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Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.

Come on, admit it. We've all seen it. Some hapless loser or faceless redshirt bites it in a strange and unusual way. Maybe he had an anvil dropped on him, or better yet a bridge. Maybe he keeps getting killed every week by some monster, only to come back to be killed off again. Perhaps he's small, furry, and cute, yet the death is depicted as gory and defined as possible. Any way it happens, someone is going to chuckle... unless you happen to be a Moral Guardian or easy offended, in which case it's Dude, Not Funny.

Many an Omnicidal Maniac who Crosses the Line Twice benefits from this trope. So does the Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil villain if they make the audience appreciate the killings they do.

In Real Life, this can be a coping strategy for those close to death and/or the dying.

Often a form of Black Comedy or Dead Baby Comedy and a Sister Trope to Gallows Humor. Usually played as a Refuge in Audacity. They Killed Kenny is a subtrope of this if it's Played for Laughs. Compare Black Comedy Rape.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Death as Comedy include:

Anime and Manga



 Jonathan: Look! There's a burial ground. We're safe! We're safe! See those sacred stones? They'll never cross those.

Shafek: You are sure?

Jonathan: Yes, of course I'm sure.

[a pygmy runs past and stabs Shafek. Jonathan screams]

Jonathan: Sorry. My mistake.



  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where the entire planet gets blown up in the first part of the book... because it was in the way of a intergalactic freeway. Later averted when they replaced Earth. Then un-averted when it was blown up again.

Live Action TV

  • In the Friends episode "The One Where Heckles Dies", there is a bit of this. Mr. Heckles dies rapping a broom on the ceiling in an attempt to get the friends in the apartment above him to quieten down.
  • Monica Mancuso from Las Vegas flies off the roof of the casino when a gust of wind catches the "winged-style" dress she was wearing. She flies around for about five minutes before crashing into a shoe store more than a mile away. Characters spend the episode debating the impossibility of it, and buying shoes from the store.
  • Arnold J. Rimmer. Twice.
  • Dean from Supernatural gets a whole series of funny deaths because of a Time Loop.
  • Dead Like Me features a lot of these.
  • A SBTB: The College Years episode featured the death of a professor followed by the usual wacky humor.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Elijah knocking off Trevor's head? Harsh, but hilarious. Elijah forcing Slater to stake himself? Awful, but hilarious. Elijah ripping out two people's hearts at THE SAME TIME? Evil, but epic.
  • The sudden death (at her desk) of Don's ancient secretary Miss Blankenship on Mad Men (in episode 4.09, "The Beautiful Girls") is played for some of the most ridiculous laughs the series has ever seen from start of the subplot (the discovery that she's dead) to the shunting around of her body in a rolling chair to avoid being seen by the clients. The subplot ends, however, on a very heartwarming moment from her former lover Bert Cooper: "She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut."
  • The IT Crowd has Denholm Reynholm walk to a high-story window and casually commit suicide when confronted by the authorities for accounting irregularies and it's hilarious.
  • Firefly features the villain of the week, Crow, being kicked into Serenity's engine intake by Mal. It's clearly played for comedy, and it is pretty funny.
  • Numerous times [1] on Whose Line Is It Anyway has this trope been acted out by one of the performers.

Real Life

  • The Darwin Awards
  • A major factor in Jewish humor, medical humor, military humor... in fact, just humor.

Video Games


 Jade: I'm a member of the Guild. I live on Leanbox, but I don't follow Lady Green Heart...

Neptune: ...Why're you telling me now? What's up with this?

Jade: I... I'm into girls... like... Lady White Heart.

  • grack*

IF: ...And that's that. You finished him off.

Neptune: Oops. Well, that was for ruining the moment.

  • In Temple Run, your deaths are often played for laughs. Whenever you die, you get a laconic text message. For example, when you die from falling into a pit, this message may be "I knew I should have learned how to fly" or "temple slippery when wet". These two messages have a double irony, since you can use "wings of resurrection" and since you can slide without problem over even the roughest surfaces.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Played straight nearly constantly on South Park, be it with Kenny or anyone who happens to get hit with the biggest Idiot Ball at the time.
  • Happens to many, many, many Mooks on The Venture Brothers, most often by the hand of utter badass Brock Samson.
  • Those poor interns.
  • Some episodes of the French comedy shortcom Avez-Vous Déjà Vu ?... (Have You Already Seen...) definitely fall under this trope. An example involves three houses that play a game to see how far they can spit their inhabitants out. One of them launches a guy through the chimney, who then lands right onto the road. The poor dude is run over by a bus, after which the house happily says "Yay, a bus ! That's 1000 points !".
  • Every single episode of Metalocalypse. Sudden, gruesome deaths account for about a third of the show's humor.
  1. too many to list here