Frank and Ernest is a newspaper comic featuring the title characters in gag-a-day humor that takes them over space and time, and through random occupations (from a baseline of bums), when not featuring bit parts by Fractured Fairy Tale characters, or Mother Goose characters, or the planets, or numerals. Prone to Medium Awareness and Incredibly Lame Puns.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: they've been known to wander about the newspaper, such as to the classifieds, and also to observe that (after a sequence of lame puns) they find it hard to believe there's a live audience.
- Crossover Cosmology: One angel says of "without form and void" — "How Zen!"
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: To a newly hatched chick, it means that the world, while big and scary, is at least not eggshell white.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: God and the angels live there, and in their frequent excursions to the afterlife, so do Frank and Ernest.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Twisted into puns, like the Hood family feud: Little Red Riding can't believe that Robin robbed Granma and gave it to the poor.
- Grandpa God: God appears in this form, discussing creation with angels, or dealing with the dead.
- Human Popsicle: Frank wanted this once — not long — to sleep through election years.
- Malaproper: Malaprop Man, Ernie's alter-ego, certainly lives up to this name.
- Matter of Life and Death: When Frank and Ernest are opticians visited by Superman, who misjudged distance and nearly fell into a building, they cheerfully observe that it's a matter of life and depth.
- Metaphorically True: A Running Gag is how Ernie explains that the ridiculous descriptions in his classified ads are correct: for example, he calls a boat with an engine that always overheats "the hottest thing on the lake".
- Never Needs Sharpening: Occasionally has fun with this in Sunday strips, with Frank looking over an advertisement Ernie has written, pointing out issues or missed points regarding his advertised item along the way, and Ernie promptly explaining how his advertisement has spun these issues into alleged positives. For instance, a run-down theater whose roof is missing is referred to as "the place to see the stars" (because you can see stars through the open roof at night).
- Nursery Rhyme: Often in the Fractured Fairy Tales, when dealing with Fairy Tale characters, such figures as Little Bo-Peep also appear.
- Pick a Card: Frank had Ernest do this once — and found it by checking the early edition of the paper.
- Robot Dog: There was a comic in which a robotic dog was referred to as a "dogmatic".
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Frank and Ernest join The American Civil War reenactors because they just like saying Sesquicentennial.
- This Is Wrong on So Many Levels!: One strip shows Frank and Ernest at "F & E Carpentry Supplies MFG". Next to Ernest is a box of levels. Ernest is looking at one and remarking, "All of these are off by several degrees." Frank responds, "How could we be wrong on so many levels?!"
- Very False Advertising: A running gag involves the guys, in one form or another, advertising something. Frank points out that the ad is false, and Ernest explains how all the supposedly good stuff he wrote about is really bad.