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Trailer Joke Decay

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"Now I am left with this dilemma: Would I have enjoyed the movie more if I knew nothing about it, going in? That's a good question, since the trailer reveals almost every big laugh in the movie, so that when they come along we nod in recognition instead of laughing in surprise."

We all know trailers are intended to promote their production. To do this, they will invariably use notable scenes depending on the type of movie. In the case of a comedy, Funny Moments may be selected. When first shown, they probably elicit the desired reaction: The audience will "laugh out loud", as it were. All fine and good, but this trailer is constantly airing and/or streaming, so you're inevitably going to see it more than once, meaning you're going to be seeing that same amusing scene over and over.

When it comes to finally seeing the movie/TV show and that rib-tickling scene plays out, you notice that the gag isn't doing it for you. In fact, you may find yourself thinking that it's rather lame — this, ladies and gentlemen, is Trailer Joke Decay. Additionally, it may be due to the unfortunate exposure to a Memetic Mutation of the gag, or it can be a case of both Never Trust a Trailer and Trailers Always Spoil, oddly enough. And God have mercy on the movie that is meant to be at least somewhat funny but has no good jokes beyond those shown in the trailer...

Expect that almost every comedy movie will fall victim to this to some extent. It's possible to get around it by using the joke out of context in the trailer so that it's funny on another level when you see it in context, but trailers rarely seem to have that much thought put into them. After time passes and the trailer is no longer widely shown, it's possible that the joke can become funny again to viewers who weren't overly exposed to the previews.

As noted, related to Never Trust a Trailer and Trailers Always Spoil (or possibly a subtrope). See also Discredited Meme.


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    Films — Animation 
  • Ice Age suffers from this.
    • Many of the Scrat-related jokes were already run in the trailers, seriously diminishing their humor value when finally seen on the big screen. It's gotten to the point where the trailers are just entire Scrat segments, because the kids love him so much. The 3D trailer for Dawn of the Dinosaurs managed to effectively say nothing about the movie's plot besides "Scrat's here".
    • The Continental Drift trailers did this with jokes involving Scrat as well as several other characters. In fact, the first glimpses people got of the movie were the first two scenes featuring Scrat edited down to be shorts before other movies.
    • One frequently-aired commercial for The Meltdown showed the clip where Crash is launched through the air, singing "I Believe I Can Fly" very horribly before hitting a tree.
  • This is thankfully averted with Pixar's movies by using extraneous footage not used in the final product. e.g. The Incredibles trailer has a now-too-small belt buckle ricocheting everywhere and taking out the lights - this did not stay in their movie. The Monsters, Inc. trailer involved an unused scene of Mike joking around with Sulley in a kid's room (which is perhaps non-canon because Mike's job does not involve him entering the houses; they also casually touch things in the room without the fear of toxicity shown in the movie). Though there have been exceptions, particularly during the movie's completion:
    • The final trailers for Up and the "squirrel" gag.
    • Almost every commercial for Ratatouille showed either the scene where Remy and Emile get struck by lightning, or the "It sounds like 'rat patootie'" line.
    • Pixar frequently creates footage specifically for its teaser trailers (both Toy Story sequels and Cars 2 are other notable examples), the above mentioned material was never at any time intended to be a part of the films.
    • Brave: Three words: "Feast yer eyes".
    • Inside Out had a ton of jokes that were overplayed in the trailers for the movie:
      • The brainfreeze joke.
      • Fear's "Worst case scenario" joke when Riley is being introduced to the class.
      • The scene of Riley and her family having dinner.
      • Foreign trailers and later commercials for the film overused the scene where Bing Bong misreads "danger" as shortcut.
    • Finding Dory has two jokes that appear in all ads and trailers for the film: the scene where Hank goes into a sink, turns on the handle and hurts one of his tentacles and Bailey shouting "Holy Neptune!". Later commercials for the film gave away a joke that was an important plot point in the film: Hank squirting squid ink in the touch tank in the kids' zone after a kid touches him, causing the other kids to scream and run away. This one gag played a major role in how Dory was able to get back to the Open Ocean Exhibit, and eventually find her family.
    • Toy Story 3: The scene where Ken gets teased for being a girl's toy has been used in a majority of the film's advertising, including two featurettes starring Ken. It isn't even elaborated on in the movie beyond that one scene.
    • Every Toy Story 4 trailer and commercial shows the scene where Forky falls over and loses an eye when Woody attempts to introduce him to the other toys.
