Often used as a Comedy Trope wherein a character relays two pieces of news to another, often using the Stock Phrases "I have some good news and some bad news", "The good news is...", and "The bad news is..." The humour typically comes from the sharp contrast between the good news and the bad news, or from each character's perceptions of 'good' and 'bad'.
Several permutations of this joke exist. For instance:
- Not So Good News After All: The simplest permutation. The teller relays some Good News, but then relays some Bad News that completely invalidates anything good about the Good News.
Doctor: The good news is that you don't have colon cancer after all. The bad news is that it's brain cancer instead.
- Bad News, More News: The Bad News is so bad that anything else is just some extra information on it — if your friend is dead, you don't feel any better when you're told who did it.
- Bad News, Irrelevant News: The next step up. The teller relays some terrible, shocking, catastrophic Bad News first, and then it is revealed that the Good News is little more than a Breathless Non Sequitur that has nothing to do with the Bad News — like you just found a nickel. See the individual page for examples.
- There Is No Good News: The teller was flat-out lying, and has no good news of any context whatsoever to relate.
- Reading Between the Good News: The teller relays the Good News, which, given the context and identity of the teller, gives away what the Bad News is going to be.
Doctor: The good news is, they're naming a disease after you!
- Both News Are the Same: A variation of the above, where the bad news is the same as the good news, word for word (but the emphasis may change). It's up to the recipient (and audience) to tell the pros and cons of said news.
- "That Was The Good News.": The teller relays some terrible, shocking, catastrophic news, which the receiver can only assume is the Bad News. So, still reeling from this horrible revelation, they weakly ask what the Good News is. But, as it turns out, that was the Good News, because the real Bad News is unimaginably worse.
Doctor: I have some good news and some bad news. The tests showed that you have 24 hours to live.
Patient: What's the good news?
Doctor: That was the good news. The bad news is that I forgot to call you yesterday!
- "So What's the Bad News?": The inverse of the above "That was the good news" version. After the teller relays what he believes is the "bad" news, the hearer interprets it as the "good" news, either for comical purposes, or because the "bad" news is what they wanted all along.
If the situation gets worse, it quickly becomes, "Bad News Worse News".
If it's all bad news, but presented as though it were good news, then it's Bad News in a Good Way.
- Gennai in Digimon Adventure does this to the Chosen Children; the good news is that there's an eighth child, whose Digimon can help the kids defeat Myotismon. The bad news? Myotismon knows about this Eighth Child and is going to Earth to kill them!
- Dragon Ball Kai
Freeza: There's good news and there's bad. "Good" in that I intend on seeing to it you last a bit longer. The flipside? You'll spend what time you have left in excruciating pain.
- Pokémon 2000: Jessie and Meowth are listing the results/consequences of helping the heroes, while James alternates between saying "That's good!" or "That's bad!" When Jessie ultimately says that they can just steal some money to make up for their lack of it, James finishes with "That's good... or is that bad?"
- Bob Hope, playing with the Christian concept of the evangelium:
Bob Hope: The Good News is that Jesus is coming back. The bad news is that he's really pissed off.
- Somebody told a joke once about the Pope getting a phone call and reporting to the College of Cardinals: "The good news is, that was Our Lord on the phone. The bad news is, he was calling from Salt Lake City."
- Another joke: "Sir, the bad news is that my scalpel slipped while I was performing surgery on your upper thigh. The good news is that your health insurance plan seems to also cover accidental castrations."
- Doctor: "Mrs. Jones, I have some good news for you." "It's Miss Jones." "Miss Jones, I have some bad news for you."
- Lots of well-dressed aristocrats are dining on a huge luxurious ship in the middle of an ocean. The captain comes in and says: "Ladies and gentlemen, I've got some good news and some bad news for you". "Tell us the good news, captain!", one of the passengers replies. "We have won eleven Oscars!"
- God calls Bill Gates, Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton for an urgent message. He informs them the world will end next week and they are to relay a message to their people. Yeltsin goes back to Russia and says there is bad news and terrible news - the bad news is there really is a God, and the terrible news is the world will next next week. Clinton holds a press conference in Washington and says there is good news and bad news - the good news is there really is a God, and the bad news is the world will next next week. Bill Gates returns to Microsoft and holds an full employee conference, saying he has good news and great news. The good news is God knows what a wonderful, important person he is, and the great news is they don't have to worry about fixing the Millennium Bug!
- There was a variation of this in Australia in the 1980s, involving Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, and Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Hawke claims that the great news is that "No Australian child will be living in poverty by the year 1990!" (one of his more unrealistic promises)
- There is a variant with the Israeli leader saying "God promised me there will be no Palestinian state".
- After a bombing raid in Baghdad, an Iraqi general calls up all of Saddam Hussein's body doubles. The general says, "The good news is that Saddam Hussein is still alive. The bad news is he lost an arm."
- Magic: The Gathering:
- The Goblin Pyromancer: "The good news is, we figured out how the wand works. The bad news is, we figured out how the wand works."
- Also the Rod of Ruin: "The good news is it's so simple a goblin could use it. The bad news is it's so simple a goblin could use it."
