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Posted at 06:17 PM ET, 06/13/2012

Bryce Harper, catchphrase genius: The magic of ‘clown question, bro’ analyzed

Bryce Harper, not long before uttering the catchphrase of the summer. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Five little words. That's all it took for Bryce Harper to go viral. On Tuesday night the Nats rookie spontaneously crafted a new catchphrase as effortlessly as he pounds out home runs.

You've heard it already. To the Toronto sports reporter who asked the 19-year-old sensation if he’d enjoy a “celebratory Canadian beer” after beating the Blue Jays and did he have a favorite brand, Harper rolled his eyes: “That’s a clown question, bro.”

Whoa. Good, huh? But why? What made you replay that video ten times and then try to slip that phrase into conversation all day? The elements that made it a catchphrase for the ages:

It’s short. As all the best catchphrases are. “Yada, yada, yada.” “Let’s roll.” “Excuuuuse me!

It’s fresh. “Clown” as an adjective! Is that how the kids are talking these days? But of course. You got clown suits and clown cars, and now this dude’s clown question.

It’s ironic. The use of “bro,” with its layers of fond familiarity and pure condescension, works the same magic it did in “Don’t tase me, bro!

It’s widely applicable. Just as Reagan repurposed “Go ahead, make my day” in a tax battle with Democrats, and Walter Mondale aimed “Where’s the beef?” at Gary Hart, we’re all waiting for Obama or Romney to deploy the Harperism in a debate or press conference.

It expresses a universal sentiment. Because everyone hates reporters.

Read related: Bryce Harper: ‘That’s a clown question, bro’ [Video]

D.C. Sports Bog: Bryce Harper’s ‘That’s a Clown Question, Bro’ takes over, 6/14/12

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By  |  06:17 PM ET, 06/13/2012

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