Homer: Don't worry, son. I'm sure he's up in Heaven right now, laughing it up with all the other celebrities: John Dillinger, Ty Cobb, Josef Stalin. I wish I were dead.
When people think about going to Heaven, they often imagine reconnecting with family and close friends — the loved ones they actually spent their lives with. But when deceased celebrities are depicted in Heaven, they are usually hanging out with other famous people. This especially applies if the celebrities are in similar fields: artists, musicians, inventors, political leaders. They may want to trade stories and learn from each other. Also, given the time gap between the celebrities, some of them may be Fanboying.
The idea of "Rock and Roll Heaven" gets particular attention, due to all the rockers who went out in their prime, and just how awesome it would be. Even within that, expect at least one of a certain group.
This tends to overlap with Fluffy Cloud Heaven, as in the stock portrayal of the departed celebrities meeting up by the Pearly Gates. Might be the premise of a bittersweet Real-Person Fic, surrogate character optional.
Obviously, the people here are Dead to Begin With. See also Together in Death, Afterlife Welcome, and Ghost Reunion Ending. If this is portrayed in a poem or song, it is likely a Celebrity Elegy. If it turns out they're not really dead, then it could be a case of Elvis Lives. See also Jury of the Damned, in which infamous celebrities and historical figures gather together to serve on a jury. Compare In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous, where well-known figures are similarly congregate during their lifetimes.
- The antagonist, Ernesto de la Cruz, is a dead actor and singer who Word of God says is based on based on well-known Mexican musicians such as Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete and Vicente Fernández.
- Many of the Land of the Dead's inhabitants are Real Life deceased Mexican celebrities, including Frida Kahlo, Mario Moreno 'Cantinflas', El Santo, Jorge Negrete, and Pedro Infante, who Ernesto is largely based on. Some are mentioned by name while others are a Freeze-Frame Bonus.
- In Soul the dead have the option of visiting the Great Before to coach an unborn soul. 22's past mentors include Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Nicolaus Copernicus, Muhammad Ali, Marie-Antoinette, Carl Jung and George Orwell.
- Inverted in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. When Kenny's falling to Hell he sees Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi and George Burns.
- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey shows a group of famous inventors — including Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and George Washington Carver — along with Confucius playing charades with Martian scientists in heaven. Someone can be heard asking "Marilyn" how she got into show business.
- Happy Gilmore shows Chubbs in heaven with Abraham Lincoln and the alligator that bit off his hand.
- Little Nicky: Adolf Hitler is in Hell, dressed in a French Maid uniform and getting pineapples rammed up his ass every day at 4 PM for all eternity.
- This Is the End is a justified example, as the main protagonists are celebrities, who are friends in real life (it's pretty much Judd Apatow's Production Posse without Judd Apatow) playing themselves as as they try to survive through the apocalypse. Those who make it into Heaven naturally hang out with each other and enjoy a Dance Party Ending with the Backstreet Boys performing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)".
- Defied in Mark Twain's short story Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven. Stormfield is told that well-known figures — and figures that would have been well-known had they lived long enough to reach their potential — are said to sometimes appear and be celebrated, but this is relatively rare occurrence. What kind of Heaven would it be for them if they didn't get any time away from the paparazzi, after all?
- The Stephen King short story "You Know They Got a Hell Of a Band" (named after the Righteous Brothers tune) features a lost couple who find themselves in a town named "Rock and Roll Heaven" populated by dead musicians...who turn out to be grotesque, zombieish horrors. Oh, and you can never leave.
- The “Heroes in Hell” stories by Janet Morris. Only they ain’t in heaven.
- The poem “The Old Astronomer to His Pupil” has a dying astronomer imagine that his afterlife will be a place where he can share modern discoveries with the great astronomers of the past, including Tycho Brahe.
- The Divine Comedy does a Renaissance-era version of this, both played straight and inverted, as Dante Alighieri goes into detail on which real-life historical figures wound up in heaven, hell, or purgatory. A whole lot of Take Thats are aimed at those who wound up in hell.
- Subverted in Good Omens, where Crowley's argues that Aziraphale doesn't want Heaven to win the great war by pointing out they don't.
"Listen," said Crowley desperately, "how many musicians do you think your side has got, eh? First grade, I mean."
Aziraphale looked taken aback. "Well, I should think–" he began.
"Two," said Crowley. "Elgar and Liszt. That's all. We’ve got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?"
Aziraphale shut his eyes. "All too easily," he groaned.
- Good Omens (2019): In the first episode, Crowley taunts Aziraphale by asking him how many great composers they have in Heaven, stating that Hell has Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and all of the Bachs.
- A Val Kilmer-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live had a Behind the Music parody sketch in Rock and Roll Heaven, where Jim Morrison (Kilmer, reprising his role from The Doors (1991)) formed a new band with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, and Louis Armstrong. Unfortunately, things start to fall apart due to Creative Differences and Jim's relationship with Amelia Earhart. Then they all get reincarnated.
- In the first episode of The Umbrella Academy when Klaus is asked to contact their late father, he says he can't interrupt dad playing tennis with Hitler.
- "Abraham, Martin and John" by Dion imagines the titled trio — Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy (all assassinated) — walking together over a hill with the recently killed Bobby Kennedy.
- "Rock and Roll Heaven" by the Righteous Brothers imagines several deceased musicians — Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Jim Morrison, Jim Croce, and Bobby Darin — in Heaven together forming a hell of a band, band, band!
- "Grandma's Spending Christmas With the Superstars", a sequel to the song "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer", describes Grandma celebrating Christmas in Heaven with several deceased celebrities, such as Liberace and Richard Burton.
- Watsky’s “All You Can Do” is yet another song that shows a scene with the 27 Club together.
- Renaud's song "Mon bistrot préféré" (literally "My Favorite Pub") imagines a pub in heaven where various dead famous artists hang out, and hopes he would be allowed to hang out with them once he dies.
- In "Fire Water Burn" by the Bloodhound Gang, they sing that if they go to Hell they'll spend their days with J.F.K., Marvin Gaye, Martha Raye, Lawrence Welk and Emmanuel Lewis (because he's the Antichrist).
- Type O Negative's "Halloween in Heaven", a tribute to Dimebag Darrell, mentions a rock band formed in heaven.
- As said earlier, this tends to go with Fluffy Cloud Heaven editorial cartoons for the deceased, especially those in families or groups.
- MAD had a short-lived series called "The 27 Club" by Luke Mcgarry, taking place in Rock and Roll Heaven where all the late, great musicians hang out. The titular club are not only best friends, they have superpowers and can travel back to Earth to fight crime. Only, Robert Johnson is in the other place. It was canned prior to the 2019 reboot, though the artist has announced in 2021 he’s working on new strips, possibly for his own indie mag.
- A Brazilian satire magazine put a cruel twist on this trope when they implied SHINEE singer Jonghyun wasn't cared about by his fans and only killed himself at age 27 to get into the "Club", resulting in them kicking him out. Needless to say, Jonghyun’s fans were NOT amused.
- Hulk Hogan, in his eulogy to "Mean" Gene Okerlund on Monday Night Raw, describes how Mean Gene is putting together a tag team match between The Macho Man and the Ultimate Warrior against Roddy Piper and Mr. Perfect, with André the Giant as the special guest referee and Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon calling the match and fighting as usual.
- In the post-event press conference for Ring of Honor's 2023 Supercard of Honor event, Mark Briscoe, who had come up short for the Television title, remarked that his late brother, Jay, who had been killed in a car accident earlier in the year, probably had a better night than he did. Mark wrestled Samoa Joe, while Jay wrestled Eddie Guerrero.
- Inverted in Super Columbine Massacre RPG!. The second half of the game takes place in Hell, and while you're there, you get to visit an Island of Lost Souls, where you meet historical figures like Friedrich Nietzsche (who you have to speak with to progress further), John Lennon, Richard Nixon, Malcolm X, Confucius, JonBenét Ramsey, Robert Oppenheimer (who tells the player that "if inventing the atomic bomb doesn't land you down here, what possibly could?"), and a victim of the Challenger explosion (who thinks that his lustful thoughts about Christa McAuliffe got him sent to Hell). You also encounter a Roswell alien, Santa Claus, and fictional characters like Darth Vader, Bart Simpson, Mega Man, and Mario. And of course, there's the game's Villain Protagonists, the Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who were both sent to Hell for their killing spree.
- Todd Fisher tweeted out a picture of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher — his mother and sister who died within a day of each other — heading towards heaven together. They are portrayed as their most famous characters from Singin' in the Rain and Star Wars.
- This parody of the Sgt. Pepper cover includes most, if not all, of the celebrities who died in the infamous year of 2016. It totaled up to 82. The artist has (reluctantly) done one for every year since.
- This YouTube video portrays former spouses Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder reuniting in Heaven. But when Wilder sees Radner, she is on a date with Garry Shandling. Radner also reveals that in the twenty-five years between Radner's death and Wilder's, she also dated Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, John Lennon, Tupac Shakur, Jack Lemmon, Marlene Dietrich (for a phase), and David Bowie.
- This YouTube video is of a welcoming party in Heaven hosted by Michael Jackson for Whitney Houston. The guests are all famous singers: Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, and Amy Winehouse.
- The Key of Awesome's original song "Some Things Are Still Awesome" shows David Bowie and Prince singing with Santa Claus while trying to help people recover from the pain 2016 caused.
- Courtesy of live sketch show Top Story!:
- Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: When Grandpa doesn't yet know that Grandma survived the reindeer attack, he sings (to Cousin Mel's annoyance) about how he's convinced that "Grandma's spending Christmas with the superstars" and being consoled by Elvis Presley.
- The Simpsons loves this trope:
- Homer's dream of Heaven in "Homer the Heretic" includes Jimi Hendrix and Isaac Newton playing air hockey.
- In "Bart the Fink", Homer describes how Krusty is enjoying Heaven with all the other celebrities, like John Dillinger, Ty Cobb, and Josef Stalin.
- In the Treehouse of Horror XIX segment, "How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising", Homer (accidentally) kills Krusty and is then hired to kill a bunch of other celebrities — George Clooney, Prince, Neil Armstrong — who all end up going to "Celebrity Heaven". They and other celebrities — including John Wayne, George Washington, and John Lennon — return to Earth to kill Homer.
- The page image is from "Bart's Not Dead," where Bart fakes a near-death experience. Later, when he actually does have a vision of Heaven, it includes a shot of "Jewish Heaven," shown above.
- A more downplayed example, in which celebrities are buried together rather being in Heaven together: When Bart and Lisa visit a graveyard in "Sideshow Bob Roberts", they see gravestones of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, who all died in the same plane crash together.
- In Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Brian dies and he ends up in Heaven, drinking at a table with Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, and Kurt Cobain, who all explain how the weight of celebrity led them to commit suicide. Brian then nervously admits he died from eating chocolate out of the garbage.
- The 2002 British series House of Rock was, as opposed to others, Rock and Roll Purgatory. The premise was Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, John Denver, The Notorious B.I.G. and Marc Bolan (later replaced with John Lennon) living in the barren afterlife together, with other stars popping up here and there.