In "Friends", season 7 episode 1 (2000), Joey, who is 31, wants to look and behave like a nineteen-year-old for his audition and uses "'sup" and "whack" in dialog with Chandler (from IMDb):

[Joey comes out from his room wearing ridiculous clothes. He has to look nineteen for an audition]

Joey: 'Sup? 'Sup, dude?

Chandler: [putting his hands up] Take whatever you want, just please don't hurt me.

Joey: So, you're playing a little Playstation, huh? That's whack. Playstation is whack. 'Sup with the whack Playstation, 'sup? Huh? Come on, am I nineteen or what?

Chandler: Yes, on a scale from one to ten, ten being the dumbest a person can look, you are definitely nineteen.

I understand that Joey is using (or trying to use) teen slang. But was this slang used by teens in the late 1990's or was this slang that Joey used as a teen (e.g. about 15 years earlier) and thus making him looking more ridiculous?

  • @AndyT The question is not about definition.
    – Drossel
    Mar 29, 2018 at 8:20
  • I've revised to make it so and retracted my Close vote.
    – AndyT
    Mar 29, 2018 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


The character Joey is attempting, with no success, to appear a specific age, and thus also appear privy to idiomatic language specific to the youth of that age at the specific time in which the situation is set: that is, in the vernacular common in 1998-2000, when Joey was 31, not the vernacular common in 1989, when Joey was 19.

Were he depicting the slang common in the US at the time of his youth, he would be saying "Dude, f$%k dude, bro, major uncool" or something similar.

The comedic aspect is the combination of the juxtaposition of his clear actual age and his attempt to appear younger, and his concomitant utter failure to capture the tone, style and tenor of the vernacular speech common at that time for that age and cultural cohort.

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