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Breathless Non Sequitur

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"So, that's two large tacos, a burrito, and a medium GIR-Take-Us-Back-To-The-Base-Right-Now. Do you want a drink with that?"

Similar to the Deadpan Snarker routine but without the emotional range. These are gags snuck into the middle or ends of conversation without changes in inflection or pacing. The delivery should be matter-of-fact, not sarcastic (usually). For obvious reasons, the more outstanding or shocking the statement, the better.

The point is to move the conversation to the next subject before the audience has time to react to what just happened. This can help make a Black Comedy more palatable by pretending the Dude, Not Funny! jokes never occurred. Did you just hear what you thought you did? No, don't be silly. We're talking about something else now. These aren't the jokes you're looking for. Move along.

Pretty much the antithesis to using a Laugh Track. Compare Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick, Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking, Distracting Disambiguation and Rapid-Fire Comedy.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • Naked Singularity: At the beginning, as Twilight feverishly works on her story, she offhandedly mentions "centipedes" as one of her past obsessions before breezing past it:
    She wondered if she was becoming obsessed. It had happened with her before: magic, friendship reports, centipedes. Probably just part of her personality. Fortunately, her friends were always there to keep her level.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mary and Max has the equivalent in narrated letters from Max. The best example is when he talks about his job history: In between his jury duty story and his trash collection story, he asks, "Have you ever been hang gliding?"

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In The Burning Page, this is used in a rather clever and sinister fashion by Alberich who, while having what seems like a normal conversation with Irene, suddenly orders "Metal, bind her feet" in the Languagenote  without hesitation or a change in his tone of voice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens continuously throughout Arrested Development. A prime example:
    Barry Zuckercorn: Oh, I could kiss you on the [bleep].
    Michael: Yeah, fine — What!?
  • On The Colbert Report, Stephen discussed the possibility of a giant space spider merging with his DNA (It Makes Sense in Context) having "Stephen Colbert's cunning and taste for human flesh"; in the midst of such a crazy monologue, you could blink and miss that.
    • Also used by Colbert as Raven in Wigfield.
  • On Scrubs:
    The Todd: Doctor Turk should be chief because he's skilled technically, he's super efficient, he's got an awesome dong, he's great with laparoscopic procedures, uh, patients love him—
    Dr. Cox: (whistles sharply) What was that middle one?
    The Todd: Laparoscopic?
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 10 finale:
    Liz Donnelly: I can't believe that son of a bitch had the nerve to come after me! You pull him out of that jail cell, don't bother bringing him to Court! I want to kick his ass myself!! You didn't hear any of that.
  • Firefly has Simon give a very calm explanation to Jayne that despite the latter's behavior toward the Tams "he is always safe" on Simon's operating table. After he leaves, River follows up with "Also I can kill you with my brain."
  • During a flashback to Reverend Jim's straitlaced college days on Taxi, his girlfriend tries to hide the special brownie ingredient this way.
    Jim: Now come on, Heather, what's in the brownies?
    Heather: Sugar, eggs, chocolate, marijuana, flour, and walnuts.
  • In Season 3 of 24, Tony is interrogating Nina Myers. After he finishes demanding the information they need on Marcus Alvers, whom it became obvious that she knew quite well despite her claims, she replies, "Your neck is bleeding".
  • The Saturday Night Live character Mr. Subliminal (played by Kevin Nealon) hinged on rapid firing of these into a normal monologue.
    Phil Maloney (asking a woman on a date): "If we finish dinner early hot sex maybe we'll go back to my apartment hot sex and watch some television?"
  • Brittany from Glee is made of this trope.
  • American Horror Story: Murder House's Chad invokes this so well in "Halloween", it works In-Universe:
    Pat: [leaving] I'm hitting the gym.
    Chad: Well make sure you wear a condom. And pick me up some gala apples. I thought these golden delicious would look dramatic in the bobbing bucket, they just look dull and depressing... there's no contrast.
    Pat: [re-enters] Why would I wear a condom at the gym?
    Chad: Maybe because you're screwing that twink trainer of yours? And I need gourds. I'm going to hang them on the tree out front... spray paint them and they're going to be these clever, little, organic ghosts.
  • In Gilmore Girls, Lorelei explains to Max that this is her method of dealing with Taylor at town meetings. She gets progressively stranger until he gives up and moves on.
  • Resident Alien: In "Radio Harry", Harry helps Sunny give birth using tips he got from a YouTube binge and repeats the video content in its entirety.
    Harry (to Asta): Place your hand suprapubically over the fetal anterior shoulder, applying pressure in a CPR style in a downward lateral motion. Be sure to like and subscribe.

  • They Might Be Giants' They'll Need A Crane:
    Don't call me at work again
    No, no, the boss still hates me
    I'm just tired and I don't love you anymore
    And there's a restaurant we should check out
    Where the other nightmare people like to go
    I mean nice people, baby wait,
    I didn't mean to say nightmare

    Tabletop Games 
  • In these sorts of games, the sourcebooks being text-based as they are and thus subject to the speed of the reader, these are usually meant to be obscured in the middle of the text and only caught on a careful read-through, and may even need referencing to make sure.
    • For example, in describing a particular series of overly-chatty droid, one of the commentators in Star Wars: Saga Edition's Scavenger's Guide to Droids, the supervisor droid who has worked with a wide variety of model, casually notes that she had to rip out its vocoder to get it to shut up. She also comments on how a particular droid of another model that failed its master would have been turned inside out by her. This is explained if you paid attention to the text and saw that she was an EV-series droid, a supervisor droid model detailed in the book, described as having a number of units accidentally getting a torture droid's motivator installed. (The head of Jabba's droid retinue in Return of the Jedi was an EV-series droid.)
    • The West End Games' Imperial Sourcebook has a bit in the fluff describing the myriad problems that occurred in getting the first Star Destroyers built. "The Navy loved it, of course, and through a combination of bribes, political pressure, and a rash of mysteriously-crushed tracheas, it slowly brought others into line."
    • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Dungeons Masters guide has this one from a table of '100 random traits' "No sense of humor, see #26". Of course, the list only contains 99 items. Guess which one is missing.
    • The Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook contains a very long list of powers. One of these powers, called "Deja Vu," is listed once in its proper placement alphabetically, and again a couple of pages later (still in the D's, so it is quite possible, while skimming through, to think neither is out of place).
  • The second Edition GURPS rulebook had one of these: its index of Skills listed a Fnord skill, to be found on page 257. Naturally, the book had only 256 pages.

  • Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier: When Aladdin is courting the princess, he attempts to sneak the phrase "take off your clothes" into the conversation at random points. This is a reference to the animated film, where, supposedly, Aladdin could be heard whispering this during the balcony scene.

    Video Games 
  • Portal:
    • GlaDOS. By the time you figure out what she just said, you're stuck in the middle of another Death Trap. Cake and grief counseling?
      "You will be baked. And then there will be cake."
    • Cave Johnson could give master classes:
      Johnson: Allright, this next test may involve trace amounts of time travel; so, a word of advice: If you meet yourself on the testing track, don't make eye contact. Lab boys tell me that could wipe out time. Entirely. Forward and backward. So, do both of yourselves a favor and let that handsome devil go about his business.

      Johnson: Oh, in case you got covered in that repulsion gel, here's a little advice the lab boys gave me: Do not get covered in the repulsion gel. We haven't entirely nailed down what element it is yet, but it's a lively one, and it does not like the human skeleton.
  • Miss Pauling at the end of the Team Fortress 2 video "Expiration Date", when Scout offers to help her with her work:
    Miss Pauling: Let's see, tomorrow I’m… belt-sanding the fingerprints off of filed corpses.
    Scout: Ah, no!
    Miss Pauling: Oh! You can help me yank the molars out of a box of heads.
    Scout: Ah, no! No to that.
    Miss Pauling: Well, Friday I have to kill someone who pressed a briefcase alarm button, and… Oh you’re already going to be at that one… note 
    • It happens again before that while Pauling is building a bomb to stop the bread monster.
      Scout: Hey! Miss Pauling! Aw geez, I am so sorry.
      Pauling: Gee, Scout, what for? Pressing the one button you're never supposed to press? Do you have any idea what's in a briefcase that could—oh! Oh! Give me your watch!
  • King Harkinian from The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games.
    The King: My ship sails in the morning. I wonder what's for dinner.
  • The Stanley Parable: In the Ultra Deluxe edition, there's an instructional video on how to tell a joke, delivered in a very 1950s style. While most of it is just bad advice (among other things, it recommends starting each joke with a synopsis of the joke you are about to tell, and ending by shouting, "I'm doney with the funny,") it really gets into this at the end, where without changing tone it starts going on about how we must all fight and probably die on the front lines of a war against 12-legged invaders.

    Web Comics 
  • Mr. Garcia in Paranatural says a quick one to one of his students while giving Max his class materials.
    Mr. Garcia: here's your textbook, and you can Jeff-get-a-haircut finish this packet at your leisure so that you're caught up."
    Jeff: Heyyy...
  • In Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, the author invokes this in the same vein as Derren Brown: If you cap off a goodby with something nonsensical, people will just assume they misheard you.

    Web Original 
  • Filthy Frank: A large portion of the humor of the show. Also, the tags in the descriptions of the videos.
  • Zero Punctuation consists largely of this trope.
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "specially marked", an off-hand comment from Strong Bad during a rant about sending in UPCs for cereal prizes implies his mom was a neglectful compulsive gambler.
    Strong Bad: This means not only are they gonna make you buy several more boxes that you have to cut the bar codes off of, but you're also gonna have to involve your mom so she can write a check for the shipping and handling if she's back from Vegas. The nerve of those cereals! Leave my mom out of this!
  • When The Nostalgia Chick reviewed Disney's Pocahontas, there's a point where she mentions some of the discrepancies between the movie and actual history: "...and needless to say, he (John Smith) was a short, portly brown-head, not the golden-haired Adonis that we see before us in the movie. Also, Pocahontas was twelve."
  • Video Game Dunkey lives and breathes this trope. While he can be off-the-wall and overtly goofy, some of his more subdued moments are golden.
    Dunkey: ...which brings us to New Donk City, which is where I was actually born.
  • Pretty much everything out of raocow's mouth is this. He just rambles and doesn't stop, and it often results in some very, very bizarre Let's Play commentary.
    • Most Let's Plays end up in this territory, especially Game Grumps, and even more so when the Grumps are tired. Arin's "At age six I was born without a face", for example.
  • PONY.MOV: "...My daddy makes me put glass in my vagina."
  • From Not Always Right:
    Caller: Oh, so you're an umbrella corporation, then?
    Me: Yes, sir, that's correct. Except we don’t have zombies.
    Caller: I'm sorry, what?
    Me: Never mind, sir. Did you have any other questions today?
  • Mike does it on Idea Channel all the time.
  • Done during JonTron's parody of Michael Jordan's McDonald's PSA in "Weird World of PSAs"
    Jon: Listen, if you're doing drugs, stop it. Or else Mr. T's gonna come shake all that loose change right out of your pockets. How're you gonna get a six-piece Chicken McNuggets then? Reopen that 9/11 investigation, what really happened? Just gotta know the facts. Just re-just reopen it, take a look. Never know what's gonna be inside. That's me Jon, see you later.
  • Stevie T's video on "TOP 4 UGLIEST Band Breakups!" The breakups re-enacted in the video may be exaggerated but the third band IS ingrained in truth. Makes sense, considering the band is Mayhem
    "Are you coming to band practice?"
    "Kinda busy right now."
    "I killed our singer."
    "Are you coming to band practice?"

    "I made a necklace out of our singer's skull."
    "You what?"
    "Our guitarist is dead too."

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy, and Seth MacFarlane shows in general, are well-known for this.
    Party Planner: We have many flavors of ice cream: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and people.
    Peter: What was that last one?
    Planner: Chocolate.
  • Danny Phantom has a few examples. Here's an exchange from the episode "Maternal Instinct", where in one scene, Vlad is attempting to convince Maddie to ditch Jack:
    Vlad: ...Causing the accident that ruined my life, stealing you, the backwash incident...
    Maddie: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, back up. What was that?
    Vlad: Causing the accident that ruined my life?
    Maddie: N-no, after that.
    Vlad: The...backwash incident?
    Maddie: (frustrated) NO, IN. THE. MIDDLE.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: All the ponies are arguing amongst themselves about the reasons why they should get the extra ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala. When Twilight yells at them to be quiet, all of them do except Pinkie Pie:
    Twilight Sparkle: BE QUIIIIIEEEEEEET!!!
    Pinkie Pie: then I said "Oatmeal? Are you crazy?"
  • Invader Zim used this fairly frequently. A shining example is from "Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain", where a fast food employee is unconcerned with the fact that a quadrupedal house just walked up to the drive-thru and is ordering tacos.
    So, that's two large tacos, a burrito, and a medium GIR-Take-Us-Back-To-The-Base-Right-Now. Do you want a drink with that?

  • In an interview, Stephen Fry described a game he and his friends used to play in hotels and places like that, where they had to go up to someone who worked there and say something wildly inappropriate ("Could I lick you out?" in the example he used), but disguise it this way and get away with it. If you do it fast and don't change your tone, either it won't register at all or people will assume they misheard you.
  • Derren Brown has some tricks like this, where he apparently gets people to hand over their wallets, watches and other valuables by casually asking for them in the middle of getting directions. The end credits of one episode of Trick of the Mind featured some Hilarious Outtakes of this not working.


Video Example(s):


Let's Roll It Again

In "Scary Movie 3," the news reporter advises that everyone should board up their homes in preparation for an alien invasion. He then continues, without any change in tone, that they have the killer videotape you've been hearing about (the one from "The Ring") and they're playing it all night. "Very exciting. Let's roll it again."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / BreathlessNonSequitur

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