"That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words."
A humorous play on words not intended by the speaker.
The accidental pun is exactly what it sounds like. While it has to be unintentional by the speaker in-story, it can be, and generally is, intended by the author. If the original speaker notices their pun after the fact, they will generally respond with "No pun intended," or something similar. If a Pungeon Master
is nearby, they will almost always be pointed out. Oops, no pun intended.
Often the closest The Comically Serious
will ever come to telling a joke.
Compare Innocent Innuendo
, where a double-meaning is invoked by observers but not the speakers and Accidental Innuendo
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Anime and Manga
- The Hudsucker Proxy has the hero surrounded by reporters, excited about his invention of the hula hoop. When he comments on all of the hoopla surrounding it, the reporters laugh at his cleverness and he winds up very confused. After it's explained to him, he uses it all the time in future press conferences with far less stellar results.
- In DC Showcase: Green Arrow, Perdita comments that "every queen needs a consort," unaware that Green Arrow's real name is Oliver Queen.
- Sort of a meta-example in A Knight's Tale: When William notices the trademark (an upside-down Nike logo) on the armor that Kate made for him, Kate mentions that she had put it on the armor "in case some other knight should admire (her) work." Neither the script-writers nor the cast were aware at the time that one of Nike's co-founders was named Phil Knight.
- In Doom: Hell on Earth, Arlene and Albert are out trying to find computer connectors for their hacker Jill. Arlene tells Albert that they shouldn't have any problems finding the jacks for Jill. She starts giggling when she catches it and Albert takes longer to figure it out.
- A meta example snuck in Dora Wilk Series. In-universe, "pyr" is a powerful fire demon, and as Polish grammar rules go, female pyr is "pyra"... which in Poland is also a regional name for potato.
Live Action Television
- One episode of Drake & Josh features the following exchange:
Angry factory lady: Let the sushi roll!
Josh: Haha, I get it. Sushi roll.
Angry factory lady: That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words.
- In the QI segment about lobster-hypnosis, Stephen Fry commits some accidental mussel/muscle punnage, which is immediately jumped on by Phil Jupitus.
- An early episode of Have I Got News for You, with an Odd One Out round featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
Ian Hislop: Didn't Tutu train in Hull?
Angus Deayton: Tutu train? No, I don't think so...
- A Super-Match posit on Match Game was "_______ Duty." The cast and crew were looking for other possibilities to fill in the blank ("Do your duty," "Civic duty"), when someone offstage cracked "Howdy duty." Gene Rayburn bought it and then discovered how hard he bit.
- The unfortunately named nük e-reader and the sheet e-reader are running gags in Mike Bookseller.
- In Sinfest, the angels inquiry about the state of Tangerine's soul, and she checks out her, and their, shoe soles. Oddly enough, this does seem to show the state of soul to a certain extent.
- Parodied in xkcd. "My hobby: appending 'No pun intended' to lines with no puns in them."
- Played with in Darths & Droids #868:
Whah do we not just flah arahnd ze planet? Vader:
This is a quadrillion Imperial tonne space station. Looks like a moon, moves like a moon, steers like a cow. Tarkin:
Ha ha! Ah get zis joke. A steer is lahk a cow! You kill me, Lord Vader.
- In Homestuck, Terezi was named after the Azerbajani name for the constellation Libra. However, when her name is correctly pronounced with this in mind (which, contrary to popular belief, would be more along the lines of "ter-REE-see"), it sounds very similar to a feminine version of "Tiresias" - the archetypical Blind Seer from Sophocles's Oedipus trilogy.
On This Very Wiki
- The word "straight" can come off as this on the Playing With pages for sexuality tropes. Occasionally, it's lampshaded with a link to this page.
- Every page for an individual Saints Row game begins with "The [number] of the Saints Row series". E.G., the page for Saints Row 2 begins with "The second of the Saints Row series". The accidental pun occurred when the third game was revealed to be titled Saints Row: The Third (which nominally represents the fact that the gang is called "The Third Street Saints", thus being an intentional pun that led to an accidental one).