Looney Toons Painted Tunnel On A Wall Gag depicting wile e coyote.

Looney Toons Painted Tunnel On A Wall Gag

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Updated Jul 20, 2022 at 12:58PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jul 19, 2022 at 03:04PM EDT by Adam.

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Looney Toons Painted Tunnel On A Wall Gag refers to an oft-referenced visual joke from the animated series Looney Toons. In "Road Runner" shorts, Wile E. Coyote would frequently attempt to catch Road Runner by painting a tunnel onto the side of a mountain so that the illusion would make Road Runner crash. However, Road Runner would somehow run through the painted tunnel, with Wile E. Coyote then attempting to run through the tunnel himself and crash. The gag became a common reference on Twitter during the 2010s and early 2020s, usually to mock people prone to exaggerating damaging stories or telling lies about other groups of people.


The first instance of the "painted tunnel" gag appeared in the Looney Toons short "Fast and Furry-ous," released September 17th, 1949.[1] This was also the first short to feature Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. In one of Wile E. Coyote's plans to catch Road Runner, he paints an elaborate road leading to a mountainside, where he paints a tunnel. Road Runner is able to somehow run through the tunnel, but Wile E. Coyote fails to do the same (shown below). The gag became widely referenced in cartoons over the following 70 years, as other cartoons put their own spin on it.[2]

The gag's prevalence in animation led to it being referenced online, usually in jokes where people point out others or their own foreseeable errors. One early reference is an October 20th, 2013, tweet by Twitter user @TylerSchmall[3] that gained 29 retweets and 55 likes in roughly nine years (shown below).


Over the following nine years, the gag became a common way to mock others' ignorance on Twitter. In particular, it saw usage as a way to punch rightward in political jokes. For example, on April 8th, 2016, Twitter user @leyawn[4] used the gag in the persona of a political centrist complaining about Bernie Bros, gaining over 130 retweets and 730 likes in six years (shown below, left). On October 30th, 2018, Twitter user @hurtdeeronline[5] made a similar joke in the persona of a Republican complaining about the "tolerant left," gaining eight retweets and 39 likes in four years (shown below, right).

leon @leyawn ... what the f---?? a man with a bernie 2016 tattoo painted a tunnel on the wall in front of me, causing me to bonk my head 7:20 PM - Apr 8, 2016 Twitter for iPhone بیری Hurtdeer @hurtdeeronline the so called "tolerant left" painted a very realistic tunnel on a wall, causing me to drive into it at speed, and, yes, killing me instantly 1:32 PM Oct 30, 2018 Twitter Web Client . . ...

The gag has seen similar usage in the early 2020s. For example, on July 5th, 2021, Twitter user @rollerska8er[6] referenced it as a way to mock TERFs and other anti-trans activists, gaining over 50 retweets and 300 likes in one year (shown below, left). On September 23rd, 2021, user @Julian_Epp[7] referenced the gag as a way to mock Elon Musk fanatics, gaining over 70 retweets and 800 likes in roughly a year (shown below, right).

YANKEE GO HOME @rollerska8er When will this tide of hate be stopped? 6:14 AM Jul 5, 2021 Twitter Web App : Trans activists from Twitter painted a tunnel on a wall and I, mistaking the painting for a real tunnel, ran at full speed into the wall, immediately flattening myself out and forcing me to walk away from the scene making accordion sounds. . ... Jules @Julian_Epp Tesla's autopilot drove into a wall that was painted to look like a tunnel. All of my teeth were replaced with piano keys and I was crushed into the shape of an accordion. But it's still better than any gas guzzler. Thank you Elon 11:53 AM . Sep 23, 2021 Twitter for iPhone .

Various Examples

mike mulloy: give me $400,000 now. @handsomeadult BREAKING: new footage inside Robb Elementary shows officers running into a wall that had a tunnel painted on it. 11:36 AM Jul 18, 2022 from Los Angeles, CA Twitter for iPhone . . ... Marella Gayla @MarellaGayla ... open letter against cancel culture = wall painted like a tunnel, for people with phds 8:46 AM Feb 9, 2022 Twitter Web App 1 old tom @YuckyTom BREAKING: rudy giuliani found dead lying next to brick wall painted to look like a tunnel 9:24 PM Nov 18, 2020 Twitter for iPhone . DANI Alex H-M @Pieford ... Hearing reports that protestors were armed with pianos to drop on the police, replacing all of their teeth with piano keys. Others painted a realistic tunnel on a wall and lured police towards it with donuts. Shocking violence from the mob. 11:49 AM Mar 27, 2021 Twitter for iPhone THE 10 AND 500 DON'TS Andrew Rosas @MrAndrew Rosas Number of times I've painted a tunnel on a canyon wall only to have my enemy run through it and then smashing my face into smithereens when I try: 5 1:41 AM. Apr 18, 2022 Twitter for iPhone . Patrick Fenelon @Patrick_Fenelon "Ghislane Maxwell was found dead after driving her car into a wall with a tunnel painted on it. More at 11" 6:05 PM Jul 2, 2020 Twitter for iPhone

Search Interest


External References

[1] Wikipedia – Fast and Furry-ous

[2] TV Tropes – Painted Tunnel Real Train

[3] Twitter – @TylerSchmall

[4] Twitter – @leyawn

[5] Twitter – @hurtdeeronline

[6] Twitter – @rollerska8er

[7] Twitter – @Julian_Epp

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