Nuns Are Funny
A counterpart to Nuns Are Spooky
, Nuns Are Mikos
, and Nuns Are Sexy
, this is when nuns are portrayed according to the Rule of Funny
This could be because "nun" is an Inherently Funny Word
, or that their outfits look silly. This trope mostly manifests as "normal" things being made inherently funny due to nuns doing them. Someone boarding a plane? Normal. A nun doing it in her religious habit? Hilarious! Of course, the majority of modern nuns do not
wear habits anymore, preferring plain black or grey dresses instead, maybe including the headdress, but...that's not as funny. note
Also, the convent
ional stereotype of them is that they are very stern, severe and disapproving, thus making them either foils for wackiness going on around them
or upping the humor value when they do something wacky
Monks, The Vicar
(or occasionally a priest of another stripe) can become this trope, especially if for some reason he's in full robes doing something improbable (even less likely, as vicars and priests haven't worn robes on day to day activities for hundreds of years. Many do still wear cassocks
, though.) There's something about the way long billowy clothes move
when the wearer is in action.
IE, nuns are The Comically Serious
. The only thing more hilarious than nuns would be Batman
in a nun's habit. (You're picturing it right now aren't you? No doubt you're laughing your ass off).
Yes, this is sometimes Truth in Television
. Like all people, it depends on the nun.
Anime and Manga
- A gag in Rush Hour 3 has Carter (and eventually Lee as well) trading insults with a French-speaking triad through a nun. Lee (at first) reminds Carter to watch his mouth: "Sister, you tell this piece of S-Word that I will personally F-word him up."
- There was a gag in that theatrical short with the Madagascar penguins where the penguins fell in behind a group of nuns to appear inconspicuous.
- Sister Act. Everything the nuns do is hilarious, either because of a display of naivete resulting from their sheltered lives, or because it's a mundane thing that you just don't expect a nun to do (dancing to a jukebox), or both.
- In Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I, the Spanish Inquisition attempts to convert Jews to Catholicism in a torture chamber with a song and dance number. When it doesn't seem to be working, "Send in the nuns!"
- Said nuns are dressed... interestingly, to say the least, and are rather impressive in their range. The synchronized-swimming team (of nuns), for example, ...
- The Trouble with Angels is a movie about the hilarious antics of two Catholic school girls in a boarding school run by nuns.
- Its sequel Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows addresses the trope when Sister George says she doesn't want to be patronized as a "darling little nun" who's "just like a real person." While both movies draw humor from nuns doing things in their bulky habits, the second one ends with the sisters changing to a modified version.
- When their bus breaks down in New Mexico, one nun advises that they'll need to change out of the habits to deal with the heat. When another nun protests that they will be showing their legs, she points out that it's no secret that they have legs.
- The obscure film Greaser's Palace has a nun played by a man by no reason.
- The Blues Brothers, mostly for its parody of Nuns Are Spooky, and their habit of referring to her as "the Penguin" all the time.
- Running Scared (1986) - Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines play cops who arrest a priest and a nun who they think are smuggling drugs from Colombia. After they find out they aren't, the nun hits one of them with a ruler.
- The Princess Diaries: Bystander calling the police on a cell phone? Whatever. Nun calling the police on a cell phone, getting put on hold, and letting out an exasperated "Oh for the love of God"? Hilarity Ensues!
- Short Circuit: "What if it goes and melts down a busload of nuns? How would you like to write the headline on that?" "'Nun Soup'?"
- Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez series of French films has several eccentric nuns on 2CV aiding the eponymous policeman.
- The British film Nuns on the Run cranks the zany up to 11 by having two men crossdress as nuns to escape criminals.
- In the original version of Bedazzled (1967), The Devil tricks Stanley into using his final wish to be transformed into a nun.
- Airplane!! has a gag where a nun is seeing reading the magazine "Boy's Lifenote ", followed immediately by a boy reading "Nun's Life", with a cover featuring a nun riding a surfboard. Later, she's playing her guitar singing "Respect" to the two jive-talking black guys who are sick from eating fish.
- Even Agnes of God, an intensely serious film, has lighthearted moments: the novice Genevieve taking a few joyous minutes on the convent swing, and the entire sisterhood on a frozen pond, ice skating, badly. And let's not forget this:
Martha. What'd you have for dinner?
Agnes (hypnotized). Fish. Brussels sprouts. (wrinkles up her nose)
Martha. You don't like Brussels sprouts?
Agnes. I hate them.
- A scene in Spy Hard takes place in a convent, with various assassins working for the bad guy chasing Agent Dick Steele and Veronique Urkinsky through the place while a pastiche of Sister Act plays out in the background. Steele and Veronique make an escape while the nuns, finally tired of the constant interruptions, push the bad guys down while one of them declares "Sisters, make 'em holy!" at which point, the nuns produce Tommy guns and ventilate the Mooks.
