Bait and Switch

"There was a very famous Jewish girl who kept a diary. It... ended badly. But enough about Fran Drescher! You thought I was making a Holocaust joke! Shame on you!"
Klaus, American Dad!

A type of joke where a character leads the audience or other characters into thinking he or she is going to say or do something, but says or does something unexpected. If the punch line of the joke causes the first part to take on a new meaning (i.e., "I just flew in from Chicago, and boy are my arms tired"), it is technically called a "paraprosdokian."

In Dialogue, Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking is one example. The first two words raise the expectation of another crime, equally severe, but then switch it out with jaywalking.

The origin of the name comes from a now-illegal advertising practice in which a store would bait a customer into their store with an advertisement featuring a product selling for a reduced price, but when the customer got there he would find out that they were "all out" of the advertised product... but the store would be happy to sell a similar product for just a few dollars more, thus performing the switch.

A form of Subverted Trope, or a Double Subverted Trope. Sometimes turns into a Brick Joke if there's a later payoff. Related to Anti-Humor.

This can also happen in film trailers and commercials as well.


These sources have so many of these gags that they have their own sub-pages:


    open/close all folders 

  • "Connecting Flights" starts out as a trailer for a Christmas-themed Romantic Comedy and then turns into a commercial for Sears appliances.
  • Global Agenda's rather hilarious ad starts out about an elf, then has a laser point on his face, followed by a bullet all shot by a Recon agent who is the actual playable character shown here.
  • Several of the original Energizer Bunny commercials used a similar trick, with the bunny interrupting a commercial for another (fictional) product.
  • World of Tanks ads do this just about every single time, with the (Seeming) protagonist of the ad blown up in various ways by a tank.
    • Here, with a Bog Standard fantasy MMO with an Orc who kills a legion of Elves only to be run over by a tank.
    • Here, with a Shoot 'em Up space combat sim without Casual Interstellar Travel, resulting in the player travelling for 6 IRL months only to loose all the work when a lucky shot from a tank dirtside blows him to flinders.
    • Here, where an Illegal Drag Race is cut short by one of the cars pulping itself on a tank.
  • A series of commercials from 1999 and 2000 are ads for Disney Channel but are set up at first to make the viewer think they're about something else like a teen running home to go to the bathroom, or a group of teens running in horror like they're trying to escape something. They always ended with someone Breaking the Fourth Wall and saying, "What'd you expect?"
  • There's a commercial that shows a man happily eating dinner with his girlfriend who's very obviously another man in a wig and dress. Halfway through the dinner, the "girlfriend" admits that there's something the man should know in advance about their relationship... that the pizza he's currently eating isn't delivery but DiGiorno.
  • One PSA starts with a bunch of teens playing pool. One of them starts talking about something crazy he did and how his parents would probably cry when they find out. The rest of the group, obviously expecting something awful, asks what it is. Cut to him cleaning up his whole house for his parents and his parents' reaction when they return home.
  • A very infamous example is a commercial showing a montage of animals in Africa with their young while Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" plays in the background. At the very end of the commercial, a watermark appears in the bottom of the screen showing that this was an advertisement for Pampers diapers.
  • This is, unfortunately, Truth in Television, and isn't usually funny, even if the one doing the bating-and-switching may (or may not) think so. Some parents have actually done this to their sons / daughters. One example appears in a radio ad, although it (the ad) was intended to be funny:
    Mom: Hurry, or we'll be late for the Aerosmith concert!
    (everyone gets in)
    Mom: Did I say "Aerosmith concert"? I meant "dentist appointment!"
  • For Super Bowl 42, Career released this ad featuring a Jiminy Cricket expy who attempts to inspire a poor schlub into loving his crapsack job...but he is promptly eaten by an enterprising spider, who gives the employee an expression that says, "...really?"
  • An advertisement for the European Portuguese Cartoon Network appears to be at first for The Amazing World of Gumball—the narrator mentions a blue cat, and Gumball just happens to be a blue cat—but Darwin then mentions that they are probably not talking about Gumball, and the ad is revealed to be for Doraemon.
  • A series of Geico commercials were set up like this.
  • A non-funny example comes from an Australian domestic violence PSA. A man hears his neighbor beating his wife in the next apartment, so he grabs a baseball bat, runs into the next apartment his neighbor the bat to aid him with the beating.
    "Do nothing, and you may as well lend a hand."
  • Early in 2016, B Sky B revealed their new Sky Q service with its Fluid Viewing feature. There were some adverts broadcast where it'd play out as a normal commercial for something else to begin with, then around 10 seconds into it, the Sky Q Guide menu would appear with the commercial playing at the side of the screen. A program would be selected (Most adverts used The Walking Dead), and then the Sky Q commercial would play as if it were the original advert.
  • One commercial is seemingly a home appliance advert, complete with a badass, bearded, trucker-looking man dusting off his gloves as he prepares to remove a tree stump from the ground, complete with a badass rock song blaring in the background. He wraps a chain around the stump, attaches it to his pickup truck, speaks to the camera, and then gets in the truck and floors it....and the back of the pickup comes off. It's a tire advertisement.
  • There was a very famous series of advertisements for home appliances that went like this.
    • One has a young, attractive, fashionable couple playing around on a beach, very much in love, complete with stylized words appearing onscreen occasionally (obviously building itself up to be a clothing commercial.) They run down the beach, staring at each other as they do...and the guy runs into a refrigerator. The camera then zooms out to reveal a group of home appliances placed on the beach as text and a voiceover cheerfully announce the ongoing sale. Then the girl runs into the fridge.
    • Another one had a Captain Morgan expy staring down a scope at a beach as his parrot flies towards it... and instead of seeing his parrot land on a beer stash, the the parrot flies into a fridge.

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Issue 154 of Conan the Barbarian had a treatise on "Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War" by Jim Owsley (the assistant editor of the comic)... who soon denounces the book and instead reviews Jaws III. Read it here.
  • A running gag in Batgirl (2011) for a while was Babs's friend Frankie having an idea for her codename as Batgirl's Voice with an Internet Connection, but never getting to say what it was, although on at least one occasion she got as far as revealing it started with "O". It eventually turned out to be "Operator", and not the obvious Mythology Gag.
  • Played for Drama during Daredevil's storyline in Original Sin. We're lead to believe that Matt Murdock's father, Jack, was actually an Abusive Dad all along as Matt's given a brief vision of an angry Jack. Matt confronts his mother about it and finds out oh, no, father was still a loving saint. It was her that was the monster - she was suffering from post-natal depression and tried to kill baby Matt in a depression-induced hallucination, only to snap out of it when she slipped on some spaghetti. The angry look was less of anger and more of protection and confusion.

    Comic Strips 
  • In this Sunday story, a dog was approaching Garfield, giving the impression he'd maul the cat but then the dog instead invites Garfield for lunch. Garfield commented that "Things aren't always as they seem".

    Fan Works 
  • Early in Blizzard Storm, it seems as though Lazuli would either be an important character, if not one of the main antagonist. However, now with the author saying that the fic is almost finished, she has had more or less no significance to the story.
  • In You Got HaruhiRolled!, Haruhi crosses a busy street. She narrowly escapes being run over by countless vehicles, and makes it to the other side of the road safely. Immediately after, she is crushed by a blimp which crashes from out of nowhere.
  • Sophistication And Betrayal has the protagonist run home for a brief tryst with his girlfriend, only to cut to the next scene of him... bouncing a ball of a wall. The way this is described, you'd think it was initially describing something completely different.
  • It Sucks to Be Weegie!: In one comic, the pudgy hero of the Mushroom Kingdom whose name starts with M is finally showing up in the comic! You're expecting it to be Mario, aren't you? Nope, sorry, it's actually Mallow.
  • Shadows Awakening has a meta example. When the Phantom sends Wong to retrieve the first Oni mask, it looks like the story will turn into another alternate take on Season 4... until the Phantom forbids Wong to go after the other masks (as that would only aid their enemy Tarakudo), sending him on a different quest. Word of God is that this is in fact the only similarity to canon that will happen, as the story will focus on a different set of MacGuffins.
  • In the Medaka Box fanfic World As Myth, the Chapter 8 cliffhanger implies a battle between Zenkichi Hitoyoshi and Koi Munakata. Come Chapter 9, we have a fight between Nekomi Nabeshima and Tokemichi Choujabaru.
  • The Total Drama fanfic, Courtney and the Violin of Despair is a meta example. The story is billed as a "kinder, gentler 'Courtney bashing' story", but it doesn't take long for perceptive readers to discover that the "bashing" target is actually being treated like The Woobie.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • Act III has a rather dark example, both in and out of universe. In chapter 11, when the rest of the group are outside of Tsukune's room reacting in shock, Moka initially assumes that they're referring to Tsukune's cracked Holy Lock and responds in kind... until she walks into the room and sees they were actually shocked at the sight of Kokoa pinning Tsukune down and raping him.
    • In Act VI chapter 36, Kurumu and Yukari fondle Apoch and Astreal's breasts to see who's are bigger, only discovering afterwards that there was a tape measurer off to the side the whole time and they just did so for nothing. As Apoch and Astreal are about to take revenge on the two, Razico yells "Hold it!", and we briefly think he's trying to break up the fight. Instead, he reminds Apoch and Astreal that they've already caused enough damage to Fang Fang's home, and orders them to take it outside.
  • Zigzagged in Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    Vegeta: Now watch, Kakarrot, as your life becomes inconsequential, as I reveal my GIANT MONKEY—
    (camera zooms in on Vegeta's crotch)
    Crowd: [gasp]
    Vegeta: FORM!
    (camera goes back to Vegeta's face)
    Crowd: [sighs of relief]
    Random Guy in Crowd: Thank god, I thought he meant penis!
  • Ultra Fast Pony: The episode "Pirate Shipping" uses this, and then immediate switches right back.
    Big Mac: Would you like to know why they call me "Big Mac"? It's because I love to mack on yarr. And also because I've got a giant co--
    (14 HOURS LATER)
  • In Off The Line when Bigshot discovers Rainstorm's actual gender when he lets down his disguise, he keeps asking if Rainstorm's gay. He stubbornly refuses to let the subject die and or let Rainstorm change the subject. When Rainstorm reluctantly admits that he's bisexual, Bigshot turns out to be supportive of Rainstorm's sexuality and gives him a Bear Hug to Rainstorm's relief.
  • In Adamantine Mist, after Ranma and Akane destroy gifts she received from her mother, Kasumi announces that since their engagement is off, she will be the one to marry Ranma and will do so in two weeks time. Both Ranma and Akane agonize over it but can't confess their feelings due to their Belligerent Sexual Tension. Come the wedding day, it's revealed that it's a double wedding: Akane marrying Ranma and Kasumi marrying Dr. Tofu.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, the Penguins' break-in into Fort Knox. At first, you would think they were after the gold in the facility, but in reality, they were really after a bag of rare cheesy snacks for Private's birthday. Skipper even says a line that heavily implies that they were after the former.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • It has a double example: after suffering through one mishap after another that prevents him from getting into the tournament theater to see his favorite kung fu fighters in action, Po throws all caution to the winds, ties himself to a chair with hundreds of fireworks bound onto it, and prepares to light the fuse. His (adoptive) father shows up, incredulously demanding what he's doing. Admitting that he does not dream of making noodles, he lights the fuse and lets out a proud, reveling crow that he loves kung fu... only to have the fireworks do nothing, apparently duds. His dreams crushed, he sadly takes his apron to go back to work—only to have the fireworks go off after all. Comedy gold.
    • Later, when Po is talking to his goose father about how he doesn't want to work in the family noodle shop and comments about how sometimes he doesn't even think they're related. His father says there's something he needs to know, and everyone watching expects him to explain about how he's really adopted. He tells him how to make his secret ingredient soup. Cue laughter.
  • In Aladdin, Aladdin has Abu reach down and snag a watermelon, but the merchant catches this. We then find out that this was actually meant to be a diversion to the merchant as Aladdin snatched another melon from the cart.
  • Monsters, Inc.:
    • The opening scene shows a monster sneaking up in a kid's bedroom. As the monster prepares to roae and looks menacing, the kid screams, which causes the monster to scream back and accidentally cause himself Amusing Injuries. The scene turns out to just be a training simulation.
    • There's a scene where Sully tries to hide from Randal. Randal makes this face of shock as if he thought he heard something, but really, he made that face because he felt a sneeze coming on.
  • The LEGO Movie: Emmet gets tricked with this by Bad Cop during their Perp Sweating scene:
    Good Cop: Hi buddy! I'm your friendly neighborhood police officer! Would you like a glass of water?
    Emmet: Yeah. Yeah, actually.
    (Good Cop switches to his Bad Cop Personality)
    Bad Cop: Too bad! (punts the cup off the table but misses Emmet completely)
  • In The Three Caballeros, there is a part where Donald Duck misses a chance at kissing Ya-Ya because she was distracted by a guy selling oranges. Donald gets jealous and is about to go beat him up, but Jose pulls him away telling him to take it easy, and then... he gives Donald a mallet! (Which Donald could use to smash the oranges the guy is carrying overhead.)
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, there's a scene where it seems like Flash is going to punch Snips. Turns out all he is doing is grabbing his cup to get more punch.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Blazing Saddles, one of this jokes is done when Bart says, "Excuse me while I whip this out," then proceeds to reach for a speech letter in his pocket, while the townsfolk gasp and cower in fear, thinking he's going to whip something else out instead.
  • One of the few notable things about the Eddie Murphy movie Metro is the bait and switch the writers pull on the usual "character opens mirror cabinet, and someone pops up in the reflection when s/he closes it" trope (and they do it twice). Details.
  • In the British gangster film Layer Cake, there's a variation on the Mirror Scare where the main character, in the middle of an angst-riddled drug- and whisky-fuelled freak out, opens the mirrored bathroom cabinet, music builds and then as he closes it the action suddenly cuts to the next morning, with the character neatly dressed and his problems resolved. It's a very powerful cut, subverting expectations at a moment of high drama.
  • The Shawshank Redemption does one of these. Andy finds a grub of some sort in his first prison meal. As he's examining it, he has the following conversation with a crusty old con who's been in prison 50 years and may or may not have a few screws loose:
    Brooks: Are you going to eat that?
    Andy: Wasn't planning on it.
    Brooks: (holds his hand out) Do you mind?
    (Andy hands it over skeptically)
    Brooks: (with a satisfied smile) Ahh, that's nice and ripe.
    (he opens his jacket and feeds it to a baby raven in his pocket)
    Brooks: Jake says "Thank you."
  • One, Two, Three opens with one of these. James Cagney starts talking how the world was looking to Washington, D.C. on August the 13th of 1961... for a sports game. Oh, BTW, on the same day the Commies built the Berlin Wall.
  • Quite cruelly used in The Artist. Near the end of the film, George's depression has reached its peak and he prepares to shoot himself. Realizing his intentions, Peppy races after him in her car, despite not knowing how to drive. The scene cuts back and forth between George and Peppy, ultimately ending on George with the gun in his mouth as he tenses up to pull the trigger, and the film cuts to a title card reading "BANG!" Immediately after that, we see Peppy's car crashed into a lamppost and George looking up to see what made that racket.
  • The trailer for Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan opens on a pan to a character standing before a view of New York, giving an impression of a different kind of film. Only for the character to turn around to reveal himself as Jason Voorhees, and murder will ensue soon in a theater near you!
  • The trailer for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III uses a similar structure, but adds an Arthurian twist on it.
  • The alternate opening of Iron Man 2 begins with the usual Marvel Comics logo and studio credits, albeit overlaid with sounds of Tony gasping and crying out in utter agony. When we finally cut to Tony, he's completely wasted and face-first in a toilet; in full armor, no less.
  • At the end of Girls Just Want to Have Fun, it looks like the Spoiled Brat won the contest, but the announcer was just stating it was a tie.
  • The trappers in Cannibal! The Musical boast in song about their superiority to the prospectors. After a few verses of increasingly graphic descriptions of how they brutalize animals, the prospectors finally interrupt with disgust with how badly off key one of the trappers is singingnote .
  • The final scene of X-Men: Days of Future Past sets you up to believe that it's a Call Forward tying in to previous, chronologically later movies, but switches gears at the last second. Wolverine's past self has been recovered by William Stryker, apparently setting up his involvement with Weapon X. Then we find out Stryker is actually Mystique in disguise.
  • The opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A couple of boy scouts in rural Utah wander off from their troupe, go exploring in a cave and find a shady archeological dig, supervised by a man in a familiar fedora and leather jacket. You'd think it's typical Indiana Jones scenario, but not so much: the guy in the fedora is a random grave robber, and one of the boy scouts is Indy. The scene is a flashback to Indy's youth in the 1910s,
  • Provided the viewer knew nothing about the film, or the franchise in general, the first part of Terminator 2: Judgment Day has one. Two people time-travel to 90s L.A.. One is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, i.e. the villain of the first film, who marches into a biker bar, and violently takes clothes from some bikers, the whole scene showing whoever this guy is, he's not human. The other, played by Robert Patrick, attacks a police officer and (apparently) takes his clothes. Up until the two meet, Patrick's character acts much more human, though something seems off about his behavior. Then they meet... and it turns out they're both Terminators, but Arnie is the good one.
  • In the last scene of Twins, when the mother notes "I just can't get over how alike they are", the camera cuts to Julius and Vincent but then pans down to the twin babies in the buggies.

  • In one of Louis Sachar's Wayside School book series, a hypnotist brainwashes a character so that, upon hearing the word "pencil", he will see another kid's ear as candy. The rest of the chapter deals entirely with the subject of a lost pencil, yet not one character says the word "pencil." That having been said, the chapter is titled "A Story With a Disappointing Ending." Several chapters later, when you're not looking for it, the Brick Joke hits.
  • Maskerade, one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, is an homage to The Phantom of the Opera. There's a giant, poorly attached chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the theater, which several characters proclaim is an accident waiting to happen. Unlike in the Broadway musical version of Phantom of the Opera, however, this chandelier never does fall down, despite the villain's best efforts.
  • Common in Ephraim Kishon's stories. For example, if he describes the Sabras (an Israeli cactus fruit, or an Israeli born in the country). "On the outer side, very prickly, but on the inside, completely inedible."
  • In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, a letter with the seal and signature of the Duchess R is accompanied by an unlabeled photograph of said Duchess with Mr. Snicket's sister. Along with another unlabeled picture, which they told everyone was of them, but really wasn't.
  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. Early on, there are flashes of a dream sequence that show an elven ship, two figures taller than six more that are holding hands, and two dragons flying into the sky. Early speculation figured it'd be Eragon and Arya sailing away, as Eragon was foretold to leave Alagaesia by Angela. However, at the end of Inheritance, Eragon leaves, but Arya doesn't. The romance everyone thought was going to happen ends up not happening and more than a few readers were completely flabbergasted by this twist.
  • In The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon is describing the horrors of the cult he belongs in: "I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh. And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion."

