[a guy falls from the rafters into the orchestra]
Well... from now on!
You know how you shouldn't screw around with guns because they're dangerous? You know... because they're specifically designed to kill and maim people instantly? Well, the normal rules don't apply when it comes to comedy
. Whether it's the police chief eating donuts off his gun barrel
or some clown
juggling loaded guns, the normal rules of safety don't apply.
Frequently results in Amusing Injuries
from gunshot wounds or a superficial case of Ash Face
. Caused by whichever combination of Artistic License – Gun Safety
, Reckless Gun Usage
and Shur Fine Guns
would maximize the laughs. When gunshot wounds are used seriously, that's I Just Shot Marvin in the Face
. See also Remonstrating With A Gun
Not to be confused with Cartoon Juggling
, though actually juggling loaded guns in any cartoon (or Real Life
, for that matter), is probably just as bad an example as any of these following examples. Also not to be confused with Juggling Dangerously
, though juggling loaded guns would in fact be an example of that trope.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Asobi ni Iku yo!: has one of the haremettes opening fire on the main character on full auto with a machinegun for the crime of having accidentally seen her naked.
- It should be noted that said haremette ran outside stark naked to HELP the main character she subsequently shot at.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu has a lot of gags involving this. Sousuke is perfectly capable of handling firearms safely, but has vastly distorted standards on which situations call for use of firearms and which ones do not. He opens fire on a light gun game with a real-life loaded pistol because the alternative (firing the system's light gun outside of the screen and therefore pointing it at something you aren't intending to shoot) was "too unsafe," uses a Steyr AUG to fire warning shots to chase off delinquents (a "peaceful solution" by his standards), and ends up using a loaded handgun to accidentally create a riot when trying order at a bread sale (Kaname told him to "get the seller's attention").
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Panty's gun stops working, so she turns it around, peers into the barrel, and pulls the trigger several times. Possibly justified because her gun uses magic bullets that only kill the Monsters Of The Week, but Stocking's similar magic swords work just fine against her at the very end of the series.
- Soul Eater: Death the Kid shoots Soul and Black*Star during their bromance hug, when they first fight (this occurs in Episode 6/ Chapter 3). He claims "his finger slipped".
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: When Kamina is first given a gun he pretends to know how to use it, even though he doesn't know what it actually is. At first he uses it as a hammer, and after narrowly missing shooting himself in the gonads he proceeds to hold it upside down. Well, he already held it upside down when using it as a hammer; but of course, it was pointing towards him then.
- Plan 9 from Outer Space: a scene where one of the cops scratches his head with the barrel of his revolver. The possible consequence to himself, should his gun go off, would not only be hideous but poetic, as someone who would do that in the first place obviously wasn't using his brains for much to begin with. The actor who played the cop later said he was testing to see if Wood, who rarely did second takes, would notice or care (he didn't). Characters in the film also tend to wave their guns like they were pointers;
- The Marx Brothers film Monkey Business has a gangster hands revolvers to both Groucho and Zeppo on two separate occasions. Both times he does so he immediately realizes that they are absentmindedly pointing them right at him, and grabs their hands to turn the guns aside. Don't hand weapons to people who don't know proper gun safety, somebody will get shot in the face. Another gangster in the same film gives guns to Chico and Harpo.
- The Three Stooges: If a firearm is anywhere near one of The Three Stooges, you can be assured that every basic rule of gun safety is out the window. One short even has Curly giving a pistol to a baby as a pacifier!
- Hide And Creep: One character, a former police officer, uses his gun to emphasize other members of the group while coming up with an escape plan, in homage to Plan 9.
- Hot Fuzz: Danny accidentally shoots the village doctor with an air gun. Later on, when Angel and Danny are gunning down the NWA during the return to the village, Danny takes down the doctor by throwing his shotgun and blowing apart his foot with the blast when it hits the ground.
- Danny Butterman shooting the doctor in the leg is also a reference to a short conversation in Shaun of the Dead, where a character asks if anyone has any experience with guns. Ed raises his hand, and when asked about what his gun experience is, Shaun mentions that Ed shot his sister in the leg with an air rifle.
- The air rifle gag is apparently based on a real-life incident - in the Shaun of the Dead commentary, Edgar Wright claims that his brother once shot him in the leg with an air rifle.
- Shaun of the Dead: features a running argument between Ed and Shaun on whether or not The Winchester's namesake gun (mounted over the bar) has been deactivated:
Shaun clubs a zombie with the butt of the Winchester
Ed: "Why didn't you just shoot him, man?"
Shaun: "Ed, for the last time..."
Shaun squeezes the trigger of the gun, and it fires
- The Return of the Pink Panther: Chief Inspector Dreyfus keeps in his office desk both a real gun and a lighter that looks just like said gun. Hilarity Ensues with predictably violent results, such as when his assistant Francois, hearing a gunshot, bursts in the office to see the top half of Dreyfus' face looking up at him from behind his desk:
Dreyfus: Don't just stand there, idiot — call a doctor. And then help me find my nose!
- In the live-action film of George of the Jungle, Lyle Van De Groot carries lighters that looked like guns. When he and the poachers Max and Thor head out to find Ursula and capture the "White Ape," Lyle mistakenly trades one of his lighters with an African guide for a real one. He plans to use the "lighter" to scare George away, but when George runs over to save Ape from being poached, a shot rings out, followed by a Big "NO!" both from Ape and Lyle (who realizes he accidentally traded his lighter for a real gun), and a Big GEORGE!! from Ursula.
- Semi Pro: While playing poker, one guy pretends to threaten someone with a gun as a prank, and says it's not loaded. Everyone at the poker table takes turns pointing the gun and pulling the trigger at each other. Predictably, the gun does have one round left; the bullet ricochets around the room and hits a guy's arm (it's in a cast). It's still played for laughs even though the guy's arm is bleeding through the cast.
- Commando: After Arnold Schwarzenegger gets locked up in a police van, Rae Dawn Chong tries to free him with a quad-barrelled missile launcher. Unfortunately she points the wrong end at the target and blows up the shops behind her. Remember to read which end is the front when handling heavy weapons such as missile launchers.
- Arnold is lucky that she did this; missile launchers do not fire lock picks or can openers, children.
- Idiocracy: features a bunch of cops are firing on the car Not Sure had just exited. One of them has a rocket launcher - which he proceeds to fire backwards. A few seconds later, a 747 enters the shot going down in flames. Later in the film, the U.S. President quiets down a rowdy crowd in the House of Representin' by firing a light support weapon into the air. This is perfectly justified considering the movie is literally an Idiot Plot. No, seriously, it's about the world being populated by idiots.
- The Naked Gun 33 1/3: was kind enough to provide the page quote.
- Mars Attacks!: When a soldier runs screaming towards a rifle, points it at a Martian - and hits the magazine release.
- The protagonist of Sweidh film Kopps sees your juggling and raises you this awesome scene.
- Austin Powers: does it, as he can be seen shaking his arms and blinking uncontrollably whenever he fires his gun. Mike Myers notes in the commentary that it was done only half-intentionally, as Mike himself had never fired a gun before.
- Big Trouble in Little China: Just before the climactic battle, Jack Burton attempts to lead the charge of The Cavalry by shooting upwards dramatically. A chunk of the ceiling lands on his head for his effort, and puts him out of commission until halfway through the fight.
- Starsky & Hutch: Starsky tries to intimidate a suspect by playing Russian Roulette with him. Said suspect rolls his eyes when he sees him empty his revolver and pretend to put one bullet in, but becomes wide-eyed and panicked quickly when one of the bullets Starsky puts up his sleeve falls into the cylinder. The scene is still played for laughs since Starsky thinks he still has an empty revolver. When the suspect tries to plead to Hutch when he comes in the interrogation room, Starsky ends up shooting the wall.
- The A-Team: When two CIA agents attempt to off Pike in the back of the car and lampshaded by the target himself. In fact, Pike begs Lynch not to let that guy shoot him because that'd just be embarrassing. The agent to his left seemed to suck at gun safety and was stupidly putting a
silencer suppressor on his pistol. While the gun's pointed at him no less. He then proceeds to aim it at Pike such that it'll more likely kill the agent on the right than the target. Pike overpowers him and hands his gun to the agent on the right, hoping that this one isn't as much of a complete imbecile. Sadly, that agent then answers his cellphone, while also pressing the gun to his face. Not to mention that all this was happening in a moving vehicle. By that point, even Lynch was exasperated with the firearms handling incompetence.
- Monsters vs. Aliens: B.O.B. is given a plasma gun by a clone, and the gun goes off in his hands and hits said clone. Later, Dr. Cockroach grabs the gun away, claiming that it should be in the hands of someone capable... and then the gun goes off in his hands and shoots another clone.
- The Addams Family has a scene where Wednesday is playing William Tell with a crossbow. She's aiming at Puglsey, who has an apple in his mouth.
- Pretty much anyone who gets hold of a gun in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa does something stupid with it. Highlights include someone with a taser shooting someone holding a shotgun, and Alan tossing away a loaded shotgun so that it goes off when it lands.
- Looper has Kid Blue juggling his gun which he nearly drops and which eventually goes off, sending a round ricocheting around the room. He's never lived down a past incident where he shot himself in the foot.
- In the Dean Ing novel Cat House, a compilation of short stories he wrote for Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars books, a human picks up a Kzinti energy rifle, smearing blood over the 'insufficient charge' light to hide it, and captures a Kzin. Having given his parole, the Kzin asks about the rifle. The human says "It's not charged," and points it upward, pulling the trigger to demonstrate. As they watch the hut burn from outside, the Kzin mentions that there is a world of difference between insufficient charge and no charge.
Live Action Television
- M*A*S*H: used this a lot with gun fanatic Frank Burns. He frequently shot himself, and at one point, he accidentally shot BJ, for which he was relentlessly mocked.
Frank: Sir, I think the Chinese have captured Major Houlihan!!
Col. Potter: I see. So, naturally you shot Captain Hunnicutt.
- One incident involved him shooting himself in the foot while attempting to steal a high-ranking officer's beautiful revolver, which leads to the Fridge Logic that not only did Frank assume it was unloaded, but that the man who had his gun stored left the bullets in. He also had a particularly entertaining scene where he pulled the pin on a grenade for no good reason, and about six seconds later realized he was waving around a live grenade. Cue frantic search for the dropped pin and fumbling attempt to return it to the grenade (it worked).
- Stephen Colbert: Stephen thinks of Sweetness as more of a lover than a weapon and so doesn't pay too much attention to gun safety when he's with her. His bad habit of waving the loaded gun around with his finger on the trigger eventually comes back to bite him in the ass. Well, not the ass exactly... Don't worry - he's fine. The bullet ricocheted off his balls.
- The IT Crowd: Douglas opening a random drawer and finding a loaded revolver. Whilst attempting to conceal it, he accidentally shoots himself in the leg, and spends the rest of the episode trying to hide his injury from his staff. Amusingly, that happens after he checks if it's loaded by putting the gun to his head and pulling the trigger five times. He is supposed to be Too Dumb to Live, but damn.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Daleks in Manhattan", an actress threatens Martha and the Doctor with a gun, and handles it in an appallingly cavalier way, waving it around and even briefly pointing it at her own head. The Doctor suggests she should maybe put it down, and she shrugs and tosses it aside. The Doctor and Martha both flinch—
Actress: Hunh? [realizes she has gun] Oh, sure. [tosses gun to a chair] Oh, c'mon. It's not real. It's just a prop. It was either that or a spear.
