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 "Here lies the body of Johnathan Blake,

Stepped on the gas instead of the brake"

Gravestones should generally be somber or reflective, so in fiction, it's often to put funny epitaphs on them. It could be a poem or a record or suggestion of an ironic/strange death.For example "Paul E. Nate - A wonderful husband, father and florist." This is especially common in video games, as the player may blindly ignore the graveyard, or be too busy fighting zombies. Can be used to as a Shout-Out or a Take That, often suggesting the fate of a character from another, rival work. Can be an example of Truth in Television. Related to, but not to be confused with, Black Comedy.

Examples of Grave Humor include:


Film

  • In The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the MacManus Brothers, Connor and Murphy, visit the grave of their friend and partner, Rocco. As they silently pray, Murphy notices that the picture on the tomb is Rocco's mugshot, and that a painted-out police arm is holding his long hair up out of his face in a ridiculous fashion. All reverence quickly disappears.
  • In Rango, there's a brief shot of the town's cemetery, featuring a cluster of graves belonging to former sheriffs. Some of them have humorous epitaphs, including "Hold my beer and watch this" and "He's Dead, Jim".


Theme Parks

  • The tombstones outside of The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney Theme Parks.
    • The Lonesome Manor in Epic Mickey, which is based on this ride, has them as well.
  • The train ride at Six Flags over Atlanta in the late 1970s had a tombstone hidden among the weeds: "I Tole You I Wuz Sick!"


Live Action TV

  • The Catherine Tate Show featured the extremely popular character of Lauren Cooper, a mouthy schoolgirl whose catchphrase is "Am I bovvered?" (bothered). In the 2007 Christmas special, she is kayaking and says this to a man who warns her to stay away from a particular stretch of water. She ignores his advice, and is killed when her boat goes over a waterfall. Her friends are then seen standing by her tombstone, which is inscribed with the words "I still ain't bovvered".
  • As always, there is an example from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Buffy dies at the end of season 5, her tombstone reads Buffy Anne Summers, beloved sister, devoted friend. She saved the world. A lot.
  • In Greg the Bunny, Count Blah (who has a Verbal Tic of saying "blah" after sentences) visited the grave of his wife, which reads, "Beloved Wife, Blah. R.I.P.B."
  • In the reunion movie The Wild Wild West Revisited, James West and Artemus Gordon are shown the grave of their arch-nemesis Migelito Loveless, as made by Migelito's son: A Rushmore-sized carving of the man's last name in the side of a mountain, with tiny little plots staked out for the two heroes in its shadow.
  • In Blackadder Goes Forth, Blackadder says he wishes his tombstone to be inscribed:

 Here lies Edmund Blackadder,

And he's bloody annoyed.

  • In Friends, Phoebe once mentions that she wants her epitaph to be "Phoebe Buffay, Buried Alive".


Video Games

  • Sam and Max in Night of The Raving Dead
  • Final Fantasy I had a tombstone reading, "Here lies Erdrick," after the hero (well, hero's ancestor) of competing game company Enix's Dragon Quest I.
    • In the original Japanese version and the Dawn of Souls English translation, the tombstone read "here lies Link".
  • Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura had these in every graveyard in the game, with inscriptions like. "I told you I was sick!" "Here lies an atheist all dressed up and no place to go." "Quoeth thy Raven nevermore." "Hey who blew out the candle? Hello?" and "There was a light at the end of the tunnel, unfortunately that light was a train."
    • There was also a hidden 'Fan Graveyard' as an Easter Egg, where forum members familiar to the devs were eulogized.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day had some fun with raunchy Punny Names; R. Sole is an example.
  • Primal had Jen smash a tombstone that read 'RIP Laura Croft 2003' as a Take That to Tomb Raider. The game came out in 2003, obviously.
  • Can be found in Monkey Island 2 Le Chucks Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island and Tales of Monkey Island.
  • Fallout 2 has a number of these, including the "four slugs from a .44" example below.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion had a whole graveyard of these in its expansion pack, with new tombstones added with each dead character, regardless of involvment in the main storyline. Every new Sheothian has a unique narrative regarding their personality on their tombstones.
    • The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire had another whole graveyard of these, and this graveyard was referenced to in The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard.
  • Neverwinter Nights has a tombstone that reads along the lines of "Here lies X, who scoffed at the warnings of lesser men and built this fine tower. He discovered his error a few weeks later. Beware of trolls."
  • The graveyard in Nashkel in the first Baldur's Gate game is full of these, including an Easter Egg that'll trigger a Bonus Boss fight if you click on it too many times.
    • Baldur's Gate beats this one to death in one town. You get things like "Here lies X, who was killed by (long list of summonable creatures)" followed by the Latin for "do not call up what you cannot put down", implying that this was a hapless summoner who didn't know what he was getting into.
      • Dave F. Slain by 13 Gibberlings, 4 Kobolds, 6 Ogres and 2 Dire Wolves. Ne invoces expellere non possis. (Do not call up that you cannot put down)
  • The city of Haven in Dragon Age: Origins has a graveyard filled with humorous tombstones, including some Shout Outs to others on the the page. ("Sensal Gaheris: 775-798, 798-801, 801-805, 805-807, 807-809 (VERIFIED), 'BEST TAX EVADER EVER' -- CH")
    • Also in those graves, is "T.O. Hanoi". Anyone whose played cx or Mass Effect will know of Bioware's fondness for Tower of Hanoi puzzles. Anyone who has played "Knights of the Old Republic" or "Mass Effect" will breathe a sigh of relief upon viewing that tombstone.
  • The Imperial City's graveyard in Jade Empire also has a few Mythology Gags and Shout Outs on the gravestones.
  • See also the Cartoon Network Web game Scooby Doo and the Hollywood Horror.
  • Used in Quest for Glory IV, with numerous "graveyard humor" jokes scattered beyond the tombstones.
    • And Quest for Glory I, for that matter.
    • Not to mention Igor, who is a veritable walking fountain of graveyard humor.
  • Also seen in King's Quest VII. Here's a video.
  • Dungeons and Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun has these.
  • Fable has many of these. Most using the rhyming pun. The deceased tend to be people who worked on the game.
  • Betrayal at Krondor had a mix of ordinary and humorous quips on the gravestones, and you were also able to dig up the graves. Most graves had nothing special, some had hidden items hinted at by the eulogy (for example, a gravestone reading "Drank his milk every day" hid a few vials of milk), and some had "The fiend beneath this stone is trapped by dirt, not by death": Zombies!
  • Most people who played Oregon Trail as a kid put "pepperoni and cheese" on their tombstones. The others put profanities on theirs.
  • The PC game Sacred does this, including such epitaphs as "And he said, 'How long will the flying spell last?'" and the fourth-wall breaking "For the ultimate cheat of void, enter DOS, type 'format C:\' and enter."
  • Nethack. There are randomly generated graves with these.
    • "Og friend. Og good dude. Og died. Og now food."
    • Plus loads more, and several places add more to the file (nethack.alt.org has a massive collection).
  • Ultima V, VI and VII had a number of puns on grave stones.
  • In Veil of Darkness, the graveyard is filled with these, including one G. Threepwood and how woefully he was under for 11 minutes.
  • Chapter 5 of StarTropics 2: Zoda's Revenge takes place in a Wild West setting, where you can find several humorous (and rhyming) epitaphs in a local mining town. "Here lies Lucky Larry. His luck ran out and now he's buried."
  • Sanitarium has plenty, mostly for developers. There's also the grave of Joseph Bruener, a character from War Wind II (a game which Sanitarium's developers had previously worked on).
    • "This one says Travis W. Nice Goddamn Cat..." Granted, this was on a level that's basically a mangled bunch of all the previous levels, so randomness like this is expected.
  • Mother 3 has a Hurricane of Puns of "grave" puns. Also, a "NO ZOMBIES ALLOWED" sign at the cemetery entrance.
  • Mortal Kombat 3 features tombstones of the game's developers, as well as one reading "Cage", presumably a reference to Johnny Cage, the character who died before the events of the game.
  • Neopets' first Video Game release, Neopets: The Darkest Faerie, lets you read the unusually jovial tombstones around crypts.
  • Shadow Warrior has a hidden tombstone that says "Chan — He Slipped in the Shower".
  • John Marston has "Blessed are the Peacemakers." As in Colt Peacemakers.
  • Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories' Staunton graveyard is chucked full of these. Hilariously, it becomes increasingly populated as your protagonist kills off selected characters throughout the storyline.
    • On a more minor note, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas features "R.I.P. Opposition" tombstones at a San Fierro memorial, referring to the rivalry between Rockstar North and developers of "GTA clones".
  • In the Xbox Indie game Doom & Destiny, there are a bunch of these in the graveyard underneath Ben's house.


Webcomics

  • Eugene Greenhilt's tombstone in Order of the Stick, in addition to listing his many dates of death and resurrection, reads, "Master Wizard, Devoted Husband, Passable Father". (He was lucky to get that much. They probably averaged out his treatment of Roy and Julia) Other visible tombstones display similar humor ("Bloodmak the Unholy: Not coming back as a vampire. Honest.")
  • A staple of the webcomic Unlife Is Unfair, particularly the name puns like "Dustin Dewinn" and "Rick R. Mortis".
  • In Girl Genius, a visit to the Crypt of the Heterodynes reveals many amusing epitaphs. Perhaps most interesting is the tomb of Lazarus Heterodyne, with half a dozen dates crossed out.
    • As well as Iscariot Heterodyne, "Every Man's Friend". The pile of skulls next to the crypt has labels like "Friend #115".
  • Happens frequently in The Comic Adventures of Left & Right. The grave usually reads something pertinent to the last thing a character was doing.


Web Original

 I hope to God that when I die, my tombstone reads something like "Here Lies The Cinema Snob. He once reviewed Troll 4 with Phelous"


Western Animation

  • Hey Arnold did this with a Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion.
  • The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper did this in the credit sequence, with the tombstones featuring Just for Pun jokes. Sometimes they varied things with jokes like a tombstone reading "I'm with stupid" next to another tombstone reading, "I'm stupid".
  • The opening titles of several of The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episodes.
    • The last one to use them actually had a tombstone reading "Amusing Tombstones", signaling the retirement of the gag.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode where Mr. Krabs goes to a graveyard to dig up a million-dollar hat. Squidward was mourning at a tombstone and when Mr. Krabs came to see who it was, he sees that the engraving reads "Here lie Squidwards hopes and dreams." In the same graveyard, there's "Diver Dan", whose tombstone has carved scuba gear on it; "Stupid" next to "I'm With Stupid", complete with pointing hand, and most importantly, the "#1" shaped tombstone of Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen, whose name extends off the name plaque.
  • Beavis and Butthead in their parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: 'Here lies Beavis, he never scored.'


Literature

  • Happens once in Messieurs les enfants by Daniel Pennac.


Real Life

  "Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a .44, no Les, no more."

  • In a Silver City, Nevada Boot Hill:

  "Here lies Butch. We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, but slow on the draw."

  • Comedian W.C. Fields used to say that he wanted his gravestone to read, "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." Sadly, it doesn't.
  • Older Than You Think: Ambrose Bierce has examples of humorous epitaphs in The Devil's Dictionary, such as "Sacred to the memory of Jeremiah Tree. Cut down May 9th, 1862, aged 27 yrs. 4 mos. and 12 ds. Indigenous."

 Here lies the late Senator Vrooman

Whose head was as hard as the heart of a woman

Whose heart was as hard as the head of a hammer

Dame Fortune inspired him to eminence, damn her!

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