Fact Check

Betty White on 'Grow Some Balls'

A popular joke about the wisdom of the saying 'Grow some balls' is falsely attributed to actress Betty White.

Published July 17, 2016

 (Wikimedia/Angela George)
Image Via Wikimedia/Angela George
Actress Betty White uttered a witty rejoinder to the oft-used phrase 'Grow some balls.'

A popular meme circulating since 2011 via the Internet quotes nonagenarian comic actress Betty White thusly:

But while the observation has much of the cadence, attitude and wit that have made White so beloved by American audiences over the years, she never uttered those words and made no bones about it when they were recited to her by a writer for The Guardian: "That's what I hate about Facebook and the internet. They can say you said anything. I never would have said that. I'd never say that in a million years."

So, who did say it? Partial credit goes to New York standup comedian Sheng Wang, who delivered a lengthier version of the joke on the 28 January 2011 episode of Comedy Central Presents:

A friend said to me, "Hey you need to grow a pair. Grow a pair, Bro." It's when someone calls you weak, but they associate it with a lack of testicles. Which is weird, because testicles are the most sensitive things in the world. If you suddenly just grew a pair, you'd be a lot more vulnerable. If you want to be tough, you should lose a pair. If you want to be real tough, you should grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.

And it appears that Wang's routine borrowed heavily from a bit by comedian Hal Sparks, "Pussy Is Tougher," which aired on Showtime in 2010.


Cragg, Michael.  "Betty White: TV's Golden Girl on 63 Years in Show Business."   The Guardian.  9 November 2012.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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