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Good News, Bad News

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"Good news for people who love bad news..."
Modest Mouse, "Bury Me with It"

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.
    Doctor: The bad news is, you have brain cancer and only one year to live. The good news is, you may live a few years longer with chemo.
  • 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.
    Doctor: The bad news is you will die in 24 hours. The good news is that I won't be missing my golf appointment tomorrow.
  • There Is No Good News: The teller was flat-out lying, and has no good news of any context whatsoever to relate.
    Doctor: The bad news is, you have brain cancer. The good news is... yeah, I was hoping to make something up to make this terrible situation seem better.
  • 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.
    Doctor: The good news is, your mother is no longer in pain. The bad news is, your mother is no longer in pain.
  • "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.
    Doctor:: I have some good news and some bad news. You have the flu and will have to take a week off work.
    Patient: (who hates his job) So, what's the bad news?

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.

A Sub-Trope of Bearer of Bad News, Breaking Bad News Gently.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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 Z 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.
  • In Chapter 102 of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Seo is trying to figure out how to reveal to Wakamatsu that she's Lorelei. She asked him if he would like a big secret revealed to him, and he said he'd prefer to hear both good and bad news at the same time. In the next panel (talking to Nozaki and Sakura, not Waka), Seo's holding two signs: "Lorelei was me" and "Taguchi-sensei's getting married!!", which has nothing to do with either of them. When Sakura and Nozaki point this out, Seo switches the one about Taguchi for one relevant to Waka: "Your shoelaces are broken". They're shocked that the one about the marriage was supposed to be the bad news, and wonder if Taguchi-sensei is okay.
  • 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 end 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."
  • Doctor: "I have some bad news and some very bad news. The bad news is that you have cancer." Patient: "What's the very bad news?" Doctor: "You also have short-term memory loss." Patient: "Oh, thank goodness! I thought you were gonna say I had cancer!"
  • A man wakes up in hospital after being in a terrible car crash, and the doctor tells him that there's bad news and there's good news. The bad news is, both of the man's legs are gone from the crash. Distraught, the man demands to know what could possibly be good after that. The doctor's response: "The good news is that those pesky corns of yours are completely gone."
  • A man is waiting to see the doctor after having gone to do some tests at the hospital. The doctor comes in and says he's got good news and bad news. The man says to give him the bad news first. The doctor says the test results show that the man's got leukemia and only has a few months left to live. The man freaks out for a moment, then manages to compose himself enough to ask, "So what's the good news?" The doctor's answer: "Well, I've just screwed your wife, and I think we'll be living very happily together after you're gone."
  • A joke from the Native American powwow circuit:
    Once upon a time there were two old Indians, Joe and Frank. They were lifelong friends, but they loved powwows almost as much as they valued their friendship—the beautiful dancing, the sacred music of the drum, the strengthening of Native culture and social ties.
    They were both getting on in years, though, and they made a pact: whichever of them left this life first, had to find a way to contact the other one and let him know whether there were powwows in Heaven. As it turned out, Joe was the first one to go.
    Not long after that, Frank was stacking firewood behind his house in the evening, and he heard a faint voice on the wind. "Frank... Frank..."
    "Who is it?" he asked.
    "It's me, Joe!"
    "Joe? How do I know it's you?"
    "You remember—we made a deal, that if I went first, I would let you know if there were powwows in Heaven."
    "Joe, it is you! Well? Do you have any news?"
    "Yeah, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that there are powwows in Heaven."
    "That's great, Joe! What's the bad news?"
    "The bad news is, they've got you registered as Head Male Dancer in three weeks."

    Card Games 
  • 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."

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
    Reed Richards: I'm sorry, Jen.
    [six or so beat panels]
    Jennifer Walters: So what's the bad news?
  • 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.
  • In The Punisher MAX "Up is Down and Black is White", mobster Nicky Cavella films himself digging up Castle's family, urinating on them, and then posts the film. The Punisher goes on an even bigger slaughter than usual, leaving one survivor to tell the authorities he'll calm down when his family is reburied. The Mayor meets with his staff. The bad news is every criminals' lawyer is raising hell "They know they can't indict my client so instead they throw him to the Punisher", trying to arrest Castle can lead to loss of innocent life, successfully arresting him will lead to more deaths in prison, but they can't give in to his demands without being accused of giving in to terrorism. The good news? Crime's down.
    "Fuck you, Johnathon."
  • The Ultimates
    • Nick Fury had those for Banner. The good news: his SSP had a huge federal budget support. The bad news: he has been demoted, and he's no longer the leader of it.
    • And a new guy also has those for Banner. Good news: his link with Hulk has been concealed to the public, so nobody knows it was him. Bad news: unlike his previous Hulk change, now the "Hulk cells" remain and formed a permanent bond with his system.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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:
    Jason: Dad said he won't be doing the taxes himself this year.
    Andy: Jason, that's not good news. That's the kind of news I've been waiting to hear for decades. What's the bad news?
    Jason: He'll be doing them on the computer.
    Andy: Like I said, that's not bad 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.

    Fan Works 
  • In Hogyoku ex Machina, Ichigo gets sent back in time, and tells his friends what he knows from the future.
    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.
  • Serendipity:
    Sirius: Harry, I have good news and bad news.
    Harry: Let's hear the bad news first.
    Sirius: I'm going to be joining you in Auror training. Just for a year, that is.
    Harry: And...the good news would be?
    Sirius: I'm going to be joining you in Auror training. Just for a year, that is.
    Harry: Sirius, that's one piece of news.
    Sirius: See, it could've been good or bad, depending on how you looked at it.
  • Skylanders: Return to the Ruins:
    Hugo: Well, now I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I've caught wind of a forcefield creator that can protect the Core.
    Cali: Let me guess, the bad news is that it's located somewhere awful.
    Hugo: Bingo. It's hidden in the Chompy Caverns.
  • "Forever Doctors" (a Doctor Who/Forever (2014) crossover) opens when the NYPD discover a dead body and the Eighth Doctor later determines that it was killed by a Dalek (unknown to the Doctor, Daleks from the Time War in his personal future). When the Doctor is able to conduct a scan with the TARDIS, he confirms that there are only four Daleks present, but since he acknowledges that those four Daleks would be more than enough to wipe out New York, there isn't really any good news (when his companion confronts him about this, the Doctor defends his assessment on the grounds that he was trying to be optimistic).

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Tintin (2011), 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: 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Rico: Good news is we are all-systems-go. Everything is working the way it's supposed to.
    [bug plasma incinerates a trooper]
    Rico: The bad news is M.I.'s got a 12-percent casualty drop rate that's pretty hard to crack.
  • 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.
    [dog barks]

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
    Andy: Info?
    Kenneth: Fort Pastor GONE. No help coming.
    Andy: So what's the bad news?
  • Godzilla (1998): After Nick, Audrey, and Animal send out a live news-report to alert the military of Godzilla's carnivorous offspring within Madison Square Garden (where they are also), they receive a message telling them that the Air Force is on their way to destroy the building.
    Animal: Uh... Well, the good news is they got that message. The bad news is we've got less than six minutes to get out of the building.
  • From The One, when Gabe is confronted by his murderous Doppelgänger 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 and 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 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.
  • The Dead Can Wait by Robert Ryan. Dr. Watson hears Sherlock Holmes has been detained by the authorities and goes to investigate his house. Because there's already been one assassination attempt on Watson, the MI5 agent with him goes in first to search it and reports: "The good news is, nobody in the Opposition is waiting for us. The bad news is, your friend isn’t here. The even badder news is, the place has been ransacked." Watson assures him that the latter isn't true—Holmes is just that messy.
  • Discworld:
    • 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...
  • 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.
  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four there is an announcement about a tremendous military victory, followed by a cut in the chocolate ration. Winston Smith even lampshades this when he hears it, knowing that the military announcement will be followed by bad news.
  • In the Biblical story of Joseph from The Book of Genesis, Joseph's fellow prisoners — Pharoah's butler and his baker — ask him to interpret what their dreams are telling them. The good news is, the butler's going to be set free! The bad news is, the baker's going to be executed. He's right on both counts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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!
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who
    • In "Nightmare in Silver", the Doctor's attempt to give this trope to Clara Oswald is not helped by her brandishing a Big Freaking Gun at him, as she's not pleased with him waffling on when the Bad News (that the two children she's supposed to be caring for have been taken over by Cybermen) is clearly not going to be something she's happy about.
    • In "Flatline", Clara and several other characters are fleeing the Monster of the Week when the Doctor calls her up with this trope.
      The Doctor: Clara, do you want the good news or the bad news?
      Clara: We're in the bad news! I'm living the bad news!
    • In the Season Finale of Series 13, Team TARDIS finally locate Claire Brown and tell her the good news that they can return her to the 21st Century. She's smart enough to realise there's bad news as well—as in Earth had been invaded by the Sontarans and Team TARDIS want her to volunteer for a dangerous mission.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In "Dream A Little Dream", Zhaan is thrown in the local prison for a traffic violation, then is Tricked into Escaping so she can be framed for a murder. When she's thrown back in the slammer, her attorney then announces that he has good news: "You're no longer facing trial on the traffic violation."
  • Gilligan's Island: In "Gilligan Gets Bugged", the Professor delivers multiple levels of good news and bad news after the Castaways become convinced that Gilligan has been bitten. The good news is, there's an antidote; the bad news is that the ingredients aren't found on the island. The good news is that it's possible to substitute ingredients; the bad news is that he's not sure they can find them all. Finally, the good news is that he can make enough antidote for Gilligan in time. Unfortunately, the mantiscani travels in swarms and the rest of them will probably be bitten.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?"
  • 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."
  • 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!
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Professionals. Bodie and Doyle are sent to capture a KGB agent, but he's been tipped off and vanishes before their eyes. Bodie then foists the task of telling Cowley the bad news onto Doyle.
    Doyle: (rehearsing) The good news is that my colleague here obeyed orders and didn't shoot Kodai—
    Cowley: (Walk-In Chime-In) And the bad news is that he got away...again!
  • When ESPN did their Sports Blooper Awards, sportscaster Chris Berman had this to say about ice hockey:
    "Hockey's one of those Good News, Bad News sports. The good news is it doesn't hurt to slide on the ice. The bad news is they place some obstacles in your way which do hurt."
  • 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.
  • 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: Whoa, whoa! What's the good news?
    McKay: That was the good news. The bad news is we lost life support.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • In "Night", 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.
    • In "Favorite Son", Harry Kim wakes up with strange Facial Markings. When the Doctor gives him the good news that he's not infected by an alien infectious disease, Harry demands to know what the bad news is, even though the Doctor never gave the trope line (everything has been going badly for Harry so far, so he has reason to think there will be more bad news). The Doctor just looks annoyed and points out that if he can't isolate the cause, the problem will be difficult to treat.
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad featured the "bad news and bad news" version, with the protagonist sarcastically going "Give me the bad news first."
  • 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]

  • 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.
  • Played for Drama in Diamond Rio's "You're Gone," a break-up song.
    And the good news is I'm better for the time we spent together
    And the bad news is
    You're gone


  • "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."

    Video Games 
  • 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:
    Jorge: Well, I good news and bad news. This bird took some fire and her thruster gimbal is toast. Which means the only way off this slag heap is gravity.
    Noble Six: And the good news?
    Jorge: That was the good news. [...] Bad news is, the timer's fried. I'm going to have to fire it manually.
  • Portal:
    • 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...
  • 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:
    She doesn't have a plasma gun, so thank heaven for small favors. Instead, she has a super-chaingun. Crap.
  • 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?
  • World of Warcraft has Professor Putricide, who is a parody of Professor Farnsworth and often says, "Good news, everyone!" when he's speaking.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Great Ace Attorney occasionally uses this trope, and it's noted that whichever news one wants to hear first says a lot about their personality.
    • In the first game's fifth case, at the start of the trial, Iris offers good news and bad news to Gina, who, being The Cynic, insists on hearing the good news first, since there's no guarantee you'll live long enough to get the good news if you do it the other way around. Iris then shares the bad news first- the amount of rain that's fallen- and then the good news- that Susato will likely be able to make it to Dover for her ship back to Japan.
    • At the end of the case, Iris offers more good news and bad news, and while Ryunosuke wants the bad news out of the way first, Sholmes insists on hearing nothing but good news. Iris then reveals the good news- that the rain has stopped- and then the bad news- that Susato's return voyage will be delayed. Of course, the "bad" news turns out to be good, since it means that if Ryunosuke hurries, he can see Susato off.
    • In the second game's second case, which takes place between the fourth and fifth cases of the first game, Gregson informs Ryunosuke, Susato and Soseki of the good news- the apparent poisoning victim survived- insisting on telling them the good news, although it turns out to be something they know already. This leads in to the bad news- the victim has made a statement accusing Soseki of poisoning him.

    Web Animation 
  • 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]

  • The Order of the Stick:
  • Cyanide and Happiness keeps plenty of these in the drawer.
  • Girl Genius. A common hazard in a world filled with with Mad Scientists..
  • 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:
    Doctor: Bad news — you have AIDS.
    Doctor: Good news — it's confined to a relatively small part of your body.
    Your blood.
  • 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.
    • Or:
      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?
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Questionable Content has an example of reading between the good news when Roko wakes up after a drunken evening.
    Beepatrice: Let's start with the good news! The good news is Nelson is pretty sure we won't get sued!

    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • 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.
  • Two from Sword Art Online Abridged:
    • When Keita tries to break it to his guild gently about them being indebted to an in-game mob guild:
      Keita: The good news is... we're in debt to the mob! No, wait, that's the bad news. Also, there is no good news!
    • Suguha asks Kirito what he would have said if she'd choked to death on a muffin:
      Kirito: (quietly) Hey, mom, I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, we've finally got some room for that jacuzzi you wanted.
  • In Ultra Fast Pony Apple Bloom insists that there's no good news, but her companions don't listen.
    Apple Bloom: Alright you two, I'm calling an emergency Crusader meeting. I've got some really bad news.
    Sweetie Belle: Aww, I hate bad news. Can you tell us the good news first?
    Apple Bloom: What? No, there's no good news, it's just bad.
    Scootaloo: <No, I think Sweetie Belle is right. It's always good news and bad news.>
    Apple Bloom: Yeah, well there's no good news this time.
    Sweetie Belle: Aww, that sucks. Well at least that's the bad news out of the way. What's the good news?
    Apple Bloom: No there isn't any—look, Sweetie Belle, you need to shut up!
    Scootaloo: <Was that the good news? I liked it!>
    Apple Bloom: Damn it all, we're out of money, okay?!
    Sweetie Belle: That's the worst good news I've ever heard! You suck at good news, Apple Bloom!
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Aladdin: The 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]
  • Batman Beyond, after Derek Powers is exposed to his own nerve gas:
    Doctor: The good news is the radiation seems to have completely eradicated the virus.
    Powers: What's the bad news?
    Doctor: As you know, the mutational properties of the virus can be corrupted by its environment—
    (Powers grabs him)
    Powers: Bottom line it, doctor.
    Doctor: Kill the radiation, please.
    (As the outside lights die down, Powers is revealed to be a glowing green skeletal figure.)
  • 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]
  • 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.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • In "Where No Duck has Gone Before", after the "prop" spaceship blasts into outer space, taking his nephews with it, Scrooge takes his frustrations out on the ground control transmitter, before asking Gyro if they have a radio to communicate.
      Gyro: [points nervously at wreckage] Well, yes... and no.
      [Scrooge whimpers, realising what he's done]
    • In "A Whale of a Bad Time" (part 2 of the "Catch as Cash Can" story arc), Scrooge receives 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 doesn't know is that that very ship secretly contained half his boss' fortune...
      Scrooge: A sea monster ate my ice cream!!
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • A variation happens on Invader Zim when The Resisty goes up against The Massive.
    Lard Nar: Was that part of the bad news?
    Shloonktapooxis: Yeah... our power core has been teleported OUT of the ship!
    Lard Nar: And the good news?!
    Shloonktapooxis: Well, it's been replaced by a new, HORRIBLE one!
  • The Magic Roundabout: In the CGI Series episode "Mr. Rusty's Luck", this exchange between Dougal and Florence after what happened to Mr. Pickles, Mr. Rusty's lucky teddy.
    Dougal: I've got some good news and some bad news about Mr. Rusty's lucky teddy. The good news is, I got Mr. Pickles right here.
    Florence: (beginning to frown suspiciously) And the bad news, Dougal?
    Dougal: He's now a lucky bag of bits.
    (He shows her the remains of Mr. Pickles in a paper bag.)
    Florence: (gasps) Dougal! I don't think Mr. Rusty is going to think this is very lucky!
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In "Oblivio", the heroes are avoiding a supervillain while suffering from amnesia. After a phone call to her mother to gather clues about their predicament, Marinette has this to say to Adrien:
    Marinette: I have both good news and bad news. The good news is there are superheroes in the tower that will stop that supervillain. The bad news is we're the superheroes, and that thing that's chasing us is a supervillain, and we're supposed to be defeating it with superpowers we no longer have!
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Six: What?!
Naturally, Three herself takes this news with excitement.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Ghosts of Mortis":
    Ahsoka: Do you want the bad news, or the really bad news?
    Obi-Wan: Let's try the bad news, laced with a little optimism.
  • In the TaleSpin episode, "On a Wing and a Bear", Baloo fails his pilot's test around the same time Shere Khan raises gas prices due to a fuel shortage he hired Don Karnage to stage. When Baloo returns to Higher to Higher, this exchange occurs between him and Rebecca:
    Baloo: Do you want the good news or the bad news?
    Rebecca: Let's get the bad news over with.
    Baloo: Fine. Gas prices went higher.
    Rebecca: I know that! What's the good news?
    Baloo: You won't need any gas, cause' I can't fly; no license!
  • In the VeggieTales episode The Ballad of Little Joe (A Western adaptation of Joseph from the Bible), Joe gives a variation where it’s good news for one and bad news for the other two prisoners after interpreting 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 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...
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Oh, There You Are, Perry", Monogram explains Perry's relocation in this way: the bad news being Doofenshmirtz has been re-classified as a minor threat, and the good news being Perry will be reassigned to another family in order to fight a bigger threat. He later realizes he got the good news and the bad news all mixed up.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "Sean's Robotic Arm", Jet delivers this in the form of "Good News, Better News". The "Good News" (which is actually bad news) is that Jet's broken Bortronian robot arms have been sent back to Bortron 7 for parts, which will take a week even with expedited intergalactic shipping. Then Jet reveals that there are no better news.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bad News Good News


Dr. French Saves Wolf

Dr. French saves Wolf by shooting a tranquilizer dart at a pizzly that was chasing him. She states the dart will only put the bear down for four hours and she only has one more dart left. Unfortunately, the last dart ends up wasted when Cheesecake takes it to touch it and puts himself to sleep.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / TranquillizerDart

Media sources: