Let’s All Make Fun of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader 

March 25, 2024

By Brian Boone

Not to pat ourselves on the back or anything, but Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader has been around for so long (nearly 40 years!) and sold so many copies (10 million!) that we’ve eked our way into the collective consciousness. We’re a public thing, which means we’re the butt of a joke (or recipient of some praise) once in a while. And we appreciate both. Here’s a history of public “potshots” and “tank-yous” for Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader

Thanks, Workaholics 

There was clearly an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader fan working in the writers’ room at Workaholics. The 2011 to 2017 Comedy Central sitcom about three best friends and ne’er do wells who work in a call center and are constantly hacking some scheme, included a running reference to a certain trivia book line. Main character Blake “Blazer” Henderson (Blake Anderson) mentioned his dream to one day create a book of quick-hit fun facts called “Uncle Blazer’s Fun Facts Just to Take a Poop To.” (He does, however, say that that is just “a working title.” 

And thanks you to, as well, The Daily Show 

In a November 2016 segment about the climate of fake news and dishonest politicians, The Daily Show held a satirical funeral for facts. Correspondents gave their eulogies for facts, including Hasan Minhaj. “I always loved facts. I loved them. And as a kid I would spend all day on the toilet reading fun ones out of Uncle John’s Great Big Bathroom Reader,” he said, referring to our 1998 edition. “I wasn’t very popular,” he quipped. 

We thought it was funny, Hard Drive 
Hard Drive is a faux news site, a spinoff of the music-centered The Hard Times delivering satirical news about technology and the internet. In March 2024, Hard Drive ran an article titled, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Desperately Lobbying Congress to Ban TikTok.” Amidst government discussions of banning the smartphone app/social media platform/homemade video distribution app, Hard Drive imagined that a book publisher that made its bread and butter on people reading in the bathroom would feel threatened by a phone activity countless people use to occupy themselves while in the loo. “This issue is so much larger than the latest edition of our Bathroom Reader, which is chock full of corny factoids for you to learn while you’re on the can—all at a price that has to be seen to be believed,” said Melanie Pringle, a company spokesperson the article quoted—who doesn’t really exist.  

Happy to help, 3rd Rock From the Sun 

The 1996 to 2001, Emmy-winning NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun concerned a quartet of aliens who come to Earth and take human form to learn about people and their odd ways. In one episode, one of the aliens-in-disguise spews amusing fun facts to their associates, read out of a paperback book. If you pause the video just right, you can see that he gets his trivia from the most trusted sources in such thing it’s an old copy of an older edition of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader

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