"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!"
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, mass murder, regular amounts of murder, suicide, blackmail, domestic violence, disease, insanity, fear, child abuse, drug abuse, rape, castration, war, terrorism, racism, sexism, homophobia, bestiality, child pornography, 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 humour. What makes it different though, is that the theme of the comedy would tend to gravitate towards topics that are considered to be "dark" (such as depression, death, atrocities, racism, poverty, etc). This form of humour will usually go beyond the mere act of telling jokes, some works focusing rather on situational comedy, Doctor 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 humour 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 humour.
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.
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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The, thankfully never used, slogan for Panasonic "From the wonderful folks who brought you Pearl Harbor". It was later repurposed as advertiser Jerry Della Famina's book title. note Although, with Nakajima not a name in the US market, the phrase would be more appropriately applied to Mitsubishi.
"No Pressure" featured, among other things, kids being blown up for not signing on to 10:10's carbon emissions reduction program as a Crosses the Line Twice joke. If you don't feel like watching, it's not some kind of cute, funny explosion effect; it's very bloody and identifiable bits of human tissue can be seen coating the bystanders in this ad. The reaction to this ad was an enormous Dude, Not Funny! and it was pulled very quickly when it became apparent that people were turning against the 10:10 campaign as a result of it.
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 NHK 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 no Naku Koro ni 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.
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 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.
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 debitor 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 realated 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!
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.
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.
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 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 .
The original The Mask comics often bordered on this.
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.
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 "Day of the Barney Trilogy" is a very notable Hate Fic of Barney & Friends that has Barney commit Corruption of a Minor on a large scale, personally maim and kill people, rape teenage girls after taking them under his wing as his Special Friends and impregnating them with mutant offspring that they die giving birth to, cause every catastrophe in world history, and it's still darkly humorous.
The Team Fortress 2 fanfic "Surrogate" contains a scene which, whether or not you can bring yourself to laugh, is clearly structured like a comedy. There's a literal dead baby involved, and Medic thinks he wants to know where it's gotten to. Heavy doesn't want him to know, but, unfortunately for them both, is a Bad Liar.
Banette: All I remember was everything being white for as far as I could see. I don't know if I imagined it all, if it was a dream, or if I really died. What really surprised me was that there weren't any flames.
Banette: Oh come on, you didn't honestly think I was gonna end up anywhere else if I died, did you?
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.
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.
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.
The Distinguished Gentleman is about a black Con Man who scams his way into Congress by pretending to be a popular, dead, white man. When he gets there, the film turns to satire when he discovers just how small-time his game really is and who the real criminals are.
Dr. Strangelove. Also a touch of Gallows Humor on the director's part, since it was made at a time when nuclear war was a very real possibility. The filmmakers originally intended it as a serious film about an accidental nuclear war, but when they realized the inherent absurdity of the situation, they decided to play it for black humor instead. Notably, they didn't tell Slim Pickens, so his performance was completely straight.
Grosse Pointe Blank: So, when you go back to your high school reunion and everyone asks what you do now, do you tell them you're a hitman or not?
Heathers: A film about getting your own back on high school bullies by engineering their murders and making them look like suicides.
Oh, my God. I'll have to send my S.A.T. scores to San Quentin instead of Stanford.
Paddy Chayefsky's 1970 film The Hospital has doctors dying from unusual causes, while at the same time the Chief of Surgery (George C. Scott) is so despondent over the meaninglessness of life, as well as being impotent, he's trying to kill himself, until he rapes the daughter of a patient at which point he realizes he does have a reason to live!
In Bruges In a film about two hitmen on the run after one of them botched a hit by shooting an innocent child, who spends his time drinking and contemplating suicide the only humour you'd expect to find is the black kind.
Inglourious Basterds: Mostly the parts with the Basterds and the scenes with Hitler have black comedy elements, though the film as a whole is a drama.
The film Mystery Team is a mild version of this. The film is essentially a murder mystery, but the humor comes not so much from the murder, but the character's reactions to it. (For example, one character explains to an orphaned girl that life isn't fair by pointing out he didn't get a bike for his birthday). The film also has jokes about cancer, pedophilia and drug use, which are treated less seriously.
Network presents Howard Beale's descent into insanity and assassination at the order of his boss as a long joke with a killer punchline.
A New Leaf, a dark comedy about a spoiled man who spends all of his inherited wealth, then plots to marry into wealth and murder his wife.
Pulp Fiction at several points. Mia Wallace's heroin overdose is a particularly long and manic dark joke.
Shallow Grave, the breakout film for a young Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston, is a British dramedy about three roommates who put out a classified ad for a fourth person to fill in an empty spot in their flat. They heckle most of the applicants, until finding someone they all agree would make a fine roommate. Or so they think... Turns out he's a drug runner for the mafia and, shortly after he moves in, the three find him dead in his room of a drug overdose, with a large briefcase full of money lying next to him. They make the decision to not report the crime, dismember the body, and keep the money for themselves. Hilarity (and psychopathy) ensue.
The aptly titled Very Bad Things, in which the emotional toll of the protagonist's preparations for his impending wedding to a Bridezilla is compounded by the accidental death of a hooker at his bachelor party and the resulting ever-worsening train wreck of bad decisions and bad luck which, by the end of the movie, has ruined the lives of everyone it hasn't killed.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a family fantasy comedy about... murder, adultery, and racism. And corrupt businesses such as the destruction of the LA Red Car. (But the film was a blockbuster... You can't argue with success.)
September 11, 2001. Terrorists are about to fly a plane into the World Trade Center when they realize that there can't possibly be enough virgins left in the afterlife, given the recent rash of suicide bombings. After a quick phone call to their leader confirms that they may only get twenty, they decide to call off the attack and fly to The Bahamas. Just then, the cockpit door is kicked open and the passengers struggle to take control of the plane. Veering out of control, it smashes into the Twin Towers - the fiery explosion revealing the film's title card.
According to the few reviewers who managed to see the movie, this is the least offensive part.
Sadly, it's also probably the funniest. The rest of the movie is feeble action sequences and stale jokes. The only possible exception are a few choice one liners. In a job interview Q&A: "What is the difference between a duck..."
Another Peter Jackson film, Braindead, has some when the nurse zombie and the priest zombie have themselves some zombie sex and spawn a precocious little zombie scamp in a ridiculously short amount of time. Lionel decides to take it to the park for some reason. Hilarity ensues.
The Luis Buñuel 1930 classic L' Âge d'or, The Golden Age has got lots of these jokes (and it's the most hilarious film ever), one of the main characters is a man working for a good will mission organisation, and is on a mission to spread happiness in the world. He randomly attacks people, he kicks a blind man and Kick the Dog more than once. One scene also includes a man that shoot an annoying kid with a rifle.
This is far Older Than They Think in film — some of the very earliest silent comedies feature prop babies getting trampled, thrown out windows and hit by trains (carried over from vaudeville, where everybody got hurt).
Norm MacDonald's film Dirty Work, especially the last line when the hero explains that everything worked out and he got the girl "...and Dr. Farthing got the money to his bookies. But the bookies killed him anyway. So he's dead. Well, that's the end."
Chris manages this in Tomorrow: When the War Began. He describes in horrific detail how he found his neighbours shot dead in their car along with their baby daughter by the invading soldiers, but his stoned dialogue is hilarious enough that it Crosses the Line Twice.
The Thailand action/comedy film SARS Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis features a few rather tasteless jokes, like a zombie fetus clawing its way out of its mother's stomach to attack the heroes, only to be foiled by the umbilical cord still being attached (and too short).
The movie version of A Scanner Darkly takes the few comedic moments from the novel, and makes them an almost equal balance to the main plot, which is about an undercover narcotics cop becoming addicted to a deadly drug, and suffering permenent brain damage that destroys his sense of identity. But hey, funny hallucinations and crazy junkie antics for all!
Kevin Smith has been known to dabble in this, particularly in Clerks when it turns out Caitlin accidentally had sex with a corpse.
The TV movie Sunset Limousine is generally family-friendly, but there are a few instances of black humour, the blackest of them all coming when John Ritter, having inadvertenly switched on a conveyor belt, fights a casket as it is being drawn into a retort (specifically, he tries and fails—humorously—to pull it out as it goes in). Easily the most scarily funny moment of Ritter's three-decade career.
Shadow of the Vampire is a darkly humourous film re-imagining Murnau's horror classic Nosferatu as being shot starring a real vampire. At the end the vampire kills most of the cast and Murnau keeps the camera rolling.
Happiness (1998) is this through and through. Particularly with its portrayal of pedophilia and what a Dysfunction Junction it all is.
Miss Nobody. Picture American Psycho, only with a perky female secretary instead of a male yuppie. Even the death scenes have music more befitting an old cartoon than a movie about a Serial Killer.
American Psycho also qualifies though it's so dark some people fail to notice the satire.
A Clockwork Orange frequently indulges in this, with the most notorious moment being when Alex and his Droogs beat and rape a couple in their own home while performing the title tune from Singin' in the Rain.
The Wolf of Wall Street is just about one of the funniest films there is about the subjects of greed, corruption, excess, drug addiction, and the heaps of ruination that they bring into people's lives.
The Double is set in a noir, absurd world. The film is about a man's life falling apart, but it comes with a healthy dose of comedy.
Master and Commander has a darkly funny moment after Hollom, shunned as a "Jonah", has taken his own life. During his funeral service, Aubrey is handed a Bible...open to the book of Jonah, earning the responsible party a very dirty look.
The Disney film Frozen has a cheery song called "In Summer" where Olaf sings about how fun the first summer of his life will be. Except Olaf is a snowman who's only a day old and doesn't know yet that the arrival of summer will cause him to melt and die.
Olaf: Winter's a great time to stay home and cuddle, but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!
Olaf: (after accidentally walking his upper half into an icicle) Oh, look at that. I've been impaled.
The occasional humour in Godzilla (2014) is usually based around this. After the presence of the Muto become blindingly obvious, the media encourages people not to panic, and to evacuate in an orderly fashion. The next shot shows hundreds of cars either piled-up or in traffic, many of which are off-road as a way to sidestep said traffic, along with a plane that got hit by an EMP.
As the female MUTO destroys Vegas and officers look on in horror, Elvis Presley's Devil in Disguise plays cheerfully in the background.
The fight in Honolulu.
Sam: Look, Mommy! Dinosaurs!
Pretty much all of the humor in Edge of Tomorrow features the death of the protagonist in one horrible manner or another, as he's stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in the middle of a war. If the enemy doesn't kill him, the Action Girl he's working with is shooting him in the head to reset the loop.
Its A Disaster is set around a group of eight bickering over their relationship problems. And then a terrorist attack occurs nearby...
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!
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).
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.
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.
“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!”
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
There's a book called The Bunny Suicides and a sequel Return of the Bunny Suicides. 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.
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.
"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.
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 are doomed to Death by Adaptation in the musical (they'll get an offstage Disney Deathif they're lucky) and it's stillPlayed 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."
Live Action TV
Arrested Development provides the page image, and for good reason. It deals with issues like incest, pedophilia, mental retardation parental abuse, and racism for laughs. No wonder Fox ended it.
Arguably spends just as much time succumbing to Vulgar Humor as this trope, if not more.
Pushing Daisies seemed like the writers were competing to make the most gruesome death imaginable while still counting as slapstick.
30 Rock has a continuing story arc where Jack's wife Avery is kidnapped in North Korea and forced to marry Kim Jong Il's son. It is suggested that she is being brainwashed and raped while in captivity.
Also, she's forced to anchor a North Korean news program, where we see her say, "And in food news... you've had enough to eat today."
Dead Like Me did this as well. The first guy reaped (besides George) comes in at the tail end of a bank holdup in which no less than two guns are being waved around and the entire top floor explodes. The victim dies slipping on a banana peel.
Episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is surprisingly funny considering its all about the terrible horror that results from being able to see the future accurately and the inevitability of death. Very, very grim. But also very, very funny. Mr. Brockman's wisecracks and his deadpan shows-off with Mulder and Scully are especially memorable.
Host: Pre-Event sources talk of hope. What was "hope"?
The "Elderly Sherlock Holmes" sketch is initially played for Black Comedy laughs as Dr. Watson desperately tries to pretend that Holmes, who has succumbed to dementia, is still the razor-sharp mind he always was. It's then immediately subverted when Holmes, in a moment of clarity, reveals to John that he knows what's happening to him.
It is implied that this scene was a homage to Blackadder, which ended on a similarly serious note. In a previous skit Mitchell and Webb, as themselves, discuss the ending of Blackadder and agree to end on a serious, dramatic sketch. The following scene takes a serious subject matter, the death of a colleague - but the hamminess is turned Up to Eleven for laughs.
Due to the subject matter (historical edutainment), Horrible Histories indulges in this at almost all times. Frequent topics include dead/abused children, murder, torture, dismemberment, people getting beaten to death, suicide, war crimes, decapitation and incest. In a show at least nominally aimed at eight-year-olds. There's even a recurring feature called "Stupid Deaths" in which a kooky Death character laughs at historical figures for dying in ways that usually involve toilets. It's possible the real nastiness of it flies over the heads of its target audience, while doing lots to attract a Periphery Demographic.
Laid, a 2011 Australian series about a woman who discovers that her former lovers have started dying in various strange and unexpected circumstances.
In Britain, Chris Morris's show Jam depended almost entirely on this, even featuring a dead baby. Another of his shows, Brass Eye, infamously went too far with its "Paedophilia special" and received numerous complaints. Many of these, strangely enough, happened to be from the kind of people and newspapers who the show was satirising in the first place - the News of the World and the Daily Mail acted far more bent out of shape than the Times and the Guardian. Getting celebrities to discuss the implications of a "roboplegic wrongcock" (a paralysed paedophile with cybernetic implants that let him chase children) on television is inherently funny, though.
The Adam and Joe Show featured a Jam parody with a send-up of the dead baby sketch. Joe played a TV repairman who finds a dead baby behind the set and says he will have to rape the corpse in order to repair the television. A horrified Adam refuses to film any more, and storms off the set while Joe complains that "you don't understand my genius"
To its credit, the paedophilia special did result in one of the best examples of press hypocrisy◊. Just remember, the girl on the left was 15 years old when the article was printed.
Anything involving Doug in Scrubs. Most of his humor comes from his pure ineptitude at being a doctor so he ends up killing most of his patients.
In season four Doug became a pathologist. Elliot discovered that he had a knack for identifying causes of death, the implication being that he'd caused them before ("Upstairs, we call that a 'Doug.'") What began as a running dark joke — incompetent doctor kills patients — was subverted when said doctor discovered his gift for determining what killed other doctors' patients.
There's still a lot of dark humour using Doug, however. He's constantly losing corpses (in body bags, though - to date - they have never been non-adult-sized body bags) throughout the hospital, and having to recover them, usually by hoisting them over his shoulder or dragging them through the halls. In one case, he actually says
Doug: They're like children. Big, dead children.
During one of the Brain Trust Meetings:
I propose we get "Hello Kitty" toe tags. You know, for the dead children.
Also in one episode while a character was talking the elevator door behind him kept freaking out, closing most of the way before bouncing back open. After Kelso is done talking the camera pans down to show a full body bag lying halfway in the elevator with the doors repeatedly hitting it. Doug later comes and picks it up.
Scrubs is extremely dark when you look close. Dr. Cox, Kelso, Jordan, Ted, Denise/Jo ...
You know, it's ironic that cancer starts with "can", because at this stage there's nothing we can do about it.
Another episode has JD complain about Doug putting toetags on patients who weren't even dead yet because he got bored. JD also "borrows" a body from the morgue to teach his interns a lesson.
One episode has JD hide in a body bag and when he tried to get out, Doug started hitting him with a fire extinguisher. When JD asks why he was hitting him, he said he thought it was a corpse coming back to life and "dead people should be dead".
Little Britain was criticized for its increasing attempts to shock, with characters such as an incontinent old lady and an adult man who breastfeeds from his mother. "Puking Pure-blood Lady" projectile vomits whenever she is told that someone of a different ethnic origin prepared the food she is being served.
One Saturday Night Live skit that went into serious Dude, Not Funny! territory was "First He Cries", riffing on the book/tv movie "First You Cry" dealing with breast cancer - this one focuses on the stricken woman's dickish, self-centered husband (played by Bill Murray). It gets Harsher in Hindsight as the woman, who faces her situation with good cheer and resolve, is played by Gilda Radner.
In a Taxi episode it's revealed that every time after Mr. McKenzie and his wife quarrel, Mrs. McKenzie usually takes revenge on him by taking a male cabbie to her home for dinner, and after that the cabbie disappears mysteriously; the latest casualty being a driver called "Curly" Melnick. Now it's Louie whom is picked by her, and he's obviously unsure about what will happen to him.
Australian comedy team The Chaser had their show The Chaser's War On Everything suspended for two weeks because of a skit parodying the charity Make a Wish Foundation, showing terminally ill children in a hospital and suggesting that they be given pencil cases instead of trips to Disneyland because "they're only going to die anyway." There was an overwhelming reaction of Dude, Not Funny! to the sketch, including from Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Some commentators pointed out that another comedy show, The Mansion had used exactly the same joke a year before and received no complaints, to which others responded that at least that one hadn't shown dying children (real or otherwise) in their version of the sketch, which showed a receptionist denying the kids' last requests by phone.
The Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph also made note of a story on The Onion's News Network about a child exploiting the loophole of wishing for unlimited wishes and consequently bankrupting the Make A Wish Foundation with his ludicrously long list of demands. Interestingly, the story not only features the child in question but also not-so-subtly casts him as the villain due to his insatiable demands (to the extent of him wishing away the pro-bono legal team the Foundation was hoping to use in its defense) and features the hosts hoping for his imminent demise so that the Foundation can stop granting his wishes. Presumably Prime Minister Rudd was not told about this sketch either so that he could also comment on it sight unseen.
The Chaser also did a similar story in The Chaser, their early newspaper. In it, a child's wish was to receive a blow job from Cameron Diaz.
The previous series of the show had featured The Eulogy Song, which mentioned a number of dead celebrities (including the then recently deceased Steve Irwin) and stated that no matter how awful someone is while they're alive, (s)he will be lauded as a "top bloke" after death. It received a huge number of complaints and The Chaser responded that it was a tamer version of an even more offensive song featured in Chris Taylor's stage show Dead Caesar. The following week they made fun of the controversy in a parody of the "turning off the TV" national election campaign ads then running, with Chas stepping in to switch off the broadcast when The Eulogy Song came on.
The infamous "Undertaker's Sketch" from episode 26 of Monty Python's Flying Circus suggested cannibalism as an alternative to interment or cremation. The punchline was so disgusting that Executive Meddling demanded that the studio audience end the episode by storming the set in protest.
"Louise, currently between school and university, will have to remain in America for the duration of the appeal, although she's desperate to come home, as she has to finish an essay entitled 'What I Did in My Year Off.'"
On Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell made a joke about Courtney Love. Team captain Noel Fielding tells him that Courtney is pretty tough, and he should watch out or she could beat him up. Simon's reply: "Yes ... or she could kill me and make it look like suicide!"
A graphic immediately appears at the bottom of the screen that reads "Disclaimer: Simon Amstell is definitely wrong".
Season 7 ended with the unexpected death of George's fiance, Susan (from licking toxic glue from cheap wedding invitations he picked out). His reaction? A moment of silence, followed by going out with his friends for coffee. It Gets Worse. During the post-credits scene, he calls another woman, tells her his fiance recently died, and asks if she's free this weekend.
Jason Alexander (who played George) himself has said he feels that Seinfeld is "a very dark show about very dark people".
Season 5 of Mad Men gives us the suicide of Lane Pryce. After a season of discussing the faulty electrical system of SCDP's prospective client Jaguar, Lane's wife gets him one shortly after they win the account. Long story short, the electrical system fails as soon as Lane tries to use it to asphyxiate himself; the portrayal is such that, despite being horrified, one really cannot help laughing.
A mock advertisement for the fire-proof "Asbestos Sari", designed to prevent the wearer from meeting an untimely death in a "kitchen accident" (a common euphemism for women being murdered due to Honor-Related Abuse.)
An Indian woman runs into a women's shelter screaming that her husband attacked her with a knife. The white woman running the shelter refuses to help until she's certain that it was a kitchen knife and not a ceremonial knife, in which case it would be a cultural matter and the shelter will not be able to intervene. This goes on for so long that the knife-wielding husband breaks in and the white woman does nothing.
A recurring sketch in the second series involved an elderly Indian woman being interviewed about her life during the time of the British Raj. She would begin with an innocuous memory which would turn into something horrific (such as being raped by British soldiers or having her entire village massacred) but then end on a "happier" note about the soldiers' beautifully polished boots or the army commander having previously given the village children sweets, always ending in her catchphrase: "Wonderful days!"
A parody of The Sooty Show where Soo is Sooty's widow and due to be burned on his funeral pyre (sati) due to cultural tradition. She explains that she thinks this is barbaric - and ends up being stoned for adultery instead.
A Teletubbies parody where each of the Teletubbies represents one of the religious/ethnic groups fighting for control of Kashmir. Po's Expy is eventually beaten to death by the others for trying to suggest that they reach a peaceful solution.
Any of the sketches about racism, caste differences or sectarian violence.
When the cast returned twenty years after the original radio series for a one-off TV special, they returned to form with a Mary Poppins parody critical of corporal punishment in Indian families.
Black Mirror aims at being a drama with heapings of black comedy as it looks at the way technology alters humanity into something worse. Some episodes however seem to drop the "comedy" part of the equation however.
ER occasionally, sometimes in-universe, as a means for the doctors and nurses to cope with the tragedies they've witnessed. After Dr Romano was crushed by a falling helicopter after having already lost his arm to a helicopter rotor, Dr Pratt commented "That guy must have really pissed off a helicopter in a past life"
Med student Lucy Knight once misplaced a corpse and was rather freaked out when the corpse's twin brother arrived to collect the body.
When Dr Greene was told two men were in the ER for fist fighting his response was "How quaint."
When a burn victim comes in, they tend to call them "crispy critters".
"The Romans", as one can imagine by doing a comedy story set in Emperor Nero's palace. Barbara is made a slave with no rights or ability to get home to her own time, and Nero attempts to rape her multiple times (even chasing her down the corridors while she screams), and it's all treated as the horrible fate it is, and yet all Played for Laughs.
John Simm's portrayal of The Master is made of this.
There is also an example of this in "The Crimson Horror". One would think that an innocent horse about to be (almost) executed would be tragic......but not when it's Strax doing it.
Andrew Jackson Jihad employ this trope frequently. Their songs deal with issues such as self-loathing, social anxiety, poverty, homelessness, Parental Abandonment, racism, sexism, and lead singer Sean Bonnette's grandfather's terminal cancer, but manage to be extremely funny (and quotable) in the process. It helps that they have titles like "The Michael Jordan of Drunk Driving."
Bo Burnham employs this now and again in his songs—some of his most popular songs are about the KKK and pedophilia.
"Benny the Bouncer" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, which is about a bouncer named Benny who is cut into pieces and brutally killed by Savage Sid. In contrast, the piece is sung by Lake in a ridiculous, heavy accent, while accompanied by Emerson on a honky-tonk piano, giving an impression of being upbeat and silly. Often considered as a filler track.
Tom Lehrer. More than half of his songs fits. "Irish Ballad" and "We Will All Go Together When We Go" are particular standouts. "I Got It From Agnes" is an unintentional example, since started out as one of his more lighthearted songs (similar to "The Elements" and such) on an enigmatic subject, since, as Lehrer has stated, it was written long before anyone had heard of AIDs. STDs were thought about far less commonly at the time, although the dark interpretation—inescapable today—just happens to conveniently fit among Lehrer's usual themes, so nowadays he's just gone with that interpretation.
"I Hold Your Hand in Mine" might sound innocent but hearing it makes you realise it's a representative of this trope. The same is true "My Home Town". And "The Old Dope Peddler."
And "I Got It From Agnes" is pretty damn dark even without taking AIDS into account; one character gets an STD from her father, "who gives her everything," and another gives it to his dog.
The Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" is a jaunty number about a woman who enlists a friend's help to kill and dispose of an abusive husband. And it's played entirely for laughs.
"Pray for You" by Jaron and the Long Road to Love. Told by a preacher that he should pray for even those whom he hates, the narrator asks the following on his ex-wife: "I pray your brakes go out running down a hill / I pray a flowerpot falls from a windowsill / And knocks you in the head like I'd like to..."
Brian Eno's song "Baby's On Fire" is a cheerful uptempo rocker about... well, take a guess.
Ween's "Spinal Meningitis" complete with a squeakily sung impression of a terminally ill child would seem to be in the worst possible taste, although the chorus, sung in an adult voice: "Shine on mighty Jesus, spinal meningitis got me down" indicates a touch of religious satire. Maybe...
More prominent in Ween side project, Moistboyz, in which singer Guy Heller, in character as Dickie Moist sings about over-the-top acts of violence, advocates harmful activities such as drinking and driving, and so on. For example, "Supersoaker MD50," in which a group of suburban teens in a truck do a prank drive-by in which they spray Dickie with a water gun. Rather than moving on since it's just a few kids having harmless fun, he decides to enact his revenge on them. And what kind of punishment does spraying someone with a water gun call for? He smashes their windshield with them still inside, which both sends glass flying in their faces and causes them to wreck and presumably die.
Schaffer the Dark Lord's "Clone-(expletive deleted)," tells of a post-apocalyptic future where robots are at war with mankind, and humans send clones of themselves as soldiers to fight in their place. One cloner decides to take advantage of the situation... It would be an understatement to say that it doesn't end well.
Stephen Lynch's "Baby", which is about realising how ugly his newborn daughter is. Contains the line "I always wanted kids / Is it wrong to hope for SIDS?"
The best example might be "For The Ladies", where he contemplates the best way to cause a miscarriage in his pregnant wife.
There's also his "Halloween", which involves the culinary possibilities offered by trick-or-treaters. Lyrics here.
Devo songs often contain underlying dark humour, but a select few sound almost like they're not joking.
Particularly songs from their early demo period: "I Need A Chick", "Baby Talkin' Bitches", "Bamboo Bimbo", "I've Been Refused", and "The Rope Song" may offend some.
"Mongoloid" and "Jocko Homo" might seem controversial for their titles alone, although they aren't particularly offensive songs themselves. The lyrics from the former portrays the titular "mongoloid" as a well-adjusted and productive member of society ("And he wore a hat/And he had a job/And he brought home the bacon/So that no one knew") and this actually resulted in Devo getting several supportive letters from parents to children with Downs syndrome. The latter has nothing to do with homosexuality, but is based on a religious anti-evolution pamphlet titled: "Jocko Homo, Heaven Bound King of the Apes."
"Triumph Of The Will": "It is the thing females ask for/When they convey the opposite" (The whole song can be interpreted as being about a rapist or a player who likes to think that he knows girls want him but are afraid to show their sexual side).
"I Desire" contains love lyrics written by would-be-assassin John Hinckley Jr. The joke may have been on Warner Bros. Records, who had to pay royalties to an inmate.
Sometimes Devo were controversial for their music videos - i.e., a talk show host refused to feature them after seeing the video for "Whip It" which she thought was offensive to women. In one case, the Jimi Hendrix estate forbade them from including their video for "Are You Experienced" on a DVD because there's a shot of a Jimi Hendrix look-a-like coming out of a coffin to play guitar, which they assumed was making fun of him.
Gerry Casale's alter ego, Jihad Jerry. Also, in a very early Devo performance, Jerry donned those "Chinese" toy glasses as a character called Chinaman (you can see a brief shot of him in their "Secret Agent Man" video).
Australian band The Self-Righteous Brothers have a whole string of songs which fit this trope, often sung in a pleasantly melodious fashion. A couple of examples — from "Now You're Gone":
Now your family want to take me to court
Just for having sex with your rotting corpse.
I love you so much more
Now that you're gone.
They are also responsible for such gems as "Daddy Drinks Because You Cry" and "(Too Much) Sperm In Your Eyes".
The Frogs' infamous "It's Only Right And Natural", where every song is written from the point of view of over-the-top sex-obsessed gay men - possibly the song that really Crosses the Line Twice is "Baby Greaser George", in which the narrator puts his "thing" in the mouth of a 3-month old in a stroller while dressed as a leather man, and gets a testicle bitten off. Dark comedy isn't all they do, but it's what they're most well-known for due to song titles like "Grandma Sitting In The Corner With A Penis In Her Hand Going 'No No No'".
And then there's the Bloodhound Gang's song "Lift Your Head Up High (and Blow Your Brains Out)".
And the classic "A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper Is Crying."
Amanda Palmer has a thing for upbeat catchy songs with really dark lyrics, "Oasis" is a song about getting raped and then an abortion, but it's OK, because Oasis wrote her a letter. "Mandy Goes to Medschool" is a very groovy sort of cabaret song about back-alley abortions, and "Lonesome Organist Rapes Page-Turner", which is a fantastic and really rather amusing song that is about Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
A drinking song popular in some Australian universities at the moment. It starts at "My name is Jack/And I'm a necrophiliac/I get so hard/When I see a graveyard" and gets significantly worse from there. (No, You Do NOT Want To Know. Seriously.)
Queen's song "I'm Going Slightly Mad" (from Innuendo) makes fun of dementia, specifically AIDS-related dementia. Which may be a Dude, Not Funny! moment to some people, because Freddie Mercury was fighting AIDS by then.
Like the rest of their music library, the song "I Lit Your Baby on Fire" by the politically incorrect grindcore band Anal Cunt is a thrashing, incomprehensible ode to doing Exactly What It Says on the Tin, complete with wonderfully heartwarming lyrics such as, "It screamed a little louder/And then it shut up."
This most certainly applies to the Doug Anthony All Stars, an Australian musical comedy trio whose repertoire included songs about necrophilia ("Necro-romancer"), bestiality ("I Fuck Dogs"), their desire to murder Oprah Winfrey ("Oprah"), the Twelve Apostles' drug habit ("Catholic Girls on LSD"), their wish to crawl back inside their mothers' wombs ("Mummy Dearest"), and snogging grandma ("World's Best Kisser"). And that's just for starters.
Creature Feature's song A Gorey Demise features this, along with general Gallows Humor. It's a song with a basic concept of reciting the year's obituaries, in an ABC format. "'G' is for Greg who died in the womb."
Noah And The Whale's "Jocasta". Unsurprising to anyone who knows the story of Jocasta, it involves actual baby death.
When the baby's born Oh, let's turn it to the snow So that ice will surely form Over weak and brittle bones Oh, let's leave it to the wolves So their teeth turn it to food Oh, its flesh keeps them alive Oh, its death helps life survive Oh, the world can be kind in its own way.
Big Black addresses issues such as murder, rape, necrophilia, suicide, racism, and the works. "Jordan, Minnesota" is a song about a parent-child molestation ring in the town that the song is named for. Their first LP, Atomizer, includes songs about the aforementioned molestation ring, a black man who's light-skinned enough to pass off as a white guy, a corrupt police officer, a guy bored with arson and easy sex (the only two things teens in rural America do for fun) and decides to combine them, a man who goes to "houses of ill repute," a wife-beater and/or fist-fucker, a recovering alcoholic who relapses, a veteran with shellshock who becomes a hitman, and two teens who go to a slaughterhouse for entertainment.
Their 2nd LP, Songs About Fucking, features asshole truck drivers, a Kraftwerk cover, a guy who has sex with other people's girlfriends, a young girl who slept away 15 years of her life and wanted to kill herself but couldn't, sexual humiliation as a habit, a killing method in which the throat is cut open and the tongue is pulled out through the hole, an eccentric man who parties all night, a fungus that can grow on bread and cause serious hallucinations if ingested, a mafia killing in which a parked car was rigged to explode when the target's car passed by, a guy who had sex with a woman, who refused his brother's earlier advances, and killed her with his shoe then hid her body in a pond while hosing down his truck with loud music on, people who slowly turn into what they hate most without trying, and a Cheap Trick Cover
They also had an EP whose cover art depicted a real life suicide victim whose head was split in two after shooting himself with a shotgun. The name of this EP? Headache.
The lyrics for Welsh Death metal band Desecration's song "I.A.I" are so vile it had to be abbreviated. On release of the album 'Gore and perversion' the band members were actually arrested and the original albums were destroyed due to the offensive nature of the songs which lies somewhere between this and terror. The original album artwork will either disgust you beyond belief or make you laugh. Find it all here if you dare. Extremely NSFW!
Jon Lajoie does this often in a lot of his videos. Probably the most obvious one is MC Extremely Inappropriate Rhymes in "WTF Collective 2":
I shake things up like [Michael] J. Fox when I get on the mic
And I drop my enemies like Christopher Reeves' horse
Post-Rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor have a short, jaunty little acoustic guitar interlude entitled "Moya Sings Baby-O" at the beginning of "Antennas to Heaven," which is otherwise a dark, minimalist instrumental. The lyrics talk about abusing, ignoring, gouging the eyes of and feeding alcohol to a baby. It's entirely unexpected.
This interlude is a version of the Appalachian folk song "What'll We Do With The Baby-O".
Lots of Al's songs fall into this. "I Remember Larry" recounts how the singer was bullied (sometimes quite viciously and dangerously) and how he killed the bully. "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is a ballad about all the ways his girlfriend has tried to kill him. "Christmas at Ground Zero" is about nuclear war, and "The Night Santa Went Crazy" details Santa Claus going on a killing spree at the North Pole.
A good chunk of Velvet Underground's second album, White Light/White Heat. "The Gift", "Lady Godiva's Operation" and "Sister Ray" all have characters indulging in activities that end in somebody getting killed, all while the stories are narrated in a deadpan, if not outright playful, tone.
Virginia O'Brien's "Say We'll Be Sweethearts Again", a song about domestic abuse, is as hilarious as it is brutal.
A lot of Randy Newman's early songs were black-humored. For example, "Sail Away" is a Copland-esque ballad describing America as the promised land that is being used by a slave-trader to entice an African boy onto a ship and into bondage.
Warren Zevon reveled in this. There's "Excitable Boy" (about an insane young man who bites people, then rapes and murders his prom date, then "dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones"), "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" (about a Norwegian mercenary in Africa who's assassinated by the CIA, rises from the grave, and takes revenge), "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" (which begins "I lay my head on the railroad tracks and wait for the Double E; the railroad don't run no more, poor poor pitiful me"), and of course "Werewolves of London."
I used to love her, but I had to kill her. I had to put her, six feet under, and I can still hear her complain.
The end of the video for I Could Be the One, by Avicii and Nicky Romero.
The song "Another Irish Drinking Song" by Da Vinci's Notebook is this. It's basically explaining the singer drinks constantly because everyone's died. It starts with dad, mom, two brothers, a sister, and goes into uncles, grand-uncles, grandparents, a guy who went to Notre Dame, a Scotsman, a pedophile priest, and finally talking about when the singer dies, they want the Lord to kill the cast of River Dance. And Michael Flatley too. The chorus is basically repeating "drink", then dance, sing, fight, throw up, pass out, and wake up to drink again.
Harry Chapin's "30,000 Pounds of Bananas" is about a truck driver who loses control of his truck going down a hill and dies in the ensuing crash (Based on a True Story, even). The whole thing's Played for Laughs, between the repeated mention of the bananas (the truck's cargo, and they end up splatted all over the road in the crash) and morbid humor (when the brakes fail: "He said 'Christ!' / It was funny how he had named the only man who could save him now..."). The song also spawned the "Harry, it sucks" meme from the band's reaction to Chapin's first couple attempts at writing an ending.
Celtic and Filk singer Marc Gunn wrote a lullaby for his daughter...about demons underneath her bed, that will eat her up if she doesn't go to sleep.
That is not a blanket...
"Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)" by Joe Diffie. He asks that, should he die, his body should be stood up beside the jukebox with a "stiff drink" in his hand. The song starts off as a slow fiddle piece before abruptly shifting into upbeat honky-tonk.
Although many stories from The Onion don't involve this, quite a lot do. Their book Our Dumb World is a landmark in the history of black comedy literature, as it succeeds in brutally mocking every nation on the planet.
This very page has shown various Google ads that qualify as this due to the juxtaposition, ranging from a pregnancy calendar to "5 Ways to Help Baby Sleep". "Intelligent keywords" are comedy gold.
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.
In one Achille 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.
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."
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.
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".
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.
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!
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 13'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.
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.
Pokemon The Mewsical 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.
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.
While most of the world is in Black Comedy territory, some of it is more along the lines of just plain upsetting.
"Mr.Johnson, I don't want this! I don't want this! No, Listen to me! Sir, I do not want this!"
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.
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".
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 Dante's 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!".
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.
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.
Five Nights at Freddy's, a horror simulator game in which you are a security gaurd in a building full of psychotic, murderous animatronics made out of previous security gaurds, and all you have to defend yourself is a series of security cameras, and limited electricity to hold the dolls away, begins with a bored sounding security gaurd reading out legal information to you, telling you some odds and ends, and basically ends the conversation with a warning about how having your frontal lobe torn out tends to kill you, which is why the dummies around allowed to walk around during the day anymore, and how there are blind spots all around your room. It's hard not to chuckle, in a twisted way.
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.
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!")
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.
The Nekci Menij Show, which asks you to laugh at women angling to kill each other over album sales and awards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spigot: YOU MIGHT SAY ALL THIS SARIN GAS IS MAKING ME VIETNUMB
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.
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).
The webcomic Anomaly is hosted on a website called "hyperdeathbabies.com". 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".
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.
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.
The Nostalgia Chick has loved this trope ever since her "Top Ten Disturbing And Inescapable Christmas Songs" list. It contains a song which tells a story of domestic violence. While the song is played, the viewers are treated to a reenactment of a southern hick beating his wife. The clip starts as serious and somewhat realistic, but then, out of nowhere, the husband starts giving his wife the "stop hitting yourself" treatment and giving her Indian burns. The scene turns from not funny into silly and then outright hilarious.
The Nostalgia Critic also indulges in this fairly often. In "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" review, for example, he starts out optimistic about the movie, then the words "One Viewing Later" appear on the screen, and he's got blood all over his hands...
NC: (grinning) My apologies to the neighbour's cat, it's just...after seeing a film that was so...cat-killingly bad, I had no choice but to destroy the nearest living creature.
Also, the Critic's habit of killing himself on a regular basis.
Pixies Production's parody of Drake & Josh, ''Drew and Jacob'', which plays up death and the insanity of the Josh Expy for laughs, despite being taken seriously by the characters themselves.
''The Randomverse can make almost any character into a black comic. For one, at The Joker's funeral, Harley Quinn asks new beau Green Goblin if he has any words. Double G responds with "I'm sure he knows exactly what I'm thinking..."
I'm doing your girl; I'm glad you're dead. I'm doing your girl; I'm glad you're dead. I'm doing your girl; I'm glad you're dead.
Marble Hornets has a number of moments like this in the second season, particularly with Alex's reactions to Jay's incredibly stupid behavior. In particular, in Entry #46, Jay sneaks into Alex's house, only to be interrupted when he spots the resident Humanoid Abominationright outside and hears Alex coming in. He hides in a closet. Then we get this:
The Stalker Song plays up the stalking behaviors of a Psycho Ex-Boyfriend for laughs. Even when he kidnaps the girl's cat and threatens to harm him unless the girl gives him attention, it's still pretty funny.
The Jerry series is rife with it. Particularly in this installment. When Jerry's dad hears his son committed suicide, he giggles and says, nostalgically, "Oh, man, that is just so... something he'd do."
Subverted in The Cinema Snob's review of Las Vegas Bloodbath, where the Snob has prepared a list of jokes to go with a scene in the movie where the killer murders a pregnant woman and cuts out her unborn child... but then he decides that the jokes are all too tasteless and offensive to actually use, so he just shows a clip from another movie instead.
Played straight in the 80's Dan Christmas special.
And in the Snob's review of Antropophagus. The reaction to the infamous "killer rips a pregnant's unborn child out of her and devours it" is Brad showing how the eating should be done with a doll.
And I just ate a fucking fetus!
An early episode of I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC has Superman dropping his baby son after Spider-Man suggests that being an illegitimate father will tarnish his image. After dropping the kid, Superman reacts with an "ooooooooops".
12 Uses Of Dead Babies. As a matter of fact, Newgrounds has a collection of shorts called BASTARDS with plenty of shorts that cross the line and are guaranteed to irk you... Yet, they may also be guaranteed to make you laugh as well, and if they do, CONGRATULATIONS! You're a heartless bastard!
In the wake of the Haitian earthquake, an image of one of the delapidated areas was passed around with the caption - "Hold F11 - if you laugh, you're a horrible person."note Pressing F11 causes the window to maximize to having no boundaries, and holding it causes the image to shake repeatedly
Noob made a couple of most dire situations quite funny:
First is Master Zen's backstory. Due to his Hair-Trigger Temper, he once got so annoyed by Sparadrap that he ended up throwing his computer out the window. There was a old lady under that window and he's now in jail due to the incident. The whole story is however treated as "just to give you an idea of how bad Sparadrap can screw up things" at the time it's told to Gaea.
Todd in the Shadows: in his Firework/Born This Way combination review, plays this for dark irony, by showing himself sitting at a computer drinking and attempting to kill himself with a toy gun immediately after talking about his glamorous, jet-setting life.
Rotten.com: he overall tone of the comments beneath the shocking photographs and in the articles in the Rotten Library.
Perhaps the best example of something on the show being both dark and hilarious is in "Little Orphan Hero" in which Captain Hero ends up reenacting the rape scene from The Accused. It doesn't sound funny until you consider the fact that A: He's dressed like a woman for no good reason and no one at the frat kegger questions this B: He's powerful and crazy enough to kill all his attackers with ease C: A newspaper headline later in the show reads "Best Kegger Ever!" and D: It's a Superman Expy in a tube top being gang banged by frat boys. The sheer insanity of the situation counteracts the normal Dude, Not Funny!.
From the same episode: Captain Hero wipes out his species out of spite.
There's an episode where Bender adopts a dozen orphans and then attempts to sell them to a restaurant as meat.
Then there's the second movie "The Beast With a Billion Backs" where in order for the Robot Devil to provide the robots with weapons he tells Bender he must give him his first born son, so he brings him to Robot Hell and casually kicks him into a vat of molten lead saying "Here you go".
In the same movie, Bender goes to kill himself in a suicide booth (itself a Running Gag example). He ends up falling through a trap door before it has a chance to work, and after it does, this happens.
Recording: You are now dead. Please take your receipt.
A receipt is printed out, falling onto a very large pile of untouched receipts.
Family Guy is a black hole; blackness so dense, not even light can escape. For example; "September Eleventh, Two Thousand Fun!" The show couples this brand of humor with Breathless Non Sequiturs. "Airport '07" applied the trope by featuring a sequence in which a group of "Prom Night Dumpster Babies" sing a showtune about their plight.
The episode "The Splendid Source" spoofed this; Peter and friends find the people who write the world's dirty jokes. They have on display the first dead baby joke, a papyrus scroll with an Egyptian woman saying "My baby is dead" and a man pointing and saying "Ha".
Courage the Cowardly Dog: Courage and his owners Eustace, and Muriel Bagge constantly run into monsters, aliens, demons, mad scientists, zombies, and island natives that Courage must fend off to save his owners. Eustace always ends up being attacked by all the horrors in the series.
Grim:(Baby voice) Who's gonna get reaped? Who's gonna get reaped? You are! You are!
Grim: Come on, Mandy. This should be fun... like watching a train wreck.
Grim: Ahahaha! This is more fun than the French Revolution!
Grim: Actually, I'm scheduled to see you next week, Mr. Teetermeyer!
...And that's just one character.
The classic two-reel 1936 Popeye short Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor had a rather dark running gag. Wimpy spent most of the story chasing a duck with a meat grinder, with the intention of turning it into a burger. Fortunately, the duck ends up getting away, swiping Wimpy's last hamburger in retaliation after he gives up.
Moral Orel, which occasionally decides to drop the "comedy" part; it left it to die in a ditch for most of the last season.
Almost inevitably, the show had one such sketch in which a crowd of visitors inside a maternity ward coo at a baby, only for a nurse to walk up and cover its face to illustrate that it's dead. Good stuff.
Lampshaded in one episode where a sketch shows a visit from the Tooth Fairy being interrupted by the girl's mother and father arguing, and showing Multiple Endings where some combination of the parents and the Tooth Fairy die. The characters in the sketch then win an award for "Darkest Sketch Ever".
Proving that even the creators have limits, supposedly they scrapped a potential skit in which a baby is delivered stillborn, causing the doctor to work it like a hand puppet. It was (obviously) never made.
Also think about the fact that Dean and Hank are clones that are constantly being killed (at least for the first few seasons).
The episode "Mr. Grumpypants" of Superjail! has Jailbot following Jacknife into a hospital and accidentally killing some sick kids; later on, various inmates of the prison are reverted into infants by magical means, which is a probably rare instance of seeing toddlers cutting each other to pieces. Also, the driving force of the episode is the Warden's hatred of children and desire to murder the little girl who Jailbot accidentally brought to Superjail. However, the inmates treat her with dignity, and when she finally succumbs to cancer, this is treated as a very sad moment.
