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Throwaway line

In comedy, a throwaway line (also: throwaway joke or throwaway gag) is a joke delivered "in passing" without being the punch line to a comedy routine, part of the build up to another joke, or (in the context of drama) there to advance a story or develop a character. Throwaway lines are often one-liners, or in-jokes, and often delivered in a deadpan manner.

In comic strips (Sunday comics in particular) throwaway gags are often placed in the throwaway panels of the comic, and are located there so that removing the throwaway panels for space reasons will not destroy the narrative of the central comic.

In episodic fiction, a line intended originally as a throwaway line in one episode may later be retconned by being incorporated into the back-story of the main drama, and used to develop the longer-term plot. As an example, in the second series of Breaking Bad, the character Saul Goodman, threatened at gunpoint by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, not knowing who they are as they are masked, and not yet knowing what this is about, tries to defuse the situation by blaming a guy named Ignacio, who is never mentioned again; however, the character Ignacio is introduced in the second episode of the prequel Better Call Saul, produced several years later.