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Grave Humor

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"Here lies Good Old Fred,
A great big rock fell on his head."

Gravestones should generally be somber or reflective, so in fiction, it's common to put funny epitaphs on them. It could be a poem or a record or suggestion of an ironic or strange death. It could be a pun based on the late character's name. E.g.: "Paul E. Nate - A wonderful husband, father and florist." This is especially common in video games, as the player may blindly ignore the graveyard, or be too busy fighting zombies or whatever. Can be used to as a Shout-Out or a Take That!, often suggesting the fate of a character from another, rival work. Can be an example of Truth in Television. Related to, but Not to Be Confused with, Black Comedy. Can sometimes feature Lame Last Words.



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    Comic Books 
  • Jean Grey of the X-Men is known for her habit of dying and coming back to life, which was represented in a parody by having her grave say Jean Grey: BRB.
  • In Amazing Spider-Man #308 Spidey fights the Taskmaster in a derelict cemetery; in one large shot of the villain, he's shown looming over headstones with the names of famous Spider-Man artists: Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr, Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Jr Jr, and Ron Frenz. The panel can be seen here.
  • In Mister Miracle (2017), Oberon's gravestone has the epitaph "Get me out of here!"
  • In the Treasury of British Comics' Monster Fun Halloween Special 2021, the Birdman, Chicken & Sparrow strip features gravestones reading "The Star Wars Franchise 1997-2019", "Zombo: Just Resting", and "2020: Good Riddance!" The last one is heavily chained and padlocked.

    Fan Works 
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 7 of the sequel Diplomat at Large, the Storm King taunts Tempest with this, asking if she really wants "Princess Twilight was right" to be what they carve on her tombstone - or into her, as he hits her with an Obsidian Orb and turns her to stone.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the MacManus Brothers, Connor and Murphy, visit the grave of their friend and partner, Rocco. As they silently pray, Murphy notices that the picture on the tomb is Rocco's mugshot, and that a painted-out police arm is holding his long hair up out of his face in a ridiculous fashion. All reverence quickly disappears.
  • In This is Spın̈al Tap, David St. Hubbins suggests an epitaph for his own grave at one point: "Here Lies David St. Hubbins. And Why Not?"

  • Happens once in Messieurs les enfants by Daniel Pennac.
  • Arthur contains several on the final page of Arthur's Halloween, with probably the most bizarre being "Here lies the body of Sally Bent: Kicked up her heels and away she went"
  • The Catcher in the Rye has Holden remarking on profane vandalism and saying that his gravestone will most likely read: "Holden Caulfield, [date of birth]-[date of death], Fuck you."
  • The Cat Who... Series: In book 20 (The Cat Who Sang for the Birds), Qwilleran goes exploring in a cemetery with a knowledgeable local and discovers a number of gravestones that have this. Among these is one described as "the ultimate his and hers". One reads "Shot by her dear husband", and the other next to it announces that he was "Hanged for killing his dear wife".
  • The Church Mice series by Graham Oakley often include these as a background gag in scenes showing the church graveyard. For example, one in The Church Mouse has "He ran the fete sack race on a full stomach".
  • In one Doctor Who New Adventures novel, the Doctor, at a funeral, speculates on what his gravestone would say. Benny suggests "When I said 'Look me in the eye and pull that trigger', I was being metaphorical." He thinks it's more likely to be "Look out, he's behind you."

