Times Celebs Laughed At Inappropriate Things

The saying goes that laughter is the best medicine — and there are scientific studies to back it up. But laughing during inappropriate moments is a whole other ball game. Sometimes people laugh when there is no humor to be had, an image that does not translate well on camera for those in the limelight. And while we may hold public figures to a higher standard, celebs are not immune to falling foul of a fit of giggles.

There are numerous reasons why celebs — and indeed the general public — would have their funny bones tickled at the most inopportune times. As social psychologist Alex Borgella told Vice, laughing at inappropriate things is often symptomatic of nervousness. "If you perceive a situation that seems like it's harmlessly violating some social or moral norm, for example someone loudly farting in the middle of a funeral, you're more likely to laugh than if you perceive a harmful violation of that norm ... or something harmless that doesn't violate any norms, like farting in a bathroom," Borgella explained. However, for some of these stars, even this analysis doesn't explain why they would chortle at the most unfortunate moments.

In something straight out of an awkward "Curb Your Enthusiasm" plot, some celebs have laughed during funeral processions, at other people's misery, and during serious court cases. We may never know the reasons for these guffawing gaffes, but their discomfiture endures. Here are the times celebs laughed at inappropriate things.

Johnny Depp got the giggles during Amber Heard's testimony

The Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial has captivated audiences around the world, as fans and detractors eagerly analyzed witness statements and body language. Indeed, the legal proceedings got so heated that the debacle was described as "trial by TikTok." One would think serious accusations of domestic violence, such as those raised by both parties, would not be the subject for humor.

But that didn't stop the plaintiff from seeing the funny side of the situation. In one of many instances in which Depp laughed during his own trial, Heard addressed accusations that she cut her ex-husband's finger while on holiday in Australia. As Heard gave her account of the grave matter, and argued that her ex's accusations aren't to be trusted since he's "not an accurate historian of what happened," Depp began giggling.

As reported by Insider, Depp laughed on numerous other occasions in the courtroom, including when Heard detailed the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star's alleged domestic violence. Meanwhile, Independent reports that Depp also laughed when a psychiatrist testifying for Heard was cross-examined. A courtroom probably wasn't the best place to get the giggles, but then the entire trial was arguably one of theatrics played out to awestruck audiences. Although Heard was found guilty, The Guardian argued that Depp's supposed contempt for his ex-wife extended to online sentiment whereby "many performed mocking re-enactments of her testimony, lip-syncing along as she recounted the alleged abuse. The audio of her crying became a TikTok trend."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

An awkward laugh from Tan France

Pete Davidson is famed for his penchant for shock humor. Tan France, on the other hand, is renowned for respectful discourse and his affable English gent demeanor. Therefore, it's pretty safe to say that when these two dichotomous characters met, the results were awkward at best.

In 2019, Davidson was a guest on France's "Dressing Funny" series and he did not tone down his shock humor for the softly spoken "Queer Eye" host. Amid giving Davidson fashion advice and picking out suits for the gangly star, France asked whether the comedian's widowed mother was seeing anyone. Between taking gulps of a hamburger, Davidson replied that his mom was celibate, but that he was eager for her to start dating again. "Someone needs to get up in there and get that lady off my back!" he said. When Davidson made the shocking quip, a clearly gobsmacked France burst out into awkward laughter. "She might see this, Pete..." France warned, to which Davidson assured the mild-mannered Brit that he doesn't care and suggested that he should, ahem, pleasure his mom himself. Big yikes.

Cosmopolitan argued that Davidson may have taken his dark humor a tad too far with this surprising admission. Then again, this is the man who laughed about his own father's tragic death during the 9/11 attacks at the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber.

Ricky Gervais laughed off a racial slur

Ricky Gervais is unafraid of controversy. His Netflix special "SuperNature," for instance, was heavily criticized for Dave Chappelle-esque anti-trans rhetoric, per NBC News. Louis C.K. and Chris Rock (more on him later) are equally divisive figures. So when these three got into a room together, controversy was inevitable.

