Created By: Xzenu on March 17, 2012 Last Edited By: Xzenu on September 18, 2013

Unwanted Comedic Sucess

Longed to succeed to be taken seriously, but got famous as a laughingstock.

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This character longed to succeed so that he or his message would at last be taken seriously. Then he does become successful, getting fame and maybe a lot of money... as a clown who nobody would dream of taking seriously.

Contrast Unwanted False Faith, where a character instead bets taken FAR more seriously than he's comfortable with, and Springtime for Hitler, where the goal was to remain unsuccessful.


  • In The Producers, Franz' dream at last comes true. His play "Springtime For Hitler" will go up on Broadway! At last, people will understand that Der Fuhrer was a great guy. Franz is in for the nightmare of his life, as his play turn into a major success under the guidance of a Camp Gay director.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • March 17, 2012
    Okay, lol, I have watched the "Springtime For Hitler" youtube clip a few times too many, and now it's time to start three new tropes:
  • March 17, 2012
  • March 17, 2012
    • Inverted in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: The Cutie Mark Crusaders' performance in the talent show was supposed to be a stirring rock ballad. They were upset at how it fell flat, until they won the award for comedy. At which point they were very excited about possible futures as comedians.
  • March 17, 2012
    There is a Soviet book called "The Shkid Republic" about a school for homeless children in the 20-s. One of the chapters is about every boy publishing his own school newspaper. One of them published a poetry newspaper. However, his poetry and especially his spelling were so bad (the example given is "Yulystration to the trogede Baris Godunv") that the publisher of a humor newspaper called him a competitor.
  • March 17, 2012
    Or maybe I should say that Springtime For Hitler is this trope. We already have this one.
  • March 17, 2012
    No it is not. Both tropes have The Producers as trope codifier. However:
    • Springtime For Hitler is the producers aiming to fail, being horrified that the show is successful.
    • Unwanted Comedic Success is Franz aiming to succeed and be taken seriously, being horrified that the show's success is counterproductive for his goal of getting the message taken seriously.

    Hmm, I need to think about about the relationship between this trope and Rooting For The Empire. And so on. It should not be limited to comedy. If the audience HAD taken the play seriously, but as a political statement against nazism and against homosexuality, it would have been just as bad for Franz.

  • March 17, 2012
    I might rename this one to Failed Message Success or Failed Message Victory, since the current title seem easy to mix up with Springtime For Hitler. However, I'm not happy with those titles either, since they're bad at indicating tha the victory is traumatic or a least embarrassing.

    Edit: Hmm, maybe Misaimed Success, snowcloning Misaimed Fandom rather than Unwanted False Faith.
  • March 18, 2012
    Fairly Oddparents: Timmy enters a video contest with his friends and make their own movie with a low budget, bad acting, bad special effects and editing. They won Best Comedy, despite not entering that category.
  • March 19, 2012
    • Mommy Dearest was originally intended to be a serious adaptation of Christina Crawford's book. However, audiences found Faye Dunaway's over-the-top portrayal of Joan Crawford to be extremely funny, contributing greatly to the film's financial success.
  • March 19, 2012
    The Room is so famous for being hilariously bad that director/writer/actor Tommy Wiseau has tried to claim that he was trying to make a black comedy all along. I don't think anyone believes him.
  • March 19, 2012
    I'm pretty sure this is dealing with cases of Show Within A Show not being taken seriously. We have Narm for real life cases.
  • March 19, 2012
    My own play The Thyme of the Season is a sequel to A Midsummer Nights Dream, and in it Bottom has become a rich and famous actor due to his unintentionally comic performance in Pyramus and Thisbe. [1]
  • March 19, 2012
    A Batman The Animated Series villain was a Former Child Star with a medical condition that prevented her from growing old (she looked like a Looney Tunes character compared to the more realistically-drawn adults). Everytime she tried to make a break in more serious acts, audiences only saw the amusing comic relief child she played on the show.
  • March 29, 2012
    Pinky And The Brain: One of the plans that Brain hatches is to become beloved TV characters who will then influence the younger generation. He plans his character to be "The Iconoclast, an unconventional eccentric who marches to a different drummer," but ends up being known as Noodle Noggin, a source of lowbrow humor.
  • September 1, 2013
    • The character of Bouncy Normo in the Discworld. Hailed as the funniest clown ever, Normo was a serious-minded person with absolutely no sense of humour. Watching him shaving in the morning could bring on paroxysms of laughter in onlookers. He was barred from walking in the street by the Patrician as this caused seven people to die of laughter. His suicide note eventually read "What's so funny? Why is everybody laughing at me?"
      • And Mavolio Bent in Making Money, whose first outing as a clown was so traumatic he ran away from the circus to join a bank. Yet he turned out to be the most gifted natural clown since Bouncy Normo...
  • September 1, 2013
    ^ Technically he ran away to join a firm of travelling accountants, he didn't begin working at the bank immediately.
  • September 1, 2013
    Compare Narm.
  • September 1, 2013
    Also see So Bad Its Good, which is a really bad film somehow is successful.
  • September 1, 2013
    Often done over time via Flanderization or Jumping The Shark.
  • September 1, 2013
    See (also?) Parody Retcon for examples like The Room and Mommy Dearest.

    • In The Simpsons "Krusty Gets Busted" after Krusty gets busted Sideshow Bob changes the show to how he wants it.
      My young friends, for years I have been silent, save for the crude glissandos of this primitive wind instrument. But now, destiny has thrust me in the center ring! In the coming weeks, you will notice some rather sweeping changes in our program. Please do not be alarmed, Itchy and Scratchy will still have a home here. But we will also learn about nutrition, self-esteem, etiquette, and all the mindly arts.
    In a much later episode we learn that Bob didn't even want to be a clown in the first place; he accompanied his brother Cecil to the audition and Krusty chose him instead.
  • September 2, 2013
    • Pokemon's Team Rocket in their image song, "Best at Being the Worst".
      Who'd guess we'd get so far?
      By being completely subpar
      As losers we've raised the bar
      Now we're superstars!
  • September 18, 2013
    In the Night Gallery episode "Make Me Laugh", Jackie Slater, a struggling comic, gets his wish to make everyone laugh at whatever he says. Unfortunately, the spell continues when he tries out for a serious movie. During a heartfelt monologue, everyone laughs at him.