If comedy equals tragedy plus time, it’s no surprise that the announcement of death tends to fall on the unfunny side of that equation. But while the Obits section of a newspaper may not be the first place you’d go for a laugh, a few exceptions exist that prove the rich comedic potential of these notices.
Whether written as a last laugh by the deceased, a posthumous jab by a family member, or a shot in the dark by a complete stranger, the playful obituary shows that reacting to death doesn’t need to be a slog through reflective “condolences.” Here are some of our favorite sections from history’s most hilarious obituaries:
“There isn’t enough space here to list all of the women from Freddie’s past. There isn’t enough space in the Bloomingdale phone book. A few of the more colorful ones were Momma Margie, Crazy Pam, Big Tittie Wanda, Spacy Stacy and Sweet Melissa (he explained that nickname had nothing to do with her attitude). He attracted more women than a shoe sale at Macy’s.”
“He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words “veranda” and “porte cochere” to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil’s Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest…The family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord’s Time.”
“Pluto the planet, 76, died Thursday in Prague, Czech Republic, when it was killed by the International Astronomical Union — separated from the eight ‘classical planets’ and lumped in with two similarly sized ‘dwarf planets.'”
“Count Gottfried von Bismarck, who died on July 2, 2007, aged 44, was a louche German aristocrat with a multi-faceted history as a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies.”
“He was a small business owner in Kent, WA and loved his family, work, clients, traveling, the Seahawks and life. We blame the Seahawks lousy play call for Mike’s untimely demise.”
“Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones to tie gutters, child-proof cabinets, tie toilet flappers, or hang Christmas ornaments. Also: If a possum takes up residence in your shed, grab a barbecue brush to coax him out. If he doesn’t leave, brush him for twenty minutes and let him stay.”