A funeral is a service that allows a deceased's family and friends to congregate in one place to celebrate the deceased's life and pay their respects
. To do so is considered common courtesy and practice. So what do some people do once the family is assembled?
How about doing the exact opposite of that by behaving in extremely tactless and inappropriate ways that would have the deceased rolling in their coffins if they knew?
Sometimes this disrespect comes in the form of discussions that are brought up
around or even at
the time the proceedings begin. Perhaps the deceased is an adult involved in one of the ends of an inheritance dispute. Maybe the deceased was survived by an illegitimate child or, even worse, a child that none of the relatives are completely willing to take custody of. In any event, the attendees of the funeral will be all too eager to talk about those
matters than to mourn, not realizing that talking about them is putting their selfishness and spite out in the open.
Other times, disrespect or lack of concern toward the matter at hand show in their actions. After all, attending the funeral in improper dress or fooling around with whatever device is in possession instead of paying attention to the pastor or the procession are a few of the best
ways to show love and care to the dead.
And that's not touching on those who are much more direct about their scorn toward the deceased. If the deceased was a Jerkass
or guilty of other negative qualities in life, then expect people to open up and gossip about their faults or spit on his coffin
now that the deceased is no longer around to complain.
Many times, criminals who are guilty of (especially) the most heinous of acts will have private funerals, if they have one at all; that is, the funeral is open only to those explicitly invited, and often the funeral location will not be announced publicly. Other times, the obituary will run only after the funeral service and burial. This is to keep unwanted intruders from interrupting the service – for instance the embittered victim who was personally (or had a close friend or family member) particularly harmed by said deceased criminal's actions from showing up and –- in the process of screaming about how the decedent ruined his/her/others' lives –- disrupting the service and disrespecting the religious traditions of a funeral. After all, even the most heinous (now-deceased) criminal still likely has family and/or friends who wish to, in the very least, mourn that person in peace and remember him/her how they wish to. In these cases, usually there will be an usher or a police officer standing by the door of the funeral location to stop anyone who does happen to show up uninvited.
Funeral scenes like these also come up –- particularly in fiction — to show how the people the deceased thought
they were close to truly care once they are gone. Either they never truly did or they only cared to a shallow degree; or the funeral is a way to release pent-up frustration, hate, contempt and so forth toward the decedent, emotions that were held in for whatever reason while that person was still living. Other times, these scenes show how much Jerkasses
the family and "friends" can be in general once the deceased is no longer around to remind them when to filter out their open contempt toward the deceased, his family, and/or his life decisions.
There are sometimes people who don't even have to misbehave
. If you're attending a funeral for a free meal and other things for your own self-interest, then the dead would have every right to be pissed off at you.
This should not
be confused with its Sister Trope
, The Fun in Funeral
(though overlap is possible). The latter involves wacky
situations in a funeral played for humor that occur out of the characters' control or because of their idiocy, while this trope specifically involves rude, uncaring, spiteful, contemptuous, hateful or simply Jerkass
behavior and statements about the deceased and/or his family made during what is supposed
to be a solemn event. This can be done for either drama
This may also overlap with And There Was Much Rejoicing
, depending on the context.
Contrast with Never Speak Ill of the Dead
. Compare and contrast Bitter Wedding Speech
As a Death Trope, this trope is Spoilered Rotten by nature, and many examples here will spoil a work unless the funeral is part of someone's backstory. Unmarked spoilers below.
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Anime and Manga
- Sangatsu no Lion: Rather than attend his parents and sister's funeral just to mourn for them and comfort him, Rei's aunts and uncles use the occassion to argue over who takes over his grandfather's hospital in his father's place, with one aunt in particular expressing half-hearted sympathy and "promising" Rei that she will send him to a "nice" institution. Meanwhile, the rest of the family is gossiping about them. All this is punctuated when Kouda, a friend of his father's, glances toward his family and implicitly notes how none of them are paying attention and giving real comfort to Rei, before taking the initiative to take Rei in as his ward and student.
- In Bunny Drop, many of the family members attending Grandpa Souichi's funeral are shocked to learn that he recently had an illegitimate child, Rin, shortly before his death. Her presence at the funeral isn't particularly welcomed and they mostly ignore her. When the time comes for the family to talk about what to do with her, shortly after placing flowers within his coffin, the discussion quickly devolves into an outlet for expressing their anger toward the situation and talking about how odd they find Rin and her dubious origins.
- During Yusuke's funeral at the start of YuYu Hakusho, while Kuwabara goes on a screaming fit about Yusuke dying, his outburst is an act of genuine mourning. In contrast, their school principal calls out some teachers who are at the funeral making snide comments about both Yusuke and Kuwabara's behavior.
- Fruits Basket:
- When Katsuya Honda passes away, his relatives' conversations during the funeral ceremony quickly devolve from the circumstances surrounding his death to expressing their disapproval of Kyoko by berating or gossiping about her, saying that Katsuya was better off single. In a separate recollection of the same funeral, Tohru's grandfather brings up how the relatives would say disparaging remarks toward Tohru right in her face, thinking she would not understand.
- This trope is also averted in a different instance. Several months after Kyoko's death, Tohru and a few of her friends visit her grave, and talk about how Kyoko (positively) influenced their lives. Kyo asks if this is disrespectful, but Uotani- a genuine friend of Kyoko- replies that she wouldn't mind them acting so casually.
- Kyo's biological father chooses his mother's funeral ceremony to start scene/argument with Kyo, using the latter's inability to approach his mother's grave in front of the family as an excuse.
- In Heat Guy J, Clair attempts to blow up his father's grave with a hand grenade, Laughing Madly about how the man loved fireworks. Giovanni and Mitchal wrestle the grenade from him and Mitchal accidentally blows up someone else's grave.
- Only a handful of second-rate heroes are present at Booster Gold's funeral in 52, and even they make it clear that they are only there because they are being paid.
- A brawl broke out at Superman's funeral. Mostly because Rex Leech attempted to buy the rights to the last Superman photo from Jimmy Olsen, Jimmy punches him away, Rex's goons try to shoot him, only to be saved by Robin. Finding out about the guns causes people to flip out and panic.
Film — Live-Action
- In the Audrey Hepburn movie Charade, virtually the only people to attend the late Charles Lampert's funeral besides his widow are his three former partners in crime, who are mainly attending to see if he's Faking the Dead (the first tries to startle him by faking a sudden sneezing fit, the second holds a mirror under his nose to see if his breath condenses on it, and the third jabs him with a pin) and are more disgusted than sorry for his death.
- In Gran Torino, the funeral of Walt Kowalski's wife had some disrespect shown from some attendees.
- One of the granddaughters was dressed fairly inappropriately and is fiddling around on her cell phone during the service.
- A grandson mocks the sign of the cross while standing at the casket. Instead of invoking the Holy Trinity, while going through the motions, he repeats the old joke, "Spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch."
- Walt's kids start asking Walt if he wants to go to a "nice retirement place" so they could sell the house, and the same disrespectful granddaughter starts asking whether she could have some of the furniture and other items in the couch.
- In Amazon Women on the Moon, a man's funeral turns into a comedy roast.
- Film adaptations of A Christmas Carol usually go with And There Was Much Rejoicing, but The Muppet Christmas Carol, while not actually showing the funeral, had three pigs saying they'll only go to Scrooge's "if lunch is provided". That line (or a variation on it) shows up in the original novel.
- At the beginning of The Verdict, we see that the main character gets most of his cases by trolling strangers' funerals with his business card. He gets away with it once, but the second time, the dead man's son calls him out and has him removed.
Film — Animated
- In Bebe's Kids, Robin meets Jamika at a funeral, where "everyone was there, cause everyone was glad he was gone." People are seen drinking, laughing and playing dominoes, while the only one grieving was the widow.
- A well-known joke has a memorial service for a particularly nasty person, and the vicar/rabbi/imam asking for somebody to share some pleasant memory of the deceased. There is then silence for some time, until a voice is heard saying "He wasn't as bad as his brother was". (This has been told as an anecdote about several real-life people, but is probably apocryphal.)
- A Charles Exbrayat story has an important member of a French town's funeral attended by all the town's society, along with many lower class people. The two cops on his murder case overhear the conversations, and one quotes a Chinese proverb: "There is nothing lacking from a rich man's funeral, except someone to mourn him".
- In Making Money, Topsy Lavish's funeral is attended by her relatives, a family of rich, selfish, squabbling assholes who do nothing but glare at each other throughout the ceremony, waiting for each other to start something. Nontheless, Cosmo considered it a "decently dignified occasion" spoiled only by Hubert, Topsy' nephew and only living blood relative, who was the only one actually mourning.
- In the novel Cloture Of Yellow which is part of the Evillious Chronicles by mothy, one of the main characters, Elluka Clockworker, attends the funeral of an "old friend" Leonheart Avadonia, apparently just to call him an idiot, and leaves.
- The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts frequently refers to the funeral of Efraim Goodwinter, who had a record number of mourners accompanying the funeral procession, but the vast majority are there to celebrate his death, Efraim being one of the most hated men in town after indirectly causing the deaths of 42 miners.
- In Stephen King's Pet Sematary, rather than quietly grieving, Irwin Goldman uses his grandson Gage's funeral as an excuse to start a fight with his son-in-law.
- Red vs. Blue has three "funeral" scenes (the deceased in question were still living), and all are about people being completely disrespectful at funerals, sometimes for their own agendas, sometimes just because they're jerks.
- In Episode 51, Church (the "dead" guy) is the one who wants a funeral; Tucker calls it lame and wanders off.
- In Episode 83, Griff turns Sarge's funeral into a comedy roast of Sarge, and Simmons uses the opportunity to campaign for Sarge's job.
- In the Season 9 Episode 14, it turns out no one remembers anything about Simmons except he liked gum and talked a lot.
- In one song by Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung. The undead narrator's relatives "have a calculator instead of a bible in the hand, to divide up the heritage", but he gets the last laugh: He wasted his fortune before he died, and just left them his cognac, which they'll need.
- The music video for Rammstein's song "Haifisch" is set at singer Till Lindemann's funeral. The rest of the band discuss in front of his coffin who to replace him with.
Recorded And Stand Up Comedy
- Persona 3: during Shinji's service, you overhear two upperclassmen complaining about how they don't want to waste time sitting through it, and that he was probably 'just some punk'. One then asks your hero if he happened to know the guy, then dismisses the possibility, as you're just a junior.
- The Simpsons:
- When Mr. Burns is thought to be dead, various dignitaries come to his funeral just to spit in his grave. So many in fact, that the grave has to be drained afterwards.
- On "Bart The General", Bart imagines what his funeral after being killed by Nelson would be like. Nelson takes a cupcake placed for Bart in the casket, then gives the body a few more punches "for the road". To a lesser extent, there's also Milhouse, who thanks Bart for dying since this means he didn't have to go to school for the day. Homer initially behaves the same ("yeah, and I got the day off from work!") but quickly switches to mournful.
- In The Boondocks episode Wingmen, Robert Freeman's longtime "friend" Moe passes away, and he is then asked to read a pre-written eulogy. At first, everyone at the funeral acts as if Moe iss the best at everything. He is being given credit for things Robert did in World War II, all the women swoon for him, etc. Robert finally breaks all the lies by announcing how much of a jerk Moe really was. Everyone else then starts agreeing and pointing out how he owed many of them money and other negative aspects about him.
- Daria gives us an example in the episode Murder, She Snored. Although the funeral occurs in Daria's dream, nobody really has anything nice to say. Ms. Barch uses it as an excuse for another feminist rant, Mack's eulogy basically insults Kevin, and to top it off, Daria and Jane wear Hawaiian shirts for the occasion. The 3 J's even mimic the tests done by the men in Charade (see Film above) to make sure that Kevin is dead.
- In an episode of Pepper Ann, P.A. is asked to give the eulogy at the funeral of a cranky neighbor no one liked. She's having a difficult time finding anything nice to say about her, but also realizes she can't just lie about her.
- The Jolley Gang was a group of unpleasant funeral-crashers, who blagged their way into funerals on the pretext that they knew the deceased, so as to get at the free food / booze. Victoria Coren wrote a couple of scathing articles about them, after they targeted her father's funeral.
- Fred Phelps Sr. was an American pastor infamous for his anti-gay slogans and beliefs. One of the activities his Westboro Baptist Church congregation is known for is going around veterans' funerals and claiming that God condemned them to die because the nation tolerates "fags." As one can well imagine, this didn't do a lot to earn them points with the rest of the community, particularly due to changing attitudes toward homosexuality. Some of the most vocally offended — both gay-rights activists and those whose military sons and daughters' funerals were picketed — talked of similarly paying their "respects" at Phelps' funeral upon his death, but per the Christian Science Monitor, no one ever got the chance – there was no funeral (and presumably, his family mourned in private).
- It is not unheard of for gang members of rival factions to show up at a rival gang member's funeral and begin trouble, particularly if: 1. The gang member's death was both brutal and at the hands of the other gang; and 2. There were especially tense emotions between the two gangs. Often, police presence will discourage any funeral violence, but it hasn't always stopped the unwanted from happening.