In 2011, the comedic trio joined Jerry Seinfeld for a lighthearted chat about their craft in the HBO special "Talking Funny." But it didn't take long for the discussion to turn ugly. Per Deadline, Rock joked about C.K.'s affinity for Black culture, which led to the latter comedian uttering the N word. Subsequently, Gervais burst out into laughter and said the racial slur himself. One person who wasn't laughing, however, was Seinfeld. After stating that he has never uttered the N word, the "Comedians in Cars" star told his fellow comics that he wouldn't use the word to this day, either.

When the clip resurfaced in 2018, C.K. and Gervais were condemned for taking such a frivolous attitude towards the historically pernicious slur. "The zeal with which Louis CK and Ricky Gervais use the racial slur is chilling," argued the Independent. "It's said with such excitement and enthusiasm; CK throws the word around with pride, as though it epitomizes his irreverent comedy style." Meanwhile, some Twitter users were concerned with how "proud" Gervais appeared after joining C.K. in his flagrant use of the offensive term.

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Russell Brand and Sachsgate

Before Russell Brand became Britain's answer to Joe Rogan, he was an edgelord comedian with a penchant for foppishly flirtatious interactions with women. So when Brand invited cheeky TV host Jonathan Ross onto his eponymous BBC radio show, his ladies' man schtick played out to millions of listeners. In a 2008 incident dubbed "Sachsgate," Brand and Ross made a prank phone call to elderly actor and national treasure Andrew Sachs, famous for playing Manuel in hit sitcom "Fawlty Towers." Per The Guardian, the troublesome twosome left a message on Sachs' answering machine, leading to Ross vulgarly declaring that Brand slept with the actor's granddaughter, amid giggles. The skit led to widespread condemnation and the duo were swiftly suspended from the BBC as punishment.

Sachs was incredibly hurt by the prank. "Brand and Ross were like two teenagers on the rampage, laughing at their own jokes, which is not something the best comics usually do," he wrote in the Daily Mail. "Their lewd banter was deeply hurtful for me, my wife, our daughter and our granddaughter." Following Sachs' death in 2016, his widow told the outlet that he never quite recovered from the prank.

Brand apologized for his actions, but in a bizarre bit of deflection, he criticized the Daily Mail's supposedly self-righteous reportage, noting that the paper supported Nazism. "What's worse – leaving a swearword on Andrew Sachs' answerphone or tacitly supporting Adolf Hitler when he took charge of the Third Reich?" he asked on his show, per The Telegraph.

Meryl Streep's bizarre tribute to Harvey Weinstein

In 2020, Harvey Weinstein was sent down for sexual assault and will likely spend the rest of his life in jail. However, in 2012, he was the toast of Hollywood, receiving a wealth of support and praise from his industry colleagues. In fact, prior to his downfall, Weinstein was mentioned more than god in acceptance speeches, according to a Vocativ study. Well, Meryl Streep decided to amalgamate the two in 2012.

When Streep won the Best Actress Golden Globe for her role in "The Iron Lady," she waltzed on stage and paid homage to her fellow nominees. In a quip that aged as badly as her role in "The Laundromat" (she was accused of donning blackface), Streep then said, "I just wanna thank my agent Kevin Huvane and God, Harvey Weinstein, the punisher, Old Testament, I guess," before letting out a cackle.

Although Streep claimed in a statement to HuffPost that she had no idea about Weinstein's predatory behavior, the remark appears tasteless and more than a tad inappropriate given the horrific crimes the former movie mogul was found guilty of. Speaking to The Times, MeToo activist Rose McGowan claimed it was "literally impossible" for Streep not to know about Weinstein's abuse. Meanwhile, Newsweek argued that Streep's condemnation of Weinstein was odd considering that she called him a god just five years earlier. Perhaps, as with so many figures in Hollywood, the Oscar-winner merely found herself duped by the shady movie producer.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Will Smith laughed before slapping Chris Rock

The slap heard around the world, the surreal moment when Will Smith's palm collided with a stunned Chris Rock's face at the 2022 Oscars will no doubt live in pop culture infamy. Spawning countless memes and parodies, the incident sparked widespread debate about free speech and cancel culture. However, analysis of the footage suggests that Smith's reaction to the joke was initially risible as opposed to enraged, per Esquire. The soon-to-be Best Actor winner could be seen laughing heartily at Rock's quip that Jada Pinkett Smith, who has detailed her struggles with alopecia, resembled G.I. Jane. Regardless of one's feelings about what happened next, laughing at your wife having alopecia when she's sat right next to you probably isn't the wisest thing.

According to body language expert Judi James, who spoke to The Mirror, Smith likely reacted the way he did after seeing how upset his wife was. "Jada's head shake and pointed finger of warning suggested she was less able to dissolve into bouts of open-mouthed laughter like her husband," she argued, "and it was this contrasting form of response from the couple that really opened up when Chris Rock made his comment about G.I. Jane."

In another twist, Pinkett herself was seen laughing following the slap, per People. Later on, Smith referenced the incident in his acceptance speech, claiming that "Love makes you do crazy things." After a disciplinary hearing, he was banned from the Oscars for ten years, per The New York Times.

This British host laughed during the Queen Mother's funeral

Whenever a member of the British royal family dies, the general sentiment is one of public bereavement and quiet reflection. For one British TV personality, however, the reaction was quite different.

Richard Bacon is an occasional host of "Good Morning Britain" and former presenter of iconic children's show "Blue Peter," which he hosted until he went down for cocaine use, per The Guardian. He's known for his irreverent brand of humor and straight-talking nature, which has led to numerous controversies. For instance, he got into hot water for encouraging listeners to watch an ableist invective by comedian Doug Stanhope aimed at Sarah Palin's disabled son, per Radio Today. Of all the people to see the humor in the death of a beloved royal, then, Bacon is a strong contender.

In 2002, the Queen Mother died, leading to national mourning. On the day of her funeral, Bacon noticed the procession go by his house. By Bacon's own admission, he ended up laughing when he saw the deceased royal's coffin. "I collapsed laughing and I stood at the side and I'm laughing and laughing," he revealed on his radio show (via Daily Star). "I was laughing for ages. I looked up, there was Prince Charles, right there, going past in the car behind, looking right at me," much to the shock of Prince Charles. Once he saw Charles, he quickly attempted to cover his tracks by turning his laughter into tears, thereby saving his bacon.

Joy Behar guffawed at her own gay joke

"The View" has had its fair share of controversial and heated moments. From Kelly Osbourne's questionable comments about immigration to Whoopi Goldberg asserting that the Holocaust was not about race, there's no shortage of drama when it comes to the long running talk show. Although Joy Behar is usually one of the less problematic hosts, she faced condemnation for making antiquated gay jokes.

In 2021, the hosts discussed football star Carl Nassib, who became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. After initially dismissing the significance of Nassib's coming out, claiming that it wasn't an issue in 2021, Behar made a crude sex joke about the NFL athlete, before bursting out into laughter, much to the horror of her co-hosts. She swiftly apologized, urging viewers to pretend she'd never made the joke. "I just long for the day when you can just be gay in the world, and it doesn't become a big deal," she reasoned, per The Advocate. "By the way, that inappropriate joke I made for daytime television? Scratch it. Make believe I never said it."

Behar was swiftly criticized for espousing outmoded rhetoric historically directed at gay men. "Of all the progress gay men have made since I came out. Our lives are still defined by anal sex 'jokes'," tweeted journalist Jon Nicosia, continuing, "My point was he came out *yesterday* I think it's ok to hold the 'penetration' jokes for another time." 

Suge Knight laughed at injecting people with HIV

Suge Knight was one of the most feared and controversial music moguls of the '90s. As president of Death Row Records, Knight was instrumental in not only promoting the careers of artists such as 2Pac and Snoop Dogg, but he also allegedly played a significant role in stoking tensions between East and West Coast rappers, per Slate.

Pervasive conspiracy theories have linked Knight to the deaths of Notorious B.I.G. and former N.W.A. leader Eazy-E. In the latter case, many believe that Knight somehow infected Eazy with HIV, leading to his death from AIDS complications at the age of just 30. Even the late rapper's son believes Knight killed Eazy-E in this manner, writing on Instagram (via NME), "Eazy did not get sick until after the studio incident with Suge." Indeed, what makes matters worse is that Knight has played into such theories.