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of Selfie, Henry is standing at his desk talking to someone off-camera, praising them. The camera cuts to his assistant (and a small, elephant shaped lozenge) Charlie who says "Thanks, I feel like I'm still on a journey of discovery and-" Henry cuts him off and says he was talking to the lozenge. It fits with Henry's Workaholic nature and his tendency to get excited about his work,
  • One of the more brilliant examples is from the sketch comedy The Kids in the Hall, in which two characters start the "Who's on First?" skit, but before long one of them realises what's going on and explains at length what the names of the players are and what bases they're playing.
  • There's a great example in the Father Ted Christmas Special: A Christmassy Ted. Father Ted states he wants a nice normal Christmas with no excitement or unexpected interruptions whatsoever. There's an awkward lengthy pause, and then the doorbell rings. An abandoned baby has been left on the doorstep, causing Ted to start. Then a woman appears out of the darkness, picks up the baby and asks, "Is this Mrs. O'Reilly's house?" and Ted directs her next door. On returning indoors he says to Dougal, "Can you imagine how funny it would have been if it had been an abandoned baby? We'd have had real laughs getting into all sorts of scrapes." Dougal replies: "Well, no Ted, it wouldn't have been that funny."
  • In the Firefly episode "Objects in Space" a fight in the corridor wakes Jayne up and he whips a bed sheet off his wall revealing an arsenal of weapons (complete with heroic leitmotif). Then he wraps himself up in the bed sheet and goes back to sleep.
  • Angel: "Double Or Nothing" has Angel give Cordelia a stake saying "you know what to do." It's implied that he is telling her to stake him if he loses the game and loses his soul, as well as Gunn's. (It Makes Sense In Context .) When he does lose, Cordelia stakes the demon he was playing with through the hand. This gives Angel the opportunity to cut off the demon's head.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Jonathan takes out a large gun and it's implied that he intends to shoot up the school. He doesn't.
    • In the episode "Lovers Walk", Cordelia falls through a stairway and is impaled on a piece of rebar. There's a sad scene of her getting weaker and passing out, played out exactly as if she were dying. Cut to a funeral service being held at an open grave... and then the camera pans away to show Buffy and Willow walking past the Cemetary chatting about how Cordelia survived.
  • One of the many Catch Phrases on Get Smart was the "Would you believe [improbable statement]?" routine, which almost invariably ended with Max being beaten down to something far more plausible than his opening line.
    • At one point, he claims that "One of our agents was lost in the Pentagon for five days, would you believe it? Five days!" After the obligatory I-find-that-very-hard-to-believe... he begins attempting to remember on which day he entered the Pentagon. Of course, Max is a Genius Ditz of the first order, so...
    • And then the movie Get Smart Again pulled one on that very gag: At the end, Max tells 99 "I love you more than the whole world. Would you believe it?" To which wife 99 replies "I believe it!"
    • And then the remake movie uses it twice. The latter occurrence pulls this on the gag as above, when Max is asked about the whereabouts of a nuclear bomb and in turn asks, "Would you believe... in the piano?" It is. The first time plays it completely straight and delivers a Crowning Moment of Funny in the process:
      Max: I think it's only fair to warn you, this facility is surrounded by a highly trained team of 130 Black Op Snipers.
      Siegfried: I don't believe you.
      Max: Would you believe two dozen Delta Force Commandos?
      Siegfried: No.
      Max: How about Chuck Norris with a BB gun?
  • In The Big Bang Theory, as Amy and Leonard bring Sheldon back from his cross-country trip:
    Amy: Sheldon, I'm your girlfriend, but when you needed help you called Leonard and not me. You hurt my feelings.
    Sheldon: Amy, could you give us some privacy?
    Amy: We're in a car.
    Sheldon: Cover your ears. (she grudgingly does so) Leonard, as soon as we get home, I want to have intercourse with Amy. (Leonard stares at him in shock, Sheldon glances at Amy) Okay, she can't hear us, we can talk.
  • In NUMB3RS, the following dialogue occurs between Charlie and a rival mathematician:
    Charlie: You're wrong. Its structure lacks originality or integrity.
    Archrival: It's a classic organization based on tested and proven elements.
    Charlie: It's a chain! It's a chain with irregularities that come with maintaining complex matrices.
    Archrival: Oh, so you propose that a single point mechanism provides superior output?
    (Fleinhardt walks in)
    Fleinhardt: Enough! Surely, two eminent mathematicians can find ways to calmly discuss theory.
    Charlie: ... We're not discussing theory.
    Archrival: No. We're talking hamburgers.
    Charlie: Pie n' Burger's the best, man. There's no question about it.
    Archrival: In and Out is far superior.
  • In one of the episodes of the second series of Black Adder, Edmund is shown doing what appears to be yelling at the Queen and Lord Melchett. After he is finished the Queen replies "And what did you say to him?"
  • Most of the deaths in Dead Like Me.
    Doomed fry cook picks up a very large knife and brings it down — on a potato. The stove won't light so he pulls out a match — and lights it without a hitch. He then proceeds to choke on a sandwich.
  • A notable one at the start of the second season of Noah's Arc. Noah is talking about this guy who he may be in love with, and based on the first season its implied to be Wade (the One True Pairing). When we actually see the guy its Malik, who Noah cheated on Wade with earlier as part of a random hookup.
  • Sons Of Guns: Steph uses a shotgun to win an accuracy contest while the guys use Handguns.
    Kris: I've been bamboozled!
  • In How I Met Your Mother the gang find a tape of Robin which initially plays out as though it were porn. It's far worse — she was a teen pop star. Though the line gets blurred a bit when they locate her later work, which has the visuals of a kids' educational show but a script that doesn't quite match.
  • On Have I Got News for You, the chairman's scripted jokes often include things along the lines of:
    "This is the news that Anne Robinson has had her face injected with Botox. Deadly poisonous and liable to induce vomiting, Anne Robinson presents The Weakest Link."
  • Angus Deayton carried this style of joke over to Would I Lie to You?; on both shows, it stayed after he went. Often, part of the joke is for the setup to be long enough for the Genre Savvy audience to figure out what's coming.
  • One recurring sketch on TV To Go features an ex-con ranting about how much the world changed while he was in prison. One sketch had him going on a lengthy rant about the huge increase in surveillance and CCTV in the UK, which he follows by him relating how he and an accomplice had recently scouted a jewelry store, made sure it was clear then broke in by throwing a brick wrapped in newspaper at the window. The next day, the accomplice was arrested. Why? Because the newspaper was delivered to his house and still had his address written in the front page.
  • Community:
    • Two students look at a problem on a chalkboard and say that it's unsolvable. After they leave, Troy looks at the problem and picks up a piece of chalk... then puts the chalk in his pocket and walks away.
    • Also, this quote:
      Troy: Uh, guys, what does a pregnancy test look like?
      Jeff: (distracted) Eh, it looks like a thin piece of plastic with a thing on the end of it?
      Troy: Okay, so this is definitely A GUN!
  • The the first three episodes of the first season of The Almighty Johnsons grabbed the viewers' attention with nudity and sex. But went on to keep them with storyline and writing.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "A Good Man Goes to War", Amy, held hostage by Madame Kovarian, consoles her newborn daughter Melody by promising her, "There's a man who's never going to let us down. And not even an army can get in the way." Her speech sounds like she's talking about the Doctor, until she tells Melody, "That man is your father. He has a name, but the people of our world know him better... as the Last Centurion." At which point the audience realizes that she was talking about Rory.
    • Since Moffat took over the show, people who seem to talk about the Doctor while meaning someone else have become commonplace. Most notably the opening narration of A Town Called Mercy is ultimately revealed to refer to the Monster of the Week, who is more of an Anti-Villain on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and quite noble once his hunt is over.
    • Episode titles sometimes do this. "The Next Doctor", "The Doctor's Daughter" and "The Doctor's Wife", for instance.
  • A staple of Chandler's jokes on Friends, especially when he talks about his parents and seems to be talking about his mother, but is actually talking about his (transvestite) father.
  • Frasier: In the episode after Roz first announces her pregnancy, Daphne and Martin repeatedly question her on whether or not she's told the father, and on each occasion either Frasier or Niles suddenly walks in on their conversation, strongly implying that one of them is the father (more likely Frasier, since she still didn't get along too well with Niles at this point). As it actually turns out, the father is a previously-unmentioned barista at the local coffee shop.
  • QI: "There are LOADS of female comedians, you just don't see them because they are rounded up and kept in a pen outside Harridge. You can adopt one online.
  • The Smallville episode "Nocturne" has a really good one. For the first half, it's about Clark and Lana trying to rescue a boy named Byron from his abusive parents, who keep him locked in the basement and claim he drowned years ago. However, when they do get him out of the house (they'd only met him at night before this), it turns out his parents weren't abusive. Ever since he was part of a LexCorp experiment to handle antisocial behavior, entering sunlight causes him to get some freaky big abs with a side order of Unstoppable Rage and super-strength that rivals Clark's.
  • In an episode of New Girl, Cece is extremely horny and wants to have sex with Schmidt, who for once insists that he has too much work to do. Eventually, she says that she's willing to have sex "anywhere". He asks her if that includes "Fantasy Location Number Three". She hesitates, rolls her eyes and says "All right." It turns out that he meant the trunk of his car.
  • On ER, Carter and Maggie Doyle's relationship appears to be classic Belligerent Sexual Tension. . .until she takes him to a shooting range and suddenly freaks out because she's just spotted her insanely jealous ex-girlfriend. Meaning that they were just basically two people who just couldn't get along.
  • 1000 Ways to Die revels in this in its later seasons. In one particular example, a burglar attacks the owner of the house he is breaking into with a bat. The victim's wife tries to revive him with CPR, but to no avail: he is dead, and the segment's death name and number appears...BUT, the victim regains consciousness only moments later, for he had Lazarus Syndrome, a condition that causes a spontaneous return of circulation and, with it, life and consciousness. The victim gives chase after the burglar, who, freaked out that the guy he had just murdered is alive, falls off a balcony and to his own death.
  • M*A*S*H: Hawkeye flirts with a nurse, as B.J. and Margaret look on.
    B.J.: Look at that brazen hussy over there. And the woman he's with!
  • One of those Law & Order two-chatting-bystanders-stumble-across-a-body segments had two cops discussing the elaborate party which the male officer and his wife just threw for their little guy's birthday. He's telling his partner about how the birthday boy made a mess of the cake, but managed to open his own presents, when she breaks in to suggest that, maybe, it's time the couple should start thinking about having kids, not just a dog.

  • The Assumption Song is based around this.
  • The Dire Straits song "Industrial disease" contains a fairly subtle one: After listing two maladies caused by the protagonist's vices (smoker's cough from smoking, brewer's droop from drinking beer) the doctor in the song notes, "I don't know how you came to get the Bette Davis ...knees".
  • Throughout most of the song, Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" seems to be a typical story about a boy missing a girl. However, at the very end of the song, the singer reveals that he is missing his daughter; This causes the listener to reconsider everything they just heard.
  • The cover for the Gentle Giant album Acquiring the Taste appears on the front to be a tongue licking between two round, flesh-coloured cheeks. Turning to the other side of the album cover reveals that the flesh-coloured object is, in fact, a peach.
  • John Frusciante has often been compared to Jesus Christ because of his long-flowing hair and serene disposition during live shows. It's even gotten to the point where there's an old joke on the Internet that goes, "Why do people keep comparing John Frusciante and Jesus? I mean, he's great and all... but he's not as good as John Frusciante."
  • Happens in Honey Works' "Ai no Scenario". The music video opens with Love Triangle between a noble lady who must choose between her rich but abusive fiance and her peasant lover. She eloped with the poor suitor and seemingly got killed on the run. Flash forward to the future, the girl is now dating a nice, brunet who looks like the poor lover, but their time together is constantly disrupted by an unpleasant blond who is rather reminiscent of the rich fiance. Later, it's revealed that the brunet is actually her past rich fiance who's just pretending to be nice, while the blond guy is the poor lover, who's behaving crudely because he knows of the other guy's scheme.
  • This is the bread-and-butter of GiIvaSunner: Presenting uploads as "high quality rips" of video game tracks, only for these tracks to turn out to be mashups, remixes, or "In the Style of..." parodies upon listening.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In 2003, the International Wrestling Association hyped up their acquisition of the son of a former world champion and legend that is universally recognized, David Flair! Like Carly would ever work for another wrestling promotion! (Incidentally, Carly has since worked for several other promotions)
  • Distractions from EVOLVE's attempted union with Dragon Gate USA have allowed the nefarious "A Lister" Larry Dallas to sneak his way into EVOLVE's Tribute To The Arena beneath the shadow of the monstrous Ahtu. Ahtu has an open contract, free to both companies and Dallas boasts that he's better than any man on either company's roster...suddenly the crowd falls silent at the sound of a familiar beat and then jump to their feet. Low Ki had made his EVOLVE Debut! He swiftly deals with Ahtu, who will not be seen in the promotion for the rest of the year, before declaring his intentions to destroy every boy, actor and wannabe wrestler who was disgracing his profession!
  • Devon Storm, who hadn't been seen in Ring of Honor for a year, returned in January of 2012, only to step aside after being paid off by Truth Martini to give his return match with Grizzly Redwood to Michael Elgin.

  • Giles Wemmbley-Hogg starts his trip to India episode at a market, lots of Indian voices calling out, Indian music playing, only to reveal he's in Birmingham, before he leaves England.
  • From The Goon Show (one of many examples):
    Grytpype-Thynne: I thought I saw a Greek urn buried in the sand.
    Moriarty: What's a Greek urn?
    Grytpype-Thynne: It's a vase made by Greeks for carrying liquids.
    Moriarty: I didn't expect that answer.
    Grytpype-Thynne: Neither did quite a few smart-alec listeners.
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue had a recurring segment in which the panellists announced arrivals with Punny Names at a themed Charity Ball. (e.g. at the Christmas Ball: "Mr. and Mrs. Amanger, and their son Wayne.") One episode had a Cheesemakers' Ball, and one of the announcements was "Mr. and Mrs. Zola and their son... Emile." Or at the Menswear Ball, "From Scotland, Mr. and Mrs. Strap and their son...Dougal."
  • You'll Have Had Your Tea: The Doings of Hamish and Dougal does this a lot, sometimes combining it with the Overly Long Gag. They take longer not to do the "Watson, someone has stolen our tent" gag than it takes to tell it.
  • The News Quiz likes to use a similar form to the Have I Got News for You example (see above under "Live-action TV"), e.g.:
    "King Juan Carlos of Spain has caused outrage among animal rights campaigners and recession-hit Spaniards by paying £27,000 to hunt elephants in Botswana. Facing rapid extinction and plagued by inbreeding, the Spanish royal family have ruled for centuries."
  • In The Frantics' "Last Will and Temperament" sketch, the late Arthur Muldoon's will states that his overly-emotional sister Jenny shall be bequeathed a boot to the head (and one for her wimpy husband Chester). Subverted with his alcoholic brother Hedge, to whom he bequeathed three crates of whiskey and a boot to the head (and one for Jenny and the wimp). To Mrs. Mulroy, who took care of him, he bequeathed a boot to the head (and another for Jenny and the wimp).

  • During an opening segment on the Keith Olbermann sports show, Keith described a Japanese pitcher who is hyped up as being a must sign; known for dominating in Japan, and is seen by experts as a future superstar in the sport of professional baseball. Given that Masahiro Tanaka was just signed to a huge money contract for the New York Yankees, people assumed Keith was talking about him. But he was actually taking about Hideki Irabu, who was hyped up just like Tanaka in the past. Was signed to a huge money contract for the New York Yankees, then crashed and burned as a huge sports bust.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • While doing a bit about football Robin Williams described quarterbacks as "men with big hands and big feet, and you ladies know what that means. Yes... big gloves and big shoes."
  • Emo Phillips's comedy is based heavily around this trope/paraprosdokians.
  • Groucho Marx was fond of these in his acts.
  • As was Mitch Hedberg. "I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long."

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Paranoia mission starts out with a NPC being dragged off for termination, strongly suggesting to the players that it's going to be important somehow. It isn't - it's just there to mess with their heads when they fail to find anything else out about it.

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) has an example similar to the very first one on this page. Austin's book is called "I Love My Willie" which he decides he wants to whip out. As the audience laughs, he takes his book out from his pants.
  • In The Odd Couple, at the end of the first act, Oscar tells Felix thåat he's saving all the chips on the floor for his game tomorrow. Felix gets a vacuum and picks them up anyway. Oscar comes back in and yells, "Hey!" Then he follows up with..."I didn't know I had one of those!"

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock, Sander Cohen hires you to finish his "masterpiece" (which consists of four photographs of corpses held, of course, by suspiciously bloodstained plaster statues). After you add the third photo, Cohen, like everyone you've met so far, sends a group of Splicers to kill you. He then apologizes and asks you for the last photo. When you add it, he comes down the stairs, thanks you, and gives you a powerup before letting you leave. It's really unexpected.
  • One puzzle in the first episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse requires the player to set up what appears in the Flash Forwards to be a Banana Peel gag on one of Skun Ka'pe's henchmen. Instead, you lure him over to the banana so that Max can knock him out with a pair of trash can lids.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: 8-Bit is Enough, Strong Bad finds out that the Trogsword is located in "a magical world where platforms mysteriously hang in the air, and extra men are extremely hard to come by". He replies "Platforms, eh? (in his Dangeresque voice) Looks like I'm gonna have to... (speaks quickly) ...find a way into the Stinkoman game and get the Trogsword before he does!"
  • Batman: Arkham City opens with one. Mooks are talking about how Batman won't be in the titular city, just as a pointy eared shadow appears behind them. One would would expect a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment, but it's only Catwoman. Although considering that they're standing between her and the safe she plans to rob, it's just as well.
  • A room in The 7th Guest has a cutscene in which one of the guests draws attention to a maze design on the rug. Zooming in allows you to look at the maze design, but when you actually start the puzzle, the rug is suddenly swept aside and a chess puzzle ensues on the checkerboard floor. For bonus points, the maze design is a map to the maze in the cellar!
  • In Final Fantasy XII, there's a series of optional bosses that lead up to the Esper, Chaos. The first one? Really damn big. When you get to the second one, an even bigger monster is at the door... which promptly falls over, dead. And a little bunny-looking thing hops on top of the dead monster. Turns out, you really would rather have fought the big monster.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 has a good example. After you rescue and change back the seventh king, he says he is giving you a letter from the princess, but it turns out to be a letter from Bowser saying that he's kidnapped the princess while you were out and about saving the kings.
  • The final level of Charlie Murder. The eponymous band and Gore Quaffer meet on a Battle of the Bands stage, both bands having their instruments out and ready to rock... Until Lord Mortimer orders Bathory to electrocute the band. The Curb-Stomp Battle is only interrupted by Bathory's Heel–Face Turn. After the other members of his band leave or killed in frustration, Lord Mortimer fights Charlie Murder alone as the final boss. Unless you collected all of Smockula's pieces.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's changes the behaviour of every animatronic on the last nights, to exploit the player's previous tactics. In particular: Foxy, who normally requires the player to keep an eye on him with the cameras (but not too much), now must be left alone or he'll immediately attack.
  • Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has one for its ending. The last ending scene shows a random janitor cleaning up near a portal when it activates. The man panics and runs away, showing silhouettes of Spider-Man and The Avengers... only to end up being Black Canary, Nightwing, Aquaman (holding a pizza), Swamp Thing, Shazam (holding a coffee mug), Green Arrow and Booster Gold.
  • In Guilty Gear Xrd, one of Elphelt's taunts seems to have her going One-Winged Angel. And then it zooms out to reveal:
  • Lakeview Cabin starts innocently enough, despite the ominous "Player discretion is advised" warning during the game's opening, with an ordinary guy hanging out on a quiet and peaceful cabin on a tiny island in the middle of a lake. Then things get weird, culminating in a dead woman implied to be his late wife/lover crawling out of the lake and trying to kill him.
  • Throughout Ys: Memories of Celceta there's a woman in an alley who mentions she'd like you to pay her for her "services", at the end of the game you get the option to pay her... she's a tour guide.
  • A musical variant occurs in Sonic Generations. During the final boss fight, when the two Sonics prepare to deliver the finishing blow to the final boss, the intro to the fan-favorite song "Live and Learn" plays...only to switch to the much more cheery title screen music from Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
  • beatmania has the track "Salamander Beat Crush Mix", which sounds like an arrange of "Starfield", the Salamander / Life Force stage 4 theme...only to turn into a completely unrelated track.

