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“Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true. Just remember that the last laugh is on you,” sang Eric Idle in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Whatever else happens and in whatever ways we’re all different from each other, there is one common experience we will all inevitably have. And to calm some of that existential dread, we’ve compiled some funny epitaphs from actual tombstones.

This humorous selection features some last laughs from people that were undoubtedly funny during their lifetime. And to find out more about how to approach death with humor, Bored Panda reached out to Jason Roeder, the author of Griefstrike! The Ultimate Guide To Mourning.

Freud claimed that only the mature can appreciate the true value of dark humor. In some cases, perhaps it has more to do with the context the jokes are told in. Dr. Marilyn A. Mendoza says that death itself isn’t funny. It’s rather the situations before and after that we may find humorous.

Bored Panda spoke to Jason Roeder, the author of Griefstrike! The Ultimate Guide To Mourning, to learn more about the art of balancing humor when dealing with such a sensitive topic as death. Roeder’s book is hilarious, but he doesn’t veer into the realm of inappropriate. He managed to craft a handbook on grief with nuance so that it’s often not only funny, but emotionally moving as well.

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Found In Biddeford, Maine

Found In Biddeford, Maine

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Sebastian J.
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She seems like a fighter, who had a good life and was able to look back at the challenges she overcame. At any rate I hope this was the case.

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Jason is a veteran at nuanced humor, being a former senior editor and senior writer at The Onion and a contributor to The New Yorker, so maybe that should come as no surprise. Yet his insights into approaching grief with humor are still surprisingly poignant.

Most of us have in one way or another experienced that joking can act as a buffer between the negative effects of stress. The same goes for grief: even bereavement groups ask their members to share humorous stories involving their passed loved ones. It’s part of the grieving process where one has to learn how to live and laugh again.

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Adams To Atoms

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Saw This Beauty At The Los Angeles Pet Cemetery

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Jason also believes that approaching death with humor helps to protect oneself. “It might be some of the best armor we have against it,” he says. “Not against death itself, of course. We're all losers in that regard, but against the dread of it. We can't beat it, we're all going down hard eventually, but we can make our inevitable defeat slightly less humiliating.”

#8

Honestly, The Best Tombstone I've Ever Seen

Honestly, The Best Tombstone I've Ever Seen

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That’s not to say that when dealing with death all you can do is laugh at it. Certain boundaries still remain. “I guess the worst thing you can do is make assumptions about where someone's at in their grieving process,” says Jason. “I'd never give my book to someone unless I had a sense that they were ready for it, that they could handle a bunch of jokes of varying quality.”

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Sucks To Be Me

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The unknown is one of the hardest concepts to grasp and come to terms with when it comes to death. We’re scared of the uncertainty, and the more we try to understand or make sense of it, the more complicated it becomes. “I don't think there's very much at all that can make death actually make sense,” deliberates Jason.

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I Do Work For Cemeteries And This Is One Of The More Bizzare Quotes I've Seen On A Headstone

I Do Work For Cemeteries And This Is One Of The More Bizzare Quotes I've Seen On A Headstone

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Oh Well

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Nicole Weymann
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Following "misspelled tattoos" I'm waiting for the "misspelled headstones" category on BP.

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“But humor can make you feel better because it can connect you with the person who died or other people who are also grieving for that person,” somewhat optimistically reflects Jason. “The fact that none of it makes sense is kind of beside the point, which is good because we're never getting those answers.”

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A Cemetery Is The Last Place I Thought I'd Get Rick Rolled

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#17

Rodney Dangerfield's Funny Tombstone

Rodney Dangerfield's Funny Tombstone

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This Tombstone On A Beach Graveyard

This Tombstone On A Beach Graveyard

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Coming back to Freud’s idea behind appreciating dark humor, Jason doesn’t think that one has to have an appreciation of dark humor in order to find death funny. “I'm not sure you have to be a fan of dark humor in your entertainment choices. I just think death puts you in a dark place by default, and humor's there to help you climb out or just sit in that dark place with you as your ridiculous companion,” he adds.

Not so long ago, HuffPost wrote about how it’s not necessarily wrong to laugh about death and how humor helps grief. It features a story about LA-based comedian Alyssa Limperis, whose comedy special was focused on the passing of her father. “A lot of what we all do every day is avoid thinking about death because it’s so scary and big,” Limperis told HuffPost. “Comedy just helps to be like, ‘Well, we don’t have to go all the way there if we don’t want. We can just laugh and joke about it a little.’”

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Grave Of An Unknown Man Who Died Eating Library Paste. Goldfield Nevada Pioneer Cemetery

Grave Of An Unknown Man Who Died Eating Library Paste. Goldfield Nevada Pioneer Cemetery

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Hannahar
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What is library paste? Worked in a library (UK) - I've never heard of it!

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TikTok can also be a platform for grieving people to come together and share their experiences with a dash of dark humor. Ironically, the reactions from people calling that kind of content offensive are often from those who haven’t experienced loss themselves. 

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Went In The Hole With This One

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Jesse Moss, who runs the account Experience Camps, told HuffPost: “The joke is showing you that you’re hurting in a way. Yes, it’s poking fun a little bit, but it’s also a call to other people who have been there to say, like, ‘I see you. Do you see me?’ So I think it’s helpful... And if that’s your way of coping, I’m here for it. I know it’s mine.”

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#28

This Is My Favorite Gravestone In The Cemetery I Mow. I Am Amused Easily

This Is My Favorite Gravestone In The Cemetery I Mow. I Am Amused Easily

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I Chuckle Every Time I Go To The Cemetery

I Chuckle Every Time I Go To The Cemetery

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A Match Made In Heaven. Taken In A Graveyard In My Town

A Match Made In Heaven. Taken In A Graveyard In My Town

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Note: this post originally had 84 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

Maybe a funny epitaph on your grave can be a way to fill up that void that is left in the hearts of your loved ones. So, pandas, don’t be afraid to have a little chuckle at these funny epitaphs from some formerly alive funny people. Think of it this way: at least they don’t have to worry about taxes anymore.