The Stunning Petty Grudge Behind Mr Burns’ Telephone Greeting In The Simpsons

If you’re a super-fan of The Simpsons, you’ll know that there are always a ton of hidden jokes in every season and there’s a reason this animated sitcom has been running for over 30 years.

However, this might be their most clever one yet and it is also potentially the funniest, pettiest in-joke we have heard of in quite some time.

So, you may have noticed that the incredibly wealthy C. Montgomery Burns or simply “Mr Burns” always answers his desk phone saying, “ahoy-hoy”. Now, while this is certainly memorable and at this point, a key part of the character, it is more than just a simple quirk.

The real reason Mr Burns says “ahoy-hoy”

So, the story behind this goofy greeting (that I can’t stop saying) goes way back to when the telephone was actually invented. Back then, there was a debate between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison on what the proper phone greeting should be.

Bell preferred “ahoy-hoy” while Edison preferred a simple “hello”. Of course, Edison won, but in a post addressing this on X (formerly Twitter), Josh Weinstein, a writer and showrunner on The Simpsons described Edison as his “arch enemy” and said this easter egg in the show was done to “even the score” between the two.

Of course, it’s completely believable too that Mr Burns being as old as he is, was around for the original debate and sided wholeheartedly with Bell.

Personally? If somebody answered the phone to me with “ahoy-hoy!”, I feel that I’d be much more gleeful than if it was just another simple “hello”.