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13 of the best TV gags from the past 20 years

WHETHER it’s one offs or running jokes. There’s space for them all (well, a very small number of them) here…

1. The Rural Juror on 30 Rock

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The tenth episode of the first season of 30 Rock is called The Rural Juror. It’s also the name of a movie Jenna (played by Jane Krakowski) is starring in.

Trouble is, ‘rural juror’ is hard to say, and none of Jenna’s co-stars can decipher what the film is actually called. And thus a great joke was born.

mounorman / YouTube

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2. Rachel’s trifle on Friends

Poor Rachel goes out of her way to make a delicious Thanksgiving desert for her pals. Trouble is the cookbook pages get stuck together and she ends up making a trifle which includes “beef sauteed with peas and onions” along with the cream, jam etc.


It also precipitates one of Ross’ funniest lines:

3. The chicken dance on Arrested Development

Has anyone in this family ever even SEEN a chicken?

One of the most beloved recurring jokes on Arrested Development. The chicken dance sees each Bluth wheel out their own version of the moves in order to torment other family members.

WaffleSouls / YouTube

4. Jim’s pranks on The US Office

One of Jim’s favourite past-times is figuring out ways to annoy Dwight.

Some of his best moments:





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5. Stand for our National Anthem on Father Ted

It’s difficult to pick a stand out Father Ted gag (honorable mention for ‘small, far away’, Dougal’s crippling fear of women, the hairy babies etc) but we’ve gone for the simplicity of Ghost Town.

Alex Tommer / YouTube

6. Snake juice on Parks and Rec


Drinking on Parks and Recreation always ends in hilarity, but the whole gang getting gee-eyed on Snake Juice is probably the funniest. Bonus points for Andy’s sweaty face and Ann’s hiccups.

TheJacobrox / YouTube

Honorable mention for the legend that is Lil Sebastian on Parks n Rec, and the banger of a tune written in his honour by Mouse Rat:

7. Surelook on Republic of Telly


This Sherlock parody is one of Republic of Telly’s finest sketches, from ‘Moriarsey’ to Sherlock’s trademark ‘surelook’ catchphrase.

RTÉ Republic of Comedy / YouTube

8. The oven mitts on Malcolm in the Middle

Again, so simple. So perfect.







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9. My Single is Dropping on 30 Rock

My single ‘My Single is Dropping’ is dropping.

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10. White power suit on Broad City

One of the best comedies of recent years, laden with one liners and very clever jokes, Broad City season 3 can’t come soon enough.



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11. Robin Sparkles on How I Met Your Mother

In a show which thrives on running jokes, the Robin Sparkles gag is one of the standouts. Robin’s been hiding a secret from her Canadian past… that she was a teenage pop idol. As the series progress, more and more of her pop career is revealed, including the song ‘Two Beavers is Better Than One’.


 12. Dean Pelton’s puns on Community.


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13. Free the Paedos on Peep Show

Jeremy and Super Hans are struggling to come up with a name for their new pub. Super Hans, being Super Hans, wants to call it Free The Paedos.

I’m just really not happy with Free The Paedos. Can’t we call it something more normal like – the Swan And Tomato?

Yeah? Or, compromise … The Swan And Paedo.


Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments…

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