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Late to the Punchline

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"The thing about childhood is that nothing makes sense. You have no idea what half the jokes on sitcoms are about, Bugs Bunny keeps making references to WWII-era European dictators you don't recognize, and Hot Wheels always manage to go around the loop-the-loop just fine on the commercials. So you just relax and go along with it, and fifteen years later you look back on the things that confused you and say 'Ah! Yes! It makes perfect sense now!'"
Lore Sjöberg, The Book of Ratings

Sometimes it takes a long time for a character to get a joke. Missed in-jokes, Stealth Puns, and Parental Bonus can mean someone gets the joke much later. Or perhaps the character is just slow of mind. At the time the character may not even realize it was a joke.

Truth in Television due to the fact that you probably didn't get every single joke you heard as a kid right away.

This trope is what happens when, several scenes, in-universe years, or even seasons after the original joke was told, the clueless character finally understands the joke and gives off a great big laugh about it. Irony makes this especially funny if the actual joke had to be repeatedly explained in the process of all this.

Compare Fridge Logic, Fridge Brilliance, Fridge Horror (those three for this trope as applied beyond the Fourth Wall), Brick Joke (where the punchline itself is late in arriving), No Sense of Humor, Comeback Tomorrow (when the character takes too long to think of a humorous line) and Lampshaded the Obscure Reference. The non-joke version falls under Delayed Reaction or Late to the Realization.


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  • The Capitol Steps have a regular bit they call "Lirty Dies," where they throw as many Spoonerisms in as they can while commenting on a few recent news items. If they get delayed laughter the performer will likely add some comment such as "Got some low slearners here tonight" or "Better deck your chicktionaries on that one".
  • Dane Cook has a standup routine where he's talking about the really annoying sort of car alarms, and coming up with lyrics to go with the alarm noises. He says that it might seem stupid now, but the next time you hear a car alarm, you'll stop and think to yourself, "Ha ha, that Dane Cook is a silly bitch."
  • Denis Leary made a joke about finding the youngest Hanson brother in a motel all the way up a hooker's vagina with an 8-ball of cocaine next to them, and how the audience will remember the bit when it comes to pass. "You're gonna laugh about that later. People will say, 'What's so funny?' and you'll say, 'Can't tell you! You had to be there!'"
  • British comedian Stewart Lee runs into these responses fairly often, as his act is rather unconventional. During the course of one show, he informed his audience that "the jokes are there, but some of you might have to raise your game". On other occasions, he has divided the room by response - those getting the joke becoming Team A, while the less receptive audience members become Team F.
  • From a Tom Lehrer song intro on his live album An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer:
    I particularly remember one heartwarming story of his about a young necrophiliac who achieved his boyhood ambition by becoming coroner.
    [tepid laughter]
    The rest of you can look it up when you get home.
    [a lot more laughter]
  • A comedian by the name of Tim Sample occasionally started his routine by explaining that you might not get it right away, and that you could, for example, burst out laughing on the highway and drive right off the road.

    Comic Books 
  • One Achille Talon gag goes like this: his neighbor tells him a hilarious joke at which Talon doesn't (initially) laugh at all because he hasn't understood what's funny. It bothers him for hours in his daily activities. And then, the next day as he's walking down the street, he tilts and starts to laugh like mad — except that he bursts into laughter precisely when he crosses paths with a very ugly man with a pimple on his big nose, who takes it personally, knocks Talon down and leaves while shouting: "SOME PEOPLE JUST LAUGH TOO EASILY."
  • Moose of Archie Comics lived this trope.
  • "In Blackest Night", a story by Alan Moore from Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, has a variation where it's not that she doesn't get the joke but that, because of who made it, she initially fails to realize there was a joke at all:
    ...and four cycles later, in the recreation complex, Katma Tui realized that for the first time in many years' service, she had heard a Guardian make a joke.
    She felt vaguely uneasy for the rest of that day.
  • In one issue of Zannablù, the boars — usually so stupid that it's a miracle they're still around — find and drink an intelligence-boosting serum. The first thing everybody does upon drinking is burst into laughter. A flashback later reveals they'd been told a joke that morning which nobody understood.

