When a phrase which is usually used as a metaphor is instead done, and shown as being performed literally. This can be because The Ditzdidn't understand the statement, or can just be a simple gag. Often considered one of those "old-fashioned" forms of comedy, so its use nowadays rarely does little more than "produce some smiles." Occasionally this action can be performed literally but without much fanfare, implying what's going on. Can often be combined with a Literal Genie.
Common versions include requests to "give me a hand" being met with disembodied hands and quotes of Marc Antony "lend me your ears" ... well ... use your imagination.
B Roll Rebus is when news and documentaries do this with Stock Footage. Compare Stealth Pun, which is sort of like a Visual Pun without the visuals. Supertrope to Rules Of The Road in cases where road signs are literal, not figurative, depictions of what's up ahead.
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Used in combination with Gratuitous English in a Blu-Ray commercial starring Kamen Rider Den-O's Momotaros, who refers to it as "Blu-Ray Disc". Cue a bunch of Blu-Ray boxes disco-dancing.
The A&E Network blitzed all their commercial breaks with multiple promos for the second season of The Glades, most of which showed the mutilation of a blood orange with murder weapons, including a bullet, arrows, and a cleaver.
One Progressive ad involved a pair of representatives from another insurance company claiming to have one of the same services that Progressive does - as soon as they do so, their pants suddenly burst into flames. Also sort of a Stealth Pun, because no one actually calls out the "liar liar, pants on fire" thing.
The logo for the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant features a buffalo with wings.
In the Farmers' Insurance "University Of Farmers" campaign, one class takes place on a collection of roofs. One agent finds a fiddler on the roof.
In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Farmers' Insurance sponsors Kasey Kahne's #5 Chevrolet. In another University of Farmers commercial, Kahne appears as himself and admires the insurance agents' custom-tailored fire suits. Another guy shows up late.... wearing a black track suit that has flames painted on it. Everyone looks at him with disapproval, and he says, "Ohhh... fire suit." Kahne then sprays him down with the fire extinguisher.
Taunton Cider's Red Rock Cider was advertised on British television in the late 1980s and early 1990s with a series of spots paying homage to Police Squad, directed by JohnLloyd and featuring Leslie Nielsen reprising his role as Frank Drebin. Among the many stylistic lifts from Police Squad!, the adverts featured many visual puns (some recycled from Police Squad!). For example, upon entering a pub, Drebin passes a sign reading "Pool" and bumps into a man at a pool table - which turns out to be full of water.
The opening of Suzumiya Haruhi has Yuki ("snow") standing in the middle of the snow (though for the record, Yuki is actually written as "hope"). The light novels explain that it had been snowing when Yuki was given permission to have her own name, although this is kinda vague as it's described in really vague poetic symbolic odd prose written by Yuki during the short story.
Yotsuba&! does it from time to time, but whether she truly doesn't understand or is making a joke is up in the air.
In one, she draws a tsukutsukuboshi as a little guy wearing a cap (because in Japanese, "boshi" is a homonym for "cap").
When Miura identifies the groupings of stars as "seiza", Yotsuba kneels, because it's a homonym for both "constellation" and "kneeling position".
In one translation the joke becomes about how the names of constellations sit well.
Welcome to Lodoss Island, a series of omakes parodying Record of Lodoss War, has explanations underneath some of the comics, because puns in Japanese have a bad habit of turning into nonsensical absurdist gags when translated into English. For example, in one, Slayn tells Ghim that he's looking for his star, whereupon the dwarf produces a small lump on a stick and replies, "Your pickled plum?" Which is funny in English if you're into completely random shit happening because of translation, and funny in Japanese because "hoshi" (star) sounds sort of like "umeboshi" (pickled plum).
In Code Geass, the Siegfried, the Knightmare that Jeremiah (alias Orange-kun) ends up piloting...is a giant orange.
Goldfish Warning. Any time Chitose says "my school" (Watashi no gakuen), cue the school for scrubbing brushes (Tawashi no gakuen), although that may just be Wapiko not being able to hear properly.
Dia and Pearl's manzai verses from the Pokémon Special manga occasionally incorporate a visual pun for the punchline. This makes things even harder to translate to English in the fan translations.
One example that does translate, if not incredibly accurately, is in the third episode of Pokémon. Kasumi (Misty), who is afraid of bugs, spots a Caterpie, and screams "MUSHI!" (bug). Satoshi (Ash), mishearing her, pops up in a cow suit, and comments "Ushi?" (cow). The English dialogue opted for, after Misty's scream, having Ash (in the cow suit) comment "Maybe it's a..Cow-terpie!."
There's a spider in the Thriller Bark arc of One Piece. It had the head of a monkey and a verbal tick of 'Monkey.' Does this pun even make sense without knowledge of English?
An example of this getting lost in translation, in Osamu Tezuka's Dororo, when Hyakkimaru's fake hand falls off after he grows a real one, he decides to bury it to show the limb respect, to which Dororo says, "hey, it's a hand-grave!" The joke, explained in the English version with an asterisk, is that Tezuka's name can be broken down into "Te," meaning hand, and "zuka," meaning grave.
Boku no Pico: In Pico to Chico (The second OVA), Pico and Chico are using a cat-paw shaped vibrator. That same shape can be seen on CoCo's cellphone keychain, only this time it's a small dialing wand. This is also a kind of Continuity Porn.
If something startling happens, and the screen is suddenly filled with fish. Understand the the onomatopoeia for surprise is "gyoh", which is also one of the words for "fish".
There is actually a Yu Gi Oh card named "Gyoh!" in Japan; its effect involves Fish-Type monsters and its art depicts a shark bearing down on a surprised monster. The US name, which skirts Getting Crap Past the Radar, is "Oh F!sh!"
Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai presents us with Maria Takayama who is a child, and a nun, who sees the main character as an older-brother type person in her life. I suppose that would make her... ugh... his little sister. Long way to go for such a groan worthy pun.
In Inazuma Eleven, Tsunami's surfboard has "273" written on it. This is a pun on his name: "two-seven-three" can be read in Japanese as "tsuu-na-mi".
In the first opening for Inazuma Eleven GO, we get a close-up of Matsukaze Tenma both times the line "Ten made todokeyou" occurs in the lyrics.
In Japan Inc, Ueda admits he likes America, and his female boss comments: "He must be an alien." In this panel, he is drawn as The Alien.
In episode 13 of Guilty Crown, you see Ayase reaching for a shoe on the floor. It becomes significantly funnier when you remember that the main character's name is Shu.
In Girls Und Panzer, amont the tanks of an utterly trashed Japanese-based team, you can briefly see an incredibly anachronic FT-KO.
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!"
The reason why Gorsky and Butch has a really slim chance of ever being translated to English...
Paul Jennings, Ted Greenwood and Terry Denton produced a series of Where's Wally type books called Spooner or Later, Duck for Cover and Freeze a Crowd. All of them, especially in Duck for Cover, ran on visual puns. The worst offender is the three-page spread involving gnus, with each one involving a "new" or "news" pun.
Second place goes to the two pages of kings, each of which was a pun on the gerund form of a verb ending in "k" or "ke".
The delightful comic Pop Gun War had something approaching but not quite being a visual pun. The character Sunshine, a little person, informs another character that he will tell her a story along their trip. Upon being informed it's a short walk, he replies, "It's a short story." Thus, we have a short man on a short walk telling a short story. If nothing else, it was visual wit.
Zenith Phase II sees a henchman, observing the main character, commenting "Strange...he has his mother's eyes." The Big Bad comments wryly, "Really?...I thought that WE did." Cue shot of a glass jar, with...well, guess what suspended in it.
In the Anthology ComicThe Beano in a Fatty Fudge strip (For a few dollops more) some outlaw cowboys say "we've got prices on our heads" whilst literrally having some prices drawn onto their heads (well hats).
Moose Mason of Archie Comics is a gold mine for these gags. Here are a few:
Girlfriend Midge is away on vacation, and Moose is depressed because she hasn't written to him yet? Archie tells Moose to make Midge jealous by sending her a picture of him surrounded by chicks. When Midge sees the picture, it's Moose surrounded by...baby chicks.
When his car was elected for carpool to take to the beach, Moose turns his car into a pool (by filling it up with water).
In V for Vendetta, at a certain point V is breaking into the television station to have his own recording broadcast. In the background, you see a number of other TV shows playing. One is a sitcom with lots of innuendo, including a woman commenting on her (literal) melons.
In The Return Of Chaos, Discord expresses that he's "Cracking himself up," followed by cracks actually appearing on his body with chips falling off.
Film - Animated
One scene in the film Cars has twin fangirls Mia and Tia flashing their headlights in front of Lightning McQueen.
The Carsshort toon "El Materdor" actually portrayed bulldozers as acting like actual bulls (in the movie said short was based on, the role of bulls were portrayed by farm equipment).
Alice in Wonderland: One of the animals living in Tulgey Woods appears to be a bird with an umbrella for a body. In other words, a literal umbrellabird. Also, the various insects that popluate the same area, such as Bread-and-Butterflies, Dog-and-Caterpillars, Rocking-Horseflies, and Copper-Centipedes.
In Robots, when Rodney's parents are "making" him (out of parts), there's the exchange below. Justified in that they're, well, robots.
Mr. Copperbottom: He's got your mom's eyes and my dad's nose. I knew we were smart to save those parts.
In Kung Fu Panda 2, Shen's nanny is portrayed as an elderly female goat. A female goat is called a nanny.
In The Princess and the Frog, the Fenner Brothers (the realtors selling the property Tiana wanted to buy for her restaurant) turn up at a costume party. There, they tell Tiana that she's been outbid, and that "a woman of your... background" probably wouldn't be able to maintain a high-profile restaurant anyway. All while dressed as a donkey, i.e. a jack-ass.
Other examples occur throughout the movie. In the first musical number, the line "there's some sweetness goin' around" is accompanied by Tiana dusting pasteries with powdered sugar while spun on a lazy susan.
There was a rather dark one in The Little Mermaid. When Ursula sings the line "It's she who holds her tongue, who gets her man.", she tosses a human-looking tongue into her cauldron.
In The Swan Princess, Prince Derek orders his musicians to dress up as animals so he can have target practice, and they're not happy about it (even if he is using blunt training arrows). Cue one saying "This masquerade is more than I can bear!" He's dressed up as a bear.
When Lone Starr and Barf try to "jam" the Spaceballs, they launch a giant jar of jam at Spaceball One's radar dish, causing raspberry jam to leak out of the control panels. (And prompting Dark Helmet's line "Raspberry! There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry: Lone Starr!")
And later, some mooks are told to "comb the desert" for survivors. They get out actual giant combs. Colonel Sandurz then glances at Dark Helmet:
"Okay, boys, let's take some pictures." (all the reporters run over to the wall and start pulling down the pictures hanging there)
"Two more minutes! They could be miles off course." "That's impossible. They're on instruments!" (cut to jam session in plane cockpit)
"When Kramer finds out about this, the shit's gonna hit the fan!" (SPLORCH! ...sssscHWOop!)
Jars of mayonnaise line the shelves of the Mayo Clinic
Among this film's visual puns, we also have a "drinking problem" (he can't put the glass to his mouth and ends up splashing the drink in his face) and an automatic pilot that proves very troublesome to those attempting to fly the plane.
Waiter: Sir? Frank: Give me the strongest thing you got. [The waiter waves over an oiled body builder] Frank: On second thought how 'bout a Black Russian? [The waiter looks at the camera and shakes his head.]
A similar instance, involving Marvin's arm, was used in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He wasn't at all amused, and complained that this made it hard to run the ship. This is one of the rare examples where the literal meaning was actually the desired one (Marvin's arm as a gun to threaten the Vogons).
Which doesn't work the way they intended. As soon as they enter the building, brandishing the arm, the clerk simply asks if they're looking for the director of robot arm repair.
Turns up in a lot of Marx Brothers routines. Harpo is usually responsible for the "literal" version.
One particular instance is when he's trying to get into a secret room whose password is "Swordfish." When asked for the password, he promptly produces a fish and runs it through with a dagger, and is subsequently allowed in.
And if you're playing poker with Harpo, don't ask him to "cut the cards" unless you're using an inexpensive deck.
Eddie Valiant orders a "scotch on the rocks" from one of the penguin waiters at the Ink & Paint Club, which is staffed by Toons; seeing this joke coming, he then shouts after the waiter, "And I mean ice!" When the penguin comes back with the order, the glass is full of scotch... and rocks, real ones. "Toons!" Eddie says in disgust.
Later, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it example, as Eddie drives into Toontown he runs over a pie with a cow's face on it: a "cow pie."
Around the end, one of the weasels puts his hand in Jessica's cleavage, only to get caught in a bear trap. Hence Eddie's comment: "Nice booby trap!"
In the classic Lovecraft-inspired horror-comedy Re Animator, the Big Bad gets decapitated fairly early on, and then reanimated as a classic shambling carrier-of-one's-own-head. Toward the climax of the film, he abducts the female lead and straps her down to a surgical bench, and... well, the head gives her head. The writer was reportedly so pleased with this that he called the producer and said excitedly, "I've just written my first visual pun!"
The Jerk - Navin is berating a waiter in an expensive restaurant: "Two boobs! That's what he takes us for!" We get a shot of Marie glancing down at her decolletage.
At the end, we learn that Navin's family had to tear down their old house, but, happily, they built a bigger house to replace it; tt's the exact same hovel as before, only scaled up about 40%, complete with an eight-foot-tall front door.
In his opening narration for Love and Death, Woody Allen's character mentions the "valuable piece of land" owned by his father. We see an old man pulling a hunk of sod from inside his coat.
"This land is not for sale! Someday, I hope to build on it."
Ricky I is absolutely remorseless in its use of visual puns. Reviewed by the Angry Video Game Nerd here.
French film Coco is entirely made of gags performed by its main actor (a humorist in life), but there's one glaring instance of a visual pun: Coco's teenage son wants to show his firend the house's "porcherie" (pigsty). Viewers start wondering why a jewish man would keep swine in his house, until we see that it was actually a porscherie (a room chock-full of Porsche cars!)
La cité de la peur (City of Fear) has a lot of this. Examples include: "C'est une vraie boucherie" ("it's like a butcher's shop", meaning that a crime scene is very gory: the policeman enters an actual butcher's shop, looks terribly shaken, and then goes to the actual crime scene), "Jetez-moi ici" ("drop me here"), "la place du mort" ("the dead man's seat", in reference to the front passenger seat. Cue corpse being pulled out of the car's boot.)
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World - which is marinaded in Videogame Tropes - has Scott walk off purposefully as a friend asks him what he's doing. He responds,"Getting a life," and snatches a 1-Up out of the air note It's an extra life, geddit?
During the car chase on Lower Wacker Drive, the Joker sends Harvey Dent's convoy underground by blocking their path with... a fire truck that is on fire. More like a visual oxymoron, but still...
When asking the local mob leaders to contact him, the Joker leaves "his card," a generic Joker playing card.
The Japanese crime comedy film Adrenaline Drive has a combination Visual Pun and Stealth Pun. The hero and heroine end up stealing from a Yakuza money laundering operation. Since the money was covered in blood when they got it, they take it to a laundry mat to clean- thus, they engaged in some literal "money laundering".
In Licence To Kill, the villian kills one of his own in a decompression chamber also filled with his money. When the guy explodes over the money, the villian, when asked what about the money, says "launder it."
In Song of the South in it's first musical number, a couple of birds come to hum as backup music. They're "humming" birds.
In the final segment in the anthology horror-comedy Chillerama, a man gets kicked so hard, he shits. So yes, he had the shit kicked out of him.
The last shot of The Dark Knight Rises. John Blake is implied to be heir to the mantle of the Dark Knight, and as he stands on the platform in the Batcave... he rises.
In Beetlejuice, after Betelgeuse protrudes spikes out of his body to stop being picked up while miniature, he starts feeling a little "anxious" and saunters towards a brothel conveniently located nearby.
One of the driving themes in Skyfall is betrayal. In the end, the main villain is literally stabbed in the back.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Doctor injects McCullen with nanomites to repair severe burns in his face, which turns silver, and right away the nanomites allowed the Doctor to control McCullen's, or Destro's, mind. Hence, the Doctor "regenerated" the Ninth Doctor.
In Jack The Giant Slayer when the cooking giant is making pigs in a blanket, he uses actual pigs instead of hot dogs.
The Amelia Bedelia series of illustrated children's books lives and breathes this trope; the titular maid is Literal-Minded, so every request made of her invariably results in an end product constituting a visual pun on the desired result. For example: Dress the chicken. Draw the shades. Dust the furniture (Amelia Bedelia even finds Dusting Powder in the bathroom!).
In a rare serious example, at one point in Asimov's mystery novel The Naked Sun Baley the detective asks his partner, R. Daneel Olivaw (the "R." means he's a robot) to "give me a hand". This results in Olivaw briefly giving a puzzled look at his own hand, as if being asked to unscrew it and give it to Baley. This proves to be an important clue to solving the murder.
The books A Little Pigeon-Toadnote pigeon-toed, The King that Rainednote reigned, The Sixteen-Hand Horsenote hands are the unit of measurement used to determine the height of a horse, a typical adult horse is 16 hands high, and A Chocolate Moose for Dinnernote mousse, which are all about visual puns.
Also, another book called Catbirds and Dogfish, which is supposed to be about animals with portmeanteaus for names, actually depicts said animals as Mix-and-Match Critters (for example, the catbirds are all portrayed as cats with wings, and the dogfish are all portrayed as fish with bulldog heads instead of medium-sized gray birds and small, speckled sharks like in real life).
How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers by Robert Williams Wood (available
On Small Wonder, Vicki was notorious for misinterpreting idiomatic commands.
On Get Smart, Max asks Hymie to get him a hand and the robot promptly begins to unscrew its left hand, then screws it in again after Max clarifies the issue. In another scene, he asks Hymie to "kill the light." The robot points his pistol at the lightbulb until Max stops him.
In one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike is being stalked by a shark-headed demon he owes kittens to. A loan shark. Lampshaded in Angel: After The Fall when he is shown again: "The man's career path is based on a pun." And why kittens? The kitten thing was introduced a few episodes earlier at a demon poker game. Where they played for kittens. Another name for the pot is the kitty.
In the first season of Strangers with Candy, Jerri finds out she needs braces. As she protests that she doesn't want them, the dentist says "Nobody wants braces, Jerri, but I'm afraid that's something you're going to have to learn to live with." and stands up, revealing the metal brace on his knee.
Red Dwarf: the crew is disoriented due to things shifting around them (like the ship becoming transparent) due to passing through a reality-warping minefield. Lister says they'll be alright so long as they "keep their heads"...upon which there's a flash and they all have huge animal heads.
At the beginning of the eighth season, they're flying a miniature Starbug through the vents of the reconstructed Red Dwarf and end up piloting it up a rat's backside.
Holly: I hope we don't get stopped by the cops: they don't like it when you're rat-arsed.
On 30 Rock, Floyd is griping about missing a promotion. "I'm so sick of New York, I'm sick of the rat race!" Cut to a shot of Floyd's apartment building, where a bunch of guys are racing rats down the hallway.
Police Squad! (also by Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker) had so many that cataloging them all could be an article in itself.
In one episode, Frank Drebin sits on a barstool that's too low, then when the bartender asks what he'd like, he says "Screwdriver." The bartender hands him an actual screwdriver from a toolbox; Drebin uses it to raise the barstool, then he orders a drink.
The police are said to be looking through the records of recently released prisoners - in the background, several cops are examining vinyl LP's.
Drebin follows a lead to the Club Flamingo, which has a mechanical sign of a man hitting a large pink bird with a cosh.
The rich family's Japanese Garden consists of Japanese people standing in large pots.
On the old Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, Carson often did a sketch called "The Teatime Movie" where he played movie host Art Fern, who also did the commercials. Whenever he had a map for direction to the advertiser's store, you could expect the 'fork in the road' visual gag. Either that or the 'Slausen Cutoff' joke.
In one episode of Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, the Sheriff is collecting taxes. This includes a large carpet (the carpet tax) and a small mint (the Tic Tax).
In an MTV Movie Awards skit parodying The Da Vinci Code, Andy Dick (playing a wannabe Silas) fails to kill Jimmy Fallon at first attempt, and upon inquiry, muses "Well, I have another plan, but I have yet... to hatch it." Then he pulls out a hatchet, prompting Fallon to quip "May I axe what it is?" It doesn't end well for him.
In Noah's Arc, at the start of the second season Noah is trying to figure out if Malik is the one. His friends tell him to kiss him, and if the earth moves he knows its love. Noah kisses him, and an actual earthquake occurs.
Raumschiff GameStar (Spaceship Gamestar), a science-fiction/game parody made by the staff of German PC Gaming magazine Gamestar, has those on every possible occasion. Most consist of Captain Langer ordering his crew around, and when his orders get executed literally, responding "Oh Gott, wir werden alle sterben!"("Oh god, we're all gonna die!"). This has become a case of Memetic Mutation in the German gaming community.
In Look Around You, the signs warning about the Helvetica Scenario use the Helvetica font.
Baldrick enters holding the front door under his arm
Blackadder: Baldrick, I would advise you to make the explanation you are about to give phenomenally good.
Baldrick: Well, you said "Get the door"...
Blackadder: Not good enough, you're fired!
In The Monkees episode "Monkees Marooned", one of the boys gets an actual tongue-lashing, beaten with a giant rubber tongue.
In the second episode of Breaking In, the team steals a safe containing a thumb drive...shaped like a human thumb.
In Doctor Who, the prison that River Song is in is called Stormcage. Outside her "cage," there's a storm going on consistently.
In The Girl Who Waited, Amy says she disarmed a robot. Rory asks how, then looks at the robot... it has no arms.
In Pond Life, the Doctor is toasting a savoury griddle product when a naked woman approaches him — and he can't take his eyes off the crumpet.
The Saturday Night Live digital short "3-Way" has Andy Samberg singing about meeting a girl who "likes the way I knock on her boots" - Cut to him hitting a pair of hiking boots with a stick.
On Glee in "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" "She's Not There" by the "Zombies" is performed in full zombie makeup
A frequent occurrence on The Muppet Show, especially with the Swedish Chef (his "Chicken in a Basket" involves dribbling the chicken and shooting it into a basketball hoop) and the Newsreader (when he announced that the price of beef fell today, a cow landed on him). One of their most notable examples was the "Muppet News International" sketch where British comic Spike Milligan mimed the newsreader's stories, starting with "Things look grim—"(Spike stares sternly at the camera). And when the newsreader mentioned that "eyebrows were raised", Spike removed his eyebrows and replaced them a little higher on his forehead.
In a chapter of Castle, Beckett and Castle have to go to a male striptease in order to arrest a suspect of the killing of a male stripper. The show at the moment is of strippers dressed as firemen, and one of them is the suspect. Beckett tells the suspect to "cool off", but he doesn't listen, and all the strippers surround Beckett. Then Castle appears with a fire extinguisher and cools them down enough for her.
Episode 2 has a woman find a body after trying to remove someone else's clothes from a dryer after she becomes tired of waiting to dry her own clothes. One of the detectives makes a joke, saying this is why you don't go poking around in other people's "dirty laundry".
Pointed out in-universe on Elementary. Sherlock mocks up a map of the city in lockdown due to an oncoming blizzard and inadvertently uses locks to represent certain points in the city. When Joan points it out, he gets indignant.
Waiter: There's a queue outside for the alphabet soup.
Chef: Bring them in!
(waiter brings gigantic Q over)
Chef: Oh, jolly good. (puts it in a saucepan — music starts) Ah! It was a Q for a song!
El Chapulín Colorado saying that there is nothing wrong with wearing glasses, because even him needs them. He take out a pair of glasses with a plug and when asked what were those: "My contact lenses."
Later he was seen reading the paper with them, and actually plugged in.
Many album covers are built around visual puns based on their titles. For example, the cover of Moving Pictures, an album by Canadian rock band Rush, features up to three different puns: a group of men carrying paintings from a museum, as in moving the pictures, a group of women crying at the sight of the paintings, being moved by said pictures, and a person filming the whole thing, making a moving picture.
The cover image of Permanent Waves by Rush also has visual puns related to the title. There is a wave of water, the man is waving his hand, and the fabric of the woman's clothing is waving in the wind; all of these "waves" are permanent because it's a photograph. Also, "permanent wave" is the name for the woman's hairstyle.
The Pink Floyd compilation set "A Nice Pair" (now long since deleted) used artwork that consisted entirely of visual puns, beginning with the front cover which depicted a nude woman (with a "nice pair" of breasts) holding up a fruit (a "nice pear").
Tom Lehrer's comedy song "Bright College Days" includes the line "To thee we sing with our glasses raised on high". When performing the song live Lehrer would illustrate the line by removing and holding up his spectacles, a joke unfortunately robbed of impact on recordings.
In the music video to "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Fat", there is a section where Al and friends start running in one direction while yelling "Hoooo!"... at which point one of the backup dancers hands Al a hoe.
The Michael Jackson video "Leave Me Alone" (originally part of Moonwalker) includes a few scenes that involve dogs wearing business suits. In other words, "corporate dogs".
The album Force It (see here◊) by UFO has a cover illustration of a room containing many faucets. "Force It"... "faucet"... groan.
Blink-182'sTake Off Your Pants and Jacket (already a Punny title) has on its cover a traffic light. Red = a plane ("Take off"), Yellow = pair of jeans, Green = jacket.
Queensryche's Hear In The Now Frontier: While the "now" part isn't really represented, the cover features ears in jars spread out across, well, an Old West frontier.
The cover of R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant is a picture of bassist Bill Berry coupled with a picture of some bison, as a visual pun on "Buffalo Bill". This also qualifies as a Stealth Pun, since the cover art has nothing to do with the album title, and the actual words "Buffalo Bill" don't appear anywhere else either.
Roger Daltrey'sTommy Reborn Tour is accompanied by an animation projected onto a screen behind the band. We start with an ovum being fertilized by a sperm, which then turns into a red, white and blue ball, which is then dropped into the eye of a bird, representing Tommy Walker's conception. After Captain Walker goes off to war, we see various stylized images of a battle field including the Bird!Tommy carrying a Thompson Submachine gun in it's feet. That is to say, it has a Tommy gun.
Van Der Graaf Generator's album A Grounding in Numbers has a cover illustration of the circuit diagram symbol for "ground" over a background of 0s and 1s.
The cover of REO Speedwagon's "You Can Tune A Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish" shows a fish with a tuning fork in its mouth.
The cover of Blue Öyster Cult's Agents Of Fortune depicts a tuxedo-clad man who's probably meant to be a Tuxedo and Martini spy holding up some tarot cards - thus a (secret) agent of fortune (-telling).
Pavement's video for "Cut Your Hair" involves each of the members waiting in line to get haircuts and having some wacky occurrence happen when they get to the barber's chair. When Mark Ibold approaches the chair, he sneezes out a cat, which he then gives away to the barber - at the time Ibold was also in a band called Free Kitten.
Erasure's "A Little Respect" video is full of visual puns on the song's lyrics: for instance, whenever Andy Bell sings "I'll be forever blue", his face becomes tinted blue, and the word "soul" is represented with a sign from the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul, as well as a pair of sole (as in the fish).
A Far Side strip shows a couple driving around with a map of Nowhere, approaching a sign that reads "Now Entering The Middle."
An early Calvin And Hobbes strip features Calvin showing Hobbes an "antelope"... by taking him over to an anthill, pointing to one, and saying "See, she's climbing down the ladder to her boyfriend's car!" Hobbes is not amused.
Garfield: This strip featured Frank, a friend of Jon's, meeting Garfield for the first time and rubbing him. Garfield reacted violently and stated "Some people rub me the wrong way".
Munchkin is rife with these. For example, the card "Steal A Level", where the card's effect is that you steal a level, as in the gaming term, from an opposing player. The illustration is someone stealing a level, as in the tool.
The symbol for Phyrexia sets greatly resembles the Greek letter Phi. As in, Phi-rexian.
Look at the illustration for Bronze Calendar. It's a bronze colander.
The Revised Edition game manual included Richard Garfield's account of the creation of the game. He mentions that the pre-release version used placeholder art for the cards, including a few of these. For example, "Heal" was a photograph of someone's foot, while "Power Sink" showed Calvin sitting in a toilet, "because what is a toilet except a power sink?"
It also fits the original depiction too; Mara is the name of a demon that tried to "tempt" to Buddha while the latter was meditating. Kazuma Kaneko's depiction of Mara is a penis (sexual temptation)*
Let's try to ignore the tentacles...
drawing a chariot (temptation to do aggressive and violent things) made of gold (greed).
In the original Persona and Persona 2, Vice-Principal/Principal Hanya's face is based on a Japanese Hannya mask. Luckily enough for the English-language versions, this also gives him an over-the-top Sadist Teacher look.
The Left 4 Dead box art is a fine example: a dead left hand with 4 fingers (thumb ripped off). The sequel takes it a step further: two of the fingers are bent.
At one point in the game, in the DLC "Crash Course", you will walk past some very big fuel-holding tanks. One of the survivors, a biker named Francis, will then exclaim: "Look guys, we're passing gas!".
In Portal, as GLaDOS says "despite your violent behavior", her randomly flashing screens pause on a picture of a violin, and when you destroy the morality core, they flash to a picture of a couple of screws.
Prismatology, from Sam and Max alludes to the phrase "technicolor yawn;" the Gastrokenisis talisman, as well as the cover of "Emetics," is depicted as a man vomiting a rainbow, and it makes other character vomit in technicolor as well.
In Katawa Shoujo, there is a Visual Pun that refers to something that was cut from the final game. In Hanako's good ending, the final images involve the camera zooming out from Hanako kissing Hisao until it is looking at the two from the inside of a bakery, with two muffins inside. This was supposed to imply that Hanako became pregnant (having "a bun in the oven") as a result of their having sex, but the scene was revised so that Hisao uses protection, and there is no indication that it failed.
The icon representing the passive Shaman ability, "Mental Quickness" in World of Warcraft is a picture of a brain running around on little legs.
While exploring the insides of people's minds and mentalities in Psychonauts, you will find several hatboxes, duffelbags, and purses that all bear sad, sobbing faces. That's right, Emotional Baggage!
Also, in the PC version of Transformed, Pyro, Heavy, and Spy are playable characters. Spy takes over driving in the plane segments. Notice: Spy Plane.
In Professor Layton And The Miracle Mask, Layton's childhood friend Randal Ascot wears an ascot. The Masked Gentleman also has a visual pun, but it's spoilerific: he's Randal Ascot, and he's still wearing an ascot!
In The Heroes Of Middlecenter, "Could somebody give me a hand?" while fighting zombie ninjas (sadly apparently Lost Forever like the rest of the site). Was included in the amateur video that spawned the comic.
In General Protection Fault, a similar example to the Muppet Movie above happens, save that the characters in question come across a fork(); in the road.
Generally speaking, though, forking a process involves taking both paths—the original process one, the newly spawned offspring another.
Life And Death has a long, wonderful history of puns, visual and otherwise. Even several characters owe their mere existance to visual puns, like "love is blind," and such. Lampshaded as often as not, but hey. Tropes Are Not Bad.
In the Gunnerkrigg Court side-story City-Face 2, the titular pigeon, who believes he is turning into a human businessman, is told "Every human businessman needs one of these" and given a blackberry. Which he eats.
The Author Avatar in DAR! describes herself as a "fairly hairy girl" in one strip, then proceeds with six panels involving various ways of shaving . . . a cat. This is returned to in a later strip at a waxing party, where all the girls are drawn as carrying cats and a guy is drawn as carrying a squirrel.
In Dubious Company, Walter and Tiren get shipwrecked and their primal instincts kick in. Walter builds a house while Tiren hunts for food.
In a backstory side piece, Sal and Leeroy get a visit from Phred. He appears as a pair of sweatpants.
Diglett and pals is just a series of strips with visual puns on Pokémon attack names. One example would be a Voltorb attempting to flee from a fight with a Diglett who summons an arena in order to trap the Voltorb, this is followed by the text "Diglett's arena trap prevents escape".
In Rusty and Co. when Gelatinous Cube seizes the Belt of Genre Changing, the result in the next panel is naturally... Cubism.
The snarky video game reviews of Zero Punctuation consist of an almost constant string of these.
During the God Of War: Chains of Olympus review, he subverts it. When describing Kratos' behavior as "incongruous" the screen cuts to the text "A word I can't fucking illustrate."
The previous image for this page illustrated his comment that Super Mario Galaxy had "many interesting levels" with Mario looking at a pile of spirit levels and saying "How interesting." This was such a groaner that Yahtzee lampshaded with a big sign reading "VISUAL PUN".
Dr. Horrible used a trans-matter ray to steal some gold "in bar form" that got liquefied in transit and ended up in a freezer bag, looking like nothing so much as soup broth. That smells like cumin, no less. (They never say it out loud, but what he's got is a bag of "gold bouillon.")
In Doom House, the dying terrorist declares, "I'm so bored", while clutching a wooded board.
In the College Humor sketch "The Matrix Runs in Windows XP", which is a spoof of both The Matrix and Windows XP (and thus contains many computer-related jokes), the Oracle welcomes Neo into her kitchen while she's holding a plate of freshly-baked cookies, and tells him that she hopes he has "cookies enabled".
Visual puns pertaining to characters are a common gag of western cartoons. Common ones include but are not limited to:
A donkey (Jackass, an idiot)
A lollipop (Sucker, someone who fell for a trick)
The bottom of a shoe (Heel, someone who should be ashamed)
A screw and a ball (Screwball, someone weird)note Moreover, the ball is usually a baseball, making it a double pun; a screwball is a kind of pitch.
A dripping faucet (Drip, a loser)
A broken pot (Crackpot, someone crazy)
A bell and a swarm of bats (Dingbat or having Bats in the Belfry, also someone crazy)
In the episode "Hide and Seek" of Phineas And Ferb, Baljeet (who is shrunk at the moment) poses for a picture with a dust bunny. Yeah, it's an actual clump of dust in the shape of a bunny.
"Picture This" begins with the boys having turned the garage upside-down trying to find Ferb's favorite skateboard.
In "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo" the two travel to the future and see that "The museum finally added that new wing." The museum has a giant angel wing on it.
During their pre-flight checklist in "De Plane! De Plane!" Phineas mentions "co-pilot's instruments", and they cut to Ferb standing in front of a bunch of musical instruments hanging on the wall.
In Mommy, Can You Hear Me? Doofenshmirtz traps Perry in a giant pickle. He then proceeds to explain that it's funny because he's "in a pickle."
In "Tree to Get Ready", Candace remarks on "all the bells and whistles!" in her new treehouse while she and Stacy pass a wall lined with... well, bells and whistles.
Danger Mouse: "How was I to know he had a voice-activated bean spiller?"
And similar to the The Muppet Movie example, Dangermouse is following a series of directions around an underground temple one of which is to take a fork left...after colliding with it he asks "Who left that fork there?"
Ballot Box Bunny has Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam running against each other for mayor of a small town. At the end of the cartoon, they're both defeated...by a literal dark horse ("Our new mare").
In The Fair-Hared Hare, after Sam builds a house over Bugs's rabbit hole, Bugs vows to "take this to the highest court in the country"...and so he does (Elevation 6723 ft.).
Yankee Doodle Bugs has Bugs explaining American history to his nephew Clyde. Among other jokes, he says that Manhattan was bought from the Indians "for a song" (Indian being given sheet music) and describes the Boston Tea Party in terms of tea with "tacks" (which is both shown visually and made into a verbal pun).
And yet another one has Sam saying to Bugs to leave because "This town isn't big enough for both". Bugs then get saw and wood and made the town bigger.
In The Daffy Doc, Daffy Duck is a doctor's assistant and gets kicked out for causing trouble in the operating room.
Daffy: Where does he get that stuff? Where does he get that stuff? I got a sheepskin! (pulls out an actual sheep's skin) I got a license! (pulls out a license plate)
Both "Hyde and Go Tweet" and "Lighthouse Mouse" have Sylvester, faced with a monstrous bird/mouse, freeze in horror, and then collapse into a pile of cat bits on the floor. The Visual Pun is that he's "falling to pieces".
In Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 1/2th Century, Daffy instructs his space cadet (Porky Pig) to wipe the smile off his face and to get the lead out. Cue the cadet literally doing both, which is the last straw for Daffy.
The Animated Adaptation of Beetlejuice saw its title character do this about a dozen times an episode; it's described as a reflex, his powers causing him to transform according to the idioms he uses.
Similar to the Sabrina example above, in an episode of Bonkers, the title character was infected with a 'toon disease called "Literalitis".
Adventure Time has The Earl of Lemongrab. He himself is a pun on the term "sourpuss;" he looks like a lemon, is obviously a very angry person and his original name in the storyboards was "Lemonsnatch." All of the clothes he wears are grey, so he's also a pun on "Earl Grey Tea."
Thoroughly exercised over the course of The Fairly Oddparents's run with the goofy but godlike Cosmo and Wanda. As Timmy once said, seated inside a solid-ice convertible after wishing for a Cool Car, "Not funny."
Mandie: Prepare to meet your doom! *Holds up a sasauge* MEAT?!
Timmy: Thank you, horrible visual pun!
From "Mother Nature":
Timmy: (to his mom, who is ignoring him) Uh, you're still mad at me and dad for not listening, aren't you?
Timmy's Mom: Not very fond of getting the cold shoulder, are you?
(Timmy's right shoulder freezes)
Animaniacs. Every single short featuring the Warner Brothers (and sister). There's actually an episode where their psychiatrist tries to make them stop doing this- like, when he says "plant yourselves on the couch", they turn into flowers.
"This isn't a joke — it's a visual gag."
Sheep in the Big City loved this sort of humor. In one episode, the narrator shouts "Hold the phone!", and there's a brief cut to Lisa Rental holding up a telephone.
In the very first episode, when searching for Sheep, the army guys are told to turn the city upside down. While General Specific is talking to the disguised Sheep in the foreground, we see the army guys turning all of the buildings upside down in the background.
Done hilariously in an episode of Garfield and Friends. Roy buys a voice-activated weather-summoning robot, which starts interpreting all of Roy's insults ("I said rain, you bucket of bolts!") as requests for the items in question to fall from the sky. Roy finds himself on the receiving end of a bucket of bolts and an overgrown vacuum cleaner before he starts running... and narrating. "It's driving me up a tree! I have to get somewhere safe!"
On DuckTales Fenton Crackshell (a.k.a. Gizmoduck) had a day job as a literal "bean counter". He would count beans as they fell into jars and tell his assistant how many to add or remove. He could count hundreds of beans accurately in a fraction of a second, so good for him.
Turns out it's not limited to beans. He tried his darndest to get hired as Scrooge's new accountant, and when Scrooge tried to tell him no with a blunderbuss, Scrooge was amazed to hear, "465!" Turned out Fenton counted all the pellets that had been shot. After a quick check revealed he was just as good with counting money (a real plus when your money bin is so big it's a local landmark), Scrooge hired him.
Later on, after he'd taken on duties as Gizmoduck, this is a Chekhov's Skill. The money bin is taken to a planet of robots ruled by a malicious supercomputer and its robot army. After trying the Gizmoduck frontal-assault approach, Fenton challenges the computer to a counting contest, winner takes all. And he outpaced the computer easily.
In an episode of The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy, as Billy and Mandy are shouting "Mine!" while fighting for possession of Grim, the scene momentarily cuts to show an underwater mine.
In The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack, while Flapjack and K'nuckles are traveling wesssssst, Bubbie comments that they're running low on food, water, and overall enthusiasm. K'nuckles reveals that he's wearing his last pair of overalls with the word "ENTHUSIASM" on it, accompanied by some really creepy voices singing OVERALL ENTHUSIASM OVERALL ENTHUSIASM OVERALL ENTHUSIASM YEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWW.
Chowder has quite a few from time to time. In Banned from the Stand, for example, Gazpacho bans Mung from every other fruit stands (apparently he has the power to do that, according to the "code") and keeps saying "Banned! Banned! Banned!". In the last "BANNED!" we then cut to a shot of a marching band looking at Gazpacho.
When Mung teases his rival, Ms. Endive, that an ugly beast has just escaped the zoo, a bizarre monster appears out of nowhere and says "Oops, gotta go!" and jumps through a window.
Another scene also counts as a Lampshade Hanging from Truffles; when an extremely hot day comes along, Chowder asks why they don't turn on the Air Conitioner, when Truffles says it's because they have a corn-dish-oner. Cut to a scene of a strange washing-machine like thing dishing out corn. Truffles follows this up with 'stupid visual puns!'
Another from Family Guy. A man in a supermarket walks up to Lois and says "Nice Melons." Peter gets appropriately angry, until we see Lois holding two cantaloupes and says "Peter, I'm holding melons." The man does it again with "Her hooters ain't bad, either." Peter yells again, and we see Lois with two owls on her arm, "Peter, I'm holding hooters." The man finally says "Your wife's hot" and runs off.
In the ending of Aardman Animations' Stage Fright (included on the Chicken Run DVD), just before the villain is killed, he kicks a bucket.
In A Matter Of Loaf And Death, the van has a toaster mounted below the radio and Gromit has set this to do a slice of toast for Wallace's breakfast. It pops out (having been done almost black) and Wallace looks at it.
"Squid on Strike" - When instructed to make a picket sign, SpongeBob makes two visual puns: the first being a part of an actual picket fence and the second being the image of someone picking their nose, a "pick-it" sign.
"No Weenies Allowed" - SpongeBob calls out Sandy for a karate challenge. She appears from the sand and grabs with the lines "Oh, I'm Sandy all right. Very Sandy." And SpongeBob gets the joke while flying in the air!
Another "sandy" example, this time from "Ripped Pants"
SpongeBob Hey, Sandy! Look! (covered in a mound of sand) I'm Sandy!
In one episode where Krabs flicks Plankton back to the Chum Bucket, he yells, "So long, shrimp!" An actual shrimp is then seen exiting the Krusty Krab.
Combining this with a normal pun, SpongeBob's phone is shaped like a conch; a "shellphone" if you will.
One episode had Barnacle Boy sick of being sidekick and decided to become evil. He then announces that 'he's crossing over to the Dark side. Zoom out to show half of the Krusty Krab that's pitch-dark. When everone stares at Mr. Krabs, this is his response:
Mr. Krabs: Why should I waste money lighting the whole store?
In one episode, Patrick gets a letter (cue paper with giant "B" on it). On the other side, there's a note (cue flip; other side has quarter note on it). He also got a message from his parents.
In Toy Story, Woody asks Buzz Lightyear to "give me a hand". Buzz throws his (disconnected) arm to him.
And in Toy Story 2, Buzz tells Rex to "use his head" to open a vent. The next scene involves Rex being used to batter the door down.
The Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" used one to do a Shout Out to another cartoon. Remember the Royal Flush Gang in that episode? Now, remember how one of them was a samurai, complete with Kabuki samurai costume? That's the Jack of the gang. And to make the Visual Pun more obvious, when he lost his powers, his real form closely resembled Samurai Jack voice actor, Phil Lamarr.
In one episode of Aladdin, Genie conjures up a sandwich on his head and says "Hey Al! Lunch is on me!"
On Jimmy Two Shoes, Beezy, going through cell phone withdrawl, says he's cracking up. His body then breaks like glass and falls, in pieces, on the ground.
In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Call of the Cutie," Rainbow Dash comments that a mopey Apple Bloom has a dark cloud over her head. Then the camera pulls back to show that there's an actual dark cloud hanging over Apple Bloom's head, and Rainbow Dash is dangling from it.
And in "Feeling Pinkie Keen", Twilight Sparkle literally gets on a soap box to explain why she has a hard time believing in Pinkie's "Pinkie Sense".
Another example in "Over a Barrel." During Braeburn's over-enthusiastic tour of Apple-loosa, he points out the "horse-drawn carriages" (which are driven by sapient ponies taking turns), then mentions "horse-drawn horse-drawn carriages". Cue a camera cut of several pony artists sketching out the horse-drawn carriages.
One challenge in an episode of Total Drama World Tour involves carrying giant apples from the middle of a pond to shore. When Tyler has trouble doing this, Alejandro tells him to "use his head". Cue Tyler headbutting the apple across the pond.
Penny:(Giving Marty a sheet of paper) Goodbye Marty. I wrote you a letter. (Marty sees only the letter P written on the page) You can read it on the bus.
From "A Song For Margo":
Hard Copy reporter: Tonight on Hard Copy, O.J. refuses to speak. (Shows a pitcher of orange juice on the witness stand.) Part 2 tomorrow.
The Futurama movie "Bender's Big Score" ushers in their return with a long line of visual puns, where they take some pretty big jabs at their former network Fox in the form of making fun of the "Box Network". Notable ones include them being "on the air" (flying) and a comment about their many fans (their latest job has them delivering fans).
Another episode has Leela telling Fry to "cool his jets". Cue a shot of Fry's jetpack burning Benders face.
In the Lilo And Stitch The Series episode "Yaarp", at one point Stitch and Gantu are trying to catch an experiment at a electronics store:
Store PA: Attention shoppers! Come see our home theater system...
Stitch launches a large television at Gantu
Store PA: ...a picture so big it hits you like a ton of bricks!
Teen Titans did one that crosses over with Curse Cut Short: Johnny Rancid is taunting Robin about his dog "kicking your a—", cut off when he's struck from off-screen by a pair of hooves. The camera angle reverses to reveal Beast Boy, who has turned into a donkey.
Pinky And The Brain: In the episode "The Third Mouse," when Pinky and the Brain are on the Ferris wheel, Pinky says, "One of those dots is waving at us." Cut to Dot Warner (from Animaniacs) waving at them. Even though the cartoon is in black and white, her nose is red.
Beany and Cecil was loaded with visual gags. An example had the Boo Birds serving a hammerhead shark to Cecil. It was a shark with the top of a hammer on its head.
Many people in Spain remember a series of TV bumpers on TVEnote They were also seen in some Latin American countries in the 1960s called "La Familia Telerín" which would inform the (younger) viewers that they were done showing family shows, and that it was time to go to bed. During the song that appears, the family are seen literally "marching off to bed". Also doubles as a Stealth Pun.
Beta versions of Windows 7 had a wallpaper with a fish (a beta to be exact) blowing 7 bubbles. This is a pun on Windows 7 beta. This wallpaper also sneaked its way into some of the final versions as well.
This same fish was used for the Consumer Preview edition of Windows 8. The bubbles here form the number 8, as a pun on Windows 8 beta.