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"Of course Fry still exists... as a frozen corpse in outer space! Ho ho ho ho ho... (beat) Oh... I made myself sad."
, "The Sting"
A character is speaking, usually referencing a tragedy or other unfortunate event, and maybe even joking about it. After finishing his story, the character takes a beat
, then adds a comment that they just depressed themselves by bringing up the tragedy. Alternately, just their facial expressions and body language say it.
Sometimes a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment
is enough to start one of these. In Black Comedy
, this can lead to a Driven to Suicide
moment that is Played for Laughs
Anime And Manga
- Basically the punchline of 90% of what Nozomu Itoshiki says.
- There's also an instance played more seriously. Nozomu is talking about it being easier to get through life if you ignore unpleasant things. One of his students, who is married makes a comment about ignoring her husband cheating on and mooching off of her and generally treating her like dirt. Nozomu pauses and says that he's sorry for saying that. This kind of thing happens occasionally, when his melodramatic complaining runs into actual problems.
- Mark Twain, on being praised as one of the "great writers":
"I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead. Spencer is dead. So is Milton; so is Shakespeare. And Iím not feeling so well myself."
- Zathras, from Babylon 5, did this to himself, but he was remarkably sanguine about it.
- In an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Buffy and Xander try to cheer Willow up (who has just realized her on-line boyfriend was a demon) by mentioning their own hapless experiences in the romance department: Xander's fling with a giant preying mantis that tried to eat his head, and Buffy's discovery that Angel is a vampire. They laugh together, and then a beat later, sink into quiet depression.
- In an episode of Friends, Joey asks Chandler and Ross for advice on how to repel women. They start off offended, then become enthusiastic, then end up depressed. Ross spends the rest of the episode responding to everything with "Who cares? I repel women."
- A vignette on Lamb Chop's Play-Along has Hush Puppy (the show's Ditz, or maybe their Cloudcuckoolander) opening a door in a prop wall in an obvious Shout Out to Laugh In and reciting a limerick about a lady who was so skinny "that when she essayed, to drink lemonade, she slipped through the straw and fell in." He then laughs his head off at the poem....until he realizes that the character probably drowned, and he reflects: "Hey, that's not funny; that's tragic!"
- Conan O'Brien uses this a lot after telling a self-deprecating joke - then mimes wiping off a tear, swallowing it, and having it revitalize him.
Stand Up Comedy
- Some of the earliest Peanuts strips had Snoopy wishing he were some other kind of animal. One had him simply imagining himself as "The King of Beasts"; the thought makes him happy, because "then I could really strut!" Suddenly, though, he gets sad as he realizes: "But who wants to be a beast?"
- During one of Rich Little's bits as Johnny Carson, a large black man complains of the stereotype of black men having large penises, when he has a small one, and complains that his last name of "Small" reflects that. They run through embarrassing celebrity last names, til "Carson" mentions "Rich Little", pauses, and moans, "For some reason, that one really hurt."
- In World Of Warcraft, when you turn in the quest "Trolls is gone crazy!" to Chief Rageclaw in Zul'Drak, he comments:
Rageclaw thank you, <name>. Though Rageclaw Den probably lost forever and troll-Rageclaw friendship also lost forever... and also now I think of it, Ragemane lost forever too. Also brother-in-law. He gone. Hrm, have you seen Chief's mate? I think she gone too... Maybe you go now. Chief a little depressed.
Truth in Television
- The Trope Namer would be the Futurama episode "The Sting", in which Professor Farnsworth has one of these moments when he jokes about Fry being dead.
Everywhere I looked, there were piles
of bodies... and then the explosion struck! Ah ha ha ha! Oh hoo hoo...
- An example from everybody's favorite prime time cartoon The Simpsons, in the episode "Radioactive Man", Nelson tries out for the part of Fallout Boy. On being dismissed, he passes a mirror and gives himself his trademark "Ha-ha", followed by "Hey, that hurt. No wonder nobody came to my birthday party!"
- From Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension: "I'm Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, but my friends call me... (beat) I just got in such a funk."
- In King of the Hill, Dale, Bill, Boomhauer and Kahn get into the idea of the last meal given to prisoners on Death Row. They construct a giant feast of all their favorite foods, and then before they dig in, Dale tells them to savor every bite, "because the next thing you taste will be the bitter sting of death". They all laugh for a few seconds, then stop when the realization hits and look at the food, having now completely lost their appetites.
- On Daria, Jane comments on Daria's disbelief in a higher power:
"You know what's bothering you? You're afraid that it's true
. That the Quinns
of the world fit in so well because something really is looking out for them. Everything's already been decided, they win, you lose, and whatever you do doesn't matter because the end is fixed. So, why even bother?" (beat
) "God, I'm depressed."