Swimming in warm water in the summertime. Placing the final piece of a puzzle that’s taken you months to complete. ‘Roasting’ someone online with a comeback so witty and so savage, they had to call the ‘Oh Snap’ and fire brigades. All three things have one thing in common—they’re all human experiences that make us feel gooood.
The ‘Clever Comebacks’ subreddit is one of the best places on the net to go to for awesome retorts that will forever be enshrined on the internet in online screenshots. Check out some of the most on-point and hilarious comebacks they posted ever. Remember to upvote your fave ones and we hope they’ll inspire you to show off your wit the next time someone says something dumb or has a go at you.
Bored Panda was interested to learn about what makes comebacks witty and about comedic timing, so we reached out to comedy writer and author of 'How to Live to 100,' Ariane Sherine. Read on to learn what she told us. What’s the best comeback that you’ve ever said or heard in real life, dear Readers? Do you think that the pen is mightier than the sword? Share your thoughts with all of us in the comments.
Comedy writer Ariane told Bored Panda that, in her opinion, witty comebacks can be both spontaenous and planned out. "I've definitely come up with comebacks that are spontaneous. For instance, I told my daughter that if she didn't behave, I'd give her inheritance to a donkey sanctuary. She said, 'You wouldn't', and I came back, 'You bet your ass!' But though I hadn't used that comeback before, I clearly had knowledge of the pun and might have used something similar in the past."
She also pointed out something that honestly took me by surprise: "When it comes to stand-up, a lot of heckle putdowns are scripted and shared among comics." And here I thought that heckles were all instinctive and natural. I'll have to rethink some stuff about my fave comedians now.
Idk If This Has Been Posted Before, But I Love His Little Smile
Ariane said that the line between a regular comeback and one that makes us snort into our cups of tea is clear for everyone to see. "It needs to be very fast, well-timed, and take people by surprise as well as being clever, witty, and immediately understandable." So no pressure then!
The beauty of comedy, according to Ariane, is that (sometimes) our subconscious mind kicks in and takes us by surprise, along with the audience. "But that's relatively rare in my experience. I'm sure many other comics are more natural than I am!
The ‘Clever Comebacks’ community was founded in January 2018 and will be celebrating its 3-year anniversary very soon. In that time, they’ve amassed nearly 679k loyal members who are practicing the ancient art of the perfect comeback.
Personally, I think that comebacks are all about accurate, piercing, rapier-like wit. And the essence of wit is brevity, spontaneity, and stating the truth. It’s not a comeback if you spend an hour thinking about it and then another hour writing it out. Comebacks are the sniper rifles of the verbal battlefield. Not shotguns. Not machine guns. It’s all about one phrase—one roast.
The BBC tends to agree with my point of view. According to Rhea Wessel, witty comebacks can’t be planned—they can only be made in the moment. And timing is everything. Even if you come up with the perfect thing you could’ve said while you’re in the shower a day later, that amazing comeback is useless now. Too little. Too late.
That’s actually the beauty of comebacks. Sometimes, you end up just as surprised by your wit as everyone else is. It’s like, for a single beautiful moment, the Spirit of Absolute Roasting possessed you and gave you glorious guidance.
Abigail Paul, the artistic director at the Theatre Language Studio in Frankfurt, told the BBC that we can improve our wit by giving ourselves just a bit of extra time to craft a great answer. Strangely enough, that involves becoming a better listener. We need to train ourselves to listen to others and respond appropriately, instead of tuning out and only thinking about the points we want to make in the discussion. That way, you’ll be more than ready to mount a witty defense because you won’t be caught unaware.