A Primer on the Diarrhea Song: Origins, Lyrics, and Structure

Tackling ““The Diarrhea Song”” is no easy task, not just because of its implied simplicity (which, in reality, it isn’t), but also because of its lack of origin tales, first recordings, or proto versions. Much like the folklore of yore, “The Diarrhea Song” simply just… existed.

“The Diarrhea Song” is a fascinating study on how folk songs come to be. In fact, many folklorists, both in America and abroad, have started using “The Diarrhea Song” (along with other “modern” folk songs like John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt) as an example for, well, whatever it is they’re researching at the moment. Again, the lack of origin means these songs can be used as an example for a wide variety of academic fields, from studying linguistic and musical traditions vis-à-vis migration patterns to cultural transmission of tradition.

 

“The Diarrhea Song” Lyrics

Before we get into the lyrics, there are two widely-known variations of “The Diarrhea Song”, with one being claimed as the original. There is no way to know which one came first, but the first variation goes:

Diarrhea, uh, uh, Diarrhea, uh, uh,

People think it’s funny, but it’s really dark and runny

Diarrhea, uh, uh, Diarrhea, uh, uh,

People think it’s gross, but I eat it on my toast

Diarrhea, uh, uh, Diarrhea, uh, uh,

It’s really diarrhea, but it’s really fun to eat

Diarrhea, uh, uh, Diarrhea, uh, uh!

This is known as “The Diarrhea Song (Uh uh)”, and is a slightly simpler version of the second variation. Both variations, however, follow the same lyrical and harmonic format (more on this later).

The second version, and arguably the more popular version, is called “The Diarrhea Song (cha cha cha)” and it goes:

When you sliding into first

With your pants about the burst

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

When you’re riding in a Chevy

And you feel something heavy

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

When you’re sliding into home

And your pants are full of foam

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

When you’re sitting in the bath

And you feel something splash

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

Diarrhea (optional: cha cha cha)

The popularity of the second version stems from the fact that it lends itself better to variation. With “The Diarrhea Song” (cha cha cha), both kids and adults can continue creating verses, often turning it into a game of who can continue the song for as long as possible. To do this, one must simply follow the rhyming scheme and the basic structure of “The Diarrhea Song” (cha cha cha).

 

Where Did It Come From?

Folklorists around the country still disagree on the exact origins of “The Diarrhea Song”, although many agree that the rhyme was first recorded sometime in the mid 60’s. Where exactly in the country it originated from, no one’s really sure; it’s as if parents just came home one day to their kids singing about liquid poop.

Photo from Vintage Nursery Rhymes

Some historians argue that “The Diarrhea Song” has its origins in mid-19th century vaudeville, although evidence of that is lacking. Of course, the vaudeville speculation isn’t ridiculous: many children’s songs like John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt or The Song that Never Ends can trace their roots back to 19th and early 20th century stage acts. As with other children’s songs, and depending on the state, decade, town, county, etc., the tune of “The Diarrhea Song” can be sung in an infinite loop (much to the chagrin of the people around you) so long as one keeps adding lyrics.

“The Diarrhea Song”, however, is strange because of its seemingly overnight creation and propagation, cementing itself into the collective cultural psyche of America in one, fell swoop. “The Diarrhea Song” ear-wormed its way into popular culture, from schoolyards and summer camps, to TV and movies, and even to America’s favorite institution, baseball (more on this later).

 

Structure and Elements of “The Diarrhea Song”

For the purpose of clarity, we will be focusing on breaking down the structure and elements of the second variation of “The Diarrhea Song”, otherwise known as “The Diarrhea Song” (cha cha cha). Because of its infinite loop structure, “The Diarrhea Song” can be continued ad infinitum, for as long as the singers follow its basic lyric formation and elements.

First step: Create a preposition that sets a scene. This is usually accomplished by the use of the word “when”, although this can vary so long as it fits the overall structure.

Next: follow up with a sentence that creates tension. This is usually done by describing urgency, activity, place, and/or awkward time for diarrhea to occur. This step is usually free-form, and the only real rule for this particular song element is that it rhymes with the fourth step (more on this later).

The third step involves the conjunction “and”. This conjunction is the bridge between your setup and the “punchline”. While there are very few “rules” in “The Diarrhea Song”, this bridge is important and should not be skipped.

The fourth step is the punchline and must be rhymed (ala couplet) with the line preceding it. Here, the singer reveals how they know that what they are feeling is, in fact, diarrhea. Use this line to describe, in as funny a detail as possible, the effect of diarrhea. Again, while this step is technically free-form, the only rule to follow is that it must rhyme with the second element.

The fifth and final step is the addition of the chorus. It’s not a Diarrhea Song if the Diarrhea (cha cha cha) Diarrhea (cha cha cha) isn’t included, it will just be nonsense. Traditionalists will insist upon the addition of the cha cha cha, although modern researchers have found that the millennial and Gen Z generations have long since dropped that part.

 

“The Diarrhea Song” in Pop Culture

“The Diarrhea Song” has become so ingrained in our culture that you can find it mentioned in TV shows, movies, and all forms of media. For example, if you’ve heard the baseball version of “The Diarrhea Song,” you might know that it comes from the 1989 film Parenthood.

This version of the song uses baseball references such as sliding into different bases. The lyrics are similar to the second example above, but with some slight changes. Here are the lyrics to Parenthood’s version of “The Diarrhea Song.”

When you’re sliding into first
And your pants begin to burst
That’s diarrhea, diarrhea

When you’re sliding into two
And your pants are filled with goo
That’s diarrhea, diarrhea

When you’re sliding into third
And you feel a greasy turd
That’s diarrhea, diarrhea

When you’re sliding into home
And your pants are filled with foam
That’s diarrhea, diarrhea

You’re getting in a state
‘Cause you’ve left it very late
Diarrhea diarrhea

It comes out of your bum
Like a bullet from a gun
Diarrhea diarrhea

Runs down your leg
Like a scrambled egg
diarrhea diarrhea

It’s not very funny
But it’s very hot and runny
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you climbing up a ladder
And you hear something splatter
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you’re sitting down in class
and the teacher passes gas
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you’re running from the police
and you feel that anal grease
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you’re sitting in your Chevy
And your pants feel heavy
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you’re sitting on the commode
And your butt starts to explode
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you wake up early in the morning
Your sphincter starts exploding
That’s diarrhea diarrhea

If you’re sitting in the pool
And you feel something cool
Diarrhea diarrhea

When your crap starts to turn red
And you wish that you were dead
Diarrhea diarrhea

When your exploding into the bowl
And there’s nothing left on the roll
Diarrhea diarrhea

When you’re running’ down the hall
And you feel something fall
Diarrhea, diarrhea

When you eat your favorite dish
And you feel something squish
Diarrhea, diarrhea

Just when you turn the page
Your bowels start to rage
Diarrhea, diarrhea

When you jump and do a flip
But you feel something drip.
Diarrhea, diarrhea

 

Buzzfeed’s funny article can help jog your memory. Think you and your friends know baseball? After reading the song lyrics, try to continue the song and adding your own lyrics. The game ends when the last person can no longer come up with baseball and diarrhea-related humor.

For another example, here’s “The Diarrhea Song” featured in the animated TV show, Bob’s Burgers.

 

At the end of the day, the whole point of “The Diarrhea Song” is to create a fun, memorable, and funny song that works both for adults and children. For adults, it’s a great way to pass the time and have shallow fun, but for children, “The Diarrhea Song” is more than just because poop is funny: it also teaches them that poop is natural. And, well, funny.

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