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Surreal Humor
aka: Surreal Humour

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Commence the jigglin'!

"This guy has walked out of a venue and collapsed in the middle of a public bar. His best mate who's the only doctor in the building has been picked up and carried away by security. His girlfriend has stepped over his prone body to ask me for an autograph. And now Bart Simpson is telling him to come away from the light! THAT IS SURREAL!"

Something that's so bizarre and inexplicable that it's funny. This is a strange version of Crosses the Line Twice: It takes talent (or luck) to make something so Mind Screwy and what-in-God's-great-holy-name-did-I-just-witness-inducing that it makes you laugh.

Almost every comedy in history has used this at least a few times. It's usually mixed in with other Comedy Tropes, and an undercurrent of it can be felt throughout many shows. However, some take it above and beyond any sense of normalcy.

There are several genres dedicated to this trope. It's the main selling point of Gag Series, surreal comedy and Dada Comics, and a main feature of Post Modern comedy. This type of humor has exploded in all forms with the rise of the internet; many memes take this form.

This trope often overlaps with So Bad, It's Good, especially when a work falls into this by accident. One way to create Surreal Humor is with Bathos.

Super-Trope to Dada Comics, Gag Series, and Word-Salad Humor.

Compare Quirky Work and So Bad, It's Good. Contrast Surreal Horror.


    open/close all folders 
  • This commercial for an online shoe shop called Zalando. It starts off pretty normal, with a frightened guy saying you shouldn't let your wife / girlfriend / sister discover the online shop because she will buy excessive amounts of shoes. The commercial ends with a delivery man ringing the doorbell. A woman who bought the shoes screams in excitement, the frightened guy screams in fear… and the delivery man screams for no reason with a bored facial expression.

    Alternate Reality Games 

    Anime & Manga 
  • This is practically the calling card of Hiroyuki Imaishi (Dead Leaves, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and Inferno Cop.)
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is the very essence of this trope: A man who can communicate with all body hair sets out on a quest to stop the bald overlord from "bald-ifying" everyone on the planet. Bo-bobo fights many bizarre enemies along the way, mostly by confusing the ever-loving hell out of them (and, in the process, the audience).
  • Excel♡Saga and Puni Puni☆Poemi. Come to think of it, Shinichi Watanabe's hair probably counts too, in some way.
  • Papuwa covers the adventures of a soldier who is stranded on an island with all sorts of bizarre creatures and people, including the eponymous island-boy Papuwa.
  • Haré+Guu: A boy living in a jungle village with his dippy, drunken single mom finds his life turned upside-down by a mysterious girl with crazy powers who seems to have devoted her life to tormenting him.
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi: A freak thaumaturgical incident leads to two kids from Osaka being pulled into a series of Alternate Universes that parody one genre after another (Japanese role-playing games, kung-fu movies, etc.) It gets a bit more poignant in later episodes, though.
  • Cromartie High School: A parody of Japanese high-school "delinquent dramas" involving the everyday lives of a band of wannabe tough-guys. The main character's school mates include a robot, a gorilla, and a Freddie Mercury look-alike named Freddie, who may or may not actually be him.
  • Super Milk Chan chronicles the adventures of a smart-mouthed pre-school "superhero" named Milk-Chan, who is called upon frequently by the President of Everything to fight crime, but usually just messes around with her friends.
  • Pani Poni Dash!: A moody child genius whose best friend is a depressed talking rabbit becomes a high-school teacher to a class of eccentrics and misfits while secretly being observed by aliens. And let's not even get started on the class representative, Ichijou...
  • Nichijou is a sketch comedy about a mostly-ordinary high school class... Except one of the students is a robot girl with a wind-up key sticking out of her back, and another keeps producing guns from nowhere. Even the seemingly-ordinary characters in this show tend to wildly overreact to things.
  • FLCL is a coming-of-age story that combines guitars, an alien invasion, gratuitous sexual symbolism, and robots coming out of a pre-teen boy's head.
  • One Piece loves this. Most characters and locations have at least one bizarre quirk for the sole purpose of having the more serious ones react to them with bafflement.
  • Pop Team Epic relies on this quite a bit. One example, plainly described: Pipimi prepares to sing "Goddamn Bitch in Cat Tights" before being interrupted by her companion Popuko eating a lemon and grimacing, causing her to adopt the same facial expression in response.
  • Gugure Kokkuri San is about a human girl who lives with a fox, a dog, and a tanuki spirit and goes to a normal school with an alien who insists that he is human. The girl also happens to be a self-proclaimed doll and cup noodle addict whose house is filled with weird supernatural objects and has more common ground with supernatural spirits than other humans.


    Comic Books 
  • There once was a Disney Comics series Goofy as [insert historical person here] (from Italy, I think). Mainly it was the life story of a famous man, retold as The Theme Park Version, with Goofy as Leonardo da Vinci / Marco Polo / Casanova / whomever, Mickey Mouse as his sidekick, Pete as an antagonistic character and occasionally other Disney characters too. But in-between, this series often brought sheer absurd gags which weren't commented or lampshaded: A royal guard driving a unicycle, a woman wearing a fried egg on her hat, a spaghetti salesman making his noodles dance, just like a snake charmer... Lots of it.
  • Deadpool comics. The fact that he constantly breaks the fourth wall and seems to be fully aware that he's a comic book character is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Seen in a lot of Paul Kirchner's original work:
    • Dope Rider, which appeared in the pages of the counterculture magazine "High Times" from 1975 to 1986, spins the wild misadventures of a skeletal cowboy drug-dealer, combining an assortment of Wild West tropes with dream-like imagery and Fauxlosophic Narration. The main character would frequently be killed in action, only to return to life the next issue.
    • The Bus was a monthly comic published in Heavy Metal magazine, in which various bizarre things happen involving buses (and a reoccurring bald man frequently getting on, off, or waiting for said buses). It got a reprint and a sequel in 2015.
  • In Monica's Gang, Jimmy Five stories having Nutty Ned often involve large deals of surreal situations, metalanguage and wordplays, much to Jimmy's confusion.
  • Sam & Max: A wise-cracking anthropomorphic dog and sociopathic "hyperkinetic rabbity-thing" going to fight crimes is weird on its own, but what really does it is the dialogue, characters and world-building. For instance, there's the "Rubber Pants Commando," a bunch of babies with machine guns (or baby bottles in the cartoon) lead by a talking ape, Mack Salmon, a fish mobster who blames Sam and Max for his current form (even thought it's never explained why), a man randomly bursting into flame, and the utter nonchalance of the two main characters to all these strange goings-on.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Forbidden Zone has this in spades, unsurprising given that one of its major influences was old Fleischer cartoons.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas qualifies, as does Brazil, both directed by Terry Gilliam.
  • Friend of the World: In the third chapter of the film, the comedy goes from dark to bizarre and surreal as the characters venture out.
  • Stranger Than Fiction is a surreal comedy about a man who discovers his life is being written by a struggling writer... Who is planning to kill him off.
  • Hot Rod has this all over the place, being written by The Lonely Island (more on them below.)
  • The Polish brother's film Northfork has surreal images, dialog, and situations that are often comically absurd, but some are off-putting enough to crossover into Surreal Horror.
  • If: There are many surreal moments, but one of the most surreal is when the headmaster orders Travis, Wallace and Knightly to apologise to the vicar for shooting him, he opens a massive drawer in his study, in which the vicar is lying.
  • Karel Zeman's work doesn't just blur the line between fantasy and surrealism; it completely erases the line, then washes out any remaining traces of it, then waltzes all over and around where the line used to be.
  • 1928 silent comedy There It Is is kind of like a slapstick version of Un Chien Andalou. A chicken appears out of a cracked egg. Pants dance by themselves. Scotland Yard is a yard, in Scotland. The Scotland Yard detective protagonist has as his partner a fly, who lives in a matchbox and has his own tiny magnifying glass for finding clues. The detective goes to sleep in a bed and wakes up suspended in air over a bathtub. A painting of a ship at sea comes to life and douses the detective with seawater.

  • A popular Lightbulb Joke is:
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Fish.
    • Of course you could put in your own surreal item. A longer punchline to the same joke is:
    Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Three. One to hold the giraffe and the other two to fill the bathtub with brightly colored power tools.
    • Or forget the lightbulb:
    Q: How many surrealists can you fit in a dishwasher?
    A: None, doghouses don't fly. (Duh.)
    • Or a non-surrealist related one:
    Q: How many ducks does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: The defense rests.
  • Are you a human being or did you just make a bunch of Dada jokes?
    • No soap, radio!
  • Russians seem to be fond of such jokes.
    A bear walks across a forest and sees a car on fire. He gets inside and burns to death.

    A hedgehog walked down the forest, forgot how to breathe, choked and died. Then remembered and walked on.

    Two crocodiles, a blue one and a red one, are flying through the sky, especially the red one.

    Q: Two crocodiles are flying, first is green, second to the north. How much a drunk hedgehog costs if shadows disappear at midnight?
    A: Why do I need a fridge if I don't smoke?

    Kolobok hanged self.
  • Elephant jokes are nonsensical variants on "why did [x]? because [pun on x]." jokes, named so because a lot of them feature elephants in the setup. They can be standalone, or daisy-chained together to make an increasingly nonsensical story. Here are a handful of examples...
    Q: Why does an elephant have flat feet?
    A: To walk on the lily pads.

    Q: How many elephants can you fit in a mini-cooper?
    A: Four; two in the front, two in the back.
    Q: How many giraffes can you fit in a mini-cooper?
    A: None, it's full of elephants.
    Q: How do you get two whales in a mini-cooper?
    A: The same way you get to Wales in any other car; take the M4 and go over the Severn Bridge.

    Q: What did the Dallas police chief say when the elephant walked into the station?
    A: Nothing; he didn't notice.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In That Mitchell and Webb Look the "Numberwang" sketches rely on this. A game show that adheres to no comprehensible rules, but which appears to mostly consist of saying random numbers. And everything not related to the game itself is equally bizarre.
    Host: Joining me tonight are Julie, who's from Yorkshire, and Simon, who's from a factory and made of a special metal. So, Julie, ever killed a man?
    Julie: No.
    Host: Simon?
    Simon: Yes.
    Host: Great! Let's play Wordwang!
  • This is par for the course on Monty Python's Flying Circus. Their "Science Fiction Sketch" is about a race of blancmanges from the Andromeda Galaxy who come to Earth and turn nearly everybody in England into Scotsmen so they can become tennis champions, and are only thwarted by being eaten by a seemingly-insignificant couple introduced near the start of the episode who turned out to also be aliens. There's also the Running Gag of ending sketches by having a knight come out and hit people on the head with a rubber chicken.
  • The Tom Green Show combines this with Grossout Show. If you pumped Andy Kaufman full of meth and let him and a cameraman loose into the streets, you might wind up with something as grotesque as Tom Green's style of comedy.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: In its first season.
  • Green Wing has moments like this most notably when Sue White manually takes Mac's sperm whilst he's in a coma so she can have his baby and gives birth to a baby lion. Most of the other scenes involving Sue White are also surreal.
    • There is an episode where doctors create a human pyramid at different windows throughout the episode to show a picture of Jesus' face to confuse everybody.
  • Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is made entirely of this trope. On that note, anything by Tim & Eric counts.
  • This is Jinsy seems to be another one.
  • iCarly falls into this at times, such as that one instance where Spencer somehow managed to play the drums so hard that one of the cymbals burst into flame.
  • Danger 5 has a bit of this. For one thing, the team, upon returning to base, receive a dressing-down from their boss, who happens to have an eagle's head. They later get attacked by Nazi apes, and stumble across a rock band in tropical Antarctica composed of hipster Neanderthals.
  • Mr. Show: Just, constantly: "America can, must, and -will-...blow up the moon."
  • The Mighty Boosh. Noel Fielding gave the probably most accurate definition of the series: "If Dali made a show, hopefully it would look like this."
  • Twin Peaks. Surreal, absurd, soapy, highly-original mystery show peppered with frequent, off-beat comedy.
  • The Tenacious D series. Maybe not Tim and Eric levels of twisted, but definitely weird, with an odd, ironic take on the life of rock musicians.
  • A standard feature of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Most of the sketches are parodies or satirical, but they usually have some little thing that is off. A man delivering a dull monologue is eating his cornflakes with a knife and fork; a modern-day Swashbuckler accuses a corrupt MP of lining his bathroom with fine delicacies (and the swordfight is randomly interrupted by a Vox Pop).
  • The entirety of The Eric Andre Show can be summed up in this trope. The cast actually goes out of their way to make the guests (who are often under the impression that its just another talk show) as uncomfortable as possible, such as placing heaters under the seat (and positioning it strategically under a leaking pipe), not running the A/C in the building, going off on random, bizarre tangents with little to no provocation, and sometimes even pulling things on Eric and Hannibal that even they were not expecting.
  • The Young Ones. All that needs to be said is, "Elephant Head."
  • Surrealism has been a defining feature of a few Work Coms over the years:
    • NewsRadio has surreal elments in abundance, up to and including entire episodes set in alternate continuities, like a news radio station in space...or a news radio station on the Titanic. But even in more mundane episodes, the premises that drove the mini arcs and character interactions tended to be so fantastical and over-the-top that the show could only work because of its theatrical presentation and acting as large as its crazy conceits—with the exception of the young station manager Dave, a subdued Straight Man playing opposite much of the insanity of every other character in the narrative.
    • The Drew Carey Show was among the most surreal sitcoms of its time, from the mad science shenanigans of the shady Drug Co. where Louise works as a custodian, to an entire episode run like an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and other much inane silliness in most any episode.
    • Scrubs probably worked harder than any sitcom in history to sell itself on this basis, not just with regard to J.D.'s constant and consistently insane day dreams, but also the whole rest of the whack-a-do cast and the off-the-wall absurdism of the entire world as it exists in and around Sacred Heart.
    • Community gradually found its footing in surrealism, meta humor, and genre send ups during the first season and then never looked back.
    • 30 Rock has a character who is canonically immortal, an increasingly loose fourth wall, a functional gay bomb, an entire holiday tradition built around leap day, in addition to many, many other oddball plot elements.
  • Kamen Rider Build revels in meta humor and bonebreaking Mood Whiplash. Visual effects can be interacted with, e.g. when Ryuga starts explaining his life story and the corresponding flashback appears, Sento grabs the scene and chuck it away, much to Ryuga's disappointment. Twice. Sento's [[mediumawareness medium awareness]] doesn't end there as he calls himself the protagonist and everyone else supporting cast. Also, he usually handwaves their questions about the workings of Toku genre. The ability of various characters to narrate the episode recaps concisely and coherrently is often impacted by whatever just happened, be it a plot twist, a Wham Line, someone's death, etc. All of which happens fairly often. The story switches between the main cast's Dom Com antics, politics surrounding an Artifact of Doom and a terrorist group creating bio-weapons via human experimentation at a blazing speed.
  • No Soap, Radio was an attempt to bring the Absurdism of Monty Python's Flying Circus to Americans, and naturally features lots of this as a result. It's one part Sketch Show and one part Sitcom, and both of them gleefully dive into the inexplicable and bizarre.

