CLAMS

A clam is a good joke that has been played to death. Origin: Murphy Brown, where multiple specs employed the same "he had bad clams at lunch" quick exit excuse joke. Add yours...
  1. "Did I just say that out loud?"
    If you have to explain to someone what a clam is, start with this one. It's got everything. It's familiar. It is inherently funny. And, crucially, they will feel apprehensive about employing it because it feels played out. This is basically the clam equivalent of a salesman sample or Kiehls tester.
  2. "Did you just say <blank>?"
    Why yes, I did... because it was in the script. This clam is the emperor of "artificial weirdness" clams, wherein the writer calls out his own characters for weird things he made them say and do. The seed of a great improv scene, and it got its share of laughs in its heyday, but definitely a clam.
  3. "Too much information!"
    Neurotic clam. Gen X clams are all about boundaries and neuroticism. Please, don't tell me too much about yourself, don't share your feelings, don't get intimate. Nowadays, we don't have enough information. Tell us everything, say the Millennials. (Note: this clam had a brief 2000s resurgence when it was rebranded "TMI".)
  4. "Overshare!"
    To see how far we have come since this 90s clam's heyday, imagine what on earth you would have to do today to be accused of over-sharing. See, I am stumped too. But in the 90s, we were very private. Great clam. Great way to say, "hey, you're weird. We the audience are not like you."
  5. "Don't go there!"
    This is a clam that goes the extra mile. It gets a laugh on its own, while also platforming the next joke -- because OF COURSE he will go there. And once again, how obsessed were we with boundaries in the 90s?
  6. "Get a room!"
    In the 90s, the only thing worse than sharing too much information or going there was any sort of public display of affection. The only solution to that was to order someone to the nearest motel room, which itself seems oddly throwback even for then. Motel rooms belong in gritty movies about reluctant criminals, not my sex life.
  7. "And that's 30 seconds of my life I'll never get back."
    Well well well. Isn't every minute of your life ever so precious? For being such a specific clam, I feel like this one got recycled a LOT, word for word. It's a great, if mean, little put down.
  8. "I just threw up in my mouth a little."
    Most clams originate from sitcoms; rare is the clam to find its roots in the cinema. I trace this one back to DODGEBALL; can anyone think of an earlier use? Anyone? Please comment if so. This clam had an ironic resurgence through variations such as "I just threw up a lot in my mouth," "I just threw up in my mouth then outside of it," etc. Sometimes making fun of a clam becomes a clam in itself.
  9. "He's standing right behind me, isn't he?"
    This is definitely a clam that alludes to farce without actually "going there." A great joke, and, probably still making the rounds on children's shows, where good clams get a second crack at a fresh audience.
  10. "I'm standing right here!"
    You don't have to be standing behind someone to be ignored. This is really a terrific, timeless clam. It belongs to no generation. My favorite variation: "Hello, I'm Rhoda Morgenstern, another person in the room." In fact, with diligent rewording, this clam becomes something respectable: a joke area.
  11. "Well that went well."
    No it didn't! Silly. Good blow in its day. If there were a clam hall of fame, this would definitely be in the first round of inductees.
  12. "Note to self..."
    This clam was made famous by Norm Macdonald an Update bit. It got some amount of reuse, but truly, it belongs to him. In 1995. Also, has anyone besides a screenwriter or Agent Cooper ever walked around with a tape recorder leaving notes to selves? Oddly archaic clam, even in its day.
  13. "Use your words."
    DREADED MOMMY CLAM. A hugely condescending joke that is never actually played as joke or a burn in the internal logic of the scene. They say it, and then... the person calms down and uses his words! Unforgivable clam. Bad clam. We use jokes to call each other out for any number of frailties, but here you are literally calling someone a child. It leaves me cold. Kill this clam.
  14. "Use your indoor voice."
    Ibid.
  15. "Well that just happened."
    Why yes. Yes it did. Thank you for narrating.* *calling someone who describes what just happened a narrator is a borderline clam too.
  16. "He talks the talk..."
    I love this clam, and in fact, wouldn't mind seeing it more. Yes I am playing favorites. It's a very good clam. Has that "Futurama" vibe to it.
  17. "You smell like (silly specific #1) and (silly specific #2)."
    Truly, this is the Crown Jewel of new era clams. We have heard this one, a lot, for a long time. It's still in use in recent big hits in the feature world while still making its rounds in television. Yes, you laughed. We all laughed! But has the time come to acknowledge that no one smells like these things and that characters who walk around sounding like insanely specific bad odor thesauri sound nuts? Yes. It has. Probable origin: "Anchorman."
  18. "Is that a thing?"
    New era clam. A Millennial clam that Gen Xers can get behind. Not quite neurotic, but definitely detached and judgy. Falls under the "artificial weirdness" umbrella or close to it.
  19. "Spoiler alert!"
    An exceptional clam in that it migrated to tv and film from the internet. But it is welcomed with warm arms by the multitude of older clams warning people against and scolding them for sharing unsolicited information.
  20. "I see what you did there."
    New era clam. Internet origins. This is a hugely Millennial clam. Gen X would never spark to a joke that requires this much self assuredness. The deliverer of this clam puts the spotlight on himself. He takes a joke someone as delivered, deflates it, and insists on a laugh for his efforts, even though he has done nothing himself except comment on the work of others. Like I said, Millennial.
  21. "Ok I hear it now."
    This clam might have earlier origins, but I am going to go out on a limb and place this at the feet of the Millennials. It is a very Millennial joke. Why? Because unlike in the 90s, when we were satisfied to allow our sarcastic roommates bitchy co-workers to dress us down, the Millennial must do it himself. For he is better than everyone at everything, including calling himself out. Numerous variants, including "heard it as soon as I said it."
  22. Check please!
    Suggested by   @chris