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Chekhov's Gag

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Most times, jokes come and go; they get their set up, make you laugh, and then they're done and you move on to the next joke. But sometimes, jokes aren't done with you. Sometimes, you find yourself not only going back to the joke, but having it bring a whole new twist – the first joke wasn't just a gag, but also set up for something else that blindsides you later on. It's Chekhov's Gun being used as a joke in its first appearance.

This can happen in any span of time, in a single episode (usually very beginning to the very end), in several episodes, or even whole seasons.

The first gag is always a set-up for whatever will happen later, though ideally it doesn't seem that way at first. If it isn't, then it's a regular Running Gag. If the setup is played out to be a What Happened to the Mouse? moment, only for it to have closure later, then it's a Brick Joke. If a previously established joke becomes a serious event later on to the point it's no longer funny, then it's a Cerebus Retcon. See also Joke and Receive, which might have an immediate payoff courtesy of the universe that the joker wasn't expecting.

This trope contains spoilers by necessity. Read at your own risk.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom:
    • At the beginning of the series, Irina tries to extract some information out of Nagisa by planting a 30-hit French kiss on him. Several months later, Nagisa uses the exact same technique on Kayano to distract her from the destructive influence of her tentacles. He only lands 15 hits, but it's more than enough to distract her long enough for Koro-sensei to remove her tentacles.
    • In the beginning chapters Koro-sensei made a formula with Okuda that gave him slime-like properties. Neither of them knew at the time, but this chemical composition neutralized the effects of Koro-sensei's antimatter body, reducing the odds of exploding to virtual nonexistence. In other words, from the moment he drank that, the threat of the earth being destroyed was gone.
    • The wasabi and horseradish torture that Karma used on Grip in the Assassination Island arc later returns, with improvements, on one of the mercenaries guarding the mountain, in order to use his screams as bait to lure more mercenaries into a trap.
    • Koro-sensei's habit of grooming attackers at super speed? Extra Chapter 4 reveals it was part of his training in special surgery, which pays off there to heal and remove the tumour of a woman, and in the final arc of the main story for saving Kaede.
  • Black Butler has a couple.
    • We never see Undertaker’s eyes. It looks like a character quirk, but in both the anime and the manga this is to hide something, although this example only has significant impact on the plot in the manga.
    • In the second episode/third chapter, Finny picks up a large stone statue and easily tosses it around in an attempt to crush a mouse. It’s played for comedy, as part of the servants goofy antics. Later on in both the anime and the manga, we learn that Finny has super-strength, and is a formidable opponent in battle.
    • Whenever Bard blows up the kitchen, it's played for comedic value. Except when there are two intruders are trapped inside, and we learn that Bard's combat specialty is explosives.
    • Vice-Principal Agares being clumsy.
    • In the anime's third episode, Grell accidentally makes skull shaped topiary out of EVERY bush in the manor. "His" repeated suicide attempts also count.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Bo-bobo uses a move called "Ganeme", a modification of "megane" (the Japanese word for glasses), by flipping a pair of glasses while fighting Zeb Ziegler/Kibahage, and it doesn't do much to his opponent other than confusing him. It comes back much later in the fight against Be-bebe, when Bo-bobo flips his glasses upside down and unleashes the ultimate glasses-filled attack that defeats his brother.
  • Captain Tsubasa: During the Asian preliminaries for the World Youth, Shingo Aoi attempts to do his Right-Angle Feint on his first play, but he botches it and accidentally leaves the ball behind and the opposing team takes it. Come the World Youth's final, this time he does it on purpose, leaving the ball for Tsubasa to pick it up and break through Brazil's defense to tie the match.
  • In Code Geass Lelouch's Geek Physique is a recurring joke, with a particular incident have him epic fail at making a trap on an island to catch animals in. Then it's suddenly not so funny when he accidentally Geasses his half-sister Euphemia into "killing all the Japanese" with him unable to catch up to her before she reaches the stage and sets off a massacre.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys: In an early skit High School Boys and Scary Stories (2), Hidenori mentioned Karasawa was "experienced in scary tales," and Tadakuni made up a story on how he saw what was under Karasawa's cap, remarking that it was hilarious. It's nowhere near funny at all, as his backstory unfolded: he was covered with scars—including an ugly scar on his forehead that he wears a cap to cover. These scars were courtesy of Habara, the girl who lives next to him and, eight years ago, was an Enfant Terrible-level bully.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: When Marcille and Laios are reminiscing about Laios' sister Falin, when she and Marcille were in the Magic Academy together. Laios says that Falin gushed about Marcille in her letters to him, and Marcille replies that Falin said good things about him to her too. Laios is pleased by this, but we see in a flashback that the "good thing" that she said about her brother was that "he does a fantastic impression of a dog", which doesn't exactly impress Marcille. Later, when the party is attacked by a shapeshifter, Laios is able to flush it out of hiding by doing an impression of a vicious hunting dog. Once Marcille and the others actually see him in action, they're genuinely impressed by how good Laios is at acting like a dog. Even later on, Laios also manages to frighten off a pack of dire wolves in the same way.
  • The Elusive Samurai: Fubuki is impressed by Tokiyuki's strange but effective ability to attack Hoshina with his running away muscles. Several volumes later, Fubuki uses that ability as the basis for a new technique that allows Tokiyuki to simultaneously flee and deal a lethal stab to his opponent.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The girls are relaxing in a hot spring when they learn that the guys are already there (it's a unisex pool). Lucy and Wendy freak out, but Natsu and Grey point out that they've seen the girls naked so many times that the novelty has worn off. Later, an enemy has Natsu pinned down and is using his Invisibility magic to make Lucy's clothes disappear in order to embarrass Natsu. This completely backfires since Natsu isn't the least bit embarrassed, but the enemy mage is.
    • Natsu's motion sickness is initially brought up as the longest Running Gag in the series, but later on we meet other Dragon Slayers who have it, with ones who didn't have it coming down with it to their own shock as they get stronger. It turns out developing motion sickness is actually a sign you're a Dragon Slayer, as it's due to the Super-Senses of dragons not meshing well with a human body, which in and of itself is part of the reveal that overuse of Dragon Slayer Magic eventually turns you into one without proper precautions.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • When Lieutenant Hughes constantly discusses his wife and daughter, Colonel Mustang jokes that in war movies, the guy who's obsessed with his family always gets killed first. At first just an innocent joke, then it actually happens and isn't so funny anymore.
    • Mustang's very first scene in the manga has him complaining about the terrorist attack on the train possibly forcing him to work late because he has a date that night, implying his lazy work ethic and womanizing tendencies. His "dates" take on a very different tone and significance later on.
  • Immoral Guild: From the beginning gag after gag plays on how strongly monsters are attracted to Hitamuki, how incredibly clumsy she is, how "sensitive" she is, etc. In the end it turns out this is all indication of her unique nature, a nature that defies the very definition of "human" and allows her to restore her mana as quickly as she loses it, as well as possibly playing a part in other bizarre abilities she demonstrates.
  • In Episode 24 of Inazuma Eleven, as Endou is preparing for an overnight training camp, a brief comic relief scene occurs where his mom hands him a pair of boxers with his name written in marker ("En" on the left butt cheek and "dou" on the right in really big handwriting, no less) to make sure he doesn't get his laundry mixed up with any of his teammates. Seven episodes later, Touko barges in on the boys changing, and gets an eyeful of Endou in his underwear - and he's actually wearing that very same pair of boxers.
  • In the early parts of Made in Abyss, Nat tells Reg a ghost story about a magical disease that kills you on your birthday. Later on, it turns out that wasn't exactly a tall tale — a catastrophic cycle that affects the Abyss' residents is starting to take course again, as proved when little Kiyui gets gravely sick but suddenly recovers when taken away from the island.
  • Naruto has the Harem Jutsu. Introduced in the second chapter, a gender-bent version is used against the Big Bad, Kaguya Ootsotsuki 680 chapters later. The real kicker is, it works. Albeit, it distracts Kaguya by causing her to be Distracted by the Sexy rather than causing her to totally perv out, but it still lets them get their first actual hit in against her.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Early in the story, Negi Springfield's spells seem to affect Asuna in unintentional ways, leading to assumptions that he is an Inept Mage and his spells are backfiring. Later, you learn that Asuna has an incredibly rare ability called Magic Cancel and Negi was never inept to begin with.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!:
    • Happens all the time, as the most inconsequential remarks and jokes often turn out to be the lynchpin of the plot (to the growing frustration of the Only Sane Man male lead, Mahiro). In particular, a second season episode has Nyarko catch an Earthly cold and discuss the concept of powerful aliens having Weaksauce Weaknesses. At the end of the episode, the evil invading aliens are defeated when Nyarko's ringtone, an alien pop song, makes their heads explode — a direct Shout-Out to Mars Attacks!, which Nyarko explicitly referenced during that earlier dialog.
    • In another episode, the group visits the Great Big Library of Everything because Nyarko has to return an overdue book, but they get sidetracked when two criminals ransack the place looking for a particular book. Trying to be smart, Mahiro guesses that Nyarko's overdue book is what they were after, but it turns out that this time he's the one responsible, due to a copy of "Malign God's Memo Pad" he idly picked up during their visit and accidentally pocketed. Nyarko even complains about how unfair it was for him to assume that she's always responsible for these things.
    • Also subverted and discussed earlier; one episode introduces a vacuum cleaner, voiced by Norio Wakamoto, apparently just to allow another Shout-Out to Kamen Rider Double. At the end of another episode (which also featured it), both Mahiro and Nyarko remark that they thought the vacuum would turn out to be one of these, only to be proven wrong.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy spends a lot of the earlier episodes asserting that their next crew member needs to be a musician, over things like a doctor or a cook. Sure enough, 300+ episodes later, the 9th Straw Hat pirate is Brook, an undead musician.
    • When the World Government produces Sanji's wanted poster, instead of his photograph (the photographer accidentally left his lens cap on), there is a rather badly-drawn sketch of what officials think he looks like. This causes Duval to bear a grudge against Sanji, as his real face looks just like the sketch on the wanted poster, causing people to beat Duval up and arrest him for nothing he ever did, mistaking him for Sanji. Much later, the oddities with Sanji's wanted poster continue when it's simultaneously updated to include a proper photograph of him and an instruction that he's to be taken alive only (instead of the more typical Dead or Alive). It then turns out that the only reason Sanji's extremely dangerous family weren't hunting him down was because of the poorly drawn poster making it too hard to locate him.
    • A Living Toy in Dressrosa working as a waiter is absurdly evasive about the so-called fairies on the island, to the annoyance of people who talk to him. This is actually because these fairies, the Tontattas, are in an alliance with the toys on the island in a plot to overthrow the current king, hence the waiter toy remaining hush-hush to those not part of the alliance.
    • Gladius is shown in one of his earliest scenes to get so angry at one of his comrades that he blows his top, causing his hat to explode as a sight gag. It turns out, many chapters later when he actually gets serious in battle, that he has the ability to inflate any non-living thing that comes in physical contact with him until it pops, including the landscape around him, making that first scene a hint to his Person of Mass Destruction nature.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: In Chapter 20, while trying to answer the Japanese questions on an exam, Yotsuba (the fourth sister) figures that "The fourth option has the highest chance of being right in a question with five choices." Guess which Nakano is revealed to be the one who marries Fuutarou at the very end?
  • Yuki gets a cute mustached teddy bear very early into School-Live!. It doesn't become relevant until over thirty chapters in when Rii begins hallucinating it is her younger sister.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. During the last fight scene, Robotnik fires two missiles at Tails' plane. One of the missiles is shaped like a rabbit, and very fast; the other is shaped like a turtle, and ridiculously slow. Robotnik laments that the latter is "another design failure". After the fight is completely over, there's a brief shot of the turtle continuing, slowly and steadily, across the field of battle. Then, as Robotnik gloats to the heroes that he still has the data to build another, stronger Metal Sonic, the turtle missile very slowly flies up to Robotnik, grabs the data disc from his hand, and explodes.
  • Tamamo-chan’s a Fox!: At the start of chapter 15 we get pair of guys praying to Tamamo. This is a Running Gag as Tamamo as a goddess's divine messenger oblivious to her own Glamour Failure. One of those men prays for rain for his fields. The end of chapter 15 ends the beach trip with a sudden bout of rain, prompting Mikki to remark that guy just haaad to wish for rain for his fields, didn't he?
  • In Episode 15 of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, there was a gag Wakatake's police-siren cell phone ringer, as Aya complained Wakatake's being an Attention Whore even down to things like that. In the next episode, when The Team is in a stalemate with the Japanese Delinquents, Aya asks Kozuka to call Wakatake's cell phone, which breaks the stalemate by freaking out the delinquents.
  • You would think Elena's botched magical surgery on Taizou would be just one of the many gags that pepper The Voynich Hotel. As it turns out, having your heart on the wrong side of your body is exactly the kind of thing that would win you a few more minutes by confusing your would-be killers, allowing help to arrive just in the nick of time.
  • World Trigger: The little five year old Yotaro likes to tout his supposedly high seniority level in Tamakoma's ranks and does bold, silly things such as asking Chika for her hand in marriage and addressing the veteran fighter Hyuse as his pupil. Even the serious Kronin seems to play along by addressing Yotaro as "young master". Chapter 201 confirms that his seniority is no joke by revealing that he is the surviving prince of Aristera, a Neighbor world that was allied with Old Border.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: Since the start of the series, Adu Du throwing a mug at Probe whenever he messed up was a Running Gag, but in the third season, Probe being brought back to life as an emotionless amnesiac robot would necessitate Adu Du to throw his mug at him to restore his memories.
  • Happy Heroes: The time bomb Careless S. misplaces in Season 2 episode 37 initially appears only for a quick joke that doesn't contribute much to the episode's plot. Later, Smart S. uses it to defeat the shapeshifting monster by getting it to transform into a time bomb.

  • Michael MacIntyre is particularly notorious for referencing topics he covered earlier in new situations.
  • Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned often incorporated this trope, when earlier topics of discussion would be incorporated impromptu into the current topic, almost certainly as a big punchline.
  • Ross Noble is very fond of bringing back jokes he told over half an hour earlier.

    Comic Books 
  • Prez (2015): An issue has a running gag about a gratuitously-elaborate vending machine that can produce any cut of meat from any animal in its DNA database — you too can have a mammoth steak in seconds! At the end of the issue, the ambassador suffers heart failure, and with no compatible donor hearts available things are looking grim until Beth has the idea of plugging the ambassador's medical records into the meat machine and ordering a raw heart with the ambassador's DNA.
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes!: Upon arriving in the future, Superboy and his new friends fly past a rocket-liner which apparently only exists to provide a one-panel literary shout-out/gag. Several pages later, that rocket-liner crashes into a forest and starts a great fire.
  • Bone: Phoney's campaign balloon is mentioned in conversation that when Phoney ran for mayor back home, he had a giant balloon of himself made, with a banner reading "PHONCIBLE P. BONE WILL GET YOUR VOTE!" The balloon drifted away, and no one knew what happened to it. Much later, we find out. The Hooded One's forces keep targeting Phoney for some reason. Eventually, it's revealed that this is because of an "omen" she received about him. That omen? The runaway balloon, which is missing part of its banner so that it appears to say: "PHONCIBLE P. BONE WILL GET YOU".
  • The Stranded: When Doy is about to brief the space troops, Ronnie jokingly warns him not to use any big words. Later, on prehistoric Earth, Doy's lecture about the aliens gets too technical to hold the cave people's attention, and Ronnie has to step in.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, the chimpanzee statue that Gilderoy Lockhart accidentally brought to life is initially a recurring background gag… until it becomes Locket Voldemort's new body in Fourth Year.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    • At one point, Calvin uses the MTM to contain some lightning in an attempt to stop a storm from doing any further damage. He later uses it for revenge on Socrates.
    • Also, the lady with the clipboard recording anything related to Dr. Brainstorm in "Robot's Day Out."
  • Chaldea Evil Incorporated!: After taking a liking to Doofensmirtz, Touko Aozaki leaves one of her puppet bodies behind in Chaldea so she doesn't have to travel 12 hours in a plane back to Europe. This not only lets her survive the Incineration of Humanity, but in chapter 10 she performs a Big Damn Heroes moment and scares the Demon Pillar Lev to not hurt Heinz or the other heroes.
  • In the Eleutherophobia series, Tom is constantly mistaken for Jake. It stops being funny in Ghost in the Shell when everyone realises why someone tried to kill Jake; the would-be killer saw Jake standing next to Eva, but from behind, assumed that Jake was Tom and shot him without making sure they had the right target first.
  • It's A Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door: Played for drama. At the beginning of the journey, Pinkie makes some off-hoof jokes at the kind of monsters that Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash might run into. When they finally reach the end of their quest, one of those monsters Pinkie mentioned, the World Serpent, is their final challenge. After a description that makes said creature about as big as an island nation, Pinkie is given lip service in one of the biggest Oh, Crap! jokes ever.
  • Family Guy Fanon: In "Mad Mex", Peter wants to build a borderwall to keep all the Mexicans out. So, he gets a Peter Mixer, which is a Peter Griffin version of a Cement Mixer. However, because Peter left it idle for too long, the cement hardened into a tiny ball of concrete. He later on uses the Peter Mixer, to let the Mexicans back into America again by using it as a cannon for firing balls of concrete at the border wall and it's guards.
  • Light of the Moon: The sight of five-year-old Varian telling two imprisoned teenage thieves that they make puppies look scary is funny. Later on, when he learns that [[spoiler:those teens grew up to be the Stabbington brothers who remember him and his little taunt... that moment becomes less funny.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: In the ninth chapter, Touji complains about him and Kensuke becoming "backup dancers for a crazy-eyed Yakuza guy" due to his buddy's loony antics. That apparent throwaway gag comes up again in chapter 15 when Hikari demands to know why they are rating dance videos, and becomes plot-revelant in chapter 17 when Asuka challenges both guys to prove they can outperform her and Shinji at their synchronized dance training.
  • The Stalking Zuko Series has Iroh having Naked Iroh Time in his apartment, scarring Jet and Zuko's neighbors. Jet realizes that "Mushi" must be the Fire Nation spy instead of Lee since the apartment is poorly insulated and it's early spring, too cold for a non-Firebender to walk comfortably naked.
  • I Against I, Me Against You: In the first chapters, Church tries to pass Twilight off as his seeing eye dog to get past an armed checkpoint. When questioned how a seeing eye dog is supposed to help the supposedly blind Church aim, they then try to demonstrate by having Twilight "bark" when Church gets closer to his target. When they face Wyoming in 1-7, they use the same tactic to help Church overcome his poor aiming skills.
  • Relatively early in Xendra, Xander learns of the magical "Law of Precedent" where the more times a spell has succeeded, the more likely it is to succeed in the future. And a spell is more likely to have a specific result if said result has been achieved before. At first, it's just the reason Xander can be changed into a teenaged Xena again after Halloween. But while trying to get the Box Of Gavrok out of Sunnydale to destroy it, some of the Mayor's magical protections are set off and mixed up by the anti-magic protections on Wesley's car. As a result, both Xander and Wesley are turned into women instead of incinerated.
  • In Zero Interface the empathic familiar bond between Ranma and Louise is shown to work both ways when Ranma's interest in Kirche causes Louise to start lusting after her as well. When Ranma is nearly killed by Wardes, Louise reacts on instinct the next time she sees Wardes and blasts him off the airship they're on.
  • letmetellyouaboutmyfeels' MCU Rewrites: In the rewrite of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Natasha is asked if she wants to try and lift Mjölnir and she replies "That's not a question I need answered" like in the movie. In the Final Battle against Ultron, she lifts Mjölnir and she, along with the Scarlet Witch, decimate Ultron. When her teammates see her holding Mjölnir she replies, "I told you it wasn't a question I needed answering."
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash's Snivy gets hit by Aerial Ace in just about every battle she takes part in. She gets so fed up with it, she decides to learn it herself and start hitting others with it.
  • In the Virtue's Last Reward P.O.V. Sequel fic Empty Virtue:
    • At one point, the old man Sigma makes the completely deadpan and hilariously untrue claim that he's 22 years old. This joke takes a more significant turn when it's revealed that he's actually a 22-year-old man inhabiting the body of his 67-year-old self.
    • At a couple of points, Quark suffers Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure and has no idea who Indiana Jones is. This turns dark when it's revealed that he grew up After the End.
  • In Son of the Sannin, due to her increased power thanks to having awakened the Tenseigan, Hinata accidentally shocks Naruto with Lightning Release while giving him a goodbye kiss before he leaves to train with Killer B. It turns out during this time, she transferred him a portion of her chakra, which manifests while he's battling to tame Kurama to help him.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: In "The Wedding Reception," Mittens improvises humorous parody lyrics for Richard Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin, making fun of the selection. At the end of the story, Bolt and Rhino teasingly serenade the badly hungover cat with spoofing lyrics of their own to this melody.
  • In Stand Together And Smile, Asuna is confused while watching a rom com with Kazuya and Suguha, wondering why all the girls are fighting over the boy instead of agreeing to share him. This comes up later, when she is the one suggesting Polyamory to all of the girls who are just as interesting in Kirito as she is.
  • For the Glory of Irk: The story opens with Zim showing off to Dib a device that turns things into toast, as a humorous sign of how far Zim has come from actively trying to conquer Earth. This eventually comes back in a big way at the story's climax, when he uses it to defeat Control Brain IX.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • The scene where a child Joey runs after Serenity, who is in a car and crying, was originally their mother driving her away after their Solomon Divorce, but the abridged version changed it to Joey trying and failing to teach Serenity how to drive. Two seasons later, it turns out she ran over Noah, setting him on the path to his Start of Darkness.
    • Dartz speaks in a thick accent of unknown origin, and which leads to funny moments where his minions can't tell if he wants to steal their opponent's dicks or decks. He also consistently mangles everyone's names. During the final battle, he reveals that he knew the Pharaoh when he was alive, and he even knows his real name: Atem. Too bad the Pharaoh can't understand him.
  • Old Man Henderson used the heelies he installed in his combat boots to escape THE Tanker Truck Incident. The author swears up and down that there was never any intention for the heelies to be useful, and that Henderson was just the type of person who would install heelies in his combat boots for the lolz.
  • In For Earth And Her Colonies, Nagato chews out UNSC Harvest for taking the speed-obsessed destroyer Shimakaze on an orbit around the Earth, brushing off Harvest's reply that Shimakaze was fine after she deployed her rigging. The fact that a shipgirl could survive in outer space with her rigging out becomes plot-relevant again when Nagato and Harvest ride a rocket up to attack an orbiting Covenant warship.
  • Mirai SMP: Cooper's inability to swim doesn't seem like anything more than a funny line or endearing quirk. That is, until after he's Back from the Dead, and pushes Schlatt overboard while they work on a boat they found... and is grabbed and pulled down underwater with him.

    Films — Animation 
  • in Elemental (2023), Wade and his family play a game in which they see who cries first, Wade says "Butterfly. Windshield Wiper. Half a butterfly," and also tells a story of a man who lost his love over the summer to try making Ember cry. In the climax of the movie, Ember uses the same words to restore Wade after he evaporated from her heat.
  • The Incredibles:
    • During the Good-Times Montage, there's a fun scene of Bob and Dash playing football where Bob throws the ball far off toward the horizon and Dash uses his super-speed to run out and catch it. They remember this in the climax when Bob needs to keep Syndrome's remote away from the Omnidroid. Dash shouts for Bob to throw it, who says, "Go long!" and deliberately overthrows the control to increase the distance between Dash and the Omnidroid. This buys time for Helen to take out the robot's gun.
    • Edna Mode's suit demonstration for Helen is Played for Laughs, what with Helen being understandably shocked that her friend has that much weaponry and also has built suits that can withstand any of her kids' powers, while Edna watches the gunfire with glee as they sip tea. It turns out that wearing Nigh-Invulnerable suits is very handy when you and your older kids are trapped in a plane that missiles are about to hit. Helen remembers that her suit is designed to withstand explosions and uses it to shield Violet, Dash, and herself from the impact. Suffice to say that it works.
    • Edna’s refusal to add a cape to Bob’s new suit is played alongside a Black Comedy montage of several other superheroes dying from a Cape Snag. Take a guess as to how Syndrome is killed?
  • In Incredibles 2, Bob is initially very impressed with the "water feature" when Dash plays around with the house's decorative indoor ponds just after they arrive. A few days later, when Bob is rushing to search through his old belongings he falls into one of the decorative indoor ponds. After getting out, he mumbles, "Stupid water feature!"
  • In Kung Fu Panda, a joke is made about Po being so fat and fuzzy, that he cannot properly be given acupuncture. This turns into a sort of unlearned Chekhov's Skill later on, when Po ends up facing the most dangerous martial artist in the land... who uses pressure-point attacks, which are useless!
  • In Kung Fu Panda 3: Shifu pulls a Look Behind You gag on Po near the beginning of the film when he's reluctant to become Shifu's successor. Po pulls the same trick on Kai in the climax in order to get close enough to grab Kai and perform the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself, taking Kai with him into the Spirit Realm.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Earlier in the film, there’s a one-off gag about how dragons aren’t fireproof on the inside. This comes back in the climax, where the Red Death is finally done in by Hiccup shooting a fireball into her mouth as she’s preparing to breathe fire, igniting her inner gas as burning her alive from the inside.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Emmet having built many toasters in his house proves important later, when he, Lucy, and Rex build a toaster to launch themselves out of a brick-melting pit.
  • Toy Story includes the claw-game worshiping Little Green Men, who hold "the claaaaaaaw" in high regard because it will choose and deliver them to a better place. Fast forward to Toy Story 3, near the end when the entire group is holding hands as they await their inevitable death in an incinerator... only to look up as see a gigantic crane claw scoop them up being controlled by the Little Green Men adopted by the Potato Heads in Toy Story 2.
  • Up: "Squirrel!" Russell uses it to distract the dogs in biplanes shooting at him, causing them to crash into each other.
  • Early in The Iron Giant, Hogarth is trying to take a photo of the Giant, but gets bored while waiting for the Giant to appear. During a Time-Passes Montage, one of the clips shown is a quick gag in which Hogarth cleaning the lens of his camera only to accidentally take a picture of himself. Later, Mansley discovers the camera and develops the photo that Hogarth accidentally took of himself, revealing the Giant looking over Hogarth's shoulder, thus finally giving Mansley photographic evidence that the Giant exists.
  • During the Dazzlings' Villain Song in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, DJ Pon-3 can be seen in the background, bobbing her head to her own music and apparently oblivious to the goings-on. This leaves her unaffected by the Hate Plague being spread by them, allowing her assist the Rainbooms at later points in the movie, rescuing them from a trap and providing the sound system for the climatic battle.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph:
    • When Ralph is in King Candy's palace, he comments that it's oddly pink for a male character. King Candy insists that it's clearly salmon. There's a reason it's so pink and so non-fitting to King Candy- he's a usurper who hijacked the game after causing his own to crash due to his desire for the spotlight. The castle's original owner was Princess Vanellope Von Schweetz.
    • "Going Turbo" at first sounds like it's just a Mythology Gag, given that M. Bison is the one who says it (keep in mind that he was Promoted to Playable in Street Fighter II Turbo). However, it turns out that "going Turbo" is a specific reference to game-jumping that was done by someone named Turbo, with destructive consequences for everyone involved. And he's still at it; he's secretly the true identity of King Candy.
    • In one scene, Vanellope causes Taffyta to briefly "glitch out" like she does when she physically touches her. When she glitches while fighting King Candy, this ends up unmasking him as Turbo.
  • Early on during Storks, the fact that birds can't see glass is used to humorously establish that Junior's boss is a Bad Boss. Later on the film, he gets chased by wolves through a glass factory and has to rely on Tulip to make it through, smacking into every other glass pane on the way.
  • At the start of Megamind, the solar-powered Death Ray can't fire right away because it's warming up. At the climax of the film, the gun used to De-power Titan can't be used right away because it's warming up.
  • In Next Gen, it's a running gag throughout the film that the other characters will attempt to close a door, fail, and look down to see Mai's pet dog Momo blocking it with his head. Near the end of the film, when the iron gates of the stadium are closing to trap thousands inside to die from exploding robots, Momo's head prevents it from closing completely, allowing everyone there (who didn't already die) to escape.
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island: During the "It's Terror Time Again" scene, Shaggy accepts a vine from offscreen to pull Scooby out of some quicksand, only to do a Double Take upon realizing that a zombie handed him the vine. It seems like a classic throwaway gag, fairly standard for a chase sequence in this franchise. But in hindsight, this is the first indication that the zombies don't mean any harm, and are actually trying to help Scooby and the gang against the real villains.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Miles is told to tie his shoes by his father, his classmates, and eventually Spider-Man himself, and it remains a funny recurring gag until he trips and breaks the computer chip Spider-Man gave him.
  • Played for Drama in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The random Alchemax scientist that Miles threw a bagel at in Into The Spider-Verse turns out to have become The Spot, who is now threatening to kill Miles' father, which becomes the crux of the plot.
  • In The Mitchells vs. the Machines, two Pal Max robots (which had made a Heel–Face Turn) briefly malfunctioned after being shown Monchi, the Ugly Cute Mitchell family dog, as they were unable to determine whether it was a dog, a pig, or a loaf of bread. Katie weaponizes this Logic Bomb against hostile Pal Max robots during the final battle, but PAL was savvy enough to fix this bug on her Elite Mooks.
  • Zootopia: During the Training Montage at the police academy, Judy slips and falls trying to use a toilet way too big for her, with the instructor (who happened to be in the neighbouring stall) telling her that "you're dead!". Much later, when Judy and Nick are locked in a holding cell about to be captured by the mayor's security force, Nick says that "we're dead", giving Judy the idea to escape through the cell's oversized toilet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The crazy guy in the bushes of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle compliments Kumar's "manscaping", which was mentioned near the beginning of the movie.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    • The ending is this. We get a gag of a knight on horseback killing the Famous Historian, and then at the end the police investigating the historian's murder show up and arrest King Arthur. The investigation is shown between scenes several times during the movie. It's why Lancelot isn't in the end scene.
    • The end credits are also an example — there aren't any, since the credits people were all fired for the moose and llama-related nonsense in the opening credits.
    • Also, the bit with King Arthur getting to cross the Bridge of Death by responding to the question about the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow with a question of his own, directly from the first scene of the film. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Bedivere ties a coconut to a swallow and releases it in his first scene. It puts a new light on his comment after Arthur's Bridge of Death questions.
    • Upon meeting the French, they say they already have a Holy Grail, then at the end they are in the castle with the Grail in it.
    • At the end of the Bring Out Your Dead bit, someone comments that Arthur must be a king because he hasn't got shit all over him. The French at the end dump shit on him. Twice.
  • The film My Cousin Vinny is full of these. The movie takes care to ensure that any and every major, important point used in the case is established and demonstrated, most often in a humorous way that makes the whole incident look like a mere joke. For instance, Vinny tries to sleep in his car out in the woods only to be caught in a rainstorm. The car is stuck in mud and when they try to get out one wheel spins while the other doesn't spin at all. It seems like just another ridiculous bad night that serves only to wreck Vinny's suit and force him to wear a ridiculous show suit instead, until it turns out that the very same issue makes it impossible for a car to leave the sort of skid marks found at the crime scene, allowing Lisa to conclude that the Skylark the boys drove, which had the same issue, could not possibly be the vehicle that left the marks.
  • In Home Alone, it's established that Kevin's cousin Fuller is a notorious bed-wetter (especially after drinking soda), and thus, no one wants to share a bed with him. Toward the end of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin and most of the other McCallisters (besides Kevin's parents, who have a separate room) are seen sleeping squashed together everywhere other than the bed. Guess who's got that huge bed all to himself (with Coke cans all over it, no less)?
  • In Bruges:
    • There is this dialogue in the middle of the film. Guess whose head is blown off by the end of the film? Jimmy, the midget actor, of course.
      Ray: This is exactly my point! People going around calling you a midget when you want to be called a dwarf. Of course you're going to blow your head off.
    • When trying to see the view from the church tower, Ken tries to get rid of some loose change by paying the entry fee of five Euros. He comes up short by 10 cents, so the annoying Belgian cashier refuses to let him enter. Later on, Ken throws the coins off the tower to warn passers-by below that he's going to jump to his death.
  • The Last Circus has the Ghost Rider, a Butt-Monkey circus artist who performs with a motorcycle which always flies too far sending him to smash against a wall, even when he's reassured by the others that the bike is fixed and it won't happen. It is initially treated as a Running Gag in the first part of the film, but then in the climax the Ghost Rider attempts to use his skill to save the day, which instead causes him to die in the crash, or otherwise getting severely wounded and unconscious.
  • Edgar Wright made an art out of the Chekhov's Gag in his "Cornetto Trilogy": Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End are chock full of them. Lines that were funny earlier on in the story become rather morose and depressing later, or alternatively everything that wasn't a joke comes back as a joke, and a lot early jokes come back as funnier jokes.
    • Shaun of the Dead:
      • One of Shaun's coworkers at the appliance store tells him "You've got red on you" very early in the movie as a result of him having a red pen in his pocket that had leaked onto the rest of his shirt. Later, it was said about the blood that had been splattered all over him.
      • When Shaun first encounters Pete as a zombie, he nervously stammers out that Pete's welcome to join everyone at the Winchester if he feels better. Pete shows up, but he's not feeling better that's for sure.
    • Hot Fuzz:
      • Danny pretends to stab his own eye out with a fork by hiding a packet of ketchup in his hand and stabbing that instead. He later uses the same trick to fake killing Angel.
      • Angel's predecessor, Sgt. Popwell, is mentioned by Frank to have had "A GREAT BIG BUSHY BEARD!" This is how his body is identified when Angel falls into the catacombs where the threats to the "Village of the Year" Award are disposed of.
      • Angel's first interaction with Joyce Cooper where they seemingly insult one another ("Fascist!" "Hag") while solving a crossword is repeated during the climactic shootout, and Angel's correction of the word to "faciscm" reflects what the NWA really are in Sandford.
    • The World's End: Early in the film when Oliver is on the phone with his sister Sam he teasingly asks "You get lost on the ring road again?". Much later in the film she says she came back for Gary, Andy and Steven because she got lost on the ring road.
  • In Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Chad is revealed to have asthma, using his inhaler many times throughout the movie. During the climax Dale throws a box of chamomile tea at Chad, which causes him to have an asthma attack and fall to his apparent death.
  • The one funny moment in the new Bewitched movie: An actor attributes his last film's failure to the costume department. This is presented as a spoiled actor making excuses and then forgotten about until an hour later, when he's watching TV and the film comes on, showing him in a snowstorm wearing an enormous fur hat and yelling, "TURN BAAACK!". It was worth seeing the rest of the movie for that.
  • Shutter Island has a brief gag when the two main characters enter Shutter Island - after being ordered to surrender their guns, US Marshal Teddy Daniels quickly takes his revolver out of his holster, but his partner Chuck struggles to get it out. After several seconds of Chuck struggling, he eventually gets...the entire holster off. On second viewings of the film, it becomes clear that Chuck can't get it out because he's not really a US Marshal, and has never actually used a gun.
  • For a series with a lot of Continuity Nods and Brick Jokes, Back to the Future does not have a lot of Call Backs that are necessarily this. However, they do have an example in the first movie with the joke about Uncle Joey not making parole in 1985. Then we see him as a baby in 1955 and his mother says that he cries whenever they take him out of his crib.
    Marty: Better get used to those bars, kid.
  • Rock 'n' Roll High School loves this trope.
    • While the heroine skips school for three days to stand in line for Ramones tickets, her best friend delivers fake notes to the principal to excuse her absence. The first says the heroine's father died, the second says her mother died, and third says her goldfish died. Later, the principal calls the heroine in with proof that the notes were fake; the goldfish, alive and well! Later we see the principal's two idiot assistants eat the goldfish.
    • In another example from the same movie, the principal subjects a mouse to rock music of increasing intensity. When she subjects it to the music of The Ramones the mouse explodes. Later, at a Ramones concert, a mouse tries to get in. The bouncer refuses, saying it might explode, until the mouse shows it brought a headset to protect itself.
  • In the climax of the Seltzer and Friedberg movie Vampires Suck, Bella... er... Becca rushes to stop Edward from ending it all, fighting through a crowd of Edward and Jacob fangirls along the way. At the end, after Becca becomes a vampire, one of the Jacob fangirls kills Edward. This results in a Karmic Death, as Becca feasts on the fangirl's blood.
  • In Galaxy Quest the whole "By Grabthar's Hammer..." speech is played as such a horribly tired cliche that Sir Alexander Dane boils over every time it's said to him. Then it's turned around into one of the most moving moments of the whole film. Ditto for the "Chant of Strength" which appears to help in another scene.
  • The Running Gag in Almost Heroes where Hunt (Chris Farley) kept getting attacked by an eagle. It happens again in the climax but he hangs onto the eagle until it carries him to the Pacific Ocean, beating Lewis & Clark in the process.
  • In Spice World the girls joke about Emma's smile helping her get away with anything, complete with Imagine Spot of her using the smile to get away with murder. Then when the girls are confronted by the police for their wild bus ride across London, all Emma does is apologise and smile sweetly and the girls are free to go inside the concert hall.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, Tony has one of his bumbling armature robots on fire duty during his building of the Iron Man Mark II suit. His first disastrous flight into the ceiling results in the 'bot dousing him with the extinguisher. During his second, more successful flight, he threatens to donate the bot to a community college if it douses him again. The third time, after his spectacular botched landing on the roof of his house, the 'bot douses him again and Tony just lays his head down on the Cool Car he landed on in his basement garage. In a rather funny Chekhov's Gun at the end of the film, Tony needs to get at the replacement arc reactor on the table, but is too weak to stand up. Just as he gives up, the robot arm obligingly pushes it into his outstretched hand.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger : When introducing Captain America's new gear, Howard Stark says "Although, HYDRA's not gonna attack you with a pocket knife." When Captain America boards Red Skull's doomsday ship, the first mook to attack pulls out a pocket knife.
    • In The Avengers, the gag with SHIELD agent Phil Coulson attempting to have Captain Steve Rogers sign his mint-condition Captain America trading cards takes on a slight darker turn later on when we see the aforementioned trading cards wet with the (apparently) deceased Coulson's blood, and being used by Nick Fury to motivate the Avengers to get their act together.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Winter Soldier, an agent of HYDRA, once again pulls a knife on Captain America.
    • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, in what seems to be a throwaway scene, the Avengers try to lift Thor's hammer at their celebratory party, with none of them succeeding because "they're all not worthy". As Vision tries to convince them of his good intentions, he casually picks up the hammer and hands it to Thor. The Avengers promptly agree to follow. He uses it briefly in the final battle as well. Steve appears to move the hammer slightly before giving up, but it's left open whether he could have lifted it had he tried harder. In the climactic battle of Avengers: Endgame, he picks it up with ease and wields it against Thanos, suggesting that he could have done so at the party, but chose to back off out of respect for Thor.
      Thor: I knew it!
    • By the time Ant-Man and the Wasp begins, Scott Lang has been under house arrest for two years. He’s taken up some hobbies to pass the time, including close-up magic tricks. Throughout the film’s action scenes, Scott’s misdirection skills prove vital to his and Hope van Dyne/Wasp’s success.
  • Early on in Robot and Frank, the robot is being teased by children while Frank's in the library without him. The robot repeatedly tells the children not to molest him. When Frank sees this, he tells the robot to scare them off next time by saying "Initiate self destruct" and counting down from 10. When the cops are checking his home at the end and are about to use the robot to bust Frank for grand theft, the robot starts telling the people not to molest them... then says "Initiate self destruct" and starts counting down. It helps Frank escape and later format the robot's memory to help him get away from any charges.
  • In The King's Speech, when Lionel tries get Albert to bring up a topic, the latter responds: "Waiting for me to...commence a conversation, one can wait rather a long wait." Later, when Albert returns to apologize to Lionel, he tells him: "Waiting for a king to apologize, one can wait a long wait."
  • The extra-powerful soda machine in Silent Movie seems like just another slapstick gag, but later the main trio are being chased by E&D's cronies, and they end up near the same soda machine. Hilarity Ensues again, this time as the trio weaponize it.
  • In 7 Zwerge, the dwarves' hats all stand up straight upon seeing Snow White except for Brumboss's hat, which remains limp. Initially it seems like just another throwaway gag, but it also foreshadows that Brumboss is Snow White's father.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy's kindness to animals tends to have unintended consequences. His short-lived high-speed car chase ends because he swerves to avoid hitting a fox. He fails the final Kingsman test because he refuses to Shoot the Dog he raised.
  • Idiocracy: Officer Collins develops an Odd Friendship with Rita's pimp, which he accidentally reveals several pictures of himself partying with the guy during his presentation on the hibernation project to several army officers. It results in Collins going to jail for running his own prostitution ring, and the project being shut down, leaving Joe and Rita to spend 500 years in suspended animation.
  • In the 2000 sequel to the The Nutty Professor (1996), Buddy regenerates after a dog is exposed to his remains which Sherman extracted from his body. This causes him to act like a dog at random moments note . Sherman exploits when he needs to reabsorb Buddy, by tempting him with a rubber ball laced with his serum, knowing Buddy would catch it in his mouth.
  • In The Pink Panther (2006), Clouseau develops a love for hamburgers and can't pronounce the word properly. At the airport, he tries to sneak a bunch of burgers onto the plane, but a police dog smells them, and the police arrest him thinking he has a weapon on him, since he can't tell them otherwise.
  • During the Watertown shootout in Patriots Day, one of the neighborhood residents comes out of his house to give one of the police officers a sledgehammer to use against the bombers. The officer thinks the guy is a dumbass, but once one of the bombers runs out of ammo and resorts to choking another cop, the officer takes the sledgehammer and uses it to knock him off of his comrade and subdue the bastard.
  • An Autumn Afternoon: Shuhei and Kawai play a prank on Kawai's wife Nobuko by saying that Horie has died because he had high blood pressure and a young wife. Later, Kawai and Horie prank Shuhei by telling him that Horie has found a wife for the guy Kawai suggested Michiko marry. Nobuko tells Shuhei that they're just messing with him – Horie wanted revenge for the earlier prank.
  • Braveheart: During his introductory scene, while establishing himself as a violent and self-important loon, Stephen the Irish states, "Ireland. It's mine!" Later, when the Scots find themselves facing an English-Irish coalition, Stephen reveals that he's convinced the Irish to switch sides, saying, "I told you! It's my island!"
  • In Firestorm, an early joke about Cowboy rigging Sherman's safety line too long pays off much later when Jesse pulls the same trick on Packer after catching him in a snare.
  • A Running Gag in The Comedy of Terrors has Trumbull offering to give his dotering old father-in-law his "medicine", which is actually a bottle of poison. Amaryllis would stop him and her father - having gone senile - complains that she does not care about his health. After the climax of the film leaves Trumbull exhausted, Mr. Hinchley thinks he needs medicine and feeds Trumbull some of it.
  • Barely Lethal: Early on, our protagonist is reprimanded by her handler for being more interested in Kesha-branded perfume and other typical teen stuff than she is in her training. Later, after surviving an assassination attempt, the protagonist realizes that her Rival Turned Evil was the one behind it because she smelled the same perfume in the car that was used.
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Before setting out to America, Borat is injected with alleged "gypsy tears", itself a Call-Back to the original movie, to protect against curses. His route to the US is also way more long-winded than it needs to be, with inexplicable stops in China, Australia and through the Suez Canal. He was lied to and instead injected with COVID-19, which the Kazakhstan government created to punish the world for laughing at them.
  • Scooby-Doo (2002): A bartender answers a call for Scooby and announces that he has a phone call for a Mr. Doo. A human teen named Melvin Doo asks if it's for him, to which the bartender claims it's for Scooby. In the climax, the main villain Scrappy-Doo says that he needs the soul of Scooby-Doo in order to complete his paln. Scooby nervously asks if he meant Melvin Doo.
  • The Dinosaur Project: Luke befriends a little dinosaur which he names Crypto, although Crypto mostly just spends the time spitting on Luke. At the end, when Luke is about to be killed by the Big Bad, it turns out Crypto was using his spit to cover Luke with his scent, so that when his much bigger and meaner parents arrive, they'll protect Luke. The Big Bad, who was not spit on, is not so lucky.
  • Early in Kung Fu Hustle, Sing and the Landlady have a cartoonish chase a la Coyote and the Roadrunner, outrunning several cars. It seems like a quick gag until the Landlady is revealed to be a martial arts master and Sing has The Gift.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: In the opening, when Indy was escaping Lao Che's gang, he asked Willie to hold his gun, but she accidentally drops it out the window of their car. Later, Indy faces two Thuggee swordsmen, so he reaches for his holster so that he'd shoot them like he shot the swordsman in the first film... then suddenly remembers he lost the gun. After chuckling sheepishly, he fights them off hand-to-hand.
  • Strays (2023): Maggie is introduced with a gag about how her nose is so good, she can tell Bug ate a bunch of nickels for breakfast three days ago. This becomes important when they need to find Reggie's home but the only thing they have with his scent is a bandana that Bug already peed on.
  • In the 2005 remake of Fun with Dick and Jane, it's established that Dick Harper's son, Billy, is learning Spanish from their Latina housemaid Blanca. Later, after losing his job, Dick hangs out with some unemployed Mexican illegal immigrants when the INS shows up to arrest them, and when Dick insists he's an American, he tries calling home to prove it, but Billy answers the phone with "Hola", and Dick gets deported, instead.

