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Instances of Actually Pretty Funny in literature.


  • Anne of Green Gables:
    • After Anne has told off Rachel Lynde for calling her a homely, freckled carrot-top. Marilla gives her a talking-to and makes her apologize, but she feels guilty about wanting to laugh (which may be why she fails to object when part of Anne's apology is "What I said about you was true, too - but I shouldn't have said it.").
    • Also notable is the incident where Anne breaks her slate over Gilbert Blythe's head in school. Marilla initially scolds her but it's obvious she found it funny - she decides Anne gets to stay at Green Gables immediately after.
      • One adaptation displays this with this particular scene. When Marilla is taking to Anne about it, she asks if Anne smashed the slate over his head hard - and smirks when Anne says "very hard, I'm afraid".
  • This bit from Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex:
    Orion: Oh, I'm crazy, all right. I do have plenty of psychoses. Multiple personality disorder, delusional dementia, OCD. I've got them all, but most of all, I'm crazy about you.
    Foaly: That's not a bad line. He is definitely not Artemis.
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    • In the Artemis Fowl Files, one story features Holly Short undertaking a training mission with Julius Root and Trouble Kelp, the goal being to tag Root with a paint gun to pass. After some unanticipated issues with Turnball Root holding Julius Root and Kelp hostage, Julius is berating Holly for her actions in saving them. Her response is to peg Julius three times at point blank, citing his exact phrasing of the challenge. Kelp laughs uproariously at this.
  • Turns up several times in A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away, mostly to new English teacher Raymond Ash. Best example? He'd set his class a short essay on A Midsummer Night's Dream, and they'd been busy beavering away at it all lesson. When he collects them in at the end of the lesson, every single student hands in a crudely drawn cartoon penois, complete with ejaculate. Ray was desperately trying not to show how hysterical he found that, while thinking it wouldn't be the last time he'd set an assignment and receive a pile of wank.
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  • "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer" features villain The Vitalizer letting out a small chuckle upon realizing he's been beat.
  • There's some sort of variation in the book Deadline by Chris Crutcher. The main character gets into an argument with the teacher about his school project. His teacher ends up saying "I think now's a good time to take your leave, Mr. Wolf." This causes his brother to stand up and say "Okay, but I don't see what I did." Even someone who hated his brother thought it was funny, but the teacher's opinion was never directly stated.
  • In the fourth book of The Demon Princes, the villainous Lens Larque has been given the cold shoulder by a bunch of racist snobs on a certain planet. He has accordingly come up with a plan to etch his face on the planet's moon so that they'd have to look at him forever. Just before he can execute this plan, he's killed for unrelated revenge reasons by the novel's protagonist, Gersen. Since Gersen has also suffered similar humiliation at the hands of the planet's citizens, he decides to carry out Larque's plan anyway, as it seems to him like a very amusing comeuppance (although he allows Larque to die disappointed in the belief that it will not be done).
  • Discworld:
  • In Chapter 9 of Dream of the Red Chamber, Jia Zheng, Bao Yu's father, questioned Li Gui, a servant, about what Bao Yu had been learning in class, and spoke of punishing him for allowing Bao Yu to neglect his studies. Li Gui nervously reported that Bao Yu was in the middle of learning the third volume of Shi Jing (Odes of Poetry) and quoted a line. But he messed up the second half of the line really badly. Everyone present laughed, even Jia Zheng who couldn't help himself.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Death Masks Harry gets apocalypse-averting information from Quintus Cassius by mercilessly beating him with a baseball bat. After getting the info, Harry gives the broken mess a quarter and directs him to the nearest payphone so he can drag himself there and call an ambulance. Afterwards, Michael remonstrates with Harry over how Cold-Blooded Torture is wrong, even though they were in a textbook "ticking bomb scenario" and the victim was an openly unrepentant mass-murderer even without the Fallen Angel pushing him to commit evil. When it becomes clear that Harry has accepted the condemnation to some extent (he feels bad about having to do it, though he still holds that it was the right decision under the circumstances,) Michael can't help but think how much he enjoyed the look on Cassius' face when he realised Harry was not the sort of Incorruptible Pure Pureness who would let him go, and he laughs even more when it's pointed out that nowadays, a quarter isn't enough to use a payphone.
    • In Dead Beat Marcone orders Gard to rescue Harry from the ghoul Li Xian, over her objection that Harry is fated to die in that alley. Marcone found Harry's sympathetic comment amusing enough to almost smile.:
    Gard: Hubris. Mortals never understand.
    Harry: Tell me about it. Everyone makes that mistake but me.
    • In White Night Harry is engaged in a duel in front of the assembled White Court of vampires. He manages to get a laugh from a bunch of them (the faction that stands to benefit if he wins) when he knocks his opponent into the audience and declares the resulting kerfuffle "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you bowling for vampires!" Unusually, this actually creeps him out more than anything else.
    • In Small Favor, Harry manages to evade an otherwise-unstoppable, if reluctant, Summer Court hitman... by asking him for a donut. In the next book we find that the entire Summer Court has been laughing about the incident for months.
    • In the tense standoff with said hitman, the hitman asks Harry what Mab is really up to. Harry just shrugs and responds that he is still trying to figure out human women, and Fae women are way beyond what he could hope to comprehend. The hitman bursts out laughing and the situation is defused.
    • In Turn Coat, Morgan recounts when he had to deal with a Skinwalker, an immortal, incredibly powerful shapeshifting bag of evil from the American west. He says he got rid of it by luring it into a nuclear testing site and popping into the Nevernever as the bomb went off. Harry's response is to stare at him a moment before admitting that's actually really cool.
    • Another one from Turn Coat has Rashid, the Gatekeeper, confronting Dresden about the latter's presence at a number of world-shakingly important events in recent years and asking him if he doesn't have some secret master plan going on behind the scenes. In response, Dresden just points at his own head (which is swathed in bandages) and says "Dude." The Gatekeeper, who up til this point has been The Stoic, promptly breaks down laughing.
    • In Cold Days Harry must meet with Queen Titania, Queen of the Summer Court, and who has a deep hatred for Harry because he murdered her daughter with iron to save the world - she knows it was necessary, but... it was still her daughter. Even with that baggage hanging over their meeting, she nearly smiles when Harry gives an honest but snarky answer when she asks him what Mab, her sister and Queen of the Winter Court and mortal enemy, believes in. Flashy entrances.
    • Basically Dresden's speciality is getting The Comically Serious, the Physical God, and even the occasional villain to crack a grin. If he fails, it's because Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry doesn't mind Fred and George endlessly mocking him for being the heir of Slytherin - he's actually glad that at least they're obviously not taking the rumours seriously.
    • The twins finally get their mother to crack in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where she's accusing them of doing something wrong. Fred says "suppose the Hogwarts Express crashed tomorrow and we died, how would you feel knowing the last thing we ever heard from you was an unfounded accusation" - the narration says even Molly couldn't help but laugh at it.
    • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry makes a joke about Madame Pince the librarian being secretly in love with Filch the caretaker. Hermione sarcastically says "ha ha" at first but when they get back to Gryffindor Tower, they've apparently been giggling about the idea for a while.
    • Decades before the series started, Voldemort applied to be made the school's Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to help prepare for his rise to power. When Dumbledore (predictably) said no, Voldemort put a curse on the position out of spite, and ever since no Defense Against The Dark Arts professor has lasted more than one year. After a few decades, Dumbledore admits he's come to find the series' Running Gag to be darkly amusing.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • In The Hunger Games: Effie after Katniss described the Gamemakers' reaction to her firing at the apple in their roast pig's mouth. While everyone else (Katniss, Haymitch, Peeta, Cinna, and Portia) is laughing outright, Effie is suppressing a smile. After that she agrees that the Gamemakers did deserve that.
    • In Mockingjay: After Katniss kills the last enemy of the war - Coin. Snow, despite knowing he's about to die as well, cracks up laughing.
  • In the Fandom Nod chapter of Jo's Boys (third book in the Little Women trilogy), Jo's Last Scrape, Ted Bhaer's response to the reporter who showed up at Plumfield's door uninvited:
    Reporter: If you could tell me Mrs. Bhaer's age and birthplace, date of marriage, and number of children, I should be much obliged.
    Ted Bhaer: She is about sixty, born in Nova Zembla, married just forty years ago today, and has eleven daughters. Anything else, sir?
    • And Ted's sober face was such a funny contrast to his ridiculous reply that the reporter owned himself routed, and retired laughing.
  • In Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket, Junie B. is hot-and-bothered about an upcoming school field trip to a farm because she's scared of ponies. Reason? An unscrupulous babysitter let her watch a cable television program titled When Ponies Attack. Junie B.'s mother is not amused and wishes she would get over it, but when the father hears the title of the program covers his face, then bursts out in loud hoots of laughter, leading the mother to sarcastically comment that he's being a huge help. He ducks out of the room for what Junie B. calls a "time-out" and when he comes back apologizes to her, saying the show she saw was so ridiculous, he couldn't help it.
  • The Last Hurrah: Meta-example. Mayor James Michael Curley, who was the real-life basis for the main character, crooked machine politician Frank Skeffington, was supposedly asked what his favorite part of the book was. He is said to have replied "The part where I die!"
  • In Lord of the Flies, Jack does an impersonation of Piggy in the middle of a heated argument with Ralph. Ralph couldn't help but smile, much to his chagrin.
  • The Many Lives Of Stephen Leeds: In the "Skin Deep" story, Stephen has been cornered by an assassin who has been ordered to kill him, since his actions have made her parent company increasingly unstable, and they are convinced that he will stop at nothing to destroy them. Then she gets a call informing her that with all the bad publicity, the company's stock price dropped enough that Stephen was able to buy a majority share, nominate himself president, and gain immediate authority over her. The assassin finds this hilarious.
  • In The Missing DoSAC Files, this is revealed to be the reason why Malcolm Tucker gets away with the wider media despite being The Dreaded and The Svengali - the show itself holds to Tough Room, but apparently the UK media considers his amazing verbal fluency and pitch-black sense of humour to be hilarious. One instance of this is a newspaper magazine interview in which the journalist admits he's terrified by the thought of meeting him, and was completely disarmed to discover how funny he is. Another instance of this is a very stupid suggestion from a BBC commissioner for Malcolm to run a chat show in which he can "give celebrities a bollocking".
  • In Oryx and Crake, Jimmy is shocked when he hears that MaddAddam have been genetically engineering mice that eat electrical insulation, parasitic wasps that spread disease, asphalt-destroying microbes, etc., but when he hears about the neon-coloured herpes, he thinks it's "pretty funny".
  • One of the Soup books opens with Rob bringing a note home saying he made a rude remark to the school nurse. She had asked him "Did your bowels move today?" and, in accordance with a lesson earlier that chapter, he answered "Yes, thank you. Did yours?"note  Once he confesses that he and Soup drew straws to see who would ask, his mother gives him only a halfhearted whipping.


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