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We all know trailers are intended to promote their production. To do this, they will invariably use notable scenes depending on the type of movie. In the case of a comedy, Crowning Moment of Funny scenes may be selected. When first shown, they probably elicit the desired reaction: The audience will "laugh out loud", as it were. All fine and good, but this trailer is constantly airing and/or streaming, so you're inevitably going to see it more than once, meaning you're going to be seeing that same amusing scene over and over.

When it comes to finally seeing the movie/TV show and that rib-tickling scene plays out, you notice that the gag isn't doing it for you. In fact, you may find yourself thinking that it's kinda lame -- this, ladies and gentlemen, is Trailer Joke Decay. Additionally, it maybe due to the unfortunate exposure to a Memetic Mutation of the gag, or it can be a case of both Never Trust a Trailer and Trailers Always Spoil, oddly enough.

Expect that almost every comedy movie will fall victim to this, though, of course, Your Mileage May Vary. It's possible to get around it by using the joke out of context in the trailer so that it's funny on another level when you see it in context, but trailers rarely seem to have that much thought put into them.

As noted, related to Never Trust a Trailer and Trailers Always Spoil (or possibly a subtrope, no consensus yet).

Examples of Trailer Joke Decay include:

Film - Animated

  • Ice Age suffers from this. Many of the Scrat-related jokes were already run in the trailers, seriously diminishing their humor value when finally seen on the big screen.
    • It's gotten to the point where the trailers are just entire Scrat segments, due to the fact that the kids love him so much. The 3D trailer for Dawn of the Dinosaurs managed to effectively say nothing about the movie's plot besides "Scrat's here".
      • You could also say it's largely a subversion as well, as Scrat is basically a walking Big Lipped Alligator Moment who rarely even remotely touches the plot.
  • This is thankfully averted with Pixar's movies by using extraneous footage not used in the final product. e.g. The Incredibles trailer has a now-too-small belt buckle ricocheting everywhere and taking out the lights - this did not stay in their movie. The Monsters, Inc. trailer involved an unused scene of Mike joking around with Sully in a kid's room (which is perhaps non-canon because Mike's job does not involve him entering the houses).
    • Though there have been exceptions particularly during the movie's completion as seen with the final trailers for Up and the "squirrel" gag.
    • Pixar frequently creates footage specifically for its teaser trailers (both Toy Story sequels and Cars 2 are other notable examples), the above mentioned material was never at any time intended to be a part of the films.
  • Every trailer for The Simpsons Movie made absolutely sure to include the "Spider-pig" scene. In every commercial break, the entire joke played over and over and OVER again, until by the time the actual movie came out it was more of an annoying meme than a joke.
    • Also, the entire wrecking ball scene. You were basically watching a trailer in the middle of the movie that the trailer was advertising.
  • Quite a few Lilo and Stitch trailers featured a scene in which Lilo placed Stitch's claw onto a record player, then opened his mouth, and "Hound Dog" started playing. When Lilo actually tried this in the movie, Stitch played "Suspicious Minds".
  • Despicable Me clearly had a monstrous advertising budget, with trailers and ads everywhere. And these ads used several of the best jokes in the movie, particularly the memetic "IT'S SO FLUFFY!!"
  • The commercials for the fourth Shrek movie used about every joke and surprise.
  • The trailers for Hoodwinked's sequel. Alright, we get it, granny farts, and Twitchy doesn't wear pants.
  • "That's a woman?!"
  • Alright, we get it, Dreamworks Animation! Marty's circus afro dance is funny. There's no need to put in every frickin' trailer and TV spot for Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted!

 Random Person: How is it annoying?

Person Next to Random Person: Because it goes like this. Da-da-dadada-da-da-circus, da-da-dadada-da-da-afro, circus afro, circus afro, polka dot, polka dot, polka dot, afro!

    • It's almost a sentient example of this trope. One advertisement seemingly portrays Marty as trying to dethrone "I Like to Move It Move It" as the franchises's Leitmotif with this new song, by interrupting King Julien and seemingly making him feel uncomfortable.
    • The movie's out now. And with all the exposure they put us through, the Circus Afro dance is now officially the most annoying song ever since Rebecca Black's "Friday".

Film - Live-Action

  • The trailer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding highlighted the scene where Nia Vardalos' character slams onto the ground due to her still holding onto the phone. Come screening time, not so funny.
  • Lex Luthor yelling that Lois Lane's "WRONG!!!!!" in Superman Returns. Not only was it overexposed in the trailer, it was already an Internet meme weeks before the damn movie even premiered.
  • While not a comedy film, every ad ever for the sixth Harry Potter film included this humorous exchange:

 Hermione: Hey, she's only interested in you because she thinks you're the Chosen One!

Harry: But I am the Chosen One!


  • Many of the Pirates of the Caribbean trailers, specifically Elizabeth's "try wearing a corset" and "I don't think now's the best time" lines from the first and third films respectively.
    • Averted with a gag from the second one - the trailer had the following exchange:

 Will: We have to go back for Jack!

Jack comes running around the corner, chased by natives

Will: Never mind, let's go!

    • The trailer had used an outtake - Orlando Bloom had made a mistake, and was indicating that they should try the line again.
  • The "We are actors, not astronauts!" line from Galaxy Quest.
    • Though averted as the much-played scene of Jason saying "The whole thing was just a misunderstanding" with the last part muffled by Sarek's hand over his mouth didn't end up in the film.
  • Spider-Man's "You're not Superman, you know."
    • Lampshaded in the film, as Peter Parker chuckles at the joke -- probably the way anyone would. In the trailer, the line is followed by Peter's over-serious look from later in the scene. So the trailer version is actually funnier.
  • Men in Black II had an ad lib from Will Smith concerning the autopilot driver for their vehicles. Even the director was upset because he felt it ruined the joke by showcasing it ahead of time.

 Kay: Does that come standard?

Jay: Actually, it came with a black dude, but he kept getting pulled over.

  • The Master of Disguise: "Am I not turtley enough for the Turtle Club? Turtle, turtle!"
    • "This is what you are doing. This is what you should be doing."
  • The Year One trailer overexposed every funny moment.
  • The Sherlock Holmes trailer featured an originally humorous gag where Holmes picks up a small hammer to fight a large goon with a several times larger hammer and throws it at the guy after noticing said disparity, having no effect on said large goon. By the time the gag showed in the theater, nobody in the audience was laughing at it.
  • There is also anything showing clips from Napoleon Dynamite, which holds an odd distinction of being a film that has its gags ruined by trailers, word of mouth, and merchandising. Yeesh.
  • Every TV spot of The Country Bears included that clip of the policemen's hair getting messed up in the car wash, eventually reaching the point where Disney released a commercial that contained nothing but that clip.
  • The trailers and commercials for Hancock seemed to go out of their way to spoil every single joke in the entire film, long after they'd secured an audience. Of course, by the third major trailer they were also giving away the giant plot twist, so their marketing team obviously has issues.
    • Probably the biggest offender was the whale scene. In the teaser, every actual trailer and a Best Buy advertisement that got a ton of airtime in the US.
  • Trailers for There's Something About Mary included all of the major jokes in the movie, severely degrading the viewing experience.
  • People laughed out loud when the trailer of The Mask came out, whetting the viewers' appetites. Sadly it showed most of the funniest moments of the movie leaving those who saw the trailer unsatisfied with the movie.
  • Two Words. Old Dogs. All of the jokes (not just the notable ones) were in the trailers and ads. This was so bad, that watching the movie was pointless. All you really need to do is watch the trailer. Don't worry, you won't miss a thing.
  • The trailers for the Yours Mine and Ours remake left absolutely NO gag unrevealed.
  • The trailers for The Informant! always included the line "They call me 0014, cuz I'm twice as smart as 007." Probably the only funny joke in the movie.
  • The trailers for The Change Up highlight two instances of Toilet Humor involving Jason Bateman: the first having a baby take a crap on his face and the other being Leslie Mann having a case of diarrhea which prevents them from having sex. Not only were the jokes overused, they weren't even funny to begin with.
  • Selena Gomez wearing cowboys boots at a fancy dinner party in Monte Carlo. We get it, her character is from Texas. This was even on the posters.
  • Perplexingly subverted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as pointed out in Red Letter Media's review. Compare the reasonably amusing comic timing of the take used in the trailer, versus the humor-exsanguinated one used in the film.
  • Every single trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World showed the "No clue/Gets it" clip.
  • "Cop Out". Looked funny, especially this gem (skip to 2:04) between Seann William Scott, Tracy Morgan, and finally, Bruce Willis:

 Scott: Knock Knock

Morgan: No. No. Nn Nn. Nn Nn. No. No. No, No, No. NO! HELL NO! NO! NO! I refu- NO! No.

Willis: (Deadpan) Who's there?

    • Needless to say, that scene was not in the movie, turning it into a colossal downer for those of us who watched it in the theater.
  • Big Trouble subverted this by editing a joke from the movie into a new one for the trailer. Good thing since the movie was pushed back six months due to 9/11.
    • The joke in the trailer:

 Monica:Sir, have you been drinking?


Whiskey bottle crashes to the ground.


    • The joke in the movie:

 Walter:Is this your gun?

Jack:Yes. (Beat) No.

Monica:Sir, have you been drinking?

Jack:Of course not.

Whiskey bottle crashes to the ground. He runs.

Live-Action TV

  • ICarly: This happens pretty much Once an Episode now, especially since they started calling them all 'specials' and airing one episode every 2 months. If the audience is lucky it's just the funniest joke, and not the entire episode, like happened in iGot A Hot Room.
  • This was Lampshaded in NBC's coverage of the 1997 World Series. Throughout the series, NBC showed numerous promos for their new sitcom Working. Play-by-play announcer Bob Costas pointed out after one particular spot that although the clips were funny, viewers might not find them as humorous in the actual show due to having seen those particular jokes so often.
  • Glee had a Vogue parody starring Sue. It probably would've been funnier and more surprising if they hadn't shown the entire thing in a trailer at the end of the previous episode.
  • Cartoon Network's terrible with this. The trailer for the new Regular Show episode overuses Mordecai's imitation of a dance music beat. You know, "uhn tiss uhn tiss uhn tiss uhn tiss uhn tiss".
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