Follow TV Tropes

Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope.
Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.


Alternative Joke Interpretation

Go To

Most jokes have a single, clear meaning. We all know that a woman is "for" Flushing, New York because of Ambiguous Syntax. We all know that a pony coughing because he's a little horse is a pun on the words "horse" and "hoarse". We all know that two of three castaways on a deserted island wishing for a genie to take them home and the third castaway wishing for his friends to come back is because the third castaway was Too Dumb to Live.

Then there are these. Like most jokes, these jokes were probably intended to have one meaning, but some people interpret it as having another meaning. Even if the double meaning was intended by the writers, this may not always be clear to the audience.

May cause a Broken Base about the meaning of the joke. Ambiguous Syntax and Multiple Reference Pun are when this is intentional. Compare/contrast Stealth Pun, where a joke that may or may not be intentional goes over most people's heads. Compare Poe's Law, when the joke can be interpreted to mean something serious. Also compare Comically Missing the Point. See also Harsher in Hindsight and Hilarious in Hindsight for jokes whose punchlines change over time.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon: The Series: In "Beauty and the Beach", James tells Misty that she should try entering the beauty contest again in a few years. Is this a typical Years Too Early taunt, or was he insinuating that the ten-year-old Misty was too young and underdeveloped to have a realistic chance of winning against older competitors?

    Comic Books 
  • During the Bizarro World arc of All-Star Superman, Bizarro asks why Bizarro Batman is absent at the assembling of the Unjustice League and is told by Bizarro Green Lantern that it's because Bizarro Batman was shot by his parents. This either means that the Bizarro World's counterpart to Bruce Wayne was killed by his parents before he could become Bizarro Batman or that Bizarro Batman became a bat-costumed vigilante while his parents were still alive only to be shot to death by his mother and father sometime before Bizarro called for the Unjustice League to show up.
  • Asterix:
    • In Asterix in Britain, there's a joke where the idea of a tunnel under the Channel is mentioned, but it'll take a while. Today, it seems like typical understatement from the British, but when the comic was written in the 60s, it did indeed seem like an unattainable dream.
    • In "Asterix and Son", a Roman legionary sings at night, leading to a lot of voices complaining about it. One voice yells, "Call that singing?!". Was this someone saying the legionary was a bad singer, or was it a response to the voice before them (presumably Cacofonix) saying, "Only bards have the right to sing!"?
  • Ghostbusters (IDW Comics): In one comic, Peter Venkman says to Walter Peck, "Sorry Egon couldn't make it. Something about some bad couscous." Is the joke that Egon has food poisoning, or that (because he's a scientist who collects mould), he's studying some expired couscous?
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: In one of the more famous Parental Bonus moments, a gang of lawmen (pursuing Scrooge based on false information) approach Scrooge's cabin where Goldie has just entered, their comments implying that there's a lot of Belligerent Sexual Tension being worked out in there. Roy Bean then says whatever's going on in that cabin is not a hanging offense in Texas or anywhere else (Thank Gosh!), which can either be taken as his being grateful that sex isn't illegal, or that he's not legally required to play Moment Killer and face the combined wrath of Scrooge and Goldie.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Quite often when there's a Noodle Incident or a literal incident involving noodles (such as when Calvin did a presentation in which he used noodles to look like a brain), there'll be readers wondering if that incident was the Noodle Incident.
    • In one strip, Calvin's mother remarks that his gory-looking snowmen have "slowed down traffic" on their street. Does that mean that there is less traffic because people are scared away, or that the traffic is moving more slowly because the drivers want a closer look at the snowmen?
    • One of the family's many Horrible Camping Trips was horrible because of the rain. On the way home, Calvin's father exclaims, "I've had enough! What a rotten week!", and then the rain stops, annoying the father even more. The final panel shows Calvin asking Hobbes what any of "Dad's words" meant. The intended meaning of the strip was that Calvin's father swore off-page, but some readers pointed out that, knowing Calvin's dad, he could have been yelling in Angrish, and some young children who read the strip interpreted it as Calvin mistaking the "I've had enough" line for a magic spell to stop rain and wondering which of the words did it, or joking that his father's words must have meant something different since he usually never gives up.
    • Susie is Calvin's Implied Love Interest, yet they also fight a lot. Is this a parody of tropes like Loving Bully, or is the joke that the reason for their fighting is that they don't want to admit that they're in love?
    • In one strip, Calvin climbs out of bed, phones his parents, and says, "It is now three in the morning. Do you know where I am?". This was intended as a reference to a PSA that had the line "Do you know where your children are?", but people who didn't get the reference thought it was just Calvin being a Cloud Cuckoolander.
    • One strip has Calvin at the dinner table wondering, "What if we die and God is a big chicken? Eternal consequences, that's what!". They are eating chicken, so the intended meaning is that Calvin is worried about being sent to Hell for eating God's kind, but due to the art style, some readers didn't realise it was chicken, so they thought that Calvin was either (A) wondering if God was a coward, (B) paranoid over the idea of going to Heaven and having to worship a chicken for all eternity, (C) making a funny interpretation over God's true reality since he doesn't know if he actually exists or (D) just spouting a weird Non Sequitur.
    • In one strip, Calvin wants to play with "the old pigskin", and then we see him with a toy that looks like a pig's skin. It was meant to be a Bait-and-Switch gag, since "pigskin" is slang for an American football, but people who didn't realise this thought Calvin had bad taste in games.
    • One strip has Calvin commenting on world hunger and expressing sympathy towards people who don't have enough to eat. Hobbes says he knows what that feels like, to which Calvin responds by angrily shouting, "No, you don't!" Is he angry at Hobbes for implying he doesn't get enough to eat, or because he thinks Hobbes is belittling a very serious issue and the people who suffer because of it? It could also be both.
  • Close To Home: In one strip, many students start claiming to have come down with mysterious illnesses on a day with multiple hard tests scheduled. Are they faking, or is the stress making them feel unwell?
  • Dennis the Menace (US): In one installment, Dennis and his father walk by an out-of-business vegetarian restaurant, with the former saying it's no wonder they went bankrupt. The Comics Curmudgeon admitted he wasn't sure if the intended joke was Dennis mistakenly thinking the economy reflects his whims, or that the restaurant was such a bad idea that even a child could tell it would fail.
  • The Far Side:
    • One strip has some cows sneak into a farmer's house while he's away, and one of them is described as making "an unpleasant discovery" in the freezer. Did she find beef or frozen bull semen?
    • In one strip, a man opens up his blinds to see a tied-up cat dangling in front of the window and tells his unseen wife "the dog ain't going for the new cat". Larson's intended meaning was that the dog tied up the cat out of jealousy at it, but some readers thought the cat was tied up by the humans so it could be used to train a guard dog.
    • The "Cow Tools" cartoon is perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this in the history of newspaper comics. Larson intended the joke to be about how strange the tools were and never put much thought into what they were supposed to be or how they were used. That didn't stop readers from coming up with their own explanations, even decades after the comic was first printed (a Redditor came up with a theory that the tools were for a mothering class). Some other readers had a different explanation: it was cows trying to imitate human tool usage.
  • Garfield:
    • What is the meaning of this 2006 strip? Garfield comes across a sign reading "beware of bunny", and comes across a dog-like creature. Either (1) there was a bunny but the dog ate it, (2) the dog is named Bunny and Garfield is surprised at how unfitting such a name is, (3) the bunny wasn't as worthy of that "Beware" sign due to Point #1, or (4) the "dog" is just a really odd-looking bunny.
    • In one strip, Jon drinks a cup of what he thinks is coffee while taking Garfield for a vet appointment, and Liz tells him "Congratulations— you're going to have a litter of puppies", much to Jon's understandable disgust. The intended meaning of the joke is that he drank fertility medicine for dogs, but some people have taken it to mean he drank dog semen.
    • One early strip has Garfield mention that his Uncle Bernard went to the vet and came back as his Aunt Bernice. Is this an oblique reference to neutering, or did Garfield's relative get sex reassignment surgery?
    • On the August 4th, 2000 comic, Garfield talks to a worm. He asks if it likes being a worm, it asks "do cats eat worms?", and Garfield says no. The worm says, "I love being a worm." Is this a joke that the worm is happy when it realizes that Garfield won't eat it, or was it phrased as a rhetorical question?
  • The March 18, 1950 Nancy strip confused many readers when it popped up on Twitter. Nancy walks into a Double Feature intended for adults, then comes back wearing incredibly big shoes. Someone speculated this was a Visual Pun on the phrase "getting too big for your boots", since Nancy conceitedly walks into a theater assuming she'll understand the movie. Another is that people took off their shoes in the theater and Nancy got hers confused on the way out. It could also be that since people usually take off their hats before going to a movie, Nancy took off her shoes, since she doesn't wear a hat. And yet another believes it's a pun on double feet-ure.
  • Pearls Before Swine: One strip has Pig write a letter to his landlord in response to a rent hike, threatening to give him time out. Pig comments that it always worked for his mom. Stephan Pastis said in a treasury that the intended meaning of the joke was that Pig's mom often got her son to behave by threatening to put in him in time out, but some readers thought it meant she frequently got what she wanted by writing her landlord.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Arrested Development/Community Crossover Community Psychology: A Study of Arrested Development, Britta tries to impersonate a lawyer but fails. She later tells Jeff "First the good news: I was not arrested for impersonating a lawyer." He replies "Good. Wait, there was a possibility of that?" Does Jeff's comment mean he's just now learning that Britta was doing something potentially illegal or is he referring to his own time as a lawyer which came to an end because he didn't meet the educational requirements?
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise fanfic Hoshi's Box: Security Hazard, Malcolm Reed and Hoshi Sato have been left in charge of the ship while everyone else goes on shore leave. Bored, they try to make themselves feel better by saying that the trip will probably turn out wrong for everyone else. Malcolm says that he bets Travis Mayweather will get a sunburn. Is the joke that Travis, being black, sunburns the hardest so if he gets a sunburn it's a very bad trip, or is it a joke about how he has rotten luck?
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail Parker wants his mom to draw an image of Goh getting his life sucked out by the characters of Chloe's story — who are based on characters from Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS — without thinking of the implications. Is he aware of how dark of an idea that is or does he just find the idea as a way to involve Goh in the illustrations?
  • In My Immortal, Voldemort gives Ebony a "dude-ur-so-retarded look". Is this a Disapproving Look, a Death Glare, or a mocking "stupid person" face?
  • Peeking Through the Fourth Wall:
    • In Episode 31, Luna says she once dressed as a lamp for Halloween, but her classmates teased her by saying she always looked like that. This was intended as a reference to a meme about replacing Luna with a lamp, but it could also be interpreted as her classmates implying she got drunk all the time (albeit falsely, since After Dark: 4 reveals that she doesn't drink).
    • In Episode 17, when Lincoln is picked up by three Original Characters named Sophia, Maria, and Zoe who note that he's heavy, one of the MST guys notes that most of the weight would be in his head. Is this a joke about how Lincoln is a cartoon character drawn with a very large head, or is it saying that, since he's uncharacteristically angsty in the fanfic, his angst is so excessive it's literally weighing down his brain?
    • In Episode 33, Lana mentions that she knows a frog named Jeremiah. One commenter mistook this for a nationalist joke, comparing French people to frogs, but it was actually a reference to a song that had the lyric "Jeremiah was a bullfrog".
    • Two from Episode 38:
      • The episode involves five of the gender-swapped Loud siblings reading a story in which Linka goes insane due to her love of chocolate, calling herself the "chocolate monster". She has an empty box labelled, "In case the chocolate monster is about to come out", and the siblings reading the story wonder what it was meant to contain. Lane jokingly suggests Pepto-Bismol — is he joking that the term "chocolate monster" sounds like an Unusual Euphemism for poop, or is he saying that if Linka ate too much chocolate in a fit of insanity, she'd get indigestion?
      • Later on in the story, Linka asks Lane if he added love to his pies, to which he blushes. The real siblings look awkward at this — is it because the "love" comment reminded them of American Pie (in which a boy masturbates with a pie), or do they think blushing at a compliment seems too romantic for siblings?
  • In The Simpsons' meme video "Steamed Hams, but Skinner Serves Poop and Chalmers Thinks it's Just a Joke", when Chalmers finally realizes that Skinner really did serve poop and asks him why, Skinner makes a noise reminiscent of a wolf howling. Is he farting, is he saying, "Pooooop!", or is he just making the wolf noise randomly because he's crazy?
  • In one fan comic based on The Lord of the Rings, Arathorn disapproves of Aragorn and Arwen dating, then Thranduil tells him to consider himself lucky, since Legolas and Gimli are also dating. Is Thranduil homophobic, or is he bigoted against dwarves?
  • In this fan video based on The Mandalorian, Din watches a video in which a man does a goofy dance while clad in Mandalorian armour. He says to himself, "A Mandalorian would never, ever dance like that". Does this mean that Mandalorians don't dance, or that there's a particular Mandalorian style of dancing?

    Films — Animated 
  • The Aristocats:
    • When Roquefort the mouse is leading a bunch of stray cats to the kidnapped cat family, a man sees them, thinks he's drunk, and pours his wine out. Some people have interpreted him as thinking he's drunk at the sight of cats being chased by a mouse, while others have interpreted it as him thinking he's drunk because the mouse and some of the cats are wearing clothes.
    • When Thomas sings his Overly Long Name, Duchess says that his name seems to "cover all of Europe". Is she saying that his name is so long that, if written down, it would seemingly cover the whole continent, or is she commenting on the fact that he has names from several European countries? (for instance, Giuseppe is Italian and O'Malley is Irish).
    • Marie expresses disdain at being referred to as the "caboose" when she and her brothers are playing train. Is this because she feels the caboose is the least significant part of a train, or because "caboose" is slang for "butt"?
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • When Belle calls Gaston "primeval", he earnestly thanks her. Is this because he doesn't know what "primeval" means, or because he takes it as a compliment because he hates thinking?
    • When Gaston says that he's been thinking during the reprise of his Villain Song, Le Fou responds, "A dangerous pastime". Is the implication that he believes all thinking is dangerous (meaning he hates thinking just as much as Gaston), or that it's dangerous for others when Gaston specifically starts thinking?
  • In Cars, Lightning spots a tattoo on Sally's behind and points it out. Sally acts embarrassed, and drives backwards so that he won't see her tattoo. Is the joke that she's embarrassed because the tattoo is on her "butt" (which would raise the question of why cars don't cover their rears if they find them shameful like humans do), or is she embarrassed because she got it when she was younger and sees it as an Old Shame?
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wallace is naked due to having just changed back from being a were-rabbit. Gromit puts him in a cardboard box to cover his shame, which is labelled "may contain nuts". Is this because Wallace is a "nut", i.e. a Cloudcuckoolander, or because his "nuts" (as in, his gonads) are being covered by the box?
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, while Pacha is introducing Kuzco to the diner waitress as his spouse and explaining how it's their honeymoon, she dryly replies, "Bless you for coming out in public." It's probably scripted as a reference to Kuzco's llama appearance, but with how Disney has become more open with LGBTQ+ representation over time, it could also be suggested that she's aware Kuzco is male.
  • Finding Nemo:
    • When Marlin and Dory are playing I Spy, Dory keeps using Marlin as the thing she sees. Is the joke that, besides the ocean itself, there's nothing and no one else to "spy", or is it that, due to her memory problems, she just can't remember choosing Marlin?
    • Deb thinks her reflection is her sister, and she thinks the "sister's" name is Flo. Was that name chosen as a pun on "Aunt Flo", which is slang for periods (since she introduces herself as "Auntie Deb"), or is it because "Deb" rhymes with "ebb"?
    • In the DVD menu, Dory says, "I've always wanted to be in a film!", to which Marlin replies, "You were in a film; this one!". Is this just Dory's short term memory loss acting up again, or is it that she doesn't know it's a film but he does?
    • When Nemo and his friends first see the boat, Tad states that Sandy Plankton told him that it's called a "butt". Is the joke that Sandy Plankton is a Know-Nothing Know-It-All who misinformed Tad about what it's actually called, or did Tad simply misquote what Sandy Plankton told him?
  • In Frozen, the trolls' song has the lyric, "So he's a bit of a fixer-upper; so he's got a few flaws, like his peculiar brain, dear, his thing with the reindeer. That's a little outside of nature's laws!". Some people think that they were referring to the fact that he uses a reindeer named Sven as a horse, when he can just use an actual horse, but others think the writers sneaked a bestiality joke in, and still others think they're just referring to how Kristoff speaks for his pet reindeer Sven.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2: Gobber's comment "This is why I never married. This and one other reason", can be taken as Gobber admitting he's gay, or that he's impotent. Voice actor Craig Ferguson, isn't gay but said it in a way that implies the former, but the way it's presented makes it open to interpretation.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney):
    • One early scene has Quasimodo, who wants to attend the Festival of Fools, blurt out the word "festival" when his alphabet lesson with Frollo reaches the letter "F", then abruptly say "forgiveness" when Frollo reacts poorly. Was this because forgiveness was the word he was supposed to associate with "F", or was he saying it to ask Frollo for forgiveness?
    • When Clopin gives Quasimodo and Phoebus a trial in the Court of Miracles, under the impression that they're still working for Frollo, he tells them "we find you totally innocent... which is the worst crime of all". Is this a mockery of Frollo's self-righteousness? A reference to Frollo persecuting Gypsies for imagined crimes? Or is it based on the premise that a "totally innocent" person likely wouldn't be a friend of those in the Court of Miracles?
  • In Ice Age: The Meltdown, there's a scene of Scrat in Heaven, only to get sucked away and wake up, whereupon Sid says, "I saved you!" but Scrat attacks him. The intended joke was that Scrat really did go to Heaven, but some viewers misinterpreted the scene as him having dreamt he went there.
  • In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Buck the crazy weasel tells the heroes not to breathe in the green gas or they'll die. When they stop being able to hold their breaths and end up breathing it in anyway, they survive but they start laughing uncontrollably and speaking in helium voices. They also start making goofy confessions and blames— is the joke that they think they're going to die and are getting things off their chests, or that the gas has made them high? One of the possum brothers denies that he wets the other's bed like he said, claiming it was "gas talk", but was he really high or was he just saying he was to avoid embarrassment?
  • Igor: At one point, Scamper says that if Eva is having a "woman problem" he wants no part in it. Some viewers took that as a period joke, while others thought he was suggesting she was falling in love with Igor, and he feels romance is girly.
  • Inside Out:
    • Riley's imaginary boyfriend's only line besides his catchphrase ("I'd die for Riley!") is explaining that he's from Canada. Did Riley make him Canadian because she plays hockey, which is associated with Canada, or is it because of the stereotype that Americans' imaginary love interests tend to be Canadian? There’s also the fact that Riley was originally from Minnesota, which borders Canada, so having a Canadian boyfriend would be a more plausible story than other instances of the trope.
    • Sadness likes "the funny movie where the dog dies". Is the joke that she's so morbid she finds a sad movie funny, or was it that she thought that the movie was funny in general, but remembered the dog dying the most because that was the part that was sad and therefore relevant to her? Proponents of the former sometimes see it as a reference to Old Yeller, while proponents of the latter may see it as a reference to Marley & Me.
    • The end of the movie features a button marked "PUBERTY". Some see this as a Stealth Pun on "hitting" puberty, while others just think it was added because puberty can be a source of Cringe Comedy. People have also debated whether it was supposed to mean "Push in case of puberty" or "Push to initiate puberty".
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • At the beginning, Simba learns that he will become king just like his father, and he excitedly tells his uncle Scar who secretly wants the throne for himself. When Simba asks, "When I'm king, what will that make you?", Scar responds, "A monkey's uncle." Was he calling Simba a monkey, or was he saying that it was unlikely for Simba to become king?
    • When Zazu the bird says that Simba is getting "wildly out of wing", is it just another way of saying, "out of control" meant to rhyme with "king" in a goofy way, or is it a Hold Your Hippogriffs for "out of hand"?
    • During the "Hakuna Matata" song, Pumbaa mentions that he was downhearted and is about to rhyme it with "every time that I farted", but Timon interrupts him with "Not in front of the kids!". Some viewers have interpreted this as a fourth-wall breaking joke about the child audience, but other viewers think it refers to unseen animal kids and Simba.
    • When Zazu tells Scar not to "play with [his] food" when the latter talks to a mouse, does this mean Zazu is a snob, or Scar is a Psychopathic Manchild?
  • The Lion King (2019): Unlike in the original movie, Timon notably does not stop Pumbaa from saying "farted", which both characters take the time to acknowledge. Was Pumbaa allowed to say it because the word "fart" isn't as taboo as it used to be? Or was it because the kids in the original audience have grown up over the 25 years between the movies?
  • Monsters, Inc.: In one scene, a monster tries to scare a sleeping girl at night, only to find her already awake, listening to rock music, and walking very close to him unfazed, despite allegedly being only six years old. Does this mean that 7-11 years have passed without the monsters noticing and the girl is now a teenager? Or does it mean that the girl is an unusually tough six-year-old, listening to music she's clearly too young for and Admiring the Abomination?
  • In SCOOB!, there's a brief moment when Dick Dastardly introduces himself to Scooby, who repeatedly calls him "Rick", forcing Dastardly to repeatedly correct the dog. Some think it's just Scooby being a Speech-Impaired Animal as per usual, but others think he's deliberately calling Dastardly "Rick" to troll him since this version isn't as speech-impaired as others. It helps that Scooby ends up using the moment to flee.
  • Shrek:
    • When Shrek and Donkey arrive at Lord Farquaad's castle, Shrek looks up at the impressive height of the tower and asks Donkey "Do you think he's Compensating for Something?"; Shrek's joke could mean he thinks Farquaad's compensating for either his short height, or a Teeny Weenie. It could be both as at the time, Shrek doesn't know yet that Lord Farquaad is short while the viewer does. It's also possible that the joke is that Shrek is Entertainingly Wrong, in that he has correctly guessed that Farquaad is compensating for something, but thinks it's a Teeny Weenie (as one's first guess usually would be in such a situation), when we the viewers already know that it's in fact his height.
    • After Lord Farquaad calls Shrek hideous on seeing him for the first time, Shrek says "well, that's not very nice. He's just a donkey." to which Farquaad responds with "indeed". Was the joke that Farquaad was dismissing Shrek's attempted deflection because he couldn't be bothered to come up with a wittier response, or was he subtly negating it by agreeing with Shrek?note 
  • Shrek 2: At the beginning, Donkey says that his wife Dragon has been "moody", but at the end of the film, she's back to normal and they have babies. Is the joke that Dragon was pregnant and hormonal? Or is it referencing the idea that mythical monsters such as dragons are often violently protective of their eggs?
  • Up: At the end, Carl Fredricksen is pointing out the red cars while Russell is pointing out the blue ones. Then, Dug (a dog) says, "Gray one!". Is this because Animals See in Monochrome, is he mistaking the Spirit of Adventure (a zeppelin) for a gray car, or is it a joke about how gray is the most common colour for cars?
  • In the DMV scene in Zootopia, Nick tells the joke, "What do you call a three-humped camel? Pregnant!" Some have taken the joke as meaning that the third hump was the baby camel, while others saw it as a play on the word "hump". There was even a minor Edit War on this very wiki about the meaning of the joke.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In one of The Addams Family movies, Gomez tells Debbie that "of course" they have cable. Why would this be obvious? Some viewers see it as a Continuity Nod to the first movie, in which Gomez starts watching Gilligan's Island to cope with being evicted, others think it refers to them watching horror movies and dark documentaries on TV, still others think it refers to their enjoyment of whipping one another note , some think it refers to tightrope walking (which seems like something they'd do) and a fifth interpretation is that it refers to Fester experimenting with electrical wires.
  • Stan Lee's cameo in Avengers: Infinity War has him as the driver of the school bus Peter Parker is riding on. After the kids panic to distract him from seeing Peter become Spider-Man, Lee says "You act like you've never seen a spaceship before." People have come up with two interpretations for this line: he's either referring to the invasion from The Avengers (2012) or the fact that some of his other cameos have had him traveling through space.
  • Batman (1989): While in a meeting with some gangsters, the Joker quips that the recently killed mob boss Carl Grissom, for all his misdeeds, had a "tremendous" singing voice. Is this a reference to how Grissom sold Joker out to the authorities, since "singing" is criminal slang for ratting out another crook? Or is it a dark joke about how Grissom screamed when Joker killed him in revenge? Or was the Joker just being a cloudcuckoolander?
  • Blazing Saddles: Among the listed crimes committed by the outlaws are "people stampeded and cattle raped". Is this actually what happened, or did whoever wrote the list mix up some words?
  • Borat: The movie's version of the Kazakhstani national anthem includes a verse praising a fairly ordinary swimming pool. Is this meant to imply that Kazakhstan is severely backwards and underdeveloped (a theme explored throughout the movie), or is it a joke about how the country is landlocked and has a dry climate?
  • Charlotte's Web: When Templeton reveals that the Zuckermans want to have Wilbur (a pig) for Christmas dinner, one of the cows remarks that she's glad nobody eats cows, even though they obviously do. Is this because she's dumb (or cows in general are dumb)? Is it because a dairy cow (who are kept for milk and not meat) would have no way of knowing that humans eat cows? Or is she glad that no one eats dairy cows?
  • The Fifth Element: As Korben leaves his apartment, he's confronted by a mugger. He looks over the mugger's gun and says it's not loaded, telling him to push the yellow button. Once the mugger does so, the gun fizzles out, allowing Korben to draw his own pistol and disarm him. Did Korben trick the mugger into actually turning on the safety, or did Korben genuinely tell him how to load it, knowing the gun was a piece of crap that was likely to jam when you loaded it?
  • Ghostbusters (1984):
    • When Walter Peck says that the Ghostbusters caused the explosion that was actually his fault, Egon yells, "Your mother!" without finishing the sentence. Is the joke that he's too angry to come up with a proper insult, or was he about to say that Peck's mother violated EPA law by giving birth to him, but didn't finish because he was interrupted?
    • Peter Venkman cites "dogs and cats living together" as a sign of the apocalypse. Is this a reference to the stereotype that dogs and cats hate each other and thus normally wouldn't want to live together, is it a reference to the Bible passage that mentions "the wolf will lie down with the lamb", does "living together" refer to marriage, or is it absurdism, since many households actually do own both a cat and a dog?
    • When the Ghostbusters are buying the firehouse, Egon points out the building's flaws, to the point of claiming it should be condemned, but then Ray shouts, "This place is great! You guys should buy this pole!". Is Ray the only one who likes the firehouse despite its obvious flaws, or was Egon trying to bring down the price and Ray spoiled his plan?
  • In Ghostbusters II:
    • Venkman sings, "Do", Ray sings, "Re", but Egon sings his own name. Is he punning on the fact that "re" and "Ray" are homophones, or is it because "mi" (the actual next note in the scale) sounds like "me"?
    • When Venkman asks Egon and Ray if they've been "sleeping" with the ectoplasm, Egon looks guilty. Did he actually sleep with the slime, or was he making the guilty expression on purpose as a joke?
  • After Phil catches a boy falling from a tree in Groundhog Day, the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier for "Groundhog Day" Loop, the boy doesn't thank him. Phil responds, "See you tomorrow... maybe." Some took it as meaning that Phil might not be there to save the ungrateful kid in the next time loop, while others thought he was referring to the fact that the time loop could break the next day.
  • Goldfinger: James Bond describes serving Dom Perignon '53 at more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit as being "as bad as listening to The Beatles without earmuffs". Word of God claims that this was a joke about the incredibly loud screaming of fangirls at Beatles concerts, but it's been interpreted for decades as a knock at the band itself.
  • Muppets from Space: When Gonzo says that his alphabet cereal is "sending [him] a message", Rizzo responds, "I know how you feel — I had some guacamole last night and it's still speaking to me!". Is this an And I'm the Queen of Sheba type quip, or did the guacamole give him gas or food poisoning?
  • RoboCop (1987): The titular Cyborg attacks a robber at a convenience store and then thanks the storeowners for their cooperation, since he did a lot of damage in the process. This is sometimes interpreted as him thanking the robber for his cooperation.
  • In Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, Velma awkwardly tries to swagger around in a leather jumpsuit to impress her boyfriend. He asks her, "Do you have to go to the bathroom?". Does he think she needs to go to the bathroom because her failed swaggering resembles a Potty Dance, or because he mistook the squeaking sounds made by her suit as Velma farting?
  • When Star Wars: A New Hope was first released, Obi-Wan's "Only a master of evil, Darth" comment was just thought of that 'Darth' was Vader's first name. From context, we now know it's a title, and Obi-Wan would definitely know that, so it comes across as him being sarcastic.
  • During Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Finn ends up in a lie with Rey about being part of the Resistance and pushes BB-8 to play along — although visibly hesitant, he obliges, and when Finn gives him a grateful thumbs-up, BB-8 juts out a little arm with a lighter in response. This was meant to be BB-8's form of a thumbs-up (as if to say "No problem, I got your back!"), but considering the context, several viewers believed he was trying to flip Finn off for the trouble they're soon to find themselves in.
  • In Space Jam, when Bill Murray shows up for the climax as a borderline Deus ex Machina, Daffy asks him how he got there and Murray replies, "The producer's a friend of mine." Either Daffy is questioning how Murray got into the Looney Tunes world, and the answer is that Murray knows the producer of Looney Tunes, or they're raising the very valid question of what Bill Murray is doing in a Looney Tunes/NBA crossover movie in the first place, in which case the producer in question would be the film's producer, Ivan Reitman, who was indeed a friend of Murray's. Judging from the disgusted reactions from Daffy (and the leader of the Monstars), they took the latter interpretation.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when Eddie asks Roger, who's currently on the run from the law, if anyone knows the rabbit's come to his office, Roger responds that no one does. However, he does explain he asked a number of people for directions, including the news boy, the fireman, the green grocer, the butcher, and the baker, but none of them knew. Only one person could tell him: the liquor store guy. Eddie gets very angry upon hearing this. The joke could be that either Roger asking willy-nilly around town means everyone knows where he's going, or everyone knows because Eddie is a frequent customer of the liquor store, and the guy in charge is a notorious gossip.
  • Young Frankenstein: There's a Running Gag that a horse whinny sound effect plays every time Frau Blücher's name is said, even in scenes where no horses are present. This was probably intended as a parody of the Scare Chord trope, but some people saw it as a obscure reference to the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, whose horse was famously shot dead at the Battle of Ligny. And then there's the famous urban legend that it's because "blücher" is supposedly the German (or Yiddish) word for glue...

  • There's a joke that can actually be taken three ways: a woman puts an ad in a newspaper for a man who is a good lover. There are three criteria the man must meet: he must not beat her up, he must not run away, and he must be good in bed. When the woman hears the doorbell ring, she opens it and sees a man with no arms or legs. It's obvious that the man cannot physically beat her up or run away, but the woman asks, "What makes you think you are good in bed?" The man responds, "How do you think I rang the doorbell?" So either he has a Gag Penis, a very long tongue, or can jump very high.
  • We all know the famous joke about the chicken who crossed the road to get to the other side. Besides the obvious, there's also the interpretation that the chicken wanted to commit suicide and get to "the other side" (as in, the afterlife).
  • "Your Mom is so fat, when she goes to In-N-Out, she can't get out." Is it because she can't fit through the door, or is it because she won't stop eating the burgers?
  • "Your Mom is rated E For Everyone". Is she slutty or is she really lame?
  • This joke involves a 60-year-old man saying that 60 is the worst age to be because you always feel like you have to pee but can't. A 70-year-old man says that actually 70 is the worst age because you get constipated, but an 80-year-old says that 80 is the worst age because while he pees at six every morning and poops at 6:30, he doesn't wake up until seven. Someone in the comments posted a bonus ending that involved a 90-year-old saying that 90 was the worst age because then you never wake up. Other users had trouble deciding if that meant the 90-year-old was a zombie, an insomniac, a guy paranoid about his mortality (as in, he fears death by old age), or just a guy who sleeps a lot.
  • There's an old joke about the three stages of life involving Santa Claus: first you believe in Santa, then you don't believe in Santa, then you are Santa. It's pretty obvious what the first two stages mean, but does the third stage mean that you look like Santa, or that you act as the Santa of your family? Some versions of the joke compromise, making the third stage acting as Santa and adding a fourth stage, which is looking like Santa.
  • An old joke by a Canadian comic had him find a shirt for a baby reading 'Future President of the United States'. He notes that you would never find the equivalent shirt up north that says 'Future Prime Minister of Canada'. "Honestly, we just expect more from our children." This can be read as either making fun of Americans or the Prime Minister specifically.
  • One joke goes "What is usually the last meal of a vampire before execution? A steak." Is this a pun on "steak" and "stake", or because steaks contain blood?
  • There's a variation of a famous joke about National Stereotypes claiming that, in Hell, the bankers are Italian. Is this a reference to Italian organized crime, or to Italy's myriad economic woes?
  • One joke had an elderly woman wanting to commit suicide by shooting herself in the heart, and then she phones her doctor to ask where the heart is, in which he replies "on the left side of your chest". A bit later, the woman is hospitalized for shooting herself in her left knee. Did she shoot her knee because of her poor eyesight, or was it because her chest was so sagged it had reached her knees?
  • A joke sign reads, "We're a drinking village with a fishing problem". Is the joke that whoever wrote the sign was drunk and got the words around the wrong way, or that they drink so much that they view the fishing as problematic since it gets in the way of the drinking?
  • A birthday card depicts a toddler boy looking down his diaper and asking, "Mummy, are these my brains?". Did he soil himself and mistake the poop for his brains, or is he mistaking his privates for his brains (perhaps as a reference to the expression "thinking with one's little head", or a reference to little boys thinking girls are dumb)?
  • A joke that has this by design: A woman marries into a foreign country while having little knowledge of the local language. She continues learning and eventually gets confident enough in her skills to go to the butcher's to buy chicken breasts. Unfortunately, she forgets the word for "breast" as she orders and, in desperation, points at her own breasts, which is enough for the butcher to give her the correct item. The next time she tries, this repeats with chicken thighs. The next time after that, she's coming for sausages and forgets the word yet again. With no idea what to show the butcher this time, she leaves and returns with her husband. Because he can speak the local language. If you first thought of another, anatomy-related, reason, it's a feature, not a bug.
  • The old Sumerian joke "Something that has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap": Is it just because women farting in their husbands' laps is just inherently funny, is it a Bait-and-Switch gag about the juxtaposition of such formal language leading to an observation about farts, is it parodying the societal idea that women shouldn't fart by stating that they obviously do, or was "Something that has never occurred since time immemorial" once a popular start for jokes, a la "Knock, knock" or "What do you call___?"?
  • A joke has a cadet get standed on an uninhabited island with his loaded gun, a somewhat misogynistic gay man and a somewhat homophobic woman. When it becomes obvious that help is not coming and they can realistically survive for a while, each of the cadet's companions approaches him separately, suggesting that he use his gun on the third person so they can spend their days having "a normal sexual life." The punchline has the cadet start living "a normal sexual life" after killing them both. Is the cadet abstaining from sex and so principled about it that he's doing what it takes for things to stay that way? Really into masturbating, but ashamed about it? Asexual and hence genuinely uninterested in the "having regular sex" part of both offers? And let's not get started on the fact that those three options aren't entirely mutually exclusive.

  • In the novelization of the BIONICLE movie Web of Shadows, Matau starts going feral at night due to a mutation taking over his mind. He builds a nest and asks her teammate and romantic interest Nokama if she has any "urges" that involve him. The next day, Nuju reminisces on hearing "fascinating" noises the other night, prompting Matau to gasp and quickly change the subject. So was Matau howling at the moons because of his animal side taking over (like Vakama did in an earlier scene), or is the joke that he and Nokama acted on their "urges"? In context, it's clearly the former, as sex and romance don't exist in BIONICLE, but the films have always been loose with this rule. Possibly to avoid people reading something dirty into the joke, the scene was cut from the film and only survives in the novel. Nuju's comment about the noises and Matau's awkward reaction were nevertheless kept in the film, allowing for a third interpretation. Maybe Matau wasn't embarrassed about himself but about Nuju's fondness of listening to animal sounds at night.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • In "The Third Wheel", Greg hates an illustration on the plates at a restaurant, which is a cowboy saying, "Come back soon, y'all!". Is this because the restaurant is a Suck E. Cheese's so he doesn't want to come back to it? Is it because he finds being spoken to by a cowboy and/or referred to as "y'all" belittling? Does he not want to be bossed around by an illustration? Or does he just find the cowboy ugly?
    • In one book, Greg notes that it was a bad combination when, at the talent show, a girl read a poem about global warming at the same time as a boy rode a unicycle while playing the harmonica. Is he saying that the harmonica was so loud nobody could hear the poem, that playing an instrument on a unicycle was too silly to pair with a poem about something serious like global warming, or a bit of both?
    • In "Cabin Fever", Greg gets defensive when revealing that he still wet the bed at age eight and says that he only did it because he drank a lot before bed, which gave him "crazy dreams". He's illustrated at age eight dreaming that a firehose is broken and the firefighters are wondering what to do. Is the implication that dreaming of the water gushing out of the hole in the hose is what made him wet the bed, or that the dream continued with him peeing out the fire, which caused him to actually pee?
  • Harry Potter:
    • In the first book, Ron says that he has one relative who's an accountant, but he finds him too embarrassing to talk about. Is the implication that the accountant is a squib (someone born to at least one magical parent but with no powers) and that's why Ron is embarrassed, or does he find the relative's job embarrassing because he's a wizard working in a job associated with muggles (normal people)? Or the guy's personality is so unpleasant it's embarrassing, and him being an accountant is incidental?
    • In the third book, the manager of the bookstore Floruish and Blotts mentions that his store spent a lot of money on 200 copies of The Invisible Book of Invisibility, but nobody was ever able to find them. Is this a gag about how impractical such a thing would be, or was the store scammed into buying a nonexistent book?
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, after using the Babel Fish to prove the non-existence of God, Man "goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing." As many American readers didn't know a zebra crossing refers to a crosswalk, they thought it meant Man was trampled to death by zebras on an African plain. Given how much of the franchise operates under Surreal Humor anyway, this misconception likely made the joke funnier.
  • The Tale Of Ginger And Pickles: When Ginger (an anthropomorphic cat) says that he's tempted to eat his mouse customers, Pickles (a dog) says that he feels the same about the rat customers, but that if they ate them, "they'd leave us and go to Tabitha Twitchit's". Ginger replies, "On the contrary, they would go nowhere." Is this because they'd be dead and thus wouldn't be able to go anywhere? Or because they'd be too scared to, since Tabitha is also a cat?

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Jimmy Carr makes a joke about Jon Richardson getting married, since it was either that or he'd have to send her back in the mail. Richardson inquired whether it refers to a Mail-Order Bride or a blow-up doll, to which Jimmy seems to acknowledge one being an unintended interpretation, but that either way, it isn't a real love.
  • 9-1-1 aired its first season finale shortly after the second season renewal was announced. The finale ends with a 911 call from a man asking if the show will be returning the following season followed by clips of the characters making sarcastic comments. Are their comments suggesting they were definitely going to get renewed or because checking the status of a television series is not the purpose of 911?
  • Beehive: The "Air Afrikaans" sketch has two flight attendants refuse to give a vegetarian woman chocolate mousse. Is this them taking petty revenge for her earlier complaining about a lack of vegetarian options on the menu, them confusing "mousse" with "moose", or a reference to the fact that mousse sometimes contains gelatin (which is generally derived from collagen taken from animal body parts)?
  • In the episode "Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Rollerblading" of Father Ted, Father Jack gives up drinking for Lent. When he sees Father Ted and Father Dougal for the first time while sober, he asks "Where are the other two?" This joke could have meant that he either saw a blurry and distorted version of Ted and Dougal while drunk (which gave him an inaccurate idea of what they looked like), or he always saw 4 other priests thanks to Single Malt Vision.
  • One episode of Get Smart shows Max become horrified when he discovers 99 just saw him unbutton his collar. In another, he refuses to let her watch him lower his sock below the ankle. Is the joke about the absurdity of a Casanova Wannabe being so shy, or a satirical jab at the Moral Guardians of the time?
  • The Mandalorian: "The Child" has some Jawas messily eating the flesh of a raw, hairy egg. The Mandalorian watches, and shakes his head. Is he disgusted by their lack of table manners, or does he not understand why they'd like to eat that egg?
  • Spitting Image: One segment has a Russian cosmonaut hear a knock at the door of the space station he's on. He opens it, only to immediately close it again when the person knocking explains they're one of Jehovah's witnesses. Is this a joke about how stereotypically annoying door-to-door evangelists are, or about Soviet state atheism?
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "Trials and Tribble-ations", O'Brien suggests Dax tease Worf (her husband) by implying he smells of lilac. She says that she has her own ways of "torturing" him — is this a reference to the Running Gag of them having rough sex, or is it saying that he sometimes finds her annoying due to their personality clash?
    • Also in "Trials and Tribble-ations", when Sisko explains to two agents who deal with red tape involving Time Travel that it might take him some "time" to explain something. The agents ask if he was joking, and when he replies in the negative, they say, "Good. We hate those". Does this mean the agents hate jokes or that they specifically hate time jokes due to hearing them too often?
  • Star Trek: Discovery: In one episode, the engineers Reno and Stamets are affected by some hallucinogenic spores that make them compliment each other, then this makes them feel awkward. Is the joke that they're feeling awkward because they hate each other and so don't want to be nice to each other, or is it that they don't want to seem as though they're hitting on each other (which they clearly aren't, since they're both gay)?
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In one episode, Worf claims to dislike swimming as it's "too much like bathing". Is the joke that Worf Hates Baths, or is it that he finds swimming boring because it's similar to the mundane act of bathing?
    • In "Rascals", after the Fountain of Youth effect is reversed, Picard feels his head to find that he's bald again. Is he hoping that he still has hair after aging up, or is he making sure he doesn't have hair and he's fully back to normal?
    • In "True Q", when Dr. Crusher yells at Q, he turns her into a dog. Is this a play on the word "bitch", is it a play on the other meaning of "bark" (which can mean to say something aggressively), or is he implying that humans are no more than dumb animals to him?
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: At the end of one episode, Spock, who'd gone blind, gets his sight back and Kirk notes that being The Stoic, he probably didn't have any emotional response. Spock replies, that on the contrary, he did react emotionally — because the first thing he saw was McCoy's face looking over him. Is he calling McCoy ugly (which is how McCoy interpreted it), is he saying that McCoy was being too nurturing looking over him all the time, or is he saying that (given their dynamic) he finds McCoy annoying in general?
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In one episode, Seven of Nine says that everyone can hear it when B'Elanna (a Half-Human Hybrid with a Klingon mother) and Tom have sex. Is this an orgasm joke, or is it a joke about how Klingon women roar when courting/having sex?
    • In another episode, Neelix mentions that most of the toilets aren't working, which is bad news, especially since there are Bolians on board. Does this mean that the Bolians' waste is toxic, that it smells bad because of what they eat, or that they just don't like sharing toilets with other species?

  • The folk song "Clementine" mentions that "herring boxes without topses, sandals were for Clementine". Is the joke that Clementine has big feet, or is it a Black Comedy joke about how they can't afford shoes?
  • In the song "Der Fuhrer's Face", which makes fun of the Nazis, the line "Super duper super men" is said in a high-pitched voice with a lisp. Is this just a mocking voice? Is it saying the Nazis are sissies? Or, seeing as a high-pitched, lispy voice has been stereotypically associated with gay men, is it accusing the Nazis (who were homophobic) of being Armored Closet Gays?
  • The satirical Bob Dylan song "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" has the hardcore anti-communist narrator say he knows George Lincoln Rockwell hates commies because Rockwell picketed Exodus (1960). Is he saying that because the movie's screenwriter was Dalton Trumbo, who was famously blacklisted for his communist leanings? Or, since the movie is about the founding of modern Israel, is he repeating the idea that communism is a Jewish conspiracy? Both possibilities were discussed by Dylan's biographer Seth Rogovoy.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • In the song "Fat", Yankovic claims that when he goes to the beach, he's "the only one who gets a tan." Some have taken it as meaning that he blocks the sun for everyone else, while others assumed that he was the only one on the beach because he took up all the space. Either way, it works well for a song that is an extra-long fat joke.
    • "Jurassic Park" has the lines "A huge tyrannosaurus ate our lawyer / Well, I suppose that proves /They're really not all bad". It's clearly an Evil Lawyer Joke of some sort, but deliberate Ambiguous Syntax gives it at least three possible punchlines: Either the dinosaurs are "not all bad" since they disposed of a lawyer, lawyers are "not all bad" since they provide sustenance to dinosaurs (or because if the lawyer wasn't there the t-rex might have eaten the narrator instead), or lawyers don't taste bad. Al himself said on a Q&A on his website that the joke was deliberately left ambiguous for the listener to decide.
    • There's the abandoned "Has anyone ever told you you've got Yugoslavian hands?" pickup line from "Wanna B Ur Lovr", a song consisting of nothing but lame pickup lines. Is it a reference to the joke about "Russian (rushing) hands and Roman (roaming) fingers"? A lead-in to a "Czech-mate" joke? A nod to Al's Yugoslavian grandparents? Just nonsense?

  • There's a series of posters that describe people in the style of weather forecasts (e.g. a man who always takes a shower before work has the description "steamy in the morning"). The description for a baby mentions "showers". Does this refer to crying, or peeing? Or is it a pun about a "baby shower", as in a party for an expectant mother?

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Gundham Tanaka requires virgin blood for a satanic ritual, and Sonia Nevermind replies that her blood wouldn't meet the requirements. Virgin's blood can both refer to the blood of someone who has never had sex or the blood of someone whose blood has never been used in a satanic ritual before, and given Sonia is both a Covert Pervert and Nightmare Fetishist, both are plausible.

    Web Animation 
  • Bino the Elephant, when Dr. Z says "It's okay Bino, I have more" after Bino accidentally kills his wife. Does Dr. Z practice polygamy, or, being a Mad Scientist, does he have clones or other copies of Meredith?
  • Hazbin Hotel: After Katie Killjoy tells Charlie she's a homophobe because she has "standards", Charlie asks "how's that working out for you?" while gesturing towards a banner that reads "Hell's #1 News Program!" Is Charlie implying that Katie's homophobia was what landed her in Hell or that she would only be a popular news personality in Hell?
  • Helluva Boss:
    • Blitzo has Stolas listed in his contacts under "bird dick". Is this an insulting nickname, or an indication that Stolas has avian genitals?
    • In "Loo Loo Land", Loona screams "shut the fuck up!" from offscreen after Blitzo announces that the group is going to Loo Loo Land through a megaphone, seemingly more affected by the noise than Moxxie or Millie despite being further away from its source than them. Is this because she has a dog's sensitive hearing? Or did she come to work hung over, like in the pilot?
    • In "Spring Broken", Blitzo threatens to call HR on Verosika, which the two of them and Verosika's bodyguard Vortex laugh at, implying Blitzo was joking. Were they laughing because it's Hell and people being mean and nasty to each other is encouraged? Because HR stands for Human Resources and everyone involved was a demon? Because they don't work for the same company, so no HR department would have jurisdiction in the matter? Or was it just a gag about the stereotypical uselessness of HR?
    • In "Exes and Oohs", Moxxie says that Crimson once referred to Chaz as a "friendless horsefucker", which Blitzo misquotes as "horseless friendfucker". Was this just a Freudian Slip from Blitzo turning over the fact that Chaz slept with two of Blitzo's friends in his head? Or, since he's a horse lover, did he intentionally switch the words around to avoid speaking of his favorite animal in such a vulgar way?
  • RWBY Chibi: While reading Blake's copy of Ninjas of Love, Ruby admiringly comments "now that's a katana". Is she using "katana" as a euphemism, or, since Ruby is a weapons junkie, is she talking about a literal katana?

  • Awkward Zombie: "The Pokemon Effect" is how Pokémon was extremely popular when the Katie was in grade school, unpopular in high school, and became popular again in college. This was meant as a commentary about the ups and downs of the franchise's popularity, but some readers interpreted it as a commentary on maturity and the perceptions thereof, with high schoolers seeing Pokémon as "kid's stuff" (or at least acting like they do) and college students outgrowing the desire to be grown up and the fear of being seen as childish.
  • Sandra and Woo: One strip has Larisa comment that Yuna's discussion of naked singularities and black holes sounds perverted. It's possible that she was talking about the use of the term "naked singularity". On the other hand, Larisa's Russian, and it's a popular misconception that the literal Russian translation of "black hole" refers to something extremely vulgar and perverse (Russians supposedly call them "frozen stars" instead), so it's also possible that her comment was a nod at the myth.
  • Scandinavia and the World: In the strip titled "Imposter", Sweden tells his fellow Nordics that there's a Nordic imposter among them, and Iceland thinks it could be Finland because he "talks weird". This could be interpreted as a joke on how Finnish is a Finnic language and not a Germanic one, or a joke on the fact that he's usually mute and doesn't talk at all.
  • Spiked Math: "Sex Proofs" ends with a censored "proof by brute force". If you use the cryptanalytic interpretation of "brute force", it means that the characters are trying every way to have sex to find out what works. However, if you take "brute force" more literally, it becomes a Black Comedy Rape joke (or at least a joke about violent sex).

    Web Original 
  • This entry on I Used to Believe concerns a boy who thought bodily organs were the same as the instrument known as an "organ", and asked his friends why we never hear music from them. He mentions that they didn't answer, but later, one of them farted and the other said, "There — there's some music from one of Olivia's organs!", prompting them both to laugh. The submitter notes that even now, he doesn't know whether the girls laughed because they just found farts funny, or if they found it funny that he didn't know the double meaning of "organ".
  • Neopets: In this article, the section regarding not getting paper petpets wet mentions not to let them near the little Neopet across the street "if you know what I mean". Does this mean that the Neopet across the street is a baby and may drool on the petpet, is not toilet trained and may pee on them, is too young to look after a petpet and may dunk them in water, or was painted with a Water paintbrush?
  • Nobody Here: The ashes of the dead dog in "Hermit". Is it a joke about people's ability to get lost in mourning or about him getting "bitches"?

    Web Videos 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd: In the episode covering Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mecha Death Christ responds to the Nerd saying "holy shit" with a shout of "watch your fucking language!" On the surface, this seems like a bit of Hypocritical Humor, but some fans interpret it as the "holy" part being what angered SMDC; under this reading of the joke, he was objecting to the Nerd's blasphemy, not his use of profanity.
  • bill wurtz: In "out to lunch", the protagonist walks into an empty room, turns to a table, and says "Hey, Gina!" He then tells the viewers that he was just kidding and "there's nobody named Gina." Does he mean that nobody named Gina is in the room, or that (apparently) nobody on the planet is named Gina?
  • Dark Simpsons:
    • In "Skinner Loves His Willie" the basic plot of the story revolves around Bart discovering Principal Skinner in an affair with Groundskeeper Willie, which angers Superintendent Chalmers. Is he upset because two staff members were making or having sex out in view of children, or he is just homophobic?
    • In "I'm Mr. Burns, Blah, Blah, Blah", when Homer gives Mr. Burns his report on the accounting department, irt cuts to the "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times" scene from "Last Exit to Springfield". Was Homer so stupid that he actually thought a single, misspelled sentence would make for a good report, or did he just forget to write it and gave Mr. Burns a random paper instead?
    • A running joke is Michael Jackson molesting Bart. However, "Jackson" himself is represented by Leon Kompowsky. This raises the question of whether or not he really is Jackson, or just some delusional man like Kompsoki was in canon.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History
    • "Abraham Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris" has Lincoln threaten to rip out Norris' chest hairs and put them in his mouth. This was probably meant to be a Shout-Out to The Way Of The Dragon, since Bruce Lee's character did something very similar to Chuck's during their fight, but the perceived homoeroticism meant that some viewers saw it as a reference to allegations from some historians that Lincoln was bisexual.
    • "The Mythbusters vs. The Ghostbusters": When addressing the Mythbusters, Venkman derisively refers to somebody as "The Lorax". Is he talking about Jaime Hyneman, due to Hyneman having a mustache similar to the Lorax's? Or is he talking about Walter Peck, an EPA agent the Ghostbusters were at odds with?
    • At the end of the video "Romeo and Juliet vs Bonnie and Clyde", Bonnie shoots Juliet, causing her to collapse. Romeo thinks Bonnie killed her and poisons himself. When Juliet regains consciousness, she is horrified when she sees Romeo lying dead, and stabs herself. Bonnie and Clyde are confused at what just happened. However, when they realize they have each other at least, they are immediately shot. Then the battle ends, and the announcer says "Who won? Who's next? You decide! Epic Rap Battles of History!" as usual. The problem is, he says the first part in a quiet voice and the second part in a loud voice. Some see the first part as mirroring Bonnie and Clyde's confused reaction to Romeo and Juliet's deaths, and the second part as the announcer getting back into character. Others see the first part as mirroring Juliet having woken up and regained consciousness, and the second part as mirroring Juliet's horrified reaction to Romeo's death.
    • "James Bond vs. Austin Powers" has Connery's Bond brag that if he had a Mini-Me, Peter Dinklage would be cast to play him, with Craig's Bond responding "Or maybe they should cast someone who's actually English". Is he saying this in reference to the fact that Dinklage is American? Or is he mocking the fact that Sean Connery was Scottish, not English? Or is he commenting on how Lloyd, who's playing Connery's Bond, isn't English?
    • Part of Peter's Copycat Mockery of Lloyd involves him standing on a box. Is this a dig at Lloyd's height via Scully Box? Or, since Peter is accusing Lloyd of complaining too much about his problems, is he illustrating Lloyd's tendency to get up on a soapbox?
    • "Ronald McDonald vs The Burger King": The Burger King derisively says McDonald's meat 'turns [his] asshole into a drive-thru'. Is this a reference to diarrhea or (given how congested drive-thrus can get) constipation?
    • "Jeff Bezos vs. Mansa Musa": Musa tells Jeff that if he wants workers that don't piss, he should get some camels. Is this a reference to Amazon's infamously draconian bathroom break policies (since camels don't need much water and therefore won't urinate as much), or does Musa mean "piss" as in complain (since camels can't talk and therefore won't be able to complain)?
  • JonTron
  • Lily Orchard: "Steven Universe Is Garbage and Here's Why" originally opened with Lily saying, "Oh, dear lord, this was a mistake?" Is the mistake Steven Universe itself, or Lily making the video?
  • In the comments of a video titled "'Meow' in Different Languages", where the Turkish part is illustrated with a viral video of a Turkish man yelling, "MEOW!", someone commented, "I am Turkish and I can truly confirm that this is how the cats sound on the streets". Is this just an absurdist joke, or are they saying the cats are very loud and exaggerating for comedic effect?
  • The Nostalgia Chick: The song "Everyone's a Whore on Halloween" from her review of The Worst Witch has the lyric "Vampires are bitches/And trust me, they're not doing any witches". Is the implication that vampires are gay and wouldn't be interested in the company of women (since witches are generally assumed to be female), or that they're cowards too afraid to bite witches?
  • Twisted Translations: The main joke is always that the translations are bad, but there are some lines that could be taken in more than one way, but it's humorous either way:
    • One of the Taylor Swift songs has Malinda in Taylor garb saying, "Gays, now we have a problem". Some people have interpreted that line as "Taylor" being a homophobe, while others have interpreted it as her wanting to tell some gay people about a problem.
    • The title of "All I Want for Christmas is You" turned into "All I Want for Christmas is Your Baby". Does the singer (who's a duck, we might add) want to kidnap someone's baby, or have kids with them?
    • In the "Mother Knows Best" video, Gothel often talks as though she's going to die. Is the joke that she's an emo now, or is she actually going to die?
    • The line "Dinner and back to the bathroom" in "Google Translate Makes Dinner". Are they going to the bathroom because they have food poisoning or because they want to flush the dinner down the toilet? Either way, it works well with the theme of a Lethal Chef and it's a rare example of continuity since a toilet was mentioned earlier in the video, and now they're going back to the bathroom.
    • In "Baby, it's Cold Outside", "Karid" mentions that he "can't kill Grandpa". Is the joke that he tried to kill his grandfather but can't, or that he was told to kill his grandfather but refused?
    • In "Look What You Made Me Do", one lyric is that "Bobby is not a believer". Is Bobby an atheist, or (since the singer claims she's dead at one point) does he not believe in ghosts?
    • "This Is Halloween" has the lyrics "I am a prostitute and I'm sorry/Flash mode does not work here" sung by a female character. Is she apologizing for being a prostitute, or for flash mode not working?
    • In "Total Eclipse of the Heart", the lyric "I don't know what to do when I was in school" recurs. Is the singer bad at academics or socially inept? The fact that the video shows her looking through a textbook in confusion while singing that line indicates the former, but the video was made well after the lyrics were generated.


Video Example(s):


Ralph the Viking

There's debate over whether Ralph's line "Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a Viking!" meant he dreams he was a Viking, or was a strange metaphor for being good at sleep.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / AlternativeJokeInterpretation

Media sources: