Futurama Wiki
Futurama Wiki

John A. Zoidberg's catchphrase
Zoidberg's infamous flee sound

John A. Zoidberg, better simply known as Zoidberg, (born December 5, 2913), is the on-staff physician at Planet Express on Futurama. He was born on the planet Decapod 10 and moved to Earth to practise medicine after giving up comedy once.

Despite being a self-proclaimed expert on Humans, he called Philip J. Fry "young lady" when they first met and has confused Fry with Bender. He speaks, as all Decapodians do, with a heavy Yiddish accent. He is the nephew of famed eccentric movie celebrity Harold Zoid. On a number of occasions, Zoidberg has made mention of Hermes Conrad being his best friend.[1]

Zoidberg is actually the alien discovered in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.[2] He seems to live in various places around the Planet Express Building, notably the Dumpster, in which he has been seen numerous times looking for food and shelter. Zoidberg himself confessed to "living in a dumpster" in 3011, presumably the Planet Express building Dumpster.[3]

A conversation Zoidberg has with Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth suggests that he is only staying with Planet Express because of a life debt to the Professor. A series of flashbacks reveal that Zoidberg first met and befriended Farnsworth in 2927, during a mission to kill a Tritonian Yeti for Mom. During the mission, Zoidberg was attacked by a Tritonian Yeti but is saved by Hubert, who is scratched by the Tritonian Yeti. Hubert now fears that he has contracted Hyper-Malaria, a painful, fatal, incurable disease that can either strike instantly or remain dormant for years. He asks Zoidberg to perform a mercy killing if he ever exhibits symptoms of the disease. Grateful for the Professor having saved his life and killing the Tritonian Yeti, Zoidberg agrees. As a result, Zoidberg is employed by the Professor for the purpose of carrying out the task.

He is technically homeless and very poor, being a very unsuccessful "internal medicine doctor". Although claiming it was lost in a volcano, it is very likely that Zoidberg does not actually have a medical degree but rather has a doctorate in art history.[4] Despite his professional incompetence, he has been drafted into the Democratic Order of Planets army as a MEAT surgeon.[5]

He's always poor, and has stated several times that he has no home. Even worse, he is treated like a social pariah by almost everyone around him. Hermes considers him as practically a slave (even more than he views the others) and does not hesitate in treating him like one.

When seen eating, Zoidberg does so with extreme urgency and a variety of disgusting sounds. Almost invariably it's "scavenged" food that has somehow "gotten away" from others: food stuck to the wall or floor, a bridal bouquet, even a ten-gallon western hat dipped in barbecue sauce.

Zoidberg seems to be an employee sometimes, yet other times his presence is merely tolerated. This ambiguous situation seems to be connected with his constant poverty, yet later we find out he has a long-standing arrangement with the professor, so there must be some kind of payscale, however small.

Zoidberg is awed at even small sums of money, due to an apparent lack of knowledge of human currency and economics. When eight million bucks falls in his lap, the true value (after a millennium of inflation) of the money seems totally unimportant to him. Money "comes and goes" according to a high-rolling Zoidberg.

So probably his poverty is just as insignificant to him.

He is excitable about his friends and is very trusting with the Planet Express Crew. He appears to be rather fond of all of them, but loudly calls Bender "My old friend!!" on many occasions, sounding more desperate than sure. Bender certainly does not reciprocate Zoidberg's affections.

Zoidberg on one occasion got himself in a fix, and asked himself "What would the robot do?" He's aware that Bender is a criminal by nature, and a good one too.

Most of the crew (except possibly Fry, the Professor, as well as Amy) finds John (or at least his species) to be disgusting as he will eat almost anything and his extreme "incompetence" as a doctor has done nothing for his popularity. Sometimes the rest of the crew will be nice or care for him, except maybe Hermes.

Note: (From Space Pilot 3000 until a certain point, Zoidberg has teeth.)


A composite of numerous sea creatures, Zoidberg's features are myriad. The most unique feature is his very high tolerance for physical pain. An example is in the episode "Roswell that Ends Well", Zoidberg is being dissected without anaesthesia, but he doesn't feel any type of pain and chats with the doctors while being cut up.

His known physical attributes include a removable exoskeleton; a retractable head fin that indicates arousal, aggression, or fear; highly effective ink glands (his main defense); a stink gland that emits foul odors when he's bored; an empathy bladder; an "enquiring organ" (used when reading celebrity mags); a gas bladder; a freshwater stomach; a saltwater stomach; four hearts; a throat that apparently produces psychedelic blue pearls; gonopores; and finally a "wazoo". This last item is apparently some sort of sex organ; the place where the male jelly "comes out."

It has been revealed that passing on genetic material is a life-terminating event for these lobster people, so while the good doctor once informed Leo Wong that he 'took the liberty of fertilizing his caviar' for him, it remains ambiguous what actually transpired.

Zoidberg reverted through several of the early "larval" life cycle stages of his species after being exposed to a youth tar. He seems to have started off as a small immobile creature from which asexually fragmented "brothers" could separate (each with a distinct personality). A later stage was a parasitic lamprey, followed by a large clam inside which his head was visible. The next oldest form resembled a trilobite. Other stages included a sea urchin and a cuttlefish.[6]


Zoidberg is indirectly and unintentionally responsible for a number of disasters and misfortunes which befall Earth's people, including their enslavement by the Decapodians due to their overreaction of Zoidberg eating a flag and sentencing him to death after giving him an unfair trial. Due to his alleged overacting in a TV series finale, the people of Earth are denied the Omicronian recipe for eternal life. He is also partially responsible for the near sale of Planet Express to MomCorp, due to foolishly trading all of his stocks to That Guy for a sandwich, which grew moldy because he kept it in his coat pocket. That near sale was, however, mainly Fry's fault. Zoidberg is also the alien that supposedly crash-landed in Roswell.


Unnamed Lobster[]

Even though Zoidberg is generally disliked by everybody he comes into contact with, he did manage to find a little romance with a regular Lobster at the Hipster Club when Amy Wong took Turanga Leela out to find a man, walking out with the lobster in his arms after the bar closed.[7]


Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love? (Main Episode) - 112


He also had fallen in love with Edna, an old classmate who thought that he was inferior until Fry tutored him. Zoidberg would have won her over had Turanga Leela not expose the fact; consequently Edna fell in love with Fry instead and Zoidberg caught the two in "the act".[8]

Jellyfish Monster[]

He and the Jellyfish Monster (who also served as his field nurse during the war) were seen sharing a glass of wine on the Titanic.

Unnamed Spouse[]

He is ultimately revealed to be currently married to an unknown spouse in "Benderama" when Hubert shredded his wedding album to make two small sweaters. It is unknown who Zoidberg's spouse is, but it's safe to assume they're not together anymore.


So, Johnny, are we gonna pick up where we left off?

Candy and Zoidberg, Möbius Dick

It is implied in the episode "Möbius Dick", the pair were in a romantic relationship and were close for her to call him "Johnny". After her freedom from the möbius colon, she seemed to retain her affection for him and he reciprocated by styling his growing hair to impress her.


In the episode "Stench and Stenchibility", it's revealed that Zoidberg has been video-dating the alien Zindy for four years. However, when they finally meet, she can't stand his smell and immediately leaves him.


Zoidberg and Marianne

Zoidberg finds love with Marianne.

In the episode "Stench and Stenchibility", Zoidberg falls in love with a flower merchant with no sense of smell called Marianne. After gaining a nose, Marianne enjoys Zoidberg's scent, as she had never learned a good smell from a bad smell. The two are presumed to have an ongoing relationship, as they are last seen together driving off in a garbage truck.


He is portrayed as a dumb, incompetent doctor due to his frequent surgical mishaps and misdiagnoses. However, Zoidberg is far from stupid as it's shown he has knowledge in alien anatomy (not human, though he is a self-proclaimed "human expert") and a Ph.D. in Art History. It was even questioned as to why the Professor does not fire him, until it's revealed that he is a long-time friend and crew member of Hubert's. Thus, the Professor won't fire him even though he has shown to be vastly incompetent at his job and is hated by most of his co-workers.

Out of all the Planet express crew members, Zoidberg is considered to be the most caring and innocent member of the crew (even Robot Santa considers him the only nice being in existence).

He is a sweet and lovable guy who just wants a friend to hang out with. But for some reason, perhaps his tolerance of filth, powerful odor, or a tendency to eat other people's food, most dislike him, especially Hermes.

Despite this, Zoidberg considers everyone to be his friend, with the possible exception of "the robot." Fry is usually the only co-worker that treats John decently and openly call him a friend. At Fry's memorial in "Bender's Big Score", when Leela stated they would all miss Fry, John reveals that "He was the only one of you who never struck me!" despite the fact that Fry does face-slap Zoidberg on at least one occasion because the latter cut his arm off.

John is a very impulsive, erratic, and feral-minded being who sleeps in a dumpster and has an insanely wide diet.

In fact, there are only 4 things Zoidberg won't eat: Brown crayons, compact fluorescent bulbs, tofu, and Bender's cooking. He especially craves seafood above all else.

He is a scavenger with absolutely no self-restraint. He's totally dictated by hunger, eating any unguarded food he encounters with gusto.

He's also jumpy and easily startled, flailing his arms and uttering his legendary "whoop-whoop" call when provoked. He doesn't have the guts to stand up to anyone, sometimes begging "Don't hit me!" even when the threat is still theoretical.

During his species' breeding season, Zoidberg also experiences musth, and during this time he's unpredictably aggressive, even insane. A highly-strung, violent, and (allegedly) virile Decapodian.

He tries his hardest to prove that he is a trustworthy guy and he is constantly nice towards other people, but the ostracism he receives from the Planet Express crew and society causes him to be a very lonely person.

He knows that Hermes bullies him constantly, but Zoidberg believes this special attention is actually a compliment, and that only Hermes "cares enough" to insult John with such zeal. In the episode "The Six Million Dollar Mon", Zoidberg repays Hermes' unthinking dislike of him with a big save and then a strong lesson about true friendship. He also lets out his pent-up feelings towards Hermes, calling the latter a "big jerk" who was selfish and stupid and didn't deserve a friend like him.

Powers and abilities[]

Hysterical Strength: Zoidberg has truly overwhelming ability and can cause a lot of damage with his claws, such as slicing metal, snipping off entire human limbs, or forcing large metal power doors open. His strength is heightened during his musth, enabling him to lift incredibly heavy weights.

Extreme Durability: His exoskeleton and especially carapace is immune to swords and most conventional weapons. Even when he tries stabbing himself with his arm strength it merely bends the sword. Yet his shell is removable and replaceable. When he's shell-less, Zoidberg is very floppy and revolting, naturally.

Amphibian Powers: Zoidberg can breathe underwater as well as in oxygen, for an unlimited amount of time. He's also an excellent submarine scent tracker.

Physical Durability: Zoidberg has been shown to have extreme physical endurance, even being able to survive vivisection



  • His catchphrase is "Hooray!"
  • He got thrown/hit in the stadium of boiling water for swallowing a guinea pig on purpose.
  • He has a girlfriend named Marianne near the end of the series.
  • He also shouts "WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP!" multiple times in a row often (which is based on a sound that Curly, from the Three Stooges, would often make). Zoidberg is always shown doing this when he's running away in different directions while scared or wants to escape from someone who is angered. In the episode "The Tip of the Zoidberg", this is shown to be sandcrabbing.
  • He pronounces "robot" as Row-but.
  • Zoidberg's birthday is December 5.[9] but the Planet Express Crew always forgets his birthday.
  • Zoidberg's medical specialty is declaring people medically dead, whether they are or not. He is also very skilled in suturing severed limbs together, especially human hands, recovering Hermes' body parts and reassembling them, and keeping Fry's severed head alive by stitching it on Amy's shoulder.
  • Zoidberg had a brief acting career, having played a minor role in The Magnificent Three.
  • His uncle, Harold Zoid, is a legendary movie director, actor, and an Oscar winner.
  • Even though Zoidberg is poor, he somehow obtained the money to buy the new EyePhone in "Attack of the Killer App".
  • It's revealed in "Bendless Love" that he has a pet Slinky, which is actually his favorite toy.
  • Zoidberg is often forced to clean up messes around the Planet Express building by the other employees, even when the mess was made by everyone, though this should be Scruffy Scruffington's job.
  • When John received $300 from the mass tax refund, he thought he was rich. This shows that Zoidberg is bad at economics. In "Viva Mars Vegas", he was shown to have collected and saved several pennies in his jar which he thought would be enough for him to do gambling, even though this only amounted to perhaps only a few dollars. Amy has known John to have primitive habits on managing money and this leads to Amy lambasting Zoidberg for being poor, though she apologizes to him for that later on. Part of the reason why Amy lambasted Zoidberg for being poor was because Amy herself was the daughter of a rich couple.
  • He is an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters along with Hubert, Amy, and Hermes.
  • In Bender's Big Score, Zoidberg reveals that Fry is the only member of Planet Express to never strike him.
  • In the episode "The Silence of the Clamps", it's revealed that the only reason he's a member of Planet Express is to snip and cut, as well as being extremely sensitive about this role. However, it was also revealed in "The Tip of the Zoidberg" that he was a member of Planet Express for the sole purpose of performing euthanasia on Professor Farnsworth because Hubert was sick with yetiism, which was mistaken for hypermalaria.
  • He apparently has more than one set of vocal cords, as he is able to sing harmony with himself.
  • He once managed to beat the ever-living daylights out of a Mob Enforcer with his bare claws.
  • John and Hubert have been friends since 2927.[10]
    Young zoidberg and professor

    John Zoidberg and Hubert Farnsworth working for MomCorp in the year 2927.

  • As of the statement above, it's indicated that John is older than 80. Presumably in his 100's as Zoidberg in the photo looks in his 20's.
  • "The Tip of the Zoidberg" reveals that Zoidberg is actually a competent physician, but for aliens and not humans (or, in Bender's case, robots). He's competent enough where Mom recognizes his skillfulness with alien anatomies.
    • Also, Mom is shown to respect Zoidberg enough for the two of them to be on a first-name-basis with each other (since Zoidberg refers to Mom by her real first name of "Carol").
  • In addition to his fake medical degree, he is said to have mail-ordered murderology and murderonomy degrees.[11]
  • He is the only known being to be deemed "good" by Robot Santa Claus as he was given a pogo stick as a gift. The reason for this could be an error by Santa Claus or because of his kind and innocent personality.[12]
  • It was once revealed that he lives in one of Professor Farnsworth's inventions. However, he officially lives in a dumpster due to his poverty. The closest he ever got to having a real home was when he made one out of a seashell, only to have it burned down by Bender despite the fact that it was underwater.
  • Despite his poor skills as a comedian, he is shown to be very skilled at ventriloquism.
  • Zoidberg is one of two characters who are known primarily by their surname: the other is Fry. Leela doesn't count as it's revealed in "A Leela of Her Own" that Turanga is Leela's family name.
  • He has a gland which generates foul odors when bored, as demonstrated in Bender's Big Score.
  • He never actually said the famous meme "Why not Zoidberg" throughout the series. However, he did say it in a DVD promo for Volume 7.
  • He has a Doctorate Degree in Art History, as seen in "The Duh-Vinci Code".
  • He is said to smell like a burning zoo.
  • Zoidberg's e-mail is Zoidberg@freemail.web as revealed in Bender's Big Score.
  • Zoidberg appears in all but three episodes of the series: "Space Pilot 3000", "Mars University", and "Brannigan, Begin Again". Of the main seven characters, Zoidberg makes the third-most number of appearances, after Professor Farnsworth (the second-most) and the main trio (Fry, Leela and Bender are the only characters to appear in every single episode of the series).
  • Zoidberg works part-time as a busboy at Elzar's.
  • Robot Santa, Fry, the Professor, Marianne, and Mom are the only characters to treat him with genuine kindness.

Behind the Scenes[]

In the development process for the show, David X. Cohen looked to the original Star Trek series for inspiration. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy often operated on alien species, so they decided to have an alien doctor that served the human crew and as the series unfolded it became clear that John's medical ability was lacking with humans but highly skilled with aliens, which makes him a spoof of Dr. McCoy. Additionally, Zoidberg's character also took on other running jokes: he became poor, lonely, as well as a failed comedian in addition to being a horrible doctor. His Yiddish accent is ironic because he is a shellfish, which Jewish people do not eat. He is overall a satirization of modern American doctors, who are often wealthy and respected, while Zoidberg is homeless and friendless.

The name "Zoidberg" comes from a game for the Apple II, that Cohen developed when he was in high school. Although Zoid was never picked up, it became the basis for Zoidberg's name.

The voice for Dr. Zoidberg was developed by Billy West, influenced by actors Lou Jacobi and George Jessel.[13]