Have you ever been amused by a running gag? A running gag is a joke repeated over, and is also called an ‘overly long gag.’ While the most popular running gags may not be the most clever or funny, they can still be quite entertaining. Some shows rely on running gags exclusively, while others only use them occasionally for maximum impact. Here are some examples of good running gags.
In the first series of Doctor Who, the running joke became a major plot point – a character would ask, “Doctor Who?” if he were to meet a certain person. This joke was introduced in the 1963 TV show An Unearthly Child, but it has lasted to this day. You can even hear the joke being repeated in the popular sitcom The Office today.
“Home Improvement” is another classic example of a running joke. The show’s characters often refer to themselves in a certain way, with the ‘huge mistake’ being a staple. The show’s writers have used this as a way to develop their characters, and we’ve come to expect it from Gob, Michael, and Maebe. And don’t forget Mr. Burns’ inability to remember employee names.
George Costanza’s character Art Vandelay introduced a Spanish Inquisition joke in the first episode of Season 2. In the sketch, Michael Palin acted as the titular Cardinal Ximinez, and he was dressed in catholic robes. Another popular running gag is the announcer in a dinner jacket. If you’ve watched the show, you’ve likely seen one of its running gags, too.