[[quoteright:208:[[ComicBook/HarleyQuinn http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_harleyquin02_8571.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:208:[[EvilIsSexy Sexiness]] [[SexyJester not required]].]]

A step down from the MonsterClown, a Villainous Harlequin is a villain that taps into the same vein as a Monster Clown but is usually PlayedForLaughs and rarely attempts to be outright scary.

A Villainous Harlequin (if female) will often be the PerkyFemaleMinion of the QuirkyMinibossSquad, rarely going any higher on the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil. Compared to the Monster Clown- which is genuinely threatening- she is closer to an IneffectualSympatheticVillain. She has shades of TheTrickster in her [[AttentionDeficitOohShiny impulsive]] and anarchic ways, but [[TooCleverByHalf lacks the intelligence necessary]] for this trait to provide any real danger. Whether male or female, a Villainous Harlequin may fancy him or herself as a SmugSnake, but his or her childish demeanor and outlandish appearance (which can range from traditional jester costumes to [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes impossibly cool]] outfits and [[PimpedOutDress incredibly impractical]] [[ElegantGothicLolita poofy dresses]] if female) ruins any chance of anyone taking him or her seriously. Expect temper tantrums when [[VillainBall his/her plans inevitably fail]], and for him or her to either be a ChewToy of TheDragon or a member of the GoldfishPoopGang.

But be careful: if the Villainous Harlequin [[NotSoHarmlessVillain gets promoted]] to TheDragon or BigBad levels, you're going to have a ''serious'' case of WhosLaughingNow on your hands.

The Villainous Harlequin is the product of the popular view of TheJester, which is that of an [[PluckyComicRelief idiotic buffoon]]. (This is despite the fact that TheJester was [[ObfuscatingStupidity one of the most insightful members]] of a king's court, due to his position outside the usual social ranks). Interestingly, in some Renaissance art {{Death}} itself is often portrayed dressed in motley, or "pied" clothing, which is often conflated with the true Harlequin outfit. The more danger a Villainous Harlequin poses to [[TheHero the protagonists]], the closer he or she gets to MonsterClown.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Pixy Misa from ''MagicalProjectS''.
* Buggy the Clown from ''OnePiece'' as well as one of his mooks.
* The ''[[InsistentTerminology beautiful]]'' Suzuki from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''.
* Papillon from ''BusouRenkin'' fits this due to his [[SissyVillain campy behavior and dress]] and being AffablyEvil.
* Will in ''PokemonSpecial''. In every other continuity he's strictly a good guy though.
* Impmon in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'', until his digivolution and HeelFaceTurn not long after.
* The Juggler in ''Anime/BtX''. Dressed like a harlequin/jester, with a funny mask and a B't named 'Vanilla Fudge', you wouldn't expect this character to be one of the most fearsome, powerful and outright sadistic of the Demon Generals that guard the Area.
* [[TheDragon Joker]] from ''Anime/SmilePreCure''. Notable for [[VileVillainSaccharineShow being]] ''[[VileVillainSaccharineShow much]]'' [[VileVillainSaccharineShow worse]] than he [[BewareTheSillyOnes initially appears]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker has wobbled between ''More Monster / More Clown'' depending on the decade, with the 50s and 60s leaning most strongly to the latter. Interestingly, the addition of his sidekick ComicBook/HarleyQuinn (Who takes this to a literal example) ends up balancing the 'more Monster' situations. It's interesting to note that Harley is only PlayedForLaughs when she's fawning over The Joker. When she goes out on her own, ''especially'' when she's out to prove herself to The Joker, she [[TookALevelInBadass takes a serious level in bad ass]] and becomes a dangerous threat to even Batman himself.
** The Joker's one-time sidekick Gaggy (a dwarf in a jester costume) also fits. The character was recently revived in ''ComicBook/GothamCitySirens'' where he sought vengeance on Harley Quinn whom he viewed as having taken his place.
* The Charlton/DC villains Punch and Jewelee are a married couple who both fit this role, as did the version of Toyman who was a member of the LegionOfDoom on the ''{{Superfriends}}''.
* The [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] GreenLantern foe the Harlequin (aka Molly Mayne), who he later ended up marrying.
** And Molly was just one of four DC villainesses to use the name The Harlequin over the years, not including Harley Quinn (who doesn't count because she spells it different...and it's a shortened version of her real name).
* Pierrot Lunaire is a foe of the Musketeer who dresses as the CommediaDellArte character Pierrot. He was a member of the Club of Villains that appeared in the ''[[Franchise/{{Batman}} Batman R.I.P.]]'' storyline.
* Averted in ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' -- Jack-in-the-Box may have the Joker's fashion sense, but he's definitely a hero.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* Stitches, Royal Pain's sidekick from ''Film/SkyHigh''.
* In Disney's ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' Clopin has shades of this. He's mostly ChaoticNeutral but turns downright malicious during "Court of Miracles".
* The eponymous antagonist in ''Film/FunnyMan'' is a trickster whose appearance is based on [[Theatre/PunchAndJudy Punch]] and a playing card joker.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''{{Foundation}} and Empire'' has Magnifico Giganticus, who plays the SadClown part so well at first that nobody even suspects him of being a villain. [[spoiler:In fact, he's the Mule himself.]]
* In ''Murder Must Advertise'', LordPeterWimsey takes on the persona of a sinister harlequin in order to infiltrate a murderous drug ring.
* One of the [[WizardOfOz Oz]] books featured a jester who went evil after getting his hands on a MagicWand.
** The movie version of that book, ''WesternAnimation/LegendsOfOzDorothysReturn'', also features that character.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Many, ''many'' villains from ''Franchise/PowerRangers''. Rita Repulsa (even when she was the BigBad), Jindrax (from ''Wild Force'') and Marah/Kapri (from ''Ninja Storm'') are probably the most straight examples of this trope.
** On the ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' side of things, this role usually falls to the solitary human female of the QuirkyMinibossSquad. Recent examples have been Furabiijo from ''Series/NinpuuSentaiHurricaneger'' and Kaze no Shizuka from ''Series/GoGoSentaiBoukenger''.
* Maaen from ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueForce''.
* Evil Jester from ''AmazingExtraordinaryFriends''.
* ''[[Series/TheTwilightZone Five Characters in Search of an Exit]]'' had a menacing clown. He wasn't quite evil, but he was all nihilistic and ominous and strange.
* One episode of ''FreshPrinceOfBelAir'' has Will, Carlton and Uncle Phil dealing with one of these, who demands to be taken to the courthouse (where Phil is to preside over a trial that will be televised) just so he can show his act in front of the cameras. He uses dynamite sticks strapped to his body in order to persuade people into following through with him. [[spoiler:However, the bombs later prove to be gag props complete with a [[BANGFlagGun "BANG!" flag]]. He's promptly kicked out of the court for his troubles.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Pinball ]]

* The Ringmasters in ''Pinball/CirqusVoltaire'', who are green-skinned FrenchJerk antagonists.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* One of these shows up as an antagonist in a ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons module. She's also cheerfully AxCrazy, TooKinkyToTorture, and [[MadLove has a crush on her boss.]]
* In the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons 3.5'' Edition Monster Manual IV is a creature called the Taunting Haunt, the vengeful spirit of a clown or preformer that can only be destroyed if beaten in a game of wits.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' has the Black Harlequin, a cheerful, smiley villain who just wants to have fun. His signature wepaons are armies of lethal toys, like teddy bears with metal claws, toy soldiers with real rifles and a rag-doll that causes aneurysms.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': Interestingly subverted by the Eldar Harlequins, which are technically good (i.e. they fight [[EldritchAbomination Chaos]]), are best described as [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot psychedelic space elf killer clown ninjas]], and are so competent even the Dark Eldar, who have an almost psychopathic urge to horrifically maim, torture, and kill every living being they can get a hold of, are afraid to keep them from the otherwise impenetrable Hell dimension they reside in. Oh, and they use some of the setting's most horrific weapons when they're not doing [[MagicDance psychically enhanced cautionary interpretive dance]], [[DanceBattler not that they much care for the difference]], though.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Harley Quinn from the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' and ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' Games.
* Harlequin, the psychic gambler pig from ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaCDiGames Link: The Faces of Evil]]''.
* Shannon, the [[CuteMonsterGirl succubus]]-slash-[[{{Stripperiffic}} stripper]] from ''GodHand''.
* Deathjester in ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3'', who lapsed into MonsterClown at times.
* Tira from ''SoulCalibur''.
* Kefka in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is initially presented as a Villainous Harlequin. ''That'' [[MonsterClown perception]] [[MagnificentBastard doesn't]] [[AGodAmI last]] [[BigBad long]]. Good thing we still have Ultros.
** Zorn and Thorn from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''.
* The appropriately named Harle from ''VideoGame/ChronoCross''. However, she's far more of an EnigmaticMinion than an [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffectual villain]]. [[spoiler:And being a villain or not doesn't really seem to be under her control.]]
* Reala and Jackle from ''NightsIntoDreams.'' Turns out NiGHTS itself was originally planned to be that, but a HeelFaceTurn turned it into the hero.
* Dimentio, from ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', fits this trope perfectly, but while his slightly [[LargeHam hammy]] antics and overall FriendlyEnemy demeanor is played for laughs, he ''definitely'' proves to be a NotSoHarmlessVillain by the end of the game.
* Also, Bowyer, a Boss from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'', is like this.
* Malcolm the Jester from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfKyrandia'', who goes from being a ChaoticEvil [[EvilSorcerer Sorcerer]] to a depowered VillainProtagonist trying to [[ClearMyName Clear His Name]] in the third game.
* {{Overlord}} has the Minion Jesters, whose duties are to give their EvilOverlord Masters amusing names (or make little limericks in the sequel) while also serving as their Training Dummies at times.
* Played with in regards of the Royal Jester in ''PrincessMaker 2''. Everyone ''thinks'' he's a bad guy and going talk to him actually drops your daughter's social reputation each time, but he's actually a rather good-hearted fellow... if a bit of a TricksterMentor to the heroine. Who ''can'' choose being a Jester as her main work in the end, if some requirements are met (specifically, having him give her his Royal Harp after several visits, as well as possessing a strong Constitution and very high Art and Conversation skills).
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "The Harlequin"]] Cahin from ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'', who uses his acrobatics to dazzle and distract his opponents while he ([[CreepyTwins or his sister Caha]]) move around to deliver a fatal strike.
