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Hilarity Ensues

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Jazmine: What's so funny?
Robert: Oh, nothing. Hilarity just ensued; that's all.
Jazmine: It did?!

Actions that are dangerous or illegal often lead to injury, arrest, job dismissal, expulsion from school, deportation, or other dire consequences. Thankfully for our fictional friends, both the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Funny keep them safe (the latter more prominently).


Traditionally seen in the capsule descriptions of episodes found in programming guides: "Jimbo accidentally glues his boss to a golf cart and hilarity ensues." Outside of these descriptions, though, the phrase is usually used sarcastically, indicating that the consequences are anything but hilarious. The less charitable might say that hilarity is what happens for those hearing about it afterward.

Sometimes certain additional criteria are included with the hilarity to help classify it, e.g., "hilarity ensues, but not in the romcom sense, but rather in the sense of The Story of Ricky".

Variants include "...with hilarious consequences" (more common in the UK), "wackiness ensues", and "hijinks ensue." In extreme cases "wacky hijinks ensue." Both hijinks and hilarity are often "aplenty." Compare Silliness Switch, when the hilarity is a choice in an otherwise serious medium.


Not to Be Confused with the Webcomic Hijinks Ensue or with Humanity Ensues. When something serious happens and it's not Played for Laughs, you may end up with Surprisingly Realistic Outcomenote . If the aforementioned hilarity is a lawsuit, it may be a case of Hilarity Sues.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Kokoro Connect after Taichi and Yui personality swap, after finding out that Yui has an extreme case of androphobia due to her almost getting raped, Taichi kicks Yui in the balls to show her how to disable any man. This drops Yui to the ground in pain as she wonders why it hurts so much. After the Groin Attack, Taichi says that is all it takes. Taichi continues to talk for a few seconds until Hilarity Ensues when he is interrupted suddenly and finds himself in his original body on the ground in pain from sore, freshly kicked, nuts.
  • You can summarize most non-action-based episodes of Full Metal Panic! in this manner. Sousuke goes to school; hilarity ensues. Sousuke goes to the beach; hilarity ensues. Sousuke goes on a date; hilarity ensues. Sousuke goes to a festival; hilarity ensues. If you swap out "hilarity" and "violence" as appropriate — or more frequently combine the two — you can summarize every episode that way.
  • About half the plots against Loki in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok have this at some point.
  • On Dragon Ball, Master Roshi's interactions with a female character, any female character. Also when Vegetto gets turned into a gumball by Buu. Everything from that point until when Kid Buu destroys the Earth qualifies as this.
  • The basic premise of Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh. What happens when you assign a class of untrained, inexperienced, ADHD-afflicted ten-year-old kids to pilot and monitor a giant robot capable of untold destruction when placed in the wrong hands? Hilarity!
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: A 10-year-old wizard has to teach an all-girls class! It's wacky! At first.
  • In the first episode of Mitsudomoe, the class hamster is named Nipples.
  • Take a powerful, macho martial artist and throw him into a Gender Bender cursed spring. Then add liberal doses of Comedic Sociopathy, way too many girls after him (not to mention the guys...), a Tsundere fiancee, and a couple of perverts. Welcome to Ranma ½. Oh, and let's two of his rivals the King of Wangst who blames Ranma for it all (and gains the ability to channel it into an Angst Nuke), and the King of the Hyperspace Arsenal (who keeps forgetting to put on his glasses).
  • School Rumble: High school romance comedy. Idiot delinquent (Harima) has a secret, obsessive crush on an even more clueless classmate (Tenma), who is in love with a complete oddball (Karasuma), who is in love with food (curry). Tenma's quiet, gentle sister Yakumo, her ojou friend Eri, and the hot School Nurse may or may not have feelings for Harima, depending on the rumors you believe and the time of day. Also, both Tenma and Harima's cousin Itoko think Harima is in a relationship with Yakumo. Class rep Hanai is loudly in love with Yakumo (thus seeing Harima as his rival), while two or three girls may or may not have feelings for him. And that's just the beginning.
  • The entirety of To Love-Ru. The manga sequel To-Love-Ru Darkness opts instead for having more plot, though still being comedic.
  • Tons of examples in One Piece. The rather off-the-wall thought processes of the Straw Hats and plenty of other characters make everything comedic fodder. The idea behind a stretchy hero is, in the first place, to make serious situations funny. It's made all the funnier when an outsider (Vivi, Jimbe or Law) teams up with the Straw Hats and has no idea how to respond to their antics.
  • A key part of the concept on Himawari! Himawari has decided to attend a school for ninja, despite knowing little about ninja other than what she's learned from a television show and the fact her life was once saved by a ninja when she was very young. Meanwhile, her classmates are all already far more advanced. Naturally, hilarity ensues.

