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Boot to the Head is a comedy trope and catchphrase mainly associated with the Canadian performance group The Frantics. Since being introduced through the group’s classic hits “Last Will of the Temperament” and “Tai Kwan Leep” in the 1980s, the joke has grown into a popular subject of parodies and re-enactments on YouTube.
The Frantics’ enduring catchphrase was introduced to the Canadian TV audiences through their CBC radio program Frantic Times, which ran from 1981 to 1984. During these years, the group began crafting a comedic trope in which an unsuspecting character gets suddenly kicked in the face by the speaker who yells “boot to the head!” The skit was first released in 1987 as the title track of the group’s second audio album Boot to the Head and further popularized in the United Stated by the California-based radio host DJ Demento in 1991.
The earliest known discussion thread about the phrase and the album was posted on the Usenet group rec.music.dementia by Eric J. Bowersox on September 24th, 1989.
“Last Will and Temperament,” the reading of the will of a quite obnoxious dead guy (I have heard this one; it, too, features that magic phrase which sends my roommate and myself into hysterics :-).)
More recently in 2007, a Phoenix Wright tribute sketch surfaced on YouTube and spawned off a series of MAD-style parodies.
Tai Kwon Leep Parodies
In this skit, an Eastern martial arts master starts off his class by explaining the basic philosophy of a fictional martial art called “Ti Kwan Leep”. An impatient student in the class named Ed Gruberman interrupts the master, wanting to skip the philosophy and learn how to “beat people up.” After several interruptions the master agrees to show Gruberman some moves, and gives him a “Boot to the Head.” Soon enough all the student are given “boots to the head,” and the skit ends. Many IRL parodies of Tai Kwon Leep are performed by martial arts classes.
Last Will & Temperament Parodies
On April 28, 2007, YouTube user CMSPyrowolf uploaded his own Phoenix Wright rendition of the Frantics’ skit, which became a viral video in its own right (as of 1/2010, it is the 50# top-rated video of all time):
Soon, many response videos and unofficial parodies followed, featuring characters from Death Note, Apollo Justice, and even Naruto:
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