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Collective Groan

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"Gaming groups, like all tight-knit groups of people, have their collective quirks.(...) Some — the highest echelon of geeky humour of all note  — engage in punning."

A character makes an announcement, quip or joking remark that causes the entire group to groan simultaneously, in the same tone of voice. Crops up fairly often in comedic shows or films.

This is often a sign that you're dealing with a very lame pun, making it a very common Lame Pun Reaction. Feghoots take it even further; a Collective Groan is the desired response.

You'll commonly hear this as well when a bad comedian relies on Stock Jokes that everybody has heard a million times. If he keeps it up too long, it may escalate to Produce Pelting.

Also has been known to happen to the Bearer of Bad News. On the other hand, sometimes it's just a Tough Room.

Rimshot optional.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A running gag in Eyeshield 21 is that when ever Sena or Monta make a do-or-die plan, which is horribly simple such as, "Give me the ball!" Hiruma and Kurita's face shrivel up because of their stupidity. (But they go with the plans anyway, since Hiruma is just that badass.)
  • Genshiken has this when Sasahara (as the freshly elected club president) announces that the club will do a doujin for the next Comiket.

  • There is a recent ad for a tax consultancy service that lets you search for your agent based on his specialty. The last request is something like: "And they have to have a cat named Louie!" One collective groan later, only one guy is left standing.

    Fan Works 
  • The four do a lot of this in With Strings Attached, mostly not in response to puns.
  • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, the contestants groan as one at Chris' visual pun when Noah identifies the CĂ©line Dion standee's faerie-like "backup singers" as the Pixie Chicks. Chris is pleased.
    Chris: The greatness of a pun is measured not by the laughs, but by the groans.
  • In the RWBY/DC Universe crossover, Hunters of Justice, Batman announces to the rest of the League that he is appointing The Question to investigate the origin of recent Grimm attacks on Earth, much to the chagrin of everyone else. Hawkgirl even complains of the last time she had to listen to one of his rants. Fortunately, everyone gets on board when Batman mentions that no one will have to partner with him.
  • In The AFR Universe story "Dudes", most of the Phantom Thieves share a groan when Makoto fails to respond back to the group with "dude", thus failing the impromptu game everyone had been playing.

  • From Yellow Submarine:
    George: Maybe we should call a road service?
    Paul: Can't, no road!
    Ringo: And we're not sub... scribers.
    Other Beatles: Sub-scribers... ooh... (Paul facepalms)
  • In Conspiracy Nazi higher-ups are discussing the program of gassing Jews as the Final Solution. One character brings up that the Italians won't like it, and the Nazis let out a collective groan, showing what the Germans really thought about their allies.
  • In Turning Red, when Priya reveals that the goth girl's charades guess was correct almost everyone at Tyler's birthday party groans having had enough of the lame party games and the waiting for Mei to arrive.

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Academic pressure and standardized testing in wizarding school can be just as big a drain on students as in the Muggle world:
    Narrator: All the Fourth Years had noticed a definite increase in the amount of work they were required to do this term. Professor McGonagall explained why when the class gave a particularly loud groan at the amount of Transfiguration homework she had assigned.
    Professor McGonagall: You are now entering a most important phase of your magical education... Your Ordinary Wizarding Levels are drawing closer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • iCarly: Done numerous times in iDream of Dance.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, the "Dirty Fork" sketch. A man in a restaurant politely complains about his fork being dirty, leading to a great deal of anger and violence. At the end of the sketch:
    ("And now...the punch line" appears on the screen)
    Man: Lucky we didn't say anything about the dirty knife!
    (everyone in the area starts booing)
  • From the end of the penultimate season 2 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    Data: In the strictest sense, I did not win.
    (everyone groans)
    Data: I busted him up.
    (everyone cheers)
  • From Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    Giles: It's the end of the world.
    Buffy, Xander, Willow: Again?
  • The 4400: Not an in-show example, but in the season three bloopers, two scenes are put back-to-back to get this effect.
    Jeffery Combs (as Kevin Burkhoff): I just thought of a really bad joke. How many Canadians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Eh... t!
    Other actors are seen groaning
  • Increasingly appearing in Harry Hill's TV Burp.
  • Community is especially fond of this, normally in conjunction with paper balls being thrown at the target of the groans. It's become a Running Gag that anytime Britta mentions social justice in any way the whole group boos and groans.
    Annie: I don't suppose you'd mind letting us take a little looksie in your bag, then?
    Britta: Oh, I'd very much mind, Annie. There's no such thing as a quick invasion of civil liberties!
    Study Group: Uuuuuggggh...!
  • The audience in Have I Got News for You will often groan at the bad puns the presenter has to dish out.
    Paul Merton:These people have standards you know?
  • Like HIGNFY the audience in 10 O'Clock Live will often groan at Jimmy Carr's "too soon" jokes or at the various political figures who attempt to make a joke/pun.
  • The CBS revival of Match Game in the 70s made groaning and booing from the audience a virtual ritual whenever a bad answer was given by either contestants or panelists.
  • One of the sound effects in Svengoolie is a recording of this. It's frequently used to give the impression of a Lame Pun Reaction, and even more frequently used to commence the trademark chicken pelting.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one arc of Peanuts, Linus ran for class president, and was very nearly a shoo-in. Then he started talking about "the Great Pumpkin," and this trope (or rather, a collective "UGGH!") resulted.

  • Bearing in mind that the final round in Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown is more or less a Hurricane of Puns round, some of the puns do elicit this in the audience. A more extreme example happened in series 5 episode 2, when the audience booed one of the puns.

  • In I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, the audience was wont to do this at any and all puns. It's worth to note that the writers often predicted this, and made the following dialogue reflect it.
    • The audience made up a huge part of ISIRTA's general atmosphere. Sometimes, lines would be dropped because the audience saw the pun coming and groaned before the punchline. Occasionally, the audience would groan at a pun, and then applaud it, because it was a good pun. A typical example of the dialogue predicting the groan would go like this:
    Tim: I offer you one thousand!
    John: One thousand pounds?
    Tim: Certainly not! One thousand Chelsea Railway buns! We only deal in hard currency!
    (audience groan)
    Tim: You've got to admire the bravery of it!
  • The same also goes for sister show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. On Episode 5 of season 78, when"The Symptoms" round had Rory Bremner and John Finnemore giving clues for bird flu, comprising a bird-related Hurricane of Puns concluding "If we don't rid of this by Christmas, we'll be stuffed!", a particularly groan-filled reaction prompted the following:
    Rory: Have you seen this show before?
    John: 'Cos if you don't like puns then you need to get out.
    Jack: Don't tempt me.

    Recorded Comedy 
  • The very opening of Bill Cosby's 1978 album "Bill's Best Friend" starts off with a joke that got some good-natured groans from his audience:
    For my eleventh birthday, my dad gave me two dollars. He said he was giving me a dollar for each one.

    Video Games 
  • In Guild Wars, before the Venta Cemetery mission, Koss mentions to a group of refugees that their path home will be a tad more "difficult" than they expected. Naturally there's a bit of disappointment.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a segment in the Haunted Gallery where you go through a series of paintings, and the game proceeds to snark the hell out of them or reinterpret them in...interesting ways. One such is David's ''The Death of Socrates''. You walk past the scene in question, where Socrates has just told a bad pun and everyone around is groaning and slamming their heads into the wall.
  • In The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Adventures: The Mystery of Mathra, we get this little one in the opening.
    Fletcher Limburger: Well.... peanuts, anyone?... that's what folks are saying—and there's an old superstition about a monster and a lost city.
    Santiago: Superstition!
    Leslie: Lost city?
    Joni: Monster?!
    Owen: ...peanuts?
    All: OWEN!
  • Mystical Ninja on the N64 had a Laugh Track, which would also groan at the really bad jokes.
  • In Master of the Wind, seeing some headless skeletons, Baron jokes that they may have "Got ahead of themselves". There's a groan, before Stoic suggests locking Baron in a cell for such a bad pun.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic had a moment where, in the "Top 11 Animated Nostalgic Hotties", he commented that Cheetara gave new meaning to the term "fast pussy". Booing ensued, to which he responds "I had to! I had to!".
    Channel Awesome would like to apologise for that pun. The writer has been flogged for his sins.
  • During his review of the Dirty Dancing game, Spoony makes a somewhat tasteless joke about the abortion scene from the movie (it involves Trauma Center). Cut to stock footage of a booing audience, to which Spoony responds "What? It's in the movie!"
    • Used several other times, as well, such as when he makes a joke about the death of Brandon Lee.
  • This happens twice in Part 1 of Suburban Knights:
    • First, when the gang watches the VHS.
      Chick: Well, already the credits are terrible.
      Critic: Don't review it!
      Everyone: (Groan)
    • Later, when everyone leaves, refusing to join the Critic on his quest.
      Everyone: (Groan)
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Played with in "Senorial Day", when Bubs lets loose a string of bad puns, then an apparent non sequitur.
      Bubs: (with a dummy in the shape of Strong Sad's disembodied head) We're getting a-head of the rest!
      Audience: (groans)
      Bubs: (in a frog costume) I'm the Hoppity Frog of Values!
      Audience: Huh?!
    • In the "Which Ween? Costumes" 'toon, everyone dresses up in Decemberween costumes. Coach Z's is just a giant sheet of paper. When Strong Bad finally asks him what he's supposed to be, he explains... he's "Rapping Paper." Cue the rest of the cast groaning in annoyance, then doing it again when Coach Z tries to do a Piss-Take Rap.
      Coach Z: Aw, If I Had a Nickel... for every time I've been groaned off stage...
  • When playing together as The Runaway Guys, this is frequently ProtonJon and NintendoCapriSun's response to Chuggaaconroy whenever he makes a terrible pun, as he's known to consciously do.

    Western Animation 
  • On Teen Titans, Beast Boy says after just having frozen Brotherhood of Evil leader The Brain: "Check it out, brain freeze." Cue groans from the two dozen or so heroes assembled.
  • The Magic School Bus: Multiple times, combined with First-Name Ultimatum: "Carlos!"
    • This trope happens even more legitimately in the friction episode where after the First-Name Ultimatum, "Carlos, stop!" is delivered, Keesha informs Carlos that "this is serious" to which he replies "I know; a real heavy situation" (the class is trapped inside DA's book; long story); the class is incapable from properly responding and just groans (unusually for this type of scene in the show, Carlos actually looks surprised when the class finds this particular joke so bad).
  • The Loud House: All the Loud siblings do this every time Luan cracks a pun. It happens at least Once per Episode.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Batman remarks that he's got The Question trying to dig up information on Project Cadmus. Everyone groans, and even Batman admits that The Question is a bit nuts.
  • On Thomas & Friends, in "James & the Queen of Sodor". Percy wrecks James' coat after the latter miraculously avoided getting any filth from delivering the ironically titular old barge. James remarks to the others that he'll be cleaned up and "Red-ier than ever!" The episode closes on one of these.
  • In Rocky and Bullwinkle, Rocky brings one of these about by finding a dirty model boat that, once washed off, was found to be made of rubies and had the words "Omar Khayyam" inscribed on it. He pronounces it "The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam", much to the dismay of everyone else in the room. Note that everyone else stated they were aware of the potential punchline, but Rocky was the only one with the nerve to say it out loud.
  • The Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Bat With A Golden Tongue" had Bat-Bat's continuous jokes met with contemptuous disgust from the members of a superhero confab.


Video Example(s):



Carlos does a lame pun at least Once per Episode on the cartoon, prompting a collective groan from the other kids. Notably the only one of the kids that didn't have a catchphrase unlike the rest.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / LamePunReaction

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