Just watched the Dark Knight and was wondering if Joker's catchphrase

"Why so serious?"

comes from a comic or was it invented specifically for the film?

  • 23
    ...it came from Harry Potter? "Why so, Sirius?" – Matt Gutting Jul 19 '16 at 20:01
  • @Hypnosifl, asking the first depiction of Joker using the phrase. Will edit the question. – user35594 Jul 19 '16 at 20:13
  • Are you asking if the Dark Knight was the first to specifically depict the Joker using this phrase, or are you asking if the phrase itself was invented for the movie? If the latter the answer is no, it's a pre-existing phrase which you can find in plenty of books on google books that predate the film and have nothing to do with Batman. – Hypnosifl Jul 19 '16 at 20:13
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    My guess is that it's not the first time used by Joker, but it's the first time given in the iconic way, but "Why won't you laugh?!" is more iconic to the comic joker that I remember coming up more times than I can recall. The thing is, Joker isn't as used in the comics as people seem to think, he's hardly ever in there, so it's hard to recall from the scant few appearances that Joker made in the comics and was in a place to give a line like this... – Durakken Jul 19 '16 at 20:55
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    I don't remember the Joker ever using that phrase in any comics before The Dark Knight movie. He did use the phrases "Why can't you see the funny side?" and "Why aren't you laughing?" in Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke which was one of the source materials Nolan used for the movie, so maybe it's a variation on/call-back to that. – Gray Sep 23 '17 at 23:14

No. As far as the comics are concerned, there is no mention of the famous catchphrase "Why so serious?" Although, to be perfectly covering all areas, even though the Joker has never outrightly mentioned the same phrase, he has hinted along those lines in his comics. For eg:-


Joker: Nobody was dancing. Music was poppin’ off. So, y’know, I said ‘hey everybody, get down.’ But nobody got down. So… heh, I got those bitches to do the Harlem shake. IN HARLEM, no less.

Batman: You….you’re SICK.

Joker: The hell’s YOUR problem, man? Just getting people to dance, c’mon. You take shit too serious.

(Taken from another answer.)

The phrase "Why so serious?" made famous by the brilliant portrayal by Heath Ledger immortalized this phrase to the Joker forever. Although only comic readers will know that the actual origin of that is from the movie and not the actual comic.

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    Hello and welcome to SFF! This is a nice answer. If the other answer you got the quote from is relevant to the discussion here it would be good to link to it. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 17 '18 at 9:04

I believe I have the answer for you. It came right from the movie. There is no evidence that it came from a comic.

Even in the old series of batman made in 1993, there was not a single comic that has the catch phrase, "Why so serious?" Maybe you can find it in the new 52, but warning: it does not follow the real storyline. Joker is a very old arch enemy of batman and could have said it a couple of times in a comic after the movie was made.

So did joker ever say it before the movie? Probably not.

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    'Probably not' isn't much of an answer... – Valorum Oct 3 '17 at 21:49
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    What do you mean 'the real storyline'? There have been several versions of Batman and his villains over the years preceding the movie. – user33616 Oct 4 '17 at 3:23

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