"Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I want to talk to you about the very serious problem of schizophrenia. — No, he doesn't! — SHUT UP, LET HIM SPEAK!"In Real Life, mental illness of any kind is rarely a laughing matter. In media, however, it can be played with for humor. When a character swings wildly back and forth between different versions of himself, it's almost always used this way. It's also far too often referred to as "schizophrenia"; while the word literally means "split mind", Psychology Marches On and schizophrenia is a complicated condition affecting perception of realitynote , while "dissociative identity disorder" is the actual condition relating to Split Personality. See also Talking to Themself, The Schizophrenia Conspiracy (a Self-Demonstrating Article about the portrayal of the disease), and Insane Equals Violent, another widespread myth about psychosis.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- The president of the school newspaper in Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! suffers from schizophrenia. Why she's in charge of a newspaper and not in a mental hospital is anyone's guess.
- Ah! My Goddess: Urd is split into her goddess and demon selves. The attempt to reunite them results in a single Urd that switches between their personalities. The change is shown by her markings changing from blue to red.
- In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Kaere/Kaede's split personality as a stereotypical Japanese Yamato Nadeshiko and stereotypical jerkass Eaglelander is played for laughs, as is Kafuka's description of previously having two split personalities who differed in respect to a slight food preference – although the latter is also a sign that Kafuka is actually cute, psychotic and Ax-Crazy.
- More broadly, the whole class is some sort of crazy, and it all is played for laughs.
- Well, everyone except for Nami Hito. She's pretty normal (but don't tell her that).
- A decidedly dark take in Air Gear has Agito/Akito, who swings from Ax-Crazy to "cute kid" depending on which side his eye patch is.
- Stepper in Universe Falls is a fusion of Steven Universe and Dipper Pines. Unlike other fusions in the series, Stepper's individual personalities refuse to integrate (or at least Dipper's does). This causes Stepper to alternate between Steven's happy-go-lucky persona and Dipper's high strung grouchy persona every other sentence. At first it's Played for Laughs, but as Dipper's frustration with being fused mounts, it's Played for Drama instead.
- Me, Myself & Irene had Jim Carrey's character diagnosed with "Advanced Delusionary Schizophrenia with Involuntary Narcissistic Rage", which was really Multiple Personality Disorder that caused him to flip into his Jerk Ass alter-ego anytime he got angry.
- Lars and the Real Girl takes a man who is clearly delusional and incapable of connecting comfortably with other human beings, so he buys a life-size sex doll off the Internet and appears to be convinced that she's alive.
- Nutty Nut has a protagonist with a half-dozen alternate personalities, such as Tough Guy (impervious to pain and will beat you up for looking at him funny), the Clown, the Magician (who can do actual magic) and the Dog (don't... don't ask). They tend to switch with the slightest stimulus, such as someone snapping their fingers.
- It's hard to pin down exactly what sort of disorder Bob of What About Bob? actually suffers from, or if he isn't just an extreme hypochondriac, but he's certainly hilarious either way:
"Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm a schizophrenic... and so am I."
- The Nutty Professor plays it for laughs (at least the Eddie Murphy version does). In this one it's due to Phlebotinum.
- Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (2016) makes a joke about the voices in her head telling her to kill people, only to say she's kidding and they didn't really say that. Being Harley, though, her even hearing voices could be a joke.
- Jan in The Brady Bunch Movie hears voices in her head. Her character traits are exaggerated to the point where she is The Chew Toy and is a frequent source of comedy.
- Felsic Current's Thendy Bravura (also known by himself and others as a dozen other names) is the embodiment of Funny Schizophrenia. We are even treated to a chapter written entirely from his point of view, complete with internal conversations and bickering between his various personalities. Although he tends to drive other characters up the wall, his antics are generally of great comedic appeal to the reader.
- The eponymous protagonist in Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah has actual schizophrenia (not the "split personality" version), and has frequently humorous conversations with his auditory hallucinations. Sadly, though, his struggles with mental illness are not always so funny.
- Completely averted in Sophie's Choice, where it's revealed near the end that Nathan has schizophrenia, which explains his delusional jealousy and erratic behaviour throughout the novel. There is no mention of having a split personality.
- Molly Michon, in Christopher Moore's The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror is a schizophrenic ex-B movie actress who hears a voice she calls the Narrator, and when she's off he meds occasionally lapses into believing she's the character she once played.
- Averted as Sierra/Priya's symptoms are much more realistic. Even though she doesn't really have schizophrenia at all—her Stalker with a Crush is poisoning her with psychotic medication.
