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It is one of the most legendary genres of physical comedy: an object of varying dimension and size — perhaps a foot or a golf ball, but it also could be a fish — is sent hurtling directly into a man’s nether regions with significant velocity, and the recipient of the blunt force trauma registers a mushrooming burst of nauseating pain across his face, instinctively clutching the area of impact and collapsing to the ground in acute agony.
It’s called the groin hit, and it is a lowest-common-denominated delight of the highest order on America’s Funniest Home Videos, 27 seasons and counting. The goofy ABC series (once hosted by Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron, now hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro) that features home-shot homespun mishaps celebrates its 600th episode on Sunday night (7 p.m. ET/PT), and to mark the occasion, we asked the AFV producers to assemble the mother of all supercuts for us — one that boasts all sorts of go-to gonad calamities. Behold: 600 groin shots in 600 seconds.
Yes, that’s 10 minutes of sustained pain involving light sabers and track meets and kangaroos and dog bites and trampolines and Mickey Mouse and bowling balls and jugglers and more kangaroos and weddings and balance beams and piñatas and yo-yos and karate kicks and swans and Spider-Man and you really just need to watch this. (By the way, “Pool Fool,” which is No. 235 in this reel, was the internet-voted winner of the Greatest Groin Hits contest in the 300th episode.) But before you strap on your athletic supporters and press play, scroll down and read what AFV head writer Mike Palleschi had to say about the show’s bread and nutter.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why is a groin hit so funny? Are we wired as humans to laugh at searing pain delivered in a split second to an unsuspecting victim that’s not us?
MIKE PALLESCHI: Yeah, I think it’s the fact that it’s not you — and the added twist that it’s your favorite body part betraying you.
What makes for a good groin hit? How much of it is impact and how much of it is aftermath?
I think it’s all about the reaction. Someone who gets a great hit but doesn’t show the pain, it’s like, “Well, who cares?” But even a minor hit and a good grimace — it’s all about the grimace. You’ve got to feel his pain.
By the way, what is the proper terminology to use? Groin hit? Crotch hit? Nut shot?
We say “groin” and “crotch” because we can’t say “nut.” There a lot of words we can’t use on a family-friendly show.
Which type of objects do you find to be the funniest? The bigger the better? The weirder the better? I see plenty of just-caught fish whipping their tails into dude’s crotches.
Weird objects are good. A projectile object is always better than an elbow. And it’s always better when it’s something launched from one of the children who is born from that groin, just that added level of irony.
That’s funny because I was just about to ask you: How big of a factor is the person who’s delivering the hit? The innocent little kid who seems unaware that he or she has just delivered a death blow to Dad’s junk always seems to work.
Always better… When I had my son — he’s 12 now — I was amazed at how many times I got an elbow, a knee or a foot into the groin. I think everyone should give a new dad a cup if he doesn’t already have one.
Along with a camera. Is it preferable that the person is acting like a jerk or a goof beforehand? Like, they were asking to go down?
The comeuppance is always nice. It’s nice to see someone get hit in the body part that they were just acting like.
We see more crotch hits with men than women. Is it just a male-dominated genre, for obvious reasons of plumbing?
Men are so much more sensitive down there. And we like to laugh more at men than we like to laugh at women. For all the damage we’ve done to the world, we deserve it more.
I don’t see too many old people on the show taking it in the nuts. Do you not get a lot of submissions with them?
I don’t think we’ve had too many. There was the famous one of the grandpa and the piñata. It’s his grandkid hitting him, which is nice. He had one of the best grimaces too.
So, you’d encourage more of those submissions?
Yeah. I just think old people are around things moving around their genitalia a lot less frequently than young dads.
Are any too graphic — or just painful — to show?
We had a pig biting a boy there once, and it was a little much because the dad laughed and I just thought, “There may be some damage there.” (Laughs)
Do you get graphic ones that are a little bloody?
We’ve never seen blood but we certainly wouldn’t show it if we thought it was.
I know that you couldn’t air naked ones, but do people send them in?
I don’t think we’ve ever gotten one. We’ve seen guys run into rooms with their pants off when an earthquake had happened. Or pants fall down. But never hitting the naked junk. That’s just not our time slot.
Are you a little sick of showing groin hits and maybe you’d prefer to show other types of creative clips — but it’s like Led Zeppelin, and the crowd is chanting for “Stairway to Heaven”?
Yeah, you gotta play your “Stairway.” It’s what people come to expect. [But] with every new thing, there’s always a new way to get hit in the groin. Like with the hoverboard.
Is there one clip that’s considered the best or favorite in the writers’ room?
The one that I mentioned before: The grandpa with the piñata. It had everything. You’re thinking it’s just going to be a piñata clip and then he got it. And he turned to camera too. He wasn’t even facing the right way. He turned with his mouth open, and it was perfect.
What would be the dream groin hit? Is there one that you’d like to see?
You know, it’s just something that surprises you, so if you’ve dreamed it up ahead of time, it’s not going to happen. The ones that you don’t think are going to be a groin hit are usually better than the ones where it’s dad pitching a Wiffle ball to his kid, where you see it coming a mile away.
How do you feel about the legacy of the show being tied to a groin hit?
I’m fine with that… It’s a small part of [AFV], but every show seems to have at least one. I know my wife likes dogs and kids much more than groins, and I think there’s a lot of people out there like that, but they’re so short that even if you don’t like them, they’re over pretty quickly.
What are the AFV writers’ 10 favorite clips of all time? Click here to watch.
Watch the full 600 groin hits in 600 seconds above.