A self-parody is a parody of oneself or one's own work. As an artist accomplishes it by imitating his or her own characteristics, a self-parody is potentially difficult to distinguish from especially characteristic productions. Self-parody may be used to parody someone else's characteristics, or lacking, by overemphasizing and/or exaggerate ones own. Overemphasis can be made for the prevailing attitude in their life's work, social group, lifestyle and subculture. Including lines and points made by others or by the recipient of the self-parody directing it to a parody of someone else which that other person is likely to remember and can't de-emphasize without frustration.

Sometimes critics use the word figuratively to indicate that the artist's style and preoccupations appear as strongly (and perhaps as ineptly) in some work as they would in a parody. Such works may result from habit, self-indulgence, or an effort to please an audience by providing something familiar. An example from Paul Johnson writing about Ernest Hemingway:

Some [of Hemingway's later writing] was published nonetheless, and was seen to be inferior, even a parody of his earlier work. There were one or two exceptions, notably The Old Man and the Sea, though there was an element of self-parody in that too.[2]

Political polemicists use the term similarly, as in this headline of a 2004 blog posting. "We Would Satirize Their Debate And Post-Debate Coverage, But They Are So Absurd At This Point They Are Their Own Self-Parody".[3]

Examples of self-parody

The following are deliberate self-parodies or are at least sometimes considered to be so.


  • In One Thousand and One Nights, the fictional storyteller Sheherezade sometimes tells folk tales with similar themes and story lines that can be seen as parodies of each other. For example, "Wardan the Butcher's Adventure With the Lady and the Bear" parallels "The King's Daughter and the Ape", "Harun al-Rashid and the Two Slave-Girls" has a similar relationship to "Harun al-Rashid and the Three Slave-Girls" - and "The Angel of Death With the Proud King and the Devout Man" has two possible parodies: "The Angel of Death and the Rich King" and "The Angel of Death and the King of the Children of Israel".[4] This observation needs to be tempered by our knowledge of the nature of folk tales, and the way this collection "grew" rather than being deliberately compiled.
  • Chaucer's "Tale of Sir Topas" in The Canterbury Tales shows "Geoffrey Chaucer" as a timid writer of doggerel. It has been argued that the tale parodies, among other romances, Chaucer's own Troilus and Criseyde.[5]
  • "Nephelidia",[6] a poem by A. C. Swinburne.
  • "Municipal", a poem by Rudyard Kipling.[7]
  • "L'Art" and "To Hulme (T. E.) and Fitzgerald (A Certain)",[8] poems by Ezra Pound.[9]
  • "Afternoon of a Cow", a short story by William Faulkner.[10]
  • Edgar Allan Poe often discussed his own work, sometimes in the form of parody, as in "How to Write a Blackwood Article" and the short story that follows it, "A Predicament".
  • Pale Fire is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov in the form of a long, pedantic, self-centered commentary on a much shorter poem. It may parody his commentary on his translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, in which the commentary was highly detailed and much longer than the poem. Both the poet and the commentator have been called self-parodies.[11]
  • The short story "First Law" by Isaac Asimov is said to be a 'spoof' by Asimov himself in The Complete Robot.

Film and television

Video games

See also


  1. Simpson, Roger (1994). Sir John Tenniel: Aspects of His Work. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 69–70. ISBN 0-8386-3493-1. Retrieved January 17, 2009.
  2. Paul, Johnson (1988). Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky. Harper & Row. p. 233. ISBN 0-06-016050-0.
  3. Ashton, John S. (2003). "Fox News-Hosted Debate So Ridiculous It Was Self-Parody". The Moderate Independent. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  4. Yuriko Yamanaka, Tetsuo Nishio (2006). The Arabian Nights and Orientalism: Perspectives from East & West. I.B. Tauris. p. 81. ISBN 1-85043-768-8.
  5. Bradbury, Nancy Mason (1998). Writing Aloud: Storytelling in Late Medieval England. University of Illinois Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-252-02403-6.
  6. Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Poetry Lovers' Page - Rudyard Kipling: Municipal". Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  8. Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound - Ezra Pound - Google Boeken. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  9. Gibson, Mary Ellis (1995). Epic Reinvented: Ezra Pound and the Victorians. Cornell University Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-8014-3133-6.
  10. Macdonald, Dwight (1965). Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm—and After. Modern Library. p. 561.
  11. Hornick, Neil; Boyd, Brian. "Pale Fire and The Prisoner of Zenda: an exchange between Neil Hornick and Brian Boyd". Zembla. Penn State University.
  12. "The 20 best fairytale films". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  13. "'Last Action Hero' Is a Parody That Misses Its Own Point". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  14. "'Total Recall' and Schwarzenegger's Self-Parody". August 1, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  15. Dlugos, J. Michael (January 6, 2017). "Mr. Mikey's Video Views; Volume One". Trafford Publishing. Retrieved January 6, 2017 via Google Books.
  16. Parks, Louis B. (September 29, 2011). ""Evil Dead" star Bruce Campbell here Saturday". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  17. Rhodes, Joe (July 31, 2009). "Chris Kattan, Reincarnated in Mumbai". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  18. "The Art of Self-Parody - BTG Lifestyle". June 10, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  20. Keane, Erin. "Mike Tyson tries out pop culture self-parody: Why it's so hard to spoof yourself". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  21. Stern, Marlow (June 11, 2013). "21 Best Celebrity Self-Parodies in Honor of 'This is the End'". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  22. Muir, John Kenneth (March 15, 2013). "From the Archive: The Running Man (1987)". John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV. Retrieved January 6, 2017 via Blogspot.
  23. Andreeva, Nellie (January 30, 2014). "Rob Schneider Challenges TV Biz Model With Independently Produced Comedy Series He Co-Created, Financed & Stars In". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  24. Zacharek, Stephanie. ""Snakes on a Plane"". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  25. Jensen, Jeff (August 4, 2006). "Kicking Asp". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  26. Ostrow, Joanne (June 27, 2012). "Showtime's satirical 'Episodes' starring Matt LeBlanc scores in season 2". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  27. Kohler, Chris (October 16, 2019). "Luigi's Latest Parody Nintendo Console Is The Best One Yet". Kotaku. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
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