The song is a "playlet," a word Stoller used for the glimpses into teenage life that characterized the songs Leiber and Stoller wrote and produced. The lyrics describe the listing of household chores to a kid, presumably a teenager, the teenager's response ("yakety yak") and the parents' retort ("don't talk back") -- an experience very familiar to a middle-class teenager of the day. Leiber has said the Coasters portrayed "a white kid's view of a black person's conception of white society." The serio-comic street-smart "playlets" etched out by the songwriters were sung by the Coasters with a sly clowning humor, while the saxophone of King Curtis filled in, in the up-tempo doo-wop style. The group was openly "theatrical" in style--they were not pretending to be expressing their own experience.
The threatened punishment for not taking out the garbage and sweeping the floor is, in the song's humorous lyrics:
Stand by Me, the 1986 classic coming of age drama included "Yakety Yak" on its iconic soundtrack.
The song has also been mixed & recorded by 2 Live Crew for the 1988 movie Twins. In the same film, Julius (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sings along, with hilarious results, as the song plays in his earphones while flying to the United States.
The song is sung by the Coasters in the 1988 horror-comedy Phantom of the Ritz which the four-man group makes a cameo appearance.
^Anthony DeCurtis, & James Henke (eds) (1980). The RollingStone: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music ((3rd Ed.) ed.). New York, N.Y.: Random House, Inc. p. 98. ISBN0-679-73728-6.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)