15 Odd Ways Pizza Has Influenced Pop Culture

pizza pop culture influence

What’s the deal with pizza? No, that’s not a Jerry Seinfeld opener, but an actual question we’re asking, considering everyone’s favorite junk food has been popping up in unlikely places lately—such as on a full-body suit worn by model Cara Delevingne and in sundry formations in the new Katy Perry music video.

In many ways, fashion is at a kitschy, almost childlike, place right now—things like cartoon prints, palm trees, hearts, and quippy sayings aren’t uncommon—and pizza plays right into that, but it’s actually been a pretty big part of America’s cultural landscape for quite some time, though not quite as brazenly as it is right now (ahem, Beyoncé in a high-fashion pizza suit.) To prove it, read on for 15 times pizza influenced pop culture. Warning: probable hunger ahead.

The 1950s

In the early 1950s, servicemen returning from Italy brought back a taste for pizza, which previously had been a regional dish popular in immigrant neighborhoods in New York and Chicago. It wasn’t until Dean Martin started singing his 1952 hit “That’s Amore” that people really started to pay attention to the cheesy flatbreads. C’mon sing it with us: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…”

After WWII, actual pizza places began to open up, and—in 1958—two men named Dan and Frank Carney borrowed $600 from their mom and opened the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas. Frat boys and stoners everywhere are still thanking them.

The 1960s

By the early 1960s, the Carneys realized that Pizza Hut franchise was starting to face some serious competition, and needed to find a way to distinguish their stores from all other pizza joints popping up. Their solution? The now-iconic red thatched roof that’s still being used today.

The 1970s

Thanks to the fact that so many Americans relied on food delivery during the ’70s, pizza became a staple in—what else?—porn! Throughout the decade, the “pizza delivery guy” became a stock character in adult flicks, and he usually got to have sex with a bunch of horny women who happen to be having a sleepover.

The 1980s

Pizza played a big role in an oddly large amount of entertainment during the ’80s, including 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High (when Spicoli—payed by Sean Penn—orders a pizza to class), the Fat Boys’ 1984 song “Jailhouse Rap” which is about going to jail for eating pizza, the character of Pizza the Hutt in 1987’s “Space Balls,” and the absolutely phenomenal 1988 rom-com “Mystic Pizza” which starred a young Julia Roberts, among other ’80s It-girls as waitresses at a local pizza joint in Mystic, Connecticut.

pizza and pop culture history

The ’80s also brought with it Polly-O string cheese—a novelty at the time, considering it was a portable block of mozzarella—and its first commercial became an instant classic thanks absurd lines like “gimme a pizza, hold the sauce! Gimme a pizza hold the crust!” and “Bellisimo! Magnifique! C’est si bon!”

The 1990s

Cowabunga dudes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles burst onto the pop culture scene in 1990, and brought with them a major obsession with pizza. Seriously, these guys couldn’t get enough of the stuff, and a predictably large number of franchise tie-ins were born.


The ’90s also gave birth to the unyielding classic piece of music known as “Gimme Pizza,” Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s definitive masterpiece. They had kids everywhere rapping “Gimme pizza! P-I-Z-Z-A!”


Obviously, the millennium brought several pizza references, but there’s something about the last year that really brought it back into sharp focus, thanks to celebrities’ obsession with wearing it. Both Katy Perry and Cara Delevingne were spotted wearing Beloved’s $99 pizza onesie. Perry wore pizza-shaped earrings and a pizza-print bathing suit in her “This is How We Do” video, and Beyoncé recently stepped out in a headline-making pizza outfit which was part of Tokyo-based model Kiko Mizuhara‘s capsule collection for Opening Ceremony.



pizza pop culture cara delevingne celebrities

Cara Delevingne’s pizza getup (Getty)


pizza onesie

Beloved’s $99 pizza onesie

Obviously, you’re going to eat a pizza now but before you do, let us know what you think of the recent pizza trend!