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In comedy, a throwaway line (also: throwaway joke or throwaway gag) is a joke delivered "in passing" without being the punch line to a comedy routine, part of the build up to another joke, or (in the context of drama) there to advance a story or develop a character. Throwaway lines are often one-liners, or in-jokes, and often delivered in a deadpan manner.
In a modern sense, comedy is a genre of fiction that refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.
A joke is a display of humour in which words are used within a specific and well-defined narrative structure to make people laugh and is not meant to be taken seriously. It takes the form of a story, usually with dialogue, and ends in a punch line. It is in the punch line that the audience becomes aware that the story contains a second, conflicting meaning. This can be done using a pun or other word play such as irony, a logical incompatibility, nonsense, or other means. Linguist Robert Hetzron offers the definition:
A joke is a short humorous piece of oral literature in which the funniness culminates in the final sentence, called the punchline… In fact, the main condition is that the tension should reach its highest level at the very end. No continuation relieving the tension should be added. As for its being "oral," it is true that jokes may appear printed, but when further transferred, there is no obligation to reproduce the text verbatim, as in the case of poetry.
A punch line concludes a joke; it is intended to make people laugh. It is the third and final part of the typical joke structure. It follows the introductory framing of the joke and the narrative which sets up for the punch line.
In comic strips (Sunday comics in particular) throwaway gags are often placed in the throwaway panels of the comic, and are located there so that removing the throwaway panels for space reasons will not destroy the narrative of the central comic.
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions. Traditionally, throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, these have been published in newspapers and magazines, with horizontal strips printed in black-and-white in daily newspapers, while Sunday newspapers offered longer sequences in special color comics sections. With the development of the internet, they began to appear online as webcomics. There were more than 200 different comic strips and daily cartoon panels in American newspapers alone each day for most of the 20th century, for a total of at least 7,300,000 episodes.
The Sunday comics or Sunday strip is the comic strip section carried in most western newspapers, almost always in color. Many newspaper readers called this section the Sunday funnies, the funny papers or simply the funnies.
In episodic fiction, a line intended originally as a throwaway line in one episode may later be retconned by being incorporated into the back-story of the main drama, and used to develop the longer-term plot. As an example, in the second season of Breaking Bad, the character Saul Goodman, threatened at gunpoint by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, not knowing who they are as they are masked, and not yet knowing what this is about, tries to defuse the situation by blaming a guy named Ignacio, who is never mentioned again; however, the character Ignacio is introduced in the second episode of the prequel series Better Call Saul , produced several years later.
Breaking Bad is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on AMC for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, 2013. Set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the series tells the story of Walter White, a struggling and depressed high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with stage-3 lung cancer. Together with his former student Jesse Pinkman, White turns to a life of crime by producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine to secure his family's financial future before he dies, while navigating the dangers of the criminal underworld. The title comes from the Southern colloquialism "breaking bad" which means to "raise hell" or turn to a life of crime. Gilligan characterized the series as showing Walter's transformation from a soft-spoken Mr. Chips into Scarface.
James Morgan McGill, also known as Saul Goodman, Slippin' Jimmy and Gene Taković, is a fictional character who appears in the television series Breaking Bad and serves as the titular character of its spin-off prequel series Better Call Saul. He is portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, and was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. The character is an Albuquerque-based lawyer who embraces his tendencies as a former scam artist and begins to represent criminals while himself becoming involved in the city's criminal world. Saul's name is a play on the phrase "[It]'s all good, man".
Walter Hartwell White Sr., also known by his clandestine alias Heisenberg, is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Breaking Bad. He is portrayed by Bryan Cranston. A chemistry honours graduate of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Walter co-founded the company Gray Matter Technologies with his close friend Elliott Schwartz and his then-girlfriend Gretchen. He left Gray Matter abruptly, selling his shares for $5,000. Soon afterward, the company made a fortune, much of it from his research. Walt subsequently moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he became a high school chemistry teacher. Breaking Bad begins on Walt's 50th birthday, when he is diagnosed with Stage IIIA lung cancer. After this discovery, he resorts to manufacturing methamphetamine and drug dealing with his former student Jesse Pinkman to ensure his family's financial security after his death. He is pulled deeper into the illicit drug trade, becoming more and more ruthless as the series progresses, and later adopts the alias "Heisenberg", which becomes recognizable as the kingpin figure in the local drug trade. Series creator Vince Gilligan has described his goal with Walter White as "turning Mr. Chips into Scarface" and deliberately made the character less sympathetic over the course of the series. Walt's evolution from the mild-mannered school teacher and family man to ruthless criminal mastermind and murderer is the show's central focus.
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Fozzie Bear is a Muppet character known for his lack of innate and effective comedy skills. Fozzie is an orange bear who often wears a brown pork pie hat and a red and white polka dot necktie. The character debuted on The Muppet Show, as the show's stand-up comic, a role where he constantly employed his catchphrase, "Wocka Wocka!" Shortly after telling the joke, he was usually the target of ridicule, particularly from balcony hecklers Statler and Waldorf. Fozzie was performed by Frank Oz until 2001; Eric Jacobson has since become the character's principal performer.
