The liquor-poker joke

Bravo has been doing re-runs of Inside the Actors Studio shows, several each morning. A few days ago, Mike Myers (actor, comedian, singer, screenwriter, and film producer) was up, so the hour was packed with plenty of good-natured bad taste. A fair amount of time was devoted to Myers’s 2008 comedy The Love Guru, which aroused much critical venom when it came out (I haven’t seen it). Myers was especially pleased with an elaborate double entendre in the movie — the information, or advice:

Liquor up front, poker in back.

(That is, either there is liquor up front — in the front of this place — and poker in (the) back; or you should lick her up front and poke her in back.) Yes, tasteless.

There are variants, in particular with in (the) rear instead of in back. And you can buy mugs, t-shirts, etc. with the slogan on them. Here it’s put in Mr. Bean’s mouth:

(though I doubt that Mr. Bean ever said such a thing).

Myers didn’t claim to have originated the joke, only to have appreciated and disseminated it.

On the movie, from Wikipedia:

The Love Guru is a 2008 romantic comedy film directed by Marco Schnabel in his directorial debut, written and produced by Mike Myers, and starring Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Verne Troyer, John Oliver, Omid Djalili, and Ben Kingsley. In addition to starring in the film, Myers wrote The Love Guru with Graham Gordy and produced it with Gary Barber

Plot: Darren Roanoke, the star player of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is suffering from stress because his wife, Prudence, has left him for Jacques “Le Coq” Grandé [played by Timberlake], who is the goaltender of rival team Los Angeles Kings, his nickname apparently a nod to being exceedingly well-endowed. Roanoke’s stress causes his hand to shake, which affects his hockey performance, so team owner Jane Bullard enlists the support of Guru Maurice Pitka [played by Myers] to help Darren with his stress so that the team can hopefully break their losing streak.

Many of the characters are given preposterous bad-pun names (like drag queens): Coach Punch Cherkov, Guru Satchabigknoba, Gagandeep Singh, Guru Tugginmypudha [played by Sir Ben Kingsley]. (Meanwhile, a number of people appear as themselves, among them Mariska Hargitay, Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, and Deepak Chopra.)

A small sample of the critical reception:

Jay Stone of the National Post gave the film one star and said the film “is shockingly crass, sloppy, repetitive and thin. … mostly the film is 88 minutes of ridiculous sight gags and obscene puns.”

Obscene puns like the one above.

One Response to “The liquor-poker joke”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    On Facebook, Aric Olnes reminds us that places with liquor in the front and poker in th back really did exist (and might still):

    My father worked as a bartender at Harry’s Bar on B Street in San Mateo for 28 years. It was one of 3 places in San Mateo County with legal gambling. Artichoke Joe’s was another such place. It was a liquor in the front and poker in the rear kinda place.
    Up front was a smoke-filled bar with Korean War vets and in back were the smoke-filled card tables. There was a rear entrance for folks who didn’t want to be seen.

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