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Attending Your Own Funeral

Priestbot: "We are gathered here to mourn the death of Calculon; industrialist, private eye... friend."
Calculon: "Mind if I give the eulogy?"
Monique: "Calculon, you're alive!"

A character shows up alive to his or her own funeral, whether through deliberately faking it, being mistakenly declared dead, resurrection, or Time Travel. The Not Quite Dead character may either reveal him/herself to be alive or attend the funeral in disguise and leave with no one the wiser. Or sometimes the character won't even know they've been presumed dead until they walk through the door...

Compare Whodunnit to Me. May cross over with Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying Over You.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • A commercial for whiskey tells the story of a man, John Jameson, who dived into the ocean to rescue one of his kegs and presumably died. The next scene shows his funeral with the narrator telling us "All of Ireland was in attendance, including... John Jameson." Jameson is then seen walking up the beach front holding the keg.
    • An extended version of the commercial shows him being grabbed by a Giant Octopus while swimming for the keg, presumably putting him into Badass territory.
  • When you wait forever for the cable guy, you get bored. When you get bored, you start staring out windows. When you start staring out windows, you see things you shouldn't see. When you see things you shouldn't see, you need to vanish. When you need to vanish, you fake your own death. When you fake your own death, you dye your eyebrows. And when you dye your eyebrows, you attend your own funeral as a guy named Phil Schiffly. Don't attend your own funeral as a guy named Phil Schiffly. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV. Call 1-800-DIRECTV.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yuusuke at the beginning of YuYu Hakusho. Unlike most of these examples, he really is dead, watching it as a ghost at the time. Seeing how much he's missed him gives him the resolve necessary to go through some difficult ordeals to get himself resurrected.
  • Speed Racer: Rex Racer fakes his own death to become Racer X. One scene at the end of the movie shows him attending his own funeral. Speed Racer himself actually does this in one episode of the original series.
  • At the end of part 2 in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Joseph shows up alive (and married) at his own funeral, without even knowing about said funeral.
  • Although it wasn't really real, Erza in Fairy Tail has a dream were she had really died when she merged with the Tower of Heaven in an effort to stop it from blowing up. She watches her friends in Fairy Tail mourn at her grave, and group of council officials bestow a title upon her. Finally, Natsu crashes the funeral proceedings and tries to convince everyone Erza is still alive, which only causes the entire group to break down into tears. Either way, really dramatic. Luckily, it was only a dream, and Natsu saved Erza before she could really die.
  • Pell of One Piece, after his supposed Heroic Sacrifice, turns up alive looking in shock at his own gravestone.
  • Tsuna from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is transported into the future in time for his older self's secret funeral. Not surprisingly, he was pretty freaked out.
  • In Gintama, Butt Monkey Yamazaki ends up witnessing his own funeral, which is a pathetic little afterthought tacked onto the real show: the funeral services of Matsudaira's dog.
  • Sharon Vineyard aka Vermouth in Detective Conan. She even made herself pass as her own daughter and gave the eulogy!
  • Prince Chagum in Seirei no Moribito is seen attending his own funeral among the kneeling crowd of commoners.

    Comic Books 
  • In Hellblazer, Chas tells his drinking buddies of a time when everyone thought John Constantine dead, only for him to turn up alive and well at his funeral. (This wouldn't be the only time Constantine would be presumed dead.)
  • In Runaways, Gertrude Yorkes helps bury a future version of herself underneath the HOLLYWOOD sign.
  • In Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?, Batman attends a funeral for multiple versions of himself, with eulogies telling how he was killed in each one.
  • In The Death of Groo, Groo The Wanderer goes to his own funeral, expecting there to be much sadness at his demise. There isn't. Everybody at that funeral had had endless trouble from him, and they were all delighted at his "death."
  • Deadpool did this in spirit form. He found that he was able to possess people and had no end of fun causing trouble, culminating in a giant brawl between Juggernaut, Wolverine, T-Ray, and pretty much every other minor character to appear in Deadpool's book up to that point.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pearls Before Swine strip for 1-29-13. Larry the crocodile had apparently been eaten by killer dolphins (long story) and his friends set up a memorial dinner for him. He was actually still alive, and attended the dinner, telling them that he was a ghost and that if they didn't give him food he'd haunt them forever.

    Film 
  • Happens in the movie Waking Ned Devine.
  • Jacques Bouvar does this at the beginning of Thunderball while masquerading as a woman. James Bond shows up to make sure Bouvar will be attending his own real funeral.
  • 'Painless' the dentist from the film M*A*S*H gets to do this. He's there because he's committing suicide, and waves goodbye from his casket. He is unaware that the cyanide capsules he's been given are fake, and he's about to get laid.
  • Revenge of the Pink Panther: Inspector Clouseau shows up at his own funeral, disguised as a priest. (Someone else died, but everyone thought it was Clouseau.) He only reveals himself to his former chief Dreyfus, and he faints right into the grave upon seeing him, believing it to be a ghost or hallucination.
  • Varyemez, a Turkish tragicomedy film has this when a rich industrialist (the protagonist) is believed to have been killed after being kidnapped and a barely-identifiable body is found. His family and business partners had deliberately not paid the ransom upon realising that they were better off without him. Unfortunately for them, he is very much alive and angry at his family's duplicity. As he plans his revenge on them, he attends his own memorial event, watching his wife and son shed crocodile tears and his business partner discussing how to divide up his business.
  • In Year of the Devil [Rok ďábla], a mockumentary by Petr Zelenka, one of the characters, Karel Plíhal, stages a "dress rehearsal" of his own funeral, with a coffin, a priest, and a funeral folk-band, and watches it out of hiding.
  • The title character of Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen does it, or at least he claims to have done it.
  • Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. And he brought company.
  • The ending of Capricorn One. Several astronauts are forced to participate in a faked mission to Mars. When their ship burns up on re-entry, the authorities plan to kill them. One astronaut escapes and shows up at the memorial service for the crew, exposing the conspiracy.
  • Convoy: Rubber Duck is one of the people riding the microbus in the convoy that serves as his funeral.
  • In the Czech film Trhák (mockumentary about filming of a musical) a character died, but his actor was filmed attending the funeral - forcing the scriptwriter to explain it away as the deceased man's brother ("look, he's even limping on the same leg").
  • In The Weatherman, the main character arranges a "living funeral" for his father, who is dying of cancer. He gets through one line of his eulogy before the power cuts out.
  • R.I.P.D.: Subverted in the sense of being undead. While he's disguised as his James Hong character, Nick does attend his own funeral from a distance. He first discovers that he no longer looks like himself when he sprints in and tries to greet his widow.
  • In The Living Wake, K. Roth finds out he's dying, so not only does he organize his own wake and personally invite everyone in town, he attends to deliver his own eulogy, and has a little song and dance number that ends with him collapsing right into his already-prepared coffin. Now, that is talent.
  • Played for laughs in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues with Brick, who's not all there. After being declared dead due to having disappeared, he shows up at the funeral and gives a eulogy and declares he will get vengeance on his killer. He is eventually persuaded that he is actually still alive.

    Literature 
  • The essay, "Dead at 17" (frequently known as "Please God, I'm Only 17"), was written by New Hampshire resident John J. Berrio, after the teenaged son of a close friend died in a 1967 car accident. The story – a cautionary tale imploring that teenagers adopt safe-driving habits – is told from the point-of-view of a teenager who drove recklessly, was involved in a major car accident and suffered fatal injuries. The story begins with hindsight ("I was too cool for the bus" and "All the kids drive"), then progresses as the protagonist's car is involved in the deadly collision, then is examined by on-scene medics and police officers, brought to the morgue to be identified by his shocked parents and then to the visitation (where his grieving friends and family pass by his open casket). The final scene sees the teenager protesting in vain being placed in the ground, pleading for a second chance and promising to be a safer driver.
    • On an almost annual basis, readers of Dear Abby and Annie's Mailbox (previously Ann Landers) will request that Berrio's essay be republished, hoping teenagers who are newly licensed will read it and decide to adopt safe driving habits.
    • The use of first-person POV has led some people to believe the young driver wrote this himself.
  • Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Tom and his two friends Huckleberry Finn and Joe Harper are hiding out on an island playing (although they sort-of really mean it) at being pirates and are assumed dead. They get tired of sleeping rough and want to go home, but decide to stick it out just long enough to attend their own funeral and then enter dramatically through the door.
  • In the Raffles series, A. J. Raffles did this, as part of a gambit to throw a too-persistent ex-girlfriend off his trail; it was the second time he'd been thought to be dead, but the first funeral. The other time, he'd jumped from a ship in the Mediterranean, and been mistakenly reported to have washed up dead on shore.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: In "Rumpole and the Last Resort", Rumpole lets it be thought that he is dead, partly to lure a solicitor that owes him a great deal of money out of hiding and let She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed pwn him good; as a bonus, he gets to hear Judge Bullingham giving a eulogy for him, which he greatly enjoys.
  • In the fourth book of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Percy shows up after spending two weeks on Calypso's island to find that everyone thought he was dead and were holding his funeral.
  • Prince Josua at the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.
  • Mr. Sellars at the end of Otherland, also by Tad Williams.
  • Aethelstane in Ivanhoe does this at his own funeral. Specifically, he throws open the door and appears wearing funeral garments and looking as if he had just been raised from the dead.
  • In Lady Slings the Booze, one of Spider Robinson's Callahan series, Nicola Tesla (actually alive and well, thanks to a certain time traveler) mentions attending his own funeral in disguise.
  • The novel Interview with the Vampire had Louis going to his funeral after his plantation burned down. His aged younger sister attended.
  • In Isaac Asimov's short story Obituary, a scientist who's embittered by lack of success and recognition finds a way to bring a duplicate of an object from about three days in the future; unfortunately, if the object is a living creature, the process kills the duplicate. He uses this to fake his own death and thereby get to read his obituaries. Needless to say, his greater plan to achieve lasting fame by this is one last failure.
  • In The Hobbit, Bilbo returns from adventuring just in time to attend his own estate sale.
  • The Westing Game: Sam Westing, aka Sandy McSouthers, along with Attending Your Own Will Reading and Wake, complete with a fake body in the open casket to pull off the deception.
  • Aversion: In the novel Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, Joey wants to attend her own funeral (in disguise) in order to interrogate her husband about why he tried to kill her. Her partner-in-crime convinces her to wait in the car.
  • In American Gods, Mad Sweeney the leprechaun attends his own wake, where he debates the interpretation of his life story provided by one of the other characters and tosses back a few glasses of whiskey. By the next morning, he seems to have shifted from Only Mostly Dead to Killed Off for Real.
  • Tom Holt's Paul Carpenter pulls this in book three of the J.W. Wells & Co. series... after faking a relapse of death. Considering that he died something like three times per book and usually recovered by the next chapter, this is hardly surprising.
  • G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown does it in "The Resurrection of Father Brown". He was drugged by Hollywood Atheists who wanted to make it look like he was trying to fake a miracle by coming back to life. They were foiled when the modest and sensible Father Brown declared that it hadn't been a miracle.
  • The final chapter of the fifth Clue book, "Mister Boddy's Funeral" has the guests all assembled having been invited to their host's funeral when he himself walks in, leading to confusion until it is revealed one of the guests arranged for the funeral with the intention of murdering Mr. Boddy on location, to make things convenient.
  • In Anne of Ingleside, one of the Gossipy Hens at the quilting bee mentions a story about a man who went out West and reportedly died. The body was sent home, but the funeral director advised them not to open the casket, so they didn't find out it was someone else's body until the supposedly dead man came home just in time to walk in on the funeral.
  • In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Scrooge doesn't attend his own funeral per se but the ghost of Christmas future does show him his own grave.
  • In Privilege, the Spin-Off of the Private series, Ariana attends her own funeral. The body they cremated is actually that of Briana Leigh Covington, who she killed in order to access her money and assume her life.
  • It's not his funeral but Mackenzie Calhoun of Star Trek: New Frontier shows up to the dedication of the new USS Excalibur which has a touching eulogy/speech about since he was presumed dead during the destruction of the last ship of the same name. Its both hilarious and touching.
  • Older Than Print: Happens in the story of Amleth — the legend that was basis for Hamlet — as told in the 13th century Danish History by Saxo Grammaticus. Amleth has been sent to England by his uncle Feng to be killed with a Please Shoot the Messenger plot, and everyone thinks he's dead; but (like in William Shakespeare's play) he has escaped and returns to the royal palace just the day they are holding his memorial feast.— Shakespeare, however, alters the plot so that Hamlet arrives just in time to witness Ophelia's funeral.
  • In the Highlander spinoff novel, ''The Element Of Fire', Connor Macleod is believed to have drowned while saving the life of a ship's captain. They give Connor a funeral at sea, with his spare set of clothes wrapped around a stone serving in place of his body. After the "burial", Connor climbs up the anchor line back onto the ship.
  • Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead has Zak Arranda injected with revival formula and something designed to put him into a coma that looked like death. He wakes up, unable to move, in a coffin during his own funeral - local traditions have the dead buried almost as soon as they're declared dead - and gets to hear his sister weeping over him. Then he's Buried Alive, and only then regains some mobility.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket does this after he's believed to be dead..
  • A rather gut-wrenching version happens in Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves. After revealing his sexuality to his mother, Benjamin gets a visit from both his parents. His parents bring roses and cake and while they are eating it dawns on Benjamin that it's not a social call - to his parents this is his funeral. Truth in Television as people who leave Jehovah's Witness have experienced this (including the real life person Benjamin was based on).
  • A variant in the X-Wing Series: Corran Horn misses his own funeral, but manages to show up for the final phase of the trial for the murder of Corran Horn.
  • Played with in the Honor Harrington series in a way, where the titular character is believed to have died for over two years before returning, and later makes mention of having watched her state funeral on TV, and lamented by her friend Michelle 'Mike' Henke, who laments not being declared dead as she would have enjoyed watching her own funeral.
  • Doc Daneeka in Catch-22 had qualified for flight pay simply by entering his name into the flight log. He was declared killed in action when a plane he was 'on board' was downed. He attended his own funeral, mourning that his protests that he was still alive couldn't be officially lodged because he was officially dead.

    Live Action TV 
  • The essay, "Dead at 17" (frequently known as "Please God, I'm Only 17"), written by John J. Berrio to condemn reckless driving by teenagers, was adapted into a CBS Schoolbreak Special in 1991.
  • In the opening of The Incredible Hulk, David Banner is seen at his own grave.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor has done this more than once.
  • Little House on the Prairie: In the first-season episode "If I Should Wake Before I Die," Charles helps a lonely, widowed mother stage her own funeral to draw her negligent, estranged (and now adult) children to her home for a long-coveted visit. In this case, it works and the children realize what they had been missing.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Played for Laughs in several episodes, including:
    • "The Ghost of the General Lee": A wake for Bo and Luke is held after it is merely assumed they had drowned when the General Lee is found submerged in a lake and they are nowhere to be found. (What had happened was that a pair of crooks stole the General Lee while Bo and Luke were skinny dipping, and Rosco gives chase, assuming he's chasing his longtime adversaries ... until the General Lee is driven into a lake. The bad guys flee, and Rosco comes to his erroneous conclusion when he is unable to find any bodies.)
    • "Ding Dong, the Boss is Dead": Boss fakes his own death to escape suffering a crueler fate from a mob boss who went to prison on his testimony ... only the catch is the mobster is coming to Boss' visitation in Hazzard to make sure Hogg is indeed dead.
    • "Too Many Roscoes": As was the case with Bo and Luke in the earlier episode, a wake for Rosco takes place after it is merely assumed he had drowned when his patrol car is run off the road and into a lake by a gang of bank robbers (including one that is an exact double of Rosco), and a hasty search of the lake by Bo and Luke finds no body. The wake ends when the phony Rosco is seen walking to Boss' house (where the wake takes place).
  • Geordi and Ensign Ro did this in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Next Phase" — they also appeared to "come back from the dead", although they weren't actually dead, in the middle of their own funeral. Ro was frustrated that she'd never get to hear what Riker, with whom she had Belligerent Sexual Tension, would say about her.
  • The Golden Girls
    • In an episode Sophia decides to host her own funeral while she's still alive — that way not only will people be able to enjoy themselves and celebrate her life, but she'll be able to see it and celebrate with them. Rose handles the invitations... but forgets to tell everybody that it's just a pretend funeral. Everyone gets a nasty shock when Sophia shows up, ready to party.
    • Blanche tells one time when she was a teenager, and angry over losing a beauty pageant, decides to fake her own death, making it look like she drowned in a river. A few days later, her family and friends have her funeral, and she comes and reveals herself. She mentions in passing that her father sent her to a religious school after that, and how her father could be "such a peckerwood" sometimes.
  • In Bones, Booth takes advantage of an injury to fake his own death, attends his funeral as a member of the three-volley salute, and outs himself by apprehending a suspect. Said suspect told the FBI the next time they'd see him would be at Booth's funeral.
  • Dead Like Me
    • George goes to her own funeral in the first episode. She was able to do this because she was going to be joining the ranks of the reapers.
    • In another episode, Mason had to attempt to convince one recently deceased man that he couldn't attend his own funeral and that it was important to move on to the other side as soon as possible.
  • George Sr. is able to hear his own wake in Arrested Development.
  • In Mad About You, Paul gets an incorrect notice that he's dead, goes to the funeral of the other Paul Buchman, and suddenly finds himself a ghost, talking to his widow Jamie about their life together.
  • Reginald Perrin, after he fakes his death in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
  • On Friends, Chandler and Ross once got into a prank war concerning their college alumni page. Eventually Chandler posts that Ross has died. Ross decides to hold it anyway, just to see who shows up. Only two "mourners" arrive: a guy who's only there to hit on the recently "outted" Chandler, and a girl who had a crush on Ross. Ross jumps out and disgusts her for not being dead.
  • Played for Laughs when Dan Fielding attended his own funeral on Night Court. They had trouble coming up with nice things to say.
  • Rimmer attends his own funeral (twice! He was already dead the second time he died) in Red Dwarf. The first time, he produced a VHS tape of himself memorialising himself. Lister fast-forwarded to the good bits. The second time, a blow-up sex doll was introduced as his widow.
  • Max in Get Smart, faking his death for a mission, shows up to check out his funeral and complains to the Chief about the lack of mourners and the cheap flowers and headstone.
  • In Dollhouse Echo is imprinted with the memories of a recently dead client who wanted to attend her own funeral... and find out who killed her. The paranoia pays out, anyway.
  • In Heroes, Volume 4 ends with all the Heroes gathering together for the first time in the show, to witness the destruction of series Big Bad Sylar's body, whom they've finally managed to kill after 3 whole seasons. However, most of them are unaware that "Nathan" is really a shapeshifted Sylar brainwashed into believing that he's Nathan by Ma Petrelli and Matt Parkman, and the body being burned is merely a shapeshifter who died while assuming Sylar's appearance.
  • Alias: After the Covenant kidnaps Sydney and fakes her death, they force her to watch her own funeral while Bound and Gagged in a nearby van so that she knows no rescue attempts are coming.
  • A two-part Happy Days episode concludes with Fonzie doing this (disguised as an old lady) after Faking the Dead to throw some gangsters off his trail.
  • In one episode of Gilligan's Island Mr. Howell makes out his will, leaving various things to the other castaways. He then believes they're trying to kill him and stages his death by letting them believe he fell in quicksand. He watches his funeral from a tree as sees they really did care about him. He then falls out of the tree and lands in the middle of his own funeral.
  • In the Highlander episode "Unusual Suspects", Hugh Fitzcairn is killed and watches his own funeral.
  • In one episode of The A-Team, Hannibal allows himself to be shot by a sniper (he was wearing a bulletproof vest, Lord knows how he expected the sniper to hit him there) and when the Smug Snake Loan Shark behind it comes to gloat and tries to spit in Hannibal's face at the wake. Hannibal "wakes up" and holds him at gunpoint. The team then put him inside the coffin and take him to a seaside dock to perform a Jack Bauer Interrogation.
  • There was a Japanese police drama in which a funeral is staged as a sting to draw out a scam artist who shows up at funerals, claims to have known the deceased and asks the family for payment of debts the deceased supposedly owes him. The "deceased", of course, attends the funeral.
  • Leverage
    • In the episode "The Two Live Crew Job" Sophie (going by the name Katherine) poses in a coffin after someone sends her a bomb in a flower vase. She listens to the other members of the team eulogize her (including Parker, who almost blows the con). Nate closes the casket and taps on it, which is Sophie's cue to drop out through the false bottom. She even makes an appearance a minute later, wearing a veiled hat.
    • And again in "The San Lorenzo Job". Nate even lampshades it: "You are utterly unclear on how to be dead. This is the second time in two years that you've shown up at your own funeral."
