‘Clown question, bro’ takes off, with a T-shirt, a beer and a trademark
Bryce Harper has trademarked the phrase "That’s a clown question, bro.”
June 25th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

‘Clown question, bro’ takes off, with a T-shirt, a beer and a trademark

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – You know a quote has entered the national lexicon when a major sports merchandise company plans to plaster it on T-shirts, it inspires a brand new beer and the Senate majority leader invokes it to respond to a reporter.

“That’s a clown question, bro,” Washington Nationals baseball phenom Bryce Harper told a Canadian reporter who earlier this month asked the 19-year-old about his favorite beer. Though the drinking age in Ontario is 19, Harper is a Mormon. His religion prohibits alcohol consumption.

Harper’s quip lit up the internet, becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Four other ways Harper’s one-liner has reached meme status:

1.) A brew in homage

When a friend sent Charlie Berger, brewer and co-founder of the Denver Beer Co., video of Harper’s Toronto remark, Berger knew right away that he wanted to turn Harper’s phrase into a beer.

“The very first thing I heard him say is ‘clown question, bro,’” Berger told CNN. And from that, the name of a new Canadian lager (inspired by the Toronto dateline of Harper’s quip) was born: “Clown Question, Bro.”

Denver Beer Co. started making the Canadian lager, which generally takes 28 days to brew, the day after the quip and plans to unveil it when Harper’s Washington Nationals face off against the Colorado Rockies on Monday.

“We are going to have all the bartenders wear clown noses when we tap this beer,” Berger said. “Normally we are not open on Mondays, but we decided we are going to have a Bryce Harper party at Denver Beer Co. We are encouraging everyone to wear clown costumes.”

Even though they will be drinking in Harper’s honor, Berger says he will be pulling for his Rockies.

2.) Clown questions at the highest level of the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid showed some pop culture prowess when he dropped the “clown question, bro” phrase last week.

When a reporter asked Reid on Wednesday about Republicans waiting for Mitt Romney to take a position on the DREAM Act – which would provide a permanent legal pathway for some children of illegal immigrants - before they commented on it, Reid dodged the question by appropriating Harper.

Reporter: On the DREAM Act – Mr. McConnell just said that he's waiting for Mitt Romney to say what his position is on the DREAM kids before he wants to comment. Wondering if you have any thoughts on him waiting for Mitt Romney, and also if you have any intention of bringing the DREAM Act to the floor for votes in the next couple of months to put people on record?

Reid: I don't wanna answer that question. That's a clown question, bro.

On top of the similarities between the two – both are Mormon and both are from southern Nevada – Reid called Harper “a good role model” in a Senate floor speech and even compared him to baseball great and Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle.

Reid, who has season tickets to the Nationals, met Harper at a game last month.

3.) A phrase that pays

Just one day after Harper’s retort, on June 13, Harper trademarked “That’s a clown question, bro” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark database.

The trademark was filed under the “Goods & Services” field and, according to the database, applied to “wearing apparel, namely, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, hats, visors, gloves, shoes.”

Once the trademark is exercised, Harper would presumably start cashing in on the phrase. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment, stating that the information was privileged. Which brings us to our next piece of meme evidence…

4.) Under Armour to print phrase on shirts

After Thursday’s Nationals game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson reported that Harper told her that Under Armour, a company that Harper has an endorsement deal with, plans to sell an official shirt with the “That’s a clown question, bro” phrase.

“Yesterday, Bryce Harper was wearing ‘That’s a clown question, bro’ T-shirt under his warm ups,” Johnson reported on Friday. “He is going to come out with his own line of shirts through Under Armor.”

Shirts with the Harper phrase had been popping up all over the internet.

Under Armour declined to respond to a CNN request for comment.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Mormonism • United States

soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. kindness

    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  2. JA

    ... Mormons..... Can't live with 'em, Can't live without.... Oh, no wait, you can DEFINITELY live without them. I think Mittens has found his running-mate, bro.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Oh Yeah, Baby!!

