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Stealth Pun

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Ahhhh...a long rest just can't be Beat.

"Can you spot the pun? It's incredibly, unbelievably subtle."
Wade Schin (on Team Fortress 2's Sniper's mode of transportation, a camper van.)

The writers put in a joke (almost always a pun), but never make or put in a Punch Line or explicit statement, hiding it in the set up of the joke. Some percentage of the audience will "get" the joke, but the rest will know it was there and be going, "What? Why didn't you say it?" There can be several reasons.

  1. It's naughty or otherwise not appropriate for this timeslot, in which case this serves the same purpose as a Last-Second Word Swap.
  2. It's only remotely funny when realized later; using it in-story would grind everything to a halt.
  3. Telling the punch line would keep our lawyers busy for months, so we'll just leave a blank here and let you do the copyright infringement.
  4. The pun is in the middle of a song, poem or other rhythmic verse, where using it fully would break the meter.
  5. The pun is a form of Foreshadowing, and the audience won't get the joke until later. (It's probably also a spoiler.)
  6. The pun doesn't fit the tone of the work, and making the joke explicit would cause Mood Whiplash.
  7. Or simply because they're being clever, or at least trying to.

The form can range a bit from a "fill in the blank" stand-up-style jokes to cases where the plot and setting form a pun that you only realise when you try to summarise the situation later. If you're on the Internet, expect someone to respond with, "I see what you did there".

Also, as this page is about puns that are intentionally obscured in-work, it is one of the few times when it is good form to explain the joke. Use your judgment to avoid far-reaching examples; almost anything can be turned into a pun with enough thought. We want the ones that were likely intended by the creators.

Compare Visual Pun, another form of subtle punning and Subverted Punchline, for when the audience thinks they know what's coming. See Don't Explain the Joke for the complete opposite. Sister Trope of Orphaned Setup.

Examples with subpages:

    open/close all folders 

  • "Charmin" toilet paper commercials featured cartoon bears. Left entirely unsaid is they're all about bears shitting in the woods.
  • Doesn't seem to be on YouTube anymore, but there's a UK advert that features a lonely man fantasizing about a random, if beautiful woman on the same train as him. The advert, fittingly, is for Virgin Trains.
  • An advert airing in the UK has an angry bear in the middle of a cubicle farm, who turns back into a flustered office worker when given a painkiller. Implying, of course, that she's acting like a bear with a sore head.
  • Boost Mobile has a commercial with Danica Patrick racing and going into the pit where her pit crew are a bunch of men dressed in outfits similar to the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders, one even has tan lines for a bikini. So it features drag racing.
  • In the 1980s, noted football/baseball player Bo Jackson appeared in a series of ads under the concept "Bo knows". Inevitably, there would be a sport he didn't know, often leading to the response "Bo don't know diddley!" The stealth was later removed and lampshaded when several ads featured the noted guitarist.
    • In fact, he was trying and failing to play a guitar when the famed performer himself said, "Bo, you don't know Diddley."
      • And featured an extra layer of lampshading in a followup commercial that aired six months later. The commercial was otherwise identical except that Bo demonstrated that he could play the guitar quite well, prompting the famed performer to acknowledge "Bo, I guess you do know Diddley."
    • In another commercial of the same type, Sonny Bono showed up, saying "I thought it was another 'Bo Knows' commercial."
  • There's an advertisement for Sharp Quattron Pixel Technology, which features George Takei promoting the four-color TV in question. It would seem that Takei is only in the commercial for his hammitude, but some careful thought reveals a dastardly hidden pun. Watch:
    • George Takei is very, very gay.
    • He is also very, very Asian.
    • The new Quattron technology adds yellow to the standard RGB array of colors in a TV's pixels.
    • So, what is George Takei describing? He's describing adding YELLOW to the RAINBOW. Now, the reason why the pun in question needed to be made seems to lie in Takei's fondness for all kinds of stupid puns, as evidenced by his facebook wall. It might be hard to understand for many a good folks, but it's a sneaky one regardless.
  • This commercial begins with a driver placing a CD in a car stereo. A familiar song plays. The driver turns up the volume and rocks out, while the passenger is clearly uncomfortable. As they drive along, other drivers sound their horns, give the thumbs up and whatnot. Finally, the vehicle is shown and before they reach the chorus, they cut away. The song is Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" and the car is a hearse leading a funeral procession.
  • A UK advert for children's shoes showed kids the size of tower blocks running around a city. And the music? "Birdhouse In Your Soul". Because they might be...
  • The font used to write the original Cooper Tire logo is actually called Cooper Black. They redesigned the logo in a way so its name is written in a different font all because of this.
    • Similarly, the font used to write the word "Optima" on a Slim Fast Optima bottle is actually called Optima.
    • And the older logo for the University Inn in Seattle, WA was originally written using University Roman.
  • This Orangina commercial ends with a man who shows interest in an anthropomorphic cougar who's just finished shaving. Looks like he likes a shaved pussy.
  • A TBS ad featured Conan O'Brien walking onto the ad set in a suit made entirely of small screens before arguing with the director of the commercial regarding the tagline "any device on Conan", followed by a note that the viewer can watch Conan and other TBS shows wherever and whenever they want. Presumably, the director misread a memo regarding the ability to watch Conan on any device.
  • This Falcon Beer commercial is about Fishermen arguing on whose beard is the thickest. The person with the thinnest beard has the thinnest accent, while the person with the Thickest beard has the thickest accent.
  • An advertisement for the UFC's Ultimate Ultimate 1995 event, which took place near Christmas, featured a clip of Keith Hackney repeatedly punching Joe Son in the crotch set to music from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
  • During the 2010 Winter Olympics, a VISA ad played on TV showing various people carrying the torch through several biomes while music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly played in the background. The song? "The Ecstasy of Gold", of course!
  • Why does Little Caesar say "Pizza! Pizza!"? Because he et two. To be precise, the real answer is because Little Caesar used to have a deal about buying 2 pizzas.
  • In GEICO's "Pig In a Blanket" Ad, the blanket being worn is an actual tartan. Cunningham, to be precise.
  • An ad for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups uses Anna Kendrick's version of "When I'm Gone". The main conceit of the ad is that they package their candies in twos because you'll want another after you finish the first one, so the Repurposed Pop Song choice makes sense on that level... But also, that particular arrangement of the song has the Non-Appearing Title "Cups".
  • One commercial for Halos, a brand of Mandarin orange, has a girl encounter a witch in the forest who offers her an apple. (Think Snow White.) After realizing the apple is poisoned, the girl has the witch arrested and continues eating the orange. So basically, the commercial compares apples to oranges.
  • Nicktoons UK has a block called Loud Horrid Sponge. To fit in with the title, the block is hosted by a puppet of a sponge who is loud and acts horrid.
  • The Texas Department of Health once ran a series of ads where a Totally Radical cartoon duck demonstrates how Tobacco is Foul. Fowl, get it?

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Accel World, Haruyuki's normal neural linker avatar is a pig. Silver Crow's main power is flight. Therefore, pigs are flying.
  • Osaka of Azumanga Daioh is somehow unable to so much as float when in the water in an episode taking place at the pool. She's dense. In spite of this, she can somehow keep just far enough above the water to speak with Tomo and Nyamo during the same scene. Maybe she's airheaded.
  • Shinobu, a major character in the light novel and anime series Bakemonogatari has a stealth pun in the kanji for her name. Before the start of the series, her original name is Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. Early in the series she is given the name Shinobu by another character. The kanji for Shinobu is written as 忍, making her new name still literally heart (心) under blade (刀).
  • In Black Butler, demonic butler Sebastian Michaelis' catchphrase is "I'm just one hell of a butler." This has the bonus of working perfectly in Japanese as well; since the Japanese language can differ in meaning based on subtle inflection, Sebastian's catchphrase is either "I am a devil and a butler" or the more subtle "I am a devilishly good butler."
  • Chobits features one that can be appreciated in both sub and dub. Hideki is searching desperately for the on switch for the female robot he's discovered, and eventually says there's only one place left he hasn't checked. Cut outside to a mewing cat. Sure enough, it's in her pussy.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku was Private 404 in the army. Given his status for most of the series, it fits.
    • Here's a much subtler one. Lelouch's Geass allows him to command anyone to do anything, but it only works once per person, and it can't be undone, which means that they'll still be doing that command until they die, or get un-Geassed by someone with an ability to do so. Lelouch Geassed Suzaku commanding him to "Live." Given the nature of his Geass, Suzaku's gonna Live until he dies.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Spike goes out with a bang.
  • In Darker than Black, April has the power to create real hurricanes that make it rain. No one refers to "April Showers" though.
  • In DARLING in the FRANXX, the pilots' "names" are all Goroawase Number readings of their numerical designations. The exception is Horned Humanoid Code:002, who simply goes by Zero Two. Applying the naming convention to her, however, gives the highly appropriate moniker Oni.
  • Death Parade's OP has a visual Stealth Pun. There's a brief scene of Nona playing a DanceDanceRevolution-style arcade game, but if you look closer, you can see that the game is built out of a Japanese funeral shrine. Thus, Nona is literally dancing on someone's grave.
  • The English title of Delicious in Dungeon abbreviates to D&D, e.g. Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Dream Eater Merry: Merry trademark favorite food are doughnuts/donuts. In Brazil (and perhaps other Portuguese speaking countries) the same treat is known as "Sonho". The most general translation for the word "Sonho" is "Dream".
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Possibly unintentional, but Edward Elric's attempts at human transmutation literally cost him An Arm and a Leg.
    • Greed claims both that he wants everything in the world and that he never lies. Thus he always keeps his word.
  • At the end of the first episode of Gankutsuou, Albert is making out with Peppo, the local "Bridget" (although he doesn't know that yet), when she stops him, points a gun at him, and helps kidnappers take him hostage (thus, she had a pistol in her pocket, but might have been happy to see him as well). Also, it really was a trap.
  • Girls und Panzer:
    • One from OVA 2: While discussing military rations, the topic of Spam comes up. Eventually the freshman girls are reduced to continuously saying the name over and over. Thanks to the censorship of the product name, this gets very annoying. They're spamming the word 'Spam'.
    • While their role was vital in the championship, Anteater Team didn't last long enough to shoot anything. However, in the talent competition, they sang a song, each girl offset by one phrase. Seems they finally got a round off.
  • Gundam:
    • A particularly painful one is the Mobile Suit Gundam MSV model MS-07H-4 Gouf Flight Test Type, a prototype Zeon mobile suit adorned with their iconic mono-eye camera and forehead-mounted communications antenna, and painted in outrageous magenta demo-colors. An early, unsuccessful attempt at creating a flight-capable Humongous Mecha, it was scrapped for its unfortunate tendency to kill its test pilots. Long story short, it's a one eyed, one horned, flying purple people-eater.
    • In another, more obscure example, one of the various artbooks features a scene with Haman Karn eating a piece of cake with a candy on top shaped like one of her Humongous Mecha Quebeley's funnels.
    • Then there's the Gundam ZZ, which is composed of two (or three, depending on how you count) fighters. One forms the legs, the other goes on top.
  • Hidamari Sketch: When the residents of the Hidamari Apartments go to a sentō following the cultural festival, they relate things that they did and experienced. For example, during a Cinderella play they put on, Miyako did the voice of a horse; while in the baths, Hiro asks her to replicate it. Miyako refuses, not wanting to sell herself cheap, but an unspoken reason is that horseplay is against bathhouse etiquette. (Probably not intended...)
  • The fourth arc of Humanity Has Declined involves bananas that cause time slips.
  • Izetta of Izetta: The Last Witch foregoes the traditional witch's Flying Broomstick for a massive anti-materiel rifle. A flying boomstick, perhaps?
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • While Stardust Crusaders hadn't yet settled on giving every Stand Musical Theme Naming, DIO's The World still has a nod to what is probably Ronnie James Dio's most iconic song. Specifically, it has what appear to be a set of small scuba tanks on its back, not to mention having a color scheme typically associated with holiness.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable:
      • The villain, Kira Yoshikage, has abilities named after Queen songs. Originally, he has his Stand, Killer Queen, and a secondary bomb, Sheer Heart Attack. He later gains a third ability, which he names "Bites the Dust". In other words, he had two abilities, then he got another one, Bites the Dust.
      • On top of that, "Bites the Dust" causes what can easily be described as a sadistic "Groundhog Day" Loop: violently murdering people who set it off, then turning back time to before it was triggered. It's a time bomb.
      • Kishibe Rohan's Stand, Heaven's Door, allows him to turn people into books and read their memories. This means that he can literally read you like an open book.
      • Keicho Nijimura's Stand, Bad Company, is renamed to "Worse Company" in the anime's official English subtitles. His Stand's name changed From Bad to Worse.
    • In The JOJOLands, Jodio's Stand, November Rain, causes rain to fall. His goal in life to get rich. Thus, he wants to "make it rain" metaphorically, while his Stand does that lierally.
  • The Geneon dub of Lupin III: Part II once had Jigen describe a house-fly that turned out to be a listening device as "a flying pun".
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Nanoha is pursuing Jewel Seeds. One such Jewel Seed had possessed a tree that was near a couple's confession of love, and it responded by turning into a massive murdering monster, trapping them inside itself and trying to consume everything. The pun comes when you realise that they pined for each other. (This pun actually works in Japanese, too.)
  • In the first episode of Medaka Box, Hyuga knocks Zenkichi unconscious and calls him "Ahoge." (Idiot.) The scene abruptly cuts to Shiranui. Just look at her hair!
  • Metal Fight Beyblade Zero-G has two characters, Shinobu Hiryuin and Eight Unabara, whose Beyblades — Shinobi Saramanda and Pirates Orojya, respectively — can be Synchromed (as in combined) with the Beyblades of the two main characters (Zyro Kurogane and Kite Unabara), making the two indirect rivals of sorts. As for the Beyblades themselves... Pirates vs Ninjas?
  • Occasional shots in the anime reveal that Kobayashi from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid codes in Python, a programming language that shares its name with a dragon from Greek Mythology.
  • Monster Musume: why is Mero dressed like that? Because she's a mermaid.
  • My Hero Academia has a scene where Present Mic punches someone in the face just to make sure they aren't a doppleganger, and loudly states he's doing it to "check for authenticity." The obvious joke that it's a mic check goes unspoken.
  • Naruto:
    • A flashback has someone hearing what Sasuke's name is, and commenting that's also the name of the Third Hokage's father. The Third Hokage's real name is Hiruzen Sarutobi, thus making his father...
    • During one of the filler episodes, Naruto has to sit at a funeral and not laugh the entire time, or else the person they're doing the mission for will not get the inheritance. So naturally everyone is trying to make him laugh the entire time. One of the gags involved a guy having a flower coming out of his nose. In Japanese, the word 'hana' can mean either "nose" or "flower".
    • "Kakashi" means "scarecrow," and the ninja with that name is one of the best in the world. In other words, he's outstanding in his field. note 
  • The title of Neko Kissa is either a Bilingual Stealth Pun or a Accidental Pun. In Japanese, "Neko" = "Cat" and "Kissa" = "Cafe". So, "Cat Cafe". The title could also be translated as being the word "cat" in two different languages - Japanese and Finnish: Neko (Japanese), Kissa (Finnish).
  • In New Getter Robo, there's a pun in the first episode. When Ryouma is told by Professor Saotome that he is to be one of the pilots of the Getter Robo, Ryoma replies "Getter?" With the scene being shot at floor level, focusing on Saotome's "geta".
  • One Piece:
    • The main character is named Monkey D. Luffy, and his first appearance in the anime was breaking out of a small barrel. Perhaps the implication is that the show will be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
    • Mr. 1's Devil Fruit is called the Supa-Supa Fruit, it gives him super powers and his secret dream is to be a super hero. The obvious one is "super" a play on "Supa", his Devil Fruit name. The second not quite pun is he is literally a Man of Steel. A "Supaman" if you will..
    • Sanji uses a move called the "Parage Shot" to change people's looks by kicking them in the face. In other words, he can literally "rearrange your face".
    • Bepo is a human sentient bear who goes from a vicious kung fu brawler to an apologetic depressive the next. In short, he's a bipolar bear.
    • Arlong is a great white shark Fishman who used an impossible loan to enslave Nami. Truly a loan shark for the ages.
    • Treból is fat, ugly, unkempt, has No Social Skills, and is frequently condescending. He is also assigned to guard Dressrosa's underground areas at all times. Hence, he is a Basement-Dweller in both the social and the literal sense.
    • In the Thriller Bark arc, Luffy chases Gekko Moriah through a forest. A while later, Moriah (who has the power to manipulate shadows) reveals that he was standing at the edge of the forest all along — Luffy was literally chasing shadows. Also, in an earlier encounter, he managed a single hit by kicking through a floor and connecting with Moria's kiester. Meaning Luffy had literally kicked his ass.
    • Impel Down is a prison with a Hell-based theme, from the Satan-like appearance of its warden to the different layers with punishment not unlike those from Dante's Inferno. In an attempt to rescue Ace, Luffy broke into the prison and then broke out of it. Luffy went to Hell and back to try to save Ace.
    • Ace formed the Spade Pirates. Would that make him The Ace of Spades?
    • Boa Hancock considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world has the ability to turn any man who lusts after her to stone. She literally makes them rock hard.
    • The cover of Chapter 766 is a tribute to Naruto, which ended in the same issue the chapter ran in. The three One Piece characters featured are Nami, Luffy (pronounced Rufi in Japanese), and Tony Tony Chopper.
    • Wano Country is one of the more colorful arcs. This is also the arc where Kanjuro is revealed to be a traitor, hiding the extent of his abilities and artistic talent. One could say that Kanjuro showed their true colors.
  • One-Punch Man has the protagonist Saitama drawn in a very distinct style compared to all the other characters — not many details, few edges and lots of rounded lines compared to the rest of the cast, and of course, bald as a billiard ball. He's also known for being clueless, tactless, and a bit dense. He's simple, blunt, and not the sharpest one in the room.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl episode that introduced Barry is titled "Barry's Busting Out All Over!" Even if you get the reference, it sounds inexplicable, unless you are aware that Barry's Japanese name is Jun.
    • Pokémon: Jirachi: Wish Maker: One of the characters in the movie is Butler. He's a villain. In other words? The Butler Did It.
    • Charles Goodshow is the president of the Pokémon League and appears in the episodes pertaining to the larger tournaments. He is a short elderly man with a large beard, bright-colored shorts and a backwards cap, giving the visible impression that he is still a child at heart. Goodshow, old boy?
      • Alternately, Jolly Goodshow.
    • In the Johto arc; Ash's Chikorita had a major crush on Ash and would often tackle him. As a Bayleaf she would takle Ash and crush him.
    • In the episode "The Wayward Wobbuffet," Wobbuffet and Wynaut get into an argument of an unknown topic. The joke? Wobbuffet's japanese name translates to "That's the way it is," while that of Wynaut translates to, "Really?"
    • In Pokémon Adventures, White has a Sandile actor trained to cry for any sad scene. Crocodile Tears.
    • A baseball-themed episode of Sun and Moon has a Scyther as the umpire. Scyther's Japanese name is Strike, making it perfect for calling any missed swings.
  • Porco Rosso is about when pigs fly.
  • RahXephon:
  • There is an anime in Seiyu's Life! about a cowboy named Macaroni. It's probably worth pointing out that the Japanese term for Spaghetti Western is Macaroni Western.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, after a long arc leading to the rescue of Ban from Baste Prison, the head of the Weird Fang Holy Knights erects a magic force field that is said to be completely indestructible with the intent to trap the heroes (who went in to retrieve Ban) in there forever. Then Ban and Meliodas meet up and act like a couple of frat boys only with super powers and bring the whole prison down, force field and all. To Wit; the barrier was broken with The Power of Friendship.
  • Shaman King:
    • Lyserg Diethyl, one of Yoh's allies who eventually joins the X-Laws. People from the 60's or familiar with the Hippies may be able to pick it up, but it's a reference to Lysergic Acid Diethylamide...aka LSD, the infamous hallucinogen that supposedly let you talk with spirits. Spirits are the whole premise of the series.
    • Then there's his spirit partner Morphine, if you want to get really blatant. And a shaman named Peyote.
  • Soul Eater:
    • The Thompson sisters. They turn into pistols, thus making them Tommy guns. They're also supposed to be twins but are not identical, much like the Thompson Twins who are not actual twins. This one ties into the various musical references of the title.
    • Soul describes the Little Red Demon that lives in his head as dancing a weird dance out of time with the background music. In other words, he's dancing to his own tune. This is likely meant to convey the message that while the rest of the scenery is part of his inner psyche (including the dime-store jazz music in the background), the Demon (representing his contamination with Black Blood) is not.
    • The finale of the manga involves the moon being covered by Crona's Mad Blood. So, in other words, they made a blood moon.
  • Somewhat obvious, but in Space☆Dandy, Gentle is a Cloudian who keeps his memories and thoughts in a mist that surrounds him — he is, in other words, a living cloud data storage system. Towards the end of the episode, his ship, surrounded by his cloud, is destroyed in a collision — a system crash — and loses his data, forcing him to go through lengthy data recovery.
  • The Tatami Galaxy represents the protagonist's libido via a cowboy with a phallic-looking nose called "Johnny". The intent becomes clearer when you realize that he looks a whole lot like Woody from Toy Story.
  • Tiger & Bunny:
  • In Toriko, whenever the Nightmare Heracles, a horse with godlike powers, gives birth, solid rainbow bridges appear that allow her offspring to run over to other continents. In other words, we have ponies doing literal rainbow dashes.
  • The soundtrack albums for the Witch Craft Works anime all have covers spoofing the cover art of various albums by the techno group Kraftwerk making them witch Kraftwerks.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the Virtual World arc, Noah, the arc villain chooses Shinato's Ark for his Deckmaster. It is never mentioned that this would make it Noah's Ark. As another layer, fans tend to refer to this whole arc as Noah's Arc.
    • Used in part 3 of "Dungeon Dice Monsters":
    Duke: Now, here's a monster that your knight will definitely want to steer clear of: Battle Ox.

    Comic Books 
  • Usually, the first word out of an infant's mouth is "Mama" or "Dada/Papa". In Archie Comics, what is the first word uttered by scientific genius Dilton? Pythagoras, the father of geometry.
    • Moose, a Literal-Minded individual, provides lots of these. In one story, he was selected as an election candidate. When he appears at the pre-meeting, Mr. Weatherbee asks Moose why he was wearing a track outfit, Moose replies that it's because people are telling him that he should "run for office". In another, Dilton's advice to Moose is that he should put his money in the bank to make it grow. Moose decides to grow the money himself, and instead goes home, puts the money in a flowerpot and begins to water it. note 
  • Swedish children's comic Bamse has an anthropomorphic wolf named Virginia. Note that to make the originally intended pun work, you need to speak Swedish.note 
    In English, you get a Lucky Translation instead in the form of a shout out to Virginia Woolf
  • At one point, the various Clayfaces (who, as the name suggests, are made of living clay) teamed up to take on Batman. Two of them fell in love, married and had a child. What was his name? Cassius.
  • One of Brian K. Vaughan's earlier works was a backup story in a Batman special where, among other things, the Joker breaks into a chemical lab to steal bomb ingredients. While he's there, he decides to amuse himself by re-arranging canisters so the abbreviations on the labels spell out funny things. Boron, argon and fluorine spell BArF, which is "positively tame" compared to what he did with copper (Cu) and niton (Nt). note 
  • Where do you practice your Deathstroke? In the Deadpool, of course.
  • An "inventory issue" of Deadpool had a retroactive tie-in to the famous Demon in a Bottle Iron Man story - the Very Special Episode where Tony deals with his alcohol problem. What kicks off the plot of the former is Deadpool being hired to encourage Stark to keep drinking... by a literal demon. Unusually for Deadpool, the reference isn't pointed out.
  • During one of Adam Warren's Dirty Pair stories, a villain introduces a clone of "good girl" Yuri into the convention the girls are hosting, to shake things up. We first hear about "clone-Yuri's" antics from one of the con-goers (much to real Yuri's distress). Then we cut to Clone Yuri's room and we can clearly see (though the words are never spoken) that she has been literally "screwed, blued, and tattooed".
  • Monsieur Mallah from Doom Patrol is a French soldier gorilla — which is to say, he's a guerilla.
    • In Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol the team's headquarters is a sentient, transvestite street named Danny. Getting the joke requires basic French and a knowledge of British female impersonators of the 1970s. Danny the Street = Danny La Rue.
  • In Earth 2, this world's Lois Lane was killed in the backstory to create drama for Superman. When Tom Taylor took over as writer, he established that the Red Tornado was Lois, Back from the Dead. In Lois/Tornado's first appearance in Taylor's run, she's stepping out of a refrigeration unit: she's no longer Stuffed in the Fridge.
  • J. Jonah Jameson was mutated in Earth X. It wasn't revealed until the end that he had a donkey's head. That's right, he became a jackass.
  • Two issues of James Robinson's Firearm involved the title character entering a virtual world based on Glasgow, mostly as a gift to Glaswegian artist Gary Erskine. In one panel, Erskine drew a figure that resembled Alex from A Clockwork Orange outside an underground station. The local nickname for Glasgow's underground railway is "the clockwork orange".
  • The second issue of the Great Ten series is called The Tao of Archery. It involves Celestial Archer, whose real name is Xu Tao.
  • In Old Lady Harley, Power Girl becomes president of the United States. She's called President Power Girl in the comic. Power Girl's name is often abbreviated as "PG" (Harley calls her President PG at one point). So this would make her... PPG.
  • Gladiator, the Superboy counterpart in Marvel's Captain Ersatz Legion of Super-Heroes comes from the planet Strontia. While his Kryptonite Factor is actually self-doubt, it's probably not a coincidence that Strontianite is a real mineral.
  • In Henchgirl, a mysterious androgynous character saves Mary from being taken to prison in Issue 9, from being attacked by Consuelo in Issue 10, and from the wrath of Amelia in Issue 11. This character is a boyish character wearing a red wig with straight hair on the sides and bangs. A pageboy wig. Mary's sister Paige as a boy.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard:
    • In issue #7, the mischief god gets released from Doctor Doom's trap by Verity (Willis). To put it another way: "Truth set him free."
    • In issue #16, Loki steals the (story of the) Ragnarök (and everyone participating) which they stash away in their inner pocket. Well, we could say that Asgard is truly in Loki's pocket now.
  • In Marvel Apes, the Wrecker's simian counterpart wields a giant wrench instead of a crowbar. A monkey wrench.
  • In Alan Moore's Cthulhu Mythos/porn comic Neonomicon, wherein there's a literary allusion to the works of H. P. Lovecraft on practically every page, drug dealer/avatar of Nyarlathotep/screaming queen Johnny Carcosa shows up dressed up like Edward Elric. This seems like kind of a random thing to reference, until you remember that one of Lovecraft's short stories was titled The Alchemist.
    • Also, the last issue contains the line, in reference to a book of baby names, "A book of new names, not dead ones." This is a pun on the etymology of the Necronomicon (usually translated within the Mythos as "book of dead names") and the title of the series itself.
  • At one point in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), one of the minor characters was given an (unrequited) infatuation with Big Macintosh. Since said character had not yet spoken in the show, and when she did was nothing like that, it can only be assumed that it was solely for the pun. That character? Fleetfoot the Wonderbolt. This would make their Portmanteau Couple Name Fleetfoot Mac.
  • In Preacher, two minor villains list their "services" as Sexual Investigators. Or to put it another way, private dicks.
  • During a Robin (1993) issue during Infinite Crisis, the Teen Titans are in a secret lab looking for a cure for Superboy, after his first beating by Superboy-Prime. Speedy, who is a recovering drug addict, asks for everyone to look out for a "Speedy Fix".
  • Runaways (by the above mentioned Brian K. Vaughn) has Karolina Dean, a human-alien hybrid whose powers somehow foreshadow her being a Lipstick Lesbianas put by her live-action portrayer, "I think that when Karolina starts glowing rainbow colors, that's a way of coming out to her parents".
  • Death from The Sandman (1989) makes a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo during Peter David's run of The Incredible Hulk. She visits Marlo Chandler's wedding and gives her a brush as a wedding present. Marlo had recently died and come back to life. Get it? She had a brush with death.
    • A rare unfunny example that's nonetheless good: An arc in The Sandman spin-off The Dreaming was about the loneliness of Matthew the Raven, titled "The Unkindness of One". (According to Victorian animal-group naming, a flock of ravens is called an unkindness, and he is the only raven in the Dreaming.)
    • Why are Cain and Abel in the Dreaming? Because the Bible says Cain was banished to "the land of Nod".
  • In issue #21 of Gold Key's Scooby-Doo Mystery Comics, "Charmed Strife" had the gang answering a call for assistance from a superstitious millionaire. His butler was named Daws.
  • The waste disposal robot in The Smurfs story "You Don't Smurf Progress" would eat garbage and turn them into bricks that he would expel from his rear hatch. In essence, he was shitting bricks.
  • The Squadron Supreme member Wyatt McDonald is the Golden Archer.
  • Superman: One of the Kryptonian criminals working for General Zod to fight and defeat Superman and Supergirl in The Girl with the X-Ray Mind, The Phantom Zone and other stories, is one who -in addition to being their first cousin once removed-, had the misfortune of being named Kru-el, so he was sadly doomed by his parents to be suited for villainy.
  • In one issue of Top 10, a bunch of stretchy heroes gawk at a teleporting accident as they drive by. Yes – those Rubber Men are rubbernecking.
  • In The Transformers: Lost Light, Rodimus paints himself purple after vowing to kill Getaway for double-crossing the crew and leaving the main cast to die. But when he finally gets to confront Getaway, Getaway chooses to throw himself into a furnace to be melted than let Rodimus kill him. Rodimus responds by jumping into the furnace after him and pull him to safety. In the process, his purple paint burns off, revealing his original red. When saving the traitor, Rodimus showed his true colors.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man updates Peter Parker's status quo; he still works for the Daily Bugle in this version, but he helps manage their Internet site instead of taking pictures. That's right, Spider-Man's a webmaster.
  • Watchmen:
    • Rorschach breaks Nite-Owl's lock to get into his apartment. It gets replaced. Then he does it again. It gets replaced. Then the police break in. The lock holds but the door is destroyed. The pun? The lock company was called Gordian Knot Lock Company.
    • Rorschach's foe in prison is short, and his two henchmen are, respectively, nasty and brutish. All three of them perceive Rorschach's comments ("small world", "fat chance", etc.) as being snide remarks about them.... Hrm... possibly true. Must look into later.

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot sometimes has the characters making references to Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity being on TV — which of course means that the Fox family is watching Fox News.
  • In the splash panel to the March 23, 2008 Garfield strip, Garfield is sleeping on a music staff. The measure he's sleeping on has a rest in it.
  • A 2009 Housebroken strip had DJ Dog mentioning his plans to expand his empire. His plans include a line of handbags called DJ Doggie Bags, a soft drink called DJ Doggie Dew, and a fashion and lifestyle magazine called DJ Doggie...Fashion Magazine. Maya says she can't think of a better name for the last one without them getting cancelled.
  • This Mallard Fillmore strip. The punchline sounds almost like a parody of his usual Strawman Political rants; eventually someone figured out it's a Stealth Pun. (Because NASCAR fans are "race-ists".)
  • In 2020, Jeffrey from Non Sequitur introduces Danae to his younger brother who's "on the spectrum". Danae mentions that he wonders where his brother's mind takes him. We then see this imagination, represented by a toy train, going off to investigate her father's adventure. So, it's a train of thought.
  • In The Wizard of Id, a visitor to the untrustworthy King's castle notices that the King's flag consists of a pair of black X's on a white background. The visitor asks for the name of this emblem. The king moves on to another pun before it is mentioned that the king is represented by Double Crosses.
    • Charlie Chaplin did that joke earlier in The Great Dictator, where Adenoid Hynkel's movement is also referred to as the Sons (and Daughters) of the Double Cross. By the way, a different type of double cross (two horizontal bars) was used in heraldry centuries before the term "to double-cross" was invented (it comes from horse racing).

    Fan Works 
  • In Three Messengers, one of the fortune-tellers is Old Woman Riley — in Japanese, this would be Riley-obaba. The author is a fan of The Who.
  • Most Actor Allusion Fan Art of characters cosplaying as other characters with the same seiyuu for both characters is never said out loud unless someone actually asks. Like all those Shana, Louise, Nagi and Taiga Fan Art.
  • The fanfic Azuvengers gives the Azumanga Daioh girls the powers of different Marvel Comics characters - Sakaki is the Sentry, Yomi is the Hulk, and so forth. Osaka learns magic, gets a flying umbrella, and communicates clairaudibly with a man named Steve. She's Dr. Strange.
  • In the Haruhi Suzumiya/TV Tropes crossover Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Chapter Eleven's name is Yeah, It Went There. It's saying this chapter will get up to eleven.
  • There's a Daria fanfic where it turns out that Tiffany's biological father is one of the actors from Osamu Tezuka's Star System. Specifically, Lampe.
  • Metal Gear fanfic The Joy of Battle: Historical Espionage Action is full of stealth puns, especially in the chapter titles. The second chapter is called "Schadenfreude" which includes the word "joy" (freude in German), also the main character's name. The most bizarre is probably the chapter "Stained Glass" in which there is a moment near the end where a grassy lawn is stained with blood. Stained grass... incredibly lame and probably entirely on purpose.
  • This Pokémon fan comic has a Stealth Pun that doubles as a Shout-Out. The pun in question is the species of the Pokemon, Quagsire... which is based off the word Quagmire, which also happens to be the name of a legendarily perverted character from Family Guy.
  • In the Sherlockian fic The Ghost Map, Colonel Moran has a Side Kick/Dragon named Yorick. In the Sequel Hook at the end of the story, guess who bites the dust? That's right. Alas, poor Yorick!
  • In the Deliver Us from Evil Series, the youngest of the Baker Street Irregulars, Kelly, has green eyes.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series has a character (actually, several) named Klein. Calvin & Klein, anyone?
  • Evangelion: Nobody Dies casts Mana from the first official Evangelion spin off game as a cyborg who has had a lot of her body replaced. This would make her a Girlfriend of Steel.
  • Game Theory has a fight between Linith and Lotte; since both of them are Catgirls, it's a Cat Fight.
  • Hivefled: Orphaner Dualscar is Killed Mid-Sentence, leaving an Orphaned Punchline.
  • Turnabout Storm:
  • Like the show, the author of Equestria: A History Revealed seems to love any kind of pun, ranging from horse related puns, to any kind of pun that can be mustered. If there's a word that can be substituted for a horse pun, you can bet it'll be used. Not even the bibliography is exempt from this. The sources are chockfilled with bad puns too.
    "Ravished by civil wars up the ass (no pun intended, the deciding battle was fought on Donkey Doodle Peak), and saddled with the responsibility of repairing the broken nation, the new griffon government desperately needed supplies and help."
  • Jewel of Darkness: During the Final Battle of the Jump City Arc, Beast Boy turns into a bat just before the Titans' literal Batman Gambit against Midnight.
  • Queen of Shadows: The Kamikiri (Mantis Khan) are the priests of the Shadowkhan. Yes, they're praying mantises.
  • The second chapter title of this Homestuck fanfic is called "The Start of a Series of Lame Jokes". On the surface, it sounds like Self-Deprecation, but it actually has a double meaning; most of the humor is made at the expense of Tavros. In addition to jokes about being lame.
  • In the Homestuck fan adventure Alabaster: The Doomed Session, there are a lot of hidden jokes about various stories, such as "Beros-Keros" for a giant doghouse, in reference to Keros-Beros from Cardcaptor Sakura. However, most of the jokes are Homestuck-focused. The [LE] arc is nothing but a giant pileup of Homestuck stealth puns, down to its title.
  • In the Medaka Box fanfic World as Myth, Hinokage mentions that Maguro thought Unknown Hero deserved analysis. Analysis is also the name of Maguro's own Abnormality.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fic The Black Dossier Vol 2 details the Hundred Acre Wood Artillery Crisis, in which the British government threatens the Civilised Animals of the wood and Animal Farm moves to defend its comrades. This is the Cuban Missile Crisis with London as the US, the Wood as Cuba, and the Farm (of course) as the USSR. The stealth pun is on the Bay of Pigs.
  • In the Dangerverse, a prophecy at the start of the series states that after Voldemort is defeated "Then has the age of hope begun/And peace comes to the man who won". Sounds like it just means that life would be peaceful...except that at the end of the story, babies Nadia and Irina are conceived and their names mean 'hope' and 'peace'.
  • A.A. Pessimal's Discworld continuum is full of them. Blue Öyster Cult LP's, song titles, and band personnel crop up more often than is humanely feasible. The story Hear Them Chatter on the Tide actually introduces a religious sect who venerate shellfish of a cerulean colour, for instance, as well as making liberal use of the song SubHuman. In Fresh Pair Of Eyes, the song Harvester of Eyes becomes part of the Order of Service in the Temple of the Great God Blind Io. Who is intimately associated with eyeballs. (In-Universe, the sung liturgy is attributed to the Reverend Bloom and the Reverend Roeser). It isn't just BOC lyrics. Barely-there canonical character Miss Smith-Rhodes is fleshed out as an Assassin from "Southern Africa" because in our universe, a man called Cecil Rhodes founded a country called Rhodesia; a man called Iain Smith was its last white leader before Robert Mugabe took over. The name "Smith-Rhodes" could only be associated with the general concept of "South Africa". And there are many, many, more.
  • In Chapter 16 of This Bites!, after Luffy plows through a dozen or so buildings to get to a restaurant, sending Smoker and Ace flying in the process:
    Cross: (referring to Luffy) Are you a human, a monster, or some freak force of nature!?
    Soundbite: D: all of the above!
    Cross: ...That makes way too much sense.
    • The MI4 leaders and Cross all have code names based on the western zodiac. Smoker's? Cancer.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: What Came After: Why are three Klefki the ones who rob Ferrothorn Bank? One reason is that they're themed after keys, which open locks, and another is that they're Steel-type.
  • The second book of Child of the Storm has Harry and his friends looking at museum exhibitions showing the Avenger's most infamous enemies. In other words, it's a literal Rogues Gallery.
  • In There's Something About Marinette, Heart Baker is a villain who eats pastries symbolizing the love her victims feel for her, and she cannot get enough to satisfy her. She is literally love hungry. She also plays the seductive role for her victims before attacking, making her a man-eater.
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus: After Specter's original trip on the Infinity Train went horribly, horribly wrong — necessitating a memory wipe for one thing — one of the signs that something is wrong with him is freaking out at his reflection and mirrors. A fear of mirrors is usually called spectrophobia.
  • Infinity Train: Voyage of Wisteria: Warbler is a mouse-like music note denizen who can't speak. So this makes her as quiet as a mouse.
  • Pokémon Crossing: Holly, the main character, is a transgender girl and anthropomorphic chicken. Because when an egg hatches, a chick comes out!

  • There are a number of riddles of the form "What's the difference between a X and a Y?" where only the first half of the punchline is ever given, to avoid speaking profanity. Most of these imply the profanity by way of a Spoonerism. Suffice it to say there are many half-punchlines with the word cunning in them, followed by a word that rhymes with hunt and doesn't start with the letter C.
    • What's the difference between (annoying female celebrity) and the Panama Canal? Well, the Panama Canal is a busy ditch...
    • What's the difference between a smart midget and gonorrhea? A smart midget is a cunning runt ...
    • What's the difference between a tailor and a bad viola player? Well, the tailor tucks up the frills...
    • (Alternately): What’s the difference between a seamstress and soprano? Well, the seamstress frills and tucks...
    • What's the difference between a chiropodist and a bad drummer? Well, the chiropodist bucks up the feet...
    • What's the difference between a clever spoonerism and a fart? One's a shaft of wit...
    • What's the difference between an epileptic corn farmer and a prostitute with diarrhea? One of them shucks between fits...
    • What's the difference between a rooster and a lawyer? One of them clucks defiance...
    • What's the difference between a baby and a high-school choir director? The baby sucks his fingers, and the other...
    • What's the difference between a pickpocket and a peeping tom? The pickpocket snatches watches...
    • What's the difference between Barnum & Bailey's Circus and a line of Playboy bunnies? The circus is a cunning array of stunts...
    • What's the difference between a woman in church and a woman in a bathtub? The woman in church has hope in her soul...
    • What's the difference between a snake and a goose? A snake is an asp in the grass...
    • What's the difference between you and a mallard with a cold? Well, one's a sick duck... I forget the rest Trebek, but your mother's a whore.
    • What's the difference between the manager of Barclays having a fight and Inspector Fowler having a conversation? Well, one's a warring banker...
    • What's the difference between a goldfish and a mountain goat? A goldfish mucks around a fountain...
    • What is the difference between a tv evangelist and a bottle of fix-a-flat? One heals souls...
    • What is the differnce between a Professional Cobbler and a Tv Evangelist? One sews heels...
    • What is the difference between a lousy archer and a constipated owl? One can shoot but not hit...
    • What's the difference between a construction worker and a Playboy model? One has tool kits...
    • What's the difference between a quail farmer and Your Mom? One's a pheasant plucker...
    • Non-profane example: what's the difference between Mike Wazowski and a carrot? One's a bunny feast...
    • What's the difference between a bus driver and a booger? One knows the stops...
    • What's the difference between a shepherd and a student? One minds his stock...
    • What's the difference between an elbow and a rabbit's telephone? One's a bunny phone...
  • One interpretation of the "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke is the chicken committed suicide, thus going to "the other side" as in the afterlife.
  • A new twist on an old joke, and requiring a bit of a fancy vocabulary comprehension: What do you get when you cross a standard thoroughfare with a common galliform? To the other side. For those who need it explained... standard thoroughfare is a road, and a common galliform is a chicken, so when you cross a road with a chicken, you also get to the other side.
  • A somewhat well-known joke concerns a pair of hikers who die while rock-climbing. As their souls ascend to heaven, they see a pair of eagles and exclaim, "Ah, eagles!" The eagles, to be polite, say nothing.
    • "Ah, souls!" (Say it out loud. Works best with a British accent.)
    • Another variation involves a flounder and a sole who bump into each other on the bottom of the ocean. Same punchline.

  • In the song "Necessity" from Finian's Rainbow, the lines quoted below provoke the shouted question "Do you mean he's a —?", which is answered in the affirmative (the implied statement being that Necessity is a bastard):
    Oh, hell is the father of gin,
    And Cupid's the father of love.
    Old Satan's the father of sin,
    But no one knows the father of
    • It also seems to be a stealth pun on the saying "Necessity is the mother of invention."
  • "Girl Anachronism" by The Dresden Dolls: about a girl who blames her constant sickness on having been born too soon by C-section. Including the line "You can tell (...) that I'm not right now at all."
  • During his polka medley "Polka Face", "Weird Al" Yankovic breaks into an accordion solo immediately after the "Break Your Heart" section. The obscure song is actually an instrumental version of the "Tick Tock Polka" originally done by polka-meister Frankie Yankovic (no relation). Appropriately enough, this leads directly into his version of Kesha's "TiK ToK".
    • At one point in "Handy", the repairman narrator refers to his "bag of tricks", a Felix the Cat reference that is reaffirmed by the video. It is not mentioned that this would make him Fix-It Felix.
    • In "One More Minute", along with countless painful things Al would rather do then spend one more minute with girl that left him, he mentions he is stranded all alone at the "Gas Station of Love" and he has to use the "Self Service Pumps", which for those who still don't catch it means he has to masturbate.
  • The cover of R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant is a Visual Pun: It's a collage depicting band member Bill Berry and a pair of bison... as in Buffalo Bill.
  • The textless cover of The Pixies' "Gigantic" single is a photograph of a crying naked baby, while the back cover has a picture of a driving glove laying on the ground. This may seem like a True Art Is Incomprehensible sort of thing, until you realize it's actually a play on a potential mondegreen of the song: "A baby glove" instead of "A big, big love".
  • The real name of 2D, lead singer of Gorillaz, is Stuart Pot, a.k.a. Stu-Pot. He spent some time in a coma. At least one fanfic, but nobody in the canon, has pointed out that this would make him a vegetable Stu.
  • The Black Crowes' third album, Amorica. In case you want the formula: America + amor ("love" in Spanish) = Amorica.
  • "Flowers On The Wall" by The Statler Brothers: "Playin' solitaire 'til dawn with a deck of fifty-one." The narrator's missing one card... he's not playing with a full deck.
  • "Mother Superior jumped the gun..." A nun jumps the gun. Well, it's a stealth rhyme, anyway, a sort of wordplay.
    • Speaking of guns, puns and the Fab Four, there's their album Revolver, which would originally have been played on a turntable, thereby "revolving".
  • The Divine Comedy song, "The Complete Banker", which is about the role of the banks in the current recession. From his point of view, he's a complete banker, but we'd rather call him a complete wanker.
  • The main chord sequence for AC/DC's "High Voltage" is A, C, D, C.
  • There's a Linkin Park song called "Cure for the Itch," which is instrumental and performed solely by Joe Hahn, who plays turntables. He's scratching.
  • Mac McAnally's "Back Where I Come From":
    We learned in the Sunday school
    Who made the sun shine through
    I know who made the moonshine, too
    Back where I come from
  • "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)" by Big & Rich has two. The first is "Charley Pride was the man in black / Rock & roll used to be 'bout Johnny Cash", and the other is "I'm a crazy son of a [bad word] / But I know I'm gonna make it big and rich".
  • The Rush song "Roll the Bones" deals with questions of existence and causation in a funkier style than the band's usual prog-rock fare. In other words, it's existential funk.
  • Dallas Green didn't want to put just his name on the cover of his first acoustic solo album, so what did he name his act? City & Colour.
  • There's a possible unspoken Visual Pun in Boards of Canada's "Dayvan Cowboy" video - at one point it has footage of Laird Hamilton surfing, which makes sense when you think of other meanings of the word "boards".
  • The Fatboy Slim song "Demons" features the line "All of your demons will wither away" in its chorus. The song is built on a sample from "I Can't Write Left-Handed" by Bill Withers.
  • In Jonathan Coulton's acoustic cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back," the "quack" sound effect makes a lot more sense when you think of the line in which it appears like this: "But I gotta be straight when I say I wanna [duck] till the break of dawn."
  • When Curt Smith of Tears for Fears formed a new group after leaving the band in 1991, he named it Mayfield because of "Curt is Mayfield".
  • A bit of an off-color one, at least according to their late drummer Mike Gibbins: Badfinger's second through fourth albums were No Dice, Straight Up and Ass. All references to a woman's private parts.
  • Bo Burnham does this on a regular basis. There are too many instances to count.
  • Once Executive Meddling forced Beatallica to record Abbey Load with the original lyrics by The Beatles instead of their comedic Beatles meet Metallica ones, aside from one who kept the parody chorus ("For Whom Michelle Tolls!"), the rest force listeners to pay attention to the musical backdrop and understand why said Metallica song is there. For instance, "Come Together" is "Through the Never" ("Come Through the Never"), the acoustic instrumental cover of "Blackbird" resembles the opening for "Fade to Black" ("Fade to Blackbird"), others are right in the title ("Sun King" = "King Nothing", "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" = "Dirty Window", "The End" = "The End of the Line") and one is as stealthy as possible ("Golden Slumbers" = "Until It Sleeps").
  • The first line of "Bonnie Jean (Little Sister)" by David Lynn Jones is "Peter built a truck for a man to drive" (punning on the truck manufacturer Peterbilt).
  • The video for Hal Ketchum's "Small Town Saturday Night" features footage from The Terror of Tiny Town, a 1938 Western known for having an entirely dwarf cast (i.e., a "small town").
  • The Orb's first album, The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, had a surtitle for each song based on the medium: the vinyl had "Earth Orbit", "Lunar Orbit", "Ultraworld Probe" and "Ultraworld" instead of sides A, B, C & D, respectively; while the double CD used "Orbit Compact Disc" and "Ultraworld Compact Disc" for disc 1 and 2. When the contract with their US record label forced them to edit the album onto one CD, they called that version the "Lunar Compact Disc", because one would need to be a lunatic to buy an abridged version.
  • The Blow's "Babay (Eat a Critter, Feel Its Wrath)" is a Break-Up Song based around an odd metaphor comparing a failed relationship to being chewed up, digested, and eventually expelled as human waste. In other words, it's a song about "being dumped".
  • The Mechanisms'
    • In Ulysses Dies at Dawn, Ulysses fires a laser at a gemstone and the beam splits along twelve axes. This is an allusion to the scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus shoots an arrow through twelve axes (plural of "axe" rather than of "axis" as here).
    • In High Noon Over Camelot, supplementary fiction reveals that Arthur's weapon is a ten-caliber railgun. Ten can also be rendered as the Roman numeral X, so it's X-Caliber.
    • In The Bifrost Incident, Loki launches a terrorist attack with hijacked missiles. Baldur is killed by "missile 2". In the original myths, Baldur's Achilles' Heel which Loki takes advantage of is mistletoe.
  • Depeche Mode covered "Route 66." Their cover includes a musical interlude. That interlude is the intro to "Behind the Wheel." They spiced up a song about driving with a Shout-Out to their own song about driving.
  • Die Toten Hosen: In the song "Opel Gang". "Wir brechen den Rekord" simply means "we break the record" but the Rekord is also an Opel model.
  • The video for Taylor Swift's "You Need To Calm Down" ends with Katy Perry, dressed as a burger, hugging Swift, whose dressed as a carton of french fries(showing that the two singing stars have ended their long-standing feud). B(Burger) + FF(French Fries) = BFF(Best Friends Forever)
  • Possibly by Hamburger school band Kettcar in their shout-out-heavy "Ich danke der Academy". After the Star Trek reference "Alle Energie auf die Deflektorschilde" they pull through the Phaser. (Or is it a Flanger? The difference between those effects is subtle...)
  • In The Megas song, "I'm Not The Breakman", Protoman/Blues asks "If you're the one, my father's son then what am I supposed to be?" This line is then followed by the riff that plays in Megaman 2 when a new weapon is obtained.
  • A common fanon interpretation of one passage of "Harness Your Hopes" by Pavement is that the band are alluding to words that rhyme (or slant-rhyme) with their name without actually using them:
    Tell me a word that rhymes with pavement
    And I won't take your parents and roast them on a spit
    And a-don't you try to etch it, or permanently sketch it
    Or you're gonna catch a bad, bad cold
    • Roasting one's parents on a spit would be "depravement", etching something would be an "engravement", and "a bad, bad cold" would be an "ailment".
    • The music video to the song has an unspoken Visual Pun: The Clip Show style video inserts actress Sophie Thatcher, portraying an obsessed Pavement fan, into footage of their previous music videos, and this includes having her wear a yellow rain slicker alongside the band in a scene from the "Carrot Rope" video - an actress best known for her role in Yellowjackets wearing a yellow jacket.
  • The Cardiacs song "Dog-Like Sparky" is seemingly about a cult preaching the word of their female canine overlord - or, in other words, a dog ma dogma.
  • Iron Maiden has an insulting version in "El Dorado", with the line "I'm a clever banker's face, with just a letter out of place". Live, Bruce Dickinson would downright spell it out ("I'm a clever wanker's face, just a banker out of place").
  • The cover of Foghat's second Self-Titled Album depicts a stone and a bread roll - "rock and roll".

    Other Media 
  • A neighbourhood in Richmond, BC has a road named Riverdale Dr., then Forsyth Cres. a few hundred meters away. Forsyth is the real name of Jughead, a character in a comic series set in a town called Riverdale.
  • In Bally's Star Trek pinball, there's a small passage loop, hidden behind one of the bumpers, which is labeled "Where No Man Has Gone Before"... because it's practically impossible to intentionally hit it.
  • Stern Pinball's Batman pinball game has a construction crane that swings around the playfield. It is associated with the villain Scarecrow, whose real name is Jonathan Crane.
  • In Cirqus Voltaire, spelling RING increases the bonus multiplier, but only up to 3X — because this is a three-ring circus...
  • In Star Trek (Stern), the Warp ramp leads to a Ramp Jump across the table ...making it a literal Warp Jump.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Stern) combines this with a Shout-Out: the episode "Welcome to the Concrete Jungle" is the one that centers on a villain named Slash.
  • One issue of Private Eye, covering the scandal after Jacqui Smith's husband used her expense account to buy adult films, ran with the joke "At least he's not a banker!", the unspoken pun being that he is however (literally) a wanker.
    • Private Eye also often refer to themselves as an "organ". On the obvious level, it's a pun on the fact that the eye is an organ, the Stealth Pun comes in with the fact that this then makes them a "Private Organ".
    • Stealth Running Gag — A Private Eye caption competition photo showed Chris Woodhead (former Chief School Inspector, who had a relationship with an ex-student) and a teenage girl looking at a large book. The winning caption was "Look, there it is, next to Kenya." - the suggestion being that they really were "discussing Uganda," a long-time running gag for an excuse they took as an Unusual Euphemism.
  • From The Very World of Milton Jones:
    ...and when we were naughty at school, we used to be sent to this man with no arms and no legs and no body. He was the Head. And if he wasn't in, we used to be sent to this other man with no arms and no legs and no body and a cowboy hat. He was Mr Roberts.
    • The correct punchline is, of course, "the deputy head".
  • At Disney California Adventure, Cars Land is themed after Radiator Springs. Flo's Diner, the restaurant within, serves an uncommonly-encountered pasta. Those in the know will recognize this pasta as radiatore.
  • The University of Connecticut has, as its sports mascot, the Huskies. Huskies are a breed of sled dogs normally found in the Yukon. University of Connecticut = U. Conn.
  • The local highschool for Papillion, Nebraska, has "The Monarchs" for its mascot. Given that the town's name comes from the French word papillon, or butterfly...
  • The mascot of Arkansas School for the Deaf: Leopards.
  • Allegheny College's sports teams are called the Gators. The word "Allegheny" is often abbreviated as "Alle." Thus making the team the "Alle. Gators."
    • San Francisco State University, also the Gators. What possible connection could alligators have with San Francisco? Well, the school colors are purple and gold...Golden Gators=Golden Gaters.
  • One animated music video for the West Coast Eagles theme song has the Eagles' mascot giving the Fremantle Dockers' mascot (the Eagles' cross-town rivals) a wedgie. Aside from the act of pulling someone's underwear up from behind, "wedgie" is also Australian slang for a Wedge-Tailed Eagle, Australia's largest and best-known species of eagle.
  • Washington DC's Horace Mann Elementary School has a centaur as its mascot. "Horace Mann" being pronounced similarly to "horse-man."
  • Boston University's colors are scarlet and white. Their mascot, a terrier, is named Rhett. Because he loves Scarlett.
  • Less subtle than the others, but Catholic University of America uses "Cardinals" as a mascot. Cardinal as in the bird, but cardinal as in the highest level of Catholic clergy has always been the obvious secondary connotation. Not only that, but the nickname literally makes CUA a "college of Cardinals".
  • Spanner in the Works: Aside from being a wrench, "spanner" is also British slang for a stupid person.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: A "mess" is a shared eating space.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Between the Lions:
    • The title has the obvious pun of reading "between the lines", but there's a stealth pun involving the lion statues at the entrance to the library where it's set: to enter it, you go "between the lions".
    • During the song "Ten Little Words," which focuses on ten of the most common words in the English language, there is a line about how the words were "partying on." The obvious meaning is that the partying continued; the subtle meaning is mentioned in the next line: "They danced on the table, they danced on the lawn!"
    • The segment "Fun With Chicken Jane" is a pun based on Fun With Dick and Jane. The segment is basically a parody of the books, but with two children being accompanied by a clumsy chicken who's always getting hurt saving them from danger.
  • On Eureeka's Castle the character Batley wore big glasses and crashed while he landed from flying. Playing on the phrase "blind as a bat"
  • A Stealth Pun is used to continue the "Hare Krishna" Running Gag in The Muppet Movie. Kermit and Fozzie fall asleep in their car just outside a little church (where the Electric Mayhem happen to be holed up). Just before their very loud musical entrance, there is a wide-angle shot of the church. In the foreground is a sign that reads, "Lost? Have you tried Rev. Harry Krishna?"
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol. In order to get both Statler and Waldorf into the movie, they had to invent a brother for Jacob Marley. They called him Robert. Think about that for a second. Get up, stand up... One person on the IMDB message board wondered if that was a coincidence or if it was done on purpose.
  • One episode of The Muppet Show opened with the Bug Band, a group of four insects, singing "She Loves You". Backstage after the song, Kermit says that the group needs a name and instead of the obvious suggestion they come up with The Who and The Grateful Dead.
    • In the "Bear on Patrol" segments, Patrolman Fozzie Bear's superior officer is Link Hogthrob, a "pig". Think about that for a second.
    • In an "At the Dance" segment, a pig Miss Piggy is dancing with reveals that he's a garbageman. Thinking that to be fantastic, she asks if he delivers, and he says that he does. Funny, I thought most garbagemen specialized in takeaway...
  • In the late 90's, The Polka Dot Door got a spin-off series called Polka Dot Shorts. While the title was a reflection of how it was shorter than the regular Polka Dot Door series, there would be a Once an Episode gag where a character would find a pair of polka dot shorts for no reason.
  • Lampshaded somewhat in a vintage Sesame Street short where Kermit the Frog reports live from the court of Old King Cole, just as he's about to call for his pipe, his bowl, and his fiddlers three.
    Old King Cole: Bring me my royal pipe, and step on it!
    Kermit: At this point you probably think we're going to make a dumb joke. But we're not.
  • In a Cold Open of The Muppets Mayhem, the Electric Mayhem are compelled to headbang to a heavy metal song - only the instrumental portions are heard, but it's recognizable as Metallica's "Master of Puppets".

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Conan O'Brien on Late Night, doing one of the 'cat is to kitten, what dog is to puppy' routines:
    "The New Orleans Hooker (long pause) had sex with several miners."
    "Michael Jackson (an even longer pause, with audience already chuckling) was famous in the 80's! What did you think I was going to say?"
  • In Crazy with a Capital F, Dan Cummins talks about an ant infestation he once had and depicts the ants speaking with British accents when describing the ways he torments them. He does explain what he's getting at, though, since it's a trademark of his to title his jokes after telling them.
    "That joke is called: 'All Ants are British, Because They Colonize.'"
  • Kip Adotta's Wet Dream, a story where virtually every line is an underwater pun, features this towards the start:
    So I pulled into a Shell station; they said I'd blown a seal. I said, "Fix the damn thing and leave my private life out of it. Okay, pal?"

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech features the largely unremarkable J. Edgar tank, and makes no explanation for why it has that name, until you realize that it's not a tracked vehicle but a Hover Tank. J. Edgar Hoovertank.
  • Cards Against Humanity expansions sometimes contain cards that seem irrelevant to the theme of the expansion. For example, there's the white card "Pandora's Vagina" in the Box Expansion, and the white card "Gender Equality" in the Fantasy pack.
  • Probably unintentional, but the bishop in a game of Chess moves diagonally, or to use another word, crosswise.
  • In Demon: The Descent, the titular beings are sentient programs, agents of a nigh-omnipotent hypercomputer, the God-Machine, that have broken free of its control. The game terminology includes a lot of programming terms, and the City of Adventure for the game is Seattle. So perhaps the Unchained are not demons, but daemons.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Tooth beasts are ursine monsters whose damp pink flesh is covered in teeth rather than fur, even in their eye sockets. Or, in other words, they're gummy bears.
    • The spell detect thoughts requires a material component: a copper piece. That is to say, a penny for your thoughts.
    • The solid fog spell requires powdered peas and an animal hoof. You're literally creating pea soup fog.
    • Meanwhile, the spell minor illusion requires you to have a bit of fleece as its material component. Since the most common purpose of the spell is a visual deception, you are pulling the wool over their eyes.
    • Similarly, the material components for fireball are bat guano, brimstone, and charcoal — that is to say, the ingredients of primitive gunpowder. Many of the material components of D&D spells are less magic and more primitive chemistry and physics of the type that would be far advanced for a pseudo-medieval setting. The whole thing is a stealth pun of the Arthur C Clarke concept that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    • Mephits are small, weak humanoid creatures made from one or more elemental types. Steam mephits are known to be especially arrogant and self-importantthey're full of hot air.
    • Copper dragons have a combination of this and Visual Pun, they are described as witty and acerbic, and have an acid based Breath Weapon.
    • The material component for the feeblemind spell is "a handful of clay, crystal, or mineral spheres." So basically marbles, while the spell causes the subject to "lose" theirs.
    • Beholders are supremely xenophobic beings, especially towards each other — each considers themselves the epitome of beholderkind, and will kill other beholders for looking "wrong," even if the differences are all but impossible for outsiders to see. Their goddess, the Great Mother, is said to embody the perfect beholder form, but when she manifests before lesser beholders, they all perceive her with their own features, scaled up. Or in other words, true beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
  • In Exalted, the Yozi Hegra, the Typhoon of Nightmares, produces hallucinogenic weather...or acid rain.
    • Malfeas, the Demon City, has a charm called Nightmare Fugue Vigilance, which means he doesn't have to sleep. That's right, Malfeas is The City That Never Sleeps.
  • Ironclaw has a few, pertaining to the World of Funny Animals setting, in the slightly less serious Book of Horn and Ivory for Second Edition.
    • The Anatolians, local Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Turkey (they have janissaries, conquered the Egyptian equivalent, etc.), are ruled by otters. Why, when they're usually seen as a friendly species that doesn't fit Central Asian Turkish culture? Because it's an Otter-man Empire.
    • They're opposed by a knightly order of falcons based on an island and inspired by the Knights Hospitaller. Yes, they're Maltese falcons.
  • Magic: The Gathering's Unhinged joke set features a couple.
    • All creatures with the subtype "donkey" have fractional numbers for their power and toughness. Why? Because they're half-assed. Yes, this was confirmed as intentional.
    • City of Ass comes into play tapped.
    • A spell having the word Charm in its name usually indicates that it's a cheap spell, usually an Instant, that allows you to choose between one of three effects. In the fairytale-themed Throne of Eldraine set, there's a card called Charming Prince, who is a two mana creature that allows you to choose between one of three effects.
  • The calligraphy wyrm of Pathfinder is type of tiny dragon created by sovereign dragons to serve as lorekeepers in their lairs, that can also transform into writing instruments. It's both a book wyrm and a pen dragon.
  • The "Hoth Scout" card from Star Wars LCG is one of the few female Rebel characters so far and her Form Fitting Arctic Survival Gear accentuates an Impossible Hourglass Figure, making her a Hot Scout.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Khorne, the Chaos god of anger, rage, and bloodlust has demonic servants called Flesh Hounds...or, in other words, Khorne dogs. And also "the dogs of war" from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
    • When you're playing the game, all distances are measured in inches. Or, rather, Imperial units.
    • Orks, due to how they reproduce, are known to have left their spores on a world that utterly defeated them, and their descendants will rise—but without the infrastructure or know-wots of their ancestors, meaning they become primitive Feral Orks. In other words, the Imperium can congratulate themselves on having bombed them back to the Stone Age.
    • One of the oddities in the Space Wolf geneseed is that it causes their canines to slowly but steadily grow as they age. The Wolves' seasoned veterans are called Long Fangs, and since they've been around for a few centuries, they have, well, long fangs. Because of their age, you could also say they're long in the tooth.

  • The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged):
    "He [Joshua] slew the people of Midian, known as Midianites, the people of Girgash, known as Girgashites, and the people of Paris, known as the French."
  • Near the end of Children of Eden, Noah is asking his children where they plan to go. Shem says that he plans to go "East ... towards the rising sun" and his wife, Aysha, says that they'll bring along "The tigers, the pandas, the elephants with little ears". Ham plans to go "South ... across the desert which no one has cross, to seek the great land beyond" and his wife, Afrash, plans to take "The lions, the ostriches, the elephants with the big ears". One can guess which two continents they plan to settle...
  • In Legally Blonde, Elle's sorority sisters refer to themselves as a Greek Chorus. Get it?
  • In Mary Poppins, the villainous nanny Miss Andrew is sent by Mary to a place, shown as below the stage, which glows red and smoky. While it's never specified where it is, in theatrical jargon, the area just below the stage is referred to as, yes, Hell.
  • In Of Thee I Sing, in the Senate scene, the Senator from Massachusetts rises to demand a governmental pension for Jenny, Paul Revere's horse. Another Senator points out that Jenny died in 1805, and after an observed minute of silence the matter is declared finished. To put it literally: it's a dead horse.
  • In the English translation of Tartuffe, which is not a direct translation of the French (the lines rhyme in both versions) we get this after Elmire convinces Orgon, her husband and the head of the household, that Tartuffe is evil, so that he will not entrust him with the family's fortunes. She finally convinces him that Tartuffe is corrupt by seducing him while Tartuffe is under a table, and he must believe her. Later, he tries to convince his mother:
    "To be more certain, what more proof would I need?/Should I have waited until he had ewwww...."
    • This changes based on the performance.
  • The main character of Wicked is called “Elphaba”. The author of the original Land of Oz novels was L. Frank Baum.

  • Ejector, a transforming toaster from the Revenge of the Fallen toyline, is a small toaster with a maxed out Courage rating.
  • In the Ninjago LEGO sets, the blue ninja's name is Jay which makes him a Blue Jay, like the bird. It gets even better. His last name is Walker.
  • Similarly, Hero Factory has Julius Nex, who is orange. Orange Julius is a drink brand.
  • The Beyblade sub-line "Stealth Battlers" includes the clock-themed Tempo Hammer Hit. Hammer time.
  • The second year of the Beast Wars toyline introduced the Transmetals, with mechanical beast modes that can be turned into a more-or-less vehicular "transport" mode. Rattrap's third mode had him tuck away his feet and and deploy wheels and exhaust pipes, making him a rat rod.
  • In the original Transformers: Generation 1 franchise, Perceptor is a highly intelligent scientist who turns into a microscope. A secondary alternative mode, however, actually lets him take the form of a tracked vehicle, with his microscope acting as a laser cannon because of its lenses. This, combined with his highly analytical nature, means he is a think tank.

    Real Life 
  • In the famous F.A.O. Schwarz Toy Store, New York City, there are a pair of life-sized stuffed animals over the display case for board games. They don't say, but they are, of course, cheetahs.
  • While certainly not intentional, one of the largest elevator manufacturers in the world is the Schindler group. Schindler's Lift.
  • Cockney Rhyming Slang.
  • When a US military weather station experiences an earthquake, it is required to fill out a SEXX bulletin describing the event and any damage that occurs. Yes, you disseminate the SEXX bulletin when the Earth moves.
  • Mensa groups in the Chicago area host an annual "HalloweeM" gathering, in which extremely smart people dress up to embody the pun of their choice. As these costumes are designed by, and intended for the amusement of, Mensa-caliber intellects, the puns are usually coy enough to qualify for this trope.
  • This shirt design. "The Batmobile lost a wheel (and the Joker got away)".
    • also sells a T-shirt with Lenin, Mao, Castro, and Stalin, all in little party hats and carrying drinks. It's a communist party!
    • And one with a fish in a glass military tank. On description it doesn't really sound that stealthy, but you would not believe the amount of people who see it and say "Why is there a fish in a ta— OH."
    • Many of the shirts from Woot.Com are pun based. Good luck if you get the random pack and then finally get it while in the middle of the street.
  • Actress Jean Harlow was allegedly at dinner with Margot Asquith (wife of Herbert Henry Asquith, the former British Prime Minister), and kept pronouncing Mrs. Asquith's name with the 't' at the end. Eventually Asquith told her "No, Jean, the 'T' is silent, like in 'Harlow'". The word "harlot" means "whore".
  • The University of Tampere, a Finnish university, has three major buildings, which have meaningful names. The main building is named "Päätalo", Finnish for "main building". A castle-like building nearby is named "Linna" (castle). The faculty of sciences, located near a stream is named "Virta" (current). They sound like Incredibly Lame Pun, but they have actually been named of three Tampere cultural icons: writer Kalle Päätalo, writer Väinö Linna and musician Olavi Virta.
  • The musician Blixa Bargeld's name is a pseudonym. Since Blixa is a brand of pen, it's a literal "pen name".
  • The logo for Washington State's Department of Transportation is a green dot with a line drawing of a T-shaped road intersection.
    • In the same vein, Washington DC's Department of Transportation logo is the lowercase letter D followed by a period — as in D-DOT.
  • The African American History Museum in Washington DC has a section dedicated to segregation that includes a train car that people can enter to see how the races were segregated on the car. This of course is on the lowest level of the museum. That's right it's an Underground Railroad.
  • Whenever politicians from different countries meet (think of the G8), many people in their service work behind the stage to prepare things. Said helpers are called "sherpas", because they help to clear the way to a major summit.
  • It required a knowledge of at least three different languages, so this one is amazing. When Charles James Napier, British General, conquered the Sindh area of India (present-day Pakistan) against orders (his orders only gave him a mandate to put down rebellions), Ms Catherine Winkworth submitted a joke to a newspaper that the communication to High Command should have been "Peccavi," which is Latin for "I have sinned." She later became a famous translator.
  • An exercise in the ZX Spectrum manual, in the section on the character set.
    Which of these two is the lesser?
  • The road leading into Cherry Capitol Airport in Traverse City, Michigan is named Fly Don't Drive.
  • The late Pickles Dillhoefer who played for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals
  • The Molotow, left indie scene bar in Hamburg. OK, why shouldn't a left indie scene bar not be named after a famous Soviet politician? Of course, they are named after another thing he gave his name for...
  • Ride-sharing service Lyft uses a pink mustache symbol for its drivers (formerly a big fuzzy one on the grill, later a dashboard decoration).
  • Combined with Bilingual Bonus, Lance Armstrong's cafe Juan Pelota. "One ball" (given he lost a testicle to cancer).
  • The phenomenon of AstroTurf, where the sponsors of a message or organization do a disguised boost for something, is named after a synthetic turf, because the former is trying to make it look like something done by grassroots participants, and the latter is an imitation of actual grass.


Video Example(s):


A Bug in the Wiring

"A View From the Gallery". While Babylon 5's fighter squadrons attack a flight of alien scoutships, a maintenance man works to fix a failure in the secondary targeting system. He finds the bug and fixes it... literally.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / StealthPun

Media sources: