[[quoteright:300:[[Film/LEntreeDesGladiateurs http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bathos_5072.png]]]]

-> ''"Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke."''
-->-- '''Creator/JossWhedon'''

Bathos is a story-telling technique that follows serious ideas with the commonplace or ludicrous. The juxtaposition of these ideas creates humor.

It has its origins in poetry, where lofty prose would be followed with an anticlimax of sorts. It later evolved to cover any instance where the serious is mixed with the surreal or commonplace in order to provide humor.

The [[TropeNamer trope name]] comes from Alexander Pope, who wrote ''Peri Bathous, Or the Art of Sinking in Poetry'' in 1727, in which he mocks the abuse of tropes and figures of speech by bad writers. In it, he notes that juxtaposing the serious and the trivial creates unintentional humor, which sinks serious poetry.

Bathos can be both intentionally invoked or unintentionally present. It most often appears intentionally in comedic works or those with a comedic undertone, although not always. Unintentional bathos is {{Narm}}.

Subtropes include:
* CasualDangerDialog
* TheComicallySerious
* ExpospeakGag
* FailedAttemptAtDrama
* IgnoredEnemy
* TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers
* MundaneMadeAwesome
* SophisticatedAsHell
* {{Wangst}}

Often present in SurrealHumor. Bathos may cause MoodWhiplash when it does not appear in an otherwise comedic segment of the work. In SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness, works of bathos either sit firmly in the middle or wildly slide up and down.

Compare GallowsHumor, where the comedy is used by characters within the story as a tension breaker, and MoodDissonance. See also the FirstLawOfTragicomedies, a method of averting this.

'''Please do not place examples that better belong on {{Narm}} here or on any main page.''' In other words, only intentional Bathos belongs on this page.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Manga/{{Berserk}} absolutely thrives on contrasting the awful and tragic events of its CrapsackWorld with sudden moments of hilarity. A good example happens after the Eclipse, a demonic ritual in which Guts' best friend betrayed him, his companions were all eaten, his lover lost her sanity, and he lost his own right eye and left hand. In the chapter immediately following this horror, he wakes up in a cave and the first thing he sees is Godo's daughter Erica comically trip down the stairs when she comes to bring him food. In general the series has a lot of MoodWhiplash and rides a roller coaster up and down the SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness.
* ''Manga/{{Needless}}'' is full of this. It can best be described as sort of a ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' parody stuffed with {{Postmodernism}}. There is a story arc called the ''Bloody Rain Arc'', which is changed to the ''Mustache Arc'' after several characters notice how many characters with mustaches there are. Said arc is filled with LampshadeHanging and mustache jokes. Then one of the said mustachioed characters proceeds to kill enough people to make it [[TitleDrop rain blood]].
* ''Manga/OnePiece'' is made of equal parts dark, violent drama and light-hearted goofiness, to the point that some fight sequences manage to include both ''at the same time''.
** For example: Enies Lobby is about Robin's past catching up with her, causing her to succumb to guilt and lose her will to live, while the rest of the Straw Hats has to deal with her captors, a secret government black ops cell powerful enough that everyone needs to learn new techniques just to fight on even ground. Also revealed are the lengths the World Government are willing to go to to protect the secrets of the Void Century, including [[spoiler: wiping out entire islands to a man.]] On the other hand, the members of said black ops cell include an overdramatic kabuki actor who keeps trying to commit seppuku, a huge blob of a man with a [[VocalDissonance a voice that doesn't fit his stature at all]] and a zipper mouth, a women with the power to create soap bubbles and a giraffe man. Also included is a cola-powered cyborg AceVentura look-a-like who at one point tries to escape capture by inflating his ass while talking in a dead serious manner, and Chopper's [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Monster Point]], which transforms him into a gigantic, dead-eyed, berserk monster...with a pink top hat.
* The works of Creator/JunjiIto are full of this. They take genuinely horrifying horror plots and give them ridiculously silly elements such as ''haunted balloons that hang people''. The result is a story that is downright hilarious... as well as terrifying at the same time.
* ''{{Manga/Senyuu}}'' has more and more of this as the series goes on, culminating in a dead-serious confrontation with the BigBad being resolved by [[spoiler:Alba falling out of the sky onto one opponent, a [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot knight-tank-princess]] randomly colliding with the other, and a ridiculously blatant semi-literal DeusExMachina]].
* Discussed in ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'': Hattori advises Mashiro and Takagi that their works needs humor, but the kind that fits within their generally serious storytelling. The best example they could think up was ''[[ShowWithinAShow Otter #11]]'', in particular a scene where the titular character [[CarFu rams a truck into a building]]: it's played dead-serious, but undermined by the fact that said character is a human but with a photorealistic otter for a head.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' the story became increasingly serious during the Fourth Ninja War, but at various points the tension was shattered by comedic moments. Notable is during the show-down with [[spoiler:Kaguya]] when Naruto uses his gag Harem Jutsu as an actual attack and it ''works''. For those not familiar with the series: he [[DistractedByTheSexy distracts]] [[spoiler: a god]] with [[YaoiGuys yaoi]].
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' has a surprising amount of this, as a work of entertainment where the creators knowingly [[MoodWhiplash combined tragedy and comedy]]. In fact, audience reactions range between realizing this and not (see {{Narm}} plus NarmCharm). Lelouch is very serious towards life and his quest, but sometimes his own misfortune was an intentional source of amusement for creators and viewers alike. His utter lack of physical skills was highlighted for comedic effect, not only while chasing a cat at school but also when he failed to land a punch on Mao during a dramatic moment. The staff came up with the term "Lulu quality" to describe how much they enjoyed teasing and bullying him. Another example would be Emperor Charles, as director Goro Taniguchi approved his larger than life character design because of its potential for hilarity, leading to the scene where [[spoiler: he flies off like a rocket just before dying in a climatic confrontation, whose comedy value even the staff points out]]. The mad scientist Lloyd, whose voice actor was given total freedom to play the part, makes amusing remarks even during serious battle sequences, while Jeremiah "Orange" Gottwald [[spoiler:goes from villain to audience-pleaser]]. Last but not least, the staff played around with [[ProductPlacement Pizza Hut]] appearances more often than what the sponsor was asking for, even having the delivery bike show up.
* The Korean short ''Animation/DoggyPoo'' is a poignantly touching story about the ephemeral nature of life and delivers a wonderfully heartwarming Aesop about how everyone and everything has its own special place and purpose in God's creation. The title is not some sort of Dadaist abstraction, either; the main character is a [[TalkingPoo sentient lump of dog shit]].
* ''Anime/YattermanNight'' tends to use this a lot. A HappyDance gets used as a completely serious PoliceState salute, clownishly dressed robots serve as nation police, people are being kept in a prison camp on "Cape Of-Course-It's-So-Ya", Our main characters are learning how to be better rebels from a children's picture book, the protagonists and antagonists ride into battle on completely ridiculous HumongousMecha... the list goes on from there.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' generally cues a bout of this with a cartoony ArtShift, which can get dropped in at practically any time.

* Neil Gaiman makes liberal use of this in ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', juxtaposing otherwise poetic and mythic language with common turns-of-phrase.
* ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}'' makes pretty good use of this. The biggest example is probably TheReveal of why the Hooded One is trying to get their hands on Phoney Bone: [[spoiler: the stray parade balloon from Phoney's ill-fated attempt at running for Mayor of Boneville, [[BrickJoke the stunt that got him and his cousins kicked out of Boneville in the first place]]. The banner around it reading "Phoncible P. Bone Will Get Your Vote" was even [[SignsOfDisrepair damaged to read]] "Phoncible P. Bone Will Get You".]]
* This exchange from ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'', when 12-year-old Klara Prast is discussing life with her abusive, much older husband to Karolina Dean and Molly Hayes, both of whom are from the present, and the latter of whom is Klara's age:
-->'''Klara Prast''': It is not so bad. It is just, when I come home so tired, and then he... I do not enjoy it... My... [[MaritalRapeLicense my marital duties]].
-->'''Molly Hayes''': Oh my God... He makes you do '''chores?!?'''
* A grandiose example from a fanpage inside the ''Literature/PerryRhodan'' pulps. The comic tells the life story of a balloon-like alien life form in the typical SF style known from the novels. In the next-to-last panel, the now geriatric alien ascends into the upper atmosphere, asking himself ''last'' questions like: "What's the meaning of life? Is there a God? Will everything be revealed now?" In the last panel: [[PopGoesTheHuman POOF!]] [[note]]OK, more Pop Goes The Alien.[[/note]] Just...poof. Never has overinflated bathos been popped more ''literally''...

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* This trope is common source of humor in ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', juxtaposing larger-than-life superheroes with mundane family life. For example:
** In the memorable "Where's my supersuit!?" scene, Frozone spots a giant robot rampaging through the city and frantically begins rummaging around his house and arguing with his wife over the whereabouts of his missing supersuit.
** As the superfamily rushes to save Metroville from said rampaging robot, they do what ''every'' family does on a long car trip: start bickering.
-->'''Dash:''' Are we there yet?
-->'''Mr Incredible:''' We'll get there when we get there!
* ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' does this a lot as well. For example, there's a scene that takes place after TheReveal. Anna is current in the midst of a HeroicBSOD while Olaf comforts her and does his best to get her back up and going. Serious, but since it's ''[[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Olaf]]'' who's comforting her...
** Another example happens early on during the "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" sequence/song which sets up the relationship between Anna and Elsa. Very sad and serious, but with Anna being [[{{Adorkable}} adorably hilarious]] at the same time...[[MoodWhiplash until the final part]], that is.
* ''WesternAnimation/ParaNorman'' does the same thing as The Incredibles example above. On the way to the grand finale, you get the awkward family car trip of doom. [[ItMakesSenseInContext Though theirs includes a zombie.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'', when Bad Cop storms the saloon in the Old West, it's played as a tense scene, except for the fact that the horse he rides in on has no points of articulation, meaning the horse just sort of... hops. And it has a huge flashing police siren on its head.

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* ''Film/TheHost'' revels in this. The main characters rolling around on the floor and crying together at a funeral is either the saddest scene in the movie, or the funniest, or both. Another dramatic and climactic scene is "ruined" when it turns out that [[spoiler:the gun they were going to use to kill the monster is empty.]]
* The "death" of Wilson in ''Film/CastAway''. You can't help laughing at Chuck bawling over the loss of his '''volleyball''' friend, but at the same time you fully empathize with him bawling at the loss of his volleyball '''friend'''.
* A particularly funny example in Film/BlazingSaddles has former gunslinger "Waco Kid" Jim telling the woeful story of his career and how he reached a point where he nearly gunned down a six-year old who challenged him. He threw down his gun to end his career, at which point the "little bastard shot me in the ass!"
* In ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'', [[EldritchAbomination Gozer]] needs a [[{{Kaiju}} Destructor form]] and compels our heroes to choose one. They figure out the trick and blank their minds out... except Ray didn't. So now the giant monster that is attacking New York is... the [[RentAZilla Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man]].
* ''Film/LifeIsBeautiful'': A running theme of both the movie itself and the InUniverse philosophy of the protagonist is the ability to laugh even in the most tragic of circumstances.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' pretty much runs on this. For example, one of the characters is a hardass criminal working as a BountyHunter, with 22 prison escapes to his name, love for and proficency in use of [[{{BFG}} big guns]], and a backstory of being created through [[PlayingWithSyringes immoral experimentation]]. His name? [[FunnyAnimal Rocket Raccoon]].
* In ''Film/TheSixthSense'' the scene where Cole confesses to his mother than [[ISeeDeadPeople he can see dead people]]. Particularly the part where he says "Grandma says hi" and we get a brilliantly hilarious DoubleTake from Toni Collette. And yet it doesn't ruin the part where Cole gives her a message from Grandma which makes the scene a Heartwarming Moment.
* ''Film/TheWickerMan'' has a scene when Lord Summerisle (Creator/ChristopherLee) and Miss Rose (Diane Cilento), both in evening dress and him at the Grand Piano duetting the [[BawdySong absolutely filthy song]] ''The Tinker of Rye'' about a [[UnusualEuphemism an tinker fixing an womans kettle]].
* ''Film/TheLegendOfBillieJean'' plays Putter getting her first period both for drama and comedy.
--> '''Putter:''' So when can I get a diaphragm?
* ''Film/TheMartian'' tells a harrowing tale of an astronaut left on mars to survive by himself. That doesn't stop the film from being very funny at points, mostly due to lighthearted dialogue.
--> '''Mark Watney:''' [after trying to make water by burning hydrogen] So... I blew myself up.

* An example of the trope that predates Pope's coining of the term comes from John Dryden in ''Albion and Albanius'', where he writes:
-->"The cave of Proteus rises out of the sea, it consists of several arches of rock work, adorned with mother of pearl, coral, and abundance of shells of various kinds. Through the arches is seen the sea, and parts of Dover pier."
* Pope himself used this trope deliberately in the mock-heroic poem ''TheRapeOfTheLock'':
-->Not louder Shrieks to pitying Heav'n are cast,
-->When Husbands or when Lap-dogs breath their last,
* The Latin poet Horace jokingly warned poets to avoid starting out a poem in the grand old epic style, lest 'parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus' - "The mountains will labour and bring to birth a comical mouse." Of course, Pope was particularly influenced by Horace, as were most poets of his day. If there had been a 'Poetry Tropes' website in those days, 'ridiculus mus' may well have been the TropeNamer.
* Creator/DouglasAdams was quite fond of this trope. From ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy1'':
-->Why are people born? Why do they die? [[ArsonMurderandJaywalking And why do they spend much of the intervening time wearing digital watches?]]
* Stand-up comedian and author Lewis Grizzard uses this trope extensively in his routines and writing. From his memorial column for his dog Catfish:
-->I don't know why I named him what I named him. He was all curled up in a blanket on my back seat. And I looked at him and it just came out. I called him, "Catfish." I swear he raised up from the blanket and acknowledged. Then he severely fouled the blanket and my back seat.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' notes at [[spoiler: Dumbledore's funeral]] at the end of the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince sixth book]] that, when reminiscing, he's not sure whether or not he wants to laugh.
* Common throughout ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. Top prize probably goes to asking a [[spoiler: faerie hit-''thing'']] for a donut.
-->'''[[spoiler: Eldest Brother Gruff]]''': [[YeOldeButcheredEnglish Likest thou jelly within thy donut]]?
-->'''Harry''': Nay, but with sprinkles 'pon it, and frosting of white.
* Found throughout Creator/PGWodehouse's work. A spectacular example is present in ''[[Literature/JeevesAndWooster Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit]]'', with a florid poem describing a sunset that ends with "I say / Doesn't that sunset remind you / Of a slice / Of underdone roast beef?"
* Creator/WoodyAllen often used this. For example: "Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage." or "The universe is merely a fleeting idea in God's mind - a pretty uncomfortable thought, particularly if you've just made a down payment on a house."
* ''Literature/LordOfTheFlies'' invokes this intentionally at the end when [[spoiler: the British Navy comes to rescue the children]], in order to draw a comparison between learned civilised behaviour and the children's natural amorality.
* Creator/RickRiordan often uses this technique in his works, especially when [[FirstPersonSmartass Percy Jackson]] is narrating.
--->''When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment were stitched of trapped souls from the Field of Punishment. [[MoodWhiplash The ADHD part of me wondered, off-task, whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way]]. What horrible things would you have to do in your life to be woven into [[CrowningMomentofFunny Hades' underwear?]]''
* ''Literature/CaseyAtTheBat''. A minor league baseball game is described with all the pomp and portent of an epic poem, ending with one of the most memorable {{Anti Climax}}es in all of literature.
* Similar to the aforementioned Douglas Adams series in tone (in that it's about a Very Normal person going through ridiculous things), the light novel series ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' has a lot of Bathos in its [[LemonyNarrator narration]]. For example, in ''The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya'':
--> I nearly bumped into Nagato who was coming out from the kitchen. In Nagato's hands was a stack of small plates, with chopsticks and a tube of ground mustard on top.
-->"I am leaving. Sorry for intruding. See you."
-->I was about to walk off, when I sensed a tug as soft as a feather on my arm.
-->Nagato was pulling my sleeve with her fingers. The tug was very soft, just like how much force one might use to pick up a newborn baby hamster.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/OneFootInTheGrave'': Nearly every episode, a serious conversation was interrupted with something completely ludicrous, such as finding a wig in a loaf of bread, or Victor discovering that a workman planted a Yucca plant actually ''in'' the downstairs toilet.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' delved into this from time to time. In "War Stories," Mal and Wash have a very domestic argument while being tortured, much to the bemusement of the torturer. In this particular example, Mal was ''deliberately'' antagonizing Wash to keep him from breaking.
* In ''Series/{{Community}}'', Abed gives a breathtaking monologue about appearing on an episode of Series/CougarTown, [[note]][[AscendedFanboy he]] [[CrossOver actually]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWfJYJMrYa0 did]][[/note]] in which he questions his entire identity and the point of being interested in popular culture. The entire speech culminates with him [[BringMyBrownPants "pooping"]] himself.
