Don't Explain the Joke

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It seems jokes are something The Joker doesn't like to kill.
Get it? It's because he's a murderer with a comedy theme!

"Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind."
E. B. White

In short, explaining the punchline of a joke just makes it not funny, whether or not it would be otherwise. Jokes can be hard to do, and sometimes not everyone will get it, but while explaining the context might help, the punchline should stand on its own.

Explaining a joke, for better or worse, can come in a number of variants:

  1. Someone doesn't get the joke, and has to have it explained. Then again, that doesn't actually kill the joke; it was already dead, since the listener didn't get it in the first place. It can still work, but only if the joke actually is that someone doesn't get the joke. (This includes private in-jokes which even intelligent people would never understand without explanation.) Sometimes that someone tries to guess at what the joke is until everyone becomes exasperated and actually has to explain the joke instead of offering subtle hints which make that someone even more confused.
  2. Explaining the joke with no prompting. This may be done as an attempt at Post-Modernism, but it's usually done with jokes that wouldn't need any explaining. It can still work if the explanation is tongue in cheek. Sometimes the real joke is about killing the joke by explaining it (cf. Hypocritical Humor).
    1. A common variant involves killing a joke by giving an erroneous explanation for why the joke is funny (e.g. "A man walks into a bar and says, 'Ow!' It's funny because he died from the blunt force trauma."). This can be seen as a form of Anti-Humor.
    2. Highlighting a Double Entendre actually is part of the joke, and by "part of the joke", I mean, "have sex with me".
  3. The joke-teller or writer has a tin ear for comedic timing, and overdoes the joke without knowing better.
  4. The listener has only the dimmest idea of what constitutes humor, and will blurt out the punchline to ensure that everyone knows s/he's got a sense of humor and they were laughing at something funny.

Note that the lines between these can be blurred. And despite the title, sometimes you can get away with explaining the joke. A way is hinting to the pertinent parts of the joke. That way you don't have to actually explain it completely.

It's very common to have the character explaining the joke wink at the audience, which can lead to homicidal mania towards winks.

It's worth noting that this is often Played for Laughs, where the actual joke is the botched telling (or the joke-teller explains the joke wrong, so that it's clear he does not himself understand why it's funny).

A Sub-Trope of Measuring the Marigolds.

Compare Lampshaded Double Entendre and Euphemism Buster (close cousins of Variant 3), "Just Joking" Justification. Often goes with an Incredibly Lame Pun and is how such pun can lead to a Collective Groan.

Contrast Stealth Pun (where absolutely no explanation is given), Am I Right?, and No Sense of Humor. See also Fan-Disliked Explanation. Also Alternate Character Reading, where puns based on this trope might Lost in Translation for those not knowing the language used for the pun and has to be explained, killing the joke in the process. Not at all like Anti-Humor jokes, where the whole point is that the listener doesn't get the joke. Oh, wait -- did I just explain the joke?.

In-Universe Examples Only. This isn't headscratchers for bad jokes.

On a related note, when making jokes involving obscure references and memes here at TV Tropes, please do explain the joke: tropers tend to find the dissected innards of humor fascinating, and Zero Context Examples highly irritating. note 


In-Universe Examples Only

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    Advertising 
  • There is a 2009 T-Mobile commercial with a part where the customer is in her dummy studio and states that she wants a phone plan that "...doesn't cost one of these and one of these." while holding up a dummy arm and leg then immediately stating that they are in fact "...an arm and a leg."
  • A Cheez-It commercial does this with the cheese before it "matures" when a cheese wheel asks, "What do you call cheese that isn't yours? Nacho cheese! Get it? It's not your cheese, but I said 'nacho.'"
  • From a commercial for a certain pizza chain:
    Basketball Coach: Now if only Pizza Hut could do something about their free-throw percentage.
    Player 1: Hey!
    Player 2: What?
    Basketball Coach: It's bad.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has a Running Gag that if anyone comes up behind Miu, she'll throw them. Every single time this occurs, there's a little caption box that says something like "Miu has a habit of throwing anyone standing behind her." It gets to the point that the caption itself is its own Running Gag.
  • In the beginning of the 26th episode of Excel Saga, Excel has an argument with director Nabeshin about making a musical episode (musicals, after all, take a lot of effort to produce). They conduct this argument while singing the melodies of the series' music. At the end of this segment, Hyatt chimes in, noting that it's already a musical (with Hyatt's enigmatic personality, it may be variant 4 or 5, though).
  • Pokémon's dub is absolutely rife with bad puns, and sometimes lampshades this: "Looks like I'm all in one... PEACE! Haha, see, it's funny, because I'm making a 'peace' sign!"
  • Black☆Star of Soul Eater sometimes overexplains the meaning of his jokes... which is necessary, because they're pretty incomprehensible.
  • In Bakuman。this sometimes happens with the more obscure manga references, such as one in which Nobuhiro makes a reference to the little brother of "Sally the Witch". Justified because these are, in-universe, seen as exceptionally obscure and only funny to manga enthusiasts.
  • In Dragon Ball, when the Ginyu Force meets the unlikely alliance of Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta, Ginyu decides that he and his men will "play" with the heroes (and Vegeta).
    Jeice: And by "play", we don't mean peek-a-boo! We're gonna beat you up!
    Ginyu: You don't have to explain it, Jeice!
    • The gag is repeated in the Ginyu Force theme song from Dragon Ball Kai, where Jeice again feels the need to explain that when he says he's going to "pat" you with his Crusher Ball, he doesn't mean a pat on the head.
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Crazy Crazy Cabbie constantly explains his innuendos.
  • In Non Non Biyori, Natsumi attempts to make a pun, but is met with silence. She then explains the basis of the pun, and Komari replies that Natsumi shouldn't have done it if an explanation was necessary.

    Comedy 
  • Once during the UK panel show "Never Mind the Buzzcocks," the panelists had to pick out a celebrity from a line-up. One of the female panelists turned to the host Simon Amstell (who is gay) and said:
    Nerina: You'd appreciate this: number two's quite cute, isn't he?
    Simon: Yes, I would because I... [turns and looks straight at the camera]... am a homosexual.
  • Many stand-up comics use this as part of their act, especially to single out a heckler to explain the joke very slowly to them. Examples include Steven Wright (who already has a notably slow delivery), Ron White, Jimmy Carr, and Daniel Tosh (his trademark involves explaining a particularly complicated or obtuse joke). Also helps to SPEAK VERY LOUDLY, in case they don't understand English in a normal (i.e., amplified through microphone) tone.
  • Subverted by Craig Shoemaker who will find a young person in the audience and explain the older jokes (like his Barney Fife impression) to them, making age jokes at their expense.
  • Japanese humor can have a lot of this. A common "gag" is one character blurting out a non sequitur and another character shouting "THAT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE!" For more information, see Boke and Tsukkomi Routine.
  • During the roast of Bob Saget, Norm MacDonald did this with lame and predictable jokes, turning his roast into a Post Modern mockery of roasts themselves.
    Norm MacDonald: You have lot of well-wishers here tonight, and a lot of them would like to throw you down one... a well. They wanna murder you in a well, which seems a bit harsh, but that's what it says here on this cue card.
    • This is a regular part of Norm's comedy. From a well-known appearance on Conan O'Brien's show:
      Courtney Thorne-Smith: It's like "9 1/2 Weeks", but with Carrot Top.
      Norm: Is it called "9 1/2 Seconds"?
      (Beat)
      Norm: Because he prematurely ejaculates.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side had its infamous Cow Tools cartoon, which absolutely zero people got. Gary Larson ended up having to explain it. Of course, all the debate over it ended up boosting Larson's circulation.
  • Dilbert creator Scott Adams once released a compilation called Its Not Funny If I have to Explain It. Let us explain the irony in that title: it's a compilation of strips, each one commented by the creator. Get it?
  • The upcoming treasury collections of the legendary comic strip Bloom County will probably runneth over this trope. Since much of the humor is a product of the 1980s, the collections will include "context pages" to help explain the cultural and political references to anyone born after the Reagan administration. Because of that, it might be born out of necessity to explain the background of the Meadowcrats... Not wanting to have to explain the joke was a huge factor in Breathed's decision to let the collections go out of print and not release any further reprintings.
  • On April 26, 2012, a spider about to be swatted said it was okay as long as Garfield didn't sit on it, and then explained he said it because Garfield was fat.
  • In one Bloom County strip, Steve Dallas, who is representing Bill the Cat, who has been arrested for selling secrets to the Soviets, asks a guy at the FBI building just what these secrets were (Keep in mind, the strip was released before 1988):
    FBI guy: Secrets? (looks at clipboard) The Secret of the Sierra Madre, the secret recipe for Coke, and the secret of George Bush's appeal.
    Steve: Secret of George Bush's appeal?
    FBI guy: Yep.
    Steve: George Bush doesn't have any appeal.
    FBI guy: (frantic) Well, that's the secret!!note 

    Fan Works 
  • My Immortal: "Geddit cuz im goffik?" Except sometimes, it's actually necessary to distinguish between an attempted joke and another misspelling. Sadly, those are the ones that aren't explained, merely marked with a "geddit?"
  • Avatars II: When Qwaritch Takes Revenge: "It was a long flight so he put on You Could Be Mine by Guns N' Roses (get it because that song was in The Terminator II which was also by James Cameron so its an injoke!)"
  • The author of Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure tends to explain any jokes he can.
    Queen Meanie! Got it? That's what Pinkie Pie said as the black fog pony appeared in that one episode it's a nod to that episode. That makes it funny, even if this is a sad, sad story.

    Got it? P. Resident — President. Just remove the dot and put the P before the R of the name. It's funny.

    Cupcakes! Get it?
  • In the third chapter of "LPS: Galebreak REDONE" on DeviantArt, Pepper calls LQ84-i a Tin Mutt. The bot then proceeds to dissect what makes the joke work (even calling it amusing on 2 levels), much to Pepper's infuriation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • Joey:
      Joey: Man, that is one girl I'd like to play card games with. And by "play card games" I mean "have sex".
    • Bakura in Episode 18. "Run while you can mortal, soon I will rule the world, and then we'll see who smells. (pause) It'll be you!"
    • Also Kaiba in Episode 21, while inside a computer simulation: "Time for a trip to the recycle bin, Phantom. And then once you're in the recycle bin, I'm going to right click on it and select "empty recycle bin". Because otherwise, you'll just be taking up unnecessary space. In other words, I'm going to kill you."
    • A failed example that wasn't intentional is when Tristan's voice changes, and Joey later punches him when he insults his fighting ability. According to Joey, "Ever since your voice changed you've been like a completely different person." He then continues with "Actually, you've been like the same person, just with a completely different voice".
    • "It is funny because "wang" means "penis"."
    • Marik combines this with Late to the Punchline after Melvin telling Bakura 'I always knew you wanted me inside you Bakura'.
      Marik: Oh I get it he was implying that you wanted me to sleep with you.
  • Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
    • This exchange:
      Goku: Hey, King Kai.
      King Kai: What the hell, Goku?
      Goku: I just realized. While trying to introduce the blooper special, we're making bloopers for it. Isn't that funny?
      King Kai: No. No it's not.
    • Also this pretty blatant (but hilarious) example:
      Vegeta: Now it's time to reveal my giant monkey... (camera over his crotch, crowd gasps) ...form. (camera pans to face. Crowd sighs in relief)
      Man in Crowd: Thank God, I thought he meant penis!
    • On Fake Namek the impostors get confused by their own plan, leading to the comment "It's funny because 'wang' means 'penis'."
    • In the Bardock special, Zarbon has one.
      Frieza: Oh forget about it, he's already on a direct course for Planet S.O.L.
      Zarbon: ...Planet what?
      Frieza: (long-suffering sigh) Planet—
      Bardock: Vegeta!
    • One time, explaining the joke turned out to be the setup to another joke:
      Krillin: Geez, these aliens are scary. Especially that one in the front — looks like a total FAG.
      Gohan: Krillin!
      Krillin: What? A Freaky Alien Genotype. What'd you think I meant?
      Gohan: Oh. I thought you were calling him a derogatory term for a homosexual.
      Krillin: THAT THING'S A GUY?
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged:
    Joseph: Do you know where the building in this photo is?
    Bartender: Depends. Do you know where my foot will be if you don't order anything?
    Joseph: (sigh) Alright, we'll have four iced teas—
    Bartender: It will be up your ass. Just saying.
  • In the Super Therapy! session "Joker & Harley Quinn Therapy!", the Joker himself falls into it, starting to explain the joke about "having Poison Ivy on his junk". Then he gets depressed that he, of all people, would resort to that.
  • Subverted in A Changed World. Discussing First Contact between the Federation and the Bajorans (borrowed from the original series novel Allegiance in Exile), Bajoran viewpoint character Eleya comments that Leonard McCoy had to make Kirk a cure for banta fever. Gaarra, also Bajoran, nearly falls over laughing, but Biri, a Trill, doesn't get it. Then Eleya explains that banta fever is a Bajoran STD and Biri breaks out in giggles.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers:
    • In the first movie, one of the evil spies (a superstitious Irishman with a charm bracelet that has a unique trinket on it for every man he kills and is of vital interest to international law enforcement) proclaims "they're always after me lucky charms!" which causes the audience and everyone sitting at the table with him to snicker. He asks why everyone always laughs when he says that, and Frau Farbissina tries to tell him about the commercials. Her ridiculous description of the commercials (in reality an ad-lib that was Thrown In) makes it even funny.
    • "I like to see girls of that... caliber. By 'caliber,' of course, I refer to both the size of their gun barrels and the high quality of their characters... Two meanings... caliber... it's a homonym..."
    • The third movie starts right away with this. The joke in the opening is that we're watching an Austin Powers movie starring Tom Cruise, one of the most recognizable humans alive, and the movie helpfully labels him. It does the same to Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow, putting her character's name on screen one second after she said it. Cut away to Steven Spielberg, who is not only in a chair labeled "Steven Spielberg", but is referred to by Austin by name, with his job helpfully mentioned. It gets better. When Austin sees Britney Spears, he helpfully yells, "It's Britney Spears!"
  • Mike Myers is still at it in The Love Guru:
    Guru Pitka: Rajneesh, I'd like an alligator soup, and make it snappy! Because alligators are snappy, and at the same time, I want it prompt. (grins for camera)
  • Although it was a threat instead of a joke, after the sheriff in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves threatens to Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon, Sir Guy of Gisborn doesn't get the comment, so the sheriff says, "Because it's dull, you twit. It'll hurt more!"
  • There is a German movie called Französisch für Anfänger ("French for Beginners") that contains a dialogue that goes something like this:
    Boy: French is friggin' boring. And those French people... selfish, arrogant baguette munchers!
    Girl: I guess you won't be getting along with my mother too well...
    Boy: No?
    Girl: She's French.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:
    • Ron Burgundy plays this well. First he uses subtle innuendo to get across the joke without explaining it. Then he dives right in and explains what everyone was thinking. Despite this, everyone in the film still considers him a smooth individual, making for a third level of funny.
      Shelly (former cheerleader): I've got a big story for you, and it's right here. (points to her breasts)
      Ron Burgundy: Well hello... you pointed to your boobies.
    • From the soundtrack of the film:
      Ron Burgundy: You know what I'm talking about... (implied wink)... I'm talking about sexual intercourse.
    • He goes further, in that explaining what he's doing often becomes the joke.
      Ron Burgundy: We are laughing and we are very good friends. Good buddies sharing a special moment...
      Brian Fantana: Don't say anything, Ron, and just let it happen.
      Ron Burgundy: ...laughing and enjoying our friendship, and someday we'll look back on this with much fondness.
      [...]
      Ron Burgundy: I'm storming your castle on my steed, m'lady.
  • In Predator, Hawkins tells two jokes to Billy about his girlfriend, but since he Cannot Tell a Joke, both times he ends up explaining the punchline when it doesn't get a laugh. It's possible that Billy is messing with Hawkins on both occasions, since he parodies his own role as The Stoic from time to time.
  • The Hangover: Mr. Chow insults Zack Galafinakis and then explains... "It's funny because he's fat!"
  • At the end of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the comic-relief sidekick Jonathan declares that he's going someplace where there aren't any mummies to deal with, and adds, "On to Peru!" A caption then informs us that "Soon thereafter, mummies were discovered in Peru."
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
    • A good example during Scott and Ramona's first date:
      Ramona: I just wanted to move somewhere more chill, y'know?
      Scott: Well, it's certainly "chill" here!
      Ramona: (smiles) Yeah.
      Scott: ...it's "chill" as in "cold."
      Ramona: (deadpan) Yeah.
    • Additionally:
      Todd: Tell it to the cleaning lady on Monday.
      Scott: What?
      Todd: Because you'll be dust by Monday... because you'll be pulverized in two seconds. The cleaning lady? She cleans up... dust. She dusts.
      Scott: So, what's on Monday?
      Todd: Cause... it's Friday now, she's the weekends off, so... Monday, right?
    • The second one there is an example of one you HAVE to explain since it makes no sense on its own. Also, it wasn't exactly a joke, more than an overly wordy threat. Still loses its punch by having to be explained, but then again, Todd's just like that.
  • The African guides in George of the Jungle get one of those rare times when explaining the joke actually manages to enhance the humor:
    Guide 1: (to the camera) Bad guy falls in poop: Classic element of physical comedy! Now comes the part where we throw our heads back and laugh! Ready?
    Other Guides: Ready!
    (all burst into laughter)
  • In Get Him to the Greek, there is a song in there by Aldous' ex-wife Jackie Q called "Ring Around My Posy", full of innuendos about anal sex. At the very end she says, "I'm talking about my asshole."
  • In the documentary The Aristocrats, this trope is completely inverted. The entire point of the movie is to explain the joke "The Aristocrats" but because of the nature of the joke, which is ad-libbed and unspeakably profane in all its variants, the joke does not die.
  • In Road Trip, Kyle's joke about dogs and their testicles goes awry because of him repeating the punch line.
  • In Pitch Perfect, during one of the competitions, the announcers John and Gail end up doing this when talking about a high-pitched male singer:
    John: It sounds to me, though, Gail, like his boys haven't dropped yet, if you know what I mean.
    Gail: If you mean his testicles, then I do, John. I do. I really do.
  • Toots in Key Largo is called out on his habit to explain his jokes.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Radio: From Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, When the King of Hearts tries to explain the rather nonsensical poem at the trial scene:
    King: Then again— "before she had this fit" (to the Queen) You never had fits, my dear, I think?
    Queen: Never! (angrily throws her ink well at Bill the Lizard)
    King: Then the words don't fit you.
    (dead silence in the court)
    King: It's a pun!
    (everyone laughs)
  • Discworld often has characters who, after making a pun(e) or other clever word play, would usually start to explain the joke before the other character even has the time to react to said joke. Death tends to be the biggest offender — being The Spock of the series. Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs are repeat offenders, too.
    • The Discworld Companion indicates that this is an old tradition among the Fool's Guild, whose founder, Jean-Paul Pune, was considered notable for having figured out a way to pronounce brackets, as in "Q. When is a door not a door? A. When it's ajar (a jar)!" — which got him tarred and feathered and left for dead.
    • The Fool in Wyrd Sisters does this in the middle of a joke: "Marry, nuncle, if'n I had a Knighthood (Night Hood), why 'twould keep my ears Warm in Bedde."
    • Willikins, Sam Vimes' butler, explains a reference in the Ankh-Morpork Times' political cartoon to his employer in Thud! Considering it's a reference to stakeouts in a cartoon about vampires, lifelong policeman Vimes is the last person to actually need the pun pointed out to him. Possibly a Brick Joke, as Vimes made the same pun to Carrot a dozen novels earlier in Men at Arms. He didn't get it.
    • Witches Abroad. Granny Weatherwax tells a joke, or tries to anyway: "So he said, 'Get me an alligator sandwich — and be quick about it!'"
    • After much speculation on alt.fan.pratchett (it says here), Terry Pratchett explained it thus:
      It is (I hope) obvious that Granny Weatherwax has absolutely no sense of humour but she has, as it were, heard about it. She has no grasp of how or why jokes work — she's one of those people who say "And then what happened?" after you've told them the punchline. She can vaguely remember the one-liner, "Give me an alligator sandwich — and make it snappy!" but since she's got no idea of why it's even mildly amusing she gets confused... all that she can remember is that apparently the man wants it quickly.
    • Death has a similar problem with the concept of humor, as seen in this line from Hogfather:
      Death: Let's get there and sleigh them. Ho. Ho. Ho.
      Albert: Right you are, Master.
      Death: That was a pune, or play on words, Albert. I don't know if you noticed.
      Albert: I'm laughing like hell deep down, sir.
    • The phrase "Pune, or play on words" tends to show up pretty often in Discworld books... presumably the Disc's humorists will eventually come up with a pun which would actually be funny without having to be explained. Because, you know, the jokes are so bad that no-one laughs, and the people who tell them think people didn't get the joke because they didn't understand it so that they have to explain them.
    • Carrot does this a couple times when writing to home, which makes sense because his parents are dwarves. Dwarves have less of a sense of humor than Granny Weatherwax and think that "Irony" means "something like iron."
    • An even worse example happens in Reaper Man: during a meeting between Ankh-Morpork's various leaders, the Alchemists' Guildmaster mentions how a piece of lab equipment earlier levitated and shattered, whereupon the representative from the Fool's Guild responds "Verily, it was a sharp retort." No one gets it, he explains the joke, and everyone else makes a forced chuckle. Then the alchemist adds, "What makes it even funnier was that it was an alembic." Argh.
    • In Going Postal, after Moist Von Lipwig cons the city into thinking the gods gave him a ton of cash, his business competitor comments that they will handle this in the newspaper by stating that they are interested in "profits, not prophets." Since he's saying this out loud, no one in the room gets it. He tries to explain the joke by repeating it, but it goes over their heads again, so he sighs and remarks that it will look better in print.
  • The puns in the later Xanth novels are often explained rather than actually showing their pun nature. Take the "Hippo-Crite". Does it actually do things that are hypocritical? No. It just says, "I never mean what I say." Well, since it's a series of books built exclusively on puns, anymore, it's not hard to imagine that Piers Anthony would run out of steam eventually. A he did — a lot of the puns are fan-submitted, although some of the setup is still Anthony's.
  • Kurt Vonnegut does this constantly in Breakfast of Champions to emphasize the narration's ironic and misanthropic point of view. He even explains and illustrates things which would be ridiculously familiar even to not very smart readers, which gives the weird impression that readers are not expected to be familiar with life on Earth.
  • Daphne's father in Nation does this, as the narration mentions that this is something no-one should ever do, not even the king. Then the Gentlemen of Last Resort tactfully explain why the joke still doesn't work, and advise him what change he needs to make for it to make sense.
  • In First Lord's Fury of Codex Alera, a joke is flayed to a bloody mess on the carpet:
    Antillus: When we get back, you and I are going to have a talk in which you lose your teeth. Because I'm going to knock them out of your head. With my fists.
    Phrygia: I think we all understood what you meant at the end of your first sentence, dolt.
  • From Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain:
    "You mean... oh, I see now — how marvelous!" Hans Castorp laughed. "What a jokester you are! 'At half past nine' — did you hear, cousin? Herr Settembrini is saying that it's too early for some of 'last year's participants' to spend a little time at the ball. Ha, ha, how spooky. He means the people who have finally put aside all 'lusts of the flesh' — if you know what I mean."
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): Pattern, Shallan's Bond Creature, is a Literal-Minded creature alien to the physical world who finds anything not literally true a "lie," and wants to learn more about them. He is especially interested in jokes, and spends a lot of time picking them apart, trying to find what makes them funny. Shallan has to explain that the first rule of humor is that there's nothing less funny than doing exactly that.

    Music 
  • The Basement Jaxx song "Oh My Gosh", a girl sings about a guy she's met (not that THAT narrows it down, but, you know); their conversation at one point goes:
    He said "how many sugars do you like in your tea?"
    I said "Forget about the sugar, have a spoonful of me!
    'Cause I taste so sweet!"
  • As one blog post points out, rappers in general are prone to explaining their own jokes in-song, much to the disdain of the blogger.
    Biggie: If Fay' have twins, she'll probably have two 'Pacs... Get it? Two...Pacs?"
  • brentalfloss's Ducktales with Lyrics (Moon Theme) (yes, this was sung in its entirety):
    Keep on finding gold and jewels, just lay off the quack.
    Off the quack! It's a pun and it's about ducks.
  • "It's Halloween!" by Songs To Wear Pants To: In one verse Andrew is listing off costume-appropriate treats to hand out, which ends with:
    Swine flu guy gets some bacon strips
    And for the robot, a bag of really small chips
    Get it? It's a joke about microchips...
  • "Smell The Color 9" by Christian singer Chris Rice, in which he compares trying to find God for oneself to attempting the song title. At the very end, he sings "Nine's not a color, and even if it were, you can't smell a color. That's my point exactly."
  • Any rapper who says "Get it" or similar after dropping a punchline. Lil Wayne in particular is notable for it.
  • Richard Cheese's live cover of the Darth Vader theme, on his album Back in Black Tie, reuses a joke he's used previously, in which he calls out for a piano solo, a drum solo, a bass solo, and a Han Solo. Then he tells the audience: "See, because, his name is Solo, and they were playing solos. So I go, 'Han Solo'."
  • In the spoken-word preamble to The Dead Milkmen's "Bitchin' Camaro," off their Big Lizard in my Back Yard album, Jack mentions that his parents drove his new car up from the Bahamas. His dim interlocutor says, "You're kidding!" Jack retorts, "I must be. The Bahamas are islands."
  • Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" has him complain that the used clothes he bought smell like R. Kelly's sheets. As in...
    Pissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
  • From Tim Minchin's "Prejudice": "they'll be pretty smart because they'll be well read. And by read I mean read and the other kind of red, it's a homophone!"
  • Bo Burnham spends a large chunk of his raps explaining the rapid-fire jokes that make them up, from why a girl dating a "large" man should wear African neck rings to interrupting a love song portraying him as a southern aristocrat in a relationship with one of his slaves to explain that he'd still have to work her full time because "there's a difference between romantic language and complete disregard for socio-economic trends."
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once wrote a four part "musical joke", which is pretty funny without explanation. But here, the trope is inverted because this particular joke gets even funnier when the joke is properly explained.

