sight gag

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sight gag (plural sight gags)

  1. (film, television, stage performance) A visually presented action or device which causes a humorous response without requiring any accompanying commentary or other speech.
    • 1947 Oct. 31, Gene Handsaker, "Hollywood Sights and Sounds: Bob Hope," Prescott Evening Courier, p. 2 (retrieved 1 Oct 2012):
      Dragged suddenly before a formal dinner honoring the women's dean of Toledo University, he wowed his audience with a sight gag—he kissed the guest of honor.
    • 1969 June 28, "Cinema: Happy End," Time:
      In the good old ricky-tick days when movie directors wore riding breeches, a favorite cinematic sight gag was to reverse the film, which suddenly sent the actors waddling backwards through doors that closed behind them, putting their hats on instead of taking them off, and shoveling food out of their mouths instead of in.
    • 2005 March 10, Virginia Heffernan, "TV Review: The Hollow Men—Four Well-Groomed Britons, Trying Hard to Be Naughty Boys," New York Times (retrieved 1 Oct 2012):
      In the opening sight gag, a guy in leisure wear shows up at his office only to find everyone in S&M clothes.
    • 2008 October, Paul Scott, “Was the Prozac revolution all in our heads?”, in Men's Health, volume 23, number 8, ISSN 1054-4836, page 146:
      As he uttered these words, a PowerPoint image of Dr. Möller's face morphed into that of a smiling Pope Benedict. The sight gag had the psychiatrists roaring.