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VOICE OVER: Sophia Franklin WRITTEN BY: Francesca LaMantia
These sitcom running gags never get old. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're looking at some of the funniest recurring jokes on comedy series. Our countdown includes "The Office," "Frasier," "The Big Bang Theory," and more!

Top 10 Sitcom Running Gags


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re looking at some of the funniest recurring jokes on comedy series.

#10: I Don't Need This, My Man Has 2 Jobs
“Everybody Hates Chris” (2005-09)


Chris’ mother Rochelle is always picking up the odd job here and there in order to make a little extra money - and why not? But she’ll be the first to let you know just how much she doesn’t need the nonsense that comes with it. Whenever she is dealing with an annoying customer, an overbearing boss or just whatever minor agitation presents itself - which happens pretty often -, she expresses herself through this line. Rochelle is not one to be shy about speaking her mind. She’ll tell anyone in the general vicinity.

#9: Knock 3 Times
“The Big Bang Theory” (2007-19)


Sheldon Cooper is definitely a compulsive kind of guy. One of his most unforgettable habits is that he always knocks three times before entering any room. For the majority of the series it was just a charming, unexplained routine of his. Sure, the gang would occasionally tease him about it. Penny even shocked him once by knocking right back at him. But when they finally do explain why he always knocks three times, you definitely get it. Though it has a tragic backstory, this particular compulsion of Sheldon’s is always amusing.

#8: Fez’s Homeland
“That ‘70s Show” (1998-2006)


In case you didn’t know, Fez’s comes from his being a foreign exchange student. We never even knew his real name let alone his home country. Wherever Fez is actually from has always been a mystery. Every now and then something would be revealed about it. For example, we know it’s an island. We know they fought a war against the British. We even once met a friend from his homeland. But every time the actual name of the place comes up in conversation someone changes the subject. Maybe it will finally be revealed in “That ‘90s Show.”

#7: VHS Tape
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (2005-)


You’d think that eventually the gang would have switched to digital to record things. But no, they still stick with VHS. Not only that, but every time the gang makes a video, they record it on the same tape over and over again. And the gang makes a lot of dumb videos. When Dee and Charlie make a terrible video for a multi level marketing business called Invigaron, you can see the tail ends of some of the other videos they’ve made at the end. The whole thing is pretty hilarious when you realize it’s the exact same tape.

#6: Niles’ Wife
“Frasier” (1993-2004)


Maris, Nile’s wife, is never seen in the show, at least not in a recognizable way. We do see her once in a memory of Niles’, and we see her shadow once. But that’s the most we ever got. The funny part is that along with always criticizing her personality, they’re always making fun of Maris’ less than favorable appearance. Kind of ironic, don't you think? Yet they talk about her so much that we feel we know her quite well. Throughout the series the anticipation about Maris builds and builds, but we never get the satisfaction of actually laying eyes on her.

#5: Douchebag Jar
“New Girl” (2011-18)


The best thing about this joke is that it evolved right along with the show and the characters. At the beginning of the series Schmidt was putting money in the jar all the time. There’s even a season one episode where we see the story behind why Schmidt has to put 50 bucks in the jar. There’s even a montage of some of his worst offenses. But as he grows as a person we slowly see the jar used less and less. Of course it still appears occasionally. But definitely less. Then by the time he marries Cece, they are using the jar as the glass he breaks at their wedding.

#4: Slap Bet
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)


A lot of the time, you never knew just when the slap bet joke was going to pay off., and so we were just as caught off guard as Barney. Early in the series, Marshall and Barney make a bet about a particular secret of Robin’s. Neither of them turned out to be right in their guesses. But by the end of it Barney was offered the chance to get ten slaps right then and there, or five slaps at any point of Marshall’s choosing. He opted for the five. This gag is Legend - wait for it - dary.

#3: That's What She Said
“The Office” (2005-13)


According to Michael, and no one else, he is the funniest guy in the office. And this is his best joke. He never misses an opportunity for a “that’s what she said” joke. Even when he was being chastised by his boss, Jan, for making sexual jokes, he just couldn’t control himself. During an announcement he was making about ending all the jokes, Jim provoked him, and Michael couldn’t hold it in. He says that’s what she said right in front of the bosses that were just fussing at him about it. It’s like a compulsion for him. He can’t resist.

#2: Title of Your Sex Tape
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-21)


This one started as a sort of offhand comment from Jake about Amy and became the longest running joke in the entire show. It’s kind of like the show’s own personal version of “that’s what she said.” Whenever someone said something even slightly sexual sounding, no matter how innocent in nature, Jake would announce that it’s the name of their sex tape. The joke eventually spread to the rest of the members of the squad. Rosa, Amy, and Charles have all said it at times. Even Holt dropped a couple. This show had a lot of running gags, the second best probably being the way Jake always repeated “cool.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Chin Touching, “Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005)
Robert’s Compulsion

The Cone of Silence, “Get Smart” (1965-70)
Top Security

Picture It, “The Golden Girls” (1985-92)
Another Classic Sophia Story

Newman & Jerry, “Seinfeld” (1989-98)
Mutual Hatred

#1: Jazz
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990-96)


Poor Jazz. He was always getting thrown out of the Banks’ house. Literally. Uncle Phil always found Jazz to be Will’s most offensive friend. And he had no problem expressing just how much he didn’t like him. But Uncle Phil is not the only one who’s ever thrown Jazz out. Will got in a couple licks from time to time. And even Hilary tossed him out when he got fresh with her. The best part of this joke is probably that you could always predict when it was coming because Jazzy Jeff would always wear the exact same shirt in episodes where Jazz got launched.

What’s your favorite running gag on TV? Sound off in the comments.
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