Created By: Deboss on January 22, 2012 Last Edited By: MangaManiac on February 27, 2012

Comedic Monster

When a characters horribleness is Played For Laughs.

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One of the most common character types in Black Comedy, the Comedic Monster is a character who is unabashedly horrible (often to the point of carrying a card saying so) and this is played in a very humorous light. When encountering If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten, the immediate response is "kitten? I love delicious kittens, so good man" rather than any kind of hesitation or stoicness.

Often, the character will be Affably Evil, although the Jerk Ass is also used since they both work pretty well. If part of the hero's team, will most likely be the Token Evil Teammate. If the team leader is hesitant about how evil a character is, For The Greater Good takes over and the leader acknowledges that a monster you can point at other monsters is still making the world a slightly better place overall.

For the most part, this requires a comedic series and the series has to remain comedic. If a Knight of Cerebus shows up (and it can't be this character), it's likely that the horribleness is less likely to be played for laughs anymore.

A comical rendition of a Bad Boss usually falls into this for example, since most of their humor is from how abusive and callous they are to their underlings. See also For the Evulz and Card-Carrying Villain.

Examples.

Comicbook

  • The Joker: Depending on the Writer, Joker will range from doing things like setting up some major crime to do something silly, or just have something horrible disguised as a joke. Much of this back and forth is to accentuate his insanity. Harley Quinn sometimes tries to be, although "Mistah J" is quick to point out where her humor is deficient.

Radio

Web Original
  • Diamanda Hagan: Diamanda plays herself as this, with how she treats the minions as disposable outlets for her sociopathy.

Webcomics

  • Exterminatus Now: While all of the characters are pretty darkly humorous, Lothar is the darkest and one of the craziest, particularly when drunk. At one point, he was startled awake shouting "You can't prove I ate that baby!".
  • Looking for Group: Richard, horrible undead monstrosity, killer of a thousand bunnies, and all around evil dude. Loves to sing though.
  • 8-Bit Theater: Black Mage (someone who only has an evil, more evil, and the abomination from beyond as his Good Angel, Bad Angel) and Thief (the amoral racist thief who considers people who take everything that isn't on fire or nailed down to be amateurs). To the point that their group (nominally the good guys) are in fact the largest source of evil of the comic.

Western Animation

  • American Dad!: Roger often leans as this Depending on the Writer. He is often completely heinous and remorselessly sociopathic, manipulating, harrassing or even murdering just to fit his own means or even just out of sheer boredom. It's almost all Played for Laughs however and clashes with his whiny, camp demeanor. Even the state of mind that causes him to be borderline evil is also exagerrated to comedic lengths, so much that Roger is actually physically incapable of showing basic redeeming aspects without his very being falling apart.
  • Family Guy:
  • South Park: Eric Cartman evolved from an average Jerk Ass into this of high scale. Some of his activities such bullying a child to the point of suicide and attempting to manipulate terrorist fears for his own benefit shouldn't be treated as comedy. They are.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy Duck swings in and out of this trope. It's hinted on occasion that he might actually be a decent person if he wasn't so egocentric - certainly his girlfriend Tina is willing to entertain this possibility - but he has no compunctions about mooching off of Bugs, or driving Porky to madness with his casual thoughtlessness.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Richard is a borderline Psychopathic Manchild, incompetent at virtually everything except making more work for everyone around him. It's worth noting that he is even less sympathetic than the sinister teacher, the school bully who happens to be a T-Rex, and the grumpy neighbors in a perpetual Masochism Tango. Any one of them would probably make show-stealing antagonists in any other series, but in Gumball, the closest thing the show has to a genuine antagonist is the kid's own father. That said, when he's not acting the Psychopathic Manchild, he's more like a big dumb pet than anything.
  • The Simpsons: Mr Burns, Corrupt Corporate Executive and frequent Card-Carrying Villain that Marge once described as having no "inner beauty". Of course this is all in the form of a frail old man with a ridiculously outdated state of mind. Even his attempts to be good are completely (and humorously) vile in execution.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Dr Robotnik often manages to be his most flamboyant and deranged in his attempts to be as vile and merciless a villain as possible.
    Robotnik:: Happiness is all the more enjoyable when it's based on the misery of millions!
  • Spongebob Squarepants: Mr Krabs in later episodes, while how cruel he acts is a case of Depending on the Writer, a lot of episodes tend to overplay humor based on how supervillainously greedy and apathetic he is.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • January 23, 2012
    AP
    • Alex from A Clockwork Orange has some very sardonic, darkly humorous moments, although the work is far form a comedy.
  • January 23, 2012
    Psi001
    Often overlaps with Faux Affably Evil (in fact I'm pretty sure that's what the trope's definition once was).

    • Roger of American Dad often leans as this Depending On The Writer. He is often completely heinous and remorselessly sociopathic, manipulating, harrassing or even murdering just to fit his own means or even just out of sheer boredom. It's almost all Played For Laughs however and clashes with his whiny, camp demeanor. Even the state of mind that causes him to be borderline evil is also exagerrated to comedic lengths, so much that Roger is actually physically incapable of showing basic redeeming aspects without his very being falling apart.
    • Daffy Duck of all people became this in his later years, most notably in his De Patie Freleng appearances against Speedy Gonzales.
    • Carter Peutershmit of Family Guy, Lois' Corrupt Corporate Executive father who, when not obsessing over ruining his son in law's life, is entertaining himself with hobbies such as adopting children then leaving them at the orphanage For The Lulz.
    • Eric Cartman of South Park evolved from an average Jerk Ass into this of high scale. Some of his activities such bullying a child to the point of suicide and attempting to manipulate terrorist fears for his own benefit shouldn't be funny. They are.
    • Dr Robotnik of Sonic Sat Am started off as a Knight Of Cerebus, but gradually leaned more into this trope as his bumbling and sardonic wit was exagerrated. Some other enterpretations of Robotnik also lean into this trope (especially the Archie incarnation), though his original games counterpart leans into more sympathetic Affably Evil territory.
  • January 23, 2012
    X2X
  • January 23, 2012
    32_Footsteps
    To be more specific, Comedic Sociopathy are about actions that are amoral and funny, and not necessarily sole province of a Comedic Monster. A Comedic Monster is someone irredeemable who performs comedic actions.

  • January 23, 2012
    dalek955
  • January 23, 2012
    MangaManiac
    For an image I remember a scene in The Order Of The Stick where Redcloak tells Jirix:
    Redcloak: Xykon might seem like an ally, but once you've seen the depths he'll sink to... [cut to image of Xykon watching undead wrestle in spandex] Redcloak: You will never sleep again.

    Then again, it is a bit text-heavy, and I don't want us to become reliant on OotS images.
  • January 23, 2012
    Psi001
  • January 24, 2012
    Deboss
    Updates made. General "disney examples" not added for lacking context. Also, this is not intended to be a YMMV trope, please don't list people who make you laugh that are monstrous. Daffy Duck not added because there wasn't any actual example, just a list of where.
  • January 24, 2012
    MangaManiac
    I did an edit to namespace some of the works' links.

    Hope you don't mind.
  • January 24, 2012
    miru
    mr krabs.
  • January 24, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    "CAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRL!"

    "I was hungry for hands! Give me a break!"

    "What is wrong with you, Carl?"

    "Well... I kill people and I eat hands. That's - that's two things."
  • January 25, 2012
    Cider
    Besides Too Funny To Be Evil I think Laughably Evil is enough.
  • January 25, 2012
    Psi001
    ^ Too Funny To Be Evil is an in universe example. Laughably Evil means being evil but don't have to be irredeemably callous about it to fit (eg. Dr Eggman and Don Karnage are placed in the trope, but are a bit too petty and sympathetic to quite match "Monster" levels). This trope may work if taken to it's most extreme, ie. a character so actively vile and void of redeeming aspects they would be a Complete Monster if it wasn't all Played For Laughs.
  • January 25, 2012
    Cider
    Well isn't that just The Same But More? It says on the page "Just because a character is Laughably Evil, it does not disqualify them from being a Complete Monster and there are many villains that manage to be both."
  • January 25, 2012
    Psi001
    I thought one of the key traits for a Complete Monster was that their vileness was Played For Drama. That's why a lot of examples were changed to Faux Affably Evil before they changed it's meaning. A Complete Monster is usually meant to generate only fear and disgust, a Comedic Monster on the other hand tend to be whimsical and even charming in a twisted sense.
  • January 26, 2012
    rt2012
    Eric Cartman from South Park
  • January 26, 2012
    Cider
    Complete Monster is a subjective trope. Laughably Evil is not...but honestly from complete monster's description it basically reads "villain with no redeeming qualities". That should probably be the laconic but for whatever reason that page remains a mess.

    Laughably Evil is a villain who does silly things or otherwise goofs off. It stands to reason someone could have their actions played for laughs and still be a remorseless villain lacking in redeeming qualities. The Joker comes to mind, at least comic book Joker. Would there be any examples of that wouldn't fit on Laughably Evil?
  • January 26, 2012
    Ryusui
    • In The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy Duck swings in and out of this trope. It's hinted on occasion that he might actually be a decent person if he wasn't so egocentric - certainly his girlfriend Tina is willing to entertain this possibility - but he has no compunctions about mooching off of Bugs, or driving Porky to madness with his casual thoughtlessness.
    • Richard from The Amazing World Of Gumball is a borderline Psychopathic Manchild, incompetent at virtually everything except making more work for everyone around him. It's worth noting that he is even less sympathetic than the sinister teacher, the school bully who happens to be a T-Rex, and the grumpy neighbors in a perpetual Masochism Tango. Any one of them would probably make show-stealing antagonists in any other series, but in Gumball, the closest thing the show has to a genuine antagonist is the kid's own father. That said, when he's not acting the Psychopathic Manchild, he's more like a big dumb pet than anything.
  • January 26, 2012
    dalek955
    I think what distinguishes this from Laughably Evil is that if you made the Comedic Monster less evil, even by a little bit, he wouldn't be nearly as funny. His sheer vileness is the very thing that generates the laughs.
  • January 26, 2012
    Psi001
    ^ True, The Joker flip flops with this for example, a lot of his humor is from his monsterous but some of his gags are also petty or just from his sheer flamboyency. Other villains are just bumbling or clownish in the manner they bring forth their laughs which is irrelevant to how evil they are or even despite it, hense they are more Laughably Evil than a Comedic Monster.

    A comical rendition of a Bad Boss usually falls into this for example, since most of their humor is from how abusive and callous they are to their underlings. See also For The Evulz and Card Carrying Villain.

    Cartman is a good example, he's not even a villain per se but so much of his humor is generated from the fact he cannot Comprehend Good. He's such a monster he shrugs off a kid committing suicide because of his endless bullying (as he said "I'm not the one who crapped my pants") which is all Played For Laughs. Roger Smith and Peter Griffin are similar, shrugging off absolutely atrocious things they've done is part of their humor value. A Laughably Evil character's humor doesn't have to come from them being awful people in particular, just they're funny and they also happen to be evil. Don Karnage can be funny about being evil for example but most of his humor is more from his vanity and oafishness.

    • Mr Burns of The Simpsons, Corrupt Corporate Executive and frequent Card Carrying Villain that Marge once described as having no "inner beauty". Of course this is all in the form of a frail old man with a ridiculously outdated state of mind. Even his attempts to be good are completely (and humorously) vile in execution.
    • Daffy Duck was also nearing this in the De Patie Freleng years, a lot of his appearances spent torturing and antagonising Speedy and his mouse associates. Of course everything else about him is still Daffy meaning he hams up his evil to insane lengths. A good few shorts involve him getting into terrible bouts of misfortune that could all be prevented if he wasn't so obsessively hateful towards Speedy.
    • Dr Robotnik of Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog often manages to be his most flamboyant and deranged in his attempts to be as vile and merciless a villain as possible.
      Robotnik:: Happiness is all the more enjoyable when it's based on the misery of millions!
    • Mr Krabs in later episodes of Spongebob Squarepants, while how cruel he acts is a case of Depending On The Writer, a lot of episodes tend to overplay humor based on how supervillainously greedy and apathetic he is.
  • January 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
  • January 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    • Diamanda Hagan plays herself as this, with how she treats the minions as disposable outlets for her sociopathy.
  • February 1, 2012
    Deboss
    Updates made.

    I will not be adding any Zero Context Example to those of you who just list a name and work. Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist isn't about monstrousness being used for comedy, it's about how bad things happening to jerks is funny because they're jerks.

    Also: I have absolutely no issues with namespace corrections at all.
  • February 7, 2012
    Deboss
    Bumpity.
  • February 8, 2012
    DaibhidC
  • February 8, 2012
    Deboss
    Added.
  • February 13, 2012
    Deboss
    More?
  • February 13, 2012
    Ryuuma
    Uhm... Mayuri Kurotsuchi? His very first portrayal is that of a Mad Scientist Complete Monster, while latter he becomes a Karma Houdini wrapped in a far more comedic light.
  • February 16, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    The Toiletnator from Codname Kids Next Door?
  • February 16, 2012
    TonyG
    ^Toilenator is a Harmless Villain who does little more than Poke The Poodle. Not a monster of any kind.
  • February 27, 2012
    Deboss
    I don't recall Mayuri being a played for laughs type of character. At least, not exclusively.

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