A type of joke where a character leads the audience or other characters into thinking he or she is going to say or do something, but says or does something unexpected. If the punch line of the joke causes the first part to take on a new meaning (i.e., "I just flew in from Chicago, and boy are my arms tired"), it is technically called a "paraprosdokian."
The origin of the name comes from a now-illegal advertising practice in which a store would bait a customer into their store with an advertisement featuring a product selling for a reduced price, but when the customer got there they would find out that they were "all out" of the advertised product... but the store would be happy to sell a similar product for just a few dollars more, thus performing the switch.
- Bait-and-Switch Accusation
- Bait-and-Switch Boss
- Bait-and-Switch Comment
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison
- Bait-and-Switch Credits
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot
- Bait-and-Switch Lesbians
- Bait-and-Switch Sentiment
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant
- Berate and Switch
- Commercial Switcheroo
- Debate and Switch
- Decoy Protagonist
- Discriminate and Switch
- Double Subversion
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion
- Subverted Trope
- The Unfought
- Well, This Is Not That Trope
These sources have so many of these gags that they have their own sub-pages:
- Global Agenda's rather hilarious ad starts out about an elf, then has a laser point on his face, followed by a bullet all shot by a Recon agent who is the actual playable character shown here.
- Several of the original Energizer Bunny commercials used a similar trick, with the bunny interrupting a commercial for another (fictional) product.
- World of Tanks ads do this just about every single time, with the (Seeming) protagonist of the ad blown up in various ways by a tank.
- Here, with a Bog Standard fantasy MMO with an Orc who kills a legion of Elves only to be run over by a tank.
- Here, with a Shoot 'em Up space combat sim without Casual Interstellar Travel, resulting in the player travelling for 6 IRL months only to loose all the work when a lucky shot from a tank dirtside blows him to flinders.
- Here, where an Illegal Drag Race is cut short by one of the cars pulping itself on a tank.
- A series of commercials from 1999 and 2000 are ads for Disney Channel but are set up at first to make the viewer think they're about something else like a teen running home to go to the bathroom, or a group of teens running in horror like they're trying to escape something. They always ended with someone Breaking the Fourth Wall and saying, "What'd you expect?"
- There's a commercial that shows a man happily eating dinner with his girlfriend who's very obviously another man in a wig and dress. Halfway through the dinner, the "girlfriend" admits that there's something the man should know in advance about their relationship... that the pizza he's currently eating isn't delivery but DiGiorno.
- One PSA starts with a bunch of teens playing pool. One of them starts talking about something crazy he did and how his parents would probably cry when they find out. The rest of the group, obviously expecting something awful, asks what it is. Cut to him cleaning up his whole house for his parents and his parents' reaction when they return home.
- A very infamous example is a commercial showing a montage of animals in Africa with their young while Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" plays in the background. At the very end of the commercial, a watermark appears in the bottom of the screen showing that this was an advertisement for Pampers diapers.
- This is, unfortunately, Truth in Television, and isn't usually funny, even if the one doing the bating-and-switching may (or may not) think so. Some parents have actually done this to their sons / daughters. One example appears in a radio ad, although it (the ad) was intended to be funny:
Mom: Hurry, or we'll be late for the Aerosmith concert!
(everyone gets in)
Mom: Did I say "Aerosmith concert"? I meant "dentist appointment!"
- For Super Bowl 42, Career Builder.com released this ad featuring a Jiminy Cricket expy who attempts to inspire a poor schlub into loving his crapsack job...but he is promptly eaten by an enterprising spider, who gives the employee an expression that says, "...really?"
- An advertisement for the European Portuguese Cartoon Network appears to be at first for The Amazing World of Gumball—the narrator mentions a blue cat, and Gumball just happens to be a blue cat—but Darwin then mentions that they are probably not talking about Gumball, and the ad is revealed to be for Doraemon.
- A series of Geico commercials were set up like this.
- A non-funny example comes from an Australian domestic violence PSA. A man hears his neighbor beating his wife in the next apartment, so he grabs a baseball bat, runs into the next apartment and...gives his neighbor the bat to aid him with the beating.
"Do nothing, and you may as well lend a hand."
- Early in 2016, B Sky B revealed their new Sky Q service with its Fluid Viewing feature. There were some adverts broadcast where it'd play out as a normal commercial for something else to begin with, then around 10 seconds into it, the Sky Q Guide menu would appear with the commercial playing at the side of the screen. A program would be selected (Most adverts used The Walking Dead), and then the Sky Q commercial would play as if it were the original advert.
- One commercial is seemingly a home appliance advert, complete with a badass, bearded, trucker-looking man dusting off his gloves as he prepares to remove a tree stump from the ground, complete with a badass rock song blaring in the background. He wraps a chain around the stump, attaches it to his pickup truck, speaks to the camera, and then gets in the truck and floors it....and the back of the pickup comes off. It's a tire advertisement.
- Sears has a very famous series of advertisements for home appliances that went like this.
- One has a young, attractive, fashionable couple playing around on a beach, very much in love, complete with stylized words appearing onscreen occasionally (obviously building itself up to be a clothing commercial.) They run down the beach, staring at each other as they do...and the guy runs into a refrigerator. The camera then zooms out to reveal a group of home appliances placed on the beach as text and a voiceover cheerfully announce the ongoing sale. Then the girl runs into the fridge.
- Another one had a Captain Morgan expy staring down a scope at a beach as his parrot flies towards it... and instead of seeing his parrot land on a beer stash, the the parrot flies into a fridge.
- A third one dubbed "Connecting Flights" starts out as a trailer for a Christmas-themed Romantic Comedy... and then the guy runs into a fridge.
- One Anti-Drunk Driving ad shows a guy bidding his dog goodbye before heading out to the club, then the dog sadly waiting all night, looking up hopefully every time he hears a motor. So far, it's the typical "If you die in a drunk driving accident, your dog will never understand why you never came home" plotline. Then, the next morning, the man returns home safe and sound and apologizes to his dog, saying he decided not to drive home drunk and instead spent the night there.
- One Fruity Pebbles commercial from 1995 has Fred eating his Pebbles at a haunted house when Barney comes in pulling off a Bedsheet Ghost act. Fred buys it despite the fact that we can still clearly tell it's Barney, but soon, Fred sees through the disguise lifting off the bedsheet revealing...a skeleton! This causes Fred to run off to Uncanny Valley as we discover it really was Barney all along.
- A 1984 Smokey Bear PSA features a narrator describing man's discovery of fire while two rugged men light warm themselves around a fire and light a torch. However, as the narration mentions that man never learned to be responsible with fire, we pan out to see that the men are not cavemen, but modern-day campers, who proceed to carelessly leave their lit torch on the ground.
"After two million years, isn't it about time we acted our age?"
- Farmer's Insurance has a series of commercials showing some of the more bizarre things they've covered. One of these is referred to as a "Truck-cicle". We see a reenactment of the incident which shows two men ice fishing. One of them parks his truck on the ice and climbs out with a massive drill, implying he causes the truck to break through the ice by improper drilling. Instead, he puts his foot through the ice while carrying the drill and causes the truck to break through from the crack that forms from that.
- Big Spot.com has a series of commercials that start out looking like commercials for special as-seen-on-TV ads, but they get interrupted halfway through with someone saying how terrible that ad was, then they advertise the website.
- A Honey Nut Cheerios commercial from the early 1980's has a woman who just came home from the store. She tells her husband two things. The first was that Honey Nut Cheerios had no cholesterol, and the second was that she wrecked the car. The husband screams, "WHAT?!" Although the reason he did was in reaction to the firstthing she said (even though the second was more worthy of that kind of reaction)!
- In a radio commercial for the Richmond, VA diamond-selling store Diamonds Direct, the commercial starts off with a burly-sounding man telling about how the "listener's" girlfriend has been checking him out, taking pictures of him and talking about him with other girls and requests talking it out with him. It's only when he says where he'll be that we find out that he's a diamond ring.
- One UNICEF public service announcement took place at a wedding, where all of the preparations are being made before the ceremony and at one point we see the bride's and the groom's shoes sitting next to one another. What looks like a fairytale wedding between a man and a petite woman (complete with a sign that says "She belongs to me") is in actuality a young girl being married off to a grown man in an anti-child bride advertisement.
- Another PSA has a man working in his living room and standing unsteadily on a ladder while his wife comes by, carrying both their infant daughter and a cup of tea, and warns him to be careful as she leaves the room. The next scene is of the wife crying in the hospital at someone's bedside and the father soon joins her in the room. Turns out, their baby was accidentally scalded by the tea the wife was drinking.
- One commercial has a teenage girl reveal to her parents that she got her tongue pierced. Her parents get visibly upset and launch into a "How could you? We thought we raised you better than this" lamentation — but it turns out that they're not upset that she got her tongue pierced; they're upset that she didn't take the time to find the lowest possible price for her piercing from some company/website that's the actual focus of the ad.
- One Australian ad starts with a confident young man racing in his car down an open country road while the upbeat song note Stumblin' by Powderfinger plays over it. It looks like any high-performance car ad, with quick shots focusing on the accelerator revving, the driver moving up the gears, the car blazing around corners at top speed, then the driver desperately swerves to the other side of the road to avoid smashing into the back of a truck he couldn't see coming up in front of him and the music cuts off as his car smashes brutally into the broadside of another car that had been coming the opposite direction. The rest of the ad sees the dazed and bloodied driver stagger out of his car, look into the vehicle he hit, and have a total breakdown as he realises he killed all the occupants with his stupidity. It's an anti-speeding ad.
- Subverted in part one of Tamagotchi! episode 25 where Memetchi claims to be moving away to another town, but after a lot of minutes, she switches it to a crying sensation.
- One chapter of Franken Fran starts off with a young girl waking up in the middle of the night, and coming face-to-face with a monster that attacks her. It turns out to be a horror movie Fran and her assistants are watching.
- In Bakuon!!, there is the first flashback of Rin's childhood, where it seems that her father died after an accident. Then, in present day, he's very fine and mocking Rin's Katana motorcycle (and driving the same model that her own daughter got by writing an essay when he was in the hospital!).
- One Yona of the Dawn episode has Yona apparently being spotted by an enemy soldier while in hiding. The soldier was just calling for his friend.
- Your Name: In the last part, there's a moment where Taki and Mitsuha walk past each other, take turns to turn as if recognising the other, but then ultimately walking off. It looks like it will happen a second time the very last moments of the film, complete with the sad ending theme playing... And just when viewers familiar with Shinkai's work think he's going to pull his usual did not get together thing, they do eventually sort of recognise each other at the end.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Played with at the end of the Making A Better Product in Northern Europe strip, when Iceland is seen, sitting innocuously and eating licorice. He looks directly into the camera and deadpans, "What, were you expecting something?"
- Played straight in one chapter of World☆Stars, when Latvia seems to finally realize the fact that he's amazing at things, should he actually put forth the effort:
Latvia: (completes the railroad) Whoa, it worked?!Latvia: (trembling in excitement) A-Amazing...! To think that I made it by imitation and succeeded in one shot! All these talents and powers have always been hidden inside me!Latvia: (calms down immediately) Not a chance, right? I'm really no good, getting that puffed up over this.
- In the Pokémon episode, "Bye, Bye, Psyduck", Misty's Psyduck appears to have evolved into Golduck, and she has now fallen in love with it. However, at the end of the episode, when she calls Golduck to return into its Pokeball, Psyduck comes out of Misty's backpack proving that it's still Psyduck, and it turns out the Golduck was just a wild Golduck after all.
- When Kurume meets her crush's younger brother for the first time at work in RaButa, he said that he wanted to tell her something after their shift was over. Cut to him confessing that he's in love with her... best friend.
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
- Done twice in "I Can't Hear the Fireworks" (Chapters 44 and 45). At first, it looks like, thanks to Hayasaka taking her place at home, she'll be able to watch the fireworks with the student council, but she makes it just in time fore the festivities to be over. Disheartened, she goes to cry under a stairway, where Shirogane finds her regardless and gets her on a taxi to watch the fireworks from Chiba (whose fireworks show had been delayed by half an hour due to rain) with the rest of the student council.
- Chapter 70 starts off with what looks like a Panty Shot of one of the girls getting changed... until it's revealed that the person getting changed was Ishigami.
- When Hayasaka gets stuck at a mixer, she's able to successfully get Shirogane alone. Based on her frustration with Kaguya's disregard for her feelings, and her remembering her mission from last time she was with Shirogane, she looks like she's going to either steal him away or force a confession out of him... but all that happens is she goes down to Shirogane's horrible singing.
- While doing a bit about football Robin Williams described quarterbacks as "men with big hands and big feet, and you ladies know what that means. Yes... big gloves and big shoes."
- Emo Phillips's comedy is based heavily around this trope/paraprosdokians.
- Groucho Marx was fond of these in his acts.
- As was Mitch Hedberg. "I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long."
- Anthony Jeselnik loves incorporating these into his comedy, especially if it falls under his trademark Black Comedy.
"My ex-girlfriend bought a parakeet. Oh my God, that fucking thing never shut up. But the bird was cool.""My girlfriend makes me want to be a better person...so I can get a better girlfriend.""I've spent the last two years looking for my ex-girlfriend's killer...but no one will do it."
- Wendy Liebman is a one-liner comedienne who thrives on this.
I married a man with a five year old...mentality. And he cooks! Ladies, isn't it sexy when the guy cooks...naked?
- Rowan Atkinson's "Fatal Beatings" sketch focuses on a school headmaster, played by Atkinson, with profoundly Skewed Priorities, who seems more interested in the library card system than the fact that he beat a student to death. He informs the bewildered father that he's furious, because he had to cancel afternoon school on Wednesday for the funeral. Then he tells the father he was joking...he wouldn't cancel afternoon school to bury "that little shit".
- Issue 154 of Conan the Barbarian has a treatise on "Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War" by Jim Owsley (the assistant editor of the comic)... who soon denounces the book and instead reviews Jaws III. Read it here.◊
- A running gag in Batgirl (2011) for a while is Babs's friend Frankie having an idea for her codename as Batgirl's Voice with an Internet Connection, but never getting to say what it is, although on at least one occasion she gets as far as revealing it starts with "O". It eventually turns out to be "Operator", and not the obvious Mythology Gag.
- Played for Drama during Daredevil's storyline in Original Sin. We're lead to believe that Matt Murdock's father, Jack, was actually an Abusive Dad all along as Matt's given a brief vision of an angry Jack. Matt confronts his mother about it and finds out oh, no, father was still a loving saint. It was her that was the monster - she was suffering from post-natal depression and tried to kill baby Matt in a depression-induced hallucination, only to snap out of it when she slipped on some spaghetti. The angry look was less of anger and more of protection and confusion.
- A recurring theme in DC Rebirth has been particularly divergent New 52 versions of characters being replaced or supplemented by more traditional versions (Supes, Wally West, and Lobo being the most notable). So when Superwoman gives us a character who looks and acts a lot like the pre-Flashpoint Maxima declaring that she, not the Schoolgirl Lesbian from Supergirl (2011), is the true Maxima, it looks like it's happening again. But nope, turns out the supposed "true Maxima" is just a deluded Almeracian who thinks Max is betraying her heritage.
- Ultimatum: If Hela allows Valkyrie to leave the land of the dead, someone has to stay in her place. Captain America tells Thor that he will stay: as far as they know, he's dead, how else can he be there? The focus moves to other parts of the plot, and we get the idea that he's the one who stays. But no: it was Thor who stayed.
- In this Sunday story, a dog was approaching Garfield, giving the impression he'd maul the cat but then the dog instead invites Garfield for lunch. Garfield commented that "Things aren't always as they seem".
- Jon asks Odie to guess who's going to the vet. Garfield, believing Odie to be the one, makes up a tale to make the experience seem scary and then Jon reveals that Garfield is the one going to the vet.
- One week's Drabble strips (week of November 13-18 2017) were told as a nightmare Ralph was having of the Abominable Pumpkin-Man. As the week goes on, he tells of the Pumpkin-Man's creation, use as a Halloween decoration, disposal, and apparent rise from the garbage can. In the Friday strip, he hears a knock at the door. On Saturday, he opens it to find...his mother-in-law coming for Thanksgiving.
- A Dilbert strip had Dilbert telling Dogbert about his boss's secretary demanding that he "bring her the head of Willy the mail boy." He sets a bag with a large round bulge on the table...
Dilbert: What choice did I have? I went bowling.
- Philippe Geluck's character Le Chat tends to deliver this kind of humor, like so:
The optimist sees the glass half full.The pessimist sees the glass half empty.Yet neither of those two dumbasses wondered why they were only being served half glasses.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfics use this trope sometimes:
Big Mac: Would you like to know why they call me "Big Mac"? It's because I love to mack on yarr. And also because I've got a giant co--
- I Have This Friend... has Twilight approach Celestia, looking for romantic advice on behalf of her "friend", who has romantic feelings for a pony who sounds suspiciously similar to Princess Celestia. Turns out, Twilight was asking for advice on behalf of Applejack regarding her feelings for Rarity.
- Ultra Fast Pony: The episode "Pirate Shipping" uses this, and then immediate switches right back.
(14 HOURS LATER)
- In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, Queen Chrysalis performs one during the first hearing on the entire courtroom, pretending to build up one of her famous outbursts before suddenly backing down and making the judges stumble over themselves.
- In The Lunar Guardsman, Pinkie Pie comes across an unconscious Raegdan. She veers into explaining, while her hooves run across his naked form, to noone about how there are things that daughters want to do to their fathers but can't, but he is different in that he acts like one to her in a fashion so would not be angry in a way as her real one would. She then takes the chance to unleash her urges and draw on him with a pink marker.
- Early in Blizzard Storm, it seems as though Lazuli would either be an important character, if not one of the main antagonist. However, now with the author saying that the fic is almost finished, she has had more or less no significance to the story.