    Comic Strips 
  • A Beetle Bailey strip starts with unexplained laughter in the middle of the night, which turns out to be Zero reacting to a joke told during the day.
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • It features a couple of these:
      Calvin: [looking under a chair] I've lost my marbles.
      Hobbes: Everyone suspected as much.
      Calvin: I hope somebody finds them then.
      [that night, in bed]
      Calvin: Hey!
    • Another strip that's very similar to the above as well.
      Calvin: [looking through some playing cards] What the...?? I'm not playing with a full deck!
      Hobbes: That's what people say.
      Calvin: Really? Then why didn't somebody buy some new cards?!
      [that night, in bed]
      Calvin: Hey!!
    • Calvin falls for these tricks repeatedly. Another example:
    Calvin: Susie, what's the answer to this question?
    Susie: "Imadoofus."
    Calvin: [writing it down] Thanks. [Beat] The tooth fairy's gonna make you rich tonight, Susie...
    • Happens a lot when Calvin claims to be a genius. In one strip, he loudly declares his ridiculously high intelligence, and Hobbes immediately asks him how he walked to the bus stop with both legs in one pant leg. Calvin replies that he fell down a lot, then a panel later, asks what Hobbes is implying.
  • Drabble for June 15th, 2013. Ralph is cooking hamburgers outside when his wife June hands him some tongs and says "Tongs!", to which Ralph says "You're welcome!" June walks away puzzled. Later that night while they're in bed she tells him "Oh, I get it!" Of course, Tongs = Thanks.
  • The Far Side has one where The Lone Ranger (long-since retired) happens to look up "Kemosabe" in an Apache dictionary and realizes Tonto has been calling him a horse's ass this entire time.
  • In Get Fuzzy for October 18, 2012, Satchel laughs in a somewhat tense situation and says it's at one of Rob's jokes. Rob says he told the joke an hour ago, but Satchel actually meant a joke from about six months ago.
  • Matt Groening's Life in Hell has a very cute one. Milhouse Mouse is telling all his friends (including Bongo the Rabbit) a dirty joke about a lady who owned a little dog named "Freeshow." The punchline is that one day the lady was in the bathtub and realized that Freeshow had gotten out, so she jumped out of the tub and ran out the front door, tearing down the neighborhood street completely naked while screaming: "Freeshow! Freeshow!" All the kids laugh except for Bongo, whose face remains expressionless. Then he goes home, does his homework, eats dinner, etc.....before finally climbing into bed for the night, and then he gets the joke and starts laughing.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In "Recovering", Ami makes an Accidental Pun in regards to "her country" since she's both a Japanese schoolgirl Trapped in Another World, but more relevantly, has the powers to enforce control over any land that she claims, a.k.a her country:
    "I'm too young to drink in my country," the teenager pointed out patiently, which drew a round of snickers from the table. "What?"
    "Well, considering your current job..." Cathy chortled, her face flushed from half-emptying her own mug already.
    Ami thought for a bit and joined in with a giggle. "Yes, I can see how this would be humorous."
  • The narration of The Second Try mentions that it took Hikari a while to realize what Asuka meant by "You're watching our pet, we'll watch yours!" (PenPen and Toji respectively). To be fair, she was in something of a daze after having given her boyfriend a goodbye kiss in full view of all her friends.
  • In the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts story "AUX", Wonder Woman is bemused when Flash and Green Lantern make a double entendre about balls. Four pages and several changes of topic later, she suddenly announces, "Testicles! They were making a joke about testicles. I always forget about those."
  • In This Bites!, while hearing the Who's on First? routine, Mr. 4 starts laughing at the beginning of the joke when the skit is almost finished.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic story T.D. Trolls the Canterlot Intellectual Elite'' ends with Celestia finally figuring out — after 1543 years — why Luna named said intellectual elite the Delegation to the Office of the Royal Knowledge Society.
  • The Ultra Fast Pony episode "Shameless Self Reference" features numerous Continuity Nods and references to the creator's other work, all of which prompt Fluttershy to respond, "I don't get it." The episode ends with Rainbow Dash working the words "ultra fast pony" into her dialogue, to which everyone responds with over-the-top awe—while Fluttershy shouts "I got the joke! I got the joke!"
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Melvin: I always knew you wanted me to be inside you, Bakura.
    Marik: What do you suppose he means by that?
    Bakura: [sarcastically] I couldn't hazard a guess.
    [next episode]
    Melvin: Then face me Florence, and suffer the wrath of the Egyptian Gods! [Evil Laugh]
    Marik: Oh, I get it. He was implying that you wanted me to sleep with you.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf, Dracula makes a pun on Scooby and Shaggy's car being miniaturized, "Shrunk from the battle." His ditsy assistant Vanna Pira doesn't get it. A few scenes later, she suddenly bursts out laughing.
    Dracula: What's with you?
    Vanna Pira: "Shrunk from battle!" I just got it!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Dogma, Azrael asks the barkeep for a "holy bartender" and then pumps him full of bullets when he asks how it's made. It takes Jay a while to get the joke that he really asked for a "hole-y bartender".
  • In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Russ tells Nick he learned artificial respiration, which he just used to save Nick's big sister Amy, from French class. At the end of the movie, the closing scene irises out — only to iris right back in on Nick, the pre-teen genius, laughing his head off as he finally makes the connection between artificial respiration and French class.
  • Near the end of Mary Poppins, Mr. Banks has been fired from his job at the bank. However, while stunned at first, he has a hysterical epiphany that ends with him telling his ex-bosses the old 'man with a wooden leg named Smith' joke from earlier in the film before leaving. While the rest of board is shocked by his behavior, Mr. Dawes Sr. is mulling over the joke's punchline. After a few moments, he starts to laugh. And laugh. And keeps laughing till the end.
  • Taken to the limit in Mystery Team. One character states that their sign reads "Lost kitten finding purrrrrfessionals", in which Charlie exclaims he finally gets the joke... Eleven years later.
  • In Raising Arizona, this is Glen's excuse for H.I. not laughing at his terrible joke. Glen claims that it's a "way-homer" that you only get on the way home. H.I. counters that he's already at his home.
  • In Predator, Hawkins's telling of a post-battle old and dirty joke to Billy about his girlfriend's, ah, capacity leaves Billy looking bewildered for a good long pause. Hawkins desperately re-tells the punchline and then wanders off looking a bit crestfallen. A few more seconds pass... then Billy laughs heartily.
  • Saving Private Ryan: During the mission, several soldiers wonder if the situation is "FUBAR", a term that tagalong translator Upham is unfamilar with. They claim it's a German word, with Upham obviously failing to find it in his translation book. Much later, just before the climax, Mellish offhandedly tells Upham that things are "fucked up beyond all recognition". FUBAR. He bemusedly recognizes the acronym after a moment, though as a grim reminder that most of them probably won't survive the coming battle.
  • A plot point in Short Circuit. To test Number 5's sentience, Newton Crosby tells a rather tasteless joke. The robot is stumped, and Netwon takes it as evidence that he is not as "alive" as he thinks. Just when he's about to remark on it, Number 5 blurts out "I GET IT!" and starts snickering. Crosby is astounded, and instantly sides with him and Stephanie against his bosses.
  • In the Star Trek: Generations movie, Data had recently gotten upgraded to feel more realistic human emotions and starts laughing almost hysterically out of nowhere as he finally understands a joke Geordi made seven years earlier.
    Data: I get it!
    Geordi La Forge: You get what?
    Data: When you said to Commander Riker, "The clown can stay, but the Ferengi in the gorilla suit has to go." Ha ha ha!
    Geordi La Forge: What are you talking about?
    Data: During the Farpoint mission. We were on the bridge. You told a joke. That was the punch line.
    Geordi La Forge: The Farpoint— Data, that was seven years ago.
    Data: I know. I just got it. Ha ha ha! Very funny.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): During the five Etta Candy shorts made to promote the DVD release she comes to a rather late realization about the fake surname Steve Trevor came up with for Diana:
    "Hippolyta is not only Diana's mother but she's also the queen of Themyscira. But if she's the queen then that makes Diana...okay, 'Diana Prince', I just got that. I just got it. Am I the last to get it?"

