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Horror Comedy
aka: Sliding Scale Of Comedy And Horror

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"I'm a student of both horror and comedy because they're different sides of the same coin: Both are about using emotion to provoke an instinctual, physical response, and if you're lucky, spontaneous evacuation of bodily waste products."
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, Extra Punctuation

When people think of Comedy, they rarely associate it with Horror and vice versa. However, both make great partners in crime together. If they aren't Crossing The Line Twice, they're bringing about a Sugar Apocalypse and escaping to Auda City. The reason they work so well together is that viewers need "breathers" between nonstop screaming or nonstop laughing, and one can easily segue into the other.

For purposes of this trope, we'll divide Horror and Comedy hybrids into three categories, Horror dominant, Comedy dominant, and balanced.

Horror dominant works will use comedy as a mood lightener or "breather" from the tension or gore. Characters will crack wise while they're in a safe spot, and have the monster use a Barrier-Busting Blow just as they relax. The benefit of this is that just as viewers relax along with the characters, tension is restored along with the scare. Other ways to use comedy in a horror movie is to treat viewers to some funny situational irony the characters can appreciate on an intellectual level while cursing on an "I'm gonna die now" level. The benefit here is that momentum is maintained throughout the scene.

Comedy dominant works have more leeway here. They may be a straight up comedy or parody set in a typical horror setting or premise, or use Black Comedy along with splatter horror to maximum effect. Comedy dominant works often deconstruct horror tropes for laughs, other times playing them hilariously straight as an Affectionate Parody (with perhaps a Lampshade Hanging).

A balanced work is perhaps the most subjective to qualify, because while it has equal amounts of horror and comedy, the viewer may be so sensitive to horror it seems scarier, or so desensitized to horror it seems funnier.

Of course, these works have one big problem they have to fight: avoiding jumping the shark due to Mood Whiplash. Avoiding this requires that the comedy or horror not break the feel of the established setting. Slapstick in the middle of suspenseful horror, or remorselessly and humorlessly killing a character in a comedy would do this. However, deadpan snarking and Rasputinian Death respectively would not.

See also Narm and Nightmare Retardant, where something that's supposed to be horrible turns out to be funny, and Accidental Nightmare Fuel, where something that might have been intended to be funny is instead unsettling. Both of them are results of something landing on the wrong side of the scale. See also Lightmare Fuel, where a perfect balance is actually reached between the two.

Compare the First Law of Tragicomedies.

Some works that mix comedy and horror include:

    open/close all folders 

  • Any commercial featuring The Burger King.
  • Wilkins Coffee commercials are comedy dominant, featuring the puppet Wilkins killing the puppet Wontkins for disliking the coffee in increasingly brutally horrific and absurd ways with Dissonant Serenity.

    Alternate Reality Games 
  • Ωmega Mart is a surrealist satire of a grocery store that has its fair share of both Surreal Humor and Surreal Horror elements to it since the products are more often than not weird yet benign parodies of real products, while also having enough creepy stuff both on the shelves and behind the scenes to feel like something's just off enough for normal people to notice.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family is the other definitive horror parody. It intentionally clashes horror characters with a Nuclear Family sitcom, mostly just using the occasional jump scare from the carnivorous plants as a breather from the comedy.
  • American Horror Story, most notably in the third season Coven, frequently likes to dabble in the campier side of horror, which shouldn't be a surprise given that its creator Ryan Murphy also made Glee, Nip/Tuck, and Popular. By and large, though, the more horrific elements were played terrifyingly straight.
  • Angel: Although slightly more horror-focused than Buffy, Angel still follows the Joss Whedon blend of horror and comedy.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead picks up where Army of Darkness left off by focusing on the action hijinks of Ash Williams, now thoroughly a blowhard loser who nevertheless fights horrifying monsters.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One reason Joss Whedon wanted to do it as a series was that the movie had been more comedy-dominant than he hoped.
  • The Charmed (1998) episode 'Chick Flick' features psycho killers being released from Slasher Movies to attack the sisters. The attempts to kill them are played entirely for comedy - as the sisters can't use their powers on the killers, forcing the Action Girls to essentially behave like stereotypical Damsels in Distress. Piper also has a moment of Genre Blindness.
    "I get stalked by psycho killers and I hide in the shower?"
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is usually described as a darker and more serious take on the Sabrina the Teenage Witch franchise. It has a much deeper plot than the previous works in the franchise, and its antagonists are definitely a lot scarier than before. However, it is still very much tongue-in-cheek, and has lots of undeniably goofy moments.
  • Dead Set: Most of the laughs come from the dark absurdity of the premise and the dialogue of the cast, many of whom are Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist types or The Ditz (Justified by the reality show setting). However, the main character is mostly serious, the premise is Played for Drama and once people start dying most of the laughs are in the form of Satire, Black Comedy, and Refuge in Audacity (zombie Davina McCall!) rather than the witty dialogue and jokes.
  • Doctor Who has slid all over this spectrum as part of its general Genre Roulette nature with some individual seasons being rather unbalanced (Season 22 is heavy on the horror, Season 16 is rather heavy on the comedy) but belongs here overall - partly because of law of averages but mostly because the series is very good at being horrific and hilariously funny simultaneously when it's at its best.
  • Jam is a strange TV example of this, being a surrealist sketch horror-comedy, that leans HEAVILY to the horror side. It is designed to make you feel horribly, horribly uncomfortable.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Due to the idiosyncratic nature of its protagonist, who walked from the mostly comedic scenes of the newsroom and witness interviews to the mostly horror scenes of investigations and monsters without changing his style one bit.
  • The League of Gentlemen
  • Li'l Horrors, an Australian children's comedy puppetry television series about young monsters attending an All-Ghouls School.
  • Psychoville
  • Santa Clarita Diet combines gory zombie horror with screwball domestic comedy, and practically every single death is Played for Laughs.
  • Scream Queens (2015) is an extremely campy series that, while it can be suitably gory and violent to fill the needs of horror fans, has a shockingly low body count for an entry into the slasher genre, as it spends more time focusing on the snarky comebacks and utter ridiculousness of its characters rather than gore effects.
  • Shadow Chasers
  • Stan Against Evil follows much the same formula as Evil Dead; Horrid monsters and violence, with a ton of comedy.
  • Stranger Things
  • Supernatural. The entire character roster are a bunch of snarky bastards who can't resist making wise-ass comments all the time, and the humor is largely found in the absurdity of some deaths and the meta-fictional episodes. It still never manages to upstage the genuine horror and drama or eclipse it.
  • Tales from the Crypt: Mostly the TV series and its two theatrical movies, but the stories from EC Comics upon which they are based count too.
  • WandaVision pinballs between a loving, humorous sitcom homage and uneasy Psychological Horror without missing a beat.


  • The Alexandria Archives, while having a framing story that leans more to the comedic side, features a more or less self-contained horror story per episode. A few of these stories are quite lighthearted and harmless, but many of them are quite horrific and, on rare occasions, include truly disturbing elements.
  • The Last Podcast on the Left: A podcast that goes over true crime topics such as cults and serial killers and supernatural events like cryptids, hauntings, and UFOs, all the while cracking jokes and treating the horrible people involved with all of the respect they deserve: None.
  • Less is Morgue. This show has an overall light-hearted and silly tone, despite its main characters being a flesh-eating ghoul and a peppy dead person, who regularly encounter monsters, murderous maniacs, and Eldritch Abominations.
  • The Monster Hunters is an outright parody of vintage horror. Its genuinely frightening moments are few and far between.
  • Pretending to Be People: An Actual Play podcast that draws most of its humor from the interactions of the players, while having a horror-laden plot.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: The podcast's style of absurdism alternates frequently between comedy and horror in just about every episode, and the overall podcast doesn't really show a strong preference either way.

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning is a Survival Horror game taking place in an intentionally terrible edutainment game from the 90s.
  • The Binding of Isaac has its disturbing moments, but it also has plenty of puns and fart and poop jokes as well.
  • Cruelty Squad has many genuinely horrific Body Horror and Surreal Horror moments, but also derives a lot of humor from its satirical skewering of capitalism, its bizarre world and morality, and the Black Comedy comments of your employer.
  • Dead Rising. Outside of the earliest stages of the first game before Frank West levels up and gains new skills, the zombies are barely a threat despite their enormous numbers, especially once you discover or unlock the more powerful weapons that can dispatch dozens of them easily. If you're doing so while dressed as a toy robot or a ballerina, all the better. The human villains, on the other hand, are played straight. Even at their most comedic, they're often Tragic Monsters with very depressing backstories behind their outlandish behavior, and the central Myth Arc of the series is a viciously satirical one in which blame for the Zombie Apocalypse is laid directly at the feet of ravenous American consumers. Finding ways to create Mood Whiplash between the serious storyline and the ridiculous (and often optional) physical comedy is a key source of the games' humor.
  • Deltarune leans more on the comedy side than Undertale in the surface level interactions but there's a dark intrigue and themes of existential horror running throughout. This is best exemplified by the character of Spamtom G. Spamton, a literally insane crazy salesman whose rantings pinball between hilarious and deeply unsettling.
  • Compared to the original Kinder, Re:Kinder has the same dark premise of toddlers fighting to escape a town turned deadly and avoid gruesome deaths, but has a lot more emphasis on humor. In particular, Big Bad Yuuichi is now Laughably Evil, spouting references, non-sequitors, and wisecracks left and right.
  • Plants vs. Zombies is where you fight off a Zombie Apocalypse Played for Laughs by planting anthropomorphic mutant plants on your lawn. The zombies, even when their desire is explicity to eat your brains, are far too comical to classify the game as horror.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa
  • Higurashi: When They Cry starts off each chapter as a lighthearted Slice of Life comedy, until someone dies mysteriously. From there, things quickly spiral out of control, usually culminating in the gruesome murder of several major characters.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • ClickHole is mostly comedic, but sometimes has very dark articles that get pretty close to the middle, which is impressive for a satire of Buzzfeed.
  • Feet In Smoke, an essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan, about an accident featured on Rescue 911. It starts out in the Horror territory and swiftly dives into Comedy after Jeremiah and his family learn his brother will live, which is where the episode in question ends. This is Lampshaded by the Author
    "The experience went from tragedy to tragicomedy to outright farce on a sliding continuum, so it's hard to pinpoint just when one let on to another."
  • My Property Isn't Normal
  • Most works found on the SCP Foundation wiki are horror-drama stories played straight, taking themselves very seriously for the most part. However, some stories may contain surprisingly tongue-in-cheek or even goofy humor; while the Joke articles are light-hearted parodies which spoof the SCP Wiki's more serious content for absurdist Black Comedy.

    Web Videos 
  • Board James, in Mr. Bucket and Dream Phone. Season 3 becomes Darker and Edgier and more horror dominant.
  • Boots to Reboots
  • Dad
  • Each installment of the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared series is mostly comedy with one scene of pure horror plus some mildly creepy imagery, with the exception of the last two, which are closer to the middle of the spectrum.
  • Gilbert Garfield
  • Lasagna Cat is mostly comedy-dominant during the first phase but shifts closer to the middle in the second season before diving into full horror dominance with the only humorous parts being the premise during the finale.
  • Mushroom Land
  • Pizza Time Pizza starts mostly comedy and shifts more into horror.
  • Mario Party DS Anti Piracy, due to the final video.
  • RedLetterMedia. Yes, the Star Wars reviews. Mr. Plinkett's humorous deconstruction of the Star Wars prequels is occasionally broken up by sequences revealing that he's a serial killer with women locked in his cellar.
  • Sex House: It's from The Onion, so it's to be expected.
  • Sponge Bob Conspiracy (also made by alex bale) starts normal (and comedy). but in newer videos it shifts to horror where we found that the muse is sercetly making spongebob theories and forces alex to read and narrate them.
  • Shaye Saint John

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Comedy Horror, Sliding Scale Of Comedy And Horror