troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Self Deprecation: Real Life
  • Golden Raspberry Award
  • This is a common component of Borscht Belt comedy routines.
  • Woody Allen uses this throughout his work, most often against himself but occasionally against Jews or New Yorkers generally. For instance, from Annie Hall:
    Alvy: Don't you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we're left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I LIVE here.
  • Jon Stewart is a big fan of this. Like other Jewish comedians, he makes fun of his "Jewish-ness" as well as making fun of his, uh, lacking in height, his piriform physique, his home state of New Jersey, and the fact that he hasn't been in very successful movies and these jokes carry over to The Daily Show. Even The Daily Show itself is a victim as one of the longest Running Gags in the program was for a guest to mention how they've seen The Daily Show and for Jon Stewart to say that he himself doesn't care for it.
    Stewart: I don't watch it, myself. I find it crass.
  • 19th-century German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine once commented on the efforts of various groups to convert Jews to Christianity;
    “It is extremely difficult for a Jew to be converted, for that would force him to accept the divinity... of a Jew."
  • Groucho Marx once said, "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
  • Rodney Dangerfield's the patron saint of this trope for a reason. His act was made up of self-directed Take Thats. It annoyed his wife to realize that people thought he really was the slob he portrays in his act.
  • Irish humour, when it's not about drinking, fighting, or nationalist conflict; is all about the Irish predilection for drinking, fighting, and nationalist conflict.
  • Jay Leno routinely makes jokes about the badness of his jokes. These are often among his funnier jokes.
    • He's also quite aware that people make fun of his big chin; in one opening monologue, he even pretended to use it to block out the sun to help the citizens of Burbank cool off from a current heat wave.
  • This is cartoonist Robert Crumb's favorite subject.
  • No episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien goes without it. Usually he's joking about his hair and/or awkward body.
  • In Conan O'Brien's opening song when Conan hosted the Primetime Emmys (a parody of "Trouble" from The Music Man), one of his examples of NBC's decline in quality was that the Emmys were opening with a song-and-dance number "performed by a host with limited musical ability!" (The chorus then shouted, "He can't sing!")
    • Conan later went, "To prove things are going to Hell, we're relying on Howie Mandel...."
  • The opening screenshot of this software review shows a few open source developers have this sense of humor.
  • Bnet.com's Geoffrey James gives us The 10 Worst Business Books of All Time. The #5 entry, Success Secrets from Silicon Valley was written by James himself in 1998.
  • Will Rogers' frequently quoted line, "I'm not a member of an organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
  • Hugh Laurie once mentioned that the reason he keeps acting is because he hates himself and doesn't believe he deserves to be happy.
  • A big part of Icelandic humor, common factors include bad driving habits, cutting in lines, extremely frequent bodily noises and an Icelandic tourist attempting to speak English but constantly peppering his language with Icelandic-exclusive idioms (Venus pronounced as "weenis" and riding on horseback replaced by "fucking".)
  • The slogan for The Comedy Network, Canada's equivalent of Comedy Central, is 'Time Well Wasted.'
  • Self-deprecation is a notable part of Hungarian culture, including their own version of the old stand-by, "If two Hungarians are in a room, they'll have three opinions."
  • Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan interrupts his act frequently to make disapproving comments (in a different voice) about his jokes.
    Is he really that fat? ... Why is he talking to himself up there?
  • Craig "The Lovemaster" Shoemaker will supply critical analysis of his jokes:
    Mr. Erase: Oh my god, that was so disgusting! What a visual! I am so sorry. Erase, erase, erase!
  • Valve Time. Valve mocks itself for its loose schedule for putting out their games and failing to meet even that.
    • They even mock themselves for it in Portal 2, as when their names appear on the screen in a credits sequence, GLaDOS reads off various negative personality traits for them, which includes "procrastinator" and "perfectionist"(Though she doesn't see anything wrong with the latter). And the line in "Still Alive": "We're out of beta, we're releasing on time."
  • Many game companies will poke fun at their release delays, saying only that they'll be released "soon."
    • CCP Games seems to claim that they trademarked the joke.
    • Bungie Software, back before the Microsoft buyout.
    • NCSoft (now Paragon Studios) has apparently licensed this term from CCP.
    • Blizzard Entertainment. It seems that successful game companies that can afford to push back release dates for the sake of quality have come to use Soon™ as a way of mocking both themselves and their fans.
    • Used by CRS, creators of World War II Online to the point where it has become a Memetic Mutation.
  • Ben Affleck
    • when he hosted Saturday Night Live, joked that he would be endorsing John McCain in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election because every candidate he ever supported lost.
    • When promoting the film Gigli, which by that point, was infamous as one of the biggest flops of the decade, went on The Tonight Show and read his "favorite" parts of the movie reviews, namely, the most scathing and brutal quips from film reviewers about how bad the movie and Affleck himself were.
    • Affleck's late-'90s Saturday Night Live appearance was full of this, with Mango calling him "Ben Whofleck?", and Gwyneth Paltrow showing up because she thought he would need help with the opening monologue.
    • During the commentary for Mallrats where he describes himself as desperate and suicidal during the production of the movie, coming home at night with a bag of sleeping pills and preparing to just end it all. It's funnier than it sounds.
  • Reportedly, Matt Damon thought the "Mmmmatt... DAMON!" caricature of himself in Team America: World Police was hilarious.
    • Likewise, Tim Robbins asked for the mangled production puppet of himself so he could frame it.
  • The British channel E4 is mostly composed of British soap operas, American drama and comedy, and reality shows. Its advertising mocks the melodrama of British soaps and American drama, the ridiculousness of American comedy, the stupidity of reality TV and itself for broadcasting them.
  • Finnish humor
    • Highlights the national stereotypes of stubbornnesss, drunkenness and quietness. For example, two men went camping for a week with several bottles of vodka. The last day one of them raised a glass and said: "Cheers!" The other angrily responded: "Did we come here to drink or talk?"
    • There's a whole category of jokes starting "A Swede, a Norwegian and a Finn..." that tend to paint the Finn as hardy, if a bit thick in the head. A pair of illustrative examples:
      A Swede, a Norwegian and a Finn tried to swim from Norway to America on a dare. Ten miles from the Norwegian coast, the Swede gasped "I can't make it..." and promptly drowned. Fifty miles from the Norwegian coast, the Norwegian gasped "I can't make it..." and promptly drowned. The Finn had just caught sight of the American coast, when he sighed "I can't make it either..." and promptly swam back to Norway.
  • The basis of the whole Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Bill Engvall and Jeff Foxworthy both focus on aspects of themselves and their family, then make as many redneck jokes about it as they can.
  • It is a common feature in Filipino humor to make fun of their reputation for procrastination and lateness known among Filipinos as "Filipino Time". Another common self-deprecating Filipino joke is to comment on the unstable political environment of the Philippines or to make fun of the almost religiously fanatical celebrity-worship tendencies of Pinoy Pop Culture. They also make fun of their religious fanaticism.
  • Indians love to make fun of themselves for their lateness as well, joking that the acronym I.S.T doesn't mean "Indian Standard Time" but "Indian Stretchable Time."
  • Few people enjoy the "Scots are cheap" stereotype as much as Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.
    • "My uncle once dropped ten pence; he bent over to pick it up, and it hit him in the back of the head."
    • "You may have heard that nasty rumour floating around that copper wire was invented by two Scotsmen fighting over a penny."
    • One time, Connolly was on Conan O' Brien explaining that he once bungee jumped naked on his travel show. Why? The place apparently had a policy that if you jumped completely naked, it was free. When Conan asked why he did this just to save a few tens of dollars, Connolly replied "You'd have to be a Scotsman to understand".
  • Kevin Smith describes his wife as a man-hating feminist, "which explains why she married the guy with the tiniest dick on the planet."
  • Brian Regan uses this in a lot of his comedy acts as well, usually to make him look stupid. The best example is his skit "Stupid in School"
    Teacher: Brian, what's the "I before E" rule?
    Brian: Uh... um... I before E... Always...
    Teacher: No, no, it's I before E except after C, and when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh, and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May, and you'll always be wrong, no matter '''what you say!'''
  • Cities:
  • Patrick Stewart. If he appears as himself in something, he usually deflates his image. Patrick Stewart is simply a classic example of British humor.
    • Appearing in an early season of Top Gear:
    Jeremy Clarkson: You are the most famous person we ever had on the show.
    Patrick Stewart: Well this must be a terrible show then!
  • Christopher Eccleston is known to be very modest and down-to-earth in interviews and live shows, and especially self-depreciating about his unconventional looks. (Which was also referenced in the first episode of the 2005 series of Doctor Who.)
    The Doctor (looking into a mirror): Could've been be worse. Look at the ears!
    • On Top Gear, there was a lot of self-mockery about the fact that he had learned to drive only about a year before appearing on the show, and that he was only qualified to drive an automatic. Also, this bit of Northern English working class attitude:
    (After being complimented for not being a diva and offering to use public transport to help the production save money on his travelling costs) "That's because I'm tight. I wouldn't give a door a bang."
    • When Jonathan Ross handed him the 'cock-o-meter' on his talkshow and asked where he measures on the thing, Eccleston pointed to the lower edge of the tube, saying "I come about... 'Registered Trademark'." And he took great satisfaction in the fact that his Doctor Who action figure got the ears right. "They even got the fact that one of my ears sticks out more than the other!"
  • Abraham Lincoln reportedly... possibly a side-product of his humility.
    (After being called "two-faced"): "But sir, if I was two faced, do you think I would be wearing this one?"
  • Polish humour has this in spades:
    • The "German, Russian and Pole" jokes. They usually start with the trio getting into trouble, and each of them trying to work his way out of it. The Pole traditionally ends up the most successful - but through the least moral means.
    • Satan caught German, Russian and Pole. He gave them two metal balls, and ordered to do something interesting with them. Russian started juggling, German placed one ball on another and it didn't fall, and Pole lost one of the balls... and broke the other.
    • One of the most popular targets for mockery in Poland is the public opinion's tendency to veer towards extremes. A successful sportsman becomes the nation-wide butt of jokes overnight if he loses as much as one match/fight/competition/whatever. Many famous musicians had their careers utterly broken because they failed to win the Eurovision Song Contest. This leads to any number of jokes lampshading the trend.
    • General Polish tendency to praise Heroic Sacrifice and Moral Victory is also often parodied. When President Lech Kaczynski, criticized and made fun of on a daily basis, died in a plane crash, he was suddenly showered with praise by the same people who made fun of him in the first place. This lead to a minor meme "Who swapped the bodies?"
    • Probably the most mocked Polish characteristic, however, is treating our Acceptable Targets as restricted to themselves. There have been several instances where a foreign media outlet would repeat normal Polish jokes about a public figure and Poland promptly declared jihad.
    • Poles also love to complain. Mostly about how much Poles complain.
      • Many nations' people complain about themselves. It's often surprising to non-Dutchies to realise that to the Dutch, this is regular conversation.
  • British writer, critic and presenter Charlie Brooker is fond of this, describing himself, among other things, describing himself as looking like a cross between "Laurence Fishburne" and "a paedophile walrus".
  • Stephen Fry's autobiographies Moab Is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles both have a strong theme of this running though them; Fry will regularly suggest a plausible psychological reason for the mistakes and wrongs he's done in his life only to then take them back and accuse himself of just being selfish and immoral.
  • In an odd case of Double Insult Backfire, Sam Clemens tried to tell a self-deprecating joke at a banquet honoring legendary American writers Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, claiming he ran into drunken reprobates who were posing as them while he was working as a silver miner in California. While he was really poking fun at his own lowly stature at the time, the press misconstrued this as Clemens insulting the writers themselves, and he was so ashamed by the fallout he moved to Germany for several years. And thus, Mark Twain created the celebrity roast.
  • Aussies don't make fun of themselves, so much as they make fun of everyone, including themselves, but it has the same effect.
    You know you're Australian if you spend a month looking for the remote instead of getting up and pressing the button. We refuse to let a remote get the better of us, dammit!
  • Tim Minchin does this quite often. Whether mocking his failed Rock Career, his inability to get over a bad review, or his perceived lack of depth, Minchin does it a lot.
  • Andy Warhol once said in an interview that he couldn't defend his works against his critics, because they were right.
  • Chis Colfer of Glee makes quite a lot of self-deprecating jokes in interviews.
  • Say what you will about Glenn Beck, but he's a good sport when it comes to those parodying him. Two of the most well-known parodies of Beck were the ones done by Jon Stewart. The very next day those aired, Beck replayed both of them on his show and has admitted they were both hilarious. Also, when organizing his Rally to Restore Honor, Glenn Beck had Frank Caliendo, the King of Impressions himself, on his radio show to talk extensively about Caliendo's developing impression of Beck and Glenn then invited Caliendo, should he finish developing the impression, to open up the Rally with a short routine in order to help ease the hundreds of thousands in attendance out of their tension.
  • Aside from mercilessly roasting other celebrities, Joan Rivers is known for making jokes about her lack of a sex life, lack of sex appeal, "maturity/oldness" and plastic surgery.
  • There are some jokes for cities/states that start with "You know you're from (insert state) when..." For example: You know you're from California when the fastest part of your commute is down your driveway.
  • New Jersey's legislature once famously attempted to make Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" the state song. "Born to Run" is a song about wanting to get out of the state of New Jersey.
    • Oregonians are known for making fun of rain and hippies, the two staples of the state. Except for Eastern Oregon, but no one cares about Eastern Oregon.
    • Seattleites talk about rain, Grunge, rain, Starbucks, rain, hating Twilight, rain, and our lovely rain.
    • In Washington, Damp is a shade."oh that's nice but do you have it Damp Red?"
    • Ask anyone from Iowa what there is to do there. "Leaving's always good" is the standard response.
  • The most common fall guy in Afrikaans jokes is someone called Van Der Merwe, which is a typical Afrikaans surname. His opponents are usually the Scot and the Englishman, ethnicities which Afrikaners historically have been in conflict with and traditionally don't particularly like. And the Scotsman and the Englishman always, always win... except if Van Der Merwe accidentally wins through his sheer stupidity. It's like self-racism. Still funny though.
    • Hence the name of the none-too-bright protagonist of District 9, written and directed by an Afrikaner.
  • Stand up comedian Simon Amstell spends the vast majority of his shows waxing lyrical about how socially inept he is.
  • Lindsay Lohan sometimes likes to mock her "party girl" image, the most notable example being that "Funny or Die" parody of an E-Harmony ad.
    • She does this on Saturday Night Live as well most recently She played herself as a an inmate participating in a "scared straight program" with sketch regular Lorenzo MacIntosh played by Kenan Thompson.
  • Ken Dodd delved into this occasionally.
    Comedy's in me blood. I wish it was in me act, but there you go.
  • Barack Obama has had some, like "Some have said I'm arrogant. They obviously haven't looked at my approval rating," and the infamous politically incorrect ad-lib about how he should be bowling for the Special Olympics.
    • Another time he introduced a Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics by calling him "a man who actually earned his Nobel Prize."
      • Also, while speaking of Henry Kissinger, he claimed they he had a lot in common, saying Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Price for negotiating an end to the Vietnam War; “and I won mine for. . . ” then he looked off camera, and said, “What did I win mine for?”
    • He once interrupted, via satellite feed, an unflattering statement by Stephen Colbert, when Colbert was performing/reporting in Iraq. Colbert believed Obama was listening in via spy satellite, but the President explained: "My ears are just that big."
  • George W. Bush was also a good sport about all the criticism he received in his time, as seen in a really funny bit of stand-up comedy he did along with an impersonator.
  • Britney Spears and Emilie Autumn are noted for their self deprecation and self awareness.
    • Britney mocked herself and her mistakes in her Will and Grace feature. Emilie Autumn mocked her over the topness in her anti bullying video.
  • George Lucas frequently makes fun of his own extremely popular changes to Star Wars, including wearing a "Han Shot First" shirt and having Darth Vader give a speech about how much he hates the changes.
    • He's also poked fun at his stilted writing. For instance, upon receiving the 2005 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, he called himself "the King of Wooden Dialogue".
  • Jeff Dunham did this in "Controlled Chaos", where he shows pictures of himself as a kid and he (and his puppets) can't believe how he would bring ventriloquist dummies to school to get free-professional pictures, in addition to the stuff he actually wore as a kid.
  • John Oliver does this a lot, most notably in his Comedy Central special.
    What I wanted to be, when I was growing up, was an athlete. [...] Really? An athlete, John? And the word "athlete" means the same in Britain as it does here, does it? [...] What sport was it in Britain that rewards a concave chest?! Did you, perhaps, plan on becoming a sail?
  • A huge part of the Canadian identity, according to the rest of the world, is lumberjacks, Mounties, helmetheads, polar bears, maple syrup, beer chilled on the back step, hard liquor that tastes like gasoline and unfailing politeness. According to any Canadian, the keystone of the Canadian identity is managing to both mock and cherish those stereotypes at the same time. In addition to the usual standbys, there is also the fact that people outside of Canada know little else about the country.
  • Norway has this as a kind of national pastime, especially seen in parts of the political and cultural elite. Occasionally everybody else, and they are not even trying to be funny about it. That too happens from time to time, but in Norway, this is actually Serious Business.
    • A Norwegian woman was observed sliding on a slippery road during wintertime. Her immediate response to almost falling was:
    Crap country!
    • And if Norwegians actually allow themselves to be proud of some effort, like getting international acclaim for a movie or such things, count on the Swedes to set them straight.
  • Daniel Radcliffe seems to be this way, especially in this conversation about how he needs help getting dressed:
    Interviewer: You can't tie your shoelaces?
    Daniel: (mock outrage) Who tipped you off about that? Yeah...shoelaces are not a strong point of mine, for whatever reason...
  • Carrie Fisher does this frequently. Most of her jokes are poking fun at her past drug use and mental illness. During the roast of Roseanne, she spent more time roasting herself than Roseanne or the other roasters.
    "Religion is the opiate of the masses. Well I did masses of opiates religiously."
  • Barry Cryer tends to engage in this a lot, joking about his lack of talent, inflating his reputation for heavy drinking, and claiming that people who come to see his gigs have confused him with Barry Took. He's stated in several interviews that this can be traced back to Yorkshire tradition.
    I've just sung to you! I don't know why, you've never done anything to me...
  • George R. R. Martin mentioned on his blog that Game of Thrones is "one bitch of an adaptation" because the original writer made the "damn battle way too big and too expensive." He also griped that the gigantic wall separating Westeros from the north had been written as "way too high" even when its height was cut in half. The original writer he was trying to adapt, of course, is George R. R. Martin.
    • Also, the reason why he switched from writing TV shows to to novels? He never had the budget to do what he wanted on the TV shows. Oooopsies!
  • Italian jokes are mostly about Italians from a different part of Italy, Italians from the same part of Italy, or Italy in general.
  • At the 2012 Olympics, gymnast McKayla Maroney's silver medal for the vault would have otherwise been an afterthought in The Year Of Phelps and Bolt - until a picture of her lip-curling disdain on the awards podium morphed into the "McKayla Is Not Impressed" Photoshop meme. Instead of being embarrassed, McKayla gamely lampshaded the moment by teaching her teammates "the face," then trotting it out on David Letterman and Stephen Colbert.
  • Mara Wilson claims on her Facebook page that she doesn't act in movies anymore because she can no longer look or act cute, and that she no longer does improv because "women aren't funny." She eventually explains that she writes plays because she can apply "...some of her worst habits (e.g., eavesdropping, nitpicking, automatically imagining the worst case scenario)".
  • Lindsay Felton, a Former Child Star best known for Caitlin's Way, was a contestant in the first season of Scream Queens. During the camp horror challenge in which the contestants had to reenact a famously narmy scene from The Brain That Wouldn't Die, she remarked about how her experience starring on a Nickelodeon show had prepared her to take on really corny dialogue. Naturally, she won that challenge.
  • Seth Rogen made plenty jokes about himself when he appeared on Jonathan Ross ' show.
  • After being newly elected, Pope Francis went out to dinner with the cardinals. He thanked them for their support, joking, "May God forgive you for what you have done."
  • Bill Simmons, listing the New York Knicks among "officially tortured teams":
    Slowly becoming the pre-2004 Red Sox of basketball. Right down to the 45 shameless writers who would release a quickie book if the Knicks ever turned things around and won a title. Wait, I think I just made fun of myself.
  • This trope is considered good manners in Japan in certain circumstances, such as when you present a gift to someone.
  • After getting fired from the news show Breakfast because of his offensive comments, New Zealand TV presenter Paul Henry appeared in several ads that poked fun at his mean personality.
  • Self-deprecation is a trademark of the British, and we're awfully sorry for that, it really is a nuisance.
  • A good deal of Miley Cyrus' humor is based on this, much of it as seen on Hannah Montana or in interviews, and she welcomed Vanessa Bayer's Miley Cyrus Show sketches on Saturday Night Live with open arms. Her first episode from 2010 has her playing Justin Bieber to Vanessa's "Miley", while her appearance in 2013 has a sketch with "old Miley" meeting "new Miley" backstage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
  • Astronaut Pete Conrad did this frequently. He told people that his motto was, "If you can't be good, be colorful." During the Apollo 12 mission, Alan Bean said it would be good to land on the Moon and do some physical work. Conrad replied, "Speak for yourself, I'm a lazy son of a bitch." When he stepped onto the lunar surface later on, the first thing he said was, "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me!" Conrad was poking fun at his short stature (he was 5 foot 6).
  • During the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, technical difficulties prevented the ring on the far right of a "blossoming" Olympic logo from opening with the rest. A dance number during the closing ceremony involved the dancers taking the form of the Olympic logo, with the dancers making the far right ring mimicking the technical snafu.
  • In 1943, Oscar Hammerstein II experienced a Career Resurrection with two hit shows running on Broadway, Oklahoma! and Carmen Jones. He took out a "Holiday Greetings" ad in Variety, naming himself as the author of five musicals which had unsuccessful runs lasting between three and seven weeks in New York or London, with the message "I'VE DONE IT BEFORE AND I CAN DO IT AGAIN."
  • While The Elder Scrolls Online was in beta, testers of various types were organized into groups named after the Aedra and Daedra of the game's lore. One group was Sheogorath's Testers, named for the resident Prince of Madness. This group eventually figured out that the one thing they all had in common was that they were all developers, either employed as programers elsewhere or students of game design. Yes, game developers are a special kind of mad.
  • Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks on the series' tendency to riff on and copy ideas from other sources: "Talent borrows, genius steals, and Doctor Who gets it off the back of a lorry at midnight, no questions asked."

Western AnimationSelf-Deprecation    

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
54132
44