23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
Quotes from works
"Although I laugh and I act like a clown, beneath this mask, I am wearing a frown."
— The Beatles, "I'm a Loser"
"Though your wife ran away with a soldier that day,
And took with her your trifle of money;
Bless your heart, they don't mind —
They're exceedingly kind —
They don't blame you — as long as you're funny!"
— Jack Point, The Yeomen of the Guard
In a cruel land, you either learned to laugh at cruelty or spent your life weeping.
— Robert Jordan, A Crown of Swords
Edward Blake / The Comedian: Once you figure out what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.
Doctor Manhattan: The charred villages, the boys with necklaces made of human ears...these are part of the joke?
Blake: Hey, I never said it was a good joke. I'm just playing along with the gag.
I don't need no fucking man servant / trying to follow me around and wipe my ass / Laugh at every single joke I crack/ And half of 'em ain't even funny, like / "Ha! Marshall you're so funny man / You should be a comedian, god damn!" / Unfortunately I am / I just hide behind the tears of a clown.
— Eminem, Beautiful
"With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die."
"And if Harlequin shall steal your Columbine,
Laugh, Pagliaccio, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
Your pain and sobbing into a funny face - Ah!
At your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!"
— English translation of Canio's Vesti la giubba, from Ruggero Leoncavello's Pagliacci
Warden: This is the part where you deflect questions with humour?
Alistair: I'd use my shield, but I think you'd actually see me hiding behind it.
Hawke: I have a smile on my face. That should be enough for most people.
Aveline: That doesn't work on me.
Bethany: I can't believe [you and Hawke] are joking about this.
Varric: Don't worry, Sunshine. The laughter just...hides the pain.
— Dragon Age II, "Legacy"
Tony: Have you noticed the closer we get to uncomfortable truths, the more jokes per minute you make?
Peter: That's not true.
Peter: So this talking horse walks into a bar -
Tony: I rest my case.
George: "Look, it's Dos Equis the Clown. See him with big red nose and big funny ears..."
Ernie: "But these are my real ears!"
George: "Aw, now it's Dos Equis the sad clown."
"I've taken a good, long look at the world, and I've concluded that if I didn't laugh I'd probably break down crying."
— Silk, The Mallorean
You're quite the funny man — and yet, I think, laughing on purpose at the darkness.
— Mrs Finnegan, Doctor Who
Aaron Pittman: "And the punchline was the Blackout. When the world went back to being one giant schoolyard, and the Billy Underwood’s are in charge and I am weak and afraid."
Wolfwood: Well, I'll be. I'm actually surprised that you can smile like that.
Vash: Huh? What do you mean?
Wolfwood: Ya had me kind of worried. I noticed that you always smile and seem really friendly. But the way you smiled was so empty, it hurt to watch you. You're hurting like crazy on the inside, yet you grin and bear it.
"Yeah. I find I have to be the sad clown: laughing on the outside, crying on the inside."
Quotes from Real Life
"The secret source of all humor is sorrow."
"Wanting to please people, to only tell them what they wanted to hear, became very deeply a part of me, as it probably did with most children who felt uncertain of the tactic needed to avoid a blow."
—Tom Baker, Who On Earth is Tom Baker?
"As a great admirer of the late Benny Hill, I was looking forward to working with him and getting to know him. The first part was a pleasure but the second part was impossible. Benny was very pleasant to all of us - unfailingly courteous, kind and professional, but it was not possible to make any real contact with him. He was a truly solitary soul and never mixed with the cast socially, even when we were all staying together at the same hotel. Like a lot of comedians I have known, Benny seemed a sad person."
"...look at the blood on the man’s hands. 900 years, countless very selfish choices, and he’s literally blown planets up. His own race, you know, that’s all on his hands. Which is why I think he has to make silly jokes and wear a fez. Because if he didnt, he’d hang himself."
"Comedy is the blues for people who can't sing."
"By now you know that Robin Williams has committed suicide, but I'm not here to talk about him. He's gone, and you're still here, and suicidal thoughts are so common among our readers and writers that our message board has a hidden section where moderators can coordinate responses to suicide threats...Now do you want me to tell you how many messages/comments/emails we get from fans telling a writer to 'kill yourself' because said writer wrote a joke they didn't like? When I ban them, they always act confused as to why."
"Being funny is not the same as being happy."
— Dana Gould