This might be a bit too obscure, but you never know what other people know, so...

Anyone know the origin of the rimshot, as used to emphasize a joke? You know, like the representation here:

enter image description here

  • 3
    To me, the oddest thing is that it's called a rimshot, yet doesn't necessarily contain one. Case in point - instantrimshot.com
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


The origin of the rimshot is an aural cue to let an audience know when a joke has ended and it's time to laugh. This was commonly used in Vaudeville (predecessor of modern day cabaret and stand-up comedy) where they used comedians to keep the audience entertained. It's unclear whether or not it was specifically created for Vaudeville.

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