Kick in the balls = High pitched voice ?

I am busy watching Plains, Trains and Automobiles and Steve Martin gets kicked in the balls. He then talks for a few minutes in a high pitch voice. I don’t get it… is there some magical pipe from your lung to your ballsack?

What is it with this lameass cutesy joke? Please someone tell me who/how/where it started it, so I can go over and beat the crap out of him.

Kind of an ancient joke I think. Not much of a classical voice fan myself, but I’m told there is (or was) a practice of removing the testicles from prepubescent males in an effort to keep puberty from changing their voices.

Worked its way into mainstream humor by rendering the effects of puberty retroactive. I don’t think it really works that way, but it brings a small degree of low humor into any testicular trauma slapstick (heh).

Sometimes, when experiencing severe pain but not wanting to admit to it, a person will attempt normal conversation. His speaking tone, however, is usually strained because he’s busy clamping down all his abdominal muscles to stop the pain while simultaneously trying to look cool. Strained tone = high pitch. The joke rests both on the visual/aural (look at the funny thing that guy is doing!) and on the patheticness of the character (he’s so wrapped up in looking cool that he’s willing to do this).

A similar joke was used in the film The Great Escape, right after the characters try some home-made vodka.

It’s a really common device, I’m surprised you haven’t seen it before.

Severe enteric pain (such as engendered by a shot to the groin) will often cause semi to complete paralysis of the diaphragm, making breaking difficult. Speaking in a soft whisper may result. This may be heard as a higher voice, in addition to beind softer.


Oh…just did some field research with a coworker and yes, juts like the good doc sez, very difficult to breathe.

But the jokes I’ve heard involve a falsetto punchline, and Steve Martin’s performance the OP refers to sounds more like he’s been at the helium as opposed to being breathless.

Now that’s taking one for the team in the name of research…

There was, indeed; but it has been discontinued for decades. You can read about it here (page includes a Real Audio link to a recording of one of the last castrati; haunting, to say the least).

Yeah exactly, he just used helium to talk for a while. Anyway it was painful to watch just like the rest of the movie hehe.

Interesting so this enteric pain can be caused by anything then not just a kick in the balls?

If you’ve ever had a “testicular trauma” you know it’s almost impossible to speak at all for a few minutes. The pain isn’t just in your balls, it’s general and extremely intense. If you had to ask the question . . . good for you. :wink:

The only times I’ve ever really be hit hard in the balls was during fist fights. But for whatever reason the pain never really felt that bad, but there was a strong aching once the fight was over. I’m assuming maybe something to do with adrenaline.

Sure, like intestinal colic, abdominal abscess, getting stabbed in the spleen, etc. Anything that activates the enteric pain nerve fibers.

Did you get kicked in the groin or literally hit in the balls? Both have happened to me and they’re quite different… the former hurts but nowhere near as bad as the latter, which can paralyze you for a good ten minutes and leave you retching and crying.