532: Piano

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Good thing he didn't make it smaller, or it'd need someone three inches tall to play it.
Title text: Good thing he didn't make it smaller, or it'd need someone three inches tall to play it.


This comic is the reverse of the old "twelve inch pianist" joke.

In the original joke, a man presents a miniature piano, which is played by man of proportionate size. When asked about it, he reveals that he found a bottle with a genie inside, but the genie misunderstood his wish, and gave him a 12-inch pianist.

The crux of the joke is that the word pianist sounds similar to the word penis. The man considers having a larger member to be desirable (presumably due to the stereotype that it will make him more sexually appealing), but loses out on the opportunity, due to the misunderstanding.

In this comic, the opposite happens: Cueball wished for a "twelve inch pianist" to play his miniature piano, but was misheard by the genie, implying that the genie instead granted him a "twelve inch penis." Megan quickly grasps the implication, and therefore wants to have sex with Cueball (in accordance with the aforementioned stereotype; and also judging from the weird tone in "...are you").

The title text suggests that if Cueball had made a smaller piano – and had thus wished for a smaller pianist – he would have instead received a smaller penis.

Genies (or the magic lamps containing them) are mentioned in at least five other comics:


[Cueball is holding a box with an open lid. A miniature piano is inside. Megan is looking at it]
Cueball: My hobby is making miniatures. Check this out — it's a fully-functional grand piano.
Megan: Whoa — beautiful.
[Cueball looks at the miniature piano.]
Cueball: Sadly, I've never heard what proper music sounds like on it—the keys are too small to play.
[Cueball closes lid to the piano.]
Cueball: I once asked a genie for someone who could play it for me, but I think he misheard.
Megan: ...are you doing anything later?


For the record, pianist /'piənɪst/ and penis /'pinɪs/ are near homophones in English. This is because pianist has a different stress pattern than piano /pi'æno/. The vagaries of the English language.

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Maybe I'm wrong here, but by looking at the size of the piano compared with Cueball and having read the title text, I wonder if the joke might be that he wished for a 4-5 inch penis instead? I wasn't sure enoough to go ahead an change it though. -- Athang (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

If you look at the piano compared to Cueball's forearm plus hand, they are approximately the same length. Considering how the average male human is slightly shorter in height (1.7 m) than a grand piano is long (2 m), a to-scale pianist would be slightly shorter than Cueball's forearm. The average length of a 1.7 m tall person's forearm plus hand is about 47 cm, so the pianist would need to be about 40 cm. (1.7:2 = 0.85 ratio. 47 cm * 0.85 = 40 cm.) 40 cm is almost 16 inches. In 526: Converting to Metric, 14 cm is labeled "penis", and according to the Kinsey Institute, the largest medically recorded was 13.5 inches (34 cm).
Alternatively, the title text might have been saying "Good thing [the genie] didn't make [his penis] smaller [than it was before?], or [his penis would] need someone three inches tall to play [with] it." Tryc (talk) 15:20, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
The extremely clear implication is that he asked for a 12-inch pianist, echoing the original joke. Occam's Razor and Megan's response support this view.

Currently, this comic is listed as being in the "My Hobby" series, but it doesn't fit the series description. It's not phrased as if this is Randall's hobby, it's more situation-specific than the other My Hobby comics, and the title doesn't start with "My Hobby:". Should it be removed from the list? Sciepsilon (talk) 22:19, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

The first two words from Cueball are: "My hobby...". The category is appropriate here. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:16, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Disagreed. It has nothing to do with the other "my hobby" comics, which all describes some weird trolling activity. This is just a guy making miniatures, a much more normal hobby. The ensuing panels of discussion doesn't fit the pattern either. 20:21, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Also disagreed. The "my hobby" comics are about Randall's, and not Cueball's (albeit his alter-ego) hobbies. They all begin vey clearly with the phrase "My hobby:" in superscript before describing that hobby for comedic effect. Here, Cueball's hobby is not the subject and punchline of the comic, but rather the set-up for the joke about the size of his erm... member. It might meet the letter, but misses the spirit of the "my hobby" rubric. Any person searching for a comic in the "my hobby" series would be pretty surprised to find this one. 08:47, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the disagreement, it's clearly not a My Hobby entry. But I still think it wouldn't hurt to have it in that category, for inclusiveness. Clearly, some subset of the proles think of it that way, so including it will help them, meanwhile harm nobody else. —Kazvorpal (talk) 14:56, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

Wow. I really misunderstood this joke. I thought he had asked a genie and just assumed it went wrong, when it actually went right. I thought Megan showing up was the result of the genie, and that her hobby was playing miniature pianos (perhaps using some finger extenders, like those things for Halloween that make your hands bigger and further out, but in reverse). And that she was intrigued by Cueball because she likes his hobby. Penis joke goes woosh. 13:03, 24 September 2021 (UTC)

The pianist section

Because someone doesn't understand the joke, I'll explain it here: "Twelve-inch penis" sounds similar to "twelve-inch pianist", so the genie in the joke and the genie mentioned in the comic misheard it as the other. Try saying it out loud in English. 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 04:34, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

