHHHH!!!”  [face goes pale, heavy labored breathing and massive blood loss] “Here is the arm, let me get you the leg…”


“It’s raining cats and dogs”

“Howdy friend!  Would you like to play tennis with me?”

“Sure!  Let’s walk on down to the tennis courts.”

“I hope the weather stays nice, it’s starting to look a little cloudy.”

“I agree, amigo.  Hopefully the rain holds off long enough for us to get a set in!”

“Uh oh, I think I just felt a drop… and that dark cloud is moving in fast.”

[hundreds upon hundreds of confused and terrified common house pets begin falling to the ground, writhing in pain] *some cats walk away unscathed

“Jesus! What sort of unspeakable hell has been unleashed upon us?!”

“LET’S GET OU- [crushed by a hail of St. Bernards]


“Drop dead gorgeous”

“I heard Jerry’s new girlfriend is smokin’ hot.”

“Yeah, me too.  Can’t wait to meet her…oh jeepers, here they come now!”

“Greetings fellas!  I’d like to introduce you both to Veronica-”



“Bull in a china shop”

Do yourself a favor: instead of taking this one literally, close your eyes for just a moment and picture your clumsiest physical fuck-up of a friend casually walking into the glass and tableware section at Ikea only to begin uncontrollably flailing his or her arms and legs while launching their entire body into each and every glass case, shelving unit, and table display of fragile glassware.

“I’m totally gonna clean this up.”

Picture them crouching down momentarily like a frog and then violently uncoiling, forcefully driving off the ground with their heels and launching into the air like a human dish missile. They don’t stop thrashing until every single piece of merchandise on the premises is decimated, turning even the finest stoneware to dust, even if it takes them three swings to knock that one gravy boat off the shelf because they are becoming fatigued and their coordination is compromised. Stay focused, bull. You’ve got this.


Originally posted in 2011 on The Upper Deck

Cold Slither Podcast June 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm

“Turning chicken shit into chicken salad.” – Yuck!
“Slip of the tongue” – Fresh!
“Get something off of my chest” – Nipple launchers?

bmorin54 June 30, 2014 at 9:05 pm

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. – What a horrible, very public, way to live; and shouldn’t they avoid throwing anything in a house of glass, not just stones?

Previous post:

Next post: