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Funny / Matilda

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  • The book starts with Roald Dahl snarking at parents who are completely oblivious to any fault their child might have, complete with giving examples of what he would write in an evaluation were he allowed to use the level of snark required.
    • This line: "I think I might enjoy writing end-of-term reports for the stinkers in my class."
  • Matilda tricking and humiliating her father.
    • Doubly so in the glue-in-the-hat incident, with Matilda innocently saying to her father "What's the matter, Daddy? Has your head suddenly gotten bigger?"
    • During the glue incident, Matilda recounts (or possibly makes up) a story about a little boy who went to pick his nose but he had superglue on his finger.
    • One of the tricks Matilda plays on her father is that she replaces his hair oil with her mother's hair bleach. When he ends up blond, Mrs. Wormwood says that he looks just like somebody's grandmother gone wrong. He responds, "I look just like you gone wrong!"
  • The parrot scene is hilarious. To put it into perspective, Matilda borrows Chopper, the neighbours' parrot, and hides him up the chimney. Chopper knows two phrases: "Hello" and "Rattle my bones". So when Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood hear him, they think the house is haunted.
  • The poem Nigel recites for how to spell "Difficulty", basically referring to the letters (and groups of letters) as "Mrs. [Letter]". Trunchbull responds by shouting, "Why are all these women married?!"
  • Hortensia pranking Trunchbull with itching powder in her underwear.
  • When the Trunchbull initially calls Bruce Bogtrotter to the stage ahead of the cake incident, she describes him to the assembled students as, among other things, "A thief! A crook! A pirate! A brigand! A rustler!" Bruce's response?
    "Steady on," the boy said.note  "I mean, dash it all, Headmistress."
  • The lead up to the pigtails incident, with the narrator describing the expression on Amanda's face as... that you might find on the face of a person who is trapped in a small field with an enraged bull which is charging flat out towards her.

     1996 Movie
  • Matilda's dad is full of hilarious moments, which isn't surprising since it's Danny DeVito playing him. Even some of the things Mr. Wormwood says and how he says it...
    (leaving the hospital with a newborn Matilda) "Five thousand dollars?! I'm not paying it! What are they gonna do, repossess the kid?!"
    (selling a car to Ms. Trunchbull) "In a manner of speaking, yes. Uh, welcome to Wormwood Motors. Harry Wormwood, owner, founder, whatever!"
    (Michael chokes on a carrot Matilda just shoved in his mouth with her powers) "Chew yer food! You're an animal!"
  • Matilda tricking and humiliating her father.
    • The bit with peroxide in the hair tonic, leading to the folder.
      Harry: Lovekins, where's my breakfast?
      Zinnia: Here we are, my heartstrings. (sees Harry's hair) WAAUGH! (throws two bowls of cereal in the air) Snickerdoodle, what did you do to your hair?
      Harry: My hair...?! (goes to the mirror and sees his now-bleached hair) AAAAAAAARRRRRGH! (falls over sideways)
    • The incident when Matilda puts superglue on Harry's hat:
      Zinnia: I think your head is swollen, Harry.
      Harry: The fibers are fused to the head!!
      Zinnia: "The fibers are fused"? What's THAT supposed to mean?!
    • The parents being too stupid to put two and two together and deduce that Matilda may have played pranks on them.
      • Mr. Wormwood was a jerk to Matilda the night before. His bathroom has a bottle of peroxide and the hair oil is purple and made with violets. He never once considers that someone may have put peroxide in the bottle or notice the color of the "oil" may be lighter.
      • Mr. Wormwood has just showed his son how to "Super Super-Glue" a bumper to a car... then berates Matilda when she calls him out on his fraud. Rather than considering that "Matilda got back at me by putting glue in my hat", he and his wife come up with weirdness involving head-swelling or hair/hat-fiber-fusion.
    • "I still don't understand how you glued your hat on, Harry. I mean, I know you say you didn't, but obviously, you did."
    • After Zinnia finally manages to get the hat off:
      Harry: From now on, this family does exactly what I say... WHEN! EXACTLY! WHEN! I SAY IT!
      Zinnia: (hands him his hat) Here's your hat, Harry.
