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Gaming groups, like all tight-knit groups of people, have their collective quirks.(...) Some - the highest echelon of geeky humour of all[1] - engage in punning.
—Annotation for this Darths and Droids strip

A character makes an announcement, quip or joking remark that causes the entire group to groan simultaneously, in the same tone of voice. Crops up fairly often in comedic shows or films.

Frequently the response to an Incredibly Lame Pun.

Examples of Collective Groan include:


  • There is a recent ad for a tax consultancy service that lets you search for your agent based on his specialty. The last request is something like: "And they have to have a cat named Louie!" One collective groan later, only one guy is left standing.

Anime and Manga

  • A running gag in Eyeshield 21 is that when ever Sena or Monta make a do-or-die plan, which is horribly simple such as, "Give me the ball!" Hiruma and Kurita's face shrivel up because of their stupidity. (But they go with the plans anyway, since Hiruma is just that Badass.)

Fan Works



George: Maybe we should call a road service?
Paul: Can't, no road!
Ringo: And we're not sub... scribers.
Other Beatles: Sub-scribers... ooh... (Paul facepalms)


Live-Action TV

  • iCarly: Done numerous times in iDream of Dance.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, the "Dirty Fork" sketch. A man in a restaurant politely complains about his fork being dirty, leading to a great deal of anger and violence. At the end of the sketch:

("And now...the punch line" appears on the screen)
Man: Lucky we didn't say anything about the dirty knife!
(everyone in the area starts booing)


Data: In the strictest sense, I did not win.
(everyone groans)
Data: I busted him up.
(everyone cheers)


Giles: It's the end of the world.
Buffy, Xander, Willow: Again?

  • The 4400: Not an in-show example, but in the season three bloopers, two scenes are put back-to-back to get this effect.

Jeffery Combs (as Kevin Burkhoff): I just thought of a really bad joke. How many Canadians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Eh... t!
Other actors are seen groaning

  • Increasingly appearing in Harry Hills TV Burp.
  • Community is especially fond of this, normally in conjunction with paper balls being thrown at the target of the groans. It's become a running joke that anytime Britta mentions social justice in any way the whole group boos and groans.

Annie: I don't suppose you'd mind letting us take a little looksie in your bag, then?
Britta: Oh, I'd very much mind, Annie. There's no such thing as a quick invasion of civil liberties!
Study Group: Uuuuuggggh...!


Newspaper Comics

  • In one arc of Peanuts, Linus ran for class president, and was very nearly a shoo-in. Then he started talking about "the Great Pumpkin," and this trope (or rather, a collective "UGGH!") resulted.


  • In I'm Sorry Ill Read That Again, the audience was wont to do this at any and all puns. It's worth to note that the writers often predicted this, and made the following dialogue reflect it.
    • The audience made up a huge part of ISIRTA's general atmosphere. Sometimes, lines would be dropped because the audience saw the pun coming and groaned before the punchline. Occassionally, the audience would groan at a pun...and then applaud it, because it was a good pun. A typical example of the dialogue predicting the groan would go like this:

Tim: I offer you one thousand!
John: One thousand pounds?
Tim: Certainly not! One thousand Chelsea Railway buns! We only deal in hard currency!
(audience groan)
Tim: You've got to admire the bravery of it!


Video Games

  • In Guild Wars, before the Venta Cemetery mission, Koss mentions to a group of refugees that their path home will be a tad more "difficult" than they expected. Naturally there's a bit of disappointment.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a segment in the Haunted Gallery where you go through a series of paintings, and the game proceeds to snark the hell out of them or reinterpret them in...interesting ways. One such is David's The Death of Socrates. You walk past the scene in question, where Socrates has just told an Incredibly Lame Pun and everyone around is groaning and slamming their heads into the wall.
  • In The Clue Finders 3rd Grade Adventures, we get this little one in the opening.

Fletcher Limburger: Well.... peanuts, anyone?... that's what folks are saying— and there's an old superstition about a monster and a lost city.
Santiago: Superstition!
Leslie: Lost city?
Joni: Monster?!
Owen: ...peanuts?
All: OWEN!

  • Mystical Ninja on the N64 had a Laugh Track, which would also groan at the really bad jokes.
  • In Master of the Wind, seeing some headless skeletons, Baron jokes that they may have "Got ahead of themselves". There's a groan, before Stoic suggests locking Baron in a cell for such a bad pun.

Web Comics


Alt Text: If the internet were an auditorium, I'd be on stage grinning proudly against a chorus of groans.


Web Original


Channel Awesome would like to apologise for that pun. The writer has been flogged for his sins.

  • During his review of the Dirty Dancing game, Spoony makes a somewhat tasteless joke about the abortion scene from the movie (it involves Trauma Center). Cut to stock footage of a booing audience, to which Spoony responds "What? It's in the movie!"
    • Used several other times, as well, such as when he makes a joke about the death of Brandon Lee.
  • Played straight four times, then subverted in the Homestar Runner short "Senorial Day", when Bubs lets loose a string of bad puns, then an apparent non sequitur, which leads an off-screen audience to groan after each bad pun, and give a collective "Huh?" after the non sequitur.
    • IN the "Which Ween? Costumes" 'toon, everyone dresses up in Decemberween costumes. Coach Z's is just a giant sheet of paper. When Strong Bad finally asks him what he's supposed to be, he explains... he's "Rapping Paper." Cue trope.

Western Animation

  • On Teen Titans, Beast Boy says after just having frozen Brotherhood of Evil leader The Brain: "Check it out, brain freeze." Cue groans from the two dozen or so heroes assembled.
  • Combined with First Name Ultimatum on The Magic School Bus: "Carlos!"
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Batman remarks that he's got The Question trying to dig up information on Project Cadmus. Everyone groans, and even Batman admits that The Question is a bit nuts.
  • On Thomas the Tank Engine, in "James & the Queen of Sodor". Percy wrecks James' coat after miraculously avoiding damage during his dirty jobs all day. James remarks to the others that he'll be cleaned up and "Red-ier than ever!" The episode closes on one of these.
  • In Rocky and Bullwinkle, Rocky brings one of these about by finding a dirty model boat that, once washed off, was found to be made of rubies and had the words "Omar Khayyam" inscribed on it. He pronounces it "The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam", much to the dismay of everyone else in the room. Note that everyone else stated they were aware of the potential punchline, but Rocky was the only one with the nerve to say it out loud.
  1. Because the point of humour is of course to make the listener groan.