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"He had the kind of face only a mother could love, if that mother was blind in one eye, and had that sort of milky film over the other one, you know? You know what I mean? But still, he was my identical twin."
Colin Mochrie talking about Ryan Stiles, during a game of "Narrate" on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Sure, we all have egos to some degree, save for severe psychological problems; but sometimes you just may not feel like being self-centered or egocentric. Sometimes you may just feel like cracking a joke that says, "Ha! Take That!, Me/Us!" This is the essence of self-deprecation. And there are blondes who tell Dumb Blonde jokes, lawyers who tell Evil Lawyer Jokes and Unitarian Universalists who tell doctrineless-UU jokes.

This doesn't always work, though. Make these jokes in front of those actually feeling in those aforementioned moods, and they won't see the joke. You may get accused of being "self-hating" or even a "traitor". This, of course, means that oppressive regimes are right out, unless those jokes are too ingrained in the culture, like in the Eastern Bloc states (particularly since the major liberalizing of civil society that followed the Second World War). See also Some of My Best Friends Are X, which can also be invoked by members of group X, but rarely works better there than it does in other settings.

The reasoning behind using humor in this way varies between media but will most of the time be used to relax the audience and let them know that your comedy isn't laser targeted towards one group (unless Self-Deprecation is a staple of your comedy).

Note that this isn't about whether other people are allowed to make fun of you. Those would be different tropes (related to N-Word Privileges). Nor is it Heroic Self-Deprecation and Chronic Self-Deprecation, which are actually putting yourself down for real.

If someone uses this to make fun of their home country, that's My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting.

Self-Deprecation can devolve into Compliment Fishing. Remember that the dividing line between the two is up to the listener, not the speaker.

A Super-Trope to Our Product Sucks, and Improv Comedy Is Inane when done by actors and comedians. Compare Adam Westing, Self-Parody, Who Writes This Crap?!, Who Would Want to Watch Us?, Take That, Audience!, Offending the Creator's Own, Creator Career Self-Deprecation (including Writers Suck) and Biting-the-Hand Humor (which often involves this trope, seeing as authors usually have someone who greenlights or approves of such works). Contrast These Tropes Love to Brag.


Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In Michelangelo Buonarroti's altar painting for the Sistine Chapel, he depicts his own features on a piece of flayed facial skin being held by a martyr.
  • Norman Rockwell's "Triple Self-Portrait" which not only portrays himself as a somewhat dorky man with a pipe hanging loosely from his mouth but portrays himself as portraying himself with better hair, no glasses and the pipe clenched firmly in his jaw.
  • The 1893 version of The Scream has a small pencil inscription in the upper left corner saying "could only have been painted by a madman!". Recent analysis confirm it was indeed its painter Edvard Munch who wrote it, most likely as a nod to detractors of the painting calling him crazy.

    Audio Plays 
  • In the audiobook version of Jon Stewart's America (The Book), there are these gems: "Stephen Colbert is the Arthur Schlesinger Professor of American Studies at Harvard University. He is personally unpleasant." and "Stephen Colbert has received the Werner Heisenberg Prize for Excellence in Theoretical Mathematics seven consecutive years, yet can barely feed himself." Guess who narrates these parts.

