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Funny / Downton Abbey

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    Series 1 
"What is a week-end?"
  • And, of course, nearly falling over in the swivel-chair:
    Lady Grantham: Good heavens, what am I sitting on!?
    Matthew Crawley: Er..swivel..chair.
    Lady Grantham: Another modern brainwave?
    Matthew Crawley: Hardly. They were invented by Thomas Jefferson.
    Lady Grantham: Why does every day involve a fight with an American?
  • "In situations such as this one can normally find an Italian who isn't too picky."
    • Let's not forget this gem, after Pamuk's death:
    Lady Grantham: Of course it would happen to a foreigner. It's typical. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house - especially somebody they didn't even know.
    • And when discussing the scandal with Cora
    Lady Grantham: We can't have him assassinated. . .I suppose.
  • Daisy (the lowest ranking servant) actually believing she'll meet the Duke of Crowborough back in the first episode.
  • The Crawley's totally over the top reactions to Sybil wearing pantaloons. Downton's known for it's long reaction shots, but this scene really lingers on everyone: Cora seems on the verge of fainting, Violet is decidedly not impressed, Matthew is clearly enjoying the fun while poor Robert is just confused. Then of course you've got Branson grinning at the window, hinting he was in on Sybil's plan.
    • Mary's reaction is one of shock - but less "she's wearing pantaloons" shock and more a "you crazy idiot, you actually did it!" shock.
  • When Mary tells Matthew the story of Perseus, Sybil can be seen intently listening.
  • The darkly comic Mood Whiplash caused by Pamuk's death. From a passionate love scene to "He's dead. I think he's dead".
    • The reaction of Cora being woken up in the middle of the night to be told that she has to help Mary and Anna move a body halfway across the house. It's Black Comedy but the whole scene is awkwardly hilarious.
  • About Cora's pregnancy:
    Robert: How could this happen?
    Cora: The doctor will tell you the details by a glass of whiskey.
    • In the very next scene he appears in, he and the doctor are drinking whiskey!
  • The Dowager Countess' mini-rivalry with Mrs. Crawley is almost too much fun to watch. Their constant one-upping of each other often provides much-needed comic relief in an otherwise very dramatic series.
    Violet: You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.
    Isobel: I take that as a compliment.
    Violet: I must have said it wrong.
  • After Mrs. Crawley accuses the Dowager of telling Mary to refuse Matthew until Cora's baby is born.
    Dowager Countess: Your quarrel is with my daughter Rosamund. I told her to accept him, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.
    • Made even better by the quick shot of Carson's rather pleased reaction.
  • Mr. Carson's reveal of his shameful past as a stage performer, which to him seems to be on the same level as murdering someone.
    • And when he expects to be fired over it, Robert instead says he's rather impressed.
    • That said, Carson's stuffy nature can become so hilarious that it's an inside joke among some of Downton's residents. Among one of his more memorable moments is his practicing using the new telephone and getting in an argument with the operator.
    Well, I dare say a lot of the things you do sound stupid to other people! *hangs up*
  • When Cora suggests Mary visit New York to cool off from the Pemuk scandal, Violet says she's not that desperate.
  • Mrs. Patmore unsuccessfully trying to inform Daisy that Thomas isn't interested in her. Daisy doesn't seem to understand what "He's not a ladies' man" and "he's a troubled soul" are supposed to mean.
  • "Daisy, may I ask why you are holding Lady Sybil's biscuit jar?"
  • When Cora says "Things are different in America", Violet says its because Americans live in wigwams.
  • Robert managing to say without a hint of irony how great it would be to have people serve your every need, while Carson is serving him dinner.
  • Miss O'Brien and Thomas get worried that Bates has planted the snuff box they stole in one of their rooms. Cut to O'Brien's room turned apart trying to find it. And Mrs Hughes at the door.
    "Well you've been busy."
  • Violet is quite puzzled as to why Mary's so troubled by the Turkish man's death.
    "One can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We'd all be in a state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper."
  • Mrs Patmore's cataracts cause her to accidentally put salt in the dessert. Despite the family being mortified at dinner, Mary immediately starts snorting into her napkin with laughter.
  • Cora tells Violet that Mary doesn't want to marry Matthew without telling him about Pamuk's death as it would be dishonorable.
    Violet: She reads too many novels. One way or another, everyone goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.
  • Mrs Patmore's reprimands of Daisy are always priceless.
    "Daisy! I sent you for a drink of water, not a trip up the Nile!"
  • Right before Mrs Patmore goes for her operation, she suggests that Daisy sabotage Mrs Bird's cooking so as not to upstage her own. Daisy putting soap in the soup. And Mrs Bird switched the upstairs food with the servants', catching Daisy red-handed.
    • Mrs Bird also finds it Actually Pretty Funny, compliments Daisy on her loyalty and then sends her to get tomorrow's dinner.
      Mrs Bird: You've not had a chance to spoil that yet, I suppose?
      Daisy: I was gonna mix in some syrup of figs in but I've not done it yet.
    • At the last revelation you can see Gwen and Bates cracking up.
    • Thomas finds a silver lining in what almost happened.
      "At least we'd have all been regular."

    Series 2 
  • Right after Matthew and Sir Richard have a fight, following Mary ending the engagement, and deciding to leave Downton Abbey first thing in the morning:
    Sir Richard: (to Lady Grantham) I doubt we'll meet again.
    Lady Grantham: Do you promise?
    • In the same exchange discussing the vase broken in the fight. Matthew apologizes for breaking it.
    Matthew: Sorry about the vase.
    Lady Grantham: Oh, don't be, don't be - it was a wedding present from a frightful aunt. I have hated it for half a century.
  • About Sir Richard:
    Lady Grantham: It's not that I dislike him, I just don't like him.
  • O'Brien hazing Ethel.
  • Mrs Patmore and Daisy are at Sybil's request teaching her how to cook so she might be better prepared for her upcoming nursing/caretaker training. When Mrs. Patmore sees her first attempt she responds as she normally would as if she was talking to another servant.
    Mrs. Patmore What in wonderland do you call that!? (Remembers who she is talking to)..I mean I do not fully understand what you are trying to do M'lady.
  • When Mrs. Hughes reveals that a person standing in the airing cupboard can listen to a conversation in the kitchen through a vent, so she knows why Bates suddenly left with his wife, Vera.
    Carson: If I were a gentleman, I would not wish to know.
    Mrs. Hughes: But you're not.
    Carson: Fortunately. [closes door]
  • Carson, Anna and Mrs. Hughes stopping Tom's plot to throw slop on Gen. Strutt. They thought he was going to kill him!
  • Presumably, this was unintentional but it gets a few childish sniggers.
    Robert: Still in one piece, thank God.
    Matthew: Touch wood.
    Robert: I never stopped touching it.
  • Tom arriving so he and Sybil can announce their engagement, unknown to everyone.
    Tom: I'm here.
    Lord Grantham: So, I can see.
    • Cora's increasingly horrified expression as the lovers explain their future plans.
  • Sybil gasping at Mary when she walks out of the sitting room when they were talking about Pamuk's death.

    Series 3 
  • When Coras' mother is visiting, Lady Grantham has this gem.
    Lady Grantham: I'm so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtues of the English.
    Matthew: But isn't she American?
    Lady Grantham: Exactly.
  • Martha arriving in Series 3 Episode 1 and unleashing the bells of hell onto Downton with her American ways. Tis very funny.
  • While it happens in the middle of a very serious scene, this troper found it hilarious that Robert was commended for being smart enough to use modern methods to handle the finances at Downton, thus saving it from future financial ruin, after he spent several episodes fighting tooth and nail whenever Matthew tried to implement said methods.
  • New footman Jimmy is irritated when Carson introduces him to the Crawleys as James:
    Jimmy: I was Jimmy to Lady Anstruther.
    Carson: I don't care if you were Father Christmas to Lady Anstruther!
  • The clash between The Dowager Countess and Cora's mother, Martha Levinson. Played to absolute perfection by Dame Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLane. A proper, aristocratic British Matriarch + An eccentric rich American matriarch = fun for everyone!
  • This exchange between Lady Grantham and Sybil, right before Edith's wedding:
    Lady Grantham: I really think you should go to bed. No bride wants to look tired on her wedding, that means she’s anxious or up to no good.
    Edith: I won't sleep a wink.
    Sybil: Tonight or tomorrow?
    Lady Grantham: Sybil, vulgarity is no substitute for wit.
    Sybil: You started it.
    • It's EVERYTHING that Sybil does in this scene that sells it. She raises an eyebrow, smiles to herself when she hears "I won't sleep a wink", looks straight at camera, says her line then drinks her tea while looking away. ITS HILARIOUS.
    • Although this is a little sad in hindsight, when one realizes that Edith is once again the least fortunate sister even in this regard. Consider that Sybil's marriage to Tom, a handsome and fiery rebel is clearly passionate, considering how quickly she got pregnant, Mary has married the dashing and romantic Matthew and the first two episodes of season 3 made it clear that their relationship certainly does not lack passion. This impending marriage, on the other hand, does not seem likely to yield much in that department.
  • As everyone discusses the deadly serious topic of Branson's involvement in the burning of an English family's castle in Ireland, Violet can't help repeatedly bringing up how ugly the place was.
  • This exchange (about Thomas after he was outed)
    Mrs Hughes: Do you think he's the first of. . .that type I've met?
    Carson: I should hope so!
  • The Dowager Countess' disdain for the new-fangled dinner jackets.
    Violet: Certainly not! Oh, do you think I might have a drink? (turns and sees it's Robert) Oh, I'm so sorry. I thought you were a waiter.
  • Robert Crawley, Earl of Nonchalance:
    Robert: If I'd screamed blue murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton, I'd have gone hoarse in a month.
    • The look on Bates's face afterwards isn't too bad either.
  • Robert cementing himself as not the brightest man by suggesting he invest the family's finances with an American chap named Ponzi.
    • Even better, you can see Matthew facepalming at the suggestion.
  • Molseley dancing like a maniac after being hit by the liquor meant for O'Brien.
  • Robert and Violet awkwardly trying to pose for a photo with the Catholic priest who baptized Sybbie.
    Cora: Are you afraid you will be converted while your back is turned?
  • How utterly obsessed with the cricket match Robert becomes. Thomas is allowed to keep his job mostly because he's good at the game and he is only willing to get on board with Matthew and Tom's plan to save Downton if Tom plays for the house team. He is making major decisions with long lasting repercussions purely based on fielding a team.
  • The following sentence comes out of Violet Crawley's mouth: "You've been reading those communist newspapers again".
  • Edith knows what the Scarlet Letter is. This isn't shocking - she's young and yearning for love. But the fact that Isobel (as she doesn't query the meaning like Violet does) and Mrs Hughes have read it is rather funny.
  • The Running Gag of Violet constantly, basically as a reflex, calling Tom "Branson" instead of by his first name. Branson is how one would properly address a chauffeur but as Tom is family now it is proper to call him by his first name. When Violet suggest Tom be made the estates agent she points out the added benefit being she can now go back to calling him Branson.

    Series 4 
  • The final shot of series 4 (minus the Christmas special): Violet, Rosamund, and Isobel all surreptitiously leaning forward to watch Mary's suitors all driving off together.
    • "What is the plural term for suitors?"
  • Violet is outraged to hear Isobel describe her new life after Matthew's death, and tells her there's no need to eat off a tray!
  • Matthew notes in a letter how stupid he was to not get his will in order after getting married. Violet responds "I'm afraid I have to agree with him there," which is filmed almost like a Shakespearian aside.
  • Slade constantly getting on Carson's nerves with his American service style.
  • How easy it was that Violet could see through Edith and Rosamund's plan to have Edith give birth in Switzerland.
  • Edith and Violet discuss giving up Edith's unwanted baby in Switzerland.
    Edith: Is it alright that it should grow up Swiss?
    Violet: Switzerland has everything, except perhaps conversation. And one can live without that.
  • Daisy the Deadpan Snarker when Ivy and Daisy discussing Ivy's plans for the evening.
    Ivy: What do I wear?
    Daisy:' Clothes.
  • After Violet comments on Branson's lack of conversational skill:
    Robert: Not everyone can be Oscar Wilde.
    Violet: Thank heavens for that.
  • This exchange, as Carson gets the servants to help setting up the bazaar:
    Jimmy: Will we be paid extra?
    Carson: No, but if you play your cards right, you'll avoid being clipped around the ears.
  • Violet's gobsmacked face when Isobel and Lord Merton start getting along.
  • When Mary meets with Jack Ross to convince him to break things off with Rose, the entire scene is more or less very bittersweet from start to finish. There is one amusing quip from Mary, though. When Jack guesses that Lord Grantham wouldn't be very happy to have a black in-law, Mary says, "To be fair to Papa, I think he'd be more shocked by the fact that you're a singer in a nightclub."
  • The militaristic soundtrack during Alfred's cooking class.
  • Mary casually discussing how Thomas will love scoping out the hot ship's crew if Robert takes him to America.
  • Carson's biting Sarcasm Mode throughout negotiating with Molseley to replace Alfred.
  • Bates having to correct Anna that he's talking about his having possibly murdered Green, not Vera. It's practically Julian Fellowes coming on camera and saying "Yeah, I know I already did this story, but just roll with it, okay?"
  • Carson getting Squicked out by Mrs. Patmore talking about how hot Rudolph Valentino is.

    Series 5 
  • Poor old Molesley inadvertently dyeing his hair blue. (He'd been attempting to cover his grey hairs with black dye, but went overboard, turning his hair a sort of midnight blue colour.)
    • Really, that whole subplot was gold. Highlights include Robert asking Molesley if he had any "Latin or Spanish - or Irish?" blood, and then telling Carson that Molesley was not to come upstairs until his hair was no longer blue.
  • There's a crisis at Downton, and Robert is frantically running from room to room to alert people. Imagine his surprise when he stumbles upon Jimmy and Mrs. Anstruther getting... ah... frisky! He goes from screaming "Fire! Fire!" to deadpanning "There's a fire."
  • There's a runner in episode 2 where Rose keeps trying to find ways to hint that Downton should get a wireless. Robert gives a simple and straightforward "no" each time, even when she protests that she hasn't asked a question.
  • After Simon Bricker spends a whole dinner shamelessly flirting with Cora, Robert goes to bed demanding she tell him to stop flirting...with Isis!
  • Molesley's undisguised glee at Branson calling Larry Grey a bastard.
  • Violet and Edith's desperate attempt to get the dinner party conversation back on track after Robert storms out from Bunting pushing his buttons one too many times.
  • Mrs. Patmore's fury with Daisy (who refuses to put those "bally books" away and has been shirking her duties). When Daisy says she's been studying the "glorious revolution of 1688", Mrs. Patmore snarls "There'll be a glorious revolution down here if you don't watch it!"
  • Violet promptly standing up when the King's voice comes over the radio, getting the rest of the family to follow.
  • Violet's furious reaction to Susan's announcement of her divorce and mentioning that is she expected to be a "good loser"; Violet says there is nothing "good" about what Susan did — and the pursing of the lips seals it too; it's all funny, mostly because Violet is from the 1840s and grew up in a time where Susan would have been beaten with a cane for speaking like that. She's probably thinking "Can I get away with hitting her and not be seen?".
  • After all the drama and suspense over Robert finding out Edith has an illegitimate child, his only reaction is pretty much "Cool, I'm in on a family secret, for once!" Also, he says that Marigold's looks put him in mind of Gregson. (Though that may have been his way of avoiding saying that his own daughter was the girl's mother.)
  • Atticus being utterly confused at how no one in the family thought to look for Edith at the magazine she'd recently inherited.

    Series 6 
  • The sight of Thomas, of all people, giving George a piggyback ride.
    • Crosses over into Heartwarming Moments as well, since Thomas immediately agrees to do it and gets quite happily into character as a horse, including mock-galloping and clicking his tongue to mimic a horse's hooves.
  • While it is arguably Nightmare Fuel, the scene with Robert projectile vomiting blood at the dinner table.
  • Carson having to cook dinner after Mrs. Hughes feigns an injury to teach him a lesson.
  • When the Abbey flings its doors open to welcome the general public in Series 6, the family prove utterly, and hilariously clueless about many of the fixtures and priceless works of art depicting their ancestors when quizzed by the very curious visitors. Mary bluffs her way through, Cora and Edith are charmingly fluffy ("I don't know, but I'm sure they were all marvelous!"), and Violet, having no time for the whole affair, is briskly snappy, barking the merest snippets of detail.
    • Robert doesn't see any point in the open house:
    Robert: What have we to show them? Lady Grantham knitting? Lady Mary in the bath?
    Carson: raises his eyebrows with his eyes bulging out of his head
  • The discovery by Edith of who the mysterious "Cassandra Jones" is... Mr. Spratt.
  • Mrs. Patmore figuring out something's up with Mrs. Hughes and promptly going to try to talk some sense into her.
    Mrs. Hughes: Shall we go down?
    Mrs. Patmore: Before we do, I wish you'd tell me what's wrong.
    Mrs. Hughes: Whatever makes you say that?
    Mrs. Patmore: (makes a facial expression that can best be described as "Really?!")
    Mrs. Hughes: You'll say I'm being stupid.
    Mrs. Patmore: (bluntly) Well, maybe you are!
    • Mrs. Hughes then proceeds to explain that she feels self-conscious about Mr. Carson seeing her naked, as she feels old and unattractive. Mrs. Patmore tries to reassure her, and suggests she keep the lights off. The reply? "That is not helpful, Mrs. Patmore!" It only gets better from there, with Mrs. Patmore pointing out Mr. Carson might feel the same way, as "nobody's clapped eyes on him without his togs on in years - except maybe his doctor!", and ends with Mrs. Hughes convincing Mrs. Patmore to talk to Mr.Carson about the situation. Mrs. Patmore's body language just screams "Why me?!"
  • There's something pretty funny about Edith's conversation with her boyfriend about his cousin Lord Hexham, which manages to clearly convey that he's gay without actually saying so:
    "More arty than sporty, if you know what I mean." [...]
    "What does he paint?"
    "The young men of Tangier, mainly." [...]
    "And he's never wanted to marry?"
  • Mary's reaction to Anna going into labor in her room is basically a calm, "Ah. Well, this is going to suck, but we'll get you through it." Made all the funnier by Anna's understandable panic.
    • Mr Carson's and Mrs Hughes's reactions are rather funny too. Carson is horrified that Anna is, as noted, having a baby in Lady Mary's bedroom! Mrs Hughes drily notes that Anne doesn't have a choice!
  • As ever, the Dowager Countess offers a real zinger when asked a somewhat heady question:
    Rosamund: What do you suppose makes the English the way we are?
    Violet: Opinions vary. Some say it's our history... I blame the weather.
  • Violet's ever-so-proper way of informing Denker she's just made herself part of the layoffs she's been maliciously spreading rumors about. "You are a marvel. I shall miss you."
  • After Violet gets fed up with Isobel's latest haranguing about working class issues: "Does it ever get cold up there on the moral high ground?"
  • When Mary arranges for Anna to take a secret trip to London to see a specialist about her inability to conceive, Bates obliviously tells her to relax and "put your feet up." Anna can only reply with amusement, "Yes, my feet will be up."
  • Everyone trying mightily, and mostly failing, to stop themselves from bursting out laughing when they hear about the incident in Mrs. Patmore's bed & breakfast. Mr Carson mentions that he doesn't want the story spread upstairs. Immediately after this, we have a Smash Cut to Anna and Mary, utterly dying of laughter in Mary's bedroom. Anna mentions that she "couldn't resist telling [her]" and that it's "awful for [Mrs Patmore]" and then she and Mary begin cracking up again.
    • Also, the sight of Patmore as if she's starting to faint when she first hears of the trouble.
  • Robert uttering the words "sex appeal" when talking to Cora about what Mary sees in Henry Talbot. This from the man who was utterly squeamish 5 seasons ago discussing his wife's late pregnancy.
  • Violet reads about Spratt's tips for a dinner party - while Denker is trying to get Spratt in the doghouse, the Dowager is just utterly cracking up with laughter.
  • After Violet has a tirade at Cora in episode 6, the following situation occurs:
    Molseley: You won't believe what happened up there - in front of everyone.
    Mrs Patmore: (leaning forward in a "bring it" motion, using the work surface as support) Oof, try me.

  • At one point, Violet asks Isobel "do you have enough cliches to get you through the evening?". Isobel's reply? "If I don't, I shall come to you!" As one can tell... nothing has changed in this respect.
  • Isobel and Violet spend the majority of the film plotting and scheming - and, for once, they're working together in said plotting and scheming.
  • The teeth-bared scowl Isobel gives Violet after she's frustrated by the Dowager's resolute determination to get Maud Bagshaw's riches for Robert as they take a walk.
  • Molesley completely forgetting himself at dinner to tell the King that the Downton staff cooked and served his meal, instead of the royal servants. Upon realising, he panics, and when the Queen graciously offers a compliment, Molesley curtsies, having completely lost his mind in embarrassment, and backs out of the room.
  • The Downton servants are pushed to one side by the Royal Footman. Anna, kind, sweet, perpetually down on her luck Anna, basically declares war in order to get them all back serving in their own house. This is the woman who wouldn't hurt a fly!

  • It's not strictly from the show itself, but Graham Norton decided to share some Tweets with Dan Steven on his show after Matthew's death. Watch the segment here.
  • Early on in A Salute to Downton Abbey, host Hugh Bonneville talks some about the obligatory major character deaths and is about to speculate on who carks it in Season 6 when he suddenly coughs for dramatic effect.
    Hugh Bonneville: Pardon me. Just a little cough. Or is it?
  • Both of the parody videos Rob James-Collier and the cast did that parodied the show and Star Wars.
  • Stephen Colbert getting Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and Allen Leech to perform a scene using American accents. From Mary sounding like a New York socilaite crossed with a California bimbo, Robert sounding like Patton, and Tom as Tim Gunn's long lost brother, it is utterly hilarious and makes Downton sound like a trashing American daytime soap.
  • In the special features for the film's DVD release the cast talks about the first table read and Elizabeth Mc Govern reveals that when she began reading her lines she used an English accent, forgetting Cora was American. Michelle Dockery then reveals that, thanks to starring in Godless, she was using an American accent for Mary.
    • Mc Govern accidentally says something in am American Southern accent which leads to Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville, and Allen Leech to begin using different Southern accents throughout the rest of the interview, constantly cracking each other up
  • When asked what she has most in common with her character Imelda Staunton replies "We wear the same size."
    • Jim Carter states that Staunton was only cast because they didn't need to send an extra car for her (Carter and Staunton are married in real life). She cheekily then states how grand it is to only do upstair scenes, causing the Downstairs cast to burst into laughter and Carter tries to find a retort.


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