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Call Back / Comedy

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  • In general, one of the marks of a good stand-up comedian is a good understanding of how to use a Call Back well. It's a great way of keeping a show buzzing.
  • Stewart Lee does this all the time, especially in '41st Best Stand-Up Ever'. He also lampshades it after about 25 mins. (Remember that? From the beginning of the show?)
  • Bill Bailey ends his current tour with a short film (accompanied only by swelling, melancholy piano music, no less) that references several jokes made over the course of the evening, showing things such as him standing next to a potted plant, looking suspiciously at joggers, eating Revels with a bucket over his head and him shouting at traffic with a couple of Tesco bags in hand. It Makes Sense in Context. The same show sometimes (depending on venue) a final encore after the standard two. Previously, in the first half, he plays the opening of La Bamba and makes the audience sing along and trail off, not knowing the specific words. This last encore sees him return and force the audience to learn the words, with displayed lyrics. Just to hammer it home, he plays it four times at increasingly ridiculous speeds.
  • One example comes from Ron White. In the middle of his performance, he makes a joke about his dog Sluggo, who he needs to feed medication to by sticking it in a piece of cheese. At the very end of said performance, he was talking about trying to give Midol to his wife while she's PMSing. He ends the joke (and the performance) by saying he stuck the Midol in a piece of cheese. In You Can't Fix Stupid, he even references a joke that was made in a previous special. In the previous special, he made a joke about how Dabeers's slogan "Render her speechless" was just code for "Yeah, that'll shut her up!". In Stupid, he talks about trying to shut up his wife, saying that he was "all out of diamonds".
    • He also does this in another performance, where the first thing he mentions is a new Chinese space program. Near the end, he does a joke about firework safety, and how his friend was killed by the main modulenote . He then says that it was the beginnings of the Chinese space program.
  • In the Red Neck Comedy Show, Bill Engvall talks about boarding his dog while they're on vacation. At the kennel, they ask him what type of water the dog would like. He replies that the dog eats his own turds, the type of water probably doesn't matter to him. He also talks about taking the dog to the vet, where the vet gives him medicine to make the dog stop eating his own turds. How does it work? It makes the turds taste bad. During the Ron White portion, Ron talks about how he has dozens of people who work for him, but he is the one who goes outside to pick up the turds his dog had dropped, and pondered rearranging his staff so he wouldn't have to do that anymore. White then mentions that he asked Bill to bring his dog over, but Bill said, "No, he always comes home full."
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  • Eddie Izzard uses this technique during his stand-up special "Dress to Kill." Toward the end of the show he does a series of jokes about how textbook French is difficult to fit into real conversations with actual French people. To illustrate his point he repeats several of his previous jokes in French. The humor of the French dialogue, which would be incomprehensible to an English speaking audience unless they had watched the previous materials, hinges on the recognizing the jokes that we have already heard once.
  • Australian comedian Josh Thomas does this several times during his show Surprise!, the most notable of which is a story, early in the routine, about how living with his first boyfriend; shortly after they moved in together, they decided to shower together, which ended badly when Josh's boyfriend began urinating, because he forgot Josh was there. This is referenced in the final lines of the show:
    Josh: I told him, "one of my favourite things about you is that you've never vomited on me."... and he said, "Yeah, but I did kind of pee on you once."
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  • Gabriel Iglesias talks about the many times he has been pulled over by police and not gotten a ticket just because he made them laugh. On one occasion, he was pulled over just after coming out of a donut shop, the smell of fresh donuts distracting him from the road. He got out of a ticket by offering the officer some donuts , which he found hilarious. Later, he tells a story about the time he and a bunch of his friends were pulled over, and his friends said a bunch of stupid things that normally would have made the situation worse. However, the officer recognizes him and is actually a huge fan of his stand-up comedy.
    Officer: Wait 'til I tell everybody I met you! Man, the only thing that beats this is the time a buddy of mine pulled over this fat guy who gave him donuts!
  • Jim Gaffigan's album Beyond the Pale contains the line "If you've never been to a Catholic mass, that is the longest experience of your life!" Three years later, he released King Baby, which contains the line "If you've never been to a Catholic mass, it's still going on."


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