I always get a chuckle when I see TV and movie writers using these “reframe” techniques to get a laugh. After all, that’s one of the main ingredients of humor and jokes.
Get the mind thinking in one way, and then quickly throw in another meaning for what the listener thought was coming, or what’s usually expected.
Why is six afraid of seven?
Seven ate nine!
This is what’s called a phonetic ambiguity (eight –> ate). It’s the same “trick” that’s behind the famous,
“Why Mr. Jones, BUY NOW, you realize what a good product this is!”
Some even cross over between languages. For example, here in Japan, there’s a famous one among school kids:
A girl gets on an elevator. Did she go up or down?
UP! Get it?
Ok, let me explain. In Japanese, to “go up” is said “agaru” and is pronounced “ah – gah – lu” with the empahsis on the “lu” (they don’t really have an “r” sound)
But if you put the emphasis on the “gah” it sounds like the Japanese pronunciation of “a girl” which is spelled the same way.
Sometimes TV writers will use meaning reframes to get a laugh.
For example, I was watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” the other night. Two characters were walking down the street, discussing some “problems” they’d been having since their recent health binge, which included taking tons of vitamins.
Of course, they reframed the “problems” into “solutions” the following way.
The guy had constipation. But instead of seeing it as a “problem,” he saw it as a solution:
“I’ve got constipation. That means my body has become really efficient, and is using 100% of everything I eat!”
The girl, on the other hand, had diarrhea (which she said she’d been having “all over the place”). She reframed it this way:
“I’ve got diarrhea, which means my body is flushing out all those toxins and I’m getting healthier by the minute!”
Another one was from a movie called “Chick Magnet,” which was a ridiculously horrible movie
and had the following reframe:
Guy 1: I need to get my wife back.
Guy 2: You need to get a hundred OTHER girls, IN the back!
See, this is another benefit of learning these reframes really well. You see all kinds of opportunities in regular conversations for all kinds of fun.
You’ll be a real hit at parties!
Try it out!