Black Comedy
aka: Dark Humor

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bdaybhumor_8246.jpg
"That is wicked..."

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

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

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

A joke might revolve around, for example, a homeless man committing a string of murders so that he will get sentenced to death, a state that, properly tied up in appeals, is better than his former life expectancy and quality. Delivered correctly, it can be very funny, yet at the same time more than a little disturbing. If done wrong, however, the audience may be extremely offended.

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.

Crosses the Line Twice may apply. Often set in a Crapsack World. Subtropes include Gallows Humor (which affects the joke maker personally) and Kafka Komedy (in which anything the protagonist does is guaranteed to fail). As the perfect storm of fatalism and dry humor, it often overlaps with British Humour and Russian Humour. This can be Refuge in Audacity. Can be prone to creating a Surprise Creepy vibe. Especially if whatever is invoking the trope starts out cheery (or if someone fragile witnesses it.)

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

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, 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.


Sub-tropes:


Examples:


Alternative Title(s): Black Humor, Black Humour, Dark Comedy, Dead Baby Humor, Dead Baby Comedy, Dark Humor, Dark Humour

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlackComedy?from=Main.DarkHumor