Posted in Challenges, For the Promptless, On Writing

Running Gags

Once again I am writing a post for Rarasaur’s Prompts for the Promptless. This week’s prompt is “Running Gag”.

A running gag is a reference or joke which appears repeatedly.

Growing up, my friends and I always had inside jokes. I never thought much about it until someone from a different grade recognized me five years out of school. What did he remember? The inside jokes he never understood.

But in writing, it’s difficult to have inside jokes. For the most part, when something funny happens it’s never mentioned again unless the writer employs is as a running gag.

The main purpose of a running gag is humour. The first time the joke is mentioned, it may not be funny. In fact, it may not even be classified as a joke at all but with every repetition, the running gets funnier.

Unfortunately, when there is too much repetition the humour is lost and the joke gets boring. The line between just enough and too much can be vague; but if you find yourself getting bored of writing it, chances are you’ve crossed the line.

The running gag isn’t just about humour, it also serves a greater purpose. This greater purpose is to make the reader feel special. Everyone likes to be included and when a reader gets a running gag, they feel included. If it’s a joke that spans across different books, then readers feel special because they recognize the gag from previous books.

Running gags welcome readers into a fandom. It’s almost like a special club that you get into by reading the books or watching the show. They’re jokes that fans have in common and can bond over.

While running gags are not necessary, they can add an extra element to the story. If you find that your stories are losing readers, try engaging them with a running gag.

What’s your opinion about running gags? Are they worth writing or do they get old fast?


Before you leave, check out the other wonderful promptless bloggers this week:

Mama Bear Musings – Running Gag Playlist

Sue’s Trifles – Not Exactly a Running Gag

Serendipity – Catch that Running Gag

TheMatticusKingdom – Channel Surfing

Julie Chicklitasaurus – Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me

This Typing Makes Me Look Busy … – Bitches Love Ecards

FishOfGold – FOG Easter Eggs

Repressed Expressions – Working Gags

One Starving Activist – The Running Gag

Rarasaur – This is my Friend Raptor Colossus


The AP Roberts is an extremely rare creature and there is only one known AP Roberts in the world. Usually off in its own little world, the AP returns to reality when it gets lonely. This elusive creature is rather difficult to catch on film, however will pose for drawings. The AP, though wild by nature, can be tamed and makes a wonderful pet. It should also be known that while the AP gets along with most creatures it has an intense fear of insects and large canines. The AP lives on a diet of mainly vegetables and candy but is not known to refuse food that is made and offered through kindness. The drink of choice for the AP is tea though it is known to drink water and juice. There is still much to be learned of the AP however, most agree that the writings of the AP are truly something to behold. Hopefully, one day the AP will find a good Agent creature who will introduce the AP's writings to a good publisher creature and the world will be able to read the AP's works.


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