The Art of Humor: Double Entendres

This classic comedy technique still has some life in it.

Joe Garza
Joe Garza
Apr 8, 2019 · 4 min read
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Double entendres give you braids!

People who say that “good things come to those who wait” never worked at restaurants.

And that’s why I think we should change that platitude to “good things come to those who CREATE” (which I totally plagiarized from a sign hanging in my study — classical mistake, right?).

And if you’re looking for something to create that may or may not bring you good things, why not start with double entendres?

This classic comedy technique has all kinds of devious uses, so read on to become a comedy Inspector Gadget like me. Trust me on this — I’ve got a PhD in jokes or something.

Can You Describe Double Entendres in 152 Words Or Less?

Double entendres are words or phrases that, when used in a given context, can be understood in two ways: its original, official meaning, and a humorous, often risque meaning.

Double entendres are perfect for the art of humor, as they encourage audience participation; the performer states a common term or expression that we all know, but places it in a context that twists its meaning into something new and surprising, usually a meaning that the audience has to figure out on their own.

(Disclaimer: if you have a stupid audience, this technique won’t work. Just get a smarter audience or make dumber jokes.)

Double entendres are generally placed in the same humor class of puns, and are therefore often regarded as a vulgar form of whimsy. However, the creation of memorable double entendres requires taste, imagination, and a considerable vocabulary.

Basically, making a good double entendre look easy is the hard part.

Can You Give Me Some Examples of Double Entendres? Preferably 5 Written Examples, 1 From A Movie, And 1 Meme

Because of the versatility of double entendres, they can be found in numerous types of humor, including stand up comedy, film and TV, satirical news articles, comic strips, greeting cards, and some other things I can’t think of.

The examples below demonstrate the utility of double entendres in various mediums:

  • “Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” — Mae West
  • “A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he’s finished.” — Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • “The only thing we don’t have a god for is premature ejaculation… but I hear that it’s coming quickly.” ― Mel Brooks
  • “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know.” — Groucho Marx
  • Headline: “NASA Says Saturn Is Losing Its Rings, Says it Should Follow Advice of Beyonce”
  • In film:
  • In memes:
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By Craptabulous

Can You Show Me How To Create Double Entendres In Exactly 4 Steps?

When we hear a double entendre, often our reaction is to roll our eyes and/groan, because it seemed like the most predictable thing to say.

But if done correctly, a double entendre can elicit hilarious reactions from the audience, who not only laugh at how obvious and clever the joke was, but also at how they themselves didn’t come to the same whimsical conclusion. The morons.

Follow the steps below to learn how to create double entendres that actually work:

  1. Pick a statement or expression that you want to twist into a joke or funny anecdote.
  2. Choose a word in that phrase that has multiple meanings, ideally one that has an official meaning and one that has a colloquial meaning. This is your “pivot word”, as it pivots the meaning of the original phrase into an unexpected meaning.
  3. Create a new statement around your “pivot word”, and don’t be afraid to create a statement that has little to do with the first statement! The success of a double entendre is how well a humorist weds two seemingly unrelated ideas into one cohesive entity.
  4. Combine the two statements into double entendre, and refine as needed. Remember, save the funniest, most surprising part for the end. Also, try to keep your double entendre as short as possible — audiences hate waiting to get to the funny part.

End This Article With Some Final Thoughts So I Can Get On With My Life Writing Dirty Limericks Or Whatever

One of the most important keys to comedy — if not every creative act — is having a large imagination, which is generally manifested in the practice of combining two or more seemingly unrelated concepts — people, places, ideas, etc. — and pointing them out to an unsuspecting audience.

But a lively imagination is one part of what makes great humor work.

Surprise is the other active ingredient of a successful joke or humorous anecdote.

If finding hidden connections is the heart of comedy, than surprise is its soul.

So be audacious in your comedic endeavors. Take something that already exists and push it to an unexpected place, because that’s how you turn heads.

Your audience won’t remember what bores them, but they’ll remember what shocks them.

So now that you’ve got the keys to the comedic kingdom, go out there and raise hell with some dirty limericks or whatever!

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Joe Garza

Written by

Joe Garza

I cover art, culture, film, comedy, creativity, books, and more at https://medium.com/the-reckless-muse

The Reckless Muse

The Reckless Muse is a hangout for dangerous artists, rebellious makers, and disorderly creators.

Joe Garza

Written by

Joe Garza

I cover art, culture, film, comedy, creativity, books, and more at https://medium.com/the-reckless-muse

The Reckless Muse

The Reckless Muse is a hangout for dangerous artists, rebellious makers, and disorderly creators.

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