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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.


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 only upset sometimes.


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  • In 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 his with his cousin. Richard complains that his plans for the day were to mope.
  • Bakugo from My Hero Academia surprisingly tries to light up the mood after Class 1-A's teacher Aizawa threatened to expel the students who carried out an unauthorized, dangerous mission to rescue Bakugo, plus the other students who knew of their plan but didn't stop them, as well. 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.
  • In Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream! 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 
  • In Exiles (2001) #49, Morph has to do this to the Impossible Man, not just to cheer him up, but to break a mind control disc placed on him by The Controller
  • In Uncanny X-Men #192, Nightcrawler tries to cheer up Rogue by tickling her.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Lorelei Chronicles: Return of the Dream Lord, Lorelei sees the Doctor stressed and overworked, and tries to cheer him up by pranking him.
    • At the end of Comfort, while she's calming down after her parents' arguing upsets her, Lorelei knows that when the Doctor reads Alice in Wonderland to her, he'll make up funny voices for all the characters in order to make her laugh. And this is the SIXTH Doctor that she's talking about.
    • Ben Grimm rips part of his pants on purpose to make Lorelei laugh when he brings her to the Baxter Building.
  • In The Panda Chronicles (unrelated to the above) chapter "Hard to Stomach", Tae-young mentions to Jesse that the other boys made him laugh at dinner to get him to eat (he was previously Too Unhappy to Be Hungry over Jesse being sick).


  • In Dunk, Chad helps cure his friend Jason's autoimmune disease by making him laugh. Believe or not, he makes a full recovery.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Voyage of the Damned", the Doctor makes the two bullied passengers laugh by exploding the champagne bottle of their tormentors.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, the gang put up an attempt to cheer up Marshall a bit during the wake of his father's funeral.
  • The game show Make Me Laugh inverted this. Contestants earned $1 for every second they don't laugh at the routines of three stand-up comics.
  • An episode of Seinfeld 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.

  • A Chinese 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.

    Video Games 
  • Part of the Chain of Deals in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games 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.
    "Oh...That's so funny, I forgot to laugh. Thanks...thanks to you, I can be as depressed as I want to be..."
  • This is attempted during pity parties in Tomodachi Life, in which a few Miis try to cheer up a sad Mii, usually with humor. This does nothing to decrease the Sadness level for the Mii.
  • Sora does this for Riku towards the end of Kingdom Hearts II, 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!

    Western Animation 
  • This is one of the ways Joy attempts to cheer up Bing Bong in Inside Out. It doesn't work.
  • In Monsters, Inc., Sully begs Mike to make Boo laugh in order to generate energy so they can all escape from Boggs.
  • 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 "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 and 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. Popeye succeeds.
  • The Powerpuff Girls try to make the Townsville people, who are all crying due to a Ray created by the episode's villain, Lou Gubrious, laugh ("The City of Frownsville"). The problem is that the girls are crying as well.
  • In The Simpsons episode "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.