gallows humor

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gallows humor

Humor that aims to make grim subjects, like death, funny or comical. (A "gallows" is the wooden frame from which criminals were traditionally hanged.) A: "Why would he say a morbid thing like that?" B: "Oh, that's just how Uncle Ned is—he's prone to gallows humor."
See also: humor

gallows humor

Grim ironical humor about a serious subject. The term dates from the late 1800s and alludes to joking about being taken to the gallows and hanged. When President Barack Obama was asked why he laughed when talking about the bad state of the world economy, he replied, with a laugh, “There’s gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day” (Sixty Minutes, March 22, 2009).
See also: humor
References in periodicals archive ?
growing momentum ten years weight that old have a trophy The last been and Pep at and football, Some of the old Blues seem to have lost their sense of gallows humour Stuart Brennan
Death narrates this creepy, yet subtle story, through uses of gallows humour and snappy language.
The Chronicle reported: "The gallows humour chant of the United fans reverberated around the city, 'We nearly won the league, we nearly won the league'."
Rashford's firsttime strike settled an uninspiring clash at Old Trafford, where the gallows humour of Villa's travelling support was the main entertainment.
Throughout the game fans then opted for some gallows humour with a round of: "You're not that special, we lose every week" directed at home supporters.
The slasher-pic 80s is revived with gallows humour as resonant as deputy Dewey's dopey ringtone.
Either way, for Elizabeth Quinn (MyAnna Buring) and Tommy Barrett (Julian Rhind Tutt) this ultimate test of their love makes for a hugely suspenseful first instalment, with much gallows humour between Barrett and fellow convict James Freeman (Russell Tovey).
Shot through with very Glaswegian gallows humour, Divided is not an easy watch, but as an insight into the psyche of a fascinatingly complex character such as RD Laing, Ian Pattison's play is a remarkable achievement.
The gallows humour set against the reality of life in the trenches showed exactly why the men needed to find something to laugh about.
He successfully illustrates the bond that exists amongst these men, which is a fertile ground for gallows humour.
The film is a grimy metaphor for sickness and stupidity; a great piece of storytelling with a restrained balance of laidback chat and canny visual outbursts, and a delicious thread of gallows humour running through it.
Funerals crop up quite a bit in Liz's rather melancholy output, and although she is inspired by the maudlin, she serves her songs with a big smattering of gallows humour.
"A relationship between humour and aggression may also help explain the enjoyment of practical jokes, 'gallows humour' and the humour of verbal combat, whether over the dinner table or on the football terrace, where its enjoyment can relate to the discomfort it causes," Professor Shuster added.
Stephane Sessegnon's pinpoint 20-yard effort and Cristian Riveros' stoppage-time third sealed the victory in the second half, during which the Hammers fans demonstrated their gallows humour with more than one ironic conga.
His satire on pagan gods (City of God 4.8-12) is hilarious, while gallows humour suffuses his anecdote (Concern for the Dead 12.15) of the man who died and went to heaven only to be sent back because the celestial officials had the right name but wrong person--thereby anticipating the Hollywood movie Heaven Can Wait.