There are fewer things sweeter than nailing a good comeback in the moment. We've all experienced the "spirit of the staircase' before: when you walk away from a situation and are either already down the street, on the way home, or laying down for the night when that perfect thing to say pops into your head.
That's why it's probably best to stay on your toes by trying out your best comeback jokes on your friend. Call it research or whatever you'd like, but this excellent AskReddit thread has a dope assortment of reactions and stories of epic return-fire quips that'll inspire your inner Winston Churchill.
1. The belt.
I went to catholic high school and had to wear a belt every day as part of the uniform. One day I had forgotten the belt, and the vice principal, who was a very fat man had caught me. He said, “Excuse me young man, I can’t see your belt.” I stopped in my tracks and said “Yeah? I can’t see yours either.’ I was on the receiving end of five days detention for that one.
2. Where did you go to medical school?
Not me, but I was there for it.
Doing early document research way down in the basement of a big law firm. Working on a med mal defense. This case involved where a guy went into an urgent care complaining about frequent urination, doctor ran a few tests, prescribed him some medication for BPH and let him go. Eventually goes to another Dr (I think it was like a year later). He has prostate cancer and it's spread, by this stage it's inoperable. 95 percent of the time these cases are just grieving families channeling their anger inappropriately.
Anyway, going through docs with me and 2 colleagues, let's call them Brad and Amy. Amy looks at some report and is like "Yeah, our doctor is in the wrong here. This blood test has a normal range of x-y. His is z. This should have lead to follow-up. He probably would have lived if they caught it then". Brad looks at her and says in just about the most condescending voice possible "And where did you go to medical school?". Amy answers "Yale".
Turns out, Amy had done her med school and left during her second year of rotations, deciding that being a Dr wasn't for her. She decided to enroll in law school.
I was at Target once with my then-roommate and I was buying some Nair for some personal... grooming. When checking out, my roommate made sure to say right in front of the female cashier, "Dude! Why are you buying NAIR?" I responded, "So you don't get hair in your mouth." That shut him up.
4. I know where you live.
Working retail and an hour long barrage of anger from a customer lead to me filling out a return form while he leant over me aggressively telling me how he would end me, end my career, end the business before I snapped, stood up, pointed at his address on the invoice and said "the difference between you and me is I know where YOU live."
He grabbed his form and bolted.
Still know that $#*!ers address near eight years later
5. Oh they brought Mamas into this.
"Do you know who my father is?"
"No, didn't your mother tell you?"
If you want an example of quick-witted savagery, this response is pretty much a textbook example of it.
6. Sister with the killshot.
My sister got me good once when I was about 19. My job then was newspaper delivery. I went into a room and saw my dog sound asleep on the couch and I went, "Tough life, huh? All you do is eat, sleep, and $#*! ".
My sister responds from the other room, "That's all you do too except you have a paper route"
I couldn't even think of a response.
7. Thanksgiving ownage.
So one Thanksgiving we were eating dinner at my BF’s parent’s house. BF’s deadbeat cousin was there and kept going on and on about how the family dog recognized him the moment she smelled him (she’s blind). My BF’s sweet old grandpa was sitting beside me and leaned over to whisper, “it’s hard to forget what $#*! smells like.”
8. Mess with the bull...
...and you get the horns.
“Do you have to be overweight to work here?”
“Why? Are you looking for a job?”
9. Middle School wit.
Middle school, peeing at the urinal. I was at the corner urinal slightly angled toward the wall because why not? I was an awkward middle schooler.
Kid walks in: “What’s the matter, don’t wanna show off your pee pee?”
Me, instantly: “You’re right, it would be showing off.”
I was so proud.
10. I hope everyone who heard it clapped.
Somebody at work said something like “I’ll show/give you six inches” and I immediately responded “I don’t need to see your $#*! six times.”
11. Coffee spiller.
When I worked at Starbucks, there was someone who spilled a bunch off coffee and was trying to clean it herself. My coworker walks up to clean it for real.
Coffee Spiller: "It's okay, I got it. I'm a waitress, I do this all the time"
Coworker: "You spill coffee all the time?"
He was trying to make a joke, but she just looked at him with a blank expression and walked away.
12. Football schmootball.
I played high school football one year, and after a scrimmage one of my team mates looked at me and said, "Hey, anybody ever tell you, you suck at football?" and without thinking I replied "Nobody that matters."
He was a bully, but to be fair I really did suck at football.
13. Drill Sergeant liked that.
Was in the army. A master corporal of mine overheard a sex story I was telling. He said, "your sister doesn't count." I said, "no, but yours does."
He laughed. I did drill for an extra hour.
14. It takes a strong person.
I have great renewable success with “ I can live with that “ it fit most things and is usually unexpected.
15. Wide Shadow.
When I was working in retail, my manager, who was a bigger fellow, and I used to talk $#*! to each other for fun.
One day he was congratulating himself for being such a good $#*! talker and he said something like, "I'm the king of throwing shade. I throw mad shade." To which I replied, "You do cast a wide shadow."
16. The Moms, again!
Because I'm ginger and somebody thought they had an easy target for a cheap laugh on the school bus in front of everyone.
Bully: "Oi, you, do you have ginger pubes?"
Me: "Nah mate, did, but they're all stuck in your mum's teeth."
Never got picked on after that one
17. At least they were a good sport about it.
Hanging out with friends, throwing crap at each other.
My wife: "No, not my face it's my money maker!"
Me: "No wonder we're always broke"
She found it as hilarious as I did.
18. Don't ask "where the women at."
I was waiting tables out of high school and wasn't very outspoken to strangers. I had a table of four dudes, pretty loud, joking around, etc. I think myself funny but again, this was before I was more outgoing. They got the salad bar and after they sat down with the plates from it, I asked if they found everything OK. One guy says, no, where are the women at? I said without even thinking, they saw you coming and ran off. The whole table busted up and I got a great tip.
19. "I don't think about you."
I was at the gym about six months ago and this guy I went to high school with approached me. He graduated a year ahead of me and opened with, "SnackandSquats?!" I stare back at him uncomfortably... I recognize him but don't remember his name. "I thought that was you. You used to be so weird, everyone thought you were so weird." "...yeah, probably"... he starts telling a story about casually bullying me, the good old days, sweet memories, etc. and then finishes it with, "But you look SO great now. I have always thought you were beautiful... what do you think about me?"
"I don't think about you."
He stared at me, and I continued to stare at him until he finally walked away.
20. You did IT again!
"Do you realize you always answer a question with a question?"
Without even thinking, "Does that bother you?"
21. Shiny forehead.
Woman at work asked me if her forehead was too shiny. I told her, "On the plus side, if you ever get lost in the mountains you can use it to signal aircraft."
She slapped me, but not in a serious way.
22. Chicken wings.
My friend in middle school was kind of a $#*! , and she was chubby.
I remember her fighting with a guy and she said, “I have more friends than you!” And he goes, “Yeah, if you count chicken wings!”
I tried so hard to hide my tears from laughing
23. If you can't take it then don't dish it out.
Was over at a friend's house in jr high and his dad was making jokes about me having a small $#*! for some reason but I just paid it no mind even though it bugged be. Couple hours pass and he comes in the room again and says something like, “Dixie745 you find your peen yet?” Before I could stop myself I blurted out “Yeah it was in your wife’s mouth.” Needless to say I was asked to leave that day. haha Honesty though wtf what he expecting?
24. They're sticking to it.
Girl with a tape recorder and microphone outside a strip mall near the New Year.
"Hi, I am taking a poll on New Year's resolutions"
"Yeah it's to not talk to strangers" as I walked right passed her.
I looked back and she was laughing.
25. Jerk playing the sympathy card.
I used to work with this guy who would always bring up the fact that his dad walked out on his family. There could be two people having a conversation on the other side of the room, and he'd hear one of them say the word dad and he'd interject with something like "Must be nice to have a dad, I wouldn't know. My dad left us when I was 6 and we haven't seen him since."
This guy was also just a generally unlikable person and kind of antagonistic towards everyone and everything, so he didn't generate much sympathy with these antics.
One day I told him to do something and we had this exchange:
"You're not my dad."
"If I were your dad, I would have walked out on you too."
26. Simple but effective.
Sometimes you just need to put the burden of conversational importance on the other person. And if you show that they care about something that's inconsequential, then they become inconsequential by association.