* ''Series/LookAroundYou'' is a parody of 1970s Creator/{{BBC}} educational videos, using Bathos for most of its humor.
* ''Series/{{Wilfred}}'', in both the Australian original and American remake.
--> '''Ryan:''' You've lost your mind. It's like you've got some kind of...God complex.\\
'''Wilfred:''' I'll let you in on a little secret, Ryan. I don't have a God complex. [[AGodAmI I am God!]] Thunder!\\
'''Ryan:''' How did you do that?\\
'''Wilfred:''' ...Lucky coincidence!
* Classic ''Series/DoctorWho'' did this well, especially in the Hartnell era. In "Marco Polo," for example, Kublai Khan is built up as this mysterious, terrible, almost godlike being... and then, he and the first Doctor become friends as they commiserate in the aches and pains of advanced age. "The Myth Makers", one of Hartnell's wittiest, derives a lot of its humour from how mundane the semi-mythical Trojan figures are in personality, especially Paris - his attempts to talk Steven down from attacking him are almost Pythonesque in how anticlimactic they are.
-->'''Steven''': ''(in Shakespearian tones, pretending to be a Greek soldier)'' And must my Lord Achilles be roused to undertake your death, adulterer?
-->'''Paris''': Yes, well, I'm prepared to overlook that for the moment. I assure you I have no quarrel with you.
-->'''Steven''': I'm Greek, you're Trojan. Is not that quarrel enough?
-->'''Paris''': Yes, well - personally, I think this whole business has been carried just a little bit too far? I mean, that Helen thing was just a misunderstanding.
-->'''Paris''': ''(having won the fight)'' Now, die, Greek, and tell them in Hades that Paris sent you thither!
-->'''Steven''': I yield.
-->'''Paris''': I beg your pardon?
-->'''Steven''': I yield. I'm your prisoner.
-->'''Paris''': Well, I say, this sort of thing is just not done.
** The Fourth Doctor pretty much functions entirely on this. He's a dramatic, imposing, [[ByronicHero Byronic]], swashbuckling alien with a [[GothicHorror gothic Victoriana]] motif, who wonders up to whatever unspeakable squirming OmnicidalManiac horror he's pitted against this week, gives it a big grin and offers it a jelly baby.
** The final words of the Seventh Doctor to Ace in "Survival", the final story of the Classic series before the show was cancelled:
-->Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea is getting cold.
** The portrayal of [[{{Hell}} the Nethersphere]] in "Dark Water". It's all very much like a soulless corporate city.
* This is sometimes used in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', such as in the episode "Wishful Thinking" when a young girl wishes for her teddy bear to come alive and ends up with a suicidal cynical giant stuffed bear.
-->'''Teddy bear''': It is a ''terrible'' world! Why am I here?
-->'''Audrey''': For tea parties!
* The ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' episode "Just Harried" has Prue inadvertently wrecking Piper's wedding. While it's still presented as a sad event, the scene itself still has a comedic edge to it. Creator/HollyMarieCombs gives Piper a semi-panic attack that is most definitely meant to be funny, along with her delivery of "the wedding is off!" - plus another small gag when Phoebe accidentally steps on her train.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** "Entropy" has the gang discovering a hidden camera planted by the Trio in the Magic Box. As they do this, Spike and Anya are having sex. The Trio are in the middle of shutting down their cameras when they spot this and get DistractedByTheSexy. Dawn also walks into the house and catches sight of it, Willow covering her eyes comically. Of course this doesn't change the fact that Xander and Buffy have just seen their respective love interests going at it - and it's still presented as a tragic scene.
** "Help" Cassie's speech about what she'd love to do in life - but can't because she knows she's about to die - is heart breaking. But there's also a funny line in there where she says she'd like to see her cousins grow up "because they're really mean and I think they're going to be fat". Even Buffy smiles at this.
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers'':
** In the second episode, Malarkey decides to run out in the middle of gunfire to raid a dead German soldier looking [[SkewedPriorities for a Luger]] - and doesn't get shot at because the Germans assume he's a medic. The way it's presented makes you both feel terror that he'll be killed and also laugh at the ridiculousness of it.
** In the third episode, a stray bullet catches Winters on the leg. Although it's in the middle of a serious scene, he gives a look that says "oh for crying out loud."
** When Nixon receives news of his wife divorcing him, it's played both for drama and for comedy. This is a man who's being dumped while ''fighting a war'', but he's fuming over the assets conflict - where he notes that she's even taking their dog. "It's not even her dog!"
* Happens often in ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' due to Jake's massive abandonment issues. In the Thanksgiving episode from the first season, Jake says all he wants to do is sit at home, watch the football game, and eat "mayo nuts" (peanuts mixed with mayonaise), as he usually does on Thanksgiving, prompting a disgusted response from Captain Holt. It's then revealed that he does this because his dad was gone and his mom always had to work on Thanksgiving, and six-year-olds aren't very good at cooking...

* The ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' filk "[[http://stephankrosecz.bandcamp.com/album/the-dont-kill-us-song-original-cover Don't Kill Us]]" involves the singers promising pie if the audience lets them live.
* In his 1997 book ''The Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll'', Chuck Eddy introduced his "Gladys Knight & The Pips Rule": good songs should mix seriousness and frivolity. It was based on "Midnight Train to Georgia", where Knight's earnest, poignant lead vocal is juxtaposed with The Pips' rather silly-sounding backing vocal interjections.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* At one point during Wrestling/TripleH and Wrestling/TheUndertaker's match at Wrestlemania 27, they send themselves flying through Wrestling/MichaelCole's little cubicle that he calls the "Cole Mine". Despite the serious tone that a match involving Undertaker would usually have, seeing Cole's property go to pieces makes you laugh just a little.
* Causing Bathos is a favorite of many wrestling fanbases, especially Wrestling/{{WWE}} fans. The crowd is as much a part of the show as anything in Wrestling.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Lisa}}'' is equal parts grim apocalyptic nightmare, and absurd comedy. And it's a good thing too, because if it was played with even slightly less humor, the game would be an unbearable march into the dark. The game is cruel, but for every PlayerPunch you endure, you'll find a huge laugh elsewhere.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' during the [[spoiler:second (of three)]] battle with Orochi. [[spoiler:Nagi]] tries to look awesome, but it's hard to take him seriously when he's [[DisguisedInDrag dressed in women's clothing]]... and even harder when he falls flat on his face jumping into battle. Never the less, he cleaves a satisfying victory.
* The ''player'' can intentionally create Bathos in ''VideoGame/ResonanceOfFate''. Thanks to its VirtualPaperDoll-like clothing and accessories, you can have your characters wearing almost clown-like attire during the most serious of scenes. The weapon customization can also lead to some [[CoolGun interesting]] [[ImprobableWeaponUser results]].
** There's also some built into the game's setting to help set the world's tone. An early example is the Arena, known for making spectacles of bloodbaths for profit... and the ''delicious'' soft-serve from the concessions stand.
** You can extend that to any game where you can put on joke costumes, and the costumes show during cutscenes.
* Most of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' can be played this way if the player picks all the silly dialogue options. Sarcastic!Hawke doesn't really know when to shut up and gets [[DudeNotFunny called on it]] by the party (most frequently by [[TheStraightMan Aveline]] and [[SiblingRivalry Carver]]).
* Similarly, there are a ''lot'' [[https://noisyprotagonist.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/desu2-silly-protagonist.jpg of dialogue options]] in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' that turn the player character into a flat-out {{Cloudcuckoolander}}.
* Because ''VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland'' was originally planned as a serious game, all of the artwork is highly realistic and gritty. When the devs decided instead to go for comedy, providing both hilarious dialogue and absurd situations (such as the famous case of crossing a chasm by means of a rubber-chicken-with-a-pulley-in-the-middle, lovingly drawn in the highest style 8 bit graphics had to offer), this contrasted with the game's appearance to heighten the humour potential. The sequel continued in this style, but then creator Creator/RonGilbert left the company, and the games since have used a more overtly cartoony style, which the {{Video Game Remake}}s of the first two games switched to. Fans are hotly divided over which is best.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', the Naughty Nightwear item boosts your Speech skill by ten points, leading to cases where you're trying to defuse a hostage situation, talk your way into a restricted area, or decide the fate of the entire Mojave Wasteland... while wearing a set of cheesy leopard-print pajamas or a skimpy negligee, depending on your gender.
** Much of Fallout in general can be this, simply because Fallout likes to tell a gritty post-apocalyptic story while at the same time making fun of 50's culture and B-movies. This means that the main character can grab a very goofy Alien Blaster and use it to fight off very serious and very terrifying threats such as the Legion or Ghost People.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'' is in love with this trope. With the amount of [[SurrealHumor surreal easter eggs]] and [[BreakingTheFourthWall fourth wall breaking,]] this series may be the all-time champ. A great example would be choosing to wear kabuki facepaint and an orange jumpsuit covered in happy faces that makes goofy noises while wielding a cigar that sprays knockout gas...while fighting the tragic AntiVillain final boss in one of the most heartwrenching moments in the video game medium.
** Especially the case in any of the games that allow rewatching the cutscenes but with the ability to switch the characters/models used. Old ladies with assault rifles and handbags storming the freighter at the beginning of [=MGS2=]? Priceless.
** Unfortunately, due to some inconsistencies with the localization and English voice acting, it can be hard to tell which of the serious scenes are meant to be funny and which [[{{Narm}} aren't]]. [[InternetBackdraft It's best not to ask the fans about this]].
* ''Franchise/SilentHill'', another Konami series, was once the darkest SurvivalHorror game on the market, but has always had a silly side through [[EasterEgg Easter eggs]] and [[NewGamePlus old save bonuses]]. In the first three games, the tragic-to-bittersweet endings could be replaced with [[MultipleEndings joke endings]] involving alien abduction, another ending in the [[VideoGame/SilentHill2 second game]] revealing TheDogWasTheMastermind, a MagicalGirl costume for the protagonist in [[VideoGame/SilentHill3 the third]], as well as [[spoiler:alien karaoke]], and, most absurdly, [[spoiler:Pyramid Head cutting Murphy's birthday cake]] in VideoGame/SilentHillDownpour.
* In VideoGame/PokerNightAtTheInventory, many of the interactions between your fellow players invoke this, mostly through the shocked reactions of the others. Examples include [[WebComic/PennyArcade Tycho]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdVW1Lm2MH0 waxing lyrical about giraffes]], or [[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 Heavy Weapons Guy]]'s [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFAMTBxJ8yM Engineer story]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' has a bit of this. You can pick "funny'" dialogue options in even the most serious scenes, which tend to make Serah look like a ditz.
** You can give your monsters absurd accessories, resulting in things like a massive, intimidating Behemoth wearing an IdeaBulb over its head.
* The "Milkman Conspiracy" level of ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' is loaded with this. Almost everyone you meet is a trenchcoat-clad secret agent in some sort of PaperThinDisguise (actually, ''no'' disguise; they're simply holding different objects: stop signs for a "road crew worker," hedge trimmers for a gardening husband/father, etc.) and most of the things they say to maintain the facade are PlayedForLaughs. Every once in a while, however, you'll hear them spout a line that would be pretty pathetic, even devastating, in other circumstances. "Over time, my husband will desire me less, sexually," says the rolling pin-toting "housewife." "Why, God? Why?" says the "grieving widow." It all stays relatively light, given the amusing context, but the tragedy subtext is there and it's fairly difficult to miss.
* Both ''VideoGame/RaymanOrigins'' and ''VideoGame/RaymanLegends'' have AwesomeMusic that is deliberately made funny rather than epic, thanks to some of the...unusual instrument choices. ''Origins'' has a kazoo during the track [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc4Ha3T09Dk "Shooter"]] as well as [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNV2uakCtzs "Lums of the Water"]], a genuinely catchy jazz song...sung by the Lums (who sound like Franchise/AlvinAndTheChipmunks). In addition to including the aforementioned tracks, ''Legends'' has someone whistling along with the melody on almost every song.
* ''VideoGame/PerfectDark''. Aside from using cheat codes to, for example, give everyone big heads in this spy thriller, there's also the fact that every level has a hidden noncollectable wedge of cheese.
* Both ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'' and ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'' like to pack the series' executions with as much ridiculous and BlackComedy-ridden imagery as possible. None of this detracts from the fact that one of the major characters just died, often in a very horrible manner.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Some humor in ''WebAnimation/GEOWeasel'' is derived from the combination of Weas's goal of world domination and the {{zany antics}} of his crew, such as when he carries weapons and a copy of Nickelodeon Magazine in the same bag.

* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' uses this very frequently, often in conjunction with MoodWhiplash. John makes a dramatic and somewhat MindScrew-y discovery about his and his best friends' parentage--and then he uses the event to reenact the ending scene of [[Film/ConAir one of his favorite movies]]. Scenes of well-loved characters dying are accompanied by shots of the dead body landing on a pile of bike horns, or references to [[Webcomic/SweetBroAndHellaJeff an intentionally-bad comic-within-the-comic]], or simply a blunt UnsoundEffect "DEAD".
* An big part of the hero's personality in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' is that he responds this way to almost everything. A robot lion chases Bob around his yard, and his only complaint is it kicked over the pile of leaves he'd just raked. Spaceships keep crashing into his roof, and he wonders if other people put up screens to avoid this. He calms paranormal beings by sitting them down to eat some cheesecake or microwave pizza. He shows an alien conqueror that his whole motivation is flawed, and suggests he find a new hobby, like sudoku. And many other examples.
* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' has quite a bit of this, as one ludicrous situation after another is played dead serious, complete with lingering consequences.
* In ''Webcomic/ParadoxSpace'' (a SpinOff of ''Homestuck''), the story "[[http://www.paradoxspace.com/indemnity-double-reacharound/1 Indemnity Double Reacharound]]" features an extremely dark and gritty art style, a story involving a murder... and all the characters are brightly colored dragons with names like "Pumpkinsniffle" and "Berrybreath", [[CallARabbitASmeerp odd Alternian words used in a serious way]], and one of the characters speaks using slang that feels completely out of place in the FilmNoir setting.
* ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'' runs on Bathos. The most heart-rending and hilarious example being [[spoiler: just after Ed�s death, Digger is rescued by two lizards lighting their way with a bug on a stick.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Daywalt Horror likes to employ this as a way to change up their usual thing.
** In "Meat", two rural men are driving a truck and talking about what to do with the ''thing'' they just hit and had loaded into the back, revealing halfway through that said thing [[spoiler: was actually a Magical Talking Unicorn]].
** In "Vergel Geroth", it features a necromancer reading a spell from [[Franchise/EvilDead The Necronomicon]], with a monster rising up in the background as he reads it, eagerly waiting to pounce... only for the summoner to pause and try to puzzle out the pronunciation of the last section. [[FunnyBackgroundEvent With the monster looking on in exasperation]].
* ''WebVideo/RomeoAndJulieta'' makes use of this, particularly the original film.
* Cancer? Not funny. Clown with cancer? [[http://mightygodking.com/2013/08/02/really-twitter-is-so-much-better-than-facebook/ Hilarious.]]
* TheThwomps: When the thwomps was going to finish Bowser off, the movie suddenly turned into a parody of Tetris
* Bathos is the engine upon which Website/TheOnion runs. Mundane events made to sound newsworthy describes a great deal of the content. It's also frequently used by its sister site, Website/{{ClickHole}}.
* ''WebVideo/TheJerrySeinfeldProgram'' is a DeconstructiveParody of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' that gets progressively more bizarre, horrible, and absurdist...but the victims of this cruel universe are '''Jerry and George from ''Seinfeld'''''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* This trope is what drives most of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''.
* The [[MemeticMutation infamous]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joLrldtZtRA pea scene]] from ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls''. ItMakesSenseInContext.
** There's also one of the pilot episodes, where Fuzzy Lumpkins accidentally pushes Bubbles' BerserkButton by [[NobodyTouchesTheHair hitting her hair with his transformative meat gun.]] What comes next is Bubbles delivering a vicious, prolonged beat-down on Fuzzy Lumpkins, while one of her pigtails is a chicken drumstick.
* ''The Farnsworth Parabox'' in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' has Farnsworth warning near the end: "Everything that ever was, is, and will be is contained in this box, and the actual box is probably worth something as well."
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** In "The Return of Harmony, Part 2", Twilight Sparkle is pushed over the DespairEventHorizon by the failure of the Elements of Harmony, and sadly trudges back to the library in defeat... while thanks to [[RealityWarper Discord's]] influence, [[RealityIsOutToLunch various ridiculous things]] happen around her, like pies falling upwards and ballet-dancing buffalo prancing by. It manages to be both [[FunnyBackgroundEvent funny]] and [[DarkestHour tragic]] at the same time.
** "Luna Eclipsed" sees the Mayor of Ponyville using a spooky voice... only for her clown costume to utterly kill the effect. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Spike.
** In "It's About Time," Twilight Sparkle's dead-serious proclamation of incoming doom comes close to being ignored due to the Groucho Marx glasses she's wearing due to a collision with a metric ton of party-supplies.
* This supplies one of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'''s most memorable jokes:
-->'''Sokka:''' [[ItMakesSenseInContext My first girlfriend turned into the moon]].
-->'''Zuko:''' [[SincerityMode That's rough, buddy.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has always displayed a mastery of playing this trope for comedy:
** In episode "Homer Loves Flanders" Bart tricks Homer into buying what he thinks are tickets to a highly-anticipated football game, only to find that he had actually bought a wig store coupon. He wildly careens from elated, to furious, to contemplative, to giddy, before finally settling on possibly aroused. This takes place over the course of about ten seconds.
*** In the DVDCommentary, the show's staff discuss Homer's wild mood swings, coming to the conclusion that the character's ability to immediately return to a default-jolly state from any other emotional state is one of his most endearing qualities. They also observe that Homer, more than any other male main character in probably all of fiction, will burst into tears at the drop of a hat.
** Several jokes over the years have taken a short break from a silly situation to mine Lisa's developing major depressive disorder for comedy. Usually, it's quickly acknowledged and followed by an awkward {{beat}}, after which immediately returns to business-as-usual.
** In "Radio Bart", Bart is stuck down a well, but nobody wants to help him out on account of a dirty trick he played on them, and tearfully laments about the stuff he'll never do, like smoking a cigarette, having a fake ID and shaving a swear word onto the back of his head.