  • In a long string of pranks, a bar owner rival of Cheers fakes his own death, funeral, and is even buried inside a coffin to prank Sam Malone. After Sam breaks down and accepts the death is not a hoax, the "dead" man pops out of the office and reveals it was just an elaborate prank.
  • Happens to Hobbes in The Invisible Man when the Chinese are after him. He is spying from afar on the funeral, but is kidnapped by the Chinese anyway, as they don't buy the hoax. Also, the only one of the Agency who wasn't told was Claire, as they needed real tears.
  • Ghost Whisperer: Jim attends his own funeral—but he's really dead and attends it as a ghost.
  • Deb in Drop Dead Diva does this after being resurrected in the body of Jane.
  • Variation on 30 Rock. After Jenna was misreported as dead, Jack saw it as a gimmick to sell her latest movie and set up a memorial for her on the Show Within a Show. Jenna watched this for awhile, but eventually came on stage to wreck it after realizing her real age would be mentioned.
  • Played straight in the pilot of The Cape when Vince peeps in on his own funeral after being presumed dead.
  • The Charmed Ones went to their own funeral and even had to keep Phoebe from hitting on a guy who was mourning her death. And when Paige saw how few people were mourning her, what does she do? Impersonate Janice Dickinson and mourn herself.
  • A suspect on Castle once got caught this way—he faked his death but couldn't resist coming to the funeral.
  • In 2009, a hoax arose on the Internet (and even spread as far as an Australian TV news show) which claimed Jeff Goldblum had died in an accident. Goldblum's response was to take this trope Up to Eleven by going on The Colbert Report and delivering his own eulogy.
    Jeff Goldblum: No one will miss Jeff Goldblum more than me. He was not only a friend and a mentor, but he was also me.
  • Jam featured a sketch where a middle-aged man decides to be buried alive while he is in his prime - he believes that he already has everything he wants in life and doesn't like the idea of dying in his old age. He is seen sitting up in the coffin at his funeral, listening to his eulogy and joining in with the music, before being buried alive in front of the mourners.
  • In an episode of Being Human, George sees his dad's obituary in the paper, goes to the funeral secretly, and finds his dad also there. Being that sort of show, he assumes his dad is a ghost, and tries to help him determine what's keeping him on Earth. Turns out, no, he faked his death.
  • On an episode of Murphy Brown, Murphy and Frank are on a plane that is having mechanical troubles and the passengers are told to brace for impact. A moment later they cut to their own funeral, but no one there can hear or see them. Much panic and angst ensues, until the end of the episode when it's revealed to be All Just a Dream and the plane lands safely.
  • In an episode of Boston Legal a terminally ill cancer patient stages his own wake, while he is still strong enough to enjoy it. He has trouble understanding why his girlfriend isn't in a party mood while he personally has a great time.
  • Jimmy Mc Nulty in The Wire is given a wake at an Irish pub like other fallen cops, he lies in a pool table as his career as a detective is dead. He otherwise is alive, talkative and can't stay still and the other cops complain about this.
  • John Cleese opened the International Comedy Festival in 2006 by announcing that he would be having himself killed at the end of the show due to the state of stand up comedy, before which he would deliver his own eulogy.
    Cleese: I thought the only person worthy of eulogizing me is Steve Martin...then I thought no, he's not really good enough either.
  • House: Being House, he not only attends his funeral (though he stays outside), but also messes with Wilson's eulogy.
  • All My Children: Journalist Edmund Grey is killed by a car bomb when he refuses to stop his investigation of a corrupt politician. As his grief-stricken wife, brother, and numerous loved ones gather for his funeral, who should walk in but Edmund himself, asking "Who died?". It turns out it was the corrupt politician's hitman who was blown up. Thousands of miles away, Edmund had no idea what had happened and that entire town was grieving for him.
  • Charlie's Angels has Sabrina fake her death to smoke out whoever rigged an explosive in her water cooler; there's a funeral, which she attends, hiding in the back wearing heavy mourning gear. Of course her colleagues are all in on it, but she's touched to see Bosley summoning up genuine tears at the thought of losing her.
  • Artemus Gordon of The Wild Wild West attends his own funeral... as the priest giving the eulogy.
  • Season 2 of Sherlock ends with the titular character being forced to jump off a building by the Big Bad while Watson witnesses the fall. The final scene shows Watson and Mrs. Hudson at the grave, Watson quietly begging Holmes to not be dead. As he's walking away, the camera pans and shows Holmes watching from the cover of a nearby copse. Of course, the real puzzle for the audience isn't whether or not he survived (since that's a forgone conclusion for anyone familiar with the source material), but how.
  • Happens by accident in Sliders with Rembrandt walking in on his double's funeral. While it's not his original intention, he can't keep silent when he hears blatant lies being told (then again, he has no way of knowing if they are lies in this world). He ends up living with his double's wife and son for a few days... until the wife is notified that her husband was wounded in action (he was MIA and presumed dead) and is coming home. Cue Rembrandt running away from an angry woman with a shotgun.
  • An episode of Ace Of Cakes involved making a funeral cake for an elderly man who always wanted to attend his own wake, so his wife set one up for him.
  • In an episode of My Name Is Earl, Earl is making up for faking his own death to get out of a relationship with a clingy girl named Natalie seven years prior. Natalie is now in a relationship with a Jerkass, but she is too much of an Extreme Doormat to care. The guy fakes his own death, having gotten the idea from Earl when he came over to apologize, and Earl (on the advice of Catalina) goes to hang with Natalie to cheer her up a bit. Natalie thinks they're getting back together, and when Earl finally can't take it anymore (and the Please Dump Me gambit failed miserably), he actually tells her what the problem is. And he is told by Natalie's mother that Natalie committed suicide. When Earl goes to her funeral, she grabs his hand, and reveals that she is alive, and faked her death so Earl would feel her pain. Too bad her mother wasn't in on the stunt.
  • In the first episode of Orphan Black, Sarah watches her own funeral through binoculars, and Vic tells Felix off for taking a phone call from her during it.
  • Similar to the Murphy Brown example above, Red Forman on That '70s Show has a brief dream of his own funeral when his neighbor Bob cuts down a tree which almost falls on him. His wife Kitty is the only one who attends. This inspires him to be a nicer person and he has another vision at a party where his funeral is similar to the party. However, he decides this isn't like him and goes back to being a Jerkass.
  • One episode of Nash Bridges opens with recurring character Tony B faking his death. He's found out when Nash spots him at the funeral. Needless to say, no one has anything nice to say about Tony, even Nash.
  • In M*A*S*H, Hawkeye is declared dead by a clerical error, so BJ throws a wake. Since everyone knows he's alive and the whole thing is treated as a big joke, the presence of the deceased isn't alarming, and gives a rebuttal to his own eulogy.
    • In another episode, a soldier from Luxembourg is presumed dead after he disappears from Post-Op. As they're holding his memorial service, when they cue up Luxembourg's National Anthem the wounded man stumbles out of a tent and then comes to attention.

