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Self Deprecation / Real Life

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  • Woody Allen uses this throughout his work, most often against himself, but occasionally against Jews or New Yorkers generally. For instance, from Annie Hall:
    Alvy: Don't you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we're left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.
  • Jon Stewart is a big fan of this. Like other Jewish comedians, he makes fun of his "Jewish-ness" as well as his, uh, lacking in height, his piriform physique, his home state of New Jersey, and the fact that he hasn't been in very successful movies and these jokes carry over to The Daily Show. Even The Daily Show itself is a victim as one of the longest Running Gags in the program was for a guest to mention how they've seen The Daily Show and for Jon Stewart to say that he himself doesn't care for it.
    Stewart: I don't watch it, myself. I find it crass.
  • 19th-century German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine once commented on the efforts of various groups to convert Jews to Christianity;
    “It is extremely difficult for a Jew to be converted, for that would force him to accept the divinity... of a Jew."
  • Groucho Marx once said, "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
  • Rodney Dangerfield's the patron saint of this trope for a reason. His act was made up of self-directed Take Thats. It annoyed his wife to realize that people thought he really was the slob he portrays in his act.
  • Jay Leno routinely makes jokes about the badness of his jokes. These are often among his funnier jokes. He's also quite aware that people make fun of his big chin; in one opening monologue, he even pretended to use it to block out the sun to help the citizens of Burbank cool off from a current heat wave. In another segment, a young girl who was teased for having a big chin wrote to him about it. She was invited to appear on the show, where she addressed him as "Uncle Jay".
  • This is cartoonist Robert Crumb's favorite subject.
  • No episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien goes without it. Usually, he's joking about his hair and/or awkward body.
  • In Conan O'Brien's opening song when Conan hosted the Primetime Emmys (a parody of "Trouble" from The Music Man), one of his examples of NBC's decline in quality was that the Emmys were opening with a song-and-dance number "performed by a host with limited musical ability!" (The chorus then shouted, "He can't sing!"). Conan later went, "To prove things are going to Hell, we're relying on Howie Mandel...."
  • Pooja Vijay, the Indian stuttering stand-up comedian, jokes a lot about her stammer.
  •'s Geoffrey James gives us The 10 Worst Business Books of All Time. The #5 entry, Success Secrets from Silicon Valley, was written by James himself in 1998.
  • Will Rogers' frequently quoted line, "I'm not a member of an organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
    • Though self-deprecatory, this comment was a specific dig at the Democrats' inability at their 1928 Presidential nominating convention to decide whether to oppose or to support the repeal of Prohibition. (They punted the issue and, like most politicians 'wet' and 'dry', continued drinking heavily.)
    • He also quipped: "I keep saying I'm a Democrat, but I ain't. I just keep saying that because Democrats are funny and I'm supposed to be. note 
  • Hugh Laurie once mentioned that the reason he keeps acting is that he hates himself and doesn't believe he deserves to be happy.
  • Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan interrupts his act frequently to make disapproving comments (in a different voice) about his jokes.
    Is he really that fat? ... Why is he talking to himself up there?...Why is he so pale?...He's the fattest crackhead I've ever seen...
  • Craig "The Lovemaster" Shoemaker will supply critical analysis of his jokes:
    Mr. Erase: Oh my god, that was so disgusting! What a visual! I am so sorry. Erase, erase, erase!
  • When Ben Affleck hosted Saturday Night Live, he joked that he would be endorsing John McCain in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election because every candidate he ever supported lost.
    • When promoting the film Gigli, which by that point, was infamous as one of the biggest flops of the decade, went on The Tonight Show and read his "favorite" parts of the movie reviews, namely, the most scathing and brutal quips from film reviewers about how bad the movie and Affleck himself were.
    • Affleck's late-'90s Saturday Night Live appearance was full of this, with Mango calling him "Ben Whofleck?", and Gwyneth Paltrow showing up because she thought he would need help with the opening monologue.
    • During the commentary for Mallrats where he describes himself as desperate and suicidal during the production of the movie, coming home at night with a bag of sleeping pills and preparing to just end it all. It's funnier than it sounds.
  • Reportedly, Matt Damon thought the "Mmmmatt... DAMON!" caricature of himself in Team America: World Police was hilarious.
    • Likewise, Tim Robbins asked for the mangled production puppet of himself so he could frame it.
  • The basis of the whole Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Bill Engvall and Jeff Foxworthy both focus on aspects of themselves and their family, then make as many redneck jokes about it as they can.
  • Few people enjoy the "Scots are cheap" stereotype as much as Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.
    • "My uncle once dropped ten pence; he bent over to pick it up, and it hit him in the back of the head."
    • "You may have heard that nasty rumour floating around that copper wire was invented by two Scotsmen fighting over a penny."
    • One time, Connolly was on Conan O'Brien explaining that he once bungee jumped naked on his travel show. Why? The place apparently had a policy that if you jumped completely naked, it was free. When Conan asked why he did this just to save a few tens of dollars, Connolly replied "You'd have to be a Scotsman to understand".
  • Kevin Smith describes his wife as a man-hating feminist, "which explains why she married the guy with the tiniest dick on the planet."
  • Brian Regan uses this in a lot of his comedy acts as well, usually to make him look stupid. The best example is his skit "Stupid in School"
    Teacher: Brian, what's the "I before E" rule?
    Brian: Uh... um... I before E... Always...
    Teacher: No, no, it's I before E except after C, and when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh, and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May, and you'll always be wrong, no matter what you say!
  • Patrick Stewart. If he appears as himself in something, he usually deflates his image. Patrick Stewart is simply a classic example of British Humour.
    • Appearing in an early season of Top Gear:
      Jeremy Clarkson: You are the most famous person we ever had on the show.
      Patrick Stewart: Well this must be a terrible show then!
    • One episode of Family Guy parodies Star Trek: The Next Generation by making Stewart's character Captain Picard a Covert Pervert. It becomes twice as funny as he dubs himself.
    • At the height of popularity of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick Stewart hosted Saturday Night Live and in his opening monologue demonstrated a comical lack of familiarity with Star Trek canon.
    • In Extras he plays himself, trying to pitch a film script about a character who uses their superpowers to make women's clothes fall off, with himself as the lead. He also make numerous Star Trek references that Ricky Gervais completely fails to get.
  • Christopher Eccleston is known to be very modest and down-to-earth in interviews and live shows, and especially self-depreciating about his unconventional looks. (Which was also referenced in the first episode of the 2005 series of Doctor Who.)
    The Doctor (looking into a mirror): Could've been be worse. Look at the ears!
    • On Top Gear, there was a lot of self-mockery about the fact that he had learned to drive only about a year before appearing on the show, and that he was only qualified to drive an automatic. Also, this bit of Northern English working class attitude:
    [after being complimented for not being a diva and offering to use public transport to help the production save money on his traveling costs] "That's because I'm tight. I wouldn't give a door a bang."
    • When Jonathan Ross handed him the 'cock-o-meter' on his talk show and asked where he measures on the thing, Eccleston pointed to the lower edge of the tube, saying "I come about... 'Registered Trademark'." And he took great satisfaction in the fact that his Doctor Who action figure got the ears right. "They even got the fact that one of my ears sticks out more than the other!"
  • Abraham Lincoln reportedly... possibly a side-product of his humility.
    (After being called "two-faced"): "But sir, if I was two-faced, do you think I would be wearing this one?"
    • He was also a big fan of Confederate newspapers because they would print the same awful terrible things about Jefferson Davis' Administration that the Union papers printed about his.
  • British writer, critic and presenter Charlie Brooker is fond of this, describing himself, among other things, as looking like a cross between "Laurence Fishburne" (a picture of whom he had as his Twitter avatar for a long time) and "a paedophile walrus", and having a face like "a rucksack full of dented bells".
  • Stephen Fry's autobiographies Moab Is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles both have a strong theme of this running through them; Fry will regularly suggest a plausible psychological reason for the mistakes and wrongs he's done in his life only to then take them back and accuse himself of just being selfish and immoral.
  • In an odd case of Double Insult Backfire, Sam Clemens tried to tell a self-deprecating joke at a banquet honoring legendary American writers Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, claiming he ran into drunken reprobates who were posing as them while he was working as a silver miner in California. While he was really poking fun at his own lowly stature at the time, the press misconstrued this as Clemens insulting the writers themselves, and he was so ashamed by the fallout he moved to Germany for several years. And thus, Mark Twain created the celebrity roast.
  • Tim Minchin does this quite often. Whether mocking his failed Rock Career, his inability to get over a bad review, or his perceived lack of depth, Minchin does it a lot.
  • Andy Warhol once said in an interview that he couldn't defend his works against his critics because they were right.
  • Chris Colfer of Glee makes quite a lot of self-deprecating jokes in interviews.
  • Say what you will about Glenn Beck, but he's a good sport when it comes to those parodying him. Two of the most well-known parodies of Beck were the ones done by Jon Stewart. The very next day those aired, Beck replayed both of them on his show and has admitted they were both hilarious. Also, when organizing his Rally to Restore Honor, Glenn Beck had Frank Caliendo, the King of Impressions himself, on his radio show to talk extensively about Caliendo's developing impression of Beck and Glenn then invited Caliendo, should he finish developing the impression, to open up the Rally with a short routine in order to help ease the hundreds of thousands in attendance out of their tension.
  • Aside from mercilessly roasting other celebrities, Joan Rivers was known for making jokes about her lack of a sex life, lack of sex appeal, "maturity/oldness" and plastic surgery.
  • Stand up comedian Simon Amstell spends the vast majority of his shows waxing lyrical about how socially inept he is.
  • Lindsay Lohan sometimes likes to mock her "party girl" image, the most notable example being that "Funny or Die" parody of an E-Harmony ad.
    • She does this on Saturday Night Live as well most recently. She played herself as a an inmate participating in a "scared straight program" with sketch regular Lorenzo MacIntosh played by Kenan Thompson.
  • Ken Dodd delved into this occasionally.
