Quotes: Don't Explain the Joke

Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog. Nobody laughs and the frog dies.
Barry Cryer

Jay-Z: Cause I Kill At Will like solid water dude
Rap Critic: "Solid water"? Really?
Jay-Z: Y'all niggas don't get it
Rap Critic: No, we got it.
Jay-Z: Kill at Will
Rap Critic: We get it, it's just not that funny.
Jay-Z: Solid water
Rap Critic: Yes, thank you.
Jay-Z: Ice Cube!
The Rap Critic, "Top 5 Worst Lyrics I've Heard (This Month)"

Truth steals the title belt and he puts it in his potato sack. And the commentators find this hilarious. And they proceed to explain to us that R-Truth put the belt in the potato sack. —Which R-Truth has. And he starts to escape through the crowd with the potato sack with has the Intercontinental Title belt in it. And Wade Barrett goes after R-Truth (who has the Intercontinental Title belt in a potato sack, the commentators explain to us), and he demands the potato sack from R-Truth which has the title belt. And so R-Truth goes, "okay!", and he hands over the potato sack (which has the title belt (in the potato sack, the commentators explain to us again), and R-Truth runs away. And then Barret opens up the potato sack with the Intercontinental Title belt in it that R-Truth stole, but it's not the Intercontinental Title belt; it's a fake Intercontinental Title belt that was in a different potato sack that R-Truth also carried the ring (the commentators explain, because it is fake). And then R-Truth holds up the real Intercontinental Title belt from the real potato sack and laughs, and it's funny. And Wade Barret is left holding a fake Intercontinental Title belt from the second potato sack, because R-Truth brought a second potato sacks with a fake Intercontinental Title belt that he gave to Wade Barret instead of giving the real potato sacks with the real Intercontinental Title belt (because R-Truth still has the real one, they explain to us.)

And the best moment of this is...the best moment is...Michael Cole starts to explain that, once this is all over, the Warrior is going into the Hall of Fame, and then he gets interrupted by Booker T who explains, "wait wait—He had a fake Intercontinental Title belt in a second potato sack! It was—in a SECOND potato sack! (laughs like a goon)" Really. And in that moment—in that exact moment—you can see Michael Cole's soul die.

This joke is funny because the Green Devil looks like he's made of Jello, and Jello rhymes with yellow. I realized I shouldn't have to say that, but I need something to fill this space.
RyanMC, commenting on Two Evil Scientists

It's like when you tell a joke and nobody laughs. You then explain the joke and everyone goes 'oh, that's pretty clever, I guess', but they still won't laugh because you didn't tell the joke right in the first place!
— Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw'''

It's not funny if I have to explain it.

Antillus: When we get back, you and I are going to have a talk in which you lose your teeth. Because I'm going to knock them out of your head. With my fists.
Phrygius: 'I think we all understood what you meant at the end of your first sentence, dolt.
High Lords Antillus and Phrygius, Codex Alera

What do you mean explaining the joke ruins it? Fuck you!

Now you and this robotic guardian can have some quality time... Yes, quality snack time! When he snacks... on you! For you... ARE the snack! Ciao!
Dimentio, Super Paper Mario

The fact that you had to explain the joke just shows how lame it was.

If you have to explain a joke, is it really a joke?
Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show from September 30, 2008

Did you ever notice how men leave the toilet seat up? [beat] [Chirping Crickets] ...That's the joke.
McBain, The Simpsons, "A Star Is Burns"

Gront: Yup, no cake, I lied. Haha! Get it?
Grant: Uuugggh.... yeah, I got it...
Gront: It's a reference!
Grant: I know the reference...
Gront: To Portal!
Grant: Yes, Gront, i've heard it...
Gront: The cake is a lie!
Grant: I KNOW!!!
Gront: That's where it's from!
Grant: SHUT UP, DAMNIT!!!

Captain Ginyu: Now to deal with these three. Make sure you treat them nicely, boys.
Jeice: Yeah, and when he says "Treat'em nice," that don't mean we're gonna buy you flowers or nothin' like that. No, it means we're gonna kill you!
Captain Ginyu: Oh, would you please shut up!
Jeice: [speaking small] Right, right, sorry about that...
Dragon Ball Z ep 62, "New Ally, New Problem" (English dub)

If you have to say 'Get it?', you've ruined the joke.
Kevyn Andreyasn, Schlock Mercenary [1]

"[...] I heard all of the Pepperidge Farm servants chant in perfect unison: 'The Goldfish is here! He has come to lead us all to salvation!!!' Naturally, I figured they were all a few ingredients short of a ginger bread man (haha, get it!? Pepperidge Farm sells ginger bread men and I was making a subtle reference to that with my joke! Get it!? HAHAHAHA! THAT'S SO GODDAMNED FUNNY I COULD PUKE! HOLY BASTARD THAT RULED!)."
Roger Barr, I-Mockery.com, "THE GIANT GOLDFISH INVASION!"

Neeshka: Okay, explain that one to me.
Khelgar Ironfist: Well, she said your brains are next to your tail... which would imply that your brains are in your rear end. And that means you breathe through your—
Neeshka: Okay, okay, I get it, all right? Little witch.
Khelgar: Don't take it so hard. I had to explain it, which means the insult's a failure.

Peter: So, are Aces high or low?
Michael Eisner: They go both ways.
Bill Gates: Ha! He said "They go both ways!"
(Everyone laughs)
Ted Turner: Like a bisexual!
Michael Eisner: Thank you, Ted. That was the joke.