It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone,
More than you'll ever know"
A "funny aneurysm" moment is when a scene, joke, or offhand line that was originally meant to be funny or lighthearted becomes cringeworthy due to the unfortunate and/or traumatic events in future installments/episodes of a work or in real life. When someone says that a bit of comedy has been "overtaken by events," it is this that is in play.
This often has to do with a character or actor's death and is named for a line from the Buffy episode "The Freshman" in which Buffy hopes that her mother will have "a funny aneurysm" when she sees the cost of Buffy's college textbooks. This would come back to bite her in the next season.
Or, if you prefer, it's the moment when the funny drops down dead. A "funny aneurysm" is an oxymoron since having an aneurysm isn't funny.note
The inverse of this, where something in real life or more recent canon retroactively makes a lighthearted moment funnier, is Hilarious in Hindsight. Depending on how dark your sense of humor is, particularly your attitudes towards Black Comedy and Gallows Humor, a "funny aneurysm" moment could actually be funny in a twisted way.
There is also Harsher in Hindsight, where a scene that's already tragic becomes even worse due to later real life or canonical events. A joke about jumbo jets hitting skyscrapers in works made prior to 9/11 will likely be a "funny aneurysm" moment; a serious plotline about jumbo jets hitting skyscrapers in works made prior to 9/11 is harsher in hindsight.note
If this is done intentionally, this becomes a Cerebus Retcon.
Compare Too Soon, when the moment ends up being censored or removed because of a tragedy; Life Imitates Art, when something depicted in fiction is replicated in reality; Harsher in Hindsight, when the original moment is neither funny nor lighthearted, but becomes even less so in light of later events; Have a Gay Old Time, when an innocuous word takes a different meaning due to changes in common vocabulary; Unintentional Period Piece, when a work was intended to be timeless but the era in which it was made is easily distinguishable due to later events.
For literal funny aneurysms, see Narm.
- Since all actors and creators are mortal, if someone mentions death or plays a character who dies, and then die themselves, that's not a "funny aneurysm" moment unless their real world death has some kind of similarity or connection to the circumstances of the death which was originally Played for Laughs.
- It is possible for an in-universe event to be rendered a "funny aneurysm" moment by a real life one, even if it is temporary.
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