"You know, whenever I'm with you I can't help but feel like a fool for taking things so seriously."A character whose primary role in the show is to relieve tension with oddball and/or hysterical antics. He has a job to do, but doesn't get into the thick of things and can stay somewhat detached. Since their purpose is to relieve tension, they almost always have immunity to dying when compared to the other characters. A guaranteed sign that the series is suffering from Cerebus Syndrome or that things are just going to go to Hell from here is to see whether this character either dies or has a complete and utter meltdown, no matter how deserved. This trope is also known as the "comic relief" and in The Team trope it is known as the Funny Guy. Within The Team they serve the same purpose as in the cast ensemble but this is specifically for the in-universe team members instead of the show's audience. The term comes from Sam Rockwell's "Guy Fleegman" character in the movie Galaxy Quest (who, in a non-genreblind example of Lampshade Hanging, is afraid that he is only a Red Shirt, until another character ("Fred Kwan") suggests that maybe he is instead the "plucky comic relief"), which of course was spoofing the television show Star Trek. In some cases, similar to Stupid Boss. Many sidekicks fit this description as well. Also see Amusing Alien, for otherworldly characters whose only purpose is comedy. Finally see The Face, where they have a purpose greater than comedy.
open/close all folders
- Mukrezar is a soulless, murderous bastard. He completely wiped out all life on a continent, is an unrepentant torturer who apparently finds screams of the tormented 'soothing', and is also a terrible cook. Despite this, he is an amazingly quirky and charismatic leader, and usually gets an 'episode' every other chapter or so. As the humorous element.
- Axel fills this role in Keyblade Masters, even though he's introduced late in the story. He also performs this duty in the sequel series, Sentinels of Chaos.
- Disney Animated Films usually have one. And so do all of the movies that copy their formulas.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Dopey, who's kind of like a tiny Harpo Marx.
- Bambi: Thumper
- Cinderella: The mice, mainly Jacque and Octavius/Gus
- Peter Pan: Mr. Smee
- Sleeping Beauty: The Three Good Fairies and the two kings on certain occasions.
- The Little Mermaid: Flounder
- The Lion King: Timon and Pumbaa
- Mulan: Mushu.
- Frozen: Olaf and Sven. Olaf is the more prominent of the two, although he adds some quite heartfelt and "deep" moments to the movie. Sven's facial emotions are quite hilarious, but his few lines voiced by Kristoff provoke laughs.
- Devon and Cornwall, and to an extent, the Griffon and Bladebeak in Quest for Camelot.
- Bobby in A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie. Notably the only one of the youths present in both movies with no visible conflict with a parent figure, almost everything he says and does is some sort of dumb joke. He takes very few things seriously, is an Attention Whore, a Cloudcuckoolander, and more-or-less a Perpetual Smiler, and is considered to be weird (among friends) or annoying (with Beret Girl and the Gammas). He's also the one to give Max an emotionally-charged Rousing Speech.
- Shrek: Donkey is a parody of the Plucky Comic Relief — when he isn't being a straight example.
- This also applies to Puss in Boots as well as Donkey in Shrek 2 and onwards.
- The fairytale characters that appear in all the films as side characters can be classified as this.
- As serious as The Secret Of NIMH was in tone, there was a certain crow that happens to be the comic relief. And that crow in particular is Jeremy.
- Humphrey from Alpha and Omega serves as the snappy one-liner of the movie. he is usually seen hanging out with his other omega buddies and is shown to try to cheer up an alpha named Kate, whom he likes to be with.
- Justified in that this is stated to be the role of the Omegas in the pack; to break up fights and keep everyone's spirits up.
- Guy in Galaxy Quest fears for the entire film that he is destined to die, as his character on the show, Crewman #6, was a typical Red Shirt that died in the first act of his only episode. Fred eventually calms his fear by suggesting Guy is actually this trope. (And towards the end of the film, just before the in-universe Reset Button gets pushed, Guy is indeed the only crew-member who hasn't been killed.)
- Fred himself also qualifies by spending most of the film oblivious to, or at least unreasonably calm about, the ostensible dangers they're going through. The original cut depicted him as a stoner, but this element was downplayed to receive a family-friendly rating. The remaining hints are enough to act as a Parental Bonus.
- X-Men Film Series:
- Nightcrawler provides some of the more amusing moments in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: Apocalypse.
- Banshee is the most fun character in X-Men: First Class.
- Quicksilver is a source of comedy in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse.
- As referenced by the opening credits of Deadpool, Weasel's narrative purpose is comedy.
- Downplayed with Professor X in X-Men: Apocalypse because he's predominantly a dramatic character, but writer Simon Kinberg reveals in his commentary that Charles was deliberately used to lighten up the mood of the first act.
Kinberg: I tried to get a lot of humour into the movie whenever it was appropriate, and James [McAvoy] is a really good comedic actor, so there was a lot of good Xavier moments.
- Last Action Hero. Lampshaded by Genre Savvy Danny Madigan, who had been operating on the assumption that he was one of the Main Characters.
- Aside from being The Lancer to Tom Cody's The Hero, Billy Fish filled this role for the scene where he refuses to give Ben Gunn the money. Tom manages to convince Billy, which follows with the latter complaining under his breath. And should we mention that Billy is played by Rick Moranis, an actual comedian?
- The Largo brothers, Pavi and Luigi, fill this role in Repo! The Genetic Opera. In a movie like Repo, the comic relief duo is made up of a murderer and a rapist...
- Jack, the main character of Big Trouble in Little China, falls squarely into this category, although he thinks he's the hero.
- J. Jonah Jameson and his assistant Hoffman in the Spider-Man Trilogy. Also Peter's landlord and his daughter.
- C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars. This is the intended role of Jar Jar Binks in the prequel movies, but he proved so insufferable that George Lucas heavily cut down his screentime until he had a mere cameo in Revenge of the Sith.
- C-3P0 and R2-D2 were allegedly inspired by Tahei and Matashichi from The Hidden Fortress, who provided levity to a serious situation with their sinful shenanigans.
- Pippin and Merry in the first Lord of the Rings movie. Gimli, to some extent, in the other two.
- Bofur is revealed to be this in the film adaptation of The Hobbit.
- Sam Rockwell actually used the term himself when describing his role as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2.
- Riley from National Treasure is this in spades. He is rarely seen taking a situation seriously, even when in immediate danger.
- Pavel Chekov increasingly takes on this role in the Star Trek films, the height of this occurring during the fourth movie.
- The Mystery Science Theater 3000-subject Attack of the The Eye Creatures has the Peeping Tom Air Force guys, who manages to both avoid having any plot relevance or give their actions any actual humor or other, non-repulsive qualities.
- Tuco from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly might qualify, given that most, if not all of the humorous moments in the film involve him in one form or another. Unlike most examples, Tuco is the protagonist instead of a side character.
- Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect.
- Heihachi from Seven Samurai intended to fill this role to boost morale and provide levity for this dark and grave situation of bandits raiding their village. However, it's Kikuchiyo, a later addition to the script, who fills this role better and becomes The Heart as well. Feeble villager Yohei filled this role as well, before becoming a Sacrificial Lion
- Darcy in Thor and Thor: The Dark World. She's a fish out of water among the other scientists (she's a political scientist, as opposed to astrophysicists Drs. Jane Foster and Erik Selvig), and so she primarily makes snarky remarks. Even when she does something like taser Thor, she maintains her snarkiness (upon Jane and Erik's shocked reactions; "What? He was freaking me out!").
- Jake in Support Your Local Sheriff is described as "the town character" to his face, and its hinted that when before he became a Sheriff's deputy he was the town drunk. Even he sees the ironic humor in that kind of promotion, and remarks upon it constantly. This was actually actor Jack Elam's first comedic role (for most of his prior career he'd been playing villains), and his wonderfully funny performance typecast him as a comedic actor for the rest of his life. Not that he complained much about the change.
- The ghosts, Stuart and Cyrus in The Frighteners. They wanted to haunt a house so Frank might "exorcise" it.
- Help!: Ringo, sometimes aided and abetted by George.
- From A Symphony of Eternity we have Commodore Dalius Augustus, he's his fleet's resident comedian, but that doesn't stop him from being a badass sentient velociraptor alien who is well versed in fleet warfare and has a sweet tooth! He's best friends with the resident Starscream.
- Bluebell, the comedian rabbit of Watership Down, serves as a comic relief not only to the readers, but also is an in-story tension breaker. Keehar the seagull serves the purpose in the film adaptation.
- Madame Khokhlakov's role in The Brothers Karamazov is to provide lighthearted, trivial discussion versus everything else that goes on in the story. She is eternally cheerful and will talk you to death. Dostoevsky used her to insult his critics at the time by having her agree with their works.
- Harry Potter
- Fred and George. As the series gets Darker and Edgier, one loses an ear and the other dies.
- Ron Weasley also fills this role within the main trio, and he's an even earlier gauge of the series' impending dark turn: as early as book four, his general status as Chew Toy produces some moments of unexpectedly bitter resentment. By book seven, he's primed for a complete meltdown.
- A casual reading of the Witches novels would suggest that Nanny Ogg's job is to keep bringing the funny, while Granny Weatherwax and Magrat get all the Crowning Moments Of Awesome. And this is the case, but what's not always apparent is that this is exactly how she likes things, and if she wanted to be Granny, she easily could be.
- In the Watch novels, the role is filled by the Watch's most senior and least effective coppers, dim-witted Sergeant Colon and kleptomaniac Gonk Corporal Nobbs.
- Jacob from Twilight. He is the funniest character in the book. And probably the only one.
- Graystripe from Warrior Cats is only in the first book to lighten the mood. However, his role greatly increases in later books.
- Joe from Five Weeks in a Balloon doesn't treat anything too seriously and cracks jokes nearly constantly. A lot of his humor revolves around mock-naivety.
- The same author's From the Earth to the Moon has Michel Ardan in a similar role, balancing the other two serious protagonists with his laid back attitude.
- In In Desert And Wilderness, Kali, mostly due to Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle - he seems much more serious among his own people.
- In The Dragon Hoard, Prince Sillius plays this role among the questing princes.
- Exotico tag team turned stable, The Christopher Street Connection, were the original plucky comic relief on the Ring of Honor shows. They got beat up a lot but always managed to come back smiling. Sometimes they feuded with baby faces but they were never worse than tweeners themselves. Some later examples include Paul London, Spanky, Colt Cabana, Delirious and El Generico, though ROH has a tendency to turn many of them Darker and Edgier, even if only for an angle. Jimmy Jacobs is one who proved not so plucky and remained a problem child after he found out love doesn't redeem till his final days in the company.
- In Progress Wrestling there's Eddie Dennis, although he's more than capable of holding his own in a fight.
- The Orks serve this function in Warhammer 40,000 as a race of psychopathic manchildren with a healthy dose of Crosses the Line Twice.
- Their Fantasy Counterparts fill a similar role in the game, but seeing as the setting is notably less grimdark, they are obnviously not the only race that fills this role. The Skaven are a good example of this, due to them being both Stupid Evil and Laughably Evil with their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and all. Add to that hamster wheels with lasers, and it should be pretty clear that they fit into this spot too.
- In Magic: The Gathering, Squee from the Weatherlight Saga. For example, the flavor text for Fool's Tome. More generally, goblins typically fill such a role. There was a Running Gag where goblins that could destroy things had a profession related to whatever it was they were destroying - Goblin Gardener destroyed lands, Goblin Medic dealt damage to creatures, and so on.
- Goblins in Pathfinder, in a disturbing sort of way. Dangerously stupid, Big Eaters, Ugly Cute, Psychopathic Manchildren, canonically so distractable that they pause in the middle of combat to raid the refreshments, and fond of singing little songs about eating people. They also serve as Butt Monkeys in a lot of official art. Getting pwned by a flumph◊. Demonstrating status effects.◊
- Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice, who was written in specifically as this. His life offstage is referred to (he's got a family and a mistress), but onstage he's mostly there to give overdramatic monologues, spew puns and complain about how converting Jews to Christianity will raise the price of pork. Gratiano qualifies, too.
- Sir Ké in La Legende Du Roi Arthur whose questions are a source of bemusement and irritation for Merlin but commedy gold to the audience.
- Although Teddie from Persona 4 is this, every other character in the Investigation Team fulfill this role at some point or another in the game.
- Yosuke also relates to this trope, although really more towards the beginning and before Character Development takes hold.
- Portal 2 subverts this with Wheatley, a moronic personality core who escorts the player through the early areas of the game and, with your help, attempts to engineer a coup against GLaDOS. The subversion comes when Wheatley, upon successfully replacing GLaDOS in the Enrichment Center mainframe, goes into full A God Am I mode and becomes the Big Bad of the game. Portal 2 has fairly equal distribution of comedy, but Portal 1 arguably has GLaDOS carrying all the comic responsibility. However, this can probably be excused as she is the only speaking character.
- Since Divergent Character Evolution turned him into a Lovable Coward, Luigi tends to fill this role in the Super Mario Bros. games, especially in the Mario & Luigi series.
- Joker from Mass Effect takes the role first as a Disabled Snarker but eventually becomes a straight example as he loosens up around the crew and learns he does not have to constantly prove himself like he did in flight school because of his disease. He becomes a Plucky Comic Relief character almost exclusively with only occasional moments of snarkiness by the second game.
- Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins is an interesting case in that he is also well aware of how dreadful the situation is and what all is at stake, and is very competent when the situation calls for it.
- Tyrell in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. Emphasis on the "plucky".
- The janitor from the Carol Reed Mysteries. Most of the time he isn't connected to the cases, he's mainly there to make the player laugh every once in a while.
- Siegmeyer from Dark Souls, a bumbling knight who became Undead and ventured to Lordran for one last adventure. The player runs into him in various situations, where he's nearly always in quite a pickle.
- The Black Baron (stop starin') from MadWorld is an overly stereotypical pimp who acts as a living demonstration for all the minigames, and every moment he appears is a moment of hilarity. Even when it turns out he's the Final Boss, his reactions and stagger animations are so goofy that you can't help but laugh through all of it.
- His Anarchy Reigns counterpart The Blacker Baron reprises the role, and arguably fits it better since he's the walking moment of funny in a game that is usually quite serious, unlike Madworld which just a hilarious game all around.
- Dion from Tears to Tiara 2, with his cowardness and every-failing quest to get girls.
- Chuck from Angry Birds as well as his exported female counterpart, Poppy, from Angry Birds Stella.
- Hiravias from Pillars of Eternity. With the possible exception of the Player Character, only Edér matches him in the frequency of the jokes. And while Edér's jests tend to be Gallows Humor or otherwise bleak, Hiravias' jokes tend to be dirty, lewd, and absurd.
- Axl Low, the sweet-hearted British time-traveller of the Guilty Gear games has very few ties with any of the characters or occurring conflicts of the story and is really just there to lighten the mood, between his banter with Sol Badguy and his flirting with I-no. His even lampshades this if he falls victim to Faust's Kanchou move.
- Pungeon Master Gavrielle in Telepath Tactics manages to remain chipper throughout the whole campaign even if her brother dies. (She doesn't take the death itself well, though.)
- A lot of them in the Whateley Universe. The junior high mages known as 'the three little witches', Go-Go (a speedster who used to go by 'Quickie' until she found out why everyone was laughing), Generator. Oh God, Generator. Wacky comic relief in other people's stories, horrifyingly effective hero in her own stories. There are school armbands that identify the pacifists (who won't fight back if they're bullied so you're supposed to leave them alone) and the Ultraviolents (Exactly What It Says on the Tin). Only Generator wears both. Not at the same time; that would be silly. She flips a coin every morning.
- In The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), Julian the Janitor desperately wants to take on the role of a wacky, drop-in character in the eponymous radio Variety Show that broadcasts where he works. His engineered attempts to be Pushed in Front of the Audience don't help, as his personal Interactive Narrator points out:
Julian: All those old radio shows like Jack Benny, they all had these crazy characters who'd come crashing in, and everybody would laugh, and...and applaud.Narrator: Yes, but those things were planned, those people were actors, they were-Julian: I know...funny.
- Beast Boy from Teen Titans. Oh-so-very-much. Now with 100% more lampshade!
Beast Boy: *being dragged into the dark* "What did I tell you? Funny guy goes fiiiiirst!"
- Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender is this, while also being The Smart Guy and The Field Leader. Also, Momo's role is usually to lighten things up.
- In the classic Warner Bros. cartoon "Drip Along Daffy," Daffy Duck is the supposed western hero, while Porky Pig is explicitly called the "comedy relief", dressed in a Gabby-Hayes sidekick outfit. As is the standard, Porky is leagues more competent than Daffy, and ends up defeating the villain and being appointed sheriff. Meanwhile, Daffy goes into trash collecting.
- Porky's character from Daffy's Duck Dodgers cartoon and series, Eager Young Space Cadet, is also supposed to be this.
- Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible, while also being one of The Heroes of the show, though he's typically in a sidekick role.
- The Flash in Justice League. Considering his death sparked a totalitarian dictatorship in another universe and nearly caused the apocalypse in the regular one, his angstlessness plays a very important role in keeping the Justice League from going off the deep end.
- The Fairly OddParents!: While it's hard to find a character that isn't comic relief, Cosmo is hands-down pluckier comic reliefier.
- On Xiaolin Showdown Raimundo starts off being just this.
- Parodied in Titan Maximum, where it's stated that each military squad are required to consist of one of these. The one shown is woefully aware that he's unfunny since he originally just wanted a desk job.
- Soos too, on occasion. "Need an amiable sidekick?"
- Bubbles, who is the joy and the laughter.
- Snap from ChalkZone. The episode "Snap Vs. Boorat" shows that he doesn't take to kindly to being referred to as such.
- Funny girl Luan is acting like one in The Loud House.