21

In Futurama 5ACV16, character Leela, while in court, says "May it plizzle the cozizzle" instead of "may it please the court" to the judge (Snoop Dogg's head).

I am not native English speaker, but I understand it is supposed to be funny. One part of being funny is the fact that wrong expression is used in the courtroom. However, I feel there is also some English language aspect of this being funny.

So, why is it funny? What is "cozizzle"? Is there some cultural context of this joke I am missing?

Is it funny because "plizzle" rhymes with "cozizzle", and "cozizzle" mimics some words from the Snoop Doggs songs? Which words? I searched his lyrics, found nothing relevant. Googling "cozizzle" finds nothing relevant as well. Is it supposed to mimic ethnical slang?

Any suggestions are welcome.

28

Is there some cultural context of this joke I am missing?

Yes.

Is it funny because "plizzle" rhymes with "cozizzle", and "cozizzle" mimics some words from the Snoop Doggs songs?

Yes as well. Snoop Dogg popularized the slang (in black culture in the US) of adding the -izzle suffix (and sometimes infix) to various words. He does it in many songs, including Drop It Like It's Hot and Tha Shiznit. He also does it as a guest in other rappers' songs, such as the intro to Dr. Dre's The Chronic.

The -izzle suffix, however, existed long before Snoop Dogg more or less made it famous. It was originally "used by African American pimps and jive hustlers of the 1970s," according to the Wiktionary article to which I will link.

Check out the Wiktionary article on the matter, and do a Google search for snoop dogg izzle to get lots of info.

  • Thanks. I also located it in urban dictionary – mzu Apr 30 '15 at 0:56
  • 18
    Feel free to markizzle this shizzle as accepted if it works for rizzle. – user85526 Apr 30 '15 at 6:53
  • 12
    When controversy arose over plagiarism in Dogg's songs, it went to the English High Court, leading to what I consider the best ever opening to a written judgment: "There is something peculiar about a system in which three men in wigs and gowns spend days discussing the exact meaning of the words "Drizzle on my nizzle"." – TimLymington Apr 30 '15 at 8:48
  • 2
    @TimLymington Awesome find, do you have a link to some documentation about that? Would love a read – Florian Peschka Apr 30 '15 at 9:58
  • 3
    @FlorianPeschka "This led to the faintly surreal experience of three gentlemen in horsehair wigs examining the meaning of such phrases as “mish mish man” and “shizzle (or sizzle) my nizzle”." Confetti-Records-v-Warner-Music.pdf – Nigel Touch Apr 30 '15 at 14:29
20

While other answers have been correct in identifying Snoop Dogg's popularization of the term, I think some explanation on the actual joke may be of use to you as well.

As you already spotted, "If it plizzles the cozizzle" is meant as a Snoop Dogg-style translation of "If it pleases the court".

Keep in mind that Futurama is set in the future. The fact Leela uses that statement in an actual court, and no one even laughs or objects, points towards that being the correct thing to say in the year 3000.

If we hear Shakespearean English today, it sounds haughty. As the only people still occupied with the older versions of English (or traditional pronunciations) generally are. Its historical context (and contrast by using it today) also carries a connotation of intellectualism.
However, during Shakespeare's day, that was the lingua franca, i.e. how everybody spoke. It was normal, maybe even considered vulgar dialect (as the actual upper class at that point spoke Latin/French (not sure for English history, to be honest)).

According to Futurama's joke, the same has happened to the izzle-speak. It used to be a lingua franca/vulgar way of speaking to us, but over time, it was regarded as more historical, and in turn more intelligent.

If it stands to reason that past languages sound overly haughty to us, it must stand to reason that the people in the year 3000 regard our historical (to them) izzle-speak to sound haughty.

  • 3
    The actual upper class in Shakespeare's time (late 16th and early 17th centuries) often did know Latin and French. Queen Elizabeth certainly did. Furthermore, Latin was and still is used in some ceremonial contexts and in the Church. But they habitually spoke English to each other. Lingua franca doesn't mean "how everyone / common people speak", it means a language in common spoken by those who don't necessarily share a native tongue. It's Italian, referring literally to French (which was the language of international discourse and diplomacy), then to any language with that role. – Steve Jessop Apr 30 '15 at 13:42
  • Speaking of Church use, it was during the reign of Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, that William Tyndale became the first to print the Bible in English. The inability of the uneducated masses to access scripture, since it was available only in Latin, could reasonably be described as "a major political issue" at the time ;-) Not that the uneducated masses could read English themselves, but being read to in Latin was competely wasted on them. Tyndale was executed for heresy in Flanders. Henry later also published an English bible. – Steve Jessop Apr 30 '15 at 13:55
  • Lingua franca can also be used as a "people's language". I originally learned of the word during Latin class, as Greek was the Romans' lingua franca (meaning it was how people in daily life communicated), whereas Latin was the more official language. I also assumed English upper class spoke French, due to the duality between words like chicken/poultry, cow/beef, lamb/veal, ... – Flater Apr 30 '15 at 13:56
  • As a Flemishman myself, I apologize for the execution ;) Also to note, didn't Shakespeare specifically write plays for the masses, as opposed to for the upper class? That would confirm the language he used adhered more to what the lower classes could understand, not the upper class. Making it more vulgar or everyday than it sounds to us now. – Flater Apr 30 '15 at 13:58
  • Following the Norman conquest, yes the nobility did speak French habitually until some time around the late 14th century. I forget which kings spoke what languages and to whom, but basically over the course of the Hundred Years War, the English nobility felt it both patriotic and wise to become English as opposed to French! – Steve Jessop Apr 30 '15 at 13:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.