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Cheer Them Up with Laughter

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"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."
Roger Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Cheering someone up when they're upset by making them laugh.

This can be achieved in a number of ways including using a Practical Joke (which sometimes involve the sad character being the victim), Self-Deprecation, pretending to be The Klutz, getting revenge on the person who made the character sad, anything really. It all depends on what the sad character finds funny. This trope may be used to prove to the audience that the characters are True Companions, Love Interests, or if the character doing the cheering is usually unkind, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Unfortunately, this can backfire sometimes, with the sad character viewing the cheery character as insensitive or shallow, which creates conflict.

Because Tropes Are Flexible, sometimes the cheering up is unintentional.

Compare Friend to All Children (if the sad character is a child), Fun Personified, For Happiness, and The Prankster. Contrast No Sympathy, Lack of Empathy, and Quit Your Whining.

Not to be confused with Must Make Her Laugh, in which a character tries to make another character who is ALWAYS stoic/upset laugh. This trope involves people who are upset due to special circumstances.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard: Seigi does this for Richard toward the end of volume nine when he comes home to find Richard depressed after a phone call with his cousin. Richard complains that his plans for the day were to mope.
  • Cross Ange: While the return of Tusk is what brings Fallen Princess Ange back from the massive Heroic BSoD she suffered after believing he died protecting her from Embryo, she is completely thrown off when she finds out her maid, Momoka Oginome, also survived the altercation after seemingly getting killed herself. When Momoka reveals that she did so because she was carrying her lucky pan underneath her uniform when she got shot, Ange succumbs to cheerful laughter before hugging her.
  • Lycoris Recoil: When Chisato is wondering if she'll never meet the one who sponsored her for the Alan Institute and starts to feel sad about it, Takina takes the time to embarrassingly pose like a fish in order to get her partner out of her doldrums.
  • My Hero Academia: Bakugo, who Hates Everyone Equally, surprisingly tries to light up the mood after Class 1-A's teacher Aizawa threatens to expel nearly all of them — both the students who carried out an unauthorized, dangerous mission to rescue said jerk, Bakugo, plus the other students who knew of their plan but didn't stop them. So, as a form of gratitude, Bakugo drags Kaminari behind a bush and fries his brain with his Quirk so Kaminari would start acting like an idiot and make everyone laugh.
  • One Piece: In Nami's backstory, when she was still a baby, the village police Genzo unintentionally made her cry; after some failed attempts, he tried putting a pinwheel on his hat. His subordinate didn't believe it could work, but Nami eventually laughed at Genzo. This inspires him to put that pinwheel on his head at all times.
  • Shenmue: In "Thunderclap", Nozomi has a Growling Gut right when she suggests to Ryo to visit Tom's hot dog stand with her. Ryo, who is mourning his father's death and has the seeds of revenge planted in him, laughs unexpectedly and accepts her offer. Nozomi is glad she is able to do this for him.
  • Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream!: In episode 9, Julietchi loses her ability to cry on command and becomes upset since she needs to do this for her performing class at Dream School. Yumemitchi and Kiraritchi transform into astronauts called the Space Sisters using their Yume Kira bags and try to come up with ways to make Julietchi cry tears of laughter while in these forms.

Comic Books

Fan Works

Films — Animation

  • Inside Out: After Bing Bong witnesses the demolition of the childish aspects in Imagination Land and his beloved Rocket Wagon being thrown into the Memory Dump, he gets majorly depressed. Joy tries to help him by making silly faces and doing childish stuff similar to the plays he and Riley did when she was a toddler.
  • Monsters, Inc.: After all of her mishappens in the monster world, little Boo is terribly scared. Seeing that she has previously found Mike suffering Slapstick Comedy hilarious, Sulley gets Mike to do just that in order to make Boo feel better.

Films — Live-Action

  • Singin' in the Rain: Don is depressed because he is smitten with Kathy and can't find her. Cosmo does a comedy routine to cheer him up, leading to the "Make 'Em Laugh" number.

Literature

  • Cerberus High:
    • When Kazuki was feeling a little down after his fight with Axel, Sherbet proceeded to joke about how popular he's gotten and how she should start protecting him from fangirls now. This succeeds in making him laugh.
    • In the Spin-Off Another Story. Defeating Big Bad Requiem is too costly for the hero Eden. As he is Fading Away and using a tearful demoness Rouge as a Lap Pillow, he sends her a joking wink which makes her wink back, albeit very stiffly. This prompts them both to laugh, thus alleviating the heavy situation.
  • Dunk: Chad brings some comedy films to Jason's hospital room to make him laugh during his bad situation. The laughter is so helpful that it actually cures Jason's autoimmune disease, making him healthy again.
  • Kushiel's Legacy: It's stated by the narrative that patrons visit Orchis House, whose adepts are Fun Personified, when they want a night of merriment and a break from the troubles of life.
  • Mirror World: Plucky Girl Aile loves to cheer people up and make them smile. Especially Vita, whenever her pessimistic and self-loathing tendencies cause her to doubt and demean herself.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who: In "Voyage of the Damned", the Doctor makes the two bullied passengers laugh by exploding the champagne bottle of their tormentors.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The gang puts up an attempt to cheer up Marshall a bit during the wake of his father's funeral.
  • Kamen Rider Zero-One:
    • Berotha Magia's original purpose as a HumaGear is this, which he takes with great pride.
    • Struggling comedian Aruto is a Pungeon Master who constantly invokes this trope whenever things go south for his team, or they are just going through difficult times. Unfortunately, he can only spout really bad puns, so he's not successful most of the time. It doesn't deter him from trying, though. The reason is that he failed to get a "smile from the heart" from his HumaGear father shortly before the latter's demise.
  • Make Me Laugh: Inverted. Contestants of the game show earned $1 for every second they don't laugh at the routines of three stand-up comics.
  • M*A*S*H: In "Major Fred C. Dobbs", Surgeon Frank misses a shrapnel fragment while operating on a patient and then proceeds to not only blame the nurse Ginger but also berate her. To cheer her up, Hawkeye and Trapper play a cruel but hilarious prank on Frank — make him criticize a Soap Opera that is, in reality, a recording of him and his lover talking.
  • Seinfeld: One episode has Jerry be informed that a friend of his, Fulton, is in the hospital and "could use a laugh". As a comedian, Jerry finds the prospect challenging. He thinks he's good, but not "make someone forget about terrible pain" good. Throughout the episode, he tries cheering Fulton up multiple times. At the end, it works too well, and Fulton Dies Laughing.
  • Supergirl (2015): In "The Fanatical", Alex suggests to Ruby various activities to cheer her up, with most of them being cool and rebellious while the last one is to play Scrabble. This last one is meant to make her laugh due to the sheer randomness.

Mythology & Religion

  • Chinese Mythology: One tale has an emperor trying to make his concubine laugh via a Crying Wolf situation. That proved to be her last laugh as the guards failed to show up once the invaders stormed the palace.
  • Norse Mythology: Loki is tasked with making Skaði laugh after being responsible for the death of her father Thiazzi. He attempts to do so by tying one end of a rope to his own testicles and the other end to a goat's beard and then starts a tug-of-war contest. He succeeds.

Puppet Shows

  • Fraggle Rock: In "Space Frog Follies", Gobo's uncle tells him he can't stay for his Birthday. Upon seeing how upset Gobo is as a result of that, his friends Red and Wembley balance pickles on their noses to make him laugh.

Ropleplays

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: Part of the Chain of Deals has Link try to cheer up a depressed kid by telling him a Funny Joke (or so we're meant to understand). It doesn't work.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: Sora does this for Riku towards the end of the video game, when Riku expresses doubt over if he should return to the Destiny Islands.
    Riku: How'm I gonna face everyone?
    Sora: (squishes cheeks and makes funny face) Like this!
    Riku: (pauses, then bursts out into laughter)
    "Oh...That's so funny, I forgot to laugh. Thanks...thanks to you, I can be as depressed as I want to be..."
  • Tomodachi Life: This is attempted during pity parties, where a few Miis try to cheer up a sad Mii, usually with humor. This does nothing to decrease the Sadness level of the Mii.

Web Videos

Webcomics

  • Bunny: Gore Justice: Dodge threatens Chopper with this in Chapter 1.
    Dodge: Because I believe in you!!! And if you don't — I'll tickle you to bits! 'Cos your laugh is — SO CUTE!!!
    Chopper: (horrified) Dodge, n-NO!

Western Animation

  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Fury", Yuki harasses Nicole to accept a rematch fight with her. She's so insistent that, amongst other things, she destroys Nicole's card. In order to cheer her up, Nicole's husband, Richard, puts vegetables on his head to look silly and make her laugh.
  • Kaeloo: Episode 236 reveals that Stumpy's Struggling Single Mother often cries over the hard circumstances of her life, but Stumpy often cracks jokes and acts silly to make her laugh.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • As the bearer of the Element of Laughter, Pinkie Pie's mission is to spread joy and laughter all over Equestria, although the results will vary, as her delivery of humour ranges from cheers to cringe. In the first episode, for example, she helps her friends overcome their fear of a scary forest by encouraging them to laugh at it.
    • In "Every Little Thing She Does", Pinkie herself is on the receiving end, albeit inadvertently. As she and Starlight Glimmer make cakes together, Pinkie is fuming over Starlight's behaviour earlier in the episode. Then she sees the mess Starlight is making of herself and breaks into a good-natured smile.
  • Popeye the Sailor (TV Series): Popeye and his rival Brutus vie for a job at a zoo where Olive is the head keeper. To get the job, they have to make a lugubrious hyena laugh. Predictably enough, Popeye is the one to succeed.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • In "The City of Frownsville", the titular girls try to make the Townsville people, who are all crying due to a Ray created by the Villain of the Week, Lou Gubrious, laugh. The problem is that the girls are crying as well.
    • In the revival episode "Bubbles the Blue", Blossom and Buttercup try to cheer up Bubbles who is enigmatically and uncharacteristically sad. When nothing works, it seems like some force is at work, but the Professor assures them that Bubbles will come out of her funk in due time.
  • The Simpsons: In "Lisa's Substitute", Lisa is upset after Mr. Bergstorm, the substitute teacher, leaves. Homer pretends to be a monkey which causes her to laugh and cheers her up.


 
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"A FIIIISH!"

When Chisato feels down from an old thought, the normally-reserved Takina tries to make her feel better by pretending to be a fish.

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