25 Comments

  1. According to the standard rules, the “original” name would have been “LO”, which (as a homophone to “low“) would not work well as a trademark.
    P.S. This comic would not work here at all. Not only is the very concept of “Pig Latin” unknown in German, the trademark is called “Olaz” in most of continental Europe.

  2. Esyay, by standard rules it would have to have been “Lo!” before transformation. But that doesn’t produce a meaningful joke, and Mr. Lee is notoriously sloppy with details, so we would do well to look further.

    My first thought was “oil” or “oily”. So many products want to assure you that they are not oily, it might be a name that needs disguising.

    Ohnay, can’t be that however, as the product is in fact prominently marketed as ” OIL of Olay”.

  3. I think it’s just that “Olay” looks like and sounds like Pig Latin. It’s not relevant that it would have been “Lo” beforehand, just that the final product looks Pig Latinish.

  4. @ Nathan – That was the name in the UK and Ireland, in Australia it was “Ulan“.
    P.S. If this gag had been tried in “Baldo”, I might have wondered whether it was a play on “¡Olé!“.

  5. According to the rules it’d be LO or OL.. LO would quite be long O-el as OLAY is not really long O-lay. OIL could conceivably be rendered OILAY eliding to OLAY …. sort of.

    But I think the joke is nothing more than the brand OLAY sounds like something in pig latin.

    I’d say “the can’t all be gems” but…. this is Pardon My Planet so…..well, it’s still literally true…. They can’t all be gems.

  6. Yarpess, arpI arpalsarpo tharpought (wharpen arpI warpas yarpoung) tharpat arpit warpas arpa plarpay arpon “¡ArpOlarpé!“.

  7. My mother was never able to pronounce the product name correctly; it always came out as “Oil of Oily.” As for the comic, yeah I kinda get what they’re aiming for, but it’s not very amusing IMHO.

  8. @Kilby: Your comment about “¡Olé!” reminds me of when I was in eighth grade math class, and we were given these somewhat-fun math worksheets to complete. They were “somewhat fun” in that the worksheets contained a riddle, and you’d find the answer (or punchline) to that riddle by correctly answering all the math problems. Then you’d use the answers to assemble the punchline.

    If the punchline was garbled, then you knew you made a mistake somewhere.

    Anyway, the only joke/riddle I remember from these worksheets is:

    Q: What did the Spanish farmer say to his hens?

    A: Oh, lay!

    (As you might imagine, several of us died of laughter that day.)

  9. @Chak, I’m not sure I’ve heard about ubbi-dubbi. The “arp” one I am using inserts a whole syllable of “arp” before or within each existing syllable.

    When I say “within” that would be after the initial consonant or consonant cluster, if any, and before the central vowel (or vowel-like continuant, if the syllable is built on an /l/ or nasal) . Bit => barpit, bough => barpough.
    Or the “before” case is when the original syllable starts with a vowel, or is entirely a vowel. Oh => arpoh, own => arpown.
    When there is ambiguous juncture (a consonant could be taken as closing the preceding syllable, or starting the following one), use whatever feels easier. It may work out the same anyway.

    It’s based on sound rather than spelling, except that if you go to write it down you probably take spelling into account. Thus, above I wrote bough => barpough but the arp form still uses the ow sound, just as in bow down => barpow darpown. Well, MAYBE if. it’s hard to work out when speaking, you can visualize the spelling and use that, which may mean saying it from the arp spelling even if that changes a vowel sound or something odd.

    The only variation I knew of was “op” or “opp” which was exactly the same but with a slightly different inserted syllable. Wait, the “opp” people sometimes closed off an open syllable. That is, in Arp, Bo => Barpo, in Opp it could similarly be Bo => Boppo, but they might close it as Bo => Boppop.

    In my teenage,speaking with siblings and one set of cousins, I could generate Arparp [that’s how you say its name within the system] quite fluently, or so I thought, but there was often the comeuppance of another adept getting lost in your attempt!

  10. @J-L: After solving the math worksheet joke about the Spanish farmer I’ll bet that some of your classmates were really cackling.

  11. @ Chak – An aunt of mine (in Pittsburgh) was able to speak a variant called “ubba-bubba” (the rules were probably similar to Mitch’s “Arparp”†). Knowing only Pig Latin at the time, I was very impressed, but I was never able to master it.
    P.S. Sandra Boyton composed a very funny book (& CD) called “Grunt – Pigorian Chant“. All of Old McDonald’s barnyard animals sing in reasonably accurate Latin (interspersed with jokes, such as chickens opening the morning with “Gloria in Eggshells Each Day-Oh!”), but the pigs sing (and even sleep: “Ore-Snay”) in Pig Latin.
    P.P.S. (†) – Presumably there is a canine variant called “Arf-arf”.

  12. Mitch4,

    Ubbi-dubbi was from a kids show called… sorry, Zoom. (I know that may be an unpleasant word for some these days.) You put ub in front of every vowel that sounds. So ‘car’ is just ‘cubar’ and ‘fail’ is ‘fubail’.

    Those Zoom kids could do it really fast, and if you knew what was going on, you could mostly understand it.

  13. “Those Zoom kids could do it really fast”

    I read, well after the show was off the air, that the kids could not, in fact, speak or understand ubbi-dubbi quickly. What they did was memorize their lines and practice a lot before shooting.

  14. I’m with the consensus here that the artist thought Olay sounded pig-latinish and thought it would make a good joke. What puzzles me is why audiences would be ‘confused by the name’ pre-pig latin.

    Why is Oil of Olay any less confusing then Oil of Lo, or Oil of Ol?

  15. Growing up among a lot of folks with Norwegian accents, I used to think of the product as “Oil of Ole” — which sounds pretty gross (though I suppose it could lead into some sort of naughty “Ole and Lena” joke).

  16. Arthur said, “I read, well after the show was off the air, that the kids could not, in fact, speak or understand ubbi-dubbi quickly. What they did was memorize their lines and practice a lot before shooting.”

    I wondered about that. They were really good.

  17. That makes me think of Edd Byrnes, Kookie on 77 Sunset Strip, who was always a disappointment to his fans when he met them in real life because he could not speak the slang in real life that his writers carefully crafted him for the show. He just couldn’t make with the jaw music, man.

  18. There’s also the case of Bob and Ray, who really did originally ad lib all of their zaniness, but who, once they got big, used writers (a deep dark secret). At some occasion they were to appear with Jonathan Winters, who was also and at the time still a master of ad libbing, and he suggested something like “we come out and I say xyz and we wing it from there” and was surprised to find Bob and Ray uncomfortable with the idea.

    (Even so, they are still my all-time American favorite tv/radio/movie comedians, at least, and close runners-up to the British Goon Show and Monty Python troupes. Winters was no slouch either, of course.)

  19. There is an episode of “Fraiser” in which Marris’ aunt comes to visit and Niles brings the aunt to Frasier’s apartment. At some point she and Marris made up a language somewhat like,but much more complicated than pig Latin with an assortment of substitutions and add ins to words. She starts to speak it to Niles and there is a question of if she is having a stroke and Niles has to explain all of this.

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