  • The former trope namer (Swiss Moment) is an old joke: Why do the Swiss laugh during church? That's when they get the jokes they heard at Saturday night's party.
  • Paraphrased from a joke that Isaac Asimov wrote in his Treasury of Humor. When you tell a joke to a German, he will laugh twice: Once when you tell the joke, to be polite, and once when you explain the joke, to be polite. He will never get it. When you tell that same joke to an Englishman, he will laugh three times: Once when you tell the joke, to be polite, once when you explain the joke, to be polite, and once again when, in the middle of the night, he gets it, waking himself from a sound sleep. When you tell that joke to an American, he will laugh once, for he will get it.
  • A man contacts his lawyer:
    Man: I want to sue Bob! He called me a rhinoceros!
    Lawyer: No problem. When did that happen?
    Man: Four years ago!
    Lawyer: Four years? And you decide to sue him now?
    Man: Yes, today I went to the zoo with my kids, and that was the first time I've ever seen a rhinoceros!
  • A Dumb Blonde joke: a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead all die and go to the gates of heaven. They're told that they must now go up a flight of stairs to heaven. On each step, they will be told a joke. If they can make it to the top without laughing, they get in. The brunette makes it 7 steps before laughing. The redhead makes it 13 steps. The blonde makes it all the way to the top, and she meets God. A few minutes later, she starts laughing. When God asks her what's so funny, she answers, "I just got the first joke!"
  • A similar joke to the one above is a popular old-school Chilean joke about an Animal Kingdom ruled by a tortoise. One day, a lion, a hippo and a zebra were being prosecuted for a crime; the trial was to tell a joke to the king and if they make him laugh they'll be safe, but if they fail, they will be killed. So the lion told a hilarious joke, everyone laughed but the king remained silent. Executed. Then the hippo told a joke that was even better, everyone in the court was crying and suffering extreme side pain—from laughing too hard—but the king didn't react. Executed. Then the zebra told an incredibly lame joke, it was so bad that the room stayed quiet, but the tortoise was laughing out loud and writhing in joy. "Oh my god, oh my god, the lion's joke is the best thing ever".
  • How many times does a [member of group you feel like insulting] laugh at a joke? Three. Once when you tell it, once when you explain it, and once when they get it.

  • In the Discworld novel Carpe Jugulum, Magrat mentions to Nanny that now that she's a mother, she gets most of Nanny's favorite jokes, "except for the one about the old woman, the priest, and the rhinoceros," to which Nanny replies, "I certainly hope not! I didn't understand that one until I was forty." Especially frightening given that this is Nanny Ogg we're talking about. How many children, by how many men, do you think she'd had at forty?
  • In the Agatha Christie novel Five Little Pigs, Angela mentions having one of these moments, where she actually said aloud "Oh! Now I get the point of that story about the plum pudding." This led her to recount a similar incident where she realized the significance of something she observed the weekend of the murder.

    Live-Action TV 
  • During one Academy Awards show, Billy Crystal pretended to read the minds of some of those in attendance. On Sean Connery he said:
    Billy Crystal: Pussy Galore! I just got it! How vulgar!!
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Penny memorized a "physicist joke" and recited it in front of the guys, then wondered why nobody laughed. Well beyond a commercial break later, she figured out the punchline, and realized it was really insulting to physicists.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Lie to Me", Buffy recalls listening to "I Touch Myself" in fifth grade to help her get over Ford's rejection, and then mentions that she had no idea at the time what the song was about. Thirty seconds later Willow says, "Oh! That's what that song is about?!"
    • Six seasons later:
      Willow: This goes beyond anything I've ever done. It's a total loss of control. And not in a nice, wholesome, "My girlfriend has a pierced tongue" kind of way.
      [Dawn looks at Willow; Giles looks away]
      [conversation continues for a while]
      Dawn: Oh! Pierced tongue.
      Buffy: [panicky] Dawn needs to do a research thing!
    • And the incredibly adorable moment after seeing that someone had spray painted "KISS Rocks" on a locker...
      Willow: Kiss rocks? Why would anyone want to kiss... Oh, wait I get it.
    • Also:
      Willow: Cibo Matto? They're playing?
      Xander: No, Will. They're clog dancing.
      Willow: Cibo Matto can clog dance? Oh, wait. Sarcasm.
    • Willow has the opposite kind of moment in "Consequences":
      Buffy: Well then why do you— Oh.
      Giles: Ohh.
      [they all look to Willow for her reaction]
      Willow: I don't need to say "oh." I got it before. They slept together.
  • Quico in El Chavo del ocho is prone to this, mostly when someone insults him.
  • Community: In "Comparative Religion", Shirley is peeved at the Dean's promoting a non-denominational "Winter Holiday".
    Shirley: I am so sick of the Dean jamming his PC-ness down my throat!
    Jeff: Pierce, I'd like to commend you for letting that one go.
    Pierce: [after a beat]... PC-ness. [chuckles] Now I get it!
    Troy: [grinning] It sounds like "penis". I just got it too!
  • Dougal in Father Ted is usually very, very slow to get a joke, naturally enough. In "Speed 3", when he temporarily takes over the milkman's job because the milkman was sacked for having affairs with his female customers, some of said customers greet him at the door, and he is oblivious to their horrified reaction. Until he wakes up in the middle of the night, after the end credits, and realizes:
    Dougal: Those women were in the nip!
  • Also a common trope in Friends, often played out by Joey, frequently accompanied by Chandler making a witty one-liner at Joey's expense.
    • Another time Phoebe talks about walking from Central Park to the Central Perk coffee shop, then stops and adds, "Oh, I just got that!"
    • The biggest is probably Joey taking a few more seconds than everyone else to get the significance of Ross discovering the sweater he lost a month ago (Rachel had said that her baby's father left it behind).
  • F Troop: A running gag was that Sergeant O'Rourke wonders how to get out of a situation when Corporal Agarn would come up with a solution. O'Rourke would turn to him and say, "I don't know why people say you're dumb." At the start of the next scene (usually), Argarn would retort, "Who says I'm dumb?"
  • The Good Place: In "Jason Mendoza", it is not until Michael is declaring the restaurant open that he realizes that "The Good Plates" is a pun on "The Good Place".
  • In Home Improvement, during the Flashback to the pilot episode of Tool Time, Tim tells the audience he is going to teach them how to "drive a stake" and holds up a picture of a man sitting on top of a steak with a steering wheel. Al doesn't get the joke until several moments later.
  • Kenan & Kel has an example in the episode "Get the Kel Outta Here", revolving around a joke about a sculpture of Kel's head that Kyra has made for school.
    Kenan: What are y'all studyin', nasty freak monsters?
    [Kel laughs]
    Kyra: This model happens to look exactly like Kel.
    Kenan: Like I said, what y'all studyin', nasty freak monsters?
    [Kenan, Kel, and Sheryl share a laugh]
    Kel: Ha ha ha! YEAH! Ha ha... ha... hey... that's about me... with the freak monster...
  • Little Lunch: In "The Joke Competition", Rory doesn't get Melanie's joke until he is doing his direct-to-camera piece several days later. When he says the joke out loud, it finally sinks in.
  • In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch a police inspector introduces himself as "Lookout of the Yard" (as in Scotland Yard), to which another character replies by asking what they would see. Lookout is completely baffled by the comment and the sketch continues. A few lines later, he begins laughing inexplicably and it soon becomes apparent that he has got the joke.
    • A similar gag with a man with the last name "Smoketoomuch" who had apparently made it to his thirties without anyone making a joke about it.
    • In "The Funniest Joke in the World," the Nazi interrogator, upon hearing the joke says "That's not funny" before cracking up and dying.
    • Then there's actually no punch line at the end of the Novelty Items sketch with Eric and Graham because the punch line, while written, was never furnished as the sketch progressed.
  • The Muppets did a TV special called The Muppets Go To The Movies where they spoofed several movie genres. Fozzie tells a joke during the Monster Movie sketch that goes "What do you get when you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole?" the answer is "Hot cross bunnies". The Frankenstein Monster from that sketch pops up later and says "Hot cross bunnies! I just got that!"
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank", Mike made an incredibly lame joke about the '20s-style gangsters being kicked out of Men Without Hats. The actual joke was that Servo completely misses the point, and asks Mike to clarify the punchline ("Because the brims on their hats would keep them from reading the music?"). A few minutes after finally dropping it, Servo blurts out, "Oh, because they're wearing hats!"
  • On the anti-gravity episode of MythBusters, the Build Team test a number of devices that claim to create anti-gravity fields, the last of which was called a "Hamel Generator", which was supposedly created by a man who was abducted by aliens and was introduced to their technology. However, every one of these devices failed to deliver, including the Hamel Generator, prompting Grant to quip that "You're better off using something designed by Mark Hamill!" A few seconds after he and Kari have finished laughing, Tori finally busts out laughing himself, having apparently just then gotten the reference.
  • On Night Court Christine gets engaged to the dullest man any of them have met. Then when she dumps him he suddenly "gets" every punchline of every joke and begins laughing hysterically while saying things like "Twenty bucks, same as in town."
  • Referenced in the Peter Cook/Dudley Moore show Not Only... But Also when the pair are discussing art and Dudley complains that he can't see the joke in Leonardo's 'cartoon'. Later on, after some unscripted Corpsing from Dudley, Cook adlibs the line "ere, you've just got the joke in that Leonardo cartoon haven't you?"
  • In One Tree Hill, Lucas was upset over his breakup with Brooke and went to his mom, Karen, for advice. Karen, who owns a cafe, tries to console him with advice from a former customer.
    Karen: A customer once told me, the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else!... oh my God, I just realized what that meant! I thought it was more philosophical than that!
  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks remarks to Mr. Boynton that stealing a kiss is "petting larceny". A couple minutes later, Mr. Boynton gets the joke and starts to laugh.
  • This is Pee-wee's Playhouse's entire appeal for those who laughed as small children and are rediscovering it as adults.
  • On Fox's show Raising Hope, Jimmy (who has just taught Hope how to crawl): "You're gonna have to move these pool chemicals outta here. She can get to this stuff now." Burt: "Well, I've got the weed killer in the back of the truck, so I can move that in here if you want. "Pick your poison." I just got that."
  • A running gag in The Vicar of Dibley, where Alice never gets the jokes Geraldine tells her at the end. Usually Geraldine or someone else has to explain it to her first (and even then, she still doesn't always get it).
  • The Xena: Warrior Princess episode "The Quill Is Mightier" revolves around a magic parchment Gabrielle "finds" that makes everything written on it come true, though often in Literal Genie ways. One of the first consequences is that when she is first ambushed, Joxer is with her, despite not remembering how he got there. Analysis of the parchment reveals nothing written about him, despite one oddly-phrased line: "Gabrielle awoke with a jerk." Despite several other characters noticing it quickly, he doesn't figure it out until the final battle of the episode.

  • Referred to as an "icebox laugh" in Picasso at the Lapin Agile (i.e., something that you laugh at when Fridge Logic kicks in) and brought up in relation to an intentionally nonsensical joke about e-shaped pies. Gaston gets the joke while in the bathroom, most likely by, as Einstein puts it, "process of elimination."
  • In Shrek: The Musical, Shrek gets the usual blank stare from Donkey after joking that Lord Faarquad is Compensating for Something with his castle. Later, during the "Travel Song", Donkey bursts out laughing when he suddenly gets Shrek's joke.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age II, Hawke is able to reconnect his/her Uncle Gamlen with his long-lost daughter, one that he didn't even know he had. After they finally meet, Hawke can talk to Gamlen and a snarky one can drop a little insult that takes Gamlen a second to catch.
    Hawke: You know, she looks nothing like you. Thank the Maker for small miracles, hmm?
    Gamlen: Really. I...hey!
  • The Lost Vikings have a joke of this stripe in Heroes of the Storm.
    Olaf: Hey, you guys remember when we were in World of Warcraft?
    Erik: [sigh] That was just a reference!
    Baelog: Yes, Olaf. We're not dwarves, we're Vikings! Pfft... Except for Erik... [titter] he's a dwarf!
    Erik: Ohohoho... you take it back!

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • In Tales of MU, a harpy character says that in the badlands, "thunder means someone told a giant a joke three days ago." The giantess who's appeared in the story bears this out, not realizing she was at the center of a hurricane of Double Entendres until much later.

    Web Videos 
  • 5 Second Films gives us "Brian Finally Gets Mike's Joke". From the description, though, it appears it wasn't such an obvious gag:
    Brian: I don't typically understand jokes related to the Reconstruction (particularly the election of 1872), and I especially don't when I've had a fifth of bourbon and fireworks are going off all around my face. Mike should be thankful I even remembered it in the morning.
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, Pollo, despite being named that way since he first appeared in the review of Amazons Attack! in 2009, doesn't realize his name means "chicken" in Spanish, or, by extension, that Linkara built himself a literal Robot Chicken, until the review of Chew geared towards the character Poyo, in 2022.
  • Critical Role: During one of Sam's pre-game ad reads, which features a terrible ventriloquist act, the dummy asks, "You know how to make Travis [Willingham] laugh on a Thursday? Tell him a joke on Monday."
  • From Youtuber couple Hailee and Kendra, we have this memetic reaction to a "69" joke.
  • During episode 15 of Rooster Teeth's Let's Play Minecraft, Michael tells Ray to stop making Kung Fu noises when the latter found a Kung Fu picture in front of Ryan's house. 13 episodes later, Michael finally finds the Kung Fu picture and realizes why Ray had done that so long ago.
  • Meta example in Team Four Star's playthough of Nekopara. Taka and Zito don't realize that all the characters have Edible Theme Naming until Taka mispronounces Shigure's name as "sugary" in part 5, halfway through the game. Even funnier given that the their most famous work also has such theme naming.
    Taka: God damn it! I'm a twenty-eight-year-old man and I went to school and I didn't notice that! God I'm a mess!

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, Finn is worried that Flame Princess doesn’t like him anymore because she didn’t laugh at one of his jokes. Jake and BMO try to assure him that she just probably didn’t get the joke yet. Towards the end of the episode, after Finn comes back from his (possibly) trippy dream inside the pillow fort, Flame Princess calls Finn, telling him that she finally understood the joke. Their relationship is saved!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: While confronting the Kyoshi warriors, who all fight with gold-plated warfans, Azula mockingly calls them the Avatar's "fangirls". Several beats pass before Ty Lee exclaims, "I get it now, that was funny, Azula." But then Ty Lee is the group's designated Cloudcuckoolander.
  • An episode of the animated Fraggle Rock revolved around "The Funniest Joke In The Universe". Boober didn't get it, and asked everyone else, who immediately became Helpless with Laughter. It turns out he has to get water from the Well of Forgetfulness to make them stop laughing and since he's the only one not in stitches, he's the only one who can. At the end, all's well... until Boober gets the joke, and the other Fraggles have to take him to the well.
  • Family Guy:
    • Peter (in an attempt to become more sophisticated) spends days standing by a newspaper stand staring at a New Yorker cartoon (with the punchline "I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic") before he finally gets it, saying in a charitable tone that it's "kind of funny," before returning the magazine and getting a copy of Juggs.
    • Another time, Peter basically steals Lois' position as director of a play. The morning of the play, she accuses him of lacking creativity, to which he responds:
      Peter: I have more creativity in my whole body than most people do before 9:00 A.M..
      Lois: The only thing you create before 9:00 A.M. is exactly what you've turned my show into.
      Peter: I think my work will speak for itself. (Beat) I just got that. A poop joke? That's real creative, Lois.
    • In another episode, Peter, hosting a children's variety show, is mauled by a mountain lion during a failed comedy sketch based on the classic "Who's on First?" comedy routine by Abbott and Costello. Peter is later visited in the hospital by the same mountain lion, bearing flowers and stating: "I get it now: 'Who' is the guy's NAME!"
  • Futurama:
    • Fry is prone to this:
      Announcer: And now, the woman who "Mom"-opolizes the robot industry...
      Fry: I get it!
      Announcer: Mom!
      Fry: Oh... now I get it!
    • When they all go camping they are given a lecture on Bigfoot by "Ranger Park, the Park Ranger". Fry yells "I get it!"
    • In "Rebirth", a few seconds after a series of increasingly obvious references to leaving Fox and joining Comedy Central (culminating with "It's a sort of "Comedy" central shipping channel, and now we're on it"), Amy exclaims "I get it!"
  • George of the Jungle: More than once, George would suddenly laugh at a joke he'd heard minutes, maybe hours, before.
    • In the "Dr. Chicago" episode, George announces to the Commissioner that ants on a railroad "Steal track!" The Commissioner, misunderstanding, answers: "Yes, George — steel track. That's what makes the train run so smoothly." Shortly before the end of the episode, George bursts out laughing, and the Commissioner asks, irritably: "What's so funny?" George answers: "Steal track! Steel track!"
    • In another episode, he's been caught in a snare by poachers who mean to leave him there. He comments "It pretty chicken thing to do to King of Jungle!" A poacher replies "If there be one thing I like, it be 'Chicken à la King'!" A few scenes later, back home, George starts laughing "Ho ho! Chicken à la King!"
  • In an episode of King of the Hill Bill and Dale tell Hank and Peggy a joke about them ordering nachos with cheese, and the punchline is they ask the waitress: "If it's nacho cheese, then whose is it?" Everyone enjoys a good laugh except Peggy. Later, after much time has passed, Peggy says: "Oh, I just got that nacho cheese joke. It's funny!"
  • The Looney Tunes character Foghorn Leghorn was based on a radio character Senator Claghorne (who was so Southern he only drank from Dixie cups and would not drive through the Lincoln Tunnel). He also copied his signature response to people who didn't get his jokes "Ah say, ah say son, these are the jokes. I keep pitching them and you keep missing them!"
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, Candace has been changed into a sentient puddle, and the kids' first attempt to change her back doesn't quite work out.
    Buford: I don't know, I kinda like her like that. She looks like Cand-berry sauce.
    Phineas: We gotta get her back into the right shape before we solidify her. And we're gonna need to adjust the contour in [Beat, Phineas starts laughing] Ha ha, Cand-berry sauce!
  • The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show had a cartoon called "Aesop And Son". In one episode, Aesop laughs at a joke he heard days ago and tells his son a fable with the moral "He who laughs last laughs best". Come to think of it, a lot of things in that show were jokes young viewers wouldn't get until later.
  • From The Simpsons:
    • In "Secrets of a Successful Marriage", Carl calls Homer "a little slow" when Homer fails to realize he just beat Moe at poker with a straight flush. By the time Homer responds "How dare you call me that?!", it's hours later, and Lenny is in his nightshirt and cap when Homer finally asks about it, prompting him to say "Boy, you are slow!", which then causes Homer to go through the exact same thought process again until Lenny tells him to leave.
      Homer: [thinking] Something said. Not good.
      Lenny: Get the hell out of here!
    • In "A Star Is Burns", Wolfcastle has this happen to him twice. When he realizes Jay Sherman (from The Critic) insulted him, he chases him down with an assault rifle. Sherman says his shoes are untied, and Wolfcastle replies "From here, they appear to be tied, but I will go in for a closer look". Sherman beats a retreat, day turns to night as Wolfcastle stares at his shoes and finally concludes that they don't even have laces.
      Wolfcastle: On closer inspection, these are loafers.
    • Sideshow Bob gives Wiggum the nickname "Chief Piggum". The police chief understands this joke during Bob's parole hearing and went from angry to finding it Actually Pretty Funny.
    • After Snake's hair is shot in "Hell Toupee":
      Wiggum: Now that's what I call a bad hair day.
      Marge: May I remind you that two people are dead and... oh, wait, I just got it. [joins in with "Everybody Laughs" Ending]
    • There's also the time in "Stark Raving Dad" when Homer wears a pink shirt to work. His coworkers mockingly offer him a donut with pink icing, which he thanks them for before realizing the joke.
  • One The Smurfs (1981) episode revolves Jokey finding the ultimate joke. Anyone who hears it will laugh uncontrollably and never be able to stop. Jokey alone is immune because he doesn't get it. After a long, arduous journey to cure the laughing Smurfs, the band returns to the village... only for Jokey to burst out laughing, having finally got the joke.
  • In the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Old Friends, New Planets", Nick Locarno reveals that the abandoned system his Nova Fleet is in is protected by a Trynar Shield. It takes part of the episode and Mariner nearly hitting the barrier for her to realize it’s named that way for the three Bynars in his group.
  • Top Cat is a show about a gang of colorful hoods living in a Damon Runyon-esque world. A lot of kids must only have grasped what was going on here years later.

Oooh I get it, the World War II-era dictator being referred to was Adolf Hitler! Heh heh heh.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wait A Minute


Peter Reads The New Yorker

While trying to relate more to his father-in-law, Peter tries reading The New Yorker in an attempt to become more cultured. It takes him a while to "get" the jokes.

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / LateToThePunchline

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