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Knock-Knock Stroke

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No one assumes the comic relief is really dying.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
zero24 on Jun 4th 2011 at 10:39:38 PM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Jan 15th 2018 at 6:49:36 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

The Plucky Comic Relief is having a bit of trouble with an Incurable Cough of Death, a hidden wound, or some other third thing. Unfortunately, this will be a serious matter and probably mean the end for the character.

But wait, this IS the comic relief, right? Isn't this the guy who's always messing around? He can't really be serious, can he?

The other characters won't seem to think so. They assume that he's up to another one of his hilarious antics, because it's something they would expect him to do. The character's attempt to try and tell the others that he really is dying will be shrugged off as just All Part of the Show. Unfortunately, this nullifies any chance that they would have of being given help.The other characters usually realize that he was in fact being serious, but not until after the guy dies.

May overlap with Fatal Method Acting.

A death trope, so there will most likely be spoilers.

This one is Up for Grabs if anyone wants it.


Examples

Live-Action TV

Theatre

  • Mercutio's death scene in Romeo and Juliet can be played this way. Mercutio minimizes the wound he has received, employing a healthy dose of Gallows Humor. Whether the other characters believe him varies by interpretation.

Real Life

  • Andy Kaufman, and by extension the film Man on the Moon. When he announces to his friends that he is dying, they first believe that it's part of a new comedy act.
  • Redd Foxx, on the set of a new comedy show he was starring in, grabbed his chest and collapsed. Unfortunately, this was a trademark action of his from his comedy show Sanford and Son, and everybody thought he was only acting. He actually did die of a heart attack.
  • British comedian Tommy Cooper suffered a fatal heart attack during a live performance and the audience initially laughed, believing it was part of the act.

Feedback: 27 replies

Jun 5th 2011 at 2:35:57 AM

I think everyone knew that Mercutio was dying, he was just having some very dark fun with it.

Jun 5th 2011 at 3:21:04 AM

Real Life: Andy Kaufman, and by extension the film Man On The Moon. When he announces to his friends that he is dying, they first believe that it's part of a new comedy act.

Jun 5th 2011 at 9:12:39 AM

@Guess Who, different productions play it different ways. It's an equally valid interpretation due to the not knowing the original stage directions.

Jun 5th 2011 at 9:33:27 AM

Yes, the Romeo And Juliet case is a matter of interpretation. I've seen it done either as him joking on the way out, serious but not taken seriously, or as a full-blown dramatic death.

Jun 7th 2011 at 3:04:56 AM

Edit: My examples moved/merged with All Part Of The Show and deleted from description.

Jun 7th 2011 at 6:17:45 PM

^This would only apply if the death occurs during a performance. As written, this seems to be about the character dying in the story, not the actor dying for real, which would be Fatal Method Acting.

Jun 7th 2011 at 9:36:13 PM

No spoiler font in Death Tropes, and for the love of God none for a work from the sixteenth century.

Jun 8th 2011 at 8:41:47 AM

Another one from Real Life: Redd Foxx, on the set of a new comedy show he was starring in, grabbed his chest and collapsed. Unfortunately, this was a trademark action of his from his comedy show Sanford And Son, and everybody thought he was only acting. He actually did die of a heart attack.

Jun 8th 2011 at 4:06:58 PM

Real Life again. British comedian Tommy Cooper suffered a fatal heart attack during a live performance and the audience initially laughed, believing it was part of the act.

Jun 8th 2011 at 5:45:03 PM

Note: The trope here is about a person dying and others around them not believing them because they kid around so much. If they were professional comedians in the middle of a performance, Fatal Method Acting and All Part Of The Show would take place.

Or that's what I assume, anyway.

^^^...Right. On it.

^ A similar entry was moved out by troper Arivne.

Jun 8th 2011 at 5:47:32 PM

  • Played with in one of CSI shows, one of actresses were murdered in scene, so people didn't think anything about supposedly dead woman in bed as it was her scene, being dead with knife in bed. They found out at end of filming day.

Jun 8th 2011 at 5:48:19 PM

I think csi had another one in horror movie, with hanged body.

Jan 12th 2018 at 2:13:55 PM

Stroke as in seizure. Instead of a knock-knock joke it's a knock-knock stroke. Get it?

Anyway, I just fixed the potholes that were the same things as the trope names. That's just silly.

Jan 12th 2018 at 4:48:46 PM

On The Simpsons, Krusty once had a heart attack in the middle of his show (while hawking his pork products, ironically enough) as the audience laughs, thinking it's one of his routines. Kent Brockman presents it as a Hilarious Outtake.

Jan 12th 2018 at 6:56:55 PM

The title is too opaque. It sounds like it's the stroke is funny, or the joke leads to a stroke or something?

Jan 12th 2018 at 7:34:53 PM

  • In Fire Emblem Echoes Shadows Of Valentia, Forsyth's mourning quote if Python dies has him assuming that the lazy, irreverent Python is just goofing off by lying down, until the truth slowly dawns on him.

Jan 12th 2018 at 9:29:22 PM

  • When news of Jew Wario's death first came to light, many believed it was part of a Channel Awesome prank.

Jan 12th 2018 at 9:52:29 PM

Even when it's explained like that, title sounds more like a joke that suddenly turns dramatic (which sounds like a trope in itself), not a dying comic relief.

Jan 14th 2018 at 2:07:36 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Changed media section titles to All Caps.
    • Namespaced work and Creator names.

Jan 14th 2018 at 2:23:34 AM

Title should be just Dying Comic Relief. Perhaps adding "Secretly" at the front.

Jan 15th 2018 at 10:03:12 AM

Western Animation

  • In Archer, Archer has so many different complex voicemail messages that fool the caller into thinking he's actually picked up that come one of the later seasons, when Archer gets kidnapped and it's being heard over a live call, the main cast calling him all assume it's just another voicemail prank.

Jan 15th 2018 at 12:07:53 PM

Like the Tommy Cooper example above, comic actor Sid James died from a heart attack onstage during a play. The audience thought the "is there a doctor in the house?" shout from the stage was part of the show initially.

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