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Funny / A Christmas Carol

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The novel

  • The opening narration describes Marley as "dead as a doornail" and goes off on a tangent, musing about the validity of the phrase, since, if a nail is to be the object, surely a coffin nail would be a better symbol for death, before giving up and conceding that the phrase has probably stood the test of time for a reason and shouldn't be questioned.
    "But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for."
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  • Fred wishing Scrooge a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year presses his Berserk Button.
  • Bob Crachit's Captain Obvious moment explaining to Scrooge that opening the office on Christmas Day is pointless and a waste of time, as he'll have no one to do business with.
  • Scrooge's house is described as looking so out-of-place it's like it was playing hide-and-seek, got lost, and decided to stay there.
  • The famous "there's more gravy than grave about you" line in reference to Scrooge thinking Marley is an Acid Reflux Nightmare.
  • Upon seeing Marley's ghost and how it's transparent, Scrooge thinks how he'd always heard Marley had no bowels but never believed it until now.
  • Marley's ghost tells Scrooge that he has sat, unseen, beside him many times. When Scrooge is understandably creeped out by this, Marley responds, "That is no light part of my penance." Disturbing as Scrooge finds the idea, it's no picnic for the ghost either.
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  • At one point Marley howls so loudly the narrator says the Ward would be justified in indicting him for noise.
  • When Scrooge learns he's going to be visited by three spirits, he's very averse to the idea: "I'd rather not." And when Marley tells him when to expect the first ghost, "Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have it over with?"
  • The Black Comedy of the moment wherein a pair of Scrooge's debtors fully comprehend their old landlord is dead... and share a relieved embrace.
  • In a Crosses the Line Twice kind of way, the fact that Scrooge's maid stole Scrooge's bed-curtains, sheets, and his shirt. While he's still laying there, dead.
  • Scrooge talking to the young boy after his Heel–Face Turn.
    Scrooge: Come back with the man, and I'll give you a shilling!
    [the young boy looks up in shock]
    Scrooge: Come back in less than five minutes and I'll give you Half a Crown!note 
    [the boy takes off like a rocket]
    • What's really funny is that all the dialogue makes it clear the boy thinks Scrooge is 100% out of his gourd. Of course, the boy's opinion of Scrooge's insanity ends the moment he's offered money, at which point it's easy to imagine the poulterer will think the kid is nuts.
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  • Scrooge trolling Bob Cratchit after his Heel–Face Turn, which many actors have had a lot of fun with. Once Scrooge switches to Sincerity Mode, Cratchit's reaction is to start to calculate if he could move fast enough to reach the ruler and if he would be able to restrain his boss until someone can bring him a straitjacket.


  • Seymour Hicks' 1935 version has Jacob Marley be invisible, which results in him talking and reacting to nothing.
  • The 1938 film starring Reginald Owen has Scrooge call the night watchman on Jacob Marley's ghost, to no avail, as he disappears before they arrive. The watchman jokes about alcoholic spirits, and immediately after the police leave Marley reappears.
  • The 1949 version, narrated by Vincent Price, has Jacob Marley bang on Scrooge's door to get his attention before crashing through it like the Kool-Aid Man.
  • The 1954 "Shower of Stars" version gives Scrooge a huge prosthetic nose, which looks hilarious, especially from a side view.
  • In "Ms. Scrooge", the boy recruited on Christmas morning is entrusted with fifty dollars. He is astonished.
    Boy: Can I get that in writing?
  • Dean Jones' Scrooge and Marley is unintentionally funny at times from overacting and heavy-handedness, but an intentionally funny moment happens early on when Marley dies by choking on his soup and drowning in the bowl. Scrooge lifts his head up to confirm he's dead, immediately plops it back into the bowl, then yells at the undertaker for scraping the coffin against the wall. For added funny points, the coffin has a "Fragile" sign on it.
    • Scrooge and Marley are lawyers in this version. Marley's afterlife is spent chasing an ambulance, but he says the worst part is when he catches it, turning to show Scrooge tire tracks on his back.
  • Stage versions that keep Scrooge threatening to invoke an Acid Reflux Nightmare by swallowing a toothpick sometimes change the offending object, ranging from a match to a speck of dust to the lumps in Scrooge's gruel.
  • The made-for-TV movie Karroll's Christmas is predicated on the ghosts seemingly visiting the wrong house, haunting greeting card writer Allen Karroll instead of skinflint Zebediah Rosecog. When he wakes up from the visits, Allen wonders what day it is and sees what appears to be an Easter commercial on TV and starts freaking out that he was asleep for three whole months.


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