main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Running Gag
"That's not a running gag! That's a pun!" "It's a running gag now."

"That's not funny. But don't worry; it's a running joke, so they'll repeat it several times until you have no choice but to find it funny."

A joke that is only mildly funny the first time, but becomes funnier each time it is repeated. Must be repeated at least three times. But repeat it too many times and it becomes an Overly Long Gag. A variant is a joke or scene that occurs Once an Episode; doing that too often threatens to turn it into an Overused Running Gag.

The ultimate fear for the use of any running gag is not that it becomes an Overly Long Gag; rather, it is that it was never funny in the first place. Nothing is worse than starting a one hour show with a joke that bombs that you're going to use twenty times over the next hour.

A Running Gag can be limited to a particular episode or recur throughout an entire series. If it recurs throughout an entire series, then it will often develop variations and/or be accompanied by Lampshade Hanging. If a character breaks the fourth wall to mention it, it's Didn't We Use This Joke Already?

A comedy Catch Phrase is a type of Running Gag. Can become potential for Memetic Mutation if the gag itself is widely applicable. Compare Arc Words, which are a recurring phrase that isn't a gag. See subtropes Once per Episode and Every Episode Ending.


Rule of FunnyPt/Índice de TraduçãoSarcastic Clapping
Reference OverdosedAbridged Series TropesSampling
Ret CanonComic Book TropesSilent Scenery Panel
Rule of Animation ConservationAnimation TropesRunning on the Spot
Deadpan SnarkerOverdosed TropesBadass
Alternate HistoryThe FiftiesHappy Days
Remake CameoIn-JokeContractual Gag
Rule of ScaryJustForFun/Tropes of LegendSarcasm Mode
Rump RoastComedy TropesRunning Gag Stumbles
Rules LawyerWe Are Not Alone IndexRuritania
Musical EpisodeRecap/The SimpsonsAscended Fan Fic
Two WordsFunny/FilmKung Fu Hustle
1/0ImageSource/Web ComicsThe 10 Doctors
Rouge Angles of SatinSelf-Demonstrating ArticleSaid Bookism

alternative title(s): Running Joke; Running Gags; Recurring Joke Joke
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy