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Robin: Well, I guess this whole experience proves it really is bad to watch too much TV. Starfire: But, truthfully, we only prevailed because Beast Boy watches too much the television. Raven: So... there really isn't a lesson here? Cyborg: (Shows up with a lady) Yep! It was all completely meaningless. (Everybody laughs. Then the Titans stop laughing and look mildly disturbed as the Laugh Track continues playing.)
Done twice in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure after the gang defeats Wheel of Fortune. First when it's revealed the true nature of the Stand user (a man with beefy arms, but pathetic everywhere else in his body), and then when they see the true form of the car Wheel of Fortune had taken over (a beat-up old bucket).
Quite a few Dragon Ball Z films used these endings, notably "The World's Strongest," "Super Android 13," and "Bojack Unbound."
Dell/Gold Key, the 1940s-1980s producer of licensed comic books featuring the Disney, Looney Tunes, Walter Lantz, and MGM cartoon characters, used this ending incessantly in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in hundreds of stories written by Carl Fallberg and/or Vic Lockman. Many Gold Key writers also worked on TV cartoons and sitcoms, suggesting a direct influence.
Fallberg also pioneered a cliched story formula in which a straight-man hero and a craven, gluttonous, eccentric sidekick investigated low-level mysteries. This type of story — used with Andy Panda/Charlie Chicken, Porky Pig/Sylvester, and Mickey Mouse/Goofy most often — constantly ended with everyone laughing at the sidekick's latest caper.
Divide the typical Fallberg sidekick into Scooby AND Shaggy, and it becomes obvious how this trope took the path that it did.
Batman: The Killing Joke ends with Batman and The Joker laughing together in the rain. It's unsettling, and definitely not the way this trope is normally played.
Joker again in The Batman Adventures #16, guest-starring a real-life comic book artist. Outraged at how he is portrayed in the comic books, Joker has his gang kidnap the artist and forces him to illustrate his adventures the way he wishes them to be depicted. Joker plans for the final issue of the miniseries to feature a humiliating death for Batman on a miniature golf course - but Batman escapes, rescues the kidnapped artist, and then knocks Joker into a mock rocket ship with an actual flaming tail, causing Joker's pants to get burned off his buttocks, and so the last panel of the in-story comic ends with Joker dunking his Goofy Print Underwear in a bucket of water. Later, as Bruce Wayne, Batman donates all of the comic books to the inmates at Arkham Asylum, and all of the inmates except Joker close out the issue by laughing uproariously at Joker's ignominious defeat - while Joker himself tears his hair and screams: "That isnotfunny!"
The Simpsons Comics parodies this in one issue; Chief Wiggum, who thinks he's in a 70's cops sitcom, does one of these with fellow cops Lou and Eddie. The credits begin to "roll," (as much as credits can roll in a comic, anyway...) and everyone is still laughing, although in a freeze-frame state. We then see things outside of Chief Wiggum's delusional state. He alone is "frozen," and standing still in a laughing position while the other cops are staring at him. Lou explains that the credits are rolling to Eddie.
It happens roughly in the middle of the movie, but it still counts. A group of public-relations people are advising the Penguin on the sort of image he needs to cultivate to run for Mayor of Gotham City. The Penguin looks noticeably uncomfortable as the advisors stick an FDR-style cigarette holder in his mouth(he promptly spits it out) and try to tug some gloves onto his flipper-like hands. Then one of the advisors quips: "Not a lot of reflective surfaces down in that sewer, huh?" The Penguin, who actually has been living in a sewer for most of his life after having been abandoned by his parents when he was a baby, snickers self-deprecatingly, prompting everyone else to nervously laugh as well. Soon Penguin's laughter mounts to maniacal proportions, and he pauses only long enough to make a quip of his own: "Still, it could be worse. My nose could be gushing blood!" The others, thinking this is just a joke as well, continue to laugh even harder - until Penguin shocks everyone by sinking his fang-like teeth into the nose of the man who insulted him, spraying blood all over the room!
An earlier and even less funny example occurs when Max Shreck discovers that Selina Kyle has been snooping around his office and has uncovered his plot to siphon electricity from homes and businesses around Gotham City and sell the power back to them at below market price. Seemingly angry, Max orders Selina not to tell anyone about this and then backs her toward a window, accusing her of trying to thwart his attempts to establish a family legacy for himself and his son. Selina is apologetic all the way until Max actually pins her against the window and appears to be on the verge of hitting her - or worse. She turns defiant, calls him a bully, and snaps: "It's not like you can just kill me!" But Max is one of the most admired figures in Gotham City, while Selina is a nobody, and he points this out to her; of course he can do whatever he wants to her. Selina whimpers until Max (seemingly) reveals that it was all an act, and he chuckles at Selina's expense. Too relieved to be embarrassed, Selina starts to awkwardly laugh as well, mentioning: "For a second, you really frightened me" - just before Max turns on her in a rage and shoves her through the window, sending her falling several stories to what he is sure will be her death.
The penultimate sequence of the Adam Sandler comedy Big Daddy features Sonny Koufax and all of his friends laughing at Sonny's bitchy ex-girlfriend, who betrayed Sonny only to wind up with a boyfriend who is a hamburger-flipping schlub while Sonny has become a reasonably successful lawyer. (Technically, the laughter is directed at the burger-flipping boyfriend rather than the ex, but it's clear from her reaction that she feels humiliated.)
Lampshaded in the live-action adaptation of George of the Jungle: one of the villain's Mooks trips and falls face-first in a pile of elephant dung, prompting a minor character to point this out as a "classic staple of physical comedy"; he then instructs everyone to "throw back their heads and laugh," which they do.
Used darkly in another Sam Peckinpah movie, Cross of Iron. It ends with Corporal Steiner laughing at his commander's incompetence in combat as the Red Army swarms the Wermacht's positions. His laugh is played over the credits, which are pictures of atrocities during the 20th Century.
Road House. The tense ending is broken up by a surviving(but very dazed) henchman who declares that a polar bear fell on him. Everyone laughs, albeit wearily.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. At the very end Haroun is clinging to some ropes and hanging above the deck of Sinbad's ship. Sinbad tells him to make himself fast to the ropes and Haroun says that he trusts in Allah. He then falls from the ropes but is saved from death by a rope tied to him. Both Sinbad and the Vizier tell him "...but tie up your camel!", thus completing Sinbad's Catch Phrase. Every one present then laughs at Rashoun and the joke.
At the climax of Witold Gombrowicz's novel Trans-Atlantyk everything indicates that multiple murders are about to follow: a son will kill his father, the father will kill his son and the Knights of the Spur have just arrived, ready to bring on any amount of gore. However, the view of the aforementioned son, Ignac, dancing has mesmerized everyone to such a great extent, that when he breaks into laughter instead of hitting the parent, that laugh gets infectious, and ultimately disarms everybody present, making them fall about in convulsions and defecate uncontrollably, thus neutralizing any of the would-be murders.
Book 7 of the Sword of Truth series, of all things, ends this way, after Jenssen remarks that Richard must know a lot about magic. Everyone except Jenssen and Richard, who mutters that it's not that funny...
A Beautiful Friendship ends like this. Steph's mother warns her daughter to behave properly and both Stephanie and Lionheart agree. Seeing how obedient they seem and remembering how they behaved before, everybody bursts into laughing.
Live Action TV
Every episode of Police Squad! ends with Drebin and Hocker cracking a joke about the criminal they just sent to prison, followed by a mock-freeze frame: the main actors freeze, but the camera keeps running. The strain of holding the pose over the course of a minute takes a visual toll on the actors as events around them continue to play out, such as poured coffee overflowing and a prisoner trying to escape the set.
Scotty I gave them to the Klingons...where they'll be no tribble at all!
This stretched the suspension of disbelief at some points, as you'd have laughter endings when several people had died.
In "The Ultimate Computer", that would be several hundred Federation crewmen.
Also happened in TNG when Geordi and Ro get cloaked; it ends with Geordi cracking a rubbish joke and fake laughing with the fade out.
Also, at the end of "The Outrageous Okona", Data manages to make the crew laugh with one unexpected joke, he then thinks he's on a run and ruins it by telling countless other lame jokes.