  • Bill Engvall frequently calls himself all sorts of names, such as how he's a "dork" or an "idiot." A lot of his routines are stories about getting himself in way over his head or too far outside of his comfort zone. He once described himself as "the guy who's always fifteen degrees off cool."
  • Rodney Dangerfield pretty much made a career out of this. It's the whole idea of his routines.
  • Stewart Lee is very fond of this, mostly about his weight. One of his routines is about when he reappeared on TV after a couple of years' hiatus; people who didn't even know who he is were still taking potshots at how he looks.
    "Look it’s that bloke off the telly, what’s his name, Terry Christian, but he’s let himself go. No, not Terry Christian; that other one, Mark Lamarr, but he’s really fucking let himself go. No, sorry, not Mark Lamarr; that other guy, the singer. You know, that’s it, Edwyn Collins... but he’s let himself go. No, not that man, but a 1930s newspaper cartoon of Tarzan’s face, which has let itself go."
  • Nearly all of Last Comic Standing's Jay London's act was doing this. He would frequently say, "It's almost over," as if the audience was suffering through his routine.
  • Eddie Izzard will sometimes criticize herself, especially during her lapses when she forgets where she was going with a joke.
  • The Scottish comedian Arnold Brown tells his audiences that he likes to do self-deprecating humor, even though he's not very good at it.
  • A number of Mike Birbiglia's stand-up routines center around how he's geeky, weird, and not a very good comedian. One routine, in particular, tells how he was brought in as one of the celebrities for a celebrity golf fundraiser. He was assigned to a group of golfers, who innocently wondered who their celebrity would be. It took Mike a minute to realize that he was the celebrity, and promptly began apologizing because he felt like a letdown.
  • Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck" routine could be considered this, seeing as he often refers to himself as one.
  • From Norwegian comedian Daniel Simonsen:
    "In Norway, there's only one comedy club in the whole country - that nobody goes to - and the best Norwegian comedian, he's really shit. He's dressed as a cat on the stage. [badly impersonates cat] Meow. Me-me-me-meow. And that guy is me."
  • Robin Williams spent much of his stand-up routine (and appearances on talk shows) mocking his drug and alcohol issues, excessive body hair and/or acting career (especially Popeye and Mork & Mindy).
  • Daniel Tosh has this in one of his stand-up specials.
    "Do you like how I start jokes with mass appeal and continue 'til only six people have a clue what I'm talking about? That's not a good style. That doesn't make you famous."
  • Jim Gaffigan makes fun of his own act whenever he pretends to be the "Hypothetical Audience Member."
  • Hannibal Buress's famous Bill Cosby routine that brought his rape allegations to light tells his audience to "Google "Bill Cosby Rape", it's not funny, that shit has more results than Hannibal Buress."
  • An overwhelming majority of Jeff Dunham's act involves his various characters (Walter, Peanut, Achmed, etc.) making various jokes at his expense.
  • Bob Uecker is well-known for his jokes and stories about his own ineptitude as a Major League Baseball player in the '60s.
  • Deconstructed at some length in Hannah Gadsby's famous special "Nanette," where she argues that self-deprecating humor is just an attempt to make the audience comfortable and sand off any "dangerous" rough edges from the comedian. She swears it off.
  • Before Nanette, proto-performance artist Andy Kaufman played mightily with this trope in the waning years of his life as audiences who didn't catch on to his Anti-Humor and Worked Shoots turned on him. Famously, he wasn't that bothered by what audiences thought of him — what mattered most to him was that he genuinely moved them to natural responses, good or ill. But since he knew most other performers do wish to be loved, he played with this trope by pretending he did...
    • In his 1982 set for the Catch a Rising Star club's 10th anniversary show, he revives the Foreign Man character that initially made him famous to the crowd's delight...only for an audience member to recite the act along with him until he becomes distracted. This escalates into an argument in which said audience member accuses Kaufman of reviving the routine to make people love him again after the controversy engendered by his wrestling women on stage (and from there his "feud" with Jerry Lawler) and failure to launch a film career, among other things, since he had no other new ideas...aside from planting someone in the audience to heckle him as a Wounded Gazelle Gambit! In the cable edit of the special, there is an abrupt cut to the end of the act with Kaufman's famous Elvis Presley impersonation, leaving the "heckler's" (actually Kaufman's closest colleague, Bob Zmuda) fate unknown to the viewer.
    • The 1982 viewer vote as to whether he would be allowed to keep making Saturday Night Live guest appearances or be banned for no longer being funny was his idea (inspired by the "Larry the Lobster" vote a few months prior). Sadly, it backfired badly on him when he was voted off and the SNL higher-ups went back on their plans to bring him back later anyway in what would have been a surprise reveal, not wanting to upset those who voted.
    • Kaufman's 1983 special for PBS's Soundstage is ostensibly his attempt to move on from his more belligerent stage personae, apologizing to the audience for the wrestling in particular and returning to his more sunshiny Excited Kids' Show Host mode...except that throughout the show the audience keeps getting "offstage" glimpses of his "real" cynical self, who hasn't changed at all. Even in his "onstage" mode, at one point he gets banished to a Chroma Key island for "Going Too Far" with off-putting hijinks. Post-end credits, via split screen Foreign Man confronts him and asks "Why do you do all thees terrible tings? [...] You've not only ruined your career, but you've ruined my career too." Foreign Man then drives him to tears by arguing that even this "real" Kaufman is just a front for somebody who is afraid to be his real, vulnerable self in public.
    • One project he was working on but never realized was a book titled Andy Kaufman's Hate Mail, which would have been Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

