“I’ll be right back” & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man


Since earlier this year, I’ve been stuck in a strange, prolonged cognitive dissonance. I love summer and it’s my favorite time of the year, but as soon as my computer flashed with a page confirming that I had just purchased tickets to Burning Man, I wanted it to end. Well now both summer and Burning Man is over and all I got was a dusty suitcase filled with dusty costumes and dusty gifts, some amazing photos that got me an above average amount of likes on Instagram, memories that I’ll cherish forever, some lasting inspiration to create something amazing, and a new perspective on life. So yea, I’ll definitely be going next year – but only for the dust and the likes.

Inspiring introspection aside, there was also a lot of weirdness that can be found on the playa. Weirdness and hilarity and hilarious weird things. Most of them will be forgotten, but a few, well they were overheard. And remembered. And written down. And now, published by us. We bring you overheard at Burning Man.

“You traveling alone?”
“Yea, radical self-reliance maaan”

“Do you have a spare dildo? I want to go fight my sister in the thunderdome but she forgot hers.”

“Rule number three, no anal on the playa”

“Are the mushrooms kicking in, or is Samuel L. Jackson DJing The Cuddle Puddle?”

“Every third hammer is a tracer.”

“Ladies, I just want to make sure you understood what she asked you.”
*In a beautiful German accent* : “Yes. We are going to paint your penis.”

BLM to Burner (about the 50th one who asked him) on what was going on, where the Trebuchet was launching the flaming piano.
BLM: “They are detonating a nuclear device”
Burner: *look of surprise*
BLM, reassuringly: “A small one.”
Burner nods in approval and stumbles off.

Off in the distance, during a whiteout, I hear: “Worst Coachella ever!”

“Everything goes so fast, but it takes forever.”

“I’m going to make dinner because my colors taste like hungry.”

“Whoa. There is a giant dude out there.”

“I’m looking for my wife I haven’t met yet. I’m going to get her so pregnant”
“Look by the trash fence”

img-2 "I'll be right back" & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man

credit: Alina Nugmanova

On burn night “Oh, I bet they’re gonna burn that big thing.”

“Get used to the bass all the time, it’s the heartbeat of the man.”

“Where are the regular bathrooms?”

“Shit…… Music with words!!!!!”

In a small art installation around 3 am: “Seriously…I love you man. And it’s not just the drugs talking.”

“Note for next year: fuck-proof the disco ball.”

“Can I borrow your vibrator for the Billion Bunny March?”

“If art doesn’t make you want to fight, fuck or philosophize then it probably isn’t very good.”

“You may be a snowflake. But this is a goddamned blizzard.” On a piece of artwork near center camp.

“Life is like a box of ‘Fuck You.'”

A guy and girl were embraced/cuddling watching the sunrise at the trash fence. The girl says “That was one of the most beautiful and most amazing moments of my life…. I better go back and find my boyfriend, I feel bad for him.”

“Just wait till right now.”

“Daft punk actually played at the trash fence.”

“Wow, this place is big. I didn’t know I needed a bike.”

“The drugs are certainly working… I had to physically confirm that my LED strip was off.”

“How are you transporting your water?”
“I don’t know… My uncle is an engineer, he’ll figure it out.”

Rando 1 right behind me on burn night: “What am I gonna do with all this whiskey?”
Rando 2 three rows away: “If only there was someone at burning man willing to drink booze.”

“Oh hey, free blowjobs. Did you want to stop?”
*pause to consider*
“Nah. I need to get to Costco to pick up a soulmate”

“I’m looking for the biggest cock on the playa! And the hairiest vagina!” Through a megaphone for about an hour at 6 am outside my camp.

During the man burn: “Meth is great if you need to peel a whole bowl of grapes.”

img-3-1 "I'll be right back" & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man

A friend of mine looked at a lady cycling past on her bike, they starred at each other and as she passed she threw her bike into an art piece and shouted: “Are we gonna do this or what!?”

As I’m biking with a half full box of whippits and they are jangling about I hear: “Oh, oh, oh… I hear whippits!”
The fact someone knew the sounds made me laugh.

“My friends mom walked in on me giving myself a blowjob.”

“There’s a topless chick on a trampoline up at 8:30 if you’re looking for something to do.” This was the first thing I heard on Wednesday morning when I woke up.

“Stop staring at my dick or I’ll get hard.”

“Has anyone talked to [BMorg] about this dust yet?”

dust-storm "I'll be right back" & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man

A guy, serious as all fuck, walked up to us at center camp and asked for help on why he wasn’t getting wi-fi on his tablet.

“Burning Man is a place where you leave things behind….like time. And underwear.”

“My song is more repetitive than your song!”
Referring to the art cars that would park next to each other and play competing music.

“Pasties are like the [gateway] drug to complete nudity.”

“Are you seriously complaining about our customer service??” From the soup flavored blankets guys to a girl who was having a tantrum about the line in deep playa.

img-4-1 "I'll be right back" & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man credit: Alina Nugmanova

Girl in furry bikini at 3 am near the 2 o’clock party sector during one of the 30 degree nights: ”I don’t understand why they have this rave somewhere so cold and dirty…”
To which her similarly clad friend replied: “I know seriously! And why do they have to put all the cool music so far from each other? It’s like they don’t want us to be able to get to all the stages.”

“I’m going to take a shower and have sex… anyone care to join me?”

“Where are our bikes?”
“Behind the blinky tree.”
“What blinky tree?”
“I think it’s hiding behind that helicopter.”

“It’s not gay if it’s at Burning Man.”

“I can’t keep the velcro on my work gloves from catching the hem of my tutu…”

“Anyone want some lube? I went looking for hotdogs and ended up in the wrong camp.”

“This food is from the Martha Stewart Prison Cookbook.”

confessions "I'll be right back" & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man

“This is like the Saturday morning cartoons as a kid, only WE are the cartoon!”

“I’m going to fix another drink then continue exposing myself.”

“I am going to a Strap-on-a-thon in 15 minutes. Want to join me?”

“Do you ever notice when the color of the sound changes?”

“He gifted me with a hug and a penis lighter.”

“Oh my god! I’m shirtcocking! I’m sorry! Let me take of my shirt.”

“It’s beautiful to see the sunrise after a night when you thought you never would again.”

“I’ll be right back.”

“Wash your own brain, lady, we’re not a cult.”

“Next year I’m gonna do a rogue gynecology camp.”

Walking by a camp that has two people talking to each other: “We should change our camp name to Camp Free Handjobs”

“Technically, alcohol is a solution.”

“I should have pee’d myself days ago… I just cleaned every inch of my body and I feel awesome.”

Story told by a ranger friend: “They found a lost hippie way out in deep Playa, disoriented and weak from heat exhaustion. They bring him back on their cart to the city and a camp lead from one of the camps brings a gallon of water for the guy to drink. The hippie says, ‘I can’t drink from that. It’s full of BPAs.’ The camp lead answers, ‘The heat exhaustion will kill you faster than the BPAs. Drink up.’ So the dude takes the gallon, takes a small sip and pours the rest of the water over his head. As the water trickles down into the dust, he says, ‘Now it is one with the earth.’

“Acid makes Rangering better.”

“All I want is a bathtub filled with lotion out here.”

“I have a partially used burrito and keys to an art car I can’t find.”

img-5-1 "I'll be right back" & Other Hilarious Things Overheard at Burning Man

“I lost my friends rascal, my cape, and I got driven home by the medics. I woke up out of my black out, started dancing, and jumped out of the truck and ran.”

That Camp Over There was offering up your choice of a) a spanking, b) a flogging, or c) a Pringle (as in potato chip). This offer was repeated over a bullhorn for several hours to people passing by as I was giving massages to burners in the HeeBeeGeeBee camp. At one point, the person on the bullhorn added “we’re entirely amateur” as an addendum… Something struck me as especially funny about that.

“I think I’m smarter than acid.”

Overheard from a virgin: “When do they turn the music off?”

Older dude one morning said, “Wow, l didn’t dream of shooting anybody last night! I must be getting used to the music.”

“There’s a group of people that are rolling out a red carpet in front of random porta-potties and then lining up on both side and cheering whoever comes out.”

“Is this Main Stage?”

“I’m still going with I didn’t know she had a penis”

Find this funny? Check out our first go at these types of posts, The Things You Hear at Bisco. Have any to add? Send them our way or comment below.

Note: This is a curated list, made up of things we actually heard and things that others heard – which were told to us or found online (largely from a thread started by Sara Laroux). Thanks to all that helped make this post possible!


Cover photo credit: Alina Nugmanova

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  1. Bass Bunny at The P3 Oasis 21 September, 2015 at 08:13 Reply

    <overheard on burn night from across the street from my camp at 6:30 and G (i think it was Grateful Floyd Camp)>
    two older ladies sitting in chairs watching the man burn from their camp with a complete deadpan voice on a bullhorn:
    i’ve got news for you… the man is STILL burning… (long pause)… the man has not fallen yet… (long pause) excuse me, sir, you’re blocking my view… (short pause) the man has not fallen yet! you’ve over-engineered him yet again! let’s blow that motherfucker up!

  2. Jason 21 September, 2015 at 15:29 Reply

    We spent an hour on Saturday morning talking to one of the guys from Soup Flavored Blankets while we watched the sun come up. He told us about a woman who was complaining about the lengthy wait for soup and insults. Hopefully it was the same woman as quoted here.

    In his version, the "customer" in front of the complaining woman retorted, "You should leave them a one star Yelp review." We all thought this was pretty funny, and I promised them I would leave them a 1-star Yelp review when I got back. So I started the Yelp page and left a review, and now there are 3 other reviews, which is pretty damn gratifying.

    Leave your own review of their terrible service, bad attitude, and piss poor selection of soups here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/soup-flavored-blankets-black-rock-city-3

  3. SpaceKitteh 21 September, 2015 at 18:14 Reply

    While standing with my boyfriend in the middle of the playa, hugging in silence and seconds away from reaching enlightenment, we hear:
    "IS THAT A FLAMING FUCKING OCTOPUS?!?!" – enthusiastic virgin dude #1
    "YEAH DUDE! LETS GO!" – enthusiastic virgin dude #2

    Enlightenment achieved.

  4. jocool 21 September, 2015 at 18:39 Reply

    I got the red carpet treatment from a group called Short Attention Span Theater. after you go in, innocently, they set up a carpet and cameras, lie in wait, and then scream and applaud and stuff a microphone in your face and ask you questions as soon as you open the door to leave. suuuuuper funny and good enough to hang around and watch others

  5. Erik Nelson 21 September, 2015 at 19:07 Reply

    The insufficiently fuck-proofed disco ball was Charlie the Unicorns. Someone got so enthusiastic they fucked it right off the car.
    We’ll have to re-engineer that.

  6. dan baker 21 September, 2015 at 19:10 Reply

    I went down to the port potties in my Gandalf costume, staff and stun gun and shouted ‘You shall not pass" while running the stun gun. Most everyone thought it was funny.

  7. spiralforward 21 September, 2015 at 21:18 Reply

    according to legend, the red carper porta potty guys specifically roll it out only to celebrate folks who use the potty despite particularly challenging or cumbersome costumes in which to use a toilet…

  8. Missi / GloBall 21 September, 2015 at 23:39 Reply

    At one sunrise a guy came up to my new friend and I and asked if he had by chance seen a little Scottish girl. Him and his friends had lost her. We just started laughing because what exactly does a Scottish girl look like?!? He then realized it was pretty silly. But proceeded to tell us if we did find a little Scottish girl, to tell her that her friends went to robot heart and she should meet them! Needless to say, we didn’t find the poor lost girl! Haha

    • Pineapple 22 September, 2015 at 16:15 Reply

      HAHAHA! YES! Missi! i was there for that, sucha good laugh. seemed to have catalysed the next several hours of fun. I’ve been looking for you Missi, add me on facebook love: charles dusastre

  9. Rio 22 September, 2015 at 03:51 Reply

    1) Woman One: "I see the world in a blur." Woman Two: "That’s so nice." Woman One: "No, I’ve lost a contact."
    2) "I’m deathly afraid of marsupials."
    3) "Every half hour something happens at Burning Man you didn’t know existed in the universe."

  10. Richard Von Busack 22 September, 2015 at 06:17 Reply

    These were gorgeous. So my 57 year old ass is in the sleeping bag, wife sleeping blamelessly away across from me, and right before sunup we are awoken by a big fat fight between bros right outside our tent: "Fuck you!"
    "Fuck you too!"
    "Go ahead and go to your orgy! No one’s going to fuck you, you dirty dick!"
    "Fuck you!!!"
    Runner up: Stupid graffiti at our site: "Living in the Yay Area but still a Mass Ass." (Well, I guess you are, at that!)
    Second runner up: from a pal who’d had it to the teeth with those ‘free hugs’ t-shirts: "How much is a kick in the balls?"

  11. Aplayapus 22 September, 2015 at 07:39 Reply

    The year that Thunder Dome covered their sign with Hot Topics – There was a couple walking in front of us. The guy sees the dome and wants to go over there. His girlfriend stops and looks at where he wants to go – then yanks him away by the arm and says "Hot Topics – that’s a mall store -so not Burningman! "

  12. Ev 22 September, 2015 at 15:39 Reply

    Guy 1: "It’s so weird, when this is over I’m going to be hetero straight again."
    Guy 2: "You don’t have to be."
    Guy 1: "It’s tough to wrap my head around being gay."

  13. 9DaysDusty 22 September, 2015 at 16:08 Reply

    girl in line posed a riddle: "Know why dust storms are awesome?" Answer: "You can stay in your tent all day and fuck."

  14. Dancing Mandy 22 September, 2015 at 20:58 Reply

    Overheard on a spinning climbable art piece:
    burner 1: is anyone here a biologist?
    bunrer 2: yeah!
    burner1: is a coconut a seed or a nut?
    burner 2: A seed!
    burner 1: thanks!

  15. Timmy 23 September, 2015 at 05:19 Reply

    Girl rolling into a camp on her bike in the middle of the night, sarcastically calls out: "Hey! You never responded to my Candy Crush request…"
    Guy chillin at said camp quick-wittedly replies: "Oh yeah… I don’t really have service so"

  16. Timmy 23 September, 2015 at 05:24 Reply

    "Since coming to Burning Man, English has become my second language…. And I don’t have a first!" – my friend’s mom referring to the effects drugs have on her speech

  17. Gooch 23 September, 2015 at 22:03 Reply

    Oh also: a band was setting up to play a show at around 8 in the morning, standing on top of an RV.

    Band member: "What time is it anyway?"
    Random heckler: "Time to get a job you damn hippy!"

  18. Wayne Chisnall 23 September, 2015 at 23:15 Reply

    My fave phrase from the whole of this yea’r Burning Man came out of the mouth of my friend, Sophie Wilson (fellow member of Camp Cheeky Bollocks), as we were about to leave the erotic massage workshop – ‘Urgh! I think I just stepped in cum’.

  19. Kahtee Lahtee 24 September, 2015 at 18:28 Reply

    After biking the playa for about 5 hours in a raging dust storm, we return to camp to find it a little ripped up and completely covered in dust, much like ourselves. Our neighbor comes over:

    "Do you guys have a dustpan I can borrow?"

    We promptly lose our shit, laughing hysterically at his well-timed joke…

    He was totally serious!

  20. XOXOJon 27 September, 2015 at 08:33 Reply

    There were 3 girls walking down D Street between 7:30 and 7:00. the girl in the middle was being consoled by her two girlfriends, and they were saying in the most loving voices….":No sweetie, burning man if very heterosexual, you’re just on the gay street right now" … I LOVED THAT!!!!

  21. Paizley 29 September, 2015 at 19:19 Reply

    Couple breaking down camp after 14 days, guy says to gal he’s working with: "In the spirit of co-operation, can’t we just do it MY way?

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