- In You Got HaruhiRolled!, Haruhi crosses a busy street. She narrowly escapes being run over by countless vehicles, and makes it to the other side of the road safely. Immediately after, she is crushed by a blimp which crashes from out of nowhere.
- Sophistication and Betrayal has the protagonist run home for a brief tryst with his girlfriend, only to cut to the next scene of him... bouncing a ball of a wall. The way this is described, you'd think it was initially describing something completely different.
- It Sucks to Be Weegie!: In one comic, the pudgy hero of the Mushroom Kingdom whose name starts with M is finally showing up in the comic! You're expecting it to be Mario, aren't you? Nope, sorry, it's actually Mallow.
- Shadows Awakening has a meta example. When the Phantom sends Wong to retrieve the first Oni mask, it looks like the story will turn into another alternate take on Season 4... until the Phantom forbids Wong to go after the other masks (as that would only aid their enemy Tarakudo), sending him on a different quest. Word of God is that this is in fact the only similarity to canon that will happen, as the story will focus on a different set of MacGuffins.
- In the Medaka Box fanfic World As Myth, the Chapter 8 cliffhanger implies a battle between Zenkichi Hitoyoshi and Koi Munakata. Come Chapter 9, we have a fight between Nekomi Nabeshima and Tokemichi Choujabaru.
- The Total Drama fanfic, Courtney and the Violin of Despair is a meta example. The story is billed as a "kinder, gentler 'Courtney bashing' story", but it doesn't take long for perceptive readers to discover that the "bashing" target is actually being treated like The Woobie.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
- Act III has a rather dark example, both in and out of universe. In chapter 11, when the rest of the group are outside of Tsukune's room reacting in shock, Moka initially assumes that they're referring to Tsukune's cracked Holy Lock and responds in kind... until she walks into the room and sees they were actually shocked at the sight of Kokoa pinning Tsukune down and raping him.
- In Act VI chapter 36, Kurumu and Yukari fondle Apoch and Astreal's breasts to see who's are bigger, only discovering afterwards that there was a tape measurer off to the side the whole time and they just did so for nothing. As Apoch and Astreal are about to take revenge on the two, Razico yells "Hold it!", and we briefly think he's trying to break up the fight. Instead, he reminds Apoch and Astreal that they've already caused enough damage to Fang Fang's home, and orders them to take it outside.
- Zigzagged in Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
Vegeta: Now watch, Kakarrot, as your life becomes inconsequential, as I reveal my GIANT MONKEY—
[camera zooms in on Vegeta's crotch; crowd gasps]
[camera goes back to Vegeta's face; crowd sighs in relief]
Random Guy in Crowd: Thank god, I thought he meant penis!
- In Off The Line when Bigshot discovers Rainstorm's actual gender when he lets down his disguise, he keeps asking if Rainstorm's gay. He stubbornly refuses to let the subject die and or let Rainstorm change the subject. When Rainstorm reluctantly admits that he's bisexual, Bigshot turns out to be supportive of Rainstorm's sexuality and gives him a Bear Hug to Rainstorm's relief.
- In Adamantine Mist, after Ranma and Akane destroy gifts she received from her mother, Kasumi announces that since their engagement is off, she will be the one to marry Ranma and will do so in two weeks time. Both Ranma and Akane agonize over it but can't confess their feelings due to their Belligerent Sexual Tension. Come the wedding day, it's revealed that it's a double wedding: Akane marrying Ranma and Kasumi marrying Dr. Tofu.
- In The Fourth Apprentice, Sarutobi has decided to come out of retirement as a sensei and train another student. All the signs and the premise of the plot at first point to as though he's going to select Naruto to be his student, however he doesn't pick Naruto, he chooses Sakura.
- In The Greatest There Was Or Ever Will Be, Ash and Brock take a tour of Silph Co. while the girls go shopping, and are on edge because they know that Team Rocket is planning to attack the place. During the tour, they notice a man wearing a trench coat and generally acting suspicious. At the end of the tour, the man takes off his coat, frightening the tour guide, and Ash is prepared for battle... only for the man to turn out to be a streaker.
- In How I Learned to Love the Wild Horse, Ranma decides to talk to one of his new girlfriend Clover's friends as Ranko to learn more about her. While talking to Alex, Ranko mentions being worried about her "brother" because Clover's allegedly had several boyfriends. Alex starts getting pissed that she's suggesting Clover has an STD until Ranko asks if any of Clover's exes are the crazy jealous type who might try to come after Ranma.
- This Bites! has a number of them:
- When Cross gets the newspaper after Crocodile's uprising, he finds three bounty posters instead of two. The first two are for Luffy and Zoro as canon, and everyone thinks the third is Cross's, but it's only at the end that the readers find out that it's Vivi's.
- On the SBS, Cross details the easiest way to make the Whitebeard Pirates mad enough to bring their entire might on someone's head... stealing their sake.
- Cross uses this twice in quick succession when Robin tries to seduce answers out of him. First, he tells her that he'll answer all her questions if she does one thing: tell the Straw Hats about the day Ohara died. Second, when Robin asks if doing so will make him trust her, Cross answers no; he already trusts her.
- In Promises of a Wandering Hero Rider asks if Shirou would like to blow off some steam with her after a stressful day, to his eager agreement. Turns out they both meant a spar.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic A Little Different, Albus seems to be undergoing Gayngst but it turns out he's just worried how his mom will take him not supporting the Harpies anymore.
- A scene in The Pride of Sunnydale opens with a group of teens fleeing some monster in absolute terror and doing their damnedest to find somewhere safe from it. Said monster keeps picking them off the moment they turn their back on one of their group. When the final teen is killed, he turns to dust and it's revealed they were vampires running from Xander.
- In Penguins of Madagascar, the Penguins' break-in into Fort Knox. At first, you would think they were after the gold in the facility, but in reality, they were really after a bag of rare cheesy snacks for Private's birthday. Skipper even says a line that heavily implies that they were after the former.
- Kung Fu Panda:
- Double subverted: After suffering through one mishap after another that prevents him from getting into the tournament theater to see his favorite kung fu fighters in action, Po throws all caution to the winds, ties himself to a chair with hundreds of fireworks bound onto it, and prepares to light the fuse. His (adoptive) father shows up, incredulously demanding what he's doing. Admitting that he does not dream of making noodles, he lights the fuse and lets out a proud, reveling crow that he loves kung fu... only to have the fireworks do nothing, apparently duds. His dreams crushed, he sadly takes his apron to go back to work—only to have the fireworks go off after all.
- Later, when Po is talking to his goose father about how he doesn't want to work in the family noodle shop and comments about how sometimes he doesn't even think they're related. His father says there's something he needs to know, and everyone watching expects him to explain about how he's really adopted. He tells him how to make his secret ingredient soup. Cue laughter.
- In Aladdin, Aladdin has Abu reach down and snag a watermelon, but the merchant catches this. We then find out that this was actually meant to be a diversion to the merchant as Aladdin snatched another melon from the cart.
- Monsters, Inc.:
- The opening scene shows a monster sneaking up in a kid's bedroom. As the monster prepares to roar and looks menacing, the kid screams, which causes the monster to scream back and accidentally cause himself Amusing Injuries. The scene turns out to just be a training simulation.
- At the beginning of the movie, Mike and Sulley are excited to see a new commercial for their company. When they finally appear on screen, the Monsters, Inc. logo appears covering up nearly Mike's entire body. When the commercial ends, Mike stares in shock for a while and says, "I can't believe it." After another pause, he jumps for joy shouting, "I was on TV!". The same gag is repeated again at the end of the film. Mike sees a new magazine with him and Sulley on the front cover, but Mike's face is being covered by the barcode. He responds by saying, "I can't believe it... I'm on the front cover!"
- There's a scene where Sully tries to hide from Randall. Randall makes this face of shock as if he thought he heard something, but really, he made that face because he felt a sneeze coming on.
- Happens twice during Judy's first bullpen meeting as ZPD's very first rabbit officer. Before the meeting starts, Chief Bogo wants to acknowledge the elephant in the room... in order to wish her a happy birthday. The second item actually is the fact that they have their very first rabbit officer... but he doesn't care.
- When Judy shows a yak a picture of an otter that she and Nick are trying to track down, the yak lets out a gasp... but that gasp was only the lead up to a sneeze.
- In the climax when Bellwether strikes Nick with a night howler pellet, he goes savage, advances toward Judy menacingly and bites her...then she fakes death as it's revealed they faked it to trick Bellwether into revealing her scheme.
- The LEGO Movie: Emmet gets tricked with this by Bad Cop during their Perp Sweating scene:
Good Cop: Hi buddy! I'm your friendly neighborhood police officer! Would you like a glass of water?
Emmet: Yeah. Yeah, actually.
[Good Cop switches to his Bad Cop Personality]
Bad Cop: Too bad! [punts the cup off the table but misses Emmet completely]
- In The Three Caballeros, there is a part where Donald Duck misses a chance at kissing Ya-Ya because she was distracted by a guy selling oranges. Donald gets jealous and is about to go beat him up, but Jose pulls him away telling him to take it easy, and then... he gives Donald a mallet! (Which Donald could use to smash the oranges the guy is carrying overhead.)
- Fun And Fancy Free:
- During the scene where Donald Duck starts losing his mind due to a lack of food, he sees an axe and then looks evilishly at Mickey. He goes to get the axe, and then Mickey says, "Donald! No!" It's set up to make you think Donald is going to kill Mickey, but Donald actually went outside to kill the cow.
- When Willie the Giant makes his first appearance, we first see him in silhouette holding a mace, but when he comes into full view, the mace turns out to actually be a beach ball.
- In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, there's a scene where it seems like Flash is going to punch Snips. Turns out all he is doing is grabbing his cup to get more punch.
- In Blazing Saddles, one of this jokes is done when Bart says, "Excuse me while I whip this out," then proceeds to reach for a speech letter in his pocket, while the townsfolk gasp and cower in fear, thinking he's going to whip something else out instead.
- One of the few notable things about the Eddie Murphy movie Metro is the bait and switch the writers pull on the usual "character opens mirror cabinet, and someone pops up in the reflection when s/he closes it" trope (and they do it twice). Details.
- In the British gangster film Layer Cake, there's a variation on the Mirror Scare where the main character, in the middle of an angst-riddled drug- and whisky-fuelled freak out, opens the mirrored bathroom cabinet, music builds and then as he closes it the action suddenly cuts to the next morning, with the character neatly dressed and his problems resolved. It's a very powerful cut, subverting expectations at a moment of high drama.
- The Shawshank Redemption does one of these. Andy finds a grub of some sort in his first prison meal. As he's examining it, he has the following conversation with Brooks, a crusty old con who's been in prison for 50 years and may or may not have a few screws loose:
Brooks: Are you going to eat that?
Andy: Wasn't planning on it.
Brooks: [holds his hand out] Do you mind?
[Andy hands it over skeptically]
Brooks: [with a satisfied smile] Ahh, that's nice and ripe.
[he opens his jacket and feeds it to a baby raven in his pocket]
Brooks: Jake says "Thank you."
- One, Two, Three opens with one of these. James Cagney starts talking how the world was looking to Washington, D.C. on August the 13th of 1961... for a sports game. Oh, BTW, on the same day the Commies built the Berlin Wall.
- In Dead of Night, ventriloquist Maxwell Frere (Michael Redgrave) has his puppet, "Hugo", bow out with the words, "Good night, sleep tight, wake up sober."
- Quite cruelly used in The Artist. Near the end of the film, George's depression has reached its peak and he prepares to shoot himself. Realizing his intentions, Peppy races after him in her car, despite not knowing how to drive. The scene cuts back and forth between George and Peppy, ultimately ending on George with the gun in his mouth as he tenses up to pull the trigger, and the film cuts to a title card reading "BANG!" Immediately after that, we see Peppy's car crashed into a lamppost and George looking up to see what made that racket.
- The trailer for Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan opens on a pan to a character standing before a view of New York, giving an impression of a different kind of film. Only for the character to turn around to reveal himself as Jason Voorhees, and murder will ensue soon in a theater near you!
- The trailer for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III uses a similar structure, but adds an Arthurian twist on it.
- The alternate opening of Iron Man 2 begins with the usual Marvel Comics logo and studio credits, albeit overlaid with sounds of Tony gasping and crying out in utter agony. When we finally cut to Tony, he's completely wasted and face-first in a toilet; in full armor, no less.
- At the end of Girls Just Want to Have Fun, it looks like the Spoiled Brat won the contest, but the announcer was just stating it was a tie.
- The trappers in Cannibal! The Musical boast in song about their superiority to the prospectors. After a few verses of increasingly graphic descriptions of how they brutalize animals, the prospectors finally interrupt with disgust with how badly off key one of the trappers is singing.note
- The final scene of X-Men: Days of Future Past sets you up to believe that it's a Call-Forward tying in to previous, chronologically later movies, but switches gears at the last second. Wolverine's past self has been recovered by William Stryker, apparently setting up his involvement with Weapon X. Then we find out Stryker is actually Mystique in disguise.
- The opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A couple of boy scouts in rural Utah wander off from their troupe, go exploring in a cave and find a shady archeological dig, supervised by a man in a familiar fedora and leather jacket. You'd think it's typical Indiana Jones scenario, but not so much: the guy in the fedora is a random grave robber, and Indy is one of the boy scouts. The scene is a flashback to Indy's youth in the 1910s.
- Provided the viewer knew nothing about the film, or the franchise in general, the first part of Terminator 2: Judgment Day has one. Two people time-travel to 90s L.A.. There's the T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, i.e. the villain of the first film, who marches into a biker bar, and violently takes clothes from some bikers, the whole scene showing that it's an obvious Terminator. Meanwhile, the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick, attacks a police officer and (apparently) takes his clothes. Up until the two meet, the T-1000 acts much more human, though something seems off about his behavior. Then they meet... and it turns out they're both Terminators, with this T-800 being the one from the Resistance and the T-1000 being the one sent by Skynet.
- In the last scene of Twins, when the mother notes "I just can't get over how alike they are", the camera cuts to Julius and Vincent but then pans down to the twin babies in the buggies.
- Stargate Continuum: There's a bit during Baal's introduction as the newly self-appointed emperor of the entire Goa'uld Domain where he shouts "Bring in the prisoner!", succeeded by the camera following Teal'c walking into the throne room and positioned in a way that implies Teal'c has been captured by Baal's forces. Die-hard fans of the shows should already notice things are up because Teal'c actually has Baal's golden sigil engraved on his forehead, not that of his former master Apophis. Indeed, Apophis is the real prisoner, who has been captured by Teal'c after he defected to Baal.
- Rogue One: During a battle, Jyn reflexively shoots an Imperial droid, then looks in shock when she believes she shot K-2SO. As the droid falls, the actual K-2SO walks around a corner, asking if she knew that wasn't him.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has a plot point that an Obscurus is Powered by a Forsaken Child. At one point, Graves is speaking to Credence, saying that it is coming from his house. The viewer will likely deduce that child in his house is Modesty, who has been giving sinister glances to the camera the whole film and even has a wand under her bed. As it turns out, It's actually Credence.
- The Fugitive
- After Kimble's dive off the dam, Kimble is seen walking down a road at night. A woman stops and offers to give him a ride. Kimble climbs in and the car drives off. We then cut to the U.S. Marshal's office in Downtown Chicago where Cosmo Renfro tells Gerard, "Yes! All right, Sammy, we've got him - shacked up with some babe over in Whiting", and Deputy Erin Poole replies, "She left work tonight and took him home." We are led to think that Gerard and his men have received a tip about Kimble's whereabouts and they're on their way to grab him. The next morning, they storm the house, and it's revealed that the tip was actually about Copeland, the other fugitive who survived the train wreck alongside Kimble. He is shot by Gerard after he tries to take Newman hostage. The "babe" that Cosmo was referring to was the girlfriend hiding Copeland.
- An extremely quick one when Kimble first returns to Chicago; the first car he sees is a police car which startles him with its lights and siren, but it has nothing to do with Richard.
- Later, Kimble is having another dream about his wife when he wakes up, hearing cars screeching to a stop outside. He looks out and sees a Chicago Police Department tactical assault team advancing on the house. He panics, thinking that the police have come for him. He follows the noises of the officers as they search the house. He breathes a sigh of relief as he realizes that the police are actually there to arrest a pair of drug dealers who live upstairs. Unfortunately, one of the dealers, once in custody, rats on Kimble upon recognizing his picture on a Wanted poster.
- Dr. Alec Lentz is set up to be the Big Bad of the movie and orchestrator of Kimble's downfall. However, we learn halfway through the film that Lentz was killed in a car crash soon after Kimble's incarceration, and that the real villain was Dr. Charles Nichols.
- The Hobbit While wandering around the Woodelve's halls, Bilbo thinks Thranduil is speaking to him despite having the ring on, only for Tauriel to show up from behind him.
- It's at least Older Than Print. A tenth-century joke found in Britain goes What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? A key.
- There are several infamous jokes that are extremely lengthy stories that wind up leading up to a very misleading punchline. The Pink Gorilla joke is probably the most infamous.
- A couple go to the doctor for bedroom troubles. The doctor gives them a jar for a semen sample and tells them to come back in a week. One week later, the couple returns. "Well doc, it's worse than either of us thought. I gave it my best, first with one hand, then both, then my wife joined in, we tried sticking it in a door, with a bottle opener, a meat cleaver, even the dog chewed on it for a while... all that, and we still didn't manage to get this damn bottle open!"
- Ask someone "Have you heard the one about the pervert with a micropenis and a talent for bait-and-switch?" When they inevitably say no, act like you're going to whisper the punchline in their ear, and then lick their ear.
- A lot of the "dad jokes" the Game Grumps come up with contain this. "Why does Michael J. Fox make the best milkshakes? Because he uses the finest ingredients".
- In one of Louis Sachar's Wayside School book series, a hypnotist brainwashes a character so that, upon hearing the word "pencil", he will see another kid's ear as candy. The rest of the chapter deals entirely with the subject of a lost pencil, yet not one character says the word "pencil." That having been said, the chapter is titled "A Story With a Disappointing Ending." Several chapters later, when you're not looking for it, the Brick Joke hits.
- Maskerade, one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, is an homage to The Phantom of the Opera. There's a giant, poorly attached chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the theater, which several characters proclaim is an accident waiting to happen. Unlike in the Broadway musical version of Phantom of the Opera, however, this chandelier never does fall down, despite the villain's best efforts.
- Common in Ephraim Kishon's stories. For example, if he describes the Sabras (an Israeli cactus fruit, or an Israeli born in the country). "On the outer side, very prickly, but on the inside, completely inedible."
- In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, a letter with the seal and signature of the Duchess R is accompanied by an unlabeled photograph of said Duchess with Mr. Snicket's sister. Along with another unlabeled picture, which they told everyone was of them, but really wasn't.
- Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. Early on, there are flashes of a dream sequence that show an elven ship, two figures taller than six more that are holding hands, and two dragons flying into the sky. Early speculation figured it'd be Eragon and Arya sailing away, as Eragon was foretold to leave Alagaesia by Angela. However, at the end of Inheritance, Eragon leaves, but Arya doesn't. The romance everyone thought was going to happen ends up not happening and more than a few readers were completely flabbergasted by this twist.
- In The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon is describing the horrors of the cult he belongs in: "I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh. And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion."
- In one of The Witcher stories, Geralt pulls out a bag of coins in order to get past a guard, saying "Money opens all doors." The guard insists he can't be bribed, and Geralt quips "I'm not going to," before using the coin purse as a cosh to knock the guy out.
- Near the end of Mr Standfast by John Buchan, the hero learns that the villain has abducted the heroine, and rushes to the villain's lair, where he finds the villain standing over a figure in a chair — end of chapter. The next chapter is a flashback to the heroine's abduction, and ends with the revelation that she was rescued by their allies before reaching the villain's lair. The chapter after that identifies the figure in the chair as The Spymaster, come to tell the villain that his scheme has been defeated.
- The Assumption Song is based around this.
- The Dire Straits song "Industrial disease" contains a fairly subtle one: After listing two maladies caused by the protagonist's vices (smoker's cough from smoking, brewer's droop from drinking beer) the doctor in the song notes, "I don't know how you came to get the Bette Davis ...knees".
- Throughout most of the song, Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" seems to be a typical story about a boy missing a girl. However, at the very end of the song, the singer reveals that he is missing his daughter; This causes the listener to reconsider everything they just heard.
- The cover for the Gentle Giant album Acquiring the Taste appears on the front to be a tongue licking between two round, flesh-coloured cheeks. Turning to the other side of the album cover reveals that the flesh-coloured object is, in fact, a peach.
- John Frusciante has often been compared to Jesus because of his long-flowing hair and serene disposition during live shows. It's even gotten to the point where there's an old joke on the Internet that goes, "Why do people keep comparing John Frusciante and Jesus? I mean, he's great and all... but he's not as good as John Frusciante."
- Happens in Honey Works' "Ai no Scenario". The music video opens with Love Triangle between a noble lady who must choose between her rich but abusive fiance and her peasant lover. She eloped with the poor suitor and seemingly got killed on the run. Flash forward to the future, the girl is now dating a nice, brunet who looks like the poor lover, but their time together is constantly disrupted by an unpleasant blond who is rather reminiscent of the rich fiance. Later, it's revealed that the brunet is actually her past rich fiance who's just pretending to be nice, while the blond guy is the poor lover, who's behaving crudely because he knows of the other guy's scheme.
- This is the bread-and-butter of SiIvaGunner: Presenting uploads as "high quality rips" of video game tracks, only for these tracks to turn out to be mashups, remixes, or "In the Style of..." parodies upon listening.
- The St. Louis Blues, the first modern jazz hit, achieved popularity thanks to this. The composer, WC Handy, began the song with a tango-like habanera melody (which was very popular at the time of the composition) which abruptly shifted into a high energy jazz tune which would surprise the dancers. He even described the dancers when it was first played as being "electrified".
- On The Hamilton Mixtape, Jimmy Fallon prefaces "You'll Be Back" by assuring the listener that he is classically trained, having been taught by a New Jersey man named Ed Classically from out of Ed's mother's basement.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Foil" starts off as one of his fairly standard "food parody" songs until he says "Oh, by the way, I cracked the code" at which point it turns into a song about a Conspiracy Theorist.
- An interesting case with Twelve Foot Ninja and their song Coming for you. It opens as heavy metal, and then about 30 seconds in switches to salsa, followed by disco, back to metal and then threw a plethora of genres over the course of the song.
- In 2003, the International Wrestling Association hyped up their acquisition of the son of a former world champion and legend that is universally recognized, David Flair! Like Carly would ever work for another wrestling promotion! (Incidentally, Carly has since worked for several other promotions)
- At the 2007 Victory Road Voodoo Kin Mafia, who had been antagonized by Christy Hemme, who was taking advantage of the fact man on woman violence had been banned to screw them over in matches against Lance Hoyt and the Bashams, announced they found a solution to the problem while in New Orleans Louisiana. Most of the crowd recognized the hometown of Jazz immediately and did a double take when instead they were introduced to Voodoo Queen Roxi Laveaux.
- The host of WrestleMania 27 was a subject of great contention up until the night it was revealed. WWE itself got in on this that night by initially teasing with a shot of a limo pulling up, and a close-up of a pair of feminine feet in high heels. Minutes later, with the sudden playing of the theme music of long-inactive wrestler The Rock, the host was finally announced to be Dwayne Johnson himself, to the raucous cheers of the crowd. Dwayne even includes a little bait-and-switch in his following speech.
Now, The Rock is back because I wanted to do something unprecedented. Something no man had ever done before. I wanted to host WrestleMania. So it happened. The Rock called Vince McMahon and Vince McMahon said "Rock, I know why you're calling. I know you know I need a host for WrestleMania. Rock, there's only one man electrifying enough to host WrestleMania. Rock, there's only one man that can captivate the world. Rock, that man can only be Justin Bieber!"[Crowd boos]
- Distractions from an attempted union with Dragon Gate USA have allowed the nefarious "A Lister" Larry Dallas to sneak his way into EVOLVE's Tribute To The Arena beneath the shadow of the monstrous Ahtu. Ahtu has an open contract, free to both companies and Dallas boasts that he's better than any man on either company's roster...suddenly the crowd falls silent at the sound of a familiar beat and then jump to their feet. Low Ki had made his EVOLVE Debut! He swiftly deals with Ahtu, who will not be seen in the promotion for the rest of the year, before declaring his intentions to destroy every boy, actor and wannabe wrestler who was disgracing his profession!
- Devon Storm, who hadn't been seen in Ring of Honor for a year, returned in January of 2012, only to step aside after being paid off by Truth Martini to give his return match with Grizzly Redwood to Michael Elgin.
- In the 2017 Wreatlemania, the Undertaker did this as his entrance. The lights went out as lightning was flashing where he was supposed to enter from with everyone anticipating him to make his entrance. Suddenly, the lights all came back on, and he was already in the ring!
- Giles Wemmbley-Hogg starts his trip to India episode at a market, lots of Indian voices calling out, Indian music playing, only to reveal he's in Birmingham, before he leaves England.
- From The Goon Show (one of many examples):
Grytpype-Thynne: I thought I saw a Greek urn buried in the sand.
Moriarty: What's a Greek urn?
Grytpype-Thynne: It's a vase made by Greeks for carrying liquids.
Moriarty: I didn't expect that answer.
Grytpype-Thynne: Neither did quite a few smart-alec listeners.
- I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue had a recurring segment in which the panellists announced arrivals with Punny Names at a themed Charity Ball. (e.g. at the Christmas Ball: "Mr. and Mrs. Amanger, and their son Wayne.") One episode had a Cheesemakers' Ball, and one of the announcements was "Mr. and Mrs. Zola and their son... Emile." Or at the Menswear Ball, "From Scotland, Mr. and Mrs. Strap and their son... Dougal."
- You'll Have Had Your Tea: The Doings of Hamish and Dougal does this a lot, sometimes combining it with the Overly Long Gag. They take longer not to do the "Watson, someone has stolen our tent" gag than it takes to tell it.
- The News Quiz likes to use a similar form to the Have I Got News for You example (see above under "Live-action TV"), e.g.:
"King Juan Carlos of Spain has caused outrage among animal rights campaigners and recession-hit Spaniards by paying £27,000 to hunt elephants in Botswana. Facing rapid extinction and plagued by inbreeding, the Spanish royal family have ruled for centuries."
- In The Frantics' "Last Will and Temperament" sketch, the late Arthur Muldoon's will states that his overly-emotional sister Jenny shall be bequeathed a boot to the head (and one for her wimpy husband Hanknote ). Subverted with his alcoholic brother Hedge, to whom he bequeathed three crates of whiskey and a boot to the head (and one for Jenny and the wimp). To his know-it-all cousin Ralston, he bequeathed a boot to the head. To Mrs. Mulroy, who took care of him, he bequeathed a boot to the head (and another for Jenny and the wimp). To his cat... you get the point. To his lawyer, he left not a boot to the head but a rabid Tasmanian Devil, to be placed in his trousers.
