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30 Funny Examples of Irony In Real Life

The definition of irony: a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems the opposite of what you expected. When it comes to finding examples of irony, life proves stranger (and funnier) than fiction.

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Examples of ironyPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about the Bible?

The most shoplifted book in the United States is The Bible.

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Two glasses of whiskeyPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Alcoholics Anonymous?

The founder of AA asked for whiskey on his deathbed. (The nurse refused.)

These are the funniest things to ever happen at a doctor’s office.

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McDonald's comboPhoto: 8th.creator/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about McDonald’s?

In a hilarious example of irony, McDonalds’ employee health page, which is now shut down, once warned against eating McDonald’s burgers and fries.

Check out the McDonald’s menu items that totally failed.

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Characters from Charlie BrownPhoto: enchanted_fairy/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about A Charlie Brown Christmas?

Every year ABC cuts down A Charlie Brown Christmas—a movie about the over-commercialization of the holidays—to make room for more commercials.

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Charlie Chaplin muralPhoto: akiyoko/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Charlie Chaplin?

He once entered a “Charlie Chaplin walk” contest… and came in 20th.

These hilarious school stories are guaranteed to give you a laugh.

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Stop signPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about the inventor of the stop sign?

“Father of Traffic Safety” William Eno invented the stop sign, crosswalk, traffic circle, one-way street, and taxi stand—but never learned how to drive.

If you find these types of jokes funny, science thinks you’re insecure.

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The Church of ScientologyPhoto: Michael Gordon/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about the Church of Scientology?

The Cult Awareness Network (CAN), once a leading anti-cult hotline, is now owned by the Church of Scientology.

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Prohibition-era gangsterPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Al Capone?

Al Capone’s older brother was a federal Prohibition agent.

Check out these witty bar jokes that everyone can remember.

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Basketball going through net at gamePhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about the man who invented basketball?

The only losing basketball coach in University of Kansas history is James Naismith—the man who invented basketball in 1891. This hilarious example of irony proves that just because you thought of the idea doesn’t always mean you’ll be the best at executing it.

Don’t miss these hilarious soccer phrases from around the world.

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Exterior of Pizza HutPhoto: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Pizza Hut?

Before 2012, the largest purchaser of kale in America was Pizza Hut—they used it as garnish around their salad bars.

Here are some funny work cartoons to get you through the week.

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Statue of Julius CaesarPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Julius Caesar?

The site where Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BC is now a no-kill animal shelter for homeless cats.

Check out 20 last words from history’s most famous people.

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Old-time telephonePhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Alexander Graham Bell?

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone but refused to keep one in his study. He feared it would distract him from his work.

Here are 14 history jokes only history buffs will understand.

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Examples of ironyPhoto: Bilanol/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about duct tape?

According to researchers, duct tape should never be used for sealing ducts.

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Ice hotel in SwedenPhoto: karenfoleyphotography/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about a hotel made of ice?

Another funny example of irony, Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel has a smoke detector.

Find out the most outrageous hotel amenities in the world.

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Niagara FallsPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about a man who survived going over Niagara Falls?

The first man to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel died after slipping on an orange peel.

Dive into these fascinating facts about the world’s oceans.

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Liquid paperPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about the inventor of Liquid Paper?

She was fired from her secretarial job for failing to white-out a mistake. If you’re laughing at these irony examples, you’ll love these 50 bad jokes that you can’t help but laugh at.

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Teacher teaching child proper pronunciationPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about a speech disorder?

The condition of not being able to pronounce the letter R is called… “rhotacism.”

Here are 20 grammar jokes every word nerd will appreciate.

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Q-tipsPhoto: Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Q-tips?

Q-tips, which are usually bought primarily to clean inside your ears, are sold in boxes that expressly warn: “Do not insert inside the ear canal.”

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Bull fightingDariush M/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about bullfighting?

Bill Hillman, a bullfighting enthusiast, wrote a book called How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona, all about how to avoid being gored by bulls. Three weeks after the release of the book, he was gored by a bull.

We bet you didn’t learn these crazy facts about Earth in school!

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Asian boy speaking into microphone on stageBlend Images/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about spelling bees?

In 2011, the winners of an elementary school spelling bee in Utah received a trophy reading “Viewmont Spellling Bee, 1st Place.” Quite the example of irony—not only that the trophy contained a misspelling, but that it was the word “spelling.”

Find out the toughest winning words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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The Beatles, London, BritainAP/REX/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about The Beatles?

In 2002, a tree was planted in a park in Los Angeles in memory of Beatles guitarist George Harrison. The tree later died after being infested by beetles.

Discover these little-known facts about the greatest songs ever.

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McDonald's golden archesPhoto: Tony Baggett/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about the McDonald’s jingle?

Before he became a star, Pharrell Williams was fired from McDonald’s three different times. Years later, he would help write and produce the company’s iconic “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle.

Don’t miss the insane theory about McDonald’s golden arches.

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What’s ironic about

Gary Kremen, the founder of, encouraged everyone he knew to join it, including his girlfriend. She eventually left him for a man she met on

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Close up view of a blank crossword puzzle grid with black and white squares and a pencilPhotology1971/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about crossword puzzles?

When crossword puzzles debuted in the early 20th century, the New York Times was very critical of them, calling them “a primitive sort of mental exercise.” In 1942, the Times published its first crossword puzzle, and today, the New York Times crossword is the most famous one in America.

Here are 13 secrets to acing crossword puzzles!

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Safety equipment, Life buoy or rescue buoy floating on sea to rescue people from drowning man.Oil and Gas Photographer/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about lifeguards?

In 1985, a group of New Orleans lifeguards gathered at the municipal pool to celebrate the fact that no one had drowned at the pool that past summer. After the party, they discovered the fully-clothed body of a man who had drowned in the pool.

Check out these 25 clever jokes that’ll make you sound smart.

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Judge`s gavel and law books.constitutional crisislusia83/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about lawsuits?

In 2009, the Guinness Book of World records named Jonathan Lee Riches the record-holder for suing the largest number of people. Angrily declaring that the Guinness Book “has no right to publish my work, my legal masterpieces,” he sued them.

Don’t miss our roundup of the funniest lawyer jokes ever.

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Portable desk easel for painting with canvas blank, brushes and artist's palette on wooden table front concrete wall background. Retro style filtered photoBrAt82/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about being expelled from school?

In the 1950s, 12-year-old David Ingham was kicked out of grammar school by the headmaster, who said that he’d “never amount to much.” Fifty-five years later, the same school commissioned Ingham, now an art teacher, to paint a portrait of that very headmaster. So Ingham definitely got the last laugh, similar to these other irony examples of early failures of wildly successful people.

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Colorful Crayon on Pink BackgroundAmy Dimmitt/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Crayola crayons?

In 1990, after 35 years working at Crayola, their retiring CEO, Emerson Moser, revealed that he was colourblind.

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Young man working on his laptop with blank copy space screen for your advertising text message in office, Back view of business man hands busy using laptop at office deskSuradech Prapairat/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about an anti-piracy group?

In 2014, the Business Software Alliance posted an anti-piracy ad that read “Your pot of gold is right here.” But eagle-eyed users noticed that the image of a “pot of gold” they used was actually a photo of a baker’s Saint Patrick’s Day cake that the BSA had used without authorization.

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Alanis MorissettePhoto: Fabio Diena/Shutterstock

What’s ironic about Alanis Morissette?

None of the song lyrics in Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” are examples of irony. As Morissette herself allegedly said, “the irony of ‘Ironic’ is that it’s not an ironic song at all.”

Don’t miss these short jokes anyone can remember!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest