"That's a harp he's playing, Nobby," said one of them, after watching Imp for a while.
"No, it's the honest truth, I'm—" The fat Guard frowned and looked down. "You've just been waiting all your life to say that, ain't you Nobby," he said. "I bet you was born hoping that one day someone'd say 'That's a harp' so you could say 'lyre', on account of it being a pun or play on words. Well, har har."
A character (especially a Pungeon Master
) makes a pun
, that is claimed to be so obvious or disgusting, that it makes listening characters wince
or even feel compelled to inflict violence on the punster
—or, at least, bring a lawsuit against him for pun-itive damages. This can work both ways - rimshots
and some form of celebration by the punster are completely optional.
Since puns are considered one of the lowest forms of humor by default, this claim can be made
even if the pun in question is actually really, really funny
The chief purpose of this trope seems to be to allow a writer to deploy an awful groaner and still dodge the blame for it by pointing the karmic retribution at the character, or to use this acknowledgment as a piece of Self-Deprecation
, turning this lampshading
into the joke's punchline, instead of just having the pun itself.
This is a subtrope of the Pun
. For other puns that may or may not be bad
, see Hurricane of Puns
. For a character that always makes these, see Pungeon Master
. For a work which is saturated with puns, see World of Pun
. For an index of punny trope names, see Just for Pun
Not to be confused with Stealth Pun
, which refers to puns where the punchline is simply left to the readers or listeners as an exercise.
This may also warrant a Collective Groan
. See also Visual Pun
and Humor Dissonance
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Anime and Manga
- Ninin Ga Shinobuden has a truly horrible visual pun at the end of episode 9's first half. The ninja attempt to make a furo by rerouting a hot spring into their bath house, but it's not water that comes out of the pipe...
Ninja: Permed hair!?
Shinobu: I guess...
Onsokumaru: It's "a furo", therefore "afro".
Ninja: That was a lame joke.
- In Azumanga Daioh (the anime), Tomo makes a pun, though what that pun is depends on whether it's the dub, the sub (both based on "freedom"), or the original (based on "yoyuu"). The other girls groan and Chiyo says it was bad, while Tomo is flabbergasted at their response.
- Fuuka of Yotsuba&! makes the occasional pun, though only Asagi attacks her for it (Koiwai and Jumbo merely tell her off). Her father, on the other hand, appreciates the humor value.
- One of the main characters from Shaman King, Chocolove, is rather famous for his puns so horribly obvious that the others tend to freeze in awe for a few seconds before continuing the conversation, often turning completely white in the process (in the anime, at least). Other times he just gets attacked by someone, usually Ren.
- Tamahome throws one out in Fushigi Yuugi. In an attempt to cheer Miaka up, he tells her that after causing some trouble, Tasuki will probably be taken to task (in the Japanese version, the word used for the pun is tasukete, or "help" in English). He acknowledges the lameness of his pun himself and blames his Money Fetish for it.
- In The Prince of Tennis, on the team of Rokkaku, Amane 'David' Hikaru is frequently kicked for making many lame puns. Many people know him as "that pun guy" instead of his real name.
- Darker Than Black: Kurosawa has spent two entire episodes littering his speech with very bad Gratuitous English on the mistaken impression that it'll help his client, a Scandinavian named Eelis Castinen, understand him. Then he crosses the Gratuitous English Event Horizon by making an Engrish pun on "Castinen" ("cast it in"), and his Hypercompetent Sidekick, who has been wincing behind his back the whole time, gets annoyed.
Kiko: I knew you were going to say that. It wasn't even funny.
- In Kamichama Karin, Karin makes one of these ("Wait, a god (kami) just burned my hair (also kami)??") and then chastises herself for it.
- In My Hime, Haruka attempts to make a pun which is immediately followed by dead silence and staring.
Haruka: What a hideous face. What is that?
Yukino: I believe it's a kelp grouper, Haruka.
Yukino: Yeah. It's good to serve at parties in a hot pot or sashimi.
Haruka: No wonder it's called a grouper.
- Brook in One Piece makes these constantly in regards to his body. In just one scene, he does it three times with commentary for each. First two times? Franky starts to aim his Weapons Left and Robin tells him not to because he's already dead. The third one she just says 'go ahead and beat him up.' And he does.
- Excel of Excel Saga draws a comparison between conquest (征 服, seifuku) and uniforms (制 服, also seifuku). Hyatt notes that this is just too obvious (and she usually plays Captain Obvious to explain the joke, so this is her way of calling it lame).
- Judai in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is quite fond of this trope. Here's a good example as shown below when he duels with Wheeler, a monkey duelist, to rescue fellow Duel Academy student Jasmine in the episode "Monkey See, Monkey Duel":
Judai: You saw my moves, now do yours! Hah! Get it? Monkey see, monkey DO?
Jasmine: You make puns now, and not even good ones!
- Howdy from Hamtaro just loves to tell really bad jokes that nobody in the show finds funny at all.
- At the start of the Steel Ball Run in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the race's benefactor, Stephen Steel, announces the trophy for the winner has been buried in a block of ice dug up from Antarctica which will melt by the time the race is over. When he say that his comments have hopefully "broken the ice", everyone is astounded he would make such a horrible joke, except Stephen's wife, who claps.
- One Shugo Chara Chan! comic has the Guardian Characters wondering what the prince of flowers ("hana" in Japanese) looks like, and one of the princes is a nose (Also "hana" in Japanese). Ran says "That's not the right "hana" we're talking about!"
- Sangatsu no Lion:
- Hayashida, the teacher to the protagonist Rei, utters a bad Japanese pun involving pork cutlets (katsu) and winning (also pronounced katsu but written differently) during their lunch break as a way of encouraging Rei for his recent string of losses. Rei feels a chill (a Japanese visual cue for a pun that's found terrible) when he's told to "katsu" his battles while being given a pork cutlet.
- Rei's almost driven insane by Takeshi Tsuji's onslaught of terrible, context-less puns during their shogi match.
- Eden of the East's protagonist Akira Takizawa has one of these moments when he finds out why Mr. Outside is called that. His name is Ato Saizo. It's a pun.
- In the dubbed version of the 4th episode of the Pokémon anime this happened:
Misty: (Screams) "I think I see another bug! Gross!"
Ash: "Maybe it's a...Cowterpie!"
Misty: "That's not funny!"
- Because most character names in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are made of normal words, puns are fairly inevitable. According to Diamond Mint's card in the Collectible Card Game, she apparently makes the "diamond in the rough" pun on her own name enough to annoy Lemony Gem into making an unspecified threat over it.
- In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog Sonic is known for his many lame puns. Apart from the obvious Eggman jokes, he has also fought Knuckles when the latter was Enerjak, calling him Ener-Joke. This prompted Knuckles to yell, "Are you quite finished?!" Sonic, smug as ever, then said, "Actually... Jumping-jak. Ener-tube. Flap-jak. Ener-state. Ener-jak-in-the-box. And come to think of it... "Enerjak" sounds like some kind of sports drink. Now I'm finished." Knuckles threw him into a wall afterward.
- In Squadron Supreme, toddler Hyperion is startled by his new pet dog and incinerates it with his heat vision. One of the two guards watching him over security camera remarks "I guess Spot was kind of the right name after all." His partner lays him out for that one, in a cross between this trope and Dude, Not Funny!.
- Batman's Robins have such a propensity to this, it's been suspected it's a tacit requirement to being Robin.
: You still haven't gotten over the puns? Nightwing
: Oh shush. You love it.
- In the Don Rosa story "Return to Plain Awful," Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck visit the Lost World of Plain Awful, a Utopia where square things are prized, round things are illegal, and the people live "on good cheer" with no financial interests. Eventually, Scrooge does manage to interest the people in his money — but only aesthetically, and as a finishing touch, they chop their new stack of bills into two square halves. The story ends with Donald noting that now, Self-Made Man Scrooge has something in common with the Awfultonians:
- Rhonda Bleenie's fruit salad love story in Amelia Rules The Tweenage Guide to not Being Unpopular is a hurricane of incredibly lame puns.
Rhonda: "You're the APPLE of my eye", he stated with a PLUM. "Well, we do make quite a PEAR", she replied ...
Amelia: ARGH! I HATE it when they serve FRUIT SALAD!
- In Mega Man, when Mega Man is first facing Cut Man, he spends the entire fight giving off puns involving cutting. So when he's defeated:
: Sorry, I didn't mean to cut
you off. Ha... that was lame
- In Issue #22, Mega Man does it again when he fails with Roll, Ice Man, and Quake Woman after they make "break the ice."
- A recurring gag in Pearls Before Swine, where a long conversation leads to a stretched word pun on the entire conversation, and then (usually) Rat threatens bodily harm on artist Stephan Pastis.
Pig: So if at "Farce" you don't suck seed, try dry again?
Rat (to author): Have some pride.
- In Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: Hey Hobbes, want to see an antelope?
Hobbes: An antelope?
Calvin: Come on! (goes to an anthill) See, she's climbing down the ladder to her boyfriend's car. (beat) You're not laughing.
Hobbes: It's not funny.
- There was another one where Calvin took a telephone into the woods to "make some bird calls" and ended up with the receiver in his mouth and the bulk of it tied to the back of his head.
- Peanuts had a strip where Linus made a snowman who is reading a book and tells Charlie Brown that he imagines the snowman is reading some poetry, but is at a loss for a poet a snowman would like. When Charlie Brown suggests Robert Frost, Linus responds, "You said it, I didn't."
- One U.S. Acres comic had Lanolin wear a sign that said "The End Is Near" and the back of the sign shows her tail.
- Early Dilbert strips loved their puns. One strip features Dogbert instructing the readers on finding a safe place out of range from which to deliver the punchline of the following pun:
Dogbert: Tell me again about your uncle the famous biologist.
Dilbert: Uncle Albert won many awards for his work on anemones...sadly he had little time for a social life.
Dogbert: With anemones like that, who needs friends?
- The Australian comic Snake has a lot of these, usually very violent and slapsticky. Snake himself has been trampled, crushed under his own rock, hurled into water with weights tied to him and so on, while the Flying Doc's are more likely to get his head slammed in the door to his surgery. Roo and the Aboriginal duo are the most frequent providers of this kind of pain.
- A Heinz ad for corn:
Ad: One of our corn farmers has a saying: "You won't believe my ears!" We never said it was a good saying.
- An Australian beer ad featured some stereotypically blokey blokes out on a drinking-lots-of-beer-and-fishing holiday, cooking some fish in a wheelbarrow because they forgot the frying pan.
: What kind of fish is it anyway? Bloke 2
: It's, ah... barra
. Bloke 3
: That's terrible. Bloke 2
: Yeh, it is.
- A Commercial for Geico Car insurance features two guys working at a pizza parlor, flipping dough:
Man 1: Hey, you know I just saved a bunch of money by switching my insurance.
Man 2: Great.
Man 1: You know what that is?
Man 2: (sighs) Yeah...
Man 1: You know what that is?
Man 2: Yeah, I do. Just don't...
Man 1: That's a lot of dough!
Films — Animated
- The Land Before Time 2. When a pair of egg-stealing Struthiomimuses arrive at the Great Valley after a long trek, one of them says that he's just "egg-xausted". His partner kicks him in the face in response.
- Yellow Submarine is liberally sprinkled with puns, but one in particular, when the submarine's motor dies, falls into this category:
Maybe we should call a road service? Paul:
Can't, no road! Ringo:
And we're not sub... scribers. John/Paul/George:
] Subscribers, ohh...
- In Mulan, there's the recruits on the first day of training.
Chi Fu: Order! People, order!
Recruit: I'd like a pan-fried noodle!
Chien-Po: Ooh, ooh, sweet and pungent shrimp.
Recruit 2: Moo goo gai pan.
Chi Fu: [amid laughter] That's not funny.
- Hoodwinked. When Detective Flippers wonders aloud about what "the fellow with the axe" was doing in the woods, officer Stork says "Maybe you should AXE him yourself!" then starts laughing uncontrollably at the pun until he sees Chief Grizzly giving him the Death Glare, at which point he sobers up and says "I'll bring him in."
- In the Rainbow Magic movie, the fairies react this way to Amber's bad puns.
Films — Live-Action
- Duck Soup: Chicolini's suggestion that Freedonia maintain a standing army, "because then we save money on chairs", provokes Firefly to give him the bum's rush from the room (and apparently worse, judging by the Offscreen Crash that follows). This is a pun so bad that Groucho, the man who once took pictures of the native girls and was waiting for them to develop, felt it necessary to chase Chico.
- In Mean Girls 2, this was the reaction to the "Anti-Plastics". Noted as such by Jo in voice-over.
- In What's Up, Tiger Lily??, hero Phil Moskowitz and his girl assistant, tied up, think they've been abducted by bad guy Shepard Wong, but it turns out to be a second bad guy, Wing Fat, who introduces himself: "I am Wong's competitor." Phil quips, "Well...two Wongs don't make a wight!" Wing Fat smiles and says, "For that joke you should only drop dead."
- Flash Gordon has a terrible one. Flash asks a wounded ally if he's all right, and gets the reply "He only winged me!" The ally is a Hawkman, who's was shown to be hit in the wing.
- In Master and Commander, the Surprise's Command Roster is eating dinner, and Jack Aubrey sees a pair of weevils on the table. He asks Stephen Maturin which he would choose. After some deliberation Stephen chooses the right-hand weevil because it's bigger. (Actually, Jack pestering him to walk into the joke is almost as funny as the joke itself.)
Jack: (slams the table) There! I've got you! You're completely dished. Do you not know that in the service, one must always choose the lesser of two weevils?
(everyone at the table laughs uproariously)
Stephen: (shaking his head) He who would pun would pick a pocket. Really, weevils...
- In Inspector Gadget Scolex is not amused by his mook Kramer's attempts at humor.
Scolex: I deserve a dashing appellation.
Kramer: 'A dashing Appalachian.' What is that? A hillbilly with a tuxedo?
Scolex: No, you idiot! It's a nickname.
- The Discworld series is extremely fond of these, and not one is ever considered funny by the people hearing them.
- Dave Barry is not fond of puns, and rarely uses them without heavyweight Lampshade Hanging. Take, for example, this passage in Dave Barry Slept Here:
But now he could sit back and relax as the reaper roared through as many as ten acres per hour, reaping the living hell out of everything that stood in its path, occasionally spitting out bits of mule fur or farmhand clothing, which could easily be reassembled thanks to the sewing machine, invented by Elias Howe. "Don't ask me Howe it works!" he used to say, over and over, until finally somebody, we think his wife, shot him in the head with a revolver, invented by Samuel Colt.
- Or this passage in Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You Will Ever Need:
The history of Ireland dates back a long time to the original inhabitants, the Picts, who were a fun-loving tribe known for their wit. "You sure Pict a winner that time!" is the kind of thing they were always saying, until finally a neighboring tribe called the Celtics got sick and tired of it and came in and, in 432 B.C. on October 8, defeated the Picts in the Battle of Defeating the Picts when John Havlicek sank two free throws in overtime.
- In Piers Anthony's Xanth series, much of the wildlife and magic are literal puns, such as a mango being a human-shaped fruit that makes you urinate immediately upon eating it. Most of the characters dislike the puns, particularly a winged centaur whose name is a pun (Karia, who starts floating helplessly away whenever she hears her name.)
- Inverted by the characters in Spider Robinson's Callahans Crosstime Saloon series, who are prolific with puns, to the point of competitions in which the worst/best pun of the evening gets his bar tab waived. They call it Punday Night. Normally, things are thrown at the offending punster, and fire extinguishers and seltzer bottles are also used for particularly outrageous puns. The bigger the response, the better they consider the pun.
- The highest honor a pun can receive is when the audience reacts to a particularly wonderful/horrible pun by immediately fleeing the room, screaming and holding their nose.
- The time traveler who tried to sell them 4 (fake) high tech gems on the 4th of July. Get it, 4th jewel lie. This was also incredibly cruel since one of the gems made a paralyzed man think he could walk.
- The Marvelous Land of Oz, the second Oz book, sees H.M. Wogglebug T.E. make a joke about the Sawhorse, noting that if he rode him, it would be a "horse-and-buggie". Jack Pumpkinhead covers up his permanently-smiling mouth, and the Tin Woodsman threatens the Wogglebug with his axe.
- When the protagonists are flying on the gump, Mr. Wogglebug tells Jack Pumpkinhead that if his head fell off now, it would no longer be a pumpkin, but a squash. Tip scolds him about his unfeeling puns.
- In Aunt Dimity's Death, When Lori asks Bill how he got the irises in the Willises' parlour in early April, he starts to reply, "Where there's a Willis—". Lori groans to cut him off.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, after George loses one of his ears, and says he feels "saint-like":
George: You see... I'm holy. Holey. Fred, geddit?
Fred: Pathetic. Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humour before you, you go for Holey?
- And that's when everybody knows George is okay!
- In Starfighters of Adumar, Rad Flat (Red Flight) meets regularly with a reporter who wears a recording unit on her shoulder that looks like the head of a protocol droid, making her appear to have two heads. Once, she complained that it was malfunctioning and she couldn't seem to fix the problem.
grinned at her. "Some days make you just want to beat your heads against a wall, don't they?" Hobbie
said, "Maybe not. The young lady might not have her heads on straight, after all." Tycho
said, "Still, I think she ought to get her heads examined." Wedge
looked at them, appalled.
