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Take-back gag

 

Techniques Using humor > Take-back gag

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

A take-back gag is where you say something that suggests a particular opinion, then following it up with something else that suggests you hold an opposing view.

This may be said by a single person, although it is often used in a dialogue, with both sides of an argument being presented.

The order in which you present the two sides can significant effect, particularly if one side is predictably controversial. In such cases it is generally safer to be controversial first, then 'take it back'.

Example

You know all priests should be sacked. I told my pastor that and he smiled. I think he thought I said something else.

The Simpson's TV program retains it's edge by stating controversial truths, then adding neutralizing conservative comments. The Simpsons do this in their values: on one hand they can be underhand and selfish, yet they stay together and go to church.

Discussion

The take-back gag has several benefits. First, it can neutralize any accusations of bias as you show that understand both sides of a position and are saying things for effect and not because you really believe them.

The take-back allows you to be controversial and challenging, perhaps in the manner of the boy in 'The Emperor's New Clothes' speaking what others only dare to think.

Saying controversial things is unexpected, and unexpectedness is a core attribute of humor. The take-back gag let's you do this whilst 'getting away with murder'.

See also

 

 

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