Black Comedy

"That is wicked..."

"Always look on the bright side of death,
Just before you draw your terminal breath.
Life's a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show—
Keep 'em laughing as you go,
Just remember that the last laugh is on you!"
Monty Python's Life of Brian, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"

Black comedy, also known as black humor or dark comedy, is a sub-genre of comedy and satire where topics and events that are usually treated seriously (death, murder, mass murder, suicide, blackmail, violence, domestic violence, disease, insanity, handicaps, environmental disasters, famine, fear, child abuse, drug abuse, rape, castration, war, terrorism, racism, sexism, homophobia, bestiality, child pornography, line-cutting, etc.) are treated in a satirical manner while still being portrayed as the negative events that they are.

It is not quite Toilet Humor, which is just gross, neither is it quite Vulgar Humor, since it can be delivered quite easily without swearing. It often times takes the form of Refuge in Audacity, while incorporating elements of the above mentioned forms of humor. What makes it different though, is that the theme of the comedy would tend to gravitate towards topics that are considered to be "dark" and/or taboo (such as depression, death, atrocities, racism, poverty, etc.) This form of humor will usually go beyond the mere act of telling jokes, some works focusing rather on situational comedy, Dr. Strangelove being one example. Movies that alternate between comedy and tragedy, like Full Metal Jacket, are not black comedy, since by definition Black Comedy draws humor from the tragic parts. To sum it up, black humor is a type of comedy that deals with negative aspects of life, deriving humour due to it being shocking and unexpected, Family Guy having dead babies singing for example, being shockingly cruel (and thus unexpected,) and in part because it many time reflects a truth that might be too grim to state seriously, something quite common for example in Soviet Russia, and quite abundant in political humor.

A joke might revolve around, for example, a homeless man committing a string of murders so that he will get sentenced to death, a state that, properly tied up in appeals, is better than his former life expectancy and quality. Delivered correctly, it can be very funny, yet at the same time more than a little disturbing. If done wrong, however, the audience may cry "Dude, Not Funny!."

Black Comedy doesn't necessarily have to involve death — anything tragic can be fodder for Black Comedy. A Kafka Komedy is a subtrope of Black Comedy in which the object of humor is abject failure.

Related to, and often confused with, Dude, Not Funny!. Crosses the Line Twice may apply. Often set in a Crapsack World. Subtropes include Gallows Humor (which affects the joke maker personally) and Kafka Komedy (in which anything the protagonist does is guaranteed to fail). As the perfect storm of fatalism and dry humor, it often overlaps with British Humour and Russian Humour. This can be Refuge in Audacity. Can be prone to creating a Surprise Creepy vibe. Especially if whatever is invoking the trope starts out cheery (or if someone fragile witnesses it.)

If Black Comedy shows up in a series that doesn't ordinarily deal with grim subject matter so cavalierly, it's a Black Comedy Burst.

Black Comedy might even be as old as comedy itself.

Not to be confused with Uncle Tomfoolery. Compare Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror.

Has very little to do with people such as Jack Black, nor Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, or Chris Rock, although they may occasionally engage in it.

Since this is an occasional Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In X1999 Seishiro and Fuuma joke about how they won't be able to enjoy the ice cream from the nice ice cream shop in Shinjuku while watching the Shinjuku area being destroyed.
  • Cat Soup or Nekojiru-sou was a show that had a reputation for being a combination of cute but dark.
  • Less than half a minute into the first episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei somebody is hanging from a tree by the neck. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, both due to the bizarreness of the setting; the main characters ship corpses around for a living in return for being allowed to loot the corpse's material possessions (and the occasional karmic payoff) by the souls of the deceased, but also from the way they deal with said job.
  • Stink Bomb, from the Memories trilogy, plays the death of tens of thousands of people and the destruction of Tokyo by a biological weapon for laughs.
  • Welcome to the N.H.K. certainly was advertised as this and generally works well like this, although it works better as a comedy to some than to others.
  • The Durarara!! manga features "manga torture" conducted by otaku torture technicians. It involves having the victim selecting a manga, and then they get tortured by a means taken from that work. What truly makes it Black Comedy is how the torturers declare that, really, the content of the manga has absolutely nothing to do with it. They're just sick, sick people who, if they weren't otaku, would have had other interests — interests that they would be equally good at turning into demented tortures.
  • Appears occasionally in Paranoia Agent — most noticeably the episode titled "Happy Family Planning", about a group of people trying to kill themselves after making an internet suicide pact. Believe it or not, it's the Crowning Episode Of Funny of the series.
  • A few of the games the gang plays in Higurashi: When They Cry counts as this. Once they talked about what they would use if they were to kill someone and how. Another time Mion sent everyone to look for body pieces at the dump. Knowing the series, this is usually foreshadowing or a plot point.
  • For the most part, Angel Beats! invokes Immortal Life Is Cheap. This means that a lot of presumed deaths, particularly the Dwindling Party scenes in episodes 2 and 8, are played for laughs.
  • Oruchuban Ebichu was outright designed to push the envelope as to what could be aired in the Japanese late night slot. As said in its entry, Ebichu has a long tendency of interrupting the protagonists in flagrante delicto...
  • Shin-chan: The FUNimation dub hints at this in the episode "Brotherhood of the Grovelling Allowance:"
    (After listening to depressing music) Shin: Will you buy me a shotgun, dad?
    Hiro: Sorry, I'm broke.
    • In another episode, Mitzi warns a misbehaving Hina, "You're lucky we're not in Useful Notes/China, or you'd be in a dumpster right now!"
    • The references to Penny's sister Caitlin, who "lives in the lake" now.
    • Another example, the episode "Penny's Mom Abhors Shin."
  • Hokuto No Ken has this. Made even funnier when you apply Fridge Logic and realize it's not Epic Fail on the mook's part but Kenshiro's own brand of Dark Comedy at work.
  • Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is a bright, happy and cheerful series about humanity dying out through declining birthrates. The so far unnamed protagonist is resigned to the fact that most of the people she interacts with have had an IQ bypass.
  • In second case of Q.E.D., Touma is presented with a case of dead debtor in a closed room. All the suspect (who had the key of the room) has motives to kill him. However in the end, it was revealed that all the suspect (which are related in some ways) thought their loved ones was the one who killed the jerk, and so, engages in Zany Scheme to protect their loved ones. The punchline is that the jerk was killed by accident. Which was arranged by the deceased creditor, who wants to protect the suspects, which are her daughter, her daughter's fiance and her loyal butler.
  • The Voynich Hotel has this in spades. Murder; frequent attempted suicide; the Yakuza, criminals, and all sorts of unsavoury (and sometimes demonic) characters... It makes horrific things horrifically funny!
  • Gugure! Kokkuri-san has its moments. Notable is Kokkuri putting up a noose in Kohina's backyard when he realizes he has absolutely no friends, or a light producing a rainbow after refracting off of Inugami's arterial spray. And it's all Played for Laughs.


    Comic Books 
  • Idées Noires by Andre Franquin is the embodiment of this trope. It is very dark but still quite funny.
  • Watchmen. Laurie Jupiter and Dan Dreiberg can't help laughing over how Rorschach dropped a sado-masochist posing as a supervillain down an elevator shaft.
    • This has always been Alan Moore's principal sense of humor. You're always going to find at least one moment like this in anything he writes. His work from 2000 AD is especially notable as black comedy is usually the entire driving force behind all his stories published there.
  • Anything by Jhonen Vasquez, from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac to Invader Zim. The main point of the former, particularly the early comics, is to show horribly brutal deaths and tortures. As things progress and Johnny gets more and more talky the violence begins to tone down, but that over the top violence remains at the core of most of the comedy in the strip.
    • Squee!, by the same author, follows a Johnny's child neighbor through a series of considerably disturbing adventures, such as his grandpa trying to eat him and a rather strange trip to a public bathroom.
    • Fillerbunny is all about seeing something cute in inordinate amounts of pain.
    • And then there's the Bad Art Collection... And Jelly Fist...
    • Oddly, I Feel Sick, despite being another spin off of Johnny, tones this down considerably, favoring a stranger brand of humor. "Cat had acid for blood..."
  • Most of Garth Ennis' works, especially The Punisher, The Boys, Preacher, and Hitman. Preacher's best-known example would have to be Arseface, a character who manages to render himself hideous in a failed suicide attempt and pursues Jesse Custer to avenge the death of his father — caused by Custer using his Voice of God power to order him to "Go fuck himself." Which he did. And then committed suicide.
  • One Hundred Bullets makes liberal use of it.
  • A staple of the humor in Secret Six.
    *Deadshot kills General Kerimov*
    Hawkgirl: "You killed him."
    Deadshot: "What, it was self-defense. Guy obviously had a gun."
    Hawkgirl: "He didn't have a gun, Deadshot!"
    Deadshot: "Okay, so it was murder. Who cares?"
  • This is The Joker's whole shtick. He gets carried away with it to say the least. So it almost results in Dude, Not Funny! and sometimes even Surprise Creepy.
  • In a comic that parodies the Chick Tract "Lisa", a man who sexually abuses his daughter is suddenly overcome with guilt over what he has done to his child, and decides that only God can forgive him for his crimes. After having confessed to a priest, who bestows forgiveness on him, the man heads home, feeling like a new, happier person, ready to start completely over... with abusing his daughter again.
  • The Witch Girls comics are big on this. One of the reasons the Tabletop Game Witch Girls Adventures is really, really creepy to people who don't get those elements are supposed to be Played for Laughs, or don't find it funny.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • The comic gets a lot of mileage out of this trope, showing just just how violent and psychotic a person would have to be to actually pull it off as a superhero.
    • The scene where Big Daddy shoots Hit Girl and explains that it won't hurt.
    • Notable example in Volume Two, Issue 4: Red Mist/The Motherfucker's crack about iCarly losing a few viewers, during his suburban massacre
    • The Motherfucker's line before Gangraping Katie
    '''The Motherfucker: You're done banging superheroes baby, it's time to see what evil dick tastes like.
  • Clarissa, also know as Family Portrait, is a comic about a young girl who is the victim of Parental Incest and whose family are a classic case of 50s Stepford Smilers. It's not as amusing as other examples but can still be sickeningly funny.
  • Belgian comic strip Violine definitely qualifies. Ten-year-old Violine has the ability to read people's minds by looking into their eyes. Her adventures include rescuing mice from being dissected (she even sees one cut open, and vomits), being thought of as a witch and chased by people who want her dead, hopping into a car with a pedophile (and seeing an image of herself bound and gagged and looking terrified when reading his mind), being thrown off a ship that she got caught stowing away on by a crew that assumes she's dead, witnessing the dead bodies of many birds caught in an oil spill, being chased by men with guns who then get eaten by alligators, and many more. All of this is played for very dark humor. Or you could possibly interpret it as a serious story that just has dark jokes scattered throughout, but either way, the sources of humor are pretty morbid.
  • Evan Dorkin's Fun with Milk & Cheese series was about two hyperviolent dairy products who spend every strip they were ever in beat the ever loving shit out of everything they hate. And they hate everything except for liquor, TV, and each other. It's actually hard to describe the level of brutality involved. To put it in context, at one point, a guy from the Guinness Book of World Records shows as they're beating a hippie pot dealer to a bloody mess and crowns them as "World Class Abuse Kings".
  • Icelandic playwright/cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson's crudely-drawn cartoons include such savory topics as incest, coprophagia, bestiality, suicide, and adults intentionally putting children in harm's way. Check it out if you dare .
  • In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth Joker starts a joke "How many brittle bone babies does it take-" only for Batman to cut across him. Admittedly not dead babies but clearly the same pitch-black comedy.
  • Hubba Hubba, a two-page comic by Arthur Suydam that appeared in Heavy Metal. One of Suydam's trademark weirdos-with-snouts sees a beautiful naked woman and, hoping to impress her with a gift, kills and cooks what he thinks is a small animal. This turns out to have been the woman's baby, and you're meant to see her horror and his ignorance as to its cause as humorous.
  • Sin City can get this way with its over-the-top violence. Jack Rafferty's death, for instance, goes on for many pages as he's slowly chopped up by Miho, making empty threats in the process while the the typically violent Sin City heroes gradually become more squeamish. At one point, Jack seems aware of how stupid he must look and shouts "Nobody laugh! This isn't funny!," as he crawls around with Miho's manji shuriken sticking out of his butt.
  • The Swedish comic Hälge, being primarily about the lives and interactions of moose and hunters, constantly uses this trope. And when it isn't, it's using Irony or just plain jerkassery instead.
  • The Italian comic Sturmtruppen uses it rather often, the cake being taken by a series of strips on a soldier who got the head opened by a shrapnel and an earlier one on a SS Execution Squad and their failed attempts at executing a very stoic Jewish prisoner.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: It pops up a few times, but in issue 6, Whirl's dialogue dips into this, especially when he and Rung are being held as hostages.
    Fortress Maximus: Okay, my demands haven't been met, one of you is about to die.
    Whirl: Ooh Ohh! Pick me!
    Rung: Okay, calm down, we can talk about this.
    Whirl: Don't listen to him, he's trying to distract you, pull the trigger!
  • IDW's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic book adaptation has its share of this, especially after issue #2, since unlike the animated show, it doesn't need to be suitable to children as young as 3.
  • Much of the humor of Pocket God comes from the deadly mishaps that befall the pygmy tribe. Fortunately for them, they can resurrect themselves.
    • Dying for them happens so often, they made games centered around who stays alive the longest.
  • In the first issue of Sex Criminals, main character Suzie begins her narration with her and her boyfriend about to be arrested, then goes on to relate the story of her father getting murdered, all the while insisting she's going to start joking soon.
  • The cartoons of John Callahan often dealt with gags full with black comedy, often about handicapped people. This created outrage among many readers, despite the fact that he was a wheelchair user himself.
  • Les Femmes en blanc: A Belgian comic strip about nurses and doctors in a hospital. Many gags revolve around operations that go wrong, sometimes with patients dying as a result. Did we mention its actually a gag comic and even manages to be funny?
  • Pierre Tombal: Another Belgian comic strip about a gravedigger in a cemetery who treats his corpses- all living skeletons!- as residents. Many jokes are about death and dying, but always done in an amusing, yet macabre way.
  • Nero: Also has a lot of jokes where people have their heads chopped off, are eaten by lions or crocodiles or run over by cars. Nero has also met dictators like Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, who have all tried to execute him at one point.
  • Urbanus: Extremely dark comedy! In Leute voor de Meute Urbanus is executed in a big budget spectacle where his torture is done in such a way that the audience will be entertained by it! In De Depressie van Urbanus he tries to get himself killed so that he can stay with his deceased girlfriend in Heaven. First he wants to commit suicide, but when he learns that the Christian faith doesn't allow such people in Heaven he tries to make his deaths appear as an accident.
  • The comics of Andy Riley, most notably the Suicide Bunnies gags, where every gag shows a rabbit trying to commit suicide in a creative way.
  • Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot was infamous for making a lot of offensive jokes about religion and the Second World War. At one point he was even arrested in name of the Dutch government for making discriminatory remarks, which was a huge deal, because many felt this to be a violation of the freedom of speech.
  • Robert Crumb and many other Underground Comics artists dealt predominantly with taboo subjects, including sometimes very offensive racial and sexist jokes.
  • The Belgian comic strip Cowboy Henk (translated as Cowboy Maurice in English) is notable for being very dark and offensive in its subject matter.
  • Quick and Flupke: Occasionally gags will end with the two school boys accidentally dying and ending up in Heaven.

    Fan Works 
  • The Harry Potter fanfic "A Black Comedy" is full of examples, but one that stands out is this exchange that seems to intentionally run down the checklist.
    Harry: (My mother) died when I was one.
    Lily: Oh...
    Harry: (Trying to salvage the awkwardness) My dad too.
    Lily: My firstborn son died. *ignores surprised stares* He was one as well.
    Harry: Sirius, stop.
    Sirius agreed, not really wanting to dredge up painful memories of Goldie.
  • In the Warhammer40000 universe, Exterminatus - the total elimination of life on a planet - is usually the last, most bitter resort for dealing with a conflict. In Cultist-chan, Destroyer of Worlds, it's a punchline.
  • The Lion King Adventures features a lot of this. Especially in the incredibly grim Series Five.
  • The "Long live the king" line spoken during Mufasa's death has become an Internet meme. Just search through Google Images or any image site and you'll find at least a dozen photos (usually of cats) with this line tacked onto them.
  • Lampshaded in Calvin and Hobbes Get XTREME!:
    Calvin: Did I miss anything?
    Hobbes: Just a weird guy telling chicken jokes and road jokes. They were about as exciting as a chicken crossing the road.
    Calvin: Unless the chicken got hit by an oncoming car.
    Hobbes: That would be sick.
  • Used, appropriately enough, by Sirius Black in Another Perspective. After being found innocent of the crimes he was imprisoned for, Sirius runs into Crouch (who threw him into prison without a trial) at the Quidditch World Cup.
    Crouch: You may have convinced the Boy-Who-Lived you're innocent but you'll break the law again and be back in Azkaban in a heartbeat.
    Sirius: Could you put me in my old cell? It has a wonderful view of your son's burial place.
  • "Will You Help Me Hide a Body?", a dark parody of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", then segues into Nightmare Fuel and Paranoia Fuel by the end when it's revealed that Anna killed her parents, and she implies that Elsa's next.
  • All over the place in Sonic X: Dark Chaos, as the extreme Darker and Edgier nature of the setting is combined with the typical cheesy humor of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. And the rewrite goes all out.
    Chris: Why... Why does my butt hurt so much...?
    • In the rewrite of Episode 73, Tails refuses to hand Cosmo over to Tsali. Tsali responds by throwing Tails to the floor, opening his ribcage, and ripping his heart and lungs from his chest with his bare hands. Complete with a Bond One-Liner;
    Tsali: I guess you didn't open your heart enough!
  • In Sekirei? Is that some new species of little sister?, Naruto throws an abusive Ashikabi at the MBI tower in an attempt to kill Minaka. When said Ashikabi explodes against the side of the tower instead of flying into Minaka's office, we get this exchange.
    Xanna/Kyuubi: "You missed."
    Naruto: "I haven't had too much occasion to practice my human throwing technique. I didn't plan on his flailing throwing off my aim."
    Akitsu: "Ah... fatality."

  • A joke that originated at CTY in 2013 (delivery must be in a monotone for the desired effect):
    "A man walks into a bar. He is impaled by the bar. People call for a medic, but he is already dead. The End."
  • The day after his wife disappeared in a boating accident, an Ocean City man answered his door to find two grim-faced Maryland State Troopers. "We're sorry Mr. Rice, but we have some information about your wife," said one trooper. "Tell me! Did you find her?" Rice shouted. The troopers looked at each other. One said, "We have some bad news, some good news, and some really great news. Which do you want to hear first?" Fearing the worst, an ashen Rice said, "Give me the bad news first." The trooper said, "I'm sorry to tell you, sir, but this morning we found your wife's body in the Assawoman Bay near the Rte 90 Bridge." "Oh my God!" exclaimed Rice. "What's the good news?" The trooper continued. "When we pulled her up she had 12 huge and 6 jumbo size blue crabs on her." Stunned, Mr. Rice demanded, "If that's the good news, what's the great news?" The trooper said, "We're going to pull her up again tomorrow!"
  • David was tasked to collect 100 foreskins from Philistines to prove his worth to marry King Saul's daughter. When he returns with 200 foreskins, everybody sways between admiration and horror. When asked how he did it he answers: "Well it went much more smoothly when I realized that I could kill them beforehand."
  • A woman on an ocean liner asked a crew member, "Do ships like this sink very often?" "No, ma'am," he replied, "Only once."
  • What's the hardest part of a vegetable to eat? The wheelchair!

  • The White Tiger is pretty famous for this.
  • Catch-22 is one of the best examples, and the Trope Namer from a review of it that coined the term.
  • Almost anything by Kurt Vonnegut.
  • Oscar Wilde's short stories "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime" and "The Canterville Ghost" are both good examples, although the latter stops being so towards the end.
  • Candide, by Voltaire.
  • In book Grendel, the title character's philosophical musings as he tears Danes to shreds just for the lulz are about as black as black comedy gets.
  • Warren Adler's The War of the Roses, which is about Jonathan (Oliver in the film) and Barbara Rose engaging in an increasingly vicious divorce battle.
  • Ranklechick by Rikki Simons is about ghouls in a zoo around Jupiter that fly through space in ships powered by particles that insult physics and then get beaten up. It's a touching story of Christmas and insanity.
  • Lampshaded (kind of?) in one of the shadowy conversations that open a chapter in Ender’s Game:
    "I think you underestimate Ender."
    "But I fear that I also underestimate the stupidity of the rest of mankind. Are we absolutely sure we ought to win this war?"
    "Sir, those words sound like treason."
    "It was black humor."
    "It wasn't funny. When it comes to the buggers, nothing—"
    "Nothing is funny, I know."
  • Tik-Tok by John Sladek (not the one from the Land of Oz).
  • Characters in Darkness Visible are unsurprisingly willing to joke in the face of imminent death, the end of the world, and ruined suits.
    Lewis: (facing the end of the world on his birthday) - 'This is the worst birthday present I have ever had.'
    Marsh (after yet another waistcoat gets soaked in a dying man's blood) - 'It seems a man cannot keep a suit more than two days in your company, Lewis,’ Marsh complained, washing the blood from his hands. ‘I’m certain you do it deliberately!’
  • If anything in one of Chuck Palahniuk's books makes you laugh, it's Black Comedy.
    • "I want to have your abortion.", spoken by Marla to Tyler in Fight Club.
  • The self-described "Bad Catholic" humorist John Zmirak has been known to quip "If you can't joke about terrorism and cancer, what can you joke about?"
  • Any of Derek Robinson's novels. The war novels are more black than comedy, but the spy novels are more comedy than black (but still pretty black).
  • There is saying mentioned in one of stories from Žamboch: Hope dies penultimate. What remains till the end is dark humour.
  • Everything Bret Easton Ellis writes falls under this trope.
  • The Late Hector Kipling by David Thewlis. Throughout all the tragedy that the main character has to deal with, he finds himself unable to respond "properly" to it, to be sad and grieve like any other person would, which leads to bizarre situations and conversations. A large chunk of the book is actually about his hope that someone close to him would die already.
  • Frequent in the stories of Flannery O Connor. For example, in Wise Blood, none of the major characters are good people or even particularly sympathetic, while the plot involves absurdities like a stole gorilla costume, an anti-church being corrupted into a money-making scheme, and the attempted seduction of a girl who turns out to be a Fille Fatale.
  • Ephraim Kishon has died and sometimes even gone to hell at the end of several of his short stories. It didn't exactly last.
  • Harry Potter occasionally dabbles in this. Good examples come, unsurprisingly, from Ron.
  • An Elegy for the Still-living Robin Goodfellows jokes are strictly black comedy.
    “So this man walks into a bar. He sits down at the stool, says hey, bartender, bring me a bloody Mary. The bartender steps into the backroom. The man hears someone scream from behind the door, and then three loud thumps. A minute later, the bartender comes back out carrying your wife, bleeding from the head, and lays her on the table. Ha!”
  • World War Z, when two soldiers pick up human infant skulls and put on a small show for their troop. Would be going into Dude, Not Funny! territory if the real subject wasn't about the Gallows Humor used for coping with... you know... a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone: Filled with the darkest of humor, as can be expected from Clive Barker. There's a scene where the demon villain protagonist bathes in a tub full of blood from dead babies. The townspeople are hot on his trail, since there was a hole in his baby bag, and he left a trail of children, like bread crumbs, on his way back to his hovel. He complains how difficult it was to keep them alive so the bath would be warm when he emptied their blood into the tub.
  • Mrs. Hall, of Sherborne, was brought to bed yesterday of a dead baby, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright. I suppose she happened unawares to look at her husband.? Jane Austen, letter to Cassandra, October 27, 1798.
  • "It was born, though, that very evening, took one look, according to the Radletts, at its father, and quickly died again" Nancy Mitford, Love in a Cold Climate
  • A favorite of William S. Burroughs in Naked Lunch. Deranged surgeons, ridiculous murder porn, general mayhem.
  • How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse relies heavily on this.
  • A Modest Proposal, in which Jonathan Swift makes the satirical idea of the poor selling their children as food.
  • Hell's Children, by Andrew Boland.
  • There's a book called The Bunny Suicides and a sequel Return of the Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley. It's exactly what it seems, usually having Shout-Out to other things (Terminator, Aliens, etc.). And good lord is it hilarious.
  • In The Dark Tower series, Eddie actually manages to defeat the depressed, super intelligent AI in the train that's trying to kill itself and them with a dead baby joke.
    Why did the dead baby cross the road? Cause it was stapled to the chicken.
    • The short story "Survivor Type" is about a drug dealing surgeon who gets stranded on a deserted island with no food but plenty of heroin. Eventually he starts cutting off his own limbs and eating them as he gradually loses his mind. "They say you are what you eat and if so I HAVEN'T CHANGED A BIT!"
    • Stephen King novels in general. The bits that aren't pure terror are this trope. Sometimes they even go side-by-side.
  • The story Daedalus and Icarus from Ovid's The Metamorphoses, although the humor has been Lost in Translation.
  • In Lawrence Block's novel Ariel, Ariel's friend Erskine has a proclivity for this.
  • Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children is in part just that: a book of poems where bad things happen to children who do bad things—no matter how trivial. Really, though, Belloc makes their punishments absurd to make for better comedy.
  • Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are filled with grim jokes about injury and death. For example, this passage from the first chapter of the first book:
    "Well!" thought Alice to herself. "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!" (Which was very likely true.)
    • In Through the Looking Glass, in fact, many jokes about death are pointed directly at Alice. The most overt one is this exchange between her and Humpty Dumpty, after she tells him her age:
    Humpty: An uncomfortable sort of age. Now if you'd asked my advice, I'd have said "Leave off at seven" – but it's too late now.
    Alice: I never ask advice about growing.
    Humpty: Too proud?
    Alice: I mean, that one can’t help growing older.
    Humpty: One can't, perhaps, but two can. With proper assistance, you might have left off at seven.
    • What he means is that Alice should have arranged for her own murder when she turned seven. It is no surprise that she quickly changes the subject there.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • Almost everything by Edward Gorey. Possibly the most famous example is The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an illustrated alphabet of the deaths of 26 children, mostly in improbable and bizarre ways: "W is for Winnie, embedded in ice; X is for Xerxes, devoured by mice..."
  • Everything Tom Sharpe ever wrote, especially The Throwback.
  • Matthew Waterhouse's novels Fates, Flowers and Vanitas revel in black comedy to the event where it becomes a selling point.
  • Roald Dahl's love of this has helped keep some of his children's novels on "most challenged books" lists for decades now. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has whole musical numbers in-story in which the Oompa-Loompas gleefully sing about the awful fates of children who misbehave, for instance. The 2013 stage musical adaptation takes this aspect further — while in the novel and most adaptations it is clear the naughty kids at least survive their ordeals, several of them may be doomed to Death by Adaptation in the musical (they'll get an offstage Disney Death if they're lucky) and it's still Played for Laughs!
  • In the Star Trek novel Spock's World, Kirk references his near-death in "Amok Time" by saying that "those of [the audience] who know the circumstances under which [he] left [Vulcan would] guess [he] was rather glad to get away again."
  • Skinjumper by Lincoln Crisler is a combination of Black Comedy and Horror novel. Much of the humor is derived from the fact, despite having the ability to switch bodies via murder, Terry Miller is too stupid not to get into trouble with massive numbers of people.
  • The Fault in Our Stars, in spades. Hazel and Augustus joke about how Augustus is so handsome he literally blinded Isaac and "took Hazel's breath away". Isaac's eulogy for Augustus at the "prefuneral" also counts.

     New Media 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Gary Larson's Far Side comic strip at least skirted this trope at times. In one of his book-collections, he printed some of the ones that got rejected by his editors because... they stopped skirting and plunged right in.
    • In one case, a snake was crawling through a crib, with a huge bulge in its center. Gary Larson commented, "No, you didn't see this. Turn the page." The real joke of the picture was that the snake became so enlarged by the bulk of the freshly consumed infant that it couldn't squeeze through the bars of the crib, and was trapped.
    • Another strip that newspapers refused to publish concerned some cowboys who were so hungry they could eat a horse, and did so. (A good example of Values Dissonance: in several European countries horse meat is openly sold in every butcher's shop.)
  • Pearls Before Swine takes delight in excessive Black Comedy with frequent jokes about death, and often killing off one-shot characters for the purpose of a joke.
    • Pig convinces a mallard to talk to a quiet duck on the pond that he's attracted to, but it's actually a decoy duck that leads to the mallard getting shot and killed.
    • Rat's "children's" stories. One of the milder ones involves an extended family throwing a member overboard because he overscheduled their vacation.
  • Finnish newspaper comic B. Virtanen seems to fit the trope.
  • Peanuts is a death-free black comedy — Charlie Brown's life is pathetic enough to be tragic, and humorous enough to be black comedy.
  • In one Ach!lle Talon strip, the eponymous hero is demonstrating various classic gags to illustrate different types of humor. Getting to the step-on-the-rake-get-hit-in-the-face gag, he then proceeds to show Black Humor when he stomps on the rake, impaling his foot.
  • Dilbert uses this trope quite often. One arc features the Pointy-Haired Boss's dead body getting stuffed by a "Libertarian Taxidermist" and being played with like a hand puppet.
  • Garfield can engage in this from time to time:
    • One strip has Garfield kicking Odie off the table, then dropping a flowerpot on his head as a "get well soon" gift).
    • There an arc which implied that Odie and Jon were figments of Garfield imagination, as he slowly starved to death.
  • There's a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin proposes a class debate on "whether cannibalism is grounds for leniency in murder, since it's less wasteful." No, really. Since it's a kid strip, Calvin ends up sitting in the corner, wondering why the teacher "would rather teach us stuff that any fool can look up in a book."
  • MAD:
    • Their strip Just Below the Surface frequently uses it, including an example in which a baby turns to dust when testing a super-absorbent diaper.
    • And also 360 Degrees of Separation: "Come on sweetie! Open up for the airplane... Open up for the..."
  • Every single strip of the New York Daily News-exclusive comic Between The Lines is this.
  • The Danish newspaper comic Homo Metropolis by Nikolie Werdelin mainly consists of story arcs about people put in extreme situations and their absurd attempts at coping, such as:
    • The suicidal psychiatrist who accidently agrees with her patient:
      Patient: And when Death finally comes, he is a friend ... I will sail to the other side ... There is peace and quiet ... no pain ... just...quiet...
      Dr. Kleist: That sounds wonderful!
      Patient: What?
      Dr. Kleist: Erm, no, I mean, you must remember your ressources, that life is unique and ...
    • The terminally ill man who dresses up:
      Yay! My old tux fits again! (beat) Yay ...
    • Bea, whose son, Jan, owes money to drugdealers:
      Jan: There's a guy, Stopja, who says that he wants the money before Christmas, or I'll get whacked.
      Bea: I'd really like to have a heart-to-heart with this Stopja person's mother.


     Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fur TV is the king of this category, yes, along with shows like South Park or Family Guy, but a puppet version. Sometimes reaching disturbing levels.
  • On the 11/14/10 episode of The Funday Pawpet Show everyone was watching a reporter show footage of an angry man in a Rascal scooter ram an elevator door three times, the third time disappearing down the shaft to his real-life death. As the reporter showed the footage again, out of nowhere cast member Blitz said "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" completely catching everyone off guard.
  • The Ferals: Even overlooking the levels of violence and cruelty, which is not easy, the rabbit character is named Mixy...after myxomatosis.

  • Big Finish Doctor Who has its moments, particularly in the episode "Max Warp". The entire episode is a gleeful Take That to Top Gear. The Richard Hammond character appears to die violently in a space ship crash. In Real Life, Hammond was in a serious car crash two years before the episode aired.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mortasheen practically runs on this.
  • When it was released at the height of the Cold War, the Nuclear War card game was seen as an example of this.
  • Paranoia, particularly the Straight and Classic play styles (the Zap style is too busy committing more cartoonish violence).
  • The orcs and goblins in Warhammer Fantasy. These are creatures that live for killing things - goblins even commit suicide just to kill enemies. These are the most humorous in the setting. And da Orkz in its sci-fi counterpart Warhammer 40,000. These are creatures who can get anything to work by simply believing it will work, and with the Grots, the local flavour of the goblins, being the ultimate kind of Butt Monkey to the Orks in the setting - and not caring. Where any other army is based on a major civilization or a well-known historical army, the Orks are based on British soccer hooligans, clearly cementing them as comic relief. The 40K setting is so dark, grim, and cynical that it is almost taken to levels of self-parody, something many fanfiction writers embrace to a strong degree, and even some official book series, such as Deff Skwadron and the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) series.
  • In Nomine has Kobal, Demon Prince of Dark Humor, and his servitors, who work to turn existence into black comedy.
  • Plane Scape, full stop. The dark humor in the setting is a huge deconstruction of the typical D&D heroic fantasy.
  • Rule of thumb in Cards Against Humanity: If you aren't putting together horrible jokes with your cards, you're doing it wrong. Possible question/answer combinations include "I got 99 problems, but being on fire ain't one" or "Why do I hurt all over? Scalping".

  • Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a hilarious take on the events of Hamlet as seen from the point of view of two minor characters. Who, as you may have guessed, die. And/or are dead.
  • Peter Shaffer's play Black Comedy is a black comedy—the lead is a bungling lowlife of questionable morals whose life collapses hilariously over the course of the play.
  • David Ives's Variations on the Death of Trotsky.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    • While most of the play has a serious tone, the musical number in which Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett start harvesting and serving human flesh is extremely silly. It's a flurry of corny jokes about how a man's occupation might relate to his flavor, some incredibly corny puns, and a rhyming contest.
  • The canon of Joe Orton; every single character he's created is an amoral monster who will either kill you or fornicate with you regardless of gender.
    • And considering that in Real Life Joe Orton was killed by his gay lover, it seems his work was truer to life than he would have liked...
  • Christopher Durang specializes in this kind of humor. Two of his better known plays are The Marriage of Bette and Boo and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. In the first, one of the title characters repeatedly bears stillborn children; the doctor, announcing their births, drops them on the floor. The second ends with the eponymous nun shooting two people.
  • The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh tells the story of a poor, crippled orphan who tries to break into show business. Everything that could possibly go wrong for him does. It's simultaneously one of the most depressing plays you will ever read or see and one of the funniest.
  • Older Than Steam: The gravedigger scene in Hamlet. Also his roundabout explanation as to where Polonius' body is could be seen to fall under this trope:
    King Claudius: Now Hamlet, where's Polonius?
    Hamlet: At supper.
    King Claudius: At supper! Where?
    Hamlet: Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him.
  • The "music with her silver sound" scene in Romeo and Juliet. Juliet's entire household, including her parents, her nurse, and her would-be husband, is in mourning because they think she's dead (and, watching the show, you know that she's going to end up dead soon, anyway.) The musicians who have come to play for her wedding realize that this is kind of an awkward time to be hanging around, and they try to exit discreetly...only to run into Peter, the nurse's comic manservant, who wants them to play a song to cheer him up. They try to explain to him that it's really no time to be playing music...only to have him threaten them at knifepoint.
    First Musician: What a pestilent knave is this same!
    Second Musician: Hang him, Jack!
  • Little Shop of Horrors has plenty of this, since Audrey II is both horrifying and hysterical.
  • Avenue Q. About three across-the-line jokes per song. Assuming the line is pretty far away from "tasteful". "The Internet Is for Porn ..."
  • Sarah Kane's play Blasted takes this trope one step further: Ian, one of the main characters, eats a dead baby. He is also a racist, alcoholic rapist who has had his eyes eaten by a soldier who raped him with a gun.
  • Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that Thirteen's target audience is teenagers, it uses a lot of this. Archie, who has muscular dystrophy, is the subject of many terminal illness jokes.
  • The classic Punch and Judy puppet show, especially in its harsher incarnations.
  • Every single production by Pittsburgh-based theatre company Rage of the Stage falls into this category. Their Crowning Moment of Awesome was a Wizard of Oz adaptation featuring a mentally insane and heavily medicated Dorothy, a heroin-addicted Scarecrow, and a sex-obsessed Lion.
  • Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus is frequently interpreted as this — which may actually have been the point to begin with.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace is a madcap comedy about a newlywed theater critic who discovers that his elderly Maiden Aunts are Serial Killers who regularly poison their gentlemen callers. Add a violently psychotic older brother, stir with some utterly oblivious police, season with copious amounts of Lampshade Hanging, and watch it get significantly worse from there. (No, You Do NOT Want To Know. Seriously.)
  • Anton Chekhov wrote comedies so dark a lot of people assume them to be straight tragedies. One of his plays famously opened in two russian theaters at roughly the same time, one billed it as a satirical comedy, the other as a tragedy.
  • Pokémon: The Mew-sical has a lot of this; edgy humor is played for laughs to the point that there's a running gag of Giovanni shooting people.
  • Much of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is spent watching the protagonist come up with increasingly wild ways to murder his relatives, all while singing about it through operetta-style songs with delicious wordplay.

     Theme Parks  

     TV Tropes Wiki  

    Video Games 
  • Portal antagonist GLaDOS has a strong streak of black comedy. In fact, the entire world in which the game takes place is constructed of this. Portal 2 and its promotional material ups the ante by showing a behind the scenes look at the insanity that is Aperture Science — along with the inevitable tragic results which are themselves Played for Laughs.
  • Psychonauts is a black comedy in cartoony clothing — it looks bright and G-rated, but every now and then something incredibly dark happens, like a suicide-bombing Girl Scout
  • The cartoony, comically exaggerated bloodshed of Team Fortress 2 brings it to the edge of black comedy. The Meet the Cast videos push it over, and Meet the Pyro turns it Up to Eleven.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, when not relying on reference comedy, revels in this trope. The ending where the Big Bad discovers the contents of the MacGuffin he's been trying to get his hands on have been replaced with explosives by Smiling Jack is a particularly amusing example.
  • The Fallout series depend heavily on this trope. The intro to the first game is a stellar example. Given that one of the games' major influences is Dr Strangelove, this is hardly surprising.
    • Fallout 3: Most notably anything written on the terminals in the Nuka Cola Factory Mostly involving the testing of their Products which resulted in some deaths. Nuka Cola Quantum was finally cleared for release once the number of t=deaths was at acceptable levels. Said product includes radioactive isotopes.
      • Much of the humor does come from anything written on the terminals
    • Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues is so dripping with Black Comedy you'll forget that the Think Tank kinda forgot where they left your brain.
      • Like Portal, however, Old World Blues' humor becomes very subdued when you come across a bona-fide Death Camp.
  • In a case of the radar ops being asleep at the switch, the E-rated Banjo-Tooie is loaded with this. No less than three characters continue to inundate you with British humo(u)r despite varying stages of horrific undeath.
  • The Worms computer game series.
  • Monday Night Combat has armies of clones dying for entertainment. There are also references to a population-control lottery, assigned dwellings, government-mandated curfews, a section of the stands being under full coyote alert...
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn plunges into this trope wholeheartedly during the Grave Eclipse over Belinsk. We have horrible monsters invading the city and slaughtering the locals... and then we have the ability to read the bemused thoughts of the freshly-dead (most of whom are Deadpan Snarkers), an old man obliviously flirting with death, and last but not least, said monsters invading an opera house and raiding the orchestra pit to play horror music for their next victims. There's a bit of dark humor in other parts of the game, but this is where it's strongest.
  • Planescape: Torment revels in black comedy, much of it based around the protagonist and his immortality. You can win an argument with a man espousing the glories of the afterlife by snapping your own neck, dropping dead, then standing up minutes later and saying, "All right, now it's your turn." Or hit on a female zombie and then bicker with your Lancer about which of the pair of you she was most into.
    • You can also order an NPC to crack open your skull to look if there is anything inside. You then write into your journal "there wasn't".
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day: The Boss Battle takes place inside a mountain of excrement, the Great Mighty Poo. Warning, link swears.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum has The Riddler provide a black comedy example of the riddle of the Sphinx:
    Riddle: What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and three in the night?
    Answer: A baby. Cut off its legs and it'll still have its arms. Give it a crutch and it will hobble on three.
    Followed by this line
    Therapist: How can you even joke about that?
    Riddler: Easy, doctor: It's not my baby.
  • Batman: Arkham City tops it right after the final boss battle, with the Joker's last words.
    Batman: Want to hear something funny? Even after everything you've done, I still would've saved you.
    Joker: Heh, that's actually... pretty funny! *cackles*
  • While the mutated fetus enemy in Dead Space isn't played for laughs, it's hard to think anything but humour was going through the heads of the animators when animating your grapple kill against them: Isaac yanks the baby from his head, and kicks it across the room. One has to wonder why they didn't go the whole hog and add a crowd cheering.
    • To wit, there is an achievement/trophy for doing said grapple kill ten times. The achievement's title? Kickin' It
  • Visceral games apparently has a thing for this trope; there's an achievement in Dantes Inferno for killing enough undead babies.
  • Penumbra: Black Plague features Clarence - a disembodied voice in your head from a virus that runs on this trope.
  • Dwarf Fortress : The whole game, really. Mixed with a lot of Slapstick, if you are similarly inclined.
    • Babies make excellent ablative armor. In a pinch, they make decent bludgeons, too.
    • Toady's dev logs can be a gold mine for this kind of stuff.
      ... then his guts popped out and another guy came along and severed his exposed guts, so that's all working.
    • The community thrives on this sort of schadenfreude.
      My fort became successful to the point of boredom, so I armed my favorite death trap, put on the Macarena in my music player, and began cycling through my units list in time with the music, and threw someone in the death trap every time the guys went "eey, Macarena!".
  • This mod for The Sims 2. Several of the comments on the video count as well.
  • A bit of overheard dialogue during the City Elf origin in Dragon Age: Origins, when a guard is grumbling about having to have killed a pretty elf woman while she was trying to escape, which is followed with "She's still warm. How picky are you?".
  • The Duke Nukem Forever level "The Hive". As Duke progresses through the level (an alien hive located underneath the Duke Dome), he comes across several cocooned women tearfully moaning and crying as Octoroid babies graphically burst from their rapidly-expanding stomachs - the next-gen elements make the visuals and their anguished cries plain disturbing. Duke attempts to make light of the situation after he comes across the Holsom Twins, who have also been impregnated. Duke replies, "Looks like you're... fucked" and soon after, their stomachs burst open (this happens after he expressed audible rage when they're kidnapped from his high-rise condo) in an earlier level. Some online reviews noted that this was an attempt to push the Mature rating for all it was worth, but made Duke look like a cold, callous psychopath instead.
  • HAM likes this trope, allowing you to send goblin babies into battle. The lore describes them as being so weak, their skin peels off like wet paper.
    • A less harsh example: Shit Golems.
  • Tropico 4. The entire game. You see, it's a Cold War. You're the dictator of a Banana Republic, and you're ultimately a pawn in a much larger game between the US and the USSR. Your people aren't exactly cooperative, nor they are very bright. You can't stay in power (for long) lest you Kick the Dog on regular basis. This culminates when you sell your island to the US to test nuclear bombs: your Announcer Chatter will say that "according to the scientists, the big shiny mushroom is harmless, and it's good for the skin tone", your history involves the worst in people (Being the only true graduate of every Harvard Grad in your class, where you have to be a pathetic banana republic dictator, your buddies go on to be POTUS).
  • Eggman's PA announcements in Sonic Colors are absolutely full of this. To quote one example:
    "Next stop, the Tropical Resort. Here, you will find: breath-taking views from our giant Ferris wheel, amazing deals from our shopping mall, and constant risk of bodily harm."
  • Tales of the Abyss towards Guy's fear of women. During a good portion of the game, whenever a girl comes very close to him (especially if they touch him) he recoils in fear and starts screaming. Hilarious, and becomes a Running Gag But then we learn why he's so afraid of contact with women... When he was young, his home, Hod, was being attacked by Duke fon Fabre's men. Guy was hidden inside a (thankfully extinguished) fireplace by his older sister and the house maids, and then the soldiers came in. In order to protect him, Guy's sister and the maids threw themselves onto Guy as the soldiers killed them all. He passed out, but when he came to, he was smothered in a pile of dead women. Suffice to say, nobody was laughing after that.
  • Fruit Mystery is all about feeding zoo animals human foods and reading about the often fatal consequences.
  • AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity particularly likes this style of humor.
  • In early-1990s classic Lemmings, it was possible- and in fact intentional- for the player to blow up all their own lemmings in order to abort a level for whatever reason. After the timers above their head ran out, each lemming would go "Oh no!" in a cartoonish voice, shake a bit, and then go "pop!" in a firework-like explosion.
  • Katawa Shoujo can fall into this, if you go into it with the right sort of mindset. There's something about the image of Rin trying to paint with no arms that's hilarious.
    • One unintentional example was one of the Relax-o-Vision screens that can pop up if you disable the sex scenes. During Hanako's route (the girl who has suffered third degree burns on half her body), an image of fried shrimp can randomly appear as the filler image for her sex scene.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's you are a security guard in a building full of murderous animatronics and all you have to defend yourself with is security cameras, two doors and limited electricity to power the cameras and the doors... And it begins with a bored sounding security guard reading out legal information to you, telling you some odds and ends, and basically ends the conversation with an offhand mention about how someone in the past had their frontal lobe torn out by the animatronics, which is why they aren't allowed to walk around during the day anymore, how the animatronics are likely to kill you by forcing you into an animatronic suit and how there are blind spots all around your office. It's hard not to chuckle, in a twisted way.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV has a GTA Radio talk show called Integrity 2.0 that's almost based around this.
  • From DUST 514:
    "Suicide in public areas is strictly prohibited."
  • WildStar pretty much runs on this trope. A few examples include:
    • The official "Paths" flick, where pretty much everyone but Agent Voxine is killed, injured, or horribly traumatized in some way, shape, or form.
    • The "Mammodin of Mass Destruction" mission in Deradune, where you strap high-explosives into mind-controlled rhinos then direct them into poacher camps. Failure comes in two ways: angering other Mammodins, or attracting other Mammodins who want to mate with yours, thus causing an explosion of Ludicrous Gibs.
    • A Mechari explaining that they do have a sense of humour—it's just hard to laugh along when your head's in a sack.
  • Borderlands had a fair bit of this. Borderlands 2 absolutely revels in it, to the point where it qualifies for both Denser and Wackier and Darker and Edgier.
    • There's a mission where a man makes constant sexist remarks against the female leader of his town. You then use a mortar to bomb his house, knocking it off a cliff, and send him screaming to his death at the bottom of a chasm. And it is one of the funniest and most satisfying moments in the game.
  • Midway through the game, Handsome Jack kills Bloodwing and then starts complaining that he was going to play a violin "all sarcastically" over the corpse. A few minutes later he finds a violin and actually starts playing a terrible off-key song on it just to rub the salt in the wounds. And it manages to still somehow be hilarious, perhaps because of how over the top it is.
  • The Nintendo DS game Mizuiro Blood has this, when the main character gets sliced horizontally.
  • The joke endings for the Silent Hill series, after Silent Hill 4 anyway, fall nicely into this. That said the joke ending for Silent Hill: Book of Memories is by far the darkest as it takes shots at every single convention, and character, in the series. I.e., one character accidentally sneezes on Mary Sunderland, she says it's cool, but James remarks she has to be more careful or else she might catch something. Also Alex Shepard teaching his brother how to swim.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth, much like the show, runs on this. At one point you fight a giant aborted Nazi zombie fetus.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle has Josuke from Part 4 heal his opponent back to full health when he uses his Great Heat Attack. Johnny from Part 7 is handicapped; specifically, his legs are paralyzed. When Josuke uses his GHA on Johnny, he stands up, his legs working again... and then Josuke beats him back into paraplegia. ("If I heal you first, it's not cheating, right? DORADORADORADORADORAAA!")
  • Mishap: An Accidental Haunting and Mishap 2: An Intentional Haunting have their fair share of this trope, from the animated background items in the cluttered hidden object scenes to the cartoonish drawings and utterly ludicrous deathsnote  of the minor ghosts you can capture using a special monocle to the fact that the quit button for the second game is an electric outlet and clicking on it produces a pained-sounding scream.
  • The Witch's House: The many, many deaths you can suffer throughout the game - while horrific - can elicit a chuckle or two, due to how creative or suddenly they happen; especially after you know the Awful Truth behind the game, and just who it is you're playing as.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dangan Ronpa has this trope in spades. Despite it being a story about a Deadly Game where high-schoolers kill each other, much of the tragedy ends up being played for laughs.
  • There are many ways for Elonie to die in Long Live the Queen and all of them are depicted with a cutesy, super-deformed depiction of her demise.

    Web Animation 
  • The Nekci Menij Show, which asks you to laugh at women angling to kill each other over album sales and awards.
  • Film Cow is an animation studio (of Charlie the Unicorn fame) that focuses mostly on rather... interesting characters, who either end up dead or do the killing themselves. As you can imagine, it is bloody hilarious.
  • Death Battle is a web video series about two characters fighting to the death. Would have had a hard time avoiding this one. Co-host Boomstick is a notable fountain of this, no matter how the fight ends, he always has a bad pun for the fallen. Or one for the victor or how the fight ended.
  • Japanese flash animator Rareko is known for this in his works. One example includes Push Puku Chan, which is about an android who was trying to make friends using her trumpet, but often ends up killing people, whom fear her.
  • Ultra Fast Pony frequently cracks jokes about racism and off-screen character deaths. Probably the blackest moment comes in "Pinkie's Day In", where Pinkie Pie accidentally kills two babies through incompetent parenting. And it gets lampshaded:
    Mrs. Cake: Well, this series took quite a dark turn.
    Pinkie: Yeah, even I feel kinda bad making jokes about dead babies.
  • Tomorrows Nobodies regularly plays violence, death, and child abuse for laughs.
  • In Pokémon Rusty, Rusty tries to teach a Zubat Surf and rides on top of it, shoves multiple Bidoofs into one Pokeball, and washes a Grimer down the drain, among many other examples.
  • Prostitute Mickey, a flash-animated series of short films where Mickey Mouse has been forced to become a prostitute to make ends meet and is subjected to many horrifically embarrassing events.

