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[[quoteright:350:[[WebAnimation/TheBackwaterGospel http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_backwater_gospel_4916.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:For as long as anyone can remember, the coming of the undertaker has meant the coming of death.]]-]

->'''Sheldon:''' What do you wanna be when you grow up, Dante?\\
'''Dante:''' I'm not sure. I like working with people... But I like being alone, too...\\
'''Sheldon:''' How about being a mortician -- best of both worlds.\\
'''Dante:''' Heeeey... Not bad.
-->-- ''[[http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/020212.html Sheldon Comic]]''

Be they morticians, pathologists, funeral house workers or gravediggers -- people who deal with the dead have always been assumed to be interesting, because, well, they deal with the dead. That is why in fiction, it is popular to present workers in those professions as either outright creepy, or at least have a [[BlackComedy way-off sense of humor]]. Especially if they don't look creepy (or aren't normally so), looking at something like this for the first time can creep any guy out. They play around with the bodies of the deceased, joke while performing scientific dissections, or at least die first during a zombie attack. They are also suspect for profiting from someone else's death; after all, such a person may seem a little too happy about the fact that, now that someone has died, the mortician is going to get paid for the funeral.

The trope can just be PlayedForLaughs as well as PlayedForDrama, with often a lot of overlap between the two. The more unsettling version lurks around the graveyard and has an unhealthy obsession with his deceased clients. When they're not in the graveyard, they can be found in rather eerie places, such as near newly deceased bodies or in coffins. Often they are the primary suspect whenever something particularly creepy happens. May turn out to be a LivingDollCollector. Prone to spout ominous-in-context lines like "Be seeing you..."

If they accidentally encounter a living person instead of an expectedly dead one, it may be related to WakingUpAtTheMorgue or BuriedAlive. Also see BlackComedy.

