Great Bird Spirit! Why? Why did you lead us into this death trap? Bird Spirit:
No particular reason. I thought it’d be funny.
—Jack Of Fables
This is the motivation of an amoral character seeking...well, amusement. It's not that they enjoy being good or evil—they may not know or care about the difference—but they do whatever they feel like without regard for others. They don't need a motivation or justification for doing anything beyond the amusement of the act itself. As a result they almost inevitably do things that are dickish, maybe even cruel, but generally not outright
evil. This same character will lead you into a trap, fight you to the death...and then stop on the brink of killing you to laugh and say "Are you all right?" They won't kill the hero, because they find their attempts to save the day amusing, or are intrigued by the sheer selflessness of their thinking. They may help the hero, they may help the villain, they may do both at once or screw over both at once. They are rarely if ever a driving force behind a story, but they nonetheless play a significant role. And why do they do all this? Why do they switch sides so often
? Why are they working below
the Big Bad
when they're just as powerful and intelligent as they are
, if not more?
Why did they make out with the hero of the same gender
Because it was fun. They'd do just about anything for a lark, really.
Please note, this is different from For the Evulz
. While a character who does commits evil acts For the Evulz
does so because they like seeing other people suffering, if this character does evil things it is only because they shatter the boredom of everyday life—they're not out to hurt anyone per se, but they don't care (much) if they do.
They usually believe that Victory Is Boring
, and if they're a Punch Clock Hero
or a Punch Clock Villain
, they're in it primarily for the entertainment value. They're incredibly dangerous to trust, and even they know it, perhaps noting how foolish the hero is to trust them. In action movies they can be a really awesome fighter, but they won't attack either side unless there's some entertainment value to be had, or if their life is in danger.
If they stick with the good guys all the way through, when victory comes they may leave to have more wacky adventures, or maybe character development will have them taking things more seriously.
Just how much they care about collateral damage and hurting innocent people (if at all) varies. One of the few ways to really make an It Amused Me character take things seriously is to put one of their playthings in danger.
Often such a character will be the Wild Card
, an Enigmatic Minion
, or Chaotic Neutral
. A common saying of the Trickster Archetype
character, the Eccentric Millionaire
, the Great Gazoo
, and the Screwy Squirrel
. But be wary of the character devolving into Chaotic Stupid
As you may have noticed, the line dividing For the Evulz
and It Amused Me is something of an academic distinction. It is often hard to tell from a single act whether a character enjoys evil actions solely for the amusement value of the acts (It Amused Me) or whether they also/mostly enjoy the thrill of acting evilly (For the Evulz
). Generally, a character who truly does things For the Evulz
will do things that aren't fun or interesting in the name of evil, which they seek at every opportunity — a character who does things because It Amused Them wouldn't bother because if it's not fun or interesting, why do it? Such characters are not necessarily without a sense of morality, as they have been known to minimize the collateral damage of their schemes, for example, or even to stop
what they're doing if they think they're harming the 'wrong' person or people. Someone motivated by For the Evulz
would never do this.
On the other end of the scale, when a villain repeatedly gives this justification for supporting the protagonists, it can overlap with I Was Just Passing Through
The trope is usually all the motivation one needs if they are a Troll
. See also The Gadfly
, who does things that Trolls
do, but for reasons besides amusement.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Par for the course in Death Note:
- In the first chapter, Ryuk, a god of death, drops his notebook of death in the human world because he's bored. It falls into the hands of Light Yagami, who decides to use it to try bending the world to his will because, he explains, he too is bored, though his boredom extends to the point of outright disgust. He plays far too many unnecessary — but entertaining — mind games with the police for it to be anything else.
- Light's primary antagonist L, a supergenius detective, as an expy of Sherlock Holmes chases Light's alter ego for the lulz. Part of L's reputation, again like Sherlock Holmes, is that he refuses to take on a case that doesn't interest and challenge him, even though he's leagues above the rest of the world's police.
- L's behavior is imitated by his fellow detectives and successors Near (who wants to win the game) and Mello (who wants to defeat Near in the game).
- This is why Kaito Kid does things like tie-dye people's underpants while they're still wearing them, use blinding pink sleeping-gas, and flip Aoko's skirt. On the part of the author, this is probably why Kaito has a phobia of fish and can't ice-skate.
- Why Izaya does anything in Durarara!!. For instance, he onced framed Shizuo for a Noodle Incident because it was funny.
- Urahara from Bleach also has a tendency to screw with people just for the hell of it. When beginning training, he gives Ichigo a helmet and claims that Ichigo needs to yell "Take this! The power of justice! Justice armor! Justice hachimaki! Attack!" When Ichigo does so almost instantly, Urahara mutters, "Wow! I can't believe he actually said that!"
- Or the famous scene where he writes directions to Ichigo, Orihime, Ishida, and Chad outside of their houses... in blood. Scrawled underneath these directions are the words, "If you thought this was straight out of a horror movie, you have no sense of humor." Incidentally, that is exactly what they all thought.
- For extra hilarity, Chad had gone for a walk and received Urahara's instructions... about twenty feet from Urahara's shop.
- The protagonist of Boku Girl gets turned into a girl by Loki, because she got bored of screwing with Thor.
- In Gundam 00, the character Wang Liu Mei is The Mole during the entire series, pretending to be a valuable ally to the heroes, but then passing information on to the villains (and vice versa). As she expresses several times, she's simply bored and wants to see the world change — but doesn't care at all whether it is for good or ill.
- The only reason the Sekirei plan exists is because someone got the bright idea of a Pokémon-style game.
- Xellos, from Slayers. After about fifteen episodes' worth of hunting for the Claire Bible, it turns out that he knew where it was all along. He just didn't tell Lina and the others because he found it more entertaining to watch their antics as they went on multiple wild goose chases for the better part of a season. He also is prone to "forgetting" to state key pieces of information to watch the results.
- The only reason Tsuyuri from Doujin Work stays involved with the rest of the cast is because their antics amuse her to no end — and she is not above stirring things up even more.
- Guu of Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu. She often pretends to deliver Aesops with her actions, but always keeps ignoring them just because she can have more fun that way, and gets Hale another inch closer to a total nervous breakdown.
- Urumi Kanzaki in Great Teacher Onizuka. While her actual reasons for hating adults is more complicated, she states her class terrorism to be a means of "killing time". Being a child prodigy leaves her often bored with the usual lectures, leading her to spend her class time giving teachers very hard questions, sabotaging their equipment, and other pranks. She eventually stopped coming to school altogether, until brought in by Miyabi to "kill time" with Onizuka.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Tsukuyomi pretty much has this as her modus operandi. Unfortunately, the things that seem to amuse her are excessive violence, and Setsuna.
- Evangeline also fits this perfectly. She loves giving Negi outrageous orders just to see if he'll go through with them, such as demanding that he lick her feet before she would teach him magic.
- Haruna is also like this, although in a (slightly) more benign way.
- In One Piece, this is Mihawk's justification for destroying Don Krieg's fleet and pursuing the survivors: He was bored, and they were there. He also allows Zoro to live following their duel for the same reason: Zoro has potential to be amusing for a very long time, once he Takes A Level In Badass. And after the Time Skip, that's just what he's done...thanks to Mihawk himself teaching him the ways of the sword. Zoro proposing that is the only thing in the series so far that made Mihawk laugh.
- In fact, it seems the more powerful someone is, the more likely they are to do immoral and/or pointless things for kicks. Crocodile constantly sent sandstorms to Yuba to keep hindering the efforts of an optimistic old man searching for water. He even admits that there's no point in doing so as it has no connection to his Evil Plan; he's just doing it For the Evulz.
- The Prince of Dogra from Level E. He's the kind of guy who
can will buy a planet and hand out advanced military tech just to play a (potentially deadly) prank on five random grade-schoolers and his second-in-command. Because he thinks it's funny.
- Ronnie Schiatto of Baccano! cites this as the motivation for most of his actions. Very old and very powerful Eldritch Abominations tend to also get very bored.
- Cell from Dragon Ball Z spiced up his For the Evulz with this. Fat Buu from the same combined it with his creator's For the Evulz. And, although he's mostly serious about being The Cape (with no cape), Son Goku himself plays the trope fairly straight (many times to his cost, such as when he prolonged the fight against Frieza after he turned Super Saiyan, allowing the latter to destroy Namek and to deploy his full power. This enabled Frieza to waste more of Goku's then-precious time because he was momentarily capable to keep him in check, mostly with speed). Also, Gohan in Super Saiyan 2 form, against Cell, and others.
- YuYu Hakusho: When he discovers he's actually part-Youkai, and thus one of the most powerful beings to exist, Yusuke promptly tells everyone to "KNEEL BEFORE ME, YOU INSECTS!"... before he immediately wonders why anyone would do that, and has a good laugh at his friends' faces.
- Saiyuki has numerous examples. Heaven is unchanging, and therefore said to be MINDNUMBINGLY DULL, which provides the motivation for the "merciful goddess" Kanzeon to do all sorts of things, from saddling her notoriously dull nephew with the heretic monkey-like Goku in Gaiden, just for the lolz, to forcing Sanzo and his party to take the physical road to India instead of the heavenly one, which would get there infinitely faster. She says the latter is 'cause they need to grow over the journey, but admits it's also because it's much more interesting that way.
- While Kanzeon is a bit of a bitch, she's ultimately on the side of the main characters, if only because one is her nephew, but Nii/Kenyuu/Ukoku is a genius who finds everything in life so easy it's deadly dull, so seeks out "eat or be eaten" situations so as to feel alive/find a challenge he can't meet so he can die. He is shocked by Koumyou's comment that since he finds everything boring, he must be a boring person. Koumyou is also a super-genius who in contrast is very lazy, avoids difficult situations, and can find joy in almost anything.
- Arguably the reason Haruhi does anything in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And considering her god-like powers, one shudders to consider what she would do if aware of them.
- Hikaru and Kaoru in Ouran High School Host Club do this many times. MANY.
- Pretty much everything Kanade Suzutsuki does in Mayo Chiki! is simply because it amuses her at the time.
- In Code Geass R2, Lelouch (falsely) claims this is the reason for his various actions when the Black Knights turn against him.
- Orochimaru from Naruto gives this as his reason for arranging the war against the Village Hidden in the Leaves.
Orochimaru: I guess that I do kind of have a goal. Let me see if I can explain it. I find it very interesting to watch things in motion; I get no pleasure when the world is still. Like a windmill that isn't turning: I suppose some might find it beautiful, even if it's immobile, but to me such a thing is truly boring. So now I want to put things in motion myself. The first step is crushing the Leaf Village.
- Also from the series, the Big Bad affected a goofball 'Tobi' persona for no tangible reason, especially since most of Akatsuki already knew it was fake, which can only lead to the conclusion that he did it for shits and giggles. And this might be why he pretended to be Madara, too.
- Most of Hisoka's actions in Hunter × Hunter, if not ALL of them, are based around either finding someone strong to fight against or building someone up to become someone strong to fight against, to the point of calling a battle off if he finds out his designated adversary can no longer fight. Hisoka behaves like this because he gets incredibly sexually aroused fighting a Worthy Opponent.
- The titular character Toriko is this, without being on the side of evil anytime, whenever there's food involved that is. While venturing for a rare ingredient, there will most often be some Bishokuya that are after it for some overall good reason, but Toriko makes it blatantly obvious he just wants to eat it and nothing more. But there's always a villain after the ingredient to, so he ends up opening a can of whup-ass anyway because they violate his code.
- In Shinmai Maou no Testament, Yahiro Takigawa, a boy at Mio and Basara's school, mentions befriending the latter because he found it amusing how he instantly became hated by all the guys at school due to being fought over by Mio and Yuki, another girl in his class that seems to be a childhood friend and like Mio, is considered an untouchable idol by the boys. When Basara asks if that wouldn't be a problem for him as well being associated with him, Yahiro casually mentions throwing him under the bus if it ever came down to it.
- In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin asks Moe why he bullies him all the time. Moe's answer is "Because it's fun." Calvin, lying in the dirt, remarks, "Oh, he's a sportsman."
- Dogbert from Dilbert shamelessly misleads gullible people, encourages bad behavior and cons the morally bankrupt on a regular basis because he sees the world as nothing more than a source of personal entertainment. Even more so in the Animated Adaptation.
Films — Live-Action
- From Cruel Intentions:
Kathryn: "You were very much in love with her. And you're still in love with her. But it amused me to make you ashamed of it. You gave up on the first person you ever loved because I threatened your reputation. Don't you get it? You're just a toy, Sebastian. A little toy I like to play with. And now you've completely blown it with her. I think it's the saddest thing I've ever heard."
- From The Long Riders:
Belle Starr: "You're both crazy, but you do keep me amused. I am having a real good time."
- Dangerous Liaisons, the original that Cruel Intentions was based upon.
- In In the Company of Men, another take on the "Dangerous Liaisons" concept, a man named Chad, incensed at his girlfriend for leaving him, convinces a schlub named Howard to get revenge on womankind by targeting and psychologically tormenting a vulnerable deaf employee. When the plot backfires and Howard falls in love with her, he returns to Chad, who shows him his girlfriend lying in his bed. When he demands to know why then, did he encourage him to go down this road in the first place, Chad replies, "Because I could".
- In Trading Places, the Duke brothers decided to do their "social experiment" out of boredom and for a $1 bet, and completely ruined one of the protagonist's lives (they did help the other protagonist, but that was really only out of boredom as well; they didn't give a damn about him, and were planning to ruin him afterwards as well).
- This trope pretty much sums the character Randal from Clerks.
- Although he definitely has a certain ethical desire to aid the good and punish the wicked, the nameless protagonist of Yojimbo seems to be motivated a fair amount by this. He only got involved in the gang war by throwing a branch in the air and he is clearly amused by the prospect of earning a little cash while exterminating the two gangs by playing them against each other.
- In the infamous torture scene from Reservoir Dogs, this is Mr. Blonde's stated motive: "Look, kid, I'm not going to bullshit you, all right? I don't really give a good fuck what you know or don't know. I'm going to torture you anyway, regardless. Not to gain information: it amuses me to torture a cop."
- From Wall Street:
Budd Foxx: Why do you need to wreck this company?
Gordon Gekko: Because it's wreckable, alright?
- In Men In Black, as K grabs a Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball:
This caused the 1977 New York blackout. A practical joke by the great attractor. He thought it was funny as hell.
- From Gremlins 2: The New Batch, the Brain Gremlin after he shoots one of his fellows in the face with a pistol:
"Now, was that civilized? No, clearly not. Fun, but in no sense civilized!"
- This seems to be why Boddicker's gang in RoboCop (1987) went completely overkill when shooting Murphy into a red mess of meat.
- Flash Gordon (1980). At the beginning of the movie Emperor Ming tells his Dragon Klytus that he's bored and asks him what plaything Klytus has for him. Klytus tells him about the Earth, and Ming starts inflicting a series of disasters on our planet. Later on he tells Flash Gordon that when he destroys planets, he does so for his (and the great god Dyzan's) "mutual pleasure".
- In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver helps the team just because he'll get to break into the most secure prison on Earth.
- The Dead Man from Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. novels enjoys pulling Garret along and trying to get him to think, usually with one or two Xanatos Gambits in the background in case Garret screws up, simply because it amuses him.
- This is arguably Samuel Westing's reason for the entire plot of The Westing Game, or at least the form in which the events take.
- Sherlock Holmes often accepts cases simply because he finds them intriguing, although he still has an altruistic side and a strong desire for justice.
- Peeves the Poltergeist from Harry Potter is a literal spirit of chaos. His pranks are never fatal, but there's nothing he loves more than causing trouble or shattering the monotony of daily life. Most of the teachers can exercise a limited degree of control over him, but the only people he listens to regularly are Dumbledore himself, the Bloody Baron, and his human counterparts, the Weasley Twins (and that was only once, during their escape from Umbridge...and they asked him to do something he no doubt would've done anyway).
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Fudge spends the whole Quidditch World Cup trying to talk to the Bulgarian Minister of Magic, who apparently doesn't speak any English. Except it turns out he does. ("Vell, it vas funny.")
- Lord Henry decided to turn the title character of The Picture of Dorian Gray into a hedonism-obsessed monster just because he could.
- Apparently played straight in Atlas Shrugged when Francisco d'Anconia builds a worthless copper mine, just to have a laugh when a socialist government loots it to provide a "higher standard of living for the people", only to find it worthless. He tells reporters shortly before the story breaks that he came to New York to "witness the farce" (everybody thought he was referring to a sleazy divorce scandal). Shortly afterwards, we find him telling Dagny how amused he was at the prospect of the collapse of Wyatt Oil and all of the world's great industries that he would destroy with more apparent pranks. Later subverted when we find out that he is one of the "destroyers" (or strikers) who is destroying industry so the looters will gain nothing of value and capitalism can start anew after their downfall.
- Jaime Lannister gives this as a reason for some of his actions, especially the occasional altruistic ones; after being gotten drunk and forced into swearing an oath at sword-point, he decides to keep it, simply because he thinks it will be funny for the Kingslayer to keep an unreasonable oath that nobody in Westeros would blame him for breaking. Eventually he discovers that Good Feels Good, and acts more honourably for that reason, but this is the excuse he gives to anyone who questions his actions, and he never loses his contemptuous Deadpan Snarker attitude.
- In Georgette Heyer's Arrabella, when the heroine proposes to the hero so she can ask him for £700 once the ring is on her finger, he knows exactly what she is doing, and why and has actually already paid out the £700 to rescue her brother. Nevertheless he goes along with her request for an elopement because it amuses him. He also made her the toast of London by pretending she was fabulously wealth for the same reason. In fact the reason she doesn't agree to marry him earlier is because everyone has warned her that he has pretended to like girls and then dumped them for fun.
- The title character of The Dresden Files edges into this at times, such as arranging a meeting with a mob boss at a Burger King, because, in his own words, "I just wanted to see him there." Then he deliberately ignores said mob boss, and makes a show out of drinking his coffee.
- Journey To Chaos: Trickster gods in general do these things for amusement, because they are all children of the Goddess of Chaos. During A Mage's Power alone we have the following examples.
- Tasio the Trickster is a public nuisance in every city of Tariatla. According to a Roalt city wall commander, he would destroy a civilization or raise it to a new level of prosperity on a whim. "Most of the time, he's just a pest."
- Zaticana, the goddess of language, caused a Curse of Babel because she thought the resulting confusion would be hilarious.
- Supernatural: The Trickster spirit AKA the Archangel Gabriel screws around with people he thinks are pompous, both because it's fun and he's got an eternity to kill. He sometimes does it to teach a lesson, but usually in the most amusing way possible, or the most torturous.
- Bones: Caroline Julian's reasoning for making Bones kiss Booth in a Christmas Episode, though chances are it's more Shipper on Deck.
- When the The Devil decides to swing by for a visit in Brimstone, you can count on him doing something wonderfully dickish like ticketing a legally parked car or tying someone's shoelaces together.
- Everything the Janitor from Scrubs does to JD.
- From Star Trek: The Next Generation:
Voice of Armus (on killing a main character): Exactly! It had no meaning. I did it because I wanted to. It amused me.
- And then subverted by Troi, whom Armus has held hostage:
Troi: No it didn't. You took no pleasure from it at all.
Armus: You're right. It was too easy!
Worf: Jadzia, I think it would be better to part here.
Dax: Oh, I'm coming with you. I took some days of leave and checked it with our superiors.
Worf: Why didn't you tell me earlier?
Dax: It's more fun this way.
- Or moving everything in Odo's office one centimeter from their usual locations while he was regenerating. Just because she knows how much of a control freak he is with his possessions.
- The title character of House might qualify, although in the end, he often does it to either A) get the paycheck, or B) teach his associates, or even C) both. Of course, there's a reason he's sometimes considered the Trope Codifier for Dr. Jerk...
- In one episode of Highlander, Joe Dawson's daughter is kidnapped by an immortal with a grudge against Methos. In order to get her back, the immortal orders Joe to lead Methos to him for an ambush. All throughout the day and night, Methos talks about the bond growing between Joe and himself, and the unlikeliness of their friendship, until Joe finally snaps and tells the truth about the ambush, at which point Methos tells Joe that he's known all along. When Joe demands to know why Methos drew things out over the whole day, the explanation is: "I'm easily amused."
- In the episode "Countrycide" of Torchwood, a town full of cannibals have been kidnapping and murdering people. When Gwen asks one of them why, he responds, "Because it makes me happy."
- Sean Connery from the Celebrity Jeopardy sketches on SNL. He doesn't keep coming back because the other players are Too Dumb to Live, nor does he come back because he enjoys the game of Jeopardy; he only shows up time and time again because he likes to piss off Alex Trebek.
- On the Firefly episode “Shindig”, Mal stands victorious over Atherton Wing whom he has just, through fortunate happenstance, defeated in a duel. Upon being told he must kill him rather than allow him to lie there in defeat, he replies, ”Mercy is the mark of a great man,” then lightly stabs Wing in the abdomen. “Guess I'm just a good man.” He then stabs him again and finishes with, “Well, I'm all right.“ Upon being chastised with, “You didn't have to wound that man.”, Mal quips back, “Yeah, I know, it was just funny.”
- River seems to make commentary designed to deliberately anger or annoy Jayne just because it is amusing to her. Particularly when she insinuated that he has a "girl's name" and solemnly warns him that "I can kill you with my brain."
- In Two and a Half Men, Charlie and Alan are talking to Herb, and Charlie keeps talking in sexual innuendos that only Alan, and the audience, notices.
Alan: Why do you keep doing that?
Charlie: Haven't we covered this before? It amuses me!
- The real culprit's motive for pooping the bed in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Who pooped the bed?"
Frank: I did 'em all. All the poops.
The Gang: Why?
Frank: Because poop is funny.
- This is basically the whole idea behind An Idiot Abroad.
Rick Gervais: "There's nothing funnier than Karl in a corner, being poked by a stick. I am that stick.”
- In Dead Ringers, Gandalf's explanation for sending Frodo on his epic quests: "Because I am a bastard."
- The George Lopez Show had an episode where George and Angie find old love letters that said bad things about them. It turns out they were forged by Benny because she was bored.
- On Boardwalk Empire, Arnold Rothstein tells a long story to a thug about encountering a man who could swallow and regurgitate billiard balls, and how he made him choke to death by supplying a ball that was infinitesimally larger. He concludes with:
Do you know what the moral of this tale is, Mr.Yale? Frankie Yale: Don't eat a cue ball? Rothstein:
The moral of the story is: if I'd cause a stranger to choke to death for my own amusement, what do you think I'll do to you if you don't tell me who ordered you to kill Collisimo?
- Burn Notice: while in prison, Fiona is targeted by the "Sisters", two lifers who take on hitman jobs mostly just to pass the time.
- Person of Interest: Seems to be Root's main motivation for doing anything.
- In Mash, Winchester's motivation for conning Colonel Flagg was part this trope, part irritation at Flagg's attempts to bribe/blackmail him into compliance.
Potter: I apologize for this, gentlemen. Can you imagine that idiot thinking we were a spy ring?
[Winchester laughs softly]
Hawkeye: Charles, did you have something to do with this?
Winchester: Of course not, wouldn't waste my time...unless I could get a good laugh out of it. [starts laughing uproariously]
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "Kaboom" the inventor of the titular phrase and related organization gets people to come together and all build a park in one day, and have fun doing it. At the end of the episode, he is shown riding a motorboat, and reveals that he did it all as an elaborate prank. He then announces his plans to build a hospital in a poor area of China.
"They'll never see it coming!"
Myths & Religion
- Loki of Norse Mythology, the local Trickster Archetype, who started out as Thor's practical joking buddy, but later did a Face-Heel Turn and became genuinely evil. He was only evil to gods though, and they gave him no reason to be anything but nasty to them, since most considered him inferior scum. He was very friendly to humans, often going out of his way to help them when they were in need. It's best explained as Loki screwing around for the lulz with humans, and for the evulz with gods. He's never intentionally malicious to mortals unless they ask for it by royally pissing him off in the first place.
- Odin, though somewhat less obvious than Loki, also falls under this. He acts very similar to Loki, to the point one theory is that Loki and Odin were originally the same god, but the more well-known myths tend to downplay his role as a Trickster Archetype.
- And Hermes/Mercury.
- And Anansi in Africa.
- In other parts of Africa, and the African Diaspora religions of the Americas, Exu/Ellegua. One story has him sitting at the side of the road, repeatedly telling people it's safe to cross, only for them to fall and break their legs on the way. At the end of the story, he tells HIMSELF it's safe to cross the street, breaks his leg, and has been depicted with a walking-stick ever since.
- And Coyote among Native Americans (although he varies from just being clownish to being outright evil, depending on which tribe's mythos we're talking about).
- Huehuecoyotl, the Aztec version was just as likely to help humanity or cause genocide depending on which he thought was funnier. Still, he was one of the more popular gods, considering the rest of the pantheon.
- The Fair Folk: The chief differance between the Seelie and Unseelie courts in some stories seems to be in what they find funny and how much harm they consider acceptable, and that's if you're lucky.
- There're a couple of myths invented for this purpose in Australia. Because apparently the real wildlife wasn't scary enough already, they decided to tell tourists that the trees were infested with carnivorous koalas and the only way to ward them off was to put Vegemite behind your ears. This is one of the only forms of trolling that the internet has actually discouraged.
- In The Merchant of Venice, Launcelot Gobbo runs into his blind father, who doesn't recognize him. Instead of explaining who he is, Launcelot continues to pretend to be a stranger... and informs him that his son is dead, just to see what will happen.
- Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream hexes humans for his amusement. (Then again, well... see "The Fair Folk" under "Mythology" above.)
- Peter Pan is prone to this trope, because he's a little kid and doesn't think seriously about the consequences of what he does.
- In the 2013 musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mike Teavee gets elevated from the Spoiled Brat of the book to an Enfant Terrible via this trope. The reason he is allowed to play all the video games, etc. he wants because it's the only thing that he enjoys doing that doesn't run the risk of bringing harm upon himself or — far more often — others, and no adult in his life is able to control him otherwise. When he isn't glued to a screen, he's setting a cat on fire, chlorforming a nurse, stealing a German tank, etc. and according to his mother "the authorities request/That little Mike not leave the house." Instead of simply finding a Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar, he steals one directly by hacking the Wonka Factory computers — and it's suggested that he didn't want the prize so much as the thrill of outsmarting Mr. Wonka in this manner. Come the day of the tour, Mike's constant need for quick amusement leads to him deciding to try out the Television Chocolate setup on himself; once he's zapped into Cyberspace he runs amok there too before he's "retrieved" by the others.
- From BIONICLE, Brutaka and Botar are two high-ranking Order of Mata Nui members capable of teleportation and seem to have a twisted sense of humor when it comes to the Tahtorak and large cities. At different points, both of them have teleported the beast into densely populated areas out of fun: Brutaka into Metru Nui, the universe's most important city, and Botar onto Xia, an industrial capital. This would make sense for Brutaka, seeing as he eventually succumbed to evil, but Botar was something of a religious fanatic, crazily devoted to "the will of Mata Nui".
- Devil Survivor:
- Lucifer had Beelzebub join the fight for the Throne Of Bel for this reason. He's also willing to fight you as a Bonus Boss because he's basically bored.
- The Gigolo, a.k.a. Loki (see above) mostly helps you because he wants to mess with Beldr. Again.
- In Persona 4 Adachi kicks off the whole plot, at least from his end, for what amounts to needing some entertainment.
Yukiko: Why...? What reasons could you have for doing that!?
Adachi: Reasons...? None, really. I could do it, that's all. And it was fun... I guess that's my reason?
- Touhou has a lot of this:
- Fairies have little restraint, less sense of mortality (being immortal as long as the aspect of nature they represent exists), and very poor memories, resulting in an entire species of perpetual children that never learn from their mistakes, resulting in them doing things that make no sense other than because they thought it would be funny. A lot of Touhou Sangetsusei is about the Three Mischievous Fairies invoking this trope.
- Tewi, Nue, and Mamizou are all canonically pranksters. Tewi is prone more to scamming, but still sometimes screws with people for no gain, and it's not clear if she has any real use for money.
- Seiga spends most of her time floating around people who interest her or working on bizarre scams.
- Several incidents essentially happened because someone with too much power got bored, most obviously Tenshi in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, though this has lessened in more recent games.
- Fanon tends to portray this as the major driving force for Yukari and Yuuka, but canon doesn't particularly back this up. In Yukari's case, canon holds that she spends most of her time simply sleeping. According to herself.
- Xom of Dungeon Crawl, who likes to give you really nice weapons that you have no skill in, give you armor while you're wearing (unremovable) cursed armor, watch you eat poisonous food, and so on. And that's when he's being "nice". When he's feeling mean towards you or, heaven forbid, you begin to bore him, he'll summon demons at you, give you potentially horrid mutations, enchant your enemies' weapons, or get really creative and make all stairs to leave the current level move around and slide away from you when you try to flee. Also, throwing a bolt of divine lightning at you is considered a "good" effect, and he has a chance of shielding you from it (it's "good" because your enemies get zapped too... assuming you were fighting something that was more of a threat than a bolt of lightning).
- The Corwids of Zeno Clash combine this with Funny Schizophrenia, and incidentally a Double Subversion of Insane Equals Violent — they do whatever they want, whether it's walking in one direction for as long as possible or killing and eating whoever passes by. Right now they're in the "killing and eating" phase.
- The Umgah of Star Control II are essentially intergalactic pranksters. Their favorite targets are the Lovable Coward Spathi, whom they like to scare the pants off of, but they also trick the Ilwrath into fighting a civil war and another race, and declaring the main character a "Great Enemy" For the Lulz after he releases them from mind control (although they do give him rewards first). When you rescue their entire race from Mind Control, they gladly thank you by giving you half a dozen of their ships... and then attack you with endless waves of identical ones. Nothing stopping you from just running away with your "reward", of course, but it says a lot about them that they will hand over some of their own ships and crews, just to make sure you put up a good challenge when they immediately betray you.
- Mana Khemia: Flay's motivation for everything he does, from forming the workshop in the first place to founding an Evil Syndicate and taking over half the world before being stopped by Alchemy Man, Just as Planned. In the sequel, he does things like launching a traditional Berserker raid on the office of a fellow faculty members and implanting chips in people's brains. Flay would be Wrong Genre Savvy for treating a JRPG like James Bond meets Sentai with ninjas, except he's very good at beating the genre into submission.
- The only stated reason Durandal has for buzzing Earth in a Precursor warship ten thousand years after the end of Marathon 2.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Sanguine, the Daedric Princenote of Debauchery. In Oblivion, he sends the player on a quest in which his/her task is to cast a spell that removes all clothes from everyone affected in a middle of a prominent nobles' banquet (and fails to inform him/her that he/she will also become one of its victims). In Skyrim, after sharing a few drinks with a disguised Sanguine, the character wakes up in a completely diferent city at least a day after, and can set out on a quest to rediscover what it was s/he was doing in the meantime (which included wedding rings, goats, and temple desecration).
- This seems to be the modus operandi for most of the Daedric Princes (though some mix it with Orange And Blue Morality). In Oblivion, Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Corruption, uses the player to corrupt the soul of an honorable paladin just because he can. Meanwhile, Boethia, Prince of Plots, organizes a brutal tournament for the player for no real reason; he's just bored. And if Sheogorath is involved, chances are this trope will be invoked. Or not, it depends on his mood, really. When he gives you the Wabbajack, it's probably just because he wants to see what you'll do with it.
- The Big Bad in Mother 3 falls into this trope. Porky ruins the lives of many people and corrupts the rest of the island's population, along with making mechas out of the animals and pulling the seven needles to summon a dragon that could destroy everything, just because he was bored and needed a giggle.
- The Storm Titan, the one that invented the most chaotic magic in the Spiral, from Wizard101 destroys the world of Celestia after he allied with them to stop Morganthe. Why, because like his brand of magic, he can destroy you just as easily a help you. It's likely that in the war of the ancients he's the one that threw the first punch
- The final boss in "Tomba!" fits right into this trope despite being known for only the last piece of the game. When you confront him he flat out states that he made all the other Evil pig Wizards for you to play with and thinks of the world as a giant toybox. He even calls your fight with him a game in the squeal!
- In Baldur's Gate Firkraag explains his motive for messing with you as amusement and curiosity, although he also admits to having a grudge against your guardian. When you track him down and discover he's an enormous red dragon he'll just let you go unless you insist on fighting him.
- Dishonored: The Outsider (being someone who employs Brutal Honesty) outright states that the only reason he's given people access to black magic and anti-magic tools is mostly this trope and him wanting to see what you do with them. His reaction to Sokolov trying to contact him?
Sokolov believes that there are specific words and acts that can compel me to appear before him. He searches old temples in Pandyssia and ruined subbasements in the Flooded district. He performs disgusting rituals beneath the Old Abbey. But if he really wants to see me, he could start by being a bit more interesting.
- The motive behind the Big Bad of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Everything it does is due to boredom and interaction with it gives the sense of talking to a naughty child with no sense of empathy. It does not deliberately hurt people, but it doesn't care if it does.
- The motive for Lu Bu's involvement in the battles of Guandu and Chibi in Dynasty Warriors 6. Lu Bu took part in these battles in the hope that he could find some amusement. He thought that Chibi had its interesting moments. But at Guandu, he thought that the armies of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao were nothing but pathetic worms squirming about. It also didn't concern him that Cao Cao, Yuan Shao and Sun Quan took offence to his intrusions.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Bernkastel. Actually For the Evulz, as she quickly reveals around Episode 4.
- Fate/stay night: Gilgamesh makes many of his decisions based on how much watching the results will amuse him. Even his obsession with Saber is largely driven by his interest in breaking her rather than any affection. Despite this he's not evil, as to him it is only natural that as the only true King, the rest of the world exists for his amusement.
- Ravenfreak in TOME has a tendency to do this. He uses his hacked shapeshifting powers to turn into Flamegirl for no reason except piss the real Flamegirl off.
- 8-Bit Theater: "Why did you do it like that?" "We thought it'd be funny."
- King Radical from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. His two goals in life seem to be making Cumberland a more radical place, and messing with Dr McNinja's head. Why? For fun.
- Donovan in Dominic Deegan reveals that his comically poor grasp of the Orcish language was just a front; he knew how to speak the language perfectly for roughly twenty years, but insisted on the mangled version because he thought it was funny (and that he was a bard, as being funny is the reason bards do anything).
- In El Goonish Shive, it was revealed that The Hammers that all women can call forth to painfully (but harmlessly) reprimand offensive men actually cause more offensive actions/comments because it's a reaction. The immortal who created them did so for the gag factor. Susan is NOT amused.
- Coyote from Gunnerkrigg Court. Comes with being a Trickster God, as mentioned above under Mythology.
- Part of the reason why Richard, from Looking for Group, follows Cale on his adventure to protect those in need. The other part is For the Evulz... Do note, he has never been in on the quest, he pretty much just tags along because of the opportunity for destruction, the pleasure of killing, and the fact that watching Cale attempt to convince the survivors of Richard's onslaughts to forgive him on his lapses in morality, and steadily getting more and more disillusioned and cynical as the adventure unfolds, relieves him of boredom.
Toyk: You killed 126 of my soldiers! And another 48 are being thawed out from a massive block of ice. What do you have to say for yourselves?
Richard: Thanks? It was fun?
- A bit more recently, it was explained he has a good... Well, he has a reason: being an evil psychopathic Jerk Ass was fueling his power as a semi-immortal regenerating lich. As he actually started to care, he felt some amount of pain when injured for the first time in who knows how long. Now it seems that he feels the cost is getting too high.
- Aliens' motives in Fearful Symmetry episode of The X-Files were explained in this Monster of the Week strip:
Alien 1: This... Why?
Alien 2: Because the humans will never figure this one out!
- Some of the stuff that Belkar does in The Order of the Stick is For the Evulz, and some of it is this. He particularly likes messing with other people's heads in harmless but disturbing ways. Often, he'll do something that people don't expect from him just because it will confuse them. See here.
- In Sluggy Freelance, Uncle Time is an Odd Job God with this attitude.
- Bun-bun can veer into this too if he's in a good mood, especially with his "friends", whom he has come to grudgingly care about a tiny little bit. For the Evulz is a better characterisation for many of the things he does, though.
- The man with the hat from XKCD, given that most of his character is based around his nonchalant cruelty. His exploits include feeding rocks to children in parks; selling angry bobcats to people through the internet in place of office chairs; and pretending to smile at people on trains, so that when they smile back, he has an opportunity to leer at them
- 4chan and its associated... things (e.g. Encyclopedia Dramatica) are the ones who coined the term "for the lulz". Let's just leave it at that.
- Sean from Ronin Dojo Community College DX explains that he does things "for the lulz". Of course, what he does is smash popular games in front of a webcam so people on the internet can say "lol", but that's Serious Business.
- The trolls who prank call Ghost during every single episode of True Capitalist Radio just to hear him rage and rage... and rage.
- We Are Our Avatars Aurora Va'el made pasta for a group of her friends once and laced it with LSD. She didn't reveal that until almost everybody ate some of it. Just because. Some time later, an AU counterpart of hers laced a cake with Skooma.
- The Doomy Adventures Of Irken Doominess: Melissa stated to Deef that torturing the humans was no more then a game to her and that she saw humans as nothing but something to overcome her boredom with.
- In Red Panda Adventures, the Red Panda gives this as his excuse for forging the Home Team's files to read that his Secret Identity is his own commanding officer.
- In Noob, Gaea's most convoluted plans can have one of two purposes: making more in-game currency or humiliating her Straw Misogynist guildmate. Both the webseries and the comic have a point where she feeds her guildmate false info about the player that he admires just to create an awkward situation next time the two run into each other. And makes sure to be present when it happens.