  • 8-Bit Theater revels in this.
    • The sister comic, Warbot In Accounting includes an example. The eponymous warbot, in an attempt to become a father, buys a kit to build a robot, only to produce a distorted, agonized thing. Warbot proceeds to dump the malformed baby robot in the trash.
      • "It's so dark, daddy. So daaaaaaark...."
    • And this comes back around when it's revealed the baby robot is still in the trash some time later, pleading for help from its dad.
    • Ansem Retort, which is probably inspired by 8-Bit in more ways than one, is even worse. It sets the tone for the rest of the series when the first strip plays burning an orphanage and courthouse for laughs.
  • Gone with the Blastwave both lampshades it's Black Comedy as well as the fact that it's morally deplorable to laugh at it... In the process making it even more hilarious.
  • Concerned
  • Something*Positive.
  • Nobody Scores!!
  • Kick the Football, Chuck. Posits that Charlie Brown is not naturally bald, but bald from chemotherapy. Every common gag with peanuts is shed in this light. Particularly dark is a day at school.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Happy Mother's Day. See the first comment.
  • The Troll arc of Homestuck frequently veers into this, since trolls are an inherently violent race, and their interactions in the comic descend into the worst kind of internet Troll-fuelled Flame War only held in person and in a culture where there is no murder taboo. Expect to find hilarious facial expressions on heads severed by a serial killer, witty and idiosyncratic IM conversations about the end of the world, and characters horribly maiming each other each other for hilariously trivial reasons such as LARP drama, having just watched the music video for Insane Clown Posse's "Miracles", or boredom.
    • Homestuck in general has this going, particularly from Act 5 onward. Not just Homestuck, not even just MS Paint Adventures - virtually everything Andrew Hussie has ever done, ever. Even Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, if you really think about it.
    • And then comes Act 6, in which a version of our universe suffers a horrific totalitarian dictatorship involving the deaths of billions...but at the same time major elements included the Insane Clown Posse being elected as double juggalo presidents, Guy Fieri as "the third and final antichrist", and soft drink being pumped through the water supply.
  • Quite possibly deconstructed in Nana's Everyday Life, which begins as a Sadist Show with instances of Gallows Humor and Black Comedy Rape. As the story goes on it almost unnoticably puts more emphasizes the dark aspects than the comedic ones until there is only one thing left to ask: IS THIS COMEDY?
  • Frequently played in No Black Plume.
  • Zombie Ranch has images like a woman casually using glue to put her undead horse back together. That's not even getting into the media segments cheerfully depicting things like zombie massacre.
  • Head Trip hangs a lampshade on its reputation by starting off with an abortion joke.
  • Looking for Group uses black comedy for many of the jokes in the strip, particularly the strips focusing on Richard. The creators also made a short animated feature released on Youtube that is one long black comedy joke.
  • Cyanide and Happiness will often go to this level and beyond.
  • Sexy Losers is a classic of the genre, with comedic situations arising from disgusting and perverted sexual practices, including necrophilia and incest.
  • Bigger Than Cheeses performed an ample display of this trope in response to one of Ctrl+Alts+Del's ham-fisted dramatic storylines, with a series of arguably distasteful/controversial two-panel gags.
  • A Softer World which relies on this in frequent but creative ways. Like this. Lampshaded (sort of, in an incredibly disturbing way) the very next day.
  • ElectricRetard
  • Lucid TV does this with doctors. Think House, but worse.
  • VG Cats,which often veers into that territory, has two examples here and here. The later was in response to complaints about the former.
    • There is also this and, if you count all kinds of babies, this.
  • FLEM Comics is one very long frequently-lampshaded run of every offensive trope in the book. The one strip the author thought so horrible that he put it off for years? Hank the Dancing Abortion. Complete with hangar through the head. Later converted to a running gag.
  • Jerkcity, in its more coherent moments.
  • A Game of Fools can fall into this territory at times, with this being a particularly disturbing example.
  • The name of the game in Tomoyo42's Room. Sometimes even involving actual dead babies: for example, Tomoyo throwing hers and Sakura's child (well, egg) into the sea, or sticking a dead baby through a fan.
  • LegoRobot Comics is definitely an example, and DEFINITELY NSFW.
  • Shredded Moose attempts this. The creator forgot to include the "comedy" part.
  • Sex, Drugs, and June Cleaver occasionally forays into this territory. Oh, and it's a Journal Comic.
  • Penny Arcade wants its readers to know that, despite all appearances, they do in fact have limits, of which this type of comedy is one. Even Evil Has Standards.
  • Elftor's entire purpose seems to have been locating the line of decency and sprinting as far past it as humanly possible. Consider this strip, where the eponymous character "solves" his girlfriend's pregnancy by hitting her in the stomach with a shovel, resulting in a miscarriage, resulting in the fetus coming back to life as a zombie, who promptly gets his own girlfriend pregnant, and requests a shovel. You probably don't want to know about the special 9/11 comic (released on 9/11/01, no less).
  • Edible Dirt.
  • The webcomic Anomaly is hosted on a website called "". The first comic stars a dead baby in a dumpster. After that.... it's easier to list the comics that are not as offensive as humanly possible.
  • Doobl! falls within this trope heavily, although unfortunately listing it here rather ruins the joke. It's still worth reading for a giggle, and you can always pretend to be surprised.
  • Coach Random uses the joke in the page quote, except it's a "dead puppy in clown makeup".
  • Done in this Amazing Super Powers strip. note 
  • The intentionally mis-named Perry Bible Fellowship mixes this with a cutesy art style.
  • Chopping Block is a web comic about a stereotypical serial killer, mommy and sex issues included.
  • The Snail Factory.
  • K.C. Green's works, such as Gunshow and Horribleville, function on Black Comedy as if it were fuel. The fact that Green is diagnosed with severe depression, which many of his comics deal with, doesn't help any of it.
  • Mr. Square Can be particularly dark when it wants to be. It stars a clinically depressed doodle who wants nothing but death. The fact that the author withholds this from him is suspiciously spiteful.
  • Pine Valley Chronicles.
  • Roommates has some pretty dark humor at times. Things like jokes about characters being dead in canon (it's a Meta Fic), The Fair Folk's child stealing and incestual habits, being bitten by a zombie, some characters homicidal or suicidal tendencies etc.. Its spin offs aren't immune either, Girls Next Door even had a running gag about Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • Oglaf often combines Black Comedy with sex.
  • A mainstay of Biter Comics'.
  • XKCD: "Oh, Jesus, he's getting out another rulebook."
  • Bloody Urban has it in spades. Though what can you expect from a webcomic where the three main characters eat people?

    Web Original 

  • The Onion often has brilliant examples of this sort of humor, consider More Americans Falling For 'Get Rich Slowly Over A Lifetime Of Hard Work' Schemes and the most depressing Onion article ever, or the other most depressing Onion article ever ...or this third, even MORE depressing Onion article (all three of which, IMO, Cross The Line Twice and then cross it again and head way over into actually really depressing territory).
    • Scientists Successfully Teach Gorilla It Will Die Someday.
    • It even made a joke about the Rwandan Genocide... and it was actually funny.
    • This O-SPAN clip. Political satire, meet deeply disturbing morbid humor.
    • This particular gem introduces as so: At the group's annual convention Sunday, members of the National Education Association called for the formation of a nationwide coalition of parents, teachers and political leaders to address a rapidly growing problem: the alarmingly low quality of teenage suicide notes across the U.S.
    Brodhagen then related the story of another tragic suicide note, discovered at the feet of a 15-year-old St. Louis boy who had hanged himself.
    "The boy's mother opened the door to his room one morning to wake him up for school," Brodhagen said, "and she screamed in horror at what she saw: Dangling, right there in front of her, was a participle."
  • Often used on Mock the Week, especially by Frankie Boyle. On the subject of pets:
    "I don't know how long I could be a vet before I got bored and started shagging stuff. I'd shag an owl, because whatever position you took it from you could always get eye contact. Or shag a kitten—could you imagine having sex with something you wanted to cuddle afterwards?"
    • Frankie Boyle uses this so much, one could argue he subverted it once. The subject was children, and after one comment about how sinister the picture looked, he went on to tell a really sweet story about his own daughter.
    • Similarly, when he skewered the host for a relatively tame joke, everyone remarked on how it must have been odd for him to find himself in the moral high ground. He double subverted it when, a moment later, he made a joke about the Russian that Vladimir Putin had allegedly assassinated through polonium poisoning.
    • That pet quote actually merited him his own separate warning before the program started.
    • He even lampshades it in a deleted scene (that later appeared in a compilation episode), in which he makes a joke about the recent memorial concert for Princess Diana; after joking that they could have staged a more fitting tribute "by staging a gang-bang in a minefield", he smiles charmingly at the audience's torn-between-shock-and-amusement reaction, goes back to the start position, and innocently notes that "it'll be interesting to see if that makes it in, actually."
    • Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights is generally considered by critics to be pushing so far into the realm of tasteless that it forgets to have jokes.
  • The late George Carlin was well-known for this.
  • A good chunk of Christopher Titus' material is extremely black comedy, often crossing into Gallows Humor. Most of which centers on living in an extremely dysfunctional family (his father was a hard-drinking, chain-smoking womanizer who married and divorced five times, his mom [Ken's second wife] was a manic-depressive schizophrenic alcoholic, and his relatives on both sides of the family are drug addicts, mental patients, undiagnosed psychos, and a Mormon). To give you an idea on how dark Titus's humor is, think about this: his 5th Annual End of the World Tour set includes a bit called "Pedophile Crucifixions"note  and that's not even one of his darker shows (his darkest show is actually Love is Evol, who centers on how his marriage to Erin Carden [referred to as "Kate" for legal reasons] fell apart (including Erin almost murdering Titus, goading him to commit suicide, and claiming abuse in divorce court so she can get all of his money), why seemingly sane people stay in bad relationships, and how Titus found love again with a woman who wasn't a psycho bitch and had a normal, functional family — which of course didn't last).

