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Played for Laughs
aka: Played For Comedy

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If something is played for laughs, it means it is being used with the intention to be comedic. It is often a parody of the instances where said device or trope is used seriously. Sometimes involves Lampshade Hanging on a particular trope.

Contrast Played for Drama and Played for Horror; sometimes, the only difference between one trope and another is that one is played for laughs, while the other is played for drama.


Can sometimes result in a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment down the line. And of course, can result more immediately in Dude, Not Funny! Also compare Black Comedy.


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     Anime and Manga  

     Fan Fic 
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Germany and Japan hysterically bowing and begging for forgiveness after repeatedly tugging and yanking on Italy's curl is this.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, the entire concept of the fic is played for laughs, as a parody of the professionalism expected from a historical essay.
    • Most of the Lemony Narrator's logic and pride are played for laughs. However, as the story continues, it seems as though even certain elements of Equestrian history are naturally funny as well, and as such, invoke this trope too.




     Live-Action TV  

     Video Games  

  • Jade Empire Black Whirlwind would be utterly Ax-Crazy if he weren't so funny about it.
  • HK-47 in Knights of the Old Republic is the same, especially as he's open about it.
  • In Dragon Age II, Isabela's attachment issues and nymphomania are played for laughs unless Hawke pursues a romance with her.
  • The relationship tester in Fire Emblem Awakening, done by Old Hubba and available in the extras menu, comes with a warning that it is completely random, played for laughs, and should not be taken seriously, most likely to avoid massive Internet Backdraft from the fanboys and fangirls when Old Hubba gives a bad fortune and sinks their favorite ship or proposes... interesting alternatives.


  • Many of the characters that fit under The Ace would be God Mode Sues if their absurd competence was not funny.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop once released a list via White Dwarf depicting the Movie Marines, or essentially allowing you to play Space Marines at fluff power levels. The fact that you could buy every Marine in the list a Stunt Double makes it pretty clear the thing was written with tongue firmly in cheek (the Movie Marines were Purposefully Overpowered, and explicitly only to be used in friendly games).



  • Little Shop of Horrors does this with man-eating Plant Aliens and sadistic dentists.
  • The Mikado does this with all manner of bloodthirstiness, despite being a light romantic comedy, including, for example, a song ("The Criminal Cried as He Dropped Him Down") in which the chorus goes:
    As the sabre true
    Cut cleanly through
    His cervical vertebrae
    His vertebrae!
  • Depending on your interpretation (not to mention the director's), Titus Andronicus might be played this way, with murder, genocide, rape, infidelity and cannibalism Played for Laughs.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • Invader Zim does this to the old chestnut of an alien coming to infiltrate society, in all but one episode- the pure Nightmare Fuel that is "Dark Harvest".
  • The infamous Lucy-pulling-the-football-away-from-Charlie-Brown gag in the Peanuts series.
  • KaBlam!: Billy from "The Off-Beats", The Running Gag in the series usually involved Billy saying something that would get Tina mad, and then the Populars would throw him out of the group, causing Billy to crash into something.
  • Teen Titans in the episode "Fear Itself". Beast Boy, being an aficionado of horror movies, spends most of the episode (until he's caught) telling everyone not to split up as the monster always gets his targets easier that way, and that he, the funny guy, will inevitably be taken first. He ends up being right.

Alternative Title(s): Played For Comedy


Example of: