Robin laid a gun

OK here’s a weird piece of kid culture AB brought home:

Jingle bells, Batman smells

Robin laid a gun

Shot a tree and made it pee in 1981

This dates back at least to 2007 apparently.

It scans and rhymes very nicely but makes so sense at all.  What can it mean?

It seems like we are witnessing a kind of cultural hybrid; the “Jingle bells / Batman smells” of my childhood has here combined with a “Jingle bells / shotgun shells” tradition I was unaware of until now, which is actually older than the Batman version.  A lot of the “shotgun shells” versions found online involve Santa meeting his death in a hail of bullets, but “shot a tree and made it pee” is not uncommon.  I wonder how many utterly nonsensical kids rhymes we know are actually hybrids of different songs, each of which at some point sort of made sense?


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11 thoughts on “Robin laid a gun

  1. JSE says:

    Oh yeah and — the slight mod of “Batman smells” which ends “The Joker took ballet” instead of “The Joker got away” is also well-attested; I’d never heard it and I believed AB when she said her kindergarten buddy made that version up. Shows me.

  2. NDE says:

    “Shot a tree and made it pee” — tree sap?

  3. rmb says:

    I heard “joker took ballet” when I was a kid.

  4. sniffnoy says:

    The history on Cracked mentions a racist version ending with “in 1961”; I have to wonder i the “in 1981” is an alteration of that.

    And yeah I was also thinking of tree sap.

  5. JSE says:

    I wondered the same thing, Sniffnoy.

  6. Richard Séguin says:

    Batman most certainly must smell having to wear that tight fitting outfit that doesn’t even appear to breathe. Is “Robin laid a gun” a sick sexual reference? I also thought of the tree sap. Why 1981? I recall hearing some version of this as a kid, so the history of this has to date at least as far back as the 1960s.

  7. a random visitor says:


    >why 1981?

    A connection with Reagan assassination attempt?

  8. Layla says:

    bro im a kid and even i know this – robin layed a gun instead of an egg is a joke so it rhymes with the 1981 or 61 it has nothing to do with the assassination it just ryhmes. and the making a tree pee is also for laughing purposes not tree sap lol ACTUAL PEEEE (at least this is what first grade me though)

  9. Maria says:

    I just want to say that that is funny but here is a version my brothers friends created: Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin layed a gun, He picked it up and shot a deer in 1981. (or sometimes 1961)

  10. Jadyn Davis says:

    this was in a tom scott video

  11. […] A while back I blogged about the variation of “Jingle Bells” my daughter brought home, in which “Batman Smells” is followed by the strange line “Robin Laid a Gun.” I just noticed that YouTuber Tom Scott has posted a video with a definitive account of the popularity and geographic/demographic variations of many, many versions of “Jingle Bells, Batman smells,” including “Robin laid a gun”: […]

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