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Laughing at Your Own Jokes

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"Looking back on my work as I make notes for the books has been a good experience. I get to read everything all over again, including lots of stuff I forgot about. Most of it is incredibly funny and good. I don't think I ever laugh at stuff as much as the stuff I made myself. I mean, other people's stuff is fine. It's just not quite as good."
Andrew Hussie (answering a question in an interview with Newsarama)

A case where a person (often a comedian) will laugh at his own jokes. May be a sign that such characters are not as funny as they think they are. Sometimes involves Don't Explain the Joke, especially if no one else laughs.

There is a bit of real life stigma against this, but nowhere near as much as you'd expect compared to film or television. Laughing at one's own jokes in certain social situations is a good way of signalling that you're being friendly and jovial, but overdoing it can be irritating. Nevertheless, media will usually depict characters who laugh as a catch-all semiotic that they are meant to be taken as lame and unfunny.

If a villain does this, expect a Laugh with Me! moment. Sometimes a sign of The Bore. Might also be done in a case of Tough Room.


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  • Dave Allen once apologized to the audience for laughing at one of his jokes.
    Sorry, I've only just heard that one.
  • Jeremy Hotz has a tendency to laugh after he delivers the punchline to his jokes, although it comes off as more of a nervous chuckle. This combined with covering his face contributes to his neurotic persona.
  • Red Skelton was notorious for laughing at his own jokes, especially since he enjoyed adlibbing and trying to get guest stars to break. Some viewers considered it funny and part of the charm of his humor, others considered it self-congratulatory and irritating.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Joker is a maniacal clown who often laughs at his own macabre jokes. Woe be it for any of his Mooks who fail to laugh along with him.
  • One of the Donald Duck comics involves Donald coming up with a joke he finds so funny that whenever he tries to tell it or even think about it, he bursts into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. This quickly gets him into trouble when people start seeing him as rude or potentially insane, even going as far as to ask him to sleep in the forest so he doesn't bother his neighbors with his loud laughing. When Donald finally gets a chance to tell his joke in a TV show about best jokes, his inability to tell the joke without laughing ends up disqualifying him due to his time running out. The host finally suggests that Donald just write the joke down. Donald does so and then hands the paper over to the host. Upon reading it, the host concludes that it's actually a really old joke that everyone knows. Cue everyone laughing at Donald's misfortune.


    Films — Animated 
  • The Lion King (1994): When Timon and Pumbaa meet Simba, Pumbaa asks "What's eatin' ya?" Before Simba can answer, Timon chimes in with "Nothing, he's at the top of the food chain!" He laughs pretty hard at his own joke until he realizes no one's laughing with him.
  • Shrek:
    • When Shrek and Donkey get a good look at the dragon-guarded castle (in the middle of a bubbling volcanic crater) from which they have to rescue Fiona, Shrek tries to lighten the mood.
    "Sure, it's big enough, but look at the location!" [chuckles]
    • There is another instance of this earlier on the film, when Shrek first sees Lord Farquaad's castle.
      Shrek: Do you think maybe he's Compensating for Something? [chuckles]

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart does this with his Bandon Banshee joke. (In his book, it just says, "He waited for them to laugh; a few people smiled weakly.")
  • In the film of Marley & Me, John says that his boss told him not to end sentences with an exclamation point because it's like laughing at your own joke. John says that sometimes you need to laugh at your own joke, because it's funny.
  • In Master and Commander, Jack Aubrey baits his old friend Doctor Stephen Maturin into making a preference among the weevils on his plate. Maturin picks the bigger one, leading to this response from Aubrey:
    Aubrey: (bangs his hand on the table) There! I have you! You’re completely dished! Do you not know that in the service, one must always choose the lesser of two weevils! (laughs uproariously, with the rest of the officers- save Maturin- joining in)
  • Fred Willard often plays a character who laughs at his own jokes. One example of this is the movie Waiting for Guffman.
  • In Ridicule, as the Marquis de Bellegarde is teaching the protagonist Baron de Malavoy the ways of the Court, he warns him that he should not laugh at his own jokes. The Baron fails to heed his advice the first time and the Marquis scolds him for it, before adding he should laugh more discreetly as well.
  • In Arthur (1981), the title character tends to laugh at all of his own corny jokes.
  • This moment in It (1990), the TV-movie adaptation of Stephen King's novel It:
    Pennywise: Excuse me, sir! Do you have Prince Albert in a can? You do? Well, ya better let the poor guy out! WUHAH! WUHAH! WUHAH!
    • He then tells a similar joke as Richie flees the library:
    Pennywise: Excuse me, madam! Is your refrigerator running? It is? Well, ya better catch it before it runs away! WUHAH! WUHAH! WUHAH! Oh, I kill myself...
  • In Spectre, Q laughs after telling James Bond that he had to bring the Aston Martin DB5 "back in one piece" and not "bring back one piece" (it was wrecked in Skyfall).
  • This exchange from Animal Crackers:
    Spaulding: And what do you get for not rehearsing?
    Ravelli: You couldn't afford it. You see, if we don't rehearse, we don't play. And if we don't play, [snaps fingers] that runs into money.
    Spaulding: How much would you want to run into an open manhole?
    Ravelli: Just the cover charge. [Laughs.]
  • In Black Panther (2018), M'Baku – leader of the reclusive Jabari tribe – threatens to feed Everett Ross to his children if the man speaks out of turn. He gives Ross just enough time to sweat before admitting, "I'm kidding, we are vegetarians," and nearly falls off his own throne laughing.
  • Sid James' characters in the Carry On... Series films do this all the time. It's implied that him laughing (with his notorious "dirty laugh") is what makes other characters laugh along with him.
  • Joker (2019): This trope is what kills Arthur Fleck's stand-up comedy career before he can even get a joke out. To be fair, it's not his fault; he suffers from pseudobulbar affect (or so he thinks), which causes involuntary laughing fits that don't match what Arthur is feeling at the time. After Arthur fully becomes The Joker, he continues laughing at his own jokes... only instead of his relatively innocuous stand-up routine, he's laughing at morbid comments that nobody else finds any humor in.
  • In Mario (1984), Simon promises to fix Hélène's malfunctioning camera in a flash. He then laughs and says, "Get it? In a flash?"
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies have a habit of making Splinter make a bad joke while doing this once a movie. The original movie has him suggest the turtles' iconic Cowabunga catchphrase, which he ends with "I made a funny!" Secret of the Ooze has him punish his sons for being spotted by making them do flips while chanting "Go, Ninja, Go!" (to which he adds "I made another funny!") The third movie has him imitate Elvis in Blue Hawaii, even explaining the reference. However, that time, him laughing at himself was more justified as he was trying to cheer up Michelangelo, who feared he'd never laugh again.
  • Olsen-banden: Early on in Jönssonligan på Mallorca, Sickan tells himself a dreadful play on words involving chamois leather from Finlandnote . Since nobody else is there to react to it (yet), he follows it up with uncharacteristically loud laughter.

  • Jack Aubrey tends to laugh uproariously at his own jests.
  • Bat: Janie's best friend Ezra is constantly making terrible puns and laughing loudly at them, to Bat's irritation.
  • Everworld: While complaining about how the titular setting's Patchwork Map climates and ecosystems should not be able to work, Jalil mentions something about deciduous forests, upon which Christopher lightly mocks him for knowing that term and jokingly asks if anyone sees any gymnosperms. Jalil asks if he even knows what a gymnosperm is, to which Christopher instantly replies "The diagnosis for a guy named Jim who can't have kids?" He then shamelessly cracks up, explaining that he came up with that joke in junior high and had been waiting years for an opportunity to finally use it.
  • Goblins in the Castle: In Goblins on the Prowl, when Fauna tries on Solomon's Collar (which lets her understand and be understood by animals), she has a brief talk with a squirrel, who makes a pun on the word "nut" and then cracks up at his own joke.
  • The Light Jar: As Kitty and Nate walk through a Hedge Maze on a treasure hunt, Kitty says, "William has left something a-maze-ing, I just know it. Get it? A-maze-ing?" and laughs.
  • Moongobble and Me: In book 5, when Moongobble and co. return to the Forest of Night, the animals once again try to warn them away. The last of these, a squirrel, cracks up at his own joke after saying "You guys are such nuts, I should save you for the winter!"
  • The Truth: Lord Vetinari has a really lousy dad joke he thinks is funny.
    “Ah, but possibly on this very site a strange cult once engaged in eldritch rites, the very essence of which permeated the neighborhood, and which seeks only the rite, ahaha, circumstances to once again arise and walk around eating people?”

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Boynton did this on a regular basis, both on radio and on television. His jokes are rarely that funny.
    • In "Red River Valley", Mr. Boynton gives Miss Brooks a joke-book and cracks himself up trying to tell the joke.
    Mr. Boynton: Now, when I first pick "My Dog Has Fleas" on the banjo like that, Miss Brooks, we spring our first humorous anecdote. You can read it right from the book. Here we are.
    Miss Brooks: Thanks. What's that you played on the banjo, Mr. Interlocutor?
    Mr. Boynton: "My Dog Has Fleas".
    Miss Brooks: Funny kind of a dog. My dog has pups. OH NO!
    Mr. Boynton: (laughs)
    Walter Denton: (laughs) How corny can you get!
    • In "The Auction", Mr. Boynton breaks himself up over the idea of leading his frogs on a leash downtown and telling the public to "get hopping" to Madison High.
    • At the start of "Non-Fraternization Policy", Mr. Boynton tells a long, involved joke involving three turn-of-the-century Irish policemen and a horse. Mr. Boynton finds the joke funny. Nobody else does.
  • Bob Saget tended to do this in his stint as the host of America's Funniest Home Videos.
  • In the Blackadder II episode "Beer", one of Edmund's drinking buddies constantly cracks himself up by repeating things that "sound a bit rude." Sample:
    Edmund: Well, well, get stuck in, boys.
    Partridge: 'Stuck in'! Way-hey! Get it?
    Monk: No...
    Partridge: Well, it sounds a bit rude, doesn't it! 'Stuck in!'
  • In the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "The Funniest Joke in the World", the original writer of the joke in question reads it after writing it down and dies laughing.
    • Once the joke is weaponised, it has to be read to the Germans by men who don't understand German, to prevent this from occurring. For the same reason, the translation was done by having several translators work on one word only; one of them accidentally saw two words and had to be hospitalized.
  • The Muppets:
    • Fozzie Bear does this while doing his stand-up act. As he's not a very good comedian, he's often the only one laughing.
    • Statler and Waldorf have their signature "Dohohoho!" laugh whenever they make an insult towards a performance.
    • The cast of the "Veterinarian's Hospital" sketches will typically laugh at all the jokes they make.
    • Joe the Legal Weasel is even worse at telling jokes than Fozzie, but his attempts at humor are always followed by a loud, bellowing laugh.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000. During The Human Duplicators experiment, TV's Frank and Dr. Forrester can't help guffawing at the concept of a refrigerator alarm that only sounds when William Conrad is stealing the food. Most of the segment they can't even explain the invention because they can't stop laughing in advance.
    TV's Frank: Who's going to need this? Maybe Quinn Martin – and he's dead!
  • Balki from Perfect Strangers often does this. He usually follows by raising his arms in the air and exclaiming, “WHERE do I come up with them?!?!”
  • Bill Maher does it as well, though in Real Time with Bill Maher you get the impression that they're not actually his jokes, but those of his writers, which he seems to be learning for the first time from the teleprompter.
  • On Saturday Night Live:
    • In "Weekend Update", Bill Hader as culture reporter Stefan often cracks up because the writer of the bit changes the cue cards at the last minute to stuff even more outrageous than planned.
    • In a "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skit, Sean Connery would nearly always crack up at his own obnoxious jokes while Alex Trebek would wear an annoyed deadpan expression.
  • Teal'c in Stargate SG-1. Most of the time he doesn't get the jokes with references to Earth culture and when he makes one, he's the only one who laughs.
    A Serpent Guard, a Horus Guard and a Setesh Guard meet on a neutral planet. It is a tense moment.
    The Serpent Guard's eyes glow, the Horus Guard's beak glistens, the Setesh Guard's... nose drips. [laughs]
  • That's So Raven episode "On Top of Old Oaky". Raven and her friends climb a tree called "Old Oakey". While in the tree they sing "On top of Old Oakey" (to the tune of "On Top of Old Smokey"). Suddenly the tree snaps and falls over with them in it.
    Señorita Rodriguez: [singing] Well, now Old Oakey is on top of you! [laughs] Oh, I crack myself up!
  • The West Wing: On the first season episode "The Crackpots and These Women", C.J. does this twice in her meeting with a lobbyist group that wants a "wolves-only highway". They don't laugh.
    Loomis: We think you’ll admit it was a pretty impressive performance for Pluie especially when you consider the impediments of modern life she had to conquer: highways, housing, forest denuded of trees.
    Marge: Not to mention the U.S./Canadian border.
    C.J.: Sure, cause no photo ID. (laughs)
    Marge: I'm sorry?
    C.J.: That was a joke.
    Loomis: Why does Pluie make the trek? Because wolves have to breed with many packs in order to keep from becoming extinct.
    C.J.: Really?
    Loomis: If they breed among themselves, they’ll eventually produce offspring that’s genetically weaker, thus endangering their long-term survival.
    C.J.: That helps explain Buckingham Palace. (laughs again)
  • On the M*A*S*H episode "Officer of the Day", Radar explains what Hawkeye has to do as Officer of the Day, among his duties being doing a bed check. After a pause, he adds, "You'll probably want to handle that yourself", and starts giggling.
  • On The Greg Gutfeld Show Greg laughs at his own jokes a lot of times, especially after he says something witty on the spot.
  • The Partridge Family: When Reuben sits down on a prison cot in "Go Directly to Jail," it folds shut on him. Reuben grumbles, "This cot belongs in jail. It can't go straight." He laughs to himself and repeats, "It can't go straight!"
  • In the Getting Together episode "Memories Are Made of This," Bobby questions the idea that eating dirt is healthy. Dr. Ridlehuber says, "I realize that it's difficult to swallow-" and then pauses to laugh.
  • A common challenge on Impractical Jokers involves the Jokers sitting in a quiet waiting room and trying to make the others laugh, with the last one standing the victor. Sal nearly always loses because he has a bad habit of cracking up at his own jokes, sometimes before he even reaches the punchline.
  • Happens fairly often on Whose Line Is It Anyway? due to the improvisational nature of the show. One of the best examples occurred immediately after the famous game of "Newsflash" where Colin (the constant target of jokes regarding his hair loss), while unknowingly "reporting" on clips of himself from past episodes, answered the question "How did it start?" with, "It all started with a badly-timed bald joke!" Colin didn't laugh when making the joke, but rather as a Delayed Reaction after the game ended and he suddenly realized, in the context that he hadn't been aware of at the time, that the joke was even funnier than he had intended.
    Colin: (suddenly realizes) Oh, I said the bald joke thing, too! (laughs)
    Ryan: You did, you were right on it!

  • "Levi Stubbs' Tears" by Billy Bragg mentions "one of those blokes" who does this.

  • Commander Murray made a habit of this The Navy Lark. He was usually the only one laughing.

    Video Games 

    Web Videos 
  • In Acquisitions Incorporated, the resident wizard Jim Darkmagic conjures up an illusory Laugh Track whenever his jokes fall flat.
  • The Annoying Orange does this all the time. It actually becomes a plot point in one episode of the TV series.
  • In Hunter: The Parenting, Big D laughs uproariously at his own joke about a decapitated ghost being "a pain in the neck". Kitten is unamused.
  • Sargon Of Akkad from Youtube does this constantly, even when he's not making a joke but just reading something he finds funny. It's also extremely obvious he's faking it most of the time.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Power Animal", Jake cracks himself up so hard when he teaches a couple of nymphs how to carry a joke that he spends the rest of the scene just laughing before it abruptly cuts away to Finn and the gnomes that abducted him. When the cartoon eventually cuts back to Jake, it's revealed he spent so long laughing at his own joke that he passed out.
  • Numbuh Two of Codename: Kids Next Door is always the first one to laugh at his cheesy one-liners (and almost always the only one).
  • In Regular Show, Skips' cousin, Quips, constantly tells bad jokes that only he finds funny.
  • From The Simpsons,
    • When Troy McClure takes Selma out to dinner, we jump cut into the end of a story without even hearing the Orphaned Punchline.
      Troy: [laughing] That's too funny! I can't remember when I've heard a funnier anecdote. [laughing] All right, now you tell one.
    • Marge does this occasionally, as she gives her best one-liners when no one's around.
    • Principal Skinner does this in "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", chuckling at a joke he said to himself and then stated he wished other people were around to hear it.
  • Thomas and the Magic Railroad
    Diesel 10: [singing] Old MacDiesel had a plan/Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh!/With a pinch pinch here/ And a pinch pinch there/ Here a pinch/ There a pinch [laughs] I crack myself up.
  • Roger from Doug is prone to this, particularly when he's insulting someone. Doug calls him out on it in one episode saying he wouldn't need to laugh at his own jokes if he was actually funny. Roger tries to defend himself, but quickly shuts up after that.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Turns out villains doing this bothers Sam and Max more than attempts on their lives do:
    Max: Hmph. Now, that's just amateur!
    Sam: You mean leaving us in a readily-escapable death trap with only one easily-distracted guard on duty?
    Max: No, laughing at your own material.
  • Luan Loud from The Loud House frequently laughs at her own puns.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Log Date 7 15 2", Peridot tries to adjust to life on Earth by practicing telling jokes. She awkwardly laughs at herself after stumbling over telling the Chicken Joke to herself. Then she wonders "What's a chicken?"
  • 3-2-1 Penguins!:
    • In the episode "The Green-Eyed Monster", Zidgel laughs at his "Nice to meet ewe" pun and explains it.
    • He does this again in "Git Along, Little Doggies" after he says how that cow can really mooooooove.
    • He does this for a third time in "Wise Guys" after he remarks that he thought his crew had a heavy duty mission when it seemed rather light to him. (Light as in their next mission involves light bulbs)
  • A 1961 Popeye cartoon has Popeye and Brutus jockeying for a job at the city zoo to be near zookepper Olive Oyl. To get the job, they have to make a lugubrious hyena laugh. Brutus's joke, below, is met with the hyena making a "square" with his front paws and Winston Sharples' "wah...wah...wah..." background music.
    Brutus: "Say, Mr. Bones... I heard a mule kicked ya yesterday." "Yeah, he did!" "And where did he kick ya?" "Well, if my head was in New York and my feet in California, he'd have kicked me in Omaha!" [big laugh]
    • Popeye's joke sampled from Groucho Marx but it did make the hyena laugh.
    Well, it seems there was an elephink and a platypus. And the elephink sez to the platypus "I never forgets a face. But in your case I'll makes an exception."
    • In "Hits And Missiles," Popeye laughs at his own joke of people living on the moon being "lunar-tics." Olive is not so easily amused.

    Real Life 
  • Ancient Athenian philosopher Chrysippus of Soli reportedly died laughing at one of his own jokes. That he was an adherent of stoicism and it wasn't even that great of a joke (he supposedly saw a donkey eating figs and said "Get him some wine to wash those down!") just makes it all the more poetic.
  • An extra on the home video release of Avengers: Infinity War includes a great joke from Chris Hemsworth that causes him to crack himself up. He's dressed in costume as Thor when they hear some thunder off in the distance. His reply was "Sorry, guys. That was me." He then laughs and says "Classic!" [1]


Video Example(s):


One hand behind

Shanks tells Mihawk that he can fight him with one hand behind him... Except that he literally has one arm/hand left.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / LaughingAtYourOwnJokes

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