2

There is a one-liner by Tim Vine, a British stand-up comedian, that sees him pull out a card with the word...

BNAG

and exclaim:

That's bang out of order!

The joke is derived from the idiom out of order, which Dictionary.com defines as

  1. out of order inappropriate; unsuitable: His remark was certainly out of order!

The phrase bang out of order is British English, where bang acts like an intensifier, so is Tim Vine's joke: a pun, an anagram, a play on words, a one-line joke, a factual statement or something else?

  • 2
    I would say it is a one-liner. – GEdgar Jan 9 '15 at 23:00
4

a pun,

Yes, because it is literally "bang, out of order" (mention, rather than use of the word bang, in the wrong order) and he is claiming it is "bang out of order" (expression of disapproval), so there are two meanings applied to the one phrase, providing humour.

an anagram,

No, because the result isn't another word. If it was an anagram then that might hinder the humour, because the puzzlement about about either what the random letters are (if the audience don't manage to descramble it) or why it's misspelt (if they do) serves as the feedline.

Consider if the card had said "Oh! Cling Sky" and he'd said "That's shockingly out of order". Of course it would lose a lot of its humour because "shockingly out of order" isn't a set phrase, but also because it's not as immediately obvious that it's made up of the letters in shockingly out of order.

a one-line joke,

AKA "a one-liner". Yes, though it isn't a fully independent one-liner that depends solely on the contents of the line.

a factual statement

Yes,

or something else

It's also a feedline/punchline joke, though the feedline is visual.

3

It's a REBUS PUZZLE.

Compare:

HEAD
----
HEELS

"Head over heels".

    R
  R O A D
    A
    D

"crossroads"

Man
Board

"man overboard"

ARREST
YOU'RE

"you're under arrest"

 ONCE
 6PM

Once upon a time

  won   I ............................................ I  der

???

  • Once upon a time / I'm [not exactly] beside myself in wonder? – Edwin Ashworth Jan 9 '15 at 23:54
  • 1
    I was thinking "eyes wide in wonder", but I like yours better. – TRomano Jan 9 '15 at 23:56
  • No, yours works better (audibly, which is quite permissible hereabouts). – Edwin Ashworth Jan 10 '15 at 0:01

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