- During an opening segment on the Keith Olbermann sports show, Keith described a Japanese pitcher who is hyped up as being a must sign; known for dominating in Japan, and is seen by experts as a future superstar in the sport of professional baseball. Given that Masahiro Tanaka was just signed to a huge money contract for the New York Yankees, people assumed Keith was talking about him. But he was actually taking about Hideki Irabu, who was hyped up just like Tanaka in the past. Was signed to a huge money contract for the New York Yankees, then crashed and burned as a huge sports bust.
- One Paranoia mission starts out with a NPC being dragged off for termination, strongly suggesting to the players that it's going to be important somehow. It isn't - it's just there to mess with their heads when they fail to find anything else out about it.
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) has an example similar to the very first one on this page. Austin's book is called "I Love My Willie" which he decides he wants to whip out. As the audience laughs, he takes his book out from his pants.
- In The Odd Couple, at the end of the first act, Oscar tells Felix thåat he's saving all the chips on the floor for his game tomorrow. Felix gets a vacuum and picks them up anyway. Oscar comes back in and yells, "Hey!" Then he follows up with..."I didn't know I had one of those!"
- Donkey Kong Country: During the final boss battle with King K. Rool, after the Kongs take him out after his second phase, he collapses. Donkey (or Diddy) does his victory pose as the camera pans away from them, and then...the credits roll! Although, there is something very off-putting about these "kredits". After they finish crawling up the screen, it says, "The End?" Then we pan back to see K. Rool getting back up, and we begin the third and final phase of the battle. After this phase, we get to see the real ending.
- At the very beginning of the game, you are asked to name "the fallen child". The name you enter isn't actually the name of the player character, but the original "Fallen Child" who was adopted by Toriel and Asgore.
- In Mettaton's quiz, one question ask you what type of monster a Froggit head comes from. The answer is Mettaton, who is wearing a Froggit T-shirt.
- In BioShock, Sander Cohen hires you to finish his "masterpiece" (which consists of four photographs of corpses held, of course, by suspiciously bloodstained plaster statues). After you add the third photo, Cohen, like everyone you've met so far, sends a group of Splicers to kill you. He then apologizes and asks you for the last photo. When you add it, he comes down the stairs, thanks you, and gives you a powerup before letting you leave. It's really unexpected.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police:
- One part of season two's fourth episode has the duo trying to get a DNA sample from Agent Superball in the 60's (when he was working for John F. Kennedy). Sam and Max try to induce a Spit Take by showing him a letter written to Bosco's mother from Kennedy, setting up a meeting between the two. Superball reads it, but fails to see anything shocking about it. Before taking a sip of his drink, he asks where the meeting was taking place. Sam tells him it was Stinky's Diner. This induces the spit take.
- One puzzle in the first episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse requires the player to set up what appears in the Flash Forward to be a Banana Peel gag on one of Skun Ka'pe's henchmen. Instead, you lure him over to the banana so that Max can knock him out with a pair of trash can lids.
- In the same episode, Sam and Max find Flint Paper in Stinky's Diner ready to eat a plate of spaghetti. If Max uses his physic abilities, he predicts Flint will be collapse onto the table dead with a hatchet in his head. The solution is to give him a miner's hat and get him to wear it while eating. The player's reasoning would most likely be that the hatchet hits the hat without harming Flint. What actually happens is that the light on the hat illuminates the peanuts in the tomato sauce and he gets up to complain, causing the hatchet to miss him.
- In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: 8-Bit is Enough, Strong Bad finds out that the Trogsword is located in "a magical world where platforms mysteriously hang in the air, and extra men are extremely hard to come by". He replies "Platforms, eh? (in his Dangeresque voice) Looks like I'm gonna have to... (speaks quickly) ...find a way into the Stinkoman game and get the Trogsword before he does!"
- Batman: Arkham City opens with one. Mooks are talking about how Batman won't be in the titular city, just as a pointy eared shadow appears behind them. One would would expect a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment, but it's only Catwoman. Although considering that they're standing between her and the safe she plans to rob, it's just as well.
- A room in The 7th Guest has a cutscene in which one of the guests draws attention to a maze design on the rug. Zooming in allows you to look at the maze design, but when you actually start the puzzle, the rug is suddenly swept aside and a chess puzzle ensues on the checkerboard floor. For bonus points, the maze design is a map to the maze in the cellar!
- In Final Fantasy XII, there's a series of optional bosses that lead up to the Esper, Chaos. The first one? Really damn big. When you get to the second one, an even bigger monster is at the door... which promptly falls over, dead. And a little bunny-looking thing hops on top of the dead monster. Turns out, you really would rather have fought the big monster.
- Super Mario Bros. 3 has a good example. After you rescue and change back the seventh king, he says he is giving you a letter from the princess, but it turns out to be a letter from Bowser saying that he's kidnapped the princess while you were out and about saving the kings.
- The final level of Charlie Murder. The eponymous band and Gore Quaffer meet on a Battle of the Bands stage, both bands having their instruments out and ready to rock... Until Lord Mortimer orders Bathory to electrocute the band. The Curb-Stomp Battle is only interrupted by Bathory's Heel–Face Turn. After the other members of his band leave or killed in frustration, Lord Mortimer fights Charlie Murder alone as the final boss. Unless you collected all of Smockula's pieces.
- Five Nights at Freddy's changes the behaviour of every animatronic on the last nights, to exploit the player's previous tactics. In particular: Foxy, who normally requires the player to keep an eye on him with the cameras (but not too much), now must be left alone or he'll immediately attack.
- In the FNAF fangame Fredbear And Friends, there is a section where you play as a night guard inspecting the supposedly-dormant animatronics. It ends with the guard approaching Freddy, intending to shut it down and, well, you can guess what happens next... Actually, what happens is that Freddy remains dormant while the guard is assaulted from behind by the Purple Guy.
- Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham has one for its ending. The last ending scene shows a random janitor cleaning up near a portal when it activates. The man panics and runs away, showing silhouettes of Spider-Man and The Avengers... only to end up being Black Canary, Nightwing, Aquaman (holding a pizza), Swamp Thing, Shazam (holding a coffee mug), Green Arrow and Booster Gold.
- Lego Marvel pulls a similar gag, with a distinctive set of ears seen behind some bushes...it's Black Panther.
- In Guilty Gear Xrd, one of Elphelt's taunts seems to have her going One-Winged Angel. And then it zooms out to reveal:
- Lakeview Cabin starts innocently enough, despite the ominous "Player discretion is advised" warning during the game's opening, with an ordinary guy hanging out on a quiet and peaceful cabin on a tiny island in the middle of a lake. Then things get weird, culminating in a dead woman implied to be his late wife/lover crawling out of the lake and trying to kill him.
- Throughout Ys: Memories of Celceta there's a woman in an alley who mentions she'd like you to pay her for her "services", at the end of the game you get the option to pay her... she's a tour guide.
- A musical variant occurs in Sonic Generations. During the final boss fight, when the two Sonics prepare to deliver the finishing blow to the final boss, the intro to the fan-favorite song "Live and Learn" plays...only to switch to the much more cheery title screen music from Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
- beatmania has the track "Salamander Beat Crush Mix", which sounds like an arrange of "Starfield", the Salamander / Life Force stage 4 theme...only to turn into a completely unrelated track.
- In South Park: The Stick of Truth, the New Kid is hunted by the government, who are looking to exploit his special power. Throughout the entire game, it couldn't be more obvious that they are talking about his incredible natural talent at Fartillery. However, when the Big Bad finally does catch him and starts explaining his plan...
Kyle: The government wants the New Kid for his farts?
Stan: That's dumb.
Big Bad Government Guy: [confused] His farts? No. His amazing ability to make friends so quickly on any social network. Before he was 5 years old, he had 3.2 billion friends on Facebook alone. Do you have any idea the power that kind of gift yields in today's world?
- Persona 5 (and Persona 4 before it) teaches you from the very first dungeon that "Shadow Selves", antagonistic Anthropomorphic Personifications of the hidden aspects of a character's personality, serve as Boss Battles. However, when you get to Futaba Sakura's dungeon halfway through the game, you find out Futaba's Shadow is the hidden positive aspects of the depressed girl's psyche, and instead end up facing off against a demonic representation of Futaba's mother, whose untimely death has been driving Futaba's guilt and depression.
- Nintendo Switch Simulator, a fanmade Browser Game about the Nintendo Switch, starts off as a casual emulation of the Nintendo Switch, but then turns into a boss fight involving the player fighting the sentient Joy Grip with a Battle Boomerang.
- Overwatch has a Play of the Game at the end of every match, showcasing a particular display of skill that turned the battle around. It starts off with a short animation of the appropriate character, and - *BZZZT* Sombra hacks the screen and it shows HER play of the game!
