Double-take (comedy)

A double-take is a nonverbal communication in which a second look is taken at something with a marked physical reaction such as shock, astonishment, or amazement.[1]

In theatrical terms, a 'take' is a physical reaction to seeing something.[2] Comic characters often perform a double take because of the absurd world in which they are performing, and their audiences are often in a similar position when they have had an instant to reflect on a comic performance.[3] With correct timing a double-take seldom fails to get a laugh.[4] The double-take has probably been in the comedians repertoire for centuries and the term has been in general use since at least the 1940s.[4]


  1. ^ Charney, Maurice (2005). Comedy: A Geographic and Historical Guide, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313327155. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Double Take". Theatre Dictionary. Theatre Development Fund. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  3. ^ Hutchinson, Peter (2006). Landmarks in German Comedy. Peter Lang. ISBN 9783039101856. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Harrison, Martin (1998). The Language of Theatre. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780878300877. Retrieved 13 October 2015.