There are very few things in life that feel better than one-upping someone. Not too many of us will admit it, but it feels absolutely amazing when you prove someone wrong, show everyone you're right, and demolish others with well-placed witty comebacks. The best roasts end up on the 'Clever Comebacks' subreddit, a community of nearly 754k members, eagerly combing the corners of the internet for humorous, witty, and razor-sharp comebacks.

When it comes to being witty, there are two general approaches. The first one is firing off an instant quip, taking advantage of the perfect timing. It's a skill that you can develop over time. The second approach is taking a bit more time and carefully honing the perfect response for each situation. That's much easier done on the internet than in real life, but it's also something we can all do, no matter our current skill in cleverly taking others down a peg or two.

London-based British musical stand-up comedian, author, and comedy writer Ariane Sherine highlighted to Bored Panda in a follow-up interview what's most important when it comes to a clever comeback. "I think the most important thing with comebacks is speed. Even if the joke isn't a total zinger, people will be impressed by your quickfire response," she said. Read on for her other insights about how we can all up our comedy game.

You'll find Bored Panda's earlier post about r/clevercomebacks right over here. Be sure to give it a read once you're done enjoying this list and upvoting the comebacks and epic burns that you personally feel deserve calling the fire brigade over.

#1

Just Try Not Being Straight For Awhile

Just Try Not Being Straight For Awhile

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Omfg this is a BRILLIANT response I'm making a mental note

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#2

You Can Still Breathe Idiot

You Can Still Breathe Idiot

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Eva the Egg
Community Member
3 weeks ago

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"Than there is getting to yours" LMAOO

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#3

It's Already Happening

It's Already Happening

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Isn't dean browning the guy who said "I'm a black guy and I can say Obama personally did nothing for me"

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Ariane told us that most stand-up comics have a "repertoire of comebacks" that they often share with others in their profession when it comes to tackling hecklers at shows. "We're not all as fast and talented as it seems! But if we're doing stand-up, our own routines will be original—it's just heckle putdowns that might not be," she said.

#4

Hypocritical, Hyperbolic, And Hyper Stupid

Hypocritical, Hyperbolic, And Hyper Stupid

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Raine Soo
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Yeah, Trump the faux Christian.

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#5

Room Temperature Iq

Room Temperature Iq

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Someone from the US talking about rights is quite ironic in my opinion. Although I don’t see anywhere that suggests Gary is from the US.

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#6

Exodus 20:7

Exodus 20:7

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

That's a burn

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Comedian Ariane also opened up about an "awful stand-up show" that left her incredibly embarrassed. However humiliating the situation was, it was also an example of razor-like wit in action. "I started a joke by saying 'I'm single at the moment...' and a guy in the audience yelled, 'I'll shag you!' So I called his bluff and said, 'Come on up here then' and he shot back, 'Nah, I've taken a closer look and I don't fancy you!' Really humiliating and not much fun at all, but possibly quite amusing for the audience."

#7

I Hope This Hasn’t Been Done Before

I Hope This Hasn’t Been Done Before

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Laura Mende (Human)
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Ok, cool answer for that MF. BUT MUFASA!!! 😭😭😭😭😭 THIS WAS THE DAY MY CHILDHOOD ENDED!!!

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#8

May I Use Your Tweets?

May I Use Your Tweets?

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joe
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Outstanding!

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#9

I Hate Anti-Maskers

I Hate Anti-Maskers

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Kitty Luna Darrow
Community Member
3 weeks ago

"unfraid..." yeah, pretty much sums up their IQ level

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Ariane added that you gain emotional resilience as a comedian by becoming more experienced and practised at the comebacks. "You don't want to give them the chance to reject you, as I did previously— you've got to get in there first with a funny insult!"

#10

Simple, Yet Effective

Simple, Yet Effective

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 weeks ago

What a stupid tautology of a statement ffs. PSA: Feminism isn't attacking men for being men. It's equal right. So tiring to see this nonsense

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#11

Illegal Plants

Illegal Plants

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

That's why you never use religion to explain something... it often times contradicts itself.

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#12

Philip Brought A Tank In A Knife Fight

Philip Brought A Tank In A Knife Fight

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

he isn't bragging, actually was president

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For those of us who have some trouble firing off clever retors, Ariane said that we can always take inspiration from comedians if things don't come naturally to us. "As I say, heckle putdowns are generally shared among comics so there's no code of honour when it comes to using them (but you mustn't nick original stand-up material!)" she said.

#13

I Should Be Allowed To Pick The Oil Company I Die And Kill For!

I Should Be Allowed To Pick The Oil Company I Die And Kill For!

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SykesDaMan
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Why this one is so low??!!??

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#14

Can Anyone Show Martha The Original Constitution ?

Can Anyone Show Martha The Original Constitution ?

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James016
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Now about those amendments....

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#15

Looking For Approval In All The Wrong Places

Looking For Approval In All The Wrong Places

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Roxy Eastland
Community Member
3 weeks ago

What did they think they were proving? That JB isn't tyrant-y enough?

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Earlier, I spoke to comedian Ariane about wit, comebacks, and comedic timing. The professional comedian explained to Bored Panda that when it comes to witty comebacks, they can be spontaneous as well as planned out.

#16

Common Sense Is Really Rare These Days

Common Sense Is Really Rare These Days

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
3 weeks ago

"Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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#17

Whatttt !?? No Vegan Options At KFC!???

Whatttt !?? No Vegan Options At KFC!???

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Gemma
Community Member
3 weeks ago

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I agree she's not discriminated against. But veggie/vegan options make it easier to go out with your meat-eating friends without being a pain.

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#18

Damn... Guess My Opinion Is Invalid

Damn... Guess My Opinion Is Invalid

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troufaki13
Community Member
3 weeks ago

I have a feeling this whole thing is getting out of hand... :(

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A lot depends on the person thinking up the comeback as well as the particular situation they're in. After all, we've all had moments when we fire off a joke that's 10/10 without knowing how it came to us. We've also been in situations where we're in the shower washing our hair, and we suddenly come up with the ideal comeback to something someone said a week ago. Alas! Usually, it's too late to deploy that perfect comeback because it's far, far too late.

#19

She's Baaaad

She's Baaaad

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ThatOneCrazyFanGirl
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Burnnnnnnnnnnnn!!

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#20

Maybe I Am Karen?

Maybe I Am Karen?

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

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Makes sense to me... then again, we call Karens Europeans in here

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#21

Bill Burr Everybody

Bill Burr Everybody

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Watching
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Got a love the religious right. Always the first to depend pedophilia.

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"I've definitely come up with comebacks that are spontaneous," Ariane shared. 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."

#22

He's Not Wrong

He's Not Wrong

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ThatOneCrazyFanGirl
Community Member
3 weeks ago

idk...open the moonroof and get in?

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#23

Look Before You Leap

Look Before You Leap

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

zero faith in her eyes

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#24

Vandalized Pineapple

Vandalized Pineapple

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Eva the Egg
Community Member
3 weeks ago

"A vandalized pineapple" 🤣😓🤷‍♀️🤣

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As for finding the line between a regular comeback and one that makes you laugh out loud, according to comedian Ariane, it's clear for everyone to see when the comeback's good and when it falls flat on its face. "It needs to be very fast, well-timed, and take people by surprise as well as being clever, witty, and immediately understandable." When you break it down like that, the art of the comeback becomes even more daunting than it was before.

Fortunately, our subconscious mind kicks in and takes over from us when we least expect it. (It could do that more often because it's bloody brilliant when it takes charge.) "But that's relatively rare in my experience. I'm sure many other comics are more natural than I am!" Ariane shared that it doesn't happen nearly as often as we'd like.

#25

When You Get Shot Down By Facts

When You Get Shot Down By Facts

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Jim Hoft: thank you for braying your stupidity 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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#26

That’s My Gender

That’s My Gender

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Hans
Community Member
3 weeks ago

That escalated quickly and hurtingly.

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#27

Who’ll Email You When You Block Him More Like This

Who’ll Email You When You Block Him More Like This

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Indeed

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Founded back in 2018, the 'Clever Comebacks' subreddit celebrated its third birthday back in January. Since then, it's amassed a huge following that keeps on growing. Since our last post about the community in December 2020, the number of members has grown from 679k to almost 754k.

Not everyone has the nuanced point of view that witty comebacks can be either impulsive or planned out. According to Rhea Wessel writing for the BBC, witty comebacks can only be made in the moment and timing is vital. Without it, there's no wit and no comeback worth remembering.

#28

They Lack Opposable Thumbs

They Lack Opposable Thumbs

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Eva the Egg
Community Member
3 weeks ago

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Poor David

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#29

Other People’s Kids Is A Surprisingly Great Form Of Birth Control

Other People’s Kids Is A Surprisingly Great Form Of Birth Control

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Raine Soo
Community Member
3 weeks ago

That has got to be the biggest BURN.

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#30

This Is Not Your Business There Is A Something To Consider, You And Your Boss Do Illegal Things Every Day

This Is Not Your Business There Is A Something To Consider, You And Your Boss Do Illegal Things Every Day

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Oh Tomi, Tomi, Tomi.

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While we all secretly enjoy a spot of dark humor here and there, there's an advantage to choosing to go for more positive comebacks instead of negative ones. "Often the best retorts are comebacks that are witty, take the higher moral ground, are appropriate and most importantly, positive," Rhea writes on BBC Worklife.

Choosing positive comebacks over negative ones is especially important in a work setting which can affect the atmosphere and how employees feel about their jobs. "Positive comments are a far better tool for keeping projects on track while showing your love of linguistic acrobatics. Others will find the humor in them and you may see negative interactions quickly cease," Rhea explains.

#31

The Founders Would Say "The F**k Is An Ohio?"

The Founders Would Say "The F**k Is An Ohio?"

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Question answered :)

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#32

Asking For A Friend

Asking For A Friend

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Eric, you turd

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#33

Totally True

Totally True

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Also show me cain and abel's marriage certificates to their sisters

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#34

Well, It Had To Be Something Productive, Right?

Well, It Had To Be Something Productive, Right?

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lazy cat
Community Member
3 weeks ago

ROASTED

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#35

Now That Is Some Comeback!

Now That Is Some Comeback!

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
3 weeks ago

That's actually a cute way to turn a self depreciating put down type of thing into a sweet potential date or friend :)

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#36

“How Many Gold Medals Do You Have?”

“How Many Gold Medals Do You Have?”

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Yeah, Debra!

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#37

"Id Like To Live"

"Id Like To Live"

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WaterHydraMC
Community Member
3 weeks ago

effing power move

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#38

It Be Like That

It Be Like That

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• Lemønchu •
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Ouch...

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#39

That's A Critical Hit!!

That's A Critical Hit!!

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Gurnox
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Brilliant!

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#40

Found On Fb... Personally I Found The Response To Be Quite A Zinger

Found On Fb... Personally I Found The Response To Be Quite A Zinger

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Eva the Egg
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Oh the irony...

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#41

Colorado Didn't Send Their Best Or Brightest

Colorado Didn't Send Their Best Or Brightest

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Raine Soo
Community Member
3 weeks ago

This response made me smile. :)

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#42

Do Some Research Before Spouting Nonsense

Do Some Research Before Spouting Nonsense

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The Cute Cat
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Face palm..

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#43

Skinny Jeans Are Out!

Skinny Jeans Are Out!

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IzzieM
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Haha!

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#44

I Would Prefer "Beeeeees Run Run"

I Would Prefer "Beeeeees Run Run"

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James016
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Or if there is a real urgency about it: BEES!!!!

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#45

Fascists Calling Others Fascists

Fascists Calling Others Fascists

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
3 weeks ago

And a slew of chumpanzee twits who grew up on legitimate press suddenly believe in a fraudster like trump. Insane

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#46

Savage Comeback

Savage Comeback

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
3 weeks ago (edited)

I will add another, largely denies women’s rights for example domestic violence, sexual assault etc.

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#47

I Am More Better Than Everyone

I Am More Better Than Everyone

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

People want to brag, they also want to seem better than anyone

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#48

Kaepernick Has Entered The Chat

Kaepernick Has Entered The Chat

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Sum Guy
Community Member
3 weeks ago

The amounts of cults in the US is scary... how else would explain the republican party

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#49

Hey Girl, Are You Piñata ?

Hey Girl, Are You Piñata ?

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troufaki13
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Good save though

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#50

Vaccinated Politician Tries To Call Out Elitism

Vaccinated Politician Tries To Call Out Elitism

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Raine Soo
Community Member
3 weeks ago

Marco Rubio is a mug.

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Note: this post originally had 95 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.