In the Broadway play The Producers (and subsequent movie), the character Max Bialystock recalls a quote from his dying mentor. He says it's in Yiddish, but more than one person has told me that, in fact, it's German. I don't speak either, so please bear with me.

Linked here is the exact location in this video where he says the words. I will also attempt a transliteration, though it will certainly be inaccurate:

Alle mensche musse machen, haden tugagatzen kashen pichen pippin kachen.

Initial research shows that it is not a high-minded quote, and coming from Mel Brooks, it's bound to be comedic in nature. No lyrics sites I found have the entire quote written out, they shorten it for some reason (probably all copying from one bad source).

  • 1
    Alle Menschen müssen machen means All humans must do. The rest is either really Yiddish or just undefineable.
    – Benjoyo
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 15:23
  • The continuation is quite revealing: one of the women asks "What does that mean?" and he responds with "Who knows, I don't speak Yiddish. Strangely enough, neither did he."
    – user6191
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 15:50
  • 1
    Second half sounds like babble w.o. meaning to me, too
    – Stephie
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 16:30
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because This question does not appear to be about German language within the scope defined in the help center. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 16:55
  • 2
    Um zu dementieren, dass das Deutsch ist, muss man die Frage erst mal stellen können, auch wenn das Ergebnis "nicht Deutsch" ist, und es dann als off-topic erscheint. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 5:01

2 Answers 2


I'm pretty sure second half is babbling, as people have suggested. The OP has given:

"...haden tugagatzen kashen pichen pippin kachen."

I would transliterate it a bit differently:

"...heden to the gantzen kasha'n pischen pippik kachen."

"Heden" isn't a word. "Kasha" (buckwheat groats) is the iconic food of poverty in Jewish culture, and it is here juxtaposed ungrammatically with the word for "pissing". This is also in close proximity to "kachen", which is probably supposed to be "kacken" (to defedcate) altered to rhyme with "machen".

Finally, the "pippik" is the belly-button, and it is universally considered a funny word in Yiddish. One of its most picturesque applications is in the following couplet taken from Isaac Rosenfeld's Yiddish paroday of t.s. eliots' "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock":

"Ich wer' (=werde) alt, ich wer' alt

Un der pippik wert mir kalt."


Alle menschen mussen machen Ieden tag ein bisschen Poppikachen. To me he was trying to say "All men must make a little poppycock every day." Of course the grammar causes the words in different order. And he has added some endings to words for flow.

The other joke that most seem to miss is that his mentor Boris Thomashevsky was the father of Yiddish theatre in the US and its greatest star. The idea that he couldn't speak Yiddish is at least worth a guffaw.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.