They're lighting me? So soon?
September 14, 2020 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Andy Riley compiles a list of comedian and comedy writer slang.
posted by eotvos (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
These are great. I particularly like:

Frampton Comes Alive – in a sitcom written by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, the script editor wanted them to change a reference to Pete Frampton’s ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ (as an embarrassing album to have owned) to ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ So Steve and Hugh use it to mean a situation when a niche example will be really funny, but only to a small number of people, as opposed to a mainstream example which everyone will know, but which isn’t funny.


Turd in a Slipper – a joke which feels good, but isn’t really any good. [via Judd Apatow]

posted by chavenet at 2:36 PM on September 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'll take this opportunity to once again plug one of my favorite podcasts: Rule of Three Podcast.

Andy Riley hasn't been on it, but over the past five seasons the hosts Joel Morris & Jason Hazeley have been visited by dozens of comedy writers and performers who talk about and analyze their favorite movies, TV episodes, stand-up routines, comic strips, etc.

It doesn't come across as comedy pros trying to explain jokes -- the approach is more that of fans and admirers enjoying a lively discussion about what makes comedy work and often devolves into just marvelling at how well-made their favorite bits are.
posted by theory at 2:37 PM on September 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Ironically, one of the times I laughed out loud during the second Wayne's World movie it was at a line about "Frampton Comes Alive." ("Of course I've heard of that album! If you grew up in the suburbs you were issued a copy!")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:22 PM on September 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

This is amazing, we were literally just wondering if there was a word for what is described here as a "Langdon." Sort of like how there are only X types of magic trick...
posted by johngoren at 3:33 PM on September 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Reminds me of Robert Hutton's Romps, Toffs and Boffins, which is a similar dictionary (in book form) of British tabloid slang.
posted by pipeski at 3:56 PM on September 14, 2020

The North by Northwest Gag is the comedy version of Chekhov’s Gun.

I read this...
Bicycle cut – aka the bicycle joke, or a ‘Last Of The Summer Wine.’ A character ends a scene by firmly stating that they will not do a certain thing – for example, riding a bike. The next scene begins with that character doing that thing.
and I was all, “Oh, like on Gilligan’s Island.” And the next item was...
Gilligan Cut – a common American term for the bicycle cut. Derived from ‘Gilligan’s Island.’
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:33 PM on September 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Are these principally British terms? And does that matter?
posted by From Bklyn at 3:08 AM on September 15, 2020

Yes (no.)
posted by chavenet at 4:39 AM on September 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

Some things I wish there were words for:

The joke where "log story short" covers way to much ground: So the other day, I walked past this mime in the street... long story short, how do I get rid of the body?

The thing where comedians pretend that everybody hates mimes and clowns, and wants to inflict violence upon them (there's, like, half a Terry Pratchett book about this... I forget which one).

A series of really bad jokes, often puns, where the actual funny part is how much the person telling them is enjoying inflicting pain on the audience (I have no example other than Andy Zaltzman's "pun runs" on the Bugle).

The thing where somebody explains a really dumb way to accomplish some everyday task, and then later refers to it like everybody's doing it that way... E.g. there's an episode of Friends where it turns out Joey can only read a map if he puts it down on the floor and physically steps 'into' it. Then, in a later scene, he begins a story with "So I'm in my map..."

Jokes that start out sounding like they're going to be unbelievably inappropriate, but then turn out to be totally harmless (and bad, but the real joke is the relief)
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 4:52 AM on September 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

The Tesbury Rule – don’t confect an unconvincing commercial brand name in a script when you mean, for example, Tesco or Sainsbury; it weakens the gag.

Yes! Same for trying to come up with band names. You are not as funny as you think. I'm looking at you, public radio weekend programming.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:45 PM on September 15, 2020

hey public radio weekend programming was one of my favorite groups!

yes yes i know their one hit (toward such great depths) was overplayed back in the day but still they were on the whole a pretty good band
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:46 PM on September 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Evidence detected for life in the clouds of Venus   |   r/AskHistorians conference this week Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments