->'''Vladmir:''' Do you want a carrot?\\
'''Estragon:''' Is that all there is?\\
'''Vladmir:''' I might have some turnips.\\
'''Estragon:''' Give me a carrot. (''Vladmir rummages in his pockets, takes out a turnip and gives it to Estragon, who takes a bite out of it'') It's a turnip!\\
'''Vladmir:''' Oh pardon! I could have sworn it was a carrot.
-->-- '''Samuel Beckett''', ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot''

The absurdist movement is one of the most hilarious and depressing artistic and philosophical movements. After all the death and horror of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, people started realizing that the institutions and beliefs that they put their faith in--the government, the church, the military, technology, society, etc.--were not intrinsically right. The only reason they had any power or sway is because people let them have power and sway. In short, people started to realize that the foundations they had built their life upon had no foundations themselves. This led to the modernist movement.

The absurdism stage is considered part of the modernist movement; while it agreed that everything was pointless, it also saw the funny side to things. We go about our lives doing the most banal, bizarre things, even though when you really got down to it there wasn't a reason for them. We do things that are, in fact, Absurd. As a result, expect to hear lots of [[SeinfeldianConversation repetitive dialogue with no real point]] (see page quote).

There is a significant offshoot centered around absurdist [[{{Theatre}} plays]] known as the Theatre of the Absurd, a term coined by critic Martin Esslin. This was probably the closest thing to a true "school" of art that absurdism ever got, even though none of the playwrights would likely agree to the label.

It is important to make the distinction between Absurdism as the movement, the loosely related philosophy and general absurdist humor. Creator/MontyPython is well known for their absurdist sense of humor, but would not be considered Absurdists.

Absurdist philosophy is very closely related to UsefulNotes/{{Existentialism}} (and, by extension, characters that are TheAntiNihilist). Compare and contrast {{Surrealism}}; both movements emerged in the wake of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and are stylistically similar, but whereas absurdism is all about [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic embracing meaninglessness]], surrealism is [[WorldOfSymbolism packed with meaning.]] See also UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}, which was an even more nihilist reaction to World War I.

!!Common Tropes:
* AbsurdityAscendant: The modern {{Trope Codifier}}s.
* AllForNothing
* {{Beat}}: If the characters aren't repeating one another's lines, there's a good chance they're not saying any at all. You'd be correct if you guessed that some absurdist plays are light on the plot.
* BlackComedy
* CrapsackWorld
* KafkaKomedy
* ParrotExposition, often distilled to the point of DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment
* TalkativeLoon
* TrueArtIsIncomprehensible: Most people (read:everyone who isn't too proud to admit it) will tell you most Absurdist works make no goddamn sense. Then again, that's the point.
* WorldLimitedToThePlot

!!Creators commonly identified with the absurdist school:
* Edward Albee
* Creator/SamuelBeckett
* Friedrich Durrenmatt
* Creator/EugeneIonesco
* Jean Genet
* Charles Ludlam
* Suzan-Lori Parks
* Creator/HaroldPinter
* Music/SamShepard's plays tend to be borderline examples.[[/index]]
** More specifically, he began writing well after most of the other playwrights on this list and as a result his plays are more [[PostModernism postmodernist]] than modernist. On the other hand, his works invoke a similar set of tropes and he was clearly influenced by the Theatre of the Absurd. Maybe best to call him [[PostSomethingIsm post-absurd]].[[index]]
* Creator/TomStoppard

[[AC:Literature, etc.]]
* Creator/AlbertCamus
* Joseph Heller
* Creator/FranzKafka
* Creator/KurtVonnegut
* Rikki Simons
* Robert Shearman

* ''Theatre/TheBaldSoprano'', by Eugene Ionesco
* ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho'': Robert Shearman's episodes "[[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho014TheHolyTerror The Holy Terror]]" and "[[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho029TheChimesOfMidnight The Chimes of Midnight]]".
* ''Film/TheBigLebowski''
* ''Theatre/TheBirthdayParty''
* ''Theatre/BuriedChild''
* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo''
* ''AudioPlay/DoctorWhoAudioVisuals''
* ''{{Theatre/Endgame}}''
* ''Theatre/TheMaids'', by Jean Genet
* ''Theatre/{{McQueen}}''
* ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis''
* ''Theatre/TheMysteryOfIrmaVep''
* ''Theatre/RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead''
* ''{{Series/Seinfeld}}'' - "A show about nothing" not only sums up Absurdism, but is also an excellent modern example
* ''Literature/TalesFromTheCrib''
* ''Topdog/Underdog''
* ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot''
* ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf''