Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Running gags.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:

Running gags.

In The Princess Bride (1987), by the third time Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) exclaims, "Inconceivable!" it has become a running gag (or running joke), meaning, "a joke or humorous allusion used recurrently in a play, film, television, skit, etc., for a cumulative comic effect."

Vizzini uses inconceivable five times and yet it stays funny, which is amazing since using a running gag more than three times runs the risk of wearing it out. While viewing Up (2009) I grew weary of the dogs exclaiming, "Squirrel!" It got old, fast.

The following scene from Men In Black 3 (2012) has a running gag-ish element used three times. Jeffrey Price (Michael Chernus) tells Agent J (Will Smith) that even in 1969 New York was "like a big...ish city". He uses "ish" even when accuracy is paramount, like when he's setting the time travel device... "Uh, that seems right...ish" and in factoring the height of the jump... "that sounds right...ish." It cracks me up!

FilmThemesAndScenes: Men in Black 3 - Preparing To Time Jump 

An action or use of an object can also become a running gag. The Three Stooges (2012) do a presto-change-o by quickly pulling off their outer clothing to reveal their finest attire beneath so they look their best for possible adoption. They do this action several times during the film and it makes me laugh.

For a visual view of one of their quick changes go to 0:38 of this clip...

20th Century Studio clip: The Three Stooges - Senor Rat Lips

Can you recall running gags that tickled your funny bone?


  • I finally posted for the letter M... found here.
  • Hope to eventually post for the letter N.
  • I am in less pain, but still don't have a diagnosis. Thankfully, the life-threatening issues have been ruled out! 


  1. In "A Hard Day's Night," they regularly talk about Paul's grandfather as being "very clean," even though he is, as Paul says, "a right old mixer."

  2. @John ... I still need to see A Hard Day's Night! I can borrow it from the library whenever it reopens (after the stay-at-home edict ends).

  3. MIB is just so hilarious, I love these movies ;) I hope your leg will not hurt anymore soon.
    S is for Scherenschnitte

  4. @Frederique ... Thank you! I hope the pain will completely go away soon, too.

  5. In Romancing the Stone, the character Ira keeps saying, "Look at those snappers," when seeing alligators. The ending features a "snapper" and I think it is a running gag in this very funny film.

  6. @Sue ... We love that movie. And you're right... "Look at those snappers" was a funny running gag. Thanks for sharing that!