A rule used primarily in stand up comedy which assesses a comedian's ability to make jokes about a recent tragedy. The basic rule is: as long as the death toll is rising, jokes are out of bounds. The rule is commonly broken by many comedians as we all know jokes surrounding tragedies are the funniest.
As soon as the toll stops the subject becomes open for comedy, as seen in many recent tragedies.
Man 1 - How many earthquake victims does it take to change a lightbulb?
Man 2 - Dude, don't make jokes....death toll rising rule...