    Comedy's in me blood. I wish it was in me act, but there you go.
  • Barack Obama has had some:
    • "Some have said I'm arrogant. They obviously haven't looked at my approval rating," and the infamous politically incorrect ad-lib about how he should be bowling for the Special Olympics.
    • Another time he introduced a Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics by calling him "a man who actually earned his Nobel Prize." Also, while speaking of Henry Kissinger, he claimed they he had a lot in common, saying Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the Vietnam War; “and I won mine for. . . ” then he looked off camera, and said, “What did I win mine for?”
    • He once interrupted, via satellite feed, an unflattering statement by Stephen Colbert, when Colbert was performing/reporting in Iraq. Colbert believed Obama was listening in via spy satellite, but the President explained: "My ears are just that big."
    • His speech at the 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner (see here) has plenty of self-deprecation, sometimes coupled with good-natured Take Thats towards other politicians. One examplenote :
    Barack Obama: ...and Bernie Sanders might run! I like Bernie, Bernie's an interesting guy. Apparently some folks really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House... we could get a third Obama term after all!
  • George W. Bush was a good sport about all the criticism he received in his time, as seen in a really funny bit of stand-up comedy he did along with an impersonator. His father George H. W. Bush was a good sport as well. He had Dana Carvey come to a White House dinner to do his impression of him, and no one laughed harder than George the Elder himself.
  • Ronald Reagan was capable of this. In 1988, the political satire group Capitol Steps was set to perform at the White House in front of the President, his wife, and much of Congress. Reagan sent an aide to request that the group perform songs poking fun at him. The Steps obliged, and Reagan greatly enjoyed it. Reagan was known to keep a collection of political cartoons that mocked him in his office to "remind me I am human". Even when shot by an armed gunman, Reagan joked how he "forgot to duck".
  • William Howard Taft once remarked on his not-so-memorable presidency: "The truth is that in my present life I don’t remember that I ever was president."
  • Boris Johnson created a public image through this. While he is extremely well-read and educated, Johnson deliberately portrays himself as a village idiot or buffoon. Before interviews he deliberately frays his hair and in public he often wears second-hand thrift clothes. Many speculate Johnson deliberately makes himself the butt of jokes so that he can be more relatable and more easy to underestimate.
  • Britney Spears and Emilie Autumn are noted for their self deprecation and self awareness. Britney mocked herself and her mistakes in her Will & Grace feature. Emilie Autumn mocked her over the topness in her anti-bullying video.
  • Supermodel Naomi Campbell is well known for her legendary Hair-Trigger Temper and general rudeness. During a photo shoot where she was tied up and had a strip of duct tape placed over her mouth, she joked that she was sure plenty of people wanted to tape her mouth shut in real life as well.
  • George Lucas frequently makes fun of his own changes to Star Wars, including wearing a "Han Shot First" shirt and having Darth Vader give a speech about how much he hates the changes. He's also poked fun at his stilted writing. For instance, upon receiving the 2005 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, he called himself "the King of Wooden Dialogue". He's even appeared As Himself in the Robot Chicken parodies of the franchise to either be the butt of jokes or to take shots at some of the goofier aspects of the series.
  • Jeff Dunham did this in "Controlled Chaos", where he shows pictures of himself as a kid and he (and his puppets) can't believe how he would bring ventriloquist dummies to school to get free-professional pictures, in addition to the stuff he actually wore as a kid. He also used to a segment where his character Peanut had his own ventriloquist dummy called...Little Ugly-Ass Jeff.
  • John Oliver does this a lot, most notably in his Comedy Central special.
    What I wanted to be, when I was growing up, was an athlete. [...] Really? An athlete, John? And the word "athlete" means the same in Britain as it does here, does it? [...] What sport was it in Britain that rewards a concave chest?! Did you, perhaps, plan on becoming a sail?
  • Daniel Radcliffe seems to be this way, especially in this conversation about how he needs help getting dressed:
    Interviewer: You can't tie your shoelaces?
    Daniel: (mock outrage) Who tipped you off about that? Yeah...shoelaces are not a strong point of mine, for whatever reason...
  • Carrie Fisher did this frequently. Most of her jokes poked fun at her past drug use and mental illness. During the roast of Roseanne, she spent more time roasting herself than Roseanne or the other roasters.
    "Religion is the opiate of the masses. Well I did masses of opiates religiously."
  • Barry Cryer tends to engage in this a lot, joking about his lack of talent, inflating his reputation for heavy drinking, and claiming that people who come to see his gigs have confused him with Barry Took. He's stated in several interviews that this can be traced back to Yorkshire tradition.
    I've just sung to you! I don't know why, you've never done anything to me...
  • George R. R. Martin mentioned on his blog that Game of Thrones is "one bitch of an adaptation" because the original writer made the "damn battle way too big and too expensive." He also griped that the gigantic wall separating Westeros from the north had been written as "way too high" even when its height was cut in half. The original writer he was trying to adapt, of course, is George R. R. Martin. Also, the reason why he switched from writing TV shows to to novels? He never had the budget to do what he wanted on the TV shows. Oooopsies!
