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Black Comedy / Comedy

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  • The Onion often has brilliant examples of this sort of humor, consider More Americans Falling For 'Get Rich Slowly Over A Lifetime Of Hard Work' Schemes, I Never Wanted You vs. Mommy, Please Come Home, and Kidnapped Boy Found Safe, Imagines Kidnapped Boy.
    • Scientists Successfully Teach Gorilla It Will Die Someday.
    • It even made a joke about the Rwandan Genocide... and it was actually funny.
    • This O-SPAN clip. Political satire, meet deeply disturbing morbid humor.
    • This article on gun control.
    • This particular gem introduces as so: At the group's annual convention Sunday, members of the National Education Association called for the formation of a nationwide coalition of parents, teachers and political leaders to address a rapidly growing problem: the alarmingly low quality of teenage suicide notes across the U.S.
      Brodhagen then related the story of another tragic suicide note, discovered at the feet of a 15-year-old St. Louis boy who had hanged himself.
      "The boy's mother opened the door to his room one morning to wake him up for school," Brodhagen said, "and she screamed in horror at what she saw: Dangling, right there in front of her, was a participle."
  • The Irish equivalent, Waterford Whispers, has had some very biting headlines, including:
  • Often used on Mock the Week, especially by Frankie Boyle. On the subject of pets:
    "I don't know how long I could be a vet before I got bored and started shagging stuff. I'd shag an owl, because whatever position you took it from you could always get eye contact. Or shag a kitten—could you imagine having sex with something you wanted to cuddle afterwards?"
    • Frankie Boyle uses this so much, one could argue he subverted it once. The subject was children, and after one comment about how sinister the picture looked, he went on to tell a really sweet story about his own daughter.
    • Similarly, when he skewered the host for a relatively tame joke, everyone remarked on how it must have been odd for him to find himself in the moral high ground. He double subverted it when, a moment later, he made a joke about the Russian that Vladimir Putin had allegedly assassinated through polonium poisoning.
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    • That pet quote actually merited him his own separate warning before the program started.
    • He even lampshades it in a deleted scene (that later appeared in a compilation episode), in which he makes a joke about the recent memorial concert for Princess Diana; after joking that they could have staged a more fitting tribute "by staging a gang-bang in a minefield", he smiles charmingly at the audience's torn-between-shock-and-amusement reaction, goes back to the start position, and innocently notes that "it'll be interesting to see if that makes it in, actually."
    • Frankie Boyle's so notorious for this that when one guest made an off-colour joke, it was immediately blamed on the fact that he was sitting in Frankie's regular chair.
    • Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights is generally considered by critics to be pushing so far into the realm of tasteless that it forgets to have jokes.
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    • Some of the other panelists would drop one as well. Hugh Dennis during a Scenes We'd Like to See (the topic was "Things you wouldn't see on a science programme") came up with "A cure for acute depression may be just around the corner and...Ooh, here it comes now. A train."
  • The late George Carlin may have been a Trope Codifier for Black Comedy, as it pertains to stand-up comedy in the Western world. This is no surprise considering this is a man who reminded us that there was no God in multiple specials. His earlier, 1970s material was playfully off-color, but as he reached the late 80s and got a little more gruff and cynical, absolutely nothing was off-limits - jokes about religion, gross bodily functions, murder, sex crimes and the end of the world were commonplace.
    • To name one famous example, Life Is Worth Losing (2005) ends with a nearly ten-minute bit about how he envisions the world could catastrophically end, and he goes into incredible detail on every little thing that would go wrong until the entire North American continent is on fire. This is the same special that saw him do another ten minutes on suicide.
    • This came back to bite him once - he had a routine on 1999's You Are All Diseased about the futility of airport security. It included how, even if security confiscated bombs from terrorists, there's still "a whole list of lethal objects" you can keep on board. Then 9/11 happened in 2001, changing airport security forever. It's pretty amazing that this didn't happen to George more often.
  • Robin Williams had a knack for it, too.
  • A good chunk of Christopher Titus' material is extremely black comedy, often crossing into Gallows Humor. Most of which centers on living in an extremely dysfunctional family (his father was a hard-drinking, chain-smoking womanizer who married and divorced five times, his mom [Ken's second wife] was a manic-depressive schizophrenic alcoholic, and his relatives on both sides of the family are drug addicts, mental patients, undiagnosed psychos, and a Mormon). To give you an idea on how dark Titus's humor is, think about this: his 5th Annual End of the World Tour set includes a bit called "Pedophile Crucifixions"note  and that's not even one of his darker shows (his darkest show is actually Love is Evol, who centers on how his marriage to Erin Carden [referred to as "Kate" for legal reasons] fell apart (including Erin almost murdering Titus, goading him to commit suicide, and claiming abuse in divorce court so she can get all of his money), why seemingly sane people stay in bad relationships, and how Titus found love again with a woman who wasn't a psycho bitch and had a normal, functional family - Who he married).
  • Scottish comedian Daft Limmy is very well known for this.
  • People thought that Sam Kinison's "gay necrophilia" jokes were the bottom of the barrel. His reaction was to say "challenge accepted," and come back with the "lepers" routine.
  • Jeff Dunham has a dummy named Achmed the Dead Terrorist. He's a talking skeleton who used to be a suicide bomber. Crosses the Line Twice? You betcha. Funny as hell? Oh yeah.
  • The 2010s saw the rise of Anthony Jeselnik, who wasted no time in carving out a reputation as one of the most dark-humored comics in America. His bits rely on paraprosdokiansnote  in much the same way as Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg, but where they simply went for Surreal Humor, Jeselnik uses the technique to paint a brutal, ugly picture of his on-stage persona. With this approach, he's able to delve into things like murder, pedophilia, racism and incest. His Netflix special, Fire In The Maternity Ward, ends with nearly fifteen minutes on his friend getting an abortion.

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