is often played for dark comedy. Cannibalism is gross, disturbing, and strongly taboo in many cultures, but less likely to get a Dude, Not Funny!
reaction than more common forms of violence. Because cannibalism is both taboo and outlandish, it's common Crosses the Line Twice
fodder. And food is funny
. Compare Eat the Dog
Black Comedy Cannibalism does not need to explicitly depict the act of eating people, and in fact, often it doesn't. It can be just as funny when the actual cannibalism is implied or offstage, and the humor comes from the incongruity of juxtaposing the horrors of cannibalism and murder with the mundanity of cooking and menu planning. Groan-worthy cannibalism puns are also a distinct possibility. Meat-O-Vision
may occur if a character considers cannibalism because they're starving.
Black Comedy Cannibalism can also provide uncomfortable comic relief in a work with a Faux Affably Evil
- The French series Les Crannibales is all about this, with the titular family's cannibalism being a pretext for atrocious food-related puns. The victims themselves don't even seem that disturbed by it.
Live Action TV
- Several references in Monstrous Regiment, concerning the desperate state of supplies in the Borogravian army, and confirmed by a Captain 'Hopalong'. We also learn that while they do accept having to eat people's legs for food, they're shocked at the idea of eating their own legs.
- In The Mockery Bird, Kingy, the native king of a tropical island, occasionally suggests that they should reintroduce cannibalism to the island, just to make his advisors cringe from the idea.
- Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal calls for poor Irish to sell their young children as food for wealthy English gentlemen, so they are no longer a burden to society. He was satirizing some prevailing attitudes toward the poor and the Irish in contemporary (1700s) English society. He goes into some detail in suggestions for the preparation and cooking of such children, and the economic "benefits" of such an arrangement for all involved (who are still living of course).
- Kurt Vonnegut jokes in his novel Hocus Pocus that "people that can eat people are the luckiest people I know" while referring to the Donner Party. The band Andrew Jackson Jihad named their most popular album after this quote.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- The "Lifeboat" sketch, about cannibalism among shipwrecked sailors. It degenerates into an argument about the culinary merits of the various sailors, and then a navy spokesman appears on the screen to object to the portrayal of cannibalism in the British navy. (After all, the real cannibalism problem is in the RAF.)
- One sketch had a restaurant that served human beings as meals, including one man who is voluntarily allowing himself to be eaten and a vicar who no one wanted to eat. Watch it here.
- In another Monty Python sketch a man talks to an undertaker about burying his mother and the undertaker suggests eating her instead.
- The gorgeously-shot gourmet cooking in Hannibal is all made by a Supreme Chef cannibal, which gives the Food Porn scenes an uncomfortable subtext. The show sometimes plays this for dark humor.
Hannibal (hosting a dinner party featuring beautifully prepared human organs): Before we begin eating, you must all be warned: Nothing here... is vegetarian. Bon appétit.
- A recurring threat on Gilligan's Island are cannibal tribes from nearby islands. Although that might have solved all their problems.
- An infamous sketch on Fridays was "Diner of the Living Dead" where a human couple happen upon a diner for zombies.
- Series 3 finale (BonesS3E15)
Cam: A toothless cannibal just can't cut it in today's competitive serial killer climate.
Cam: [describing a bone to Caroline Julian] Gormogon went after this like Henry VIII after a chicken leg.
Angela Montenegro: Mmm, what is that smell?
Wendall Bray: Oh, I cant use the exhaust system without electricity, so i thought it'd be better to clean the bones out here where there's more airflow.
Angela Montenegro: Oh my God! You're boiling body parts.
Wendell Bray: This is how it's done. You know that.
Angela Montenegro: No. No. I was getting kind of hungry and I thought that you were - Oh my God!
Wendell Bray: You're pregnant. The smell of boiling flesh makes you want a sandwich.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the entire side quest taking place in the White Glove Society relates to cannibalism and involves a bit of innuendo and occasional humor. And then there is the character "Cannibal Johnson" who isn't actually a cannibal but enjoys the effect of the reputation.