It’s not very often that we come up with the perfect comeback on the spot. But when it does happen, it’s simply magical. From the simple two- or three-word clapbacks that put someone in their place, to the more complicated burns that are so devastating they’re unforgettable, there’s something deeply satisfying about landing the right line. These Redditors shared the most epic burns they’ve ever witnessed, and the results are legendary. As a warning: these burns are so piping hot that they might scorch your screen, so buckle in for a wild ride.
1. The Fast and the Farcical
I was riding in a car with one of my buddies and he was way over the speed limit on a pretty empty county highway. To give you some idea, he was going 90ish with a 55 mph limit. Well, suddenly we hear a patrol car behind us and we pull over. The officer walks up to the window and says in a country accent with a grin on his face, “Boy, I’ve been waiting for you all day.”
The driver of the car, my friend, didn’t even hesitate for a second before he retorted: “Sorry officer, I got here as fast as I could.” The officer was in tears for the next 20 seconds, laughing uncontrollably. My friend got off with a warning and the officer told him that was the first time anyone had made him laugh that hard while he was on duty.
2. Fun With Dick and Jane
Here’s my favorite self-burn. In high school math class, there was this nice, nerdy guy named Richard. The jerk of the class, let’s call him John, keeps calling Richard “Dick.” Like, “Hey, Dick, did you get the answer to #4?” Richard keeps calmly saying “It’s Richard.” Finally, the teacher says, “Richard, what do you prefer to be called?”
Richard says, “I prefer Richard.” John says, “Well, I prefer Dick.” After a few seconds of uproarious laughter from the rest of the class, John realized what he said and sunk as far down into his seat as possible and never bugged Richard again. We were teenagers in the 80s, so this really was the height of hilarity in class.
3. Don’t Blame Me, I’m Your Son
In a heated argument, my mom called my brother a “son of a [bleep].” He replied, “You got that right.”
4. Keeping Him in Suspense
I was at a friend’s place with a lot of people who I didn’t really know too well. We were all having a few beers. Suddenly, this dude from across the table says to me, quite aggressively, that my suspenders were ugly and that they made me look like I was trying too hard—which, to be fair, I was. But I still dealt him a crushing blow.
Without skipping a beat, I stood up, unclipped my suspenders, and put them in my pocket. When I sat down, I looked straight into his eyes and replied, “Now let’s talk about that face tattoo of yours.”
5. Not My Type
A friend of mine in first-year university had never really dated any girls yet. This dumb meathead who we were kind of friends with told him one day, “When you do get a girlfriend, I’m totally going to sleep with her.” The guy absolutely slayed him. He responded, “If I had a girlfriend who would sleep with you, her cheating on me wouldn’t be the issue.”
6. Family Rude
I still think about this comeback to this day. I have two little brothers, and it was my dad’s birthday, so the semi-extended family was all at a restaurant to celebrate. I had just graduated from my dad’s alma mater, and my middle brother was currently a junior there. However, my youngest brother, a freshman, had opted to go to a state school.
At one point my uncle said, “So [youngest brother], how does your dad feel about you breaking the trend of men going to the alma mater?” My little brother thought about it for a moment and then said, “Well, he probably doesn’t mind, considering I also broke the trend of not being able to get higher than a 3.0.”
The table absolutely exploded in laughter and whooping. My other brother and I just stared at each other across the table, like oh my god, did we just get crushed? It’s especially funny because my little brother was one of those shy high school kids who went off to college and then suddenly came back fun and socially confident.
I was hoping that development would happen, I just never expected it to stab me in the face.
7. Do I Know You?
I witnessed this exchange between two of my friends when they were having a fight. My one friend yelled, “Everyone thinks you’re a jerk!” Without batting an eyelash, the other one replied, “Well, you know what everyone thinks about you? Nothing. No one ever thinks about you. I know I don’t.” Welp, points to my second friend.
8. Belt It out, Granny
My dear grandmother. She had a quick and savage wit. My fiancé and I held a “meet the whole family” get-together at my house. It was the first time his father met my grandmother. His dad was a large, physically intimidating man with a beer gut. He began telling stories to my grandmother about how my fiancé was a mischief-maker when he was young.
He then told my grandmother how he would take off his belt and whip him for being bad. My frail little grandmother stares directly at my husband’s dad’s tummy and says, “Your belt? However could you find it?” Future father-in-law was gobsmacked.
9. *Chef’s Kiss*
When I saw this one, I never forgot it. Gordon Ramsay asks his daughter on-camera, “So what’s it like being the daughter of the most famous chef in the world?” His daughter replies, “I wouldn’t know; Jamie Oliver’s not my dad.” Boom. Roasted.
10. Cutting His Teeth
I was once criticized by an older family member for having a stray tooth that gave me a bit of a craggy smile as an adolescent. I was raised to not criticize what people can’t help and to give compliments where possible, so I did just that…sort of. Aunt: “Nice crocodile smile!” Me: “Uh, thanks…” I thought’s she’d stop, but nope.
Aunt: “It’s just that tooth, you know, makes your smile all crooked but it’s not that bad. You could get it fixed.” Me: “I suppose, but I know I’ll never have teeth as nice as yours are. They are like stars.” Aunt: “Like stars? You mean as in bright? Me: No, as in they come out at night.” My uncle had once given me a book called 1001 Insults for Every Occasion, and that gem was in it.
11. Don’t Mess With the Coupons
Working at a pizza shop, a troublesome customer tries to stack coupons that clearly state “One coupon per purchase.” After being refused by everyone in the restaurant, including the owner, he goes on a tirade saying that the District Attorney is his cousin, and was threatening a lawsuit. As he was heading for the door, he said, “You can’t afford to mess with me!”
I shouted after him, “You can’t afford a large pizza!”
12. A Boy Only a Mother Could Love
When I was in middle school many years ago, a guy was teasing an awkward kid about not being able to get girls, being “gay,” and never being able to get laid. Another guy spoke up and said, “Dude, you ain’t had a woman since a woman had you.” The entire class and the teacher started laughing. The original guy shut the heck up.
13. Not Getting Any Younger
My eight-year-old wins this one. We were moving to a new house from an apartment and I told her she would have more responsibilities (aka chores) when we moved because the house was bigger and she was old enough to do more chores. I said: “Let’s make a list of the chores you can do when we move. When I was a kid my chores were…”
She interrupted me to reply: “What? Churning the butter?”
14. Something’s Fishy
The cafeteria lunch lady got me in front my whole class. That day, we were having tuna fish for lunch. I was upset at this option, and said,” Tuna fish? I’d rather have a poop sandwich!” Without missing a beat, this 80-year-old lady fires back, “Wait right there, I’ll go make you one in the back.” Needless to say, I went with the tuna.
15. The Language of Burn
These girls in an elevator were insulting a black guy in another language that they thought he didn’t understand. In Hindi I think, they were specifically commenting on his “ugly black face.” Apparently, the guy waited until the elevator reached his floor. He then looked at them and in perfect Hindi said, “Better to have an ugly face than an ugly heart,” and left.
16. Confidence Booster
Whole class was talking in Economics class with a substitute teacher who decided that she didn’t want us enjoying our lives in her abysmal presence. So she said that we were to work quietly and may only talk if we were discussing the work at hand. At the time, we were studying the impacts of unemployment on an economy on a micro and macro scale. Anyway, everyone slowly picked up the conversations again, but quiet at first.
The table I was at with my mates were listening to one of the guys talk about how he went to visit his brand new niece who had only just been born. The teacher noticed we were getting a bit louder than the rest of the room so she called us out. “Table in the middle, that doesn’t sound like you are talking about economics.” All of a sudden, I knew exactly what to say. I replied with “Yes we are miss, his niece is unemployed.”
The whole class lost it. I was a legend that day.
17. The Winds of Change
When I was seven, I was at a crowded McDonald’s near Disneyland. I tried to squeeze through the really long line that was waiting to order food and I accidentally bumped into this woman with her two kids. She turned to me and said in her most sarcastic and accusing voice, “Well excuuuuse me.” My seven-year-old self responded with the most hilarious thing I could think of.
“Why, did you fart?” A few people in line laughed and I continued on my way. She did not look pleased to be told off by a seven-year-old. To this day, I have no idea why I said it, but I’m really glad I did.
18. That Almost Got Ugly
Playing in band class one day. I am asked to play a section by the director and messed up a note or two. Eh, whatever, people make mistakes. Girl—who is kind of mean to everyone—in the row in front of me turns around to look at me, and condescending remarks “That wasn’t pretty.” I immediately respond, “Neither are you.”
19. Table Talk
I was sitting in a bar at 3 AM off of Bourbon St. in New Orleans. The windows of the bar were just open shutters, and a dude who just left the bar leans in on our table to shout at some friends who were still in the bar. When he does this, one of the people in our group makes a sill, snide comment about him in an offhand way.
The dude leaning in then smacks the table with an open palm and says, “Everybody who ever loved you was wrong.” He walked away without looking back. It was all said in the good-natured camaraderie that can only be accomplished by drunks at 3 AM, and all of us just howled with laughter. We still revel in that story.
20. Secret Santa Slaughter
Secret Santa gift exchange in college. One guy gets a collection of British currency (he liked to collect foreign bills and coins) and a girl makes a rude comment about it being a stupid gift. Cue my mouth running off before my brain can stop it, “Karen don’t be rude, he just didn’t want you to be the only one who gained 20 pounds this semester.”
Pandemonium ensued as her boyfriend tried to pick a fight while she bursts into tears, it was not the best day for the club.
21. Big Talk
I was showing Cosmos in a break between classes and one kid seemed particularly enthralled by the tardigrade, so his witty friend says, “Small minds are amused by small things.” The kid got his revenge. He retorted, “Why do you think I hang out with you?’ The whole class went bananas and even I went over and high-fived that kid.
It was a great class; the victim was laughing as hard as anyone. I miss those kids.
22. Sass in Stereo
The president of a company I worked for a few years back has the best story about his mom. She was a school teacher and didn’t have a lot of money, but she had saved meticulously and purchased a Cadillac using cash. A stipulation of the sale was that she did absolutely not want the stock speakers in the vehicle; she wanted a good sound system.
But looking down on her car after picking it up, she could see into the rear window and noticed immediately that the speakers were definitely stock. She returned to the dealership the next day to confront the salesman. For whatever reason, this guy copped a serious attitude and claimed that she hadn’t asked for higher-grade speakers. She gave a classic response.
Totally deadpan, she goes, “Why don’t you go get me your boss. I know you have a boss.” She returned the vehicle and purchased one from a separate dealership.
23. Love at First Slight
The story of how my grandparents went on their first date has the greatest comeback ever. My grandpa was working a sub shop at the register. My grandma was in line (they’ve kind of met a few times in passing before) and she gets up to the register and my grandfather (attempting to hit on her) says, “How’d you get through life looking so ugly?” And my grandma replies, “I don’t know but you’ve been doing it longer than I have.”
And they’ve been happily married ever since.
24. Learn From Mistakes
I used to teach chess to elementary level kids. I would run a “Chess Camp” over the summer, which lasted a week long. Twenty to forty kids came in every day for a full “school day” but every period is basically a chess class. On the first day, I would tell kids they need to lose to get better, which is true in a game like chess, especially in the beginning.
I would tell them, “You have to lose 50 games before you can improve in chess.” Well, on about day three, I’m walking from the field to the class and see one of my students, a second grader, walking the other direction. I ask him off-hand, “How’s chess going?” He responds “Well, I’ve lost all of my games so I guess I’m doing great!
25. Can’t Touch This
I had a popular girl ask me on the school bus if I was gay. All her friends were waiting in anticipation to laugh at my response, and I was worried I was going to blank on a comeback and not be able to save myself from the embarrassment. Thankfully, my brain came up with: “I’d like to think I could do a lot better than you if I was.”
26. From the Heart
Dating a girl in college, I was in second-year (19) and she was a grad student (26). She was really apprehensive about her looks and our age difference. One time we were cuddling and she said, “You shouldn’t be with me, you should be with someone young and beautiful and thin.” She set me up perfectly. I just wrapped my arms around her waist, looked her in the eyes very seriously, and said, “But honey, I don’t want someone who is young and beautiful and thin. I want you.”
She jabbed me in the ribs, and then laughed for 20 minutes.
27. This Comeback Gets an A
During my university days, I ran into an acquaintance of mine as I was holding a Green Lantern graphic novel. This acquaintance was with his girlfriend, and when he introduced me to her, THE FIRST THING she says to me while shaking my hand was, “Aren’t comic books for kids?” My instant response shocked even me.
I replied “Aren’t those A-cups for kids?” Honestly, I was so flabbergasted that someone I had just met would say that to me that I replied on instinct. Still my greatest comeback ever.
This was while working with nine-year-old kids. We’re doing number problems and a kid is having trouble with a sum. The sum is “You have forty sweets. You give half your sweets to your friend. How many sweets do you have now.” I grab forty counters, and say to the kid “Here are forty sweets. If you give me half, how many will you have left?”
Kid turns to me. His deadpan reply was unbelievable: “I can’t give you the sweets. You aren’t my friend.”
29. Extra Tough Love
I can’t remember what we were talking about, but my idiot friend said: “You can’t celebrate Christmas if you’re not a Christian, bro.” I replied: “You can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day if nobody loves you either, buddy…”
30. Don’t Interfere With Creativity
I was drawing in art class in third grade. The teacher was horrible. She was famous for drawing over your creations and “making it better” for you. So, I showed her my sea canvas one day and asked for permission to color it in, and she takes her big fat pencil and draws a boat smack in the middle, and says to color that in. I’m angry.
So, I take it back to my desk, get some crayons and start drawing. First, I erased the boat from the middle of my painting, and then colored it in all blue instead. When I was done, I showed her and told her I was finished, and she asked me, “Where did the boat I added go?” My response? “Oh, it sank.” Mic drop.
The class erupted in laughter. She yelled at me, but I didn’t even care. Worst art teacher ever.
31. Class Is in Session
I was playing spades one time and a guy tried to lead the game off with a spade. I told him he couldn’t do that; spades have to be broken first. He refused to play by the rules, so I refused to play. He then started singing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round,” to imply that I was acting like a child. He asked me, “Do you know why I’m singing that?”
I said, “Yeah, ‘cause I’m taking you to school.”
32. A Man of Three Words
A professor at my university once told a story about a student who was attending a philosophy exam. The topic was “bravery.” A few minutes after the exam had started, he stood up and turned in the exam. No one knew what was going on—until they read his note. The exam was completely blank, but on the last page there was a single sentence written: “This is bravery.”
33. Breakfast Champion
Years ago my significant other had dropped several hints that she wanted me to make breakfast one weekend. I didn’t pick up on the hints. So she gets up on a Saturday morning and is clearly annoyed. She’s making lots of noise, sighing a lot, closing doors really heard. At some point, I was just like “Oh my god it is 100% obvious that you’re annoyed so just tell me what’s up.”
She storms into the room and says, “How about breakfast? How about some fresh orange juice and maybe some freshly baked bread or rolls from the bakery? How about an omelet or some scrambled eggs?” I looked up and said, “Hmmm that sounds delicious. Thanks so much.”
34. Eh B’y?
My history teacher would spend half the class making jokes directed at the students. One student in particular always took the jokes on the chin and never really made any comebacks. Eventually, the teacher called him out and jokingly lectured him about standing up for himself. He ended his rant with, “You’ve gotta be a man. You’ve gotta be like me.”
The student replied with the greatest burn I have ever heard. “Well, which one? Do you want me to be a man or do you want me to be like you?”
35. You Are What You Snark
I was in first grade and we were on the bus about to go home. Suddenly some mean dude yelled at me for no reason, laughing and saying, “Hey, why are you so gay!?” I just replied, “Because I like to copy you!” The entire bus broke out into one long “Oooh.” Even the kid behind me high-fived me. Later in seventh grade, I figured out I was gay sooo, checkmate.
36. When the Stars Align
I was at a local brewery having a friendly discussion with some other regulars. All of a sudden, one of the girls starts going off about astrology. I make a comment about how I don’t think it’s accurate or useful and she starts trying to convince me otherwise. Suggesting that she could tell me a lot about myself based on my sign.
Her: “What’s your sign?” Me: “T-rex.” Her: “That’s not a real thing.” Me: “Neither is astrology.” It got a pretty good laugh from everyone else.
37. Mic Drop
Professor to student: “You’re not very far from a fool.” The student replied: “No ma’am, just two rows of chairs and a desk away.” Then he stood up, left the room, and dropped her class.
38. Schooling the Teacher
My science teacher assigned a really hard test where almost everyone failed. We all complained and she responded with, “Someone got a 93%, so it’s not impossible.” Then this one kid in the back said, “The answer key doesn’t count, Miss.”
39. Revenge of the Nerd
One day in class, the teacher asked a difficult question, and one of the nerds gave her the correct answer. From out of nowhere, this girl in the back started making fun of him for being a nerd. The teacher scolded her, saying “Be nice, he could be your boss someday.” The nerd just shrugged and said, “It’s okay, I have no interest in being a pimp, anyway.”
40. International Incident
My partner is Aussie. We were going to visit his parents in Perth and his dad made a joke, saying he was going to put illegal substances in my bag to get me in trouble. My legendary reply? “Didn’t know being a criminal was still a requirement to get in.”
41. Getting Too Old for This
I was with friends in a movie theater and we were the oldest people there. While waiting for the previews to start, someone in the back makes a noise. Then someone repeats the noise; then, two more…and so on. I said out loud, “Jeeze, this is getting old.” When it all died down, a young’un a couple rows behind me said, “So are you.” Touché.
42. A Man of Few Disses
For years, I was told that my comeback was the best thing that anybody had ever heard, mostly because I was the quiet kid who nobody could get a rise out of. Naturally, because they couldn’t get a rise out of me, everybody tried to get me flustered by insulting me, or framing me for things that no teacher ever believed because it was never the quiet kid.
Well, I walked into class one day and the teacher wasn’t there. Instead, this other girl, Sue, was up at the whiteboard writing out a long-running joke about our teacher that made him angry. I sat down, she finished, and the teacher came in, noticing what was written on the board. He asked who did it, and immediately this girl and a few of the girls around her said that I did it. I don’t know what it was, but something made me wordlessly walk up to the board, fix her spelling and punctuation errors in the joke, and then sit down.
Only when I had sat down did I turn to the girl who’d done it and say, “It wasn’t me; I have standards.” The class collectively lost their minds, including the girls who hadn’t seen it coming, and the teacher laughed so hard he went red in the face and cried. Obviously, it was great, but the fact that I was usually silent made it that much better.
43. Sibling Slaughter
I was adopted at four months old. It was never presented in a bad light, just a matter of fact. I’m the oldest in my adopted family. My younger brother, while in a raging fit over something, yelled: “YOU’RE NOT MY REAL BROTHER!!” I replied: “Yep. Mom and Dad chose me. They were stuck with you.” Silence.
44. The Student Becomes the Master
Senior year of high school I took AP English. The AP English teacher and I got along swimmingly; we both had similar senses of humor and cynical views of the world. Great guy. He was around 30 years old, grew up in the South but moved to Montana to get away, became a Buddhist, started balding, and found a wife. He just became a father, too.
I want to say the third or fourth week of school we were discussing Metamorphosis and I was the only one in the class that made the argument that helping other people was bad because then they were reliant upon you. I was trolling, and my teacher poked fun at me for it in front of the class. I didn’t mind at all, but he apologized in front of the class and told everyone that I could make fun of him once in payback.
Flash forward eight months to the last week of school. We had already taken the AP test so we were just doing some stupid paper. My teacher said he’d give us extra credit if we spoke in front of the class, so I was the first one up. I wasn’t nervous at all in all honesty, but I started off poorly and started to stumble. My teacher glances over to me and says “See class, talking in front of you ain’t easy,” to which I responded “Yeah, I’d go bald too”
I’ve never seen my teacher laugh so hard, nor an entire class laugh so hard. He commended me on my timing, seeing how I waited eight months. It was no hard feelings, and he’s probably my favorite teacher I’ve ever had.
45. Sympathy for the Devil
Crotchety old bat from my grandparents’ church: “Why can’t you be more like Michael, he’s such an angel.” Me, a 15-year-old intellectual who knew Michael did things that would straighten the perm out of her hair: “If you’d actually read the Bible, you’d know Satan was an angel too.” The look on her face was priceless.
46. An Unexpected Burn
The guy who picked on me in high school was tiny. Like under 5’ tall. Meanwhile, I was 6’3″ tall at the time so he would always pick on me, throw stuff at my head, push me around, stuff like that. I never fought back because I hate aggression, even though I had so much heft on him and totally could have put him in his place.
Anyway, one day we were in a class together when the class went on lock down. It wasn’t a drill, but we were told the campus wasn’t in danger either. So, jokingly, I said “I know why we’re locked down, maybe the zombie apocalypse started.” The dude immediately replies, “You idiot, zombies aren’t real.” So I shot back something that made him shut up entirely.
“Yeah well, we didn’t think hobbits were real, but you’re standing here, aren’t you?” The best part was that after that, he lunged at me and got in trouble.
47. Granny’s Got Game
My mom was asking about my daughter and her boyfriend. “Are they going to get married? I’m just not ready to be a great-grandmother.” “Well, you could try being a good one, first.”
48. Holy Moly
Guy walks into my bar with brown robes on. I ask, “What’s with the robes, you just get out of a Renaissance Faire?” He replies, “No, I’m a Carmelite priest.” I exclaim “I’ll be damned.” He answers “I hope not.” He totally got me in front of the whole bar.
49. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
My former friend was 12 years my senior and she was super into herself, just really vain. The weirdest part was, she was OK, but I doubt anyone was losing sleep over her. For one, she dressed waaaaaay too young, trying to hold on to her youth. One day, she pointed out that I was overweight and dumpy-looking next to her.
I’d finally had enough, since she made these comments often, and I said, “Well what about you?” “Excuse me?!” she snapped, “I have the body of a 22-year-old!” I couldn’t help it. I had to smash her. “Well give it back,” I replied, “You’re stretching it out.”
50. This Story Is Rated PG-13
My sister was 13 years old at the time. She was fighting with my little brother, who is three years older than her, and he was being aggressive and mean. Suddenly, she clearly yells from across the house, “I’d call you a dick but you’re so fake you’re a dildo!” My mom and I were together in the kitchen, just dumbstruck.
My mom yells at her, “GO TO YOUR ROOM!” My sister goes upstairs, but my mom has tears in her eyes, choking back laughter. We both were like, “Where did she learn that?!” I told EVERYONE I knew at the time. I called it The Sickest Burn of all Time. It’s still so beautiful, and I still have no idea where she got it from.
51. Below the Belt
Not me, but a friend of mine. As students, a group of townies was shouting abuse at us. My buddy shouted abuse back and one of them said, “You’re playing a dangerous game—do you know who my dad is?” My friend responded, “No—do you?”
52. A Brief Intermission
My then-girlfriend and I were arguing over something petty. She told me, “You’re heartless.” I responded, “Only because you stole it.” She went “awww,” and then straight back into argue-mode.
53. Mirror, Mirror
In fourth grade, I was obsessed with mirrors. My mom knew this and let me take her little compact mirror she used to apply lipstick to school with me. A mean guy on the playground approached me with his friends because they wanted to use the ball I was playing with. He told me to give him the ball. I said no firmly.
He then said I was ugly, and all of his friends did the whole “Ohhhh, oooooooh” sound. So, I asked him “What’s uglier than ugly?” He said “What?” I opened the mirror and showed him his reflection and he stood there, not knowing what to say. Then one of his friends got the joke and started cracking up. One by one, everyone else understood until everyone was laughing.
The aggressor still didn’t understand it, though, and two or three of his friends had to explain it to him. To this day, I’ve never seen somebody’s face turn as red as his did. He never bothered me again. Even better, his friends later became my friends.
54. After Me the Flood, Betches
I was in Paris with a couple of friends on the subway. I did not speak any French, only a little Spanish, but my friend was practically fluent. We were talking and joking in English, and these two French women were apparently talking smack about us in French, mostly about us being gross and dumb Americans, all that.
So as we left the subway, my friend smiled and told them in perfect French: “We’re going to go get cleaned up, too bad there’s no shower for your personality!”
55. Third-Degree Burns
At Thanksgiving one year, my whole family was sitting around talking, and winning contests came up. One of my brothers looked at me and snarked, “Oh yeah, what was the last thing you ever won?” I looked around the room at all my blood relatives and answered: “By the looks of it, the genetic lottery.”
56. Empty Threat
This woman comes in every Sunday and complains every Sunday. This past time, she said, “I won’t be coming back.” My manager goes, “Alright, I’ll see you next week.”
57. Clean Up Your Act
At a party. My cousin was once boasting how much his new girlfriend changed him. Him: “She is so great. Because of her, I learned so many new words.” Me: “Like ‘water’ and ‘soap’?”
58. Look Who Came Crawling Back
I work for a moving company and customers always get mad when we don’t have the equipment available when they show up last minute with no reservation. They always say, “Well I’ll just go to [competitor’s name]!” I would always reply with exact directions. “Great they are a block north, on the right side. You can’t miss em.” It never failed to get a disgusted scoff, but we would always see them again in an hour or so to set up a reservation when the competitors didn’t have any equipment either.
59. A Hairy Situation
When I was a 19-year-old jerk, I got my friend pretty good. A bunch of us were all hanging out, drinking and talking. I was in college and the time and doing homework on the couch, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention while one of my friends was telling a story. He’d been telling it for a few minutes when I heard him share a detail about being 13 and having just started growing hair down there.
I hadn’t said anything the entire time, but without thinking I looked up and loudly said, “What the heck? It took you that long?” This was followed by immediate laughter from the entire group. His face went beet red, and he didn’t even finish the rest of his story. Felt bad about that one later, but at the time I lived to embarrass my friends.
60. Knight in Black Armor
This was in seventh grade. I basically had no friends except for this girl named Carla, who was this completely asinine pompous with who was proud of her “evil” and tyrannical attitude. That day, there was a substitute teacher who couldn’t care less about what was going on in the class. Everyone was talking, being middle schoolers, until Carla and I started arguing.
Suddenly, the entire class shut up to listen in, even the substitute teacher. All I remember is her saying to me, “I could think of a thousand things wrong with you.” It wasn’t me who made the amazing comeback to this—it was actually the hot, black-sheep bad boy of the school, who spoke up from the back corner.
He just says, “You know what’s really sad, Carla, is that you can think of a thousand things wrong with everything here, but not one thing wrong with yourself.” Pretty sure I blushed for at least a full minute and a half.
61. Tactical Strike
I was arguing with an Air Force Colonel who thought I answered to him. I told him legally he had no authority over me. He said I was being insubordinate. I replied, “I can’t be insubordinate if I’m not your subordinate.”
62. Straight as an Arrow, Dumb as Rocks
Back in the day, I had to deal with one of those ridiculous tools that thought it was a hilarious burn to call somebody gay. He found out that I did quite well academically at school and said, “That makes sense, most gay guys are smart.” To which I responded, “If that’s the case, you must be the straightest guy I’ve ever met.”
63. People in Glass Houses…
I was 20 and home visiting from school. While I was there, a former flame and I were planning a weekend together. We’d booked a hotel downtown and everything. Well, just beforehand I was having lunch with my mom, my sister, and her boyfriend at the time, who she is now married to. My sister is three years older than me.
I mentioned my weekend plans to my family, and my sister makes a judgemental face and says something to my mom to the effect of, “How can you let her spend a weekend at a hotel with a man she’s not even in a relationship with?” Before my mom could respond, I replied—in front of everyone—”I’m sorry, which one of us lost her virginity at 14? Because it sure as heck wasn’t me.”
That shut her up pretty fast.
64. Competitive Caring
The greatest comeback I ever heard was delivered by my uncle. He was sick in the hospital and declining from lymphoma. His ex-wife and current girlfriend were both visiting and seemed to be a little competitive with each other. The doctor came in to take his vitals, so he ordered the two women out of the room for a few minutes.
They had been fluffing his pillow, filling his ice water, covering his feet with a blanket, making sure he had books to read, etc. Basically, both were using their nervous energy to dote on him. After they left the room, the doctor proceeded to check my uncle’s vitals. The doctor asked, “Are you experiencing any pain or discomfort?”
My uncle replied, “Nope, they just left.”
65. It’s in the Description
I had a customer harassing me over a product he bought and wanted to return. There was no receipt, it was over the return date, and he claimed he paid for it in cash. I told him that the return policy was within 30 days and he had to have a receipt. He said, “You’re just paid to say that.” I replied, “As a matter of fact, I am paid to say that. That’s how jobs work.”
I never saw his scamming face again.
66. Runs in The Family
I’m an engineering freshman this year. My brother, who’s a sophomore, changed majors from Engineering to Flight this semester after failing a course or two. When we were home for Spring Break we were casually teasing each other and he just says, “You’re dumb.” I put on a fake pout and said, “Dang you’re right, guess I’m gonna have to be a pilot now.”
67. Them’s The Breaks
I was the dealer on a roulette table. A new player asked: “What do I get if the ball lands in a number beside the one I bet on?” I replied: “My condolences.”
68. I Now Pronounce You Man and Snipe
My ex-husband, let’s call him John Smith, was hurling nasty names at me as I was packing up my stuff to leave him. For what it’s worth, I’d caught him cheating. He was calling me every horrible name he could think of. So I said, “Is that the best you can come up with? The worst thing I’ve ever been called is Mrs. Smith!” Best. Thing. Ever.
69. Better Get Used to It
This one guy was hitting on me in middle school. He asked if I wanted to go on a date with him. I told him no. He said, “I won’t take no for an answer.” I said, “Well you should, because you’ll be hearing it a lot.”
70. Self-Burn, Those Are Rare
I worked part-time at a thrift store. I got cursed out by a customer yelling, “Why don’t you get a REAL job?!” I replied with, “Why don’t you go yell at a real store?” in the most tired, deadpan voice.
71. Playing Dirty
My sister was cleaning out her room the other week and basically left bags of old clothes and garbage all over the living room in the process. So, of course, her room was now spotless but the rest of the house was a disaster. When I told her she was messy as all hell, she argued, “Messy? Have you seen my room?”
I answered: “How couldn’t I? It’s all over the house.”
72. Lies Are Contagious
When my ex and I broke up, he told me that one of the reasons for the split was because he “Didn’t like dating someone who was smarter than him.” There were other reasons we broke up as well, but this one really stuck with me. A few months later, a night of bad decisions leads to us hooking up. We then don’t talk for weeks…until he sent me a text that made my blood run cold.
“Yow gave me an STD.” I was stunned. I informed him I couldn’t have given him anything because I had been tested a week before we hooked up and hadn’t been with anyone else in the last two months. He continues to accuse me, but eventually admits it might be one of the other people he’s slept with that month.
He goes on to accuse a series of women in the same manner he accused me. But then his web of lies really unraveled. Turns out, he had a girlfriend he was cheating on—I didn’t know—and his girlfriend said she was now showing symptoms of an STD. When I asked what she had, because I clearly needed to get tested, he couldn’t tell me because she refused to tell him.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend is running her mouth around town telling people this is all my fault. So I go to the doctor and get tested for everything and wait. Eventually, my ex texts me: His girlfriend has a mild yeast infection. Apparently, she didn’t know that they aren’t an STD, and given the timeline, there’s no way I could have given or gotten one anyway.
When he texts me to tell me this, all I texted back was: “When you said that you didn’t want to date a girl who was smarter than you, I didn’t realize how serious you were…”
73. Burn Ward: WWII Edition
This is still one of the best comebacks I’ve heard. A few years ago, I was having a beer with a group of mates, one of whom is Dutch (Marc), and another is German (Klaus). We had been drinking domestic Australian beer when someone arrived with a case of Heineken. Klaus the German takes one, opens it, has a swig.
Then, giving Marc the cheeky side eye, says, “Finally, a decent German beer.” Marc says, “Heineken is Dutch, not German.” Without pausing, Klaus replies “It was in 1942.”
74. On The Nose
A friend said, “My nose has been running for the past six days,” and I blurted out “Well, it might, but it does not look like it’s getting thinner.” It took me ages to make her forgive me.
75. Everybody Knows Everybody
Once, a guy said to me: “I’d watch out if I were you, I know your manager.” I replied: “I know him too, so what?”
76. Animal Instinct
The only comeback I’ve ever had the pleasure of making myself was at a Walgreens. I was behind some witch in line who was generally trying to make the cashier’s job a living nightmare. She was berating the girl, insisting she’d been given the incorrect amount of change, etc. The poor girl behind the counter was just trying to be nice and get through a single bad customer.
After the woman said something about “The worst help I’ve ever had,” I just replied, “Hey, give the lady a break.” Not overtly hostile, but the customer still turned to me and sneered, “Why don’t you mind your own business?” With all the quick-thinking I could muster, I just responded “Lady, I’m a veterinarian. [W]itches are my business.”
The few amassed customers and the cashier looked like they were going to lose it. The lady gave me a glare that could chill bones, but she decided to just ignore me for the rest of her transaction. Nonetheless, she hightailed it out of that Walgreens as fast as she could. In hindsight, I’m pretty lucky she didn’t escalate the conflict.
77. Don’t Let Me Hit You on the Way Out
Back in the first year of high school, some older guy blocks me and says, “You can’t pass, I’m a wall.” I replied: “Well I’m a door,” and just passed beside him. Not sure how I was able to keep my cool given how much bigger he was.
78. Too Hot to Handle
I was out one time with a very good friend of mine, some friends, and their friends. Anyway, it just happened that these two very nice-looking girls were left with me and my friend while the rest of the others were getting drinks and food. We all just did the usual small talk and then it tapered off. Seemed like those “hot” girls weren’t interested in us regular-looking guys.
So after about five minutes of uncomfortable silence and ho humming, one of the girls looks around says out loud to the other girl, making sure we hear it as well: “I wonder where all the good-looking guys are at?” I instantly thought they were scum, but my friend already had some self-esteem issues and he just started to hang his head slowly and slouch.
Without missing a beat I retorted, “They’re probably with all the good-looking girls.” My friend got the widest grin I had ever seen, and I obviously had a smirk on my face too. The two “hot” girls made “humph” sound and excused themselves, never to be seen again.
79. Stone Cold Stunner
I have used this many times when a customer or another person is yelling, and I mean a complete meltdown. Just blaming you for everything they can think of and doing so loudly, inappropriately. Don’t say anything, don’t react just let them tire themselves out. Then when they finally say “What you don’t have anything to say?” wait a moment or two and say, “You have just embarrassed yourself” and nothing more.
This works especially well when the person is older than you. I have done this about four times in a 10-year span, and it is devastating for much, much longer than you would expect.
80. Ran Right Into That One
It was a Friday night, a friend from another country (let’s call him “Sam”) had just arrived by car to my friend’s place (let’s call him “Max”), and we were chatting, waiting for Max before unloading the car (he was going to sleep at Max’s place for a few days). Max came down and did a Starsky-and-Hutch move where he slid on the front of the car. No damage was done to the car and everybody was okay with it.
The problem was, a police car that was passing by stopped and two cops came out. They asked us what we were doing and asked for Max’s ID. We explained that it was Sam’s car, that no harm was done, they checked our IDs and everything was okay but they wouldn’t drop it: they wanted to teach a lesson. The conversation went like this:
Cop: “Even if it’s your friend’s car you shouldn’t do that, even as a joke. I’m sure you’d be annoyed if someone jumped on your car, right?” Max replied: “I don’t have a car.” The cop said: “Well, you wouldn’t like it if he jumped on your PlayStation then, right?” Max said: “I don’t have a PlayStation either.” Finally, the cop asked: “Okay, then what do you have?”
That’s when Max went in for the kill. He replied: “A trampoline.” The cop starts saying: “And I bet you wouldn’t like it if he jumped on your…” Just as the cop realized where he had been baited to, he went silent, visibly mad, and they got back in their car and left. That was a splendid comeback.
81. Cheap but Effective
One of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever witnessed was from a friend of mine who had blacked out drunk on the sofa at a party and had been basically unconscious for over an hour. Other friend walks in and lets us know that some of the girls we know are coming, one who my friend didn’t like. He shouts out, “Hey Chris, your girlfriend will be here soon”
He rolls over eyes still closed and grumbles out, “I didn’t know your mum went out this late.” Rolls over back to sleep.
82. Don’t Mess With the Best
Once, when I was seven and, admittedly, often obnoxiously precocious, my grandparents had been showing off my vocabulary and spelling skills to various aunts, uncles, and cousins. One of my uncles, a known joker and all-around funny guy, thought he’d get one up on me. “Can you say antidisess–antidissestab–antidis–” he tried for a good while to ask me if I could say “antidisestablishmentarianism,” hoping to stump me.
Little me calmly watched him fumble this word for a good dozen or so tries before interrupting him with, “Can you?” 25 years later, my family still bring up the one time our smart-ass, practical joker uncle was thrown for a loop by a first grader.
83. Bald and Bold
I heard this from my brother, who witnessed this after a night out a couple of years ago. On typical Saturday night, a drunk guy with red hair was standing in a long taxi line talking trash and generally being a total jerk to everyone around him just to impress his lady friend for the evening. The people in line tried to ignore him for a good amount of time, but eventually, they were pretty fed up with this ginger moron.
The jerk eventually started talking to a bald guy in front him, saying something like, “I see you weren’t the first guy in line when they handed out hair.” Just awful. But we didn’t have to worry. The bald guy perfectly answered, “You’re quite right about that, but when I finally reached the end of the line, they only had ginger hair left—so I didn’t even bother.”
The whole line started laughing, and the red-headed guy finally shut up.
84. The Ultimate Dad Joke
A guy I knew was using a dirty pickup line on this really hot girl. Her father overheard and told him to move on. My friend quickly said, “Sorry dude, but your daughter is freaking hot.” The girl’s dad replied: “Well, bring your mom over and I’ll make you one just like her.”
85. Kiss Off
Me and my friend were in a movie theater bathroom peeing. He always likes to try and make me feel uncomfortable in public places, so he says loudly, “What’s wrong with your junk man? It has a red ring around it. You should get it checked out.” Without missing a beat, I go “Yeah, it’s your mother’s lipstick.” Dumbstruck silence from my friend, while the man next to us is shaking with laughter. But that’s not even the best part.
As we leave the bathroom, we walk past the guy and he’s telling his friends what I’d said. It was very rewarding.
86. Well That Escalated
I was always super quiet growing up and got teased a LOT. There was a kid who would always get on the bus and ask me what time he should pick me up for our date and snicker with his friend. I’m not even sure where I heard it or why I said it but one day I decided to reply instead of ignoring it. I said, “5 o’clock, you bring the handcuffs, I have the whip.” Dead. Silence.
The kid never said another word to me, even years later when I took my driving test and he was there too. I wished him luck and he wouldn’t talk to me. I can only imagine how shocked he was because like I said, I was super quiet normally and an easy target.
87. I Drink Your Milkshake
I was at a local sandwich shop on my lunch break one day. While I was eating, a man in his 20s came up to me (a male) and said hello. I kindly responded back with a hello, to which he said, “You look really sharp.” I was wearing slacks, a dress shirt, and tie. I thanked him for the compliment, but he wasn’t done.
He said, “I don’t normally do this, but I figured I might as well give it a shot. Would you like to ever go out to dinner with me sometime?” Me, being the heterosexual male I am, just said, “Thank you for the compliment, but no thank you.” He said okay and walked out, leaving me to finish my sandwich. I thought that was the end…it wasn’t.
One thing about this sandwich shop is it’s right next to a high school, so high schoolers frequent it at lunch time, and this day was no different. As I finish my sandwich, I proceed to walk out. Next to the exit is a group of three guys from the local school, and as I pass, one of them looks up at me, snickers, and calls me a name, I think you can guess what.
Now, how do you react to a 15-year-old punk calling you that? You certainly can’t lecture them, because it will just go in one ear and out another. You can’t yell at them, because it makes you look their age. What should I do? Without even thinking, I turned around, looked at his sandwich, grabbed it, and took a huge bite.
I chewed it slowly, put it back on his plate, and walked away, not saying a word. His face was priceless; just a blank stare at his plate with a gaping mouth. All his two friends could muster out through their wheezing laughs was, “Oh my goooood.” The kid never said a word. I never turned around. I just walked back to my car and left.
88. No Hi, Mark
A guy from my office building is sort of “special,” and he talks to himself a lot, but not much to other people. One day, a co-worker of mine asked, “Talking you yourself again, Kenny?” and then laughed stupidly. Without skipping a beat, Kenny replied, “Better than talking to you, Mark,” and just kept walking down the hallway with no other response.
89. Chew on This
My old secondary school in Belfast was essentially run by Catholic priests. Most of the teachers were regular people, but there were still priests everywhere. They were mostly teaching things like English, Religion, and Music. One day, our regular music teacher doesn’t show up for class. Our music rooms were filled with all sorts of expensive equipment (keyboards, drums, etc.), so we couldn’t really be left alone.
One of the priests was watching us, and as we didn’t have much to do, he was mostly chatting with us. Now, there was one kid there called Daniel who was a bit of an idiot anyway, and today he was busy chewing some gum. The priest ordered him to remove it immediately because it was against the school’s decorum rules.
Daniel obliged by pulling it out of his mouth, then sticking it under the desk in an act of defiance. He then licked his fingers. The priest in question marched over to the desk, leaned down, and said something I never expected a Catholic priest to say: “Finger licking good…just like your sister!” We all lost our minds.
90. Not Bad New Girl
It was 2001 and I was in 5th grade. My dad did my ponytails in the morning and they were not cute. As I was walking away from my classmates I overheard my bully laughing and saying, “Her hair is messed up in the back” and the new girl in school shouted back to her, “Well your face is messed up in the front.” God that was awesome.
I’ll never forget that as long as I live and we’re still friends to this day.
91. Smart-Phone Mouth
I was once in a hotel elevator headed down to the lobby. I took out my phone to get directions to the bar where I was meeting my friends. A woman in the elevator, who was part of a group of people I didn’t know, sneered at my phone and said, “Ugh, I hate technology.” To which I replied, “Then why aren’t you taking the stairs?”
Her friends erupted in laughter and she was completely destroyed.
92. Nothing But Net
My brother is two years older than me. When I was a sophomore in high school and he was a senior, we played on the Varsity soccer team together. He was easily the best player in the league, hands down. Every team game planned around stopping him, and they still couldn’t. He was for sure going to be MVP of the league.
The best part is, he never ran his mouth. He never talked trash. So one day we’re in a tight game and there’s this huge jerk who plays for one of our rivals. This guy talking trash to my brother the whole time. Then the kid gets called for fouling my brother and we get a free kick. As the kid’s tracking back on defense, he says, “Taylor, you suck, you don’t deserve MVP.”
My brother just looks at him and has the coolest reply in the world. In his calmest voice he says, “Know what’s funny? You know who I am and I have no idea who you are.” My brother proceeded to score from the free kick.
93. Act Your Age
My first job was at a grocery store, where one day a drunk, middle-aged woman was very loudly flipping out on my boss about a minor error in her holiday seafood order. Naturally, her screams drew a crowd, and after minutes of yelling, my boss stopped being apologetic. Like, he really let her have it in front of everyone…
Lady: “You are about to learn that you do not MESS with a 54-year-old woman!” Boss: “54? What’s your daughter got to do with this?”
94. Measure for Measure
I’m proud of this moment in time. I was a senior in high school enjoying free time at some area-wide track meeting when I walk by a group of kids from another school. Out of the blue, some guy in the group calls over to me. This guy tosses a nickel in front of me and says, “Hey dude, give that to your mom for me.”
Me: “Huh?” Guy: “Don’t worry about it, just tell her it was for last night.” I finally cottoned on, and he got a few chuckles from his group. So I reply with an “Oh!” of recognition, smile, and pick up the nickel. I then reach into my pocket, pull out two pennies, and toss them at his feet. Me: “There you go.”
Guy, sarcastically: “Oh, is this for my mom?” Me: “Nah, that’s your change. My mom charges by the inch.”
95. Napoleon Complex
This short guy at Buffalo Wild Wings was drunk and talking trash about my brother for being tall (he’s 6’4″) for some reason. He was saying stuff like, “Oh, big tall man over here. Look at you, aren’t you special?” etc. My brother responded with, “Dude, I was your height. It wasn’t that great.”
96. If Looks Could Burn
At middle schools here in Southern Arizona, they do a simple “promotion ceremony” for kids graduating eighth grade to go into high school. It’s a stupid process. Public education here is a joke, so there’s no way you don’t get moved along to high school assuming you show up to class most of the time. But for some reason, some families treat it like it’s some combination of a wedding and college graduation.
We’re talking hundreds of dollars on elaborate dresses for 13-year-old girls, and little guys in ill-fitting tuxes. Well, my wife (obviously not at the time) wore jeans and a T-shirt to it because it’s a worthless ceremony. When she did, a bunch of girls in their pretty dresses came up to her, talking mad trash about how they couldn’t believe she looked like garbage, and how she was the only one not dressed up.
Without missing a beat, my wonderful wife says, “This isn’t the last graduation I’ll ever attend,” and walks away. I think some of these girls might have tried to fight her if they weren’t all done up in their dresses. Sure enough, many of those girls dropped out of high school to have kids and live less-than-enjoyable lives.
97. The Bread Winner
I was in line at a sub shop when a lady crammed up to the front and tossed a sub near the cash register. She was demanding money back for some reason. Anyways, when she made her approach, she pushed ahead of some dad-looking man who was in a suit, and got some of her sub mess on him. He was not pleased about it.
As she was getting her refund, the man calmly grabbed her credit card from her and tossed it out the door. She turned to him, and the conversation went as follows: “What’s wrong with you, don’t touch my property, I’ll have you detained!” So he says, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you might enjoy a game of fetch. You know, because you’re a dog and all.”
To this day, I think about how cool and calm that guy was. A true hero. Even better, I don’t believe the man had to pay for his sub after that. The guy behind the counter sort of happily shooed him away when he attempted to pay after the lady went to pick up her card. But the dude still paid. Just left the money on the counter, thanked the guy, and walked out.
Didn’t ask for change or anything. Who tips in a sub shop? Well, apparently heroes.
98. Having Your Chocolate and Eating It Too
I worked at an independent chocolate shop that sold various flavors of truffles, brownies, and drinks. We also had non-dairy options, vegan options, and nut-free options available. A woman demanded to speak to the manager because we did not have a “dairy-free, nut-free, sugar-free, vegan” option. Luckily, the owner literally just laughed and said, “We do have one, it’s called water.”
I have never seen such entitled rage in my life!
99. The Customer Is Always Right, Especially This Lady
I was out to eat, and this younger lady was acting like a total witch in the restaurant to the staff. Everyone was obviously getting really embarrassed by her behavior…until this middle-aged lady piped up and said from her table, “Oh honey, you’re not pretty enough to act like that.” I seriously could have burst out into applause.
A “popular” girl who definitely had no interest in me once jokingly asked me out to prom in front of the whole class. I knew she was just trying to ridicule me—so I gave her a brutal taste of her own medicine. Without a moment’s hesitation, I said, “No thanks Lauren, I have standards.” The whole class and the teacher lost it.