Anti-Humor is the practice of removing the expected punchline or joke from a familiar humorous situation and replacing it with something non-humorous and serious. The laugh is supposed to come from subverting the audience's expectations and making them uncomfortable; hence the name. Many comics get into anti-comedy—appropriately—after repeatedly bombing on-stage (see Andy Kaufman, Groucho Marx, Andrew Dice Clay). After awhile, they simply cease to give a crap about appeasing their audience and will intentionally troll people for their own amusement. As a result, anti-humour more closely resembles performance art than stand-up.
Often this is simply done by playing the normally humorous situation straight, being literal and truthful. For example, take the following, which sets up and then subverts a Bait-and-Switch Comparison:
A third broader category of anti-humor is essentially a form of Surreal Humor where the punchline is completely unrelated to the set up. Not all Surreal Humor is anti-humor and not all anti-humor is Surreal Humor. Humor can be surreal while still following a formula or having a humorous internal consistency.
Obviously these work best when the audience is thoroughly familiar with the standard version of the joke/humorous situation or the formula the joke/humorous situation normally follows, though this is not always necessary. Any situation where the audience is expecting humor or something light-hearted and gets something straight, dry, and/or darker in tone instead can potentially work. Formats where a humorous twist is always expected, such as in stand-up, cartoons, sitcoms, and sketch comedy, have more latitude for this sort of humor.
Anti-humor is about intentionally avoiding a punchline. Certainly not all anti-humor ends up being funny, but it should be clear that the writer is trying to create humor from avoiding a punchline or humorous twist. For example, when Biff Tannen says "that's as funny as a screen door on a battleship" he's not trying for anti-humor, he is simply screwing up the traditional punchline.
Compare/Contrast "Shaggy Dog" Story where the humor comes from a tediously long story being used to set up a weak punchline. Both tropes stand traditional wisdom about humor on its head. Could be the source of humor in a Shoot the Shaggy Dog scenario. See Chicken Joke for a classic example of an anti-joke where the "punchline" is the lack of a punchline. Compare Bait-and-Switch. Contrast So Unfunny, It's Funny where the humor is unintentionally bad but so bad it's funny. Compare The Comically Serious when a serious character makes a situation funny. Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion is based on the same principle, but with rhymes. And of course, sometimes people just plain Cannot Tell a Joke.
- Perhaps the best-known joke in the English language is the Chicken Joke: "Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side!" Few people realize it now, but it was created as a subversion of older iterations of the joke. Because the original versions are now long forgotten, the joke is simply unfunny.
- Perhaps the second best-known joke in the English language is "What's black and white and red all over?" "A newspaper!" The joke being that "red" is a homophone of "read". This, naturally led to the subversion "A skunk covered in tomato sauce!"
- This is also what drives the humor behind the infamous "No soap, radio" joke, in that the actual "punchline" is a total Non Sequitur, but the more the people in on the joke act like it's actually funny, the funnier it actually becomes. The mark is expecting a lame pun or dated punchline, the humor comes from their confused reaction to a "punchline" that is complete nonsense. Bonus points if the mark actually starts laughing anyway even though they don't understand the "punchline".
- Bill Bailey is fond of these.
"Three blokes go into a pub. One of them is a little bit stupid, and the whole scene unfolds with a tedious inevitability."
- Andy Kaufman loved to dance on the edge between comedian and avant-garde performance artist. Some of his more infamous "routines," such as reading at length from The Great Gatsby, are anti-humor. He often got audiences laughing because they couldn't tell whether it was supposed to be funny. The Kaufman biography Lost in the Funhouse described a time at The Comedy Store when he came out with a camping stove, a pot of water, three small potatoes, and a sleeping bag. Without saying a word, he boiled the potatoes, ate them, rolled out the sleeping bag, and "slept" for 20 minutes before leaving the stage. Andy mined Humor Dissonance for all it was worth.
- Comedian Brian Regan reports his son had one of these.
Q: How come dinosaurs don't talk?A: Because they're dead.
- The Game Grumps relate the above when delving into various So Unfunny, It's Funny jokes as well as this trope, dropping this gem they'd found online.
Danny: A man walks into a bar - his alcoholism is tearing this family apart.
- Gilbert Gottfried: "David Hasselhoff walks into a bar, every morning and then he stays there 'til it closes."
- John Thomson used to do a character called Bernard Righton who as a Politically Correct stand up comedian whose anxiousness to avoid offense resulted in this trope.
A Jew, A Pakistani and a Black Fella went into a nightclub. What a fine example of an integrated society.
- When Monty Python performed its famous Parrot Sketch at the The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball, a benefit for Amnesty International, they took it in this direction.
Mr. Praline: [placing the parrot's cage on the counter] It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.
Shopkeeper: [looks at the parrot] So it is. 'Ere's your money back and a couple of holiday vouchers.
[audience goes wild]
Mr. Praline: [looking completely flabbergasted] Well, you can't say Thatcher hasn't changed some things.
- French Canadian stand-up comedian Jean-Thomas Jobin combines this with Self-Deprecation as his bread and butter. He has a whole routine in the middle of his show where he reads off (fake) hate mail he got, most of them referencing earlier failed jokes, one of them making fun of the ridiculous shirt he's been wearing since the beginning, which has gone unmentioned since then. Then there are gems such as this one:
Q: How can you tell if there's a blonde in a group of synchronized swimmers in a swimming pool and they're all wearing bathing caps?A: You demand they get out of the pool and remove their caps.
- One performance by Frank Conniff before a Cinematic Titanic show contained about half a dozen fat jokes about Chris Christie ("I don't want to say Chris Christie eats large portions of food, but all of his silverware was designed by Claes Oldenburg"), followed by this gem:
No, but seriously folks, when Chris Christie sits around the house, he really passes laws that hurt working Americans.
- And then there's:
A priest, a rabbi, a duck, a blonde, a man with a 12" pianist, and a piece of string all walk into a bar together. The bartender looks up and says, "What is this? Some kind of joke?"
A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says "Hey, buddy, why the long face?" The horse solemnly replies "Well, my wife left me, my son committed suicide, and I just found out I have prostate cancer." The bartender looks up and exclaims "Holy shit! I'm in the wrong joke!"
- Eddie Izzard subverts a cliched expression, with this effect.
Let's talk about language. Cause yeah, they do say that Britain and America are two countries separated by the Atlantic ocean. And it's true.
- There's also this old joke:
A: Knock, knock.B: Who's there?A: (silence)
- The whole premise of Broken Jokes, as popularized by Richard Ford:
"My dog has no nose.""Your dog has no nose?""Nope, no nose.""How does he smell?""He can't; he has no nose!"
"Waiter! What's this fly doing in my soup?""Oh, I'm terribly sorry sir!"
So this policeman comes upon this guy on his hands and knees under a streetlight, fumbling around on the ground. "What's the matter?" says the policeman. "I'm looking for my keys," says the guy. "Is this where you dropped them?" asks the policeman, and the guy replies, "Yes".
- Oh, just one more:
- Norm MacDonald's moth joke on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
- Similarly, his bit at the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget - mostly bombed with the audience (until he started violating Don't Explain the Joke), but the other comedians were dying.
- Years later, Andy Samberg did a similar lame-aiming-for-hilarity during the James Franco roast, as every insult was at his expense. This time, the audience manage to laugh too.
- Why did the car crash?
- Because Jimmy was driving.
- Why couldn't Jimmy drive?
- Because he had no arms or legs.
- Why didn't he have any arms or legs?
- Because he was a potato.
- Because Jimmy was driving.
- A very similar joke to the one above:
Why did Sally fall off the swing?Because she has no arms.Knock KnockWho's there?
- Along the same lines as the "Roses are red" subversion quoted above:
Haikus are easyBut sometimes they don't make senseRefrigerator
- A famous Lightbulb Joke:
How many Germans does it take to change a lightbulb?
- Gregg Turkington's comedy persona Neil Hamburger is built on anti-humor. He tells a barrage of painfully humorless jokes in an obnoxious voice, often while hacking unpleasantly between punchlines.
- The entire meta-joke behind episode 24 of Excel Saga is that, after 23 episodes of balls-out wackiness and parodies, this one is played almost completely serious with only one or two attempts at humor.
- The Ax-Crazy Jan Valentine's first onscreen appearance in Hellsing Ultimate — when he'll go on to be a Laughably Evil profligate with a loose trigger finger and a weird sense of humor — is to tell what sounds like a long, disturbing setup for a joke as if he's telling a joke and if it has a point he never gets to it.
- Watchmen: Rorschach's hyperminimal recitation of an old groaner veers into this:
I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, "Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says, "But doctor... I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
- Mr Logic from Viz was once best man at a wedding. Knowing that he would need some jokes for his speech, and being Mr Logic, he came up with these belters:
1) What is the difference between a gnu and a gnostic? A gnu is a large even-toed ungulate native to the African savannah, also known as a wildebeest; a gnostic is a member of a first-century religious movement that advanced the moral primacy of the spiritual world above the material.2) Did you hear about the Irish hydrometer? It didn't know how to measure the moistness of the atmosphere.
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!
Queen Victoria: I may have the body of a feeble woman, but I have the mind of someone that really wants that bird.
- From Freddy Got Fingered:
"What do you call a guy with cheese on his face? The cheese face!"
- From Kung Pow! Enter the Fist:
"What do you get when you cross an owl with a bungee cord? My ass."
- RoboCop (1987) has a Running Gag where people are always watching the same brainless television show. We see nothing of the show except the same Orphaned Punchline where a man turns to the camera to deliver his hackneyed Catchphrase, "I'd buy that for a dollar!" This always causes the person watching to laugh uproariously.
- Joker (2019): The one time Arthur/Joker gets to actually tell a joke in full, it goes like this. Unsurprising, given who tells it and when.
Joker: Knock knock.Murray: Whos there?Joker: Its the police, maam. Youre sons been hit by a drunk driver. Hes dead.
- In his book The Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman lists a couple cursed jokes. These are jokes with a setup, but a mundane punch line.
A priest, a rabbi, and a nonreligious person are flying across the Atlantic Ocean, all for different reasons. There is engine trouble, and one of the wings catches on fire. The plane starts to go down. Luckily, there are enough parachutes for everyone. Evacuation is orderly. End of joke.
- A Running Gag in Witches Abroad is Granny Weatherwax, who has No Sense of Humor, trying to tell a joke about a man who ordered an alligator sandwich "and I want it right away!"
- The Gotcha episode of Countdown contained this gem:
There was a young woman called Richards whose hobby was going to the pictures.She liked Dumb and Dumber, and Gone With The Wind, but best of all she liked Saving Private Ryan.
- Stephen Fry demonstrates one on QI:
"Your mamas so fat, she could usefully have a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise."
- Occurs early on in the Father Ted Christmas special when Ted finds a baby left on the parish doorstep. Before Ted can bring the baby in the mother appears, takes the baby from his hands, and heads off to leave the infant with someone else. Ted muses on the hilarious hi-jinks the priests and the baby would have gotten up to, but stops when Dougal reminds him it wouldn't be funny.
- Toward the end of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Hellcats", as the biker gang confronts the even-badder-guys on a pier, Joel subverts an old joke into a Stealth Pun in this way.
Joel: You know guys, this kinda reminds me — I've been on a seafood diet lately.Servo: Eh, really?Joel: Yeah, I'm eating a lot of fish and shrimp and stuff like that.(The averted punchline is "I see food, I eat it.")
- This is the point of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. It's awkward, uncomfortable, and often downright scary, but you laugh anyway. If you're into that.
- Norm delivers one on Cheers:
"Women. Can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts."
- Happens on Mock the Week a lot.
