First day on the job and the new Director armed with state-of-the-art Service Weapon gets called "Janitor's assistant" by Ahti. Most amusing is that Jesse actually likes that job better than being the Director, as she's used to that kind of thing from past experience.
One of the first Collectibles you can find is a Correspondence: a "Security Order" memo concerning a recent incident. Almost all of it is redacted, except for how there was "a shark in his ███████", and then, "Shoot to kill." As always, the Noodle Incident is funnier than anything Remedy themselves could possibly devise.
Later in the game, Emily mentions an incident where, due to the Oldest House's shifting geometry, a meeting room is suddenly merged with a Shark tank. Either this is the same incident or the FBC has a shark problem.
Cringe Comedy erupts when Jesse encounters the first living humans besides Ahti:
Pope: "I'm Pope, Emily Pope, Dr. Darling's assistant." Jesse (internal monologue): My turn. Should I lie? Jesse: "Jesse Faden. I'm just visiting." Jesse (internal monologue): I should've lied.
Shortly after that Pope asks how Jesse got into the Oldest Building, since that is supposed to be impossible barring very special circumstances. Jesse comes up with a lie on the spot, which Pope seems to find both ridiculous and convincing. Which is par for the course for the Bureau.
Jesse: A janitor let me in. Pope: I love it. This is fucking unbelievable. It's- I can't even-
Considering the elevator from the lobby only appears after Jesse speaks with Ahti the janitor, it's possible Jesse is one hundred percent correct.
Anytime the banal day-to-day life of bureaucracy intersects with the Eldritch Location that is the Oldest House, usually in collectibles or posters. These include a pissed-off employee demanding the maintenance workers find where the executive restroom has moved to this time and a note reminding employees that food left in a fridge in a certain break room has been known to disappear, and multiple documents showcasing the Whos got it worse game that was played amongst employees, starting with someone who had to inspect 100 tiny boxes filled with a single tooth each, followed by someone who got a box with nothing but a dead, rotting dog in it, capped off with someone who had to inspect every single piece of a possibly altered plane you can find in one of the rooms.
Do you know how many pieces of hardware it takes to make an airplane? I do!I DO!
Despite its colossal and ominous presence, the Board can get kind of... goofy when speaking, such as referring to the Merry-Go-Round Horse Object of Power as a 'Horse/Choochoo', or using terms that sounds like someone trying to be a casual friend, like "Wink wink?" in the Board Countermeasures.
Really, the Board ping-pongs between ominous and downright hilarious on a dime, between the amusing terms and words it uses, along with the fact that they are Leaning on the Fourth Wall so often, it's sometimes hard whether to take them seriously or not.
They also seem to use common terms that you might come across in advertising. Clearly the Board's language is affected by the human subconscious/pop culture just as much as the formation of Altered Items or Objects of Power.
After defeating FORMER, the Board has a message for you where they tell you that FORMER is no longer part of them and you should ignore it at all costs. They get weirdly competitive about this, reminding Jesse that they still offer a better "bonus package/health plan" of all things, and at that point, some of their own multiple-choice wordingbegins undermining them; in a single breath, they apologize for/deny all knowledge of FORMER, and tell her that if she leaves for them, she "will be sorry/dead" and will "never work/exist in this Torn/Cosmic Reality again."
Ongoing crisis makes for some disruption in organization hierarchy.
(Jesse asks Langston how he went from junior agent to Panopticon's supervisor) Langston: "...Put in a steady eight hours a day for ten years and voila. Supervisor." Jesse: (internal monologue) "I just picked up a gun..."
Speaking of Langston, for whatever reason, his two guards, when spoken to, respond as if they were robots, using a stilted tone of voice and syntax that seems to deliberately invoke the Uncanny Valley. Whether it's some sort of in-joke at Langston's expense or otherwise, it's amusing to see him respond to their low-key Robo Speak with confusion, annoyance, or disappointment (when they fail/refuse to acknowledge his "cell 69" joke).
Somehow, Langston has lower security clearance than his guards
Another random conversation has them break character, revealing that they are very much having a joke at Langston's expense.
Guard 1: So when are we gonna stop with the robot thing?
Guard 2: When it stops being funny!
The mission "A Good Defense" (where you get the Shield ability) requires Jesse to complete a Bureau-run obstacle course with canned narration by a worker who sounds completely and utterly checked-out, and a touch confused by the script he's been directed to narrate.
Voice: So... (clears throat) I just read this? Welcome to the Ranger Field Training Course, the course must be completed within the s... specified amount of time, when you're ready to start, press the button. Is that all? Or...
Even funnier when you complete the mission, you can find a formal complaint by the guy who's very miffed by the fact they used his unprofessional-sounding voiceover when he thought it was just a rehearsal. This suggests that somehow, the Bureau had already listened to it and didn't think there was any problem with it.
The "Talk to the Plants" side quest, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, with an added bonus of Jesse being awkward at small talk. Her attempts to chat up the potted flowers around research range from complimenting the plant's shade of chlorophyll to venting about her new position as the Director. Better yet, after she's done, she admits that she kinda wishes there were more plants to chat to.
When you eventually find the source of the Mold under the Pit, in the Active Threshold, Jesse quickly backpedals on her only compliment:
Jesse: Is that the source? It's... kinda pretty. *Mold-1 emerges from the hole, growling threateningly.* Jesse: Nope. Not pretty.
Jesse's utterly incredulous "What the fuck?!" when you face FORMER for the first time. Courtney Hope's delivery of that line is simply hilarious.
Some of available outfits make for hilarious imagery as you go about the bureau's business. Jesse can be Hellbent For Leather, a Badass in a Nice Suit, or bedecked in a Badass Longcoat as she battles the Hiss. But why not do it in an ostentatious shiny yellow suit? Or in sweats and socks?
And if you've appeased the Maneki-neko in the Foundation, you can do all the above... with cat ears!
Funny in a terrible kind of way; the first time you find a Threshold Kids tape you're left wondering where such a creepy thing could have possibly come from. Is it an Altered Item taking the form of a deranged television program in the vein of Candle Cove? Some sort of relic from an alternate dimension? Nope, turns out it was supposed to be a normal kids show made by Dr. Darling and his team to teach children about life at the Bureau. Darling proposed making it in-house with puppets he makes himself, staff for voice actors, and with a budget of nothing, thinking "It will be good for morale!" and "Kids love puppets!" They're just so detached from what constitutes "normal" at this point that they ended up making something terrible entirely by accident. It's no wonder Dylan ended up having problems if he was raised on that.
Even the show itself can be hilarious precisely because it's so badly made. Mr. Bones in particular has a penchant for Suddenly Shouting that can be both creepy and a gutbuster simultaneously.
Ahti's final assignment for Jesse is "Take A Break". Literally just sit down in the very room where she's given the quest and put her feet up.
After you have your reunion with Dylan in Central Executive, you can request to talk with him a few times, and each time he becomes lucid, he goes on a strange tangent about a dream he had. Most of the conversations are quite creepy, but they manage to have a bit of humor based in how unusually candid Dylan manages to be in explaining them.
The "Fridge Duty" mission features Jesse coming across a poor FBC agent in the Panopticon who's been staring at an altered fridge that will kill him if he looks away, but due to the calamitous lockdown, he's been stuck there for over a day. The situation of trying to get him out safely is unnervingly tense, but there's some Black Comedy found while asking Langston for help.
The PS4 exclusive mission "Doctor Yoshimi Tokui's Guided Imagery Experience" has Jesse listening to some audio therapy tapes, as voiced by none other than Hideo Kojima, and, if the content is anything to go by, written by him as well. The first tape is an Aesop about how your mind is a safe space for love, as represented through a parable about trees finding love only to be interrupted by a herd of forklifts. The second tape, however, is about how life is random and cold, as represented by finding random corpses on a beach (imagery which is likely not coincidental) and having to bury them. Somehow, this actually pumps Jesse up.
Interpreter: Don't you feel more prepared for the uncaring cruelty of life?
After leaving her office after the credits, Jesse says "The Shawshank Redemption, that's the movie I was thinking of." You might be furrowing your brow, wondering if this is a callback or thematically relevant to the story. Until Jesse follows up with "Not important."
It is in fact a callback to the very start of the game! Jesse compares her situation to the film, but can't remember its name, simply referring to it as 'The prison movie'.
Some FBC documents have done such a half-assed job of redacting information that it makes the redactions completely pointless, such as redacting only one or two instances of a word that appears multiple times in the document. The biggest example of this is one of the Dead Letters, which consists entirely of the same sentence written over and over again, but only one of them is redacted, somewhere around the middle of the page.
Alternately, that makes it creepier, implying that either that line was both jarringly different and contained something so horrible it had to be censored, or that the document itself is a dangerous memetic agent if read in full.
The jukebox was moved to a secure location because two low-ranking FBC agents used it to "engage in inappropriate workplace behavior" and ended up getting themselves killed. Of course someone saw a highly classified, powerful and dangerous Altered Item and thought "I could use this to spice up my sex life."
A Correspondence found in the base game is written by an administrative worker complaining about how the executive-level restroom had disappeared; while there's no proof this is the same restroom, this would make it a particularly long Brick Joke if it is.
In one of the side missions, "Jesse Faden starring in Swift Platform", you're supposed to cleanse a camera Altered Item only to be sucked into a cheesy action movie rail shooter sequence with a miniboss literally labeled "Third Act Villain".
The Astral training dummies start attacking you. The Board's hotline video on this is only three words long: "Apologies/How Embarrassing."
There is a hidden mission of collecting 8 different Neko Dolls that appear in odd locations. The Prize you get after finding them all? A pair of cat ears you can wear with any outfit.
FORMER: < Neither @#$@# Both @#$@ Hungry? > Jesse: Hungry? I mean, yeah, actually, I'd love a sandwich or something. That's not what you meant, was it? FORMER: < Right @#$#@$ Panini @#$@# Former @#$ Board @#$ Abalone >
After Jesse has resolved the crisis in The Foundation, not without some help from FORMER (with whom The Board does not like Jesse even speaking):
The Board: <We hope you will improve your Attitude/Loyalty> Jesse:[in an undertone] Well, fuck you too.
After a brief pause, she adds, much more loudly:
Jesse: Oh, I'll be sure to. Jesse:[to herself] Let's play it smart.
Jesse gets a tip from Langston over the intercom that the creature stalking the sealed-off Investigations Sector is weak to light. He asks her if she has any of the light-based weapons Alan Wake had in his game:
Langston starts going on an extremely long babble after that that keeps going as you pass by other speakers and intercoms. Some of it is about treating Altered Items with respect, a lot of it is about his current cat and his old cat, and if you come back later he's repeating the same conversation. Dude does not get out a lot.
The Fra Mauro AWE involves an alien being of unknown origin named Fra that stowed away on a NASA ship and was later taken into custody by the FBC. You can find recordings of him and even speak to him: He speaks English, but everything he says is Word Salad, leading him to do things like cheerfully respond to a threat with "Spider Time!" The poor guy trying to interrogate him just straight up does a Rage Quit when he can't make any sense of what he's saying.
Later you can end up in a sidequest with the guy to deliver a "head" for it while it's hiding in a safe room. It's still just as incomprehensibly hilarious, especially as it gets increasingly frustrated by Jesse's incorrect guesses as to what it actually wants.
Fra: Lady, you are school and dirt for losing. Jesse: Keep that up, and I won't help you anymore!
When Jesse notices the space module, she becomes excited that the numerous government conspiracies regarding Area 51, the moon landing and aliens are actually true.
Jesse gets some more chores from Ahti, and one of them is shining lights on plants. Her reaction? An unironic "Oooh, more plants!"
Three words: Langston freestyle poetry.
Back in Foundation, one can find an audio recording of Brian's Media Den, a non-FBC-related amateur review podcast by a mousy, basement-dwelling nerd whose only significance is that he reviewed a film that was made by Blessed Pictures. The fact that he found it creepy, surreal, and disturbing, yet gave a decent score anyway is funny enough, but he ends up coming back in AWE being interrogated by the FBC, who learn the hard way that he doesn't have much to say.