  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • Five books later in the series, Annabeth proclaiming the Laistrygonian giants to be "Canadians" in Sea of Monsters is brought back up in Son of Neptune where Percy calls them Canadians... in front of genuine Canadian Frank Zhang. Frank is not pleased.
    • In another Frank-related moment, Frank trying to figure out Chinese handcuffs in The Mark of Athena seems like another joke at Frank's expense, with him never having seen them before (and being a little annoyed at the name, as he's part-Chinese)—but Annabeth ends up using the design of the toy to trap Arachne.
  • Book #6 of the Captain Underpants series has George and Harold introducing a new joke called Squishies, which consists of putting ketchup packets under toilet seats so that they squirt onto the legs of whoever sits on the toilet. The next book has Captain Underpants use this with crates of oranges and a giant novelty toilet as a method of defeating the Villains of the Book.
  • Discworld:
    • Pratchett frequently has a ditzy or naive character relay some kind of aphormism or cliche—for example, the bard telling Cohen the Barbarian about the Gordian Knot, or Magrat explaining how some martial artists can walk on coals without getting burnt, only to have the older, more world-wise listener scoff and pick apart all the logical holes in it. And then, during the climax, the world-wise character is confronted with a situation that requires them to dive right into the aphormism. Upon which they will give their younger companion some sort of nod of acknowledgement.
    "Bit of a knotty one. You'll remember I said that, lad?"
    • Witches Abroad. "Glod". And in that same book, Granny Weatherwax's absolute certainty of who she is and where she stands, and tendency to refuse to follow stories which attempt to include her in their plots is frequently discussed in side remarks after seeing it put into action, the first example being her inability to understand Magrat's attempt to "relate to herself" at a conceptual level, gradually building up the reader's knowledge of this aspect of her character. Surprise, surprise, that certainty comes into effect at the end of her book. Both she and her evil sister Lily are trapped separately within a shattered mirror, and Death tells both of them - separately - that they can escape "When you find the [reflection] that's real". Lily, who has lived on stories for most of her life, runs on "through the endless reflections", with the implication that she will never escape. Granny asks if this is a trick question, then looks down at herself. "This one".
  • Happens fairly often in the Harry Potter books, understandable considering the sheer size of its Chekhov's Armory. Multiple plot devices are first introduced as gags:
    • The Vanishing Cabinet gets this treatment twice, first trashed by Nearly Headless Nick to get Harry out of trouble with Filch in Chamber of Secrets, then used as a joke by Fred and George in Order of the Phoenix when they shove Montague into it. The latter incident is mentioned directly when the Cabinet becomes a serious plot device in Half-Blood Prince.
    • Hermione signing up for every class in Chamber Of Secrets is also treated as a character joke, until it's revealed in Prisoner of Azkaban that Hermione's had to use a Time-Turner to get to all her classes, which is then used to save Sirius and Buckbeak.
    • Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes are introduced in a humorous way in Goblet of Fire, but many of them play a larger role than expected in later books, particularly those used by the trio in their attempt to infiltrate the corrupted Ministry of Magic.
    • The Room of Requirement is indirectly mentioned in an offhand humorous way by Dumbledore in Goblet Of Fire; in the final three books, it becomes the most important room in all of Hogwarts.
    • Harry was bequeathed the golden snitch he caught in his first Quidditch game in The Philosopher's Stone. It is well know that the golden snitch can be used to hide small items inside it and can only be opened by the touch of the person that first held it in the game. When Harry is made to pick it up by Scrimgeour, who is trying to gain information from the protagonists in The Deathly Hallows, he barely hesitates and glaringly shows nothing happens. Once Scrimgeour left, he explains to Ron and Hermione why it didn't work. When he first caught the snitch, it was humorously shown that they won because he had accidentally caught it in his mouth. Which is the touch the snitch needed to open.
    • This carried over to the movies too. The films gave Seamus a Running Gag in which he would blow things up by mistake (which usually happened in the background.) Sure enough, when they decide to blow up the bridge leading into Hogwarts, they immediately turn to Seamus.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy opens with a monologue describing all the troubles and widespread unhappiness on Earth, and how one London woman suddenly had an epiphany about how all of that could be solved that was tragically cut short by the destruction of Earth. It then goes on to note "This is not her story" and rambles a bit about the titular Hitchhiker's Guide. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish opens with a word-for-word repeat of that exact same monologue, but instead ends with the line "This is her story."
  • In the first chapter of Good Omens, it's mentioned that Crowley made changes to the plans for the M25 to make it a demonic sigil. This sets up his character (he likes to do large amounts of low-grade evil), and once the apocalypse comes it turns into a rather nasty barrier, that completely destroys his car as he crosses it.
  • In the sixth Skulduggery Pleasant book, the titular character concludes an interrogation of a minor villain by punching him in the face and knocking him unconscious, briefly shocking his apprentice Valkyrie. Because of this, Valkyrie suggests they make a code for "I'm about to punch him", to which Skulduggery suggests "The sparrow flies south for winter". Valkyrie is adamant that it's too hard to slip into a conversation, proven when Skulduggery blurts it out in the middle of the sentence while undercover shortly later. Despite this, the quote is used multiple times in the next few books, despite frequently being admitted to being silly.
  • In the The Dresden Files book Blood Rites, one of the characters constantly gets Harry's name wrong. Later in the book where it turns out that since she either is not smart enough to remember or just does not care, when the time comes for his name to be vital (in framing him for a murder) she gave the police the wrong name. Harry finds this appropriately hilarious and sad.note 
  • At Around the World in Eighty Days there are multiple references to Passepartout's watch falling further behind as they travel east, and how the proud Frenchman refuses to touch the heritage of his ancestors. An explanation in Chapter 11 regarding how the days are shorter when one travels eastbound foreshadows The Reveal.
  • The Twits: Turns out the Shrinks is a real disease you can get from being upside-down for too long.
  • A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie: As everyone files into Little Paddocks, each arriving party remarks on the exact same trivial things — the roses and the fact that the central heating is on — to humorous effect, as noted by Julia. It turns out that the fact that the central heating is on so early in the autumn season is a vital clue — it meant that the murderer had intentionally left the fireplace off, ensuring that there would be no light when the power went out.
  • In Relativity, Sara and Greg have just gotten married when they bump into Sara's old flame, Martin Bling. When Bling finds out Greg is a chef, he mentions that he may want to visit his restaurant one day. Sara mutters under her breath, "Maybe you'll get food poisoning." Ten stories later (and over a year, in-universe), Bling does go to Greg's restaurant... and gets poisoned. His lawyers dig up the security footage of Sara and hire lip-readers to figure out what she said. Oops.
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, the narrator pulls out a trowel to make a Visual Pun on 'mason'. Later on, we find he had it on him for a reason.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Each instalment features more of these than the last, to the point where the later books turn into Chekhov's Gag minefields near the end.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, at one point, Miles finally thinks of a cover story to explain why Admiral Miles Naismith (his spy alter ego) looks exactly like Lieutenant Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. Admiral Naismith is a Cetagandan clone of Lieutenant Vorkosigan, created to wreak havoc in the Barrayaran Empire! Miles' superior thinks it's a stupid story, to Miles' annoyance, and the cover story appears to be simply a gag on Miles' hyperactive imagination. Until it turns out Miles was subconsciously inspired by a brief glimpse of a double (Miles was exhausted and on medication at the time and didn't realize he wasn't hallucinating) who actually is his clone, created to wreak havoc in the Barrayaran Empire.
  • In Log Horizon, there is a humorous sequence where Akatsuki is trying to run away from Henrietta (or to be more precise, the dress in Henrietta's hands). Trying being the operative word, as Henrietta has privileges over the building (specifically, who can interact with doors, use skills, or fight). It ends with Akatsuki in a doll outfit. Shiroe uses this precise ability to defeat the Hamelin guild, by banning them from entering the guild building (essentially locking them inside their own guild hall). He simultaneously uses the threat of this same ability to blackmail the major guilds into forming a council in order to bring law to the city.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, the series' biggest source of comedy is Child Soldier Sousuke Sagara being placed in a mundane Japanese high school and causing chaos and destruction by acting like he's still on the battlefield. In Ending Day by Day, Amalgam terrorists hold the school hostage by secretly planting bombs throughout the building, and Sousuke asks Student Council President Hayashimizu (one of the few people who understands his situation) for help. All Hayashimizu has to do is get on the school's intercom and tell everyone "Well, Sagara's done it again", and they evacuate the building with such speed and efficiency that the terrorists are left gobsmacked.
  • Sword Art Online: In the Alfheim arc, while interrupting the attack on the Slyph / Cait-Sith meeting, Kirito tells the Salamander General that he represents the (non-existent) Spriggan / Undine alliance. Kirito is a Spriggan, and Asuna's (eventual) main avatar is an Undine... meaning the two of them form a Spriggan/Undine alliance of their own.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A third season episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun has Dick and Mary engaging in an ever-escalating prank war, where Dick has Mary's desk removed, sends her a fake letter from then-president Bill Clinton, and gets a garage to add massive speakers and flame decals to her Volvo. In response, Mary gets Dick's hands (and face) stuck to his desk with thermal bond epoxy. While Dick is slowly, and painfully, removed, they finally come to a truce. Mere seconds afterward, they hear a loud, booming noise from outside.
    Judith: Mary, it appears your Volvo is back from the shop.
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Eye-Spy", Ward mentions to Coulson that Skye has a habit of saying "Bang!" and is having trouble telling a gun's safety from the magazine release. Later in the episode, Skye tries to take down the villain of the week with the night-night gun...and promptly ejects the magazine instead.
    Skye: Bang?
  • Angel:
    • One episode mentions Fred laughing at something a Shrub said. Later in the last season when she becomes Illyria one of her powers is talking to plants.
    • In one early episode, Frank builds some odd looking contraption involving an axe. Multiple characters speculate that it looks like "it is either a decapitation device or (knowing Fred) it makes toast". Come the climax of the episode, she actually busts it out and does, in fact, decapitate a demon with it by launching the axe across the room using a foot pedal.
      Fred: [on why she built it] I was just thinking about what if, like, you arms got cut off and you needed to fight. It would be pretty hard to do... or to make toast for that matter.
  • In one episode of Boy Meets World, Shawn stops Cory from giving Topanga flowers by snatching them from him and handing them to a jock who happens to walk by in the school hallway. It's a brief gag that isn't given much attention. Then, several scenes later, Cory and Shawn are alone in a classroom doing Comic Role Play that involves Cory saying "I love you" to Shawn. They look up and see that same jock standing in the doorway holding the flowers and watching them, then throwing the flowers on the floor and walking away in anger.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • In "Gingerbread", Willow is boasting of her witchcraft, then admits she can only float pencils. Later she and Buffy are about to be burnt at the stake so Willow tries to frighten the mob by threatening them with her Black Magic, causing Buffy to mutter, "What are you gonna do, float a pencil at them?" Later on in the season Willow does exactly that, staking a vampire that has her cornered in a supply room with a magically-levitated pencil.
    • Early in "A New Man", there's a quick gag where Giles thinks that Ethan is drunkenly trying to flirt with him, before realizing that Ethan is actually offering his phone number to the waitress next to him. Giles and Spike track Ethan down later on by asking her if she still has the phone number.
    • In "Triangle", Spike and Xander run into each other at the Bronze and Spike raves about a fried onion dish prepared to look like a flower, which Xander mocks. Later in the same episode, a troll breaks into the Bronze demanding food and mead, and Spike offers him the flowery onion. Two seasons later, Spike is on a mission with Andrew and they connect over their love of the flowery onion dish that is served at the Bronze. After which he threatens to kill him if he tells anyone about the conversation.
  • In Defending The Guilty, Danielle and Liam's disastrous attempts to backstab Pia via a Twitter account leaking "secrets" appear to be a one-episode joke, as they only know one other secret, that Will has kissed a juror. It comes back dramatically close to the end of Series 1 when Will's long-suffering and suspicious girlfriend happens across the Twitter account and learns the truth.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Christmas Invasion": During a tense scene where the Doctor, after scaring off some of the evil robot Santas with the sonic screwdriver, starts to have a regeneration sickness-induced seizure because Rose woke him up too early, he unexpectedly discovers an apple in the pocket of his dressing gown, borrowed from the man Jackie is currently seeing, who tends to get snacky during the night. At the climax, the Doctor finds a satsuma in his pocket and uses it to defeat the Sycorax leader.
    • "Asylum of the Daleks" has the Doctor and his companions trying to rescue a woman, Oswin Oswald, who survived having her spaceship crash into a planet used as an asylum by Daleks. When asked over the radio what she's been doing while trapped on the planet, she responds "Making soufflés". After hearing this, the Doctor asks twice where she gets the milk from to make them, but he doesn't get an answer because someone else insists it's not important. It's played out as an amusing case of Skewed Priorities, but when he sees Oswin face to face the Doctor finds out that Oswin was actually turned into one of the insane Daleks long ago, and that she imagined making soufflés and still being human because she couldn't handle the truth.
    • Christmas Episode "The Snowmen" has a hilarious scene where the Doctor, having no interest in investigating the snowmen appearing over England, chooses to erase the memory of Clara Oswald, who witnessed his encounter with them. The Doctor sends Battle Butler Strax to fetch "the memory worm" — one touch of its skin and you lose an hour's worth of memories. The problem is, when Strax returns he's empty-handed and has no memory of the last hour. Strax's failure to retrieve the worm leads to Clara not even trying to run because she finds it more amusing to watch him lose his memory a second time. The Doctor ends up using the worm's bite to remove all of the memories from this episode's villain.
  • In the episode "Everybody Hates the Buddy System" of Everybody Hates Chris, Julius gives Drew a Wayne "Gritzky" jersey. Then in the episode "Everybody Hates Gretzky", a couple of white guys try to steal Drew's jersey, but back off when they realize it's misspelled.
  • Family Matters: In one Halloween episode, the beginning has Steve scare Carl with a prank involving spring snakes. Later on, Steve and Laura end up as hostages during a bank robbery and one of the robber's demands is for a pizza. A short time later, in comes a short fat Jamaican pizza man. When the robber opens the pizza box, spring snakes startle him and Carl (who was in fact the pizza man and used Steve's snakes) jumps the robber and takes him down. He thanks Steve for giving him the idea.
  • One episode of Father Ted ("Hell") starts with the village idiot entrusted with an articulated tanker to deliver "Craggy Island's largest ever consignment of raw sewage" for processing. "This button opens the door, this one releases the sewage." This is not mentioned again until the very end of the episode, where he stops to pick up Ted and Dougal. Guess what happens.
  • Firefly: "Serenity" and "The Train Job" both have throwaway gags involving a bit of technobabble about a "compression coil" in Serenity's engine that Kaylee wants to replace, with Mal blowing her off. In "Out of Gas", part of the compression coil catastrophically fails, leaving the ship adrift in deep space.
  • Part of the humor in Friday Night Dinner is that the show intentionally sets up loads of Chekhovs gags in a single episode, and will then blindside the audience with one of them at the end of the episode in a twist.
  • Friends is full of minor examples of these, but there have been a few very significant ones. In season 5, Chandler goes away to Jersey for the weekend claiming it's for a work convention. Monica goes away to Jersey the same weekend claiming it's for a culinary fair. Afterwards, Chandler told Joey he saw Donald Trump while waiting for a lift and Joey also fields a call from Chandler's hotel regarding a forgotten eyelash curler. These appear to be nothing more than normal jokes about Joey knowing obscure trivia or thinking Chandler's gay. However, at the end of the episode, Joey overhears Monica telling Phoebe she saw Donald Trump while waiting for a lift and asking Rachel if she can borrow an eyelash curler because she's lost her own. Joey therefore becomes the first Friend to uncover the truth about Chandler and Monica's Secret Relationship, setting him up for a mini story arc whereby he learns the hard way that Keeping Secrets Sucks.
  • Home Improvement was rather fond of these:
    • In the episode "Quest for Fire", the Cold Open shows Tim Taylor trying to use rocket fuel to light a barbecue grill. This results in Tim launching the grill into low orbit, in a gag that's seemingly unrelated to the rest of the episode. Later, the Taylors are on vacation at a lake, and at the end of the episode, right before the ending credits, Tim and Jill are walking away from the lake when the barbecue grill splashes down.
    • "'Twas the Flight Before Christmas" has several jokes early on about Tim using Absurdly Bright Lights to decorate his house for Christmas, including Al saying "You could light up an airport runway with that much wattage!" Towards the end, Tim's trying to make it back home in time for Christmas, but his flight has to be diverted because visibility is too low in Detroit to land any planes. Tim comments that his kids are probably lighting up the decorations as he speaks...then suddenly a beam of light coming from his house lights everything up and makes it possible to land the plane.
  • One episode of The Honeymooners, entitled "The $99,000 Answer" involves this trope. Ralph is cramming for an appearance on the titular game show where he has to identify songs, and Norton is helping him by playing songs on the piano. To Ralph's consternation, EVERY SINGLE song is preceded by Norton "warming up" which consists of the first few notes of "Way Down Upon the Swanee River" followed by "dadum, dadum dum DUM!" But after studying almost every popular song in existence, guess what the first song he gets on "The $99,000 Answer" is? And guess who it is that composed that song?
    Ralph: ...Ed Norton?
  • How I Met Your Mother does this from time to time such as in Life Among the Gorillas where Marshall's coworkers repeatedly come up with bizarre celebrity comparisons (where the point seems to involve who you'd rather sleep with) while asking, "What do you do? Go!" Its reframed in the last moment of the episode when Robin calls Ted to invite him over and Narrator Ted asks, "What do you do? Go!"
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, in the episode "The Waitress is Getting Married". At the beginning of the episode, we see Charlie trapping a nest of live hornets in a box, thinking they'll make honey for him. Charlie then spends the episode dealing with the discovery that the girl he's obsessed with is engaged. In the final scene, he takes a wedding gift to her fiancée. On discovering that he only proposed as part of a cruel prank on the girl, Charlie tells him to keep the gift anyway. As he walks away, we see that the box is the one with the hornet's nest in it.
  • Frequently occurs on Jonathan Creek, where a seemingly completed comic scenario returns following the solution of the episode's mystery to deal the final (hilarious) blow. For example in one episode, Carla is doing a book signing and there is a comic scenario involving a fan's (fully grown) nephew crushing her lap whilst posing for a photo. This is pretty funny in its own right, but much later on Jonathan discovers that the fan and nephew had really tricked Carla into signing a consent form for her likeness to be used on a range of sex merchandise.
  • Kamen Rider Drive has a cop, Lt. Otta, who always hilariously screws up the name "Roidmude", the robots who serve as the series' villains, and for the longest time was skeptical about their existence despite all the evidence. Eventually, we find out that the Secretary of Defense is a Roidmude with the ability to alter memories and takes great pains to ensure that Police Are Useless. Otta learned something important, and Secretary Makage had to erase it. His Arbitrary Skepticism is the spell reasserting itself every time it's triggered by the word "Roidmude", burying anything he knows about them so deep he can't even say the name right. Once cured, he can say it just fine, and remembers what he'd learned before.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: The early reveal of Poppy Pipopapo's nature as a Bugster is treated as something so ridiculously obvious that Emu and Hiiro are suprised she thought it would escape them. The full ramifications of this revelation aren't brought up because no one believes she can be both Token Heroic Orc and a viral monster. Then it's forgotten until another fourteen episodes later when the true reveal hits. Poppy is just like any complete Bugster, meaning she is a viral monster and can exist only because someone died of her type of Game Disease.
  • Kamen Rider Build thrives on foreshadowing plot twists via throw away gags. For example:
    • Sento teases Utsumi by calling him a cyborg because of the latter's stoic, depersonalized demeanor. It's later repeated by Katsuragi, much to Utsumi's dismay. He suffered a Disney Death in an unrelated accident shortly after the first time this joke was used but then turned up inexplicably alive. Towards the end of the story it is revealed that he was rebuild as a cyborg to save his life between those two times. Talk about Tempting Fate.
    • When questioned about his life, Ryuga Banjo gets overly excited to talk about how he was born a healthy baby only to be interrupted immediately afterwards for going back way too far. This happens twice and the second time is only a few episodes before the background truth bomb is dropped. Ryuga was born after an Eldritch Abomination tried to possess his mother and accidentally bonded with the fetus she was carrying instead, making him a Half-Human Hybrid. If they had let him talk about his childhood, he probably would have revealed that he was born after a pregnancy of two months and tipped off a good chunk of the plot a lot earlier than its eventual reveal.
  • In The Legend of Dick and Dom episode "Hairwolf", a lunatic goes on a random tirade about things you shouldn't do, like playing the bassoon in the bathtub. At the end of the episode, he jumps in front of the camera and says to the audience, "DON'T have a cheesy ending-noone would believe it".
  • At the beginning of the M*A*S*H episode "No Sweat", Klinger has taken apart the base PA system as part of a correspondence course in electronics. Potter orders him to have it repaired by Reveille, which adds tension throughout the night as various officers come to Klinger for issues that need Potter's approval. Having taken a sleeping pill to try to get some rest, Potter carries out all his authorizations in a somnambulant state, and Klinger manages to fix the PA system just in time for the entire camp to hear Potter and Houlihan discussing the fungal rash on Houlihan's butt.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "The Stepford Peg", while Al and the kids discuss the schedule Al planned out for Peg, Kelly brings up the upstairs bathroom that Peg had cleaned, claiming that there's a window above the sink and she saw a girl who looks exactly like her. This seems like a typical Dumb Blonde joke, but then The Tag shows up, in which Kelly walks up to Bud and introduces him to the girl next door. Cue a second Kelly walking in. Bud is speechless.
  • Mr. Young:
    • In one episode of this Canadian teen sitcom, Tater says he asked someone if they'd seen a Fryers chicken head, then pulls out a poultry chart and says he thought he meant a medium-sized frier chicken, as opposed to the slightly larger grosser and the slightly smaller boiler. in a later episode, Adam says his mom's "giant man eating chicken" scam doesn't seem very believable, since "chickens are not carnivores, and according to this poultry chart, even a grosser doesn't weigh more than 7 pounds". It turns out to actually be a giant man eating chicken.
    • In the same episode with the "giant man eating chicken", Adam tries to knock over a stack of milk cans, but he's not strong enough, even though he keeps hitting them. Later, Adam goes on a slingshot, and when he lands he hits the milk cans with his head, yet he still fails to knock them over.
    • In the pilot, Adam says Slabb looks like Bigfoot. Later, when he goes into disguise as a cranky old man, he refers to Slabb as Sasquatch.
  • Several Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes (usually during the Joel era) end with a host segment showing the Mads still feeling the effects of their Invention Exchange. For example:
    • "Eegah" has Dr. Forrester remove TV's Frank's blood and replace it with radiator fluid for the Invention Exchange. At the end of the episode, Dr. Forrester has to give Frank a tune-up because the coolant ran out.
    • "Manhunt In Space" has Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank show off bean bag chair pants (pants with a bean bag chair built in). They test them out and promptly fall onto their backs. At the end of the episode, Joel contacts them and finds they're still lying on their backs.
    • "Time of the Apes" has the Mads create the Miracle-Grow Baby which starts as an infant and grows up very quickly. At the end of the episode, we see the baby has grown to adulthood. While Forrester and Frank argue over who's going to change the baby and who's going to push the button, the baby says "I'll push the button" and does so.
  • Power Rangers RPM has two shining examples:
    • An early episode has Dillon try to ditch training, while Dr. K tells him he has to learn to be ready for anything. To drive the point home, when he opens the fridge to get a drink, she has a ludicrously over-sized laser cannon emerge. Later on, a comedic All Your Base Are Belong to Us fight has broken out, and to deliver the finishing blow Dillon pops open the fridge...
    • Another episode includes a flurry of Lampshade Hanging, including questioning why the Transformation Sequence is punctuated by explosions. Flynn's morpher then develops a glitch, and he has an idea of how to fix it, but there's the risk of a side effect - namely, an even bigger explosion. Which he helpfully aims at The Dragon and her Mooks.
  • In Queer as Folk (UK), Stuart teases Vince about his incessant babbling about Doctor Who, joking that soon Vince's boyfriend Cameron would be able to name all of the Doctors in order - leading to a nice little joke where they talk about their Fanon Discontinuity for the show. However, Vince's eventual ultimatum to Cameron is to challenge him to "name all of the actors who played Doctor Who". Cameron can name Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, "that bloke with the white hair" and "the vet". Vince decides that they're breaking up.
  • Reboot (2022): Hannah rejects a gag involving popcorn coming out of the washing machine, to the dismay of a crew member who's hauling a giant bag of popcorn around onset. The joke returns at the end of the episode where Hannah has stuffed Gordon's car with the popcorn, and it spills out when he opens the door.
    Gordon: ...You're right. It's too broad.
  • In Spaced, the characters are out boozing when Mike stands up, announces he is going to point the pink pistol at the porcelain firing range, and leaves. We assume that he's taking a trip to the loo. While he's gone, evil Matrix-style Agents turn up to take Daisy, but Mike returns to save the day, wielding a pink handgun.
  • Shadow and Bone: The goat that the Crows have during their trip through the Fold is mostly treated as a one-off joke by Jesper. He even gives the goat a name, Milo, and Jesper ties a bullet around his neck for "remembrance" and his treatment of the goat is treated as him being jokingly sentimental. But when Mal is taken prisoner by the Darkling in a tent, the goat shows up. Mal then uses a treat to lure Milo to his side and uses the bullet around his neck to unlock the chains.
  • Special mention goes to Supernatural, which had Sam and Dean joking about the existence of unicorns way back in season 2, with Dean sarcastically commenting that "There's a ton of lore on unicorns, too. In fact, I hear they ride on silver moonbeams and shoot rainbows out of their ass!". Five years later, a case revolves around strange deaths in a town including, sure enough, a man being murdered by a rainbow-farting unicorn.
  • In Teenage Bounty Hunters, Sterling and Blair's Twin Telepathy is mostly Played for Laughs, but when Sterling is kidnapped in the finale, she uses it to warn Blair who came to her rescue along with Bowser.
  • In Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, Beet J. Stag's habit of Jumping in front of Jin in the manner to upstage him comes in handy in Mission 25 when The Monster of the Week tries to use his candlelight to give Jin Nightmares just as he had to Hiromu, Youko, and Ryuuji when they looked into it. Since Buddyroids are immune to it J is unaffected and Jin is able to slash the wick and put the flame out. Though it's entirely possible that Avatars are immune too as Jin is not really there.
  • The Young Ones was fond of this. In the episode "Bambi", a Cutaway Gag visits the old idea that we are all microbes being observed by a giant scientist. Later, after the chaos begins to erupt, the episode ends with a giant-sized eclair falling on the main characters, after the giant scientist left his snack a bit too close to his research.

  • Gorillaz: In most music videos for Plastic Beach, there is a jellyfish in it that is usually destroyed somehow. Later in the album, there is an entire song based around jellyfish, ironically about trying to get them not killed.
  • Five Iron Frenzy did this on their farewell album, with a full song referring to earlier albums' short nonsense tracks (all the "These are Not My Pants" tracks, "Combat Chuck", "Kitty Doggy", etc.) and full-song hilarities ("Where is Micah?", "The Untimely Death of Brad"), named "That's How The Story Ends".

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Muppet Movie, Kermit and Fozzie bring the Electric Mayhem up to speed on the plot by giving them a copy of the script. Later, after their car breaks down and leaves them (and their new friends Gonzo, Rowlf, and Miss Piggy) stranded in the desert, the Electric Mayhem are able to find them and help because they read it in the script.
  • Muppet Treasure Island: At one point, Gonzo mentions that his pants are filled with starfish. ("You and your hobbies!" Rizzo remarks). Later on, during the big fight against the pirates, Gonzo whips out said starfish to use as shuriken!
  • In The Muppets (2011), Fozzie suggests that since Miss Piggy's office in France is too far to drive to, they instead travel by map. Later, when Mary and Gary provide backstage help during The Muppet Telethon, the Muppets ask where they came from, so Mary replies, "We traveled by map. We thought it'd be quicker."

  • Pop Up Globe's 2019 production of Hamlet has several anachronistic touches for comic relief, including Polonius having a smartphone that keeps ringing at inopportune moments. This pays off in the scene where Polonius spies on Hamlet's conversation with Ophelia, with Hamlet being alerted to Polonius's presence by the sound of his phone ringing.

    Video Games 
  • Blue Archive:
    • In Volume 1, the Foreclosure Task Force are pitching ideas to pay off their school's enormous debt. Shiroko suggests that they rob a bank, and reveals that she's prepared extensively for it, from scoping out a target to hit to kniting everyone ski masks to wear during the heist. The plan is vetoed by the more reasonable members of the club. Later though, they find out that the school's creditor is up to some shady business, but they need evidence to confirm their suspicions. Guess where the documents they need are being kept...
    • During the above bank heist, they drag along Hifumi, a girl from Trinity General School, and act as if she's their leader "Faust" due to having a "unique" mask compared to everyone else (said mask is a paper bag they cut eyeholes out of which they used because they didn't have any extra masks on hand). In Volume 3, she's caught up in a conspiracy to expel a bunch of suspected "traitors" to Trinity because Hifumi's involvement with the heist has Nagisa thinking that she has criminal connections.
  • At 3:10 in this Dissidia Final Fantasy video, it's mentioned that Jecht can accidentally kill himself during the "hop back" part of Triumphant Grasp. At 4:17, he does this with Sephiroth's Meteor.
  • Early on in Fallout 3, local bully Butch is incensed when his G.O.A.T. exam results tell him he's best suited to work as a hairdresser. Later in the game, you find out he's resigned himself to being Vault 101's hairdresser, though he insists on being called a barber.
  • In the first level of Earthworm Jim, Jim must launch a cow into the air in order to make progress. Over the course of the game, the cow will occasionally pass by in the background. Finally, after beating the final boss, Jim meets Princess What's-Her-Name and witnesses the cow come crashing down upon her.
  • In one of your early conversations with Samantha Traynor in Mass Effect 3, she makes a comment about her toothbrush, which uses focused mass effect fields to clean teeth. In the Citadel DLC, the toothbrush proves instrumental in opening an emergency hatch so that Shephard can break into the Normandy after it gets hijacked.
    Shepard: If you'd told me this morning that a toothbrush was going to save the Normandy, I'd have been very skeptical.
  • At least half the comedic dialogue exchanges in Ghost Trick, whether it's meeting the hyper-friendly Pomeranian, Missile, or discovering how ridiculously severe your Laser-Guided Amnesia is.
  • Tears to Tiara 2: Ashtarte arguing with Kleito over worshipers, usually Hamil. Then it's revealed that the lack of worshipers had caused the rest of the Ba'al gods to fall into a coma, and she is trying to wake them up. She succeeds and in the climax they save her life.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Near the start, Bolo unintentionally traps the residents of Sequin Land Palace inside when he's hired to work around the palace and accidentally installs the door lock backwards, upside down, and inside out. Near the end of the game, Bolo saves Sequin Land Palace by unintentionally causing the Palace Disruptor Cannon to miss when he's hired to work on the Targeting Module, and accidentally installs the main circuit panel backwards, upside down, and inside out.
  • DLC Quest: The horse armor is a reference to the infamous horse armor DLC for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; buying it has no in-game effect. Except you need it to complete the game; your horse tries to rescue you in the final battle, and if you didn't buy the armor, the final boss will kill it and you in a single hit.
  • Splatoon: The first game's single-player campaign features a Running Gag of Agent 1 accidentally speaking into her radio upside-down, resulting in the text in her dialogue box appearing upside down. During Splatoon 2, the player's Mission Control receives a transmission in the same way, confirming that Agent 1 sent the message.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, one of the three trials Guybrush undergoes to prove himself a pirate is to find the Treasure of Mêlée Island™, which turns out to be a Fun T-Shirt. In Return to Monkey Island, Guybrush finally fulfills his goal in claiming the fabled Secret of Monkey Island... which turns out to be a t-shirt not unlike the one found on Mêlée Island™.
  • In Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull - the 7th game from the series - if you click several times on the mirror in the Lawson's bathroom, the Master Detective playfully starts to to summon Bloody Mary before changing their mind, saying they'd rather save this mystery for another time. It remained a mere throwaway joke for 13 years and 19 games... until A Crime in Reflection came along, in which the Master Detective is confronted to Bloody Mary for real.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney series often introduces vital evidence as jokes at first. A few examples:
    • Polly the parrot in the first game. A Running Gag in the boatman's house... until she delivers a Wham Line about the case Phoenix and Maya are trying to solve. Much later, Polly is called to the stand at the trial, and everything she's been trained to say turns out to have major significance to the case, even her own name.
    • In the second game, Franziska plants a tracking device on Gumshoe for the sole purpose of keeping an eye on him and to get the opportunity to whip him as soon as possible. This is initially shown as something on the long list of things that cements Gumshoe's Butt-Monkey status as well as Franziska's hostility. It comes into play when Gumshoe grabs evidence from Shelly de Killer's second hideout in order to get it to Phoenix as soon as possible in an attempt to save Maya, but he crashes his car and breaks his phone in the process. Franziska manages to find him and deliver the evidence just in time.
    • From the third game, Prosecutor Godot's visor making him unable to see red on a white background is originally introduced as a joke at the beginning of Case 3 when he fails to notice a comically large "bloodstain" (actually just ketchup) and gets pissed off that he wasn't told about it earlier (because everyone else assumed it was impossible for anyone to miss). This winds up outing him as the real killer of Case 5, when after the real location of the murder is discovered, Phoenix notices that the killer had removed some snow from the area to hide the blood. However, instead of just getting rid of the snow with blood on it, they dug out a large, perfectly square shape. This proves that the killer didn't know exactly where the blood was and wanted to make sure they got it all. In addition, the culprit also failed to notice the writing in blood on the white stone lantern there.
    • Trucy's Magic Panties in Apollo Justice. A joke at first, becoming a Chekhov's Boomerang later.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations:
      • Calisto Yew's lauging fits. Much later Shih-na laughs in the exact same way, finally proving that Shih-na is Calisto Yew.
      • Larry Butz's Samurai Dogs. One of the boxes has a bloodstain from when the murderer, Ambassador Quercus Alba, was injured, and ends up being one of the final pieces of evidence against him.
    • In The Great Ace Attorney: Resolve, it turns out that Soseki Natsume became a major celebrity after publishing I Am a Cat between the first and second game, to the point a photographer appears out of nowhere whenever he does something slightly over the top (which is quite often, given how the guy is a Nervous Wreck who tends to scream and strike poses whenever he's even remotely excited). But then, the gags about his new fame take a big turn when a realization is made: the case's only actors are Rei, whose innocence you're trying to prove, the victim, who obviously didn't backstab herself, Inspector Hosonaga, who while overzealous is an honorable man, Soseki himself, who couldn't even hurt a fly... and the aforementioned random photographer, who turns out to be the actual murderer.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! has Monika make some fourth-wall breaking jokes early on (like complaining that a Japanese pun is Lost in Translation) and nobody else knowing what she's talking about, which seem to just be cute asides. Come Act 3, and one of the big reveals is that Monika being the only one who knows she's a game character has driven her insane and desperate to communicate with the player, the only real person she knows.
  • No, Thank You!!!: In the first chapter, the sótano staff tries to get Haru to suggest a name for them to call him by, only for Haru to come up with things like Corn-on-the-Cob, Bean Daifuku, and Pools. Those things are the only happy memories that Haru can recall from his life before arriving at sótano.
  • In Steins;Gate, the Future Gadget Lab built several ridiculously useless inventions prior to building the PhoneWave that kicks off the plot. One of them, an overpowered humidifier, is accidentally triggered in a small space and floods the room with steam, for laughs. Later on, it finds much more practical use as a smoke screen generator during a tense standoff.
  • Sucker For Love: First Date: In Ln'etas' first route that serves as a prologue, there is a joke about how only eldritch gods like Ln'eta can pronounce the word 'Worcestershire', after she reads it off of a bottle of sauce. In the subsequent route, you out Missy as another eldritch god after you dupe her into reading the bottle too, and she pronounces the word flawlessly.

  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage reading strategies in an issue of Nintendo Power, first appearing in the seventh comic. ("Four white mages? It'll never work.") The gag makes a comeback in #1221, when four white mages defeat Chaos, over 1000 comics and almost a decade later, which is probably the longest set-up in webcomic history (or perhaps any history).
    • There's also this strip, where Black Belt unwittingly predicts who history remembers in terms of the heroes. The fact that he was referring to the Light Warriors makes it all the more ironic.
    • And then there's Thief stealing his class change from the future, which comes back to bite him later.
  • Early in Adventurers!, Gildward the bard tries to convince Karn into letting him join the party by talking about his backstory, including seemingly-ridiculous things like being a princess and pulling the harp "Muscalibur" from a stone. Turns out the "Muscalibur" thing is real, and another bard resents Gildward for it...
  • From The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: "I think I'll have that thing stalk Doc forever now."
  • Bob and George:
  • The 2012 New Year comic on Cyanide and Happiness is one to their 2010 New Year strip, seen here.
  • The derailing of a speech in Darths & Droids is brought back almost 500 episodes later to denote Anakin's fall to the Dark Side.
  • El Goonish Shive:
  • Girl Genius:
    • When Tarvek relates all the trouble Gil got him into while they were in Paris, there is a very short gag (just one panel, the fifth) in which he complains about having to deal with pirates because of what Gil did. The pirate in that panel looks a lot like Bangladesh DuPree. It takes two years and five months to start to guess what exactly Tarvek went through then.
      Bang: (with glee) It's Prince "How Dare You"!!
    • When gleefully meeting Tarvek, she curiously asks, if he still has "those little scars" as an offhand comment. Chapters later when Tarvek is taking a bath after having been stuck in the time bubble for 2 and a half years, those little scars she "worked so hard on" are the first things she wants to see.
  • Goblins made a joke about Minmax knowing 38 ways to kill a guy with his thumbs, but not being able to dress himself. Years, passed, the joke was forgotten about... and then this happened.
  • Homestuck:
    • One Running Gag has a character expecting shaving cream to put out fire, only to learn it actually makes it worse. This is largely inconsequential until the end of Act 5; the Courtyard Droll attaches explosives to a pack of shaving cream and uses it to kill Jade right as she was supposed to save the Kids from being wiped from reality.
    • John's hatred of Betty Crocker is based on his distaste for cake; little does he know she's an alien bent on taking over the Earth and re-creating her homeworld.
    • Biscuits' useless oven turns out to be actually very useful, just not for time traveling. It actually turns out to function as a sort of portable, oven-sized Hammerspace.
    • A Running Gag is that "if you believe hard enough in something it might become slightly less fake". With Jake English, it turns out this is literally true for him as a Page of Hope. Then in Act 6 Act 6, Jake gets to use his Page of Hope powers to make his view of Dirk, his former boyfriend, become real, by believing in his existence hard enough. This image of Dirk attacks a villain long enough for another hero, Roxy, to escape to another world before the villains destroy most of the planet.
  • In Ménage à 3, several throw-away gags come back for those who pay attention to it:
    • Jung's review of Dillon's play.
    • Kiley reading a pamphlet about breast enlargement when she first meets Yuki, after her A-Cup Angst when she saw DiDi.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Vaarsuvius frequently uses Explosive Runes to play pranks on people V doesn't like (mostly Belkar and Miko. (Explosive Runes places words on an object that explode when read.) Come strip 659, V formulates a plan to throw Xykon's phylactery into a rift. Xykon attempts to retrieve the phylactery, but thanks to one of Xykon's earlier lectures, V is more willing to use spells that do not directly strike at the enemy, and thus enchanted the phylactery with Explosive Runes. The explosion almost throws the phylactery into the rift anyway.
    • While recapturing an old fortress, Xykon pretends to make a Heel–Face Turn, only to transform an angelic warrior into a zombie and rave about how he'd never thought of using flying zombies before. A few hundred strips later, Xykon rides a zombie dragon into battle; Roy climbs onto the dragon and decapitates it, but this doesn't accomplish much because it's a telepathically-controlled zombie. Roy ends up dying because Xykon doesn't even need the dragon to fly, so he just blasts Roy and the dragon corpse out of the sky.
  • Shortpacked! had an arc that was caused by a Chekhov's Gunman and a list from a one-shot joke.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Emergency Pants and Emergency Pants strike back.
  • Tower of God:
    • In order to get the then-broke/starving Endorsi to sign Hatz's friendship list, Bam provides an eel bowl placed on a platform connected to a pulley, that's dangled just out of her reach; if she signs the paper, she gets to have it. This set up holds despite the fact that there aren't any places in the room to hang a pulley and rope from. But that's fine, since the pulley is made of pure suspendium and will float in even ambient shinsoo, as Quant later finds out after jumping off a ledge with Khun no longer in tow.
    • After Yuri and Evan semi-illegally board the Hell Train, get a rough idea of what's going on, and then make a bet the conductor regarding the outcome of the match between Bam and Hoaqin, they sit back and watch the plot onfold on a screen with a bag of popcorn, cup of soda, and pair of retro 3D Glasses. This is despite the fact that the screen does not display red-blue layered 3D. But that's fine, since the glasses are actually recorders connected to Repellista's Opera Lighthouse, allowing them to report what's going on, and also preventing the FUG Ranker from just using his rights as the conductor to kick them out of the train.
  • Weak Hero:
    • Jake, an avid fan of Two Piece, is shown wondering which character would win in a fight, with Dean griping at him for it. A few chapters later, it's revealed that Jake became friends with Timothy partly because Timothy's algorithms could help him figure out his Two Piece dilemma.
    • Episode 131 has Alex win a friendly tussle with Rowan by using a triangle choke, with a joke being made that he used to use it all the time in elementary school before Ben completely no-selled it and left to get food. In 151 it resurges in a dramatic fashion when, with his arm dislocated, Alex instead puts Dongha in a choke so he can beat down on him. Ben's disregard for the move also takes on a dramatic meaning when it's shown how badly Alex puts down his own fighting skills because Ben always beats him anyway.

    Web Original 
  • The Amazing Digital Circus: "Candy Carrier Chaos!": At the start, Pomni catapults out of bed after her nightmare and clips into a block in her room, rocketing her into the ceiling and slamming her back to the floor. Later, while Pomni and Gummigoo are stuck in an out-of-bounds area beneath the Candy Kingdom, Pomni gets an idea to escape by taking a copy of Gummigoo's truck and putting three blocks under the wheels to clip into and rocket them back into the game world.

  • Battle for Dream Island has two:
    • One of Yellow Face's commercials advertises a box of paper slips that he claims can be used to create money. Pen uses it twice later on (first to get a taco from Leafy, and later in an attempt to bribe the viewers into getting voted back into the game). Then Leafy does the same in order to buy Dream Island in the finale.
    • The ferris wheel scene with Firey and Leafy ends up being one of the most important scenes in the season. First, it leads to the reveal that Leafy cannot be revived since the Recovery Centers are sold. Then, Leafy is denied access to Dream Island because of this, and this fact kickstarts all the events of the finale.

  • Dino Attack RPG: The idea of a cyborg mutant T. rex was first brought up by Laxus as a joke while he was riffing Dino Cop with Andrew, Joike, Pterisa, and Dr. Cyborg before the Final Battle. In the Final Battle itself, Cyrista's Bane showed up... and nobody was laughing at the joke anymore.
  • When raocow played An Untitled Story and happened upon a heart container, he let his inner Large Ham com out and yell "I FOUND A HEART!!!" Several games later, in Bunny Must Die, he came across another heart container and,... well,.... His reactions to previous hearts in BMD were very subdued and didn't use the metal-voice at all. The way-over-the-top version in the link was probably in response to people in the comments complaining about this.
  • From the Whateley Universe: In "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl", known practical joker Jericho is along on the trip. He's blind, but notorious for wearing clothing so horrid that people get nauseous or faint. He dresses nicely for the trip, but everyone teases him about it. Jokes ensue, including him claiming that while his clothes are nice, he's wearing an undershirt of DOOM underneath. Later on, the party is attacked. He takes out two mercenaries in power armor by showing them his undershirt and making them puke in their armor. Chekhov's Gag with emphasis on the gag?
  • Create.swf Adventures: Shenanigans in a Magical Forest:
    • Respecting the original joke from MS Paint Adventures, almost every character must "retrieve their arms" almost immediately after they are introduced, usually as the first command they recieved. This may seem as if it doesn't qualify, but when you can go almost a 100 slides (which would be over several weeks and broken into small updates) without mention of arms, and then suddenly get hit by one out of the blue, it's safe to say that prior to the revival of the joke, most had forgotten about it.
    • There's also Masha's seemingly useless bit of paper. It's only mentioned briefly after her "birth"... and doesn't show up again until the ending. She throws it at Cirno to calm her down.
  • Often done by Aaron Karo of Ruminations fame. He'll often bring up random subjects he thinks about in each issue, then come the last rumination, he ends it off with a clever callback to the previous ones before signing off with "Fuck me".
  • In the KISS Comics #1 review of Atop the Fourth Wall, 90s Kid makes a pretty tasteless joke about unearthing Kurt Cobain's body and propping it up onstage. Much later in the Planet of the Symbiotes review, this is what helps Linkara clue into the fact that 90s Kid isn't himself. Also, the real Kid would know that Kurt was cremated!
  • Early on in Worm, it's mentioned that a mad scientist created a portal to an alternate Earth through which they exchange DVDs, but the alternate version of the Star Wars prequels were still pretty disappointing. Initially it just seems like a throwaway joke but much later on it turns out to actually be important to the plot.
  • In The Gaston Trilogy: Belle saying "My father is a genie! He’s crazy!" in "Gaston Seeks Satisfaction" seems like a one-off joke but actually affects the continuity of "Gaston's Ultimate Mission to Obtain Some Taco Bell", when Gaston remembers her saying he was a genie because someone referred to "crazy old Maurice". Then Monsieur D'Arque wants to take him to Genies R Us, and at the end he's in a lamp.
  • Polokoa Quest has one that's a little meta. In March of 2015, Jukashi posted this Castlevania parody comic with Rokoa as Dracula and Polo as a Belmont in the quest's discussion thread. It seemed like a one-off gag... until Vampire Rokoa showed up in the quest proper, revealing that it was actually Foreshadowing.
  • In a "Beyond Belief" episode of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Frank Doyle purchases at auction a literal Chekhov's Gun (as in, a gun belonging to Anton Chekhov, playwright and werewolf hunter). It's turned into a gag by Lampshading the Chekhov's Gun rule and then being stored inside Freud's cigar box. In a later episode, Frank brings out the gun (and the silver bullet loaded within) to defeat an entirely different monster, the Calaca.
  • In the web video "That's Offensive", the three poker players constantly say things that offend each other, each time getting offended over more trivial things. At one point, a player simply opens his mouth to speak, and immediately has the other two players yell that he is being offensive - because it's 7:02 pm, which is when they're supposed to have a minute of silence for their friend Schmitty, who died at 7:02 of unknown causes. At the end of the video, the poker players get so offended by each other that they all pull out guns, when suddenly the ghost of Schmitty appears to stop them, informs them all that he himself died in a situation similar to the one they are currently in, and reminds them all that they can't expect everyone to know what will offend them.
  • In The Adventurous Adventures of One Direction, whenever Harry makes a pun, Louis hits him in the balls. Later, when Harry needs to hit a very high note, he makes a bad pun so that Louis will hit him in the testicles again, causing Harry's pitch to rise in pain and allowing him to hit the note.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • "Shotgun!" started as a Running Gag of Simmons never getting dibs on their Warthog's shotgun seat. Then Sarge started using it as a cue for Grif to do something awesome with the Warthog - running down Agent Washington on the first instance, shoving it over a cliff with the Meta attached in the second.
    • The Reds and Blues begin the Chorus Trilogy having crashed on the titular planet. Throughout seasons 11 and 12, every person except Caboose gets a flashback to them doing something that could have crashed the ship (Tucker flirted with the pilot, Washington pulled an accidental Are These Wires Important?, Grif spilled soda on an instrument panel, Sarge messed with the engine, and Simmons updated the navigation computer's software in the middle of the flight). The crash was actually caused by a tractor beam, with the intention of crashing the ship, killing everyone on board, and then looting the weaponry it was carrying. The main cast's interference caused the ship to instead rip itself in half, which allowed them to survive the crash unmolested.
    • Also in the Chorus Trilogy, the Reds and Blues install helmet cameras so they can record their training sessions with their squads, which leads to a hilarious Failure Montage. Tucker uses his later to set Felix up for an Engineered Public Confession.
    • The Chorus Trilogy establishes that Locus speaks Spanish when Lopez makes a sarcastic remark and Locus responds, much to Lopez's horror as he's used to getting away with his insults. When the Reds and Blues send Lopez's head off on a missile to ask for help, he runs into Locus, who is able to understand his request and comes to the rescue.
  • Seinfeld - "The Twin Towers":
    • When George meets the 9/11 survivors he allegedly "saved," they talk about how distinctive and "heroic" his sneeze sounded when he was in the tower. They realize he's a fraud when he sneezes in front of them in the final scene and it sounds nowhere near as heroic as they remember.
      "That's not the sneeze of the man who saved us. GEORGE COSTANZA IS AN IMPOSTOR!"
    • Newman and Kramer are revealed to be stealing and opening "misfit" packages where the address is unidentifiable. At the end, Kramer opens one up and gets a face-full of white powder, implied to be one of the anthrax envelopes.
  • In one episode of the YouTube Arc from Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers, Meggy (an Inkling-turned-human) gets Suddenly Voiced while Mario is fiddling around with a remote that grants him the almighty power of YouTubenote . It seems like a one-time gag when all of Mario's havoc gets undone by the episode's end, including Meggy's new voice...that is until the arc's climactic rap battle against SMG3, where Meggy gets zapped by the remote again, regains her speaking voice (this time for good), and uses the opportunity to rally SMG3's henchmen against him.
  • Slimecicle Cinematic Universe: Early in "The HARDEST Minecraft Difficulty", Slimecicle shows off an effect he added to Raw Cod that makes it shoot an explosive bullet when eatennote . During the boss fight against Grizzly, this turns out to be a very effective weapon to attack from long distance.

    Western Animation 
  • At the beginning of the American Dad! hurricane episode, Stan mentions his college javelin and the scenery highlights it by zooming on Stan's face while he looks at the camera and a theatral music plays. At the end of the episode the javelin ends up being used.... but instead of killing the shark attacking the family in the living room , the javelin pierces Francine...
  • Animaniacs could really play this trope for all it was worth. 'The Monkey Song' stands out in particular for being a four-minute-long series of Chekhov's Gags, from Squit's flute, to Mindy and Buttons flying around on balloons, Pinky and the Brain running away with the mousetrap, even Slappy vs. the Mime.
  • In part 1 of the Bonkers pilot, Bonkers slips on a banana peel, pointing out to Lucky that no Toon can resist doing that. In part 2, this is used to expose the Collector as a human.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In "Trouble on the Half Shell", Wheeler ordering pizza while the team is observing the launch of an eco-friendly explorer robot is just played as a joke and a sign of how out-of-touch he is, but when the Planeteers are cornered by Skumm's giant rats, Wheeler manages to reach the Geo-Cruiser and pull out the pizza. The rats are happy to eat that and leave the currently powerless team alone.
  • In the pilot episode of Drawn Together, Captain Hero wishes for a 12-year-old girl and a donkey, and it appears to be a joke about Captain Hero being a pervert. In the second season, it's revealed that he meant Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. This is a rare example of a Chekhov's Gag spanning seasons. An actual 12-year-old girl riding a donkey also appears to him in a dream once.
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Crocker makes fun of Timmy for believing 2+2=5, but as part of a plan by Remy Buxaplenty to make Timmy stop needing Cosmo and Wanda so they would have to leave Timmy, Stephen Hawking bursts in and shows an equation in which Timmy's answer is correct. The episode ends with Crocker chasing Stephen Hawking, shouting "I checked your math, and you're wrong! Two plus two isn't five, it's six! Six!"
  • Family Guy loves these.
    • One memorable example is when Peter, at the beginning of the episode, notes that he saw a Discovery Channel documentary on Fire Trucks, which then segues into a short and nonsensical fake documentary of Fire Trucks, which has them hunting gazelle in the savanna. It's funny, it's over, and out of mind... until, in the final scene, a Fire Truck suddenly attacks Peter on his lawn.
    • Another gag had Spider-Man saving random characters ("Everybody gets one."), that had whole seasons in between the gags.
    • Peter is trying to get a promotion at the beginning of the episode. So to impress his boss, he tells her he planted explosives on the competition's bill-board. He directs her to the window, where the bill-board is on a building beside a children's hospital. When he pulls the trigger, the hospital blows up, and he makes a point about how he screwed up. Near the end of the episode, after a series of wild antics, he ends up in the boss' office again, and asks if he ever ended up getting the promotion. She makes a big point about how he blew up a hospital, and the episode ends with him in court.
    • In the first Star Wars Parody Episode, the scene where Chris Griffin/Luke Skywalker watches the sunset has a Left the Background Music On joke with John Williams and the London Philharmonic. They are later seen as some of the casualties of the Empire's attack on Luke's farm.
    • The episode "Adoptation" opens with Lois rambling about a weird dream she had, causing the family to take extreme measures just to avoid listening to her. Later at the climax, Lois rescues Tatum from the zoo's gorilla enclosure by driving the gorillas away with her boring story.
  • Futurama: Near the start of the episode "Put Your Head On My Shoulder", there's a scene where Bender goes in for a checkup, and is warned that his ass might explode at any time. He rejects the option of getting shock absorbers for it and the matter is apparently forgotten as the episode's main plots of Amy and Fry's relationship (and aftermath) and Bender's attempt at being a paid matchmaker take over. Then at the very end of the episode Fry accidentally kicks Bender's ass, which promptly explodes.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The premiere episode "Tourist Trapped" ends with Mabel getting a grappling hook after Grunkle Stan allows the kids to pick any item of their choosing from the Mystery Shack's gift shop, which was originally a gag highlighting Mabel's eccentric nature and adventurous side. Nineteen episodes later, in the season finale "Gideon Rises", the grappling hook saves Dipper and Mabel from falling to their deaths after a fight with Gideon (and after Mabel had spent the whole episode trying to use the grappling hook).
    • Another one from "Gideon Rises" — Every time Stan insists he isn't old, he's cut off when his hearing aid starts ringing painfully. At the end of the episode, it turns out that the reason his hearing aid kept ringing was due to interference from the spy cameras Gideon had hidden in the pins he handed out to the townsfolk.
  • The 1979 Nelvana short Intergalactic Thanksgiving featured one amusing gag. On the planet Laugh-A-Lot, where humor was the norm, King Gucci was attempting to perform the planet's biggest Pie in the Face gag on a waiting courtier. The ceiling opened to reveal the huge pie, but it wouldn't drop. Fast forward about halfway through the short, when his oracle basically tells him his humor (and thus his throne) was being upstaged by a family of boring space farmers, he pulls the cord one more time in frustration. You start to hear the sound of something falling. The King then runs into the courtier...still standing there waiting for the punchline. Gucci looks up... Cue giant SPLAT!
    Oracle: Now thaaaat's FUNNY!
  • Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus:
    • Lampshaded and subverted. Partway through the film, Gaz brings out a large piece of ham that a narrator pauses the movie to outright state it'll be important later. Gaz then attacks Dib with the ham as part of a plan to get them away from a pudding obsessed clone of their father. During the climax, Gaz asks Dib for the ham back, with the narrator once again piping up to say that he was right. Dib tosses over the ham to Gaz, and after some huge build-up... she just unceremoniously chucks it at Zim's head, which still fails to solve the problem, since the MacGuffin just flies out of his hands into Clembrane's.
    • A straight example in Professor Membrane's arms. At the start of the movie, the fact that they're mechanical prosthetics was just a quick punchline to a gag about how he thought sharks were his friends as a child. In the climax, it turns out that they're actually arm cannons, and he uses them to demolish Zim's robot army.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In the season 1 episode "The Dog And Piggy Show", while fighting Tohru, Jackie comically tells him that should think about leaving the Dark Hand and joining Section 13 instead, saying that one perk is that every Thursday is "Donut Day". In the season finale, "Day Of The Dragon", as Tohru makes his Heel–Face Turn, he cites that when asked why he's turning good.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes:
    • The Celebrity Is Overrated episode has Heloise using an inflatable Jimmy doll to distract the press. Several episodes later, we discover that she has several of these dolls in her Stalker Shrine.
    • In another episode, Heloise asks Jimmy if he swallowed her Bad Luck Accelerometer and he replies "When have I ever done something like that?" followed by a montage of scenes where he accidentally swallows various things, including an elephant. Later, he tries to spit out the Accelerometer and instead spits out the elephant.
    • In the same episode, when Heloise first makes the Accelerometer she shows Lucius a tape in which it is used as a whale magnet. At the end of the episode, Jimmy spits out the Accelerometer and throws it at someone who is promptly crushed by a whale.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Clean Slate", the series-long running gag of Ron losing his pants during a mission became a plot point when it jogged Kim's temporarily lost memory of their relationship.
  • In the Legends of Chima episode "Laval in Exile", Skinnet eats some of the Outlands sap the Pledge of the Pack is covered with, which causes him to go daffy for a short time. Later, Laval lets him have some more sap and uses him to distract some Crocs so he can sneak into their hideout.
  • In the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "The Very Littlest Pet Shop," there is a throwaway joke in the Cold Open that Zoe impulsively has to fetch sticks that get thrown within her vicinity. (Makes sense, as Zoe is a dog.) Later in the episode, the shop is shrunk to the size of a dollhouse with everyone still inside except Zoe, and a little girl claims the building as her own. This quirk of Zoe's comes back near the end of the episode, when the girl throws a stick within Zoe's line of sight deliberately to distract her from taking the shrunken building back.
  • Milo Murphy's Law has a quick joke in the episode "Backward to School Night", where time traveler Cavendish nearly gets run over by a car and his partner Dakota acts oddly indifferent about the near-death incident. A few episodes later, in "The Island of Lost Dakotas", it's revealed why he was so blasé about it: Cavendish dies with such regularity that Dakota has created a system where he goes back in time to prevent his partner's constant deaths, then has the prior version of himself go off to live on a deserted island to minimize temporal irregularities. Episodes prior to "Backward to School Night" also have moments that hint towards this.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In Part 1 of the Season 2 opener, the Mane Six are summoned to Canterlot to deal with the villainous Discord. After Discord recites a riddle about the location of the Elements of Harmony, Fluttershy asks "Can we go home now?" It is played as a throwaway Lovable Coward gag, until Part 2 reveals that the elements were in Ponyville—specifically, Twilight Sparkle's home—all along.
  • The Owl House: In "O Titan, Where Art Thou", after Eda and Luz sneak into the Emperor's Coven precinct to get their confiscated stuff back, Eda asks Luz to keep an eye out for a box labeled "Eda's Longest Toenails". At the end of the episode Eda reveals that she found the box and presents it to Luz, who opens it clearly expecting the worst... Only to see that the box actually contains the piece of Palistrom wood Eda had given her in an earlier episode.
  • The Patrick Star Show:
    • "Home ECCH!" has a montage of Squidina's failed projects, where one is her knitting a giant sheet while Slappy runs away from it. It feels like a throwaway gag at first, but during the next segment, it turns out Slappy is still knitted to the ceiling, and he actually helps her get through the project.
    • In "Bunny the Barbarian", Bunny briefly mentions working at the local prison, the joke being that it contrasts her highly optimistic personality. The Season Finale, "Patrick's Prison Pals", brings this back as a major plot point.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In the episode "I Brobot", Perry takes a chimney elevator to get to O.W.C.A. headquarters and shares an Uncomfortable Elevator Moment with Santa Claus. Later, as Dr. Doofenshmirtz is about to drop a giant magnet on Perry, Santa flies above them in his sled, and the metal rails on the bottom of the sled pick up the magnet. It turns out that Santa was doing a summer run.
    • In "Doof Side of the Moon", Doofenshmirtz accidentally reveals a jelly-bean taped to a cork instead of his big new invention, and claims in embarrassment "Don't judge it, it's a layered idea!" Later in the cartoon, Perry is unable to stop the Lunar Rotate-inator from being activated when he trips over the jelly-bean and cork. Doofenshmirtz proceeds to brag "I told you it was a layered idea!"
    • In "Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Juatchadoon", Phineas tries to figure out how to get a key out from under a glass dome, when Isabella points out "Or, we could hit it with a rock!" Later, Isabella tries to figure out how to deactivate the amulet that controls the rampaging Corn Colossus, and Phineas says "Or, we could hit it with a rock!"
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Fish and Chumps", Rocko and friends go on a fishing trip, and meet a Giant Squid who's obsessed with the cheese-flavored bait they were going to use. When the trip goes awry and they end up lost at sea, they're saved by that same squid.
  • Rugrats (1991): At the beginning of "Susie Vs. Angelica", Angelica kicks the babies' ball into the neighbor's yard. Near the end of the episode, Angelica and Susie have a race to determine who the best three-year-old in the world is. Angelica is about to win the race, when the neighbor finds the ball in his yard and tosses it back into Susie's backyard, causing Angelica to crash into it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In a season 6 episode, "Itchy & Scratchy Land", the family, heading to the title theme park, makes a brief stop at "Five Corners", in which five different states intersect. 15 seasons later, Sideshow Bob takes Bart to the same area in "The Bob Next Door" to exploit extraterritorial jurisdiction, setting the stage for the episode's climax.
    • In the season 2 episode "Bart the Daredevil" Bart wants to attempt to jump Springfield Gorge on his skateboard. Homer stops him at the last moment and prepares to do it himself to scare Bart straight. Homer accidentally attempts the jump and ends up falling down the gorge. After being loaded into an ambulance, the ambulance immediately crashes into a tree and Homer goes down the gorge again. Over ten years later in The Movie, the climax has Bart and Homer (unintentionally) make a successful jump of Springfield Gorge on Homer's motorcycle. The two pause for a moment of realization and then cheer. Also, the busted-up ambulance is still there.
    • In "Funeral for a Fiend", Sideshow Bob "dies" and we see that his coffin has a high bump at the end of it to make room for his large feet. This jokes later becomes important to the plot; Lisa figures out that something is up when she wonders why Bob's family would pay extra for a custom-made coffin to comfort a dead guy.
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much," the final straw in a series of events that make cutting class irresistible to Bart is seeing a well-dressed young man drive by in a convertible with a blonde babe fawning over him, musing out loud that he "got all this after dropping out of the fourth grade." That young man is Freddy Quimby, the mayor's nephew, en route to his 18th birthday party, where Bart will later be the sole witness to his innocence in the alleged beating of a waiter.
    • In the season 14 episode "Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky", Homer and his barfly friends see it's light out at 2am, and Carl says "You know what this reminds me of? My Icelandic boyhood." Given that Carl's black, this is a throwaway joke about an unlikely heritage — but ten seasons later "The Saga of Carl" reveals that he really did grow up in Iceland (with an adoptive family) and claims his friends would know that if they ever listened to him.
    • The two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" between seasons 6 and 7 buries its foreshadowing in gags throughout Part 1. Notably, Burns mentions that taking the recently-discovered oil from Springfield Elementary was as easy as taking candy from a baby and he notices a baby in a park holding a candy through his telescope, and he actually wanted to just drop everything he was doing and go steal that candy. Turns out that his actual attempt at doing this later on in the same episode is what almost cost him his life.
  • In The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow, the goat that keeps pestering Vanity by eating out of his cornucopia hat becomes the Headless Horseman that Papa Smurf used to save his little Smurfs in Smurfy Hollow from Gargamel.
  • Snoopy, Come Home: "NO DOGS ALLOWED!" When Snoopy goes to live with Lila, more out of duty than anything, he encounters this sign at the apartment she lives at. For once, when the Leitmotif plays, it's actually triumphant rather than sinister.
  • South Park:
    • The show has two in the "Biggest Douche in the Universe" episode. Early on, in a fit of frustration with John Edward, Stan calls him a douche and goes on to say that he nominates him for the Biggest Douche in the universe award. At the end of the episode, some aliens show up to reveal that Stan's nomination apparently got through. Not only that, John Edward wins, much to his dismay. The episode's other example is the series of spoof trailers based on movies starring Rob Schneider. Another one at the very end of the episode reveals that Rob Schneider accidentally got possessed by Kenny.
    • In "You're Getting Old", there's a joke where Stan can't tell the difference between a turd in a microwave and an ad for Kevin James's Zookeeper. In the following episode, at the very end, Stan's friends ask him to come watch a movie together. Guess which one it is a sequel of.
      Cartman: Zookeeper 2: Zookeepier!
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "The Spy Humongous": In the mess hall, when Boimler leaves the table, he falls and accidentally dumps his food on himself, making Tendi laugh. Later when Tendi transform into a giant scorpion monster and Boimler learns that she became that way after touching an alien mood-altering artifact, he gets her to turn back to normal by repeatedly covering himself in food to get her to laugh.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Janna's appearances in Mewni in the show's final season is regularly lampshaded, as she shouldn't have the means to travel to Mewni from Earth (or dimension hop in general). It's only towards the end of the season, when the usual means of inter-dimensional travel is rendered impossible, that the characters now care very deeply about how she got to Mewni. Searching for the answer leads to the revelation that Earth is linked to Mewni via the Magic Realm, of which one portal to exists underneath Marco and Janna's hometown. This comes with the additional reveal that Mewmans are just humans who stumbled across the well centuries prior, having lost their memory of the journey due to the Magic Realm's mind-altering effects.
    • Glossaryck has two major instances of this. The first is that throughout Season 3, wherein he spent the entire season acting like a dog, only to reveal at the very end that he was perfectly lucid, and that the single word he'd be saying the entire season (Globgor) was the name of Eclipsa's monster husband. The second is in the series finale, where it turns out his love of pudding isn't just a weird character tic, but actually the secret to saying sane while in the Magic Realm for a prolonged period of time.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Laser Light Cannon", Greg and Steven both use Greg's silly proverb "If every porkchop were perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs" to cheer each other up while looking for Steven's mother's laser light cannon to stop an approaching Red Eye enemy spaceship. Once they find it, they cannot figure out how to activate it, and Steven starts to panic. Steven repeats the phrase to calm himself, and it ends up being the password to unlock the cannon, which destroys the Red Eye and saves the day.
    • When Steven talks to Peridot for the first time in season one's "Marble Madness", he lists off the names of some of his friends and family in a quick joke. Over eighty episodes later, in the season four finale "I Am My Mom", this list is used by Homeworld to locate and kidnap said people for Homeworld's People Zoo.
    • In "Monster Reunion", Steven tries to communicate with Centipeedle through writing, but she only writes incomprehensible squiggles, to his dismay. Later, after they've warped to the wreckage of Centy's ship, the other Gems manage to find them. When Steven asks how, they show him a stack of Centy's drawings - and explain that the squiggles are written in the Gem language.
  • In the animated special, Tales From The Far Side I, there is a 15-second "Meanwhile... back in Egypt" segment that consists of a desert marketplace full of locals who eventually stop and wave at the viewer, saying "Gung Hay Fat Choy!", before going about their business. A pretty tame gag by the standards of The Far Side. But in the sequel, there's a segment with amoebas at a party that's abruptly interrupted when their "world" goes sideways. The camera cuts to a man putting down a mostly-empty water glass... then pulls back to him and his family exiting the same exact Egypt scene (sans waving) from the first special.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • In "The Hole...Lotta Nuthin'" while Wander is being humiliated by Hater, the baddie accidentally cheers Wander up by uttering out loud his famous motto, "It never hurts to help."
    • Wander constantly seeing Lord Hater as a Big Bad Friend comes into good use during the climax of "My Fair Hatey", when it manages to infuriate Hater enough into breaking down their cell door on Dominator's ship and escaping.
  • Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons used this occasionally.
    • One notable example had a steel wall not release properly from a slot in the ground, but when Wile E. Coyote went to check it, it didn't spring up on him right away. Instead, it waited till the end of the cartoon to pop up and stop Wile E. while he was chasing Road Runner.
    • There was one where they set up one of his traps, and it goes off on him several times wrong before he gives up. So he goes for something else, in which the original trap went off him, then the combination of his next scheme and the attack was his downfall, then he'd almost get the roadrunner, and the trap would get him again.
    • And there's another where he rigged up a "Free Glass of Water" with a match attached to the glass on top of a box containing TNT. Pulling the glass up would cause the match to light the fuse. The Road Runner ignores it and holds up a sign stating that Road Runners can't read and don't drink. Later on, Wile E. is crawling on the ground exhausted after another failed attempt and grabs the rigged glass, only realizing his mistake right before the TNT goes off.
    • One time he affixed glider wings to sticks of dynamite and tried to launch them at the Road Runner. Not only didn't it work, but every few mintues through the rest of the cartoon, a dynamite glider would drift into the scene and blow him up.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: loves these. In the episode "All Tied Up With a Boa", Burt the Elephant gets knocked out when the titular boa sends over a mouse. At the end of the episode he suddenly shows up again eager to beat up the boa properly, but everyone's already been saved.
  • Jellystone!:
    • Augie's singing is an early joke in "Yogi's Tummy Troubles" with how it causes pain to anyone who hears it, and returns when the whole town sings it in order to get free from Yogi's stomach.
    • The alley cats eliminate The King's gang in "Cats Do Dance" by incorporating all three of their previous failed attempts into one final plan: Choo Choo sneaks away and bribes Grape Ape (using the remaining bananas from the Banana Peel trick) to lift her up to the top floor of a tech institute, sneaks into the laser satellite control room (busting the door down with leftover band equipment), and hacks it to target the cats' DNA in the alley (which they left behind after licking everything).
    • Before getting back his DNA test results in "DNA, A-OK!", Yogi is treating a patient who was injured in a bouncy house accident. An adult bouncy house is the final scheme that Yogi creates while teamed up with TC; when it goes awry and seriously injures everyone in town, Yogi realizes he has to come out of his 10-Minute Retirement to help them.
    • After the alley cats sell out their fishsticks in "A Fish Sticky Situation", Brain spends her share on a pair of macaroni-shaped shoes, getting the instant shipping option that inflates the price from eight dollars to eight thousand dollars. At the end of the episode, TC uses the laptop to order more tomato bisque to cure the ravenous crowd of fish-headed townsfolk as the gang is cornered; he's forced to spend all of his newfound money to get it airdropped in time to save them.


Video Example(s):


The Camera & The Photograph

Early in The Iron Giant, Hogarth is trying to take a photo of the Giant, but gets bored while waiting for the Giant to appear. While waiting, Hogarth is cleaning the lens of his camera only to accidentally take a picture of himself. Later, Mansley discovers the camera and develops the photo that Hogarth accidentally took of himself, revealing the Giant looking over Hogarth's shoulder, thus finally giving Mansley photographic evidence that the Giant exists. And when Hogarth tries to deny it during his interrogation, Mansley uses the developed photographs to catch him in a lie.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ChekhovsGag

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