As it is the season of pantomime, I have three questions:

  1. Can anyone think of a name for the traditional comic contretemps between the show's villain and kids in the audience when the former shouts something like 'Oh no I didn't (throw the cat in the loo!)' and the audience screams 'Oh yes you did!'?

  2. If a 'double entendre' is a joke with two meanings, what is a joke which has a funny meaning which the kids can laugh at, and a deeper, usually obscene, meaning which the mums and dads find hilarious?

  3. What do we call the age at which you stop laughing at the simple meaning and first understand that the Grand Dame is actually talking about her testicles?

  • Is this three questions, or just one with three examples?
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jan 2, 2014 at 1:19
  • 1
    Q1 - I believe that is "Call and Response". Jan 2, 2014 at 1:30
  • 3
    Q2 - You answered yourself; it's a "double entendre". Jan 2, 2014 at 1:32
  • 1
    Q3 - No clue. American. Jan 2, 2014 at 1:33
  • 2
    Q1 - back and forth, raillery; Q2, Q3 see@ Elliott Frisch Jan 2, 2014 at 5:35

2 Answers 2


When the audience and performer interact in this way, it's referred to as "call and response."

When the actor speaks to the audience, pretending that the other actors cannot hear, it is called an "aside."

  1. I like very much user61284's "call and response." Another couple possibilities might include "audience participation" or "audience involvement."

  2. A double entendre.

  3. It depends. Some adults fail to catch the "deeper" (often shallower/cruder) meaning. Some kids, depending on how their brains work and perhaps even their level of intelligence or quickness, could understand the deeper meaning relatively early in life. Again, it depends.

An additional thought: If the comedian is bombing or is getting blank stares from the audience, he or she could always resort to the Monty Phython-esque locution:

"Wink, wink; nudge, nudge."

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