- One particular example comes from Miles in episode 12-8, when he answered "Picture of the Week, where the panellists are given a topical picture and provide comical headlines for what's happening or being said, with "Maybe they're not talking". Later in the episode during the "If this is the answer, what is the question?" round, he answers with "What is a random length of time?" to the answer of "56 Years".
- In another episode, Russell Howard responds with "What comes between 25 days and 27 days?" in response to the answer "26 Days".
- Milton Jones (of all people) once answered the prompt, "Chickens, Nurses, and Rain" with "Is it 'Name three things'."
- MythBusters once used an anti-humor joke to illustrate that the hosts were properly buzzed for an alcohol myth; when Jamie laughs at a joke like that, you know he's not himself. The joke:
Kari: What's red and smells like blue paint? Red paint.
- Trailer Park Boys: Ricky has used this pattern a few times, sometimes replacing the punchline with a full-on rant:
Ricky: Knock, Knock(Person antagonizing Ricky): Who's there?Ricky: Fuck off.
- The Daily Show does this once in a while. In one example, Jon repeated the common joke "what's the deal with airline peanuts?", then explains the real-world reasons in detail.
- In a Modern Family episode where the family goes to Australia, Claire repeatedly refers to a project she's working on as her "baby", obsessing over it to the exclusion of her actual family. When the computer gets stolen out of her tent by a dingo, she panics:
Claire: A wild dog took my laptop!
Alex: Seems like a missed opportunity...
- A conversation about anti-humor from the panel show Was It Something I Said?:
Richard Ayoade: The way I like to tell a joke is for there to be no surprises within it. Or humor. I think that's quite trad, you know, actually trying to say something amusing in the joke. It's actually kind of pathetic and needy.Jason Manford: I'm regretting those tickets for your arena tour.Richard Ayoade: You know, you say that, and yet its very emptiness its its success. In order to fully succeed in this endeavor and believe me, I am succeeding no one must come.
- The Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Major Star" has George refer to the music-hall song "She Was Only The Ironmonger's Daughter, But She Knew A Surprising Amount About Fish As Well"; a "Wanton Daughter" joke entirely free of Double Entendre, or even a Pun.
- From Bottom:
Spudgun: Hey! My wife's gone to the West Indies!Eddie: Really?Spudgun: Yeah, she went on Thursday! [Beat] It was funny in the pub.
- A knock-knock joke from The Good Place blends this perfectly with Comically Missing the Point:
Michael: Knock knockChidi: Who's there?Michael: You died alone because you couldn't commit to anyone!Jason: "You died alone because you couldn't commit to anyone" who?
- King Richard from Galavant doesn't mean to, but when he tries his hand at comedy he ends up here anyway.
King Richard: Three serfs walk into a pub. The first serf orders a hot grog. The second serf orders a hot grog. And the third serf orders a hot grog. But he has no money and neither do the other two because they're serfs.
- One song of Italian band Elio e le Storie Tese was entirely based on this kind of humour. First of all, the jokes were more than deadpan, since they were told by a vocal synthesizer. Then, among the "normal" jokes, it featured gems such as: "An Englishman, a Frenchman and a German are on a plane. The plane crashes and they die".
- In the "Talk Like a Pirate Day" song, there's an interlude
Q: Did you hear about the new pirate movie?A: No, what's it rated?Q: PG-13. They want to appeal to younger audiences, and pirates are really popular with that age group.
- A Prairie Home Companion did one of these in a series of light bulb jokes.
Q: How many dull people does it take to screw in a light bulb?A: One.
- I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
Humph: Why didn't the skeleton go to the disco?Graeme: Because he was dead.
- One episode featured a round of Closed Quotes (the panellists get the start of a quote and have to finish it) where the quotes came from Christmas crackers.
Humph: What's the difference between a night watchman and a butcher?Graeme: One guards the premises, and the other sells meat.
- Similarly, the same round in another episode:
"My dog's got no nose." "How does he smell?" "He doesn't."
- And in the same episode, Jeremy's answer to "Why do elephants have big ears?" was a long dissertation on volume to surface area and losing heat in a warm climate.
- Sometimes if the topic for the final round is paticularly obscure, Graeme or Barry will do a series of deliberately lame non-puns, where they just replace a random word.
- Graeme again, in "Name that Joke".
- Frequent in Hamish and Dougal. One episode in which they're camping has Hamish talk about how he's looking at the stars, and what this means, until Dougal points out he can't see the stars, they're in a tent. Immediately lampshaded:
Hamish: Unless someone had stolen the tent?Dougal: Stolen the tent! That would be the funniest joke in the world, wouldn't it, if someone had stolen the tent!note
- From The Goon Show:
Gryptype: I thought I saw a Greek urn burried in the sand.Moriarty: What's a Greek urn?Gryptype: It's a vase made by Greeks for carring liquids.Moriarty: I wasn't expecting that answer.Gryptype: Neither were quite a few smart-alec listeners!
- The Kevin and Bean Show has a regular guest called "Sam the Armenian Comedian." Sam is an actual Armenian-American hairdresser who styles himself an entertainer and comedian, when in fact he is a delusional weirdo with a questionable grasp of humor and the English language. Kevin and Bean find his utterly unfunny attempts at jokes to be fascinating and amusing, so they've been inviting him onto the show since The '90s.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
The Poghrils, always a pessimistic race, had a little riddle, the asking of which used to give them the only twinges of pleasure they ever experienced.
One Poghril would ask another Poghril 'Why is life hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?'
To which the second Poghril would reply 'I don't know, why is life hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?'
To which the first Poghril would reply 'I don't know either. Wretched, isn't it?'
- The radio 4 panel game Don't Make Me Laugh comprises four comedians trying to explain why topics aren't funny, with points deducted if the audience laughs.
- In a The Unbelievable Truth lecture on "Jokes", Joe Lycett claims that some early German jokes included "How many reindeer does it take to change a lightbulb? One, if by 'reindeer' you mean 'electrician'."; "'Doctor, doctor, I think I'm a pair of curtains!' 'Then I'm sectioning you under the Mental Health Act.'"; and "Yo mama's so ugly, I'm concerned about her self-esteem."
- Kingdom of Loathing features this, on the description of the plush hamsterpus: "Why did the hamster cross with the octopus? Why, to serve as a sobering reminder of the consequences of hubris in the face of an uncaring universe, that's why!"
- In League of Legends, each champion tells a joke when prompted. Diana, perhaps the most tragic figure in the LoL canon, does her best, but...
A man, a woman and a yordle walk into the sun. They die. Because it burns them alive.
- There's a particular NPC in Borderlands 2 who desperately pleads anybody nearby to shoot him in the face. Part of his insane suicidal rambling goes as follows:
- What happens when a Super Mutant tries to tell a joke in Fallout 3
Super Mutant 1: I have joke for you! Knock knock.Super Mutant 2: Who there?Super Mutant 1: Humans.Super Mutant 2: Humans who?Super Mutant 1: KILL THE HUMANS! KILL THEM ALL! AAAAAAUUUUUUUUGH!Super Mutant 2: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That good one! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
- An episode of Smashtasm had the two villains speaking with each other. When one remarks that it's time to get serious, the other one says something along the lines of:
Gront: Now I am serious. This is my serious voice. I'm so serious, even the jokes I tell are serious. How many blondes does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One, because jokes based on gender and hair color are sexist and wrong.
- One clip in asdfmovie has a guy pressing a button that reads "POINTLESS BUTTON: Warning, pointless". It does absolutely nothing.
- Another anti-joke from asdfmovie of the Mood Whiplash type: "Knock knock. Who's there? A mirror. I am lonely."
- In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Walter pulls this on Alucard in Episode 9 while they're fighting and bantering.
Alucard: (unleashes his Hellhound) Hey, ever heard of 'Updog'?Walter: (slices the Hellhound in half) Not much. How are you?Alucard: First you kill my dog, then you anti my fucking joke?!
- The Order of the Stick, strip #600.
- While Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal loves this trope to death;
- this strip strips away all but the essentials, and demonstrates exactly how it's done.
- SMBC apparently loves "man walks into a bar" un-jokes.
- Three scientists have similar reactions to seeing a cow from a train, after which they go back to filling out surveys, reports, and grant applications...
- An anti-anti-anti-joke: The strip starts with talking about a reverse anti-joke that actually has a punchline, but the strip ends as an anti-joke.
- Unwinder's Tall Comics. On this page, Unwinder's box of rejected ideas includes "Normal Al", who parodies "Weird Al" Yankovic by sucking all the humor out. Normal Al plays straight covers of the songs that Weird Al parodies, and rewrites Weird Al's original songs with completely serious lyrics.
- Brawl in the Family was all about this when Waluigi hijacked the comic.
Waluigi (1st panel): This is Waluigi's first comic of the new series!Waluigi (2nd panel): The third panel is the funny one.Waluigi (3rd panel): *stands around and scratches the back of his neck*
- XKCD has done this many times. One example is a "World Map according to a group of Americans who turned out to be unexpectedly good at geography".
- Cyanide & Happiness' Depressing Comic Weeks are either very depressing, or very depressing, yet (because of this trope) strangely funny.
- Overcompensating had a series of "Yo Mama" jokes, culminating in "Yo mama so fat, she's going to have irreversible health problems."
- ThisDork Tower:
Matt: How does Batman's mother call him to the dinner table?Igor: She doesn't! She was murdered in an alleyway like a dog, you unfeeling, insensitive GHOUL!
- Paranatural: Ed sets up a Bond One-Liner but fails to deliver.
Ed: WELP! I guess you could say HE'S...Ed: ...dead.
- Learning with Manga! FGO: In the middle of an arc about Original Generation Servants gearing up for a grail war, a strip appears where two of the characters cheerily teach useful information to the audience about the game. You know, like the series was supposed to.
- This Something Awful article.
- Average Cats is a gallery of anti-humor LOLCats.
- Uncyclopedia has an article that, for Uncyclopedia, counts as a Self-Demonstrating Article as it delivers a straightforward (if very dismissive) description of what anti-humor is.
- The Anti-Joke Chicken.
- The BuzzKilling meme.
- The Monkeys You Ordered presents cartoons from The New Yorker with their captions replaced by straightforward literal descriptions.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged uses this by avoiding the "it's over 9000" Meme - when Vegeta finds out what Goku's power level is, all he does is crush the scouter while calmly saying "It's over 9000. Rah." This is *after* he assumes it's 1006 due to having the scouter upside down. note
- There's actually several more layers to this joke - Vegeta calming stating "It's over 9000. Rah." Is actually a parody of how Christopher Sabat delivered the line in at least two redubs of the scene. In addition, another skit referencing how many subscribers the Youtube Channel had at the time parodies the meme, with Nappa hoping for Vegeta to say the famous "9000" only for him to be surprised and disappointed that Vegeta said the less beloved "8000." In addition to this, in both versions of the gag, the Abridged version of Nappa asks him the question in the hammiest possible tone of voice to Lampshade the fact that the series is about to reference one of the darkest memes on the internet.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series - "Season 0 Abridged 2" does this with the series' memetic Screw the Rules, I Have Money! line.
Yami: Wait a minute, did you just summon a bunch of monsters in one turn? That's against the rules, isn't it?Kaiba: Actually, there are several situations in which summoning multiple monsters at once can be considered totally legal in this game.Yami:...That...that wasn't very funny.Kaiba: Why would it be funny? I'm just trying to explain how to play.Yami: This is all kinds of wrong!
- The Lazer Collection:
- The first skit of Part 2 is simply a guy eating a red pepper.
- One of the skits of Part 5 is a guy popping a kid's balloon. In both cases, no lazers are fired.
- Rage Quit is a weekly segment by Rooster Teeth where Michael, a gamer with a very short temper and vocal personality, expresses his... well, you can guess. When he played the game Rage he was serene and polite for the entire video.
- Anti-Joke. This is the whole point of this site.
- Brunching Shuttlecocks once did an article called The Lightbulb Exemption List, which was in essence about doing this to lightbulb jokes.
- When the Game Grumps play Castlevania, Arin delivers this memorable quote:
"Why did the axe fly at your face? Because the knight threw it. Why did the axe come back? Because the axe has boomerang-type properties."
- Arin does this a lot, most notably during Meta Knightmare, where he tries to do several in a row.
- Dan tells a slew of these types of jokes in Part 17 of Shovel Knight.
- This was preceded by their playthrough of Kirby's Epic Yarn - both have been compiled into one video.
Danny: A man walks into a bar. His alcohol dependency is tearing this family apart.
Arin: It's made funnier because it's like, personal, right? Like, it's somebody in the family saying it, but they just call him "a man".
- This was preceded by their playthrough of Kirby's Epic Yarn - both have been compiled into one video.
- The New Yorker Anti-Caption Contest, which begun on this blog and transitioned to this one, is won by the "worst" caption that could go with that week's official New Yorker Cartoon Contest. It naturally veers into this territory, but not always. The winner of the first first one is a good example: A monster truck crashes onto the stage of a classical music concert, a sure recipe for hilarious culture clash, and the winning caption (spoken by the conductor) is: "There is a man pinned under this truck who requires immediate medical assistance. Someone please call for an ambulance. Please, before it's too late."
- In Cracked's 7 Animals That Are Evolving Right Before Our Eyes:
Q: What did the elephant say to the poacher?A: Dear God in heaven, please don't kill me for my ivory.Sorry about that. Sometimes we get "joke" mixed up with "tragic imagined dialogue that could be happening at this very second if elephants had the power of speech."
- Ask That Guy with the Glasses has an example in Episode 6.
The Narrator: There's a suicidal one-eyed green monkey sitting on my table and smashing newborn squirrels with a kitchen hammer. Therefore I believe the question is pretty obvious: do you like cabbage soup?
Ask That Guy: Yes, I LOVE cabbage soup. With a little parsley and the right spices, it's actually one of my favourite dishes. Thank you for asking. God bless you.
- "Cropped Norris Jokes", a variant of Chuck Norris Facts that consist solely of the traditional overdone Chuck Norris jokes with half the joke removed. The result changes the joke from Memetic Badass to Trivially Obvious or casually bizarre "facts" about Norris's life with no followup, such as "I eat soup" or "A snake bit me." Many people have pronounced them funnier than the originals.
- There's a meme going around (Example, The Last Jedi spoilers) that goes something like this:
1: Take a captioned screenshot from some movie or show3: Post it on your favorite social media with a title to the effect of "How I react when [mundane event relevant to the new caption]"
- Welcome to Night Vale: In "The April Monologues", Michelle Nguyen tells the listeners a joke: "I listen to Bach often, but never The Beatles."note
- RedLetterMedia: the guys often indulge in anti-humor as part of their signature style, delivering painful or cliche jokes badly, often while mugging at the camera during the punchline, which usually prompts an awkward pause.
- Mentioned specifically by Drew Gooden in discussing his old Vines, with the example being a video where the entire joke is "When you're having sex, and it feels real good", followed immediately by him thanking the audience for watching.
- There's a lot of this in The Simpsons;
- Homer throws Mr. Burns off a balcony into a crowd of people. Burns is promptly crowd surfed before being shoved into an idling taxi. Homer thinks this looks like fun, jumps off the balcony, and ... is crowd surfed as well, suffering no injury of any kind.
- Homer says "A think tank, eh?", and we see into his imagination... which shows a perfectly accurate portrayal of a think tank.
Homer: What? I'm not allowed to get one right?
- Homer squirts way too much lighter fluid onto a barbeque, to the point it becomes an Overly Long Gag. He sets it alight... and it works perfectly. This is a Call-Back to an early episode where he does the same, resulting in a huge mushroom cloud over the city.
- Barney Gumble drinking a beer after a lengthy stint of sobriety in the series is played up as a massive relapse, and then he simply says "Hey, you're right. I thought it'd get me drinking again, but it didn't."
- Cartoon Planet thrived on this kind of humor.
- Especially the Brak's Comedy Gold skits, in which Brak, attempting to do stand-up, would often play every joke he told straight.
Hey, everybody! How's in goin'? I gotta few jokes for ya! A man walks into a restaurant. "Do you serve crabs here?" he asked. "Yes!" said the waiter! [laughs] The other day I met a one-legged man named Ralph! "Oh, really? Was he nice?" [laughs] Ted saw this man and his dog playing chess. "Wow!" Ted said "That's the smartest dog I've ever seen!". "I know!" answered the man! [laughs] Knock Knock! "Who's there?" Orange. "Wait, a minute! Didn't I see you the other night?" [laughs] Thank you, I'd rather be performing at Cartoon Planet than at the best places in the universe! Thank you!
- Sample Set:
- Especially the Brak's Comedy Gold skits, in which Brak, attempting to do stand-up, would often play every joke he told straight.
- Kevin Spencer once told a joke like this:
Q: What's the difference between a hooker and a mop?A: A mop never points at you and laughs and make you feel so dirty inside that you're sure your soul is crying. And then you lie awake at night in a sea of tears, praying for the blackness of your heart to wash over you and obliterate the cruel world around you, as you long for the welcome embrace of death to release you from the unending torment of your meaningless and cruel existence.
- Family Guy
- In "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story", a cutback shows Peter launching himself into the air with a catapult. A guy is gushing about a bunch of fragile possessions, and Peter...lands harmlessly outside the man's window, instead of crashing into the house and wrecking his stuff.
- Another episode had a cutaway to a man in Hiroshima having a very bad day on August 6th, 1945. He stops in his tracks when he sees something falling from the sky and heading straight toward him....a monkey that lands on top of him and mauls him.
- In one episode of King of the Hill Bill began singing "Puff the Magic Dragon". Hank, embarrassed and annoyed says "Bill, do you know what that song is about? It's about a dragon. We're grown men." The anti-humor is a subversion of the expected punchline, where you expect Hank to repeat the urban legend that the song is about marijuana. Instead, Hank correctly identifies the subject of the song (it is about a little boy and a dragon)note .
- In The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "A Visit To Anthony", when Anthony's dad furiously interrogates Ren and Stimpy, he tells a joke like this:
Q Why did they bury the fireman behind the hill?A Because he was dead!
- One episode of Sealab 2021 is just an episode of the original Sealab 2020 with the 2021 cast giving the voices (and some footage removed to fit 2021's shorter episode length.) The only joke in the entire episode is at the very end, when the nuclear submarine they spend the whole episode fixing crashes into Sealab, causing it to explode.
- The South Park Wham Episode "Kenny Dies" takes an event that is usually Played for Laughs and plays it for drama. The creators have gone on record to say that they "wanted to see how long they could go without telling a single joke."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: This seems to be Maud Pie's entire schtick.
- Fozzie on Muppet Babies once pulled one, which, naturally, lead to him getting pelted with tomatoes.
Q What do you get when you put an ice cream sundae in your mother's shoes?A A spanking.
- At the end of the Steven Universe episode, "Historical Friction", Pearl, who helped Steven rewrite a historic play for accuracy, wonders why Steven had the play end with a joke. Steven explains that art should forsake reason to keep the audience happy, hence the play's joke ending. The episode thus ends with... Steven and Pearl staring at each other. That's it.
- The writers of Bojack Horseman love this kind of humor, often giving elaborate and obvious setups to jokes, who's punchlines then simply don't arrive.
Dr. Rhino: I'm the only albino rhino gyno I know. Should we get some wine?Princess Carolyn: Oh, great. You're also a wine addict.
Two polar bears are sitting in a bathtub. The first one says, "Hey, pass the soap." The other didn't reply because he's just a polar bear and can't speak English, hold a bar of soap, and wouldn't fit in a bathtub. AHA HA HA HA HA!