During a 2003 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Knight alluded to the conspiracy theory that Eazy-E was murdered, saying, "They get blood from somebody with AIDS and then they shoot you with it ... That's a slow death," before cackling and quipping, "Eazy-E death." There was an audible gasp from the audience and the host following the tasteless remark. Despite Knight fanning the flames of the conspiracy theory, The Washington Post notes that's it's near impossible to infect a person with HIV in this manner, even if Eazy-E's son is adamant that the former Death Row CEO murdered his father.

Sharon Stone's odd reaction to a sexual harassment question

The #MeToo movement has led to numerous stars detailing their recollections of misconduct within the industry. Actors such as Olivia Munn, Uma Thurman, and countless others have come forward with their experiences of sexism and sexual assault in Hollywood. For the most part, responses to these harrowing stories were typically imbued with outrage. But when Sharon Stone was asked to address the matter, she had an unusual reaction.

Stone sat down for an interview with CBS Sunday Morning when host Lee Cowan asked her whether she'd ever experienced sexual misconduct in Hollywood. Per E!, Stone then laughed for a full ten seconds. "You're laughing. I don't know if that's a nervous laugh or, 'Are you kidding me? Of course I was' laugh," Cowan queried. It was an awkward laugh in response to a very difficult subject (Stone later responded that she's "seen it all" in Hollywood), but nonetheless appeared inappropriate considering the gravity of the subject matter.

However, Stone's own experiences of sexual misconduct in Hollywood may help to shed light on her inappropriate chuckles. As she wrote in her memoir, an extract of which was published by Vanity Fair, she had grown accustomed to sexual harassment in Hollywood, which is partly why she chose to leave the industry behind. "I think that I am not alone in processing some pent-up female rage ... I was forced to control it for so long, to keep it hidden as though it were my shame," she wrote.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Ryan Gosling thought the Oscars fiasco was hilarious

Before the Smith/Rock slapgate incident, arguably the most infamous Oscars moment could be assigned to the "Moonlight"/"La La Land" fiasco of 2017. In one of the most bizarre and cringeworthy awards ceremony reveals in history, Tinseltown legends Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway excitedly announced that "La La Land" had won Best Picture, only to promptly realize that they had read out the wrong name.

"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz, visibly angered by the error, snatched the "Moonlight" winner cue card from Beatty and held it up for the audience to see. Meanwhile, Emma Stone appeared shocked by the mistake. However, Ryan Gosling found the commotion most amusing. Gosling is known for being prone to fits of giggles: His breaking of character amid incessant chortling in the now infamous "Close Encounter" sketch on "Saturday Night Live" remains iconic (he was similarly chucklesome during a viral appearance on British show "This Morning").

Asked by ET why he laughed at the Oscars mishap, Gosling explained that he was simply glad that something more serious hadn't taken place. "I was so relieved that I started laughing," he admitted. Appearing on "The Graham Norton Show," he elaborated on the meme-worthy image of him giggling after the shambles. "Did you see what the crowd looked like? I mean, it was like they were watching their childhood homes catch fire," he laughed, adding, "Then I found out they had just read the wrong name!"

Boris Johnson laughed during talks over Ukraine

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a man who certainly isn't short on gaffes. From getting trapped on a zip wire while brandishing Union Jacks to forgetting his lines when giving a speech on national industry (and repeatedly uttering, "forgive me"), his appeal seems to be one of using humor and self-deprecation as a defense mechanism from political criticism, per The Guardian. And while this schtick has worked in the past, occasionally even Johnson misreads the room.

The war in Ukraine has caused unimaginable devastation and near-worldwide condemnation. So when Johnson's former ally and fellow politician Rishi Sunak gave a speech on Ukraine in parliament, the Prime Minister could be seen laughing, per Indy100. Sunak was discussing the plight of Ukrainians forced to hide in basements when the PM appeared to snicker. Subsequently, Johnson was lambasted for seeing the funny side of a horrific situation. Actor Kathy Burke tweeted her disgust at Johnson's noticeable chuckles, writing, "Apparently this is what they do in parliament, all parties, whatever the subject."

With both his party and the public growing increasingly weary of his japery, Johnson's days were soon numbered. After being exposed for breaking lockdown rules at the height of the pandemic, and, more recently, allegedly joking that party member Chris Pincher, who was accused of sexual misconduct, was "Pincher by name, Pincher by nature," he was eventually ousted as prime minister in July 2022, having lost the support of the majority of his Conservative party allies.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).