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Cutaway Gag

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Cleveland: I hate shows that cut away from the story for some bullshit.
[cut to Adolf Hitler, juggling three fish while riding a unicycle]

A Cutaway Gag is a joke generally found in sillier comedies in which a character says something and the action immediately cuts to a throwaway joke related to what the character said. The Cutaway Gag is usually a non sequitur which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the comedy. It is just there to be funny. If the gag is funny, no one minds the Non Sequitur. If it isn't, then cutting away to show off a moment that's barely-related to the current scene will just hurt the flow and pacing of the story.

A staple of the Gag Series, or those using Rapid-Fire Comedy (after all, it's easy to have lots of jokes if you don't need them to make sense).

These cutaways can be softened if there is a clear Narrator or Framing Device that imitates a person's Derailed Train of Thought, as instead of an interchangeable joke you still get an impression of linear development.

Compare Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, Imagine Spot, Crazy Memory, Product-Promotion Parade (which this can overlap with), Separate Scene Storytelling. Also an Aversion to the Noodle Incident, especially when they briefly start off with a bit of dialogue that would imply such a trope.

Example Subpages:

This is worse than that time when we listed tropes for that life-ruining website:

    open/close all folders 

    • Played straight with an ad campaign. Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance? Does Cromartie High School feature strumming guitars in the mountains?
    • Parodied by The Annoying Orange.
    • Inverted by a later campaign, called "Get Happy, Get GEICO", where the gag scene sets up the description as the punchline.
    • Played straight in another later campaign. "Huh, switching to Geico can save you 15% or more on car insurance." "Everyone knows that." "Well, did you know that [insert cutaway setup here]?"
  • The General Auto Insurance television commercials has a character who is a "General" for obvious reasons. Not so obvious is the reason for the penguin sidekick.
  • DirecTV has a a few of these for the DirecTV Genie. Whether its about how bad cable is to ___ or how awesome having DirecTV is.
  • Ford Motor Company's "And is Better" campaign of 2013. For example:
    • Voice activated and great gas mileage are two good things in the 2013 Ford Focus. Better than voice activated or great gas mileage, which is like sweet OR sour chicken....[cuts to the couple making disgusted faces as they eat sour chicken at a Chinese restaurant]
    • Where the "or" is like going to a bed OR breakfast....[cuts to them on the stairs at an inn, where everyone is passed out at the breakfast table in the kitchen]
    • Large OR in charge....[cuts to a Lilliputian chief executive standing on a desk in a meeting and demanding things be done his way]
    • Police who protect OR serve [cuts to police raiding a house being burglarized, but then, while still shouting orders, offer the burglars delicious sea bass]
    • Lampshaded by one of the spots; right after the gag scene, one of the couple comments, "That was weird".
  • This Delta Airlines safety video that showed up around the Christmas holiday season of 2013 ran on these:
    • "Ensure all aisles, exits, and bulkhead areas are clear." [cuts to a dreidel spinning on the aisle floor, where it gets picked up by a passenger]
    • "If you're seated in an emergency exit row, please review the responsibilities for exit row seating on the back of the safety information card, which is in your seat pocket." Cut to the flight attendant asking the three exit row passengers, the right one of which is Ebenezer Scrooge, if they are capable of performing the instructions. Scrooge says "Bah!" and gets up to be reseated.
    • "Smoking is not allowed on any Delta flight." Cut to a passenger with a Yule Log in his lap.
    • "Internet access will be available while we're above 10,000 feet." Cut to a gingerbread man surfing the web on his laptop.
    • "But note, some items may not be used in flight at any time." Cut to a passenger turning off and putting away his leg-shaped lamp.
    • "As we come through the cabin for our final safety check, please let us know if you have any questions." Cut to Alex Trebek reading a newspaper while a flight attendant serves a drink to the passenger seated behind him.
      Flight Attendant: This is a traditional milk-based holiday drink.
      Alex Trebek: [boringly] What is eggnog?
      Flight Attendant: Correct.
    • Delta has done many more safety videos like this one since then, including an 80's version for the anniversary of their first safety video, and one based around memes.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Used and explicitly lampshaded in one episode of Cromartie High School, which suddenly cuts to a sequence titled "Let's Strum A Guitar In The Mountains!", at the end of which the man playing the guitar throws the instrument up in the air, screaming "Oh my god, this is a non-sequitur!"
  • Seen in Inuyasha when the group are trying to stop two warring brothers from tearing up the countryside. When Inuyasha gets side-tracked complaining about how warring brothers cause needless hassle for everyone and then defensively claiming that he and Sesshoumaru have nothing in common with these two brothers, Sango - in a moment of complete randomness - wonders if Sesshoumaru's the kind of person who sneezes when he's talked about. Cue the momentary cutaway which doubles as a Sneeze Cut to reveal that it's actually Jaken who sneezes on Sesshoumaru's behalf and that he really dislikes this aspect of being Sesshoumaru's servant. Then the normal plotline continues.
  • This is done in Hetalia: Axis Powers: The notorious dance scene with Japan and Switzerland. Yo ho ho, tra la la la...
  • Episode 1 of Kotoura-san uses this as a weird sort of Meet Cute. After a dark and depressing backstory sequence, Haruka meets Yoshihisa, reads his mind, and she and the audience see...a purple frog-man in a desert doing a bizarre dance to a series of random noises. There's no real point to this freaky daydream other than as a "transition" to the cutesy OP and the much less dark second half of the episode.
  • Persona 4: The Animation does this twice in episode 11. When the team realizes they've left the head of Teddie's original body behind. Cue some kid crying at its white-eyed, soulless stare. Same kid both times, but in different places.
  • Episode 16 of Slayers had Lina, Gourry, and Amelia travelling with a theater company. The director decided to cast them in an upcoming play, with Amelia as the hero. In one scene where she reads a line from the script (in her usual Large Ham / Love Freak way), the background shifts to make it look like she is a voice actress in a recording studio. Then she asks "how was it?" — cut to Gourry behind the recording desk, who says "Sorry, you were blowing into the mic." The background then shifts back to normal, and Amelia responds "I was what?!"

