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[[quoteright:335:[[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bugsandelmer_5493.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:335:Perhaps the most obvious example]]

A {{Trickster}} who specializes in unstuffing stuffed shirts, deflating puffed-up egos, trivializing the self-important, and confusing know-it-alls. The Karmic Trickster is normally harmless, even friendly, if left unmolested. Once his dignity is dented or his person threatened, however, it's no holds barred -- the target is in for humiliation, embarrassment and bewilderment. Any tactic is fair game as long as it does not cause actual physical harm to the target. Only when the target has surrendered does the Karmic Trickster conclude his vengeance. Let's be clear on one thing though, the Karmic Trickster is a {{Jerkass}}, no ifs or buts.

Being completely self-centered, the Karmic Trickster normally acts only on his own behalf, but can be convinced to help others -- he has a soft spot for babies, innocents, and those who are truly good, and when his sympathy is evoked will go to the ends of the earth for them. Sometimes he sows chaos for the sake of chaos, but only when he gets carried away in the midst of one of his campaigns. Most of the time he simply wants to be [[HeroicNeutral left alone]], and [[KarmicProtection heaven help whoever messes with him!]] Given all of their righteous retribution, sometimes these characters can exist somewhere between this, ScrewySquirrel and borderline NeutralEvil if their self-righteous attitudes end up attacking characters for little more than existing nearby them and can often just seem like ComedicSociopathy if our trickster operates as a DesignatedHero regardless of where they sit on the TricksterArchetype scale and the only [=Karmic=] anything involved about them is being a KarmaHoudini.

Between them, Karmic Trickster and ScrewySquirrel comprise two-thirds of the classic TricksterArchetype. His actions are as much to teach as to gain revenge, where ScrewySquirrel is the embodiment of mischief for mischief's sake.

See also: KarmicProtection.

[[ObfuscatingStupidity May masquerade]] as TheFool, or vice versa; whether silly or wise, he will always display HiddenDepths (if only a knack for {{comedy}} and SimplemindedWisdom) whom the audience may laugh at. This is not always true of other [[TricksterArchetype Tricksters]] in general, who are sometimes cast as {{cloud cuckoolander}}s, irrepressible [[ScrewySquirrel agents of chaos]], lesser [[LoveableRogue chaos-bringers]] who are constantly being [[AnAesop taught a lesson]] themselves, or cosmic {{butt monkey}}s. Such traits rarely apply here.

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!!Examples

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[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* The MarxBrothers, making it OlderThanTheyThink. Groucho's line "Then it's war!" from ''Film/DuckSoup'' might be the inspiration for Bugs Bunny's similar line. In the film there was, in fact, a literal war. Complete with footage from WorldWarOne.
* Mahoney from ''Film/PoliceAcademy'' is given a choice between joining the police or facing jail for his Karmic Trickster actions. Note that becoming a police officer only curbed him ''slightly'' (or not at all where {{jerkass}} superiors are involved) but at least it gave him a badge to indulge in his true heroic tendencies.
* Eddie Murphy plays this role as Chandler Jarrell, TheHero and ChosenOne of ''Film/TheGoldenChild''. Once he learns that Sardo Numspa is the BigBad, he [[IShallTauntYou taunts him]] at every opportunity and takes a sort of childish glee in making him look foolish.
* The titular character played by Creator/AudreyTautou in ''Film/{{Amelie}}'', who sets out to drive a {{Jerkass}} grocer insane by making [[GasLighting barely noticeable changes in his apartment.]]
* [[Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff Ferris Bueller]] and [[Series/ParkerLewisCantLose Parker Lewis]] sometimes perform Karmic Trickery as part of their escapades.
* The main protagonists of ''Film/BrainDonors'' play this role against egotistical ballet dancer Roberto Volare.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In Literature/TheStormlightArchive, this is Wit's entire job. One can tell he greatly enjoys it, and more or less every single noble deserves it.
* Randall Patrick [=McMurphy=] of ''Literature/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' is a somewhat more realistic version of this, with a touch of MessianicArchetype thrown in.
** [[SubvertedTrope In the end, though, Nurse Ratchet always wins]], and [=McMurphy=] is in fact a certifiable sociopath, so it could be said he gets his own [[LaserGuidedKarma comeuppance]].
* Pumphutt in ''Literature/{{Krabat}}'' walks from mill to mill and punishes the masters who treat their apprentices like shit.
* El-Hrairah in WatershipDown falls somewhere in these lines, along with being a GuileHero. It makes sense, as he's supposed to represent the rabbits' gift for outrunning and outmaneuvering their enemies.
* [[Theatre/TwelfthNight Feste the jester]] embodies this role, appropriately enough for a play celebrating the Twelfth Night. The festivities are supposed to showcase the inversion of the social order and laugh at it all, which is precisely what Feste does. He points out the logical flaws in Olivia's mourning, sees through even Viola's clever wordplay, and cuts the pompous, Puritan Malvolio down to size... [[DisproportionateRetribution and then some.]]
* In the ''FoolsGuild'' series the entire Guild works this way.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* On ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', this is the [[EnsembleDarkHorse Trickster's]] MO: he seeks out people who he thinks are assholes or who annoy him, and punishes them in some manner he deems appropriate, generally killing them in the process.
* Tough to say whether this belongs under LiveActionTV or WesternAnimation, but part of the ''{{Farscape}}'' episode ''Revenging Angel'' depict Crichton in a coma using a series of Creator/ChuckJones-inspired animated sequences in a ShoutOut to the classic LooneyTunes shorts. Crichton's role is variously the RoadRunner or BugsBunny, depending on whether he's just trying to run away from D'Argo, or actively taking revenge for having put him in the coma in the first place (the latter placing him squarely in this trope).
* In the BBC Sitcom ''{{Waiting for God}}'' this would be Diana Trent, most often deflating Harvey "The Idiot" Baynes in the midst of one of his schemes to defraud or otherwise suppress the tenets of Bayview.
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[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Br'er Rabbit, moreso in the original stories than in the [[{{Disneyfication}} Disneyfied]] ''SongOfTheSouth''. Bugs Bunny was partially based on this character.
* The Norse god Loki, although sometimes a ScrewySquirrel, brought Karmic Trickery to bear against the villains for the greater good on several occassions. Loki would often [[VoluntaryShapeshifting tart himself up]] in drag to trick his enemies - a classic Karmic Trickery ploy - and often teamed up with Thor for a mix of BrainsAndBrawn.
* In many North American Native traditions, the figure of Coyote. Raven a bit further North, and Anansi the Spider down in Africa and the Caribbean. He carries on this role in NeilGaiman's ''Literature/AmericanGods'' and ''Literature/AnansiBoys''.
* Literature/TillEulenspiegel in German folklore: many of his "merry pranks" are aimed at exposing the hypocrisy and greed of others.
* Yiddish tales from the Ukraine feature Hershele Ostropolyer, who cheats rich misers out of their dinner, mocks well-dressed partygoers for only caring about looks, etc.
* {{Jesus}} Christ in [[Literature/TheBible the Gospels]]. He is responsible for giving the Pharisees a bad name and exposing the hypocrisy of temple priests.
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[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* The character EddieGuerrero portrayed in the late part of his Wrestling/{{WWE}} career was very much a Karmic Trickster; he'd jokingly use {{heel}}ish tactics against heels, but because they were all bad guys, and he was so funny about it, the crowds ate it up. One of his favorite tactics would be to pound the mat with a steel chair, throw it into an opponent's hands, and collapse to the mat, so that when the EasilyDistractedReferee turned back around, he'd naturally assume that the heel hit Eddie with the chair. And then, when the ref turned around to chastise the heel (on the occasions where he didn't outright disqualify him), he'd mug for the crowd and pose for the heel, such as putting his hands behind his head, as if he were relaxing in a hammock.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2520 the angels cheerfully rhaposdize about how]] GoodFeelsGood -- right next to {{Satan}}'s soul-buying booth. He also hunts them, and often gets pranked when he does so. And when he is not doing so -- given that he's Satan and they don't prank other characters, Karma can be assumed.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* The G-Man from the ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' series is certainly an example of this trope.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* Definitely Beltane of the ''WhateleyUniverse'', who's notorious on campus for playing pranks on deserving JerkAss classmates, particularly if said classmate is picking on one of Beltane's friends. Has the power of controlling ectoplasm, so can perform spectacular tricks.
** Also the recent character Thorn, who has the same power set. Thorn's also fond of just general silliness, using himself as the 'butt'. Yes, they have apparently met, and are currently engaged in a prank war.
** In a recent story, Bladedancer's girlfriend, Molly (AKA 'Gateway'), decided to summon up a trickster spirit to punish a notorious bully for messing with her friends. She was fortunate indeed to stipulate that it not cause him actual harm, else the karmic debt might have gotten loaded onto her in turn.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Characters/BugsBunny is a famous Karmic Trickster and former trope namer. This characterization was a considered decision on the part of Bugs' creators: it was required that the antagonist strike first.
** Note that it was not from the start: In his early days, Bugs was more of a ScrewySquirrel.
** Tweety is another WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes example.
* ''AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' nudges Sonic into this direction, repeatedly foiling Robotnik's plans in the most WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes-eqsue ways imaginable.
* The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) in ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' (although Wakko is closer to being a ScrewySquirrel) are somewhat offset by the fact that they can be cheerful and annoying to ''anybody'', but are generally harmless until someone starts being a JerkAss. Then he gets labeled their "Special Friend", and all bets are off. In one episode, they're being driven crazy by a parody of the nanny from ''TheSoundOfMusic''... but can't bring themselves to clobber her, because she's not doing anything ''wrong''. [[spoiler:They hire [[ScrewySquirrel Slappy]].]]
* Most of the Tiny Toons from ''TinyToonAdventures'' fit into this category. Especially Babs and Buster. Makes sense, considering the entire show is an ''AffectionateParody'' of old WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoons, featuring [[{{Expy}} Expies]] of old WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes characters being ''taught'' by said characters.
* Eric Cartman in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants". The visual style imitates Characters/BugsBunny wartime short films.
** Cartman also qualifies as a (very dark) Karmic Trickster in "Scott Tenorman Must Die!" -- perhaps as a kind of one-upsmanship of Scott Tenorman, who himself is also a Trickster.
* Loud Kiddington from ''WesternAnimation/{{Histeria}}!'', particularly in a sketch featuring him as a Mountie in the episode "North America".
* [[WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry Jerry]] generally waited until Tom victimized him before unleashing torment upon the cat... except when he occasionally didn't wait. These days it seems to be a very mutual rivalry, or even Jerry being the 'bad guy.'
* In most ''DonaldDuck'' cartoons where Donald is the antagonist, this tends to be the case. Chip and Dale or Huey, Dewey, and Louie especially.
** MickeyMouse even serves in this role to Donald as opposed to his usual one of the StraightMan in "Magician Mickey."
*** Mickey again takes on this role in a HouseOfMouse cartoon where he's held hostage by Pete, and his even dumber backwoods cousin, Zeke, who had just robbed a bank. Mickey convinces both parties that one of them is trying to do the other one in and take the money for themselves, and then proceeds to add fuel to the fire as their paranoia (and stupidity) sets in.
* The titular character in ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' tends to be a nice furry orange creature, and generally doesn't set out for taking antagonists down in return for a perceived slight -- but a lot of his antics come out this way anyway.
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