Follow TV Tropes


Funny / Les MisÚrables

Go To

For a serious novel/musical, there are some funny moments.

The novel

  • Madame Magloir's concern that they might get robbed or killed because of Valjean's presence in town.
    Magloir: “We say this house is not safe at all; and if Monseigneur will allow me, I will go and tell Paulin Musebois, the locksmith, to come and put the old bolts back in the door; we have them right here, and it will only take a minute. I say we must have bolts, if only for tonight; nothing could be worse than a door that can be opened from the outside by the first comer; and anyway the Monseigneur has the habit of saying, ‘Come in,’ even at midnight. But, my heavens! There’s no need even to ask permission––”

    At this moment there was a violent knock on the door.

    Come in!” said the bishop.
  • Advertisement:
  • When the Bishop's salary is doubled, Madame Magloire expresses happiness that now they'll have something extra...Gilligan Cut to the Bishop's ledger, which reveals he used all the extras to give to the poor as well. Her reaction isn't shown, but it can be easily imagined. Doubles as Heartwarming Moments.
  • The scene where Javert arrests the Thénardiers is one big Funny Moment—i.e., "Would you like my hat?" and "You will not leave by the window. You will leave by the door. It is healthier."
    • Culminating, when threatened with bludgeoning by Madame Thenardier, with what might be his most hysterical Badass Boast ever: "What a grenadier! Mother, you have the beard of a man, but I have the claws of a woman."
  • When the National Guard first arrives at the barricade, there's a rather amusing exchange.
    Guardsman: "Who is there?"
    Enjolras: [singsong] "The French Revolution!"
  • "I have just met Marius' new hat and coat, with Marius inside."
  • Half the things Gavroche says or does. The scene where he exchanges insults with a sergeant of the National Guard and then knocks him over with a cart deserves special mention.
    Sergeant: "Will you tell me where you are going, you wretch?"
    Gavroche: "General, I'm on my way to look for a doctor for my wife who is in labor."
    Sergeant: "To arms!"
    [Gavroche knocks the sergeant over with the cart]
    • From the same scene: "Citizen, I have not called you a bourgeois. Why should you insult me?"
  • Advertisement:
  • Even Hugo's digression on convents has its moments, specifically with the antics of little girls in convent schools.
  • Combeferre's most effective one-liner in response to Marius' speech on Napoleon: "To be free."
  • The chapter where Madeleine rescues Fantine from Javert's arrest is extremely sweet, with the scene after Fantine calls out Valjean for not intervening in her getting fired, pardons her. The funny part comes Javert, whom, watching this, cannot comprehend that the mayor is helping a prostitute is described as undergoing "a sort of intoxication of amazement", and becomes petrified with shock in which "thought and word failed him equally and the sum total of possible astonishment had been exceeded in his case." The scene continues with Fantine in shock and joy and Valjean seeking to pay her debts. Two pages later...
    Javert, up to that moment, had remained motionless, with his eyes fixed on the ground, cast athwart this scene like some displaced statue, which is waiting to be put away somewhere...
  • Advertisement:
  • The entire chapter with Theodule trying to get in M. Gillenormand's good graces, and the old man's reply: "You are a fool."
  • Towards the end of the book, Thénardier tries to blackmail Marius with the knowledge that Cosette is an illegitimate child. Upon meeting Marius, he has to pause and figure out how to best phrase the accusation, knowing that saying "Your wife is a bastard!" will more likely get him punched in the face.
  • Hugo's aside when Fantine introduces Cosette.
    "For Cosette, read Euphrasie. The name of the little one was Euphrasie. But the mother had made Cosette out of it, by that sweet and charming instinct of mothers[...] It is a kind of derivation that confuses and disconcerts the entire science of etymology. We knew a grandmother who succeeded in changing Theodore to Gnon."
  • The scene where Fauchelevent, after smuggling Valjean out of the convent in a coffin, has to think of a way to get rid of the gravedigger so he can get Valjean out is pretty amusing.
  • When Marius started to develop a crush on Cosette after weeks of seeing her and Valjean in the park, he found a handkerchief with the initials "U.F" on it which he thought that this belongs to Cosette and that her name must be Ursule (the only female first name with an U). Then, he starts kissing it. When Cosette saw this, she gives him a puzzling look and not to mention, that handkerchief belonged to Valjean who intentionally left it there. That's right! Marius is making out with Valjean's handkerchief!
  • When Valjean confesses his identity to Marius, Cosette interrupts their conversation. At one point, she jokingly claims that Marius beats her and asks Valjean to defend her. Then she gives Marius "an adorable shrug of the shoulders, and an indescribably exquisite pout," and Marius randomly exclaims, "I love you!," to which Cosette responds, "I adore you!".
  • Bahorel giving love advice to Joly. Note that this advice involves purchasing a new pair of pants.
  • The bishop's completely blasé reaction to being robbed, especially compared to his housekeeper's hysteria.
  • Grantaire's introductory paragraphs discuss how despite all the girls' rejections he boasts to his comrades that he is universally sought after. Two paragraphs before the description of his devotion to Enjolras.

The musical

  • The whole of "Master of the House" turns the Thénardiers' penchant for robbing their customers into Black Comedy. Not just robbery either. As Master Thenardier says, he's got nothing against acting like a nice guy, it doesnt cost him anything, "but nothing gets you nothing, everything has got a little price", so he tacks on tiny little extra charges everywhere he can. Charge you for the lice, extra for the mice, 2% for looking in the mirror twice! And dont even ask what they're passing off as beef in the pie.
    • Funny taken up to eleven in the 25th anniversary with Matt Lucas and Jenny Galloway.
    • "Thinks he's quite a lover but there's not much there", and Thénardier has no idea she just said that.
    • "EVERYBODY RAISE A GLASS!" "Raise it up the master's arse!"
    • "Cunning little brain... regular Voltaire... thinks he's quite a lover but there's not much there...
    • In some productions, a patron askes Thénardier for a chamber pot, which the patron uses then gives back to Thénardier. He puts in on the table and then his wife pours it back into a wine bottle, which she then gives him.
    • In the 10th anniversary concert, since all the actors are seated on stage in between their scenes, they all join in the chorus of this with great enthusiasm. Watching Colm Wilkinson and Philip Quast happily singing along and clapping to the beat, and Michael Ball apparently trying to get Quast to join him in some impromptu choreography, is hilarious.
    • It's especially funny when you realize that Javert (Philip Quast) is singing along with the Thenardiers song about their shameless thievery and price-gouging. Had the actual Javert been present, he'd have dragged both of them to jail by the second verse. Or had a heart attack on the spot from the sheer audacity of the Thenardiers.
  • Depending on how it's played, this exchange:
    Javert: Your time is up and your parole's begun. You know what that means-
    Valjean: Yes, it means I'm free!
    Javert: *beat* ''...No.''
  • By the same token, Valjean's description of the circumstances behind his imprisonment. In some productions, Valjean and Javert appear to be partaking in Snark-to-Snark Combat throughout the whole exchange:
    Javert: YOU ARE A THIEF!
    Valjean: I stole a loaf of bread.
    Valjean: I broke a windowpane.
  • Thénardiers in general, especially in waltz of treachery
    Shared our bread, shared each bone
    Treated her like she's one of our own,
    Like our OWN, monsieur!"
    • In the tenth anniversary, the actress who plays little Cosette holds back a smile at this point.
    • In other productions, young Cosette has an "Are you serious?" look on her face through the entire song.
      • In pretty much all versions, Valjean very clearly doesn't believe a word of it, yet manages to stay calm the whole time. Of course, he still has this tone of voice like "Okay, sounds fake but okay".
      • In the 25th anniversary version, Valjean can be clearly seen rolling his eyes after everything the Thenardiers say.
    • In some versions of this song, Thenardier mispronounces Cosette's name and his wife corrects him.
      Thenardier: Let's not haggle for darlin' Colette...
      Mme. Thenardier: Cosette!
      Thenardier: Cosette...
      • Turned into a slight running gag in the 2012 film, where even when the robbery happens, he mispronounces it and Mme. Thenardier corrects him again.
    • Some productions have Valjean throw the money for Cosette to the floor in front of the Thenardiers, and at first they ignore it and act sad as they say goodbye. But the second Valjean and Cosette are out of sight they go right for the money and are literally fighting each other for it.
    • "It's no more than we Christians must do." In one version, Thénardier unsuccessfully tries to make the sign of the cross.
  • In the robbery attempt, Thénardier goes "You will have a job to catch him, HE'S the one you should arrest! No more bourgeois when you catch him than that brand upon his chest!" when trying to mug Valjean.
    • "In the absence of a victim, dear Inspector, May I go?", delivered with pitch perfect hilarious innocence by Matt Lucas in the 25th anniversary.
    • The start of Beggars at the feast: "He's not fooled, told you so!".
    • In some productions, the Thenardiers have a small argument after Marius and Cosette leave. Thenardier wants to leave too ("We've got the money, let's go!") but Mme. Thenardier yells, "No! I wanna DANCE!" There is complete silence for a few moments, while the other guests back away and give them apprehensive looks, before the song starts up and everyone dances.
      • Another "varies between productions" funny moment for Beggars at the Feast— sometimes, the Thenardiers randomly stuff silverware into their costumes during the feast, and when they turn to go, a platter drops to the ground from under Mme. Thenardier's dress with the loudest CLANG. Silence falls as everybody stares, and the Thenardiers look upwards as if going "OH MY GOSH IT FELL FROM THE SKY", before snatching up the platter and exiting.
    • Here comes a prince / There goes a Jew. / This one's a queer / But what can you do? Especially humorous if Matt Lucas (who is gay) is playing Thénardier.
    • This part was made even funnier in one production where the man he calls a queer stops short and turns to look at Thenardier with a "The hell'd you say?" expression. The woman he was dancing with seems somewhat less interested in him after that. Another production had Thenardier kiss the man, who looked like he enjoyed it afterwards.
    • In another production, the guy who Thenardier pointed to immediately started making "no I'm not, I swear!" gestures to the lady he was dancing with when she gave him an indignant look. Poor guy.
    • "As for you, take this too!" *punches Thénardier.*
    • There's also the part in Plumet Attack where Eponine tries to stop her dad from robbing Valjean's house:
      Eponine: I'm gonna scream, I'm gonna warn them here!
      Thénardier: One little scream and you'll regret it for a year.
      Eponine: *screams*
  • Gavroche after Stars: That inspector thinks he's something but it's me who runs this town!
  • This exchange from Red and Black
    Enjolras: Grantaire put that bottle down!
    Grantaire: Give me brandy on my breath and I'll breathe them all to death!
  • Grantaire is full of humorous lines.
    You talk of battles to be won
    And here he comes like Don Ju-an!
    It's better than an o-per-a!
  • From Lovely Ladies:
    Prostitute: Long time
    Short time
    Anytime my dear
    • Really, any part of that song that doesn't involve Fantine is pretty funny. The song is riddled with innuendos.
  • In the 25th anniversary concert, during the robbery attempt, after Valjean and Cosette disappear, Marius is left standing there and realizes they're gone, darting offstage with his hands up and an "I wasn't here!" look on his face.
  • From the same concert, when Marius is explaining why he's so out of it at the meeting, as soon as he says the word "she", all his friends take on the most knowing expressions. It's entirely nonverbal, entirely background, and entirely hilarious.
  • A funny verse from the otherwise sad "Drink With Me".
    • Added hilarity in the 2014 Broadway revival, where the boy who sings this line(Joly) sings it, and proceeds to then fall backward off the bench he’s sitting on, either because he’s completely sloshed and laughing too hard, or because the woman sitting next to him smacks him across the chest immediately after he finishes his line.
  • Valjean pokes fun at Cosette's naivete on his deathbed.
    Yes, Cosette. Forbid me now to die!
  • "The Confrontation" can be a funny Mood Whiplash since Javert again antagonizes Valjean just moments after Fantine dies.
    • In some productions Valjean's reaction to Javert's appearance isn't shock or alarm, but just exasperation. You can practically hear some Valjeans thinking "You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!".
  • The two cops in the prologue arrest Valjean for stealing from the "honest" bishop, then said bishop lies for Valjean.
  • Meta example: during this dress rehearsal for a high school production, during "A Little Fall of Rain", Eponine's squib goes off too early and squirts all over herself and Marius. They completely lose it, and can't keep a straight face throughout the song. To make it even better, the bloodpack goes off RIGHT before the line "Oh God, it's everywhere!"
  • Another offstage moment: Ramin Karimloo's mask (which straddles the line between Nightmare Fuel and Narm) on Vlogger 24601. Other people's reaction to it are generally disgust, shock, or laughter. Andy Mientus (Marius) gives an amused "Ooooooooooh," a Fascinating Eyebrow, some light teasing, and after Ramin kisses him on the lips (with the mask) says that this probably fulfilled some weird fantasy for him. Watch here. The link starts at Andy's reaction, but the reactions start at 8:26.
    • Cliff Saunders (Thénardier)'s annoyed, "Moooooom!" as well.
  • This 1987 Hungarian production of Les Mis is, for the most part, quite good, but then there is Valjean basically screeching the end note of "Who Am I" and Javert doing the same in his suicide scene. It really needs to be heard to be believed. The former example is particularly infamous and had become something of a minor meme among the musical's fans.
  • The revival also spices up the oft-disparaged “A Heart Full of Love” by making Marius Adorkable as hell. He moans “I’m doing everything all wrong” at turning around to see Cosette is gone from her balcony, and when she then comes out the front door he can barely squeak out “I do not even know your name.”

The 2012 film

  • The look on Gavroche's face when Javert randomly picks him up in "The Robbery".


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: