Everything's Better with Monkeys aka: Everything Is Better With Monkeys
Don't worry, he actually thinks it's really funny.
"More fun than a barrel of monkeys!"
— Old proverb, setting the bar impossibly high
Some people find apes, monkeys, and lemurs inherently amusing. Perhaps it's the fact that they mirror humanity so closely while still maintaining the visage of a wild animal, perhaps it's just easier to anthropomorphize them, or maybe people just like poop-tossing jokes? Whatever the reason, there's a cyclic period of people being fascinated by primates that always seems to take the world of fiction by storm.
This has long been noted by comic book authors, who, during the Silver Age, took every opportunity to insert, turn people into, or otherwise add gorillas to a superhero story. In fact, DC Comics had a policy at the time limiting the number of "monkey" issues per month, to prevent everybody from doing it!
This is sometimes associated with the tastes of the Lowest Common Denominator, who view the ultimate form of entertainment as a cigar-smoking chimp wearing a diaper and top hat that is riding a tricycle.
A chimp with a diaper — Ha ha... Wait, we didn't imagine that until just now. Ha ha ha!
This trope is named for a Superdickery.com subpage. And yes, we know it ought to be "Everything's Better With Non-Human Primates" too. After all, everything's also better with apes, who are technically not monkeys. The difference is actually very simple - Monkeys have tails, while apes (including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans) don't. On the other hand the word "monkey" is simply funnier (unless you're addressing a certain librarian...)
Baboons are often used if Everything Is Worse With Monkeys, probably because they're on the large size for primates and are more than willing to display their formidable canine teeth on camera. Gorillas can work either way, because everybody knows gorillas are badass, so it depends on whether the gorilla in question is good or evil. And chimpanzees will fucking kill you if they get an opportunity. Those cute ones you see on TV? Always juveniles. The adults (particularly the males) are vicious brutes that hunt and eat monkeys... and even other troops' baby chimps. And they hunt in packs.
See also Killer Space Monkey, Maniac Monkeys, and Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot (which invokes this trope quite often); also check out Everything's Better with Penguins, Turtle Power, and Everything's Better with Dinosaurs for the avian and saurian equivalents of this trope. See Cymbal-Banging Monkey for a common exception to this trope.
A very well-known series of adverts for PG Tips Tea in Britain involved a group of trained chimpanzees who acted in the roles of a suburban family, with dubbed voices. Despite their popularity, these were axed in the 1990s over fears of animal cruelty allegations. They have since been replaced with the sock monkey (or Muuuuun-keigh! as Johnny Vegas pronounces it) inherited from ITV Digital, allowing a thematic continuation.
The latter arises from a series of adverts by Vegas (playing a character called Al) and the Muuuunkeigh for ITV Digital, which went under despite giving away free sock monkeys with every subscription (some people signed up purely for that reason). The Al-Muuunkeigh combo was briefly transferred to The BBC for Comic Relief, then bought by PG Tips.
The Cadburys "Gorilla" ad. The entire ad consists of a man in a disturbingly realistic gorilla costume drumming along to Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight", and relies on this trope in order to generate publicity (which it has). Check it out.
A Dodge Automobile commercial advertising a new sale has Michael C Hall say, "This event could not be more amazing. Oh, wait, there's a monkey." Cue a small chimpanzee dressed like Evel Knievel walking into the lot and pushing down on a plunger that blasts a small amount of confetti. Hall then says, "I stand corrected."
In response to PETA's complaints about using a monkey, Chrysler produced another commercial that was almost exactly like the first one—but now with an invisible monkey.
In Dragon Ball Z, they are not friendly at all. Goku's transformations were occasionally played for humor in the original series, but it was shown to be quite dangerous to those around him, too. Vegeta, on the other hand, retains complete control while transformed into a giant ape. Too bad it's well before his Heel-Face Turn when he does it, so they'd have been better off if he had become just a rampaging mindless beast. Played straight, however, with King Kai's monkey companion Bubbles.
Cromartie High School has a gorilla who frequently shows up at the school, and is said to be smarter than many of the delinquents who go there (which isn't that hard to believe when you see the rest of the cast).
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX had one episode featuring an experimental dueling monkey with a monkey deck. In the dub he's named Wheeler as a callback joke to a comment Kaiba made in the original series about Joey being a "dueling monkey".
In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, the Dark Signer Demak had the Dark Signer Birthmark of the Monkey, his Deck had monsters that were primarily Monkeys/Apes... and, of course, Earthbound Immortal Cusillu.
In Ask Dr. Rin!, one of their four Ridiculously Cute Critters is Tenshin, a monkey that does nothing but squawk and eat candy, but due to being something of a mascot for the series, gets a lot of screentime.
In a Naruto filler arc, Kakashi placed a genjutsu on a bunch of monkeys so they would look like his team, confusing his tail. Apparently said tail found monkeys highly entertaining, as it took him half an hour to figure out they weren't human.
As far as canon goes, the Third Hokage has a very formidable (if aging) monkey summon, while the Four-Tails is a giant sentient mass of chakra in the form of a four-tailed monkey with lava powers.
Averted in Yaiba, where Basho Matsuo, one of the vilest and most dangerous villains of the series turns into an ape-man during his fight with Yaiba. He relies more on agility and cursed needles than brute strength though.
Slam Dunk: No actual monkeys in the show, but the main character is described as a "redheaded monkey" and his captain's nickname is literally "Gori" (short for Gorilla). In fact, any excessively big and manly guy is referred to as a gorilla. Whenever Shohoku is chibified, they're usually portrayed as monkeys being led by a gorilla (except Rukawa whose a fox).
Nanami from Kamisama Kiss has a monkey shikigami named Mamoru-kun.
In Gintama, the author of the manga Gintaman is revealed to be an ordinary gorilla. The Author Avatar later ends up being a humanized gorilla, and Kondo, who has the nickname of "Gorilla", ends up being transformed into one in a particular story arc.
In one arc, the Yorozuya gang and others decide to play a MMORPG called Monkey Hunter in an attempt to gather some information on some aliens who had them unwillingly modified into screwdrivers. The game is essentially the same as what it's a parody of, just with nothing but giant monkeys as the enemies.
Another arc has Kyubey tasked with watching over a pet monkey, whom she proceeds to give an Overly Long Name.