    • Commercials and promos for Soul repeat the following jokes:
      • Joe trying to eat pizza as a soul, only for him to poop out the pizza instead of digesting it.
      • 22 doing a cowboy dance, which is not shown in the film.
      • A building falling over some souls, followed by 22 saying you can’t crush a soul in the Great Before, and that’s what life on Earth is for.
      • Joe thinking he’s gone to “H-E-double hockey sticks”, and the young souls repeating “Hell”.
      • In later promos and trailers, the clip of 22 getting excited and saying “So good!” after eating pizza in Joe’s body is repeated a lot.
    • The trailers for Luca keep repeating these jokes:
      • The scene where Luca spits on Alberto in reaction to seeing a fish being cut up for a meal.
      • Luca repeating "What's wrong with you, stupido?" to two elderly women, who proceed to hit Luca and Alberto with an umbrella and a purse.
    • Nearly every trailer and commercial for Turning Red repeated the bathroom "OMG!" scene which in the context of the film plays out exactly the same making it unsurprising and not as funny.
    • Lightyear trailers repeated Sox saying “That was utterly terrifying, and I regret having joined you.”
  • While the scene at the DMV from Zootopia was funny enough already, it can't seem to catch a break in every TV spot or trailer.
  • Disney's Tangled suffered majorly from this problem, as their extensive commercials and "sneak preview" clips/interviews on the internet combined to contain Every. Single. Joke. In. The. Film (without exception). There was not a single gag left for audiences who followed the hype to laugh at.
  • DreamWorks Animation is taking the Pixar approach with Turbo, using scenes not featured in the movie in the TV spots. One scene includes Turbo's shell playing Salt n Pepa's "Push It". In the movie, the songs playing are actually "It's Tricky", "What's New Pussycat?" and "Drop It Like It's Hot".
    • However, this trope is played straight with Whiplash's line "Of COURSE I'm crazy! What made you think I was SANE?!"
  • Every trailer for The Simpsons Movie made absolutely sure to include the scene with "Spider-pig". In every commercial break, the entire joke played over and over and OVER again, until by the time the actual movie came out it was more of an annoying meme than a joke.
    • It’s also subverted in the sense that the trailer only showed Homer singing “Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig, does whatever a Spider-Pig does.” But then does not show the funny punch line; “Can he swing, from a web? No he can’t. He’s a pig.” This was a very pleasant surprise for the audience.
    • A lot of the trailers also included the "Harry Plopper" Brick Joke in the end, so everyone was already expecting it during the movie.
    • Also, the entire scene with Homer using his wrecking ball. You were basically watching a trailer in the middle of the movie that the trailer was advertising.
  • Every trailer for The Secret Life of Pets has the bit with the poodle listening to heavy metal, to the point where the joke has gotten stale.
  • Quite a few Lilo & Stitch trailers featured a scene in which Lilo placed Stitch's claw onto a record player, then opened his mouth, and "Hound Dog" started playing. When Lilo actually tried this in the movie, Stitch played "Suspicious Minds".
  • Despicable Me:
    • The first film clearly had a monstrous advertising budget, with trailers and ads everywhere. And these ads used several of the best jokes in the movie, particularly the memetic "IT'S SO FLUFFY!!"
    • Despicable Me 2 did this with the Minions in nearly every second of the trailers and barely showing Agnes. The overuse of these side characters that add nothing to the plot makes you want to see "It's so fluffy" again. On the other hand, overusing the Minions lets them save the funniest jokes, which involve the other characters, for the movie itself.
  • The commercials for the fourth Shrek movie Shrek Forever After used about every joke and surprise.
  • The trailers for Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil. Alright, we get it, granny farts and Twitchy doesn't wear pants.
  • The Lorax (2012):
    • "That's a woman?!"
    • The little Bar-ba-loot, Pipsqueak, going "Ooooooooooh!".
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted has a scene in which Marty does a little dance done as a clown. Pretty funny the first time. But then, it appeared in every single freaking trailer for the movie, every TV spot, every internet ad! Hell, one ad seemingly portrays Marty as trying to dethrone "I Like to Move It Move It" as the franchise's leitmotif with this new song, by interrupting King Julien and seemingly making him feel uncomfortable.
  • All the trailers for Wreck-It Ralph have the scene where Ralph announces he doesn't want to be the bad guy anymore and the funny reactions that ensue. To be fair, it's an early scene and establishes Ralph's motives.
