Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Special Kind Of Stupid

Posted by Elyse Bruce on January 16, 2013

There’s a phrase that is rising in popularity these days.  It has to do with the degree to which someone is accused of being stupid … stupid to the point where there’s no sense of logic to be found in what they say or do. Those people are referred to as being a “special kind of stupid.”

Back in 2008, television series “Rules of Engagement” had Jeff Bingham state his opinion to Audrey Bingham about Adam taking off with one of his exes by saying:

That kid is a special kind of stupid.

On 2 July 2005, the author of the “Adventures In Narcissism” blog wrote about the television commercial that played during “Black Hawk Down.” She began her blog article by stating:

Calling people who are not sensible a “special kind of stupid” is one of my favorite things to do. The first time I heard the phrase, it was uttered by a stand-up comedian who was talking about dieting and how annoyed she was by the wafer-thin girls who giggle and say, “Ooops, I forgot to eat. Teehee.” Her response to this was, “You gotta be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.

So who was this stand-up comedian SuperKate referenced? In the early 1980s, Roseanne Barr had this to say about skinny people in her stand-up routine:

Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like “You know, sometimes I forget to eat!” Now, I’ve forgotten my address, my mother’s maiden name, and my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.

Online, Idiomation has seen the aforementioned quote attributed to adult entertainer Siouxsie Q (not to be mistaken for the English singer-songwriter Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banchees fame).

It’s highly doubtful that Siouxsie Q spoke the idiom special kind of stupid prior to Roseanne Barr including the expression in her stand-up routine.

Idiomation therefore pegs the expression special kind of stupid to the early 1980s and attributes its creation to Roseanne Barr.  Who knew?

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6 Responses to “Special Kind Of Stupid”

  1. These are always great reads! I find myself coming away with more understanding of the English language every time I read one of these entries 🙂

  2. Diane said

    The original quote is from Marsha Warfield, an actress and stand up comedienne, who was in the cast of “Night Court” with Harry Anderson.

    • Thanks for posting, Diane, and mentioning the very talented Marsha Warfield.

      After additional research , Idiomation uncovered that in the February 29th edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) back in 1988, a news story reported that Marsha Warfield had said: “You’ve got to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.” The story indicated that Ms. Warfield had said it a year previous in February 1987.

      However, Roseanne Barr used the expression in her early stand-up comedy routines, prior to her appearance on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” in 1985.

      • Walt said

        The only thing I know without a doubt is that the joke you credit to Roseanne Barr was part of Marsha Warfield’s act for years.

  3. John said

    All I know is I would like to banish to hell forever the first person that uttered this phrase and unleashed it upon the world.

  4. […] a special kind of stupid aren’t you?” The original phrase  actually came from  Roseanne Barr  during one of her stand up acts, “Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say […]

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