The Simpsons: 10 Hidden Jokes Everybody Missed

8. Mr Burns€™ Telephone Greeting Is Actually The Original €˜Hello€™

The Simpsons Mr Burns Telephone

Amongst Mr Burns' many peculiarities, one of his most well-known quirks is his weird greeting whenever he answers the phone. Instead of the usual 'hello' or 'who the hell is this?', Mr Burns always uses 'ahoy hoy' as an opening greeting. This odd little greeting actually carries some interesting history behind it.

When Alexander Graham Bell (allegedly) invented the telephone, he recommended that 'ahoy hoy' should be the greeting in which people should use when answering a call. Thomas Edison thought it as kind of stupid and proposed 'hello' as a better alternative. You can guess which one stuck and which one didn't.

But the joke runs deeper still. Not only is Mr Burns' trademark greeting a reference to a small piece of history, but it is also a clever backhanded dig on how old Mr Burns actually is (short answer: very).


My life story is nothing special. I haven't cured ebola, I'm nowhere near stopping terrorism, and I'm still working on that climate change problem. Instead, all I've done so far is put a few hundred words together in an attempt to make people laugh. You can follow me at @Fry_ying_pan but don't be offended if I don't tweet back. It's usually because I've spent too long trying to think up a witty response that the reply window has closed.