The Family Guy Jokes We Can’t Get Out of Our Heads

It seems like everyone has a Family Guy jokes they can't forget. Here are ours.

Photo: Art by Lucy Quintanilla

Family Guy is a divisive show. Whether that’s because of its rough and oftentimes offensive early episodes, the inevitable Simpsons comparisons, or even just Seth MacFarlane’s uncannily-handsome-for-an-animator visage, Family Guy is the kind of thing that few brag about enjoying. 

Still, over the series’ remarkable 22-season run it has churned out some truly incredible jokes. Family Guy’s laissez faire approach to plot, continuity, and basic organization make it at times little more than a joke delivery machine. And reader, some of those jokes are so damn funny. Whether you watch the show regularly or just come across the occasional clip on TikTok, pretty much everyone has at least one Family Guy joke they can’t seem to get out of their head. 

Here are some of ours.

“Lara, is Dylan McDermott nice in person?”

Something about Peter Griffin’s voice embeds itself in your psyche. While MacFarlane started with the roots of a regional New England accent for his titular family guy, he also injects just enough weirdness to make Peter’s dialect one-of-a-kind. That’s why most of my favorite Family Guy jokes involve Peter merely saying a word in a slightly offbeat way. 

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The prime example comes in season 4 episode 28. In the classic cutaway joke format, Peter remarks that his current gig is much better than his old one of “providing night time heat” to Twin Peaks and Wayne’s World actress Lara Flynn Boyle. The scene cuts to Peter with his enormous gut pulled over Lara like a blanket (because she’s very small, you see). The sight gag is whatever but the dialogue that follows is immaculate. As they fall asleep, Peter has an innocent question for Lara like a son would a mother.

“Hey Lara?”


“Is Dylan McDermott nice in person?”



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Peter’s brief and satisfied “good” has echoed around my head for eternity. – Alec Bojalad

“It insists upon itself.”

OK, I couldn’t settle for just one on this list. For my money (and probably many other people’s money), this Godfather gag is the best joke Family Guy has ever pulled off. It combines everything the show does at its best: pop culture references, irreverence, and presenting an argument among family so authentic you swear you’ve had it with yours before.

The joke occurs in the season 4 episode “The Griffin Family History” in which the Griffins find themselves in a locked room quickly filling with water. Since death is imminent, Peter feels as though he must come clean about something. He did not care for The Godfather. For the next minute, Lois, Brian, and Chris (Meg is absent obviously) abandon their fear of death to viciously argue with Peter. Even those who love Francis Ford Coppola’s classic will have to admit that Peter has a point: it does insist upon itself. – AB

“How you comin’ on that novel you’re workin’ on?” 

If not you, then somebody you know is writing a novel. And chances are, it’s one of those invisible novels that chiefly exists as a way to explain why the hallway still hasn’t been painted, and why they were too busy to do the charity Three Peaks Challenge with Phil and Nick from work last August. And this August. And next August.

Embarrassingly few of the people currently ‘writing novels’ are actually doing anything of the sort – a fact that this perfect Family Guy scene nails. Brian’s been cast on a reality TV show and is looking forward to taking some time out to relax. Stewie points out that Brian’s life isn’t exactly chocka with stress and responsibility, and checks in about the status of his novel. (“Got a compelling protagonist, there, hm? Little story brewing there?”) The second anybody mentions they’re working on a novel, it’s impossible to stop Stewie’s tone of voice and sentence inflection (“Talkin’ about that three years ago, yuh. Been working on that the whole time?”) from entering my brain. Maybe just tell me about it when it’s published.

See also: The downbeat resignation of Stephen King’s agent asking “When can I have it?” after King pitches his new lamp monster book idea. Applicable far beyond the work of Stephen King, and similarly unforgettable. – Louisa Mellor

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“Rock lobstah!”

Of all the musical bits in Family Guy, Peter Griffin singing The B-52’s “Rock Lobster” to a distraught Cleveland may not even be in the top ten for some people, and yet my brain just cannot let it go. Between Peter screeching “rock lobstah” at the top of his lungs and his random laugh as he completes a single chorus of the song, I can’t help but laugh myself every time I watch this scene.

Even though I don’t watch Family Guy much anymore, I still remember watching this scene for the first time with my sister and doubling over with laughter at the absurdity of it. To this day, any time one of us finds ourselves with this tune stuck in our heads on a random day, we can’t help but think of Family Guy as we playfully scream “rock lobstah” at each other in our best Peter Griffin impressions. – Brynna Arens

“I have $30,000 in credit card debt!”

If I’m being honest, I forgot about this Peter and Quagmire song for a while, until I saw it circling social media again. But now that it’s come back into my life, it seems more relevant than ever. For some, this song reflects negative spending habits and not being careful with money, but as more and more people struggle with the rising cost of living and have to go into debt just to survive, this upbeat tune has kind of become a way to laugh through the pain of living through a capitalistic hellscape. Because sometimes all you can do about it is sing a catchy little tune while crying into a $5 tub of ice cream. – BA

“Blast, what the devil do children draw… it’s a PHEASANT!”

I don’t even like Family Guy that much, and it’s probably been a decade since I watched it, but even now we quote this Stewie line in our household on a regular basis. It occurs only four episodes into the very first series, when Stewie is suffering from teething pains, so he decides to build a time machine so he can skip forward to when his teething is over. Which, when you think about it, is probably the stupidest reason any character has ever proposed inventing a time machine in the history of fiction.

When his time machine blueprints are accidentally found by some of Peter’s workmates, Stewie scrambles to cover his tracks, and that’s when this glorious line occurs. I can still remember erupting into roars of laughter when I first heard it because it was so left field – what a beautifully stupid thing to say. – Laura Vickers-Green

Family Guy is available to stream on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney+ in the U.K.

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