- Stargate Atlantis does it pretty much every time Rodney McKay fires a gun. Justified since he has no military experience and no training with firearms. In one episode, he frantically asks someone else what the hell he's supposed to do when his gun runs out of bullets. Why he hasn't sought out proper instruction on how to use weapons beyond "bullets come out of this end" by now is part of his many many flaws.
- His best part was when he tried to shoot a Wraith, and hit the magazine release instead...
- Probably has something to do with the heavily lampshaded routine of Rodney being the one to always find the solutions to things, he hasn't had time to seek out proper instruction. The fact that everyone else on the team seems fairly competent means that they may not even do the standard equipment and safety check.
- He does, over the course of the show, go from barely being able to operate a pistol to carrying a P90 and using it fairly competently, though never quite as well the rest of the team. The same thing happened to Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1, who ended up being as much a military commando as he was an archaeologist. For instance, Mc Kay does manage to kill a Wraith who surprises him while he's removing a stone from his boot. His extreme reluctance to get mud on his sock forces him to empty an entire magazine into the Wraith while hopping on one foot.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The episode "The Gang Cracks The Liberty Bell" has Frank and Charlie discovering one of the rifles they've purchased is defective when it fails to kill Dee. They check the rest by taking turns staring down the barrel of each gun while the other pulls the trigger.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: episode "End of Days", it is implied that Willow and Tara's cat, Miss Kitty Fantastico, met her demise in a tragic crossbow accident.
Dawn: Xander, my crossbow is not out here. I told you, I don't leave crossbows around all willy-nilly. Not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico.
- The Three Stooges: short "Disorder in the Court" introduces a gun as evidence. Curly is told to try to pull the incredibly rusty trigger, after being told "Never fear, it's not loaded." After one harmless click, he then accidentally shoots off the prosecutor's toupee when his finger gets stuck in the trigger guard.
- Any time the Stooges or someone around them insisted a gun wasn't loaded, it was. In "Even as I.O.U." Curly gives a baby a pacifier. When Moe sees that it's a revolver, he reaches in to get it, but is stopped by Larry, who warns that the kid might pull the trigger. Curly insists it isn't loaded, and seeks to prove it...by cocking the hammer and thoughtlessly discharging it in an enclosed space. Pretty much every rule of gun safety is blithely disregarded.
- SCTV: In a parody of Captain Kangaroo called "Captain Combat", Gunny Rabbit is shot by an accidental discharge. (Captain Combat's lesson to the kiddies at the end of the sketch: "Never be in a room with a loaded gun unless you're holding it.")
- My Name Is Earl: Chubby carries a loaded pistol and an identical looking water pistol filled with vodka that he uses to freshen patrons drinks (and occasionally squirts directly into mouth). He is shown shooting at least one patron's glass and (between episodes) the inevitable happens and he shoots himself in the head.
- Modern Family: When the families go to a dude ranch, the guys try skeet shooting, and Mitchell sends the others diving for cover when he absent-mindedly turns towards them while holding his rifle.
- Pixelface: Sgt. Riely uses his plasmatronic laser for all kinds of mundane tasks, such as opening a carton of milk.
- Played with in one episode of The Andy Griffith Show: Andy, due to Barney's habit of accidentally setting off his sidearm, always orders Barney to keep it empty with just one spare bullet in his shirt pocket. However, when housing a famous criminal, Barney decides to put the one bullet in his gun for safety. Later, the criminal steals the gun and holds up Barney, Opie, and Aunt Bee while attempting a getaway, only to be interrupted by Andy. Not knowing that Barney disobeyed him, Andy is tickled at being threatened with an "empty" gun and dares the criminal to shoot him over Barney's objections. The criminal recklessly pulls his trigger at the ceiling without a shot...five times. After taking the gun away and locking the criminal up, Andy jokes about it some more and fires at the ceiling a sixth time to show how "empty" the gun is...only for Barney's one bullet to go off. Unlike most instances of this trope, Andy promptly realizes how dangerous the incident really was, and is so shaken he comes over faint.
- Used in the music video for "Walk" by the Foo Fighters after the rest of the band (minus Dave Grohl who's being arrested) becomes friends with the cops. This includes taking a picture while pointing guns stylishly at the camera and Taylor Hawkins literally juggling a loaded gun.
- The narrator of the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Trigger Happy" is extremely reckless with gun safety and rather unconcerned about having shot both his father and his cat.
- LEGO Star Wars II: After being handed the lightsaber Luke turns it on and Obi-Wan ducks out of the way. Luke then swings it a few times and inadvertently beheads C3PO.
- Earthworm Jim: Two of his idle animations are to twirl his blaster on his finger, throw it in the air, catch it and holster it. The aversion is done successfully, with no harm done. In the second (straight) version he catches it wrong, and it blasts him in the face. (Unfortunately, his head does not asplode.) A third idle animation splits the difference — after Jim tosses the gun in the air, it lands on his head, but doesn't go off.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater played with: Ocelot is fond of literally doing this as an extreme form of Russian Roulette. The last time he does this in The Stinger, one of the guns he juggles is empty, and the other is empty except for a blank. He's doing it just to test Snake's mettle.
- Comic Jumper: Captain Smiley accidentally shoots the cameraman during this ad.
- Captain Qwark, in Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time.
- Dead Pool starts with the titular character hanging around his apartment lounging in his recliner, occasionally scratching his crotch with one of his pistols.
- Metro2033 and Metro: Last Light has some seriously unsafe (and generally hilarious) Idle Animations. Artyom will start throwing his fully-loaded submachine gun built from old steel pipes into the air until it whacks him in the head, he'll crush his finger while playing with the hammer on his shotgun pistol (and catch his fingers in the Sawed-Off Shotgun's break action), shock himself on the Volt Driver, and jam a cleaning rod down a loaded shotgun. The safest animation is ringing the bell on the bicycle shotgun.
- The Nostalgia Critic: shows blatant disregard for gun safety, often waving the gun around, discharging it at unsafe distances, not unloading the magazine, not uncocking the pin, etc. He would likely accidentally blow his head off in real life. Then again has blown his head off on purpose enough times already in character. The actor, Doug Walker, is of course using a prop gun, which is just an airsoft gun with the orange tip painted black.
- Bennett the Sage takes this to the extreme in the two-year anniversary special Kickassia where, as Surgeon General of Kickassia, he determines that Uzis make you unkillable, on the grounds that he's holding one, and he isn't dead. He's later seen wiping tears away with the barrel of the Uzi.
- The Onion, this article , an 8-year-old boy who unintentionally shot himself in the thigh wins praise from Strawman Politicals for having exercised his constitutional rights.
- Idiots with Guns blog, dedicated to the people who for some reason think Hollywood style gun handling makes them look "cool", as opposed to irresponsible and/or stupid.
- "Gun Privileges", an episode of Troopers from College Humor, is full of this.
- Several Darwin Awards have been handed out to those who shouldn't be allowed to handle guns.
- This video with a man using a gun's slide action to power a toothbrush, which of course he sticks in his mouth. Incredibly unsafe trigger discipline, and he even points the gun at the camera while doing so!
- The Simpsons, repeatedly.
- Homer buys a gun and uses it for such things as opening a can of beer, turning off lights, and turning on his TV (complete with a Mook from a Western falling off a roof at that exact moment). He becomes a member of the local gun club, and despite how trigger happy they are, even they are horrified at his total lack of responsibility. By third-act, Marge takes the kids and moves out of the house until Homer can learn to control himself. Considering all the things she's put up with from him, this actually says quite a lot.
