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  1. #1
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    Default Regular riot Alice

    Hi it's me again,
    Six men are trying to stop smoking. They have to put money in a can each time they smoke a cigarette. In the morning, T. run into L. who is smoking a cigar. Later on, they meet again at their job, with the other guys who are trying to stop smoking. In the following dialog, I don't understand the expression "regular riot Alice".
    T : Get your money in the can, Fidel Castro ?
    L : You're a regular riot Alice.
    F : T. bagged L. crossing the street with a big old heater going.

    Is that mean "you're a stool pigeon" ?

    Sorry for the slang

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Regular riot Alice

    Hello Pol

    It seems to be a reference to a quotation from a tv programme called The Honeymooners:

    "You're a riot, Alice.. you're a regular riot."

    This means literally "you are fun to be with, Alice, a lot of fun!", but is intended as sarcasm, and thus means "you are no fun at all".

    (Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the programme, so I can't tell you who Alice is.)

    In your context, the phrase "You're a regular riot, Alice" expresses a humorous objection to T's enforcing of the "smoking" forfeit.

    All the best,

    MrP
    ______________

    PS: There appears to be a recording of the phrase in its "Honeymooners" context here:

    http://www.wavsource.com/tv/honeymooners.htm
    Last edited by MrPedantic; 17-Aug-2006 at 00:00.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Regular riot Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by polaris View Post
    Hi it's me again,
    Six men are trying to stop smoking. They have to put money in a can each time they smoke a cigarette. In the morning, T. run into L. who is smoking a cigar. Later on, they meet again at their job, with the other guys who are trying to stop smoking. In the following dialog, I don't understand the expression "regular riot Alice".
    T : Get your money in the can, Fidel Castro ?
    L : You're a regular riot Alice.
    F : T. bagged L. crossing the street with a big old heater going.
    Is that mean "you're a stool pigeon" ?
    Sorry for the slang
    "Get your money in the can?"
    Did you pay the fine for smoking? 'The can' is a general purpose slang expression with several connotations - most of these are related to the fact that 'the can' is a euphemism for 'the toilet'. This is often applied to prison. Here it just means the money would 'go down the can' - in other words, be wasted.

    "Fidel Castro"
    The Cuban dictator is well-known for smoking cigars - hence the joking reference to someone caught smoking a cigar.

    "You're a regular riot"
    This is a common English slang expression, and is short for "You're a regular laugh riot" - it's sarcastic, and is used to respond to someone who has made a joke at your expense. You are suggesting their joke was so funny that it caused a riot of laughing among everyone who heard it - i.e. obviously it didn't, because the joke is not very funny at all.

    "Alice"
    He's calling the accuser 'Alice in Wonderland' - shorthand slang for someone who makes up an extraordinary fantasy, from the Lewis Carroll novel.

    "T. bagged L."
    'bagged' is slang for 'caught' - by reference to poachers who would put their illicit kills into a bag ('bag' them).

    "a big old heater" - a large smoke, because a large smoking object is producing heat - it is a 'heater'. It may be worth noting that American slang refers to a gun as 'a heater' - it tends to create attention from the legal authorities, making criminals uneasy (or 'hot' for them). This is not the meaning implied here.

    As for 'stool pigeon', try:
    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-sto2.htm

  4. #4
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Regular riot Alice

    I agree with Mr. P that L was quoting Ralph Kramden from the old TV show The Honeymooners. Whenever Alice (his wife) would, for example, make a joke at his expense, he'd say to her (in a very sarcastic voice), "Oh, you're a riot, Alice, a regular riot!" (Basically meaning that even though everyone else thought her comment was funny, Ralph did not.) He often followed this comment with, "Bang, Zoom!" accompanied by a punching gesture, the implication being that he was going to hit her hard enough to send her to the moon. (Very unacceptable today to make jokes about hitting a woman, but this show was from the early 1950s.)

    Example: Ralph, who is very overweight, was complaining about winning only a very small amount of money. He said that tiny amount was nothing but "peanuts."
    Ralph: "Peanuts! Peanuts! What am I supposed to do with peanuts?"
    Alice: "Eat them, like any other elephant!"
    Ralph: (angrily) "Oh, you're a regular riot, Alice...!"

    In the sample dialog you posted, it appears that T caught L walking across the street, smoking a cigar ("a big ol' heater"). T called L out on it, jokingly referring to him as "Fidel Castro," as the Cuban dictator is known for his stogies. L is unhappy not only at being caught smoking, but also for the wisecrack T made, so he grudgingly puts his money in the penalty can, while muttering, "You're a riot, Alice" to T.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Regular riot Alice

    Thanks to all. I'm savoring your very precious and precise responses.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Regular riot Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    [...]

    "You're a regular riot"
    This is a common English slang expression, and is short for "You're a regular laugh riot" - it's sarcastic, and is used to respond to someone who has made a joke at your expense. You are suggesting their joke was so funny that it caused a riot of laughing among everyone who heard it - i.e. obviously it didn't, because the joke is not very funny at all.

    [...]
    I have heard the expression "Everybody is a comedian".
    Is it also said sarcastically, and could it mean that someone
    made a joke at your expense, and/or that you didn't find it funny?

    I learned so much from this one thread! Thank you all.

  7. #7
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Regular riot Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by englishstudent View Post
    I learned so much from this one thread! Thank you all.
    So did I. "Fun to be with" hereby withdrawn from my earlier post, and replaced with "funny" (as clarified by Ouisch).

    MrP

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