    Print Media 
  • Nintendo Power used to do this. Whenever they cracked a Take That! joke, they'd always add "That's a joke; we kid the (target attacked)!" One fan letter pointed this out and said that it kills the joke; he should know, he went to a comedy school. NP responds with, "You tell us you took a comedy class and then write us a letter that's not funny? Some comedy teachers you have! That's a joke; we kid your teachers!"
  • Dave Barry briefly indulged in this after receiving one too many letters from people who didn't grasp that he was joking when he wrote something. The rest of the article was written with "closed-captioning for the humor-impaired", in which he explained every single joke he made immediately after making it.
    (THOSE ARE NOT GRAMMARIANS. THOSE ARE HIS DOGS.)
    (SARCASM. THESE PEOPLE APPEAR TO BE MISSING KEY BRAIN LOBES.)(NOT LITERALLY.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Believe it or not, the subtitles that explain what is going on is beneficial to the Botchamania series. As a lot of the clips (botches) are taken from some of WCW's older stuff, explaining the context of the match, stipulations, etc., help the viewer understand why it's considered a botch in the first place (it should; this IS old WCW, after all). Plus Maffew explaining the joke sometimes underscores the hilarious inanity of segments ("THEY BRAWL OUTSIDE IN A CAGE MATCH").
  • WCW commentator Tony Schiavone had a bad habit of calling Hugh Morrus "humorous" as if we wouldn't get his Punny Name on our own.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppets:
    • In the final spoof trailer for the film, Pepe says "It's Twilight. Almost time for Breaking Prawn." Not only does he address the audience "Get it?" but then a narrator explains that Pepe is a shrimp, also called a prawn.
    • Done in-universe in the blooper reel, with a bunch of muppet hoboes explaining a joke they'd just made to Hobo Joe, repeatedly pointing out that when you have to explain a joke, it's dead. After they give, Joe bursts out laughing.
  • On one episode of Muppets Tonight, there was Seymour and Pepe's attempt at telling the "Elefino" joke, which is made even funnier by the diagrams and placards they use to explain it. The audience still doesn't get it.

    Radio 
  • BBC Radio 4's The Now Show has a Running Gag that, before the audience has time to react to particularly lame puns (and there's a lot of them), they'll be lampshaded with "Do you see? Do you see what we did there?" Most notably:
    Jon Culshaw: (as Alan Sugar, as the coroner in the Diana inquest) Your task was to try to prove a conspiracy by Prince Philip to kill Diana. You've offered no real evidence and wasted my time. I have no choice — You're Fayed!
    Hugh Dennis: You see? Because it sounds like "fired"! Fayed! It's his name!
  • Used in Fags, Mags and Bags:
    Rameesh: Ted, do you like kids.
    Ted: Yeah... but I couldn't eat a whole one! You get it? I'm implying that I eat children!
  • Long before The Now Show, The Goon Show was deliberately introducing lame puns and then undercutting them.
    Grytpype: That would certainly deter them.
    Seagoon: Yes. They'd have to make a detour. Hahahahahaha! Get it? Detour? Hahahahaha! ...ahem.
  • Mr. Boynton on Our Miss Brooks occasionally does this.
  • Invoked on Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation:
    Jeremy: Now, at the risk of explaining what you've just heard in a way that sucks all mirth from life, in a similar manner to Nicholas Parsons on Just a Minute...
  • The cast of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue occasionally attempt to explain jokes that haven't got a laugh, including one occasion when Jack Dee told Tim "No, the audience is right", and the following exchange:
    Barry: Hello magazine: Queen's potato goes out, exclusive pictures? (lukewarm response) The Queen tried to smoke a potato.
    Graeme: Instead of a cigarette?
    Barry: Yes.
    Tim: That would be a mistake on her part.
    Fred MacAulay: That would have great comic potential!
    Barry: Yes! Not now, but...
  • If MK is anything to go by, radio host Charlamagne Tha God is fond of hitting on women using an extremely corny line - "Hey baby, let me shoot your club up!" and then explaining it to them ("It's when a man ejaculates in you"). The pickup line is neither clever nor funny in the first place, but it only gets worse when it's explained. But as MK points out, men who use stupid lines like that on women get what they're after far more often than they deserve to.

    Sports 
  • In NASCAR on FOX's pre-race coverage of the 2011 Daytona 500, this during the segment where the analysts were giving their choice of winning driver for the Pizza Hut Race Prediction. Mike Joy had selected Tony Stewart, Larry McReynolds had chosen Kurt Busch, but this is what Darrell Waltrip said:
    Darrell Waltrip: Call me sentimental, but I'm picking the #103 car.
    Mike Joy: (off mike) What?
    Darrell Waltrip: That's the #88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) and the #15 (Michael Waltrip) coming to the line together.
It Makes Sense in Context if you knew that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip used to be teammates at Dale Earnhardt, Inc (the race team created by Dale Earnhardt, Sr, who had been killed at Daytona 10 years previously).
  • This is Ben Roethlisberger's schtick on ProFootballMock.com's NFL Quarterbacks On Facebook, to the other quarterbacks' constant annoyance. He is known to explain every joke in all caps.

    Theater 
  • In Mary, Mary after Mary and Bob light their cigarettes, they both exclaim, "Mmmm—that's real coffee!" Tiffany is puzzled by this, and demands an explanation of this private joke:
    Bob: We once heard this announcer on television. It was late at night and I suppose the poor joker was confused from having to talk about so many products all day. Anyway, he started to do a cigarette commercial. He sucked in and smiled and said "Mmmm—-that's real coffee." (Tiffany does not react) You see, it wasn't worth going into.
  • An article criticises Spamalot for explaining a joke (which wasn't explained in the original film), and thus going against the whole point of Pythonesque humour.
  • The play Picasso at the Lapin Agile features a joke about a man who walks into a bakery to order a pie shaped like the letter "E". When everyone doesn't get it, Einstein has to explain why they had to use the letter E by explaining why they didn't use most of the letters, such as a C-shaped pie is the same in capital and lowercase, and an O-shaped pie is basically a regular pie. He says he'll get back to D, but never does... maybe because a D-shaped pie is basically half a pie.

    Video Games 
  • Whoever wrote the cutscenes for the earlier Harry Potter games had a tendency to murder J. K. Rowling's wit by reformatting her jokes into the most obvious, overstated manner possible. Combined with the bad voice acting and the occasional Captain Obvious moments ("This leads to the dungeons."), the result borders on So Bad, It's Good.
  • Mega Man Star Force has a "Don't Explain the Insult" variant at the beginning of the satellite admins segment of the first game, when Geo gets pissed off at Luna for following him everywhere and trying to get him to go to school, and calls her a "satellite". Luna doesn't get it, so Geo tells her what he meant, also adding that it's a play on her name.
  • Portal:
    • In the end credits song.
      GLaDOS: Maybe you'll find someone else to help you. Maybe Black Mesa... THAT WAS A JOKE. HA HA. FAT CHANCE.
    • Portal 2 has both antagonists pull this one on separate occasions. GLaDOS because she's a Deadpan Snarker and Wheatley because he's genuinely stupid. The latter is adorned with heavy Lampshade Hanging.
      GLaDOS: Remember when I was talking about smelly garbage standing around being useless? That was a metaphor. I was actually talking about you. And I'm sorry. You didn't react at the time, so I was worried it had sailed right over your head. Which would have made this apology seem insane. That's why I had to call you garbage a second time just now.

      Wheatley: You [...] are going to love this big surprise. In fact, you're going to love it to death. Love it until you're dead — until it kills you. I don't know if you're picking up on what I'm saying...
      GLaDOS: Yes, thanks, we get it. (later) Alright, so he's not even trying to be subtle anymore. Or maybe he still is, in which case, wow, that's kind of sad.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2: "I'm on cloud control! Ha ha! Get it? Instead of "crowd," I said... Aww, never mind."
  • The Wii version of Sonic Colors plays this outright for laughs:
    Eggman: Nothing will stop me now!I know I said that before but really, this time nothing will stop me!
    Orbot: Er...boss...
    (Orbot points to behind him; the camera pulls back to reveal Sonic)
    Sonic: Who you calling nothin'?
    Cubot: (scratches head) Huh...?
    Orbot: Since the boss said nothing's going to stop him and Sonic here is going to stop him, it's basically like the boss is calling Sonic nothing.
    Sonic: Great! I though no one would get that!
  • A random conversation between Joker and EDI in Mass Effect 3 has Joker telling her a joke about a krogan and a salarian. When he's finished, EDI breaks this rule and then proceeds to dissect the stereotypes behind the joke. Even when EDI does make jokes, she tends to be bad at conveying sarcasm, and often has to clarify "That is a joke." when people take her seriously.
  • An incident at the inn in Neverwinter Nights 2 offers a discussed Type 1. Qara calls Neeshka "tail-for-brains". When Neeshka complains that her brains aren't in her tail, Qara says said brains must be next to it, and that she should loosen the back of her pants because they're obviously not getting enough air.
    Neeshka: Okay, explain that one to me.
    Khelgar Ironfist: Well, she said your brains are next to your tail... which would imply that your brains are in your rear end. And that means you breathe through your—
    Neeshka: Okay, okay, I get it, all right? Little witch.
    Khelgar: Don't take it so hard. I had to explain it, which means the insult's a failure.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • Handsome Jack explains it:
      Handsome Jack: Once you've eaten prime rib for free, it's hard to go back to suckin' down hamburgers for cash. If you know what I'm talking about. Do you know what I'm talking about? (beat) Dicks. I'm talkin' about dicks.
    • During the side-quest "The Ice Man Cometh", Claptrap has the Vault Hunters sabotage the heaters in a bandit camp in the hopes that the bandits will "chill out". When this fails to get a laugh, Claptrap assumes the Vault Hunters have No Sense of Humor and launches into an excessively detailed explanation of the concept of puns and why his joke was supposed to be funny.
    • In the same game, Scooter makes a pretty obvious, humorous euphemism for sex, and after a brief pause blatantly says, "That's sex."
  • In the flash game Crystal Story II (available at Armorgames.com), the Orcacle insist in explaining the pun of her name combining oracle, her job, with orc, her species. She finds it hilarious; the player character doesn't, but then again, he's aghast whenever he's talking with almost anyone.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The Rose of Sharon Cassidy, when explaining the NCR building a massive statue as part of a Mojave-sized dick-waving contest.
    Cass: Nobody's dick that's long! Not even Long Dick Johnson, and he had a fuckin' long dick. Hence, the name.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner goes through several layers of this, along with an implied Type 1 and unnecessary Lampshade Hanging, when Strong Bad reads through a computer catalog.
    Strong Bad: (reading the catalog) The Roomy-Vac is a real power-HOUSE... Get it? Oh, you don't? Well, because it's the size of a... Oh, you were kidding? You do get it? Pretty good, huh? No?
    Strong Bad: Why would they print that whole exchange?
  • Weebl & Bob: Episode 17 of "On the Moon" inverts this when Insanity Prawn Boy mistakenly thinks the Toast King is making a knock-knock joke.

    Visual Novels 
  • This occurs in Sickness the middle of an innuendo-laden dialogue about fighting:
    Markus: There's no need to be shy. I brought some fresh meat, and now you want to beat it.
    Markus: ...Heh. Get it? I called him meat, and implied that you want to beat his—
    Andrei: Okay, that's enough of you.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • This fake deck sealant commercial pokes fun at the New Zealand accent pronunciation of "deck", then at the very end says "Don't put it on your penis."
  • The Nostalgia Critic falls into this all of the time when targeting comedies, oftentimes substituting explaining a joke rather than pointing out why it isn't funny. This is most blatant in his review of Super Mario Bros. when he calls out the movie's use of a Who's on First? joke by asking whether or not it's supposed to be a Who's on First? joke.
  • Carson Baye was a particularly unpopular character in Survival of the Fittest V3 due to his habit of referencing anime, then immediately explaining the references. Although, there were a number of other (mostly out of character) reasons for this too.
  • In The Guild, season 1 episode 3 "The Macro Problem":
    Zaboo: You like my helm? It's +5 sexterity... Get it ? It's like "dexterity" but... with "sex", in the front. Like a prefix... I'm kind of a linguist.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog:
    Captain Hammer: 'Cause she's with Captain Hammer. And these — (lifts fists) — are not the hammer. (walks out)
    Dr. Horrible: ...
    Captain Hammer: (walks back in) ...The hammer is my penis.
  • This Internet Oracularity is a really meta example that's somewhat hard to explain without spoiling the joke itself.
  • The Spoony Experiment: "Space Mountain is my penis."
  • Seltzer and Friedberg do this all the time, a fact that was mocked heavily in LoadingReadyRun's parody video "'Movie' Movies Movie".
    Fartinidus: Spartans! My name is Fartinidus, which is a clever play on the name of the hero from the movie Meet the Spartans, which in turn was making fun of Leonidas, from the movie 300, which was popular.
    Random Everygirl: Wait! I'm just a lonely single girl trying to make it in the big city! You see I used to be quite comically overweight, but then my cowboy friend gave me a makeover! He's gay! Like in that movie, Brokeback Mountain!
    Bitterman: I have a confession — I'm not actually a gay cowboy. I'm actually... a space alien! It's a twist, like in an M. Night Shyamalan movie!"
  • The whole point of Marmaduke Explained: explain obvious, non-funny jokes in a deadly serious manner, thereby making them funny.
  • Wondermark blog "The Comic Strip Doctor" once demonstrated what's up with Garfield:
    How could a comic that incorporated any of the following panels not be funny? Somehow, Garfield manages. And the secret, it turns out, is through overkill: Here, the punchline is set up twice and delivered twice (visually and through dialogue).
  • Cracked:
    • From the article "The 5 Craziest Presidential Campaign Ads of All Time": "Russians were encouraged to vote for Cracked's favorite evil mastermind, Vladimir Putin, with an ad campaign that equated casting a ballot for Putin with playing with his Tetris block, if you know what we mean. (We mean having sex with him.)"
    • From the article 6 Laws That Were Great On Paper (And Insane Everywhere Else), discussion of the fact that enforcing boxers wearing gloves meant they chose more frequently to aim for the head, thus causing more brain injuries: "bare-knuckle fighters, on the other hand, prefer to avoid the head altogether: The skull is the hardest part of the body. The likeliness of breaking a hand against the head meant that fighters often chose to hit the body, thus saving their hands for more important things. If that was too subtle an entendre, we meant masturbating. That was a masturbation joke."
  • Phelous, in his review of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), inserts lines of "Teddy" (his name for the remake version of Freddy) explaining all of his "brilliant" jokes in the movie, presumably to demonstrate how unintelligent the jokes are.
    Freddy: (after killing Kris' dog) I was just petting him. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh...
    Phelous!Freddy/Teddy: Ah, ah, ah... cause you see, dogs usually like to be petted. But...but...but I did it with my claw hand y'know... which is sharp... blades on it... cut it up when I petted it... killing it! That's why it's funny! Ah ah ah ah!
  • CollegeHumor:
  • The surreal video GABE NEWELL FINDS HIMSELF features ANNOTATIONS FOR THE SUBTLETY IMPAIRED.
  • Any entry on TV Tropes which potholes a trope title for snarky commentary. Sarcasm Mode is the main victim of this.
  • Done all the time in Third Rate Gamer, and even lampshaded at one point:
    (talking about Ring King) "Holy shit! It looks like they're getting blowjobs! What do you mean explaining the joke ruins it? Fuck you!"
  • Done in Why Lying is OK! by Matt Santoro. Matt talks about a hacktivist group that had been wreaking havoc on the net for the last 50 days.
    Matt: The group's name is Lulz Sec, which stands for Lulz Security. They call themselves that because, unlike other hacktivist groups like Anonymous, these guys hack just for the laughs. Or, just for the lulz. "Lulz", meaning "lol", which means "laugh". Yeah, it's all very clever!
  • The subtitle for There, I Fixed It! (a website that catalogs photos of scary DIY projects)'s picture book is a rather unnecessary (No You Didn't!).
  • It's a Running Gag on TV Tropes to pothole an explained joke to this article.
  • Fark:
    • One common stock gag on this news aggregator is for a submission to woodenly summarize what happens in a news article using increasingly stretched Unusual Euphemisms for a prominent "impolite" concept, then stiffly drop the anvil in the last word. Penis.
    • Also common is for someone to actually explain an overused headline joke in the comments: "See, it's funny because Sarah Jessica Parker's face is hideously elongated, not unlike a horse's face."
  • This entry from Not Always Right.
  • In the Chicago Cubs fan podcast Ivy Envy, a Running Gag is that submitters to the weekly photo caption contest need to explain every pop culture reference in parentheses, due to the hosts' extreme case of Limited Reference Pools / Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure.
  • The SCP Foundation has the humorous SCP-005-J-EX, a "cognitohazardous meme" that causes people to think that jokes are still funny after they've been explained. The Foundation is suppressing its spread by telling people that doing so is "really annoying".
  • In one episode of Analog Control, MJTR makes a joke about the rather squicky fetish of saline inflation. This was obviously an attempt to get Thayne to have a disgusted reaction, but goes one step further when MJTR asks Thayne to explain why he is disgusted. In order to keep from digging himself deeper, Thayne quickly ends the conversation.
  • Mark Does Stuff - in his video for Star Trek: Voyager's episode "Life Line", when the character turns around and says something dramatic, Mark comments "You know, we hadn't had a dramatic turn like that in a while.... get it? It's both a dramatic turn...literal and meta— stop."


Geddit?

Alternative Title(s): Do Not Explain The Joke, Explaining The Joke

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Dontexplainthejoke