Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sarcasm or irony.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Theme: Humor in film -- what makes me laugh:

Sarcasm or irony.

I get sarcasm and irony mixed up. Saying the opposite of what you mean is considered both sarcasm and irony, but sarcasm is typically used to put someone down. I'm not particularly fond of put-down humor in real life, but occasionally it makes me laugh.

A scene in The Emperor's New Groove (2000) shows a llama and a large man with their backs pressed against each other as they walk up the walls of a crevice. The llama tells the large guy, "It's a good thing you're not a big fat guy or this would be really difficult."

That's sarcasm. (And funny.)

But if I understand correctly, if those lines were reversed and the heavy guy said to the scrawny llama, "It's a good thing you're not a big fat guy..." that would be irony. (And I'd still laugh.)

In Zootopia (2016) a sloth bears the name Flash--Flash, Flash, the 100-yard Dash--and at the end of the film when the sloth gets pulled over for speeding in a sports car, it adds to the irony.

Roxanne (1987) has a memorable scene about irony. One night as Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) steps out to her porch, calling her cat, the door shuts and it's locked with her robe caught in it. She abandons her robe to try other doors and windows, to no avail. (Some bare skin shown, but no full nudity.)

She seeks help, and while standing behind a shrub at the fire station, she catches the attention of the fire chief, C. D. (Steve Martin) and explains about being locked out of her house.

I can get you back in.
Come on inside, I'll get some tools.

Um, I don't have any clothes on.

Uh, you want a coat or anything?

(rolls eyes)
No. I'd really like to stand naked
in this bush in the freezing cold.

C.D. fetches a toolbox, then walks on the shrub-lined sidewalk to her house while she dashes along on the opposite side of the shrubs, her bareness hidden.

Nobody had a coat?

I thought you said you didn't want a coat.

Why would I not want a coat?

You said you didn't want a coat.

I was being ironic.

Oh! Ha,ho... irony! Oh, no, no... 
We don't get that here. See, people
ski topless here while smoking dope,
so irony's not really a high priority.
We haven't had any irony here since
about, uh, '83 when I was the only
practitioner of it and I stopped
because I was tired of being stared at.

That scene cracks me up.

Is there a movie scene that you recall using sarcasm or irony for laughs?


  1. Melvin (Jack Nicholson) in As Good As It Gets is supremely sarcastic. A good film with great characters, acting, and dialogue.

  2. @Sue ... I'm not sure why I didn't think to possibly include some of Melvin's sarcastic remarks. As Good As It Gets is one of the few movies we own and keep in our library. Such a good movie with such great characters. Love it.