- "The Twins" from Superjail
- Season 4 Megabyte in ReBoot, though he doesn't get enough screen time to change sides. He even says the trope name when asked about why he would disguise himself as Bob and marry Dot.
Bob: Why Megabyte? Why do this?
Megabyte: (laughs) It amused me.
- Also his sister, Hexadecimal. In spite of being a virus, she will mostly keep to herself until she gets an idea. Her most successful diabolical plot actually was targeting her brother. The rest of Mainframe falling victim to it was just an amusing side effect. She only picked a side near the end, and it wasn't "siding with Mainframe" so much as "siding with Bob". The only reason that she would defend Mainframe at that point would be because it would distract Bob, make him unhappy, and not want to chat.
- King Bumi, from Avatar: The Last Airbender, actually stated that the reason he screwed with Aang so much is "Mostly because it's fun messing with people!"
- Carmen Sandiego steals the hardest things in the universe to steal just to prove she can. The TV versions have it explained this way: She likes the challenge of detective work and outwitting people, but criminals aren't the brightest critters. The people actually worth challenging were other detectives, but she couldn't do that as a good guy; time for a Face-Heel Turn, then. She considers her most glorious caper not to be stealing the Eiffel Tower, a country's entire gold supply, or anything of actual value... but having managed to steal her own detective records from ACME itself.
- In Xiaolin Showdown, a time-displaced Omi is challenged by Grand Master Dashi to take a pebble from his palm, and if he does, he'll give the puzzle box to seal Wuya. After Omi's skills and use of Shen Gong Wu didn't work, he simply asked for the pebble, and it was given to him. When Omi asked Dashi why he allowed him to go through so much trouble just to get the box, His answer was: "Well first, it was funny".
- Two minor characters from Teen Titans, Thunder and Lightning, terrorize people because they find it "amusing". They don't take the feelings of the people around them into account, something Beast Boy calls them out on. (Thunder eventually realized that they were hurting people and turned on his brother, and Lightning eventually figured it out too, just in time for them to help stop the real threat.)
- It should be noted that Thunder and Lightning are loosely based off of Japanese thunder gods (Raijin, in particular) who are said to cause all sorts of destructive mischief for their own amusement.
- When Invader Zim's abduction of Dib threatens family dinner night, Gaz seeks to retrieve him from the alien containment. Zim saw her and could've attempted to stop her... but didn't, as he expected to get a laugh out of seeing her try. To paraphrase Yoda, she did. There was no try.
- Gargoyles: The whole episode "The Mirror" consists of faerie trickster Puck trolling Demona at every step, and having a blast doing it. At one point, he remarks, "Serving humans is fun. They have a sense of humor."
- Likewise the episode "Possession," he's actually kind of doing something nice for our heroes...in the most convoluted and annoying way he can think of.
Goliath: Puck! I should've known. But why this subterfuge?
Puck: Hey, I live for subterfuge!
- Bart from The Simpsons is a personification of this trope. In the past, he has played pranks on his family, school faculty, and the town itself, but was usually remorseful if his pranks had hurt someone badly. In the more recent episodes, Bart pulls pranks just to get a laugh and make himself amused, no matter how bad someone gets hurt. He gets upset whenever someone does try to punish him for playing a prank too far, as if they took his only source of entertainment away.
- Similar to Bart, Family Guy's Peter Griffin will cause random shenanigans just for a quick giggle, no matter what the outcome of it is.
- Roger of American Dad! similarly utilizes this to an occasionally sociopathic extreme.
- This appears to be the main motivation of Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (it helps that he's voiced by John de Lancie). When he first breaks free, he immediately starts throwing Equestria into chaos with cotton candy clouds that rain chocolate milk, corn popping spontaneously in the fields, and apples growing to tremendous sizes and making the rabbits that eat them grow long deer-like legs. He does end up purposely "breaking" and brainwashing the Mane Six, but it's ambiguous whether even this puts him over the line into For the Evulz territory — they essentially declared themselves his enemies first, after all, and once they're no longer a threat he leaves them alone.
- His reappearance in the third-season episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On" seems to confirm this. Here, Discord is shown as simply a powerful jerkass who wants his own way and resents having the threat of the Elements of Harmony held over his head while the ponies try to "reform" him more or less against his will — but who may also be at least somewhat redeemable after all.
- One must consider that this was his reign in the beginning. Based on the terrified ponies we see in his stained glass picture, it seems to imply that he can do worse. As for when he crosses it, it's probably when one considers the possible outcomes that his chaos can have on other ponies.
- A lot of what Chris McLean does in Total Drama is for his own amusement. He admits to putting a quicksand trap in one challenge for no particular reason, among other things. And while he does get crueler and more apathic in later seasons, his main motivation for his deeds is either pumping more drama out of the show, or getting a few good laughs.
- In the Samurai Jack episode "Tale of X9", the robot assassin X9 tells how the evil scientist who created him put an "experimental emotion chip" in his brain. Why? As X9 says, "He was kind of funny that way."
- South Park:
- Eric Cartman relishes on the trope whenever he isn't extracting revenge or trying to make Kyle miserable. He will go to any lengths to piss people off or make someone miserable as long as it amuses him.
- Mysterion's reasoning for why Coon and Friends keeps that name even after the Coon was kicked out: "Because it pisses Cartman off beyond belief, and I find that extremely funny."
- In Aladdin: The Series, this is why the entity called Chaos does what he does, for the most part, because he thinks spreading chaos and discord is fun. (Although, he does seem to like pissing off Mirage most of all.)