Compare with the {{Undertaker}} character in {{Western}}s.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The Undertaker from ''Manga/BlackButler''. Even creepier in the Manga, [[spoiler:where it is revealed, by him, that he is the one responsible for the reanimation of the corpses that were attacking everyone on board the ship. And that was just because he was curious!]] Justified in that he's actually [[spoiler:a {{Shinigami}} rather than a human -- and a rogue amongst their ranks, in the manga]].
* ''Anime/GregoryHorrorShow'' is built around this. Good old Gregory is downright unnerving, especially as you learn more about what he is. He suffers from VillainDecay in the other three seasons, however, becoming a victim of the greater evils around him. Still, [[spoiler:he does feed off of human souls.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/GreenLantern villain Black Hand was reinvented as one of these in the lead-up to ''ComicBook/BlackestNight''.
* ''ComicBook/PierreTombal'': Gravedigger Pierre himself isn't scary, just the fact that all the dead people in his cemetery are living skeletons whom he (and others) treat as residents in the place.
* ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'': Gravediggers are recurring characters in this series, usually using ''formol'' as perfume, having vultures as pets and already coming to take measurements for the coffins before the cowboys are actually shot down. The most recurring undertaker has a body pale skin color, sometimes green.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Dirt Nap from ''Fanfic/{{Equestrylvania}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Tony Todd's character, William Bludworth, in the first two and fifth ''Film/FinalDestination'' movies seemed to know a ''lot'' more about recent goings-on than he let on. Oh, and he also sounded like the Antichrist.
* This character is a staple of bad movies, if the morticians of ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' are any indication.
** The mortician from ''Agent for HARM'', for example (played by Robert Donner, better known as Exidor from ''Series/MorkAndMindy''):
--->'''Morgue Attendant:''' (''grinning'') Mr. Chance? Dr. Stefanik? May I present Mr. Henry Manson? (''solemnly'') I'll prepare the autopsy room.\\
'''Mike Nelson:''' My apologies for my odd performance.
** There's also Smolken, the gravedigger in ''Film/TheUndead'' who'll sing death or plague-related songs on a dime.
* Very subtly played in ''Film/ReturnOfTheLivingDead'', which you could easily think to be an inversion. Ernie the mortician is strongly implied to be an ex-Nazi: when we first meet him, he's listening to a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII German march on his headphones, and when startled, he produces a Luger. Later on, we see a poster of Eva Braun in his office.
* The ''Film/{{Phantasm}}'' films have the Tall Man, adding a touch of HumanoidAbomination for effect.
%%* The mortician Dobbs in ''Film/DeadAndBuried''.
%%* There's a creepy undertaker in PeterDavid's SpaceWestern ''Oblivion''.
* ''Theatre/{{Oliver}}'', both the stage and film versions, has a whole family like this. They even get a song, "That's Your Funeral".
%%* ''Film/VanHelsing'' has a rather creepy undertaker in the village.
* The title character in ''Film/CemeteryMan'', despite being a handsome Rupert Everett, is still pretty crazy and spooky.
* In the 1993 anthology film ''Film/BodyBags'' John Carpenter portrays the Coroner, a wacky character who has a twisted fascination with the corpses he gets every night and hosts the framing segments. Among other things he holds conversations with the dead people around him and even [[ILoveTheDead plays around with some of them]]. [[spoiler:Subverted at the end when he turns out to be another corpse come to life when the real coroners appear.]]
* One briefly appears in ''[[Film/BackToTheFuture Back to the Future Part Three]]'' when Marty is headed for a gunfight with Buford Tannon, measuring Marty for his coffin while the latter is still upright and breathing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Neil Gaiman's ''Literature/AmericanGods'', Ibis and Jacquel's Funeral Parlor is run by two Egyptian gods, one of whom (Anubis) consumes a part of every organ of the deceased. This actually lines up with Anubis' mythological portrayal, and it's implied that him taking part of the heart in particular is actually a sign of great respect.
* Averted (bordering on discussing this trope) in one of Creator/DeanKoontz's novels, where it is specifically stated that the morgue crew the protagonists meet are totally unlike the stereotypical image of their profession in fiction.
%%* Legitimate First from ''Discworld/NightWatch''.
%%* Pylum in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: City of the Dead''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
%%* A couple of examples in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketches.
%%* Moody dark moor Scotsman Fraser on ''Series/DadsArmy''
%%* Technically, the Cryptkeeper from ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt''.
* The mincing, AmbiguouslyGay Dennis Rainbird from ''Series/MidsomerMurders''. He even drives a Porsche with a [[VanityLicensePlate RIP]] license plate, and one of the first things he says about a murder victim is how she prepaid for the most expensive funeral service, with a tone implying that he's very much looking forward to it.
* Averted in ''Series/TheMunsters''. Herman works in a funeral parlour and Lily apparently has her hair done by a mortician
* The ''Series/{{CSI}}'' series and its spinoffs, as most criminal shows, features forensic pathologists as side characters. They're particularly fond of [[OneLiner one-liners]] whenever they find anything interesting about the person's corpse or death during the autopsy. Especially ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'', where Sid's sense of humor got a FanNickname-"Sid's creepy place".
* ''Series/MurdochMysteries'' has a woman pathologist as one of the main characters -- a lady capable of "quoting poetry while cutting a man's body open".
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'', a series about a family-run funeral home, subverts this trope. The characters have their issues, but they always attempt to treat the deceased with respect and provide some consolation to the families.
* ''Series/KolchakTheNightStalker'' has morgue attendant Gordon "Gordy the Ghoul" Spangler, an exceedingly chipper fellow who runs a lottery at the morgue for crime reporters. Played by none other than [[Disney/TheManyAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh Piglet]]!
* Sam leaped into a mortician in an episode of ''Series/QuantumLeap'', who was already regarded as rather distasteful by the people in town, and then he started trying to solve the murder of his most recent corpse, asking questions and pawing through her things. Since he was the protagonist it didn't really play that way, but when a guy whose job involves his arms being elbow-deep in the recently deceased starts demanding answers to questions about your sex life....
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' gives us Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard. His habits include going into unnecessary detail in describing what he is doing around the team, [[TruthInTelevision talking to those he is performing an autopsy on]], and his criminal psychology degree means that he talks about the mess in a killer's mind with almost as much detail as he describes the mess in the body of their victims. Also, Gibbs will occasionally bring an uncooperative suspect down so Ducky can explain to them ''exactly'' what will happen to their bodies if they continue not to cooperate.
* ''Series/DueSouth'' had [[MeaningfulName Mort]], who would sing opera while doing his autopsies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio & Audioplay]]
* The '40s and '50s radio (and later TV) sitcom ''Series/TheLifeOfRiley'' had a comedic version of this in Riley's pal Digby "Digger" O'Dell, "The Friendly Undertaker", who specialized in hilariously morbid {{pun}}s referencing his line of work, such as his usual greeting ("Hello, Riley. You're looking very... ''natural'' today") and signoff ("Well, goodbye, Riley. I'd better be... shoveling off").
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' with Gravely Headstone, as in the following (quoted from memory):
-->'''Seagoon:''' You can't bury me, I'm still alive! It's impossible!\\
'''Headstone:''' Not impossible, but one should have to box ''exceeding'' clever.\\
'''Seagoon:''' No, wait, you can't bury me yet -- I want to join the Guards.\\
'''Headstone:''' No man under six foot can join the Guards. Come along.\\
'''Seagoon:''' No, no! Keep away! Aaagh!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* The Vodoun/voodoo deity Baron Samedi a.k.a. Saturday takes this appearance. In some lore he lurks in graveyards looking for people to turn into zombies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' fits into this trope with the gravedigger, digging a grave while joking about who is to be buried there.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The gravedigger in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'' is a creepy hunchback who is nonetheless friendly and helpful despite his... unusual sense of humor. His name is [[TheIgor Igor]], too.
%%* The player character from the old arcade ''Nightmare in the Dark'', a ''VideoGame/SnowBros''-like platform game.
* Dampe from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' is often seen lurking around the graveyard when you are young Link, it gets kind of unsettling what with the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Poes]] that also lurk around there. Bizarrely enough, a cute little kid idolizes Dampe and spends daytime wandering around the graves trying to mimic the gravedigger. He pays you a lot of rupees for a spooky mask that helps offset his cuteness.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Carmageddon}}'' has a pair of undertaker twins as one of the opponents.
* The creepy gravedigger in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar''. [[spoiler: Actually Zeus in disguise.]]
* Mr. Russett from ''VideoGame/TheLostCrown'' is a subversion: he ''looks'' fairly creepy, but is actually one of the most helpful people Nigel meets.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/TheBackwaterGospel'' features an undertaker who simply sits and waits...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Dag Darkomen, played by Creator/BrianPosehn, from the second campaign (starting at episode 74) of ''Podcast/NerdPoker''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DumbHounded'': The first WesternAnimation/{{Droopy}} cartoon has the wolf character jump off a building while a mortician suddenly appears next to him during the fall, takes his coffin measurements and then disappears again.
* In its first Halloween episode, ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' featured morticians eating while preparing Kenny's body, and accidentally spilling sauce into the embalming fluid. [[ZombieApocalypse And this of course leads to...]]
[[/folder]]

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