* Cicero from ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', who's a CloudCuckooLander member of the [[MurderInc Dark Brotherhood]] prone to dancing a jig at the spot.
* The ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' DLC Mark of the Assassin has enemy rogues as Harlequins to fit the flamboyant Orlesian setting.
* Shaco the Demon Jester in ''LeagueOfLegends''. If the title or his glowing green eyes didn't give it away, his name is an anagram of "chaos"
* Dhoulmagus, the BigBadWannabe from ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' is one of these.
* The redesign of [[EverybodyHatesHades Thanatos]] in ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'' goes for this. While he's a rare example who's TheDragon and can prove to be [[BewareTheSillyOnes powerful and threatening]], more often then not he's the butt of many jokes thanks to his childishness and laziness.
* Clown Man, one of the [[QuirkyMiniBossSquad Robot Masters]] from ''VideoGame/MegaMan8''
* The Dark Wings from ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' subvert this troupe. Initially they seem to be a trio of annoying (if relatively harmless) thieves disguised as circus clowns, [[spoiler: but they're actually in league with Asch, putting them at least slightly on the side of good.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* Jokerella from ''TheNonAdventuresOfWonderella'' would probably fit in here.
** Though she [[TheDitz tends to skimp]] on the '[[PokeThePoodle villainous]]' part.
* The ''Riddler's Gammon'' comics by ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures''' Andrew Hussie feature a harlequin who menaces people with nonsensical puzzles and complicated rhyming schemes. He tends to get arrested, or shoved into garbage. Every enemy is decorated with Harlequin garb in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''!
* In the ''KITTEN II'' storyline of ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', the commander of a paramilitary group devoted to battling the forces of evil is inexplicably dressed as a clown, which [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes terrifies]] the normally-stoic Riff. It turns out he isn't really a clown, it's just a disguise to divert attention away from them. Somehow. But then it turns out that [[spoiler:he's gone insane and believes himself to be chosen by God to control [[KillerRabbit The Evil]].]] And then it turns out that [[spoiler:he was a clown all along.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Harley Quinn from ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''. Though it's worth pointing out that her NightmareFace and [[LaughingMad insane cackling]] as she lowers Batman [[ItMakesSenseInContext into a vat of piranhas]] thinking she can finally have the relationship she dreams of with the Joker pushes her ''this close'' to MonsterClown levels.
* The Joker goes back to his [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] Harlequin feel in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold.'' Even so, he is hilariously no less Made of Awesome than in the comic books or The Dark Knight.
* [[{{Metalocalypse}} I'm Dr. Rockso, the rock-and-roll clown! I do cocaine!]]
* Quackerjack from ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck''.
* Hexadecimal from ''ReBoot''.
** Though being AxeCrazy with main motivation ItAmusedMe and appearance heavily inspired by traditional Harlequin costume, she's usually played as HumanoidAbomination rather than this with Harlequin part further highlighting her otherness.
* ''{{Jimmy Two-Shoes}}'' has a bike gang called The Rodeo Clowns.
* In a ''{{Squidbillies}}'' episode, Rusty and Early become Clowny Freaks (a parody of {{Juggalo}}s). To advance up the Ziggurat of the Clownies towards full ninjahood, aspiring clowny freaks must smash stuff while playing "that evil-ass calliope". Clowny Daggers, baby!
* Jack-In-The-Box from ''CoolMcCool''.
* The Jester in the "Court Musician" segment in ''GarfieldHis9Lives''. He keeps taunting "Freddie," the titular court musician, that if he doesn't please the king with his concerto, he faces [[OffWithHisHead the guillotine]].
* An actual royal court jester was a villain in one ''WoodyWoodpecker'' cartoon; he wasn't ''really'' evil, but he ''was'' a pretty bad jester, and when the king threatened to fire him after thinking Woody was ''much'' funnier, the guy went after Woody in an attempt to keep his job. (The cartoon ended with Woody getting the job with the guy being punished by being part of Woody's act - getting pies thrown in his face.)

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