"It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye"

When I query the mighty Internet about the origins of “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye,” it comes back with this, um, unlikely tale:

(Cited several places, but the phrasing above is from here.)

Assuming that’s bogus, which I am indeed assuming, does anyone know more about where that phrase comes from? Did someone famous popularize it, or is it one of those phrases that just percolates through the culture and surface in about 1000 places at once?

My high school gym teacher told us a story about horseplay in the locker room. As a result of “snapping” towels, an unfourtunate soul lost a testicle.

So, when I hear the phrase, “it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye”, I am always quick to add, “or a testicle!”

that’s how I heard it…

I always thought this referred to the time-honored children’s game of “Running with Scissors”.

It sets off my Folk Etymology ringer, too, but I don’t have any real history to back up the feeling. Except that scratching and gouging does not sound like ‘fun and games’. It sounds like serious manly shit, not to be described in such an offhand manner.

I first heard it back in the early or mid 80’s and if IIRC, it came from popular comedy. It was either from a movie or a TV show (comedy), the name of which escapes me. I want to think Eugene Levy said it, or perhaps it was Jon Lovitz, or maybe Dana Carvey… more likely Martin short (for some reason I want to think Short’s Ed Grimley character coined it.) Of course, I could be wrong about any of these.

The one thing I do remember, is hearing and using it around '86 for the first time only after seeing it from some popular comedy film or TV series.

I would have guessed that it was a reference to A Christmas Story, but you would need to look and see how old the phrase is.

I don’t know the origin, but a friend of mine lost an eye as a boy, playing with fire.

My own parents weren’t much into warning us, but we knew we’d be in big trouble if something went wrong.

Lillian Gibbs, our old babysitter, told me not to go barefoot, for I’d step on a bee. I scoffed, and after three steps into the lawn, I stepped on a bee. :smack:

No, no, no. The correct phrase is, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye… then it’s hilarious!” :smiley:

The classic add-on I always heard was “…then it’s a sport.”

I like to pretend it is a proverb about the game of Go.


I once was set up with the perfect straight line to use this cliche.

In the computer game Diablo II, one of the popular low-level items is an amulet called the Eye of Etlich. In the standard (non-hardcore) mode, a character who dies doesn’t even lose his or her equipment, let alone dying permanently, so it’s popular for dueling games. You just have to go back to your “body” and get your stuff.

But there was an exploit that allowed players to trick others into causing some or all of their items to fly off of their character (you could also do this to yourself by accident, but it was commonly used by grief players trying to steal things).

Inevitably, one day a complaint appeared on a message board I moderated, asserting that the complaining player had been enjoying a fast-paced dueling game until this exploit caused him to drop some items on the ground, whereupon a grief player snatched up his Eye and left the game.

As a moderator, I was able to use the cloak of false authority to solemnly intone, “Oh, sure, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an Eye.”