  • At the 2012 Olympics, gymnast McKayla Maroney's silver medal for the vault would have otherwise been an afterthought in The Year Of Phelps and Bolt - until a picture of her lip-curling disdain on the awards podium morphed into the "McKayla Is Not Impressed" Photoshop meme. Instead of being embarrassed, McKayla gamely lampshaded the moment by teaching her teammates "the face," then trotting it out on David Letterman and Stephen Colbert. She also recreated this, along with President Obama, at the White House.
  • Jürgen Klinsmann's famous diving celebration after scoring his debut goal for Tottenham Hotspur, mocking his own reputation for diving in order to win penalties, is a borderline iconic example. It became one of the most famous goal celebrations ever, won over many of Klinsmann's critics in the UK, and turned him into a cult figure almost overnight. It helps that Brits have quite the taste for self-deprecating humour (see below).
  • Mara Wilson claims on her Facebook page that she doesn't act in movies anymore because she can no longer look or act cute, and that she no longer does improv because "women aren't funny." She eventually explains that she writes plays because she can apply "...some of her worst habits (e.g., eavesdropping, nitpicking, automatically imagining the worst case scenario)". Her career as a Former Child Star often comes up for some Self-Deprecation in her writings and social media as well; she often refers to herself as having been "mildly famous" or a "C-List actor".
  • Lindsay Felton, a Former Child Star best known for Caitlin's Way, was a contestant in the first season of Scream Queens (2008). During the camp horror challenge in which the contestants had to reenact a famously narmy scene from The Brain That Wouldn't Die, she remarked about how her experience starring on a Nickelodeon show had prepared her to take on really corny dialogue. Naturally, she won that challenge.
  • Seth Rogen made plenty jokes about himself when he appeared on Jonathan Ross ' show.
  • After being newly elected, Pope Francis went out to dinner with the cardinals. He thanked them for their support, joking, "May God forgive you for what you have done." (This was also likely a Shout-Out to the short-lived Pope John Paul I, who uttered the same response upon his election.)
  • Bill Simmons, listing the New York Knicks among "officially tortured teams":
    Slowly becoming the pre-2004 Red Sox of basketball. Right down to the 45 shameless writers who would release a quickie book if the Knicks ever turned things around and won a title. Wait, I think I just made fun of myself.
  • After getting fired from the news show Breakfast because of his offensive comments, New Zealand TV presenter Paul Henry appeared in several ads that poked fun at his mean personality.
  • A good deal of Miley Cyrus' humor is based on this, much of it as seen on Hannah Montana or in interviews, and she welcomed Vanessa Bayer's Miley Cyrus Show sketches on Saturday Night Live with open arms. Her first episode from 2010 has her playing Justin Bieber to Vanessa's "Miley", while her appearance in 2013 has a sketch with "old Miley" meeting "new Miley" backstage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
  • Astronaut Pete Conrad did this frequently. He told people that his motto was, "If you can't be good, be colorful." During the Apollo 12 mission, Alan Bean said it would be good to land on the Moon and do some physical work. Conrad replied, "Speak for yourself, I'm a lazy son of a bitch." When he stepped onto the lunar surface later on, the first thing he said was, "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me!" Conrad was poking fun at his short stature (he was 5'6''/1.67 m).
  • In 1943, Oscar Hammerstein II experienced a Career Resurrection with two hit shows running on Broadway, Oklahoma! and Carmen Jones. He took out a "Holiday Greetings" ad in Variety, naming himself as the author of five musicals which had unsuccessful runs lasting between three and seven weeks in New York or London, with the message "I'VE DONE IT BEFORE AND I CAN DO IT AGAIN."
  • Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks on the series' tendency to riff on and copy ideas from other sources: "Talent borrows, genius steals, and Doctor Who gets it off the back of a lorry at midnight, no questions asked."
  • All the actors from Friends have always liked to poke fun at themselves, mostly about their post-show careers, but even on the series they'd make jokes about all the Emmy nominations and the annoyingness of the theme song. Matthew Perry especially is Chandler Bing in the real world, deprecating about his dating life, drug addictions, weight fluctuations and all the crappy career choices he's made in nearly every interview.
  • Formula One's Taki Inoue was known for his incredibly short-lived and horrendous racing career back in 1995. Years later he decided to establish blogs, facebook, and strings of Youtube comments dedicated to make fun of his own infamous experiences. It works, as the man - now in his 50s - has become a comedian and an internet celebrity within F1's community.
  • Footballer Peter Crouch, known for his tall, lanky stature, was once asked what he'd be if he wasn't a footballer. His famous reply: "A virgin".
  • Hannah Montana/Young & Hungry actress Emily Osment demonstrates plenty of this on her Twitter account, particularly with her 5'3 height, native Californian origins, awkward humor, and her love of "hipster" Alternative Rock music. Also, when live tweeting during first-run Young & Hungry episodes, she mocks her louder wardrobe choices and hairstyles.
  • A look at Taylor Swift's Twitter posts finds her using plenty of self-deprecation, often aimed at her love of cats, nerdy tendencies/tastes and/or goofy "mom dancing" at award shows.
  • Victor Mature, upon being rejected for a country club membership because he was an actor: "I'm not an actor — and I've got sixty-four films to prove it!"
  • Fitting both this trope and Take That!: During the run-up to the women's figure skating competition in the 1994 Winter Olympics, complete with a physical attack on Nancy Kerrigan by associates of her rival Tonya Harding, the latter called herself "the Charles Barkley of figure skating". Sir Charles responded, "I was going to sue her for defamation of character, but then I realized that I have no character."
  • Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker has a habit of mocking himself and his career as a baseball player. One of the funniest cases of this self-deprecation happened when Bob received the Ford C. Frick Award, presented for broadcasting excellence by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
  • Bob Hope, when he turned 100 in 2003, reportedly told his family, "I'm so old, they've canceled my blood type."
  • Bear Bryant, a legendary college football coach, most notably at his alma mater of the University of Alabama, frequently called himself "the other end" during his playing career at Alabama (1933–1935). He was comparing himself unfavorably to Don Hutson, who played that position for the Crimson Tide in Bryant's first two seasons and went on to a legendary NFL career as the Ur-Example of the modern wide receiver.
  • French comic book creator and cartoonist Boulet (real name: Gilles Roussel) has a pen-name which means either The Load or The Millstone in French (or "cannonball").
  • Self-deprecation backfired spectacularly for businessman Gerald Ratner, CEO of Ratner's, which was until then a hugely successful jeweller. He told a business conference that people expressed amazement that he could sell cut-glass products so cheaply: "I say it's because it's total crap". He also compared his company's earrings unfavourably to a prawn sandwich. All this achieved was to wipe £500 million off the company's share price. Branches closed, Ratner resigned and the company only survived by changing its name to Signet.
  • British actor Jamie Bamber, when asked during an interview about his bedroom skills, jokingly declared, "Very, very mediocre. On good days I might rate a 5 out of 10". He also seems very bemused by all the female adoration he receives, claiming, "If you spent one day with me, you'd get over it", and once even stated, "My French is not that good"—in French. This is someone who studied French and Italian for his modern language degree, received the highest honors possible, and has repeatedly proven himself to be fluent in both languages.
  • Rik Mayall apparently had a very different view of himself than the rest of the world. It's quite notable that every character written for him by someone else is a dashing rogue, while the characters he writes for himself are always venal, disgusting losers, and the foulest ones share his name.
  • Siskel & Ebert were made fun of in Godzilla via No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of the latter as the buffoonish Mayor of NYC and the former as his sycophantic sidekick. Ebert stated he was happy to finally be a character in a Godzilla movie whilst Siskel complained saying "If you're going to go to the trouble of putting us in a monster movie, why don't you at least take advantage of having the monster eat or squish us?"
  • French president René Coty (1954-1959) often joked he has been elected thanks to his prostate. Until a 1962 reform during Charles de Gaulle's presidency, the French president of the Republic wasn't directly elected by the people but by members of the French Parliament. The presidential election of 1953 lasted 13 rounds thanks to the very polarizing debates about the creation of the European Defence Community (aborted project of an European army) some times before the election. Coty didn't take part in those debates because he had a surgical operation on his prostate; because of his absence at the critical time, he didn't antagonize anyone on this question and thus was eventually chosen.
  • 19th century French general and president Patrice de Mac Mahon is credited with this gem: "Typhoid fever is an awful disease: you either die from it or remain stupid. I know what I am talking about: I caught it."
  • Voice actor Neil Kaplan once compared to his tenure as Optimus Prime in the dub of Transformers: Robots in Disguise to George Lazenby as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, calling himself " The George Lazenby of Optimus Primes".
  • In his tribute speech at former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe and daughter Gianna Bryant's memorial, Shaquille O'Neal spoke about how he'll teach Kobe's three other daughters their father's basketball moves while promising not to teach his own free throw techniques.
    • Similarly, Michael Jordan, who was in tears during the entirety of his own speech, mentioned that he knew he was likely going to see new crying memes of himself for the next several years after the service, which earned him a giant round of laughter and applause.
  • Pedro Pascal often mocks himself in social media and interviews, such as the docuseries Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.
    (points at self with both thumbs) Let's talk about the dorks that get the gig!
  • Whenever a world leader mocks her on Twitter, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg often briefly updates her bio to match that leader's insult. A prime example is after she was named TIME Magazine Person of the Year and Donald Trump tweeted "Greta needs to work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend! Chill, Greta, Chill!" Greta responded by changing her bio to "A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old-fashioned movie with a friend."
  • In 2021, former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean, prior to each race in the championship, prepared track guide videos in order to explain fans the intrincacies behind each circuit. The first race was held in Bahrain - the same circuit in which, the previous year, Grosjean was part of an crash that engulfed his car in fire and, were it not for all the safety measures on Formula One cars, he could have been severely injured or even died (and even then, he had to miss the two final races of the season due to his injuries). So what does Grosjean do when, during the guide, he comes across the wall he had crashed in? Jokingly point at it and say "That's my corner!".
  • When Charlie Vickers was asked what he thinks about the sex appeal of Sauron, he answered "Sexy Sauron... that’s all the makeup and costume departments’ work. I’m just a pretty regular-looking guy in real life.".
  • Bill Bailey often pokes fun at his unusual appearance:
    (imitating the audience): This roadie's a bit up himself; just "one-two, one-two" will do, mate!


  • The slogan for The Comedy Network, Canada's equivalent of Comedy Central, is 'Time Well Wasted.' (A bit of a case of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, actually, as it was originally intended as a parody of the slogan for American-based network A&E, 'Time Well Spent'.)
  • The British channel E4 is mostly composed of British soap operas, American drama and comedy, and reality shows. Its advertising mocks the melodrama of British soaps and American drama, the ridiculousness of American comedy, the stupidity of reality TV and itself for broadcasting them.
  • Valve Time. Valve mocks itself for its loose schedule for putting out their games and failing to meet even that. They even mock themselves for it in Portal 2, as when their names appear on the screen in a credits sequence, GLaDOS reads off various negative personality traits for them, which includes "procrastinator" and "perfectionist" (Though she doesn't see anything wrong with the latter). And the line in "Still Alive": "We're out of beta, we're releasing on time." They even awarded themselves with a "Corporate achievement" named welcome to the internets for failing to understand what 'private' means on YouTube.
  • Many game companies will poke fun at their release delays, saying only that they'll be released "soon."
    • CCP Games seems to claim that they trademarked the joke.
    • Bungie Software, back before the Microsoft buyout.
    • NCSoft (now Paragon Studios) has apparently licensed this term from CCP.
    • Blizzard Entertainment. It seems that successful game companies that can afford to push back release dates for the sake of quality have come to use Soon™ as a way of mocking both themselves and their fans.
    • Used by CRS, creators of World War II Online to the point where it has become a Memetic Mutation.
  • Ubisoft:
    • A side mission in Watch_Dogs 2 has the main character hacking into a Ubisoft building and leaking a trailer while two other employees talk about past leaks.
    • In their pre-E3 2017 teaser, they made fun of their tendency to overuse the word "iconic". The end of the video has the CEO about to post the video on his Facebook page with the text "Check out this iconic teaser!" He pauses for a second, then deletes "iconic".
    • After unveiling their new logo, it didn't take long before people started joking that it looked like a pile of poop viewed from the top. At the end of their 2017 fan creations video, they show off a 3D printed model of the logo-turd they called "the poopiesoft".
  • At E3 2018, Bethesda mocked their own tendency to port The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to every new console by announcing "Skyrim: Very Special Edition," which said Skyrim was being ported to Amazon Alexa. They also announced it was being ported to an Etch-a-Sketch and a refrigerator.
  • Aircrafts of the Royal New Zealand Air Force bear a roundel featuring a kiwi, which is a flightless bird.
  • Penn Jillete frequently calls himself the lesser magician within the Penn & Teller duo.

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United States

  • This is a common component of Borscht Belt comedy routines.
  • There are some jokes for cities/states that start with "You know you're from (insert state) when..." For example, you know you're from California when the fastest part of your commute is down your driveway.
    • Anyone from Cleveland. Because we suck.
    • At least you're not Detroit!
    • According to Adam Carolla, the city that lives and breathes this trope is Los Angeles. Everything we hate about LA, they really hate about it.
    • New Jersey's legislature once famously attempted to make Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" the state song. "Born to Run" is a song about wanting to get out of the state of New Jersey:
      Baby this town rips the bones from your back
      It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
      We gotta get out while we're young
    • Oregonians are known for making fun of rain and hippies, the two staples of the state. Except for Eastern Oregon, but no one cares about Eastern Oregon.
    • Seattleites talk about rain, Grunge, rain, Starbucks, rain, hating Twilight, rain, and our lovely rain.
    • In Washington, Damp is a shade."oh that's nice but do you have it Damp Red?"
    • Ask anyone from Iowa what there is to do there. "Leaving's always good" is the standard response.
    • Anyone who's lived or lives in Maine will be familiar with its four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction. Don't like the weather in Maine? Wait 10 minutes. Both of those jokes are equally applicable to Michigan — and of course we'd get so much winter in a state that's shaped like a mitten.
    • Chicagoans and to a point, all of Illinois, get in on this too. There are commonly jokes about the windy politicians, the issues with the state government and economy struggles and the fact so many people are trying to move out of the state, among other things.
    • Texas. There are a lot of jokes about how hot the state gets in the summer and how long it takes to drive between cities in it.

Other nations

  • Canada:
    • A huge part of the country's identity, according to the rest of the world, is lumberjacks, Mounties, helmetheads, polar bears, maple syrup, beer chilled on the back step, hard liquor that tastes like gasoline and unfailing politeness. According to any Canadian, the keystone of the Canadian identity is managing to both mock and cherish those stereotypes at the same time. In addition to the usual standbys, there is also the fact that many people outside of Canada know little else about the country.
    • Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who suffered a speech impediment (a holdover of polio, and later a bout of Bell's palsy). He once appeared on Royal Canadian Air Farce, to have his doppelganger (Don Ferguson) teach him how to mispronounce "popular" in the proper Chrétien way (Chrétien pronounced it correctly). "Noes, noes, it's poopoolar!"
    • Chrétien also joked "Canada has two official languages. Sadly, I am fluent in neither of them".
    • Canadians' obsession with navel-gazing over their national identity and culture has led to the quip that "A Canadian is someone who spends all their time wondering what it means to be Canadian."
  • Self-deprecation is a trademark of the British, and we're awfully sorry for that, it really is a nuisance. It also a staple in British humor. It's the only sport Britain is best at.
  • Irish humor, when it's not about drinking, fighting, or nationalist conflict; is all about the Irish predilection for drinking, fighting, and nationalist conflict.
  • A big part of Icelandic humor, common factors include bad driving habits, cutting in lines, extremely frequent bodily noises and an Icelandic tourist attempting to speak English but constantly peppering his language with Icelandic-exclusive idioms (Venus pronounced as "weenis" and riding on horseback replaced by "fucking".)
  • Norway has this as a kind of national pastime, especially seen in parts of the political and cultural elite. Occasionally everybody else, and they are not even trying to be funny about it. That too happens from time to time, but in Norway, this is actually Serious Business. And if Norwegians actually allow themselves to be proud of some effort, like getting international acclaim for a movie or such things, count on the Swedes to set them straight.
    A Norwegian woman was observed sliding on a slippery road during wintertime. Her immediate response to almost falling was: "Crap country!"
  • Finnish humor
    • Highlights the national stereotypes of stubbornness, drunkenness, and quietness. For example, two men went camping for a week with several bottles of vodka. The last day one of them raised a glass and said: "Cheers!" The other angrily responded: "Did we come here to drink or talk?"
    • There's a whole category of jokes starting "A Swede, a Norwegian and a Finn..." that tend to paint the Finn as hardy if a bit thick in the head. A pair of illustrative examples:
      A Swede, a Norwegian and a Finn tried to swim from Norway to America on a dare. Ten miles from the Norwegian coast, the Swede gasped "I can't make it..." and promptly drowned. Fifty miles from the Norwegian coast, the Norwegian gasped "I can't make it..." and promptly drowned. The Finn had just caught sight of the American coast when he sighed "I can't make it either..." and promptly swam back to Norway.
      A Swede, a Norwegian and a Finn were drinking and decided to test who was the biggest badass through a contest. The winner would be the one who'd last the longest wrestling a polar bear, and then making love to an old granny. The Swede entered an igloo containing the polar bear and staggered out after five minutes, mauled and bleeding. The Norwegian went in and staggered out after fifteen minutes, mauled and bleeding. Then the Finn entered, and after half an hour, emerged, mauled and bleeding. He triumphantly asked his friends: "Now, where's this old granny I have to wrestle?"
  • Self-deprecation is a notable part of Hungarian culture, including their own version of the old standby, "If two Hungarians are in a room, they'll have three opinions."
  • Polish humor has this in spades:
    • The "German, Russian and Pole" jokes. They usually start with the trio getting into trouble, and each of them trying to work his way out of it. The Pole traditionally ends up the most successful - but through the least moral means.
      Satan gives a German, a Russian, and Pole two metal balls each, and says he will set them free if they do something interesting with them. The Russian starts juggling, the German balances one ball atop another, and Pole loses one of the balls... and breaks the other.note 
    • One of the most popular targets for mockery in Poland is the public opinion's tendency to veer towards extremes. A successful sportsman becomes the nation-wide butt of jokes overnight if he loses as much as one match/fight/competition/whatever. Many famous musicians had their careers utterly broken because they failed to win the Eurovision Song Contest. This leads to any number of jokes lampshading the trend.
    • General Polish tendency to praise Heroic Sacrifice and Moral Victory is also often parodied. When President Lech Kaczyński, criticized and made fun of on a daily basis, died in a plane crash, he was suddenly showered with praise by the same people who made fun of him in the first place. This lead to a minor meme "Who swapped the bodies?"
    • Probably the most mocked Polish characteristic, however, is treating our Acceptable Targets as restricted to themselves. There have been several instances where a foreign media outlet would repeat normal Polish jokes about a public figure and Poland promptly declared jihad.
    • Poles also love to complain. Mostly about how much Poles complain.
  • Italian jokes are mostly about mocking someone or something, with the favorite targets being Italians from a different part of Italy, Italians from the same part of Italy, and Italy in general.
  • Aussies don't make fun of themselves, so much as they make fun of everyone, including themselves, but it has the same effect.
    You know you're Australian if you spend a month looking for the remote instead of getting up and pressing the button. We refuse to let a remote get the better of us, dammit!
  • In New Zealand, Kiwis tend to joke about a few things: How small our country is, how far away from anything important we are, how many sheep are in the country, and how due to our small population, every global statistic is given in 'per capita'.
  • The most common fall guy in Afrikaans jokes is someone called Van Der Merwe, which is a typical Afrikaans surname. His opponents are usually the Scot and the Englishman, ethnicities which Afrikaners historically have been in conflict with and traditionally don't particularly like. And the Scotsman and the Englishman always, always win... except if Van Der Merwe accidentally wins through his sheer stupidity. It's like self-racism. Still funny though. Hence the name of the none-too-bright protagonist of District 9, written and directed by an Afrikaner. Sometimes Van Der Merwe isn't so much stupid as astonishingly defensive and cautious - which, of course, is often the stupid thing to be!
  • This trope is considered good manners in Japan in certain circumstances, such as when you present a gift to someone.
  • It is a common feature in Filipino humor to make fun of their reputation for procrastination and lateness known amongst Filipinos as "Filipino Time". Another common self-deprecating Filipino joke is to comment on the unstable political environment of the Philippines or to make fun of the almost religiously fanatical celebrity worship tendencies of Pinoy Pop Culture. They also make fun of their religious fanaticism.
  • Indians love to make fun of themselves for their lateness as well, joking that the acronym I.S.T. doesn't mean "Indian Standard Time" but "Indian Stretchable Time".
  • The popularity of these appears to be decaying, but for a long time, jokes pitting a Spaniard with other two men of different nationalities (the most common variation was with a Frenchman and an Englishman) were a staple of Spanish humor. And the punchline would always leave the Spaniard looking like either the dumbest or the biggest jerkass of the three.
  • This is a common theme in Tibetan comedy. A common type of play stars an old grandpa wearing traditional Tibetan clothes, and a young guy wearing modern clothes and listening to music. Most of the play highlights the two generations living together, and makes fun of the old guy by having them enter a Chinese shop; whereas the young boy can speak Chinese fluently, the old guy struggles with it intentionally to self-deprecate.
  • Hongkongers nicknamed Hong Kong as the "Capital of Complaints", among a number of other unflattering things. Jokes and comparisons with other countries also occur, in which Hong Kong always looks the worst (commonly involving Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, and South Korea, and occasionally western countries, but especially Japan, which is hugely admired by younger Hongkongers), and the only time it would look good is if Mainland China is involved. The self-image is so poor in some ways, 港 (which is the "Kong" part of "Hong Kong") is often used as a negative prefix in words (see Kong Boys and Kong Girls).


  • Golden Raspberry Award
  • At times the Academy Award ceremony will have this, such as when Chris Rock hosted ("If want Denzel Washington and all you can get is me, wait! Okay? Denzel’s a fine actor. He would never do Pootie Tang, you got that?") and having James Corden and Rebel Wilson present Best Visual Effects dressed as Cats saying “Nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects.” (the VFX Society and one of the effects artists who even lost his job called them out on it).
  • The opening screenshot of this software review shows a few open source developers have this sense of humor.
  • During the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, technical difficulties prevented the ring on the far right of a "blossoming" Olympic logo from opening with the rest. A dance number during the closing ceremony involved the dancers taking the form of the Olympic logo, with the dancers making the far right ring mimicking the technical snafu.
  • During the opening of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, one of the struts of the Olympic Cauldron failed to rise out of the ground during the Lighting Ceremony. That strut finally appeared at the Closing Ceremony, being pulled out of the ground by a mime (Yves Dagenais) with an invisible rope.
  • Many posts on Ready Set Think often mention the blog itself as an example of something unpopular, pointless or plain stupid. Also doubles as Take That! because they are often vague enough to target all blogs of the same type, and not just itself.
    "When we run out of food, water or heat, we no longer have time to think about philosophical questions and post them on our blog to feel good about our own intelligence."
    "Even if reading this blog is not the most efficient or pleasant use of your time, you should keep doing it. I didn’t come up with a credible-sounding reason for that yet, but I’m sure there is one." - At the end of the post explaining the best way to use your limited amount of time alive.
  • While The Elder Scrolls Online was in beta, testers of various types were organized into groups named after the Aedra and Daedra of the game's lore. One group was Sheogorath's Testers, named for the resident Prince of Madness. This group eventually figured out that the one thing they all had in common was that they were all developers, either employed as programmers elsewhere or students of game design. Yes, game developers are a special kind of mad.
  • Reddit's crew of dedicated internet sleuths found the Boston Marathon bomber. Except not; it was the wrong guy. Reddit being Reddit, it turned "We did it, Reddit!" into a meme.
  • Abstract Nonsense is a very powerful tool in math. (For a mathematician. For the rest, it's abstract nonsense.)
  • Apparently, according to this color-coded map, Florida hates Florida.
  • Chinese Honorifics sometimes employ this as a way for a subordinate to show deference or respect to their superior.
  • The Discworld Emporium adds humorous Thieves' Guild receipts to their packages, frequently implying that their goods aren't worth nicking. Typical messages include "If they paid money for this, I reckon they've already been robbed" and "I'm tryin' to make an honest livin' 'ere, stop ordering all this wyrd stuff!"
  • There's a line of drinking mugs bearing the words, "The only cup [sports team] will have their name on this year."