In one episode of TOS ("The Galileo Seven"), they carry it on Narmfully long, even seeming to wind down and then start up again as if the characters suddenly realized the fade-out was taking too long and they needed to keep it up for a while longer.
This actually became a plot point in the TOS episode "Day of the Dove" as it's the Enterprise crew and the Klingons laughing together that finally drives away the energy cloud that lives off The Power of Hate.
It seemed to depend on how sympathetic the murderer was. If they had a tragic backstory and a selfless motive, the episode usually ended with Jessica shaking her head sadly.
Parodied in Strangers with Candy where they would frequently all end the episode laughing hysterically after giving a Family-Unfriendly Aesop, "I didn't have to join the debate team to get attention from my family, I just had to starve myself to the brink of death! Ahahaha!" or by having one character stare at them bemused.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Parodied — and taken to the extreme — during the end credits of Devil Fish, with the trio attempting to laugh nonstop through the credits in response to the hero's cheesy end-movie joke.
Parodied at the end of the Last of the Wild Horses episode, in which the cast gets mixed up in an ion storm, which send everyone into an alternate universe.
Tom Servo: You know, gang, I think about one trip a year to an alternate universe is enough for me! (all laugh for a second, then stop) Tom Servo: Wasn't that funny, was it? (everyone agrees)
Played straight in the ending of the Doctor Who serial "The Time Monster".
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - at the end of the early episode "I Robot, You Jane", Buffy and Xander console Willow over her falling for the wrong guy (a malevolent demon) - they remind her of their own romantic disasters and how none of them are ever going to have a normal, happy relationship. Xander chirps "We're all doomed!", everyone laughs...then stops laughing as that sinks in.
Blake's 7 sometimes has these endings even when it's terribly inappropriate. Perhaps the most noticeable one is in "Children of Auron" when Avon cracks a lame joke and everyone laughs after almost every member of Cally's race gets killed with biological warfare, including her sister.
Season three of Merlin has Merlin and Gaius eating a meal and laughing at the end of almost every episode.
One of the more notorious features of Israel’s first sitcom, Krovim Krovim. This feature, among others, were parodied thoroughly on the now over talk show Erev Adir in a series of skits, each ending with one character, usually a guest, asking, ‘Oh, so now we’re all supposed to laugh, right?’ and another saying, ‘That’s true!’ followed by everyone laughing.
Young Blades: The ending of "Four Musketeers and a Baby," after the Musketeers find out that a woman D'Artagnan had been trying to track down because he thought she was the mother of his baby had become a nun after he passed out "like a useless turnip" before they could do the deed.
Often done at the end of sketches on The Muppet Show, particularly if the guest had been the butt of jokes during the sketch, to show that it was all in fun. And almost every episode ends with Statler and Waldorf interrupting the end credits to make a final quip at the expense of the show and then bursting into their trademark "old-man laughter" just before the closing theme's final saxophone riff.
Most episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers ended with Bulk and Skull getting humiliated, and all the teens laughing at their embarrassment. At the end of the season two intro (which gave us Lord Zedd and the Rangers' near-defeat), the Rangers use the Viewing Globe to look in on the recently-deposed Rita. Not only do they have a laugh at her expense, but Zordon joins in.
Happens often on MythQuest. Occasionally it was at the expense of another character.
One episode of Space: 1999 has the main characters doing this, but it looks like they're trying a little too hard....
If you live in Malaysia, you'll still hear this a lot on radio commericals even to this day. Some of the laughs even sound forced and creepy, and ventures into scary territory!
Subverted in Final Fantasy VI. After the party finds the escaped Espers and brings them back to Thamasa, the story appears to be headed towards a happy ending, with everyone on scene laughing about Locke and Celes' reconciliation. But then we hear a familiar laugh ring out and in walks Kefka, who captures all the Espers, kills Leo, and eventually invades the Esper continent, causing it to float into the sky.
Many scenes in the Kingdom Hearts series end with the camera moving upwards and a painfully extended laugh by all present.
Pit: We did it! We really did it! Palutena: Congratulations! I know it wasn't always easy. Pit: Aw, but it was so worth it! With the world at peace again, even the sun feels warmer! Palutena: Aw, you're so cute, Pit! Both: Ahahahahahahahah! Hades:Now wait just a second.
The Firemen ends with Pete cracking a pretty lame joke causing Pete and Danny to burst into laughter, possible because of the relief of surviving such a stressful situation.
A darker version of this occurs at the end of the Jetstream DLC of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, in which Sam, after having his arm chopped off and offered a job by Senator Armstrong, quietly laughs at his predicament, with Armstrong chuckling along with him.
The web cartoon The Mr. Gear and Clippy Show lampshaded this at the conclusion of the "Return of Dr. Disc" arc, where after all the loose ends are tied up, everyone starts laughing for no apparent reason. One of the characters asks "Why are we laughing?" before the scene moves to the closing credit screen.
Bad Days ends episode #8, "Captain America", with Nick Fury and Cap laughing after realizing they almost forgot Thanksgiving, then Fury continuing to laugh up through everyone's dinner time. Cap's ice cream makes him become a Human Popsicle once again, but Fury doesn't seem to notice.
Episode 7note the second half of the Yellow Temperance chapter) of Vaguely Recalling JoJo ends with the heroes laughing at a quip from Polnareff.
In Nostalgia Critic's review of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom alongside Eighties Dan, Dan and his friends do this before the ad break, complete with Freeze Frame Ending. Critic tries to do it too, but doesn't know how they freeze frame like that. 80's Dan and crew remain frozen for much of the second half of the review.
In Johnny Test, after Johnny crashes through the school roof and lands on the sign, Dukey, Johnny, and sisters laugh.
Dukey: Hey, let's laugh like they do at the end of sitcoms!
Monster Buster Club plays this trope completely straight and utterly whores it to death. You'd be hard-pressed to find an episode that doesn't feature this.
Teen Titans, in general, was not too bad an offender, but the page quote comes from "Episode 257-494" (season four, episode one) parodies this: In addition to the above quote, if you pay close attention you'll notice everyone starts laughing but the Titans almost immediately stop and look somewhat worried while the Laugh Track continues for about an extra second.
Particularly awful when the really serious episodes end this way. It basically says "Hey, we just went through hell but somehow we made everything okay! Let's just ignore the awful seriousness of this and laugh! Ha ha ha!" The episode The End is an exceptionally bad case.
Parodied on most episodes of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; generally whatever they're laughing at is very morbid, interrupted by something horrible, or at someone's expense. And "everybody" usually includes characters who were otherwise not in the episode, and in some cases, otherwise not in the show at all, like Jesse Jackson and a Korean princess.
A good example from one episode has everybody in Harvey's office laughing, interrupted by Scrappy-Doo showing up, only to be carried off by Avenger, presumably to be eaten. Then they all laugh even harder.
The Magic School Bus normally played this straight. However, it was lightly spoofed in the bat episode. At the end, Ms. Frizzle and Ralphie burst out laughing over his ending joke while Ralphie's mother looks back and forth between them with a deadpan expression.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast used this in the episode "Curling Flower Space". At the end of Space Ghost's retelling of the last episodes events, everyone laughs twice and Hanna-Barbera ending music is used during both laughs.
Lampshaded, of course, on The Simpsons. In "So It's Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show", Homer awakens from a coma thinking it's still April Fools' Day. Bart tells him that it's actually been a couple of months since then, and he's lost 5% of his brain. This turns out to be another April Fool's joke, and the entire family laughs. Homer plays along by responding with "me lose brain? Uh oh!" Everyone laughs again, until Homer interrupts them by earnestly asking "Why I laugh?" The rest of the family stops laughing and looks very concerned, and the episode ends right there.
Parodied at the end of the episode where Sideshow Bob attempts to romance (and kill) Selma by opening a gas line: Bart closes by saying "Now let's get out of this gas-filled hallway before we all suffocate." Everyone laughs, presumably from the effects of the gas leak.
Parodied in "Last Exit to Springfield", where the main characters are gathered in a dentist's office and laugh very loudly at a mildly amusing joke, then it is revealed that the doctor left the laughing gas on.
Parodied in one of the Halloween episodes, where, after destroying an evil wig, Chief Wiggum quips "Now THAT'S what I call a bad hair day!" Everyone cracks up except for Marge, who points out that Apu and Moe are dead...but drops her protest when she gets the joke, and joins in the laughter.
Used also in the Wiggum P.I. segment of the episode "The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase", ending in a 70's freeze frame of Wiggum, Skinner, and Ralph laughing at Skinner's One-Liner, capped with a wacky brass coda.
Parodied in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V," which ends with every character featured on the episode laughing one after another, even characters with no reason to laugh, such as Manray and the Dirty Bubble, who are in prison, even though the only "joke" was that Barnacle Boy couldn't finish his Krabby Patty.
Subverted in a much later episode, "Spongicus". SpongeBob, Patrick, Krabs, and Squidward begin laughing as the music cue signals the end of the episode, but the scene continues. One by one, the characters get bored, stop laughing, and walk away.
Spongebob: [to Gary] Looks like training is gonna start early, ladies. I called you a lady to humiliate and demean you. It's a motivational tool we coaches use. [Elsewhere in Bikini Bottom] Sandy: Hmm. I don't know why, but I think I'll kick SpongeBob's butt tomorrow. [At the episode's end] Sandy: [Kicks SpongeBob in the rear at the end of "The Great Snail Race"] That's for yesterday, SquarePants!
The Nickelodeon show Back at the Barnyard lampshades this on one particular episode, as one the characters points out the cue on WHEN to laugh after the joke.
In the Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil episode "The Special Fathers vs The Vampire Altar Boys," there is an awful pun in the dialogue that plays over the end credits. All the characters laugh at it, and the last line that can be heard is the guy who made the pun saying, "It's like the ending of a Scooby-Doo episode."
A fairly common ending for stories on the Playhouse Disney classic PB&J Otter.
Parodied in the Freakazoid! episode "Virtual Freak", where Freakazoid suggests they end the episode like this, when he's just trying to get out of accompanying Steff on a trip to the mall.
The PBS Kids show Dragon Tales. Excessively. Of course, "everyone" in this case generally means Emmy and Max (and Enrique in the third season), as stories from this show almost always end with these characters returning home.
"Chickenpox" ended this way when the boys were at the hospital and their parents got herpes. They all laugh about it, and then Kenny dies. After a brief pause, everyone starts laughing again.
Played completely straight - almost - in the Halloween Episode in which Father Maxi tried to stop the townspeople from celebrating Halloween (which he thought was an un-Christian holiday) by conjuring up "pirate-ghosts" to terrorize them. The plot is eventually foiled and Father Maxi is arrested, but then "Niblet" (an obnoxious, bee-like sidekick creature) plays a prank on everyone, tricking them into thinking the pirate-ghosts have returned. Once the characters catch on to the prank, one of them teasingly scolds: "Niblet!" and everyone has a good chortle. (However, it's a bit of a subversion when you remember that the pirate-ghosts actually did kill some people, and they were nothing to laugh about.)
"The Balloon People". Wonder Dog accidentally presses the balloon dog's air release button and everybody laughs at him.
"The Fantastic Frerps". After Wendy tricks Marvin into getting a raw egg dropped on his head, everyone (including Marvin) laughs.
"The Mysterious Moles". Marvin tells Superman "We dig!" Superman replies "Please Marvin, don't mention that word. I did more digging today than I've ever done in my whole life!" The rest of the Super Friends laugh politely.
"The Power Pirate". After Wonder Dog blows out a light bulb (?), the others laugh at him.
"Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.". A cart starts moving by itself, and when Superman removes it and finds Wonder Dog underneath pushing it. Wendy and Marvin make funny comments and they all start laughing.
"The Shamon U". Wonder Dog plays a prank on Marvin and all of the Superfriends have a good laugh.
"The Watermen". While Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog are playing a game of water polo with the aliens, Wonder Dog blows himself into the goal while carrying the ball. Wendy, Marvin and the aliens cheer and laugh.
"The Weather Maker". After Wendy plays a prank on Marvin they have a good laugh.
In later seasons there were just as many with the Superfriends laughing at stuff Gleek the monkey did at the end of episodes.
Likewise, most episodes of Jonny Quest TOS end with the gang laughing at Bandit. Examples: "The Robot Spy", "Pirates From Below", "Riddle of the Gold".
The first season of Beast Wars had several episodes that ended with this trope, playing it completely straight. However, when the more serious second season came along, the trope was completely dropped.
Parodied, however, at the end of "Sisterhooves Social", when it turns out that Rarity was entirely serious in suggesting they all go to a spa to celebrate.
It doubled as a Brick Joke in "A Bird in the Hoof", which opened with Rainbow Dash trying unsuccessfully to get a royal guard to laugh. At the end, when Rainbow Dash and Celestia's pet finally get the guards to start laughing, everyone else joins in.
The ending to the original My Little Pony special "Rescue at Midnight Castle" is this. Comes off as strange since the rest of the episode was quite dark for a cartoon based on a toy for girls.
A particularly disturbing example came up in "B.O.T.", an old episode of Transformers, which featured two boys dragging a girl to an unpleasant fate, while all the Autobots, who don't notice, are just laughing away. Earned the title "Worst Episode Ever" on the TF Wiki.
"Ruler of the Rock Robots". Space Ghost, Jan and Jace laugh at Blip for posing on one of the robots and wanting his picture taken.
"The Drone". Space Ghost, Jan and Jace laugh at Blip for fooling around with and activating an alien device.
"The Energy Monster". Jan and Jace laugh at Blip when he fools around with the heat gun and turns it into an improvised pogo stick.
"Space Sargasso". During the episode the Sorcerer turns Jan and Jace into giant versions of the monkey Blip. At the end Jace says "He certainly made monkeys out of us." and Jan agrees with him. Blip takes offense at the insult and Jan apologizes, after which Jan, Jace and Blip all laugh.
"The Time Machine". At the end Blip the monkey tries to use the machine to go back 3 million years. Jace says that everyone was living in trees then and Jan suggests Blip was trying to find a girlfriend. Jan and Jace then laugh at Blip.
"Transor - The Matter Mover". At the end, Transor gives an Evil Laugh before escaping and Space Ghost reveals that he will be captured by the Galactic Patrol. Jace says "He who laughs last gets caught" and Jan, Jace and Blip all laugh.
Taz-Mania: Used (and Lampshaded to hell and back) in "The Platypi Psonic Psensation Psimulator".
The Galaxy Trio episode "The Demon Raiders". At the end of the episode Meteor Man and Vapor Man say that by the time the villain gets out of prison they will both have long white beards. Gravity Girl says that she might have grey hair, but not a beard. All three of them have a laugh at her clever joke.
"The Atomic Invaders". Herman Brownmetal is a butterfly collector who goes along with the team on its mission. At the end of the episode he asks the aliens if they have any butterflies on their planet. Erica Lane says "Oh Herman!" and both she and Jonathan Kidd laugh.
"The Mind of the Master". The Mole who harmed Guru is captured by the team.
Professor Carter: He's decided to give up magic and go to work for a living.
Busby Birdwell: You know, that's not a bad idea. It's a lot safer! [The entire team laughs].
"Gone Today, Here Tomorrow". At the end Guru animates one of the toys the team spent the episode re-capturing in order to scare Busby Birdwell. Erica Lane says "Guru! You did that!" and Guru smiles (one of the very few times he did that during the series) and the entire team laughs.
"The Day the Food Disappeared". The villain is a Mad Scientist called "The Professor". After The Professor is defeated, Professor Carter (the protagonists' Mission Control) says he'll take care of him.
Professor Carter: After all, one professor is enough, wouldn't you say?
Jonathan, Busby, Erica and Guru: [All laugh]
"The Hobby House". During the course of the episode Busby Birdwell has to dress as a pixie. However, the team forgets his uniform so he has to go back to base in his pixie costume.
Jonathan Kidd: But don't worry, they'll never be able to tell the difference. [Everybody laughs at poor Busby].
This was fairly common on Franklin, a children's animated series about the adventures of a turtle and his friends, somewhat like Arthur, but generally without that the pop-culture references and edge that on its face would make it more appealing to older viewers.