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Jazmine: What's so funny?
Robert: Oh, nothing. Hilarity just ensued; that's all.
Jazmine: It did?!
Alleged consequence of any event in a Sitcom or cartoon which in the real world would result in hospitalization, a lawsuit, or dismissal from one's job, at the very least, up to and including possible imprisonment or death. Thankfully for our fictional friends both the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Funny keep them safe (the latter more prominently).
Traditionally seen in the capsule descriptions of episodes found in programming guides: "Jimbo accidentally glues his boss to a golf cart and hilarity ensues." Outside of these descriptions, though, the phrase is usually used sarcastically, indicating that the consequences are anything but hilarious. The less charitable might say that hilarity is what happens for those hearing about it afterward.
90% of the time, when a preview claims 'hilarity ensues', it does not. Perhaps hilarity was supposed to ensue, or the writers expected it to ensue, but on the whole the events considered hilarious by the writers of most sitcoms are about as hilarious as shaving your nether-regions with a hedge-trimmer (not watching someone else do it, because that actually would be funny, and more or less so if they don't even wince and enter Sarcasm Mode, saying "that didn't hurt", or "well THAT was fun").
On All The Tropes, the phrase may be taken a little more seriously; in a number of examples that use this phrase, hilarity actually does ensue.
Variants include "...with hilarious consequences" (more common in the UK), "wackiness ensues", and "hijinks ensue." In extreme cases "wacky hijinks ensue." Hijinks are often "aplenty." Compare Silliness Switch, when the hilarity is a choice in an otherwise serious medium.
Not to Be Confused With the Web Comic Hijinks Ensue. Or with Humanity Ensues. When something serious happens and it's not played for laughs, you may end up with Reality Ensues. If the aforementioned hilarity is a lawsuit, it may be a case of Hilarity Sues.
Anime and Manga
- You can summarize most non-action-based episodes of Full Metal Panic in this manner. Sousuke goes to school; hilarity ensues. Sousuke goes to the beach; hilarity ensues. Sousuke goes on a date; hilarity ensues. Sousuke goes to a festival; hilarity ensues. If you swap out "hilarity" and "violence" as appropriate - or more frequently combine the two - you can summarize every episode that way.
- About half the plots against Loki in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok have this at some point.
- On Dragon Ball, Master Roshi interactions with a female character, any female character. Also when Vegetto gets turned into a gumball by Buu. Everything from that point until when Kid Buu destroys the Earth qualifies as this.
- What happens when you assign a class of untrained, inexperienced, ADHD-afflicted ten-year-old kids to pilot and monitor a giant robot capable of untold destruction when placed in the wrong hands? Hilarity!
- Mahou Sensei Negima: A 10-year-old wizard has to teach an all-girls class! It's wacky! At first.
- In the first episode of Mitsudomoe, the class hamster is named Nipples.
- Take a powerful, macho martial artist and throw him into a Gender Bender cursed spring. Then add liberal doses of Comedic Sociopathy, way too many girls after him (not to mention the guys...), a Tsundere fiancee, and a couple of perverts. Welcome to Ranma Half. Oh, and let's make his rivals the King of Wangst who blames Ranma for it all (and gains the ability to channel it into an Angst Nuke) and the King of the Hyperspace Arsenal.
- School Rumble: High school romance comedy. Idiot delinquent (Harima) has a secret, obsessive crush on an even more clueless classmate (Tenma), who is in love with a complete oddball (Karasuma), who is in love with food (curry). Tenma's quiet, gentle sister Yakumo, her Ojou friend Eri, and the hot school nurse may or may not have feelings for Harima, depending on the rumors you believe and the time of day. Also, both Tenma and Harima's cousin Itoko think Harima is in a relationship with Yakumo. Class rep Hanai is loudly in love with Yakumo (thus seeing Harima as his rival), while two or three girls may or may not have feelings for him. And that's just the beginning.
- The entirety of To Love Ru. The manga sequel To Love Ru Darkness opts instead for having more plot, though still being comedic.
- Tons of examples in One Piece. The rather off-the-wall thought processes of the Straw Hats and plenty of other characters make everything comedic fodder. The idea behind a stretchy hero is, in the first place, to make serious situations funny.
- Me in... well, any- and everything I happen to appear in actually. I've considered attempting to usurp the throne of Hilarityensusia, but I've concluded that it's probably, like, a LOT more appropriate to be the court jester, instead. Now, if I could only find a way to by-pass his Joker Immunity and off The Joker...
- Similarly, Tiny Titans. Especially at Wayne Manor and Pet Club.
- The Scott Pilgrim series. Video game elements, and ex-boyfriends as evil bosses? Hilarity indeed! Balanced by the relationships, which are all treated really nice.
- Referenced in the Discworld novel Jingo: "Any homely featured man who for whatever reason has to disguise himself as a woman will inevitably become attractive to otherwise perfectly sane men, with, as the ancient scrolls say, hilarious results." Unfortunately, laws of reality had to go against Nobby and admit defeat.