There is no mention of a "twelve-inch pianist" at this comic at all! And jokes I can find only misunderstandings on words like bucks/ducks and similar. The penis issue is always only raised at some comments. Furthermore the spelling "penis(t)" for "pianist" would be bad English — does this slang really exist? If so it has to be explained. Second: The link at the explain doesn't explain the penis issue. And finally citing the title text "Good thing he didn't make it smaller, or it'd need someone three inches tall to play it." would mean that a three inches tall Megan would have to "play" with a much smaller penis. Those penis jokes are still annoying, Randall just mentions a piano. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:10, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Twelve. Inch. Piano.
The "bucks/ducks" jokes are directly based off of the "twelve-inch pianist" joke.
It's a pun. "Pianist" sounds like "penis", and "penis" sounds like "pianist". Seriously, the only difference between the two is the "an".
The link does address the "penis/pianist" issue. Read the last line carefully. It says that because of the genie's poor hearing, instead of the wish he wanted, he got a twelve-inch pianist. He wished for a twelve-inch penis and ended up with a twelve-inch pianist.
And the "three-inch person playing with a three-inch penis" just came from Tryc horribly overthinking it. The title text says that if Cueball made a three-inch piano instead of a twelve-inch one, the genie would've misheard "three-inch pianist" as "three-inch penis", which is less preferable to a twelve-inch one.
I'm trying my best to not be rude, but the joke is right there and you can't notice it. 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 21:23, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I still can't see that Randall does mention any "Twelve Inch" issues here. So, if that is the first imagination to some people it has to be EXPLAINED. The link here isn't helpful, Gooogle neither.
According to all my findings I would recommend a first section to explain the comic itself and then a second section how "penis-addicted" people would interpret this.
And remember the miniature trebuchet from 1190: Time. Also a penis???
--Dgbrt (talk) 22:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Ughhhhhhhh it's getting harder and harder to explain this to you
Could someone help me out, here? 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 06:49, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm trying it simple: If this is a common joke somewhere in the US, maybe Midwest, or East, or wherever it has to be explained by that manner.
The link to rec.humor.funny isn't a helpful explain because there is NO penis at this entire page.
I'm only calling for a better explain!
--Dgbrt (talk) 20:19, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
The cited joke is an obvious pun on penis, without which the joke is dead. The comic is an obvious reversal of the obvious pun. There is ample provided context. If you can't provide concrete evidence/sources to refute the concrete source cited in the explanation, don't keep marking it as incomplete on the grounds that you don't get it. Davidy²²[talk] 20:22, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I was calling for a better explain. Done now by me and I still do not claim it's perfect. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:17, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
So my NON PERFECT edit is removed by admin David. But please understand that the "In the original..." statement implies that the page on "rec.humor.funny" is the original. There is still no explain to the origin of this original penis joke for non native English speakers. Even Goooogle isn't helpful. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:34, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
The explanation already provides a source for the joke, an explanation and guides the punchline for the slow. Your version of the explanation introduced six grammatical errors and omits context for the joke that the comic is derived from. Googling "Pianist penis genie joke" returns a pagefull of relevant results, including two Q/A sites where people ask for it to be explained, a Reddit thread where the original joke is discussed in great detail and the xkcd forum page for the comic where people repeatedly refer to the cited joke as the basis of the comic. Davidy²²[talk] 20:48, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Throwing in the towel. I was trying to get a better explain for non native English speakers. I accept this knock out. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:45, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

I find it interesting that for at least two of the Penis related comics there has been a very long discussion with Dgbrt before he could accept (or accept his defeat here on these pages) that Randall (as he actually often does) makes these kind of juvenile penis jokes (or your mother etc.) The other one I have seen is 450: The Sea Kynde (talk) 22:50, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

I always thought the joke was supposed to be that the asked for a miniature pianist, and Megan's response was sarcasm.-- 02:18, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

"I asked a genie for a bunch of peonies, but he showed me a pianist" --ColorfulGalaxy, who complained that he failed to post this comment


It reads"my hobby is ..." should it be included in the series? 01:43, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

There is some discussion on this point near the top of the discussion section. It seems to have been agreed that the comic doesn't fit the normal style of the typical 'My Hobby' comics, and therefore wasn't really appropriate to be in that category. --Pudder (talk) 07:49, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Has anyone looked into what a miniature grand piano might actually sound like? I think that would be quite fascinating. Heleatunda (talk) 22:24, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

A grand piano for a six-foot person tuned to concert pitch has the note A4 at 440Hz; a grand piano for a twelve-inch pianist will have six times shorter strings and play a note six times higher, so 2640Hz, or 2 7/12 of an octave higher, and would be an E7 several notes higher than the maximum extent of a standard piano. A skilled micropianist should be able to transpose the notes back to their original note, if off by 2/3 octaves. Imagine all but the lowest notes of the piano being higher than the highest note of an actual piano. Otherwise, most things should sound relatively similar: before computer modelling was cheap, scale models were used to determine the acoustics of constructions before completing the real thing and discovering that it sounds terrible. (talk) 09:33, 25 April 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
The strings would be too short. But what if it's electric? 2503: Memo Spike Connector (talk) 09:03, 12 April 2023 (UTC)
I call that cheating. Just make it long enough to house the strings properly and get 2/3 credit. Me[citation needed] 07:55, 8 June 2023 (UTC)

This is probably also related to the giant piano in Brobdingnag. 2503: Memo Spike Connector (talk) 09:03, 12 April 2023 (UTC)