    Comic Strips 
  • In-Universe in this Garfield strip: A TV show's host loves hosting it because it means not having to watch it. Garfield wished to be the host.
  • Pearls Before Swine
    • The occasional Sunday strips featuring puns so awful that the final panel then shows Rat threatening the strip's creator Stephan Pastis with death.
    • Pastis has many cameos, where he's either portrayed as a pathetic loser, a Small Name, Big Ego, or both (one strip even had Rat beat him up with a baseball bat after Pastis had made a blatant plug of one of his strip compilations).
    • Pastis goes so far as to draw himself smoking cigarettes despite the fact that he never smokes, not because it looks cool, but because he thinks it makes him look like a loser.
    • During a brief arc of Get Fuzzy where Darby Conly was somehow getting his hands on advance copies of the next day's Pearls Before Swine and crudely taping in cutouts of his own characters, Darby did it too. The strip where Stephan called him to ask Darby to cease and desist depicted Stephan as neat, polite, and professional, while Darby himself was a rude, remorseless slob who couldn't even be bothered to remember Stephan's name.
    • A later arc was built around the premise that the comic strip was so offensive that the American government ordered the comic to be transformed into something akin to The Family Circus. Stephan Pastis fails and gets put on trial, with Rat as his lawyer. Rat actively sabotages Stephen's case.
  • Dilbert:
    • One series of strips had Dilbert go on a date under Dogbert's coaching — which means Dilbert spends the whole date grunting and agreeing. When his date compliments him, he uses another coached response — "Gosh, I'm not good at anything."
    • Another run of strips had Dogbert as the charismatic leader of the vegetarian lobby. Since this was clearly a bit of an Author Tract by the vegetarian Adams, he started off by establishing that the reason the vegetarians need a charismatic leader is that they're all "scrawny weaklings."
    • A 2011 storyline involved Alice killing the Pointy-Haired Boss and the staff using his body as a puppet to sign off on decisions. When the cops began looking into the matter, she claimed it sounded like a poorly-written story. The cops added that it "sounds poorly drawn too".
    • An early strip had Dilbert getting sucked into the Internet, which he described as looking like a Calvin and Hobbes fantasy sequence, but with far worse art.
  • Bloom County:
    • In one strip, minor character Yaz Pistachio asks Opus to give her just one name worse than her own.
    Opus: (thinks for a moment) Berkeley Breathed.
    Yaz: Okay, name two.
    • There was also the strip where Opus pitched the idea for Bloom County for a comic strip for his local paper. The editor's response?
      Milo: Needs work.
    • Breathed also mocked his career a few times. In one arc where Opus became engaged, he realized he needed a better salary then what he made doing the personal ads, so he shamelessly begged the editor for a better paying position, saying he would do any job, no matter how demeaning. He got one as the paper's cartoonist. Also, in another arc, Amoral Attorney Steve Dallas wanted a better job than "getting rapists and serial killers off the hook". Opus suggested cartooning; Steve jabbed him with a pencil and shouted, "I have some scruples, dude!"
  • Played with in this Phoebe and Her Unicorn strip. When Phoebe introduces Marigold to the concept of self-deprecating humor, the narcissistic unicorn decides to give it a try:
    Marigold: I may be slightly less beautiful than the most beautiful being who could possibly exist! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
    Phoebe: Practice makes perfect, I guess.
    Marigold: Are you suggesting that I am less than perfect? That is also hilarious!

    Films — Animation 
  • The Sultan of Agrabah, Big Good of Aladdin, uses this trope in the form of a Stealth Insult while lamenting his daughter Jasmine's stubbornness in refusing to accept a husband.
    Sultan: I don't know where she gets it from. Her mother wasn't nearly so picky.
  • John Ratzenberger pokes fun at his tenure with Pixar in Cars where his character, Mack, watches car versions of Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and A Bug's Life. Once he gets to the third film, he realizes the Hamm Truck, the Abominable Snowplow, and the PT Cruiser Flea are all voiced by the same actor.
    Mack: Wait a minute here. They're just using the same actor over and over. What kind of cut-rate production is this?!
  • In Frozen II, as Elsa is walking through her past memories in Ahtohallan, she cringes in embarrassment and eye-rolls when she sees herself doing her Supermodel Strut in "Let It Go".
  • The Haunted World of El Superbeasto contains a lot of jokes revolving around the movie making fun of itself, such as El Superbeasto complaining about how ridiculous it is that a character in the film had a book that explained how to defeat Dr. Satan and didn't bother to tell him until the film was nearing its end and another character complaining about the movie's gratuitous use of Toilet Humour. One musical number is even dedicated entirely to lambasting the movie for "ripping off Carrie".
  • In The Lion King, when Zazu is asked by Scar to sing a more upbeat song while imprisoned, Zazu sings the first few words of "It's A Small World", to which Scar vehemently shouts, "No! No! Anything but that!" In the Broadway stage version, Zazu instead sings "Be Our Guest", and gets the same reaction from Scar. This doubles as a Mythology Gag, since Beauty and the Beast, was the first Disney animated film that became a musical and paved the way for the Broadway version of Lion King. When Beauty and the Beast closed, it got replaced with "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", and at least one performance has him sing "Let It Go." Cast Members at Disney Theme Parks also love taking potshots at "It's A Small World" in general.
  • Moana takes the time to poke fun at the Disney Princess franchise some more. When Moana takes offense to Maui calling her "princess", he retorts "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess!" Later, as Moana stares out at the sea contemplatively, Maui snarks "If you start singing, I'm going to throw up."
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet takes another potshot at the Disney Princess franchise and their reputation for being damsels in distress:
    Rapunzel: Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big strong man showed up?
    Vanellope: Yeah! What's up with that?
  • Ratchet and Clank: In the first teaser trailer, Qwark, frustrated with the cheap sets and lack of dubstep, calls the movie's animators lazy. As revenge, they remove his textures, make him dance, and then, when he requests an epic logo, they drop it on him.
  • An in-universe example occurs in Ratatouille in the form of Anton Ego's review in the final moments of the movie.
    "In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."
  • Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse features jabs at both shows the film is connected to, with Control Freak stating that DC Super Hero Girls is the superior show due to actually having a continuity-driven plot and less toilet humor and Robin forcing Control Freak to admit that DC Super Hero Girls isn't doing well in the ratings as well as gloating to the Super Hero Girls that the Titans' first movie actually got a theatrical release instead of being direct-to-video.
  • In Zootopia, when Chief Bogo chews out Judy for disobeying orders and causing a ruckus in Little Rodentia trying to catch a petty criminal, he also takes the time to poke fun at Disney's reputation for sentimental, idealistic musicals (with a Frozen reference, to boot).
    Bogo: Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true! So let it go.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When the climactic battle in Iron Sky starts and all nations' space warships go against each other, it turns out the only nation without an armed spaceship is Finland. Iron Sky was made by Finns.


  • Jake and Josh sometimes refer to themselves as "us little idiots" on The Morphin' Grid.
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance has this both in-universe and out. Taako, Merle, and Magnus's most common excuse for disobeying direct orders or wrecking something important (besides "We forgot") is "We're really stupid". Griffin (Dungeon Master), Justin (Taako), Clint (Merle), and Travis (Magnus) occasionally mention that making a podcast of a Dungeons & Dragons-campaign is probably the most uncool thing you can do, and, after the end of the Balance-arc, Justin describes it as "the story of four idiots who played DnD so hard they made themselves cry."
  • An unusually subtle one in Rifftrax: whenever puppets and puppet shows are involved in the plot, the guys universally rag on them and mock them with more than typical harshness. Then one remembers that they're all veterans of a puppet show...
  • In the Escape from Vault Disney! episode on Bug Juice, they talk about how every little kid wants to be an older kid, every older kid wants to be an adult, and every adult wants to be a kid. They then mock adults who are desperate to return to their hopeful, innocent youth by creating silly webshows that give them an excuse to watch old Disney shows and go to theme parks.
  • Mom Can't Cook!: A DCOM Podcast: Luke and Andy often mock themselves for having watched the films at least twice, and having to admit they've seen them to the public and their loved ones. As for more specific examples:
    • At the start of the episode on Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire, they note that it was recorded in front of a live audience, and claim the reason it went overtime was that having other people in the room laughing at their jokes made them "think they were actually funny."
    • Luke states that his fondness for A Ring of Endless Light shows how basic he is. This joke comes back for Ready to Run, which he states is operating in "the same zone".
    • When discussing the Opening Crawl of Zenon: The Zequel, Luke has this to say:
      Luke: It doesn't do a very good job of summarising the first film, but then again, neither did we.
    • After starting the Ready to Run episode by pretending to be a horse licking the mic, Luke states he can't imagine a worse way to begin a podcast.

    Print Media 
  • MAD is infamous for this, regularly referring to its writers and artists as "The Usual Gang Of Idiots" and insulting its readership by claiming that only Too Dumb to Live schmucks would be caught reading their magazine. When they did a list of the Top 50 Worst Things About Comedy. Guess who was #1? It's all meant in jest though. The page image comes from "When TV Sports Advertisers Decide to Sponsor More than Just Kickoffs & Home Runs", written by Mike Snider and drawn by Jack Davis in issue #297 (September 1990).
  • Nintendo Power, for its 100th volume, listed 100 things that were equal to 100. One of the entries was the approximate running time of Super Mario Bros. (1993). The next entry was "Number of people who went to see the Super Mario Bros. movie." Finally, in response to a fan letter, a columnist wrote that 100 was also the number of speed bumps they had to add to keep people from leaving the movie.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kurt Angle had fans chanting "YOU SUCK!" to the beat of his theme music, whether he was a heel (playing it straight) or a face (where it became an Insult of Endearment). During one Heel–Face Turn after neck surgery, he came out to those chants, declared "You have no idea how good it feels to hear those words again!" and then started leading the chants. The next night on SmackDown, when his proteges Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin said they were sick of getting those chants themselves, Angle replied "You don't deserve to have these people chant 'you suck!' I earned it!"
  • John Cena posed for photos with fans wearing "I hate Cena" T-shirts after defeating Batista for the WWE Championship in Wrestlemania XXVI.
    • Cena revels in being simultaneously the most loved AND most hated man in pro wrestling, as well as being the only guy who can get fans chanting stupid things like "Fruity Pebbles". From one post-injury-rehab promo:
      John: I even miss that guy in section 26B telling me I suck!
      Random Guy in the Audience: YOU SUCK!
      John: [throws up his arms in victory with a huge smile]
  • It seemed Matt Hardy, who was already announced to be challenging for the television title on a taping after Ring of Honor's eleventh-anniversary show and called Matt Taven's match with Adam Cole an afterthought, was making fun of the Trailers Always Spoil Foregone Conclusion nature of pro wrestling. Truth Martini then hit Cole with his book, leading to Taven's victory and Hardy's abrupt removal from the title picture being the real joke.
  • It also backfired on Jay Lethal at Supercard Of Honor X when he claimed ROH giving that year's top prospect a title shot against him proved ROH was out of ideas (they were as far as sticking to what they had been advertising, but they were not out of challengers for Lethal)
  • During an Extreme Rules-Edition of "Firefly Funhouse," Bray Wyatt presents "the most horrifying, disgusting, revolting footage known to man.” Ramblin' Rabbit shows footage of the maligned Smackdown Karaoke segment. Wyatt is not amused.
  • In the 2018 and 2019 editions of Hell in a Cell, the titular match was thrown out by the referee, infuriating the fans (as it went against the very spirit of Hell in a Cell matches). In the 2020 edition, during the Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso "I Quit" match, the referee tries to throw the match out... only for Roman Reigns to charge up to him and hurl him out of the ring.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Funday Pawpet Show used filmed opening segments of people saying "Hi, I'm ________, and you're wasting your time watching the Funday Pawpet Show!".
  • The Muppet Show often engaged in this. For example in one Veterinarian's Hospital sketch, when discussing the things that might happen to herald the end of the world, such as "Dr. Bob actually curing a patient", Nurse Piggy suggests "One honest laugh". And then there's Statler and Waldorf.
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol has the Marley brothers sing about how evil they were in life and what they could have done instead of ignoring people's needs. It's also their way of warning Scrooge and telling him that he can atone for his crimes against humanity.
  • During Jeff Dunham's bit with Peanut and Jose Jalapeno dressed as superheroes, Jose claims he stops crime with mace and we get this:
    Jeff: It would have been so much better if you said 'pepper spray!' Seriously, why didn't you say 'pepper spray?'
    Jose: You cannot say that without moving your lips.
  • Spitting Image, in a spoof of ITV arts show The South Bank Show, about Spitting Image itself, had the Melvyn Bragg puppet point out how self-indulgent the sketch was, and then begin his history by saying that when Spitting Image started, it already wasn't nearly as good as it used to be.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's a tradition in-game rulebooks to include a page or so showing how the game is played. In the "Obligatory Example of Play" (yep, that's what they called it) in "Lucha Libre Hero", one of the players, "Steve", is clearly not getting the point of the game. His character, El Heraldo de Justicia, is described as a "dark-clad avenger of the night", and "Steve" spends most of his actions trying to get his hands on a gun despite the fact that a luchador can do more damage in this game with his wrestling moves. Steve Long, part-owner of Hero Games, and incidentally the guy who edited "Lucha Libre Hero", got his start as a game designer with the book "Dark Champions", which focused on gritty Punisher-style vigilante action. The flagship character for "Dark Champions" and Steve's very own player character is the Harbinger of Justice. (The section wraps up with "Editor's Note: I do so have a gun.")
  • The Werewolf: The Apocalypse supplement Subsidiaries: A Guide To Pentex describes some of the companies under the umbrella of the titular evil MegaCorp. The last one listed is "Black Dog Game Factory", a fictionalized version of the real Black Dog Game Factory — an actual subsidiary of Werewolf's own publisher White Wolf (which published their mature-themed gamebooks). The company's fictional games all feature White Wolf's signature traits (Darker and Edgier settings, etc.), and the employees are all unflattering parodies of real White Wolf writers, including the writers of the supplement itself.
    • In the Apocalypse book that ended the series, a sidebar details the horrific fates of the aforementioned writers. Cannibalism is involved.
    • The 20th-anniversary edition of Werewolf updates Black Dog to the present day, with the company under the influence of a group of unknown horrors from beneath the Scandinavian ice (spoofing White Wolf's partnership with Icelandic company CCP).
    • One Vampire: The Masquerade supplement was discussing how to apply difficulties to skill rolls. One of the examples was robbing a Role-Playing Game designer (difficulty 9 just to find anything worth stealing).
  • Ho L - Human Occupied Landfill is, in general, a parody of hack-and-slash power gaming. In the "Obligatory Example of Play" section, the example game quickly degenerates into the Jerkass players insulting and then beating the crap out of each other.
  • When the Shadowrun Verse's metaplot called for a nuke to be set off to destroy a massive bug-spirit infestation, then-publishers FASA situated both the spirit-hive and ground zero for the nuclear blast in their own Chicago office.
  • Cards Against Humanity has the white card "A bunch of idiots playing a card game instead of interacting like normal humans."
  • Konami does this a few times with new Yu-Gi-Oh! cards whenever a much-hated High-Tier Scrappy is put on the Forbidden List. For example, it put out these three cards when Sangan was put on the list, and this one when Goyo Guardian was outlawed.
  • When the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons substantially upgraded dragons' statistics and capabilities, a Dragon magazine article was used to preview these alterations. The article took the form of a footnoted discourse between a party of young adventurers planning to confront their first dragon and some seasoned experts who heaped scorn on their many misconceptions about draconic weaknesses, i.e. all the mostly-unintended liabilities that used to be true about dragons in 2nd Edition, and that the new rules took pains to correct.
  • One of the Activity cards in Chez Geek has your geeks playing a "Stupid Card Game" that's clearly supposed to be Chez Geek itself.
  • The "What is a Role-Playing Game?" section of The Laundry (2010) opens "Welcome to the hottest and fastest-growing hobby of, er, 1977".

  • In The Pirates of Penzance:
  • In God by Woody Allen, the characters make several not-so-flattering comments on Woody's abilities as a playwright.
    Hepatitis: It's terrible being fictional. We're all so limited.
    Lorenzo Miller: Only by the limits of the playwright. Unfortunately, you have been written by Woody Allen. Think If you had been written by Shakespeare.
  • William Shakespeare himself: every mention of love poems in his many plays implies them to be cynical wooing devices or a sign of a mind driven to madness by frustrated love. This is much funnier when you're aware that the man himself wrote what is almost the longest sequence of love sonnets in history.
    • In Much Ado About Nothing, when Benedick is tricked into thinking that Beatrice is in love with him:
      "They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her."
    • The epilogue to As You Like It
      "If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in, then, that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play!"
    • As You Like It also features a character called ‘William’ who is a simple-minded country bumpkin.
  • Elphaba does this sarcastically in act 1 of Wicked where in response to her invalid sister being called tragically beautiful calls herself beautifully tragic. However, she does it much more honestly at the end of act 2 when she convinces Glinda in song that Elphaba has limitations she cannot overcome.
  • "It sucks to be me" from Avenue Q.
  • In Thirteen Patrice happily does this to her hometown:
    Patrice: The inbreeding takes up all of our time!
  • Stephen Sondheim loves doing this to himself; to wit (from "Parabasis: It's Only A Play" from "The Frogs"):
    Chorus: It's only so much natter that somebody wrote/it's only a play...
  • Urinetown continually lampshades this, often breaking the fourth wall:
    Lockstock: Nothing can kill a show like too much exposition.
    Little Sally: How about bad subject matter? Or a bad title even, that could kill a show pretty good!
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark spoofed its own Troubled Production with Green Goblin singing "I'm a sixty-five million dollar note  circus tragedy" in his Villain Song "Freak Like Me." In some performances, he actually pauses and gives an aside of "actually, more like 75."
  • In The Musical version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the song "Great Big Stuff" has Freddy is dreaming about all of the things he will buy (such as "a mink tracksuit") when he becomes rich.
    "I can finally afford to see a Broadway show!"
  • Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid includes a line where the titular character's brother invites him to go see a Moliere comedy, only for the main character to snap back that Moliere "is a fine impertinent fellow with his comedies!"
  • In the Australian play Dimboola about a drunken country wedding, one of the characters is a theatre critic who mistakes the wedding for a play and delivers a Caustic Critic denunciation of how awful it is.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the "Back to Neverland" film that used to be shown at The Magic of Disney Animation, when turned into a cartoon character, Robin Williams shapeshifts into the seven dwarfs, culminating into transforming into Mickey Mouse, saying, "Hey, everybody! I'm a corporate symbol!"
  • A scene in The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios features a sign saying "Send Money to Universal Studios", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the company's long-time financial issues.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney Investigations features Miles Edgeworth as the protagonist instead of Phoenix Wright. This is used to make fun of some of the weirder things that happened in previous games. For example, upon examining a fire extinguisher Edgeworth muses how silly it would be to get hit on the head with it and lose your memory. This is the framing device for the first case tutorial of Justice For All.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney constantly makes fun of the series' cliches. For example, Apollo gets told off for shouting out "HOLD IT!" too loud in court. Phoenix also reminisces on the times when he used to present evidence to people through the present button and how he would shout out "hold it" for no apparent reason just to scare people.
    • Investigations was full of these. At one point Edgeworth is battering Larry Butz with reasons why his act of dressing as Santa, in the middle of summer, was idiotic, throwing in a couple of "objections!". This leads to Larry lampshading the game's court style arguments that happen at crime scenes.
      Larry: Wait a second, This isn't court.
    • Also in Investigations, upon finding Gumshoe's name written in bloody lettering, Edgeworth doesn't seem to even take any notice, and almost immediately assumes the message to be fake. While this could be seen as the fact that he trusts Gumshoe would never kill, it could also be a reference to the series' reputation of fake dying messages.
    • The confrontation with the Big Bad of Investigations gives us an extended parody of the long-standing series tradition of the Darkest Hour getting averted by the timely arrival of someone to save the day. Here, it happens repeatedly, beginning as normal with the Big Damn Heroes coming from major characters in the game, veers into parody when Larry Butz and Wendy Oldbag show up and reaches a climax when the final example comes from an unnamed, completely random forensics officer who did the standard Big Word Shout because everyone was ignoring him.
    • During the first case of Investigations 2, Gumshoe goes to get a gun dusted for prints, only for him to arrive back around 10 seconds later with the results, much to Edgeworth's shock. This is likely a joke at how swift the forensic testing in the Ace Attorney world seems to be, compared to how long such things would normally take in real life.
      Gumshoe: Mr. Edgeworth, I've got the results!
      Edgeworth: [shocked] A-Already?!
    • Dual Destinies seems to enjoy making fun of the ability to present random pieces of evidence to people. Doing it to Apollo in Case 3, when playing as Athena, will have him tell her to keep doing it even if it is completely irrelevant, annoying or embarrassing because it is the mark of a true defense attorney. Phoenix will tell Athena to not do it with Athena noting the irony. In Case 5, presenting random evidence to Edgeworth will have him accuse you of doing it just to get a reaction out of people.
    • Presenting your attorney badge to people also gets mocked in Dual Destinies. Apollo will tell Athena the Phoenix taught him to do it to everyone he meets and Klavier will wonder why attorneys always present their badges.
    • The Great Ace Attorney seems to contain a self-parody of Japanese culture itself, appropriately enough for the Culture Clash theme of being visiting Japanese people in Victorian London. "Pop" Windibanks is a British pawnbroker who acts like an extreme parody of Japanese storekeepers - obsequious yet slightly passive-aggressive, and constantly suggesting suicide for the slightest thing, even things that clearly weren't his fault.
  • Double Homework gives a couple of meta examples related to the dating sim genre in general:
    • Dennis thinking out loud about his dating strategy when he arrives on the yacht:
      Dennis: So who to start with, hmm? Let’s review my current options. Hmm... I’ve got enough relationship points with Amy. Think I’ve got her on lock down with my maxed out intelligence. If I get points with Johanna, I might get something out of it. I think my Charm stat’s high enough. Tamara is out of the picture for now, not until I improve my Strength score. Fuck it. I’ll go for the harem end. So, get points up with Lauren and Rachel, concentrate on leveling up Strength and Charm until I’m ready for Tamara and Johanna. Perfect.
    • Amy, when asked her opinion of visual novels:
      Amy: Aren’t they basically porn?
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, Sakazaki Yuuya spends much of the first game being mysterious and sketchy, having to run off and disappear a lot, being seen rummaging through trash, and often being insulted for all this. Since he's actually a Teen Super Spy it's necessary, and he responds with his usual careless cheer to all insults. There are a few times when it's visible that this does get to him, though, like in Holiday Star, where he admits that his lifestyle is seedy. Hiyoko doesn't like this.
    "Sometimes he says stuff in that self-deriding, or maybe even despairing way. He's usually so cheerful, so whenever he does it I don't know how to respond!"
  • In Chapter 1 of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Monokuma admits straight out of the gate that the students have all had their memories wiped just like in the first game, and says only a complete hack writer would wait until the end of the story to reveal a lame twist like that. Which, of course, is exactly what the first game did.