- The German and Hungarian nuns in Lilies of the Field are pretty Badass, having come over the Berlin Wall and on to New Mexico, and living on nothing; but even the ironclad Mother Superior has her cute, funny moments and they have a lot of Fun with Foreign Languages.
- The Flying Nun
- Monty Python's Flying Circus loves funny nuns: one sketch has the nuns and monks playing football.
- The 1960's Batman combines Batman with Nuns for great hilarity.
- The "bowling nuns", Abby's bowling team in NCIS.
- By which is meant, Abby is the only member of the team who isn't a member of the cloth. It's not the team name. They're actual nuns.
- On Pushing Daisies, Olive spends a short time in a convent during the second season, where the habits are vibrant turquoise with frills around the faces. There's one episode where the gang has to solve the murder of a nun. Hilarity Ensues when the nun tries to run away after being brought back to life.
Ned: Nun on the run, nun on the run!
- The turquoise habits are real; they are worn by the Intercessors of the Lamb. The frilled cornette belongs to a French order, the Sisters of Christian Charity.
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has London and Mady go to a Catholic School. The nuns there always wear their hats, even when hiking through the woods in tracksuit or coaching the volleyball team.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy saved a nun from a vampire. Then she got to try on her wimple.
- The nuns who show up in the first-season House episode "Damned If You Do" are treated as sympathetic but very quirky characters, and end up producing some pretty funny moments (like when we catch them watching wide-eyed a hunky-looking surfer on the hospital room TV, and hurriedly explain to the team that they were just looking for the remote that controlled the bed...).
- The comedy show Four on the Floor has the videogame "Karate Nuns", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- The skit "Mr. Canoe Head vs. The Kung Fu Nun".
- "Plan Z"'s Tennis-playing Nun
- Hello Cheeky had a skit about nuns being brought into football crowds to curb hooliganism. Cue the news that 162 nuns have been arrested for assault and disturbing the peace.
Police Officer: ...and so, I retrieved the nun's teeth from the referee's ankle and returned them to the nun in question.
Judge: What question?
Officer: What fun can a monk have?
Judge: I don't know, what fun can a monk have?
- Call the Midwife: It's set in a convent for an order of Anglican midwife-nuns (with a few midwives not in Holy Orders also living there). A lot of the comedy comes from their interactions, and how they don't match up to the stereotype of nuns. Sister Julienne is spirited and snarky; Sister Evangelina is a Battleaxe Nurse (and also snarky); Sister Bernadette is extremely sweet, and she runs off with the local GP, though they do have to earn their happy ending; and Sister Monica Joan is just... strange, full stop.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- Mike & The Bots do humorous dialogue for the nuns waiting for a bus in Soultaker.
- Even better is their treatment of Girls Town, a 1950s movie about a reform school run by nuns, which is about an hour and a half straight of this trope. Such as when the sisters break up a fight: "Paul Anka's beefy security nuns step in!" Although actually, the movie itself contains a few examples of the trope to start with, such as the nun who gleefully advocates severe asskickings for delinquents.
- Quite a few of the pranks on Just For Laugh Gags revolves around nuns doing naughty things. Incidentally, the show is mostly filmed around Montreal and Quebec City, one of the few places in North America where actual nuns in full habits could be regularly seen walking around the streets.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking was formerly known as "Bus Full Of Nuns" because of this trope.
- There exists a calendar called "Nuns Having Fun", which depicts nuns on roller coasters, eating ice cream, etc.
- Barenaked Ladies: But how do you plan for a bank full of nuns?
- Sister Cristina Scuccia, who won the 2014 version of The Voice of Italy.
- A MAD parody of The Sound of Music included a spoof of the song "Maria", detailing how religious movies become more accessible and marketable when they focus on nuns who-like Maria-spend more time goofing around than performing their duties.
- The backglass for Hurricane shows two nuns riding the rollercoaster; one's cheering excitedly while the other is praying in fear.
- Part of the humor in The Sound of Music is Maria's antics compared to the other nuns when she's in the convent, and then Maria's complete Fish out of Water reaction to "normal" life in the Von Trapp household.
- And that a couple of nuns would know how to disable the Nazis' cars—and have the moxie to do it.
- The entire point of Nunsense.
- Mostly averted in Doubt: A Parable, but Sister Aloysius has a line about nuns falling over like dominoes when one trips over something. The mental image of that is made of this trope.
- Discussed in The Nostalgia Chick's review of the Sister Act movies (see above). She takes time to note that nuns are not only funny, but funnier than monks, though this doesn't make monks unfunny.