  • This is a staple of anecdotal story-telling comedians such as Mike Harding, Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott. Connolly's story about the mystery man found dying in a street in Edinburgh - he turned out to be an illegal immigrant who fell out of the wheel-well of an aircraft - takes up to half an hour to tell with LOTS of digressions and cutaways. And as for his re-telling of the Gospel as if Jesus had come to Glasgow rather than Galillee...
  • Jerry Seinfeld is another comic who uses the Cutaway Gag in his act.
    Then the pilot comes on about what he's gonna do. "And here's how I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna take it up to fifty thou. Then, I'm gonna hang a left at Chicago." And we're like "Fine. Just get us to where it says on the ticket." Do I bother him? Tell him what I'm doing? "I'm having the peanuts now. I'm not gonna have them all now 'cause it's such a big bag."

    Comic Books 
  • Darkwing Duck (in the new comics): After Darkwing welcomes Launchpad back as his sidekick:
    Launchpad: There uh, aren't really a lot of positions open for sidekicks/pilots.
    [cut to Launchpad holding the Ranger Plane with Gadget standing on his shoulder]
    Launchpad: I can pilot this!
    Gadget: No. No, you cannot.

    Fan Works 
  • A Very Freakin' Family Guy Mis-Ed-venture features at least one cutaway gag in each chapter, as is to be expected from a crossover with Family Guy.
  • The Many Secret Origins of Scootaloo: Cutaway gags occur more often in later chapters. Characters will reference something unbelievable, then the story will cut to reveal such an event is happening.
  • Sharing the Nation: In Chapter 2, Applejack asks Twilight what she plans on doing with all the rubble of the destroyed crystal palace, and Twilight replies that, as it so happens, Ponyville has had a sudden influx of lithivorous residents who find it incredibly amusing to eat pieces of a pony palace. The very next scene cuts to Spike returning home with groceries that include a bag of the aforementioned crystal rubble, which Ember immediately snatches and starts gorging on.
  • Turnabout Storm: Before the trial starts, Phoenix wonders what would his Friendly Rival prosecutor Edgeworth do if he was the one stuck in Equestria. Cut to an Imagine Spot of Edgeworth gleefully riding and playing with the ponies through the land.
    Edgeworth: This is just like that one episode of the Steel Samurai where he meets the Pink Princess! WHEEEEEEE!!!
    Phoenix: (Doctor, I'd like the part of my brain responsible for that image lobotomized, please...)
  • Under the Northern Lights: In chapter thirty-one, after Twilight and Spike hurry away after performing for which Saga insisted that the participants paint and dress themselves up like stereotypical necromancers, Eira comments that they should have washed themselves off first. The scene then cuts to Twilight and Spike, with the latter saying that they should really have washed themselves before leaving while Twilight fends off a crowd of counterculture teens who think that she's actually a wicked sorceress after the rest of the locals ran off in panic.
    "Crazy foreigners and their crazy hurry..." Eira muttered dourly.
    "What is it, Grandma? " said Saga.
    "They oughta have had a bath before they left!" she said. "Let's get us into the bathtub, at least!"
    "I think we oughta have had a bath before we left," said Spike, worried.
    "You're right, you're right, you were right the first five times," Twilight mumbled between gritted teeth before going back to her audience.
  • Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises features at least one of these per chapter:
    "Yeah..." Gregg said. "Turns out reality isn't like a game. Like that time I tried applying Hungry-Hungry Hippos to my job at the zoo."
    "WHY ARE ALL THE HIPPOS FUCKING DEAD?!" The Zookeeper shouted.
    "Oh," Gregg said. "I bolted them all to the ground in a circle, put the food between them and slammed on their backs to get their necks to shoot out to eat it."
    "You're fired."
  • Ask King Sombra: Coffee Talk wants to know what the real Sombra is doing while his evil self is out and about. Cut to Sombra gleefully riding on Princess Shelf.
    Coffee Talk: You know what? Never mind. I can probably guess.
  • Instead of skipping stupid episodes of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Abridged usually gives a summary of the episode and why they didn't use it. However episode 13/14 used a cutaway to blend the episodes together.
    Serena: Peter File! He's on the hunt for young models! That's my dream!
    Luna: But I thought your dream was to be a French bride?
    [flashback to Serena dancing in a wedding gown with Tuxedo Mask and Andrew]
    Serena: Ooo la la! Tuxedo Mask and Andrew! I so happy! Mmm I feel like a pwincess!
    [cut back to real life]
    Serena: Where did that footage come from?
  • In The Fanmake Blooper Series's third installment: Shadow of the Beast, the cutaway gags happen as flashbacks of Shadow's past roles. Most of them are played for laughs. Most of them.
  • The BIONICLE fan video Mantax Facts PSA makes very liberal use of them. Many are non sequitur, but all are funny. The last one is even discussed as an example of how not to do one of these.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged uses this on occasion. In History of Trunks Abridged, Trunks asks Gohan what his father was like, and we cut away to Vegeta beating a young Gohan senseless.
    Vegeta: So what?! You think having a dad as a Super Saiyan makes you better than me?!
    Kid Gohan: No!
    Vegeta: (continues punching Gohan) Wrong answer!
    (Back in the present/future)
    Future Gohan: ...He had a lot to prove.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Hoodwinked!, this snarky conversation that Red has in her first conversation at the cottage with Flippers:
    Red Puckett: They've got this all wrong, Mr. Flippers.
    Nicky Flippers: Oh, I don't know. You look pretty dangerous to me. What's your name?
    Red Puckett: Red.
    Nicky Flippers: And why do they call you that?
    Red Puckett: Why do they call you Flippers?
    [cuts to Flippers on the dance floor at a disco club, wearing a flashy white suit; as someone chants "Go Flippers!" in the background, he does a backflip and lands in a splitz]
    Nicky Flippers: Uh, no reason.
  • The Princess and the Frog: After meeting Louis, Naveen asks why he's never tried to play jazz.
    Louis: Oh, I tried once.
    [cut to Louis jumping onto a river boat and playing his trumpet; five seconds later, he dives back into the river as the boat's passengers fire at him]
    Louis: It didn't end well.
  • In The Book of Life, Manolo is being ridiculed for his father for being a bullfighter who never finishes the bull.
    Pablo: But he finished the bull last week at practice!
    [cut to Manolo baiting a bull forward; the bull is struck by lightning and topples over dead, with Manolo appropriately confused]
    Anita: That did no count.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There are several scenes like this in the comedy Airplane!. One is where someone in the control tower says that the people flying the plane are gonna be fine; after all, "they're on instruments!" Cut to the plane's cockpit, where several of the characters are playing real swingin' jazz music.
  • Barbie (2023): The moment in the movie where Barbie hits an emotional rock bottom is accompanied by a cheerful commercial for "Depression Barbie", who comes with baggy sweatpants, running makeup, and watching Pride and Prejudice for the seventh time.
  • In Ernest Scared Stupid, there's a cutaway gag in which Ernest's 4th grade teacher confirms that "He never knew when to quit." after whapping young Ernest over the head.
  • Il posto: Domenico is sitting at a table at the New Year's party, looking morose, holding a glass of champagne. Another guest says "Go on, drink, it will cheer you up!" Cut to Domenico dancing in the middle of a conga line.
  • The "Zombie Kill of the Week" segments from Zombieland. It's only one scene, and it generally feels like something the executives had put in later for the trailer, but it's actually an artifact from when Zombieland was originally conceived as a TV show that they decided to keep.
  • In the movie Good Burger, Ed and Dexter are eating outside when a dog runs up and barks at them. Ed is convinced the dog is trying to tell them that a group of clowns are stranded on the highway because their car broke down. Dexter tells him the dog is just hungry, and they throw the dog a hamburger patty. Cut to a bunch of clowns sitting next to a broken-down car, wondering where the dog went.


    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock.
    • They even managed to do this in the Live Episode; Julia Louis-Dreyfus replaced Tina Fey in the flashback scenes.
      Jack: Why are you better-looking in your memory?
      Liz: My memory has Seinfeld money.
    • The other live episode did this too, but had younger versions of the main cast, with Amy Poehler as Liz, Donald Glover as Tracy and Jimmy Fallon as Jack.
    • The density of cutaway gags actually increased in the final season as the writers attempted to make the most of the abbreviated (12 episode) run.
  • The Adventures of Lano and Woodley does this in "The Girlfriend", with Colin telling a busker about his failed attempt at seduction in a cafe, culminating in a modern dance sequence.
  • Arrested Development featured this a lot as well, being a Mockumentary.
    • Sometimes, the gag is to clarify or contradict a character's statement.
      Lucille: I love all my children equally.
      [cut to earlier that day]
      Lucille: I don't care for Gob.
    • Other times, the gag clarifies a comment by displaying a pop culture reference to a work that only exists in the show's universe:
      Michael: We're here for Motherboy.
      Desk Clerk: You realize that's not the band.
      [cut to a Kiss-like band]
      Narrator: Motherboy was also the name of a heavy metal band that rocked pretty hard throughout the seventies. We are legally obligated to make this distinction.
    • Sometimes, the gag is played with.
      Tobias: But we've had some good times.
      [cut to an all white screen with the caption "Footage not found"]
  • Big Time Rush does this on occasion, most notably when the boys are reminded of or think about past actions they've done (like in one episode, they flashback to causing an explosion in the Palmwoods pool using dynamite). Most of the time, said cutaways are mentioned later in the episode.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine has plenty of these. They are often punctuated by a walkie-talkie static sound for the beginning and end of the gag.
  • Corner Gas does this, whether for an Imagine Spot or for showing characters in otherwise unseen situations. See the time Oscar blew up a salad.
  • Doctor Who: "Resolution", atypically for the show, has one of these: when it's revealed that the villain has caused a communications blackout across the UK, the scene cuts to a woman and her two sons who find that their Internet is down, and are horrified that they might actually have to talk to each other. This is never brought up again.
  • In Everybody Hates Chris, Chris Rock frequently used cutaway gags to illustrate jokes during his narrations.
  • Fuller House does this in the episode "Secrets, Lies and Firetrucks", right after Danny explains how he pulled some strings. Cut to the filming of the reunion show, where he is apparently letting the firehouse chief sing on television, and then discreetly telling the cameraman that they'll have the singing edited out.
  • Frequently used in How I Met Your Mother, usually in the form of someone's memory or invoking a brief flashback (appropriate, given that the entire series is a flashback made of a guy's memories).
  • Lizzie McGuire frequently uses these, when visualizing discussed scenarios and characterizations.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Used in "Home Alone 4" when the hospital staff recognizes the boys, and Malcolm notes they have a history there, leading to a cutaway of idiotic actions taken by the brothers that landed them in the hospital.
    • A late-series episode has Hal reveal that he had given each boy one free pass where he didn't tell Lois about something they did when Dewey gets caught smoking cigarettes. This leads to a cutaway of how Francis, Reese, and Malcolm ended up using their free passes.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus was filled with this trope, and lampshaded it on occasion:
    Mrs. Turpin: That's Mr. Kamikaze, the pilot. He's very nice really, but make sure he stays clear of battleships.
    [cut to Stock Footage of battleships]
    Voiceover: There have been many stirring tales told of the sea and also some fairly uninteresting ones only marginally connected with it, like this one. Sorry, this isn't a very good announcement.
  • The Nutt House Ddesn't actually cut away to them, but many of the jokes are random insertions that have nothing to do with anything else. Examples include:
    • The astronaut (in full space suit) going into his room ("My flight got cancelled.")
    • The Native American requesting a room. ("Do you have a reservation?" "I did. It was called 'Manhattan'.")
    • The couple going into a photo booth marked "3000 for $1" ("What a bargain!"), followed by a long sequence of flashes going off.
  • As suggested by the quote above, Scrubs, with J.D.'s flights of fancy. Although the one time they actually made a joke about a manatee, it was not one of these. (Although it was a non sequitur, it wasn't a cutaway.)
  • That '70s Show relied on this trope constantly, usually using it to display the character's imagination in many "what if" situations.
  • Titus featured so many cutaway gags that some fans referred to it as a live action "Family Guy," though most were flashbacks showing Titus' messed-up childhood and teen years. The show did have a Framing Device in the black and white "neutral space" that allowed for more outlandish things to happen.
  • WandaVision:
    • "All-New Halloween Spooktacular!"
      • When Tommy brags about being the "cool twin" and Billy takes offense, it briefly cuts to them playing DanceDance Revolution together, where Billy stumbles and falls over.
      • "Pietro" initiates a fake flashback by mentioning a childhood Halloween in Sokovia to Wanda. Cut to a young Wanda and Pietro visiting a house covered in decaying Soviet posters and a flaming barrel on the lawn, where a brown-toothed old woman presents a single dead fish for them "to share".
        Wanda Maximoff: That's not exactly how I remember it.
        "Pietro": You probably suppressed a lot of the trauma.
    • "Breaking the Fourth Wall":
      • The morning after expanding the Hex to save Vision's life, Wanda wakes up, reaches for Vision's side of the bed, and finds he's not there.
        Wanda Maximoff: [on Confession Cam] Look, we've all been there, right? Letting our fear and anger get the best of us, intentionally expanding the borders of the false world we created...
        [Cut to SWORD agents running away from the expanding Hex, accompanied by upbeat percussive music]
      • Moments later, Billy and Tommy barge into the bedroom complaining that their game is "freaking out". Cut to them trying to play on the Wii, only for their Wii Remotes to morph into older game controllers and then turn into Uno cards.
  • The Young Ones often featured Manatee Gags. Although they usually segued from and back to the main action somehow. Their use was lampshaded in one episode where there was a close up on an animated matchbox which merely said "Don't look at me, I'm irrelevant."


