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Hypocritical Humor

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"You humans are all racist!"
Unnamed Turian, Mass Effect 2

A type of gag in which a character's actions or words contradict each other and this is Played for Laughs. Tends to run in one of several ways:

  • Bob openly makes some kind of statement or declaration and then does the exact opposite.
  • Bob is accused of engaging in a certain behavior or activity, denies it, and then immediately does that behavior or activity.
  • Bob criticizes Alice for some fault that is an established part of his own character, or just before or after exhibiting that particular fault himself.
  • Bob makes fun of a group of people of which he himself is a member.
  • Alice tries to warn Bob of something several times, but he doesn't listen (either by interrupting her or by not believing her). Then when that thing happens, Bob turns to Alice and says, "Why didn't you tell me?"

For example, if Alice is an overweight girl deep in denial, she might say, "I don't see why you guys think I have an eating problem"... right before taking a bite out of her fourth consecutive Big n' Tasty. Or if Bob is known a miser, he could exclaim, "What are you talking about? I'm not greedy"... and then swipe every last cent from the take-a-penny/leave-a-penny tray.


It doesn't even have to necessarily be Bob who does the opposite. Half the time it seems like the entire universe is instantaneously altered just so the polar opposite of Bob's sentence occurs for a gag. If Bob is lying to his parents and says that he didn't go to that concert last night, sure enough, the phone will instantly ring and the answering machine will broadcast a friend instructing them to call back, raving in great detail about how much fun they had at the concert, how glad they are that they snuck out and how there's no way their parents will ever find out.

Often evident (and occasionally Truth in Television) when Bob prematurely accuses Alice of engaging in Double Entendre or sexual innuendo, thereby indicating that his own thought processes have already walked that crooked line. It drives the point home if Bob accuses Alice before she herself makes the connection or if she wouldn't have made it in the first place.


The delivery of hypocritical humor in reality-bending situations is usually executed via Contrived Coincidence.

A standard comic strip tactic, as it makes for a quick and neat four-panel gag.

Sometimes used as a Hypocrisy Nod, or a Hypocrisy Nod is used for laughs by mixing it with this.

Compare with Immediate Self-Contradiction, Boomerang Bigot, Tempting Fate, I Resemble That Remark!, I Would Say If I Could Say, Such a Phony, Don't Be Ridiculous and Description Cut.

Some tropes, like Sorry Ociffer, Some of My Best Friends Are X, and Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For, inherently lend themselves to Hypocritical Humor.

Not to be confused with Hippocratic Humor, which would be what M*A*S*H, Scrubs, and House are all about. Also don't confuse with Hypocritical Heartwarming.

Please do not attempt to add examples of people doing this unintentionally (nearly all Real Life examples would fall under that). This trope refers to deliberate uses of hypocrisy for humor's sake, at least by the writer. The same goes for Wicks and Potholes, so if you catch any, feel free to destroy them without pity.

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Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Mr. Whipple in the Charmin commercials. He spends half a minute warning women not to squeeze the Charmin. Then later on, he is seen squeezing said Charmin himself.
  • Kotex ads feature a woman talking sarcastically about how other tampon commercials are helpful, while proving them to be just the opposite.
    Woman: And they use that blue liquid stuff so I'm like, 'Oh, that's what it's supposed to look like.'
  • One State Farm commercial has a mime come up to a State Farm salesman with a woman and her infant son and tell them how beneficial State Farm is. The baby then starts talking about how freaky it was for a mime to talk.
  • In a Geico spot, a rep is showing the Geico gecko footage of him as a two-dimensional hand-drawn cartoon plugging the product. The CGI-animated gecko does a Face Palm and quips "So you've turned me into a cartoon. Lovely."
  • The ADT medical alert commercial with the old woman protesting, "That's not for me! That's for some old person!"
  • This Michael Jordan Hanes underwear commercial.
  • The Daily Show has an ad on Facebook where Trevor Noah takes turns pandering to and insulting his FB audience.
  • In this promotional video for her 2018 tour with Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling admits to being a "casual fan" of the band, saying "I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with them." All the while wearing an Evanescence t-shirt in a room full of Evanescence posters, with a picture of Amy Lee on her cell phone and "Bring Me to Life" as her ringtone. Not to mention the absolute "OMG" look on her face when she receives a text message from Amy Lee reading "What are you doing this summer?"
  • The announcement ad for Disney's California Adventure park had Buzz Lightyear watching the new park with binoculars and describing it to the other Disney World characters. When Goofy suggests just walking over and introducing themselves, Buzz scoffs "nobody likes a nosy neighbor."

  • Banksy is fond of this trope.
    • Obvious examples include "We can't do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves."
    • And his list of people who should be shot — "Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, and people who write lists telling you who should be shot."

    Asian Animation 
  • In episode 90 of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons, Wolffy asking Paddi to say something nice to Wilie from inside the candy house is met with a response of "I'm not saying a word!", which directly contradicts itself as he refuses to say anything but still vocalizes this to get his point across to Wolffy.

  • In one of his stand-up routines Irish comedian Ed Byrne noted that there was an increasing strain of anti-immigration rhetoric entering Irish society ... before pointing out that, given the prominent history of Irish immigration to other countries, the Irish might not have much of a leg to stand on about this:
    Ed Byrne: You cheeky bastards! What kind of brass balls do you have, as an Irish person, to complain about immigration? We've been populating the globe ever since we worked out how to get into a boat!
  • Russell himself, from Russell Howard's Good News.
    Russell: [after a clip of someone accidentally break their arm] What twat breaks his arm like that?
    [cue Russell looking down at his broken wrist and hand]
  • From Woody Allen's stand-up routines. "My ex-wife was childish. See if you don't think this is childish. She'd come into the bathroom when I was having a bath, and sink my ships."
  • Bill Engvall on discipline: "Hey!" *smack* "We do NOT hit!"
  • "If anyone says he hates war more than I do, he'd better have a knife, that's all I have to say." — Jack Handey
  • "An egotist is a person of low taste — more interested in himself than in me." — Ambrose Bierce
  • "There are three things in this world I can't stand. Hatred, bigotry, and midgets." (pause for laughter) "I'm sorry, I just don't like 'em." — James Gregory

  • "Tomorrow, I'll stop procrastinating."
  • "I never brag. I'm awesome like that."/"I'm too awesome to brag."
  • "I've told you a million times, don't exaggerate!"
  • "Thank God I'm an atheist." - Luis Buñuel
  • "I never make mistakes. I thought I did once, but I was wrong."
  • "Stop being such a narcissist. This should be about me!"
  • "All generalisations are false."
    • Likewise, an eerily similar phrase has gone memetic after Obi-Wan Kenobi said it in Revenge of the Sith, apparently without realizing the irony: "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."
  • "95% of all surveys/statistics are made up".
  • "Watch your fucking language!"
  • "As a Capricorn, I don't believe in astrology."
  • "Proponents of eugenics shouldn't be allowed to reproduce".
  • "All extremists should be killed."
  • "I have to say, I think I'm especially modest."
  • "all sentences should begin with a capital letter."
  • "I am the nicest person in the world. And if there is ever anyone nicer than me, I'll kill them and will be the nicest one once again."
  • "Why must you always think that I'm criticizing you?"
  • "Those who are against freedom of speech should be denied the right to say that."
  • Redneck dating tip: "Don't be sexist or vulgar. Bitches hate that shit."
  • "Never stereotype entire groups based on one member of that group, that's what Southerners do."
  • "Don't anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it."
  • There's an old joke about a woman whose son and daughter got married within a week or two of each other. A few months later, a friend asks her about how her daughter is doing. The mom gushes about her son-in-law, how he cooks for her daughter, gives her lots of gifts, and sends his wife to a spa once a month. The friend then asks how the son's marriage is, and the mother gets a disgusted look on her face and begins going on about how her daughter-in-law doesn't cook, wants lots of gifts, and always wants to go to the spa...
  • This joke:
    A guy says, "I don't smoke, I don't cuss, and I don't drink." Then, a second later, he says, "Fuck, I left my cigarettes down at the bar."

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible - Numbers 12:3 goes, Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. And who wrote Numbers? That's right. (Justified, in that the Biblical concept of humility is attributing all success to God rather than your own abilities.)
    • Double Justified, given how resistant he was to being a prophet and leader multiple times (which gave him vast power), and also the power he initially lost as part of the life he had in the ruling family, to then be a serf, it actually fit his history. If nothing else, 40 years of migration, in a desert, with ungrateful people, all depending on God, and knowing you'll die before even reaching your goal after all that, will humble someone a bit.
    • Also, there's the simple fact that the word "humble" has multiple meanings. It is often used to mean someone who has a low, or at least not high, opinion of himself. But it can also refer to the material circumstances in which someone lives, as in the phrases "be it ever so humble, there's no place like home" or "humble abode." The Bible may simply be referring to the fact that Moses lived in humble circumstances, because he had not used his position to enrich himself, or otherwise enjoy the perks that usually come with power. And there are still other meanings of "humble" besides that.
  • The parable of the pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18 is a straight example of this trope. The pharisee loudly praises himself for not being like that filthy tax collector over there while the tax collector doesn't even dare to lift his eyes to heaven and simply prays, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

  • In the House To Astonish 2012 "Homie" awards, Al Kennedy complains about Brian Michael Bendis's All -New X-Men, because Emma Frost's speech patterns have changed so drastically it's like she's being written with a different accent. This is in between the winners being anounced by big name US comic book professionals with British regional accents.
  • In the Aum Shinrikyo episodes of The Last Podcast on the Left, everyone is disgusted at the fact that the cult's leader Shoko Asahara sold his bath water to followers... at which point Marcus then takes the opportunity to remind listeners that you can get a bone fragment from his ranch for the low low price of a $25+ monthly Patreon donation.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • Complaints about the shadowy World Government are often tempered with glowing praise for the town's own Secret Police and totalitarian City Council.
    • In the The Thrilling Adventure Hour crossover, Carlos is fed up with things that are unscientific. Keep in mind, barely an hour before, this man dismissed horses as being pure (and unscientific) fiction.
      Carlos: This won't work, according to science! Okay? If no one's going to listen to SCIENCE, then I'm just going to project myself back into the otherworld desert dimension, where I live. Okay?!
  • The host of the podcast Swindled, A Concerned Citizen, gives a very tongue-in-cheek example in "The Tour", where he delivers a moral to the Milli Vanilli story. He appears ready to launch into an anti-consumerist diatribe, only to take a sharp left turn:
    Concerned Citizen: Listen up, kids. Authenticity is rare. It's important to understand that not everything you see or hear is real. And it is important to understand that sometimes the media targeted at you has no artistic merit. In fact, some media is created with the sole purpose of serving as a vehicle to shove advertisements into your consciousness. It's true of radio, it's true of movies and television, and it's especially true... of podcasts. [cut to the Citizen narrating a plug for another podcast]

    Print Media 
  • Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans once collected the following ten guidelines for written English:
    1. Don't use no double negatives.note 
    2. Make each pronoun agree with their antecedent.note 
    3. When dangling, watch your participles.note 
    4. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.note 
    5. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.note 
    6. About those sentence fragments.note 
    7. Try to not ever split infinitives.note 
    8. It is important to use apostrophe's correctly.note 
    9. Always read what you have written to see you any words out.note 
    10. Correct spelling is esential.note 

  • Digger, a caller on the Australian football radio show The Coodabeen Champions, had the Catchphrase "I never complain about umpires, but...", before immediately launching into a rant about how the umpires had "crucified" his team.
  • In one episode of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, the wildly incomprehensible caricature of sports commentator Eddie Waring is speaking to a German with a mild accent.
    Eddie: Hah-ar, well, 'e's certainly gorra' fonny accent--I'm sure you could understan' what 'e was sayin', and if you can't, well, you'll jus' hafta barra scradley scrive, ya know!
  • In the surrealish sitcom At Home with the Hardys, Kit and Jeremy are having an argument.
    Kit: Oh my god — you are such a hypochondriac!
    Jeremy: I am not a hypochondriac, and stop shouting at me, you're making me ill!
  • Sandi Toksvig making jokes about Andy Hamilton's height on The News Quiz.
  • A recurring bit on Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation, for instance:
    Jeremy: But nothing alienates the young more than attempts by their elders to understand them. Isn't that right, kids?
  • In The Men from the Ministry General Assistance Department along with Mr. Crawley are planning on giving a petition about the poor quality of Ministry's bathrooms, and Mr. Crawley says that they have to stand up to Sir Gregory. After talking with him about it:
    Mr. Crawley: I said we just have to stand up to him.
    Lennox-Brown: You can come out from under the desk now.
  • Jim Backus' recorded comedy skit Dirty Old Man is about a happy-go-lucky squire who makes obscene phone calls to women he randomly picks from a phone book (actually, he has his servant Gwendolyn do the dialing). He turns the last names of the women he calls (Melanie Tate, Peggy Percy) into a bleeped-out play on words. When he gets to Peggy and starts his vulgar spiel, Peggy is more than ready for him:
    Squire: Now don't run off, my dear. How would you like it if I came over and—
    Peggy: Oh, I'd love it! I'd just simply love it! But hurry while I'm still in the mood. I'm not a light switch, you know. [Squire quicky hangs up]
    Gwendolyn: Something wrong, sir?
    Squire: What the [sound effects] is the world coming to? She was a pervert!!
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue:
    • In Series 70 Episode 4, Tim has invented a new game called I Hear With My Little Ear, which doesn't work. He then tries to create I Smell With My Little Nose, at which point Jack has had enough.
    Jack: Where do you think you are? What do you think people are going to think, tuning in for some sophisticated Radio 4 entertainment, and hearing you and your little nose? We do have standards, don't we, Tim?
    Tim: Yes, Jack.
    Jack: What do we have?
    Tim: Standards, Jack.
    Jack: And don't forget it. Right. On to the next round, and it's a game called In My Pants.
    • In Series 31 Episode 5, under the original chairman Humphrey Lyttleton:
    This next round is all about cutting costs. There's nothing that gets my goat more than the senseless waste of licence fee income, which is why I've instructed the BBC to stop putting chilled champagne in my dressing room. There's no point going to the expense of chilling it if it's only going in the bath.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Bobby Kennedy was fond of joking that he would "destroy" anyone who called him ruthless.
  • Barack Obama during his spiel at the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner: "One senator who has reached across the aisle recently is Marco Rubio, but I don’t know about (running for President in) 2016. I mean, the guy has not even finished a single term in the Senate and he thinks he’s ready to be President. (laughter) Kids these days."note 
  • At his high school reunion, Gabriel Iglesias was called up to give a speech as the celebrity of the class. He was completely hammered at the time, and went on a drunken tirade that ended with him calling two women who rejected him back in high school fat. One of them pointed out the obvious hypocrisy: Gabriel is also fat. However, he had a comeback for that: "I know, but I was fat back then too. I kept my figure, how come you couldn't?"
  • The Gravity Falls episode "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons" was based on Alex Hirsch attending a Dungeons & Dragons game after Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and Over the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale invited him during the trio's time on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. According to Hirsch's account, when he asked about the rules, Ward and McHale said there weren't any — then Ward and McHale proceeded to spend an hour and a half bickering about exactly that.
  • After the Decemberist coup attempt in Russia in 1825, one of the judges over the rebels was Pavel Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a man who participated in the assassination of Paul II in 1801. So the tradition goes that during the trial, he spat out "How could you consider something as terrible as a regicide". One of the accused answered "Well, that wouldn't be the first time, some people got sashes and badges out of it".

Alternative Title(s): Hypocritical Humour


Gimme Gimme Gimme

Linda accuses a wheelchair-bound Tom for being lazy when he "refuses" to make her tea

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