      Christine O'Donnell in a skin-tight black leather witch costume and a whip? That will bring in more votes than Mitt could ever hope for.

      I'd vote for that. And hey, the Italians elected a hot porn star to their parlaiment, so we can o witchy!

      June 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  3. rufus

    I think all black clowns (and clownish surfers) should be righfully offended. I cannot believe CNN tolerates these racist and insensitive remarks.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  4. JR

    Git 'R Done!

    June 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  5. dave

    The Mormons know that Jesus drank wine, right? He even made wine when his mother told him to do it.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Actually the Mormons believe that Jesus was a white guy living in North America who also was an Indian fighter. So I'm not sure what they believe about his drinking habits.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  6. Jim in PA

    If I could turn back time, I would unread this article and unlearn every detail I just learned here. I'm sure it displaced something more important from my brain; like where I'll leave my car keys tonight in my house.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  7. For all the clowns out there

    What does he have against clowns? I understand that they scare little kids but still...

    June 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  8. beavis

    this is the worst meme ever

    June 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • I'm your Auntie Meme!!!

      Never ever say that things can't get any dumber, because they can and probably will

      June 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  9. Maya

    Rewarding lack of eloquence sends a great message, doesn't it?

    June 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • rufus

      Dumbing down to the lowest common denominator is the goal. We're getting there. Forward!

      June 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  10. felix_in_Mass

    "Bro" and "Chief" are one in the same. If anybody addresses me with either they've lost any respect I might have been willing to show to them.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Yep. In fact anyone who addresses me as "bro" or "chief" gets the other one back, in a nice disdainful voice.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • ToldUso

      A bit full of yourself aren't you? He's a 19-year-old kid, how would you expect him to speak, bro?

      June 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Phillies Phan

    Cool story

    June 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  12. Brandon

    Article fails to mention that Bryce Harper is from Las Vegas, NV. Senator Reid's home state (and mine).

    June 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • joe

      "both are from southern nevada"... thanks, bro

      June 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Education standards in Nevada Aren't what they used to be

      Las Vegas isn't a state.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • dave

      no one said Las Vegas was a state d-wad

      June 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Education standards in Nevada Aren't what they used to be

      No one but Brandon

      June 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • what's NV stand for!

      I can't believe the crap on this article. lol

      June 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  13. skued

    cool story, bro

    June 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  14. Mike

    I'd like to punch his clown.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  15. Stop

    ..a white guy says 'bro and he's not racist?...

    June 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Fascinated

      I know, I know. You wrote that to start a racist discussion and I should look away, but what about all the (white) surfers who have been saying "Bro" forever. Bro is a black thing? Wait, you probably have neither black friends nor white "liberal" surfer friends to engage in discussion. Oh well. Carry on then.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Steve

      Bro or short for "brother" in no way implies racism.

      As for surfers, it's more pronounced "brah" which is a term now coined by every fraternity "bro" in the US.

      His damn remark wasn't even funny. "clown question" how about rhetorical??? OH WAIT HE'S 19!!

      June 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      LOL. Considering "bro" was first popularized by stoner surfer white dudes, I fail to see the relevance of your comment.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  16. Leucadia Bob


    June 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  17. NotTakingItUpThere

    I can't believe people can make money on the most stupidest sh!t.

    June 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • H. L. Mencken

      No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • se123


      June 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • CrazyYates

      "I can't believe people can make money on the most stupidest sh!t."

      That belongs on a t-shirt bro.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  18. QS

    Dude, don't taze my clown, bro!

    June 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Ron

      QS, that is classic!

      June 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  19. Rick

    Thats kind of funny Reid would say that, because he too is a devout Mormon.

    June 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  20. Brett

    Way to go Bryce, lighting up the National League and now a folk hero, not bad for bring only 19...Go Nats!!

    June 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What does that say about the fans…bro? lol pathetic.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.