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Corpsing in live-action TV, titles H-P.

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  • Happy Days: Mr. Cunningham trying not to laugh as his wife fires off every one of Fonzie's catchphrases straight to his face.
  • This would occasionally happen on Hello Cheeky, and whenever there was corpsing, there would be Throw It In! It's especially noticeable in a sketch in the first episode of the TV series, in which Barry has been playing himself for a while, then literally ducks under the table and re-emerges with a hat. John asks "Who are you?", at which point Barry cracks up with the sheer bizarreness of the situation, the audience goes into hysterics, and the sketch stops for fifteen seconds while the performers improvise and crack up.
    John: I demand to know!
    Tim: I demand to know also!
    Barry: I know no fear! I don't know my lines, but I don't know fear as well!
  • Highlander had an example that was left in the ep. The director got distracted at the end of one episode and didn't yell "cut" as soon as the actors expected. Adrian Paul and Stan Kirsch cracked up, possibly thinking he *had* yelled "cut" and could come out of character, and the effect went well with the tone of the scene, that they kept it.
    • "The Modern Prometheus", where Methos and Amanda talk in Methos's place. Peter Wingfield turned his line in one take into a joke, responding to Elizabeth Gracen's line "He might die, Methos" with "Maybe we'll get our own show!". Elizabeth had an extremely hard time getting through her lines straightfaced as shown in the commercial blooper reel release, and was probably close to losing it even in the shot that did make it.
    • Adrian Paul actually is quite a prankster on his series, as the Highlander blooper reel shows a few examples of.
  • Apparently, the ladies of Hot in Cleveland had a running contest to see who would be the first to make Betty White corpse. Of course, since Betty is a sitcom vet who has been doing this for fifty years, this is a rather tall order. Nothing made it into the actual episodes, but the blooper reel shows that Jane Leeves won.
  • In How I Met Your Mother apparently one of the aspects of filming is that certain jokes, monologues and one-liners are not told to the cast as a whole and just to the one saying it. This almost guarantees a chuckle by the others in the scene, which is supposed to be in character anyway. At other times they just go off the walls and just Throw It In!
    • Neil Patrick Harris was chuckling when Jason Segel was singing "Happy, Happy Lily-day", however, it's not that noticeable.
    • Also Cobie Smulders is clearly struggling to contain herself when Barney explains The Three Day Rule.
    • Neil also made Wayne Brady crack up when he ad-libbed "Popozao!" after an exchange, in the latter's introductory episode. Wayne's back is turned to the camera but you can see him break down, and Neil himself points it out in the episode commentary.
    • When Barney was butting in on the bonding session of "Stand By Me" between his half brother, James and his newly reunited father, Sam, Colbie Smulders (Robin) was having a very hard time staying in character and is visibly trying not to completely lose it (it's not meant to be that funny In-Universe).
    • In the blooper reel Jason Segel was doing a scene where Marshall finds an old Mad Libs booklet and Cobie Smulders started laughing during his dialogue (every word was FART). As Segel and Josh Radnor start teasing her for it she tried to justify it as being in character for her to laugh at the gag, which they replied with "Not BEFORE the joke!"
  • During the episode of Hustle in which Danny and Stacie play strip poker, Stacie's reaction to Danny being nude and Ash walking in is Jaime Murray's actual reaction. It's also said that during the filming of the first season, Robert Glenister (Ash) would try to get Murray to laugh, which could explain why Stacie doesn't start full on laughing until Ash walks in and looks at Stacie.

  • You can hardly blame Desi Arnaz for doing this so often on I Love Lucy — would you have been able to hold yourself together watching Lucy practice the vitameatavegamin commercial any better than he did?
  • Happens often in Impractical Jokers whenever the Jokers are confronted with something especially outrageous during challenges. In fact, some challenges outright invoke this, with the Jokers having to give interviews and keep a straight face while the others do something ridiculous just behind the interviewee.
  • Happened several times on In Living Color!, but possibly the most memorable time was during the two-parter Men On Television skit when Blaine, played by Damon Wayans was hit by a falling piece of debris and squeaks out a yell right before falling to the floor. David Alan Grier's, who plays Antoine, laughter was very apparent. ("Blaine? Bla-a-a-aine? Call a doctor! I think he needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!"). You can also see Damon trying to stifle his laughter and smile a time or two during the segment although he is supposed to be passed out.
    • In the Dating Game sketch that introduced the Wanda character the three actors playing the bachelors were not allowed to see Jamie Foxx in costume beforehand. Upon turning the corner and seeing Wanda for the first time David Alan Grier completely loses it, cracking Jim Carrey up in the process.
  • On The IT Crowd, you can see Chris O'Dowd start to break into laughter near the end of the scene where Roy is conducting Moss' sexy photo shoot.
  • Charlie on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia frequently meanders into improv too good not to Throw It In!. Unfortunately the spontaneous takes are lost if a co-actor breaks on camera, so they have to struggle not to corpse during it. This is the reason Charlie has so many scenes alone with Dee; she's simply the best at keeping a straight face.

  • On The Jack Benny Program, Mel Blanc would regularly go out of his way to make Jack Benny lose his cool, while he himself would keep a completely straight face. Audiences loved it.
  • An episode of The Jamie Foxx Show had Jamie attending a driving school with Mark Curry as the former drill sergeant turned teacher. When Braxton answers a question, Curry nearly wipes himself out sliding up to yell at him. Behind the two, Foxx and an extra immediately turn around as another extra holds a paper over her mouth to hide their laughter. The studio audience reacted so wildly to the Curry bit that rather than reshoot, the producers kept this in as you can see the other extras fighting not to explode laughing during the scene.

  • Kamen Rider Zi-O accompanies each episode with a "0.5" episode aired on Toei's streaming service, a roughly five-minute sketch where the characters address behind-the-scenes events and the various trials involved in the production of an anniversary show. Episode 9.5 in particular concerns merchandising, and neither Sou Okuno (Sougo) nor Keisuke Watanabe (Woz) are able to keep a straight face or even deliver their lines without flubs all throughout the sketch. All of it's kept in because it leads to an even bigger bout of corpsing after they're supposed to be done filming the sketch and guest star Tetsuya Iwanaga (Kuroto) starts teasing Okuno in particular about the flubs, dragging him around the room by his belt like a dog on a leash while telling him to try pronouncing "campaign" again. Watanabe's reduced to just repeating his character's catchphrase in a valiant effort to stay in character, while Okuno doesn't stand a chance.

  • The Season 2 DVD of Law & Order: UK includes a 10 minute gag reel. Many of the clips involve Bradley Walsh (a well known comedic actor) causing this to happen to his co-stars—in one bit, he specifically asks, "Did he go?", referring to Jamie Bamber, indicating that he intentionally said something to make him laugh, while in another, Bamber is clearly struggling not to lose it before finally giving up, declaring, "I'm sorry, I can't fucking do this."
    • A straighter example within an actual episode when DS Matt Devlin laughs at another character's idiotic comment. It becomes obvious that it's really Jamie Bamber himself cracking up when he laughs far more than is necessary and eventually turns completely away from the camera to compose himself while his straight-faced partner Ronnie continues questioning the witness.
  • Occurs In-Universe in Lenny Henry in Pieces. Several sketches involve Lenny's character giggling uncontrollably after his partner rips a fart while the two are trying to stay hidden in a dangerous situation, such as when ambushing a mob boss, escaping a Nazi camp, or playing dead on a battlefield.
  • One particularly infamous episode of Lost in Space features a vegetable villain who is so ridiculous some of the cast can be seen turning away from the camera to hide their corpsing.

  • Happens quite a bit on MADtv, especially in the Stuart (Michael MacDonald) sketches. His mom (Mo Collins) often has trouble keeping a straight face.
    • In one "Lowered Expectations" sketch, Orlando Jones plays a shy nerd whose video gets interrupted by a fellow client(Phil Lamarr), who's pissed off that no women have called him. During the sketch, Jones starts snickering, so Lamarr runs with it, turning and yelling at him to shut up, which, needless to say, just makes it worse.
  • Married... with Children: As admitted by Ed O' Neil (Al) when recounting favorite moments, during a Christmas episode the Bundys and Darcys are watching a Santa sky dive for a promotional stunt on TV. As the news covers it, the sky diver ends up losing his parachute and lands right in the Bundy's backyard. Ed can be seen trying very hard not to laugh.
  • Tommy Davidson guest-stars on Martin as a former radio jockey turned Hollywood star. It's clear that the scene is a mix of script and ad-libs. At one point in the scene, Davidson says "the catfish are delicious," and Martin can't help but start laughing to himself and tries to turn his head from the camera. Tommy tries to continue, but also has to turn away and you can hear him guffawing his way through the line. Martin doesn't speak again, until he stops laughing. I mean just watch
  • In-universe example in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary is at the funeral for Chuckles the clown, and keeps having to suppress laughter, even after she warned the others to stay serious. She is told that it is all right, that Chuckles lived for making people laugh, and that even at his own funeral, he would want her to laugh. Mary stares for a second and starts bawling.
  • Merlin had Nathaniel Parker, playing Agravaine, in series 4. Agravaine is pure evil, which makes watching the good-natured and utterly charming Parker lose it repeatedly in the gag reel even funnier.
  • On Modern Life Is Goodish, Dave Gorman performs a "found poem" in every episode, made up of website comments about an inconsequential news story. Quite frequently, after a particularly absurd line, he will struggle to keep himself from laughing.
  • In the Penguin On The Television sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, Graham Chapman's exclamation of "Oh, intercourse the penguin!" causes John Cleese to obviously stifle his laughter and get back in character.
    • In that same sketch, watch Graham's face right after "Burma!".
    • It's hard to find an episode of Monty Python without a scene of Michael desperately trying not to corpse. And being utterly adorable as he does.
    • John Cleese's truly EPIC attempts to get Michael Palin to corpse — at which he succeeds repeatedly — arguably make this version of the Dead Parrot Sketch the best one ever made.
      Palin: He's just...pining for the fjords.
      (long, poignant pause)
      Palin: (straightens up and smiles, clearly trying not to laugh as the audience laughs and cheers)
      Cleese: PINING FOR THE FJOOOOOORDS? (starts laughing himself) What kind of talk is that?!
      (Audience cheers and applauds loudly)
      Cleese: This is nothing to laugh at!
      Palin: (shakes with suppressed laughter)
    • Another example in the election night sketch they interview Kevin Philips Bong of the slightly silly party, Who proceeds to start singing "Climb Every Mountain" and getting everyone.
    • Cleese has to pause during Gumby Brain Specialist to prevent from laughing.
    • In-universe: In "The Deadliest Joke in the World" sketch, Scotland Yard's chief inspector attempts to enter the house in which the written joke is located and remove it. He is accompanied by the chanting of Laments by the men of Q Division and by the playing of somber music on Gramophone records to ensure he doesn't laugh. It doesn't work as the Inspector comes out laughing his head off until he dies. Later in the sketch, the stoic and abusive Nazi officer (John Cleese) hears the joke as told by the captured British soldier (Michael Palin) in German. He bellows "That's not funny!" before succumbing to laughter.
  • Morecambe and Wise were known for their very loose "rules" on corpsing and they practically smiled through every single thing they did and openly laughing at their jokes, it added to their charm. The people they were always trying to crack up were the serious actors, such as Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson failing to stop herself from laughing during their Anthony and Cleopatra skit.
    • Another example is during the Grieg's Piano Concerto skit, the background orchestra are laughing so hard and so constantly they might as well be in the audience. Hilariously averted in the same skit by their guest, renowned conductor/musician André Previn, who shows impeccable comedic timing and acting as a Straight Man despite not having acting experience. So straight in fact, he never corpses for a second during Morecambe's antics, even when the latter menacingly pulls Previn up close by his collar due to him criticizing Morecambe's performance.
    • This is even funnier when you learn that Morecambe and Wise were professional as hell during rehearsals and complained at people who ad-libbed. They of course ad-libbed during the actual recordings...
  • In one Mork & Mindy episode homaging It's a Wonderful Life, Mork is supposed to be invisible and inaudible as he observes Mindy's life without him. Pam Dawber makes a valiant but ultimately futile effort to keep a straight face to Robin Williams' antics. Apparently, Robin liked to do this deliberately. In an interview, Pam mentioned one time where he stood offstage completely naked just to mess with her.
    • Before that, there was Mork's first appearance on Happy Days. Henry Winkler later commented how difficult it was working on that episode because not only was Williams so funny, but he also never did anything the same way twice.
  • Mrs. Brown's Boys has this in spades. Though it's usually because writer and series star Brendan O'Carroll is very good at making things up, usually just to make the rest of the cast laugh.
  • An in-universe example in Murphy Brown Murphy tells some jokes about George Bush being stung by a bee during a commercial break. When they come back Jim Dial can't stop laughing. He gets a lot of hate mail and is worried about going back on in case he does it again. The FYI news team tries to reassure him. When he does eventually go back _everyone else_ breaks down laughing as he does his report completely professionally.
  • Most of the bloopers on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Poopie Reel (available on the "Manos" The Hands of Fate episode's DVD) consist of corpsing, which is made extra funny because most of the actors manage to stay completely in character even after blowing a take. This example in particular...
    • In the completed Monster a-Go Go episode, you can see Frank crack during the "Johnny Longtorso" song. As seen in the Poopie reel, it's fairly impressive that he could get through it at all.
      • Frank Conriff was very bad at these. It's amazing he could get through any of them.
    • Portrayed in-universe with the Mads' invention exchange for The Human Duplicators, in that they could not stop laughing at the absurdity of their William Conrad Fridge Alert. One has to wonder just how much of that was simply Trace and Frank rolling with it, though.
    • It's also common among the movie segments, Joel/Mike and the 'Bots frequently chuckle and crack up at each others riffs.
    • Samson vs. the Vampire Women just has Crow utterly lose it when El Santo suddenly shows up at the beginning of the film.

  • In The Nanny:
    • In "Close Shave", Fran, disguised as a nurse, is told to shave an unconscious Maxwell's pubic hair. Both Fran Drescher and Charles Shaughnessy began giggling uncontrollably — it was funnier in the latter's case, since Maxwell was supposed to be passed out.
    • In "Pen Pals", C.C. is preparing a romantic dinner with Maxwell, but unknown to her, Niles comes in instead, pretending he's Maxwell, and tells her to cluck like a chicken. While she obliges, Lauren Lane struggles to not laugh.
  • In Necessary Roughness one client turned to Dani after suddenly breaking into laughter during a live news report on an on-going war.
  • In the NewsRadio episode "Complaint Box", the cast are visibly and audibly fighting the urge to laugh at the facetious complaint cards which Dave is reading in a completely deadpan voice. Everyone, including Dave, finally loses it at "Help, I'm being held prisoner in a complaint box."
  • Peter Cook, a master of improv, liked to get his partner Dudley Moore to corpse during filmings of Not Only... But Also.
    Pete: [as Dud tries to hide his laughter by eating] You enjoyin' that sandwich, are ya?
    Dud: [weeps with laughter]

  • The title of King of Corpsing might very well go to Ricky Gervais, co-writer and star of The Office, Extras and Life's Too Short. He not only ruins many takes with his very boisterous laugh, but will actively try to make his fellow cast members corpse. And he always succeeds.
    • In this outtake from a guest spot on Sesame Street, Kevin Clash is obviously cracking up at Gervais' jokes (and vice versa), but he impressively manages to stay in character (as Elmo) the whole time.
  • One blooper from The Office shows John Krasinki, who plays Jim, being unable to contain himself after watching Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight, deliver the quote "May you fight with the strength of ten full-grown men".
    • Rainn Wilson corpses around ten times trying to deliver the line "I will pray to Thor himself" on the season 2 reel.
    • According to the DVD commentary on Season 2, Mindy Kaling was the worst for this. During the episode "Drug Testing", the blooper reel shows her breaking up several times while Dwight interrogates her.
    • Nobody in the cast was immune, if the blooper reels are any proof. This infamous one managed to get the entire cast and crew wheezing.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • In "Red Handed", Granny snarks to Ruby that she dresses like a crossdresser. Ruby snarks back Granny dresses like Norman Bates when he dresses like Norman Bates' mother. August is trying not to laugh, and the writers chose to Throw It In!.
    • In "Broken" when Henry calls David "grandpa"note  Snow actually cackles. Ginnifer Goodwin claims that she burst out laughing for real.
    • Rebecca Mader claims she did this during Zelena's first scene with Mary Margaret — where she had to rub Ginnifer Goodwin's pregnant belly for about five minutes. She also saw Goodwin about to lose it during a scene where Zelena delivers a monologue to the frozen couple.
  • Very narrowly averted during the iconic chandelier scene in Only Fools and Horses. They only had one take, so if anyone corpsed, the whole thing would have been ruined. David Jason claimed it had taken every ounce of his professionalism not to laugh, and the moment the director yelled "cut", there was an explosion of laughter as the crew members all removed various objects like socks that they'd inserted into their mouths to keep from laughing.
  • An in universe example occurs in Outnumbered, in the episode appropriately named "The Funeral". During the titular funeral service, Sue's grief manifests itself as hysterical laughter, to the shame of the family and annoyance of the other people at the funeral. Unlike many other things on the show, this does not appear to have been improvised (i.e. following the actor corpsing): it is foreshadowed and referred to throughout the episode, with the characters expressing concern that she'll do the same thing as "at [the last] funeral they went to".



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