- In The Dresden Files, one of the short stories can best be described as "Harry has a day off. Hilarity Ensues." It's glorious, too.
- In The Pale King, David Foster Wallace gets mistaken for David F. Wallace due to a screw-up with the IRS's records and has to spend his first few days in the Peoria REC attending meetings he knows nothing about. The other David gets stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare because the IRS already has records of him arriving and won't allow him to register.
- Referenced frequently by early seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Any time it appeared that plot threads were about to converge, Joel would shout, "Looks like we're on a collision course with wackiness!"
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: "And next week, Dan falls into a vat of human dung, with hilarious consequences."
- Veronica Mars: Veronica charges extra if Hilarity Ensues.
Jayne: Remember that time she came at me with a butcher's knife?
- Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth tricks Richard into stealing a car, and then she blames him, but neither of them is known to suffer any legal consequence.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Becoming":
Spike: "Let me guess. Someone pulls out the sword...The demon wakes up, and wackiness ensues."
- Also in episode "Tough Love":
Willow: "So we made a triangle with our bodies, and that's when I called Xander 'obtuse' and he got really grumpy. And then Dawn said we were 'acute' triangle and, well... hilarity ensued."
- In the "Save Our Bluths" Arrested Development episode the narrator described their dinner party emergency as a "relatable situation with a promise of comedy", to emphasize something more conventionally sitcomy over the family's massive incestuous implications.
- The Father Ted Christmas special begins with Ted finding a baby left on his doorstep... which is swiftly reclaimed by the mother, who had gotten the wrong address. Ted and Dougal are left musing over all the hilarious situations they could have gotten into while trying to take care of a baby... then conclude that it wouldn't have been funny at all.
- Referenced in Community:
Jeff: "If you're lying to me, if my father isn't coming, if a car pulls up and anyone other than my father steps out, say an actor or you in a wig, if you pull any Ferris Bueller, Parent Trap, Three's Company, FX, FX2: the Deadly Art of Illusion bull... I will beat you. And there will be nothing madcap or wacky about it."
- Evoked by name in an episode of Myth Busters which involved testing the slipperiness of banana peels and their conductivity to comical pratfalls. After an already hilarious starting test which Jamie managed to fail by virtue of laughing too hard to get up after a fall, the Mythbusters decide to try for a comparison test and cover their testing field in animal birthing lubricant. As Adam notes of the proceedings, "Hilarity will ensue." Adam promptly validates his guess mere moments later.
- FoxTrot uses a similar phrase to describe the typical plot of an episode of Frasier. Jason complains to Andy that the restaurant where he's scheduled an impressive party is removing foreign cheeses from its menu, finishing with "I just know madcap hijinks will come of this!"
- This Baby Blues strip describes this trope perfectly.
- Referenced and parodied by Bill Bailey right at the beginning of Part Troll when explaining why he can't tell traditional jokes. He tends to bail out because:
Three blokes go into a pub. One of them is a little bit stupid, and the whole scene unfolds with a tedious inevitability! [Slumps, shuffles about for a moment.]
- Stephen K. Amos claims that his entire life can be summed up in the phrase, "A black family moves in next door to a white family... Hilarity ensues!"
- Three words: Big. Dick. Johnson
- "Hilarity ensues" is a good way to describe what happens when Orks go to war in Warhammer 40000 because, to the Orks, it really is hilarious — they're having a great time, and the bigger the stuff they blow up, the more fun it is. To say that everyone else in the galaxy does not reciprocate the Orks' feelings on warfare and Ork invasions would be an understatement. For another perspective, an Ork Waaagh!, or campaign, is referred to in the background as a mix between a holy war and a pub crawl.
- Tends to pop up whenever anything involving Paranoia is discussed. Indeed, the latest release features slogans down the bottom, including one requiring hilarity to ensue.
- Actively invoked in Teenagers From Outer Space, where, should the mood be getting too serious, it's expected that the players make it funnier. There are actual instructions in the rule book to also interupt any romantic moment getting too romantic with...anything.
- This is endemic in Dwarf Fortress, be it the Cruel Player Character God sort of hilarity (let's flood the baron's bedroom with lava!), the "made an engineering mistake" sort of hilarity (watch the dorfs attempting to outrun the well overflowing because you forgot to prevent a water pressure backup!), or one of the infamous tantrum spirals. Just bear in mind that Losing is Fun. Then go back to laughing as goblins attempt to invade and get turned into goblin salsa when they hit your wall of weapon traps loaded with giant swinging axe blades and huge serrated steel discs.
- Good Bad Bugs often leads to this. In Makaitoushi SaGa / Final Fantasy Legend, for example, instakilling God with a chainsaw often leads to laughter — which wouldn't happen in real life!
- Weapons that allow the player to throw about objects or people at will, like the Gravity Gun or Gravity Hammer.
- Magicka oh so much. Easily accessed nuke spells, no mana bar, squishy player characters, and friendly fire? Check, check, check, and check. Seriously. Go watch Yogscast and Total Biscuit play Magicka together. Half the hilarity is from watching them kill one another. Both on purpose AND by accident. And a majority of the deaths are Simon's fault.
- Solatorobo is this in spades. It happens a few times in the main storyline, but at least 90% of Sidequests are able to be summed up as "Red takes a job and then Hilarity Ensues."
- A lot of Team Fortress 2 's appeal comes from the fact they took the team-based warfare of Team Fortress Classic and threw in, among many things, one key element: a sense of humor. The general idea with TF2 is that if you're going to pit two teams against each other, you might as well have fun doing it. A 2011 update invokes this trope by name, describing the Payload Race game mode (where the teams compete to escort their team's cart to the goal first) thusly: "Two teams, two carts, two tracks. Hilarity ensues."
- Homestar Runner lampshades this at the end of this Strong Bad Email. "And his first guest... is hilarity!"
- "Hilarity ensues" is one of the cliches often used in headlines at not-news website Fark. A variant, used for stories that involve idiot criminals, is "jailarity ensues".
- Used frequently in the summaries of Fan Fiction. Can sum up the first part of the Prolecto series, though it's deconstructed later on. "Girls get turned into Succubi, Hilarity ensues. Emphasized by the character of Kayla, who is stark-raving mad.
- Thomas Wilde and Dan Birlew's Resident Evil Plot Analysis frequently uses the phrases "hilarity ensues" when giving the preliminary outline to the plot of a game. Since the games involve zombies, mutants, Corrupt Corporate Executives, and vast amounts of death, it's safe to say this is slightly ironic...
- I hadn't realized I used it so much. It's Fark's fault. - Thomas Wilde
- Wilde's usual writing style usually has an extremely sarcastic tone to it, so it's not so much ironic as two tons of Deadpan Snarker.
- Web Author Tucker Max uses "hilarity ensues" in the titles of his short stories on occasion, e.g. "Tucker ruptures appendix, hilarity ensues". Or "Tucker fucks fat girl, hilarity ensues". Also used in inverted form once, with the story, "Tucker tries buttsex; Hilarity does not ensue."
- Which is a lie. It ensued, all right. Just not for Tucker...
- The entirety of Kickassia. Yes, all of it.
- Uninvited Guests. So the borderline insane and chaotic soldiers burn down their own barracks and decides to move into the barracks of division right next to them, which is led by a rational captain who just wants everything to go all normal. MADNESS ENSUES
- So, a guy suddenly breaks up with his girlfriend and is force (along with the others in his apartment) into the dangerous, violent world of male prostitution in Manwhores. Somehow, Hilarity Ensues.
- Players in a Guild meet in real life for the first time. Hilarity Ensues.
- This The Last Days of Foxhound comic, a subversion in that Octopus happens to be correct.
- Drake mentions this in Shape Quest when Lance considers travelling to his land.
- From Looking for Group: "Once [the fire] reaches your eyebrows, that's when hilarity really ensues."
- This PvP strip could probably qualify as the page image.
- In this episode of Order of the Stick, Xykon uses the phrase to describe his murder of Roy's father's master, Archmage Fyron. From his point of view, it actually was hilarious.
- Technically, he referred to running into an archmage while trying to rob a "librarian". But he won.
- New School Kids has this as the missing events during the Yeahijinks comic.
- Lampshaded in Ctrl+Alt+Del:
Ethan (angrily): YOUR BALLS AND MY FOOT! HA HA HA! HI-LARITY ENSUES!
- ThisMr. Square is a self parody on it's weekly updates, "I'm deppressed blah blah something random" followed by a panel with nothing but "Hillarity Ensues!"
- Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic characters bring hilarity in rather regularly. Especially when Charlotte or Cap'n Fang are allowed to run wild.
Charlotte (cheerfully): ...sounds like great fun!
- The Stupiders - In fact, it says so right on the website's homepage!. You can't get anymore straight forward then that!
- The Simpsons
- Moe gets on a soap opera, only to be led to think his character will be killed off. He decides to have Homer spoil the future plot events on live broadcast. All the plot summaries written seem to end with "...with sexy results".
Homer: Gabriella's baby shower will be invaded by terrorists... with sexy results.
- In one Simpsons comic, Bart convinces professional Butt Monkey Milhouse van Houten that Professor Frink's dumpster has rendered him (Milhouse) invisible. Lampshaded, because when Bart's thought bubbles include the phrase "hilarious hijinks", he concludes he spends way too much time reading program descriptions in the TV guide.
- Lampshaded in the "Sweet Smell Of Success" episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
Bloo: But imagine what would happen if someone spotted me and I became a big celebrity! That would lead to all manner of crazy and hilarious consequences, don't you think?
- Lampshaded somewhat again by Homer. I cannot remember the episode, but it contained the line "Alright, just go ahead and sue me! Everybody else does! The average settlement is $68000."
- A lot of times, little kids manage to pull this off. When a three-year-old calls Uncle Bob fat or says that Grandpa sure has a lot of gray in his hair, it tends to be kind of funny. When you do it, expect to get a lot of death glares aimed your way.