[[quoteright:151:[[Webcomic/OneOverZero http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1o0runninggag.gif]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:151:"That's not a running gag! That's a pun!" "[[VisualPun It's a running gag now.]]"]]-]

->''"That's not funny. But don't worry; it's a running joke, so they'll repeat it several times until you have no choice but to find it funny."''
-->-- '''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic''', ''SuburbanCommando'' review

A joke that is only mildly funny the first time, but becomes funnier each time it is repeated. ''Must'' be repeated at least [[RuleOfThree three times]], otherwise it's a BrickJoke. But repeat it ''too'' many times and it becomes an OverlyLongGag. A variant is a joke or scene that occurs OnceAnEpisode; doing ''that'' too often threatens to turn it into an OverusedRunningGag.

The ultimate fear for the use of any running gag is not that it becomes an Overly Long Gag; rather, it is that it was never funny in the first place. Nothing is worse than starting a one hour show with a joke that bombs that you're going to use twenty times over the next hour.

A '''Running Gag''' can be limited to a particular episode or recur throughout an entire series. If it recurs throughout an entire series, then it will often develop variations and/or be accompanied by LampshadeHanging. If a character [[BreakingTheFourthWall breaks the fourth wall]] to mention it, it's DidntWeUseThisJokeAlready. When the story goes on to kill off the gag for good (either with a final payoff or just by referencing that it's become ''too'' overused and it's ending right then), that is RunningGagged.

A comedy CatchPhrase is a type of Running Gag. Can become potential for MemeticMutation if the gag itself is widely applicable. Compare ArcWords, which are a recurring phrase that isn't a gag. See subtropes OncePerEpisode and EveryEpisodeEnding.

* RunningGag/AnimatedFilms
* RunningGag/AnimeAndManga
* RunningGag/CardGames
* RunningGag/{{Comics}}
* RunningGag/FanWorks
* RunningGag/{{Film}}
* RunningGag/{{Literature}}
* RunningGag/LiveActionTV
* RunningGag/NewMedia
* RunningGag/PrintMedia
* RunningGag/ProWrestling
* RunningGag/PuppetShows
* RunningGag/{{Radio}}
* RunningGag/{{Roleplay}}
* RunningGag/TabletopGames
* RunningGag/{{Toys}}
* RunningGag/VideoGames
* RunningGag/WebAnimation
* RunningGag/{{Webcomics}}
* RunningGag/WebOriginal
* RunningGag/WesternAnimation
* RunningGag/TVTropes
* RunningGag/RealLife
->-- [[OneOverZero The Running Gag]]