Bear Necessity


bz panel 04-26-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Bathroom Humor.

If you’re one of my readers from a non-English-speaking society, you may have been puzzled by this. I don’t know if the old adage depicted in this cartoon is used anywhere other than the U.S., but here, if someone asks a question for which the answer is painfully obvious, like, “Is Congress full of spineless weasels who are owned by corporations and special interest groups?” the other person says, “Does a bear shit in the woods?” (Alternate versions reference the Pope being Catholic, the Pope being Italian, the Pope shitting in the woods, etc. I’m not sure in what ways the Pope is like a bear.)

This gag was a collaboration with my good buddy, Cliff Harris the King of Wordplay. This one isn’t wordplay, so I guess Cliff was taking time off from his regular duties when he came up with this concept. Is it juvenile? Yes. Did it make me laugh when I first saw the idea? Yes again. Somewhere inside us all is a little kid who still giggles at bathroom humor. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself.


27 thoughts on “Bear Necessity

  1. I had never heard “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Maybe it’s a regional thing. I’m a California native. Once I knew the line, it was funny.

  2. The other one I’ve often heard: “Is a frog’s ass watertight?” I often mix these for effect: Pope, bear, frog.

  3. Why is there no red asterisk next to the Comment heading for this space?

    (“Why” always asks a broader question than “Does”, except in the query “Why do you ask?”, a rough equivalent to “Does a bear, etc.”, but should you ask “Does Foye overcomplicate things?” any rhetorical question will do as a response.)

  4. I live in the UK and we use all the versions of the phrase here too, so it will be understood by at least some of your foreign audience.

  5. I have absolutely nothing funny or interesting to say. It seems like I’m in good company (in a snarky kind of way.)

  6. I like to combine that saying with the famous zen koan. If a bear shits in the woods and nobody is around, does it make a smell?

  7. It works on a basic bathroom humour level also for Italians who are not familiar with the reference to bears shitting in the woods and don’t get the Jungle Book pun because in Italian we use the necessità euphemism for “call of nature”.

  8. Regarding the phrase “does the pope shit in the woods” as an inhabitant Soviet Canukistan, another foreign country which utilizes a form of English and is familiar with this colloquialism, perhaps I can shed some light on our usage thereof. When the question is stupid and so obviously answers itself we say, in haughty derision: “Is the bear Catholic? Does the Pope shit in the woods?”

    I hope that helps.

  9. The levels of Don’s work always amazes me and dusts my brain crevices: First there the talking bear and the bear’s punchline. And then the whole collection of lit dynamite, pie slice, eyeball and artists pallet makes a 40 year old acid trip kick in. Thanks.

  10. Do trees branch out? Do they leave in the fall?

    Do flowers naturally bunch?

    Is the ultimate vegetable – squash?

    Is carrot called “carrot” because it’s gold coloured?

    If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what rhymes with orange?

    Is a halibut a conditional fish?

    Will anyone ever help me answer these important questions?

  11. I laughed for several minutes on the bear in the woods cartoon. I cut it out of the newspaper and will use it for a birthday card for one of my adult sons–we used to do a lot of canoe-camping in Minnesota, and the bear shitting in the woods line was a regular part of our conversations around the campfire at night. It’s one of those cosmic questions like a good Zen koan or, “Does the lightbulb in the fridge really go out when you shut the door?”

  12. I didn’t serve my country in the armed forces, but a friend of mine who did came back after a few years in the Navy with a few spin-offs of a bear shitting in the woods: does the pope wear a beanie, does a polar bear shit on ice, does a snake drag its dick through the grass, does a fat whore f*ck, are the Kennedy’s gun-shy…

  13. Pingback: Bear Necessity | Wholeheartedness

  14. I can appreciate a bear who is considerate enough to warn a fellow traveler of an impending stink, and smart enough to learn the English language to impart that warning. Smarter than the average bear…indeed!

  15. I thought it was funny, even without thinking of the “does a bear shit in the woods?” meme, because “Do NOT go in there!” in reference to a freshly-stunk bathroom, is a meme of its own; I’ve seen it in comedy movies and sitcoms. It’s funny by itself for the juxtaposition out of its usual bathroom location and human species.

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