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The Futurama Joke That Took Two Days To Write

Years from now, the world will wonder how we ever allowed a show as amazing as Futurama to get canceled multiple times.

The simple premise of an intergalactic delivery service going on wacky misadventures (combined with the will they/won't they relationship between Fry and Leela) proved to be fertile ground for comedy. However, the show had more than just solid jokes. It was filled with heart-breaking moments that hit you right in the feels, and it eerily predicted the future more than once. The writers' room was filled with incredibly brilliant talent, and one story in particular really exemplifies the effort the cast and crew went to make sure the show was as perfect as it possibly could be. 

Co-creators Matt Groening David X. Cohen, along with voice actors Billy West (Fry), and John DiMaggio (Bender) participated in a Reddit AMA in 2017, in which they took questions covering everything a fan could want to know about the hit sci-fi/comedy series. One of the more intriguing behind-the-scenes stories involved the writers' room taking two whole days to come up with a single line of dialogue. No one can say the writers ever phoned it in. 

It took two days to come up with a "balls" joke said by Henry Kissinger

Redditor u/jamestporter asked the cast and crew, "Is there any joke you guys put into the show that you were really happy/proud of that maybe wasn't noticed by viewers?" Groening responded, "We were stuck writing the scene in which the head of Henry Kissinger in a jar was negotiating with the Balls (in the episode "War Is the H Word"). It took two full days to come up with a single line for Kissinger — two full days of nonstop unusable testicle jokes. We were going crazy, exasperated and fatigued with the all the balls puns that we were unable to stop making. Finally, someone wearily muttered, 'This is not a productive area of discussion,' and voila! Timeless comedy genius, plus we got to go home."

For those not in the know, "War Is the H Word" sees the Planet Express crew get drafted into military service. They go to a far-off world populated by hyper-intelligent testicles, which is already comedy genius. The army from Earth brings U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger along with Bender to handle the negotiations and try to reach a truce. 

With a premise like that, you would expect a lot of jokes about the nether-regions to pop up, and that's precisely what happens. However, it seems as though for this one particular joke, the writing staff wanted something legendary to come out of Kissinger's mouth. While it's a shame Groening didn't talk the discarded testicle puns that came up during that writing session, we imagine everything sounded as though they were trying too hard to come up with a funny line. The "productive area of discussion" line is just understated enough to fly under the radar, making for comedy gold that really stands out in the episode. The writers sure did have a lot of chutzpah dedicating so much time to the bit.