Futurama’s Most Hilarious Running Gags

We cover the six funniest running gags on Futurama.

By Phillip Moyer | Published


Futurama is a much beloved, oft-canceled-then-renewed TV series by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The show known for its hilariously memorable characters, clever writing, and the plethora of long-running jokes that leave audiences in stitches. The following are six of the best running gags Futurama has employed over the years.

6. “Good News Everyone!”


Professor Farnsworth, the 160-year-old CEO of Planet Express is known for his enthusiasm (if not exactly his good judgment) when announcing the news to his employees. Throughout Futurama, the professor excitedly exclaims “Good news everyone!” before telling them something that is almost never good news.

His “good news” has included announcements of suicidal missions, the destruction of a planet, or the fact that a massive pill is actually a suppository. The professor’s running gag is so prolific that the phrase has become a subject of in-universe ridicule.

The professor even comments on it himself in the 2008 direct-to-video episode “The Beast with a Billion Backs,” mentioning that a mission must be dangerous due to the fact that he’s admitting it’s dangerous.

5. All Hail Hypnotoad

psychedelic toad

Critiques about mindless, pointless TV programs have been around since the dawn of commercial television, but none of them have been as on-point or hilarious as Hypnotoad. Hypnotoad is the star of Futurama’s in-universe TV program Everybody Loves Hypnotoad featuring the titular giant toad-like creature who just sits there with pulsing eyes, prompting viewers to gaze at the screen in a trance due to its hypnotic powers. 

As a recurring gag, Hypnotoad has also been known to force an audience to clap in unison, inspire rave (if unsettling) reviews, promote otherwise-undesirable products, and even force a newscaster to commit suicide after interrupting the toad’s broadcast.

4. New New York’s Owl Problem


In Futurama‘s far, far future of the year 3,000, the ecology of New New York is drastically different from its millennium-old counterpart, Old New York. Along with unusual species such as land squid, wall gophers, and toilet snails, the city has a major pest problem: owls.

Starting with the series’ third episode, the majestic species is seen and referred to as unwanted pests, showing up eating garbage, inhabiting holes in walls, and otherwise showing undesirable traits. The bizarre sight of the once-threatened birds infesting the city serves as a hilarious reminder that the world of New New York is a strange, alien place — even in matters that have nothing to do with aliens.

3. Bender Thinks that’s Neat


There are a lot of dramatic, horrific, and spectacular things going on in the Futurama universe. However, there’s one thing you can count on: Bender has his camera on him, and he’s ready to snap a picture of anything that he finds noteworthy. And, when taking a photo, he’s ready to express his opinion about what he sees: “Neat!”

Whether it’s the preserved living head of Hank Aaron, a friend giving birth, a plane crash caused by 30th Century Fox spotlights, or a city-destroying crab robot, Bender is there to capture the moment and offer his single-syllable opinion on the matter.

2. Bender’s Sobriety Problem


Bender Bending Rodriguez, Futurama‘s womanizing, chain-smoking, booze-guzzling, antisocial robot, is not exactly known for good judgment or sharp mind. But, while his antics often seem like the product of someone who’s gone on a… well, a bender, it turns out things are even worse when he abstains from drinking. He requires alcohol to properly function, and there are many times when the show demonstrates the catastrophic results of Bender staying up all night not drinking.

His face covered in “five o’clock rust,” the stumbling, incoherent sober Bender is a pathetic (but hilarious) inversion of a person who absolutely smashed. The show never fails to take advantage of the situation to a hilarious extent, with conversations about Bender’s behavior and his need to drink that border on the bizarre.

1. Zoidberg’s terrible doctor skills


Dr. Zoidberg, the alien doctor aboard Futurama‘s Planet Express, is not exactly the best doctor you could ask for. In fact, it’s questionable whether the physician even has rudimentary knowledge of human anatomy. That hasn’t stopped the other crew members from putting their lives into his hands… er, claws.

No number of mistakes seems to deter the crew from keeping the crustacean doctor aboard. Whether it’s reattaching Fry’s arm to the wrong side, accidentally switching his colleagues’ brains, or not realizing that a patient isn’t actually dead (despite the patient’s complaints), everything is taken in stride by his coworkers.