  • The video for The Avalanches' Frontier Psychiatrist. A geriatric Hip-Hop group lip-syncs to old movie clips while the lyrics are illustrated by almost everything imaginable? Oh hell yes.
  • Some works by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band ("Doo Dah" was originally "Dada,") who appeared in the pre-Python show Do Not Adjust Your Set and were cited by Eric Idle as a major influence on Python's surrealism.
    • Founder Bonzo Vivian Stanshall went on to record solo songs and comic monologues which were, if anything, even weirder.
    • Another singer/raconteur in similar vein was Scotland's Ivor Cutler.
  • Frank Zappa, when he isn't being just plain surreal.
  • Bob Dylan has written a lot of songs like this
  • Radiohead released a DVD called "The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time," which, among other things, features hilariously surreal interviews with the band members.
  • When The Lonely Island aren't parodying music and hip-hop cliches, they're doing this. Prime examples include "Jack Sparrow," "Punch You In The Jeans," "Meet the Crew," "Space Olympics" and "I Fucked My Aunt." Another common staple of theirs is a premise that starts innocuously but then slowly descends into insanity, as seen in "Like a Boss," "Dreamgirl" and "I Run New York" among others.
  • The music videos, tour antics, promotional materials and overall atmosphere generated by Miley Cyrus during her promotion of the 2013 album Bangerz is fueled on this, when it's not the usual Refuge in Audacity or Hotter and Sexier. From dancing little people and...erm, bottom-heavy twerking dancers, to dancing rainbows, teddy bears and unicorns, to the Deranged Animation projected onscreen during the Bangerz Tour, to the surrealism surrounding her "We Can't Stop" video, all convention seems thrown out the window.
  • Queen's video for "I'm Going Slightly Mad" straddles the line between this and Surreal Horror.
  • It's Dark! by the Vocaloid producer GHOST/Ghost and Pals is a song about eating dirt that combines this and Word-Salad Humor, complete with a dose of Mood Whiplash towards the end. It must be seen to be believed.

    New Media 

  • Where to begin with The Goon Show? Exploding taxis, a jet-propelled NAAFI, pianos with diplomatic immunity, bent spoons in lieu of money... Monty Python may be better known, but the Goons got there more than a decade earlier.
  • The Burkiss Way could get very strange at times. One sketch involves an office worker who is employed as a token Desmond Dekker and the Aces for contractual reasons, despite being an amoeba and annoying the other workers by constantly reproducing asexually by mitosis during office hours. And he can't even get the song right.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Swedish comedian Henrik Elmér is all about this.
  • Stand up "tragidian" Brother Theodore built his career around bizarre and morbid routines.

    Video Games 
  • Psychonauts thrives on this trope thanks to the theme of entering the minds of the mentally unstable leading to some pretty surreal scenarios, like traveling an Escher-esque suburban neighborhood infested with thinly-disguised secret agents.
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a gleefully bizarre soup of basketball and JRPG references, lashed together with plenty of this. The underground Furry Fandom colony and the fact that Space Jam is a canonical part of the absurd world's past is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Pony Island: Much of the game's humor comes from the idea of Hell as a video game...programmed by Lucifer, who is quite possibly the most incompetent game designer in existence.
  • Potato Thriller is a bizarre horror-adventure game with deliberately half-assed graphics and a nonsensical plot. It involves a bounty hunter named Quindalin and his partner Dexter trying to track down the Potato Man, a Mr-Potato-Head-esque figure who kills people by deep-frying them alive.
  • Toilet In Wonderland consists mostly of this. It's about a girl named Mira who suffers from constipation, which somehow lets her travel into another world where she encounters various strange characters. Along the way, she is joined by a naked muscular man whose head is shaped like a butt, a white rabbit that whinnies like a horse, an NPC that Mira gave a name, and a sentient fire extinguisher that expresses its annoyance whenever Mira uses it for something other than its intended purpose.
  • Hylics: The text is all either procedurally generated or strangely worded for humorous effect, and there are dramatic, trippy animations for using a burrito and a vegetable (and a cupcake, in the sequel) in battle.


