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Bing Botta Boom

Posted by Smokey Stover on March 02, 2008 at 17:18:

In Reply to: Bing Botta Boom posted by ESC on March 02, 2008 at 15:51:

: : Where did the term/phrase... Bing Botta Boom originate ?

: Didn't it start out as a drum roll/flourish following the punchline of a joke?

I haven't heard that version, although I can translate it. The usual version is bada bing, bada boom, or just bada bing. In the days of burlesque there were two principal ingredients to the show. One was the girls, in earlier days renowned for the fan dance (Sally Rand) or bubble dancers, and in later days for more coarseness and less subtlety--but not necessarily less skill.

The other ingredient was comedy. Between girlie performances were the comic interludes with a good joke-teller and his straight man, or more often, one of the girls acting as his straight. Essential to both the girlie show and the comic sketch was the band, a small ensemble of three to six pieces, always including a drummer with a drum set. At the punchline of a joke or a sketch the drummer would strike the rim of the drum (in a "rimshot") usually twice (once with each stick), followed by a stroke of the cymbal. The drumset included a cymbal suspended above the side drum or snare drum, a little to one side, which could easily be struck by the drummer's stick, or operated by a foot-pedal, thus bada bing, two strokes on the rim and one on the cymbal. If the drummer chose to do bada boom, the boom was the bass drum, operated by a foot-pedal. He could easily execute bing botta boom by a cymbal stroke, a double rimshot, and a stroke on the bass drum.

The burlesque show has long since been replaced by strip clubs and home entertainment. But the rimshot has remained as a sort of symbolic enforcer of punchlines wherever there's a comedian and a band. Watch Jay Leno and the Tonight SHow, for instance. He likes his one-liners punctuated by rimshots.

If you watch The Sopranos you are probably aware of a restaurant they go to that is called "Bada Bing." The episodes in that restaurant, or at least the exteriors, are filmed at a real New Jersey restaurant, which has added to its outdoor sign another one, "Bada Bing." The restaurant is not actually a strip club, since such things are illegal in bluenose New Jersey.