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Overly Long Gag / Theatre

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Overly Long Gags in theatre.


  • Charley's Aunt "from Brazil, where the nuts come from."
  • Yasmina Reza's play "art" has one character launch into a four-page monologue describing/complaining about the logistics of his wedding plans. It's difficult to imagine how it's not meant to be funny.
  • The televised version of the 2010 Broadway version of The Pee-wee Show had Pee-wee shout "Nooooooo...!" for over 30 seconds, which is a long time onstage and on TV.
    • The infamous "balloon trick," which goes on for a whopping one minute forty-seven seconds. Over a minute of that is taken up by Pee-wee letting air out of the balloon.
  • William Shakespeare:
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    • Older Than Steam: in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Gratiano's repeated ironic echoes of Shylock at the climax of the court scene are this.
    • In A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Bottom is a weaver who also leads an amateur theatre troupe. Something of a Large Ham, he takes the role of Pyramus in a play performed before the prince of Athens. In performances you can expect him to really drag out his death scene:
      Pyramus: [stabs himself] Thus die I, thus, thus, thus. Now am I dead, Now am I fled; My soul is in the sky; Tongue, lose they light! Moon, take thy flight!
      [exit Moonshine [leaving Pyramus alone on the stage]]
      Now die, die, die, die, die, die.
      [dies]
      DIE!
    • When Pyramus's lover re-enters to find him dead, one of the audience comments "I hope she will be brief". (Yes, Shakespeare also did riffing.)
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  • Fellowship! The Musical had a great example: Boromir, defending the hobbits, gets shot with an arrow, falls, gets back up, stumbles off stage, gets shot with a couple more arrows, stumbles back on stage...repeat several more times. The last time he stumbles off stage, different arrow-hitting-flesh sounds (getting increasingly ridiculous) are played for over a minute, before he stumbles back on stage one final time, looking like a pincushion.
  • Cyber-Dive Connection: As part of their mission in the digital world, the characters each have to pick a genre of video game and try to win it - fighting, puzzle, rhythm, Dating Sim, etc. ... and Kai chooses a fishing game. So, after some of the others' more action-oriented mini-scenes, Kai walks out with a fishing rod, and sits at the front of the stage, and waits... and waits... and waits... ... ... and waits... and then catches a fish and walks off.
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  • Gilbert and Sullivan loved this trope. Every one of their patter songs, especially 'It really doesn't matter', which lampshades this trope: the lyrics continually state that the song isn't important and could really afford to end here... but it doesn't. The prize, however, goes to the TV performance of 'Never Mind the Why and Wherefore', in which several sections are encored, and the song continues for fifteen (or more (!)) minutes, even though the characters are clearly exhausted a and they actually exit several times... only to play it true to the theatrical tradition of returning to the stage for a reprise as long as the audience applauds and the music continues.
  • The Broadway adaptation of Peter and the Starcatchers uses this when one of the characters cuts his hand off by slamming a treasure chest on it. He then spends the next few minutes saying "Oh my God!" Funnier than it sounds.
  • In Urinetown, Officer Barrel tells Officer Lockstock, out of nowhere, that he is in love with him, in the middle of a song. The orchestra then vamps the same measure over and over again for anywhere from ten seconds to infinity depending on the production until Lockstock responds with a very awkward "I see." and running away. Barrel is then immediately murdered by the rebellion.


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