- One of the first Fighters' Guild quests in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has you taking care of an old lady's "rat problem": something's been killing all of her adorable pet rats!
- Pokémon Sun and Moon: in Haina Desert, there's an amnesiac old man who asks to see a Pokémon who's name starts with "Sol" (in Sun)/"Luna" (in Moon). The obvious thing players think to do is to show him Solgaleo/Lunala... which turns out to not be the Pokémon he's asking for, but rather Solrock/Lunatone, whom cannot be obtained without transferring from prior versions.
- In Grand Theft Auto V, one of the protagonists, Michael, has rendezvoused with another, Trevor, after an assassination attempt Gone Horribly Wrong, and they have the following exchange:
Michael: Did you kill him?noteTrevor: What kinda fucking animal do you take me for?! No, I didn't kill him!Michael: Oh, god...Michael: Oh no!
- In Creepy Castle, there is a Freepy Castle mode, which has the same map format, only without the in-game story characters being present, Ant Queen being replaced with Luvaci and Bee being replaced with Moth (although Bee will take Luvaci's place if you are already playing as Luvaci.) But Moth is fought before the place where you take on the Boss Rush. It all comes to play later; when it looks like you are going to do the Boss Rush and fight Darking, the game's screen suddenly errors similar to the second Scenario 2 part, and you find yourself in a twisted place. In Luvaci's story, Molt takes this chance to kidnap an unconscious Moth, saying that if Molt dropped him down the pit, then it would be Moth's last, before telling Luvaci to run along, as it will be the final battle. Either way, a voice then explains that the whole entire Freepy Castle experience was a simulation to test you, and it requests one final test. This final test involves you fighting a puppet monstrosity appropriately named ?????, leading to one of the most intense boss fights of scenario 1 as it throws some attacks at you that are hard to dodge, including a unique parry attack where pieces of its face needs to be parried in order of appearance (with no countdown or red exclamation marks on where to move the cursor to) and a unique maze attack where the entire maze is filled with black (walls included), all while this is playing during the whole entire fight. After its defeat, it tells you that they will meet again. In Luvaci's story, Molt reveals that he took Moth outside with Molt, thus sparing Moth from being killed via falling down the pit, (it can be implied that Moth regained consciousness after he was taken outside) and Molt reveals that after Possessor controlled him, Molt caused the destruction of the reptile people to happen, but never grew old as a result. Either way, then you exit through a door that finishes Freepy Castle.
- Harvest December:
- January's story ends with a Rock-Paper-Scissors match and the narrative is structured to make the reader think that the protagonist of that chapter utilized Poor, Predictable Rock.
- March's story begins with the main protagonist sheepishly looking at women's magazines for parenting tips. Everyone assumes he'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant but, in reality, was preparing for a babysitting job.
- August's chapter includes the series's obligatory bath peeping moment and the mother of the one of the heroines baits the boys into thinking she wants to join in. Once they lower their guard, she beats them up and delivers them to the girls for further punishment.
- ASDF Movie:
- A guy is asked to hold a live bomb. The guy who gave him the bomb comes back a few seconds later and takes it back. No explosion, next skit.
- "This is a robbery." *dramatic sting and close-up* *hangs up and walks away*. Next skit.
- "WARNING POINTLESS BUTTON" is pointless.
- "Damnit Jenkins, a giraffe will never be president!" "Yeah, you're... probably right."
- "Die, potato!" "I like trains."
- In the Cartoon Hooligans episode "What if Hulk Ripped His Pants #4", after Iron Man gives Hulk a pair of "pants" from his spare armor parts, it appears that Hulk is about to go on another rampage, but it turns out that he likes Iron Man now for giving him "pants", and they become friends again.
- In the third video of The Gaston Trilogy, "Gaston's Ultimate Mission to Obtain Some Taco Bell", Gaston says "Everyone knows her father's a lunatic! He was in here tonight raving!" Then we get to see Maurice dancing with glow sticks to an electronic remix of "Beauty and the Beast." Technically accurate, but not the definition that was led to.
- GEOWeasel often includes bait-and-switch jokes.
- After a character is sent to prison, an establishing shot of "The Big House" appears… with the jail of New Jersey next to it.
- After Sapphire launches the flying headquarters in an attempt to save Nar, Weas explains "Miss Caring over here" pushed the launch button… with a pan over to a different woman wearing a "care" shirt, and that Sapphire confirmed the launch with her push.
- Homestar Runner::
- In "Strong Bad Sings", the announcer suggests that one might consider paying nearly $100 for Strong Bad's music collection. He then touts the entire product actually costs $193.75.
- Strong Bad's 100th email has him telling the story about how he and Homestar first met. At one point in the story he comes across a giant egg and wonders what could be inside it. Of course, Homestar...appears right next to the egg saying it was his. (What? Were you expecting him to hatch out of the egg?)
- In Strong Bad's email where he creates his own candy bar, he keeps making the viewer think he's going to cover it in chocolate, but keeps changing it to something else like: "cover it with smooth, rich, creamy...pepperoni!" Eventually, he does top it off with chocolate and calls it "the ol' BBC" (Boring, Brown Chocolate).
- In season 8 of Red vs. Blue, Tex has been continually hitting Grif in the nuts throughout the episode. Then Simmons finally manages to shoot a heat-seeking rocket launcher at her. After a really cool set of acrobatics with a set of portals, Tex (with the rocket still in hot pursuit) punches her way through Sarge, Tucker, and Simmons, and slides under Grif. Grif cringes, seeing the rocket coming right for him... and it flies harmlessly under his legs. Then it blows up the pile of rockets right behind him.
- In RWBY Chibi, one short has Ruby and Weiss having confrontational actions angering each other, leading to the two having a showdown. The two brandish their weapons, leap at each other... then toss away their weapons and have a Sissy Fight.
- In Hunt Down Freeman 2, a sequel to a parody of Hunt Down The Freeman, the narration says, before the final act, parodies the scenes in the game in which Mitchell is on a tram after dying, and in said scene, when he's meeting a "highly popular character", the character is shown as an army man, slowly turning around... Before he suddenly morphs into one of the generic scientists at Black Mesa.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is known for this, often either subverting a punchline or using a completely different and wholly unexpected one. Enough so that sometimes it makes a gag out of doubling back on itself. Several times, in one instance.
- In The Chosen Four, during the Stonehenge chapter, after the four defeat all of the Starman Supers attacking them, a present drops just in time for a cliffhanger. When the next page finally came out, it turned out to be... a Super Bomb.
- xkcd has "The World According to a Group of Americans... who turned out to be unexpectedly good at geography, derailing our attempt to illustrate their country's attitude towards the rest of the world".
- Harrison's Origin Story in Nedroid. In fact, all of the origin stories are great for the baits and the switches.
- This Cyanide & Happiness' comic.
- This one, too. "I feel like my memories would be more vivid if I wasn't colourblind. Also, I should stop thinking about that dude's kid."
- In Skin Horse, the Abbess of the Notaries tells Unity about a prophecy. According to her, their Chosen One will be "composed of part many, yet one, a being of great potential, but consumed by barely-suppressed hunger and violence":
Abbess: So obviously a civil servant.
Unity: Plus I'm an omnivorous construct zombie.
- Blaster Nation #297: It looks like Derrick is lying in bed (with Melissa asleep in his arms) regretting the fact that they'd made love. The rest of the page reveals that what was bugging Derrick was the radio playing Mexican polka music, and he couldn't get up and turn it off without disturbing Melissa.
- Done in grand style in Dork Tower, with long-absent Perky Goth Gilly returns to suddenly announces she's marrying someone in three days. The next few strips involve frantic wedding preparations, in which she laments that the groom isn't getting more involved without actually saying who he is. Even in the strip where we get the words "Do you take this man to be your husband?" we see her holding someone's hand, but he's off panel. In the next strip, The Reveal shows she's the one saying it; when she said she was marrying someone, she meant that she was officiating at her brother's wedding to his partner Phineas.
- Similar to SMBC above, Channel Ate does this frequently, with an easy-to-grasp setup followed by a crazy twist at the end. The bonus panels usually add yet another twist to everything in the comic. And they aren't afraid to zig-zag between "unexpected" and "mundane", as seen here.
- Quite frequently done at Loading Artist:
- Like in this strip where the heroes are thought dead but then it's revealed the dead bodies were someone else's.
- Or when You Must Be This Tall to Ride causes the hero to resort to unexpected measures.
- When commenting on the advancements in technology.
- When oogling his money bags that turn out to be dummies.
- When a life support system is confused with a laptop.
- The Bedfellows:
- The second "Mother's Day" strip has Fatigue sneaking out of the house to go visit his mother, doing everything possible to avoid Sheen finding out. It looks as though he's doing this to avoid Sheen's wrath for going somewhere without telling him, but he was really just afraid that if Sheen came along, he'd make Fatigue's mom strip for them. He was right.
- Double-subverted in "Toni P." Sheen is ashamed to call the titular character until Fatigue tells him not to be ashamed of himself and accept that "this is simply who he is." Sheen enthusiastically calls up a pizza place called "Toni's Pizza," who laugh at him for wanting a pizza with anchovies.
- The Order of the Stick: In "Saved by the Belt", Blackwing picks up Roy's Belt of Giant Strength while announcing his intent to help the rest of the Order, just as Roy is locked in a death match with Thog. Several panels are shown, alternating between the bird flying with the belt and Thog and Roy dishing out at each other. Until finally, Blackwing drops the belt on... Mr. Scruffy, Belkar's cat companion.
- In Girl Genius, after Agatha and entourage board the HMA Tom Wilkenson, but before it sets sail (or whatever airships do), Seffie tells Tarvek she's arranging for him to follow Agatha in secret. Once the Wilkenson docks and Team Heterodyne have disembarked, the dockmaster is informed that the Wilkenson's captain has discovered a stowaway connected to the Lady Heterodyne. This turns out to be ... a Dingbot. Cut to Tarvek scrubbing the deck of a schlubby merchant vessel that takes days rather than hours to cross the Channel and protesting that he thought he'd be on the same ship.
- Many trolls or people who are bored on a forum will usually post a topic title that grabs everyone's attention, but the actual opening post has nothing to do with the topic title. This is usually done by people who just want the attention and this is also how Rick Rolling got started.
- Another method involves starting a topic with a double meaning, with one interpretation (usually the more obvious one) being highly shocking or offensive, but the actual post being about the more mundane interpretation. For example, starting a topic with the title "I HATE FAGGOTS", only for the post to actually be about the poster's distaste for the food item.
- The dreaded trap videos on YouTube, which set up a misleading thumbnail, title, and description to lure in audiences looking for those key words, then troll them by showing Something Completely Different. The Rick Roll was the most common variant in its heyday, although there are plenty of videos that go beyond this in terms of obnoxiousness.
- Common for April Fools' Day videos, such as this. It touts itself as a rarely-aired shorter version of the Sesame Street song "Let's Go Driving", only the reason it's "shorter" is because halfway through the song it's interrupted by a video of a different car hitting someone, and then a screen saying "April Fools!"
- GilvaSunner is a famous YouTube personality, known for uploading entire soundtracks of games for listening pleasure. In 2016, an account with the name SiIvaGunner (note that the third letter is not an L but an I) started making videos that would start off sounding like what they promised, before veering off into a mostly-unexpected direction. At least one or more of the people who run the channel seems to be aware of Vinesauce memes, given that many the posts have a remix of the theme from The Flintstones' NES game (a reference to the "Grand Dad" moment from one of Joel's bootleg streams), and then there's the infamous edit of the Honeyhive Galaxy theme from a certain other stream.
- Back to the Whoture promises an epic crossover of Back to the Future and The Who. Then as they travel through time they happen to crash into the police box of a certain other Who...
- The Nostalgia Critic:
- In his review of Catwoman, four Catwoman actresses confront him. They ask how attractive women dressed like cats can ever get as much attention as Halle Berry. The Critic (who previously encouraged them to flaunt their breasts) says that on the Internet, there's an easy way, as dramatic music starts. They star in cat videos.
- In his review of Bloodrayne, guest starring Spoony and Linkara, before they can get to the credits, Linkara says they have to address the elephant in the room involving all sorts of Internet drama centered around Spoony a few years ago. This seems to be leading up to something about Noah's acrimonious departure from Channel Awesome, but in fact Linkara is referring to the fact that he wore a Castleton jumper in their last crossover despite never attending Castleton!
- The short video "Inside" by DeniseVlogs is one big Bait-and-Switch - Most of the video is just a man in his house late at night, occasionally hearing noises but dismissing them because It's Probably Nothing. Whatever's causing the noises is something terrible that's going to come in and kill him, right? No, the noises are being made by the tortured woman who's trapped in the basement. Turns out this guy is actually the story's antangonist.
- In Todd in the Shadows review of Chris Brown's Deuces, he does this while admitting that he does enjoy ragging on Brown.
Todd: Now, all critics have their favorite whipping boys, and from the beginning, one of mine was Chris Brown. I love beating on Chris Brown just as much as Chris Brown likes beating... (Picture of Brown's head photo-edited onto a waitress at a breakfast restaurant) eggs for his famous homestyle breakfasts.
- Todd also has a particular line in opening best/worst list videos with fakeouts in one way or another. For example, in his Best of 2016 list, he talks about how the Chainsmokers rejoined the mainstream with "Roses" ft Rozes, then bluntly says he went with "Closer" for the slot anyway.
- Invoked in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog when Moist mentions that he went on a double date with twins Bait and Switch.
Dr. Horrible: Oh yeah, how did that go?
Moist: Well, I was supposed to end up with Bait, but... you know...
- In this video, Michael the Terrible Boyfriend ponders how to get into his girlfriend's house without her parents noticing, and sees a pizza delivery truck come. He looks at it and asks "Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I think you are!". Cut to him riding a pterodactyl into her home, which then eats her.
- Tlf Travel Alerts claims is hot enough in the London Underground to literally fry eggs on the escalators. How ever you shouldn't try to do it ... they are on a diet.
- In Cybershell's Let's Play of the Genesis Sonic games, he measures how annoying an enemy is by using a "cunt-o-meter". When he gets to the infamous Red Barrel in Carnival Night Zone, the gameplay stops and slowly zooms in on the barrel as Also sprach Zarathustra plays in the background. After all that buildup, the Red Barrel gets a score of one on the Meter as Cybershell starts ranting that it wasn't that difficult to get past.
- Many cuts in Funday Night Gaming videos tend to show the results being completely opposite (or tangential) to the comment that was just made. This shows especially well in TJ's playthrough of Surgeon Simulator 2013.
- Regular Car Reviews dropped hints that he was reviewing a 6-cylinder turbocharged rear-wheel drive rear-engine car, AKA a Porsche. The actual "car" in question is a 40 foot long Freightliner RV, with a 7.7 liter V6 turbodiesel mounted behind the rear wheels.
- The Mark Remark: Talking about when Seth Rollins "revealed some very revealing images... of his enormous, hard, throbbing car".
- Duckyworth's review of A Troll in Central Park begins with Ducky deciding to review The Troll Hunter, what he describes as 'An awesome found footage horror film about Norwegian troll hunters'. However, he ends up finding a copy of the former film, along with a note from his Arch-enemy, Cheapass CeeGee, telling him to review the film. To rub salt in the wound, Duckyworth liked this film as a kid, and it came from his favourite director.
- Random Assault: When Alex finally played Ghost Trick, he made it out to seem that he hated the game, much to the irritation of the other hosts. Turns out Alex loved the game, though.
- The banner for the Halloween Episode appears to be static, but is actually a Flash element. After a little bit, the banner starts to move, and all of the hosts get killed in horrific ways.
- In one Sporcle quiz released on April Fools' Day, you have to click on the correctly-spelled country that begins with a K from a huge cluster of incorrectly-spelled variations of Kyrgyzstan. The correctly-spelled answer is NOT "Kyrgyzstan," but "Kazakhstan."
- In "Irish People Try Stereotypical Irish Foods" a man shows us the front of a Lucky Charms cereal box. Lucky the leprechaun is levitating the marshmallow shapes in a magical rainbow beween his hands so we can see them. One of the Irish guys says "This is not what we're like." He pauses so we can assume he means "Irish people don't all have red hair and wear green clothes all the time." Then the punchline, "Only half of my family can juggle marshmallows."
- In the fourth episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, Red Guy says "If only there was a way to learn more about the world..." and turns to the globe. Then Duck Guy says the same thing, also turning to the globe. The globe then suddenly grows a face, followed by a computer that wasn't even there before starting to sing.
- When The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed the Superman games on Atari 2600 and NES, he acknowledged the large volume of requests for him to review Superman 64. He decided to start off the following episode by fulfilling those requests and reviewing Superman 64...as in Commodore 64. A few minutes later, he reviews the actual game.
- In Mathew Buck's Projector review of XXX Return Of Xander Cage:
- PlayStation Access does this gag a few times. Once Rob was playing Persona 5 and his Mum said the game was weird... because it didn't make sense for everyone to just take their turn hitting each other.
- On Twitter, starting around late 2017, there have been bait-and-switch videos that involve some sort of presentation only leading to the first few seconds of the first cutscene in Hotel Mario.
- T.B. Skyen, discussing Moira's design in Overwatch, mentioned that he had idly mentioned maybe doing that video sometime, and been bombarded with comments about "when are you getting to Moira, where's the Moira video", and he found it really, really frickin'...encouraging, and he was grateful for the engagement and enthusiasm.
- One time, there was a trend where innocuous links in forum signatures led to a website that led to a website that said 'You've been infected by a zombie curse!' The website (and similar websites) were actually a game of some sort.
- Penn & Teller are infamous for doing this in their magic acts.
- A palindrome is completely deterministic after the first half. You can thus sic AntiHumor on the second half (too easy) or, more masterful, do this, referring to the well-known Panama palindrome:
Zeus, a plan, a canal, Pa...Suez!