In John Carpenter's They Live we hear the famous line

I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all outta bubble gum.

It obviously made it into the general vernacular, but was it ad-libbed by Mr. Piper as some suggest, or did it originate elsewhere?

  • 5
    I'm here to kick ass and take names. And I'm all out of... names. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 21:01
  • 8
    Interesting. I didn't know that this was older than its use Duke Nukem. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 21:30
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    We have a reasonable earliest estimate; invention of bubble gum is credited as 1928 by Walter Diemer while working at a chewing gum factory. It’s likely that no quote specifically using “bubble gum” could exist prior to existence of bubble gum. Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 17:31
  • 2
    I still think Duke Nukem delivered it best.
    – sproketboy
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 2:38

2 Answers 2


When asked this directly, Roddy Piper said that he ad-libbed it.

From a 2013 interview:

Onda: Did you really ad-lib that line?

Piper: Yeah. I couldn’t tell you what it really means either. It was one of those – “Roddy, you’ve got bullets on you, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got sunglasses, you go into a bank, you’re not gonna rob it, say something … action!” I’m all out of bubblegum. Lunch! That was it. No more than that. I know, it’s crazy.

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    Nice! Thx, one of my absolute favorites, ranks right up there with I'll be back Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 14:56

Five on the Black Hand Side (1973), 15 years before They Live (1988). Timestamp 1:49 in this clip.

I ain’t giving up nothing but bubblegum and hard times, and I’m fresh out of bubblegum.

Not saying this is the original, or that Piper actually had a line. All I'm saying is that this was a saying before They Live.


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