    Web Animation 
  • PONY.MOV: SWAG.MOV has a Freeze-Frame Bonus appearing during a particularly ridiculous (even by the series' standards) scene, a giant bipedal Rainbow Dash summoning an enormous sword from the skies above with which to slay Discord.
  • While the persona Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation assumes in his videos is that of a quite pompous, sarcastic, caustic critic, he often takes pot-shots at himself, especially his awkward relationship with sexuality, and fully admits to often falling prey to some of the same shortcomings that he frequently criticizes developers for in his own games and writing.
    Yahtzee: When you review games for a career — shut up, it's totally a career...
  • GEOWeasel has its characters make fun of their own cartoon and its lack of viewers.
    Weas: Nar, I think that comment may have cost us some of our viewers.
    Nar: Both of them?!
  • Homestar Runner frequently makes fun of itself.
    • The one-hundredth episode of Strong Bad Email, "flashback", makes fun of the style of the original children's book, The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest.
    • The email "lady... ing" makes fun of the crude animation and weak characterization of the early cartoons on the site such as "Marshmallow's Last Stand".
    • An Easter egg at the end of the email "pizza joint" has Strong Sad criticizing the email in his "Review Revue".
      Strong Sad: Strong Bad phones this one in with Strong Bad Email 179. Despite a strong showing from fan-favorite Strong Sad, the email ultimately fizzles due to a heavy reliance on what can only be called "Internet pizza jokes".
    • In "Trogday '08", Strong Bad does a song about the "S is for Sucks" Dragon, complaining that "you Internet types ruined Trogdor, just like you did zombies, pirates, ninjas, and Strong Bad! Er, wait, no... yeah!"
    • Homestar Runner Goes for the Gold, an adaptation of an unfinished sequel to The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest, makes fun of more Early-Installment Weirdness, including attempts to shoehorn a new character named Dijjery Doo into the plot.
    • Most of their videos in The New '10s mocks several outdated aspects of the website that haven't been updated since the early 2000s. (use of Flash, the website's layout, their incredibly infrequent update schedule).
    • Occasionally the series' cast is collectively referred to as "Dumb Animal Characters", mocking how Ambiguously Human most of them are.
  • DSBT InsaniT: A big reason why the series has No Fourth Wall is a lot of its humor relies on this.
  • The Grossery Gang web series features Arak Attack, a character portrayed as a boisterous Aussie villain that loads so much slang into his dialogue that he can be near-incomprehensible at times. Moose Toys, the parent company of the franchise, is an Australian company.
  • Internecion Cube: The coloring book young Kirie draws in has a drawing of Yannis the pterodactyl from the creator's previous work CliffSide. Under the drawing is a "dino fact" reading: "WTF is this thing? Is its head bone or something? Scorpion tail? Has this artist ever seen a pterasaur in his life?"
  • Betsy Lee, creator of No Evil, regularly takes jokes from recording sessions about her typo-laden scripts and puts them in her outtakes videos. One even has a "2 Lines Since Last Typo" sign gradually creeping down to zero.
  • The Bedfellows had a behind-the-scenes video for the web series where creator Kris Patrick demonstrates how he animates the show, the end of the video having him state that the show is terrible and that no one should watch it.
  • The second half of the theme song of Japanoschlampen is this. "Schlampig gezeichnet, schlampig animiert, total stumpfe Anime-Scheiße!" ("Sloppily drawn, sloppily animated, totally dull anime crap!")

Waldorf: I feel like they're all being hard on themselves.
Statler: You're right, they don't need to do that, that's what we're for!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Self Deprecating Humor, Self Deprecating Humour, Self Deprecating


Executive Delivery Boy

Fry gets his job back at Planet Express at the end of the episode, now promoted as "Executive Delivery Boy." Hermes replies that its a meaningless title that helps people feel better about themselves. Cue Executive Producer credits for Matt Groening and David X. Cohen.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / SelfDeprecation

Media sources: