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->"Whatever success I've had aside, between you and me? ''This'' [[[StandUpComedy routine]]] right here, I've been doing it since I was 18, this is the difference between paycheck... and medication and bedcheck. And don't get me wrong. I want to hear your pain! For God's sake, just put it in joke form, that's all."
-->-- '''Creator/ChristopherTitus''': ''Norman Rockwell is Bleeding''

This world is filled with horrible things: death, combat, pain, torture, sexual assault, (mental) disease, starvation, slavery, addiction, unjustified contempt (sexism, racialism, etc)... that happen to the defenseless, the innocent, the vulnerable - quite often, children. However, while it's good to know these things exist and work to minimise them, there's a point where thinking about these things doesn't help and is bad for your mental and physical health. Indeed, it can kill you.

Thankfully, there's a way to keep sane: humour. People who are easily hurt, [[StopHavingFunGuys or like to keep things 'dignified' and 'serious']], may say "[[DudeNotFunny This is not a laughing matter]]." But the truth is there is a healing power to comedy. If you can make fun of yourself, talk about your problems and have someone laugh with you, you feel better and your problems don't seem quite so bad anymore.

This trope is when you are able to make the best of a bad situation - this is finding something funny even in Hell itself. "Laughter is the best medicine", says the age-old adage.

Gallows Humor is, by definition, from the perspective of the victim. If anyone else delivers it or actually trying to make the situation funny, it's BlackComedy. This trope is generally when the joke itself or simple laughter allows you to deal with your problems.

Compare BlackComedy, QuipToBlack, RefugeInAudacity, TheFunInFuneral. See also FacingTheBulletsOneLiner and SadClown.

Contrast TooSoon.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The ''{{Trigun}}'' manga does this all the time, hence the MoodWhiplash and the sudden shifts to SD mode. Some Western fans complain that the bits of tragicomic laughter during gloomy, gritty fights become {{egregious}} towards the end of the manga. The humour tied to characters such as Livio and Legato gets particularly disturbing and seemingly out of place at times. Vash and Knives's snarky banter has a weird edge too, and [[spoiler: Cosmic Horror Knives]] yelling insults in SD form is possibly even creepier than his non-SD moments.
* ''KimiNoKakera'' (''Your Piece'') contains a few outrageous cases too. A particularly jarring example is the RunningGag tied to Icolo's [[spoiler: breasts]], since [[spoiler: the children are fascinated by them because they're all motherless and have had no substitute mom before teenage Icolo]] and [[spoiler: Icolo/Cololi and a few other young girls are rape victims who went through forced prostitution]].
%%* Half of ''Anime/WelcomeToTheNHK'' is nothing but this, particularly with Satou and Yamazaki.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': The short jokes and quirky personalities of the officers are the only thing keeping from being a being a manga about the horrors of war. The inability of the series to keep a straight face for more than five seconds at a time is part of why some fans prefer the first anime (which maintains a more consistent mood).
** At one point, the manga had AxCrazy SerialKiller Barry the Chopper as '''comic relief'''. And he's [[LaughablyEvil really funny.]]
** One side story had Mustang contemplating about his "[[MyGodWhatHaveIDone work on Ishbal]]", then later we had his subordinates pushing paperwork on him.
** Izumi Curtis lost a good deal of her internal organs from a failed human transmutation. This doesn't stop her frequent [[WaterfallPuke vomiting]] of [[BloodFromTheMouth blood]] to be played for laughs.
** And the omakes didn't help, too. Especially the ones that mock her own TearJerker moments like [[spoiler:Martel's death, Hughes' death, and the Rockbells' deaths]].
* ''Manga/TheKurosagiCorpseDeliveryService'' is full of this, being about a business that deals with dead people for a living.
* Brook of ''Manga/OnePiece'' constantly makes jokes and puns at his own expense over the fact that he is a [[DemBones skeleton]]. It lands solidly in this category when you realize that the series has more than once acknowledged that being reduced to a skeleton is not actually very funny, and that Brook knows it.
* A staple of the [[TearJerker often sad]] ''Anime/AngelBeats''. At one point, they play a character hanging herself for laughs. There's also the hilarious DwindlingParty sequence - and it's a ''BreatherEpisode'' in this series - where the characters all do a SayMyName whenever someone gets killed off. That is, until they get to [[TokenEvilTeammate Naoi]]:
-->'''Naoi''': No, no, [[HeroicSacrifice I'll go next]]!
-->''(gets stabbed)''
-->'''Hinata''': ''({{Beat}})'' ...Somebody say something.
-->'''Yui''': I don't know his name.
* ''KoiKaze'' has a mild example with most of their [[OnTheNext next-episode previews]], which involve Chidori passing "judgement" on the other characters for the various inappropriate things they have done or want to do.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* John Callahan draws politically incorrect comics making fun of disabled people, which has to do with the fact that [[SelfDeprecation Callahan himself]] is [[NWordPrivileges seriously disabled]].
* {{Lampshaded}} by Beast in an early issue of GrantMorrison's ''ComicBook/NewXMen'', in the wake of the Genosha Massacre, when he tells Jean to tell Xavier that gallows humor is the only thing keeping them sane. The issue opened with him holding up a partial skeleton and saying "I don't know how to tell you this, my friend, but your dating days may be over."
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' has quite a bit of gallows humor. Moloch: "Well, now, y'know that kind of cancer that you eventually get better from? Well, that ain't the kind of cancer I got."
* [[http://lh5.ggpht.com/-VcCiFXVeFCE/R11E-N6_ijI/AAAAAAAADlU/v4uyPuNUv1E/s720/Mundo%252520Quino%252520078.jpg Several]] [[http://lh6.ggpht.com/-G5CJhlvDRkw/R11FQd6_imI/AAAAAAAADlw/canaEXDoN44/s1024/Mundo%252520Quino%252520080.jpg examples]] [[http://lh3.ggpht.com/-45fUckRciVY/R11FGt6_ikI/AAAAAAAADlc/97x45WotuAY/s1024/Mundo%252520Quino%252520081.jpg by]] [[http://lh3.ggpht.com/-sJJ8CNfIxFk/R11FKt6_ilI/AAAAAAAADlo/14CkeBMLkDk/Mundo%252520Quino%252520088.jpg Argentinian]] [[http://lh6.ggpht.com/-UYSFWS8UoRE/R11Gkd6_iyI/AAAAAAAADnQ/qNqi_ecknWs/s720/Mundo%252520Quino%252520076.jpg cartoonist]] ''{{Quino}}''. [[http://lh4.ggpht.com/-C7ZtGybfqmA/R11Hk96_i6I/AAAAAAAADoU/DMlFPXUkhqI/s720/Mundo%252520Quino%252520086.jpg Many]] [[http://lh5.ggpht.com/-MHnVAjdrbd8/R11GrN6_izI/AAAAAAAADnY/K1SR37T_b-o/s720/Mundo%252520Quino%252520077.jpg examples]] [[http://lh4.ggpht.com/-dAXud9_V0aQ/R11G-96_i1I/AAAAAAAADno/h-09QaITYyA/s1024/Mundo%252520Quino%252520079.jpg indeed]].
