"They're not all funny, but they're in a row."Don't worry if you missed the joke... a new one will be along any moment. A style of comedic presentation where a mass of jokes come at the audience in rapid succession in the hope that at least a few of them stick. If the audience doesn't find Joke A all that funny, Joke B is following right on its heels, and if Joke B doesn't cut it, Joke C is right behind that one. Films and TV shows that use this technique are sometimes little more than a string of rapid-fire jokes tied very loosely together through some sort of ultra-thin plotline that no one can be bothered to care about anyway. In other cases, the show will move from one plot to the next almost as fast as the jokes. In short, it's the comedic version of More Dakka. This is actually a standard comedy strategy (it's commonly referred to in production circles as the "shotgun method"). It's easier to keep the audience laughing than to get the audience laughing. So stand-up comedians will come on stage and immediately ask for a big round of applause for the master of ceremonies, or the previous comedian. Once the audience starts responding, comedians will use their best material to really get the ball rolling. Then they'll throw in odds and sods with enough good jokes to keep things going. In some cases, this technique can backfire, especially if the rapid-fire comedy interferes with an otherwise dramatic, sad or angsty moment; complaints also can come when the barrage of gags didn't start out as funny and hasn't really become any better by the end of it. This technique is an easy way to get crap past the radar, since the censors don't have enough time to notice the obscene joke among the dozens of other gags. This is a subtrope of the Rule of Funny. It's almost guaranteed that the jokes will include a good number of bizarre non-sequiturs. Hurricane of Puns, Hurricane of Euphemisms and Breathless Non Sequitur are all subtropes of Rapid Fire Comedy. It may happen to you if you Archive Binge a comedy Webcomic.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Yonkoma comedy mangas in general. They usually have 1 joke every 4 frames at minimum.
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is notorious for the extremely high density of jokes. It isn't just a Affectionate Parody of Shounen, it's a World of Ham taken Up to Eleven, using a twisted Manzai humor with many non-sequiturs. Irritatingly, the pacing of the show is just as slow as the most-drawn out filler arcs of "real" shounen anime.
- Pani Poni Dash! is an endless stream of weird background events and silliness.
- Axis Powers Hetalia, though usually slower paced, falls under this trope sometimes. Especially in the beginning of the first episode when everyone is talking at once. You would have to watch it several times to get all the jokes.
- Teekyuu specializes in these. Each episode is only two minutes long, including the opening theme, so a lot of the humor goes on at breakneck speeds.
- The last few Orient Men comics turned into this: a pageful of panels filled mostly with Polish popculture references or puns on a single subject.
- MAD, does not have a page without a joke. This includes the table of contents, which inevitably will feature a fake article mixed in with all the real ones. Even with full-page ads, you still have to at least look because there's probably a 50-50 shot that it will actually be yet another MAD parody.
- Airplane! is the gold-standard by which all other such works of this sort are judged. This was in many ways when the team Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker perfected the technique.
- Most of the Wayans Brothers' more wacky movies are like this, especially the Scary Movie series (at least the first two and the fifth; one of the Z's of ZAZ, David Zucker, handled the other two), Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Sippin' Yo Juice in da Hood and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.
- This trope was standard operating procedure for the Marx Brothers, especially in their earlier (pre-A Night at the Opera) films. Thus, and a surprise to many people, this trope is Older Than Airplane!.
- And then there's Brain Donors, produced by David and Jerry Zucker as a Homage of A Night at the Opera. The jokes are as fast and unrelenting as anything from the ZAZ repertoire, peppered with the Karmic Trickster antics of the Marx Brothers.
- The Radioland Murders — even better on second viewing, because some of it is delivered in such an offhand way.
- Mel Brooks is quite fond of this comedic technique; his genre parodies tend to consist of non-stop gags.
- Hot Shots! pretends to be a straight action movie at first, but it steadily slides into Airplane! territory. Written and directed by Jim Abrahams.
- A Hard Day's Night generally runs on the Rule of Funny, but reaches true rapid-fire status during the press conference sequence. All four Beatles take turns offering snarky, punny or just plain absurd answers to reporters' questions. Truth in Television, as they really did tend to be inveterate smartasses, and that scene was completely ad-libbed.
- Snatch. combines really quick comedy with a really, really fast-paced plot.
- While the show itself has a fair number of gags (in both senses of the term), a live and boisterous audience turns The Rocky Horror Picture Show into a breathless torrent of wisecracks.
- In-movie example: Andrew tries doing this in Bicentennial Man, but he doesn't understand that humor is about delivery and so he simply recites a bunch of jokes one after the other without transitioning or even pausing between words and sentences.
- The Silence of the Hams: There's a joke at least once a minute, varying between shout-outs, visual gags, and lengthier sketches.
- It's difficult to find an entire page in any Discworld novel that doesn't have some sort of joke or snark, and that's counting the cover and title page.
- The Jetlag Travel Guides by Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch and Santo Cilauro: tourist guides to non-existant countries such as Molvania and Phaic Tan. These manage to fit in one or two jokes per paragraph, which including photo captions (and even photos themselves) usually results in at least six jokes every page.
- Just about every Gordon Korman book ever, but especially "I Want to Go Home".
- Laugh In lived on this trope.
- Police Squad! attempted to replicate the Airplane! feel on television, and for the most part succeeded. Made by Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker
- Most every element of Strangers with Candy is either a satire, farce, or sight gag. Every premise, every line, every gesture and facial expression, every relationship, every setting, nearly every character except maybe Tammy, and most of the decor in every room (Principal Blackman's face is in every other shot at the school). Even a lot of the props are used for witty comebacks.
- Happy Endings uses this often-usually with 'pile ons'-the characters will go around and all mock one of them in turn, or through breathless non sequiters, or humorous asides in non-humorous statements.
- The stated intention of The Fast Show. Some of the sketches were little more than "Catch Phrase and out". It worked.
- Most Extreme Elimination Challenge is a proponent of this trope. Between the Amusing Injuries happening on screen, the running commentary, and the nonsensical dubbing, it doesn't let up until you hit a commercial break. MXC actually has one up on other contenders; they do two jokes at once. The action is pure slapstick goodness, and the commentary is about equally funny. It's hard to catch everything.
- MXC has spawned an Americanized show called Wipeout that follows the premise of MXC with new footage filmed specifically for it.
- Arrested Development: It's camouflaged, but attention to the background events and subtext makes it become extremely dense. Try to summarize a typical episode of the half-hour show and you'll see.
- Earlier episodes of 30 Rock (mostly season two, though some fans would argue that the first half of season three held on) operated this way: smart, dense, dadaistic, and somewhat prone to Continuity Lockout, with a minimum of three separate plots per episode. The episode "Succession" perhaps served as the series' Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 was built this way. Most of the jokes will sail right over the heads of 90% of the audience — but the 10% that do get the joke will be reeling with laughter from its sheer obscurity. They make up for this disparity by firing off a lot (perhaps around 700 per episode) of obscure jokes, in the hope that the viewer will be one of the 10% that this joke was designed for. As one of the makers once said, "The right people will get it."
- Kevin Murphy went on record of saying that his strategy was always to keep firing out jokes, because then enough will hit. This carries on to Rifftrax, where the riffs that are just Kevin and Bill have a far higher jokes-per-minute ratio than when Mike is there.
- Good News Week. Both in Paul's monologues and in the games in general.
- iCarly: Happens more and more as the show goes into its fourth season. Notable example being the episode iGet Pranky.
- Exaggerated and lampshaded in Community, when Pierce prepares jokes in advance for viewing the So Bad, It's Good movie, KickPuncher 2
Pierce: Change! Time to change the channel! This guy'll be begging for change soon, he keeps making movies this terrible! We should change to something good, this movie stinks! We should change his diaper. That's change we can believe in!Abed: [Hits pause] Okay, it's obvious something strange is happening here.Pierce: What are you talking about? I'm making jokes during a movie.Troy: Yeah, but you're doing it with the speed and determination of the incomparable Robin Williams.
- Mork and Mindy often got into this; understandable, since Robin Williams was the star. Word of God is that the scriptwriters would often simply write "Robin does something funny" for him to improvise something on the spot.
- Childrens Hospital has only an 11 minute running time, so it does its best to pack in as many jokes as possible.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic loves this; his songs consist almost entirely of jokes and silliness. White and Nerdy is probably the most extreme example. There's also the numerous effects of the virus in Virus Alert.
- The Goon Show. On at least one occasion they manage to keep a wild stream of jokes going until the first musical interlude (some seven or more minutes in) without even getting in-character let alone allowing any kind of plot to develop.
- Hello Cheeky tried to fit as many jokes into a half-hour as possible, with one or two musical interludes every episode. However, since the musical interludes were performed by the regular cast and written humorously, the jokes never actually stopped.
Man: Waiter! This steak's off!Waiter: I'll get its hat and coat, sir.Man: Fetch me the manager!Waiter: I shouldn't bother, sir, he tastes worse than the steak.
- Its That Man Again (ITMA) is probably the originator of this style of humour as far as BBC Radio is concerned. It was wildly popular in its day (1939-49) although to modern ears most of the jokes are incomprehensible (a fact that was lampshaded in a 1970s Burkiss Way sketch).
- A Prairie Home Companion: The Joke Show goes through a lot of jokes in one sitting.
Stand Up Comedy
- Legendary comedian/actor Bob Hope was known for this style of comedy, which purportedly burned through writers at an alarming rate.
- Robin Williams was the Master of Rapid Fire Comedy, especially considering that he often improvised large portions of his act.
- One of the highlights of Don Rickles' stand ups was to go around the room, trying to "insult" a lot of people in the audience as he possibly can.
- Comedian Tim Vine is a former holder of the Guinness World Record for most jokes told in an hour, currently held by perennial Star Search winner Geechy Guy.
- Despite his trademark slow, deadpan delivery, Steven Wright's stand-up comedy is all about this trope. Virtually every sentence out of his mouth is a punchline.
- Ben Elton's stand-up act throughout the Eighties was based on this, motor mouthing the gags at twice normal speed. He later lamented the fact that he used up so much good material so quickly.
- Quite a few George Carlin routines, but "Modern Man" wins the prize for jokes/second ratio.
- Listening to Dennis Miller is the standup equivalent of MST3k.
- Jimmy Carr, while he does slow down when he does audience interaction segments, none of his "regular" jokes last more than 15 seconds. The jokes are essentially those lame gags found in Christmas Crackers spiced up a bit and delivered in such a deadpan style that they become funny again.
- Ken Dodd, teller of quick jokes, has stated several times that he's always after a joke rate of "7 TPM", or seven titters per minute. He once won the Guinness' World Record for this, with 7.14 jokes per minute for three or so hours.
- Bo Burnham's songs, especially his raps.
- Mitch Hedberg, oh so much.
- In Magic: The Gathering's Unglued and Unhinged expansions, every card has several in-jokes squeezed onto it. They even put jokes in the legal text on the packaging.
- Tales of the Arabian Nights features over 2000 story snippets, that are frequently hilarious due to the fortune or peril they cause the player. Its rules emphasizes storytelling, and it's a bigger disappointment to not do something funny on a turn than it is to lose.
- Nearly every card in Munchkin (and its many spinoffs) features a pun or reference, and even the rulebook itself consistently cracks jokes.
- Some people — those who have only seen it performed, or only seen the movie version — wonder why Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest is so famous. The thing is, the jokes are so rapid-fire that by the time you've had time to get one, five more have rocketed past your head. It's so bewildering that it absolutely kills Suspension of Disbelief. The only way to understand and enjoy a performance of the play is to have read the script enough times to have memorized half the jokes in advance.
- Older Than Steam: Shakespeare's comedies are exactly the opposite of Earnest — many of the jokes go unnoticed, due to language, culture, and context differences, until you actually see them performed (body language is usually more helpful than any amount of English classes).
- Shakespeare is made howlingly funnier for most viewers without a special affinity to archaic language in the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
- The audience participation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show has in some parts developed so many extensive routines that the audience talks more than the actors.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising features running banter between the main character, his dark palette-swapped rival, and several deities (friend and foe alike) pretty much constantly throughout the course of the game.
- Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People lives on this trope. Considering the setting, though, this really is to be expected.
- Many of Telltale's games are like this. A good example is the miscellaneous items in Stinky's in the second season of Sam & Max. Not only does every item have its own humorous description, but for the first three episodes, the description changes each episode.
- This trope is comparatively rare in shorter works like webcomics and newspaper comics, but VG Cats stands out as an example—it often doesn't even have a punchline in the proper sense, ending the strip when it's out of jokes on the subject.
- Bug Martini uses this format all the time. The most common format for the comic is one panel of set-up and three more panels, each with a mini joke within them. "Pizza Delivery" is a good example of the comic's style, and it even has four mini jokes in it!
- A number of xkcd comics, such as this one or these two, present large panoramas built around a common theme saturated with jokes for this apparent purpose.
- The further Hiimdaisy goes, the more jokes in a single issue there are. Case in point: LittleKuriboh's voiceover of Let's Destroy Shagohod (Metal Gear spoilers alert).
- 8-Bit Theater, like VG Cats, uses a longer form, punchline-less system. On an average strip, every single panel with have a joke in each word-bubble, a joke in the background, a Visual Pun and a joke in the title.
- raocow is a master of this due to his stream-of-consciousness commentary.
- Both of purpleeyeswtf's abridgements, Code MENT and None Piece, make amazing use of this trope. Purpleyes' amazing comedic timing doesn't exactly hurt.
- There's also Dragon Ball Z Kai Abridged, which is an abridged version of an abridged version of the series, going through everything before the Namek arc in only 2 minutes and crashing headfirst into this trope at mach speed.
- Now with Episode 2! 
- Nullmetal Alchemist successfully mimicks purpleeyeswtf's style of rapid surreal humour.
- The Time... Guys uses this often. In Episode II, for example, almost every other line is a joke.
- Homestar Runner in general but especially Teen Girl Squad.
- Zero Punctuation. There's enough comedy in one five-minute segment to fill a good-size movie, particularly given that Yahtzee apparently doesn't need to breathe.
- LittleKuriboh loves doing this on many of his shows.
- LoadingReadyRun has two so+ fast rapidfire series.
"Comedy so fast The Flash once said, 'Even though I am technically faster than Superman, I too agree that this comedy is quicker than what you typically see.'"
- 5 Second Films; Each video is five seconds long. And usually hilarious.
- AMV Hell is a series of fan videos with a style of humor curiously similar to Robot Chicken (in spite of being created before Robot Chicken aired). Anime clips, no more than a minute long, are set to music or audio from a different source for comedic effect. It also lasts for more than an hour.
- Ponies The Anthology is essentially AMV Hell meets My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- All of Seanbaby's writings are a cluster of connected jokes.
- Ask a Ninja: Particularly the Omni- episodes, in which the Ninja answers several questions in rapid succession.
- It's unsurprising that Retsupurae is this, given that it's essentially MST3K for Let's Play (and bad video game content in general).
- Nigahiga takes More Dakka and applies it to this trope.
- asdfmovie mixes this with Surreal Humour to hilarious effect.
- Watch any Vine video compilation. If the currently playing seven second clip doesn't do it for you, odds are the next one will.
- Youtube Poop is very, very prone to falling into this.
- The guys from My Way Entertainment go into this...especially Randy Hayes.
- Tex Avery pioneered this in animation, starting with his work on Looney Tunes and then took it further at MGM. At Warner Bros. the torch was carried by his acolyte Bob Clampett.
- The Tex Avery-inspired Steven Spielberg-produced cartoon shows Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures, and, to an even greater extent, Freakazoid!.
- Xavier: Renegade Angel takes this to an extreme: pauses the voice actors put between jokes are digitally removed.
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; made of Rapid-Fire Comedy and ADHD. Emphasis on "hyperactivity".
- The Venture Bros.: A combination of this and obscure references ensures that you'll still be catching new jokes on your fourth, fifth, etc. time watching any given episode. Especially in later seasons.
- The Fairly OddParents: With its constant use of running gags and basic jokes, the episodes tend to string them together. In fact, as the seasons went on, the show used this trope more frequently.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Back when Steven Hillenburg was in charge. Modern episodes have considerably less jokes per episode.
- The Simpsons can sneak up on you like this.
Mr. Burns: It's as big as a football field and weighs as much as the state of New Hampshire. I only flew it once at an altitude of six feet for a distance of four feet. Then we discovered that rain makes it catch fire. Then the Fuhrer fired me.
- The Penguins of Madagascar. There are many scenes where literally every line of dialogue is a punchline. Though the target audience will only get about half of them, the rest is for older siblings or parents.
- Phineas and Ferb, which strings together everything from parody to slapstick to obscure intellectual stuff aimed at the Periphery Demographic.
- Archer often utilizes this, often in the form of Archer (or others) screwing up tons of things in rapid succession.
- Ratchet & Clank (2016) follows its tie-in game fairly faithfully, but as a Compressed Adaptation where the deciding factor of if things stayed in or not was how many laughs they thought they could get out of it. Eventually lampshaded by Qwark: when Nefarious complains that his joke wasn't funny, he responds that he has to think up thousands of these things; they can't all be gold.