  • Hercules: "We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we carry on, we go home happy. What do you say? Come on."
  • Belt going "Dun, dun, dun!" in every commercial for The Croods.
  • Frozen: Olaf's "It's like a little baby unicorn..." line when he's trying out the carrot nose Anna supplied him was in almost every trailer. Same went for some of Olaf's other lines.
  • The Book of Life:
    • "There's no one that big, man!"
    • The line "Just A Friend".
  • Big Hero 6 averts this. The trailers have Hiro trying to fit Baymax into full armor, only for all of it to break off as Baymax is too big. Then he becomes fixated on a soccer ball and tries to pick it up but keeps kicking it away. The scene where Hiro gives Baymax his armor in the movie seems to be heading the exact same way... except the armor actually stays on Baymax. It almost creates a new joke with the audience expecting the armor to come flying off, but it doesn't. He also never becomes fixated on a soccer ball, and, in fact, wouldn't as it doesn't fit his character.
  • Home (2015): "My hands are in the air like I just do not care!"
  • Every TV spot for Kung Fu Panda 3 can't get enough of the lines "Dumpling Squad" and "chit-chat".
    • Kung Fu Panda 4: It was impossible to watch a trailer or TV spot that didn't include the Cute Psycho criminal bunnies, specifically them saying their lines "violence makes our tummies tingle!" or chanting "violence!". The scene of them attacking Po was also heavily advertised. Another heavily advertised joke was the scene where Zhen uses an Anti-Sneeze Finger on Po, only for him to fart.
  • Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie used either "Tree! Cabin! Underwear!" or Khalil's dance in "Second Chances" in every single trailer and commercial.
  • Every trailer and commercial for Sing will have at least two of the following jokes:
    • In a lot of the earlier trailers, the line about the sink being clogged was played a lot.
    • "There's only one way to go, and that's UP!"
    • Gunter's rendition of "Bad Romance"
    • Three bunnies singing "Anaconda".
    • Rosita falling down as the crowd gasps.
    • The scene where Rosita dances to "Bambolero".
  • Trolls: The cloud guy's weird handshakes, the Bring My Brown Pants moment and Mr. Dinkles saying "Oh, snap!". There's practically (and quite possibly) no trailer without at least one of the three gags.
    • The sequel's trailers all use the Tiny Diamond rapping scene. Trailers released after the first one always end with a scene in which a smooth jazz Troll puts the characters into a trance.
  • The Peanuts Movie's ads kept on repeating the joke where the fence falls down and the kids yell "He did it!" in reaction, as well as the part where Charlie Brown tries to ring The Little Red-Haired Girl's doorbell.
    • Later trailers repeated two jokes: Snoopy dancing to "Bambolero" and Charlie Brown doing the Chicken Dance.
  • The trailers for The LEGO Batman Movie tend to play the joke where Batman says his Batplane only has one seat because "he only has one butt" over and over.
  • The trailers for South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut kept repeating the scene where Cartman is shocked by a V-Chip when trying to swear and the "Have you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?" joke.
  • Every The Boss Baby commercial seems to have either the scene with Tim hanging onto Boss Baby's toy car and the parents thinking they're finally getting along, the scene where Boss Baby goes undercover as a puppy and gets his butt sniffed by a real puppy, the scene where both are forced into matching sailor outfits, or all in the same ad.
  • All of the ads and trailers for Rio 2 seemed to feature the scene where Claria sings.
  • Many trailers for The Emoji Movie feature a gag involving the high-five emoji Hi-5 vomiting (and then re-ingesting) a piece of candy corn after claiming that he never wanted to eat candy again after a chaotic visit to Candy Crush.
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature trailers really pushed the Mr. Feng "Don't call me cute!" scenes, to the point of one ad making a Sampling music video of the scene.
  • Many trailers for The LEGO Ninjago Movie feature a gag where Lloyd's arm pops off and he asks the others how bad it looks.
    Lord Garmadon: I'd say it's about a...7...point...arm-ripped-off??
  • Sherlock Gnomes’ trailers and commercials repeated the Missing Trailer Scene where Mankini jumps into a mud puddle and farts.
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies's trailers seem to repeat the scene involving Beast Boy mistaking the Balloon Man deflating for farting. And then there's the "Slade is Deadpool!" joke in the later ads and trailers, to the point where the movie's Twitter loves to mention this.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation trailers often played the gag of Dennis and Winnie introducing their puppy Tinkles disguised as "Bob" with "Say hi, Bob!" "Hi, Bob!"
  • There is seemingly not a single trailer for The Addams Family (2019) in existence that doesn't include the scene of Wednesday creating an army of zombie frogs in her science class in some form or fashion.
  • Spies in Disguise: "I can see my butt and your face at the same time!" This is even used in radio ads for this film, which makes no sense since it's mostly a visual gag (referencing Will Smith's character's vision after turning into a pigeon).
  • Trailers for SCOOB! managed the impressive feat of doing this with three separate gags over the course of its release period:
    • The gag where Scooby-Doo mistakes the Falcon Fury for an IKEA store during its initial theatrical trailers...
    • The gag about Dick Dastardly stealing Netflix through his mother's account being listed as one of his many atrocities (with Fred exclaiming "You have to pay for Netflix?!" in response) during the movie's VOD release...
    • And finally, Shaggy and Scooby's wind-blown appearances after a wild ride on the Falcon Fury for the movie's DVD/Blu-Ray release.
  • The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water had a lot of tie-in trailers and TV spots, and you'd see at least two or three of these jokes in each one:
    • The cut to the apocalypse, with Mr. Krabs saying "Welcome to the apocolaypse, Mr. Squidward. I hope you like leather."
    • SpongeBob and the others on land, trying to push a man they confuse for a "beached porpoise" back into the water and getting crushed.
    • Patrick looks at an ice cream cone and says "Where have you been all my life?"
    • SpongeBob and Patrick eat cotton candy and go hyper.
    • SpongeBob looking into the Krusty Krab freezer and screaming, followed by Mr. Krabs doing the same.
    • SpongeBob, in superhero form as Invincibubble, captures Burger Beard's cannonballs in bubbles.
  • Many of the trailers for The Grinch repeated the following gags:
    • The Grinch eating a jar of pickles and spitting one pickle back into the jar.
    • The Grinch saying "This is the loudest snow I've ever heard!"
  • The trailers for PAW Patrol: The Movie keep repeating three gags:
    • A man's reaction to seeing Chase talk to him.
    • Rubble's reaction to the pup treat dispenser.
    • Skye saying "Deploy wedgie drone!".
  • Promotional material for The Loud House Movie keeps repeating the gag of Lana and Lola mistaking Lincoln's "duking" for going to the bathroom.
  • The Ron's Gone Wrong trailers and commercials repeat the gag where Ron throws a butcher’s knife at the wall, after which Donka suggests to Barney to turn Ron on and off, as well as the scene where Ron floats down a river while laughing.
  • Encanto ads and trailers repeat the scene where Antonio says that the rats told him everything while instructing a leopard not to eat the rats, as well as “The donkeys got out again!” and Mirabel falling down into sand and removing it from her glasses.
  • Ads for The Mitchells vs. the Machines repeated the eye contact scene and the Furby scene.
  • Trailers for Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank repeat several of these gags:
    • Parts of the fight between Sumo and Hank, particularly when Hank gets stuck in Sumo’s butt.
    • Hank asking if what he’s doing is part of a training montage.
    • “Don’t forget to land on your…feet!”
    • “What the mother father Cocker Spaniel is going on here?”
    • The scene where several cats in the evil army fart, causing a huge explosion.
    • “I have something to tell you…I am your father!” “What?” “Nah, I’m not!”
  • Tiny the T-Rex saying "I have a big head...and little arms." and Dr. Krunkelhorn using caffeine patches in all the commercials for Meet the Robinsons.
  • The Wild Thornberrys Movie:
    • Darwin asking a horse where the bathroom is, and he replies "You're standing on it!" and Darwin freaks out.
    • Donnie doing the Wedgie Dance. There was even an entire TV spot of the movie that consisted of JUST that scene.
  • Wish (2023) repeated these two jokes in many of the trailers and ads:
    • The scene in which Valentino gets affected by Star's magic and reacts to how he can now talk.
    • Valentino conducting a musical number involving chickens.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Every Argylle trailer since the first teaser shows the slow-mo shot of Alfie the cat falling off the side of a building while Elly lets out a Big "NO!".
  • Pretty much every trailer and commercial for The Love Guru had the scene where Pitka pretends Verne Troyer is an Oscar statue. It was a little funny the first four times but by the fifth time, it got old!
  • The trailer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding highlighted the scene where Nia Vardalos' character slams onto the ground due to her still holding onto the phone. Come screening time, not so funny.
  • Lex Luthor yelling that Lois Lane's "WRONG!!!!!" in Superman Returns. Not only was it overexposed in the trailer, it was already an Internet meme weeks before the damn movie even premiered.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The "Housekeeping!" gag featured in nearly every TV spot for Prisoner of Azkaban.
    • Every ad ever for Half-Blood Prince included this humorous exchange:
      Hermione: Hey, she's only interested in you because she thinks you're the Chosen One!
      Harry: But I am the Chosen One!
      [Dope Slap]
  • In Batman Forever, Batman's "I'll get drive-thru," snark at the beginning of the film would be pretty funny if not for the fact that every trailer AND McDonald's tie-in commercial made use of the line, making it simply eye-rolling (and an obvious attempt at Product Placement) by the time anyone actually saw the film.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Many of the trailers, specifically Elizabeth's "try wearing a corset" and "I don't think now's the best time" lines from the first and third films respectively.
    • Averted with a gag from the second one — the trailer had the following exchange:
      Will: We have to go back for Jack!
      Jack comes running around the corner, chased by natives
      Will: Never mind, let's go!
    • The trailer has used an outtake — Orlando Bloom had made a mistake, and was indicating that they should try the line again. In the actual film, the gag's still there but he says: "...time to go."
  • The "We are actors, not astronauts!" line from Galaxy Quest.
    • Though averted as the much-played scene of Jason saying "The whole thing was just a misunderstanding" with the last part muffled by Sarris' hand over his mouth didn't end up in the film.
  • Spider-Man: "You're not Superman, you know." Lampshaded in the film, as Peter Parker chuckles at the joke — probably the way anyone would. In the trailer, the line is followed by Peter's over-serious look from later in the scene. So the trailer version is actually funnier.
  • Men in Black II had an ad lib from Will Smith concerning the autopilot driver for their vehicles. Even the director was upset because he felt it ruined the joke by showcasing it ahead of time.
    Kay: Does that come standard?
    Jay: Actually, it came with a black dude, but he kept getting pulled over.
  • The Master of Disguise:
    • "Am I not turtley enough for the Turtle Club? Turtle, turtle!" The trailers pushed Pistachio's turtle costume and impression as the Signature Scene, putting it on every trailer and poster.
  • The Year One trailer overexposed every funny moment.
  • The Sherlock Holmes (2009) trailer featured an originally humorous gag from Holmes's first fight with Dredger, where Holmes picks up a small hammer to fight Dredger with a much larger hammer and throws it at Dredger after noticing the disparity, having no effect on him. By the time the gag showed in the theater, nobody in the audience was laughing at it.
  • There is also anything showing clips from Napoleon Dynamite, which holds an odd distinction of being a film that has its gags ruined by trailers, word of mouth, and merchandising. Yeesh.
  • Every TV spot of The Country Bears included that clip of the policemen's hair getting messed up in the car wash, eventually reaching the point where Disney released a commercial that contained nothing but that clip.
  • The trailers and commercials for Hancock seemed to go out of their way to spoil every single joke in the entire film, long after they'd secured an audience. Of course, by the third major trailer they were also giving away the giant plot twist, so their marketing team obviously has issues. Probably the biggest offender was the whale scene. In the teaser, every actual trailer and a Best Buy advertisement that got a ton of airtime in the US.
  • Trailers for There's Something About Mary included all of the major jokes in the movie, severely degrading the viewing experience.
  • People laughed out loud when the trailer of The Mask came out, whetting the viewers' appetites. Sadly it showed most of the funniest moments of the movie leaving those who saw the trailer unsatisfied with the movie. Averted with Stanley's dog Milo donning the mask, which was kept out of the trailers and thus got a great reaction from audiences.
  • All of the jokes in Old Dogs (not just the notable ones) were in the trailers and ads. This was so bad that watching the movie was pointless. All you really need to do is watch the trailer. Don't worry, you won't miss a thing.
  • The trailers for the Yours, Mine, and Ours remake left absolutely NO gag unrevealed.
  • The trailers for The Informant! always included the line "They call me 0014, cuz I'm twice as smart as 007."
  • The trailers for The Change-Up highlight two instances of Toilet Humor involving Jason Bateman: the first having a baby take a crap on his face and the other being Leslie Mann having a case of diarrhea which prevents them from having sex. Not only were the jokes overused, they weren't even funny to begin with.
  • Selena Gomez wearing cowboys boots at a fancy dinner party in Monte Carlo (2011). We get it, her character is from Texas. This was even on the posters.
  • Subverted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as pointed out in RedLetterMedia's review. Compare the reasonably amusing comic timing of the take used in the trailer, versus the humor-exsanguinated one used in the film.
  • Every single trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World showed the "No clue/Gets it" clip.
  • Cop Out. Looked funny, especially this gem (skip to 2:04) between Seann William Scott, Tracy Morgan, and finally, Bruce Willis:
    Scott: Knock Knock
    Morgan: No. No. NnNn. NnNn. No. No. No, No, No! NO! HELL NO! NO! NO! I refu- NO! No.
    Willis: (Deadpan) Who's there?
    • Needless to say, that scene was not in the movie, turning it into a colossal downer for those of us who watched it in the theater.
  • Big Trouble subverted this by editing a joke from the movie into a new one for the trailer. Good thing since the movie was pushed back six months due to 9/11.
    • The joke in the trailer:
    Monica: Sir, have you been drinking?
    Jack: No.
    Whiskey bottle crashes to the ground.
    Jack: Yes.
    • The joke in the movie:
    Walter: Is this your gun?
    Jack: Yes. (Beat) No.
    Monica: Sir, have you been drinking?
    Jack: Of course not.
    Whiskey bottle crashes to the ground. He runs.
    • Actually, the film prints had already been printed and ready to ship out before the delay (the date change happened just one week before it was set to open). The scene in question may have been an alternate take.
  • The Dictator averts this with the Kardashian exchange between Megan Fox and Aladeen ("You are much less hairy.") In the actual film, Megan gripes about getting a ruby when Katy Perry got a diamond, and Aladeen says, "That's because she let me Aladeen on her face."
  • Spider-Man's confrontation with the car thief in The Amazing Spider-Man and his humorous response to the thief pulling out a knife (and arguably one of the funniest things in the movie) was used in the third trailer for the film, the one shown in cinemas multiple times in the run up to release and was used in TV Spots (the whole scene was included on a promotional DVD!). Luckily the film had plenty more hilarious gags to surprise the audience with.
    (car thief pulls out knife)
    Spider-Man: Is that a knife?
    Car Thief: Yes it's a knife!
    Spider-Man: (falls to his knees as if begging for mercy) Oh no, you found my weakness! It's small knives!
    • Not to mention that in the movie, the car thief is also talking during the scene, making it a little hard to hear the punchline.
  • Samuel L. Jackson's famous line in Snakes on a Plane (you all know what line it is) gained memetic status before the movie even came out. Its inclusion was actually enforced, because it gained memetic status before it was even filmed, which make the actual order of events somewhat reversed. The scene was filmed and added into the movie after originating in the internet buzz that started building up before the movie's release.
  • The scene where Prince Edward is run over by bicyclists mid-song in Disney's Enchanted is seen a lot in the promotional media before the film's release in theaters.
  • There are several jokes from A Haunted House that play in practically every promotional spot. For example:
    Demon-possessed Keysha: Can you connect the scars?
    Father Williams (pulls out a pocket knife and does so): Tic-Tac-Toe in yo face!
    • And this:
    Keysha: Yeah! I kicked you in yo ghost balls! I got something for you b-AAHHHH!!!
    • And this:
    Thug: What happened to your furniture cuz? (All of it falls on him).
  • A lot of TV spots for Here Comes the Boom overuse a scene in which Scott (Kevin James' character) tries to make a slam dunk by using a trampoline, but ultimately fails.
  • In every trailer of The Hangover, there's the scene of Mike Tyson singing "In the Air Tonight".
    • And Alan singing his "Three Best Friends" song.
  • A running joke of Bruce Almighty was how Bruce's dog would constantly urinate on his chair. After receiving God's powers, he directs him to start using the toilet like a man, and in one scene, his girlfriend walks in to see the dog using the toilet while reading a newspaper. These scenes were in every single trailer. Bruce also uses his God powers to make said girlfriend's boobs bigger, which was also in all the trailers.
  • We're the Millers: The Willie Nelson weed line, and the "It's a skateboard" bit have a bit of this done to them.
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has an excellent visual gag where Brick's green clothes causes his legs to disappear in front of the green screen ("Where are my legs?!"). It got used in every trailer.
  • Dark Shadows: "Are you stoned?" "They tried stoning me, my dear. It did not work."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • An odd example. The mechanical middle finger joke in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) was censored in the trailer, being censored by an in-universe computer that has a caption that reads "Obscene Gesture Imminent." This was uncensored in the film, and ironically many fans felt the joke was ruined because of it.
    • Nearly every trailer and commercial for Spider-Man: Homecoming features the clip from the scene where Spidey stumbles upon some thieves who are wearing masks of members of the Avengers, leading him to quip, "Hey, wait a minute... you guys aren't the real Avengers!". In the film itself he makes a different joke.
    • Thor: Ragnarok has the "I know him! He's a friend from work!" joke, in response to Thor seeing Hulk. Given that it was suggested by a Make-A-Wish kid visiting the set, it's arguably justified.
    • Promos for Eternals repeated Phastos saying “You know what's never saved the planet? Your sarcasm.” (one wound up subverted: lots of promos featured Ikaris destroying Phastos's table, leading to the response "IKEA. Fall collection." But the movie follows it with him calling Ikaris an ass, making the joke still land)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014): "It's just a mask", since it was in all of the trailers. Luckily, later trailers and TV spots laid off on it.
  • This Is the End: The part where the main cast argues over who gets the Milky Way bar, and the part with Emma Watson ("Hermione just stole all our shit").
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: "Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!" was used in nearly every trailer and TV spot. It was even the movie's tagline.
    • Another scene constantly shown in TV spots and trailers was the awesome sequence of Max swinging overhead on one of the polecats while the People Eater's limousine explodes in the background.
  • Deadpool (2016): "You look like an avocado had sex with an older avocado."
    • This is something of a subversion, however, as it's a truncated version of the joke as it appears in the movie.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks series:
    • The trailers and ads for the first film repeated the scene where Alvin farts in Dave’s face, as well as the “Relax, Dave, it’s just a raisin!” joke.
    • Most of the commercials and trailers for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip use the scene where Theodore sings "Baby Got Back".
  • Ghostbusters (2016): "I don't know if that was a lady thing or a race thing, but I'm mad as hell" was shown in many TV spots and trailers.
  • Roger Ebert complained about this in his review of Sister Act, claiming that the trailer was very funny but gave away every single joke in the movie, so that when he came to actually see the film it was only somewhat amusing.
    "Now I am left with this dilemma: Would I have enjoyed the movie more if I knew nothing about it, going in? That's a good question, since the trailer reveals almost every big laugh in the movie, so that when they come along we nod in recognition instead of laughing in surprise."
  • Every single trailer for Superbad used the line "McLovin! Sounds like a sexy hamburger!", usually after talking about how the movie would be immensely quotable. (Quite a few people pointed out that calling the line "quotable" is a stretch; what situation would you quote that line in?) It was pretty clearly just that they wanted to show off that Seth Rogen was in the movie, and this was one of his character's few lines that didn't include any swearing. To add insult to injury, the line got cut from the movie.
  • The trailers for Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway often repeat the “I’m gonna live forever!” scene and the scene where Thomas MacGregor tries to roll down a hill to “frolic”.
  • Every Free Guy trailer contains the scene where a sniper shoots a building, setting it on fire, while a guy falls from the building and emits the Wilhelm Scream. In the actual film, the sound effect is replaced by an actual scream.
    • Another joke that’s used to a lesser extent is Joe crashing through glass and Guy asking “Mondays, am I right, Joe?”
    • The bit where Guy states that he has never driven a car before has been repeated in trailers and promos. Like the first example for this movie, this scene was altered in the actual film, as Guy never says this line.
  • Most Space Jam: A New Legacy ads and trailers repeat these jokes:
    • LeBron James asking “What in the Matrix hell?” before being sucked into the virtual world. Usually, the line is shortened to “What in the Matrix-“ in the TV ads.
    • LeBron reacting to himself having become a cartoon character, usually followed by Bugs Bunny asking “What’s up, Doc?”, the latter shot of this joke not being in the actual film.
    • Daffy Duck doing both a Jaw Drop and a Mic Drop in disbelief, which in the actual film, is in reaction to Michael B. Jordan.
    • The bit where Granny goes up against one of the members of the Goon Squad.
  • The trailer and some of the ads for Pixels repeat the same exact scene where Pac-Man chomps his creator's hand.
    Toru Iwatani: Somebody kill this stupid thing!
