Created By: Game Chainsaw on November 30, 2009
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Iron Comedy Buttmonkey

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Ahh!! Forgot to add Rolling Updates!

Launching in 24 hours.

So, you've got a funny character in a Slapstick, just lining up a wave of truly incredibly bad and unlucky physical traumas for the character to wade through for your audiences twisted amusement. Just one problem. The things your character is about to go through would kill any normal being. The solution? Enter the Iron Comedy Buttmonkey. (May need a better title.)

The Iron Comedy Buttmonkey is, simply put, practically immune to harm. Drop an anvil on him? He simply gets a nasty looking lump. Throw him off a cliff and watch him bounce down in a brutal manner? He'll be carted off to hospital, maybe. Incinerate him? He'll reform from the ashes, or even simply be back next episode. One wonders how many lives this guy could save the military.

Obviously a form of Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Primarily an animation trope, Western Animation is particularly fond of this one.

Related to Slapstick. See also They Killed Kenny, when the comedy buttmonkey is not immortal but merely gets revived ready to get killed again like something from Valhalla.

Examples

Anime and Manga

  • Keitaro of Love Hina is reputed to be immortal based on this trope. Or So I Heard.
  • Dallas of Baccano! when his deaths are being Played for Laughs. Its justified in that he is actually immortal. Not to mention that some of his deaths are most certainly not Played for Laughs. A certain incident involving [[spoilers: being left to drown in a concrete barrel at the bottom of a river for several years]].
  • Largo in Megatokyo - if we ignore the broken arm that occurred in the first dozen strips. Piro has even commented that for a long time it was Largo's job to get physically hurt and Piro's to get emotionally hurt, until their roles started blurring slightly.
  • Sgt. Sosuke Sagara

Film
  • The Blues Brothers are a rare film example. Considering the fall down a set of stairs while trapped in classroom chairs too small for them, or have an entire block of apartments fall on top of them, and are then able to dust themselves off and get on their way.

Web Comics
  • Fighter and Black Mage in 8-Bit Theater: the former is repeatedly stabbed in the head with no ill effects (it made him smarter once), while Black Mage more or less always survives what's thrown at him (the Goblin Kick and Australia come to mind) and when he's killed, he gets brought back in fairly short order so as to continue suffering.

Video Games
  • This is about half of the gimmick with Wario's transformations in the second and third Wario Land games, as well as I heard with at least one (non Nintendo published) Gamecube era game. Simply put, the characters are nigh invulnerable, so the only way to proceed is to do things like set them on fire and have them smashed to a pulp to bypass obstacles.
  • This is how the Mummy's powers work in Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. He's dead, so being set on fire/electrocuted/smashed flat/cut into three different copies doesn't affect him at all. Granted, he's still not a fan of it...

Western Animation
  • Homer Simpson is the king of this trope. He goes through everything from falling off a cliff (twice), to slamming into a tree in his car, suffering from skiing incidents, waterfall plunges, animal maulings, amateur brain-surgery and getting hammered by a champion boxer!!! Not to mention getting shot by a cannon daily for a living as one of his many, many jobs. One has to wonder if he is truly immortal...
  • Family Guy. The entire family. Peter falls down stairs (repeatedly), Brian (being a dog) gets hit by cars, Lois has been known to smash through furniture... and yet its Meg who's the series Buttmonkey. Ironic, huh?
  • Wile. E. Coyote. He's been crushed, fallen hundreds of feet, been knocked all the way through earth and back like something out of Dragon Ball Z, and thats just the tip of a long list of abuses. He not only survives, but is right back at the same thing again.
    • On the subject of Looney Tunes, Daffy Duck's been shot enough times, his face should no longer be recognized. Sylvester's gone through many of the abuses that Tom has suffered over the years, being beaten, smashed, electrified, and so much else. Villains like Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Marvin the Martian have also survived incredible injuries.
  • Tom of Tom and Jerry. Like Wile. E. Coyote, he seems to be genuinely impervious to damage, with the exception of a few episodes where he does actually die. (and it never sticks.)
  • Pinky and the Brain
  • EdEddNEddy
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • November 23, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    God damn red links...
  • November 23, 2009
    Redneck Rocker
    Does Meg Griffin count as this?
  • November 23, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Does she take abuse that could well kill her, or at least leave her in far worse condition than she should be in after enduring that kind of treatment on a regular basis?
  • November 23, 2009
    Chabal 2
    Fighter and Black Mage in Eight Bit Theater: the former is repeatedly stabbed in the head with no ill effects (it made him smarter once), while Black Mage more or less always survives what's thrown at him (the Goblin Kick and Australia come to mind) and when he's killed, he gets brought back in fairly short order so as to continue suffering.
  • November 23, 2009
    Wacky Meets Practical
    I thought we had this, but the closest I could find was Made Of Iron, which seems to be this, but focused more in the action and adventure genre.

    • If you're going to mention Wile E Coyote, you might as well mention Looney Tunes as a whole, since they all fit into this trope. Daffy Duck's been shot enough time, his face should no longer be recognized. Sylvester's been beaten, smashed, electrified, and so much else. Villains like Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Marvin the Martian have also survived incredible injuries.
  • November 24, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Bump.
  • November 25, 2009
    Dracomicron
    Don't forget Homer's brief career as a carney, where he was shot in the stomach with a cannon every day.
  • November 25, 2009
    Alucard
    Keitaro of Love Hina is reputed to be immortal based on this trope. Or So I Heard.
  • November 25, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Compare Iron Woobie
  • November 25, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    I thought that was a Woobie who shows emotional resilience, rather than apparent physical immunity.

    EDIT: Proposed title change: Iron Buttmonkey. A bit snappier.
  • November 25, 2009
    Optimystic
    RE Family Guy, Typically, Brian, Peter and Lois sustain far worse injury than Meg for the sake of the gags; Peter falling down the stairs on numerous occasions, Brian running into (and getting hit by) cars, Lois falling over Peter and smashing through furniture, all complete with dislocations, fractures etc.
  • November 26, 2009
    BlackDragon
    Beetle Bailey - the titular character sometimes wind up in accidents, but more frequently gets stomped flat by Sarge. Literally. As in, he's turned into a flat pile of BDU-clad limbs sticking out at odd angles, usually with Sarge jumping vigorously up and down on his head. And yet, he always bounces back from it in a matter of seconds. One comic played with this concept by having him suddenly NOT bounce back, much to Sarge's consternation and, soon after, terror. However, as soon as Sarge has dashed away in fear of impending court-martial, Beetle reshapes with a grin, commenting "I bounce right back... when I WANT to."

    Honestly, between a soldier who can match Wolverine in terms of Healing Factor and a Sargeant who can disassemble a Main Battle Tank with a shout, I suspect that the Camp Swamp regiment would be quite the terror on the battlefield. Shame they never sent THEM to Iraq.
  • November 26, 2009
    Kuiper Beltran
    Don't know if Dallas Genoard from Baccano fits this, as it's not necessarily a break from reality: in the series, he is immortal (or at least invulnerable), meaning that he can be killed in any manner of ways and his body will still self-repair. Perhaps the most disturbing of these is when he is put in a barrel filled with cement and dumped into the river, left to drown, and recover, and drown repeatedly for several years until his sister comes to fish him out.
  • November 26, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    This is about half of the gimmick with Wario's transformations in the second and third Wario Land games, as well as I heard with at least one (non Nintendo published) Gamecube era game. Simply put, the characters are nigh invulnerable, so the only way to proceed is to do things like set them on fire and have them smashed to a pulp to bypass obstacles.
  • November 26, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Black Dragon, are both of those paragraphs the same example? Also, to Kuiper Beltran, this is strictly a comedy trope. If your looking for a character where being invulnerable is a major plot point, you're looking for Immortality. So the main question is: is the character in Baccano Played For Laughs?

    EDIT: I'm away for the weekend, won't be able to access this until late on Sunday. So if this is in a launchable state during that time, feel free to launch. This is Up For Grabs.
  • November 26, 2009
    Ub3rD4n
    Just about any Western Animation with slapstick. Ones I can think of off the top of my head are Pinky And The Brain and Ed Edd N Eddy.
  • November 26, 2009
    Kuiper Beltran
    Actually, Dallas is one of the few characters in Baccano that does not qualify as an immortal; he received an unrefined elixer which gives him invulnerability but it does not slow his aging (so he can expect to die in fifty years, but not before then). Healing Factor would have been a more accurate descriptor.

    Dallas's deaths are sometimes Played For Laughs, a notable example being when he first confirms his invulnerability by recovering from a headshot and responds with, "Y'know...that kinda hurt." However, the "eternally drowning" situation is more along the lines of Nightmare Fuel, especially since the audience is led to believe that he will be left continuously drowning for the rest of his life (only later is it revealed that his sister intends to fish him up from the bottom of the river, ending his torment). He tends to oscillate between Butt Monkey and Asshole Victim. I think that Iron Butt Monkey fits at least as well as Butt Monkey, which he's already listed as on the Baccano character sheet.
  • November 26, 2009
    Edgukator
    The Blues Brothers might fulfill the live action role of this. Considering the fall down a set of stairs while trapped in classroom chairs too small for them, or have an entire block of apartments fall on top of them, and are then able to dust themselves off and get on their way.
  • November 27, 2009
    OmegaMetroid
    This troper doesn't know all too much about older cartoons (as in, from the fifties or so), but I reckon quite a few of them had at least one character like this.
  • November 27, 2009
    Cidolfas
    Largo in Megatokyo - if we ignore the broken arm that occurred in the first dozen strips. Piro has even commented that for a long time it was Largo's job to get physically hurt and Piro's to get emotionally hurt, until their roles started blurring slightly.
  • November 27, 2009
    FreezairForALimitedTime
    This is how the Mummy's powers work in Sphinx And The Cursed Mummy. He's dead, so being set on fire/electrocuted/smashed flat/cut into three different copies doesn't affect him at all. Granted, he's still not a fan of it...
  • November 27, 2009
    SAMAS
    Suggest we drop the "Comedy" in the title. "Iron Buttmonkey" sounds less awkward.
  • November 27, 2009
    Gammon
  • November 29, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Changing the title to Iron Buttmonkey on launch. Launching in the next 24 hours.
  • November 29, 2009
    random surfer
    The Blues Brothers are not Live Action TV, they're Film. (Admittedly they originated on TV, but their Iron Buttmonkeyness - so to speak - occured in The Movie.)
  • November 29, 2009
    Ronka87
    Since it's the first example, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Keitaro in Love Hina actually subverts this at one point: he breaks his arm, and it lasts for a several chapters. As I recall, they even talk about how he usually just bounces back after getting hurt.

    Also, this is related to Status Quo Is God, as the characters just snap back to normal after being injured.
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