  • Referenced and parodied by Bill Bailey right at the beginning of Part Troll when explaining why he can't tell traditional jokes. He tends to bail out because:
    Three blokes go into a pub. One of them is a little bit stupid, and the whole scene unfolds with a tedious inevitability! (slumps, shuffles about for a moment)
  • Stephen K. Amos claims that his entire life can be summed up in the phrase, "A black family moves in next door to a white family... hilarity ensues!"

    Comic Books 
  • Me, Deadpool, in... well, any- and everything I happen to appear in actually. I've considered attempting to usurp the throne of Hilarityensusia, but I've concluded that it's probably, like, a LOT more appropriate to be the court jester, instead. Now, if I could only find a way to by-pass his Joker Immunity and off The Joker...
  • Similarly, Tiny Titans. Especially at Wayne Manor and Pet Club.
  • The Scott Pilgrim series. Video game elements, and ex-boyfriends as evil bosses? Hilarity indeed! Balanced by the relationships, which are all treated really nice. The comic is best summed up as Hilarity Ensues, followed by Surprisingly Realistic Outcome with hilarity.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man #606, Black Cat refers to her ability to cause people to have bad luck as "hilarity ensues" powers after causing Spider-Man to fall off a building with a criminal he'd just caught.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Several examples of what would otherwise be unfortunate situations are Played for Laughs.
    • “The Car” finds humor in Penny's horrible first time out driving. She gets better after taking Drivers Ed classes.
    • A few stories in the series find humor in naughty pet behavior.
      • The three pets' destructive behavior in a grocery store (featuring breaking a store entrance door and much ruining of food) is Played for Laughs in “The Supermarket.”
      • In “The Ski Trip,” Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino ride up a chairlift without a ticket, snitch a pair of skis, erratically descend down a mountain trail while tearing up its freshly groomed surface, and engage in a snowball fight.
      • In “The Cakes,” the three pets engage in an all-out food fight, ruining the pastries Penny's mom had prepared for a bake sale.
      • In “The Autobiography,” Mittens wrecks Penny’s computer through a series of mishaps.
  • In Colors and Capes, Xander Harris and Green Arrow have to delay Solomon Grundy long enough for Superman to arrive and fight him. Solomon Grundy promptly flees from Xander because he remembers the man splashing him with holy water. The next several minutes is simply Xander chasing after Solomon Grundy until Superman arrives and the zombie promptly surrenders.