- In The Simpsons Movie, Chief Wiggum can't carry enough donuts, so he stacks them on the barrel of his gun, and then eats them straight off it. The gun goes off while he's between bites, blowing a hole through his hat. He says "Whoa, that was a close one!" and continues eating. Another episode, showing film of him when he was younger at a firing range, has him looking down the barrel after his gun stops and getting yelled at by his instructor ("What did I say about pointsy-twardsies?"). He then gives the instructor a back massage with the gun and it goes off and shoots the cameraman. He's later shown to have gotten the position of Chief by giving the Mayor a back massage with his gun. Another episode showed Wiggum cleaning his ears with the barrel of his gun, and yet another showed him firing at his TV after forgetting where he left the remote. It was in his gun holster.
- Yet another Wiggum example is a recent episode where he used two gun barrels as earplugs.
- In another episode, Chief Wiggum is trying to shoot a fly with a gun:
Chief Wiggum: *the fly lands on his nose* HA!! I've got you now!! *cut to commercial*
- In "I Love Lisa", Cheif Wiggum uses his loaded revolver like a hammer to crack walnuts by holding it by the barrel and hitting the nuts on the table with the end of the handle. He later gets frustrated by a nut that won't crack and shoots it, leaving a large bullet hole in the kitchen table. What's worse is that Ralph was standing right by the table the whole time.
- Also done in Homer The Vigilante:
Marge: I don't think the guns are a good idea.
Homer: Marge! We're responsible adults. And —
Moe: [shoots] Whoops.
Homer: And if a group of responsible adults can't handle firearms in a responsible way —
Sea Captain: [shoots] Sorry.
Skinner: [shoots] Uh oh.
Moe: [shoots] Me again.
Bart: [shoots] Sorry.
- From the episode "Simpsons Tall Tales":
Homer: I'm cleaning my gun with the safety off, safety off, safety off, I'm cleaning my gun with the safety off on a cold and frosty—[shoots]
- One comic book had Homer attend an "Arm The Elderly" rally. To the frustration and astonishment of the Grim Reaper, everyone somehow survived.
- Superfriends: Marvin manages to get the Villain of the Day's freeze weapon and threatens him with it. The villain smugly tells him to fire away because he (and the audience) can clearly see he's holding the weapon backward. In order to demonstrate that he was just as stupid, Zan later did the same thing with a transformation gun.
- Looney Tunes: Elmer Fudd, for an avid hunter, ignores pretty much every rule of gun safety while out hunting wabbits. Also, there's the scene from Rabbit Fire, where Daffy looks down the barrel of Elmer's gun and finds out the hard way that there was One Buwwet Weft.
Duckman: Did I ever tell you my Dad's last words to me?
Cornfed: "Careful, son, I don't think the safety is on."
Duckman: Before that!
- In King of the Hill, Dale tells a story again to the gun club members how he assassinated a Central American dictator. He twirls his gun and accidentally drops and discharges it hitting the cash register. This panicked the others and ruins Dale's reputation as president.
- In the two-part whodunnit in which Debbie dies, it turns out she accidentally shot herself while trying to climb back into the dumpster she was hiding in (she was planning to shoot Buck) while struggling to carry fast food and a shotgun at the same time.
- Family Guy
- In the Ralph Bakshi film, Wizards. A Gas Mask Mook starts screaming about how "They killed Fritz." Fritz gets up and tells him that he's ok. Max (the first mook) crosses his arms in disappointment that he won't get the chance to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and accidentally shoots Fritz while his arms are crossed.
- In Archer, Brett's primary character trait is "gets shot in the office regularly." As of Season 3 he seems to know this, after someone demonstrates a car's bulletproof shields and he gets hit by a ricochet:
Brett: Yeah, I'm like a magnet...
- In the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "SPF", Peanut is seen cleaning a gun while pointing the barrel to his face.
- How does it not get added that there's a scene in which Phil is juggling a baby, a target, and a shotgun (and is shooting the target while juggling all three)? Of course it's not REALLY unsafe until Harvey helps out...