A question about kicking ass

Regarding the phrase “kick ass and take names”: whose names are supposedly being taken during this process? Is it the names of the people whose asses one has kicked (presumably taken for the purposes of bragging rights)? Or maybe the names of those whose asses one intends to kick at some future date (since, by virtue of poor planning, one might not have alloted sufficient time to complete one’s ass-kicking in a single session)? Perhaps it is yet some third option whose identity is presently unknown to me, but which the deductive powers of the collective minds of the SDMB can produce. Please advise.

A side note: during the composition of this post, it occurred to me that I was all out of bubble gum. Relevant? You decide.

I had always interpreted it as kicking ass and then taking names for purposes of the following:
A) holding for ransom or
B) arresting and holding for bail or
C) notifying next of kin.

Not exactly a definitive answer. I wouldn’t have answered this in GQ, since my evidence ain’t exacly citable.

I’ve always heard this as “Kick ass and take names later” – implying that the kicker wreaks havoc on all and sundry, and doesn’t bother to find out whose ass deservedly called for kicking till the fun’s over.

The same idea as “Shoot 'em all and let God sort 'em out.”

That would certainly make more sense, but I’ve never heard that particular version. Then again, it isn’t a phrase I encounter every day. Let’s let Google decide:

“kick ass and take names”: 3,050 results

“kick ass and take names later”: 143 results

“kick ass and take names” -“take names later”: 2,960 results

So apparently, your version exists, but mine is more popular…which effectively begs the question entirely. Too bad, since your version does seem more inherently meaningful.

Occiasionally, one even “kicks ass and takes initials”, because you’ll be moving too fast for the whole name. To me, this represents poor time management skills.

I do not see it as relevant.

The movie quote IIRC is “I am here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I am all out of bubble gum.”

Nothing in regards to taking names or for what purpose.

It was a joke, man. A joke.

Calm yourself.


So, just how much physical dexterity does it take to kick ass and chew gum at the same time?

And if you spit out the gum before kicking ass, wouldn’t you be taking the chance that your foot would get stuck on the expectorated mastication, thus giving your kickee the chance to escape, or return fire?

And who actually goes somewhere with the specific intent of chewing bubblegum? Would one walk into a bank, declare, “I am here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and luckily for you I still have one stick left,” then proceed to stand there and chew? Because it seems to be an either/or situation, as Rowdy Roddy was able to kick ass without the gum.

I’m starting to suspect that They Live was sort of a silly movie. Huh.


I had always thought one kicked ass and took names so that one could, at a later date, return to check upon the ass kickees, and thereby verify that whatever situation caused one to commence kicking ass, had been resolved to one’s satisfaction.

The bubblegum is there as an added insult to the ass kickee. In effect saying to them “you are so weak and pathetic that I will not only kick your ass, but I will perform other feats of dexterity at the same time, as you you are not a suffient challenge to my ass kicking skills”

I’d always assumed that one kicked ass and took names afterwards so that you would remember whose ass you’d just kicked. Whether it was to avoid unnecessarily kicking their ass again or so you’d know when you’d run out of asses to kick is open to interpretation.

I’m not sure but I’m kicking all y’all’s names and taking asses later. Or chewing bubble gum. Or something.

I have mostly heard “kick ass and then take names” implying the same as “kick ass and take names later” while mainting the sense that such phrases as “kick ass and take names” lacks.

I had always assumed that one was taking names of the leaders/supervisors of the ass kickees, so one could track them (leaders/supervisors) down to kick their asses also, since their subordinates did whatever caused one to commence kicking ass in the first place.

I have to say that Ethermans explanations makes more sense.

at the number of hits for kicking ass before taking names. I’ve always “heard taking names and kicking ass.” It’s orderly and doesn’t waste resources. You kick the asses of the names on your list.

Whenever I hear the phrase, I think of the Green Berets conducting the census.

I always thought it meant “i’m kicking your ass and taking your name so if you try to again pull the shit that resulted in your ass being kicked, I’ll find you.”

And, presumably, kick the ass again.

so, pretty much what etherman said.

Hey you asked… just not your lucky day that I had surgery and was doped up pretty good.


No, it was definitely an AND situation, not an OR, meaning both were going to happen. What he was doing, basically, was saying, “I am going to chew bubblegum and THEN kick ass. Assuming I had a piece of gum, I would chew it, enjoy it, and possibly keep chewing it even after it lost its flavor and started to taste and feel like a pencil eraser. I would then follow this act with a copious amount of ass kicking. If you were smart, you’d be someplace else, because regardless of whether I spit out or swallow the gum, once the chewing stops the ass kicking starts. You would have that amount of time to escape with an unkicked ass. Unfortunately for all of you, however, I am just falsely raising hopes because I am OUT of bubblegum and therefore the ass kicking will commence immediately.”

I hope this clears things up. Silly movie? Don’t make me run out of bubblegum on you.