  • In this picture by Ursula Vernon Delivery Stork meets dead babies. Enjoy.
  • Black humour isn't everyone's cup of liquidised baby.
  • Q: What is the best way to get 100 dead babies out of a blender? A: With chips!
    • Q: What's worse than a pile of dead babies? A: The live one at the bottom of the pile.
      • What’s worse than that? It has to eat its way out. What’s worse than that? It succeeded. What's worse than that? It went back for seconds. What’s worse than that? Justin Bieber, duh.
    • Sadly some dead baby jokes require visual pantomime. On the other hand...
  • How do you empty a garbage truck full of dead babies? With a pitchfork!
    • There's another version of that one: What's the difference between a truckload of dead babies and a truckload of bowling balls? You can't unload the bowling balls with a pitchfork.
  • Q: What's worse than five babies in a trashcan? A: One baby in five trashcans.
  • Q: What's the difference between one hundred dead babies and a Ferrari? A: I don't own a Ferrari.
    • Or, I don't have a Ferrari in my garage.
      • Corollary: And if I did, I wouldn't wank over it every day.
  • Q: What's pink and orange and floats on the bottom of a pool? A: A baby with its floaties slashed. Q: What's pink, red, and orange and floats on the top of a pool? A: Floaties with their baby slashed.
  • Q: What's the difference between a baby and a trampoline? A: You take off your boots before jumping on the trampoline.
  • Q: What's the best way for Capcom to greenlight the Megaman Legends 3 project? A: Simple. Dress two aborted fetuses as Roll and Megaman Volnutt.
  • Most Adult Swim online games, which frequently cross the line. Examples include:
    • HRmaggedon
    • Floater
    • Meowcenaries
    • Amateur Surgeon
    • Candy Mountain Massacre
    • Five Minutes To Kill Yourself
    • Gigolo Assassin
    • Schizo-phrenzy
    • Viva Caligula
    • Orphan Feast
    • Kill Thy Neighbor
  • A certain person has made a comment about genocide as a result of his personal distaste of anime. It did get some smiles, but still... he said that two nukes weren't enough...
  • This animated gif, staring Steven Seagal.
  • This site has a list of medical slangs. Most them are jokes about terminal diseases, wounds, deformities, etc.
  • Feel like shaking a baby to death? There's an app for that. Or at least, there used to be, until Apple found out and pulled it from the App Store.
  • Q: What is the difference between a dead baby and a rock? A: The baby can be raped!
  • Q: Why did that kid fall off the swing? A: Because he has no arms!
    • Q: And why did nobody help him to get up? A: Because he has no friends!
  • In the same vein as the above: Q: Why did Sarah fall off the swing? A: She has no arms or legs.
    • Knock knock. Who's there? Not Sarah.
  • Relatively similar and equally repellent are Helen Keller jokes: Q: How did Helen Keller burn her fingers? A: By reading the waffle iron. And countless others.
  • Q: Whats red and white and cries? A: A skinned Baby with salt.
    • Q: What has four legs and an arm? A: An attack dog on a playground.
    • Q: What is brown and knocks on glass? A: A Baby in the oven.
    • Q: What is rosy and turns red on the push of a button? A: A baby in a mixer.
  • Q: How do you make a baby stop crawling in circles ? A: You nail the other hand to the floor.
  • Q: How many babies do you need to paint a wall ? A: Depends on how hard you throw.
  • P1: What does a dead baby smell like? P2: I don't know. P1: *Puts two fingers under P2's nose*

    Real Life 
  • There's a yarn that a unit of Gurkhas were being shelled. One shell hit the man who was always giving The Captain a headache. Whereupon someone said, "If the sahibs couldn't deal with him when he was in one piece, how will the gods deal with him when he is in six?"
  • Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia in 1966-7, went on an ill-advised swimming trip at Cheviot Beach (notorious for its riptides and strong currents) to impress his mistress. They Never Found the Body, but it's probable that he drowned (although the history books simply say "disappeared"). The Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris decided to honour his memory by naming a municipal swimming pool after him.
    • On a similar note, students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in 1968, named their cafeteria grill in honor of alleged cannibal Alferd Packer, with the slogan, "Have a friend for lunch!"
  • The traditional tales told about Saint Lawrence of Rome provide great examples of both this trope and Gallows Humor. According to legend, Saint Lawrence was martyred by being roasted to death on a gridiron. Supposedly, after roasting over a hot fire for a while, he said to his tormentors, "I am done on this side; you may turn me over now". That's the Gallows humour. The Black Comedy is what happened afterward - the Church decided he would make an excellent patron saint of cooks and chefs! And comedians.
    • There's a streak of black comedy running through the patronage of saints. St Sebastian - martyred by being shot full of arrows - is patron of archers. Thomas More - executed for not supporting Henry VIII's divorce and subsequent split from Rome - is patron of difficult marriages (as well as lawyers and statesmen, which More was). Teresa of Avila - known for her overwhelming ecstatic visions - is patron of headaches.
      • St. Sebastian is also the patron of laceworkers.
      • Saint Joseph is the patron saint of fathers.
  • Any high-stress job where confronting dead or dying persons is a daily occurrence is rife with this. Police officers, firefighters, medical personnel of all stripes, and especially emergency room staff resort to Black Comedy to keep some psychological distance and maintain their composure.
    • Zorro-bellies, crispy-critters, GOMERs, frequent fliers, baby catchers...medical slang is full of really, really dark comedy. The terms mean, respectively, a patient whose abdomen is covered in surgical scars, a horribly burned patient, "Get Out of My ER" for a bothersome patient who wants attention, a patient who is in and out of the ED all the time, and an OBGYN.
      • CTF, or Cletus the Fetus is an obscure black comedy medical term for a baby born at 23 weeks, where the survival rate is less than 1%. There have been no cases of a baby surviving birth before 22 weeks, confirming doctors may have the blackest of all humor.
    • And their propensity to refer to motorcycles as "Donor-cycles", due to the high rate of fatalities on them.
  • Tim Horton, famous hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and founder of the wildly famous donut and coffee store; Tim Hortons. One day he was driving through the streets of St. Catharines Ontario extremly drunk. He went under the lake St. Overpass at around 150Kmh in his car and hit a support column. He and his car were obliterated. To this day, you can still find Tim-Bits everywhere.
  • After his drunk driving-related death, in which he crashed into a tree near his house on an icy Christmas night, it was said of on-and-off Yankees manager Billy Martin that "he was the only baseball player who ever died sliding into home."
  • On the death of Margaret Thatcher, former PM. her former opponents started a campaign to purchase a large number of copies of "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead", in an attempt to put it on the top of the charts and force the BBC to air it days before her funeral.
    • The BBC did end up airing it, but only about a seven-second clip.
    • Similarly, the eternally-repurposed Nietzche joke:
    "There's no such thing as society," - Margaret Thatcher, 1987
    "There's no such thing as Margaret Thatcher," - Society, 2013
    • Britain tends to be this way about death rather often, a news report in November 2014 reported that a poll in Great Britain that the most popular song at British funerals is Monty Python's "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life".
  • Christopher Hitchens combined this with a Take That at Princess Diana:
    Hitchens: The thing about mine fields is that they're very easy to lay, but they're very difficult and dangerous, and even expensive to get rid of - the perfect description of Prince Charles's first wife.
    • In turn, a joke circulated about Hitchens immediately after his death by those less than fond of him went as such:
    “God is Dead.” —– Christopher Hitchens, 2007
    “Christopher Hitchens is Dead.” —- God, 2011
  • The kids' song "Baby bumblebee", that got featured on "Wee Sing Silly Songs" as well as other silly song lists. It starts off rather tame...but gradually gets more and more disgusting as the song goes on.
    "I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee Won't my Mommy be so proud of me I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee -OUCH!! It stung me!!"
    "I'm squishin' up my baby bumble bee Won't my Mommy be so proud of me I'm squishin' up my baby bumble bee -EW!! What a mess!!"
  • There is a Japanese dish called oyako don, which is chicken and egg served on rice. The humor comes from its name: the character for oya means "parent" and the character for ko means "child". In other words, you're eating a "parent-and-child" bowl.
    • Then there's tanin don, which replaces the chicken with beef. The title means "stranger bowl".
    • Paul Simon named a song "Mother and Child Reunion" after a chicken and egg dish he saw on a Chinese restaurant's menu.
  • Many military songs tend to be dark satires of the current war, including from Vietnam the VERY dark American song "Napalm Sticks to Kids:"
    Cobras flying in the sun,
    Killing gooks is lots of fun,
    Get one pregnant and it's two for one,
    Napalm sticks to kids.
  • Some people who suffer from eating disorders, depression, self harm, etc. will often make fun of it, some to alleviate pain, others just for the hell of it. Sometimes they are so desensitized to it that they will make a joke about it in front of someone else, only to see the other person staring in horror.
  • Blue Stahli's sense of humor is darker than the void of space is empty. He'll joke about anything. Kidnapping, stalking, insomnia, anything.
  • Some years back there used to be a sign on the Tribourough Bridge in New York City that helpfully informed drivers: "In event of attack, drive off bridge."
  • Bill Bryson recounts in "The Lost Continent" a joke about the infamous R. Budd Dwyer suicide which took place on live television, created by a few teenagers who saw it on TV to cope with the horror. The joke goes like this:
    What's the difference between Budd Dwyer and Bud Light?
    Bud Light has a head on it.
  • Mickey Leland a politician from Houston died in a plane crash in Fugnido, Ethiopia in 1989. Terminal D, open in 1990 and named for Leland.
  • Oklahoma City has airports named for Wiley Post and Will Rogers, who both died in an airplane crash.

Alternative Title(s):

Black Humor, Black Humour, Dark Comedy, Dead Baby Humor, Dead Baby Comedy, Dark Humor, Dark Humour