Many, many superheroes and supervillains are intelligent apes of some sort. Notables include:
Congorilla: Sacred golden gorilla who serves as the alter ego of Congo Bill, a British adventurer, courtesy of mind-swapping rings.
Gorilla Grodd: Psychic would-be world conqueror from a hidden city of superintelligent gorillas. Gorilla City's actually kind of a big deal in DC; King Solovar was an important figure in the originalCrisis Crossover.
Not to mention how the Beast's original thing was his incredibly simian physique, causing him to look like a shaved gorilla. Then he became something akin to a blue-furred gorilla with a bizarre Wolverine-ish hairdo. Later he lost the gorilla-like traits to become cat-like, though.
And the Red Ghost's super-apes, a gorilla, orangutan, and mandrill with super strength, shapeshifting, and gravity powers (respectively) from the same cosmic ray storm that gave the Fantastic Four their powers.
And there is also Initiative member Gorilla Girl, The Gibbon, Gorr the Golden Gorilla, and the Beasts of Berlin.
Julius Schwartz was parodied in J2 by the gangster-turned-talking gorilla Big Julie.
This doesn't apply to every ape, though; Giant monster-turned-regular-sized-monster Gorgilla is actually kind of a loser, like the rest of his teammates in the Fin Fang Four. And Moon Boy (of and Devil Dinosaur fame) is just too goofy to be cool. It's not entirely clear exactly what Moon Boy is, but at one point he's believed to be an example of Homo habilis (an early human species from back when humans were much more ape-like).
Then there's the Hit-Monkey, which is basically what it sounds like, a Noble Demon hitman ape with the ability to shoot with his feet and only kills hitmen, mercs, and other crooked types. First showed up in the pages of Deadpool, where he chased after the Merc with a Mouth.
Nearly every superhero during the Silver Age was turned into a gorilla, at one time or another. The best way to tell if someone's doing an homage or Affectionate Parody of the Silver Age is to see if there are any gorillas around.
Legend has it that this trend began when a DC Comics executive noticed sales spikes during months where monkeys and/or apes were on the cover. Whether or not this is true is unknown, but Peter David, in the same foreword quoted above, insists that it's true, and even names the exec: Julius Schwartz, creator of Barry Allen and Hal Jordan, among others.
Of course, this all culminated in the JLApe crossover, where the entire Justice League were turned into gorillas, even in their own comics. Before you ask, it was actually in the late nineties. Also, it turns out that red-haired and blond gorillas (such as the ape versions of the Flash and Aquaman, respectively), are really weird looking.
Later mimicked by Marvel Apes, an alternate universe where everyone is a monkey except the Inhumans and Sue Storm. (Note that the Marvel Apes version of Spider-Man, who has a tail, is not an ape, but a spider monkey. He actually calls himself "Spider-Monkey".)
A particularly long-running take on the above occurred in the Eclipse comic Zot!. Due to an early run-in with a deevolutionary cult, one of the characters turned into a chimpanzee every time he visited the alternate earth of the titular character. He didn't mind as much as you'd think.
From the New Crusaders we have a talking alien chimp named "Dusty", a.k.a. Uruk Ak'hak.
The third collection of The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, "Monkey Tales," involves: a superintelligent other-dimensional gorilla, a tribe of sasquatch, and a hyper-Ebola monkey. (That's three separate stories, mind.) In the fourth collection, "Gorilla Warfare," the characters travel to the dimension the superintelligent gorilla came from, where he (the gorilla) is worshiped as a god.
Chris Sims' Exterminape is a tongue-in-cheek example, where the main character is a talking gorilla who discovered firearms shortly after learning how to use simple tools and quickly became a badass assassin who likes to show human women his "jungle love".
Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, has admitted he likes drawing monkeys. Especially gorillas with bolts in their neck, which is why Hermann von Klempt has a series of enhanced gorillas ("Kriegaffen", or "war apes") as aides. In addition, Count Guarino is turned into a chimpanzee during "Box Full of Evil". A monkey that carries a pistol and tortures Abe with a burning poker.
"Is that a monkey?" "He's got a gun!" *BLAM BLAM*
The comic book series Proof about a Bigfoot who is a paranormal investigator is just "Hellboy AS A MONKEY!"
In I Feel Sick by Jhonen Vasquez, the main character Devi, an artist who is working on cover art for a book, is instructed to put a monkey on the cover. The book in question features no monkeys, it is about children who get evil powers from gnawing on contaminated aluminum siding, but research shows that people love monkeys and a monkey on the cover will just about double sales.
Mega City One in Judge Dredd has a simian ethnic enclave (named Apetown), and an Orangutan named Dave was once elected Mayor of the city. He ended up being assassinated.
Matt Fraction's Mantooth is about a super-spy gorilla who's a super-smooth ladies man.
The Savage Dragon features Brainiape, an evil gorilla with a Brain in a Jar attached to his head. That has Psychic Powers. A crossover with the aforementioned Hellboy revealed that the brain in Brainiape was... Well, given that Hellboy was in it, Take a wild guess.
Y: The Last Man, or, as it should've been called, &: The Last Male Monkey. Seriously, if you read it, you'll get it.
The Umbrella Academy loves chimps. Random intelligent chimps are shown throughout the comic, most notably Dr. Pogo who assists the main characters, and to a much lesser extent, Detective Body. The reason as to why there are intelligent chimps randomly about is never explained.
"Still giving orders, monkey-boy?"
"I am the only one here of the pongidae persuasion... and I take offense at that comment."
The Filth has Dmitri, a talking chimp who also happens to be a Soviet assassin. He offed JFK.
In Secret Six, Ragdoll used some of his mercenary money to buy "a monkey house and a variety of little monkey outfits" for his monkeys. He dressed them up as his team members, covered himself with monkey chow and giggled as they attacked him. It was unsettling and hilarious.
The villains of the Tintin adventure The Black Island keep a gorilla named Ranko to guard their island base.
Marvel brings us Hitman Monkey in Deadpool. No word as to whether he is that hitman monkey yet.
"Let's be clear: HITMAN MONKEY is the harrowing tale of a Macaque monkey from the mountains of Japan who, though fate and circumstance, is transformed into the world's deadliest assassin," [Axel] Alonso continues. "I fail to see what could be funny about-oh. I see your point."
The Norts in Rogue Trooper once attempted to counter the Southers' GIs with part-human-part-gorillas, who like the GIs could breathe the atmosphere of Nu Earth. They failed when Rogue beat their leader in one-on-one combat, becoming the new commander and persuading them to rebel against their evil masters.
In Requiem Chevalier Vampire, Thurim's sex life gets better with gori-mandrills! For those thoroughly squicked: Aiwass actually turns back to her true vampire babe form to do the deed... and if this repels you, what are you doing reading Requiem in the first place?
German comic Nick Knatterton has one story about two chimps who were taught to steal. One of them ends up as Nick's "housemaid", having learned to do that job.
Tarzan was based on Tarzan of the Apes, but Disney did work the monkey trope into a wacky lather in the film. In the series and the sequels, the monkey level is still present but nowhere near as effective.
The Lion King had the shaman-type, Rafiki, who was an African vision-having kung-fu mandrill.
A few Disney geeks have a theory: this trope is the only acceptable reason why there are "lemurs" in the Late Cretaceous period in Dinosaur.
Gorillas actually appear as background characters in Dumbo. One tries to escape from its cage during a parade, and a whole family of them can be seen during the "Baby Mine" number.
The Barrel Full of Monkeys game monkeys make brief appearances in each Toy Story film (sometimes only during the credits), and they're usually used for quick, silly gags. Taken Up to Eleven in Toy Story 3 with DEATH BY MONKEYS.
The Madagascar film franchise has a ring-tailed lemur (King Julien), a mouse lemur (Mort) and an aye-aye (Maurice). And two chimps, Phil and Mason. All five can also be found in the spin-off TV series The Penguins of Madagascar, which ups the count even further by adding two gorilla characters, Bada and Bing.
The Rugrats Movie has the babies getting lost in a jungle where they meet a troop of escaped circus monkeys, and it seems this way when they start dancing with them. That is, until Tommy opens up Dil's banana-flavored baby food, at which points do not become better with the monkeys.
In The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the protagonist has a well-trained pet monkey that he often dresses in a matching outfit. Taken a bit too far when said protagonist and said monkey are seen together in the trenches of World War I, with the monkey in a little soldier's uniform.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back had the titular duo adopt an orangutan for some reason. (This was hinted at back at the end of Mallrats, where the last scene shows Jay and Silent Bob heading off into the distance with the orangutan, named Suzanne, in tow. No explanation is given for this, nor was the ape ever seen prior. It seemed to be an excuse to shoehorn Weezer's "Suzanne" over the ending montage.) Sexy jewel thieves were involved.
A similar sequence also appeared in the Jay and Silent Bob comic-book miniseries and the Clerks cartoon.
Lampshaded in the film. In one sequence, we see Shannen Doherty in a Scream-esque scene, in which she is attacked by Ghostface but manages to knock him out, and unmasks him. It's the orangutan:
Shannen: What?! Fucking Miramax... CUT! Wes Craven: What? Shannen: A fucking monkey? Jesus, Wes, are you even trying anymore? Wes: But the research says people love monkeys! (Jay and Silent Bob take the monkey and run) Jay: We love this monkey! Wes: See?
Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose and its sequel Any Which Way You Can was about a long-haul trucker and his pet orangutan. Eastwood once told a joke about that film (in which the ape was a chimp, according to him); he enjoyed the ape's company so much that he attempted to buy it after filming was completed. The animal's keeper asked how much Eastwood made, and upon learning it was $5,000 a day or some such, replied "Well Mr. Eastwood, the ape likes you too. But he makes $6,000 a day, so perhaps he should buy you".
Inverted in Back to the Future: One of the early drafts of the script for the first movie featured a monkey as Doc Brown's pet instead of Einstein the dog. Apparently it was changed because one of the producers was under the impression that no movie with a monkey in it had ever made a profit (this was some years before Pirates of the Caribbean came out.)
Reagan even Lampshaded this role in a comment he made to Clint Eastwood, after Clint was elected mayor of Carmel (referring to Clint's role in Every Which Way But Loose): “What’s an actor who played with a monkey in a movie want to be doing in politics?”
Supposedly Reagan once autographed a Bedtime for Bonzo publicity photo of him and Bonzo with the inscription "I'm the one with the wristwatch."
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls has a scene with Ace joining a bunch of chimps in a mass exodus from a building, and doing a pretty fair imitation of their movements. Also, gorilla rape to the tune of "The Lion Sleeps". The latter is a case of Rule of Funny, as gorillas, by and large, have much smaller penises than humans. What? Why are you looking at me like that?
And let's not forget about Spike, his monkey sidekick.
In The Fall, Charles Darwin (yes, that one — sort of) has a monkey "assistant" that he takes with him everywhere. The monkey dying is the point in the movie when things in Roy's story start to get very dark, very quickly.
Inspector Clouseau's first scene in The Return of The Pink Panther proves that his accent gets even funnier when a "minkey" is on the scene, as he argues with an accordion-playing beggar about his pet.
Charles Gemora is another actor who made a career of playing gorillas in older films and movie serials.
In the screwball comedy Monkey Business (not to be confused with a Marx Brothers film which has nothing to do with monkeys aside from its title), a monkey breaks into a chemistry lab and accidentally creates a batch of Screwball Serum.
There is a lovable little monkey in the movie The Testaments, of One Fold and One Shepherd, her name is Chio.
A monkey in a cage plays a part in the finale of the comedy Trading Places.
Jumanji, TWICE. Mischievous, violent monkeys are released early on, and later, one of the characters starts slowly transforming into a monkey-like creature as a penalty for cheating.
Carl the monkey (who is disturbingly savvy and prone to shooting everyone the bird) has shown up in Janet Evanovich's Numbers cycle (the Stephanie Plum series) and is also in the Sins spin-off books, Wicked Appetite and Wicked Business, alongside Diesel, who is fairly put out by it. Monkeys make the books better, but NOT Diesel's day, as a rule...
Hanuman from the Sanskrit epic Ramayana is without doubt the most Badass monkey ever.
Not only is he the king of all monkeys in India, he is also a legendary hero and a demigod. Unable to find a rare healing plant on a mountain, he just brought the entire mountain back. Then he helped his friend Rama find his kidnapped wife by jumping from the Indian mainland all the way to Sri Lanka to scout the capital city of the Rakshasa demons. When he was captured and the demon king Ravana had his tail set on fire, Hanuman escaped and jumped from roof to roof, setting the entire city on fire.
Sun Wukong from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, a super-strong, super-fast, regenerating monkey with magic powers who was also a Sociopathic Hero. Also a textbook example of a munchkin. He was likely originally inspired by the above Hanuman.
I have taught thee all the Law of the Jungle for all the peoples of the jungle — except the Monkey-Folk who live in the trees. They have no law. They are outcasts. They have no speech of their own, but use the stolen words which they overhear when they listen, and peep, and wait up above in the branches. Their way is not our way. They are without leaders. They have no remembrance. They boast and chatter and pretend that they are a great people about to do great affairs in the jungle, but the falling of a nut turns their minds to laughter and all is forgotten. We of the jungle have no dealings with them. We do not drink where the monkeys drink; we do not go where the monkeys go; we do not hunt where they hunt; we do not die where they die. Hast thou ever heard me speak of the Bandar-log till today?
Dean Koontz's Christopher Snow books, Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, feature a tribe of monkeys that are escaped lab animals.
In Animorphs, Marco's favorite battle morph was a gorilla. Chimpanzee and monkey morphs show up as well, although the monkey morphs were sario rip morphs and unusable after the end of the rip.
Though to be more precise he's a thirty-one thirty-secondths human hybrid. As it turns out, most caucasians in Lovecraft's universe are probably the result of interbreeding between ancient African tribes and degenerate albino ape-things.
Edgar Allan Poe's first tale of Detective Dupin, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. The murderer is an escaped orangutan.
According to some sources, the Librarian of the Unseen University from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels was turned into an orangutan because it was the funniest thing Pratchett could think of.
The Hank the Cowdog series has one book where Hank finding a monkey in a crate and using him as his own personal servant, inflating his ego in the process. The monkey later starts talking and usurps Hank's command, calling himself the Pasha of Shizzam. But it turns out that part was All Just a Dream.
Though (whatever the books say) he has no tail, and is therefore an ape (a chimp, specifically), not a monkey.
Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl has a pet monkey named Sweetie. He brings Sweetie with him everywhere and dresses him in outfits that match Chuck's own. On the TV show they settled for giving Chuck a dog named Monkey.
The teacher in Ishmael is a telepathic gorilla. No reason is given for this.
Esphyr Slobodkina's 1938 children's book Caps for Sale includes mischievous monkeys.
Zig-zagged in Sideways Stories From Wayside School. When Mrs. Jewls becomes the new teacher of the classroom on the top floor, she thinks all the children look too cute to be human. This causes her to mistake them for monkeys. However, she admittedly doesn't think it seems fun to teach a classroom full of monkeys.
Live Action TV
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the Season 5 episode "Into the Woods", Anya wants to watch a movie about monkeys playing hockey because "The ice is so slippery and monkeys are all irrational".
Even more telling, some type of primate tends to be one of the default Humongous Mecha for most animal combinations of zords. Kakuranger had an ape, Gingaman, Gaoranger, Gekiranger, a gorilla, and Shinkenger had a monkey. Some type of primate is one of the default animal zords, along with Lion, Wolf, Shark, and a large Bird Of Prey.
The premiere episode of The Middle Man featured superintelligent genetically engineered lowland gorillas.
Wendy: Oh no. It's Gorilla Grodd.
Paul the Gorilla from The Electric Company, companion of Jennifer of The Jungle. No, not that kind of companion...
Kelso on That '70s Show thinks that if a Monkey had a loaded gun would be an awesome premise for a TV Show.
Mork and Mindy had Mork rescuing (or so he thought) a chimp from the zoo. Twice. The first time was just a gag at the beginning of an episode, but the second time was an entire plot.
Professor Bobo, the semi-intelligent chimp from MST3k.
Sort of subverted in an earlier episode. A gorilla appears at the Hexfield Viewscreen. He doesn't really do anything. Everybody's understandably confused.
On 3rd Rock from the Sun Doctor Liam Neesam, played by John Cleese, tries to turn the entire population of Earth into monkeys to turn Earth into "Super Monkey World" as an amusement attraction for the rest of the Universe.
Legends of the Hidden Temple: The infamous "Shrine of the Silver Monkey" room is one of the few obstacles on the show that lasted through the entire show's history.
A first-season episode of Rescue Me included a subplot in which Tommy Gavin's Uncle Teddy wins a bet against a zookeeper, and Tommy's father (who is living with Teddy at the time) is at pains to keep the animal from ruining the house.
Kratts' Creatures spinoff Zoboomafoo featured a lemur as a main character. For a few seconds each episode, he'd be an actual lemur, for most of the rest, he'd be a puppet, but then there'd also be these stories with him depicted in claymation.
A sketch in Monty Python's Flying Circus had a gorilla being interviewed for a librarian's position. He is thrown out after he is forced to admit he's really a human librarian wearing a gorilla suit ("...trying to deceive us in order to further your career!").
The title character of the short-lived '80s sitcom Mr. Smith was a talking orangutan who worked as a government advisor in Washington, DC.
Gerald the Gorilla, in one of the best known Not the Nine O'Clock News sketches. Taken onto a talk show by Professor Fielding, to demonstrate how he has taught a wild animal to talk, they quickly descend to bickering like a married couple, while the interviewer looks on in bemusement.
Professor Fielding: Look, can we get this into some sort of perspective? When I first met Gerald he was completely wild...
Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond seems to have a deep appreciation for monkeys. The best example is when he mentions this one time when he and his family were at a zoo, and he was watching a man with a monkey, and Debra simply gave him the "don't even think about it" look just for thinking it might be fun to have a monkey in the house.
In Never Mind the Buzzcocks, host Mark Lamarr once got bored reading out the current joke so said "Never mind, here's a video of a monkey on a tricycle."
The Barenaked Ladies song "Another Postcard" is about a man who cannot escape an endless stream of anonymous international postcards - all of which feature allegedly humorous photos of chimpanzees in various costumes and poses: "Another postcard with chimpanzees / And every one is addressed to me..."
And, of course: "If I had a million dollars / I'd buy you a monkey! / Haven't you always wanted a monkey?"
Beastie Boys - "Brass Monkey" ("Brass monkey, that funky monkey")
Which, as many people don't even realize (but is obvious in the context of the song) is a kind of cocktail drink.
Also, "De-Evolving", where the narrator starts turning into a monkey.
For that matter, "Skullcrusher Mountain" practically embodies this trope, when the mad scientist narrator attempts to woo the object of his affection with the gift of a pony, enhanced by the addition of several monkeys.
This trope plays into [JoCo]'s music so much that when he posted "Space Doggity" - a song about the first dog in space - to his blog, he wrote, "I almost went with the first monkey in space, but I didn't want to be accused of going overboard with the monkeys."
Darling Pet Munkee's almost-eponymous song "Darling Pet Monkey", about an actual mail-order ad for live squirrel monkeys (see the "real life" section). Since their main shtick is writing songs about comic book ads that reflect the ad's tone and not what the actual product was like, it makes getting a monkey in the mail sound much cooler and less dangerous than it really would be.
CHIKARA featured the wrestler USApe, who's your standard All American Face in a gorilla suit. At Here Come the International Invaders: Attack of the Phantom Sith, August 17, 2007, he defeated MosCOW the Communist Bovine. They also teamed up with Dragon Dragon in a losing effort against the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple (Crossbones, Hydra and UltraMantis Black) at Bruised on October 26. Cows are quite funny, too.
Jimmy Jacobs was part of a team with Gregory The Gorilla called Ape Of The Falls in the NWA.
During the NFL season, Tony Kornheiser's radio show has a regular segment called "Jaws versus the Monkey". In which football picks made by ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski are set against picks made by "Reginald the Monkey", from the DC Zoo.
Karl loves monkeys in general. When discussing aliens, Ricky points out that Karl would love if the aliens looked like monkeys and, if anything, he would want to go to the planet from Planet Of The Apes.
Victorian businessman Thomas Bin thought so, to the extent he had a hotel made out of monkeys, who were stacked together to form a 'rigid but flexible framework'. And it actually worked, until someone set up a peanut-butter and banana treat factory next door, causing the monkeys to go berserk and attack everyone nearby, including Bin himself, who then goes missing. Incidentally, the man describing Bin's fate to his children, who just happens to be his business partner, has no idea why someone would put such a factory there, before offering them some peanut-butter and banana treats.
Stand Up Comedy
One of Dane Cook's stand up routines includes a tangent about how awesome monkeys are.
Nick Swardson tells a story in Seriously, Who Farted?!! about how he ended up giving $300 (mostly in small bills) to a monkey in Las Vegas who gives high fives. He was drunk at the time but still ...
One faction in the tabletop miniatures game AT-43 are the Karmans, who are gorillas in Powered Armor.
Who smoke cigars.
Feng Shui includes among its factions the Jammers, which are intelligent cybernetic monkeys and apes working in concert with the few humans immune to the influence of Chi. Their aim is to destroy every feng shui site in existence so humanity can be "free" from the "tyranny" of Chi, something which may have very bad consequences for the world.
The Magic: The Gathering design team for Alliances thought that continuity's idea for a race of sentient gorillas was silly, so they made fun of it by putting the word gorilla in every card's name. For example, Force of Will was originally called "Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla (Stop That)." As an homage to this, the card Sol Grail's name is an anagram of "gorillas".
Of course, some of the gorillas (and references to them) still made it into the set as actual cards. In all, nineteen distinct Ape cards have been printed to date (most recently four reprints in the ninth edition of the main set)...not counting those which simply have all creature types.
Kroot from the Warhammer 40k use a species called the "Krootox" as a battle and pack animal, it is essentially a big beaked gorilla. More interestingly, the Krootox were once a normal kroot Kindred ("tribe") that used the kroot ability to absorb genes from food to bulk up, eventually becoming non-sentient and stuck in that form.
There's also the Jokaero, who are intelligent orangutans...In SPACE. Though not as prevalent as they once were, they are still important due to their feats of engineering.
And now, thanks to the new Grey Knights codex, it's possible to field an entire army consisting of them (plus one Inquisitor).
Rifts features Ape-Boys (genetically-enhanced apes and monkeys) as a playable race.
The fourth set of Monsterpocalypse, "Monsterpocalypse Now", introduced the faction "Empire of the Apes".
On a more pleasant note, there are the Ramayana-inspired vanaras, a playable race introduced in Oriental Adventures.
There have actually been lots of monkey- and ape-based creatures in D&D over the years. Listing all of them could probably double this page's length.
Doctor Silverback, from the Champions Universe (and brought over to Champions Online), is a superhumanly-intelligent gorilla.
The serie of Flash Games Bloons Tower Defence put the player in charge of an army of ridiculously cute monkeys hell-bent on destroying their mortal enemy: balloons.Which they fight with darts at first, but then escalates quickly as they bring on bombs, flamethrowers, warlocks, spiked mines and much more.
Evil Hat Productions games frequently feature Gorillas, in particular the pulp styled game Spirit Of The Century has Gorilla Khan, a sentient gorilla mastermind with many gorilla minions, and The Dresden Files RPG. A spin off company 'One Bad Egg' produced a whole setting seed and race of intelligent apes for Dungeons and Dragons 4e.
Meta example for Exalted: The team of freelance writers calling themselves the Ink Monkeys, who nearly everyone agrees make everything they touch a thousand times better.
Keep in mind however, that some fans (some more rational thanothers) think they dialed down the brokenness too much, and now the game is a little underpowered. Most of those admit that the game is more playable, now (and the official boards won't like you very much if you bring up that criticism).
Mutants & Masterminds has "Earth-Ape" which is protected by The Primate Patrol. The classic adventure, "Time of Crisis", features the heroes arriving here during a cross-dimensional mission.
In the opera Der Junge Lord (The Young Lord) by Hans Werner Henze, scientist Sir Edger introduces his 'son', Lord Barrett, to the upper dignitaries of a German town. The young Lord's strange speech and eccentric behavior become a source of fascination: he is much admired and imitated, even catching the eyes of a young noble lady — until he flings off his clothes during a dance, revealing himself as an ape.
The Beanie Babies line has several basic monkeys, a couple chimpanzees, an orangutan, and a baboon named Cheeks. And a bushbaby.
In Baldur's Gate, the canonical ending for Jan Jansen (spoiler tagged for obtrusive wall of text):
Jan Jansen's life following his association with CHARNAME was typically convoluted, the barest of details hidden amidst his half-truths and whole lies. According to his published memoirs, "A Jansen in Every Port," after a short prison term for monkey smuggling, he returned to his first love... monkey smuggling. This led to the now infamous Gibbon Riot of '72, a tumultuous and altogether unclean event that seemed to center on the estate of the Shadow Thief Vaelag. Jan would deny that he had planned the downfall of the rogue, but he was unable to explain what practical application he had intended for a horde of knife-wielding simians. Nevertheless, the death of the admittedly disliked and generally suspect Vaelag could not be attributed to the young gnome. Strangely enough, Jan had alibis for each and every second of the day in question, and what a day it must have been! Relatives from across the Realms came forward to say that he had stopped in for tea and turnips. At his later wedding to Lissa, Jan was asked how he managed to be in so many places at once, and yet still so far from the scene of the crime. "Well," Jan would say, "when you have that many monkeys, anything is possible."
In Bible Adventures, one level of Noah's Ark had you gathering a pair of monkeys; another level had monkeys throwing fruit and coconuts for you to scavenge.
Contact features a white-furred monkey that turns out to be the antagonists' Team Pet.
Deus Ex describes the Grays as (possibly) being genetically engineered hairless monkeys. This doesn't stop them from being the most annoying enemies in the game. Note that these are psychic monkeys.
The EarthBound series has more than a barrel full of monkeys factoring into the plot.
In the part of the first game where you control Jeff, a bubblegum-chewing monkey is the key to getting across the river; another point in the game requires the party to give and receive gifts from several monkeys to proceed.
In the sequel, Mother 3, the third chapter of the game is played entirely by a monkey named Salsa. Fassad makes him his slave by threatening his girlfriend (whom Kumatora dubs the "love monkey") and then fitting him with an electric collar.
One of the main villains in Earthworm Jim is Professor Monkeyforahead, a mad scientist who shares his head with an upside-down monkey. The monkey's name is Monkey Professorforahead.
In The Elder Scrolls series, the Imga and the Tang Mo are two monkey races, respectively from Valenwood and Akavir.
Far Cry has mutated monkeys known as Trigen that run straight at you, can leap at you from more than a dozen feet away, and can kill you in just 2 or 3 hits. They were widely considered Demonic Spiders and an unexpected Genre Shift from the game's previously tactical combat against human mercenaries.
The Trainer Dressphere for Rikku provides her with a monkey named Ghiki for a battle companion.
Zidane Tribal, protagonist of Final Fantasy IX, has a monkey tail. He's also one of the most beloved main characters of the series, probably only behind Cloud. Better with monkeys indeed!
Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich has the Kill-a-Rillas, half-human, half gorilla experiments created by Bliztkrieg.
Apparently, the developers of God Hand decided that the hilarity of gorillas was only increased by training them in the art of Lucha Libre, and was increased to nearly fatal levels by throwing in groin shots complete with a laugh track. It worked, mostly due to the fact that the whole game is so absurd that they don't seem too weird in comparison.
The Curse of Monkey Island (the third in the series), obviously taking advantage of this trope, advertised having more monkeys in it than the previous two games combined.
Also the awesome parody of the THX logo in it with increasingly louder monkey sounds and the ominous text "The monkeys are listening".
In Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2!, one of the bonus missions involves the Ouendan helping a stuffed monkey and toy soldier who were accidentally thrown away return home. The BGM? The theme song to the 70's TV show, Monkey Magic.
A number of Pokémon are monkeys and other primates.
Ash has captured some of them in the anime: Primeape, Aipom (traded to Dawn and now an Ambipom), and Chimchar (now an Infernape).
Pokémon Black and White feature a trio of monkeys of the Fire, Water, and Grass types. The first Gym Leaders and countless trainers after use them (for Triple Battles or otherwise) for no other reason than to execute this trope.
Actually, as of the 5th generation, at least one new monkey or other primate Pokemon has premiered in each generation.
Thief: The Dark Project and Thief 2: The Metal Age include ApeBeasts among the Trickster's minions. In the second game, some of them have blowpipes.
Monkeys have become the de facto mascots of the TimeSplitters game series. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect included ninja monkeys, zombie monkeys, and cyborg monkeys (which the game describes as "Inevitable, really"). Multiplayer includes "Monkey Assistant" mode, in which the losing player is lent help by a pack of monkeys with rocket launchers.
The easiest way to describe the series (especially 2) is like this: GoldenEye on speed with monkeys!
In MindJack the corporate military have cybernetically enhanced gorillas and bonobos in their army.
In his otherwise-bile-filled review of the game, Angry Joe singled this out as the only positive thing he could mention about it.
"Y'know, I'm trying real hard to find one good thing about this game. But I can't! I can't! Oh! Oh! There are monkeys! Everyone loves monkeys! You can even create a little monkey-minion-army! Monkey minions! Monkey Minions! WOO!"
Monkeys and apes are very well-represented in the roster of species available for Zoo Tycoon 2, especially if you include the Endangered Species and African Adventure expansion packs.
Jep, a monkey you can befriend in Return to Mysterious Island, is an implausibly-clever helper that uses inventory items for you.
Doubly Subverted in Runescape. There's an island populated by intelligent monkeys but it's a Death World to humans. Things get better when you get an item that turns you into a monkey.
Subverted in Asura's Wrath, with Gohma Howlers, which are anything but nice, as they kill humans without hesitation in packs.
Averted in Star Fox - with the exception of a single specimen all simians are evil. And at least one is creepy.
The Hozen of World of Warcraft are a race of sapient mountain- and tree-dwelling monkeys. They are noted as having mentalities comparable to a fourteen year-old boy, made only worse when their new Horde allies give them rocket launchers and machine guns.
For a while, World of Warcraft had an inverse to the trope. Despite their toughness and useful area-of-effect ability, gorillas were the least popular Hunter pets, due to their scarcity, lack of skills, and fussy diets. Fortunately, later patches corrected this.
A rather large number of minigames in all 3 Rhythm Heaven titles feature monkeys in some form or another, from a girl tap-dancing alongside two monkeys, to a pop star's cheering audience of monkeys, to even a wristwatch (and a clock tower) that relies on tiny, high-fiving monkeys to tell the time.
Kingdom of Loathing has a few monkey familiars (the Howling Balloon Monkey, the Cymbal-Playing Monkey, and the Hobo Monkey) and a few pieces of monkey-based equipment (the sock monkey, mad scientist's sock monkey, and Borg sock monkey, off-hand items available from Crimbo 2005, 2006, and 2007 respectively, and the rhesus monkey, the familiar-specific equipment for the Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot).
The African Warlords in March Of War use trained gorillas as shock troops.
A recurring villain (despite a brief Heel-Face Turn) in It's Walky! is Monkey Master, a Humongous Mecha created by Head Alien. Monkey Master will take every opportunity to point out that he is in fact shaped more like an ape; at one point, Robin wrote the word "Munky" all over him in a split second just to goad him (or rather, at the time, her).
Gwynn from Sluggy Freelance owns several monkeys who are enchanted to attack and humiliate anyone who irritates her. The monkeys themselves don't appear that often, but a lot of mileage is gotten out of the gag that the other characters pretend "monkeys" is Gwynn's nickname for her breasts. "I've done something bad with my monkeys (...) If we don't do something my monkeys are going to be all over her in front of everyone (...) be on the lookout for my monkeys and grab them if you see them. They could pop up anywhere."
Never one to miss a comics trope, The Descendants has recurring character Lucian the Ape Knight and has had some one shot demonic baboons.
Bruno, Vatsy's bodyguard/handyman/gopher in Vatsy And Bruno, is a chimp. Subverted somewhat in that, unlike most chimp characters, he's pragmatic, stoic, and content. To quote the work:
He'd found that a level tone, an open stance, a patient mind and a large-bore double-barreled shotgun solved most problems almost effortlessly. His philosophy could be almost described as Taoism, if Taoism had a little-known subclause about the prudent use of firearms and arson.
Well not everything is better with monkeys, as the end of this nightmare fueled video should prove: 
In Doctor Steel's propaganda video, "Building a Utopian Playland", Dr. Steel talks about his plans for world domination, then distracts his audience with a monkey puppet, saying, "Now... who wants to see the dancing monkey!"
The SCP Foundation disagrees with this trope; the two non-human primate SCPs are a Cymbal-Banging Monkey that plays tricks on its owner, and an over-evolved chimp that wants to destroy human society. There's also SCP-983, a mechanical monkey that comes to life when someone touches it on their birthday, sings a song that ages that person for a year for each verse and won't stop until they're either dead or sing along with it until it's satisfied. Played straight to a degree in that if the person sings well enough, the candy it produces afterwards reverses any aging caused by the song and might even ultimately make the person younger: however, if the song is sung perfectly, it's implied that the candy makes them Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, which may or may not be what they wanted.
Joe Cartoon's short subject "Look At My Monkey" is a pun on the phrase, "spank the monkey." But the monkey gets his own back in the end.
In The Nostalgia Chick's list of top villainesses, she places The Wicked Witch Of The West as #2, but admits that other than the flying monkeys, there's not much to say about her. So instead, the Chick just says "here's some monkeys" and shows videos of chimps dancing to "Yakety Sax" for the next ten to fifteen seconds.
Subverted by The Nostalgia Critic in his Dunston Checks In review, who actually interrupts his own opening catchphrase to say "MONKEYS AREN'T FUNNY!"
In the American Dad! episode "Stan of Arabia part 2", Stan is at the American embassy trying to secure his wife's release from prison, despite having renounced their American citizenship. Trying to explain his lack of passports he says it's a "funny story," and is met with a number of monkey themed scenarios from an official, who assumed that any "funny story" must naturally involve "nature's clowns." Later, after he explains that Francine is in real danger, a monkey randomly pops out from behind his desk, making the official crack up.
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has a variety of primates at hand, too, ranging from chimpanzees (Heebie and Jeebie in "An Elephant Never Suspects") to a gorilla (Kookoo in "Gorilla My Dreams").
Clerks the Animated Series: Jay and Silent Bob decide to get a monkey. When asked why, Jay replies "To teach it to smoke. Duh." Randal thinks it's infected like in that Dustin Hoff...Al Pacino movie. It isn't.
Danny Phantom had one episode with the near extinct fictional Purple Back Gorilla named Samson. Later revealed to be a female, Samson played a part in the plot by kicking the main villain's ass.
Let's not forget the "Dial M For Monkey" shorts on Dexter's Laboratory, where one of Dexter's test animals is secretly a super-powered crime fighter.
The Fairly Oddparents, "Abra-Catastrophe" flips the entire cartoon's universe into one populated with monkeys as the dominant species, complete with an alternate, monkey-and-banana-centric credits sequence.
"You know, if it weren't for the fact that all of this is historically accurate, I would think that someone was making up incredibly lame puns."
This is specifically in response to a history lesson about how the "Founding Alpha Males" signed the "Declarapetion of Independance" to create "The United Apes of America", but there are more ape related puns. Many, many more.
To the point where Timmy swore if he ever got his godparents back, he would wish for a world without puns.
In a few episodes of Family Guy, it was shown Chris had an evil monkey in his closet. No one else believed him. It was apparently one of the writers' favorite running gags.
Later, it turns out the only way he was evil was that he was squatting there the whole time, accidentally terrorizing Chris with poor communication skills.
George of the Jungle in both movie and animated form had George's best friend/"brother" as "an ape named Ape."
The Super Friends' Wonder Twins have a monkey named Gleek, effectively making Gleek, as Blip before him, the sidekick's sidekick. Technically, Gleek is indeed a space monkey, but not, as far as we know, a Killer.
Invader Zim features The Angry Monkey Show and GIR's Monkeydance most notably, but just you try to find even one episode that doesn't feature monkeys as a sound effect.
At the end of Johnny Bravo's opening theme, the titular character exclaims "Do the monkey with me!" and the cast does a monkeydance with him.
In Justice League Unlimited episode "Dead Reckoning" Gorilla Grodd reveals his master plan is to use Gorilla City's cloaking shield generator to produce a carrier wave that will magically turn every man, woman, and child on Earth into an ape. Lex Luthor and the other supervillains were less than amused.