  • The Clifford the Big Red Dog trailers repeat the parts where Clifford plays with a man in an inflatable ball, only to deflate it, as well as Uncle Casey’s reaction to seeing Clifford as a big dog. What makes this even worse was that the full version of the first scene was the first clip from the movie released online.
  • The trailer for Hunt for the Wilderpeople contained many of the film's best jokes, thus ruining them in the actual movie. But most of these jokes only made sense in context, and removing them from the context of the film rendered them nonsensical. So the trailer actually managed to ruin each joke twice.
  • All of the trailers and TV spots for Strays (2023) have the scene where the dogs get high on mushrooms and Maggie is an animated dog and Hunter a hand puppet, as well as Bug being carried off by a hawk.

    Live-Action TV 
  • iCarly: This happened pretty much Once an Episode near the end, especially since they had started calling them all 'specials' and airing one episode every 2 months. If the audience was lucky it's just the funniest joke, and not the entire episode, like happened in iGot A Hot Room.
  • This was Lampshaded in NBC's coverage of the 1997 World Series. Throughout the series, NBC showed numerous promos for their new sitcom Working. Play-by-play announcer Bob Costas pointed out after one particular spot that although the clips were funny, viewers might not find them as humorous in the actual show due to having seen those particular jokes so often.
  • Glee had a Vogue parody starring Sue. It probably would've been funnier and more surprising if they hadn't shown the entire thing in a trailer at the end of the previous episode.
  • The BBC boasts it does not carry adverts. This is not entirely true. It does. For itself. Between every programme. And their trailers are very good at spoiling jokes from their comedy series. For example one of the greatest moments from Red Dwarf, the 'Red Alert' gag ("Step up to red alert! Are you absolutely sure sir? It does mean changing the bulb") was trailed endlessly before the original broadcast.
    • A short-lived 90s comedy series called Get Back (featuring a young Kate Winslet and a not-as-young Ray Winstone) had every single funny joke from the first episode included in the trailers. (Then they ran out and included an unfunny one as well.) Similarly, one season opener of 2point4 Children was extensively trailed, so everyone had seen the gag of the parents waking up to find their son sat on their bed watching TV.
  • Franklin & Bash: The scene where the title characters strip naked on Piers Morgan's show gets way too much mileage in TV spots - even after the episode featuring the gag had already aired.
  • This only applies within Australia, but Modern Family was thoroughly advertised before it started, with lots and lots of different ads playing incredibly frequently. The result? When the first episode finally aired, everyone was familiar with all the jokes.
  • One next episode promo for Neighbours included a gag that everyone found funny only to find it not as funny in the actual episode the next day: Partly through familiarity, partly because the promo seemed to edit it more tightly. ("You're thinking of dating Lyn Scully?"/"Do you have any advice?"/"Yes. Don't.")
  • In "If Memory Serves" from Star Trek: Discovery, the "goodbye Spock" scene is still reasonably entertaining, especially when Burnham and Spock disappear and you learn it's a Talosian illusion. It still probably would have been more amusing if not for "Say goodbye, Spock" "Goodbye, Spock" being continuously played in a trailer for the season as a whole throughout the season.
  • Early promos for Donkey Hodie kept repeating the scene of Donkey rolling away on a giant lemon (from "A Lot Of Hot!"), the part of the "Sleepover" musical number where Donkey and Panda wear various silly costumes (from "Super Duper Sleepover") and the scene where Donkey gives Duck Duck a donkey ride (from "The Lavender Lights").
    • It's extremely common for later promos of the show to use clips of the "Friends Care" song, mainly in PBS Kids promos where all their shows are combined.

    Western Animation 
  • Cartoon Network, when it came to series such as Adventure Time and Regular Show, really liked showcasing the funniest jokes in the episodes promoted, when not outright lying about or spoiling their content.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • If you're watching a trailer for "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout," expect to see the joke of SpongeBob and Patrick seeing a dog and shouting "What am I LOOKING AT?"
    • Every promo for "Escape from Beneath Glove World" used the following joke:
      SpongeBob: (with a creepy smile) I think we overdid it.
      Patrick: (with the same smile) Debatable.
  • For commercials for Family Guy, Freeform got a LOT of mileage from Chris' "To know what I just saw about what I just saw about what I just saw" quote from "Bri, Robot."
  • The trailers for The Casagrandes episode "Cursed!" kept repeating the scene with the long bathroom line.