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Wanda: Uh Timmy, we've got some good news, and some bad news.

Timmy Turner: What's the good news?

Cosmo: The good news is the alien we got you is actually the prince of the dreaded war planet Yugopotamia.

Wanda: And his parents are on their way here to destroy the Earth and rescue their son.

Timmy: What's the bad news?

Wanda: Oh, wait... that was the bad news.

Timmy: (angrily) Then what's the good news?!

Cosmo: I found a nickel!

A trope most easily employed with two or more characters who are in a Good News, Bad News scenario. After breaking the overwhelmingly bad news to the other, the messenger helpfully relays the good news: a Breathless Non-Sequitur that has nothing to do with the dire situation. This usually results in effectively crushing the raised spirits of the receiver(s).

Maybe the messenger was just fulfilling his role as the comic relief, maybe he's a Jerkass with a really mean-spirited sense of humor, or maybe he's The Ditz and was thoroughly convinced that his piece of good news was every bit well placed. Whatever the case, the receiver is usually anything but amused.

A related trope is Bad News in a Good Way. Also compare No Sympathy and The One Thing I Don't Hate About You.

Examples of Bad News, Irrelevant News include:


Commercials

  • A GEICO[1] campaign (the former trope namer, as it happens) from a few years back used this trope. Spots would feature a person in a rather difficult situation becoming hopeful upon being told that there is good news. However, the good news in question was always "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO", which of course was of no use whatsoever to the person hearing those words.
  • In Brazil, Banco Real had ads that usually dealt with something that was irrelevant or went wrong. Then one character: "But that doesn't matter. What matters is that Banco Real gives you ten days of credit without interest".
  • In Poland, there is a series of commercials with a big asteroid closing to Earth to wipe out all life, and when the people ask the superhero for help, he answers "There is nothing I can do, but there are free SMS in 36,6 forever" making everyone cheer.
  • A series of Sprint commercials has the setup of a pair of people, one of whom has just received bad news (A football player with a career-ending injury, a guy whose girlfriend that is sitting across from him is breaking up with him) and they repeatedly ask questions while the other people say irrelevant stuff about their phone in the rudest way possible.

Anime And Manga

  • Being something of a Jerkass with a grudge, FBI agent Victor decides to deliver news of Firo's sentence this way at the beginning of Baccano's Alice In Jails arc. The Bad News: Firo's going to Alcatraz. The Good News: with his looks, he's probably going to be very popular there.

Film

Live Action TV

  • The trope namer comes from the last episode of Season One of The Office:

 David Brent: Um, well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is: Neil will be taking over both branches and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon. Yeah, I know, I know. On a more positive note, the good news is I've been promoted! So, every cloud... You're still thinking about the bad news, aren't you?

Malcolm: There's no good news, David! There's only bad news and irrelevant news!

    • Particularly noteworthy in that not only is he called out on his "good news", but he genuinely thinks it should be considered as such, and desperately tries to convince them as such.
  • In an unusual case of it actually cheering someone up for a moment, in Farscape, D'Argo uses this tactic when John's about to be frozen as a statue for eighty years:

 John: Aw, this is not happening. Just feel free to wake me up any time, D'Argo.

D'Argo: Well, now, I can only speak truth. And that comes as good and bad news.

John: All right, give me the bad news first.

D'Argo: The bad news is that you're married and you must endure as a statue for 80 cycles on a strange world.

John: What's the good news?

D'Argo: Chiana and I are having fantastic sex.

  • A highly surreal edge-case from Twin Peaks: Agent Cooper is blessed in a prescient dream with the good news that "that chewing gum you like is coming back in style".
  • Dave Chappelle does this in his spoof of P. Diddy's Making the Band.

  "The bad news is I'm closing down the studio. The good news... is I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico." (He then raises his arms and his security guards bear him off like royalty.)

  • A comedian from The Tonight Show was talking to Manny Ramirez c. 2003. He mentioned that the Red Sox hadn't won a World Series in 85 years. "But you know what the good news is? I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance."
  • From an episode of Hustle: the bad news is, the castle the team is pretending to have for sale is open to the public until 7, and The Mark is coming at 6 to look at it. The good news: if they buy a 6 month pass to said castle, they get a free ice cream.

Video Games

  • Somewhat cruelly subverted in the first chapter of Mother 3 by telling the good news first in a horribly misguided attempt to soften the blow. After a search to find a family lost in the woods after a storm, Bronson comes back from a search and declares something to the effect of "The good news is I've just found a fang that would make a great weapon -- the bad news is that it was pierced through your wife's heart". He is quite rightly walloped for this. This is all Played for Drama.
  • Inverted in the first Modern Warfare, where Gaz's "good news" is there's a civil war in Russia, with Ultranationalist rebels against government loyalists. The bad news is a new guy's joining them.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • From Dragon Ball Abridged, the end of "Bardock: Father of Goku" has Nappa telling young Vegeta that their home planet has been destroyed. "But the good news is, we're going to DAIRY QUEEN!!"

Western Animation

 Dr. Rip: Cosmo, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is I'm doing a tee off at 2:30!

Wanda: Uh, hello? Bad news.

Dr. Rip: Oh, right. The part about you.

-or-

Dr. Rip: It's me, Dr. Rip Studwell, with bad news and good news. The bad news is if we don't perform the fagiggly transplant soon, it's going to be too late.

Timmy: What's the good news?

Dr. Rip: I'm three under par after nine holes! See, at least one of us is happy!

Notes

  1. The largest car insurance in the US. For non-Americans, it's easier to note that it's the company that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway got the money to do all the investments.
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