"This guy has walked out of a venue and collapsed in the middle of a public bar. His best mate who's the only doctor in the building has been picked up and carried away by security. His girlfriend has stepped over his prone body to ask me for an autograph. And now Bart Simpson is telling him to come away from the light! THAT IS SURREAL!"
Something that's so bizarre and inexplicable that it's funny. This is a strange version of Crossing the Line Twice: It takes talent (or luck) to make something so mind screwy and WTF-inducing that it makes you laugh.
Almost every comedy in history has used this at least a few times. It's usually mixed in with other Comedy Tropes, and an undercurrent of it can be felt througout many shows. However, some take it above and beyond any sense of normalcy.
There are several genres dedicated to this trope. It's the main selling point of Gag Series, surreal comedy and Dada Comics, and a main feature of Post Modern comedy. This type of humor has exploded in all forms with the rise of the internet; many memes take this form.
This trope often overlaps with So Bad It's Good, especially when a work falls into this by accident.
Surreal Humor can be created using Bathos.
- This is practically the calling card of Hiroyuki Imaishi (Dead Leaves, Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt)
- Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo is the very essence of this trope. Summary?: A man who can communicate with all body hair sets out on a quest to stop the bald overlord from "bald-ifying" everyone on the planet. Bo-bobo fights many bizarre enemies along the way, but explaining it can't do it justice.
- Excel Saga and Puni Puni Poemi. Come to think of it, Shinichi Watanabe's hair probably counts too, in some way.
- Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Cromartie High School
- Super Milk-chan
- Pani Poni Dash!
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- There once was a Disney Comics series Goofy as [insert historical person here] (from Italy, I think). Mainly it was the life story of a famous man, retold as The Theme Park Version, with Goofy as Leonardo da Vinci / Marco Polo / Casanova / whomever, Mickey as his sidekick, Pete as an antagonistic character and occasionally other Disney characters too. But inbetween, this series often brought sheer absurd gags which weren't commented or lampshaded: A royal guard driving a unicycle, a woman wearing a fried egg on her hat, a spaghetti salesman making his noodles dance, just like a snake charmer... lots of it.
- Cabin Fever's infamous "pancakes" scene combines this with a dash of So Bad It's Good.
- That kid actually comes back later in the film when seen by the main character who is dying in a hospital. The kid is with a man in a bunny costume who is holding a plate full of... PANCAKES. And he has syrup in the other hand! According to the end credits, said bunnyman is played by "We'll Never Tell".
- It's not unexpected that the fevered protagonist might be hallucinating, but it's still jarring that it's presented as such a surreal alligator moment. No visual artifacts, no other hallucinations, just a giant, quickly-glimpsed rabbit.
- A popular Light Bulb Joke is:
Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
- Of course you could put in your own surreal item. A longer punchline to the same joke is:
Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to hold the giraffe and the other two to fill the bathtub with brightly colored power tools.
- Or forget the lightbulb
Q: How many surrealists can you fit in a dishwasher?
A: None, doghouses don't fly. (Duh.)
- Or a non-surrealist related one:
Q: How many ducks does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: The defense rests.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Alice in Wonderland runs on a combination of this, Satire, and Affectionate Parody of Victorian Moralism.
- John Hodgman's Complete World Knowledge series has this in spades, though it manages to remain intellectual throughout. In fact, most of the humor comes the juxtaposition of incredibly bizarre happenings with an utterly deadpan presentation.
- In That Mitchell and Webb Look the "Numberwang" sketches rely on this. A gameshow that adheres to no comprehensible rules, but which appears to mostly consist of saying random numbers. And everything not related to the game itself is equally bizarre.
Host: Joining me tonight are Julie, who's from Yorkshire, and Simon, who's from a factory and made of a special metal. So, Julie, ever killed a man?
Host: Great! Let's play Wordwang!
- This is par for the course on Monty Python's Flying Circus. Some good examples include the "Science Fiction Sketch", which is about a race of blancmanges from the Andromeda Galaxy who come to Earth and turn nearly everybody in England into Scotsmen so they can become tennis champions, and are only thwarted by being eaten by a seemingly-insignificant couple introduced near the start of the episode who turned out to also be aliens, and the Running Gag of ending sketches by having a knight come out and hit people on the head with a rubber chicken.
- Green Wing has moments like this most noteably when Sue White manually takes Mac's sperm whilst he's in a coma so she can have his baby and gives birth to a baby lion. Most of the other scenes involving Sue White are also surreal.
- There is an episode where doctors create a human pyramid at different windows throughout the episode to show a picture of Jesus' face to confuse everybody.
- Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is made entirely of this trope.
- This Is Jinsy seems to be another one.
- Danger 5 has a bit of this. For one thing, the team, upon returning to base, receive a dressing-down from their boss, who happens to have an eagle's head. They later get attacked by Nazi apes, and stumble across a rock band in tropical Antarctica composed of hipster Neanderthals.
- The Mighty Boosh, of course. Noel Fielding gave the probably most accurate definition of the series: "If Dali made a show, hopefully it would look like this."
- The video for The Avalanches' "Frontier Psychiatrist". A geriatric hip-hop group lip-syncs to old movie clips while the lyrics are illustrated by almost everything imaginable? Oh hell yes.
- Some works by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band ("Doo Dah" was originally "Dada"), who appeared in the pre-Python show Do Not Adjust your Set and were cited by Eric Idle as a major influence on Python's surrealism.
- Founder Bonzo Vivian Stanshall went on to record solo songs and comic monologues which were, if anything, even weirder.
- Another singer/raconteur in similar vein was Scotland's Ivor Cutler.
- Frank Zappa, when he isn't being just plain surreal.
- Radiohead released a DVD called "The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time," which, among other things, features hilariously surreal interviews with the band members.
- Jon Lajoie song F**k Everything gives us:
I don't even give a fuck about "not giving a fuck"
So I do give a fuck
I don't give a fuck.
- The entire basis of the YouTube Poop phenomenon.
- Charlie the Unicorn and any video by Film Cow
- Just to recap on what videos they've done. A sentient cloak who fights communism with his disembodied head sidekick Robert Mitchum, A mad scientist who is in love with a swiffer mop and sends an elephant to hell in the name of science, two hat-wearing llamas who argue about ethics (one of which is a cannibal), and a civilization of spatulas at war with evil spoons and the closest thing said spatulas have to an afterlife is "new France". And that's just scratching the surface.
- Marshmallow People is about two marshmallow people. As if that wasn't weird enough, they ride on a flying otter to go visit triangle man.
- Marshmallow People 2 is even weirder: it ends with Triangle Man dying and turning into a tree and both marshmallow people transforming into inaminate marshmallows. And so Triangle Girl wins!
- The Let's Player Raocow lives for this trope (and Talkative Loon). When not being overly frustrated by the difficult levels that he plays, his commentary is so bizarre that it becomes hilarious.
- Jittery Dragon's videos all fall into this, the exact opposite of The Land Before Time sequels it mocks. The Dinosaur Train parody verges on Surreal Horror as well.
- The College Humor guys dip into this at times.
- Most of Megan Amram's funniest moments.
- Swedish comedian Henrik Elmér is all about this.
- Much of Steven Wright's classic material edges into, and sometimes stands firmly, in this territory, such as the joke about accidentally putting his car key in his house door lock, and starting it up.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- robotfindskitten, while allegedly being "zen", is arguably all about the bizarre, meta-referencing "non-kitten objects" you can find. Some are just plain Pythonesque. Samples include: "A livery stable! Get your livery!", "It's the horizon. Now THAT's weird.", and "Look, it's Fanny the Irishman!".
Web Original[edit | hide]
- Garry's Mod videos like this  and this 
- Awesome in Kansattica is like this sometimes.
- Lauren's Cartoons fall very nicely into this category; it helps that the writer (and narrator) is five.
- Sad Panda Q and A, although anything he does tends to be as strange as a tropes entry on Sad Panda Q and A.
- The fake "Previously On..." segments on Atop the Fourth Wall take this form.
- The ASDF Movies by TomSka combine this trope with Rapid-Fire Comedy. There're currently five "movies" out.
- Nyan Cat and a lot of other stuff you'll find on YouTube.
- Like YouTube Poop?
- Homestar Runner has this kinda stuff all over the place. The email virus notably, begins with Strong Bad getting an email comprised of demented code, which mocks him when he tries to delete it, and get weirder throughout the toon.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force by its very nature (a rambling, nonsensically-titled show in which the three main characters are animated fast-food items) is built on this trope. Specific examples include the deranged Dr. Weird and his "experiments" that include demanding that his assistant chop off his head so hard that the High-Pressure Blood propels his body to Phoenix, and one episode which featured bacteria that infect Master Shake for the purpose of performing bad theater productions in his brain.
- Most Adult Swim original programs exhibit this in varying degrees, from "wacky" to "What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?".
- The spiritual father of these shows, Space Ghost Coast to Coast started out as campy parody but especially in the latter half of the series tilted heavily into this camp. Often, Space Ghost seems barely interested in doing his job as a talk show host and if it makes him look bad in the process, Zorak and Moltar are there to help him.
- Adventure Time, a show about a thirteen year old boy and his best friend who is also a dog with elasticity powers fighting multiple threats to their kingdom, comprised almost entirely of talking candy, at the behest of a princess made of bubblegum, makes a living off of this kind of humor.
- God of Chaos Discord, from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic of all things, thrives off this trope whenever he's not falling into Surreal Horror. Notable moment: he conjures a glass out of thin air, summons a cotton candy cloud raining chocolate milk, and the glass fills... from top to bottom. Then he drinks the glass. Without the milk. He tosses the chocolate milk behind him, and it explodes for no fathomable reason. See for yourself.