The Rake Bit and other jargon

Kung Fu Monkey lists jargon learned while apprenticing in LA writing rooms.

For many, many situations, there was a shorthand to help codify and communicate a problem in the script that was often tantalizingly just out of reach, just at the edge of your writer's "something's ... off" radar.

Never knew there was a name for what's called "The Rake Bit."

"The Rake Bit": Something that's funny, goes on too long so it's not funny, then goes on so long that it becomes INCREDIBLY funny.

Goes under a couple different names, but of writers my age, this seems to be the most prevalent. Based on The Simpsons ep that was a Cape Fear riff. Sideshow Bob climbs out from under a car and steps on a rake. It smacks him. He mutters. He then steps three feet away ... onto another rake. He mutters. ad-near-infinitum.


Matteson said...

Curious if you can think of any stand up bits that could be considered a "rake bit". There must be some. Would take some real balls to power through the middle sections without laughs

Abbi Crutchfield said...

Charles Gould is pioneering the rake bit in stand-up form. I love watching him.

Matteson said...

I'll have to check him out on YouTube. I'm not familiar with his work.

I realized that I've seen a few comics at open mics that unintentionally do a "rake bit" by being so bad, so consistently, that it becomes funny.

Josh Homer said...

Joe Rocha does a bit about someone on a plane singing a song about Jesus that is a rake bit. Jim Mendrinos used to do a bit about a baby eating and pooping that is also a rake bit.

Kevin C said...

If I'm understanding the term correctly, I think Eddie Izzard's Engelbert Humperdinck bit fits the definition of "rake bit." He lies to the audience and says he's dead, then says he was just kidding, and then goes back and forth with this for entirely too long until it becomes hilarious.

Family Guy frequently uses this kind of gag too.

Neil Constantine said...

Paul F Tompkins' Peanut Brittle and Cherry Picking bit falls under this I think.

Anonymous said...

Kristen Schaal is a horse.


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