Quotes: Gallows Humor

You cannot spell "Slaughter" without "Laughter"!

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    fiction 
Laughing is all I can do
Trying to keep from falling through
Nothing ever changes
Nothing ever changes
—"Nothing Ever Changes", The Wildhearts

"If you can't stop the bad thoughts from coming to visit, at least you can make fun of them while they're hanging around."
Harry Dresden, Turn Coat

Gloria: My father raped me when I was twelve.
Arthur: So, you had six relatively good years.
Arthur (1981 film)

ďWhen you lose the power to laugh, you lose your power to think straight.Ē
Jerome Lawrence, Inherit the Wind

[preparing to surrender to police]
Alfred: I suppose they'll lock me up as well. As your "accomplice".
Bruce: Accomplice? I'm going to tell them the whole thing was your idea.

Louis: I don't wanna go to your funeral.
Charlie: Good. 'Cause I don't wanna see you there with all that leather and latex shining and taking attention away from my casket.

Xander: I might need a parrot.
Willow: Huh?
Xander: Well, to go with the eye patch, to really complete the look. I think I still have that costume from Halloween.
Willow: Yeah, and don't underestimate the impact of a peg leg. Maybe the hospital can hook you up with a nice one. Maybe they have a "2 Body Parts For the Price of 1" kind of deal.
Xander: You know what the best part is? No one will ever make me watch Jaws 3D again!
Willow: Yeah, and... (sniffles) you'll never have to... (chokes up)
Xander: Oh, Willow. Please don't.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Empty Places"

"We had to joke about it, because the alternative was to be scared out of your wits."
Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

C-3PO: His high exaltedness, the Great Jabba the Hutt, has decreed that you are to be terminated immediately.
Han Solo: Good! I hate long waits.

Chakotay: Seven, I want good news and thatís an order!
Seven: Then I must disobey.
Star Trek: Voyager, "Night"

Cpl. Gabe Garza: How's it feel, motherfucker? How's it feel to be fuckin' dead?
Cpl. Jason Lilley: Bro, it feels sad. I feel very alone. And also, I gotta take a shit.

"If you must mount the gallows, give a jest to the crowd, a coin to the hangman, and make the drop with a smile on your lips."
Birgitte Silverbow, Wheel of Time

"All humor is gallows humor, and it is on the gallows that we are constrained to learn it."
Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

    real life 
"We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Benjamin Franklin, to the Continental Congress, just before signing the Declaration of Independence

"The two funniest groups of human beings I've ever been around are Indians and Jewish folks. So I guess that says something about the inherent humor of genocide."

"If you're going to tell someone the truth, you'd better make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you."
George Bernard Shaw

"Human life is basically a comedy. Even its tragedies often seem comic to the spectator, and not infrequently they actually have comic touches to the victim. Happiness probably consists largely in the capacity to detect and relish them. A man who can laugh, if only at himself, is never really miserable."

"I do believe that there's a very close connection to what's scary and what's funny. So I think if you have the ability to do one, you might have the ability to do the other."

"If my life wasn't funny it would just be true, and that's unacceptable."

"One of the things I miss about Gene Siskel is that he's not around to make jokes about my condition... His jokes would have the saving grace of being funny. Here's one I'm pretty sure he would have come up with: 'Well, there's one good thing about Roger's surgery. At least he no longer need a bookmark to find his chin.'"

Anne Hathaway: Oh no!
Kristen Stewart: (on crutches) I know, Iím an idiot. But congratulations!
Anne: Please tell me youíre going on stage with those crutches.
Kristen: Nope. Iím gonna hobble.
Anne: Well, break a leg — Oops!
—Backstage at the 85th Academy Awards

"Iíd much rather be doing comedy on a beach in a tiki bar on Costa Rica right now, but they donít have comedy there, they donít need comedians, because theyíre already smiling naturally. Comedy works when people are miserable and for that reason alone, you are the best audiences on Earth."

"Comedians get asked a lot whether they were funny as a child. That's probably because it's a more comfortable question than 'Were you a lonely soul struggling for a way to make sense of a society that's inherently absurd and evil?'"

Gabriel: Did you ever see that dude who, like, survived Auschwitz and then filmed himself dancing out in front of the gates? Dude, applaud that.
Yahtzee: That's how you show they didn't win. Once you can laugh about it, that means they've lost.
Gabriel: I won, cunts!
Let's Play Normality

"Proving what a wonderful character he really is, OíBrien manages to find the fun in the very dangerous situation they have wound up in by reacting in horror at his torn trousers! This in turn makes everybody laugh their head off at such ridiculous minutiae when they have just stared death in the face so intimately. "
Doc Oho on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Rocks and Shoals"

"It says a lot about both babies and rubbers that a man would willingly pay someone to cut open his scrotum to ensure he never has to deal with either entity ever again...Every urologist is a fucking comedian. I went for my consult, and the doc had to bend me over and check my prostate. When he stuck his finger up my ass, I squirmed a bit, which is a logical reaction to a stranger poking around inside you. When he pulled out, he joked, 'Well, you wouldn't do so hot in prison.' HE SAID THAT. Swear to God. I bet that was the most well-worn quip in his arsenal."

"A Dr Demento favorite and influence (both direct and indirect) on musical comedians of later years and today, (Tom) Lehrer remains a cultural icon despite his relatively short performance career and his refusal to write newer songs. While this does mean we are robbed of the sort of topical satire he excelled at, much of Lehrer's songbook remains fresh today, largely due to the gleeful pessimism that is the man's trademark. Yes, underneath the jolly piano vamps and atrocious slant rhymes of his ditties lurks a deep, dark hatred and distrust of humanity, and the bitter tragedy that is modern life: people are foolish idiots, governments are corrupt and ineffectual, and complete annihilation is only one botched political conflict away... With nihilist numbers like this one, it's more than a little surprising Lehrer hasn't turned up in the Fallout universe in some shape or form: "

"I would say laughter is the best medicine. But itís more than that. Itís an entire regime of antibiotics and steroids. Laughter brings the swelling down on our national psyche, and then applies an antibiotic cream... Obviously, itís a challenge to make light of the darkness but, um, itís better than crying about it."

"The earth will be cold tomorrow."
"Ask to be buried in a fur coat."
Pierre Lacenaire and Victor Avril, the night before their execution

"I'm going to my death by a poor route: Up a stairway."
Lacenaire's Famous Last Words as he was climbing the scaffold

"You can take my hacienda, my land, my wealth, even - as you are going to do - my life. But there is one thing that you cannot take from me: the fear that I have!"