      (Harry snatches his hat and throws it aside)
  • Harry catches Matilda reading while he wants the family watching television together.
    Harry: What is this trash you're reading?
    Matilda: It's not trash, Daddy. It's lovely. It's called Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
    Harry: Moby what!?
  • Matilda arguing with her parents about her age.
    Harry: Dearest pie, how old is Matilda?
    Zinnia: Four.
    Matilda: I'm six and a half, Mommy.
    Zinnia: Five, then.
  • When Ms. Honey visits Ms. Trunchbull's office. Trunchbull's antics before she steps in — target practice on photos of her various students with darts and a javelin — is amusing in a very dark way. With her evil chuckling, you just know she's really enjoying herself.
  • How hammy is the Trunchbull? When she's barking over the PA system, the speaker's mesh actually pulses in and out as though she was yelling just behind it.
  • Mr. Wormwood's subtle reaction to Trunchbull's line about never having been a child. It's like "Uh, Oooookaaayyy...."
  • When Amanda Thripp is Hammer Thrown over the fence, some students can't help but commend Trunchbull's technique!
    Hortensia: Good loft!
    Boy: Excellent release!
  • When Bruce Bogtrotter finishes eating the cake. It's funny because the score in that scene sounds like it belongs in an epic film. It's funny how it takes a scene where a boy is eating cake seriously.
  • Many of the bits with the goofy FBI Agents.
    • When Matilda comes home at night after the whole cake scene. The agents are in a car, watching a "Red Asphalt"-type video while eating.
    • The Wormwoods (at least Zinnia) are stupid enough to fall for their "Speedboat Salesman" spiel.
    • When Mr. Wormwood kicks one of them out (Paul Reubens), the agent goes, "Are you interested in time-share?"
    • The cheesy "secret agent"-type music that plays when they're snooping in the Wormwood's garage.
    • The agents arguing over who gets to use the camcorder during the Garage-snoop. In fact; the dynamic between the agents, period.
  • Adding to the above, many, if not all scenes involving Ms. Trunchbull when they aren't nightmarish.
    • "Your mommy... is a TWIT!!"
    • "Am I wrong? I'm never wrong. In this classroom, in this school, I am GOD!"
    • "For this newt, you PISS-WORM!!"
  • Matilda magically makes a glass of water containing a newt tip over onto the Trunchbull, and Trunchbull's desperate attempts to get the creature off of herself are hilarious.
    • After everything, Matilda decided to lampshade said moment to Lavender and Matilda imitating her "dance" when she tried to shake the newt off her chest.
    • There's a brief moment when Trunchbull tries to blame Matilda for making it happen (correctly, but no one knows about Matilda's power at this point), and Miss Honey asks how Matilda could possibly have made it happen from across the room. There's a short moment of mental standstill as Trunchbull realizes that there really isn't any way even she could blame this on Matilda.
  • When Matilda first shows Miss Honey her powers, she makes a pitcher of water levitate. Miss Honey, deep in thought, pushes the pitcher back down without even noticing. Matilda then does it again and Miss Honey notices. The look of surprise on her face is adorably funny.
    • And then, when the Trunchbull walks in, the pitcher is still levitating, so Miss Honey grabs the handle and has to pretend she's just casually holding a pitcher of water there.
  • The Trunchbull going on a bestial rampage while searching for Matilda and Miss Honey in her house.
    • "Who's in my HOOOOUSE?!"
    • (jumps off stairs) "TALLY HO!"
      • Complete with a Bomb Whistle noise, and an impact that manages to shake the entire house.
    • "Some rats are gonna DIE today...!"
      • In a nutshell. The Trunchbull's often hilarious as she is terrifying, mainly from the Large Ham performance, and the sheer audacity of the writing and filming.
  • Just before her rampage, the Trunchbull sniffing at her favorite chocolate box lid Wolverine-style and then her sudden twitch realizing she's not alone in her house.
  • Trunchbull is getting ready to leave her house in her car, but suddenly, a black cat approaches her, meowing for her attention. As it turns out, Trunchbull is a superstitious person and is, therefore, terrified of black cats. The teacher is seen skipping backwards like a scared little girl and tries to scare it off by shaking her key-ring and barking like a dog, only to send it flying by kicking it away when it gets too close for comfort.
  • During the start of the climax, Trunchbull's busy berating the kids and the kids respond to one of her questions:
    Kids: Yes, Miss Trunchbull.
    Boy: ...sir.
    • Hilariously, Ms. Trunchbull pauses for a split second as if pondering what to do with this response, before stiffening up and becoming even more commanding, as if she took the boy's response as some sort of challenge.
  • Trunchbull's line about playing a game called "Who was wearing a pretty red, hair ribbon yesterday, and isn't wearing one today?". The line delivery is hilarious, especially when the facade completely falls through no more than a few seconds later.
    Trunchbull: (throws the ribbon to the ground and stomps on it) WHO DOES THIS STUPID, DISGUSTING RIBBON BELONG TO?! (spits on it) I shall personally see to it that the demented, drooling, slime-breathed little Lilliputian who owns this DIS-GUS-TING RIBBON, WILL NEVER AGAIN SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!
  • The defeat of the Trunchbull is a Funny Moment of Awesome.
  • At the end of the movie, Matilda is having tea with Miss Honey when the Wormwoods come rushing up because they're fleeing the country to escape the FBI. Zinnia grabs Matilda and starts heading for the car... but even though the authorities are coming for them that very moment, she still takes the time to dump a plate of cookies into her purse by quite literally snatching the plate from Miss Honey.
  • Crossing over with Fridge Brilliance, the Wormwoods plan to escape the FBI's jurisdiction by moving to... Guam. A U.S. territory. Didn't Think This Through indeed.
  • Also, Harry calling Matilda "Melinda" as he tries to get her into the car.

  • Matilda's birth scene.
    Mrs Wormwood: (goes out with a baby bump) Well, doctor, what's wrong with me?
    Doctor: Mrs Wormwood, do you really have no idea?
    Mrs Wormwood: Gas?
    Doctor: Mrs Wormwood, I want you to think very carefully. What do you think might be the cause of this? (points at Mrs Wormwoods's bump)
    Mrs Wormwood: Am I...look, am I fat?!
    Doctor: You're pregnant!
    Mrs Wormwood: What?
    Doctor: You're going to have a baby.
    Mrs Wormwood: But I've got a baby! I don't want another one. Is there anything you can do?
    Doctor: You're nine months pregnant!
    Mrs Wormwood: Antibiotics?
    (later, after Matilda is born)
    Doctor: Mr Wormwood, are you smoking a cigarette?
    Mr Wormwood: What? Oh, of course. I'm sorry, doctor. What was I thinking? This calls for a proper smoke. (throws away cigarette and starts smoking a cigar, holds Matilda) Oh, my word, he's an ugly little thing.
    Doctor: This is one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen.
    Mr Wormwood: (unwraps the baby's swaddling blanket) Oh, my good Lord, where's his thingie?
    Doctor: His what?
    Mr Wormwood: His thingie. His whatchamacallit. His do-dah. What have you done with his thingie?
    Doctor: This child doesn't have a 'thingie'.
    Mr Wormwood: What? A boy with no thingie? Look what you've done, you stupid woman. This boy's got no thingie.
    Doctor: Mr Wormwood! This child is a girl.
  • During the "Everything I Know, I Learnt from Telly" song, Mr Wormwood says, "Who the dickens is Charles Dickens?"
  • When Matilda dyes her dad's hair green, he tries to pretend it's "National Green Hair Day" to celebrate all the green things in the world. Only trouble is, the only green things he can think of are lettuce and snot.
  • At the beginning of the "Naughty" number, Matilda switches from nursery rhymes to Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
    Matilda: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. They said their subsequent fall was inevitable.
  • Agatha Trunchball's little... digression in the middle of "The Smell of Rebellion". Up till this point, she's been singing about how she intends to weed out rebellious students from the school, and then suddenly, she starts singing this. Full warning, it Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
    Miss Trunchbull: Imagine a world with no children
    Close your eyes and just dream.
