In Reply to: Bada-bing posted by Smokey Stover on February 20, 2009 at 18:36:
: : : BADA-BING -- In the March 2009 "Vanity Fair," "The Godfather Wars," Page 327, actor James Caan discusses his portrayal of Sonny in movie classic "The Godfather." He used "a rapid-fire, Don-Rickles-meets-the-Mob bravado that elevated his character to a whole new level. Then a phrase was delivered to him straight from improvisational heaven. It popped into his mouth as he mocked Michael, after hearing his kid brother say he intended to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey, the corrupt Irish cop who had broken his (Michael's) jaw: 'What do you think this is, the army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You gotta get up close, like this - and bada-bing! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit.' Bada-bing became a mantra for mobsters and aspiring mobsters. More recently, it served as the name of Tony Soprano's strip club in 'The Sopranos.' 'Bada-bing? Bada-boom? I said that, didn't I? Or did I just say 'bada-bing'? 'It just came out of my mouth - I don't know from where.'" The Godfather Wars, Vanity Fair, March 2009, online at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/03/godfather200903
: : Decades ago I was watching 60 Minutes, probably in the 1970's, and Mike Wallace was interviweing a whistle-blower. I forget what the story was about but the whistle-blower kept using the phrase "bing-bang-boom" to illustrate how easy it was for the cheaters to cheat. It got to the point where Mike Wallace told him to "forget the bing-bang-boom" and use regular words to explain himself. I'm certain that after 1973's The Godfather. I wonder if the guy was influenced by James Caan's character.
: Let's forget Va-va-voom, concerning which Graham is entirely correct, although the meaning has no bearing on the question of bada-bing bada-boom.
: Likewise bing-bang-boom. Whatever it means, I don't think it relates to bada-bing. There is a discussion of bada-bing in our Archive. See:
: You guys don't watch NBC's Tonight Show, with Jay Leno, do you? There is considerable bantering, during the monologue, between Jay and the drummer, regarding the drummer's response to Jay's one-liners.
: Bada-bing comes from the practice of the drummer in American burlesque shows of punctuating the comic's jokes (every burlesque show had a comic) with a hit on the side of his drum by his stick, followed by a hit on the cymbal. If bada-bing bada-boom is specified, the drummer follows up with a hit on the bass drum.
: The bada-bing is delivered very snappily at the end of the joke, almost on top of it. When James Caan used it in his interview, he obviously meant "just like that, very snappily." Or it seems obvious to me. However, that use has not become standard in the language.
It's probably misleading to say "a hit on the side of the drum." It is the side, all right, but the edge of the side called the rim, hence rimshot. "Bada" consists of two rimshots in quick succession (the drummer has two sticks), then the "bing" or the "boom." Smitty, on the Tonight Show, likes to punctuate Leno's one-liners with rimshots, but sometimes responds too quickly, in the equivalent of stepping on Jay's lines--hence some of Jay's comments.