Where does the “One of us! One of us!” chant originate?

Many people who have watched The Big Bang Theory have wondered about the sarcastic chant used by Howard, “One of us, one of us,” after Leonard announces Penny as “officially one of us”! It is a chant used by people to convey that now you are part of our team or gang, used for the first time in the movie, Freaks (1932)

Let us guide through the meaning and origination of the chant, “One of us, one of us,” in this article.

“One of us, one of Us” Origin.

The original chant, “One of us, one of us,” was first used in the film Freaks (1932). It is a horror/drama film directed by Tod Browning, which showcases the real carnival freaks as the main cast. The chant is used in the movie to welcome a trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), who marries sideshow Midget Hans because of his inheritance. During their wedding reception, one freak announces that they all accept Cleopatra as one of us and will make her one of us as a part of the family despite being a non-freak. 

They hold an initiation ceremony in which they pass on the massive goblet of wine as a welcome toast while chanting, “We accept her, we accept her. One of us, one of us. Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble“. It may be their ritual song to welcome new members in their family by expressing their warmth and happiness towards them to assure them that they are not outsiders but one of them.  

However, things go awry because Cleopatra assumed they would convert her into one of them, a freak, and she furiously shouts them to go out of her sight and place since she did not want to become a freak like them.

Regardless of what happened at the dinner table, in the end, freaks turn Cleopatra into a duck woman (” one of them”) because they found that she tried to poison Hans to get his inheritance.

Although the chant originated in the movie Freaks (1932), it became more popular after the release of the song, Pinhead by The Ramones band. The initial lyrics of the song are Gabba Gabba (being young and trying to be cool), we accept you, we accept you one of us. 

Here is the video excerpt-

One of us, one of Us meaning

People use the well-known chant, one of us, one of us, to signify to others that this trustworthy person is one of us and considered a member of the family or the group, and also to inform others not to worry as the person becomes an accepted member of the family/group.

Now, you got the idea about the origin of the chant-one of us and its meaning. Let us see the other movies that have used this chant. 

What are the movies that have used the phrase, one of us?

South Park (1997) 

Chris and Linda discuss their anguish with John and Patsy in South Park, season 5, Episode 14: Butters’ Very Own Episode (2001), saying they lost their son because some Puerto Rican man abducted him. John and Patsy then introduce them to Congressman Gary Condit, who lost his close one because of some Puerto Rican guy, and O.J. Simpson, whose wife got killed by some Puerto Rican guy. So Patsy welcomes Chris and Linda to their support group by singing the famous song, One of us, gooble gobble, one of us, from the movie Freaks (1932).

The Wolf of the Wall Street (2013)

The critically acclaimed film- The Wolf of the Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, used the renowned chant: one of us, one of us. While discussing a dwarf-tossing event with his colleagues, the protagonist (Jordan Belfort) acknowledges that his squad will treat the dwarfs with dignity as one of us. When everyone agrees with his decision, he chants the famous song from the film Freaks (1932), one of us, one of us, gooble gobble.

The Simpsons (1990)

In The Simpsons – There’s No Disgrace Like Home [S01E04], While going home after attending the company picnic, Homer Simpsons imagines the other family as angels because of their perfect behavior and his family as demons who order him to get inside the car to drive them home. They urge him, “Get in the car, Homer, this is where you belong,” and begin chanting, “One of us, one of us.”