The Ninja Turtles’ New Catchphrase: Booyakasha

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ciro Nieli, the executive producer of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series which premieres this weekend on Nickelodeon, revealed that the iconic catchphrase from its ’80s incarnation, ‘Cowabunga,’ has been replaced with more modern nonsensical word, ‘Booyakasha.’


I’m not sure about its exact etymology, but ‘booyakasha’ is most oft associated with one of Sacha Baron Cohen’s alter-egos, Ali G.  During one of his trademark in-character interviews, Ali G defined the word thus: ‘Booyakasha’ means ‘listen up rudeboi everytin irie whayaso lickylicky ya wangagot fifiman.’

Nieli said that the word came into the series by way of an ad-lib during a recording session.

“There was a lot of talk about what the new ‘cowabunga’ was, or whether it should even remain ‘cowabunga,’” Neili tells EW. “We hadn’t initially come up with anything yet because we didn’t really necessarily need it [at the time].”

“But then when we were at the record, one of the actors — Greg Cipes, who actually plays Michelangelo — just kind of went for it,” Nieli explains. “When he said it in the room, there were a lot of executives there. I think it was our first record. And it was that moment when he said it — I think he just really pulled it off and kind of won everybody over in the room. And it stuck.”

Michelangelo, the ‘party dude’ of the original series, was the one most-prone to using the  catchphrase, so perhaps it’s appropriate that his new voice has coined the new one.


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