    Visual Novels 
  • Harvest December:
    • January's story ends with a Rock-Paper-Scissors match and the narrative is structured to make the reader think that the protagonist of that chapter utilized Poor, Predictable Rock.
    • March's story begins with the main protagonist sheepishly looking at women's magazines for parenting tips. Everyone assumes he'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant but, in reality, was preparing for a babysitting job.
    • August's chapter includes the series's obligatory bath peeping moment and the mother of the one of the heroines baits the boys into thinking she wants to join in. Once they lower their guard, she beats them up and delivers them to the girls for further punishment.

    Web Animation 
  • ASDF Movie:
    • A guy is asked to hold a live bomb. The guy who gave him the bomb comes back a few seconds later and takes it back. No explosion, next skit. Look closely and you'll notice the fuse gets longer at the end.
    • "This is a robbery." *dramatic sting and close-up* *hangs up and walks away*. Next skit.
    • "WARNING POINTLESS BUTTON" is pointless.
    • "Damnit Jenkins, a giraffe will never be president!" "Yeah, you're... probably right."
    • "Die, potato!" "I like trains."
  • In one episode of Red vs. Blue, Tex has been continually hitting Grif in the nuts throughout the episode. Then Simmons finally manages to shoot a heat-seeking rocket launcher at the tormentor. After a really cool set of acrobatics with a set of portals, Tex (with the rocket still in hot pursuit) punches her way through Sarge, Tucker, and Simmons, and slides under Grif. Grif cringes, seeing the rocket coming right for him... and it flies harmlessly under his legs. Which instead blows up the pile of rockets right behind him.
  • Homestar Runner::
    • In "Strong Bad Sings", the announcer suggests that one might consider paying nearly $100 for Strong Bad's music collection. He then touts the entire product actually costs $193.75.
    • In Strong Bad's email where he creates his own candy bar, he keeps making the viewer think he's going to cover it in chocolate, but keeps changing it to something else like: "cover it with smooth, rich, creamy...pepperoni!" Eventually, he does top it off with chocolate and calls it "the ol' BBC" (Boring, Brown Chocolate).
  • GEOWeasel often includes bait-and-switch jokes.
    • After a character is sent to prison, an establishing shot of "The Big House" appears… with the jail of New Jersey next to it.
    • After Sapphire launches the flying headquarters in an attempt to save Nar, Weas explains "Miss Caring over here" pushed the launch button… with a pan over to a different woman wearing a "care" shirt, and that Sapphire confirmed the launch with her push.
  • In the third video of The Gaston Trilogy, "Gaston's Ultimate Mission to Obtain Some Taco Bell", Gaston says "Everyone knows her father's a lunatic! He was in here tonight raving!" Then we get to see Maurice dancing with glow sticks to an electronic remix of "Beauty and the Beast." Technically accurate, but not the definition that was led to.

    Web Comics 
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is known for this, often either subverting a punchline or using a completely different and wholly unexpected one. Enough so that sometimes it makes a gag out of doubling back on itself. Several times, in one instance.
  • xkcd has "The World According to a Group of Americans... who turned out to be unexpectedly good at geography, derailing our attempt to illustrate their country's attitude towards the rest of the world".
  • Harrison's Origin Story in Nedroid. In fact, all of the origin stories are great for the baits and the switches.
  • This Cyanide & Happiness' comic.
    • This one, too. "I feel like my memories would be more vivid if I wasn't colourblind. Also, I should stop thinking about that dude's kid."
  • In Skin Horse, the Abbess of the Notaries tells Unity about a prophecy. According to her, their Chosen One will be "composed of part many, yet one, a being of great potential, but consumed by barely-suppressed hunger and violence":
    Abbess: So obviously a civil servant.
    Unity: Plus I'm an omnivorous construct zombie.
    Abbess: Whatever
  • Blaster Nation #297: It looks like Derrick is lying in bed (with Melissa asleep in his arms) regretting the fact that they'd made love. The rest of the page reveals that what was bugging Derrick was the radio playing Mexican polka music, and he couldn't get up and turn it off without disturbing Melissa.
  • Done in grand style in Dork Tower, with long-absent Perky Goth Gilly returns to suddenly announces she's marrying someone in three days. The next few strips involve frantic wedding preparations, in which she laments that the groom isn't getting more involved without actually saying who he is. Even in the strip where we get the words "Do you take this man to be your husband?" we see her holding someone's hand, but he's off panel. In the next strip, The Reveal shows she's the one saying it; when she said she was marrying someone, she meant that she was officiating at her brother's wedding to his partner Phineas.
  • Similar to SMBC above, Channel Ate does this frequently, with an easy-to-grasp setup followed by a crazy twist at the end. The bonus panels usually add yet another twist to everything in the comic. And they aren't afraid to zig-zag between "unexpected" and "mundane", as seen here.
  • Quite frequently done at Loading Artist:

    Web Original 
  • The dreaded trap videos on YouTube, which set up a misleading thumbnail, title, and description to lure in audiences looking for those key words, then troll them by showing Something Completely Different. The Rick Roll was the most common variant in its heyday, although there are plenty of videos that go beyond this in terms of obnoxiousness.
    • Common for April Fools' Day videos, such as this. It touts itself as a rarely-aired shorter version of the Sesame Street song "Let's Go Driving", only the reason it's "shorter" is because halfway through the song it's interrupted by a video of a different car hitting someone, and then a screen saying "April Fools!"
      • Go Animators, VGCP members, and some VHS opening posters seem to be MARRIED to this trope.
  • GilvaSunner is a famous YouTube personality, known for uploading entire soundtracks of games for listening pleasure. In early 2016, an account with the name GiIvaSunner (note that the third letter is not an L but an I) started making videos that would start off sounding like what they promised, before veering off into a mostly-unexpected direction. At least one or more of the people who run the channel seems to be aware of Vinesauce memes, given that many the posts have a remix of the theme from The Flintstones' NES game (a reference to the "Grand Dad" moment from one of Joel's bootleg streams), and then there's the infamous edit of the Honeyhive Galaxy theme from a certain other stream.
  • Back to the Whoture promises an epic crossover of Back to the Future and The Who. Then as they travel through time they happen to crash into the police box of a certain other Who...
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • In his review of Catwoman, four Catwoman actresses confront him. They ask how attractive women dressed like cats can ever get as much attention as Halle Berry. The Critic (who previously encouraged them to flaunt their breasts) says that on the Internet, there's an easy way, as dramatic music starts. They star in cat videos.
    • In his review of Bloodrayne, guest starring Spoony and Linkara, before they can get to the credits, Linkara says they have to address the elephant in the room involving all sorts of Internet drama centered around Spoony a few years ago. This seems to be leading up to something about Noah's acrimonious departure from Channel Awesome, but in fact Linkara is referring to the fact that he wore a Castleton jumper in their last crossover despite never attending Castleton!
  • In Todd in the Shadows review of Chris Brown's Deuces, he does this while admitting that he does enjoy ragging on Brown.
    Todd: Now, all critics have their favorite whipping boys, and from the beginning, one of mine was Chris Brown. I love beating on Chris Brown just as much as Chris Brown likes beating... (Picture of Brown's head photo-edited onto a waitress at a breakfast restaurant) eggs for his famous homestyle breakfasts.
  • Invoked in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog when Moist mentions that he went on a double date with twins Bait and Switch.
    Dr. Horrible: Oh yeah, how did that go?
    Moist: Well, I was supposed to end up with Bait, but... you know...
  • In this video, Michael the Terrible Boyfriend ponders how to get into his girlfriend's house without her parents noticing, and sees a pizza delivery truck come. He looks at it and asks "Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I think you are!". Cut to him riding a pterodactyl into her home, which then eats her.
  • Tlf Travel Alerts claims is hot enough in the London Underground to literally fry eggs on the escalators. How ever you shouldn't try to do it ... they are on a diet.
  • In Cybershell's Let's Play of the Genesis Sonic games, he measures how annoying an enemy is by using a "Cunt-O-Meter". When he gets to the infamous Red Barrel in Carnival Night Zone, the gameplay stops and slowly zooms in on the barrel as Also Sprach Zarathustra plays in the background. After all that buildup, the Red Barrel gets a score of one on the Meter as Cybershell starts ranting that it wasn't that difficult to get past.
  • Many cuts in Funday Night Gaming videos tend to show the results being completely opposite (or tangential) to the comment that was just made. This shows especially well in TJ's playthrough of Surgeon Simulator 2013.
  • Regular Car Reviews dropped hints that he was reviewing a 6-cylinder turbocharged rear-wheel drive rear-engine car, AKA a Porsche. The actual "car" in question is a 40 foot long Freightliner RV, with a 7.7 liter V6 turbodiesel mounted behind the rear wheels.
  • The Mark Remark: Talking about when Seth Rollins "revealed some very revealing images... of his enormous, hard, throbbing car".
  • Duckyworth's review of A Troll in Central Park begins with Ducky deciding to review The Troll Hunter, what he describes as 'An awesome found footage horror film about Norwegian troll hunters'. However, he ends up finding a copy of the former film, along with a note from his Arch-enemy, Cheapass CeeGee, telling him to review the film. To rub salt in the wound, Duckyworth liked this film as a kid, and it came from his favourite director.
  • Random Assault: When Alex finally played Ghost Trick, he made it out to seem that he hated the game, much to the irritation of the other hosts. Turns out Alex loved the game, though.
    • The banner for the Halloween Episode appears to be static, but is actually a Flash element. After a little bit, the banner starts to move, and all of the hosts get killed in horrific ways.
  • In one Sporcle quiz released on April Fools' Day, you have to click on the correctly-spelled country that begins with a K from a huge cluster of incorrectly-spelled variations of Kyrgyzstan. The correctly-spelled answer is NOT "Kyrgyzstan," but "Kazakhstan."
  • In "Irish People Try Stereotypical Irish Foods" a man shows us the front of a Lucky Charms cereal box. Lucky the leprechaun is levitating the marshmallow shapes in a magical rainbow beween his hands so we can see them. One of the Irish guys says "This is not what we're like." He pauses so we can assume he means "Irish people don't all have red hair and wear green clothes all the time." Then the punchline, "Only half of my family can juggle marshmallows."

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons has so many that it has its own sub page.
  • South Park
    • In the early episode "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo", Kenny (who dies horribly in almost every episode) is continually subjected to a series of extremely hazardous situations. But nothing ever happens and he survives to the end of the episode for the first time.
    • Another example is the episode "Mecha-Streisand". Instead of being trampled by the giant metal Barbra Streisand, Kenny gets strangled playing tether-ball.
    • Happens multiple times in the more recent episodes when you expect Kenny to die like being held at gunpoint, but doesn't.
    • If there is an episode where the preview involves anything that will get a large portion of the fanbase going "Ha ha, they're making fun of X" the actual episode will likely portray X in a much more endearing manner, while those that see it as cheap, Acceptable Targets will be the ones on the receiving end of a Take That. These episodes typically center around Cartman. One notable example is "Poor and Stupid", with regard to NASCAR and its fanbase.
    • Part 2 of "Cartman's Mom is A Dirty Slut!"... WILL NOT BE SHOWN TODAY to bring you this special showing of Terrance And Philip! (To explain, this episode was supposed to reveal Cartman's father after the previous episode left fans hanging for SIX WEEKS. Fans were not pleased.)
    • In "You Have 0 Friends", the whole sequence of Stan trapped inside the world of Facebook is a homage of TRON, and it appears that everything is all set for the inevitable Lightcycle race... when the bikes are abruptly replaced with a game of Yahtzee.
    • In "#HappyHolograms," the last few minutes of the episode seem like they're going to be bringing in Mr. Hankey to save the day, but it ends up being PewDiePie, instead.
    • In "You're Not Yelping", the father of the new Mexican family hopes their restaurant does well so they won't have to move back to "that horrible place". It later turns out he was talking about Boise, Idaho.
  • Futurama:
    • Bender has been rigged to a bomb which is set to go off on his most frequently used word. As it goes through the list, it starts to get to his catchphrase, "Number 5:Bite... Number 4: My... Number 3: Shiny... Number 2: Daffodil..."
    • In "Bender's Game", when the characters enter a cave called the Cave of Hopelessness:
      Frydo: Mr. Wizard, why is this place called the Cave of Hopelessness?
      Greyfarn: Oh, fear not, lad. 'Tis named for its discoverer, Reginald Hopelessness...
      Frydo: Whew!
      Greyfarn: ...the first man to be eaten alive by the Tunneling Horror.
    • In "The Problem with Popplers", the crew wants to find a name for a new food:
      Bender: They're tasty, right? Let's call 'em "Tasty-cles".
      (collective groan)
      Leela: We can't call them that.
      Bender: Why not?
      Leela: It sounds too much like those frozen Rocky Mountain oysters on a stick. You know, Test-cicles?
    • The Mars University Professor Fisherprice Shpeekenshpell (a robot with a Mattell See 'n Say for a head) continually talks with programmed lines like "The cow says 'Moo'" (apparently he proved that 50 years ago and had been coasting on it ever since). When it comes time to vote on Amy's doctorate:
      Professor Katz: We shall now vote, "Yay" or "Nay". Nay.
      Wernstrom: Nay!
      Bubblegum: Hell, nay!
      Shpeekenshpell: The horse says, "Doctorate denied".
    • From the first episode.
      Cop: Keep you big nose out of this, Eyeball!
      Leela: No one makes fun of my nose.
  • Family Guy is loaded with these! So many that it has its own page too!
  • The Cleveland Show episode "'Til Deaf" when two kids placing the letter R over the "ELECTIONS TODAY" sign outside the high school. They actually placed it over the letter I.
  • Happens sometimes on Phineas and Ferb, a show full of Running Gags:
    • In "Voyage to the Bottom of Buford", Candace uses a disposable camera to document the boys' adventures; meanwhile, Doofenshmirtz has invented the Media-Erase-Inator. That seems to fit perfectly, but the ray actually ends up erasing a stop sign, causing a traffic accident which knocks over a water tower, and the resulting wave of water destroys the camera.
    • In "Gaming the System", Candace gets sucked into Phineas and Ferb's video game when she was in the middle of getting ready for a date with Jeremy. Meanwhile, Dr. Doofenshmirtz has created a laser that puts fancy dresses on anyone who is shot with it. Right before Jeremy shows up, Perry and Dr. Doofenshmirtz fight and cause the laser to accidentally go off and shoot... everyone in the yard except Candace. Soon after that, Perry gets out of the dress he was wearing and it falls on Candace (and somehow does her hair).
    • "S'Winter": Doofenshmirtz creates the Meltinator ray, leading one to think that it will melt the boys' mountain of snow. Instead, it shorts out the city's power when he plugs it in, shutting off the fans that kept the snow cooled, and the snow melts on its own.
    • One unrelated to the show's running gags occurs in "A Real Boy". Candace gets Stacy to hypnotize her into not wanting to bust the boys anymore, with the result that the phrase "Holy guacamole!" will make Candace give up her urges to bust her brothers, and "Leaping lizards!" will make her go back to normal. When Candace heads off on her date with Jeremy, the two of them spot a literal leaping lizard, and Jeremy rattles off several treacherously-close synonyms for the code phrase, which actually ends up being said by a passing kid.
    • In "Flop Starz", Candace attempts to show her mom a building with an ad for the band Phineas and Ferb started. Then Doofenshmirtz' robot building starts going towards the building, making it look like it's going to crush it. However, Perry manages to turn it away at the last minute. Then it turns out that the building was scheduled for demolition right at that moment anyway.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, just before Jimmy is about to perform a particularly irresponsible stunt, Beezy tells them to be careful not to break his dad's Priceless Ming Vase. Jimmy performs the stunt...and misses the vase entirely. Beezy dances around and celebrates... and spikes the vase.
  • In the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle has been told by her mentor to make some friends, but she has absolutely no interest in doing so. However, every pony she interacts with makes some kind of "we're gonna be friends" comment, causing her to have a reaction of some sort (spit take, eye twitch, etc.). When the last pony, Pinkie Pie, throws her a party so "now you have lots and lots of friends," Twilight nearly hurks her drink... not because of Pinkie's comment, but because she accidentally took a big sip of hot sauce.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "This Little Piggy", Wonder Woman gets turned into a pig by Circe. Toward the end, Batman offers to bargain with Circe to get her back.
    Circe: I want something from you that's very precious. Something you've worked very hard to conceal. Something when gone, you can never reclaim. Something... soul-shattering.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • There is a classic short that ends with this. Bugs Bunny has to deal with some hillbilly hawks. The short ends with a series of gags that end with one of the hawks shooting the other every time he hears the word "four" (or any homonym of that word). At the very end, it shows Bugs dressed like a golfer about to yell out "Fore!" but then he stops himself by saying, "Nah. Why should I get in on the act?"
      • Subverted: Bugs starts to sing the first couple of lines of "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover". On repeat.
    • A clip from a Warner Bros. gag reel (not meant for public release) shows Porky Pig hitting his thumb with a hammer. He starts to stammer "Son of a b-b...!", but in his usual fashion, he changes what he's going to say after he finishes stuttering. In this case, he changes it to "Son of a gun!" However, the real switch is, Porky goes Breaking the Fourth Wall and says to the audience, "You thought I was gonna say son of a bitch, didn't ya?"
    • In an episode of The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy tries his hand at inventing. His speech indicates he's invented a time machine... but he's invented a suitcase.
  • In the The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy/Codename: Kids Next Door crossover, Billy spills mustard on his father's pants. He reasons, out loud, that there's only one group of kids who can help solve his problems, and grabs the phone... where he calls the cast of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy... who then tell him to call the Kids Next Door.
  • In the pilot episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, the Delightful Children from Down the Lane say at the end that the girl they chose to prevent the Kids Next Door from taking their birthday cake that they refuse to share was a horrible choice that they never should have used. The girl makes this face and gets angered, not because of what the Delightful Children said, but because the Delightfuls' cake was coconut flavor, which she hated.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New School. Kuzco claims to have the perfect way to get into a store he's been kicked out of. Cut to a llama with a head and feet that look suspiciously like Kuzco's walking into the store. Kuzco then jumps out from offscreen and attacks the guard. Kuzco then stops the show and says, "You're probably wondering what that llama that looked just like me had to do with my plan: absolutely nothing."
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • In the episode "Unfortunate Cookie", Dee Dee comes into Dexter's lab to tell him about a Chinese finger trap she found in her box of fortune cookies. Dexter responds by saying, "How can it be?" and begins a mathematical lecture about what we think is the possibilities of that happening, but it turned out he was just complaining about how Dee Dee keeps coming into his lab.
    • In the episode, "G.I.R.L. Squad", Dee Dee and her friends come into Dexter's lab to ask him what "Lick crime" means. Dexter gives the girls a tour of stuff they might need to help them with their mission, which eventually leads to a teleporter, which Dexter winds up using to teleport the girls out of his lab so they won't bother him.
    • In the episode, "Dexter is Dirty", Dexter starts yelling at Dee Dee after she fails to help him up while he's laminated. She starts to look sad and imagine herself out in the snow, but it turns out she's picturing herself sledding down a mountain, and this gives her the idea to use Dexter as a sled.
    • In the episode "Coupon for Craziness", Dee Dee is about to give Dextor (Dexter's hyper counterpart) a cookie, but he says he's not allowed to have sweets. Dee Dee says, "Oooooooohhh!" That means...she gives Dextor the other cookie!
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy's parents congratulate him on being a local hero after he pretends to capture the Goatnapper, leading to this exchange.
    Timmy: Uhhh... guys? You'd still love me even if I wasn't a hero, right?
    (beat; both parents look at each other)
    Mom: Well of course we would, honey.
  • Animaniacs:
    • In Slappy Squirrel's debut cartoon, "Slappy Goes Walnuts", Doug the Dog sets out a xylophone for Slappy to play that's set to explode when she hits a specific note. Slappy decides to play "Those Endearing Young Charms", and the viewer is set to believe she'll keep hitting the wrong note, which is a joke that's been done to death in the Looney Tunes franchise. The thing is, she actually does hit the correct note, and the explosion ends up going off on Doug the Dog.
    • One Hip Hippos sketch has the hippos in an American Gladiator spoof. After a number of contests with an athletic duo, the score is tied (the hippos' lack of athletic ability in some events made up for by their bulk giving them unexpected advantages in other events). The final tiebreaking event is to eat their way across a swimming pool full of beans and hot dogs. Easy hippo win, right? Their opponents sure think so and are ready to throw in the towel, but decide to give it a shot anyway. And the human opponents win easily, when the hippos deliberately throw the event. They're the Hip Hippos, remember? They'd never eat something as common as beans and hot dogs.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: At the beginning of the episode, "Just Deserts", the narrator talks about how Townsville is safe from crimes. He talks to a random guy who acts like he doesn't know what keeps Townsville safe from crime while the Powerpuff Girls are behind him playing. The narrator tells the man to look behind him, but it turns out he was actually referring to a prison further out in the distance.
  • In the Pound Puppies (2010) episode, "Beauty is Only Fur Deep", Champ tells the Pound Puppies the story about how he lost his fur and his self-esteem in a flashback. As he tells the story, he keeps coming to parts where he could have possibly lost his fur. For each one, Niblet interrupts by saying, "Is that how you lost your fur?" but it wasn't. It turns out he lost his fur...from eating a piece of boysenberry pie! (He's allergic to boysenberries.)
  • In The Legend of Korra, incest is teased between Creepy Twins Eska and Desna when its mentioned that there is only one bed in the hotel room they are staying in. Eska clarifies that it is not a mistake. "Desna sleeps in the tub."
  • In Dragon Tales as the dragons are searching for Max and Emmy who got shrunken by shrinking violets. As the search continues...
    Wheezie: AHA!
    Zak: Aha?
    Cassie and Ord: Aha?
    Wheezie: A purple button! I just LOOOVE purple! And I especially LOOOVE purple buttons!
    Zak: I thought ya found Max and Emmy!
    Wheezie: Oops. Sorry...
  • Done in the bloopers sketches on Robot Chicken.
    • A man tries to fix a lawnmower while his wife tells him not to hurt himself and that it would be better for a mechanic to do the job. The man tells her he can do it if she would just be quiet. Then their daughter announces she's pregnant.
    • Footage is shown of the actors playing Cylons in Battlestar Galactica having trouble moving around in their costumes. In the final segment one Cylon moves slowly toward a banana peel on the floor… only to be hit by a wrecking ball.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode, "Dogs from Space", Martha opens a refrigerator and takes out bread, Bologna, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo and says, "I know exactly what to make out of this!" What do you think she's going to make? A sandwich, right? No! She makes what she calls "a delicious mess"!

  • Many trolls or people who are bored on a forum will usually post a topic title that grabs everyone's attention, but the actual opening post has nothing to do with the topic title. This is usually done by people who just want the attention and this is also how Rick Rolling got started.
  • Another method involves starting a topic with a double meaning, with one interpretation (usually the more obvious one) being highly shocking or offensive, but the actual post being about the more mundane interpretation. For example, starting a topic with the title "I HATE FAGGOTS", only for the post to actually be about the poster's distaste for the food item.
  • It's at least Older Than Print. A tenth-century joke found in Britain goes What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? A key.

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