What are situations that can seem both funny and sad, depending on how you describe them?

What are some situations that may initially seem funny but turn out to be sad, or situations that may initially seem sad but turn out to be funny?

I have a final short story project in class, and I'm trying to come up with ideas. This isn't the assignment (funny to sad, sad to funny), but it's something I've always wanted to attempt. I have plenty of ideas for stories that shift from happy to sad, but not so much funny to sad. The only thing I have experience with is taking depressing/serious situations and phrasing them in way that makes them sound funny. But I'm interested in trying something a little different.

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level 1
· 6y
I'd go with something like, say, a bad date. The date can go so badly that it's a hilarious story to tell, but then when the story ends and you realize that it's yet another bad date in four years of bad dates and the person involved is really starting to get depressed over the whole thing, even though (s)he can still tell the story in a funny manner and find humor in the series of events of each particular, bad date. I imagine this could work in reverse as well, in some way or another - starting off a story being depressed about being lonely / getting a divorce, but then as the story of the "last date" or "moving out" or whatever starts getting told, it ends up being a ridiculous, hilarious story.


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Op · 6y

That's actually pretty good! You could apply it to thinks like a job interview as well.


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level 1
· 6y

getting hit in the nuts by a ball... any kind of ball, tennis, soccer, football.

Very funny, until someone loses a nut and can't have kids.


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Op · 6y

I laughed when I read this.


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· 6y

Literally anything.

Woman gets hit by a bus.

Little boy falls down a manhole.

Man taunts a lion at the zoo and loses a hand.

For some better examples, read Kurt Vonnegut or watch movies directed by Todd Solondz. Horrible, horrible things happen and you laugh the whole way.


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level 1
· 6y

You see your friend (who has been avoiding you for some reason..) in the most horrific bad haircut you ever witnessed, or will witness. Xe is practically bald. Xe then asks if xe looks that bad, and you can't hold it in any longer. You laugh until you can't stand. Your friend awkwardly laughs along with you. Then a few days later, xe reveals to you that xe has cancer.....

That's the darkest I can think of. Or you find out that your friend drunkenly slept with another male.. Then his family disowns him for it. Or your friend does the most fantastic fall you have ever seen.. And breaks xis neck.

(I used Xe as an easier way of saying he/she)

Also, try listening to the Ebola la la song. You'll feel bad for laughing at something so offensive, but you can't help it.


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Op · 6y

Those are pretty good!


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· 6y

I'm a huge fan of this kind of writing, so I'll give you my theory on what makes it work:

The "sad" comes mostly from the plot, a bleak plot line with little hope for change (narrator just can't get over alcoholism, narrator is going to continue being lonely, etc.), or a big change that will devestate (divorce, death of a child, etc.); these are the two most common directions, but of course that's not all of the ways it could go.

The "funny" comes from the way this situation is presented to us. People act strange, especially in sad or stressful situations, so let this come out. People also say things that don't really make sense or aren't consistent, especially in sad or stressful situations. People also have very odd ways of rationalizing things. All of these quirks can be used to heighten the humor in a piece, and—if you do it right—won't detract from the emotional poignancy of the sadness. They can exist in harmony.

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Hopefully that explanation makes sense. Here's some examples of short stories with this sort of "funny-sad" style that I enjoy a lot, and maybe you will, too.