What was the significance of the phrase 'Argo fuck yourself'? It is first uttered by Siegel (Arkin) when asked by a reporter at the reading of the fake movie, as to what Argo meant.

It is later repeatedly said by other casts throughout the movie as a joke and once even as a good-luck message. What is the reason behind the frequent usage of the said phrase?


A quick Google search had led me to the finding that Argo fuck yourself is considered as a knock-knock joke. But I couldn't make a connection. This further muddled my understanding of the quote. Also it makes far less sense than Argo fuck yourself being a bowdlerization of Ah go fuck yourself.

  • 1
    "Also it makes far less sense than "Argo fuck yourself" being a bowlderization of "Ah go fuck yourself"." - And this is exactly what it's supposed to be and is actually the reason for it being a knock knock joke. Though Ankit could have put some more effort in explaining how this knock knock joke works with "Argo" (which is in fact using this bowlderization), but Nobby's comment should clear any confusion. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 28 '13 at 14:26

The script used for the fake film project was based on the 1967 science fiction novel "Lord of Light" by Roger Zelazny. In real life, makeup artist John Chambers (played by John Goodman) came up with the title "Argo" because he loved knock-knock jokes. In the film, the title becomes an off-color joke. - (Source:IMDb)

From urbandictionary

Argo- Term used by Outlaw Bikers meaning "Oh go....." as in Oh go fuck yourself. Also added to that would be "NUNYA" Argo Nunya means Oh go fuck yourself, nunya bizness! When someone asks you a personal question and you don't want to speak to him (as in the police) you would answer with argo

So its just a slang phrase used as a knock-knock joke.

e.g: Knock, knock, Who's there? Argo. Argo who? Argo fuck yourself.



"A popular radio announcer, back in the 1940's, was doing 'Man In The Street' interviews, asking people if they knew any 'knock-knock' jokes.

He came upon a drunk. He wasn't sure the guy was sober enough for this, but he asked him anyway: "Sir, we're doing knock-knock jokes today... do you know any knock-knock jokes?"

"Yeah, I know one, " said the drunk. " Knock-knock."

"Who's there?" said the announcer.


"Argo who?"

"Argo fuck yourself."

The announcer almost went into cardiac arrest. In the 1940's, OBSCENITIES were strictly forbidden on the air.

He knew he was in trouble. And he was right - - the station immediately fired him!

For 20 years he tried getting back into Radio, but no station would hire him. Finally one day, a new station decided to give him a chance.

And again, he soon found himself back on the street, interviewing people, just like before.

But he wasn't afraid. This time he was prepared. During those 20 years he'd learned EVERY knock-knock joke in existence, so he was certain nothing like that could ever happen again.

Strangely, he once again came across the same drunk. He was about to walk away when the drunk yelled, "Hey! Ya wanna hear a knock-knock joke?"

The announcer hesitated, but he decided there was nothing to be afraid of. "Sure," he said.

"Knock-knock. "

"Who's there?"


The announcer raced thru his mind, going over every knock-knock joke he'd ever heard. He'd never heard one with "Harry."

Finally he decided it was safe. "Harry who?"

"Argo fuck yourself!"


(And now you know something that very few people know... why in the movie "Argo," they said ARGO FUCK YOURSELF so often, but never explained why. It was all based on that old joke.)


  • Do you have any source that confirms this? according to the other answers, that's not exactly how it came to be in the movie. – Luciano Mar 1 '19 at 11:10

Straight from the horse's mouth. Was a joke that was used by the real-life John Chambers.

"It's a real joke that John Chambers, who's the character played by John Goodman, used to make when they were trying to relieve tension in the room," Terrio told HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff.

The screenwriter said including it in the film was one way to bring Chambers to life on screen.

"In the process of writing the film, you get these little gifts, these posthumous gifts from John Chambers, that his sense of humor finds its way into the film," Terrio said.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

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    Please expand your answer by including a relevant excerpt from your linked article. – coleopterist Nov 15 '13 at 3:06

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