* Happens quite often in the Swedish comic ''Hälge''.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} once chastised Franchise/{{Superman}} for this when he was trying to remove a Kryptonite bullet from his chest in ''[[ComicBook/SupermanBatman Superman/Batman]]''.
-->'''Batman''': The Kryptonite's near your heart. I don't know if I'll be fast enough to get it before the wound closes.
-->'''Superman''': Where's TheFlash when you need him?
-->'''Batman''': Do me a favor, and lose the sense of humor.
-->'''Superman''': Do us both a favor and buy one.
* ''{{Sturmtruppen}}'', including a whole story arc centered on the resident SS firing squad being unable to "exterminate" a Jewish prisoner.
* In ''[[ComicBook/LuckyLuke Belle Starr]]'', [[spoiler:one criminal sentenced to hang refused OneLastSmoke because it would be bad for his health]].
** This was an allusion to [[TheBluebeard Landru]] (see RealLife below).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfic]]
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8358093/1/Love-in-Shades-of-Green-and-Gray Love in Shades of Green and Gray]]'', [[TeenTitans Beast Boy]]'s final words to Raven (a natural death at the age of 211, with her living three centuries more) are "How do you keep a beautiful half-demon in suspense"?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The ending of ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'' looks heart-breaking at first... but it is rendered hysterically funny when everyone starts singing "Always look on the Bright Side of Life". The whole troupe later went on to sing this song at the funeral of Graham Chapman, [[TheFunInFuneral after a speech loaded to the brim with this sort of humor]]. It's [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=fsHk9WC7fnQ as funny as it is moving]]. They all sound like they're about to cry as they sing. ManlyTears.
* ''[[Film/SeventeenSeventySix 1776]]'' - The members of the Second Continental Congress employ this to get through signing the Declaration of Independence. Franklin's [[TruthInTelevision real life quip]] about the situation (as seen in the page quotes) is famous enough that he gets to give it in the movie as well.
* ''Film/TheLastSamurai'': Katsumoto returns to his badly outnumbered and outgunned force after 'negotiating' with Omura, and tells his commanders: "Well, they won't surrender."
* ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid''. After being challenged to a knife fight:
-->'''Butch:''' There's a way to profit from this... bet on Logan (the other guy).\\
'''Sundance:''' I would, but who'd bet on you?
::Butch and Sundance have the choice of being shot dead by bounty hunters or jumping off a high cliff into a river. Butch keeps saying they should jump, but Sundance'd rather fight them (and probably get killed).
--->'''Sundance:''' "I can't swim!"\\
'''Butch:''' ''(bursts out laughing)''' Are you crazy? The fall'll probably kill ya!
::Near the end of the movie, Butch and Sundance, badly wounded, are about to [[BolivianArmyEnding charge out from their cover into a firefight that'll most likely kill them]].
--->'''Butch:''' Hey, did you see Lafors out there?\\
'''Sundance:''' Lafors? No.\\
'''Butch:''' Oh good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble.
* ''Film/{{Severance}}'' is a particularly good example of this. The comedy up until the middle of the movie is almost entirely BlackComedy, including the discovery that the meat pie the main characters have been eating contains a human tooth being met with the insistence that, "It's not all bad, I cooked it for the whole hour!" The movie actually ends with [[spoiler:the four surviving characters, two of whom are strippers, rowing to escape in a small boat. Things look bleak and no one really has any hope for survival when the sole male in the boat turns to his coworker and says, "Foursome?"]] It is the last line in the film.
** Not actually that bleak: [[spoiler: all the villains are dead and they should be able to get to relative safety.]] Unless of course you watch the original ending on the DVD: [[spoiler: [[ShootTheShaggyDog where it's shown they're unknowingly rowing towards a giant waterfall]].]] Grim or not, it's still a little hilarious.
* Creator/IngmarBergman is pretty good at this - bits of ''Film/TheSeventhSeal'' are intentionally both disturbing and hilarious, as are the attempted suicides in both ''Smiles of a Summer Night'' and ''The Magic Flute''. (Admittedly, the latter is Schikaneder's doing, not Bergman's.)
* Roy Andersson's ''Songs from the Second Floor'' manages to make murder, Nazi sympathizers, insanity, etc. ''really'' funny while still as horrifying as ever. One scene has a magician trying to saw a lady in half without really knowing how the trick is done. Ah, those Swedish filmmakers.
* In one scene in ''Film/CastAway'', Chuck has developed a toothache during his stay on the island and is considering his options about extracting it (without anything close to the proper dental tools available), bouncing ideas off [[CompanionCube his buddy Wilson the volleyball]], including the speculation that Wilson could be his dentist. Then he realizes (and shares) the ironic recollection that Chuck's ''actual'' dentist back home was named Dr. Spaulding (another brand of sporting equipment).
* ''Film/TheDevilsRejects'' - The Firefly family: "We're sorry to inform you the Banjo and Sullivan show will be canceled for this evening!"
* Despite the inherent seriousness of the situation, after [[spoiler: Richie's suicide attempt]] in ''Film/TheRoyalTenenbaums'', a dark joke is thrown in:
--> '''Richie:''' I wrote you a [[spoiler: suicide note.]]
--> '''Chas:''' You did?
--> '''Richie:''' Yeah.
--> '''Chas:''' ...Is it dark?
--> '''Richie:''' 'Course it's dark, it's a [[spoiler: suicide note...]]
* Outtake first seen in the ABC-TV version of ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture''
-->After the transporter is fixed following a nightmarish transporter error that resulted in two crewmen being turned inside out, an arriving crewman says "Someone wanted to first see 'how it scrambled ''our'' molecules'".
-->'''Kirk''' to '''Transporter Chief Rand''': That has a familiar ring to it....
** (True to the trope, another poster objected to this being placed under ''CrowningMomentOfFunny'' on the [[Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture STTMP]] page.)
* From ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** ''Film/ANewHope'', when the heroes are [[AdvancingWallOfDoom about to be crushed]] in the trash compactor:
---> '''Han''': One thing's for sure, we're all going to be a lot thinner!
** ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', when [[WalkThePlank facing the Sarlacc]]:
---> '''Han''': How we doin'?
---> '''Luke''': Same as always.
---> '''Han''': That bad, huh?
* Present quite often in ''Film/ANightToRemember'', from the 'You and I will be in the same boat later' conversation, to an aristocratic lady moaning about being out of bed due to the Titanic being 'unsinkable', cut to the boiler room flooding and the stokers desperately evacuating.
* Due to a long, ''long'' history of persecution, Jews are generally acknowledged as the grand masters of Gallows Humor; this is highlighted in one scene in ''Film/SchindlersList'' which features a group of ghetto residents tossing around very dark jokes about the number of people forced to move into their houses.
** From ''Film/TheCounterfeiters'': "Why is there no God in Auschwitz?... He didn't get through the selection process."
* ''Film/SinCity'': [[spoiler:Marv]] does this right before their own execution.
-->'''''[Reverend reads a bible passage]'''''
-->Could you get a move on? I haven't got all night...
** RealLife serial killer Carl Panzram famously said something similar to his executioner: "Hurry up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill ten men while you were fooling around."
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'': in ''Curse of the Black Pearl'', Pintel and Ragetti tell Will the story of how, only after they sunk his father to the bottom of the ocean, did they learn they needed his blood to lift the curse. They then have a laugh at the cruel irony of their situation.
%%* ''Film/PennAndTellerGetKilled''
* In ''Film/{{Downfall}}'', a group of Nazi soldiers have realized that their leadership has lost its damned mind and they're probably screwed, so they decide to get shitfaced and trade jokes while they wait for whatever's coming next.
-->''"Berlin has become a city of warehouses - 'Where's my house?!'"''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* A lot of early translators didn't realize Creator/HansChristianAndersen had quite a dark sense of humor underlying his many grim morality tales. "The Tinder Box" in particular has a line from the protagonist while he's awaiting his execution that, translated properly, is ''hilarious'':
-->In the morning he could see through the bars in the little window that the people were hurrying out of the town to see him hanged. He heard the drums and saw the soldiers marching along. All the world was going. Among them was a shoemaker's boy in his leather apron and slippers. He was in such a hurry that he lost one of his slippers, and it fell close under the soldier's window where he was peeping out through the bars.
-->"I say, you boy! Don't be in such a hurry," said the soldier to him. "Nothing will happen until I get there!"
* ''Literature/{{Gone}}'':
--> '''Quinn:''' " It looks like the world's worst picnic."
--> '''Astrid:''' " I believe that's what's referred to as Gallows Humor."
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' frequently makes these types of jokes, which for some reason are usually followed by a variation of the phrase: "Ron laughed, but Hermione didn't"
** Especially true of Fred and George, who are known for making jokes about everything.
---> With the whole world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey?
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series does this all the time, and points out why it works with Vimes musing "We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything."
** Similar musings played straight in ''Discworld/TheLastHero'': Carrot takes a moment to work out that the motto Rincewind recommends be sewn on Leonard's space suits translates from CanisLatinicus as "We who are about to die, don't want to".
** Another good one is Moist Von Lipwig in Going Postal. As he is about to be hanged, he says "I commend my soul to any God that can find it!"
** ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' is packed with this sort of joke, since it's one of the most dramatic and ''almost'' one of the darkest in the series. Most are about war and racism. And there's the World's Most Laughable Shipwreck.
* ''AWrinkleInTime''. [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Mrs. Which]]: "We mustn�t lose our senses of humor! The only way to cope with something [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt deadly serious]] is to try to treat it a little lightly."
* In ''NewJediOrder'', a lot of businesses in Nova Station (in the remains of the Carida system) had names referring to the system's destruction (e.g. Big Boom Cantina).
* In ''HouseOfLeaves'', [[UnreliableNarrator Johnny Truant]] describes the Gallows Humor:
-->'''Johnny Truant:''' Zampanò, I've come to recognize now, was a very funny man. But his humor was that wry, desiccated kind soldiers whisper, all their jokes subsurface, their laughter amounting to little more than a tic in the corner of the mouth, told as they wait together in their outpost, slowly realizing that help's not going to reach them in time and come nightfall, no matter what they've done or what they try to say, slaughter will overrun them all.
* Some characters in ''{{Dune}}'', such as Gurney, show this kind of humor.
* Raymond E. Feist's ''{{Riftwar}}'' series is notable for this, but ''Prince of the Blood'' has one mercenary who just takes the cake.
--->"My mother always wanted me to go into an honorable trade, like grave-robbing. But did I listen? Nooooo. Be an assassin, like your uncle Gustav. But nooooo. Apprentice to the Necromancer..."
* ''In Cold Blood'' by Truman Capote: Perry Smith was reportedly joking with the hangman the night before his death.
* ''Eat Your Feelings'' by Heather Whaley (based on a blog of the same name) is essentially relentless mockery of life under mental illness and other forms of stress. As a cookbook. Sort of "Sarah Silverman cooks" kind of thing.
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] is, along with his SadClown ways, a master of this form of humor. Somewhat unusual in that [[spoiler: he deals in post-gallows humor as well.]]
* Some victors/tributes from ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', including Katniss, have a rather droll outlook on their CrapsackWorld. Finnick in ''Catching Fire'' even ties a noose and pretends to hang himself as a joke.
* ''ASongOfIceAndFire'': The Lannister boys are particularly adept at this. No matter what the situation is - even after he has hit rock bottom and is [[spoiler:MadeASlave]] - Tyrion is always ready with a [[DeadpanSnarker snarky quip]], which annoys his colleagues thoroughly. Jaime is an even straighter example. Shortly after the single most traumatic moment of his life, he has this exchange:
--> '''Roose''': You have lost [[spoiler:[[AnArmAndALeg a hand]]]].
--> '''Jaime''': No. I have it here, hanging about my neck.
** This, along with DeadpanSnarker, is Dolorous Edd Tollett's [[TheEeyore defining characteristic.]]
** Supposedly, Oswell Whent of the [[PraetorianGuard Kingsguard]] had a wicked sense of black humor. Unfortunately, we never get to see it in action, since he's dead. Alas.
* The cadets in ''Literature/TheLordsOfDiscipline'' develop this as a coping mechanism towards their brutal MilitarySchool. The most notable instance occurs when one character commits suicide by walking in front of a train and graffiti starts appearing on the bathroom walls reading, "[[spoiler: Dante Pignetti]] was railroaded out of the Institute."
* Hazel, Augustus and Isaac of ''Literature/TheFaultInOurStars'' are as full of this as you would expect terminally ill teenagers to be. One particular gem:
--> '''Hazel:''' It's primarily his hotness.
--> '''Gus:''' It can be sort of blinding.
--> '''Hazel:''' It actually did blind our friend Isaac.
--> '''Gus:''' Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?
--> '''Hazel:''' You cannot.
--> '''Gus:''' It is my burden, this beautiful face.
--> '''Hazel:''' Not to mention your body.
--> '''Gus:''' Seriously, don't ever get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away. ''*He nods toward Hazel's oxygen tank*''

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Dean from ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' when he has a year to live. To the point where it becomes disturbing (given [[CrapsackWorld the world they live in]], most of the humor on the show is this type).
-->'''Bobby:''' So now we're having bacon cheeseburgers for breakfast?
-->'''Dean:''' I got a year to live, I'm not worried about the cholesterol.
** When Dean and Sam go undercover at a church abstinence group, Sam tells the group that he's slept with women in the past and it always ends up badly. Dean adds, [[CartwrightCurse "He ain't lying.]]"
* ''Series/{{Mash}}'' is a great example. The theme tune is "Suicide is Painless". The episode ''Rainbow Bridge'' had a high-stakes turnover of prisoners to the MASH doctors, and Frank nearly screwed it all up by bringing a gun. In reflex, Frank reached for his gun and stopped, but the enemy soldiers were not happy about this violation. Upon command, Frank revealed his gun, [[FreudWasRight a very tiny pistol]], which made the enemy soldiers laugh so hard that they forgave him and the turnover went smoothly from then on.
** In another episode, a no-nonsense visiting Colonel takes Hawkeye to task over his constant cracking of jokes. Hawkeye points out that, given the horrors he witnesses on a daily basis, making a joke is the only way he can open his mouth without screaming.
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}''. In "Murder Most Maris", Frasier attempts gallows humor, and in a running gag, keeps bringing up the fact he was punched by a man now dead, repeatedly, even ''days'' after the fact, to win an argument. The funny part? It works each time.
* ''Series/{{Titus}}'' - The entire show was about finding something funny about dark things.
--> "It actually comforts me to know that when I was in Kindergarten, gluing macaroni to paper plates, my Mom was in therapy... gluing macaroni to paper plates."
* Parodied on ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'':
-->'''Lucille''': "Oh, it's so good to laugh again."\\
'''GOB''': "Oh, feels good."\\
'''George, Sr.''': "It does."\\
'''Michael''': "They say seven minutes heals all wounds."
* ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' has an entire episode of this, appropriately titled "Dennis and Dee's Mom is Dead".
* ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuckles_Bites_the_Dust "Chuckles Bites the Dust"]]
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''
** An episode of where the Defiant was hit with a warhead, and Quark and a Gamma Quadrant merchant are stuck right next to it. It turns out the merchant sold that kind of warhead to the Defiant's attackers, but it was designed to go off on impact. Quark jokes that they deserve a refund. To a Ferengi, that would be almost a sin, but considering they were that close to death, he and the merchant burst into laughter. The merchant also prided himself on only selling top quality merchandise.
** Another episode had several Starfleet officers casually discussing the merits and drawbacks of various ways of dying as they awaited a battle they had little chance of winning. Maybe not strictly humour, but the nonchalance is quite chilling, especially for one character who tells them to knock it off.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' - In the "Catspaw" episode, Kirk and Spock are shackled with their arms raised against a wall next to a skeleton in the same position. At one point while discussing the situation with Spock, Kirk pauses as he looks at the skeleton, momentarily cocks his head in the same position as the skeleton's, then turns back to continue talking to Spock.
** Earlier, when Dr. [=McCoy=] was also in the dungeon, Kirk turned his head to ask if 'Bones' was all right, saw the skeleton, and called [=McCoy=] 'Doc' for the rest of the episode.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Buffy has always had a morbid sense of humor; in Season Six after she's brought back from the dead it tends to get a DudeNotFunny! reaction from the Scoobies.
** The final episode of Season Six. Buffy is updating the recently returned Giles on the horrible things that happened to her and her friends (her masochistic relationship with Spike, Xander and Anya's altar break-up, Dawn's shoplifting, etc.) After this laundry list of soul-crushing defeats, both Buffy and Giles suddenly break out laughing. Buffy even recounts the particularly traumatic events of ''Normal Again'' (where she's hallucinating that her entire time as the Slayer was just a delusion from a mental hospital, and she tried to kill everyone to stop the delusion...) in a fit of giggles.
** They attempted to use this when Xander got his eye poked out by [[TheDragon Caleb]]. Sitting in the hospital bed, Xander tried to crack a few jokes about the situation, which was hardly working for him let alone an emotionally frail Willow, which ended up being a DudeNotFunny and TooSoon.
*** Though a bit later:
-->'''Xander:''' And you know what's even worse? All the stupid "it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye" jokes. "Hey, --Xander, so no more fun and games, huh?"
-->'''Dawn:''' Giles was just having fun with you.
-->'''Xander:''' That's not the point. It's an obvious joke. It would be like someone calling me a cyclops ... I mean, give me some "eye of the beholder" jokes, you know? Or some "eye for an eye" jokes or maybe even a post-modern I, Claudius joke. It's about standards, Dawnie.
* One particularly gallows example from ''Series/{{Angel}}'' has Angel cut during an earthquake, the blood drip onto his son's sheets, and him mention that if they did get trapped at least they would have food. As Wesley had learned of the prophecy that Angel would kill his own son everything that happens after this is really his fault.
* ''HogansHeroes'' - This partially explains why several Jewish actors (one or two of whom narrowly escaped the Holocaust) were willing and eager to play ThoseWackyNazis (including the main four Nazis, Klink, Schultz, Burkhalter, and Hochstetter). That, and the chance to make a ''career'' out of TakeThat. John Banner (Sergeant Schultz) supposedly told someone, "Who better to make fun of them than us?" There's a reason you never see any of the Germans with their forearms bared, after all.
* The jokes present in ''ThisHourHas22Minutes'' are only rarely Gallows Humor, but in a commercial for the show in the nineties, Rick Mercer had this to say on the subject, after musing on why Canadians seem to take such glee in lambasting not only their politicians, but themselves: "If ya can't laugh, ya might as well cry."
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' can feature quite a bit of this although sometimes they advise against it if it's not really helping, it can make you even more miserable. J.D. and Turk once explained to a dying patient that because they are around it so much they need to make it clear they aren't afraid of death. And there are other examples such as regarding Doug, a doctor and later pathologist, who has killed ''numerous'' patients and treats dead bodies like "giant children", Dr. Kelso, who has a habit of cracking extremely morbid and perverse jokes that horrify his colleagues, and [[TheChewToy Ted the lawyer]], who comedically threatens to kill himself numerous times over the course of the show.
** Ted also makes the occasional oblique reference to murdering Dr. Kelso. "Bloop..." certainly comes to mind
* ''TopGear''
** Richard Hammond's first episode after his 288 mph crash and subsequent recovery from a serious brain injury, with James May standing by with tissues in case Hammond starts "dribbling" and Jeremy Clarkson asking if he was now "a mental."
** Virtually every time one of the presenters has a big crash there's some variation on the theme of "We've just killed [presenter]. If you want a job on ''TopGear'', write to 'I'm Better Than [Presenter] Was', BBC TV Centre, Wood L... no, wait, he lives!"
** After Jeremy blew a tire on a Bentley, Jeremy looks at Richard and says "I had a blowout, and I held it."
** The presenters allegedly have a pact that, should any of them die, the others will appear at the beginning of the next episode, make a mournful comment, and then say "Anyway.." and cheerfully continue with the show.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' has its fair share of this, but the most literal example has to be River giggling at the absurdity of being tied to a pyre on the same day as she learnt what a "post-holer, for digging holes for posts" looked like in "Safe".
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'' makes use of this frequently, which is probably a good thing on a show that has had cannibals, killer clowns, guys that kill people and do experiments on them before feeding them to pigs, people that remove their victims eyes, people that kill others randomly, people that do live autopsies on others, and people that set up death traps to watch their victims suffer. And that's only a ''few''. Gallows Humor is probably one of the only reasons any of the (current) main cast is at all sane.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'' is full of this. One episode deals with Lister losing his arm. Doug Naylor(who wrote the episode) is missing a leg.
* ''TheJob'', and even more so its SpiritualSuccessor ''RescueMe''.
* A recurring theme throughout the various ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'' series, although special mention should be granted to 'Goodbyeeee...', the final episode of 'Blackadder Goes Forth', where the constant threat of death has finally... [[IncrediblyLamePun pushed them over the top.]]
** Of particular note is the episode "Corporal Punishment", where Blackadder jokes constantly about his imminent [[spoiler:and ultimately avoided]] doom.
-->'''Blackadder:''' "Can I ask you to leave a pause between the word 'aim' and the word 'fire'? Thirty of forty years, perhaps?"\\
'''Blackadder:''' ''(asked by the marksmen where they should hit)'' "Just above my head might be a good spot."\\
'''Blackadder:''' "Robinson, good to see you!" ''*gun gestures*''
::It helps, though, that he's set up and expecting a LastMinuteReprieve to pull his chestnuts out of the fire, and when it looks like it's not coming he starts sounding a lot more panicky. Another example, however, is at the KangarooCourt where he was sentenced to death to begin with:
-->'''Melchett:''' "I therefore have absolutely no hesitation in announcing that the sentence of this court is: that you Captain Edmund Blackadder be taken from this place and shot to death by shooting tommorrow at dawn. Do you have anything to say?"
-->'''Blackadder:''' "Yes, can I have an alarm call, please?"
* ''Series/HomeImprovement'' had an episode where Jill's dad died and the family had go to Texas for the funeral. Randy was constantly making jokes about it and upsetting Mark. He later admitted to Tim he didn't know why he was acting that way. Tim said he was the same way when he was 11 and his dad died, and suggested to just be careful around certain people like Mom and Mark.
* ''Series/That70sShow'' had an episode where Eric was driving his grandmother home, and the lady was not well liked by anyone for her fault finding and meanspiritedness. When Eric finally tells her that she isn't very well liked, she just suddenly drops dead. Interestingly no one, not even her son Red, cried at her passing and while the show had plenty of jokes happening, the funeral was a rather standard ordeal. After the funeral Eric confessed to Red that she died immediately after he told her off, Red chuckled saying "It could only [[CosmicPlaything happen to you]]." Kitty then came in, after spending the entire time just cooking things and finding herself with nothing left to keep her busy, and started to break down in tears. The three of them then cried together for a moment of grieving.
** Specifically, Eric said "It wouldn't kill you to be nice", hence this trope and Red's reaction.
* ''Series/{{Oz}}'': An awful lot of it. No matter how brutal or horrific a situation, someone is going to make a joke about it.
-->'''Warden Glynn''': The M.E. has ruled [=McCullum's=] death as suicide. He bit into his skin, chewing off chunks of muscle over the course of a week or so, causing himself to bleed out.\\
'''Sister Pete''': Sweet Jesus!\\
'''Officer Murphy''': Like a cannibal!\\
'''Tim [=McManus=]''': A cannibal eats somebody else's flesh.\\
'''Murphy''': So what do you call a guy who eats his own flesh?\\
'''Tim [=McManus=]''': Inventive.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' had this exchange between Sarah Jane Smith and the Third Doctor as they're trapped in a web in ''Planet of the Spiders'':
-->'''Doctor''': I think they'll find I'm rather a tough old bird.\\
'''Sarah Jane''': An old boiler, in fact.\\
'''Doctor''': (chuckles) yes, yes. I would make a good item on the agenda of the next spider council meeting. Whether to stew a Time Lord or roast him in a slow oven?\\
'''Sarah Jane''': That will give them something to [[IncrediblyLamePun chew over]].\\
'''Doctor''': Yes, something they can get their teeth into, hmm?
** In ''The Time of the Doctor'' when the Eleventh Doctor is dying of old age and out of regenerations, surrounded by [[AbsoluteXenophobe Daleks]], on the planet Trenzalore where he is destined to die, he tells some to Clara.
--->'''Doctor''': The trouble with Daleks is, they take so long to say anything. Probably die of boredom before they shoot me.
* Sketch comedy shows like ''TheKidsInTheHall'' and ''TheState'' will sometimes do a sketch in the recovery room of an attempted suicide. Expect no one to have read the attempter's (long and detailed) suicide note.
* In ''Series/NeverWipeTearsWithoutGloves'' Paul whines about people who commit suicide when they find out they have AIDS, saying that they are mean to make their friends carry the coffin with their heavy body and that they should have the decency to wither away from the disease and make the coffin lighter to carry.
* ''Series/OnlyFoolsAndHorses'': Most of "The Russians Are Coming", where Rodney convinces them to build a nuclear fallout shelter after Del unknowingly buys a kit along with a shipment of lead. Most of the episode highlights just how unprepared the average person in 1981 was to cope with the possibility of nuclear war and life afterwards, particularly with only a "four minute warning" to seek shelter.
-->'''Del''': By the way, how are we doing?
-->'''Rodney''': We're dead. We died 45 seconds ago.
** The final reveal makes it even more poignant, revealing that the "Safe as houses" location that they decided to build their shelter was [[spoiler: on ''[[TooDumbToLive top]]'' of Nelson Mandela House]].
* ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'' uses this trope a few times, the most memorable being after Will got shot. He spent most of his hospital stay cracking jokes to distract both his loved ones and himself from the emotional distress they were all feeling.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/FrankZappa's "Suicide Chump" is about the importance of just getting your damn suicide over with.
* Music/TomLehrer's song "We Will All Go Together When We Go" is all a touching, hilarious example of this kind of humor, applied to ColdWar fears of nuclear annihilation: "We will all go together when we go / All suffused with an incandescent glow / No one will have the endurance to collect on his insurance / Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go"
* Strangely, there is no ''literal'' Gallows Humor in Creature Feature's "A Gorey Demise," a song that is an [=ABCs=] of a year's Obituaries. This is perhaps out of difficulty of using the word "hanged" in a song. Though "hung" (although not proper grammar) would provide a lot of comedy, all by itself. (W is for [[TakeThat William]] who was [[BiggusDickus very well]] [[IncrediblyLamePun hung]]?)
* In Music/{{Cage}}'s "Suicidal Failure", the lyrics are partly Gallows Humor, partly Nightmare Fuel. An example is Cage walking past a group of Crips bleeding, hoping that they would kill him (implying that they would think he was a member of rival gang the Bloods).
* There's also Music/WeirdAlYankovic's song [[AntiChristmasSong "Christmas at Ground Zero"]] about a full-scale nuclear war during the aforementioned holiday. It has [[LyricalDissonance a cheery tune combined with lyrics such as: "Everywhere the atom bombs are dropping / It's the end of all humanity / No more time for last-minute shopping / It's time to face your final destiny. / It's Christmas at ground zero / There's panic in the crowd / We can dodge debris while we trim the tree / Underneath the mushroom cloud."]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Stand Up Comedy]]
* Creator/RichardPryor was TheObiWan of this trope.
