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What does 55-JUMBO refer to when Ross got calls for it when he set his pager to 55-JIMBO for his ex-wife to know that she is going into labor in Friends, season 1, episode 22?

Here's the clip; dialogue:

Ross: Yeah, hi, I was just beeped.

Other End : ...

Ross: No, Andre is NOT here. [To Joey] Third time today!

Other End: ...

Ross: Yes, I am sure.

Other End : ...

Ross: (Chuckle) No sir, I do not perform those kind of services.

Joey: Services?

[Ross gives him a meaningful look.]

Joey: Oh, services.

Other End : ...

Ross : Yeah, you want 55-JUMBO. Yup. That's right. That's right. JUMBO with a U, sir.

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    If I remember correctly, the joke is that he keeps getting pages meant for a (presumably male) prostitute. – Dr R Dizzle Sep 20 '16 at 10:03
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Jumbo means an especially large thing. The episode strongly suggests that the people that are mistakenly calling Ross really meant to dial the number of a well-endowed gigolo named Andre. This is alluded to in the dialogue:

ROSS: No, believe me, you don't want me. Judging by his number, I'd be a huge disappointment.

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  • it make sense now :) – KDeogharkar Sep 20 '16 at 10:18
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I feel old that I even have to explain this, but you didn't "set your pager" to a number. You were randomly assigned a number, just like a telephone number. Businesses would frequently pay an extra fee to have a certain number that corresponded to letters associated with their business. For example, you might have paid for 829-4357 (TAX-HELP) if you were an accountant.

Regular people, before the advent of smart phones that stored everyone's number for you, would sometimes try to come up with words or phrases for their random number using the letters on the dial pad to help people remember their number.

In this situation, Ross's pager number was "555-4626". He came up with 55-JIMBO because it's easier to remember than 555-4626. There was, evidently, a male prostitute who paid for "555-8626", which would spell out 55-JUMBO, implying that he was, ahem, well suited for that profession.

So Ross ended up in the situation where people kept accidentally dialing his number when they meant to dial the male prostitute.

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6

Walt's answer explains the joke. The technical aspect of the question is that, in all area codes in the North American Numbering Plan, some phone numbers beginning with 555 are reserved so that movies and TV shows can include real-looking phone numbers that are guaranteed not to be any actual person's number.

However, it is only numbers of the form 555-01xx that are reserved and since 1994 (the year that the first season of Friends was released), 555-numbers other than those beginning with 555-01 have been available for other purposes. 55-JUMBO corresponds to 555-8626, which is not a reserved number, so should not have been used.

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    It's the number of a takeout-burger place in the UAE. Free delivery! (Although I doubt the East Village is in their delivery area.) – Malvolio Sep 20 '16 at 20:35
  • So many movies and TV shows have been using all kinds of 555 numbers for so long without any effort to catalog them that I would not expect such numbers to be assigned to any entity not willing to accept calls for arbitrary fictitious entities. I remember one movie that didn't use 555, but instead used a "1" as the first digit of the exchange (which for a North American Numbering Plan number would need to contain a 2-9, but since the person also gave an area code, saying 847-168-6237 seems less distracting than 847-555-3425). – supercat Sep 20 '16 at 21:39

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