- Played straight with Alpha. He doesn't really have schizophrenia, but two of his personalities do, and it is indeed played for black comedy.
- One episode of Becker has a very realistic schizophrenic man named Lloyd. It even includes unexciting things like flat affect and mundane examples of magical thinking. It's still played of laughs, though.
- This is supposed to be the case with iCarly where the four lead characters go to a mental hospital and witness various patients' behavior. One notable example might be Sheldon Cooper laughing and screaming a TV screen with static.
- There's a nameless "traditional" summer camp song mocking a huge number of occupations that can include the verse:
...A schizophrenic I would be!
No I wouldn't!
Yes, I would!
I'm not listening!
- "Physical Neurose" by Buck Tick. Slightly more Truth in Television, in that the song's lyrics are literally Word-Salad Humor fused with Word-Salad Horror - much like the thoughts/speech of an actual schizophrenic.
- Similarly, Amebix averts the trope in the song "Largactyl", which describes the numbing effects of the titular drugnote on their ex-drummer, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
- "The Chosen" by Voltaire has "Roses are red, violets are blue. I'm schizophrenic, and I am too!"
- There's a song on Styx's Kilroy Was Here called "Double Life" with the lyrics "Nowhere to hide though we both might try, I'm schizophrenic, and so am I..."
- Emilie Autumn has a bonus track on the rerelease on Opheliac in which, among other things, she lists the mental illnesses she doesn't have, obviously taking the Michael, including Hollywood Tourette's, OCD (OCD, OCD, OCD), amnesia, and schizophrenia: she enjoys the latter, and so does she.
- "Lucky 4 You (Tonight I'm Just Me)" by SHeDAISY plays with multiple personality disorder. It goes from "you always said that I have multiple personalities" to "where'd you dig up the audacity / To ask me how we've all been doing since you broke our heart" in the first verse. It has a chorus of:
Number five just cries a river a minute
Seven wants to tie you up and drown you in it, yeah
Fourteen just wants to say so long, bygones
Thirty-two wants to do things to you that'll make you blush
Ten will key the El Camino that you love so much
And there ain't nobody wants to mess with twenty-three
Oh, lucky for you, tonight I'm just me
- And then just to cross the line twice, "It's not just up to me / I don't know, girls, what do you think?" precedes a repetition of the chorus with the group's vocals overdubbed several times.
- Flanders & Swann's "The Elephant" has these lines: "I suffer from schizophrenia/It comes on me in spells/Sometimes I'm King of Armenia/And others I'm Orson Welles!"
- The aforementioned Robin Williams quote.
- One of Zach Galifinakis' bits include his mentioning that his sister was recently diagnosed as schizophrenic, which isn't funny. However, she once called him... and his caller ID blew up.
- Richard Jeni proposes the idea of turning first dates into a game of cards, where both parties write down all of their issues on blank cards and take turns playing them.
Man: [puts down card] I'm neurotic. I need to see other people.
Woman: [puts down card] I'm schizophrenic. I AM OTHER PEOPLE!
- This was one of the laments surrounding the Malkavians in Vampire: The Masquerade. In theory, you have an entire clan of vampires whose weakness is that they pick up some form of madness, from schizophrenia to megalomania to fugue, upon Embrace (that is, if they weren't already insane before), which could be scary seeing as you have an immortal being with supernatural powers, unnatural insight, and little control over their own faculties. In reality, you have a bunch of idiots playing Malkavians who either act like children or use their insanity to commit wacky pranks (hence the term "Fishmalk" — Malkavians who would do something like run up to someone on the street and slap them with a fish, and call it a "prank"). The game itself suggested this route in the first edition, then, when they decided that True Art Is Angsty, tried to turn it into the more "serious" mental problem area. Most players ignored this, and Malkavians have been a bright spot in the Old World of Darkness ever since.
- Averted in Pathfinder, where various mental illnesses can affect your characters and lead to changes in their personalities; schizophrenia is one of them, and so is multiple personality disorder, but they aren't depicted as the same thing. The in-game descriptions of all these disorders are accurate and it's clear the writers did their research before including them.
- Launcelot Gobbo's "conscience/fiend" monologue in The Merchant of Venice is sometimes played as this.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, almost all Nightkin have developed Schizophrenia due to constant stealthboy use. For the most point the trope is averted: the Nightkin's illness is portrayed very tragically, especially for the Courier's companions Lily and Dog/God. The two times the trope's played straight is with Tabitha, a cult leader and Radio DJ, and the Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch "Wind Brahmin Salesman."
- Playing as an insane character (i.e. one with the trait "Lunatic") in Crusader Kings. In between chasing imaginary gophers, trying to seduce rose bushes, naming your horse to the post of chancellor, and occasionally banning ethnic and religious discrimination in their realm, insanity is mostly Played for Laughs. It can also lead to Gambit Pileups that lead to massive, bloody civil wars as people rebel against and/or try to take advantage of their leader's sheer lunacy, which can also be quite funny when you're as hardened as Crusader Kings players tend to be.
- Kreig from the "Psycho Pack" DLC for Borderlands 2 is a cackling, non-sequitur-spewing, bomb-chucking axe murderer whose vestigial good side keeps him pointed at the bad guys. While he isn't completely divorced from reality, he's still pretty out there.
- Cross into Black Comedy, but Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa (especially in Super Dangan Ronpa 2) is ridiculously funny... once you get over the fact that she committed an insane amount of atrocities.
- The Pyro from Team Fortress 2 is shown to suffer from this, believing that the battlefield is a Sugar Bowl made out of candy and rainbows, where he spreads happiness and cheer to cherub-like representations of the enemy team, instead of murdering them with his flamethrower and axe like he is actually doing.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a Malkavian PC is very much this: they have severely trippy dialogue and constant delusions (the newscaster on TV will sometimes speak to them, they can have an argument with a stop sign, and sometimes see other things a different PC wouldn't) but is able to function normally otherwise; mortals assume they're just weird or on drugs if they even bother to notice, while most vampires just go "crap, it's some nutjob Malk" and roll with it. Averted, however, with the Voermann sisters whose disorder is very traumatic and problematic, and the Primogen Doctor Grout, an actual psychologist from the old pre-Freud era, who is lucid but massively paranoid and delusional.
- Part-fey characters in Footloose are prone to "Multiple Generic-induced Sanity Dysfunction", a form of Funny Schizophrenia that quickly become unfunny if it triggers psychotic episodes.
- In Homestuck, Sollux's Funny Bipolar Syndrome is exaggerated in his alternate universe ancestor, Mituna, into Funny Schizophrenia resulting from a psychic Mind Rape. He flips wildly between incomprehensible rage and excessive contrition, although he's easily one of the most selfless and sympathetic characters in his Cast Herd and bullied by his friends because of his illness, so the laughs are dark and uneasy.
- Harry Potty plays up Harry hearing the Basilisk to look like this in its Chamber of Secrets spoof.
- And now the Basilisk is dead and the voice is still there...
- Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z Abridged, if Ghost Nappa really is just in his head.
- Ichigo himself from Omni Bleach Abridged. It's notable that his hallucinations are always done in either real-life pictures or 3-D animation.
- PewDiePie has tons of characters in many games that he interacts with as he's playing. His most famous ones are his characters from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, including Stephanonote , Jennifernote , and Piggehnote .
- In Red vs. Blue season 13, Doc, after spending months trapped in a parallel universe and realizing that no one noticed he was gone, developed a split personality that was identical to O'Malley, the evil AI that possessed him during the Blood Gulch Chronicles.
- Transformers Animated: Wreck-Gar swings between moods depending on the last suggestion he heard. Then of course, there's Blitzwing and his multiple personalities which change accordingly to the mood of his current personality (or just when it's funny):
[Angry Blitzwing]: "The name is Blitzwing! Remember it! Because it's the last thing you'll hear before I—"
[Random Blitzwing]: "...express my feelings in song! The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout..."
- In The Simpsons according to Carl, he once hired a private eye to figure out who's been cobbling his shoes for him at night. Turns out he discovered that he has severe schizophrenia. He says this as if it's not a big deal.
- Foop in The Fairly OddParents! is this, often getting into arguments with himself.
- In the Polish animated show Hip-Hip and Hurra, Kinga the Kangaroo owns a flower named Adelka, who only she can hear. Kinga not only treats her like any other person, but she appears to be her best friend.
- There's a parody of the famous "Roses are red, violets are blue" poem that goes "Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm a schizophrenic, and so am I."
- A common saying found on FunnyT-Shirts is "I used to be schizophrenic, but we're okay now."
- Strangely, this is based on where you live! Sufferers of Schizophrenia in Africa or particularly rural areas are reported to hear voices that are more playful and benevolent compared to their counterpart sufferers in more developed nations.