Theme Tuesday: Roleplaying Humor

Dungeons and Dragons has remained one of the world’s top roleplaying games since its initial release in 1977. The game’s massive influence on culture has now lasted for three generations, moving from pen and paper tabletop games at its origin to internet-based MMORPGs in the modern age – all infused with the original spirit of D&D. As with any huge cultural movement, D&D and its successors have spawned parodies, commentary and criticism. Today we’re going to look at the lighter side of roleplaying and D&D!


For Tax Reasons is composed of animators Ben Levin and Matt Burnett, writers currently on Steven Universe in 2014! In Ur Manger is their second film and their first animated film. Be sure to check out the response videos as well!


Eltingville is one of several abandoned Adult Swim pilot episodes. Eisner-winning comic artist Evan Dorkin based this 2002 pilot off his long running comic strip of the same name in his anthology series Dork! Dorkin also wrote many episodes of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. Theme music for the pilot was provided by The Aquabats. Eltingville was passed over for full production by Adult Swim, but has one of the highest obscure geek-to-signal ratios of references of any parody of its type. The full pilot is available on Youtube and for sale through Adult Swim’s site.

UNICORN CITY (trailer)

Not yet released, Unicorn City is currently shopping for studio distribution. It’s a romantic comedy about a group of live-action roleplay gamers who move to the mountains to create their own gaming city. Writer/director Bryan Lefler was the storyboard artist and script supervisor for cult film hit Napoleon Dynamite.


The Guild, since 2007, has been the project of gamer Felicia Day and has grown into a small empire of Microsoft supported web series and three DVD sets. Here’s a popular song from the group, called Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?


Stephen Lynch is a Tony Award-nominated musical comedian and, from some of his song topics, a massive geek to boot. He’s opened for a number of notable comedians on their own tours, including Steven Wright, Bobcat Goldthwait and Lewis Black. He cited “This is Spinal Tap” as a primary reason for entering show business.  This version of his song “D&D” is from the Carson Daly show, sometime in 2007.


In 2007, this “brickfilm” (A film using Legos and stop-motion animation) premiered. The group, Emerald Rose, describe themselves as a Celtic/Pagan theme band, and have written a number of original songs, as well as a few filk pieces about The Hobbit and Star Trek. This track, “Never Split the Party”, tells the tale of a band of adventurers learning a basic lesson of gaming.

D&D Love Song

Chase Padgett and Summer Aiello performed this song with the sketch comedy group The Executives at the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2009. Girl and boy gamers meet and find love, making this a rare exception to the ‘gamers are single virgins’ trope.

The MMORPG Virus

Produced in the style of an old 50’s mental hygiene film by Australians Benjamin Baker and Rob Moffett for their project “Quarter Circle + A”, I couldn’t help but love this immediately. A few more films of this type were made by the group, but this one’s most immediately relevant to the roleplaying topic. This also dates to 2007.

An 8-bit Reenactment of Dungeons and Dragons (Dead Alewives)

This topic just wouldn’t be complete without including the Dead Alewives Dungeons and Dragons sketch from the 90’s. Although the Milwaukee, Wisconsin comedy troupe has long since disbanded, their humor lives on in this immortalized routine. The video incorporates characters from the online sprite comic 8-bit Theater, which has also now ended.

I also wanted to include clips from the Dexter’s Laboratory episode “D&DD”, a great parody with Deedee as a unpredictable DM and Dexter and his friends as her hapless adventurers. Unfortunately this is a really hard video to find online!


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