tonys 2018

The Best New Jokes in the Mean Girls Musical

Photo: Joan Marcus

The team behind the Tony-nominated Mean Girls (creator Tina Fey, musician Jeff Richmond, and lyricist Nell Benjamin) faced a difficult challenge when they decided to adapt a much-beloved film for the stage. How many classic lines will the musical retain? What changes will the audience tolerate, let alone enjoy? What tweaks will give the musical its own life, rather than just re-create the movie at twice the run time? And most importantly, just how dumb will Karen be? Don’t worry. Karen is as clueless as ever, and a majority of the movie’s classic lines remain fetch. Other jokes, however, have been updated, blown out, or simply switched up for a little something new. Fresh off their nominations for Best Musical, Best Book for a Musical, and many more, here is a very subjective list of all the best new jokes in the Mean Girls musical.

Cady, when told her family would be leaving Kenya for Chicago:
“America? Maybe I can meet an obese person.”

Karen Smith still has no idea how to spell orange, but at least she’s putting pen to paper:
Damian: “I once saw her put a ‘d’ in the word ‘orange.’”

While some jokes sound very modern, others feel like they were found on the film’s cutting-room floor. For example, their classmates’ rave reviews of Regina George:
Caitlyn Caussin: “Regina George saved my life once! ‘Cause one time at Wiener Circle, she saw that I was choking, and she told me to stop choking. And I did!”

Rachel Hamilton, a black classmate, on Regina’s popularity:
“Regina George is considered the prettiest girl in school. And I’m like, okay, white people.”

Gretchen, letting the cracks show:
“Sometimes I feel like an iPhone without a case. Like, I know I’m worth a lot, and I have a lot of good functions, but at any time I could just shatter.”

Karen is blissfully given a full song-and-dance number, “Sexy,” about sexy Halloween costumes in which she introduces the many options her friends wear to a party (Sexy corn! Sexy Abraham Lincoln! Sexy Rosa Parks!). Karen is a Sexy Mouse, duh. During the song, Karen has a sexy realization.
Karen: (sung) “I can be a sexy doctor / And cure some sexy cancer!” (spoken) “That’s not right, is it?”
Gretchen: “No.”
Karen: “I can sexy cure some cancer.”
Gretchen: “No.”
Karen: “I can cure sex cancer?”
Gretchen: “Sex cancer doesn’t exist.”
Karen: (dramatic, excited pause) “I did it!!”

Gretchen, taken aback by Cady’s decidedly unsexy Halloween costume:
“If you don’t dress slutty, that’s ‘slut shaming’ us.”

When Cady becomes Queen Bee, the North Shore juniors are willing to do more than just buy Army pants and flip-flops to be like her.
Caitlyn Caussin: “Cady Heron is, like, effortlessly perfect. I would kill my whole family and eat glass for a hundred years to be that effortless.”

In the lead up to the song-and-tap number “Stop,” which rings a lot of the same bells as The Book of Mormon’s “Turn It Off,” Damian warns Cady to stop obsessing over Aaron.
Damian: “Caddy, I did a paper on this! Our prefrontal cortex isn’t fully formed until we’re 25. That’s why we’re not allowed to rent cars! ‘Cause we will wreck them just to make a cool Boomerang!”

Mrs. George, trying to console a weight-obsessed Regina:
“Honey, I know you’re not happy with your body right now but remember, real beauty comes from the face.”

Ms. Norbury, responding to the Burn Book riot:
“I tried to break up a fight and one of ‘em … stabbed me in the leg … with either an Epipen … or one of those pens that has five colors. Either way, my heart is racing.”

Mr. Duvall: “Never, ever, in my 14 years as an educator have I see such vicious behavior. And I used to teach computers at Joliet Penitentiary!”

The film’s girl-power message reaches the stage intact, but, since it’s 2018, it feels remiss might not to acknowledge the role firearms now play in the average teenager’s life.
Ms. Norbury: “We have to stop beating each other up over everything little thing, ‘cause meanwhile, men are running around grabbing butts and shooting everybody — (catching self) Not you, Rick! Not you, Rick!”
Mr. Duvall: “No, I get it. I got shot in the butt at Joilet.”

The musical offers a touch more backstory for the Girl Who Doesn’t Even Go Here, specifically, why she happened to be at North Shore in the first place.
Damian: “She doesn’t even go here!”
Ms. Norbury: “Do you even go to this school?”
Teary Girl: “I’m here for a track meet, but I have a lot of feelings.”

Ms. Norbury, on the upside of being a suspected drug pusher:
“You know, when the police tore apart my house looking for imaginary heroin, I found this old calculator I thought I had lost. So, totally worth it.”

Turns out, in the Mathlete clique, Kevin G. is to Gretchen as Marwan Jitla is to Regina.
Cady: “‘Schquillz?’”
Kevin G.: “It’s a cool new way of saying ‘skills.’”
Marwan Jitla: “Kev, stop trying to make ‘schquillz’ happen. It’s not gonna happen!”

As a Mean Girls fan, you have undoubtedly watched the deleted scene in which Regina and Cady share a moment at Spring Fling. The dialogue is very similar to the musical.
Regina: “People say I’m a bitch, but you know what they would call me if I was a boy?”
Cady: “Strong?”
Regina: “Reginald. That’s what my mom was going to name me if I was a boy, so honestly I’d rather be ‘bitch.’”

So not only did Tina Fey get to have her cut scene reinstated in the canon (Are musical adaptations canon? Discuss amongst yourselves), the scene also gets, that’s right, a Trump joke.
Regina: “If you’re going to be happy in life, Cady, you have to not care what people say about you. Like truly not care. That’s what I keep trying to explain to the president on Twitter but he blocked me.”

The Best New Jokes in the Mean Girls Musical