'That's A Clown Question, Bro' Or The Rhetorical Comeback Rounding Twitter

Jun 13, 2012
Originally published on June 20, 2012 6:04 pm

If Twitter has its way, "That's a clown question, bro" will join "Don't tase me, bro" in the annals of popular rhetorical comebacks.

"That's a clown question, bro" comes from 19-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Harper. That's what he told a Canadian journalist yesterday, following his second three-hit game in a row.

The journalist asked the Nationals' Harper if he was going to celebrate by drinking a beer, being that the legal drinking age in Canada is 19.

Harper, who is Mormon, rolled his eyes and said, "I'm not going to answer that. That's a clown question, bro."

In truth, the phrase is much funnier in print and removed from the context, as you'll see in this video:

But that hasn't stopped Twitter. The phrase has ignited debate. There is a T-shirt now. And many have noted that in a confrontational interview today, NBA Commissioner David Stern should have resorted to the Harperism.

Instead, when Jim Rome asked Stern, "Was the fix in for the [NBA] lottery?" He replied, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" an answer that called into question the trickery of the phrasing.

Chris Moody, a political reporter for Yahoo!, tweets:

"Jay Carney didn't say "that's a clown question, bro" during today's WH presser. This is how I feel about that: http://bit.ly/NfSdKU"

We'll note that unlike "Don't tase me, bro." the Harperism has not gotten an entry on Urbandictionary.com.

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One more exchange that's getting a lot of attention online comes courtesy of Major League Baseball's newest phenom, the Washington National's 19-year-old star outfielder Bryce Harper.


Last night in Toronto, Harper hit a towering home run against the hometown Blue Jays. It traveled some 450 feet before ricocheting loudly off the side of a stadium restaurant.

BLOCK: While that hit has landed on countless online highlight reels, what's really getting people's attention is what Bryce Harper said afterward in the locker room. He was asked by a reporter if he would enjoy a celebratory beer in Toronto, where the drinking age is only 19. He refused to answer, saying...

BRYCE HARPER: That's a clown question, bro.

CORNISH: It goes by pretty fast so let's play that again.

HARPER: That's a clown question, bro.

CORNISH: And those few simple words: That's a clown question, bro, have gone truly viral.

BLOCK: While it might be taken as an affront to the clown community, we want to make one thing clear: the president of the World Clown Association is not offended.

JOYCE PAYNE: My name is Joyce Payne. I perform professionally as Joy The Magic Clown.

CORNISH: And Joy The Magic Clown knows a thing or two about real clown questions.

PAYNE: Is that you really hair? Where did you get your shoes? Are you a real clown? Clowns are creative people. We can answer any way we want.

BLOCK: So, to be clear, Bryce Harper and the clowns of the world are on the same team. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.