    Music 
  • John J. Berrio's essay, "Dead at 17" was turned into a recitation and has been recorded by several acts, most notably country music singer Red Sovine (in 1977, included on one of his last albums). His version is titled, "I'm Only Seventeen."
  • The narrator of "The Gunner's Dream", from the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut, imagines or hallucinates doing this thing.
  • The beginning of "Neptune City" by Nicole Atkins begins with a ghost tagging after his funeral procession.
  • At Five Iron Frenzy's final live show, the frontman Reese Roper referenced this trope to explain how he felt.
    Reese Roper: This is really surreal... You know how in movies, people fake their death and then they go to their own funeral? Yeah...

    New Media 
  • There's a hideous glurge that periodically makes the rounds in email: it's a chronicle of child abuse and murder, told from the victim's point of view, and ends with the lines "My name is Sarah/And I am but three/And tonight my daddy/Murdered me." Multiple people have written to Snopes asking whether this is a true story. (Their response: "As unlikely as it might be that a three-year-old could possess the language skills necessary to compose such a piece, it's even more unlikely that anyone could describe her own murder in the first person.")
    • Note that the question is not quite so daft as it might seem; though a true murder victim could not write of it, there are many cases of people describing highly traumatic events in such terms. Furthermore, death is not instant, and it could have been written before she actually died.

     Professional Wrestling 

    Radio 
  • A variant from BBC comedy The Burkiss Way: The reading of Lord Hackingbottmo's will is disrupted when someone points out that he's the one reading it. (Note that this only happens after the reading has already a) included a long list of people who haven't been left anything and b) turned into a spontaneous performance of "Chattanooga Choo-choo".)
    Lord Hackingbottmo: I know it better than anyone else!
    Guest: But you're not dead!
    Lord Hackingbottmo: ...I've got a gum boil.
    Guest: That's not enough!
  • Ed Reardon's Week: A "Reading Your Own Obituary" variation; Reardon spends an episode trying to steal his obituary from his agent's files to see what his "friend" Jaz Milvane has written about him.
  • In Richard Wilson's fictional radio autobiography Believe It!, Richard holds a funeral for his cat when Celia Imrie tells him he died. It turns out the cat just went missing, and returns half way through the funeral. Richard is struck by the revelation that the cat came back to see the funeral, and many years later gathers all his celebrity friends to hold a "dress rehersal" of his own funeral. It doesn't go as well as he expected, and they eventually conclude that it doesn't work if he's there.

    Table Top Games 
  • One of the GURPS books has a short story told from the POV of a newly minted ghost. After attending his own funeral (and weeping over it) he decides to do some world travel. Tries to go to the moon, but doesn't quite get that far.

    Video Games 
  • More like "Attending Your Own Wake": In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate God, when Guybrush (as a ghost) goes through a rip in the Crossroads to Club 41 before going to the Manatee Mating Grounds in order to find the Voodoo Lady's locket (via another rip), Bugeye tells him to be quiet when he and W.P. Grindstump are "in the middle of a pirate wake", and Guybrush is surprised to find his own body holding a dartboard and wearing a party hat. He can look around the club and talk to Grindstump to find out what happened after Guybrush died at the hands of LeChuck. Afterwards, he can exit his own wake and continue on in his quest to get back in his own body, as before.
  • Fire Emblem Elibe: Prince Zephiel had barely escaped from being poisoned to death by his own father King Desmond, and decides to pretend he's dead in order to have revenge. He then lies down in his own casket, a knife hidden among his funerary garments, and when Desmond orders to open it so he can see if Zephiel's truly dead...
  • Inverted in Hitman: Blood Money, wherein the end of the game is at the titular protagonist's funeral and he is actually the one on the altar; only he gets up and proceeds to kill all of the attendees.
  • Nanako from Tsukihime's sequel disc, Kagetsu Tohya, is not technically dead, but her human body died and she couldn't interact with her family ever again, so her family held a funeral. She was actually very touched by the service, and this reinforced her belief that she could continue existing without regretting giving up her life.
  • Though Serge isn't there in time for the funeral in Chrono Cross, Serge does visit his grave in Another World and is found there by people who know he "should" be dead.
  • Italy does this in Heta Oni; after a hiccup in the mansion's "Groundhog Day" Loop, he winds up caught in the only time loop where he didn't survive, and goes to visit his own dead body before finding the way back to his own reality. It's almost forgettable compared to the things before and after it, though.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in The Simpsons episode where Bart and Nelson play the roles of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. After a scene implies they've been hanged, they're shown hiding while their funeral is going on, grinning widely... only for it to be revealed that it's merely their corpses about to be lowered in the coffins (apparently there was a very good embalmer on hand or something, but probably Rule of Funny is a more apt explanation).
    • In another episode, Lisa lives in a redwood tree to prevent it from being cut down. She sneaks away one night to spend it with the family, at the same time the tree was struck by lightning and destroyed. The entire town believe her to be dead, and hold a large funeral for her, where the Rich Texan announces that he is turning the redwood forest into an amusement park in Lisa's memory. Lisa dramatically arrives, and announces her outrage.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, in the episode "The Late Mr. Kent," Superman shows up at Clark Kent's funeral.
  • In the Futurama episode "A Pharaoh To Remember," the Planet Express crew stages a fake funeral for Bender to convince him that he will be remembered after he's gone.
    Bender: Louder and sadder!
    • There's also the end of Bender's Big Score where Fry, courtesy of time travel shenanigans, attends his own, non-faked, funeral. Well, technically the funeral of a time-travel duplicate, but still.
    • Heavily parodied in the Show Within a Show All My Circuits by Calculon.
  • Stroker and Hoop: Stroker faked his own death, as well as his son's and C.A.R.R.'s, in order to avoid a gang of ninjas, an then secretly attended his own funeral. Though Stroker later admits that bringing his son to his own funeral was a crappy idea.
  • In Huck And Tom's Mississippi Adventure, Huck pretended to drown, then watched his funeral by looking through the church window after climbing a tree.
  • In "Dead Duck", Darkwing Duck "was late for his own funeral" and regretted about this. He visited his grave, though, and was deeply disappointed.

    Web Original 
  • Though neither faking it nor technically needing to be resurrected, Red vs. Blue has this happen to Sarge, complete with Grif performing a roast for him, and Simmons campaigning for the leadership position, instead of giving him a Eulogy.
    Grif: "Sarge, is he campaigning for your job at your funeral? Classy."
    • Sarge was less than pleased.
      Sarge: "This is the worst funeral I've ever had."
    • This likely happened offscreen for Church as well; he is shown loudly demanding that he be given one. 'My body fought long and hard for this war!' Later, his grave is shown.
    • It happens again in season 9, to Simmons this time. At first he's excited at the prospect, but he becomes rather less so when the best things his teammates can come up with are "He talked a lot," and "He liked gum."
    Simmons: I never thought my death could somehow be worse than my life, but here it is. Bitchin'.
  • There's a rather peculiar instance in an Everyday Weirdness story called "Procession."
  • The Leet World has one of sorts, where Player, having survived a grenade injury, makes the rest of the team hold a funeral for him, so he can see what it's like.
  • In A Very Potter Musical, Ginny says that this is what she would do if she had an invisibility cloak.

    Web Comics 
  • In Sonic The Comic Online story Skeletons in the Closet Knuckles does not quite attend his own funeral but finds a skeleton that was a previous version of him that was killed by the Gizoid robot, Johnny didn't attend his own funeral but in the story In Memory Johnny from the past reads the plaque about his own death in his future.

    Real Life 
  • A famous Swedish businessman did not quite attend his own funeral, but got to read his own obituary due to a newspaper error. His horror at his portrayal as "Alfred Nobel, merchant of death and destruction" led him to found the Nobel Prizes so he'd be remembered for something other than inventing explosives.
  • As a deliberately engineered example, in 2007, Amir Vehabovic from Bosnia faked his death, forged a death certificate and arranged for a funeral just to see who would show up to remember him. Only his mother attended the funeral.
  • Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls has held two funerals for himself in his adult life thus far.
  • Abraham Lincoln reportedly had a nightmare along these lines approximately two weeks prior to his assassination.
  • Some attendees at Andy Kaufman's funeral poked his body, as he'd announced an intention to fake his death. (Probably) an aversion, as he was (probably) really dead.
  • Happens every so often in Real Life. Usually due to the person reviving in the coffin or a misidentification at the morgue. One woman wandered into her own funeral as she finally recovered from a New Year's eve party several days earlier and heard that everyone was at a funeral.


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