Possible origin of Freem?

For those who pay attention to the opening credits, you probably noticed that the word that used to be in the credits, “Superstantial”, has been replaced by “Freem.” Freem?! Where in the world did that come from?

Eagle-eyed blog reader Sheila may have found the answer. In the Baristanet blog (a regional blog for the Montclair/Glen Ridge/Bloomfield area of New Jersey), it was reported that a black 150 pound black bear was caught in Millburn, New Jersey.

The officer who spotted the bear and helped to capture it?

Patrolman Alfred Freem.


According to radvivi, who was at the taping on January 29th, this was said before the show aired:

    Eventually Stephen came out and did the Q&A. the old man we danced with asked him if this was the “Cold-air Report” everyone laughed, and Stephen responded “now I have to be funnier than that!” someone else asked him asked him what “freem” meant in the opening sequence. First he said he wasn’t telling, then he explained that it was “freedom” sans the “do”

Mystery solved. Or is it?


  1. truthiness89 says:

    I think this is a very likely scenario! Great find! I only wish my last name could be featured in the opening credits!

    • Lasserith says:

      tsoalr.com – Its the sound of a laser firing, as shown in this comic notably. (this comic was started 2003)

  2. Okay, that’s just too much of an in-joke. Nobody’s going to get it and hopefully they’ll get rid of it soon.

  3. Wow… that’s a pretty convincing connection, but that happened last May. I suspect there’s a lot more to the story. Perhaps we’ll never know!

  4. We’ll never know, like what Blank called Noblet!

  5. I still like the suggestion on LJ that said its freedom without “do”. So its having freedom without doing anything! Haha.

  6. Hm.
    I don’t think that’s it. Cool coincidence, but I highly doubt Stephen would put a word in the opening just because of something like that. His words so far have been about HIM, and all made up words. The “Freedom without the do” is a much better and more fitting explination I think.

  7. Lasse Toft says:

    oh come on, n00bs, it obvious it’s just putting “free” and “dream” together… i mean COME ON!!11

  8. Sounds like a spoof of a George W Bush pronunciation of “Free-Them,” like “free-em,” i.e. “nucular” instead of “nuclear.”

  9. No, Freem is the sound a lascannon makes. Every good dork knows that!


  10. Even dorkier than Dork. says:

    Exactly! I just put that on Wikipedia! Spreading the knowledge to the
    unenlightend masses. All Hail TSOALR!

  11. Dork’s words ring true.
    The writer even made a strip about it.

  12. I agree with Dork. Every gaming Nerd, Geek, Dork and Spaz out there, including me, knows that FREEM is the sound a lascannon makes when fired.

    Turn Signals on a Land Raider has been around for a long time and it is obvious that Colbert is a HUGE Nerdy Warhammer 40k playah. Gamers RULE !!!

  13. Freem is probably a reference to Free Masons. Perhaps a shout
    out to all those powerful Masons trying to run the American

  14. Today’s meaningless slang word: “Freem.”

    Referenced in the webcomic “Kevin & Kell”, on Sept. 25, 1995. Freem is everywhere!

  15. it’s gotta be “freedom”, right?
    pronounced like dubya–“Fre’em”.


  16. Meaning of Freem: It’s from a 1955 song parody by comedian Steve Allen…

    The most famous “TW3” sketch, “What Is a Mum?” (aka “Mother’s Day”), was written by Dennis Potter and David Nathan from an idea by Jack Rosenthal. Using a format introduced on Jackie Gleason’s recordings (“What Is a Boy?”, “What Is a Girl?”), popular during the 1950s and also satirized by Steve Allen (“What Is a Freem?”), “What Is a Mum?” depicted a housewife in terms of ad slogans: “She thinks every washday is a miracle.

  17. Now wait a minute. Go to TSOALR4 (Turn signal on a land rover) a web comic by
    Steve. He has been using Freem for a long time. He has challenged Colbert to go
    plastico y plastico, etc. But Colbert has failed to answer the challenge. The first reference to the Colbert challenge was on the Jan 18th comic. I am incompetent with rage!!!!!!

  18. @Cindy:

    I tried to google “TSOALR4” and “Turn signal on a land rover” and can’t find either one. Could you provide a link?

  19. DB,

    9 comments above mine, a link is provided by dork. Take a look.

  20. Ah, ok, THAT comic. Sorry, I’ve slept since I saw that comment and forgot it was there. :)

  21. Freedom. Free’m Bush can’t pronounce words correctly if he says them too many times. Freedom was just too much work so he started saying freem. Watch an interview. Truly.

  22. Ms Interpreted says:

    I just saw a taping report from an LJ user who says that someone asked him about it during the Q&A. Stephen said it’s “‘Freedom’ without the ‘do’.”

    Glad we’ve got an answer, but I’m already kind of missing the mystery . . .

  23. Turn Signals on a Land Raider (not Rover). It’s gotta be 40k…it’s the natural evolution from his level 23 magic user. :)


  24. I’m ashamed to say that none of you are the properly dedicated fans of Calvin & Hobbes. Calvin’s alter ego Spaceman Spiff pilots a ship with a Hyper-FREEM drive.
    Go Comics – Calvin & Hobbes
    Of course that is what the reference is concerning. Duh! :S

  25. Thomas O'Brien says:

    See, even though Calvin and Hobbes is extremely popular, that doesn’t mean that everybody memorizes every single strip.

    I admit, that is a clever deduction, but I don’t think it’s right, simply because of how obscure it is. The fact that Stephen said that it was freedom without the do is enough proof for me.

  26. …just checked out TSOALR. That is the worst comic in the world. Hoooly s#!t.

  27. Maybe it is freedom without the do – and he is saying ‘stephen’ puts the ‘do’ in freedom?

  28. This has got to be true….as I am the one who asked him the question. :-) I was also wearing a “Stewart Colbert 08” shirt, which Stephen saw and expressed disapproval, indicating that it should read “Colbert Stewart 08”

  29. I’m friends with the guy who asked Stephen what “Freem” meant and sat next to him during the taping. Stephen replied it’s “freedom without the do, because I [Stephen] do it for you.” End of debate.

    We also gave Stephen a pumpkin I carved of him at that taping.

  30. If it’s any help, UK cartoonist Steve Bell, who appears regularly in the Guardian, has been mocking Bush’s pronunciation of words like Freedom for a long time now. And yes, you guessed it, “Freem”=freedom. Similarly, “Moxy”=democracy.

    Just take a look at this recent example:

  31. “Freem” originated as a nonsense word with Steve Allen in the mid-1950’s. He released a recorded monologue entitled “What is a freem?” It was typical Allen lunacy which made not a bit of sense. It began. . .

    “I wonder how many of us in these troubled times take time out from our busy workdays to ask the question “What is a freem?’ Well, freems are found in the strangest places: in your crile, on the phone, from the Firth of Forth to the Straits of Magellan, in cesspools, in filtertips, near your bird, and playing on your heartstrings. . . .”

    And ended. . .

    “. . .and you will realize that a boom is only a ding-dong, but a good cigar is a freem.”

    I wish I could find the entire thing. My memory of it has faded.

  32. Michael and Jane are right. The first time I heard the term “Freem” was in Steve Allen”s satire of “What is a boy” and “What is a girl”. I suspect Steve Colbert didn’t even exist at the time!
    Richard 1933

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