And by "less than amused," we mean "Luthor shot him in the face."
Even the heroes were underwhelmed; Wonder Woman's response upon seeing her transformation: "Oh, come ON!"
Monkeys and apes are a recurring joke throughout Kim Possible, with them being the source of Ron's mystical kung-fu powers (which usually don't work until the Grand Finale), as well as his greatest fear and the source of power of his personal archenemy, Monkey Fist. Two words: monkey ninjas.
There was also Josh Mankey, a character that Ron formed a Conspiracy Theory around, based on his last name being one vowel away from "monkey." And Camp Wannaweep, the camp Ron went to as a young boy, had a chimpanzee for a mascot. Ron was forced to bunk with said mascot, and this is where he developed the phobia.
When geneticist villainess DN Amy fell in love with Monkey Fist, she stalked him with the help of her samurai gorillas.
The Simpsons has used the primate gag a couple dozen times over its long run, most delightfully when Homer becomes the leader of a Stonemasons-style secret organization and decided that the best way to use his new-found power was to get a bunch of monkeys together and re-enact the Civil War. Of course there's also Mr. Teeny, Krusty's cigar-smoking chimp sidekick. And there's that time Flanders's house got taken over by a radioactive baboon. And... well, there's a lot of examples.
"That's what you get for not hailing to the chimp!"
He's not the only one though. Other Transformers getting up to monkey business include Beastbox and Apeface from Generation One, and Optimus Minor, Apelinq, Primal Prime, B'Boom, and Apache from the beast era. Though to be fair, two of those are derived from toys of Optimus Primal, and the last two are nigh identical, but separate, characters using the same toy.
Titan Maximum features Leon, the monkey janitor, as the pilot of the green fighter that makes up the giant mecha's left leg. Inverted in that Leon is usually shown reacting with a calm world-weariness to the antics of his human teammates.
The 80's cartoon Bionic Six had a robot ape. It wasn't part of the 'Six', it was more like a Team Pet/helper.
Gorilla Grodd is a recurring villain on Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Detective Chimp showed up in a teaser, but in one episode, those two show up, plus Monsieur Mallah and Gorilla Boss join up with Grodd to form a group called G.A.S.P. (Gorillas and Apes Seizing Power) and turn everybody into monkeys. The episode's name? Gorillas In Our Midst!
In Young Justice Beast Boy stays partially transformed into a monkey whenever he's not in any other animal form, seemingly for this reason.
In Recess, the gang's favorite cartoon is Beany McChimp, about an (apparently) anthrophomorphic monkey. The series is so popular, it has a live-action series, a video game, and tie-in bubble gum, "Beany McGum"
The second act of the episode "Beach Blanket Bogus" showed Brattus having fun with an organ grinder's pet monkey.
The episode "Hipster Tripster" featured a trio of monkeys who Bogus plays around with at the zoo in the first act, but in the second act, they turn into Maniac Monkeys when Bogus releases them from their cage. The first act also featured a gorilla who grabs up Bogus, but he was able to tickle the gorilla into letting him go.
MAD had a one-panel feature for a brief period of time called "Monkeys Are Always Funny". The article consisted of a serious, often tragic picture from real life with a monkey digitally added in — and yes, for some reason the monkey was always funny.
Stand-up comedian Dane Cook in his act claims having a pet monkey would be Better Than Sex, or being a part of a heist...with the monkey driving the van.
Monkeys are a fairly common theme in Ross Noble's comedy as well, particularly on his 'Unrealtime' DVD.
As they're all improvised it gets hard to really pin it down, but around 30% of Ross Nobles shows will involve monkeys.
The Penn Jillette radio show had a regular feature called "Monkey Tuesday", in which monkey news and monkey-related discussion would open the show, and callers would call in with stories of their personal encounters with primates. It all started with a story about a monkey and a dwarf (part 1 near the end, part 2, and next week it was a trend.
Freeware 3D program Blender has the head of a monkey (named "Suzanne," as a Shout-Out to Kevin Smith) as one of its basic models. It's often used for test renders.
Here. A monkey for blow-drying fingernails after you've applied nailpolish.
Do a search by interest on any popular blog site for monkey and another word. Hit counts are highest for "mad monkey sex" or "mad monkey love" or "crazy monkey sex" or "crazy monkey love". What? This editor was bored that day.
Some species of monkeys take promiscuity to a very high level. Brother-Sister Incest does occur. Plus there's the whole gorillas/harems thing.
The "monkeys" most often mentioned in terms of sex studies are the Bonobo apes. They use sex as recreation and it is not limited to same-gender pairing. They've also exhibited rudimentary fetishes.
The monkey god Hanuman was named chairman of an Indian business school. No, seriously.
Due to the depressing nature of the credit crunch, the front page of the BBC website currently reads "Sick of hearing about stock slides? Never fear, we have the solution - monkey waiters."◊
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim introduced an unofficial mascot in 2000 which they dubbed the "Rally Monkey". It began as a gag by two of the team's video board operators who would play a clip from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective of a white-haired capuchin monkey jumping up and down with the words "Rally Monkey" superimposed over it when the Angels were losing against the San Francisco Giants by one run in the bottom of the ninth. They then scored two runs to win the game. The Rally Monkey became so popular among fans that the Angels hired an actual monkey to shoot clips to be used in later seasons, and the Monkey made its reappearance in 2002, the year the Angels won the World Series.
Oh dear, the Lake Superior State University has added the word to their "List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness", specifically because of this trope. I think we broke it .
A man in China trained some pet monkeys in rudimentary Tae Kwon Do to entertain passersby. In December 2009 the monkeys turned on him. (For the record, the trainer overcame the monkeys and restrained them before they could do any real harm)
In Spain, to call a young child "mono/mona" (basically, calling them a monkey) is a compliment, basically saying that they are very cute.
In England, a small child being referred to as a 'little monkey' is not quite so complimentary: it means they're mischievous, but conveys to other adults that they're adorably so, and is sometimes used affectionately. Which more or less sums up this trope...
Only one animal on Earth has mastered fire, sailed the ocean blue, eradicated some of the world's deadliest diseases, landed members of its species on the moon and created the internet. That species, Homo Sapiens, is a primate.