Tooncrap #27 - Madballs: Gross Jokes

Gross Incompetence
Nelvana: 1987

Written by: Raymond Gallant

Have you ever read one of those joke books? You know, the ones with the really lame puns. Puns so bad, they wouldn't even be considered funny enough for the back of a Laffy Taffy wrapper? If you've ever wanted a 22 minute cartoon with nothing but that, along with skits so lame, it makes Turn On seem like Rowan & Martin's Laugh In, this is the cartoon for you. Ladies and germs, it's our induction du jour. Madballs: Gross Jokes.

Let's go back to the 80's, shall we? The age when toys weren't just creative, they kicked ass. case in point with the Madballs. A series of rubber balls, each with a grotesque character design. The toys were released around the same time that other gross out products were starting to become a hit with kids. From trading cards, like Wacky Packages, and Garbage Pail Kids, to slimy crap like Gak. The Madball toys fit in perfectly in this era, and were a huge success.

And like I've said countless times, anything successful has an animated series about it.

Well, in the case of Madballs, there was never a full TV show. Instead, there were two VHS releases.

The first was "Escape from Orb" which was meant to be an animated pilot to an eventual series. The story tells of the Madballs, escaping their planet, which has been taken over by a tyrannical dictator. They land on earth, and become what almost every cartoon character was in the 80's, rock stars. I wouldn't call it the worst thing ever, and I may induct it in the future, but for what it was, it was pretty basic, and not that offending.

However, I guess the video wasn't entirely successful as a 2nd video would be released from Nelvana. Instead of a basic animated series plot, they went the route of an animated variety show, packed with some of the worst jokes ever. The video was called "Gross Jokes". The only thing gross about it, is the rather rotten animation, that mixes between basic animation, and a style that reminds me both of animated Monty Python skits, and the opening to "You can't do that on Television".

So, check your funny bone at the door, and don't worry about your sides splitting. It's time we get to the punchline, as we review this thing.

We open our show with a disclaimer, warning us that the viewing of this video may cause the likes of rapid heartbeat, swelling of the nose, loss of facial hair, etc. What is this, a cartoon or a sleeping pill? The disclaimer warns that "If you're seriously considering a rewarding, challenging career as a lawn ornament, this is the show for YOU!" (what?)

Grosser than a mouth full of Brussels sprouts

More tasteless than a cube of tofu

More revolting than mom's latest casserole...

It's Mad Balls Gross Jokes!

Yep, nothing more gross than vegetable humor. We're a minute in folks, it's all down hill from here.

It's time to meet our merry cast of morons. Screaming Meanie, Freakella, Skullface, Dusty, Oculus Orbus, Horn Head, Arrgh (AKA my reaction to this cartoon), and Slobulous.

As well as the host of the show (I think) B.P Bash Brain. Who sounds like Bobcat Golthwait with a head cold. He says that he's never seen anything so gross in his whole life, except for maybe that time at the hospital. Which is our segue to our first skit, "General Malpractice". Oh goody, a General Hospital parody. Even for the 80's that's as fresh as a week old loaf of bread.

We open our skit with Freakella and Screaming Meanie repulsed at the sight of spaghetti, as Dr. Meanie heads to surgery. What follows is about 2 or so minutes of classic one liners, such as:

Freakella: Doctor, the invisible man is waiting for you in the waiting room.
Meanie: That's a good place to wait. Tell him I can't see him now.

Skullface: Doctor, I think the patient's about to croak
Meanie: What, does he have a frog in his throat?

Skullface: Uh, doctor, how long can a madball live without a brain?
Meanie: Well, I don't know Skullface. How old are you?

*hears shuffling noises*

Ya hear that? I believe that's the sound of the Marx Brothers rolling in their graves.

Next up is some attempt at class with a poetry corner segment. It's about as painfully unfunny as you'd think. Moving on..

To Slobulous and Aargh's "Madball Revue." and another knee slapper...

Aargh: Hey Slobulous Man, like what do you call the green stuff between King Kong's toes?
Slob: What?
Aargh: Slow Madball

And then King Kong steps on them.

Dimitri and Sviatoslav they ain't.

Next up is a scene at Chez Hornhead. Are ya in the mood for Restaurant Puns? ARE YA??


Slobulous: Do you have pig's knuckles?
Aargh: of course, man.
Slobulous: Well, wear gloves, and no one will notice.

Skullface: Hey Dusty, remember the last thing we had here?
Dusty: Yeah. Stomach cramps.

*hears rustling noises*

Ya hear that? I believe that's the sound of Barth from You Can't Do That on Television rolling in his grave.

"D'AAAAIIIIII heard that!"

Dammit, this thing's got like another 10 minutes left...

Next up after anotther classic Madballs Revue, is a skit that will no doubt be dated the second the 80's comes to a close. Why it's Lifestyles of the Poor and Retched. We learn of Bashbrain and his many massive failures. And of course the narrator doesn't even try a half assed Robin Leach impersonation. From there it's off to the Cemetery for another laff filled skit. Thankfully this segment is short. Sadly though, this cartoon is still going on.

It's madballs around the world next, and oh goody goody gosh, it's a slideshow accompanied with more jokes. Essentially slides of the Madballs heading to some location, destroying it, and lather, rinse, repeat. And this thing goes on for a good 3 minutes. Thank god this is a video and can fast forward. But hold up, because after that is ANOTHER Madballs revue. Oh boy, what's the joke this time gents?

Aargh: Hey Slobulous, like what did the fly say after he hit the windshield of a car going sixty?
Slob: I don't know, what.
Aargh: I haven't the guts to do that again!

Oh god, I don't think I'm gonna survive this...

And from there we get Hornhead, who's upset that he's had the fewest lines in the show so far. And if nothing happens to change that....

Robby here's gonna get upset.

I... Just.... *sigh*. Let's move on....

So, Hornhead gets his wish, and gets to sing. Lovely, this show's already butchered the fine art of comedy, now music too. That's just great. I mean, it's not Gilbert Gottfried, but it's still pretty horrendous.

Next is a makeover school commercial, which is what you'd expect. Just regular people photoshopped with slobulous' face. as unfunny as you'd expect. From there it's another skit, this time they're all in school, and now we have school related puns. From there it's a game show, "Name That Smell". The answer, if you give a damn, is Hornhead. Finally, after all that, it's the end of the episode as the Gang are stumped with how to end the show. And, they end up in a garbage truck on the way to the dump. The End.

I just.... What can I say? That was the most excrutiating thing I may have inducted yet. Abysmal animation, unlikable characters, not an entertaining segment in the bunch. And most importantly, the jokes just weren't funny. I know this was intended for kids, but this is crap that kids wouldn't laugh at. It's unfunny, unlikable, and detestable garbage that I'm glad never went further than this. This is the image of tooncrap above, and beyond.