The Stump Joke
The Stump Joke is an infamous joke/secret found in the PC floppy disk versions of The Secret of Monkey Island. While exploring the forest maze on Mêlée Island, the player may see a location featuring a large wide tree stump. If Guybrush examines the stump, he suddenly exclaims he can see a hole at the base, revealing a tunnel opening onto a system of catacombs. He tries to squeeze through, only for the game to suddenly flash a message on screen asking the player to insert disk #22. After the player fails to supply the requested disk, it asks for a few more absurdly high numbered disks, then finally Guybrush will stand and say "I guess I can't go down there. I'll just have to skip that part of the game."
However, many players took the insert disk message seriously rather than as a joke. The LucasFilm helpline received so many calls from customers about missing disks that the joke was removed from the CD version of the game. Likewise the Stump Joke is not present in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition as this was based on the CD version.
The Stump Joke is referred to in later games. In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Guybrush finds a telephone on Dinky Island and uses it to call the LucasFilm Games Hint Line (or the LucasArts Help Desk in the Special Edition). One of the dialogue options is to ask who thought up that dumb stump joke, which prompts Chester (either the woman or the man at the other end of the line, voiced by Patrick Hallahan in the Special Edition's Normal Mode, and by Meg Crowell in its Classic Mode) to sigh "I am tired of hearing about that damn stump. Do you have any idea how many calls I get a DAY about that? Don't ask me about it again." (Also, calling the LucasArts Help Desk counts as one of the achievements on the Xbox Live Arcade and one of the PlayStation Network Trophies.)
In The Curse of Monkey Island, the Goodsoup family crypt has an opening on one wall that Guybrush can stick his head into. If he does, the scene cuts to the Mêlée Island forest screen, using the same graphics, and with Guybrush's head likewise pixelated, sticking out of the stump. He looks around briefly, noting that this seems strangely familiar, then spots a "terrifying horde of stunningly-rendered rabid jaguars", offscreen, and returns to the crypt.
References in other games
If you examine a certain sewer path in the LucasArts game Grim Fandango, the main character will repeat the lines originally spoken by Guybrush Threepwood about catacombs. Similarly, in the Tim Schafer game Psychonauts, you come across a tree stump. Upon examining it twice, the main character Razputin will repeat the lines that Guybrush originally spoke in The Secret of Monkey Island, exclaiming "Wow! It's a tunnel that opens onto a system of catacombs!".
- The Secret of Monkey Island (PC floppy disks only)
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge and Special Edition (referenced only)
- The Curse of Monkey Island