    Films — Animated 
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: Peridot loans Steven a giant pizza cutter for the purpose of trying to jog the memories of Ruby and Sapphire, who've been stricken with Identity Amnesia, by trying to get them to re-fuse by putting one of them in danger. However, he can't go through with it and puts it down. The next thing everyone knows, the equally-amnesiac Spinel has grabbed the pizza cutter out of curiosity. Quoth Sapphire, completely deadpan, "Hijinks will ensue." Cue Spinel activating the pizza cutter and destruction ensuing.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: In "Save Our Bluths", the narrator describes their dinner party emergency as a "relatable situation with a promise of comedy", to emphasize something more conventionally sitcom-y over the family's massive incestuous implications.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Becoming Part 1":
      Spike: Let me guess. Someone pulls out the sword... The demon wakes up, and wackiness ensues.
    • "Love Tough Love":
      Willow: So we made a triangle with our bodies, and that's when I called Xander "obtuse" and he got really grumpy. And then Dawn said we were "acute" triangle and, well... hilarity ensued.
  • Referenced in Community:
    Jeff: If you're lying to me, if my father isn't coming, if a car pulls up and anyone other than my father steps out, say an actor or you in a wig, if you pull any Ferris Bueller, Parent Trap, Three's Company, FX, FX2: the Deadly Art of Illusion bull[beep] I will beat you. And there will be nothing madcap or wacky about it.
    • On the other hand, the beating was pretty hilarious.
  • The Father Ted Christmas special begins with Ted finding a baby left on his doorstep... which is swiftly reclaimed by the mother, who had gotten the wrong address. Ted and Dougal are left musing over all the hilarious situations they could have gotten into while trying to take care of a baby... then conclude that it wouldn't have been funny at all.
  • Firefly:
    Jayne: Remember that time she came at me with a butcher's knife?
    Wash: Wacky fun.
  • The Hogan Family: Played straight, then reversed in the Season 2 episode "Leave It To Willie." Willie is a diehard fan of a TV sitcom where the main protagonists are seemingly allowed to get away with little more than a slap on the wrist for various offenses, and deduces he, too, can get away with being an unlicensed driver while taking his father's convertible out for a joyride, causing a hit-and-run accident, and keeping quiet as his mother rakes his older brother, David, over the coals about the incident (believing David to have been responsible) and then is asked if he knows anything. After he has an Imagine Spot where he sees getting away with his actions, Willie finally admits he caused the damage to his father's car … only for Val to become furious and punish him. But even worse tells him she's lost trust in him and that it's going to take awhile to regain it – making Willie realize that in the real world, hilarity does NOT ensue and that actions do have consequences.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth tricks Richard into stealing a car, and then she blames him, but neither of them is known to suffer any legal consequence.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: "And next week, Dan falls into a vat of human dung, with hilarious consequences."
  • Referenced frequently by early seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Any time it appeared that plot threads were about to converge, Joel would shout, "Looks like we're on a collision course with wackiness!"
  • Evoked by name in an episode of MythBusters which involved testing the slipperiness of banana peels and their conductivity to comical pratfalls. After an already hilarious starting test which Jamie managed to fail by virtue of laughing too hard to get up after a fall, the MythBusters decide to try for a comparison test and cover their testing field in animal birthing lubricant. As Adam notes of the proceedings, "Hilarity will ensue." Adam promptly validates his guess mere moments later.
  • In the Sesame Street video "Elmo's Sing-Along Guessing Game", Elmo is the host of a quiz show where everything that can go wrong does go wrong, including no less than three changes in hosts in the same program (specifically, from Elmo to Mr. Johnson to the floor director back to Elmo), hosts having a pretty bad habit of answering questions when the contestants take too long (though Elmo does manage to control himself by the end), contestants disappearing and only reappearing when the next question is about to be answered, and a clueless bus driver who doesn't know the way to Cincinnati.
  • Sherlock: Although it's not mentioned, John meeting Sherlock leads to well... you know... crazy situations.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Whole Truth", the fact that Harvey Hunnicut Cannot Tell a Lie after buying the haunted Model A Ford causes him some problems such as losing sales, getting into a fight with his wife and being punched by his employee Irv when he reveals that he never gives any of his employees raises in spite of all of his promises. However, he manages to avoid any serious consequences until he sells the car to Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Veronica Mars: Veronica charges extra if Hilarity Ensues.

  • In episode six of Mystery Show, Starlee teams up with two of her investigators to watch three seasons of Welcome Back, Kotter, keeping an eye out for "pranks, hijinks, escapades, antics or larks." They're trying to see if a strange image on the official lunchbox was inspired by something that had happened on the show.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Very, very often in Dungeons & Dragons. "You can certainly try" is the classic DM response for a player who wants to do something stupid, impossible and ridiculous. Especially if the player rolls a critical fail. Or better, a critical success.
  • "Hilarity ensues" is a good way to describe what happens when Orks go to war in Warhammer 40,000 because, to the Orks, it really is hilarious — they're having a great time, and the more fire and dismemberment you can arrange, the more fun it is! To say that everyone else in the galaxy does not reciprocate the Orks' feelings on warfare and Ork invasions would be an understatement. For another perspective, an Ork Waaagh!, or campaign, is referred to in the background as a mix between a holy war and a pub crawl.
  • Tends to pop up whenever anything involving Paranoia is discussed. Indeed, the latest release features slogans down the bottom, including one requiring hilarity to ensue.
  • Actively invoked in Teenagers from Outer Space, where, should the mood be getting too serious, it's expected that the players make it funnier. There are actual instructions in the rule book to also interrupt any romantic moment getting too romantic with...anything.
  • Fiasco also has this written into the rules. In set-up, people create characters by defining their relationships to each other, motivations and attached places and objects, meaning that everyone is automatically placed at cross-purposes to each other, usually with elements written with such a tone as to encourage the creation of Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist-type characters. There are only two outcomes in Fiasco - Good and Bad - and these are either determined by the other players on the table by consensus for your character, or determined by you at a penalty of allowing the other players on the table to determine whatever ridiculous thing your character is actually doing to succeed or fail at. The result is that everything soon goes spectacularly wrong, and after half of the game is played, an event called "The Tilt" happens which adds a bunch of extra, awful events on top of everything that inevitably is already going wrong. The mechanics make it very difficult for characters to have a happy ending, with getting out of the situation back where you started but with a bunch of fresh physical and emotional scars being about as best as a player can hope for unless they get really lucky. That said, most players like to play to lose.

    Video Games 
  • This is endemic in Dwarf Fortress, be it the Cruel Player-Character God sort of hilarity (let's flood the baron's bedroom with lava!), the "made an engineering mistake" sort of hilarity (watch the dorfs attempting to outrun the well overflowing because you forgot to prevent a water pressure backup!), or one of the infamous tantrum spirals. Just bear in mind that Losing is Fun. Then go back to laughing as goblins attempt to invade and get turned into goblin salsa when they hit your wall of weapon traps loaded with giant swinging axe blades and huge serrated steel discs.
  • Space Station 13 puts several dozen players (and a few antagonists) on a space station with explosives and banana peels. Naturally, this ensues.
  • Good Bad Bugs often leads to this. For example, in The Final Fantasy Legend, the player can One-Hit Kill virtually anything with a chainsaw (up to and including God!), often leading to laughter — which wouldn't happen in real life!
  • Weapons that allow the player to throw about objects or people at will, like the Gravity Gun or Gravity Hammer.
  • Dan Hibiki. Taunt in the air, taunt on the ground, Waste your super on a taunt, own Akuma where he stands.
  • Magicka oh so much. Easily accessed nuke spells, no mana bar, squishy player characters, and friendly fire? Check, check, check, and check. Seriously. Go watch the Simon Lane, Lewis Brindley and TotalBiscuit play Magicka together. Half the hilarity is from watching them kill one another. Both on purpose AND by accident. And a majority of the deaths are Simon's fault.
  • Solatorobo is this in spades. It happens a few times in the main storyline, but at least 90% of Sidequests are able to be summed up as "Red takes a job and then Hilarity Ensues."
  • A lot of Team Fortress 2 's appeal comes from the fact they took the team-based warfare of Team Fortress Classic and threw in, among many things, one key element: a sense of humor. The general idea with TF2 is that if you're going to pit two teams against each other, you might as well have fun doing it. A 2011 update invokes this trope by name, describing the Payload Race game mode (where the teams compete to escort their team's cart to the goal first) thusly: "Two teams, two carts, two tracks. Hilarity ensues."
  • Invoked in World of Warcraft where the final step of a quest is to "sit back and watch the hilarity ensue". Said "hilarity" is the angry and armored dinosaur you just freed rampaging through a troll camp.
  • And invoked again in one mission of The Secret World: after you've angered the werewolf thralls by killing one of their elders and dressing up his corpse in their vampire masters' S/M bondage gear, phase 4 of your plan is to "watch the chaos you created unfold", it's hilarious. And useful for taking down their boss, as he's too busy fighting hordes of pissed off werewolves to concentrate on the cherry-tapping human. Bonus points if you're an anarchist Dragon.
  • In Dreamfall Chapters, if Zoë decidd not to return to school, she will work for Mira and eventually be tasked with taking Shitbot out for a walk, testing out all of its features to see what it's good at. Naturally, Shitbot comically fails every single task - which will most likely leave the player with a cracked rib if they hold back their laughter.
  • Gaius's recruitment in Fire Emblem Awakening invokes this: he is originally part of a group of intruders sent to assassinate the Exalt Emmeryn, but Gaius is having second thoughts - he signed on to loot the treasury, not commit regicide. When Chrom approaches him, Gaius says he'll turn coats if Chrom can "sweeten the deal". Chrom first thinks he means monetary compensation, but then he drops a bag of candy and...well, Gaius did say "sweeten the deal"!
  • Runbow is this when there's a good number of players present, especially the maximum of NINE players at once. Even more hectic on the stages with tricky platforming, and if you want more hilarity, set the items to "Chaos" before starting a local game or private online room.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Little Busters!, a young and recently orphaned Riki first got roped into joining the eponymous group of True Companions for an ill-conceived scheme to remove a wasps' nest that culminated in them coating Masato in honey to attract the insects, spraying him with bug repellant, and setting him on fire. In the photography taken afterwards Masato looks sooty and disheveled but sports a hundred-watt smile and no apparent burns. Lots of the comedic parts involve something stupid and dangerous having a hilarious result, such as when Masato and Kengo use their strength to launch Rin into the air so she can enter a second story classroom through the window in time for attendance.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • "Hilarity ensues" is one of the cliches often used in headlines at not-news website Fark. A variant, used for stories that involve idiot criminals, is "jailarity ensues".
  • Used frequently in the summaries of Fanfiction. Can sum up the first part of the Prolecto series, though it's deconstructed later on. "Girls get turned into Succubi, Hilarity ensues. Emphasized by the character of Kayla, who is stark-raving mad.
  • Thomas Wilde and Dan Birlew's Resident Evil Plot Analysis frequently uses the phrases "hilarity ensues" when giving the preliminary outline to the plot of a game. Since the games involve zombies, mutants, Corrupt Corporate Executives, and a vast number of deaths, it's safe to say this is slightly ironic...
    • "I hadn't realized I used it so much. It's Fark's fault. - Thomas Wilde"
    • Wilde's usual writing style usually has an extremely sarcastic tone to it, so it's not so much ironic as two tons of deadpan snark.
  • Web Author Tucker Max uses "hilarity ensues" in the titles of his short stories on occasion, e.g. "Tucker ruptures appendix, hilarity ensues". Or "Tucker fucks fat girl, hilarity ensues". Also used in inverted form once, with the story, "Tucker tries buttsex; Hilarity does not ensue." Which is a lie. It ensued, all right. Just not for Tucker...
  • Uninvited Guests. So the borderline insane and chaotic soldiers burn down their own barracks and decides to move into the barracks of division right next to them, which is led by a rational captain who just wants everything to go all normal. MADNESS ENSUES
  • So, a guy suddenly breaks up with his girlfriend and is force (along with the others in his apartment) into the dangerous, violent world of male prostitution in Manwhores. Somehow, Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Guild: Players in a Guild meet in real life for the first time. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Virtually every episode of Roadkill results in this. This is what makes the hosts, Freiburger and Finnegan, Failure Heroes.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball, Darwin, and Anais are trying to sneak out of a theater without getting caught. When Gumball gets stuck to "fossilized soda" on the floor, Darwin suggests that Gumball might have to take off his clothes and try to escape leading to all sorts of wacky shenanigans. That doesn't happen.
  • Apppears in an apparently heroless episode of Conan the Adventurer that also served as a Day In The Lime Light for the character Drix. Wrath-Amon, forced to assume his original form to replenish himself, entrusts the Black Ring to his naga servant. Once Wrath-Amon is safely out of the way, Drix, naturally, steals the ring and tries to usurp the position of Big Bad. Of course since he's also the series' Butt-Monkey and the episode needed no heroes to reach a resolution, you can probably tell how well that went.
  • Lampshaded in the "Sweet Stench Of Success" episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    Bloo: But imagine what would happen if someone spotted me and I became a big celebrity! That would lead to all manner of crazy and hilarious consequences, don't you think?
  • In The Ruff Ruffman Show, Ruff starts a pet-sitting service and is tricked into pet-sitting a rhino and hilarity ensues as he tries to cope with this massive animal when he was expecting to pet-sit a cute and fuzzy hamster.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A variation in "Pygmoelian": Moe gets on a soap opera, only to be led to think his character will be killed off. He decides to have Homer spoil the future plot events on live broadcast. All the plot summaries written seem to end with "...with sexy results".
      Homer: Gabriella's baby shower will be invaded by terrorists... with sexy results.
      Moe: Ooh! That's unexpected. What else?
      Homer: Well, Sister Bernadette will leave the convent and start a softball team... with sexy results.
    • In one Simpsons comic, Bart convinces professional Butt-Monkey Milhouse van Houten that Professor Frink's dumpster has rendered him (Milhouse) invisible. Lampshaded, because when Bart's thought bubbles include the phrase "hilarious hijinks", he concludes he spends way too much time reading program descriptions in the TV guide.
    • Referenced in the episode "Marge on the Lam", the Wrong Genre Savvy Homer assures the kids that if a burglar comes, 'it will be a very amusing and hilarious situation.'

    Real Life 
  • A lot of times, little kids manage to pull this off. When a three-year-old calls Uncle Bob fat or says that Grandpa sure has a lot of gray in his hair, it tends to be kind of funny. When you do it, expect to get a lot of death glares aimed your way. They even built a whole series on this.
  • People have reported (complained) about getting/downloading what they thought was Disney's Frozen (2013) for their kids when it ended up being the OTHER Frozen with a group of tasty friends stuck in the snow on a ski lift and hungry hungry wolves.
  • Similarly, people confused the family film Jack Frost (1998) with Jack Frost (1997). It doesn't help that they were released only a year apart.
  • A lot of the riskier pranks performed by people on friends and family are this... unless things go horribly wrong.
  • There are a great number of hilarious accidents that happen to people but which people come out of all right. The Internet would be made out of these videos and photos if it weren't for cats (half the cat videos are these situations anyway). These could have resulted in debilitating injuries but everything worked out and a good laugh was had and remembered down the years.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hilarity Ensued, An Amusing Circumstance Of Some Sort Occurs, With Hilarious Results, Hijinx Ensue


Evil Class

Cinder tries, and fails, to teach an evil class the art of making a booby-trap.

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