  • The cutaway gag is often seen in long-form Improv comedy shows. Sometimes when two players are doing a scene, a third player will tag one of them out and do a short scene with the other player about something that had just been mentioned, after which the player who was tagged out tags back in and resumes the original scene.

    Video Games 
  • The Family Guy licensed game would occasionally set up cutaway gags, then jump to a WarioWare-esque minigame based around the gag. Successfully completing it would get the player a power-up or other bonus.
  • In Panic!, pressing a button would occasionally cut away to some cartoony character who says and/or does something silly.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: In "Homestar Ruiner", if Strong Bad asks why he wasn't invited to Marzipan's party, Marzipan brings up the last time Strong Bad came to one of her parties. It cuts to Strong Bad on the roof of Marzipan's house, wearing an eyepatch, shouting that he's "Lord Barglebroth, come for your souls!" and jumping off the roof into a cake. From Strong Bad's inability to remember the event, it's heavily implied he was drunk at the time.

    Web Animation 
  • Bee and Puppycat: In Part 1:
    Bee: Hey, dude... I got you presennnntsss! The pet store I used to work at is going out of business.
    [Cut to a dumpster behind the pet store]
    Bee: [popping out from the dumpster with Puppycat's presents] Ha ha ha!
  • Bonus Stage, being somewhat influenced by Family Guy, and GEOWeasel, being somewhat influenced by Bonus Stage in its early episodes, use this type of joke occasionally. At one point one in GEOWeasel, a cutaway gag is used to demonstrate how Jimbob turns every answer at the front door into a Benny Hill chase scene.
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "looking old", Strong Bad shoots down Bubs' suggestion of rebranding as "iStrong" or "iBad" to appeal to the youth market, reminding him "We already tried that with lowercase 'e's back in the late '90s. We all know where that got us!" Cut to a warehouse full of dusty crates marked "eStrong Vague Online Investments".
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device had this bit in Episode 24, during the Emperor's discussion with Rogal Dorn about the latter's gene sons:
    Dorn: That is because they are absolute lunatics.
    (Cue to scene of black drop pods falling from the sky, then to a scene of a Black Templar stabbing a heretic with his sword)


    Web Original 
  • In Dino Attack RPG, just after Greybeard sarcastically mentioned calling the mummy of Pharaoh Hotep III on his cell phone, it briefly cut to Pharaoh Hotep III's mummy grumbling that no one ever calls him on his cell phone.
  • Four Blokes Without Telly, used mostly in the first Episodes.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, especially the Show Within a Show gags.
  • Naturally, some The Nostalgia Critic episodes feature these gags in reviews. In his Mr. Magoo review, he observes the scene where Magoo tries to rip off the Mr. Bean cooking scene as he cooks a roast chicken to instructions on the TV. Then the dog hits the remote, which changes the cooking show to a workout program. Magoo proceeds to give the chicken a workout. The Critic immediately asks, "Yeah! How long until he switches to the porno channel?"
    Cooking Show Host: Next, I want you to—
    [channel changes]
    Porn Star: ...put your big long cock inside me.
    Critic-Magoo: Well, okay, if it insists! [proceeds to hump the chicken; a "BA-CAW!" sound is played to accompany it]
  • Mocked by the Third Rate Gamer in his review of Cool Spot:
    Third Rate Gamer: You think that's bad? Remember the time I tried to go to space and use a credit card?
    [cut to a crudely animated clip with the Third Rate Gamer and an alien]
    Third Rate Gamer: Do you take Discover?
    Alien: [makes some incomprehensible noises]
    [Beat, followed by someone offscreen coughing]
  • A few YouTubers (vloggers as well as Let's Players) enjoy doing this as they mention something, then cut to a video in an entirely different setting where they demonstrate in an outragous way what they said, only to switch back to the original video with the camera on their straight or severly disturbed face.

    Western Animation 
  • Megas XLR used this in the very first episode when Coop tried to explain to Kiva of how he "trained" for battle against the Glorft:
    Kiva: How did you get to be such a good pilot?
    Coop (looking off into the distance): Well...
    (Scene then fades into a Montage of Coop playing video games from when he was a child, to his teen years, to his early adulthood)
  • South Park: In the two-part episode "Cartoon Wars", the writing staff of Family Guy are revealed to be a group of manatees swimming around a water tank, randomly pushing around balls with words written on them into different holes listing Setting, Person and Activity. The episode featured several fake clips from Family Guy that all followed this format, and were carefully written to not be far off the style of the show. More specifically, in the episode Cartman is told that he should be a fan of Family Guy and he reacts strongly against it saying his sense of humor is more linear and actually contributes to the story. Word of God confirmed this was an Author Tract.
  • Kappa Mikey had a few per episode that all seemed to be directly inspired by Family Guy.
  • Even Pelswick has had its share per episode.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has some examples:
    • From the episode "The Bully":
      SpongeBob: Oh, Gary! I'm too young to have my butt kicked! There's so many things in life that I haven't gotten to do!
      [scene cuts to SpongeBob working in an office cubicle]
      SpongeBob: Hang on, I'll transfer your call.
    • From the episode "Doing Time:"
      SpongeBob: Patrick, she has lost it! She's completely institutionalized! She's forgotten to what it's like to live on the outside, to not be in prison!
      (Scene cuts to a man in traffic, then working in an office cubicle, then staring out his bedroom window, all with the exact same facial expression, camera angle and distance from the camera.)
      Man's wife: Coming to bed, honey?
      Man: Yes, dear.
    • From the "Sun Bleached"
      SpongeBob: So Patrick, how do you feel?
      Patrick: Like one of those young old folks from the soda commercials.
      (cut to a live-action old guy in a mock soda commercial)
    • In the episode "The Great Snail Race", as Spongebob is training Gary to participate in the race, at one point (after Spongebob lampshades sexist strategies in his training) the scene abruptly cuts to Sandy saying to herself, "I don't know why, but I think I'll kick Spongebob's butt tomorrow". And at the end of the episode she does just that.
    Sandy: That's for yesterday, SquarePants!
    • There's a rather grim one in "Krusty Love", when Mr. Krabs asked what happened to Mrs. Puff's husband. Cut to live-action footage of someone using a dried-out puffer fish as a lamp, followed by a cut back to SpongeBob explaining that Mrs. Puff doesn’t like to talk about it.
    • There’s a well known one in “Graveyard Shift.” Squidward comments that keeping the Krusty Krab open 24 hours a day is a stupid idea and asks “Who wants a Krabby Patty at 3 in the morning?” Cut to Patrick waking up to his alarm clock, saying “Oh boy, 3 am!” and eating a Krabby Patty.
  • Phineas and Ferb has one practically every episode.
  • American Dad! had a few in the pilot episode, but quickly dropped them in an attempt to distance the show from Family Guy.
    • Also, in "Stan of Arabia", after Stan insists that Francine never told him about the play she's performing in, a cutaway ensues to establish that actually yes, she told him several times.
    • One episode lampshaded the difference by having Stan give the setup for a Cutaway Gag and nothing happens other than Francine asking what on Earth he was doing.
    • Also lampshaded when Roger tries a cutaway gag setup ("That was as obvious as the Sequel Hook at the end of Batman Begins!"), but all it does is prompt Stan to ask what the hell that has to do with anything.
    • A straight example appears in "Wheel and the Legman and the Case of Grandpa's Key":
      Roger: Breaking bad news is part of the job, Wheels. It's a part of life. You got to do it. That's why I volunteer at the cancer ward every Sunday.
      (Cut to Roger standing outside of a hospital with a megaphone)
      Roger: You're all going to die! Your parents and your doctors are lying to you!
      (Roger is dragged away by a security guard.)
  • The Cleveland Show, an actual Family Guy Spin-Off, will use cutaways, if not as often as its mother show. And like Family Guy, it has occasionally made fun of them as well. One episode featured them using the same cutaway gag for three different situations.
  • Seth MacFarlane's use of this trope is spoofed in the Robot Chicken episode "Help Me" where he seems to be a Reality Warper that can make anything happen just by describing it and then having a cutaway of it happening.
    Seth MacFarlane: Robot Chicken? Why I haven't heard that name since it was renewed.
    [Cutaway to Adult Swim president Keith Crofford saying "Robot Chicken is renewed."]
    Seth Green: Wow! How'd you do that?
    Seth MacFarlane: How'd I do that? No one's asked me that since C-3PO won me a jacket with Pepsi points.
    [Cutaway to C-3PO drinking Pepsi by a vending machine and smacking the machine to get another one. The next scene has MacFarlane wearing a Pepsi brand jacket]
    Seth Green: You can do anything! Quick, offhandedly mention that time we all ended world hunger!
    Seth MacFarlane: What? I haven't heard an idea that ridiculous since Scooby Jew.
    [cutaway to Scooby Jew haggling over getting only one Scooby Snack in exchange for doing a task]
  • Although it's not widely associated with them, The Simpsons has done a number of such gags, but was more attributed to a Funny Background Event or a more legitimate character flashback instead of being a complete Non Sequitur. One commentator on an early DVD commentary even expressed surprise that they used to do so many. The same DVD commentary said they stopped because Family Guy was doing so many, in an attempt to be different. A particularly memorable gag is in the episode "Dangerous Curves":
    Alberto: Let me take you for a ride...
    [cut to glider in flight]
    Alberto: ...or should I say, glide?
    Marge: I'm just happy you're talking again. You didn't say a word for 45 minutes.
  • Regular Show does them once in a while.
    • A memorable instance from "The Power", where the group arrives on the Moon thanks to Mordecai and Rigby's magic keyboard. They see a bunch of random objects and, when Benson asks how they got there, Rigby comments that while the others were in the bathroom...
      Rigby (singing and playing The Power): A bunch of baby ducks, seeend 'em to the moon!/Soda machine that doesn't work, seeend 'em to the moon!
    • Benson just fired Rigby when he overhears him slacking off, he justified that Rigby never finishes his work, Rigby defends himself by saying he always finishes his work. Then cuts a few scenes showing Rigby slacking off in his job.
  • Animaniacs did these on occasion.
    • More than once, they took advantage of having someone named Wakko in the cast, and led into the cutaway with the exchange:
      "You're wacko!"
      "No, he's Wakko." [cut to Wakko doing something funny]
    • In "Bully for Skippy":
      Slappy: You're not my nephew, you're one of those body-snatching pod people I'm always reading about in the check-out line!
      [scene cuts to Slappy at the supermarket reading a newspaper]
      Woman: That'll be $10.95.
      Slappy: Hey, quit rushing me! Can't you see I'm catching up on the news here?
    • Another one had a character complaining about the Warners doing a Stealth Hi/Bye gag, saying that he told them not to do it anymore. Yakko's response is "Yeah, but you didn't tell the writers!" Cut to the writers in hysterics as they put that gag in the script.
  • In Brandy & Mr. Whiskers' "I Am Rainfo":
    Brandy: Whiskers, think of all the fun we'll have with this lost stash of books!
    [cut to Brandy and Whiskers dancing while tearing out pages from a book]
  • Multilayered example from Freakazoid!: During a scene in which Freakazoid appears Off-Model, there's a cutaway to Freakazoid addressing the animators, telling them to watch the lip sync. Cut again to a giant pair of lips sinking into the ocean.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Dragon Quest". After Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash don a really really fake-looking dragon costume, one of the real dragons notices them.
      Garble: Who's this weirdo?
      Other Dragon: I think he's Crackle's cousin.
      [cut to a dragon who just happens to look exactly like the costume]
    • In "Castle Mane-ia", Pinkie says she can't imagine why her testing of the school's new bell was cut short. We immediately cut to show exactly why.
  • Gravity Falls plays with this trope a bit, but unlike other shows, this show uses it as a method of Foreshadowing or to flesh out its plot and characters instead of just as a way to get easy laughs.note . In addition, it usually ends with a lampshade by one of the main characters.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) also makes rather frequent use of them, thanks to Spidey's continuous non-sequiturs, from imagining himself flying on a jetpack (after he says he'd love it if S.H.I.E.L.D. gave him one) to imagining Mary Jane as a female J. Jonah Jameson, haircut and all (when Peter finds out she'll do an internship at the Daily Bugle).
  • The Futurama episode "I Second That Emotion" has a cutaway gag in one scene. When Leela starts hugging and kissing Nibbler, Bender sarcastically remarks "I have a busted ass, and I don't see anyone kissing it!" Cut to Zoidberg in another room sighing "Alright, I'm coming..."
  • The 7D used this in the episode "Knick Knack Paddy Whack", when Grim asks Dopey (whose disguised as a salesman selling snails) if a cat got his tongue. Then he says it happened to him once, and it really hurt. Cut to Grim standing before Hildy, an orange tabby hanging from the end of his tongue, and him mumbling as such to Hildy.
  • In the TV version of the VeggieTales episode "A Snoodle's Tale", Larry asks if Jimmy ever had a dream about a bagel, and Jimmy said he dreamed of a opera-singing aardvark, which cuts to an animated sequence about that exact thing.
  • The Rick and Morty episode Total Rickall uses cutaway gags to parody Remember the New Guy? and Clip Show: A group of shapeshifting alien parasites invade the Smith family's home, and attempt to convince them they've always been a part of the family by implanting false memories of past adventures into their heads. Each time they attempt this, we're then shown the alleged memory.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Every Day Is Earth Day”, when Jet mentions how he and his family always mix up certain words, it cuts to Carrot and Celery hammering toasts on the wall, instead of posters.
  • The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants uses quite a lot of cutaways, usually building up to the joke.
  • In the first Looney Tunes Cartoons short, “The Curse of the Monkeybird”, Porky and Daffy are searching for the titular monkeybird’s treasure. Porky mentions that finding it would help them pay off their parking tickets. Cut to a police officer slamming tickets onto his car, which is covered in them:
    Officer: And another, and another, and another!
  • Amphibia sometimes uses these to show flashbacks to Anne's life back on Earth before the series started. Extended flashbacks are generally used for more serious contexts.
  • The Patrick Star Show, to fit the whimsical Variety Show theme, has cutaways to other TV parodies inserted into the episodes. Whether or not they're actually relevant to the plot varies. For example, at one point in "Bummer Jobs", Squidina wheels in a TV that displays "Noir-Sense": a Film Noir-style interrogation with Fred. "Lost in Couch" interrupts itself with a furniture commercial. Notably, the double-length Halloween Episode contains a cutaway in a cutaway. It turns out that the episode is actually being watched by Frankenstein-style Mad Scientists Patrick and Plankton, and there's a skit with them. Then they watch a story about Squidward's grandma mind controlling people with her "Pantry of Doom". The Frankenstein cutaway persists throughout the episode as a sort of sub-plot, with other cutaways in it, until Patrick and Squidina find their way into it during the main plot.
  • Molly of Denali: There are two cutaway gags in the episode "Cry Wolf" (the crossover episode with Wild Kratts) when Molly is retracing the places where the group has been. First, Chris stubs his toe and yells for ten minutes on the cliff. Then, Martin falls backwards into the lake.

Alternative Title(s): Cutaway Joke


Magical Girl Kyou

While watching the rest of their friends pretend to be a magical girl, Tomoya asks Kyou why she isn't joining the rest. She then asks him about being a magical girl. Cut to Tomoya imagining her as one.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CutawayGag

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