It’s a cartoon we’ve all seen a million times: There’s a fairly well dressed man walking along, and he’s aloof—and then he’s up-ended, arms flailing, legs following into the air. Maybe he has those little motion lines underneath him, tracing where his feet were before they left the ground.
You saw this coming, of course, because in the frame before, there’s a banana peel lying in wait.
The banana peel is so synonymous with slipping that we know how this joke ends right when it starts. We’ve seen it in cartoons just like this, in comedy pratfalls, on television.
How did this happen? Did anyone ever really slip on a banana peel? And… why a banana? Why not an orange? Or… any fruit that’s actually grown here in the U.S.?
We answer those questions, and trace the gag allllll the way back on today’s episode of Burnt Toast.