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"Hubba-wha?"

"Hubba-wha?" is an expression of disbelief or surprise, frequently uttered by The Muppets in Sesame Street and various productions.

When asked about the origin of the expression, Frank Oz responded:

I have used it for years with my characters based on old burlesque performers, one being the straight man with the other doing the funny. It's kind of comedic way to register surprise. Those comic duos from the days of burlesque were brilliant.[1]

Appearances

  • The phrase is said four times in the Monsterpiece Theater sketch "Monsters with Dirty Faces." One of the monsters says it when Grover asks Rocky to wash his face. When Rocky agrees to do so, the phrase is exclaimed by all of the monsters, and then by Grover. At the segment's end, Alistair Cookie says it when Rocky appears to clean his face.
  • A group of Triangle Lovers exclaim the phrase when Baby Bear proposes some changes to the club in Episode 4144.
  • In the intro sequence to the "Super Grover 2.0" segments, Grover says the phrase when he sees a spider dangling alongside a skyscraper with him.
  • In Episode 4516, Elmo utters the phrase in disbelief that Oscar was once a stand-up comedian.
  • Grover, Elmo and Cookie Monster react this way when seeing some sentient socks pass by (caused by one of Abby's failed spells) in Count on Elmo.
  • Elmo reacts this way in Episode 4828 when he's cheerfully greeted by a kind-stricken Oscar.
  • In Episode 4916, Abby Cadabby designates herself as a spaceship mechanic. Elmo does a take, exclaiming "Hubba-wha?", and alien Ruprop (Rudy) does a double take; "Hubba-hubba-wha?"

Sources

  1. @TheFrankOzJam on Twitter
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