    Web Original 
  • The Alfred's Playhouse have quite bit of this and "Surreal Horror," including singing about alfred's sexual abuse and his escape from it into into fantasy to the tune of the Pee-wee's Playhouse theme song, Dictator Alfred is friends with cheerful inagined versions of Hitler and Stalin, and Alfred cross-dresses from time to time.
  • Banjo Gyro! It's about fast food employees trying to get rid of a demon in their restaurant
  • Many videos made with Garry's Mod or Source Filmmaker likes to have this a lot. Best examples are this, this, this, and this.
  • Awesome in Kansattica is like this sometimes.
  • Lauren's Cartoons fall very nicely into this category; it helps that the writer (and narrator) is five.
  • Sad Panda Q&A, although anything he does tends to be as strange as a TV Tropes entry on Sad Panda Q&A.
  • The fake Previously on… segments on Atop the Fourth Wall take this form.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared depicts this and Surreal Horror. because each episode has a trio of puppet characters (Red Guy Yellow Guy and Duck Guy) being teached by talking objects causing them to enjoy themselves by using their imaginations... until their imaginations turn the episodes nightmarishly surreal. in the end everything goes back to normal and nothing happens.
  • The ASDF Movies by TomSka combine this trope with Rapid-Fire Comedy.
    "Nice hat."
    "I was being sarcastic."
    "Well, I stole your face!"
  • Nyan Cat, a video composed of a cat with a Pop Tart for a body that flies through space trailing rainbows while an endlessly loop of a catchy, cutesy song plays. And then there are the many variants on the meme, like the "Smooth" Jazz cover.
  • TVMaxwell's stuff will almost always leave the viewer wondering what the hell they just watched, and why exactly they enjoyed it.
  • going to the store: A physics-uninclined CGI model wobbles and warps down the street to the tune of 1960s proto-Synth-Pop.
  • Homestar Runner has this kinda stuff all over the place. The Strong Bad Email "virus" notably, begins with Strong Bad getting an email comprised of demented code, which mocks him when he tries to delete it, and things get weirder throughout the toon.
    Strong Bad: And... the Compy just peed my carpet.
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie lives up to its name, featuring a solid half-hour of a Random Events Plot involving badly-animated stickmen, a mad scientist, a superhero, Word-Salad Humor ("zeeky doogy boog!"), and way too many explosions.
  • A lot of Downfall parodies.
  • Toho Kingdom Toons frequently lives off this.
    Gabara: i can't believe Godzilla and Anguirus impregnated us!
    Monster X: IMPRISONED, not impregnated! Oh, i can't believe they overpowered us.
    Gabara: they didn't overpower us! they lured us here, with the prospect of Bon-Bons (swallows Bon-Bon) i still think it was worth it.
  • Any of the works of Purpleeyeswtf, like None Piece and Code MENT.
  • The whole point of Mountain Time.
  • THIS skit.
  • Oddity Archive. When your first episode is about the Max Headroom incident...
  • Bravest Warriors: One episode involves the crew being pestered by an Emotion Lord, a crazy old Reality Warper who does things like conjure a swarm of chocolate puppies. Another episode stakes the future of a race of buttless aliens on whether Beth and Chris can patch things up between a pair of energy beings that possess people's backsides and make them swell to enormous size.
  • How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
  • Drag Queen and RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Katya Zamolodchikova's RuFlections
  • @dril.
    tomorrow im going to fill up on bread befoore 10am and get waterboarded by my seven identical uncles
  • The Fifth Avocado, a nonsensical Flash cartoon in which an oddly-accented narrator tells rambling stories about spontaneously-combusting baby ducks, monkey tea parties, and the ghosts of fish drowning. Then the whole thing ends with a parody of the ending of the Fight Club movie.
    Narrator: Once upon a time there was a ducky that drank some Snapple. Suddenly, this little duck— oh, wait, I forgot to tell you, the ducky's name is Jamal.
  • Clickhole's brand of humor is equal parts this and Mundane Made Awesome. It manages to parody the bubbly clickbait writing style of Buzzfeed so effectively that it's all the more hilarious when you take a closer look at its articles and realize how bizarre they really are. Standout examples include: an article about five child stars who grew up to be Salman Rushdie (yes, all five of them), an article about great unmade video games where we learn that the date of the Apocalypse is written on Mario's chest, and an article interviewing crab fishermen about celebrities that they've caught in their nets.
  • A great deal of Animutations fall into this:
    • "Lesko's Revenge" has Matthew Lesko and a 3D-rendered Scotsman's head lip-synching to a song about drawing Pokemon. Then Lesko falls down a pit and dies, but eventually returns from the grave and goes around hitting people with a hammer.
    • The Colin Mochrie vs. Jesus H. Christ trilogy spins a wild story of Colin Mochrie being temporarily turned into a Scotsman, training with underpants-wearing space leprechauns to fight in a martial arts tournament, and then getting into an epic showdown with Jesus, who has taken over the world (and is really Mike Brady in disguise).
  • Lasagna Cat runs giving this treatment to the Garfield comics, often to a ridiculously far-out degree. The second "season" of the series, plays it off a little more darkly, even to the point of frequently dipping into Surreal Horror.
  • Surreal Memes are designed to be as absurd and ironic as possible.
  • Drew Gooden: A common trait of his Vines are surreal gags with quick cuts and edits, such as one where his cereal spoon floats away from him while he's trying to eat.
  • ENA uses this and Surreal Horror interchangeably, leaning more towards the latter as the series goes on.
  • Karameru's short animations always contain unexpected twists, frequently with Stuff Blowing Up. This short is but one example of how chaotic and surreal his animation shorts can get.
  • Ladies And Gentleman,El Hombre Bola (The ball man)
  • Heavy is Dead: Many of the gags fit the bill, such as the myriad of Funny Background Events, the game show gag, and the moment where Heavy inexplicably duplicates and pokes his own dead body with a stick.
  • Caddicarus lives and breathes this trope, with all sorts of hilarious, demented happenings in his videos. Part of the fun is that you never know what's going to happen next.
  • This is a major element of SMPLive, with bits like "æ", "Bean Yoda", conflicts over banning Obama from Minecraft restaurants, Pokay's "sea pickle" Running Gag...

    Western Animation 
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force by its very nature (a rambling, nonsensically-titled show in which the three main characters are animated fast-food items) is built on this trope. Specific examples include the deranged Dr. Weird and his "experiments" that include demanding that his assistant chop off his head so hard that the High-Pressure Blood propels his body to Phoenix, and one episode which featured bacteria that infect Master Shake for the purpose of performing bad theater productions in his brain.
    • The spiritual father of these shows, Space Ghost Coast to Coast started out as campy parody but especially in the latter half of the series tilted heavily into this camp. Often, Space Ghost seems barely interested in doing his job as a talk show host and if it makes him look bad in the process, Zorak and Moltar are there to help him.
  • Adventure Time, a show about a teenage boy and his best friend who is also a dog with elasticity powers fighting multiple threats to various kingdoms, including ones comprised of different types of Anthropomorphic Food, makes good use of this kind of humor.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • God of Chaos Discord, thrives off this trope whenever he's not falling into Surreal Horror instead. Notable moment: he conjures a glass out of thin air, summons a cotton candy cloud raining chocolate milk, and the glass fills... from top to bottom. Then he drinks the glass. Without the milk. He tosses the chocolate milk behind him, and it explodes for no fathomable reason. See for yourself.
    • Of course, even the God of Disorder himself has nothing on Pinkie Pie, who has this trope down to a science. Among her more notable feats are appearing in multiple places at once during a song, showing up in a mirror without being in the room, sprouting two additional pairs of limbs, walking on thin air, and morphing her own face into that of a G3 pony.
  • 12 oz. Mouse chronicles the badly-drawn misadventures of an alcoholic, amnesiac mouse named Fitz whose best friend is a photorealistic chinchilla. Fitz runs (very) odd jobs for a talking shark while living in a town populated by such strange people and creatures as a match who runs a liquor store, a gender-shifting "Man-Woman," and a talking square who claims to be fabulously wealthy.
  • CatDog has a weird enough premise on its own, being about the misadventures of a cat and dog who are Conjoined Twins with A Head at Each End. Some of the episode plots are pretty weird too, like Catdog being terrorized by a monster with an olive-loaf sandwich for a head, a rare disease making a pecan tree grow from Dog's head, or "a sudden outbreak of laryngitis and temporary color-blindness" being used to set up an homage to silent movies.
  • 1981 cartoon short Home on the Rails certainly has an odd setting: a husband and wife live in a house that is literally on the railroad tracks. They have to open two doors from time to time to let a train pass through their home. There's also their "cuckoo" clock, which doesn't have a cuckoo but a series of ever-changing little figures—one time the clock shows a man being guillotined, another time a man gets his head punched clean off, another time the clock shows a washerwoman who empties her bucket on the floor of the house.
  • Uncle Grandpa is about an eccentric, Inexplicably Awesome old man who is "everyone in the world's grandpa and uncle," and who travels the Earth in an RV that's Bigger on the Inside, getting young people into (and out of) crazy misadventures. Helping him in his quest are his Lizard Folk bodyguard Mr. Gus, an egotistical talking pizza slice named Pizza Steve, and the aptly-named Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball is about the everyday life of a young boy and his family. Did we mention the boy and his mother are blue anthropomorphic cats, his sister and father are pink rabbits, his brother is a goldfish that spontaneously sprouted legs one day and was adopted by the family, and his love interest is a peanut with antlers who turns out to be a shapeshifting fairy after she literally comes out of her shell? And that's not getting into how weird Gumball's friends and neighbors (and the crazy situations they get into) are.
  • One tagline for Regular Show is "It's anything but," and is that ever an accurate description. The main characters are an anthropomorphic blue jay and raccoon who work in a city park for a gumball machine, and their antics tend to involve stuff like accidentally bringing video game villains to life, summoning an Eldritch Abomination after tying in rock-paper-scissors too many times in a row, or tripping on hot sauce.
  • The classic shorts of The Pink Panther often use very bizarre occurrences in otherwise mundane situations, like when a deck chair randomly comes to life and tries to eat the Panther.
  • It's Such a Beautiful Day combines Surreal Humor with Surreal Horror. Justified because the protagonist Bill is mentally (and perhaps terminally) ill, and has to deal with how his depressing (yet ridiculous) life may eventually end with premature death.
  • Rex the Runt, a claymation series by Aardman Animations is not exactly the Wallace & Gromit kind of fare that you may have expected. If the Cloud Cuckoolander Vince isn't enough for the series to qualify for this trope alone, bizarre adventures such as accidentally deflating the earth or flying to a planet inhabited by Moai heads in a can of baked beans will. Plenty of Deranged Animation (as well as use of live-action backgrounds) adds to this too.
  • Pig Goat Banana Cricket: A show about the strange adventures of a pig, a goat, a banana, and a cricket. A fairly typical example of what sort of thing happens on this show is the episode where Pig becomes a police officer by finding a badge, a uniform, and a police car in a box of cereal. He then has to solve the mystery of who has been stealing everyone's moustaches.
  • Kaeloo: Of course, it should be expected from a show about Funny Animals living on a planet full of magic. Weird things happen, involving stuff like aliens, weapons, explosions, interdimensional travel, etc.
  • Neo Yokio: The show will frequently make off-beat jokes with weird comedic timing and the show treats the incredibly strange premise (a slacker magician from a wealthy family being pressured to keep up the family business of demon-slaying) as realistically as possible. It's easy to compare it to more comedic versions of Magical Realism.
  • Rick and Morty: There are countless examples of surreal content littered throughout the run of the show, but the true heavy weight is "Interdimensional Television"; whether one considers the trope subverted because of the premise or played straight, it's hard to imagine anything more utterly random and peculiar making it on to television (even considering we are talking about Adult Swim).
  • Drawn Together is a show largely dedicated to spoofing tropes of reality shows, various animated genres and media, and everything else imaginable. Some of the plots are just plain weird, though, especially in later seasons that treat the Framing Device of cartoon characters on a reality show as just an excuse to get all these crazy characters in one place. One episode involves one of the house guests taking in a live-action cow as a pet, and in another, token black housemate Foxxy Love degenerates into increasingly offensive black stereotypes due to brain damage from a tumor. The creators have stated that literally nothing happens for any reason other than to be funny.
  • Played with in a few episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, whenever Mister Mxyzptlk shows up. An exasperated Superman insists that real humour has rules, and that Mxy's pranks are "just random idiocy."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Surreal Humour



Over time, his videos have borrowed more from the YouTube Poop school of humor, with caption humor, shouting, garbled audio clips, and sheer randomness that has no context within the videos themselves.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / SurrealHumor

Media sources: