Adam Scott’s ‘Party Down’ Catchphrase Has a Bizarre Origin

‘Are we having fun yet?!?!’
Adam Scott’s ‘Party Down’ Catchphrase Has a Bizarre Origin

Belated revivals of cult shows don’t always pan out, but the third season of Party Down, which came out last year, somehow managed to live up to fans’ high expectations. Even with Lizzy Caplan unable to return to the show for more than a brief cameo, Party Down managed to tap into what made the original two seasons so great, thanks in large part to Ken Marino’s extraordinary performance as the hopelessly pathetic aspiring soup franchisee Ron Donald.

Season Three also saw the return of Henry Pollard’s signature line: “Are we having fun yet?” The slogan from Henry’s viral beer commercial seems to stalk him wherever he goes, serving as a constant reminder that he’s past his prime, and also that his prime consisted of an insipid ad that basically killed his career.  

The wording of the fictitious slogan is perfect, its cheerful call for celebration nearly always contrasts the despondency of our protagonists. And the tone is antithetical to Henry’s low-key vibe, yet people force him to do the line wherever he goes. Apparently people make Adam Scott do it in real life, too.

According to co-creator John Enbom, the original idea for the show involved “people that you would see on TV, who you recognized, but not for the thing that they clearly wanted to be recognized for.” Enbom’s example was Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” guy, who similarly found fame by repeating an inane catchphrase over and over again. 

But where did “Are we having fun yet?” come from? 

Of course, the arrangement of five words has popped up in works prior to Party Down, such as in the Nickelback song “How You Remind Me.” Although nobody involved with Party Down has copped to being a huge Nickelback fan, understandably. 

The origin of the line, according to sources such as Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, can be traced back to the underground comic-strip character Zippy the Pinhead, created by legendary cartoonist Bill Griffith way back in 1971. The bizarro comic creation was inspired by a photo from the controversial 1932 film Freaks, and Zippy subsequently became a pop-culture icon.

Griffith has never publicly commented on Party Down. If he was displeased, he likely would have, considering that he once accused Dan Aykroyd of ripping off Zippy for the “Coneheads” characters, back when the Coneheads movie came out in 1993. Aykroyd denied these allegations, but Griffith claimed that they weren’t merely based on idle speculation, but rather, because two of his friends had gone for dinner with several Saturday Night Live writers in 1978, and reported back that the SNL crew were “freely admitting that Zippy was an inspiration.”

But Griffith doesn’t seem to have any problems with Zippy’s catchphrase being co-opted by a depressed actor in a pink bowtie. 

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