- A satirical example from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. With Superman's help, the US Government manages to drive the Soviet Union off of the island of Corto Maltese, but the Soviets respond by nuking the island, the fallout of which could easily spill over into the United States. The president is tasked with informing the American people, and he does so by appearing on TV and chipperly saying (whilst wearing a full radiation suit), "Well folks, I've got good news and bad news. Heh... The good news is that the Soviets have withdrawn their forces from the island of Corto Maltese.... And the bad news, well... It looks like those Soviets are pretty bad losers, yes they are..."
- In a classic She-Hulk story, our heroine is informed that exposure to massive amounts of radiation has apparently left her 6' 7" and bright green for the rest of her life.
- In the Simpsons Comic story "Sinbart the Sailor", Sinbart tells one of his sailors that there is "good news, bad news, good news, bad news, and good news." He then explains that there is treasure on the island, but it is guarded by snakes, but there are giant birds that eat the snakes, but the birds also eat humans, but the birds are full from eating another sailor.
- In Star Wars: Darth Vader, evil C3PO expy Triple Zero interrogates a prisoner for Vader
Triple Zero: I have good news and bad news about the gentleman.
Good news: I have great confidence that I have managed to extract all relevant information from —ahem— "Doctor Cylo-IV". I know the location of his research base, the nature of his commission from the Emperor, etcetera, etcetera.
Vader: Then dispose of him.
Triple Zero: Ah, then I have doubly good news: he's already dead.
- Also used in Footrot Flats, when the Dog has just found a stoat.
Dog: Wal, good news: there's rabbits in the veges. Bad news: It's not going to matter...
- Parodied in The Far Side by a wildebeest salesman:
Salesman: Well, I've got good gnus and I've got bad gnus.
- Foxtrot: Jason gives his mother the good news:
- From Sherman's Lagoon:
Fillmore: Good news...when the invading hoard of tiger prawns heard that Louie, the blue whale, was on his way, they hit the road.
Sherman: High five.
Fillmore: Wanna know the bad news?
Sherman: Lay it on me.
Fillmore: Now we have a really hungry, 110-ton houseguest.
- In Hogyoku ex Machina, Ichigo gets sent back in time.
Ichigo: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you got your powers back.
[Ishida looks hopeful]
Ichigo: The bad news is, you never told me how.
[Ishida looks pissed]
- A New Dawn:
Hermione: There's good news and bad news. We've got Defence first thing.
Harry: Is that the good news or the bad news?
Hermione: We've got it with the Slytherins.
- From Robots
Robot parts salesman: I've got good news, and I've got bad news.
Fender: What's the bad news?
Robot parts salesman: I checked the stock book. As of today, they're no longer makin' parts for your model. You've been officially outmoded.
Fender: Outmoded? Well, that's fine. WHAT'S THE GOOD NEWS?!
Robot parts salesman: Well, when we had your parts, they were on sale.
- From Toy Story 2:
Slinky: I got some good news and I got some bad news. The good news is, I found your hat, Woody.
Woody: My hat! Oh! Slink! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Where'd you find it?
Slinky: Well, that's the bad news.
- Appears in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa:
Skipper: I've got good news and bad news. The good news is we'll be landing immediately. The bad news is we're crash-landing.
- In The Adventures of Tintin, both news are almost the same in the One Bullet Left scene:
Tintin: The bad news is, we've only got one bullet.
Capt. Haddock: Well, what's the good news?!
Tintin: We got one bullet. [shoots down plane]
- In Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, a vulture tells the assembled animals that the valley is going to flood unless they get to a boat at the other end. But he does have some good news: the more of them that die, the better he eats. He never said it was good news for them.
- Kung Fu Panda:
Shifu: Master! I have... it's uhh... very bad news.
Master Oogway: Ah Shifu. There is just news, there is no good or bad.
Shifu: Master, your vision! Your vision was right. Tai Lung has broken out of prison! He's on his way.
[Oogway gets Oh, Crap! look]
Master Oogway: That is bad news. [beat] If you do not believe the Dragon Warrior can stop him.
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Parodied when, after Kiara falls into an oasis and Pumbaa cannonballs in after her, Timon tries to rehearse what to tell her father.
Timon: Gee, Simba! The good news is, we found your daughter. The bad news is, we dropped a warthog on her. Is there a problem with that?
- Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. When their Drop Ship gets hit, the rookie MI squad led by Rico has to jump out in mid-air and rely on their Jet Packs. Surprisingly they make it out of the dropship without a hitch.
- Bitter Moon:
Oscar: She said, there's bad news and there's good news. You're paralyzed from the waist down — permanently. OK, I said, let's have the good news. That was the good news, she said. The bad news is that from now on, I'm taking care of you.
- In Dawn of the Dead (2004), Kenneth, on the roof of the shopping mall, is communicating with Andy, who is on the roof of a gun store across the street. Since the zombie apocalypse is already well underway, they are forced to use whiteboards and markers, with binoculars to look at the other man's sign.
Kenneth: Fort Pastor GONE. No help coming.
Andy: So what's the bad news?
- From The One, when Gabe is confronted to his murderous Doppleganger for the first time:
Yulaw: The good news is, you're not crazy. The bad news is... [starts shooting at him]
- Raging Bull:
Joey: He gave me the old "good news, bad news" routine. The good news is you're gonna get the shot at the title. The bad news is they want you to do the old flip-flop for 'em.
- From The Rock: "I have some bad news, and some really bad news! The bad news is that the gas is corrosive and its eating our suits. The really bad news is there is enough C-4 explosive and poison gas to blow the whole chamber and everyone in the building!"
- From UHF:
Bob: I have good news and bad news.
George: Okay, give me the bad news first.
Bob: Well, given our present financial situation, compounded by on-going fixed expenses and outstanding invoices, I figure this station will be flat broke by the end of the week.
George: What's the good news?
Bob: I lied. There is no good news.
- In Darkman, corrupt building developer Louis Strack Jr. pulls a false Irrelevant News with his #1 subordinate, replacing the real "good news" with a joking admission that he's had his wife killed (which he later on jokingly admits to having his own wife killed).
Louis Strack Jr.: Robert, I have good news and bad.
Robert Durant: Custom dictates that you render the bad news first.
- The Boat That Rocked: The good news is that the engines have exploded and they're all going to die. When everyone points out that this is hardly good news, he reminds them that he hasn't told them the bad news yet: just how painfully they're going to die.
- From Tango & Cash:
Cash: I've got good news and bad news.
Tango: What's the bad news?
Cash: We're almost out of gas.
Tango: What's the good news?
Cash: We're ALMOST out of gas!
- In Con Air, Pinball has to find three white convicts named Carl, Benson, and Popovich, because they need to deliver them to the unsuspecting guards below to keep up the ruse that nothing is wrong on the plane. The goods news is that Pinball found all three of them. The bad news is that they all died in the scuffle in taking over the plane and the DEA Agent's attempt to retake it, making them three men short.
- Pacific Rim: Bad news? Three people died working construction on the top of the wall. Good news? Three new job openings working construction on the top of the wall.
- In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold is knocked unconscious while riding the cheetah through the woods, and when he wakes up, Kumar tells him there's some bad news and worse news. The worse news is that the cheetah took them in the wrong direction of White Castle, whereas the bad news was Harold's laptop had been destroyed. Harold, angered that his laptop and all his work has been destroyed, asks why that wasn't the worse news. Kumar tries to explain that the laptop situation affected only him whereas being taken the wrong way affected them both equally.
- Used in the Signature Scene of Night of the Creeps.
Detective Cameron: I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here.
Sorority Sister: What's the bad news?
Detective Cameron: They're dead.
- A Bridge Too Far. After being missing and presumed dead for several days, General Urquhart turns up alive and asks for a briefing. He's told they're cut off from the troops in Arnhem and are facing two SS panzer divisions. Urquhart asks for the good news and is told there isn't any. Their reinforcements are delayed due to bad weather, the dropping zones have been overrun by the Germans so their supplies are all going to the enemy, and they can't get the radios to work so they can't inform anyone back in England of this fact. Urquhart is visibly stunned.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the Turtles infiltrate a plane in-flight, only to find it's full of Foot ninja.
Raphael: The good news is, you're wearing chutes. The bad news is...
[cut to the mooks getting lobbed out of the plane in seconds]
- From The Dictator (the context being that Wadiyan dictator Aladeen has changed numerous words to "Aladeen", even if they are contradictory):
Doctor: Do you want the Aladeen news or the Aladeen news?
Patient: The Aladeen news.
Doctor: You are HIV-Aladeen.
[patient switches between joyous and fearful expressions]
- Artemis Fowl: A variant: Foaly tells Commander Root and the rest of the Council that they got pinged by Mud Men by some mysterious advanced technology. He says there are best-case scenarios and worst-case scenarios. The mysterious-technology could read their culture like a book and do with the faeries what they will.
Commander Root: And the best-case scenario?
Foaly: That was the best-case scenario.
- A meta version is directed to the reader in Going Postal:
The broom must have been kept as an ornament, because it certainly hadn't been used much on the accumulations in the stable yard. On the positive side, this meant [Moist] had fallen into something soft. On the negative side, it meant that he had fallen into something soft.
- Death also performs the trope in Hogfather, when speaking to the spirit of a recently deceased man (who hasn't yet realized he's dead):
Ernest: That's going to be the sack for sure, I'm gonna be in big trouble...
Death: Ah. Well. There at least I have some good news, Ernest. [looks down at Ernest's body] And, then again, I have some bad news...
- A meta version is directed to the reader in Going Postal:
- Five Hundred Years After by Steven Brust has an excessively purple version of this trope, featuring an extended metaphor about fortune smiling and frowning simultaneously.
- Happens a few times in the X-Wing Series, typically the last version. Someone's being promoted. So what's the good news? It happens so often in Mercy Kill that it becomes the unofficial second squadron motto. During the climax, the plan is going so well that they end up inverting the Bad News, Irrelevant News formula; though squad leader Voort insists that "they're always bad news", their "bad news" boils down to "despite our best efforts, our actor still smells bad" and "that ungrateful actress stole all our witnesses" (granted, the second was fairly serious, but not life-threatening or difficult to fix).
- Black Magic Woman has a couple interesting examples:
- In one case, Morris has some good news and some bad news: "For one thing, I'm almost positive that your troubles here are not being caused by a poltergeist, or any other kind of resident spirit". When asked for the bad news, he says that was the bad news (said troubles are being caused by something much worse).
- Later, Van Dreenan has good news and bad news. The bad news is, he just realized that he's been a complete idiot for the past several hours. The good news is, he just realized that he's been a complete idiot for the past several hours (as he just came up with a plan that he should have thought of before.)
- Quoth Mack, of The Automatic Detective, the good news is, it looks like the data he got about the lair he's about to storm was completely accurate. The bad news is, is looks like the data he got about the lair was completely accurate (i.e. it doesn't look good for his chances of getting in and out).
- From Animorphs, Megamorphs #1 (Marco and Ax have just escaped from Visser Three's personal spaceship):
Marco: The good news is, we're out of the ship. I used a couple Hork-Bajirs as a ladder and climbed over them! That's the good news.
Ax: You seem to be implying that there might be some bad news, too.
Marco: Oh yeah. The bad news is we're about two miles up in the air and we are plummeting to Earth.
- Stargate Atlantis:
McKay: OK, I got bad news and I got good news.
Sheppard: What is it?
McKay: There's little or no chance of getting the DHD working — the system is completely out of wack. It's gonna take some incredibly intricate re-routing of the power in order—
Sheppard: Woh, woh! What's the good news?
McKay: That was the good news. The bad news is we lost life support.
- Invoked in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's second season opener "Charlie Gets Crippled". Frank tells Dennis and Dee that their mother is dead, only to say that they are just getting a divorce. When asked why he would say this, he replies "That's a business tactic. You drop the bomb, then you soften the blow. You never tried this?"
- From 3rd Rock from the Sun:
Dick: I've got good news and bad news!
Sally: What's the bad news?
Dick: The Big Giant Head is here!
Tommy: What's the good news?
Dick: There is none!
Harry: Well, then why did you phrase it like that?
Dick: Oh, I don't know!
- From The Office (UK), Brent has to deliver the bad news of redundancies (layoffs, for all the Americans) to his staff, which he tries to cushion with the good news of his own promotion. It goes over about as well as things usually do in The Office.
- Variation from House to a couple who didn't know that their sixteen year old was smoking.
Dr. House: Bad news, your son has a filthy unhealthy habit. Good news, he's trying to quit. Bad news, the quitting is killing him. Good news, I can cure him. Bad news... nope, that's the end of it.
- From Hogan's Heroes
Sgt. Schultz: I have some good news and some bad news.
Col. Klink: This time tell me the good news first.
Sgt. Schultz: You are to be executed in the morning.
Col. Klink: Then what's the bad news?
Sgt. Schultz: They aren't giving you a blindfold.
- Played with repeatedly in a second-season episode of The Invisible Man. The Official tells Fawkes and Hobbes that he has good news and bad news. Fawkes and Hobbes immediately start arguing about whether you're supposed to hear the good news or the bad news first, until he cuts them off with the announcement that the Agency is "no longer under the auspices of the Department of Fish & Game".
Fawkes: Wait, was that the good news or the bad news?
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
- During a game of "Scenes from a Hat", one of the suggestions drawn for mini scenes was "the good news, and the bad news".
Ryan Stiles: The good news is the surgery was successful and now you look like a movie star. The bad news is that movie star is Drew Carey.
Wayne Brady: [pretending to read a newspaper] Whew, the elections are over. [turns the page] President Bush!?
- Another "Scenes from a Hat" has the same suggestion:
Brad Sherwood: [to Wayne] The good news is, we're going to name a disease after you. [walks away, leaving Wayne to realize what the bad news is]
- During a game of "Scenes from a Hat", one of the suggestions drawn for mini scenes was "the good news, and the bad news".
- Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad featured the "bad news and bad news" version, with the protagonist sarcastically going "Give me the bad news first."
- Played with in the Farscape episode "I Do, I Think":
D'Argo: Well, now I can only speak truth, and that comes as good and bad news.
John: All right, give me the bad news first.
D'Argo: The bad news is that you're married, and you must endure as a statue for eighty cycles in a strange world.
John: What's the good news?
D'Argo: Chiana and I are having fantastic sex.
- Quoth Hardison, in the Leverage episode "The Office Job", "Hey guys, I've got bad news and bad news; I'll start with the bad news."
- In The Middleman episode "The Flying Fish Zombification", Ida starts a phone call with, "I've got good news, bad news, more bad news, and worse news."
- In The Closer episode "Tapped Out", the squad's discussing the man they've just arrested, who pretends to be a detective and has been trying to solve a murder by himself, including collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses.
Sergeant Gabriel: Now, about his witness statements... The good news is, his handwriting is impeccable. The bad news is, everything is written in this bizarre code I think only he can decipher.
- On Bones, when they've finally figured out that a priest who's been sick throughout the whole episode has been poisoned:
Dr. Saroyan: The good news is, we know how to make you feel a lot better.
Hodgins: Bad news is, someone's trying to kill you.
- This was a regular segment on America's Funniest Home Videos, the John Fugelsang and Daisy Fuentes version. One of them would say "the bad news", show the clip and then say "the good news..." and say something funny.
- From Mama's Family:
Ellen: Fran, Mama has some bad news and some good news for you. The bad news is... there isn't any good news!
- From Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
Jeffords: So we have good news, and we have bad news.
Boyle: My nana always said: bad news first, because the good news is probably a lie. Fun fact: she made me cry a lot.
- On 30 Rock, Jack gathers the pages, telling them "I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, I am shutting down the page program. The good news...is for a different group of people".
- Monk: Adrian Monk is told by a doctor that he has bad news. Monk requests the good news first and when the doctor says there is none, he insists that they always say "I've got some good news and some bad news."
- The NCIS episode "See No Evil" ends with Gibbs giving McGee some good news and some bad news.
Gibbs: The good news is you've just been promoted to a full-time field agent.
McGee: Really? Well, that's incredible! What's—
Gibbs: You belong to me now.
- Family Feud: Midway through an utter disaster of a Fast Money round, after the first contestant had given answers like "frog" to "Name an animal with three letters in its name" and "snow" to "Something that comes with a summer storm":
Richard Dawson: [to the second contestant] I've got good news and bad news.
Contestant: Give me the bad news first.
Dawson: The bad news is you need a hundred and seventy-two points to win the money.
[contestant starts to walk off stage; Dawson grabs his collar to stop him]
Dawson: The good news is you're the man to do it.
- Spoiler alert: he wasn't.
- Square One TV. In the Mathnet segment "The Case of the Unkidnapping", after determining that a beeping phone message was meant to spell out that the kidnapped actress could be at a location either called Aleckhouse, Bleakhouse, or Cleakhouse, Jane Monday has the computer system look up whether any such location exists in New York City. After getting results, she tells George Frankly that she has good news and bad news. George asks for the bad news first, which is that there is no such location in New York City - but the good news is that there is a Cleakhouse in New York State.
- Star Trek: Voyager. Seven of Nine responds with her usual Brutal Honesty to this trope.
Chakotay: Seven, I want good news. That's an order.
Seven: Then I must disobey. I have no good news to report.
- What inspired the title of Somerset's song I lied... there is no good news.
- The invoked in the Rush song Good News First, in which the lyrics imply heartbreak in the past, and is sung from the perspective of a person who wants to hear some good news. The image in the background of the lyrics in the liner notes shows a newspaper reading "Cure for disease found" blowing in the wind of a grave stone, implying that in the past good news did not come soon enough.
- Criss does this in episode 12 of Interstitial Actual Play. The good news is that, since he's seen Lost, he knows what the Smoke Monster is. The bad news is that the show never really fleshed it out, so it has no well-defined weaknesses.
- In episode 19A of Welcome to Night Vale, during a sandstorm that creates doubles of everyone in town, Cecil reports that one of the Intern Danas has killed the other and he doesn't know which one is the original Dana. That, apparently, was the good news. The bad news? He has received an e-mail from Steve Carlsberg.
- "Good News, Bad News" is a round in I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, in which the panelists try to top good news with bad news and vice versa. A typical round:
Tim: Good news — I've just got a new jacuzzi.
Barry: Bad news — It wasn't a jacuzzi when I got in.
Willie: Good news — Jamie Lee Curtis was in it with me.
Graeme: Bad news — But not for long.
Tim: Um, good news — I've also got a new bidet.
Barry: Bad news — It keeps falling off the ceiling.
Willie: Good news — At least I don't have to stand on my head any more.
Graeme: Bad news — Neither does Jamie Lee Curtis.
- In the one-act Super Hero spoof The Thirty-Nine Dollar Man, the Sidekick has to inform the hero, sewer troubleshooter Milo Saperstien, by radio, that Milo's Arch-Nemesis has sabotaged their sewer unclogging machine so that it's going to mangle Milo before he can leave the sewer. The Sidekick starts off by saying, "Well, let me put it to you this way. You know that recurring nightmare you keep having where you fall to your death from the top of a tall building?" "Yeah?" "The good news is that won't be happening to you."
- MOTHER 3 has a particularly jarring example: So the forest's burning and everyone is looking for Flint's family. A search is organized for his wife. The good news? They found an awesome Drago Fang that would make a great weapon! The bad news? It was found lodged in his wife's heart. On a lighter note, the creator of Mother 3 said this scene was essential, keeping the game on both a lighthearted note and a dark one. Had they simply been straight with the situation, it would have seemed all dark and no fun.
- The lategame revelation that Tazmily Village was founded by the last survivors of a calamity (which is never described, but is thought to have been a result of their previous lifestyles), who had decided to manipulate all but Leder's memories in order to make them believe that they had always existed in harmony with nature gives further context to how the above good and bad news was delivered. Because the people were of a mindset that they had never experienced a true tragedy like a life cut short before, they simply had no way of knowing how to process anything like it, and could only try to deliver the news in as positive a manner as possible.
- In the opening of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Gaz has good news and bad news. The good news is that Russia is in the grips of a civil war with 15,000 nukes at stake, and the Middle East is in turmoil. The bad news is that a new guy is joining the squad.
- In The World Next Door, Cerisse has good and bad news for Jun. The good news is that Jun's sword has the power to reactivate the portal that will send her home. The bad news is that they'll have to go back towards the first shrine they visited where an ominous monster chased them out of.
- Halo: Reach features a good news/bad news exchange at the end of the fifth level:
- In Portal 2:
Cave Johnson: Those of you who volunteered to be injected with praying mantis DNA, I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is we're postponing those tests indefinitely. The good news is we've got a much better test for you: fighting an army of Mantis Men! Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line. You'll know when the test starts.
- Dialogue from the newest DLC for the game indicates that in an alternate multiverse the mantis-men take over the facility. Cave sounds scared. Further DLC dialogue has an alternate Cave relaying good news and bad news:
Alternate Cave: Good news first: our telekinesis incubation program was a HUGE success! Bad news: the candidate screening process was a lot less successful. Lemme tell ya, we picked a real bunch of smart-alecks to give mind powers to.
- There's also this one:
GLaDOS: Okay, so the bad news is the tests are MY tests now. So they can kill us. The good news is... well, none so far, to be honest. I'll get back to you on that.
- And then one level later...
GLaDOS: I finally thought of some good news. He's going to run out of test chambers eventually. I never stockpiled them.
Wheatley: Okay, I'm coming, don't start yet, don't start yet! You're not gonna believe this, I found a sealed-off wing, with HUNDREDS of perfectly good test chambers, just sitting there! Full of skeletons. Shoop them out, good as new.
GLaDOS: "Skeletons". Right, I guess I DID stockpile some tests. Just as mementos though...
- In Portal 2:
- Traffic Department 2192:
Dispatcher: Congratulations, Vel! You've made some new enemies today!
Velasquez: So what are the bad news?
Dispatcher: Some of them are still alive.
- The Nancy Drew games have many Have a Nice Death messages in this format. Usually the bad news nullifies the good news, though this trope is also played with in other ways.
- In one mission of the "Fallen Angel" campaign, which is part of the "Legacy of the Confederation" story, which branches from StarCraft canon. In here, the agents sent for the mission manage to shut down the generators the power the cloaking field. However, one of the agents then had "bad news" and "really bad news". The leader tells him to tell first the "really bad" which is that behind the cloaking field is a 'net' that shorts out all electronics, including their cloaking fields. As for the "bad news", it's the generator that's powering it, which is protected by a security system involving explosions.
- In the iOS game Highborn, Archie tells Enzo he's got good news and bad news. Enzo says to tell him half the good news first, then the bad news, then the other half of the good news.
- Crash Twinsanity:
Evil Twin: The bad news is... we're taking over your world. The good news is... you won't be around to see it.
- In the Doom II game manual, the description of the Spiderdemon's weapon is as follows:
- In The Awakened Fate Ultimatum, if you get the true ending, Mariel tells Phyllis that she has good news and bad news. Phyllis chooses to hear the bad news first. The "bad news" is now that the ceasefire between the angels and devils is over, the war will simply continue. Phyllis doesn't think it's bad news at all. The "good news" is... that Phyllis is no longer a general, and so must either be disposed of or stay in Celestia, to disposed of should she ever be caught doing something bad again.
- In The Walking Dead in Season 1, Episode 4 Kenny said this to the group when he found a boat which was the good news but it lacked fuel and a working battery which was the bad news.
- Said by "Ishmael" in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain when Big Boss gets ambushed in the hospital:
"Ishmael": The good news is you're in the land of the living. The bad news is...everyone wants you dead.
- Ikemen Sengoku: On Ieyasu's route, Nobunaga gives the player character this kind of "choice" at a war council about the identities of their enemies.
Nobunaga: Which would you like to hear first—the bad news? Or the even worse news?
- In the flash video Final Fantasy Gil Quest, Cactaur and Tonberry are trying to raise 3 million gil so that they don't have to go to jail.
Tonberry: Well, how are we doing?
Cactaur: Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is, with all the money we've earned, the most we can buy is a gumball.
Tonberry: Well than what's the good news?!
Cactaur: That is the good news! We can buy a gumball!... oh, and I did save a bunch of money on my car insurance by Switching To Geico....
- Comes up in Red vs. Blue, when the Freelancers are looking for an artifact with certain symbols on it that they need to steal. They're expecting something "small, easy-to-miss".
Wash: Commander, I've got good news and bad news.
Carolina: Hit me.
Wash: Good news is, we found the symbols we're looking for. Bad news is... they're on that. [indicates a large box that is obviously too heavy for the three of them to carry]
- From the Yogscast Minecraft Series, we're reminded why one of the game's unwritten rules is "never dig up."
Simon Lane: Good news is I've dug our way out. Bad news is we're going to drown.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Played straight two ways in "They've Had Time to Train, Too".
Haley: [to a group of Hobgoblins] OK, I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, I won initiative, so you all get a sneak attack each. The good news is, I don't have to bother thinking up the second half to that joke, 'cause you're all dead now.
- Then in the same strip, the hobgoblin in the final panel gets an Ironic Echo...
Hobgoblin: OK, so, I've got bad news, and I've got bad news.
- Eugene Greenhilt to his son in the afterlife, after finding out Roy's body was turned into a bone golem: "...The good news is that I was able to conjure some books that might help you come to terms with the bad news."
- "A Cut Above" has the first variety.
Celia: Well, the good news is that Belkar isn't fighting both of those thieves anymore. The bad news is, that's because the half-orc is now chasing us.
- Done again in "All Available Resources", with the good news and bad news being the same — it's all in the intonation.
Roy: [to the team] The good news is, we're here. The bad news is — we're here. [pan out to a barren expanse of desert]
- Blackwing delivers too. The "good news" makes kind of sense in a "we're screwed already anyway" mindset.
Blackwing: OK. Well... the bad news is that this is a scroll of Locate Creature — which is a completely useless spell in the current situation.
The good news is that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.note
- Played straight two ways in "They've Had Time to Train, Too".
- Cyanide & Happiness keeps plenty of these◊ in the drawer.
- Girl Genius. A common hazard in a world filled with with Mad Scientists..
- The good news about falling into an Oubliette full of bones; the bones aren't scattered, meaning there are no monsters attacking people from the dark. The bad news is that anyone who winds up there stays there.
- The good news is he doesn't have gangrene. The bad news is they don't know what he does have.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has used this repeatedly.
- Scandal Sheet has this exchange:
"Mitch? I have good news and bad news."
"Give me the bad news first, okay?"
"Okay. The bad news is I wasn't in time to stop Steve from starting a rumour that you're gay and you hit on me in the bathroom. Now everyone here believes it's true."
"Oh no. Oh my god. I'm gonna puke. What's the good news?"
"Actually, I lied. There isn't any good news."
- From chainsawsuit:
- Happens a fair bit in Schlock Mercenary.
- For example:
Kathryn Flinders: [viewing certain spy cams in Dr. Pau's facility] Hmph. Well, the good news is that I can now start killing and not feel in the least bit guilty. The bad news is I'm not going to feel the least bit guilty about the killing I'm about to do.
Admiral Emm: Commodore Bhotsu plays an amusing game with me. At least, I suppose it to be amusing for him. I would now like to play it with you. It is called "Good News, Bad News."
Colonel DeHaans: Umm... I know this game well, Admiral. I'd rather not play.
- Also, occasionally, averted.
Tagon: Thanks for not phrasing it as "good news, bad news".
Thurl: I know how much you hate that game. Besides, in this context, it's more like "bad news, worse news" and where's the fun in that?
- For example:
- Homestuck is fond of both news being the same:
- When Rose explores the Skaianet Laboratory, she produces a time-travel clone of her long-dead pet cat.
The wretched creature exhibits a number of unfortunate mutations though. The good news is that it will be mercifully UNESTABLISHED along with this facility shortly. This is also the bad news.
- Dave, about a machine that can read CAPTCHA codes better than humans:
TG: basically robots are in control now
TG: (...) the bad news is theyre all pornbots and theyve got LOADS of provocative material theyre just dying to share with us
GG: whats the good news?
TG: thats also the good news
- When Rose explores the Skaianet Laboratory, she produces a time-travel clone of her long-dead pet cat.
- Geist Panik has a good one (with an obligatory kick at the dead sparkly horse):
Dr. Rosenrantz: Well, the good news is, you've contracted vampirism. The bad news is, that it is a horribly debilitating blood disease!
- Darths & Droids does the "what's the bad news?" version, when Han Solo is told there's good news and bad news, they're going to freeze him in alcohol.
- This comic has a variation, with Rotten Tomatoes reviews instead of good and bad news. Batman and Superman look at the reviews of their movie. Batman gets increasingly upset as Superman reels off negative reviews. In the end, Superman realizes he was actually looking at the fresh reviews. Bonus points for using actual fresh reviews for that movie on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Scary Go Round: It's rarely fun to get that line from your lawyer:
Peter Trimble: The good news is that no one has ever been convicted of perverting the course of history before. The bad news is that there's a first time for everything.
- John Dies at the End has an example:
Dave: Well, the good news is we're on our way to Vegas. The bad news is, the truck is being driven by some sort of physical manifestation of evil.
- An example of reading between the good news in this story from Not Always Working:
Coworker: The good news is, the fire's out.
- From Jake and Amir, "Milk Man Part 2":
"Doctor": Amir, I've got some good news and some bad news.
Amir: What's the good?
"Doctor": The good news is, you're gonna die.
Amir: Ahh! What's the bad!
"Doctor": The bad news is I don't know what the term "good news" means.
- From South Park:
Terrance: I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you're perfectly healthy. The bad news is that you have cancer.
- In Futurama, whenever the Professor Farnsworth says "Good news, everyone!", he's inevitably going to announce something horrible.
- Parodied in one episode when he's announcing something even worse than normal and simply says "News, everyone!" in exactly the same tone of voice as normal and lampshaded in "The Sting" when he says (in exactly the same tone of voice as normal) "Bad news everyone! Now normally when I say "Good news" it's usually bad news. So you can imagine how bad this news actually is."
- There's the one time where Farnsworth catches himself: "Wait a minute, that's not good news at all!" Which is because this time, the bad news applies to himself. It's pretty much good news to the rest of the group.
- In the "Freaky Friday" Flip episode, he and Amy try to switch to their original bodies. When they fail, he says "Bad news, me."
- An episode of Bonkers presented Bonkers and Lucky with this situation, which they responded to by debating which they'd rather hear first. Lucky felt the Bad News was better to hear first because the Good News made up for it. Bonkers felt the Good News first made the Bad News not seem so bad.
- Played with on The Simpsons in "Treehouse of Horror III".
Shopkeeper: Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: Ooh, that's bad.
Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer: That's good.
Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings.
Homer: That's good!
Shopkeeper: The toppings contain potassium benzoate.
[Homer looks puzzled]
Shopkeeper: ...That's bad.
Homer: Can I go now?
- Happened in DuckTales (1987) when Scrooge received the "bad news" that one of his ships was lost and the "good news" that it was only a small shipment of ice cream. What the employee relaying said news didn't know was that that very ship secretly contained half his boss' fortune...
- In The Venture Bros., Colonel Gathers pulls the "There is No Good News" variant on Brock.
Gathers: Do you want the bad news or the good news first?
Brock: I don't know... the good news?
Gathers: THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS! Just bad news and weird news...
- The Not So Good News variant shows up in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragonshy"
Twilight Sparkle: Listen up! Smoke is spreading over all of Equestria... but don't worry, I've just received a letter from Princess Celestia informing me that it is not coming from a fire.
Fluttershy: Oh, thank goodness.
Twilight Sparkle: It's coming from a dragon.
- From The Fairly OddParents!:
- The episode "Spaced Out!" features this a couple of times.
Timmy: So what's the good news?
Cosmo: The alien we got you is actually a prince from the dreaded war-planet Yugopotamia!
Wanda: And his parents are on their way to destroy the Earth and rescue their son!
Timmy: Then what's the bad news?
Wanda: Oh wait... that was the bad news.
Timmy: Then what's the good news!?
Cosmo: I found a nickel!
- Later, it happens again. Cosmo's interpretation is that the "good" news is he named the nickel Phillip. The bad news is it's a girl nickel.
- Cosmo's doctor does this after he undergoes an organ transplant. The doctor calls to report he has good news, bad news, worse news, terrible news, etc.
- The episode "Spaced Out!" features this a couple of times.
- A variation happens on Invader Zim when The Resisty goes up against The Massive.
- Done when The Real Ghostbusters meet Mee-Krah — an unstoppable force of pure energy that absorbs other ghosts and scorches any land it passes over until it's as hot and barren as a desert — in the episode "Standing Room Only."
Peter: We've got bad news... and terrible news.
Winston: Bad news first.
Egon: We couldn't stop Mee-Krah.
Ray: And the terrible news?
Egon: We're going to get another chance at it...
Peter: ...because it's heading straight for us.
- Beast Wars, "The Agenda, Part 2" (Not So Good News):
Optimus Primal: All right, what's the good news?
Rattrap: Well, the good news is we don't have to kowtow to that stinkin' Decepticon [Ravage] any longer.
Optimus Primal: And the bad news?
[as this is happening, Ravage's ship is slipping up behind Optimus and Cheetor]
Rattrap: Uh... well the bad news is...he's switched sides!
[cue one of the biggest Oh, Crap! screams you will ever see out of Optimus]
- In the Aladdin TV series episode "As the Netherworld Turns" Iago and Abu find out about a magic artifact in Jafar's lab that will let them walk through walls and plan to use it to rob the royal treasury. But instead the artifact sends them to the Netherworld, where they're trapped with Ayam Aghoul.
Ayam Agoul: Bird, monkey, so nice to see you again.
Iago: [nervously] The pleasure's ours! Really!
Ayam Agoul: Ah ha ha, I know what you're thinking: "Didn't Aladdin leave him trapped in the Netherworld?" Why so he did. And I'm still here, too! [walks over to Aladdin and sticks a hand through him] And he's still out there, in happy land!
Iago: Yeah, I hear ya. Life's not fair. [he and Abu make a run for it, but Ayam appears in front of them and blocks their path]
Ayam Agoul: Don't leave, I've got good news.
Iago: Good news?
Ayam Agoul: And bad news. The good news: you're not dead.
Iago: I'm sorry, what?
Ayam Agoul: The Eye of Gazeem, just a cheap spell. Only sends you to the land of the dead, doesn't actually make you dead.
Iago: BOBO WAS WRONG! WE'RE NOT DEAD! LET'S BOOGALOO! [he and Abu dance happily]
Ayam Agoul: Of course, this means I can make you that way. That's the bad news. It's only fair. Can't have revenge on Aladdin, you're the next best thing.
[Iago and Abu freeze in horror]
- In the Road Rovers episode "A Hair of the Dog That Bit You", the Rovers fear that Exile had been bitten by a werewolf, and while they're on their way to England to find a cure, a full moon comes out and nothing seems to happen.
Hunter: [talking to Blitz via radio] Sky Rover to Cloud Rover. I've got good news: Exile is not a werewolf!
Blitz: And I've got bad news: Colleen is!
- In the Veggietales episode, The Ballad of Little Joe (A Western adaptation of Joseph from the Bible), Joe gives a variation where its good news for one and bad news for the other two prisoners after interpretating their dreams.
Joe: Well, there's good news and bad news. [to the Baker] You're going back to work today! [to the Blacksmith] But you're being sent up the river. [back to the Baker] Congratulations! [back to the Blacksmith] So sorry.
- In the Numberjacks episode "Nine Lives", there's this exchange:
Five: Six! We've got some good news, and some bad news.
Six: What is it?
Five: We know how to solve the puzzle.
Six: Good. And the bad news?
Five: You've got to turn into two 3s.
- Naturally, Three herself takes this news with excitement.