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“That’s What She Said” is an expression used in response to statements that may sound sexual in nature when taken out of context. On the Internet, the joke is often used in image macros, web comics and viral videos.
The phrase was first popularized by Canadian comedian Mike Myers in the 1992 blockbuster comedy Wayne’s World. In the film, Wayne uses the phrase in response to his sidekick Garth while shooting a local access television show in his basement.
Garth: “Hey are you through yet? Cause I’m getting tired of holding this.”
Wayne: “That’s what she said.”
The expression “Said the actress to the bishop” was used as a crude double entendre in nearly the exact same context as “That’s what she said.” According to Wikipedia, the phrase may have been British in origin, dating back to the Edwardian times of the early 1900s.
Urban Dictionary has many entries for the phrase “that’s what she said,” with the earliest created by user Bug on August 26th, 2003:
A response you can say after just about anything to turn it into a sexual inuendo.
Hard to explain in writing, just try it out when you’re hangin around your friends.
On October 23rd, 2006, the web comic Xkcd published a comic titled “That’s What She Said”, which featured a stick figure using the catchphrase in response to a grammatically ambiguous sentence (shown below).
On March 16th, 2009, the “That’s What She Said” application was released on the iTunes store, which provided a button that would play an audio recording of someone saying the phrase. On April 6th, the single topic blog TWSSstories was launched, which provided a platform similar to the FML site where people share anecdotes about the phrase being used in conversation. On January 31st, 2010, Funny Or Die posted a mockumentary video about the origin of “that’s what she said,” starring Megan Mullally and Tom Lennon.
On October 7th, 2011, a “That’s What She Said” page was created on the database TV Tropes, which listed the stock phrase as a subtrope of “Nudge”, a device used to indicate that a double entendre has been delivered. On April 1st, 2012, the tech blog Gizmodo published a post titled “’That’s What She Said’ Receipt is Funnier Than Any Stupid April Fools”, which featured a photograph of a receipt taken at a fast food restaurant which included the phrase after the item “extra wet.” As of July 27th, 2012, the “’That’s What She Said’ Jokes” Facebook page has accumulated over 459,000 likes.
“That’s what she said” was chosen as a catchphrase for the socially awkward Regional Manager Michael Scott for the US version of The Office, which first aired in March of 2005. Michael Scott is known for often behaving in ways that are viewed by others as inappropriate, ignorant and dated.