"My mind is a puzzle to many."

A character with their head in the clouds. They are strangely oblivious to things that everyone else takes for granted. They may have an argument with themselves for fun, make points in an argument with no basis in logic or reality, or tell rambling stories that have nothing to do with the point they're trying to make. They make totally unintentional double entendres, and are great for Getting Crap Past the Radar. Sometimes also called "Space Case" or "Space Cadet", or plain old "Strange," a cuckoo clock chime is used as an indicator of one.

The concept is well known, as in this joke: "A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent." - Jerome Lawrence

Cloudcuckoolanders are very rarely malicious. They are far more likely to be Plucky Comic Relief. Maybe he's one of Those Two Guys or the crazy member of the Comic Trio. They lapse into non sequitur a lot, and while they aren't totally insane, they act it much more than some other crazier characters.

One mark of a Cloudcuckoolander is when, 90% of the time, you think the character is just plain nuts, but 10% of the time, you suspect that the character is in fact the Only Sane Man on the show. In other words, a Cloudcuckoolander has massive knowledge and understanding of the workings of the universe, but a poor way of communicating that to everyone else. Unfortunately, when they are smart, nobody else is, and when they are not, everybody else is. In any event, they can be oddly endearing, if not downright Crazy Awesome.

They often come off as naive, innocent and Sarcasm-Blind, so when they suddenly come up with snarky quips and witticisms, it may be one of the first indications that they are much more insightful than they seem to be.

Another notable mark is that often there is nothing actually wrong with what they do, but it is most assuredly not something a normal person would do. Sit down with a Cloudcuckoolander and try to explain to them that normal people don't wear the clothes of a dead man. They will never understand what your problem is. It's not like the dead guy cares, is it?

When they are given a specific disorder, it is often Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, despite the fact that a couple of lesser-known disorders actually fit better: Schizotypal personality disorder, which is essentially schizophrenia-lite characterized in part by acting really weirdnote , and thought disorder, which is when normal speech is disrupted and presumed to reflect a similar disruption in thoughts. However, there are a growing number of these characters whose strangeness is a symptom of Hollywood Autism. Oddly enough, quirkiness is a common trait in real-life autistics.

Frequently clips entire stacks of Weirdness Coupons from the paper. Certainly, many of them get away with a good deal no one else would be allowed. And has a weakness for falling into a Wiki Walk.

Though they may overlap with The Ditz, The Fool or the Kindhearted Simpleton, a Cloudcuckoolander, by definition, isn't stupid. They can be highly intelligent and very insightful or even geniuses, it's just the things they sometimes say and do may come off as weird, awkward, over-the-top, illogical, eccentric, etc. And because imagination often runs wild, they tend to be Easily Impressed.

This character is a mainstay of Surreal Humor, Dada Comics, Widget Series, and Word Salad Humor. Even in a series with a little more structure overall, the Cloudcuckoolander's wacky and bizarre antics will often be used for an easy gag, particularly when paired with a straight foil to drive insane. This is probably why there are so many Web Comics examples. Often this character will also be a Granola Girl or New-Age Retro Hippie.

When their weirdness delves into disturbing territory, they have taken a job as a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.

On rare occasion, a Cloudcuckoolander may become Bored With Insanity and become more normal. If this happens, sometimes it sticks, and sometimes a "we want our Cloudcuckoolander back" movement, subsequently getting bored with sanity too, or some other means of inducing insanity will make him or her a Cloudcuckoolander again (since, after all, Status Quo Is God).

Their native land is Cloudcuckooland.

If a Cloudcuckoolander is dangerous, then that is Beware the Silly Ones. If they fight for a random rather than heroic reason, see Classical or Nominal Hero. Because of the humor value in doing so, they're more likely than most characters to be a Spanner in the Works that stops an seemingly unstoppable plan, leaving viewers wondering if they were aware of what they were doing. For that reason, when it's time for a show to get serious, these characters are likely to be killed or detained so the viewers know they won't be responsible for yet another Deus ex Machina.

The name of the trope comes from the city built on air above the Greek plain in Aristophanes' play The Birds, 414 B.C., whose ruler had quite a large mental gap between the dreamy, wide-eyed, idealistic Utopia that he imagined his city to be and the brutal totalitarian regime that he had actually imposed on it. He also came up with brilliant ideas like keeping people out of his city—a city you could only reach through flight—by building a really, really tall wall around it. (We'll give you a minute to figure out why that wouldn't have worked so well.)note 

For various variants and overlapping tropes see:

If written badly or subjected to Flanderization, a character who was supposed to be merely weird may become The Ditz or a full-time Talkative Loon.

See also Cloudcuckoolander's Minder for the person who—with or against their will—often accompanies the Cloudcuckoolander(s) and tries to prevent things from getting out of hand. This is usually an impossible task. See also Cuckoolander Commentator, when the Cloudcuckoolander is put in charge of commentary for an event.

Lastly, when dealing with Cloudcuckoolanders, always remember that sometimes their ramblings aren't just ramblings. That's The Cuckoolander Was Right.

Now divided into: