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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.
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. Ernest Hemingway has frequently been a target for such comments. An example from Paul Johnson:
- 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.
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".
Examples of self-parody
The following are deliberate self-parodies or are at least sometimes considered to be so:
- Enchanted is a Disney movie which is both a homage and self-parody to previous animated Disney films featuring princesses.
- 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". 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.
- "Nephelidia", a poem by A. C. Swinburne.
- "Municipal", a poem by Rudyard Kipling.
- "L'Art" and "To Hulme (T. E.) and Fitzgerald (A Certain)", poems by Ezra Pound.
- "Afternoon of a Cow", a short story by William Faulkner.
- 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; the commentary was highly detailed and much longer than the poem.
- The short story "First Law" by Isaac Asimov is actually said to be a 'spoof' by Asimov himself in The Complete Robot.
- In the film The Running Man, the actor Richard Dawson parodied his performances as the host of the game show Family Feud.
- Mark Hamill's cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (he at one point tells the title characters, "don't fuck with a Jedi Master, son", and after losing a hand in a sword fight, he looks straight into the camera and shrugs, "not again", a reference to The Empire Strikes Back).
- The later James Bond films, specifically those with Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan in the title role, have often been called self-parodies.
- The Simpsons have featured many celebrity guests over the years, many of them serving as an obvious parody of their public image, an example being the episode "Burns, Baby Burns", with Rodney Dangerfield playing Mr. Burns' son, Larry – many of Dangerfield's catchphrases are laced throughout the episode.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger engaged in 130 minutes of intentional self-parody in the movie Last Action Hero, where he steps off-screen into the Real World. (In the Movie World, he notices a standee touting Sylvester Stallone starring in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.)
- Adam West has often parodied his work from the old Batman TV series, most notably as himself in Family Guy and "Catman" in The Fairly Oddparents.
- Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes on a Plane blatantly showcases the attributes he is known for portraying, especially his use of profanity. In an episode of The Boondocks he parodies his Jules Winnfield character from Pulp Fiction, repeating several lines from the infamous interrogation scene.
- The movie The Freshman (1990 film) features Marlon Brando playing a parody of his famous character from The Godfather.
- Tiny Toon Adventures was a self-parody of Warner Bros.' famous Looney Tunes shorts.
- Kiteretsu Daihyakka is often considered to be a self-parody of Fujiko Fujio's famous Doraemon.
- Jose Mourinho descended into self-parody in August 2015 when, having watched his Chelsea side lose 3-0 to Manchester City, he insisted "It is a fake result. We were the best team by far in the second half." Chelsea conceded 2 second-half goals.
- Many nations in the Eurovision Song Contest now embrace the concept of self-parody, entering kitsch songs by relatively unknown artists. It has been suggested that this is due to the song-choice having no impact on the final result, with geopolitical factors playing a much more significant part.
- Simpson, Roger (1994). Sir John Tenniel: Aspects of His Work. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 69–70. ISBN 0-8386-3493-1. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
- Paul, Johnson (1988). Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky. Harper & Row. p. 233. ISBN 0-06-016050-0.
- Ashton, John S. (2003). "Fox News-Hosted Debate So Ridiculous It Was Self-Parody". The Moderate Independent. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- Yuriko Yamanaka, Tetsuo Nishio (2006). The Arabian Nights and Orientalism: Perspectives from East & West. I.B. Tauris. p. 81. ISBN 1-85043-768-8.
- Bradbury, Nancy Mason (1998). Writing Aloud: Storytelling in Late Medieval England. University of Illinois Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-252-02403-6.
-  Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Poetry Lovers' Page - Rudyard Kipling: Municipal". Poetryloverspage.com. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound - Ezra Pound - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- Gibson, Mary Ellis (1995). Epic Reinvented: Ezra Pound and the Victorians. Cornell University Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN 0-8014-3133-6.
- Macdonald, Dwight (1965). Parodies: An Anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm—and After. Modern Library. p. 561.
- Alexandre Paquin. "The Film Tribune - Die Another Day (2002)". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on October 20, 2006. Retrieved 2014-05-16.