This article was originally written in 2016 by author Jamie Taylor. It has since been updated in 2022.
Buckle up. For the next several minutes, you're embarking on a journey. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry (especially if you think you recognize your own business on this list). You’ll realize the bounty of comedic relief bad reviews on Yelp can bring. While funny Yelp reviews are entertaining, they might also provide some grave insights about humanity, a little dose of reality, and the stark need for reputation management.
Bad reviews on Yelp aren’t funny if your business is the butt of the joke. Download our churn study “Why reputation management matters” now.
The pleasure centers will be tingling while reading these funny Yelp reviews. But undoubtedly, if you're like most marketers, the business side of you won't be able to help but wonder what kind of impact reviews like these are having on a business's online reputation.
But why the funniest Yelp reviews, in particular, as opposed to other review sites? Do the worst reviews make the biggest impact on Yelp?
We’ve found it's where most local businesses (your clients) focus their attention when it comes to top review sites. Over 33 million unique mobile users visited Yelp in 2021, and in 2022 Yelp is home to 244 million cumulative reviews (Yelp).
Bottom line, millions of customers are searching for reviews with buying intent. In fact, studies have shown that for every Yelp star you earn, you can expect to see up to a 9-percent increase in revenue (Harvard Magazine).
That makes funny Yelp reviews serious business. Let’s take a look at the best and worst Yelp reviews.
1. Proof that if you want to avoid bad reviews on Yelp, amenities matter…
Would it even be a funniest Yelp reviews list without a little bit of bathroom humor? Where we conduct our “business” is important and this local pizza joint found out the hard way—almost as hard as their purported toilet seats.
Funny Yelp reviews can be a little painful, too. Literally.
2. Imagine a world of funny Yelp reviews without the “update” function?
Impossible! A world without hilarious review “updates”? That is a world I do not want to live in. Speaking of morality, let’s keep these two pedestrians in our thoughts and prayers. We’d love to claim that “no people were harmed in the making of this funniest Yelp reviews list,” but honestly, we’re not too sure...
Sidenote: is three stars still too generous, or is it just me? Who knew funny Yelp reviews could be truly philosophical on so many levels.
3. Some of the best Yelp reviews are from repeat customers
We love a good simile. “Making my butt spread like rumors”? Shakespeare, is that you? Proof that the funniest Yelp reviews also double as art.
Joking aside, there is more to be learnt from this review (the beloved “update” feature strikes again!). This customer’s first review was in 2014, and they took the time for a glowing update in 2020. That’s brand loyalty! It just goes to show that quality and consistency will earn a business a dedicated customer base.
With strategies to maintain and build that great reputation, you’re as golden as a grilled chicken panini.
4. So many bad Yelp reviews are due to strange expectations
Oh, the dreaded “if I could give this 0 stars I would”. Not the first or last time we will see this phrase, which is the hallmark of dramatic, hilarious, and all-around bad yelp reviews everywhere. What could have earned such a title? This zoo in Brooklyn, apparently. Why, you may ask?
Some penguins getting a little shower? Some shy sharks? A tranquil turtle? Honestly, like many funny Yelp reviews, this seems like a case of mismanaged expectations.
5. Not all funny Yelp reviews are a laughing matter (R.I.P chicken tender)
Didn’t expect the “If I could give this 0 stars I would” to come back so soon, did you? The drama of bad reviews on Yelp is always exquisite, and this example is no exception.
All caps? Check. Reckless overuse of exclamation marks? Yup. Extreme amount of oversharing about personal tragedy and trauma? You bet.
The business wisdom to glean from this review is that consistency is key. If you do most things well (10/10), but fall short on a key service or offering, it can still land you with an unsatisfied customer and a negative review.
While we’re grateful for the funny Yelp reviews, we do truly wish Swaggy well. We respect you!
6. False advertising always leads to the worst reviews (and perhaps an HR complaint)
You may not have expected meatballs (or “these balls” for that matter) to teach you a business and life lesson. But when it comes to bad reviews on Yelp, you often get more than what you bargained for.
Funny Yelp reviews (and this one in particular) can bestow the following wisdom: Focus on follow-through! Don’t make the “these balls” joke if you’re not willing to commit to it.
Unless, you know, maybe hold off on making these types of jokes all together. The bad reviews on Yelp aren’t worth it, and you don’t want to distract from your actual product offering—the potentially tasty food.
7. Hey, two stars is not too bad, considering…
The best Yelp reviews can be elevated to the level of an artform, as we previously mentioned. Honest Abe’s candid (yet generous!) Yelp review takes its spot amongst the classics in the funny Yelp reviews genre.
8. A funny Yelp review for one, might be the worst night ever for another
Dennis from Wilsonville, OR made it clear that this establishment earned one of the worst reviews and permanently lost a customer (“Never Again”). I wouldn’t be surprised if the negative reviewer posted their thoughts on other online business directories and review sites as well.
The reviewer earns some karma credit for pointing out the few things that were pleasant, such as the smiling waitress and the good fries.
However, apparently the comically small portions are no laughing matter… even when it comes to funny Yelp reviews.
9. Even the best Yelp reviews can feature a major plot twist
Is there such a thing as too good? Apparently, yes. Sometimes, when you try to get more positive reviews for clients, they still end up on a list of the worst Yelp reviews.
The funniest Yelp reviews tend to feature a bit of irony, such as this one.
Despite the 1-star review, never underestimate the power of a love-hate relationship. We hope that Gary meets some new friends at this pizza joint to give his failing social life a needed boost.
10. Not even Yosemite National Park is safe from bad Yelp reviews
Take note: This reviewer (with 142 reviews!) is what is known as a “Yelper.” A loyalist, a crusader, or someone with nothing better to do? That is up to you to decide.
Regardless, this Yelper’s review is a highlight—nay, the crowning jewel—in our list of funniest Yelp reviews. If you’re looking to get more reputation management clients, you might want to take a look at the businesses this Yelper frequents.
11. Funny Yelp reviews can help cope with potentially perilous situations
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. When you’re monitoring your clients’ online reputations, you sometimes find gems like these ones. The same goes for funny Yelp reviews! Bad Yelp reviews might sound like the best Yelp reviews, depending on your perspective. One person might hate what someone else loves.
This reviewer gets it! Perhaps you’ll like this hotel if you enjoy the adrenaline of being in “immediate peril”. Or if you’re a horror movie fan, you might like your sheets bloodied and slashed up.
12. Great bathrooms really seem to turn around bad Yelp reviews
You have to love when funny Yelp reviews start strong with a personal disclosure about one of the reviewer’s biggest fears.
This review had quite an inspiring trajectory, starting off with no locks on the bathroom doors and flimsy toilet paper.
Enter the unexpected hero: the well-designed bathroom sinks. 4-stars!
13. Some people are so upbeat they simply cannot post bad Yelp reviews, even when merited…
We’ve seen quite a few dramatic reviews. However, there should be a special category of bad reviews on Yelp for those special tidbits that are way more nonchalant than they should be.
Beau must be a “half glass full” kind of guy.
14. Fettuccine with a side of satanism, anyone?
Some pairings just go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Italian food and…pentagrams? The best Yelp reviews on our list always have an element of surprise, and this one is no exception.
We love how non judgemental this reviewer is, despite it all!
The bottom line on the funniest Yelp reviews
Lists like these are all in good fun. From the worst reviews you’ve ever read, to the truly wacky and whimsical, funny Yelp reviews are addicting.
However, when it comes right down to it, there are some learnings to be had. If you read these funny Yelp reviews and thought, “that could never be my business,” think again. No business is immune to being talked about and judged online. That’s why, no matter what, it’s best to be prepared to respond to both positive and negative reviews.
The thing is, reviews like the ones featured above have real power. Did you know, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends (Inc.)? Sometimes this really backs a business into a corner, as they have no control over what customers say about them on sites like Yelp... or do they?
The first step is review monitoring so you can tune in to the conversation happening about your business on Yelp and beyond.