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Hey, drop by for lunch some time! I'll slice us up some fresh pastrami! Hey, Bonds... you ok? You look a little green around the gills!

Just as Vomiting Cop can demonstrate that someone in law enforcement isn't (yet) jaded about gory death, this trope shows just how jaded someone who works with dead bodies can get. Whether they're a Creepy Mortician showing an abnormal indifference to morbidity, or The Coroner whose mid-autopsy noshing is being Played for Laughs, expect all but the most sober of works to show people in the funerary trades munching sandwiches or french fries, or at least sipping coffee, while they've got a body on the slab.

Probably more Truth in Television than you'd think. Medical examiners tend to be lightly supervised and are usually granted free reign of the lab. Evidence of a person's death is nearly always blatantly there or blatantly not there, so the strict precision and sterility of other laboratory procedures aren't really an issue. And as long as the food isn't being purposely rubbed on rotting tissue or something, the health concerns are minor. Obviously, regulations and enforcement vary from department to department.

Compare The Snack Is More Interesting, Pass the Popcorn, Nausea Dissonance.

Examples of Autopsy Snack Time include:


  • There's a cell-phone service commercial in which a morgue worker's breakfast burrito falls into the cadaver he's working on, and he blithely picks it up and continues eating it. "What, you think this is wrong? What's wrong is paying too much for cell phone service."

Comic Books

  • There is a scene in Fell where the coroner of Snowtown eats his sandwich above a cadaver. One of the sandwich's tomatoes falls onto the cadaver; however, this doesn't stop the coroner from picking it back up and eating it.


  • In Gone in Sixty Seconds, the character Sphinx is working as a coroner and puts his sandwich down on a cadaver's chest to answer the phone.
  • The low-budget horror flick Street Trash has one scene that takes place in a morgue, and the coroner is, in fact, munching away at a box of Chinese food while talking with the cops.
  • In the Hungarian movie Kontroll, ambulance workers talk about a recipe while picking up the remains of a man who has been hit by the subway.
  • In the German comedy movie Neues vom Wixxer, the coroner Dr. Brinkman lets his little son (plus a bunch of other kids) have a birthday party in the morgue.
  • Lampshaded in Diary of the Dead, when some EMTs are collecting bodies from an apartment and the cameraman who's filming them grouses about how one of their crew is eating his lunch off-camera, despite the gore.
  • In Jason Goes To Hell, the second coroner who walks in on a Voorhees-possessed medical examiner is carrying a pizza, and was presumably intending to eat it right there in the autopsy room.
  • In the Robert Altman movie Pret-a-Porter, a coroner has a snack while autopsying a corpse (in the presence of several police officers investigating the death, too!)
  • In Arachnophobia, a funeral-parlor worker is eating a BLT when the photographer's boxed corpse arrives from South America. When the phone rings, he sets his sandwich down on the table normally used to prepare bodies, where a cat nibbles on it.


  • Doc Proutie from the Ellery Queen novels was known to do this.
  • At least once in the Aubrey-Maturin books, Stephen and a fellow naturalist move immediately from dissection to dinner, using the same knife.
    • The tendency of Real Life physicians to do so was proven by Ignaz Semmelweiss, a famous Hungarian obstetrician, to be the cause of a deadly puerperal fever that was the main reason of the Death by Childbirth. He was laughed out of profession and ended his days in asylum. It wasn't until Joseph Lister's work, some 20 years later, that antiseptics have become mainstream.
  • A bizarre variation occurs in American Gods, when Mr. Jackyll slices off a part of the victim's heart while examining her and casually chewing it while recording his observations. This is because Mr. Jackyll is actually an aspect of Anubis, ancient Egyptian God of the dead. It's implied that eating the heart is reverential and a sign of deep respect.

Live Action TV

  • In one episode of Supernatural, the Trickster, a Reality Warper with a notorious sweet tooth, has trapped Sam and Dean in a CSI: Miami parody. While explaining the found body to the two "Horatio Caine"s, he, or rather his double, slurps on a lollipop the whole time.
  • One of the coroners in Taggart would do this, popped up in Inspector Morse once or twice too.
  • On Psych:
    • There's an episode where Woody is eating a bag of chips while performing an autopsy.
    • There's also a promotional short where Shawn is seen eating a donut straight out of the crime scene.

  "That's not a jelly donut."

  • Given a Take That in CSI when Doc Robbins irately says of a long retired coroner (who missed something in the original autopsy of someone who was to be exhumed) that he "held a scalpel in one hand and a hot dog in the other.".
  • This shows up a few times in Law and Order. "This is the cleanest room in the city."
  • Likewise on Castle, the Deadpan Snarker ME Pearlmutter occasionally takes a meal in the mortuary.
  • In Fringe, Walter Bishop often eats while examining corpses or other Squick-inducing things.
  • In one episode of The X-Files ("Bad Blood"), while performing an autopsy Scully finds that the victim's stomach contents include pizza, and comments that it sounds very appealing right now.
  • Forever Knight did a variant of this once, with Natalie and her assistant shown in the morgue, looking down at the camera, deciding where to cut first. Then the shot switches and they're standing over a roast chicken.
  • On Alaskan Wildlife Troopers, a state trooper investigating a mass caribou slaughter eats a sandwich while examining the rotting carcasses in the field.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Not played for laughs at all during an interview with one serial killer, who ordered and ate pizza during the dismemberment of his latest victim.
  • This is often used as a litmus test for rookie cops with the veterans often bringing a snack for the rookie's first autopsy.
  • Occasionally, careless medical students will eat right in the middle of dissecting cadavers.
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