    Live Action TV 
  • The Catherine Tate Show featured the extremely popular character of Lauren Cooper, a mouthy schoolgirl whose catchphrase is "Am I bovvered?" (bothered). In the 2007 Christmas special, she is kayaking and says this to a man who warns her to stay away from a particular stretch of water. She ignores his advice, and is killed when her boat goes over a waterfall. Her friends are then seen standing by her tombstone, which is inscribed with the words "I still ain't bovvered".
  • As always, there is an example from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Buffy dies at the end of season 5, her tombstone reads Buffy Anne Summers, beloved sister, devoted friend. She saved the world. A lot.
  • In Greg the Bunny, Count Blah (who has a Verbal Tic of saying "blah" after sentences) visited the grave of his wife, which reads, "Beloved Wife, Blah. R.I.P.B."
  • In the reunion movie The Wild Wild West Revisited, James West and Artemus Gordon are shown the grave of their arch-nemesis Migelito Loveless, as made by Migelito's son: A Rushmore-sized carving of the man's last name in the side of a mountain, with tiny little plots staked out for the two heroes in its shadow.
  • In Blackadder Goes Forth, Blackadder says he wishes his tombstone to be inscribed:
    Here lies Edmund Blackadder,
    And he's bloody annoyed.
  • In Friends, Phoebe once mentions that she wants her epitaph to be "Phoebe Buffay, Buried Alive".
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon bought a monogrammed funeral urn for Leonard in case his deviated septum surgery didn't end well. It read "Here lie the ashes of Leonard Hofstadter. He thought he was right, but his roommate knew better." He also bought one for himself, which read "I'm with stupid".
  • In what is possibly a Shout-Out to Buffy from another Mutant Enemy project, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wraps up season 5 with Coulson's memorial plaque reading, "In remembrance of our fearless leader, Phillip J. Coulson. He gave us his wisdom, his love, and his life (a couple of times)."
  • In Married... with Children, this is Al's reaction to Kelly naming the new family dog "Lucky".
    Kelly: Let's call him "Lucky" — Lucky Bundy.
    Al: Gee, I was saving that name for my tombstone.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons module I6 Ravenloft. The tombs under Castle Ravenloft had a number of funny inscriptions on their individual crypts.
    • "Artista DeSlop — Court Ceiling Painter"
    • "Prince Aerial Du Plumette (Aerial the Heavy)"
    • "Artank Swilovich: Here interred and with great mourning courtesy of the Barovian Wine Distillers Brotherhood."
    • "Sir Sedrik Spinwitovich (Admiral Spinwitovich). Confused though he was, he built the greatest naval force ever assembled in a land locked country."
    • "Ivan DeRose, Champion of Winter Dog Racing. The race may go to the swift, but vengeance is for the loser's relatives."

    Theme Parks 
  • The tombstones outside of The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney Theme Parks, which double as tributes to the ride's designers.
    • The Lonesome Manor in Epic Mickey, which is based on this ride, has them as well.
  • During the graveyard scene in Shrek 4-D at Universal Studios, several of the tombstones say "COMING SOON" on them.
  • The train ride at Six Flags over Georgia in the late 1970s had a tombstone hidden among the weeds: "I Tole You I Wuz Sick!"
  • Six Flags Great America has a ton of these as part of its decorations during Fright Fest.

    Video Games 
  • On the cover of the NES port of Chiller, a gravestone reads, "Dead people are cool."
  • In RuneScape, the boss room of Gravecreeper is littered with graves of the game developers.
    • The "last rites" option of Saradomin's holy book (like a Bible) reads "Thy cause was false, thy skills did lack; see you in Lumbridge when you get back." (Lumbridge is normally where players respawn).
  • Sam and Max in Night of The Raving Dead
  • Final Fantasy had a tombstone reading, "Here lies Erdrick," after the hero (well, hero's ancestor) of competing game company Enix's Dragon Quest I.
    • In the original Japanese version and the Dawn of Souls English translation, the tombstone read "here lies Link".
    • The Japanese version of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link also has a grave in Saria Town read "here lies Loto, the hero" (Loto being Erdrick's Japanese name).
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura had these in every graveyard in the game, with inscriptions like. "I told you I was sick!" "Here lies an atheist all dressed up and no place to go." "Quoeth thy Raven nevermore." "Hey who blew out the candle? Hello?" and "There was a light at the end of the tunnel, unfortunately that light was a train."
    • There was also a hidden 'Fan Graveyard' as an Easter Egg, where forum members familiar to the devs were eulogized.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day had some fun with raunchy Punny Names; R. Sole is an example.
  • Primal had Jen smash a tombstone that read 'RIP Laura Croft 2003' as a Take That! to Tomb Raider. The game came out in 2003, obviously.
  • Can be found in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island and Tales of Monkey Island.
  • Fallout 2 has a number of these, including the "four slugs from a .44" example below
  • Flaming Zombooka 2's title screen has several gravestones with joke epitaphs, like "Dariush: Yup he's dead too".
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has a whole graveyard of these in its expansion pack, with new tombstones added with each dead character, regardless of involvement in the main storyline. Every new Sheothian has a unique narrative regarding their personality on their tombstones.
    • The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire had another whole graveyard of these, and this graveyard was referenced to in The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard.
    • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, many of the word walls that you get your words of power from are epitaphs of some sort in the dragon language. A lot of them say something about some hero who died in battle, or some sort of ancient Nord proverb, but some of them say something like this:
      Here lies Fjolmod Foul-Air who
      stank as much on earth as
      his body does now in the ground.
  • Neverwinter Nights has a tombstone that reads along the lines of "Here lies X, who scoffed at the warnings of lesser men and built this fine tower. He discovered his error a few weeks later. Beware of trolls."
  • The graveyard in Nashkel in the first Baldur's Gate game is full of these, including an Easter Egg that'll trigger a Bonus Boss fight if you click on it too many times.
    • Baldur's Gate beats this one to death in one town. You get things like "Here lies X, who was killed by (long list of summonable creatures)" followed by the Latin for "do not call up what you cannot put down", implying that this was a hapless summoner who didn't know what he was getting into.
      • Dave F. Slain by 13 Gibberlings, 4 Kobolds, 6 Ogres and 2 Dire Wolves. Ne invoces expellere non possis. (Do not call up that which you cannot put down.)
  • The city of Haven in Dragon Age: Origins has a graveyard filled with humorous tombstones, including some Shout Outs to others on the the page. ("Sensal Gaheris: 775-798, 798-801, 801-805, 805-807, 807-809 (VERIFIED), 'BEST TAX EVADER EVER' — CH")
    • Also in those graves, is "T.O. Hanoi". Anyone who's played cx or Mass Effect will know of Bioware's fondness for Tower of Hanoi puzzles. Anyone who has played Knights of the Old Republic or Mass Effect will breathe a sigh of relief upon viewing that tombstone.
  • The Imperial City's graveyard in Jade Empire also has a few Mythology Gags and Shout Outs on the gravestones.
  • See also the Cartoon Network Web game Scooby-Doo and the Hollywood Horror.
  • Used in Quest for Glory IV, with numerous "graveyard humor" jokes scattered beyond the tombstones.
    • And Quest for Glory I, for that matter.
    • Not to mention Igor, who is a veritable walking fountain of graveyard humor.
  • King's Quest
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun has these.
  • Fable has many of these. Most using the rhyming pun. The deceased tend to be people who worked on the game.
  • Betrayal at Krondor had a mix of ordinary and humorous quips on the gravestones, and you were also able to dig up the graves. Most graves had nothing special, some had hidden items hinted at by the eulogy (for example, a gravestone reading "Drank his milk every day" hid a few vials of milk), and some had "The fiend beneath this stone is trapped by dirt, not by death": Zombies!
  • Most people who played The Oregon Trail as a kid put "pepperoni and cheese" on their tombstones. The others put profanities on theirs.
  • The PC game Sacred does this, including such epitaphs as "And he said, 'How long will the flying spell last?'" and the fourth-wall breaking "For the ultimate cheat of void, enter DOS, type 'format C:\' and enter."
  • NetHack. There are randomly generated graves with these. There are loads of them and several places add more to the file ( has a massive collection). A few examples include:
  • Ultima V, VI and VII had a number of puns on grave stones.
  • In Veil Of Darkness, the graveyard is filled with these, including one G. Threepwood and how woefully he was under for 11 minutes.
  • Chapter 5 of StarTropics 2: Zoda's Revenge takes place in a Wild West setting, where you can find several humorous (and rhyming) epitaphs in a local mining town. "Here lies Lucky Larry. His luck ran out and now he's buried."
  • Sanitarium has plenty, mostly for developers. There's also the grave of Joseph Bruener, a character from War Wind II (a game which Sanitarium's developers had previously worked on).
    • "This one says Travis W. Nice Goddamn Cat..." Granted, this was on a level that's basically a mangled bunch of all the previous levels, so randomness like this is expected.
  • Mother 3 has a hurricane of "grave" puns. Also, a "NO ZOMBIES ALLOWED" sign at the cemetery entrance.
  • Mortal Kombat 3 features tombstones of the game's developers, as well as one reading "Cage", presumably a reference to Johnny Cage, the character who died before the events of the game.
  • Neopets' first Video Game release, Neopets: The Darkest Faerie, lets you read the unusually jovial tombstones around crypts.
  • Shadow Warrior (1997) has a hidden tombstone that says "Chan — He Slipped in the Shower".
  • Red Dead Redemption
    • John Marston has "Blessed are the Peacemakers." As in Colt Peacemakers.
    • The graveyards in New Austin and West Elizabeth sometimes boast humorous tombstones such as one reading "Unknown person - So drunk he did not remember dying" or "If you are reading this, I must be dead". The Coot's Chapel graveyard manages to has inscriptions such as "Never try to milk a bull."
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories' Staunton graveyard is chucked full of these. Hilariously, it becomes increasingly populated as your protagonist kills off selected characters throughout the storyline.
  • On a more minor note, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features "R.I.P. Opposition" tombstones at a San Fierro memorial, referring to the rivalry between Rockstar North and developers of "GTA clones".
  • In Doom And Destiny, there are a bunch of these in the graveyard underneath Ben's house.
  • Pirate 101 gives us a few while looking for Honest Ned's grave in the lighthouse graveyard. If the player has Brigus Latro as a companion, he'll get annoyed and hang a lampshade on it.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Spy: "Here lies Scout. He ran fast and died a virgin."
    • Harvest_event has a tombstone reading "RIP The Tenth Class," a reference to players constantly clamoring to discover/add a hidden tenth class or the removed Civilian class from the Hunted game mode.
    • Deathcam screenshots are a more ephemeral, digital form of this, since they always read "You were killed by [killer's name]." Some players would have therefore take on names like "An Expired Sandvich" or "Irony" specifically to have fun with this feature. More bawdy players would use names that cause the deathcam screenshot to imply death by more raunchy means for much the same reason.
    • The recently added taunt, the Soldier's Requiem, has him plant down a grave (that he was carrying with him the whole time) that says, "R.I.P. Here lies maggot. I win. The end."
  • The graves in Plants vs. Zombies can sometimes have funny inscriptions on them (e.g. "Bereft of Life", "Just Resting", "Expired",...)
  • Guild Wars 2 has a mix of both serious and amusing gravestones in several graveyards, particularly in the cemetery at Shaemoor:
    He learned an important lesson about fighting
    Don't stand in water when casting lightning
  • In The Darkside Detective, the inscriptions on the headstones in the graveyard are punning homages to the game's lead programmers and designers.
  • The vast majority of gravestones in the Divinity series are this. All of them are lovingly narrated by the Narrator in Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition.
  • Despite generally being an otherwise straightforwardly serious cosmic horror story, the graves in St. Botolph's Cemetery in The Sinking City have funny inscriptions due to a contest run by the devs allowing people to get their messages put on them.
  • Kingdom Hearts II has Zero's grave in Halloween Town; though the grave itself is just a grave, Sora will say that Zero is usually sleeping here.
  • The cemetery by the Ace of Spades Castle in The Riddle of Master Lu has such quirky inscriptions that the Player Character can make one of his "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" cartoons about them. One seems to contain a dating advertisement by the deceased's widow.

  • Eugene Greenhilt's tombstone in The Order of the Stick, in addition to listing his many dates of death and resurrection, reads, "Master Wizard, Devoted Husband, Passable Father". (He was lucky to get that much. They probably averaged out his treatment of Roy and Julia.) Other visible tombstones display similar humor ("Bloodmak the Unholy: Not coming back as a vampire. Honest.")
  • A staple of the webcomic Unlife is Unfair, particularly the name puns like "Dustin Dewinn" and "Rick R. Mortis".
  • In Girl Genius, a visit to the Crypt of the Heterodynes reveals many amusing epitaphs. Perhaps most interesting is the tomb of Lazarus Heterodyne, with half a dozen dates crossed out.
    • As well as Iscariot Heterodyne, "Every Man's Friend". The pile of skulls next to the crypt has labels like "Friend #115".
  • Happens frequently in The Comic Adventures of Left & Right. The grave usually reads something pertinent to the last thing a character was doing.
  • In the ending of "Let's Destoy the Shagohod!" from Hiimdaisy, the US President rewrites The Boss's grave to read "In Memory of a loser who was a loser". No need to say how Big Boss reacted.
  • From Hale's Nuzlocke Comics, the prologue graveyard scene has two. A (ghost type) Gengar's epitaph reads "Lolwut?" A Mudkip's says "No one really liked him!"

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold! did this with a Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion.
  • The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper did this in the credit sequence, with the tombstones featuring Just for Pun jokes. Sometimes they varied things with jokes like a tombstone reading "I'm with stupid" next to another tombstone reading, "I'm stupid".
  • The Simpsons:
    • The first five Treehouse of Horror episodes used these in their openings. The last one to use them actually had a tombstone reading "Amusing Tombstones", signaling the retirement of the gag, until it was brought back for the twenty-ninth Treehouse of Horror.
      • In the story Bad Dream House, the the Indian burial ground includes gravestones for Tonto, Mahatma Gandhi (who wasn't a Native American Indian) Crazy Horse and Not So Crazy Horse.
      • The pet cemetery from Dial "Z" for Zombies has graves marked "Fish Police", "Capitol Critters" and "Family Dog", all of which were animated series that tried and failed to compete with The Simpsons in primetime.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode where Mr. Krabs goes to a graveyard to dig up a million-dollar hat. Squidward was mourning at a tombstone and when Mr. Krabs came to see who it was, he sees that the engraving reads "Here lie Squidwards hopes and dreams." In the same graveyard, there's "Diver Dan", whose tombstone has carved scuba gear on it; "Stupid" next to "I'm With Stupid", complete with pointing hand, and most importantly, the "#1" shaped tombstone of Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen, whose name extends off the name plaque.
  • Beavis And Butthead in their parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: 'Here lies Beavis. He never scored.'
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Who's For Dinner" Heffer, after learning he was adopted, runs away and comes across what he believes is his biological father's grave at the cemetery and starts bawling until his father appears in a vision to remind him he isn't even dead. Heffer looks at the tombstone and reads the message on the front: "Here lies a big, wet cat."
  • Danny Phantom: In the TV movie The Ultimate Enemy, Danny enters a future where his friends and family have been killed, and he sees a collective gravestone reading "Gone, but not forgotten". Right next to it is a stone for Mr. Lancer, which just reads "Gone".
  • It's very difficult to make out, due to the heavy grain effect, but the tombstones in the intro for The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy read "Evil Con Carne", "Time Squad" and "Robot Jones", which were fellow Cartoon Network shows that began and were cancelled in the time period between when the show was known as Grim & Evil (which Evil Con Carne was originally a part of) and it being given a Retool into just Billy & Mandy.

    Real Life 
  • Two examples from Snopes:
  • Comedian Spike Milligan's grave says, "I told you I was ill". However, the inscription is in Irish Gaelic, because the bishop wouldn't allow it in English.
  • Rodney Dangerfield's epitaph: There goes the neighborhood.
  • In the Boothill graveyard near Tombstone, Arizona, there's a grave that reads:
    "Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a .44, no Les, no more."
    • Another one reads, "Hanged By Mistake."
  • In a Silver City, Nevada Boot Hill:
    "Here lies Butch. We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, but slow on the draw."
  • Comedian W.C. Fields used to say that he wanted his gravestone to read, "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." Sadly, it doesn't.
  • Older than You Think: Ambrose Bierce has examples of humorous epitaphs in The Devil's Dictionary, such as "Sacred to the memory of Jeremiah Tree. Cut down May 9th, 1862, aged 27 yrs. 4 mos. and 12 ds. Indigenous."
    Here lies the late Senator Vrooman
    Whose head was as hard as the heart of a woman
    Whose heart was as hard as the head of a hammer
    Dame Fortune inspired him to eminence, damn her!
  • Robert Burns also wrote humorous epitaphs, like Epitaph on a Wag in Mauchline.
  • Groucho Marx once jokingly suggested his tombstone be inscribed with 'Excuse me, I can't stand up'. They put a Star of David on it instead.
  • Leslie Nielsen said he was going to put a fart joke on his gravestone. And he delivered.
  • Mel Blanc's tombstone displays an appropriate, and well known quote
  • Jack Lemmon's epitaph: "Jack Lemmon in":
  • Merv Griffin's epitaph: "I will not be back right after this message".
  • While it is about a grave and not inscribed on it, Lord Byron's quip about Viscount Castlereigh is just too delicious to not mention:
    Posterity will ne'er survey
    A nobler grave than this:
    Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
    Stop, traveller, and piss.
  • The tombstone of Swedish author Fritiof Nilsson "The Pirate" famously reads:
    Here lie the ashes of a man in the habit of putting everything off until tomorrow. He changed for the better on his deathbed, however, and did in fact die on 31 January 1972.
  • Billy Wilder's epitaph makes use of the last line of one of his most beloved movies, Some Like It Hot: "I'm a writer, but then nobody's perfect".
  • DeForest Kelley once joked that his tombstone would say, "He's Dead, Jim." (He doesn't actually have a gravestone; when he died, he was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean).
  • The tombstone of Wild West gunslinger Clay Allison, which helpfully states that "he never killed a man that did not need killing."
  • Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream's headquarters has a "Flavor Graveyard" that applies this trope to the company's discontinued flavors, with a rhyming epitaph on each tombstone. This was visited in the "Ice Cream" episode of The World According to Jeff Goldblum, with Goldblum adding to the humor by noting that since "Oh Pear" lasted less than a year, it was "taken in its infancy...That's the saddest thing I've ever heard!"
  • Prince Edward Island's Ripley's Believe it or Not museum has a collection of these.
  • Country Music legend Tom T. Hall once told an interviewer that his epitaph was going to be "What was that all about?"
  • This man's epitaph has an acrostic poem that spells "F—— OFF". This was something that he would say to people if they rubbed him the wrong way.

Here lies Alice Fife
TV Tropes ruined her life.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Grave Humour


Here Lies Strong Bad

Strong Bad comes up with an amazing epitaph.

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