    Imagine... come on, try it, the peace and the quiet
    A bubbling stream
    Now imagine a woods with a cottage,
    And inside that cottage we find
    A dwarf called Zeke, a carnival freak
    Who can fold paper hats with his mind, and he says,
    "Don't let them steal your horses, no!
    Don't let them throw them away, no!
    If you find your way through, they'll be waiting for you
    Singing... neigh! Neiiigh!"
  • Before Bruce starts eating the cake:
    Miss Honey: Headmistress, he'll be sick!
    Miss Trunchbull: He should have thought of that before he made a pact with Satan and decided to steal my cake!
    • And then he does a giant burp and notes that it was "the biggest burp [he'd] ever done, the biggest burp [he'd] ever heard [and] the biggest burp [he'd] ever heard about."
  • The scene where Bruce Bogtrotter finishes eating the cake gets its own song in the musical. The music as he finishes the cake is the Moment of Awesome of a very good song.

    Other adaptations 
  • The Norwegian radio drama adaptation adds a number of jokes, especially from the Wormwoods.
    • One of the first scenes in the audio drama has the Wormwoods talk to one of their neighbours. Mrs Oakleaf, who's out walking her dog.
      Mr Wormwood: Hi, Mrs Oakleaf. Out walking the dog?
      Mrs Oakleaf: Oh yes. And you're out with little Matilda, I see.
      Mrs Wormwood: Yeah, the little stinker is lying there drooling in her carriage.
      Mrs Oakleaf: Oh, but she's so cute!
      Mr Wormwood: Hah, about as cute as a scab on a wound if you ask me.
      Mrs Wormwood: You wouldn't want to trade, Mrs Oakleaf? Your dog for our daughter?
      Mr Wormwood: Hey, that's not a bad idea! I could use a proper guard dog!
      Mrs Oakleaf: (flabbergasted) But... honestly!
      Matilda: That's a very cute dog you have, Mrs Oakleaf. May I play with him sometime?
      Mr Wormwood: Oh, shut up, you.
      Mrs Oakleaf: But... My goodness! She's talking!
      Mrs Wormwood: Yeah. Annoying to listen to, isn't it?
      Miss Honey: But... she's only one year old!
      Mr Wormwood: Yes! Ever heard anything so ridiculous?!
      Mrs Wormwood: Babies should be seen and not heard, that's my opinion.
      Mr Wormwood: I wish she was a dog. Right, poochie? There, there...
      (The dog barks and then growls.)
      Mr Wormwood: Ow! He bit my hand!!
      Mrs Oakleaf: Oh! Oh, I'm dreadfully sorry, I don't know what happened —
      Mr Wormwood: It was all Matilda's fault!
      Matilda: No, it wasn't, Daddy! He bit you because you poked his eye when you tried to pet him.
      Mr Wormwood: Didn't I tell you to shut up?!
      Mrs Wormwood: There, Mrs Oakleaf — you see what we have to deal with?!
    • When Matilda asks her father to buy her a book, he gives her a box of matches and tells her she can read what it says on that before he leaves, laughing at his own joke. There's a brief pause, and then:
      Matilda: (reading out loud with surprising passion) Strike-on box matches. Caution: close box before striking. (pause) I wanted to read a real book!
    • When Miss Honey goes to the Wormwoods to talk about Matilda, we get these added lines:
      Mr Wormwood: My daughter's not going to any idiotic university! The only thing you pick up there is bad habits!
      Miss Honey: That's not true! Mr Wormwood, if one of your customers reported you to the police for having sold him a useless old wreck, you would need to get a lawyer.
      Mr Wormwood: Or a bodyguard.
      Miss Honey: And that lawyer would have been educated at a university.
      Mr Wormwood: (smugly) The bodyguard wouldn't. Heh heh heh heh...

  • At a live cast reunion special, the now-grown child actors do reenactment performances of famous scenes from the film, including the cake-eating and pigtail-toss scenes. It's as hysterical as it sounds. Doubles as Heartwarming, when cast members take a look back on what they've accomplished because of the film.
  • The cake-eating scene apparently took so long to film that the call sheet had an infinity symbol drawn across the start and end entry fields.