- The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Slow Empire has an instance of a character making a pun so lame even he gets embarrassed:
"I'm Fitz. Just Fitz."
"And it fits you admirably," said Jamon de la Rocasnote
, "I have no doubt."
For a moment everybody gazed up in the air and whistled
, avoiding each other’s eyes at what could not even be dignified as a pun.
- Later, the Doctor manages a pretty crummy pun, which he's actually embarrassed to have even thought of, and a footnote reveals that the writer himself was embarrassed, particularly as it makes the whole novel look like the setup for a bad joke.
- The Doctor Who New Adventures novel Lungbarrow has one for the Hand of Omega.
The Other: Omega, despite his sacrifice, still had a hand in their affairs. It was a rather good joke he thought, but Rassilon didn't find it funny at all.
- In Jim C. Hines' The Princess Series novel The Snow Queen's Shadow, Talia tells a story about the time, many years ago, when Snow made it rain urine in Prince Armand's room for more than an hour. When Queen Beatrice asked Snow why she did it, Snow said that "she wanted him to know what it felt like to be a peon". Talia said that she told Bea that whatever Snow's punishment was going to be, it ought to be doubled just for that pun.
- One of the running jokes in Diary Of A Nobody is Charles Pooter's incredibly laboured puns and his family and friends reactions to them "I'm afraid these trousers are frayed"
- In Les Misérables, Tholomyés makes a pun at the dinner table, and his friends are less than impressed, killing the conversation. He immediately launches into an elaborate speech in defense of puns, regaining his popularity.
- An implicit, somewhat slyly-given example in Star Trek: Ex Machina. Two crewmen - an Eeiauoan and a Caitian - are mentioned to have started fighting. Given that both races are feline, we have a literal Cat Fight. They’re told to “groom and make up”.
- In Alice in Wonderland the King of Hearts tries to make a joke about a poem not fitting the Queen of Hearts (because she never has fits). Nobody laughs... until he explains that its supposed to be a pun.
- In The Dresden Files novel Cold Days, Harry and Thomas are building a dock, which Pop-Cultured Badass Harry promptly dubs the Whatsup Dock, Thomas proceeds to throw him into the lake.
- In James Joyce's Ulysses, one character poses a riddle: What opera is like a railwayline?
- The Rose of Castile
. See the wheeze?
Rows of cast steel. Gee!
(...)Mr O'Madden Burke fell back with grace on his umbrella, feining a gasp.
- Help! he sighed. I feel a strong weakness.
- Kitty Norville
- In "Kitty's Big Trouble", Kitty is investigating rumors of Wyatt Earp being a vampire hunter in Dodge City with Ben and Cormac. She then meets two werewolves who want her to leave, leading to this passage.
“Look, seriously, I’m really sorry if we freaked you out,” I said. “We have rooms in a hotel on the other side of town, but if you don’t want us here, say so, and we’ll just … we’ll just…” Oh God. I couldn’t bring myself to say it. “Get the hell out of Dodge?” Dan said, raising his eyebrows. I shrugged. Ben was holding his forehead like he had a headache.
- In "Kitty Steals the Show", Kitty is slated to soon give a speech in London. A caller on her show wants her to confirm that is indeed where she will be. She notes he sounds like he is stoned and is trying to supress a giggle as he utters "So that would make you an American werewolf in-." Before he can finish she cuts him off, saying she must have lost the call.
- The Guns of the South: Robert E. Lee has one to his son Custis as they're discussing hiring black people to spy on the AWB.
Custis: I promise, Father, I shan't be niggardly.
Lee: Good, for mostly being poor, they are—you young scamp!
Custis: I'm sorry, sir. I couldn't resist.
Lee: You might have tried.
- In the Einstein Anderson, Science Detective series, the titular character loves cracking jokes and puns every chance he gets. His family usually reacts to them by groaning or pinching their noses.
Live Action TV
- Sheldon makes one to Howard on in reference to bad tasting cobbler in The Big Bang Theory.
Howard: "This is the worst cobbler I've ever eaten. I mean it tastes like it was made of actual ground-up shoemaker"
Sheldon: "How clever, a pun based on the double meaning of cobbler."
- iCarly: Both Shay siblings are very prolific with these.
- In "iNevel", Spencer is repairing his commissioned statue made of butter.
Spencer: "Don't worry, Mr. Toasty, soon you'll be back and butter than ever."
(Spencer looks around the room)
Spencer: "Thank god no one heard that."
- In "iFix A Popstar", Wade Collins is brought up on the webshow.
Carly: "One might call him... hobnoxious." (laughs)
Sam: "Ohohoho, Carly..." (looks away in horror)
- In "iQuit iCarly", as they introduce Fleck and Dave.
Sam: Their videos are hi-larious.
Carly: Which is the opposite of low-larious. (chuckles)
Sam: I begged her not to say that.
Carly: I should have listened.
- The Smoking Gun Presents: is replete with bad puns, often made by the celebrity panel. If one person makes a particularly egregious one other celebrities will have a Stunned Silence possibly accompanied by Chirping Crickets.
- Tom Servo of Mystery Science Theater 3000 absolutely loves to bust puns out, usually attracting the ire of Crow and Joel/Mike.
- In the Time Chasers episode:
Servo: Hey, that moss has taken a lichen to that tree.
Eddie (Mike's brother): Hey! What'd I say about puns?!
Servo: To jam them up my...
Eddie: That's right!
- Later, in the same episode:
Crow: I shaved this morning and got a nick.
[Eddie punches Crow in the shoulder, knocking him out of his seat.]
- In Future War, Crow and Mike joke about the weird cardboard box maze the scene is set in
Crow: (cheerily) He's boxed in!
Mike: Yeah, well I'm cardbored!
Servo: Shut up, you two.
- During several of the Gamera films, Crow makes either a single truly bad pun or a series of bad puns, which prompts Joel to pull off his arm and toss it across the theater. A couple of times Crow didn't learn his lesson and Joel would yank off the other arm. Gamera vs Guiron is the highlight of this, especially during the Space Gyaos vs Guiron fight; Crow makes so many puns he loses both arms, and when Guiron decapitates his opponent Crow quips "Ah, quit while you're ahead!" and Joel almost pulls him completely apart while Crow yells "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!".
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- This exchange (among others):
Giles: I've never actually heard of anyone attacked by a lone baseball bat before.
Xander: Maybe it's a vampire bat.
- And "Earshot" has Angel of all people say he's "dying to get rid of immortality."
- Buffy chops a man in half and gives the expected Bond One-Liner: "He had to split", then notes that she hasn't had a good pun in a while.
Angel: That would still be the case.
Buffy: Hey, my kill, my wordplay.
- Hawkeye and B.J. were prone to these.
: In fact, you might say that all of us together made up
Tuttle. (Cut to eyeroll from Radar.)
- That's amateur night compared to the one B.J. brought out while telling the story of Androcles and the Lion to a group of orphaned kids:
- Johnny Carson's "Carnac the Magnificent" on The Tonight Show typically served up plenty of puns and if the audience groaned or booed loudly enough, Carnac would place a funny curse on them in retaliation.
- Spaced: Mike is kicked out of the Rough Ramblers after a disastrous Eskimo roll. Tim says:
- In "Look Before You Leap", Frasier is attempting an opera song, requiring him to hit an impossibly high note, while Niles is horny due to refusing Maris' rare sexual invite despite their marriage counselor's advice.
Niles: You know, as much as I admire your willingness to take a leap, I did warn you that you were getting into a dangerous aria. (pained laugh) Oh God, I'm using humor to mask sexual frustration. It's high school all over again.
- From "Are You Being Served?":
Frasier: Well, that's our show today. But before we close, I'd like to invite you all to join us here at KACL in wishing a fond farewell to our happy chef, Leo Pascale, as he bubble-wraps his crepe pan and heads south towards sunny Santa Fe. Leo, you stirred us with your passion, melted us with your charm, added spice to our lives. Now, as you whisk youself away, let's not say goodbye, but rather, "tar-tar" for now. This is Dr. Frasier Crane, KACL 780.
Roz: (coming into the booth, still with a nauseated expression) Well, at least you stopped short of saying, "I'll be 'fricaseeing' you."
- Frasier's family is prone to this. In one episode, Daphne is putting on weight and falls down, prompting Frasier, Niles, and Martin to all help her up. Martin, laughing at his own wit, says, "Daphne, I just realized! It took three Cranes to lift you!" Daphne wasn't as amused as Martin was.
- In "Dark Victory" Roz gets a package from her family from a dairy farm and talks about how they make cheese-related puns. Frasier invites her over to his father's birthday saying he doesn't like to see her upset, adding "I'm camembert it".
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the 17th episode of season 3 ("Sabrina The Teenage Writer") Sabrina writes a spy story on a magic typewriter and her characters, which mirror actual characters of the show, come to life. At one point the mirror character of Dr. Kraft (Dr. Bad) captures Harvey's character Derek (who has a habit of saying bad puns) and ties him to a buzz saw in order to kill him, and then this dialogue happens:
Derek: There's always been an unpleasant edge to you, Dr. Bad.
Dr. Bad: (with his hands on his ears) I am killing you, just to stop the puns.
- Shooting Stars generally has Vic give one horrible joke in the show. Everybody remains stone-faced, church bells toll, the wind howls and a tumble-weed rolls by before we move on, leaving Vic sweeping into his sleeves. Then Bob tells the exact same joke and everybody laughs.
- In CSI: Miami: "That gives a new meaning to the term 'fried hard drive'". Cue silent stare.
- NCIS had McGee overusing the same one in one episode, nobody liked it.
- Doctor Who:
The Doctor: You might almost say they've had a complete metal breakdown.
The Doctor: I'm so sorry, Jamie.
- In The Sarah Jane Adventures, Pungeon Master Clyde is telling Jo Jones that her family should spend more time together as her grandson Santiago is feeling neglected. Otherwise "relations with Santiago might get a bit chilly." Even Clyde himself is ashamed of that pun.
- The Muppet Show likes these.
Kermit: You like your drums more than food?
Animal: They are food! Eat drums, eat cymbals!
Kermit: How cymbalic.
Animal: Bad joke!!! Bad joke!!!
- In the John Denver episode, Denver starts singing "Nobody Knows The Truffles I've Seen" to a gang of sentient mushrooms and gets attacked for it.
- In the That '70s Show episode "Holy Crap!" when Kelso wants to grow a beard:
Fez: May I grow one too?
Kelso: I don't know Fez, the two of us growing beards together...isn't that kinda girly?
Fez: Well, I just figure, the more the hairier! (dead silence) Oh I'm surrounded by idiots!
- In an episode of The Worst Witch Mildred and Enid accidentally cast a spell that causes written down numbers to multiply and spread around the entire school. Ms Hardbroom stops the spell and remarks "as for these girls, I think their number's up". She allows herself a giggle before realising that nobody else is laughing.
- Sesame Street:
Elmo: Does a trash heap have a nose?
Oscar: No, but it smells...terrible.
Elmo: So does that joke, Oscar.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus:
- In the "Art Critic" sketch, when a pretty girl enters:
Art Critic: Oh hello there father, er confessor, professor, your honour, your grace …
Girl: I'm not your Grace, I'm your Elsie.
Critic: What a terrible joke!
Girl: (crying) But it's my only line!
- The tail end of the "Rude Chemist" sketch:
Customer: I'd like some after shave, please.
Chemist: Yes sir. Walk this way, please.
Customer: If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need after shave. (Constable comes in and arrests customer)
- In the episode "Cooperative Calligraphy":
Jeff: I have a date to catch, or, should I say, a catch to date.
Britta: Oof, I hope you just came up with that.
Dean Pelton: I expect to see you all at the puppy parade. Except you, Jeffrey - I know you've got a catch to date.
- In Remedial Chaos Theory Shirley runs out of the room after her pies burn, and Jeff says she had a mental breakdown.
Pierce: More like a mental-
Jeff: Bakedown, I know, I didn't say it on purpose.
- Young Blades: In "Enchanted," when D'Artagnan announces that Ramon's new love is a poetess, King Louis asks if she "has good lines," making an hourglass shape in the air. He continues to ask if everyone gets it as they all look awkward or roll their eyes.
- In True Blood, Sookie is skeptical when Bill tells her that the vampire bar in Shreveport is called "Fangtasia". He tells her that most vampires are really old, and puns used to be the highest form of humor.
- QI. Frequently. When discussing the European habit of kissing cheeks and how Corsicans apparently kiss five times as a greeting:
Can you tell me what sort of person kisses five times? 'Course I can! **beat, audience groans** Alan Davies:
...I think you have to leave now.
- In the "Holiday" episode, Rob Brydon talks about stamp-collecting:
Rob: I collected stamps for a very brief period like you in my early teens and I gave it up. I just thought- I thought to myself, philately will get me nowhere.
[pained reactions from everyone on the panel including Brydon himself, groans from the audience]
Bill Bailey: Press the- Go back in time. Go back in time.
Rob: [pushes buzzer, which makes a glissando] I collected stamps for a period when I was a teenager and I loved it.
- Stargate SG-1:
- The show had a habit of making Who's on First? jokes using the System Lord Yu. When newcomer Dr. Elizabeth Weir first heard of Yu in "The New Order", she started to make one but Daniel Jackson cut her off, explaining that every possible variant had already been done and it wasn't funny anymore.
- When the team first figures out that Ba'al has been cloning himself in "Insiders", they end up having to capture the whole lot and bring them back to the SGC. At one point Cam Mitchell drops this one:
Mitchell: (to CMSgt. Harriman) Chief, we got a full count. Two strikes, three Ba'als.
Harriman: (chuckles) Oh. That's clever, sir.
Carter: (eye roll) He was thinking that one up the whole way home.
Mitchell: Yeah, the whole three seconds.
- In Blackadder Goes Forth, Blackadder manages a look of unparalleled contempt while his own firing squad are providing such gems as assuring him that they aim to please.
- In March 2007, after another ill-fated pun by Ron MacLean on Coach's Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, MacLean's partner, Don Cherry, curled his lips and shook his head in disgust, a reaction that was arguably funnier than the pun MacLean had tried.
- On an episode of Blockbusters, host Bill Cullen made an incredibly bad joke on the answer "rudder": "The first rudder was made in 1241, and that's very recently, because it's only 1:10 now... Boy, I knew that joke wouldn't work." After he explained the joke, the sound effects booth sounded the show's Losing Horns on him.
- In a Running Gag on Svengoolie, whenever the Horror Host makes a particularly bad pun, he gets pelted with rubber chickens. He's taken to carrying a chicken shield for self-defense.
- One episode of Yes, Prime Minister has Sir Humphrey involved in a conversation to the effect that a candidate has been waiting for quite a while to be made a bishop. Humphrey cracks, "So, 'Long time, no See.'" The person he's talking to scolds him for the pun then spends the rest of the conversation visibly struggling to keep a straight face.
- Britain's Got Talent had one contestant be given the unfortunate distinction of being buzzed off before he could even perform his act thanks to one of these. He came on with a doughnut on his head, leading Piers to question what it was doing there. He responded that he'd been to the hairdresser's and had his hair done up in a bun. This lead the judges to all hit their buzzers within a second of one another, with the contestant being given three "no"'s and leaving without having done a single impression.
- The West Wing had this gem:
Margaret: C.J.'s here.
Leo: (reading) Okay.
Margaret: Wanna hear a joke?
Leo: (looks up) Uh, okay.
Margaret: You know why they only eat one egg for breakfast in France?
Margaret: Cause in France, one egg is an oeuf. (Leo stares at her) Okay, C.J.'s here.
Leo: (looking wary and a little frightened) Okay.
- After C.J.'s been going on about the Dadaist surrealism of the butter Last Supper depicting butter:
C.J.: Duchamp was the father of Dadaism.
Toby: I know.
C.J.: The dada of Dada.
] ...It's like there's nothing you can do about that joke, it's coming and you just have to stand there.
- Donna tries to warm up the crowd listening to President Bartlet recording his radio address by telling them to form a horseshoe against the wall, but "not an actual horseshoe; that takes special training as a blacksmith." The crowd doesn't laugh.
Donna: They didn't laugh at the blacksmith joke.
- Owl City's song, "Rugs From Me to You" is full of puns. One of them he apologizes for in-song. He sings, "Excuse the pun, but it's hair today, gone tomorrow."
- Kate Micucci's song "Dear Deer" has one of these. 'Some say Pennsylvania's sunny, but I prefer to say it's gunny.' Lampshaded immediately with 'Ok maybe that's not funny, but either way it's way too punny.'
- "Cows With Guns" by Dana Lyons has a lampshaded one:
Cows gathered around 'cause the steaks were so high. *guitar strumming* Bad cow pun.
- Tom Lehrer lampshaded his own pun in his song about Vice President Hubert Humphrey and his lack of impact in the Lyndon Johnson administration:
We must protest this treatment, Hubert
Says each newspaper reader
As someone once remarked to Schubert:
Take us to your lieder! (Sorry about that)
- Rose and the Arrangement's novelty song "The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati" includes some noises of disapproval from the backup singers/"audience" after the line "I thought Ben looked a little bit ratty...", and the singer apologizes.
- Im Sorry Ill Read That Again was a pun-storm all of its own. As Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie gleefully threw puns around for minutes at a time, John Cleese would stand back from the mike, fold his arms in disdain, refuse to join in and can be heard repeating "easy. Easy. Too easy".
- A few of the puns on The Debaters have been bad enough for host Steve Patterson to apologize of behalf of the entire production team.
- On Wait Wait Dont Tell Me, host Peter Sagal occasionally pulls this on his own puns. Specifically, the pun with which he introduces the Listener Limerick Challenge (e.g. "In just a minute, Carl tells us about his favorite Transformer, Optimus Rhyme.") seems to get lamer every week. At one point, he followed it with, "Look, if you got better ones, send 'em in, OK?"
- The live-recording of folksinger/historian Utah Phillip's spoken-word piece Moose Turd Pie starts with this moment:
Phillips: ..Went down and got a job with the rural electrification in the Navajo Indian reservation, running electric power lines into all the Navajo outhouses. Was one of the first people to wire a head for a reservation!
Audience: [laughs, groans]
- Gilbert and Sullivan, The Grand Duke:
: When exigence of rhyme compels
Orthography forgoes her spells,
And "ghost" is rhymed with "goest". All
: With what an emphasis he dwells
Upon "orthography" and "spells"!
That kind of fun's the lowest.
- In RENT Roger and Mark are burning old concert posters and screenplays to keep warm and as they are burning them they sing:
- Mark: The music ignites the night with passionate fire!
- Roger: The narration crackles and pops with incendiary wit!
- In The Complete History of America (abridged), private detective Spade Diamond is being grilled by two toughs on what Lucy Ricardo was doing on the day of JFK's assassination (this Makes Just as Much Sense in Context). The alibi he gives is that she was with him, but wasn't seen with him because she was disguised. One of the toughs snaps back, "So, Lucy was disguised with Diamond." All three then do an Aside Glance as the audience groans. ("I should've seen that coming," Spade confides to the fourth wall.)
- From Spamalot, after Arthur and the Knights are given the quest for the Holy Grail, he has to explain to them why they were given the quest.
- Animal Crossing will make your character crack a bad joke whenever he/she catches a fish or bug and this is occasionally lampshaded:
"I caught a sea bass! See? BASS! (Why do I keep saying things like that?)"
- Sacrifice brings us this little gem, aimed at a servant of the god of earth who's made of living rock:
Now Grakkus here is none too quick on his feet. It may be because he leads such a... sedimentary
: ...Never Say That Again
- Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal: Guybrush, on meeting treasure hunter Joaquin D'Oro, makes a pun so bad even his Evil Hand feels the need to upbraid him for it:
- Tenebrae from Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World absolutely loves groan-inducing puns. At one going, he made one that was so bad that Raine and Genis didn't groan, but instead unloaded on him with their ultimate unison attack from the previous game.
(Emil, Marta, Genis and Raine sigh)
Tenebrae: Too small for me, I'm afraid.
Tenebrae: A "sighs four," that is. (laughs)
Raine: Ready when you are!
Genis/Raine: Prismic Stars!
- Jude and company are looking for the legendary weapons known as the devil's arms in Tales of Xillia. They defeat the last beast guarding the weapons, and Jude complains about how difficult the creatures were to find.
Jude: I guess the devils were in the details!
Leia: Jude. Seriously?
- In Fallout 2, there's Frog Morton...
- There is an optional scene in Persona 3 where Akihiko, trying to get over his shyness around girls, practices his pick-up lines in secret. Reading that a sense of humor is vital, he makes an utterly horrid pun ("Want to go to that Beef Bowl place?... I hope I 'meat' you there!"), then promptly chastises himself:
- In Persona 4, Yukiko Amagi is known for her rather... Whimsical ways of thinking, and for breaking into fits of laughter that can last several minutes. So, the first time she hears one of Teddie's un-Bear-ably bad puns, everyone braces themselves for another giggle fit. Except...
: I'm sorry. Was I supposed to laugh?
(Team continues on while Teddie falls over in defeat)
- In Namco X Capcom, there's a stage where EVERYONE starts making these in the Japanese version. It even highlights in red what the pun is supposed to be. To the characters, it gets old really fast.
- Kingdom of Loathing is chock full of references and puns, occasionally even the narrator recognizes how terrible some of them are. For example:
"This is a dairy goat. Insert a pun on "udderly" and "utterly", if you're the kind of guy who doesn't get punched in the face enough."
** Then, later in the fight:
"She swings her udder at you, but misses. She's an udder failure. Yeah, go ahead and punch me in the face."
- There's also the baseball bat monster, "a bat with the body of a baseball. And the heart of a bad pun."
- In the Japanese version of Ar Tonelico 2, Infel has a penchant for these, with Croix reacting appropriately after every single one. This is completely lost in the English version of the game as it seems Infel's text was translated word-for-word, and Japanese puns normally don't work in other languages. Croix still reels after each joke, confusing many English-speaking players.
- Here is a random conversation bit taken from an ERCS Guard in a bug-ridden research lab in 'Mass Effect 1:
Science pukes. Should just bug out and leave 'em to die. All their fault anyway.
] Heh. "Bug out." Heh. Heh.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
- Justice For All has this attempt at humor from the main character in case 3: 'Why am I, Phoenix Wright, such a good lawyer? Because I'm "Wright" all the time!' Maya is unimpressed, but warms up to it eventually.
- In the DLC case for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , Phoenix is less than impressed by Sasha Buckler's fish puns.
("Minnow?" "Blowfish"? Those puns floundered
- Icewind Dale II has an enemy boss utilizing trained war bears. Before fighting him, if asked how his own bears don't tear him to shreds, he points out the magical collars they 'bear'. The main character Deadpan Snarker is quick to point out the slip up, at which point the boss essentially disowns the pun with embarrassment claiming it unintentional.
- Final Fantasy XIII: when the group is being chased through the air by a monster on Pulse:
Fang: He thinks we're lunch.
Sazh: Like a L'Cie food buffet.
Light: "Cie Food", cute...
- The various Artix Entertainment games (AdventureQuest, Dragon Fable, MechQuest...) are crammed so full of puns that this sort of lampshading is inevitable on occasion. An example: at one point in the Archknight storyline of Dragonfable, main character Ash Dragonblade is facing a necromancer who specializes in evil trees called Deadwoods. He makes so many terrible tree-related puns that the necromancer flips out and attacks him out of sheer annoyance.
- One of the achievements in Legendary: The Box is a pun called "Dou-Bull Trou-Bull", which you get for defeating 2 Minotaurs who are fighting you at the same time. Right after you get that achievement, though, you get another achievement titled "I owe you an apology", where the lead designer apologizes for making such a lame pun.
- Final Fantasy V has a few. Most notably, when the protagonists are hanging on a ship mast:
Xezat: I'm coming! Hang in there!
Galuf: That pun is so bad, I'm gonna fall on purpose...
- Early in Banjo Tooie you must shoot down a few pesky flies that are eating through an anthropomorphic cow's crops. Upon completion of the task she exclaims, "A-maizing! I corn hardly believe it! You wheatly sorted those flies out!", to which Kazooie quips that she's had enough of the "crop jokes".
- One early sidequest in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir has the player find a parrot for Volothamp Geddarm. Turns out the parrot's prior owner taught it a wide variety of useful Dwarven expletives. Cue Volo remarking on the bird's "fowl language"note , and the player characters calling him on it. One dialog option goes something like "Make another 'foul'-to-'fowl' pun and I'll break your neck."
- Kid Icarus: Uprising gives us these:
That Great Reaper
has quite the evil eye! Pit:
How could you be making puns at a time like this?! Palutena:
I guess I just don't SEE the problem with a little levity. Pit:
Agh! You're killing me here! Pit:
That's right, you tentafool! Palutena:
Tentafool? Uh, nice one, Pit.
- Before the final boss of Sonic Colors, Sonic comments on Eggman's repeated amusement park puns.
Eggman: Leaving so soon? There are no lines, and I've saved the best rides for last! At least let me STAMP your hand so you can come back in.
Sonic: I know you're trying to be clever with this whole amusement park pun thing, but it's just coming off lame. Say you're going to destroy us and stop embarrassing yourself.
Eggman: Curse you, Sonic! Not only do you foil my plans, but you foil my speeches as well! I work hard on them!
- During Uncharted 2, there's an achievement for jumping into the pool at the top of the Nepal hotel. If you do, Nathan (who is attempting to retrace Marco Polo's discovery of Shangri-La) will yell out "Marco!" Chloe will be left utterly dumbstruck.
- In a side-quest in Borderlands 2, Back-Alley Doctor Dr. Zed has you pick up a shipment from an "arms dealer". Said shipment turns out to be actual severed human arms. The flavor text after you complete the quest says that the pun may have been more painful than all the injuries you've sustained so far in your quest.
- Also, during a side-quest to sabotage some heaters in a bandit camp, Claptrap keeps making bad jokes about getting the bandits to "chill out" and the like. He interprets the stunned silence from the Vault Hunters as them not getting the joke, and proceeds to excessively explain why it was supposed to be funny.
- Claptrap gets another one in the Tiny Tina DLC, where after Tina went through the effort to make a fart joke, Claptrap ruins it for her. She simply tells him that he ruins everything in a bitter tone.
- In the clown-dunking game in Learning Voyage: Sand Trapped!, the narrator kid makes several puns, and sarcastic rimshots sound after each one (with the purple robot thing face-palming in the background). Realizing the puns are no good, the kid says "All right, I'll leave the humor to the clown."
- Dominic Deegan is a frequent offender, as are the rest of his family, and anyone else who spends too much time with them.
- In one case, Siggy does this on purpose to elicit groans from hiding thieves and give away their position.
- In another, Dominic's father uses this to incapacitate Jacob's Quilt Man.
- xkcd has these in several strips:
- And in Scary Go Round, "You were wrong. Puns don't help."
- This page of DOUBLE K. In the words of the writer: "KAMINA just pissed away every cool point he earned over the last 25 pages, way to go buddy".
- King Astos of had been shaping up to be the major antagonist in the Elfland subplot of 8-Bit Theater. Just before the assumed climactic battle would transpire, an incredibly lame pun by Red Mage wrecked the tension. The following pun by Black Mage was so lame that King Astos died immediately upon hearing it. (The author of the webcomic is a fan of such Anti Climaxes, by the way.)
- Also, when it finally sinks into Fighter's thick skull that Thief is actually the Prince of Elfland:
Cutter: Honking our horn ain't enough. I say we flash them our hi-beams.
Vanderbeam: How would we do that?
Cutter: Say hi, Beams.
- Casey and Andy features the (extremely lethal) Pun Police. In one strip a villain successfully kills Andy by inducing him to make a bad pun.
- In this The Order of the Stick, Vaarsuvius has sworn not to interfere in the battle except in self-defense... or if Elan's puns drive him/her crazy.
Elan: "C'mon, Nale, don't be a sword loser!"
Nale: "Ugh, that was horrible! I swear, I'm going to kill you, then pay a cleric to raise you, and kill you again, just to make you pay for the puns!"
- In Jailhouse Blues the character of Bean Man has puns so bad, or at least so undignified, that his creator forbids him from using them. He does anyway and earns himself a rather painful death in the process.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- In "K'Z'K": When Torg needs to inflict pain on the demon K'Z'K to exorcise him, he and Riff manage this by doing a Hurricane of Puns.
- In "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain":
Demon King: "Nothing toughens a demon up more than possessing the soul of a mortal, while other mortals are trying to drive you out using holy rituals... I'm putting you all on a strict exorcise program!"
Demon King: "Thought that would get you where it hurt!"
Horribus: "Actually, sire, it was that pun..."
Demon King: "That's what I meant!"
- In "Phoenix Rising": "Argh! I'm stabbed! Less painful than that pun!"
- In this comic of Our Little Adventure, the male Wight makes a pun when talking to Julie about what kind of undead they are. This earns him a smack upside the head from the female Wight he's with.
- Bob and George:
- Mega Man managed to make a broom wince in pain when he explains the Rule of Funny and dubs it the "gag reflex."
- Bright Man (who has a lightbulb for a head) having an idea prompted Kalinka Cossack to collapse to the ground, protesting to her father that "I thought you loved me!"
- This shows up a lot in Bob and George, usually with a Beat panel right beforehand. In the fight against Knight Man, Mega Man makes an especially excruciating one, followed up by getting his head caved in again.
- In Rusty and Co., the team meets a ghostly knight in the woods.
: Yoiks! Who're you?! We don' wanna hurt youse! Ghost knight:
I... was once... the White Knight. [Beat Panel]
But now, I am... the Night Wight. Mimic:
A'ight, well, now
we wanna hurt youse.
- Bobwhite. Marlene's Jewish bluegrass band is trying to come up with a new name for the band. Something that will get people to take them seriously.
Fiddle player: Sheriff Yeehaw's Mazel Tov Jewboree!
Marlene: You're out of the band.
- In Homestuck, Jack Noir/Spades Slick in all of his incarnations is rather fond of puns. Unfortunately, he's pretty terrible at them.
He says the Prince flew the coop. And the girl's gone... You say gone what. Rogue? After a little while he says AWOL. The guy doesn't really take a shining to puns and you can't say you blame him.
- Cyanide and Happiness:
- In Irregular Webcomic!, "PunGuard 2.1" reacts to a bad pun in #967 by displaying a dialog box. This is also a Stealth Pun, as the dialog box blocks the pun.
- In Faulty Logic, Jalyss tends to react to Fox's puns with violence, but in this one, she is helpless to stop the lamest pun of all time.
- From Blade Bunny Book 12, Page 29:
Nothing personal, cutie, but I have to end this now... with an ax. Elite Mook:
You mean cut this short? Bunny:
) SHUT UP! (swings the ax)
- Claire in Questionable Content gets the "silent disapproval" reaction to almost all of her puns, to her great aggravation.
- In morphE Tyler is starred down and made to feel ashamed of himself for trying to joke that Adrestia destroyed a training dummy with her "bear hands"
- The Annoying Orange: The most frequent reaction to the lead character's jokes.
- Whateley Universe: Chaka's lame pun at the end of "Ayla and the Networks" gets her severely pummeled by pillows, beanbag chairs, etc.
- The web fiction serial Dimension Heroes is notorious for bad puns, which usually lead to whoever says them getting smacked.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged includes this little gem when Krillin and Piccolo use multi-form:
- Edds World often features puns, mainly from the title character, but from other sources, too.
Tom: Hey. What did our neigh...BOORS want?
Edd: You and the water are very similar, Matt. You're both SHALLOW!
- In Spoony's Let's Play of Phantasmagoria 2, he made more than a few horrible puns and then smacks himself for doing so.
- Andy Zaltzman's terrible puns in The Bugle frequently lead to John Oliver begging for mercy. On at least one occasion, the show's producer has resigned (and then been re-hired to find out some obscure piece of trivia).
- Several appear throughout LoadingReadyRun's Phailhaüs series, one of which resulted in Matt being banned from Phailhaüs for a year''.
- In addition, any Crap Shot entitled "The Punishment" is essentially Alex making a bad pun, followed by Graham dishing out Cool and Unusual Punishment for it.
- Self-inflicted one in Freemans Mind, in which Gordon comments about the ceiling, with "What's up with the ceiling?" after which he realizes that he just made a pun and groans.
- OH! Shit it's your birthday, isn't it.
- The SCP Foundation features a kind of tomato that reacts violently to lame puns, sometimes resulting in death.
- Red vs. Blue: The Reds try to make themself pass as Freelancers by adapting their Location Theme Naming.
And I'll be Agent Denial. Yehehit's, because a state of denial, like the saying? You know, it's like a, I was, you know, the whole State/state thing? You know it's a, joke. Grif: No dude, jokes are funny.
- The Freelance Astronauts can fall into this, depending on the game. Usually whoever makes the lamest puns gets punched for his troubles.
- In The Nostalgia Chick's Pocahontas review, putting words in John Smith's mouth:
Chick: ...and by that I mean I'd like to poke-your-hontas, heh. [Cringes from rightful booing and catcalls.]
- Zero Punctuation:
- In the review of Mass Effect. "You only get to see like one second of bare ass anyways, so it will hardly make your Mass Erect!" Later, in the end credits he admits that "Yeah this whole review was leading up to that horrible pun at the end"
- The review of Metro: Last Light ends with the words: "When Art Yom eats food does he go om yom yom (Oh for fuck's sake)"
- Film Brain likes to make puns, but it's only a problem for Linkara when he joins FB to review The Spirit:
Holy crap, Frank Miller
makes worse puns than you
, Film Brain! Film Brain:
I never thought such a thing could be accomplished.
- Not that's he's blameless either:
Did he just break the fourth wall? Linkara:
Don't worry - we're atop
: [Collective Groan
] Caption: Channel Awesome would like to apologize for that pun. The writer has been flogged for his sins
- Coach Z from Homestar Runner, who commonly dresses up in Hip-Hop costumes for Halloween, once dressed up as a sheet of paper in 2010. When prompted, he stated he was (w)rapping paper. Cue Collective Groan from the rest of the cast.
- In the Strong Bad Email "lackey", an easter egg has Puppet Homestar Runner starring in a variety show with Doreauxgard, the cantaloupe puppet Strong Bad created. When Homestar offers Doreauxgard the position of "produce-er", Doreauxgard quips "Forget you, Whitey, I'm going solo!" and walks away.
- Stuart Ashen once reviewed a POP Station that "looks like a fat batarang: a fatarang!" He apologizes quickly after.
- After positively reviewing The Hunger Games, Mike Stoklasa says he's "hungry for more Hunger Games." Then he vomits.
- Brain POP has an episode of "Mysteries of Life" on the hiccups, which ends with a play on the vagus nerve that Tim calls "quite possibly the worst joke we've ever done."
- In the middle of a serious discussion on a guy getting limbs blown off by a bomb, somebody drops in with "In Soviet Russia, bomb disarms YOU!" This got a Dude, Not Funny! response.
- Two Best Friends Play: The Last of Us. Pat has the controller. When Ellie starts reading bad puns from a joke book ("You want to hear a joke about pizza? ... Never mind, it's really cheesy"), Pat responds by wordlessly unholtering his gun and pointing it at Ellie's face. Low ammo was probably the only reason he didn't pull the trigger.
- From None Piece: Luffy mentions that he doesn't want to get roped into anything stupid. Cue Nami tying him up with a rope.
Luffy: Wow! I actually felt myself die a little inside!
- Jake in Midnight Screenings does a lot of Comical Overreacting to puns, even making them his Berserk Button.
- Ultra Fast Pony, "The Pet Games":
Dick Hardman: Looks like some of the racers have been caught in the thorns.
Tom Watergate: Looks like they're having no trouble getting the point, don't you think so?
Dick Harman: My lawyer has advised me not to answer that question.
- In the Let's Play of Seiken Densetsu 3:
Game Text: Snow City Elrand
Dr. Destructo: Did you just say "Ice-engard"?
Doran Blackdawn: Yes.
Dr. Destructo: 'Cause I think that's grounds for a beating.
Doran Blackdawn: (chuckles) See, 'cause we're in a frost place—
Doran Blackdawn: (laughs) Oh, you're so angry when I let out the puns.
Dr. Destructo: I know. Except I'm not making a stand for peace.
- RWBY: In the first episode of Season 2, after Ruby expresses a desire to "Start the semester off with a BANG!", Yang replies "I always start my semester off with a YANG!" Everyone else silently shakes their heads or Face Palms, while Nora throws a tomato at Yang's face from offscreen while booing her.
- Happens frequently in The Runaway Guys whenever one of them, usually Chuggaa, makes a bad pun.
- The Riddler's hints in Batman: The Animated Series episode "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" are a good example.
(Batman and Robin come across a sign that says "Loser's Ahead.")
Robin: "Loser's Ahead? DUCK!!!"
(The duo turns a corner, two giant shurikens come out of nowhere, and the duo ducks just before the blades lob their heads off.)
Batman: Loses a head. I don't know what's worse, the traps or the puns.
- In Batman Beyond "Dead Man's Hand," Bruce explains to Terry how the Royal Flush Gang are old-school gimmick villains, only committing robberies for items related to playing card suits (such as diamonds). Why their heist on a yacht for miscellaneous non-diamond jewelry, then? "It was in a yacht club." They're both disgusted by the pun.
- Many MGM cartoons, especially those directed by Tex Avery, live on this in a Hurricane of Puns; however, in "Car of Tomorrow" a pun involving "Seal beam headlights" was so bad even the narrator groaned and "X"ed it out.
- The 1944 short Batty Baseball has a pun that involves the baseball stadium being named W.C. Field. A message then pops up reading "The guy who thought of this corny gag isn't with us any more."
- There was a literal Card-Carrying Villain on Jackie Chan Adventures, complete with puns like, "We have the upper hand." He keeps it up after even his boss tells him to "quit with the card puns."
- In "Osama Bin Laden has Farty Pants", the first episode of South Park to air after 9/11, Towelie makes a cameo appearance. Discovering the kids don't want him around, he asks, "Am I to understand there's been a... Towelie ban?" Everyone else groans, once they figure it out.
- At least half of the things Numbuh Two says in Codename: Kids Next Door. It really bothered Numbuh Five. (When the kids go to a Negative World, Negative Numbah 2 makes everyone laugh their asses off.)
- Pick any episode in Kung Fu Dino Posse and you will hear at least one of these. Or several.
- Beast Boy from Teen Titans frequently makes jokes which his teammates hate. There are too many to list here, but here are a few:
- He throws the Brain into a freezing machine saying something like "Dudes check it out! BRAIN FREEZE". The entire hero cast (plus some extras) groans in dismay.
Blackfire: Hey, Beast Boy, what's up?
Beast Boy: Nothing but the ceiling! (Blackfire laughs) See, Raven, she thinks I'm funny.
Raven: Statistically, I suppose somebody has to.
- Danny Phantom
- In "Shades of Gray", the ghost dog burst into the school and Danny responds with "Who let the dogs in?". Right afterwards, Danny had to explain the joke and decided to save some face to get the dog out. Sam responds with, "Bring better jokes!"
- When Spectra turns into a snot monster (It Makes Sense in Context):
Danny: There's a "you blew it" pun here somewhere, but... I'd rather not.
Spectra: Let's boogie!
Danny: Ya' see, that was the kind of pun I was trying to avoid with the whole "you blew it" comment.
- Spongebob Squarepants:
- In "Wet Painters", SpongeBob and Patrick have to disguise the fact that they got a spot on Mr. Krabs' first dollar. They hang several paintings in front of it, which Mr. Krabs take off one-by-one. Eventually, Spongebob himself is hanging on the wall.
Mr. Krabs: SpongeBob, what are you doing?
Spongebob: Oh, you know ... just hanging around!
- The infamous "Rock-A-Bye-Bivalve" even had a lame pun. When SpongeBob gives his pants to the scallop for it to sleep there, he finds the time to crack a joke.
SpongeBob: There you go. (points to his backside) It's the best seat in the house.
(pan to Gary doing a rimshot)
- From "Shell Shocked":
SpongeBob: I guess all's shell that ends shell!
Gary: (locks SpongeBob out of the house)
- In "Pre-Hibernation Week":
Sandy:(Tosses a fishing pole to Spongebob.) Come on SpongeBob, (pan to a plane) We're going fly-fishing!
(Cue cut to a live-action guy doing a rimshot)
- In "Pranks a Lot", a barrage of them between SpongeBob and Patrick eventually ended with the narrator saying "Several bad puns later."
- The Simpsons:
- In the episode "Pokey Mom" involving Homer, a prison warden, and a painting of a unicorn in outer space, there's this exchange:
Warden: I mean, look at this! It's a unicorn in outer space! I mean, what's it breathin'?
Warden: Ain't no air 'n space!
Homer: There's an Air 'n' Space Museum. *grins like an idiot, and then is thrown out of the prison*
- Also, there was one emitted by Homer when commencing a roast against Mr. Burns for his birthday (and in case you're wondering why it fits, its because shortly afterwards, he drops his pants and proceeds to moon Mr. Burns and the audience, a caricature of Burns' face is on his butt, and he tries to quote Mr. Burns).
Homer: Now here's an impression of Mr. Burns that is incredibly... cheeky.
- And then there was the one where the Mayor Quimby's nephew gets put on trial for beating the living daylights out of a waiter. Intrepid Reporter Kent Brockman wanted to call the incident "Waitergate", but was shouted down at the Press Club.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle
- Mr. Peabody would end every segment of his show with a pun pertaining to the era they had visited, to the chagrin of Sherman. In one episode, Sherman pays Mr. Peabody back.
- In another episode, Bullwinkle discovers a toy boat covered in rubies, with the name "Omar Kayam" inscribed on the side. When Rocky asks, "Do you know what this is?" Bullwinkle waits a beat before answering, "If you're waiting for me to provide the answer, you're in for a long wait!" Rocky shrugs and gamely announces (much to Bullwinkle's chagrin) that they now have the Ruby Yacht of Omar Kayam.
- They even did that in The Movie. For example, when Rocky and Bullwinkle are Squashed Flat by a car.
Bullwinkle: Looks like this movie's getting...
Rocky: Don't say it.
- The Powerpuff Girls
- In the episode "Meet the Beat-Alls", Mojo justifies stealing eggs and other white items because "it's all right as they're all white!" The terrible pun prompts Princess to drop the eggs and groan in disgust.
- In "I See A Funny Cartoon In Your Future," Blossom finds a tarot card as a clue to a string of thefts, to which she announces that it's the work of a "tarot-ist." Bubbles feels our pain.
- One of The Fairly OddParents episodes had a monkey gain access to Timmy's wishing power, and turns everything in the world to monkey versions - including the town name, which goes from "Dimmsdale" to "Chimpsdale". When Timmy notices this he mutters, "When this is all over, I'm wishing for a world without puns..." Later in the episode, during a history lession, mention is made of the "Declar-ape-tion of Independence". AJ comments along the lines of "If that wasn't historically accurate, I would say it was the most horrific pun ever."
- Kim Possible
- When she fought the Mathter, a Riddler expy who specialized in math-themed crimes, he used appropriate math-themed puns, like "Time to subtract you from the equation!", or "Let me throw some numbers at you,"(as he tossed digit-shaped grenades), or "I've left your boyfriend with a new problem to solve." Finally, an irate Kim shouted, "Okay, one more lame-o math reference, and I am going to LOSE IT!"
- As Kim and Ron raided the headquarters of international thief Falsetto Jones, she noticed a huge pool on the villain's property:
Kim: Let me guess, Wade. Crocs? Sharks?
Wade: No, electric eels.
Kim: And the villain puns just write themselves. "Shocking, isn't it?"
- This one is thought of as god-awful in universe, spotting Duff's hideout Ron comments...
- In Drawn Together, during the episode "The One Wherein There Is A Big Twist, Part II", Xandir tells Strawberry Sweetcake (an obvious parody of Strawberry Shortcake) "You're gonna be spending a CHOCO-LOTTA time locked up behind CANDY bars!". There is a long silence after which Princess Clara whispers to Xandir "God dammit, I hate you!".
- Also when Xandir makes a Title Drop pun on how they are all "Drawn together". In the film the killer robots all aimed their laser sights at his head when he said that.
- In Jimmy Two-Shoes, while playing a carnival game that involves rabbits, Jimmy remarks "Well then, I'll hop right to it", eliciting a groan from the booth attendant.
- Jonny Quest TOS episode "Monster in the Monastery".
Hadji: Yeti...are invisible.
Jonny: Well, if they're invisible, how can anybody see a yeti?
Hadji: No one has...yeti.
Jonny: Oh, come on!
- Family Guy:
- Stewie tries to make a few in the episode "The Thin White Line". After Brian has an emotional breakdown because of his drug habit, Stewie makes an attempt of humor, calling Brian first a "melan-collie" and then a "chi-wah wah!". He is infuriated to find that nobody else finds this funny.
- In "Amish Guy":
I can't believe we're stuck in Amish country! Stewie:
I thought something was Amish [pronounced 'a-mish' (amiss)]. (gets smacked by Brian)
- Occasionally used in The Tick. One of the more painful ones was
El Seed: Soldiers of corn! Lend me your ears!
Tick: Ooh, that's bad.
- Duckman: In the episode "Ebony, Baby" (a full-on Blaxploitation mock), we have this exchange:
: Enough shop talk. What do you need? Ebony
: Information. One of my clients was murdered; Victor Demann. Tawnze
: ...I shoulda known you was workin' for Demann
- Danger Mouse:
- In "All Fall Down," this takes place as he and Penfold search for the villainous serpent Mac The Fork:
DM: (to Colonel K) Don't worry, sir, we'll soon weed out that snake in the grass.
Penfold: Yes, then he'll be all for-lawn. Hee hee!
Colonel K: Wha? What's that, Penfold?
DM: Forget it, sir. he's just having one of his turns. Over and out.
- This from the episode "Mechanised Mayhem" where Penfold is about to be sucked into one of two sentient vacuum cleaners:
Vacuum: Ha! This one's in the bag!
D.M. Don't get taken in, Penfold!
Penfold: Any more jokes like that and it'll be almost be worth it!
- Even later in the episode after DM captures the sentient telephone leading a mechanical revolution:
Penfold: He must be the ringleader.
DM: (stifling a laugh) "Ringleader!" You complain about the jokes!?
- In the Bond-parody episode of American Dad!, "Tearjerker", Stan's boss Avery Bullock meets him in a Japanese restaurant, with both dressed as geishas.
- While the entirety of the Animaniacs episode "This Pun For Hire" is a Hurricane of Puns, a couple are singled out as particularly bad by Dot:
- Done by Billy in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy after he splits his nose in half to share with a nasal-mancer, or nose wizard, who was using an enchanted scent to lure all the noses of the city to the shopping mall he inhabited to find a replacement nose after he lost his, which was later found by Mandy but blown up during a inflated nose-balloon chase (It Makes Sense in Context)
Billy: Snot a problem!
(Billy's half of his nose comes alive and smacks him with a steak in annoyance)
- The steak hitting his face was actually a running gag in the episode as he made two bad jokes earlier:
Mandy: Let's try a stakeout.
Billy: (moving a steak away from his face) I tried that but it didn't work. (tosses it aside, only for it to fly back and smack his face.)
Billy: Why do I have to sleep?
Mandy: Because, out of the three of us, you have the nose.
Billy: Oh. I nose that. (steak flies by and hits him again)
- In A DuckTales Valentine, Huey, Dewey and Louie find a chest in a sunken Greek temple. When they wonder what the inscription on the lid is supposed to mean, Launchpad quips "It's Greek to me!" There's an awkward pause, after which Launchpad says defensively "Well, somebody had to say it."
- At the end of the Adventure Time episode "Loyalty to the King", Finn describes exposing the Nice King as just the Ice King with his beard cut off as "a close shave", which earns a groan, a chuckle, and a Face Palm from Jake.
- In "Beautopia", Finn asks Jake to make some hazelnut coffee, then randomly wonders what would happen if Jake changed his name to "Zelnut"
And then I would be like, "Hey, Zelnut!" Jake:
That's terrible. Finn:
Hey, Zelnut! Jake:
) Nooo! Stop
- From an episode of Arthur:
Arthur's dad: (referring to the idea of taking a weekend trip to Washington, D.C.)
It's a capital idea! (deadly silence)
"It's a capital idea." Washington's the nation's capital, geddit? Arthur:
Yeah, Dad, I got it the first time.
- Carlos does it at least Once per Episode on The Magic School Bus cartoon, prompting a Collective Groan of "Car-los!" from the other kids.
- From The Fantastic Four (1967), after Reed outsmarts Doctor Doom:
I'll bet you we won't see him again until Doomsday
! Get it? Doctor Doom! Doomsday! Johnny: Yeah, Ben. We get it.
Oh, brother! (No one other than Thing laughs.)
- World Of Quest is full of these with too many to list.
- Worth mentioning is the time the titular character attempts this. After throwing away a couple of rocks the group had been carrying around the entire episode, he comments "let's rock and roll", cue rimshot. After being told he should just leave the puns to everyone else he delivers "and we shall leave no stone unturned"(groan).
- The pilot of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends features Mac yelling "Let's Bloo this!" confidently before taking on Duchess and his brother Terrence. The scene is temporarily halted when Bloo and his new friends chide him for the lame pun. Shortly afterward Mac starts to talk and everyone begs "Please don't!" Mac sighs and says "Let's do this."
- In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Binky the Clown is arrested and brought to trial, for crimes that were actually committed by an Evil Twin named Stinky. Garfield steps in to prove Binky's innocence. He lures Stinky into the courtroom and then, as confusion mounts over which Binky is the real one, Garfield hands the judge a script of the show.
Judge: (reading script)
"Order in the court." Binky:
I'll have a ham on rye! Hold the mayo! (cackles) Garfield: (pointing to the Binky who just spoke) There's
the real Binky. Judge:
Arrest that phony! Stinky: (dragged away)
Hey! You can't do this to me! I'll get you for this, cat! Garfield: (looks at the camera) The real Binky could never resist a very old joke.
- In an episode of House of Mouse, Mickey protests that since Scrooge McDuck bought the club, it's been turning into the "House of Baby Chicks", which Horace doesn't get.
Mickey: You know, cheap-cheap.
- The ending of one episode of Steven Universe, after Steven returns to normal from becoming a conglomeration of Cats that have formed all over his body. Upon being asked by the Crystal Gems how he was able to find a cure all by himself, he responds by going off on a long list of cats puns that even Garnet couldn't stand to hear.
- In the Samurai Jack episode "Jack is Naked", after his clothes get stolen Jack ends up "borrowing" an outfit from a Blatant Burglar who turns out to have stolen a sack of cats. An angry mob of cat owners ends up chasing Jack, with one of their number calling him out, with great reluctance ("Go on, say it!"), as a cat burglar.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force doesn't always acknowledge bad puns, but the few times they do are memorable...and pointed out by Meatwad.
Meatwad: I get it. It ain't making me laugh, but I get it.
- George Bernard Shaw called Magic, G. K. Chesterton's first (and last) play, Fatty's First Play. Chesterton called this epithet "Skinny's Worst Pun," at least according to George Jean Nathan.