In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, awful things are always happening to the neighbour, Carl. He has 'died' many times on the show, including; his arms being ripped off, his skin being torn off (and then shot with robot lasers), being blasted with laser guided socks by robotic turkeys, and and being sucked into a turbine powered toilet (with only his head left intact) after which he was revived in various ways. His penis has also been surgically removed, he's been raped by dogs, was hypnotised and then forced to shove and entire broomstick into his body by way of his anus, and other various assaults. One of the main characters, Shake, has also attempted suicide many times (succeeding a few times, and once by accident), including; putting a hose on the exhaust pipe of Carl's car and feeding it into the interior with the windows rolled up, hanging himself (which was thwarted by Frylock, but then doing it right in Carl's pool with piranhas, sleeping pills, and another hose attached to Carl's car exhaust), cutting himself in half with a katana (the accidental one), and finally, attempting to shoot himself in the head, only to be patched up by the Marines so he could report for duty.
Standards and Practices: Acceptable!
In the Hulk Vs. Wolverine direct-to-DVD animated movie, after a shot showing a bunch of fetuses-in-tubes at Weapon X HQ, the following exchange takes place:
Deadpool: What do you say after the mission we kill all those floating babies? Omega Red: ...do you ever shut up, Wilson? Deadpool: What? Babies creep me out! Rock-a-bye—BANG!
Perhaps the best of the lot was Ivan Dobsky, a man constantly committing murders so he can stay IN prison, which he finds a lot nicer than the modern world.
Others consider the Paedofinder General skits in which a man resembling a 16th-century witch hunter roams Britain accusing people of being "paedophiles" and executing them for trivial reasons, to be the best.
"By the powers invested in me by a text vote on Sky News, I find you guilty of paedophilia!"
Metalocalypse toys around with this from time to time (aside from the straight Gorn), particularly with the "Dethkomedy" episode.
A brilliant example is the beginning of the episode Plankton's Pet, where Plankton attempted to steal a krabby patty with a baby-like robot. Mr. Krabs tackled the thief, horrifying the customers and employees until he reveals the truth. However, when he puts the baby's head back on and kicks it out of the Krusty Krab, he is beaten by some women for his abuse.
A pre-season 4 example is Nasty Patty, where Spongebob and Mr Krabs think they have killed a health inspector and try to hide the body.
The later episodes of The Simpsons occasionally use this type of comedy. A couple of examples include a pregnant Brandine smoking a cigar and chugging a jug of moonshine and proudly patting her belly saying "That stopped the kicking" and another features Chief Wiggum in a flashback playing with a baby Ralph and dropping him on his head.
One well-known example from an earlier episode occurs in "Homer's Enemy".
In the movie, Bart plays a game that involving blasting down babies. Maggie is not pleased... seemingly because Bart stolen her game (she is implied to be playing the game later).
Examples of this trope existed within episodes as early as season four, like the episode "Marge Gets A Job". On her first walkthrough of the Nuclear Power Plant, she notices some nameless employees each exhibiting some signs of work-related depression, each worse than the last to the point that one employee looks like he is ready to go on a shooting rampage. Marge, making quick note of this, suggests some quick ideas to liven things up, such as a day where the employees wear festive (read: loud Hawaiian) shirts, and Tom Jones music plays in the background to lighten the mood. Mr. Burns immediately takes to this, and the next day, we see all of Marge's suggestions lumped into one, including a depressing rendition of "What's New, Pussycat?" playing scratchily in the background as the same employees are now dangerously depressed, and the one man grimacing menacingly while patting his gun.
When they went to the museum, there was a dog skeleton on display with a collar that says "Bucky." Phineas says that they had a dog named Bucky who got sick and went to live on kindly Old Man Simmons's farm. Their dad hurries them along to the next display, which is kindly Old Man Simmons.
The episode "Princess Monster Wife" is about The Ice King stealing body parts of other princesses to create his own princess. His own fully aware princess. She's so horrifying that Finn and Jake faint at the sight of her, and she knows that she's an unnatural and suffers horrible emotional trauma by merely existing and knowing she's an abomination, while the Ice King only tries to comfort her with some of his only displays of kindness in the whole series only for Finn and Jake to screw it up by not understanding the situation or that she's fully aware. And it's somehow as hilarious as it is heartwrenching, partially thanks to the simplistic and childish art style that the show deploys.
The Christmas Special"Holly Jolly Secrets"established that The Ice King was once a normal antiquarian who stumbled upon an Artifact of Doom that drove him insane and away from his fiancee Betty and he lives through the apocalypse crying out for his lost love and begging that anyone forgive him for whatever he may do under the influence of his evil crown. After The Reveal, Jake's first line is "Drama boooomb!!!", and the Ice King cries out about his secret being revealed; that secret being that he "used to wear glasses", and he continues to brush off everything that happened, along with everyone else besides Finn. Even not considering The Reveal, the entire two part episode consisted of Finn and Jake watching The Ice King's video diary, which was filled to the brim with Cringe Comedy and The Ice King sobbing for hours about his unhappiness. It's all darkly funny, until the Dude, Not Funny! ending.
One of the tamer examples occurs in Adventure Time In one episode Jake is imprisoned by a Demon who weakens him by stealing his blood and supplies him with various things he might need albeit surrounded by a force-field that is rigged to vaporize him. He has a rather Careless attitude towards the whole situation and takes a seat on what he believes to be a rock. It turns out to be a member of turtle-like species that apparently spends the first twelve years of its lifetime sleeping. it eventually approaches the supplies and cheerfully exclaims "I just woke up today!" before being obliterated by a quick and powerful zap. Jake picks up the shell and decides to pretend its sleeping.. The show in general is getting much Darker and Edgier.
In Justice League of all places, justified in that it deals with Vandal Savage and a Superman who was shot into the future. In the season one episode 'Hereafter', Savage recounts how he killed the entire Justice League and destroyed the solar system, at which point a depowered Superman beats him into the ground and raises up a rock.
Superman: "I should crush your skull."
Savage: "Go ahead, we both know it wouldn't work."
The Goofy short "How to Be a Detective" opens with a guy getting thrown off a bridge, followed by a pan over silhouettes in an apartment building, each of which is displaying scenes of comically over-the-top violence. Later, there's a gag where Goofy is kicked out of the city morgue after falling down an elevator shaft, and is told "Beat it, and don't come back 'til you're ready!"
Ernest et Célestine has a number of black comedy moments, such as when Celestine waxes about the diseases that Ernest might get if he keeps eating out of garbage.
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."
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 in which priests who have molested church-going children finally get what's coming to them by getting nailed to a cross. Titus claims that if this happens, people will go to church more often and churches will have more holy men who actually care about God's creatures 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).
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 fell 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.
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.
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
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:
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.