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L.A. Speak : Sitcom-Writers’ Slang

bananas on bananas n. superfluous silliness. “That first joke works, but the rest is just bananas on bananas.

echo dialogue when one character repeats another’s words. “She says: ‘Why did you put the dog in the microwave?’ Then he’ll echo dialogue: ‘Dog? Microwave?’ ”

hairball n. a gooey emotional moment. “We need a big hairball after the pie-fight scene.”

hardwood n. lines that set up a laugh. “We need different hardwood under that condom joke.”

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huggy tag n. a hairball that ends a scene.

joke desert n. a page of script devoid of humor. Sometimes the writer is the last to know.

NTBSLT abbreviation for not this but something like this. A nice way of saying your joke stinks.

second-stage rocket n. plot twist in the middle of the story; e.g., the ex-wife turns out to be a nun.

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spit take n. when an actor comically spits out what he’s drinking. “When Mindy says she’s pregnant, we’ll get a spit take from Claude.”

take factory n. an actor who causes multiple retakes. “George was a real take factory tonight.”

treacle cutter n. caustic antidote to a hairball or huggy tag.


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