Ralph Wiggum is a recurring character on the animated series The Simpsons, voiced by Nancy Cartwright. The son of Police Chief Wiggum, Ralph is a classmate of Lisa Simpson and an odd child noted for his frequent non-sequiturs and bizarre behavior. His lines range from nonsensical, or bizarre interpretations of a current event, to profound statements that go over people's heads; and his behavior varies between blissfully unaware, to dim-witted, to awkwardly spontaneous, even occasionally straightforward. The very nature of the character has undergone differing interpretations over the years and within various media.
John Florence Sullivan, known professionally as Fred Allen, was an American comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.
A running gag, or running joke, is a literary device that takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference and appears repeatedly throughout a work of literature or other form of storytelling. Though they are similar, catchphrases are not considered running gags.
Mac Hall is a webcomic which was created through a bet between the creator Ian McConville and a friend who claimed he "couldn't make a comic like Penny Arcade". After the fifteenth comic, McConville was joined by Matt Boyd who began to write the comic.
Emo Philips is an American stand-up comedian, actor, voice actor, writer and producer. His stand-up comedy persona makes use of paraprosdokians spoken in a wandering falsetto tone of voice. The confused, childlike delivery of his material produces the intended comic timing in a manner invoking the "wisdom of children" or the idiot savant.
Robert John Odenkirk is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. He is best known for his role as smooth-talking lawyer Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill on the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul, and for the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David, which he co-created and starred in with fellow comic and friend David Cross.
The Jamie Kennedy Experiment is a half-hour-long American hidden camera/practical joke reality television series that debuted in 2002 and was broadcast on The WB. The host and star of the show is Jamie Kennedy, a comedian who presented a reality TV format which combined hidden camera with sketch comedy. The show was a production of Bahr-Small Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and Big Ticket Television and ran from January 13, 2002 until April 29, 2004.
Cheeky Weekly was a British comic book magazine published every Monday by IPC Magazines Ltd. It ran for 117 issues from 22 October 1977 to 2 February 1980, failing to be published for 3 weeks in December 1978 due to an industrial dispute. It merged with stable-mate Whoopee!, initially as a 16-page pull-out section. The title character originated in an earlier comic called Krazy as a character in the strip The Krazy Gang and also the star of the 'Ello, It's Cheeky feature, and proved popular enough to get his own comic, which managed to outlive Krazy itself. The first issue came with a free "Red Jet Rattler". Its characters and strips included:
A gag character is usually a character that is rarely used, and shows no personality except for the joke in comic strips and TV shows. Often, a gag character's usage is for only one joke.
Drawn Together is an American adult animated sitcom that ran on Comedy Central from October 27, 2004 to November 14, 2007. The series was created by Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein, and uses a sitcom format with a reality TV show setting.
Yonkoma manga, a comic strip format, generally consists of gag comic strips within four panels of equal size ordered from top to bottom. They also sometimes run right-to-left horizontally or use a hybrid 2×2 style, depending on the layout requirements of the publication in which they appear. Although the word yonkoma comes from Japanese, the style also exists outside Japan in other Asian countries as well as in the English-speaking market.
A callback, in terms of comedy, is a joke that refers to one previously told in the set. It is also known as an internal allusion, a literary device that helps give structure to the piece of writing. Callbacks are usually saved for later, towards the end of a set, the result is usually a much bigger laugh the second time as the audience is much more surprised the longer it's held back. The main principle behind the callback is to make the audience feel a sense of familiarity with the subject material, as well as with the comedian. It helps to create audience rapport. When the second joke is told, it induces a feeling similar to that of being told a personal or in-joke.
A gag cartoon is most often a single-panel cartoon, usually including a caption beneath the drawing. A pantomime cartoon carries no caption. In some cases, dialogue may appear in speech balloons, following the common convention of comic strips.
Mock the Week is a British topical, satirical celebrity panel show, that was created by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson, who also co-created the comedy game show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Performers deliver mostly prepared answers on different subjects under the guise of an improvised gameshow. It is made by independent production company Angst Productions, and made its debut on BBC Two on 5 June 2005, with the show's theme song being "News of the World" by The Jam. The show has featured a variety of different stand-up performers, some being part of the show for several series as a permanent fixture, with host Dara Ó Briain and comedian Hugh Dennis having appeared in every episode since its debut. Old episodes currently air on Dave, which is frequently mentioned on the show.
Frank and Ernest is an American comic strip created and illustrated by Bob Thaves and later Tom Thaves. It debuted on November 6, 1972, and has since been published daily in over 1,200 newspapers. The humor of the comic is based almost exclusively on wordplay and puns.
Throwaway may refer to:
A gag-a-day comic strip is the style of writing comic cartoons such that every installment of a strip delivers a complete joke. It is opposed to story or continuity strips, which rely on the development of a story line across a sequence of the installments. Most syndicated comics are of this type. Another term for this distinction is non-serial (gag-a-day) vs. serial strips.