* Creator/ChristopherTitus
-->"How come Mom's crazy and I'm not? It's possible she could have got up every night in front of this many people, talk about all the ''CRAP'' in her life and those people sat around and ''laughed'' with her, would have meant nothing and she could have moved on cool. It's also possible she also could have taken out the front row with a large caliber weapon, she was, ''whew'', out there. And maybe things would be different for Mom, she would have gotten her [[{{Titus}} own show]] and you would read about me in 'The Inquirer' as her heroin addicted son. Oh, we can dream!"
* The Dutch stand up comedian Herman Finkers does it literally: "Two gallows are walking down the street...".
* Following his open heart surgery, Creator/RobinWilliams was quick to poke fun about it in his HBO special "Weapons of Self-Destruction."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Roughly ninety percent of all humor in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' is of this variety, [[CrapsackWorld for good reason]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' characters can use this trope, if they've purchased the aptly-named "Gallows Humor" ability. It allows any character to replace a ''guts'' roll (made when facing virtually anything frightening, from a rattlesnake to an EldritchAbomination) with a ''ridicule'' roll (made to crack wise)...provided the character has the ability to speak, and the [[PaintingTheMedium character's player can think of something witty to say.]]
* The card game ''TabletopGame/NuclearWar'' is built on this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* This exchange in ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' during Mercutio's death in Act 3, Scene 1.
-->'''Romeo''': Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.\\
'''Mercutio''': (Having just been mortally wounded by Tybalt) No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me [[DeadlyEuphemism a grave man]].
* ''Theatre/FiddlerOnTheRoof'' notes that Jews laugh because if they didn't, they'd have to cry.
** This is also said in the stage musical of ''HedwigAndTheAngryInch'', though the movie itself has plenty of such jokes, like "During my first performance, the audience threw tomatoes at me, and afterwards I had a nice salad"
* In Hugh Wheeler's libretto for ''{{Candide}}'', Dr. Pangloss gets in a few optimistic words as he stands on the gibbet, just before the executioner releases the trap:
-->"adies and gentlemen, one final word in praise of the universal laws of Science. God in his wisdom made it possible to invent the rope and what is the rope for but to create a noose? And, Glory be to the Greatest Philosophers, what is a neck for but to be...
* ''Theatre/TheMikado'' derives considerable merriment from the subject of execution by beheading.
* During the signing of the Declaration in ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix'', Franklin jokes about their impending treason and [=McKean=] speculates on which one of them will hang the easiest, to great laughter--which gets louder when Hancock points out:
-->'''Hancock:''' Gentlemen, forgive me if I don't in the merriment, but if we're arrested now--my name is still the only one ''on'' the damn thing!
* In the fourth live version of ''{{Bottom}}'' (Bottom - an Arse Oddity) Rik Mayall's character at one point mentioned: "That actor who plays me ... You know.. the tosser who fell off his bike?". Rik Mayall had nearly died in a quod bike accident three years before.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The increasingly inaccurate title ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' was given to [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI the first game]] because Square was in trouble at the time, and had it not been a hit, it would have been Square's last game. The creator of ''Final Fantasy'', Hironobu Sakaguchi, presumably attempted to do it again, with a Wii game titled ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'', though he himself said it wasn't directly intended (and ''The Last Story'' became a success anyway).
* Moira Brown of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' is always making little Gallows Humor jokes in her conversations. You can amplify the effect by [[spoiler:[[VideoGameCrueltyPotential nuking Megaton and turning her into a ghoul.]]]]
* Protagonists in ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games (particularly after their second game, when they've become more GenreSavvy) tend to have this reaction to the villain's OneWingedAngel forms. Particularly Leon.
* During the [[spoiler:boarding of the Normandy]] in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', EDI makes an inappropriate joke about the sight of humans on their knees. When Joker just glares, she clarifies "[[DontExplainTheJoke That is a joke]]."
** Also in ''2'', as he notices that they're about to start fighting through a hospital, Garrus Vakarian cracks "That's unfortunate. Hospitals aren't very much fun to fight through." Late in ''3'' he says "I thought hospitals were ugly to fight through. This is so much worse," making the joking sentiment suddenly seem much more serious.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' - if you play a consistently Snarky Hawke, you'll run into this more than a few times given they live in one heck a WretchedHive. You can expect either SarcasmFailure or party members going DudeNotFunny if you pick *really* bad times to joke.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' does this quite often - no wonder, considering the CrapsackWorld they're in.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''ChoppingBlock'': Butch always felt the term 'gallows humour', while accurate, was redundant.
* ''[[http://www.pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF238-Capital_Punishment.jpg This]]'' ''PerryBibleFellowship'' strip has ''literal'' Gallows Humor.
* ''Webcomic/{{XKCD}}'': [[http://xkcd.com/393/ "Oh, Jesus, he's pulled out another rulebook."]]
* ''PennyArcade'': [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/12/7/ Gabe even says it himself.]]
* The JournalComic ''Webcomic/TheSecretLifeOfAJournalComic'' goes for this occasionally -- such as in "[[http://www.journalcomic.com/comic.php?p=308 Number Is Up]]", about [[spoiler:[[{{Irony}} lying to a suicide hotline operator to make her feel better]]]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' put it best when saying that it's been long enough to make jokes about 9/11 and AIDS, because if you keep taking it so seriously then the terrorists win.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'', after [[spoiler:being captured by Shen and about to be executed]], Mantis makes this quip.
--> '''Mantis''': I thought I'd meet a nice girl, settle down, and then she'd eat my head.
* Surprisingly, an example is found in a ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse'' segment where Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are hired to bring an organ to a demented toymaker that wants Mickey's heart to bring his doll bride to life.
--> '''Mickey''': He didn't want to donate an organ! He wanted me to donate my organs!
--> '''Goofy''': And you're not even done with them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* BenjaminFranklin: One of his most famous quotes, referring to the Revolution, was "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, [[DividedWeFall or most assuredly]] we shall all hang separately." A rather literal use of gallows humor indeed.
** Along with the ever-infamous "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." (Though this might an adaptation from Shakespeare, ''RomeoAndJuliet'' - "two may keep counsel, putting one away"--there's little doubt Franklin said this.)
* "Soon, we will be able to take a tram from one theater of the war to the other." Reportedly said to Hitler during the last days of WorldWarII.
** And in a similar vein a popular German joke of the period:
-->'''Eins:''' I was thinking, after the war ends I will go for a walk around the perimeter of the Greater German Empire.
-->'''Zwei:''' Oh? And what are you planning to do in the afternoon?
** Similar to yet another joke that was popular among German soldiers in the last weeks of WorldWarII. Translated to English (as featured in ''Film/{{Downfall}}''), it goes:
--->"Berlin is the city of warehouses. 'Where's my house?' 'Where's ''my'' house?'"
:: This pun works in both languages: the original German version goes "Berlin ist die Stadt der Warenhäuser. Hier war'n Haus, da war'n Haus" - literally "Berlin is the city of warehouses, there was a house and there was a house". The literal translation obviously doesn't work, but the "where's my house" line comes pretty close to the original.
** German humor is pretty fond of gallows humor. Another old literal one: "Back in the middle ages the criminal who was about to be hanged on Monday tells the judge 'Great start of the week, huh?'" (Please note that in many countries, the calendar week begins on Monday.)
* Mexican ''Calaveras'' (joking poems on someone's encounter with the GrimReaper --even if not dead yet) are all about this. Then there are Posada's engravings, many of them satirical. Also, skull shaped ''candy''!
** Indeed, it might be said that the holiday of ''Dia de los Muertos'' (Day of the Dead) is about this: rather than a grim mourning of those who have died, it's a celebration featuring all sorts of skeletal decorations (juxtaposed with bright colors and flowers). The reasoning behind this is that one should celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, not dwell on the fact that said lives are over. It also has the effect of making death somewhat less frightening.
* TruthInTelevision: Rudy Giuliani's appearance on the first ep of ''SaturdayNightLive'' to air after 9/11.
--> "Can we be funny again?" "Why start now?"
* A couple of near-literal examples from real world criminals sentenced to death:
** "Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel." George Appel, executed in New York's electric chair, 1928.
** "How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? French Fries." James French, executed in Oklahoma's electric chair, 1966
** "I'd rather be fishing." Jimmy Glass, executed in Louisiana's electric chair, 1987
** "This is the first time authorities helped me escape prison." George Sitts, executed in South Dakota's electric chair, 1947.
** A more literal example is "Black Jack" Ketchum, hanged in New Mexico Territory, 1899. There are at least three reports of his last words.
-->"Good-bye. Please dig my grave very deep. All right; hurry up."\\
"I'll be in Hell before you start breakfast! Let her rip!"\\
"Hurry up! I'm due in Hell for dinner!"
** Another literal exemple is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Palmer_(murderer) William Palmer]], who exclamed while looking at the trapdoor:
--> "Are you sure it's safe?"
** Some rumors said Henri Landru refused the last cigarette because it would be bad for his health
** John Albert Taylor asked for a bulletproof vest before being ShotAtDawn
* As they were being taken to the [[ReignOfTerror guillotine]], the poet Fabre lamented to Georges Danton that he would not be able to finish his verse drama, ''The Neapolitan Orange''. Danton replied: « ''Des vers ! Avant huit jours tu en feras plus que tu ne voudras, et nous aussi !'' » ("Verses/worms! (The French « ''vers'' » means both.) In a week you'll be making more of them than you want, and so will we.)"\\
\\
Another story tells of a commoner who was being tried and faced the guillotine. Assuming he was a nobleman, the court called out for him to stand, adding a "de" in front of his name. The prisoner stood up and testily replied : "Je ne suis pas ici pour qu'on m'allonge, mais qu'on me raccourcisse" (translation : I'm here to be shortened, not made longer). Reportedly, the judge liked his wit and answered "Eh bien, qu'on l'élargisse !" (lit. "very well then, let him be widened !", but in French legalese meaning "release him")
* Georges Cadoudal, a Catholic Royalist guerrilla fighter during the French Revolution, was arrested and sentenced to death in 1804 after a failed assassination attempt on Napoléon. On the guillotine, as he was reciting the "Hail Mary", he stopped at "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now". As the priest who assisted him encouraged to finish the prayer, he answered : "Why ? Isn't now "the hour of our death" ?"
* During the Winter War, the Soviet Union dropped large numbers of incendiary cluster bombs on Finnish cities as part of their attacks. The Soviet foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, went out in the international press and claimed that this 'bombardment' was a filthy lie; they were actually food drops to help feed Finnish refugees from the war. The Finnish responded by naming the bombs "Molotov bread baskets" in his honor and began referring to the mass-produced incendiary bomb (filled with high-proof vodka provided by the state liquor monopoly) they used on the Soviet as the MolotovCocktail; "a drink to go with the food".
* People in the medical business do this a lot. Making jokes about patients, disease, etc.
** What's the difference between a doctor and a lawyer? When the lawyer's done robbing you, at least you're still alive.
** One particularly disturbing example of just ''how'' dark doctors' and nurses' senses of humors can get, there's the medical term "CTF," or, "Cletus the Fetus," referring to a child born before 23 weeks. [[CrossesTheLineTwice There are no cases of a child born before 22 weeks surviving.]]
*** And on the other end of the age spectrum, you'll know that a patient that was CTD ([[spoiler:Circling the Drain]]) is now GFPO ([[spoiler:Good For Parts Only: ring the organ donor desk and see if there's anything they want]]) when he/she gives the Q sign ([[spoiler:Tongue lolling out of a slacked jaw. Mouth now looks like the letter Q.]]). Meanwhile, you can take the GOMER ([[spoiler:Get out of my emergency room! Person whose injury does not rate the ER]]) aside and practice your PRATFO ([[spoiler:Patient reassured and told to...]]) technique.
*** Classic signs of a concussion include being '''D'''isoriented, '''I'''rritable, '''C'''onfused, and '''C'''ombative.
*** A psychiatric hospital was once on trial over its practices and a doctor was asked what the term "FITH" stood for. After trying to dodge the question by saying it was highly technical, he was finally forced to answer: "Fucked In The Head".
* Police also tend toward very dark humor, for a similar reason.
** The slogan "Our day starts when your day ends" - Homicide has been used occasionally
* The military.
** Nuclear scientists in particular, especially the ones who have to plan for TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
-->''Stuart Slade, on the effects of direct radiation from a nuke'': "Once thermal blast and concussion have reduced you to the size, shape, and color of a [=McDonald's=] hamburger patty, irradiating you as well would be incredibly superfluous."
** Phrase commonly seen on T-shirts among Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel: "I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up!"
** Old navy joke: "Any ship can be a [[TypesOfNavalShips minesweeper]]. [[ItOnlyWorksOnce Once]]."
** Pilot joke: "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. A 'great' landing is one where you can use the airplane again."
** Submariner joke: "A submarine is a ship for which the number of sinkings is equal to the number of surfacings. Hopefully."
** The crew of a British warship sunk in the Falklands sang "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" from ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'' while waiting for rescue. The entire British Armed Forces basically runs on bleak gallows humour.
** Military units in general, particularly in combat zones do. [=IED=]s have been said to be the terrorists' way of making you obey the speed limit. You get nailed by one, you were driving too slow.
** The anthem of American paratroopers is "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWgsdexkv18 Blood on the Risers]]", a song about a paratrooper whose parachute didn't open during a jump.
--> There was blood upon the risers, there were brains upon the chute,
--> Intestines were a'dangling from his Paratrooper suit,
--> He was a mess; they picked him up, and poured him from his boots,
--> And he ain't gonna jump no more
** The song Blood on the Risers also serves to illustrate another purpose behind a lot of Gallows Humor; the [[MoralityBallad cautionary tale]]. In the song, the paratrooper does all his equipment checks ''except'' his static line ("He jumped into the icy blast, his static line unhooked"). A static line is a cord on a military parachute that attaches to a cable inside the plane. When the trooper jumps out of the plane the static line deploys his parachute for him, just in case he should happen to freeze up or pass out from the fall. The song is a warning for paratroopers (and by extension soldiers in general): ALWAYS remember to check ALL your equipment.
** Literature/SkippysList has some choice example:
-->''54. “Napalm sticks to kids” is *not* a motivational phrase''
** The original "Napalm Sticks to Kids" song is a really really bleak example of this trope:
-->''Children suckin' on a mother's tit?\\
Gooks down in a .50 pit?\\
Dow Chemical don't give a shit!\\
Napalm sticks to kids.''
** How do you recognize a [[RussiansWithRustingRockets Russian nuclear submarine sailor]]? Answer: They glow in the dark.
** When military humor isn't Gallows Humor, it is often BlackHumor that CrossesTheLineTwice.
* French comedian Pierre Desproges
** After he was diagnosed with cancer: "If it weren't for science, how many of us could enjoy cancer for more than five years?".
** You can add: "plus cancéreux que moi, tumeur" (more cancer-afflicted than me, tumor). The pun is the homophony of tumeur (tumor) and tu meurs (you die).
** Also this one: "Noël au scanner, Pâques au cimetière". Desproges was playing on an old saying that went "Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison" (Christmas on the balcony, Easter by the chimney), effectively saying Christmas at MRI, Easter at the grave. Morbid, but since he kept saying it with an exhilarating smile, it still elicited laughter.
** Desproges also justified Gallows Humour in his mock-prosecutor's charge against french right-wing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen, explaining that "On peut rire de tout, mais pas avec tout le monde" (You can laugh about anything, but not with everybody).He justified it even better when he told "On peut rire de tout. On ''doit'' rire de tout. Même de la mort. ''Surtout'' de la mort. Après tout, la mort se prive-t-elle de se rire de nous ?" (We may laugh about everything. We ''must'' laugh about everything. Even death. ''Especially'' death. After all, does death show any qualm about laughing at us?). This is a simplified version of the original quoote:
---> "S'il est vrai que l'humour est la politesse du désespoir, s'il est vrai que le rire, sacrilège blasphématoire que les bigots de toutes les chapelles taxent de vulgarité et de mauvais goût, s'il est vrai que ce rire-là peut parfois désacraliser la bêtise, exorciser les chagrins véritables et fustiger les angoisses mortelles, alors, oui, on peut rire de tout, on doit rire de tout. De la guerre, de la misère et de la mort.". Translation: "If it's true that humor is the politness of dispair, that laughter sacrilege blasphemous bigots of all the chapels are taxing of vulgarity and bad taste, if it's true that laughter there can somtimes desecratestupidity, exorcise real sorrows and castiguate mortal anguish, then, yes, we can laugh of everything, we must laugh of everything. of war, of misery and of death."
** His book "L'Almanach", which he wrote while in the final stages of his cancer, and was published after his death, is literally rife with Gallows Humour. Including, but not limited to, one different darkly sarcastic subtitle for Picasso's ''Guernica'' for each week of the year.
* The American aircraft carrier USS Forrestal had a number of fires on board during her deployment. The worst fire happened in 1967 and killed 134 people. Sailors jokingly referred to the ship as the "USS Zippo," "Forest Fire," and "Firestal."
* [[Music/TheBeatles George Harrison]] had coincidentally hired new groundskeepers about a week before a crazed fan broke into his house and stabbed him nearly to death. As he was being taken away by paramedics, with stab wounds in his chest and a punctured lung, he reportedly looked up at the new groundskeepers and asked "So how do you like the job so far?"
* On his deathbed, Voltaire, a fervent deist, received a Catholic priest who asked him to renounce Satan and thus be accepted in Heaven. He reportedly replied "Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies".
* Another one from the U.S.A.'s Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence.
--->'''Benjamin Harrison:''' "I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. [Elbridge] Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead."
* Yet another political one: when RonaldReagan was shot, his first words to his wife were "Honey, I forgot to duck." And when the surgeons were about to operate on him to remove the bullets, he told them "I hope you're all Republicans."
** A doctor (who was a Democrat) replied: "Today Mr. President we're all Republicans."
* According to medieval Catholic legend, Saint Lawrence of Rome was martyred by being roasted to death on a gridiron. After roasting over a hot fire for a while, he supposedly told his torturers, "''I am done on this side; you may turn me over''". The Catholic Church decided that because of this, he should be considered the patron saint of cooks and chefs, making this first-rate BlackComedy as well. Lawrence is also the patron saint of stand-up comics for just this reason.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Escorial The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial]] is built in the form of a grill just for this.
* St. Sebastian (the one who was tied to a tree and shot full of arrows) is the patron saint of lacemakers. Bartholomew the Apostle -- the one who was flayed alive and then crucified -- is the patron saint of tanners and leather-workers.

* Creator/TerryPratchett has said he is going to [[TakingYouWithMe take his Alzheimers with him]]. He also described it in his initial announcement as "an embuggerance".
* Russell Means once said American Indians should be placed on the endangered species list, much like the aforementioned ''Franchise/StarTrek'' example.
* As Sir Walter Raleigh approached the executioner's block, he looked at the axe and whispered to the executioner, "Tis a sharp cure, but good against all ills."
* Philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek has a fondness for gallows humor. It was part of the language of academics living in the East Bloc, and his fondness for this type of humor carries through. He's also argued that in many circumstances, like the Holocaust, the monstrosity of the situation is "too strong for tragedy", and so the only decent response is one of comedy, ridiculing the brutality of the situation.
* Creator/ChristopherHitchens, during his losing battle with cancer, loved this trope - he announced he had it in an article called "[[IncrediblyLamePun Topic of Cancer]]," and said that, because his cancer was so developed he had "joined the cancer elite." He also said: "I make preparations for living and dying every day. But with the emphasis on not dying, and on acting as though I was going to carry on living."
** When asked how he was coping, he replied "Well, there are the bad days and then there are the worse ones."
*** To the first friend he spoke to after learning of his cancer and its advanced state he said, "I had plans for the next ten years. I expect I shall have to cancel them."
* Add firefighters and [=EMTs=] to the other occupations that do it. Stand near some firefighters as a building, despite best efforts, burns to the ground and almost inevitably someone will ask who brought the marshmallows.
--> EMT 1 (after moving a very heavy patient): "When I die, you can wait until I'm rotted down to a skeleton so I'm easier to move."
--> EMT 2: "I have a carving knife. I don't have to wait that long."
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_232 United Airlines flight 232]] was a DC-10 that suffered a total failure of all its hydraulics in flight, making it all but impossible to control. During the co-ordination of the emergency landing attempt, the following conversation occurred between ATC and flight captain Alfred Haynes:
--> '''Sioux City Approach''': United Two Thirty-Two Heavy, the wind's currently three six zero at one one; three sixty at eleven. You're cleared to land on any runway.
--> '''Haynes''': [laughter] Roger. [laughter] You want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?
* [[http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/07/09/famous-last-words-from-football-fans-and-other-fanatics/#ixzz2mTAoeTop The obituary]] of a lifelong [[AmericanFootball Cleveland Browns]] fan: �He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.�
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