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Where The Big Bang Theory's Bazinga Actually Came From

Last night, a slew of famous names came together over at NBC for the An All-Star Tribute To James Burrows special. Among these was the cast of The Big Bang Theory, who popped in to talk Burrows’ influence on the series and tells some anecdotal stories from the set. There was also a comment from series lead Jim Parsons explaining where his character’s famous catchphrase "bazinga" actually comes from. 

There was a writer, I think it was Steve Holland, and apparently he used to say this in real life, and the writers decided to use it and I’ve been stuck with it ever since.

This isn’t the first time that someone related to The Big Bang Theory has said that a writer inspired the "bazinga" catchphrase. In the past, we’ve heard that a writer fond of pranking his fellow creative team used to throw the phrase out willy-nilly after pranks were successfully accomplished. There's other anecdotal evidence that the writer might actually have been Stephen Engel and not Steve Holland, but the basic story still stands. A writer used to play pranks on the set and would say "bazinga." This later led Sheldon to be a character who would say "bazinga" in big moments, starting with the time that Leonard was working on a whiteboard problem, only to be told by Sheldon that there was a mistake. After Leonard went over the evidence again, Sheldon revealed it was totally fine and he was just joshing with him, then crowing, “Bazinga.” Art imitating life at its finest. 

What I liked most about Jim Parson’s comment during the James Burrows special is that he jokes about being "stuck" with the phrase, which is certainly one of the most memorable sitcom catchphrases, up there with "Yada yada yada" and "You got it dude." It’s likely to follow Jim Parsons around long after The Big Bang Theory ends its run (which might actually be sooner rather than later.) That’s pretty incredible, considering "bazinga"reportedly wasn’t even scripted the first time. Instead, it was something that was thrown in during taping at the very last minute. 

The Big Bang Theory is currently airing its ninth season on CBS. In that time, we’ve seen awkward single men get married, we’ve seen Penny transition into an adult career and we’ve seen one female character find out that she’s pregnant. We’ve also heard the word "bazinga" get thrown out quite a bit. Here’s to hoping it gets thrown out numerous more times before CBS gives the show—and in extension the catchphrase—an official end date. 

You can catch new episodes of The Big Bang Theory on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET or watch the fill James Burrows tribute, here. In addition, if you’d like to know what the networks have coming up, check out our network TV premiere schedule

Jessica Rawden

Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.