Ba dumm tsss is the onomatopoetic phrase that is referring to the often heard and well known drum sting (two snares and a cymbal) used to emphasize the end of a joke or a bad pun, just in case we didn’t realize, it’s over.
Before show business, as we know it, comedy as well as theatre and circus came in a whole different form.
The sting at the end of jokes was introduced to humanity in these fairs, or as they were known at the time; “Vaudeville shows”, originating from late 19th century France, literally meaning “Show of the city’s sound”.
Here the spectators were able to watch spectacular feats and performances, one of which is the cabaret, where this kind of punctuation after a joke was introduced.
Spread and Usage
With the 20th century, comedy and cabaret shows, as a whole were changed, especially with the gift of the modern age; mass media.
Television shows were one of the first to adopt the ominous sounds; ba dumm tsss, and they quickly spread into public use, becoming the perfect reaction of people, when someone says a bad pun to us.
The phenomenon grew so big, that it even reached the meme scene, with the troll face guy depicted with a drum set and the three words; ba dumm tssssssssss…
- Urban Dictionary – Badum tsss