Hypocritical Humor

"You humans are all racist."
Unnamed Turian, Mass Effect 2

A type of gag in which a character's actions or words contradict each other and this is Played for Laughs. Tends to run in one of several ways:

  • Bob openly makes some kind of statement or declaration and then does the exact opposite.
  • Bob is accused of engaging in a certain behavior or activity, denies it, and then immediately does that behavior or activity.
  • Bob criticizes Alice for some fault that is an established part of his own character, or just before or after exhibiting that particular fault himself.
  • Bob makes fun of a group of people of which he himself is a member.
  • Alice tries to warn Bob of something several times, but he doesn't listen. Then when that thing happens, Bob turns to Alice and says, "Why didn't you tell me?"

For example, if Alice is an overweight girl deep in denial, she might say, "I don't see why you guys think I have an eating problem"... right before taking a bite out of her fourth consecutive Big n' Tasty. Or if Bob is known a miser, he could exclaim, "What are you talking about? I'm not greedy"... and then swipe every last cent from the take-a-penny/leave-a-penny tray.

It doesn't even have to necessarily be Bob who does the opposite. Half the time it seems like the entire universe is instantaneously altered just so the polar opposite of Bob's sentence occurs for a gag. If Bob is lying to his parents and says that he didn't go to that concert last night, sure enough, the phone will instantly ring and the answering machine will broadcast a friend instructing them to call back, raving in great detail about how much fun they had at the concert, how glad they are that they snuck out and how there's no way their parents will ever find out.

Often evident (and occasionally Truth in Television) when Bob prematurely accuses Alice of engaging in Double Entendre or sexual innuendo, thereby indicating that his own thought processes have already walked that crooked line. It drives the point home if the Bob accuses Alice before she herself makes the connection or if she wouldn't have made it in the first place.

The delivery of hypocritical humor in reality-bending situations is usually executed via Contrived Coincidence.

A standard comic strip tactic, as it makes for a quick and neat four-panel gag.

Sometimes used as a Hypocrisy Nod, or a Hypocrisy Nod is used for laughs by mixing it with this.

Compare with Boomerang Bigot, Tempting Fate, I Resemble That Remark, I Would Say If I Could Say, Such a Phony, and Description Cut.

Some tropes, like Sorry Ociffer, Some of My Best Friends Are X, and Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For, inherently lend themselves to Hypocritical Humor.

Not to be confused with Hippocratic Humor, which would be what House, M*A*S*H, and Scrubs is all about. Also don't confuse with Hypocritical Heartwarming.

Please do not attempt to add examples of people doing this unintentionally (nearly all Real Life examples would fall under that). This trope refers to deliberate uses of hypocrisy for humor's sake, at least by the writer. The same goes for Wicks and Pot Holes, so if you catch any, feel free to destroy them without pity.


Alternative Title(s):

Hypocritical Humour