Doctor Worm

From This Might Be A Wiki
Official video for "Doctor Worm"
He's not a real doctor, but he is a real worm.
KaBlam! video for "Doctor Worm"

song name Doctor Worm
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Severe Tire Damage, Doctor Worm (Single), Live [CD Release], Direct From Brooklyn, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, TMBG Clock Radio, A User's Guide To They Might Be Giants: Melody, Fidelity, Quantity, 50,000,000 They Might Be Giants Songs Can't Be Wrong
year 1998
first played September 9, 1997 (1093 known performances)
run time 3:01
sung by John Linnell; John Flansburgh backs


  • John Linnell ("The J Files" radio broadcast, November 1998):
Somebody said, 'That song doesn't make any sense. Typical of They Might Be Giants songs, the lyrics don't make any sense, how do you know, who knows what that's about.' And I thought about it for a second and I thought well you know, really, I feel defensive immediately hearing somebody describe it that way. But to me, the song makes perfect sense.

It's about somebody who has an idea of their identity that, you know, other people don't agree with. And specifically, it's about the kind of person who has a fantasy about [wanting] people to call them a nickname that nobody will agree to call them, and has an idea of their status that nobody else agrees on, and it's a pretty common problem, you know. I mean I grew up with people like that, who lived in their mothers' basements and had an idea that they were on TV and stuff like that, and that's all the song is really about, it's about somebody who has a fantasy and nobody else will buy into it.
Well, for a long, long time we have been riffing on the song "Dr. Love" by the band KISS. And I think just the weirdness of the conceit of that song was kind of rolling around in John Linnell's head. I know a million, billion times we've talked about the song "Dr. Love." It's such an absurd song. So I think "Dr. Love" was kind of the springboard for the idea behind "Dr. Worm."
  • The song's official music video features animation by cartoonist Gary Leib. According to the Direct From Brooklyn DVD's commentary, nobody who appeared in the video actually participated in the recording of the song except for the Johns themselves.
  • A video which did not feature John and John was created for the Nickelodeon show, KaBlam!, by the design studio The Ink Tank. The video was produced by Richard O'Connor and Brian O'Connell, who would later found the studio Asterisk.
  • Has been a staple of the Cornell University Big Red Marching Band's concert repertoire since its introduction in 1998.
  • Between the late 90s and 2010, a confetti cannon manned by Iggy Ingoglia was often used during live performances of this song. Right after the guitar solo, the colorful pieces of paper were fired into the audience. The confetti also made appearances in "James K. Polk", "Older" and "Bed, Bed, Bed".
  • Covered by Relient K on their EP K is for Karaoke.

Song Themes

Animals, Bells, Doors, Drums, Friendship, Medical, Music, People (Imaginary), Religion, Supernatural, Titles And Honorifics


  • Watch it on Vimeo.png
  • Watch it on Youtube.png
  • Watch it on Youtube.png - music video for Nickelodeon's KaBlam!
  • Watch it on Youtube.png - soundcheck, bonus footage from Gigantic DVD

Current Rating

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Doctor Worm is currently ranked #11 out of 1008. (387 wikians have given it an average rating of 9.26)