%% This is how the quote formatting is suppose to look: One indent, then dialog, then two indents, then the source. Don't mess with it.
->''"You could say I'm trying to wake the clods out of their rigid mental sets by forcing them to deal with unconventional behavior... or you could say I just like jerking folks around. For that matter, you could say anything you damned well want to. I do."''
-->-- '''Admiral Chee''', ''[[Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse Expendable]]''

The Gadfly is a character who often says things that make fun of or provoke other people.

[[NoSocialSkills Maybe they have a hard time really expressing themselves.]] [[ItAmusedMe Or it could be they just like to watch others get annoyed, confused or angry. At them.]] Or maybe the impolite behavior is a SecretTestOfCharacter for the other party.

Usually they're not really bad people. They can be [[TheJester quite amusing]] as long as they're not going after ''you,'' but their main targets seem to be their allies, who understand that it's all a joke to them. In the ForumPeckingOrder, they may be a member of the Old Guard. Their amicable nature makes them fairly benevolent but they can set off strange conversations and arguments.

The Gadfly varies in its subject matter, of course. Sometimes they are TheTease, forever raunchy, or they love political arguments, or they are flat-out ''crazy.'' Others are a variant of the AttentionWhore, and encourage aggression towards themselves. To keep them in line requires a Mod who has a long leash and a big stick.

Compare and contrast with {{Troll}}, a character who draws pleasure not from ludicrousness but from suffering.

See also IShallTauntYou, ArmorPiercingQuestion, DevilsAdvocate, CryingWolf.

Contrast the BlitheSpirit and ManicPixieDreamGirl, who often use a very similar M.O. to ''improve'' people's lives. The DevilsAdvocate will do this in serious discussion to point out flaws in a stated position.

Not to be confused with the 1897 [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gadfly novel]] or unrelated 1955 [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gadfly_(1955_film) film]] of the the same name.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Shinnosuke from ''LightNovel/ApocalypseAlice'', who lives to press people's buttons. It also helps to push them [[IneffectualLoner away from him]].
* Before either of these, Tomo from ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'' was doing this to [[StraightMan Yomi]].
* By episode 12 of ''LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}}'', Senjogahara admits she likes to troll Koyomi.
* Motoharu Tsuchimikado and Misaka Worst from ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''. The former is a SelfProclaimedLiar, the latter does her best trying to troll Accelerator.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'': C.C. seems to come off as this trope, with [[DeadpanSnarker snarking]] and [[PrettyFreeloaders freeloading ]] the person she does it to as a bonus when pushing Lelouch's buttons.
* Shin of ''Manga/CrayonShinChan'' loves getting a rise out of Georgie.
* L from ''Manga/DeathNote'' does this to gauge reactions from other people, helping him read them more easily.
* Korone (Green) in ''LightNovel/DemonKingDaimao'' loves yanking Akuto's chain.
* Tsuyuri from ''Manga/DoujinWork'' is this through and through, causing most of the misunderstandings in the series.
* ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'':
** Sougo Okita pretty much lives to annoy others. The most common target of his is Hijikata, and the pranks he directs at him frequently are more like attempted murder.
** Honorable mention goes to Gintoki and Kagura for the epic troll faces they pull on Shinpachi in the 9th opening.
* Half the time when Koizumi and Kyon from ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' talk, Koizumi will explain some theory to explain Haruhi and Kyon will start getting very involved in the conversation and thinking about it deeply - at which point he says "Just kidding, I made the whole thing up." Annoying!
** A bad case of this comes from none other than [[spoiler: Ryoko Asakura, who decides it's her job to make Haruhi do something and tries to murder Kyon.]] Actions speak louder than words?
* Haru Hozuki from ''Manga/HozukiSanChiNoAneki'' has nothing better to do than mess with her step-brother.
* [[TricksterArchetype Hisoka]] from ''Manga/{{Hunter x Hunter}}'' messes with people just for amusement in some scenes, though he toes the lines between comedy and cruelty (for example, joking about killing Killua to [[KnightTemplarBigBrother Illumi]], who [[BerserkButton reacts accordingly]], though he calms down quickly upon realizing it was a joke).
* Raphael from ''Anime/ImGonnaBeAnAngel'' is a mix of this and TheTease towards Mikael
* Joseph Joestar of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', no matter his age. [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureBattleTendency In his youth]], he bold-facedly lies to the BigBad about how he achieved victory (blind dumb luck, incidentally), just for the sake of pissing him off. [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders As an old man]], he spends a considerable amount of time doing things to mess with his traveling companions, including his own grandson, to the point where Jotaro nearly [[RapidFireFisticuffs ORA ORA]]s him at the end of the series out of confusion and annoyance with one of his pranks.
* Ritsu from ''Manga/KOn'' loves pushing Mio's buttons, mainly to scare the crap out of her.
** When Mugi tried to simulate her [[spoiler:to get more popular]], she came off as JerkAss.
* ''LightNovel/KagerouDaze'': Kano. It really doesn't help that he's a ShapeShifter. Most of his lines are meant to fluster ''someone'' in some way, whether it is to break Kido's cool exterior, reading Mary's poetry aloud for everyone, or making comments suggesting he's attracted to Momo [[MySisterIsOffLimits in front of Shintaro]]. [[spoiler:Once his status as TheResenter is revealed, it's clear he's more of a {{Troll}} instead]].
* [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Kazuma]] of ''LightNovel/KazeNoStigma'' is a DeadpanSnarker with a hobby: {{Troll}}ing his distant cousin [[{{Tsundere}} Ayano]].
* Manabe from ''Manga/KotouraSan'' is a mixture of this and TheTease. It's not just that he likes having sexual fantasies of his girlfriend and local {{telepath|y}} Haruka so that she flusters, it also turns ''him'' on. When he discovers Haruka ''can't'' read his mind when she's sick, it takes all the fun right out of it.
* Prince Baka Ki=El-Dogra, also known as the Prince, in ''Manga/LevelE'' is pretty much made out of this.
* Konata in ''Manga/LuckyStar'' constantly pushes Kagami's buttons and giggles quietly at the [[{{Tsundere}} explosive]] results.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** Albireo Imma who seems to feel it is his job to get a rise out of Evangeline. He's described as her 'natural enemy'.
** Zazie Rainyday appears to be following in his footsteps.
** More than once, a few of the others - such as Haruna, Kazumi, even Chachamaru - have said or done something teasing or over-the-top mainly to get a reaction from others.
* In ''Manga/MaidSama'', [[TheAce Takumi]] [[MrFanservice Usui]] does this a lot to basically everyone, but his favorite victim is his {{Tsundere}} love interest [[DoesNotLikeMen Misaki]] [[BelligerentSexualTension Ayuzawa]].
* Akane of ''Manga/MyMonsterSecret'' sits right on the line between this trope and being a full-blown {{Troll}}. She absolutely delights in screwing around with people, but often has a [[TricksterMentor vaguely benevolent ulterior motive]]. The exception is [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld her]] great-great-grandaughter Akari, who she antagonizes just for kicks.
* ''Manga/{{Nichijou}}''
** Mai from goes to great lengths in order to confuse her friends, going so far as to seemingly [[SchoolgirlLesbians confess to Yukko]] just to provoke a funny response or simply stop when playing Red Light-Green Light while the others are in an uncomfortable position and are not allowed to move. She'll even troll herself. Also, [[UncattyResemblance her dogs]] are the same way.
** Mio's older sister is just as bad. Her initial appearance featured her wearing a mascot mask and chasing Mio around for, to Mio, no reason whatsoever. Unlike Mai, Mio tends to beat up on her sister when she does this.
* [[ServileSnarker Gramps]] from ''Manga/{{Ojojojo}}'' loves to tease Haru, and on several occasions withholds information about what her friends are doing because it's more interesting to see her get worked up over nothing.
* Monkey D. Luffy from ''Manga/OnePiece'' does this to the villains, often pointing out their physical features ('''BIG RED NOSE!!!'''), seemingly just to make them mad. Fittingly, his number one fanboy Bartolomeo ''lives'' to piss every non-Strawhat off, delighting in their enraged reactions and keeping any reprisals at bay with his BarrierWarrior powers.
* Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin in ''Manga/OuranHighschoolHostClub'' generally amuse themselves by baiting Tamaki and Haruhi. Tamaki is a bit of a {{butt monkey}}, but Haruhi can hold her own. Often unintentionally.
** The scary thing is that ''it runs in the family.''
* Otako of ''Manga/PleaseTellMeGalkoChan'' likes messing with Galko.
* Miette are rival ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' performers and cooks. They get along just as any rivals would, but Miette also likes to mess with Serena by pretending to be a ''romantic'' rival as well, "threatening" to take Ash away from Serena every chance she gets.
* Nabiki often acts like this towards Akane and Ranma in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf''.
* Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune of ''Manga/SailorMoon'' is the series' resident Gadfly. She ''loves'' making sarcastic, thinly veiled comments (even wandering to sex jokes in some of her words) behind her innocent-looking smile. She goes around making comments for the sake of screwing with people and watching their reactions when they finally get what she's really saying.
* Kaede Ikeno from ''Manga/SakuraTrick'' fits the bill, often playing pranks on the other girls because they seem like good ideas at the time.
* In practice, Kafuka Fuura of ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' comes across like this, as while she professes extreme optimism on every subject, she tends to create or encourage chaos by doing so, and we know that she's really CuteAndPsycho.
* Yutaka's sister Kaoru from ''Manga/ServantXService'' mentioned she likes to play tricks on people when she introduced herself. She's right; the first she appears, she actually staged an UnsettlingGenderReveal in front of Lucy, making the latter to believe Yutaka is indeed a female for a few seconds!
* Shirokuma of ''Manga/ShirokumaCafe'' enjoys making things up and messing with his friends because he thinks their lives are too dull.
* Rindou Kobayashi from ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma''; pretty much every time she appears she's trying to get a rise out of other people she finds amusing or interesting. Indeed, her first significant appearance after her introduction is her hanging around Terunori and Soma's stalls at the Full Moon Banquest festival just to tease them. She later shows up out of nowhere during a crucial shokugeki just to bother the participants.
* Koiwai of ''Manga/RecoveryOfAnMMOJunkie'' may be a ShipperOnDeck for his current co-worker Sakurai and his former coworker Moriaka, but that doesn't mean he won't take time to mess with both along the way, like tricking them into spending time with each other or sending taunting photographs to Sakurai. It's also suggested that the nicknames [[TheNicknamer he frequently gives out]] are only tolerated by the recipients, and he knows it too.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/SpiderMan, one of the founding fathers of the [[TropeCodifier trope itself]]. Especially to the hero community and his various villains.
** ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} does this as constant part of his character but unlike Spiderman, [[NoFourthWall knows he's in a comic book]] and is always treating the world around him as a writers intent instead of being actually crazy.....which he is.
** The limited series ''Marvel: The Lost Generation,'' which dealt with the generation of super-heroes who operated ''between'' the Golden Age and the [[ComicBookTime perpetually later and later]] advent of the Silver Age, had a perky young female superhero named Gadfly, whose personality was that of a lovable pest to the other heroes. Sadly, [[spoiler: most of the heroes of that era died stopping a secret Skrull invasion, and the people of Earth never even knew what became of them.]]
* Amy's "crush" in ''ComicBook/SonicTheComic'' is implied to just be her teasing Sonic because she likes to see him flustered, in contrast to all other continuities where she's a [[SmittenTeenageGirl Smitten Preteen Girl]].
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes''. [[CatsAreSnarkers Hobbes]] ''loves'' to rile up Calvin, using everything from {{Stealth Insult}}s to [[ThePrankster various pranks]] to spoiling the endings of Calvin's favorite comic books. Then there's Calvin's dad, who loves to tell LiesToChildren, sometimes just to get a reaction out of him (Such as saying that babies come from Sears, although Calvin himself actually came from Kmart).
* ComicBook/{{Diabolik}} is a criminal, but once in a while he does something annoying and apparently pointless just to rile up [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist Ginko]] or whoever exposed himself to whatever he's in the mood of doing.
* More or less everything out of Rockslide's mouth from ''Comicbook/NewXMenAcademyX''. While often times a bully, he never ''truly'' malicious about it, he just thinks that's how friends act. Like [[CrowningMomentOfFunny roasting marshmallows on Match's head]].

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': When they travelled to [[TheMultiverse Avalon]], Shinji and Asuka met Misato Sohryu-Ikari, daughter of their analogues from that dimension. However she pretended for a short while she was THEIR future daughter only to see the expressions on their faces. She admitted ruefully she likes messing with other people's heads a bit (and she thinks she got that trait from her mother).
* ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' has Doctor Strange, the apparently nigh-omniscient Sorcerer Supreme, a master of precognition, time travel, and countless forms of magic, who is an unknown number of centuries old (Odin's estimate is that, with time travel, he's about 5000. The real answer is [[spoiler: probably around 500,000. He stopped counting after he hit six figures]]), and is universally feared/respected. He is also an inveterate {{Troll}}, who does things like [[StealthHiBye pop up behind people when they're least expecting it]], use his future knowledge for purposes of perfect comic timing, and indulges in being infuriatingly mysterious.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8705103/11/Nymphadora-Tonks-Back-to-Hogwarts Nymphadora Tonks Back to Hogwarts]]'' a teenage Bellatrix Lestrange was described as one of these, playing mind games and saying things just to get a rise out of people.
* Navarone from ''FanFic/DiariesOfAMadman'' often says or does things for the sole purpose of getting a rise out of others, which he readily admits to.
* ''FanFic/TheInfiniteLoops'' are basically a justification for turning canon characters into a swarm of gadflies. It's the only mechanism most of them have for dealing with the endless repetitions of the time loops without going completely insane from boredom.
* ''Fanfic/MegamiNoHanabira'': Mai gets a real kick out of teasing her girlfriend Reo. usually by saying pervy things and making her flustered.
--> Mai: You know, we could always...
--> Reo: NO.
--> Mai: I was gonna say we could always, you know, ''talk'' or something. Jeez, Reo, even I'm not up to doing "that" in ''public''.
--> Reo: Oh...
--> Mai: Of course, we could find an alleyway or something...have our demons stand guard...
* In ''FanFic/ACharmedLife'' Ryuk will often say things just to get a reaction out of Light. He really likes getting him riled up.
* [[Anime/CodeGeass Zero]] in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7634168/1/Special-Delivery Special Delivery]]'' sends Cornelia a cake and plushie doll of himself for her birthday. He even includes a birthday card telling her not to bother sending him a gift on his birthday as watching her people try to figure out his sinister agenda was gift enough. In doing so, he leaves her scrambling to figure out what he accomplished while her top people were investigating the package, sows distrust among them due to his insider knowledge, and [[SugarWiki/CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming wishes his sister a happy birthday]].
* In ''[[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-15918-14/Nerdgirl+Xander+the+Maou.htm Xander the Maou]]'', Xander decides to screw with [[Franchise/StargateVerse Senator Kinsey]] after the man slaps him. So Xander, who's thought to be [[ItMakesSenseInContext alien royalty]], pretends that slapping someone in the face is a marriage proposal in his culture. And that taking back said offer is a terrible insult to the royal house, but luckily for him, Xander declines. Kinsey gets ReassignedToAntarctica for nearly causing an interstellar incident.
* After being [[PeggySue sent back in time]], [[Anime/CodeGeass Kallen]] thinks over how she can react to Lelouch's plotting at various points in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11864574/3/Like-A-Wish Like A Wish]]''. One of her options is invariably to screw with Lelouch for fun. When determining what to do about his plan to deflect her suspicion of him, one of her ideas is to go along but also flirt with him and see what happens.
* Betelgeuse often does this in the ''[[Fanfic/SayItThrice Say It]]'' stories. He likes to rile other characters just to see what they'll do, but it's rarely meant to be genuinely malicious.
* In ''Fanfic/CodeGeassColorlessMemories'' C.C as usual with Lelouch and Rai at various points of the fic, with the former in his quest to recruit Rai and just Geass him into serving him. The latter in regards to looking for his memories and wanting a better Knightmare. Counts as Foreshadowing with Rai considering she's the one who [[spoiler: took his memories according to E.E]] meaning she's the reason for his quest in the first place.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11634921/3/Itachi-Is-That-A-Baby Itachi, Is That A Baby?]]'', both Harry Potter and Dumbledore are firm believers in screwing with people for their amusement. Dumbledore openly admits that he's only warning people about the third floor corridor so he's legally covered and anyone who ignores him and dies will be buried in a mass grave behind the castle. Furthermore, not only are the schedules handed out five minutes after classes start, but he's ordered all prefects and teachers not to give directions to anyone who asks (or give wrong directions, whichever they choose). Harry responds to Snape insisting he attacked Malfoy because Malfoy said so by claiming Malfoy tried to stab him with a broadsword in front of the entire school.
** Dumbledore is later noted to be deliberately screwing with people to see how far he can go before someone calls him out on it. He's actually rather disappointed no one has yet.
* Soundbite of ''FanFic/ThisBites''. Also, B.R.O.B., the Bastard Random Omnipotent Being responsible for [[SelfInsertFic sending Cross into]] Manga/OnePiece. Also Cross himself, to a SOMEWHAT lesser degree than Soundbite.
* Blaise Zabini's character in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8715416/3/King-of-Serpents-Chamber-of-Secrets King of Serpents: Chamber of Secrets]]'' really develops into this with Lockhart's arrival. Blaise gleefully mocks and ridicules him, going as far as to invent a curse to give him the same hairstyle as Snape - and every Slytherin see that as an improvement! Of course, Lockhart being sacked doesn't appease him: after such a glorious start, he's not keen on stopping anytime.
* ''Fanfic/ABrighterDark'': [[VideoGame/FireEmblemFates Corrin]] is portrayed as this. She likes to get a rise out of people, and so will sometimes say what she thinks will offend someone the most whether or not she actually believes it to be true. However, she will feel bad about it if she finds out that she's actually seriously hurt someone's feelings.
* ''Fanfic/CorrinReacts'': Corrin and Azura are this to each other. And everyone else, to varying degrees of exasperation or [[WorldOfSnark reciprocity]].
* Mahanon has shades of this in ''[[Fanfic/TwiceUponAnAge All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird]]'', as he has a bit of a trollish sense of humor. He chiefly directs it at his best friend, in part because she's the more serious of the two and he likes to tease her.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* Done by, ''of all people, [[NiceGuy Bruce]] [[TheIncredibleHulk Banner]]'' in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}''. He starts acting angry when ComicBook/BlackWidow is talking to him, causing her to freak out and pull a gun on him. She calls off [[JustYouAndMeAndMyGuards all of the SHIELD agents surrounding the building they're in]] after he says the following:
-->'''Bruce''': I'm sorry, that was mean. I just wanted to see what you'd do.
** Also done by [[ComicBook/IronMan Tony Stark]] to aforementioned Banner. Tony gently pokes and prods the guy, seemingly just to test how far he can take it before Bruce... well, Hulks. He even gives Bruce a tiny electric shock with lab equipment, and can be seen looking into Bruce's eyes for an instant as if to check if the "other guy" is in there. In spite of this (or maybe even because of this), Tony and Bruce get along quite well.
--->'''Tony''': I'm a huge fan of your work on gamma radiation, and I'm also a fan of the way you turn into a giant, green rage monster.
* John Bender in ''Film/TheBreakfastClub'' is the group's "criminal" who likes to screw with the others and push their buttons for his own amusement which is supposed to be entertaining.
* Loki in ''Film/{{Dogma}}'', who convinces a nun that there is no God by spouting off [[EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory nonsensical allegories]] about ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'' and organized religion. By the way, he's the Angel of Death.
-->'''Bartleby''': You know, here's what I don't get about you. You know for a ''fact'' that there is a God. You've been in His presence. He's spoken to you personally. Yet I just heard you claim to be an atheist.\\
'''Loki''': I just like to fuck with the clergy, man. I just love it, I love to keep those guys on their toes.
* In ''Film/AHardDaysNight'', George Harrison admits he and the other Beatles are this in regards to a fashion model.
-->'''Simon Marshall:''' If you don't cooperate, you won't get to meet Susan.\\
'''George:''' And who's this Susan when she's at home?\\
'''Simon:''' Only Susan Canby, our resident teenager. You'll have to love her: she's your symbol.\\
'''George:''' Oh! You mean that posh bird who gets everything wrong?\\
'''Simon:''' I beg your pardon?\\
'''George:''' Oh, yeah. The lads frequently sit around the television and watch her for a giggle. In fact, once, we all sat down and wrote these letters saying how gear she was and all that rubbish.\\
'''Simon:''' She's a trendsetter. It's her profession.\\
'''George:''' She's a drag. A well known drag. We turn the sound down on her and say rude things.\\
'''Simon:''' [horrified] Get him out of here! He's knocking the program's image!\\
'''George:''' Have I said something amiss?\\
'''Simon:''' Get him out!
* Stumpy from ''Film/OutCold''.
-->'''Stumpy''': Did I ever tell you about the time I invented snowboarding?
* Heihachi Hayashida in ''Film/SevenSamurai'' is a joker and a clown who likes to tease people sometimes. He's particularly fond of picking on Kikuchiyo. He is the one who coined "Kikuchiyo" as the samurai wannabe's new permanent name, as a reminder of the drunken scene that the man made the night before the samurai left for the village.
* ''Film/TheStoryOfRobinHoodAndHisMerrieMen'': [[Myth/RobinHood Robin]] is this.
** He describes his lady love as a blonde, blue-eyed, sweetly-tempered lady to the impetuous brunette Marian just to rile her up.
** He joins the Friar in a duet just to annoy him, and makes him carry Robin across the river just for the fun of it.
** He plays an affable host to the Sheriff so he can mock him.
** He and Little John carry the Sheriff on their shoulders to celebrate his "generosity" in contributing to Richard's ransom, then dump him in the moat immediately after revealing their identities.
** And at the very end, after being declared Earl of Locksley, he leaves Marian in the dark so that she is heartbroken by her PerfectlyArrangedMarriage to... the Earl of Locksley.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** While hosting guests or defeating enemies, Quicksilver loves to annoy them during his bursts of super speed.
** ''Film/XMen1'': Professor X telepathically guides an anxious Logan--the latter has no idea where he is or why he's there, or why he's hearing a strange male voice inside his head, and because Dr. Jean Grey wanted to take a blood sample, Wolverine assumes that he's being experimented on--from the school's infirmary to Xavier's office, where Charles greets his guest with a polite "Good morning, Logan." Professor X is aware of the traumas that Wolverine had experienced, and it's a bit disconcerting that the former took advantage of the latter's paranoia for a little bit of fun, even if it was only for a short time.
** ''Film/XMenApocalypse'': After Scott Summers accidentally damages Professor X's most beloved tree on the estate, the latter, strictly speaking, didn't have to say anything about the tree being planted by his grandfather (especially when Charles had already made up his mind that he'll accept Scott as a new student), yet he did so anyway just to provoke a reaction from the teen. Scott doesn't want to be at the school (and thus one would assume that he would prefer to be rejected), yet he becomes extremely apprehensive over the possibility that Xavier is furious at him for ruining a priceless family heirloom. It should be noted that Scott is blindfolded, so he can't see Charles' facial expression to judge the latter's emotional state. Alex most likely informed his brother that Xavier is a very powerful telepath, and warned Scott (who has a tendency to be rude) that he should behave himself in front of the Professor. Scott obviously failed spectacularly in that regard, and Charles then teased the young man by making him wince for a moment.
--->'''Charles''': My grandfather planted that tree when he was five years old. I used to swing from the branches of it myself. ''[tree finishes falling apart]'' I think that was probably my favourite tree.\\
'''Scott''': ''(worried)'' Does that mean I'm-I'm expelled?\\
'''Charles''': ''(smiles)'' On the contrary. You're enrolled.

* Discussed in Creator/{{Plato}}'s ''Literature/ApologyOfSocrates'', where Creator/{{Socrates}} compares his role for the Athenian democracy as that of a gadfly pestering a horse (for details, see the [[AC:Real Life]] folder below).
* Silk from ''Literature/TheBelgariad'' lives for this. As one description puts it "little man with a face like a weasel who thinks he's funny".
* Fyodor Pavlovich in ''Literature/TheBrothersKaramazov'' revels in annoying and tormenting other people, and will mock the beliefs of his friends, the monks in the monastery, and his own sons for the sake of making them angry, even if those beliefs coincide with his own.
* [[GenkiBoy Jeko]] from the ''Literature/{{ColSec Trilogy}}''. His usual target is his {{implied|LoveInterest}} [[ShipTease crush]] [[{{Tsundere}} Heleth]], but he heckles [[TheHero Cord]] a few times as well.
* Unsurprisingly, the Gadfly from the titular 1897 book ''The Gadfly'' [[ShapedLikeItself is a Gadfly]]. One notable example is when he has a public argument with himself using anonymous letters in a manner strangely similar to sock-puppeting on internet forums, just to see how the public's reaction would be to the debate.
* ''Literature/TheGirlFromTheMiraclesDistrict'' has Freya, whose hobby is to seduce people who've never met her before, then reveal that she can read their minds and enjoy their embarrassment.
* Some Quarn in ''Literature/InFuryBorn'' will intentionally switch to speaking Rish to make jokes about Rish sex (which to the Rish is SeriousBusiness) where they can overhear (such as crowded spaceport terminals) just to see if they can provoke them. The Quarn find this immensely funny, and appreciate the fact humans find it amusing.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': As can be expected of [[TricksterArchetype Tasio's]] "favorite follower", Kallen Selios loves speaking cryptically to annoy people, challenging their points of view, and heralding change in their lives.
* ''Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse'': Admiral Chee of ''Expendable'' sees himself as a social gadfly in the tradition of Socrates, constantly prodding people to deal with issues they'd rather ignore. Like Socrates, he ends up sentenced to execution because of it.
* In addition to his generally rather abrasive behaviour, Clip from ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' has the annoying habit of playing around with his chains, clicking them together or swirling them around his fingers. He is either unaware that he's doing it or obtuse on purpose, even when other people call him out on it.
-->'''Silchas Ruin''': Must you always do that?\\
'''Clip''': Do what?
* Effron from ''Literature/TheNeverwinterSaga'' has a habit of quickly bending his torso back and forth, so that his limp arm slaps against his frame and makes a clapping noise. Everyone who witnesses this is annoyed or disgusted by it - which is exactly why he does it.
* Kavik from ''Literature/OfFearAndFaith'' likes to push his friends' buttons but it's all in good fun and he's a nice guy at heart who knows where to draw the line. That doesn't mean he won't have as much fun as possible at his friends' expense however.
* Lord Henry from ''Literature/ThePictureOfDorianGray'' is an example, saying whether or not the speaker personally believes an idea is completely irrelevant to its value and saying anything and everything to get a rise out of others.
* ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'''s Elizabeth enjoys humor of this type. She gets it from her father, who frequently provokes his [[TheDitz silly and gullible]] wife by pretending he won't do this or will do that, and encourages his cousin Mr. Collins into full displays of his foolishness. Darcy points it out at one point, saying that he knows she sometimes likes to express opinions that are not her own. (It's one of the things he likes about her.)
* Literature/{{Psmith}}, by default. His embracing of socialism, for instance, doesn't seem to extend to much more than calling everyone "Comrade" (and occasionally [[BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord working for the redistribution of property, i.e. taking stuff]].) Similarly he'll profess in flowery language his undying love and respect for people he blatantly dislikes and wishes to undermine.
* ''Literature/TheRailwaySeries'': Most of the Fat Controller's engines have gadfly tendencies. Thomas during his BrattyHalfPint days was particularly so, with a hobby of quietly creeping up on dozing big engines, waking them up suddenly, and then running off laughing. And in general, they all love pushing other engines' buttons and winding them up.
* Cody, a secondary character in ''Literature/TheReckonersTrilogy'', enjoys confusing people with LittleKnownFacts of his own invention, usually pertaining to Scottish history and culture.
* In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Rocket Ship Galileo'', Dr. Cargraves does this when debating with his three teenage apprentices, to get them to question their own assumptions and realize the importance of being able to prove their assertions. His contrary position is that the Moon might not have a "far side", because no one has ever seen it (the book was written before spacecraft were sent to photograph the far side).
* ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'': [[TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask When she can get away with it]], Empress Sharleyan can be this. A specific example involves informing a man of his elevation to a Grand Duke ''just'' as the man in question is opening her carriage door for her purely to see the look on his face when the news hits him.
** In ''Midst Toil and Tribulation'', Sharleyan is offering generous terms to allow [[spoiler:Corisande to enter the Empire of Charis as a member nation instead of a conquered one]]. She does, however, have one catch she ''must'' insist on. She insists that [[spoiler:Corisande's princess Irys marry her stepson, who she (Irys, not Sharleyan) had spent the book up to that point developing romantic feelings for]].
* ''Literature/ToReignInHell'': Mephistopheles continuously tosses out verbal provocations as a way to glean information and make others confront their own issues. He's also a JerkWithAHeartOfGold who cares deeply for his friends and will genuinely apologize if he manages to actually upset someone.
* Byerly Vorrutyer in the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' is seen by most people as a gadfly who never saw a foul rumor or vicious innuendo he didn't want to spread. Of course, there's actually a bit more to him than that, and there's a method to his madness, but most see him as an particularly annoying "town clown".
* Safi of ''Literature/TheWitchlands'' loves to annoy people around her just to see their reaction, mostly by making up {{Embarrassing Nickname}}s and then insisting on using them.
* ''X: Farnham's Legend'', the {{novelization}} of ''VideoGame/XBeyondTheFrontier'', mentions that [[PlayerCharacter Kyle Brennan]] and his best friend Elena Kho get a lot of amusement from pretend-flirting and otherwise feeding the rumors among their coworkers that they're in a SecretRelationship.
* The ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books have a few.
** Fred and George are both natural born pranksters, and enjoy poking fun at Ron, Percy, their parents, Slytherins, and nearly any authority figure that tries to exert themselves over them (''especially'' Professor Umbridge in ''Order of the Pheonix''). They tend to refrain from pranking people they respect (such as Dumbledore or [=McGonagall=]) or people who they feel are genuinely maligned (like Harry), although neither group is entirely exempt from the occasional quip at their expense.
** Peeves the Poltergeist is a more generally malicious version of this trope. While Fred and George tend only to irritate people they feel deserve it, Peeves isn't afraid to go after ''any'' authority figure (Dumbledore is the only professor at Hogwarts he actually fears and/or respects), and he frequently antagonizes characters who can't defend themselves, like Neville. His pranks also tend to be less harmless than Fred and George's (several mentions are made to him throwing dungbombs, which imbue the target with a hard-to-get-rid of odor, over the series, and on one occasion he is seen unscrewing a chandelier). It's worth mentioning that Peeves seems to have a mutual understanding with Fred and George, and they generally exempt each other from their pranks - this is most notable when Fred and George order Peeves to "give [Umbridge] hell" after they leave Hogwarts, a command Peeves seems to take to heart.
** Apparently the Marauders, especially James and Sirius, were prone to this during their Hogwarts days, being described as forerunners to the Weasley twins.
* Wit in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' - after all, it's his role as King's Wit to provoke the high and mighty, perhaps causing them to consider their actions and behavior.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheATeam'': In "[[Recap/TheATeamS3E25IncidentAtCrystalLake Incident At Crystal Lake]]", Hannibal tricks the bad guys into leaving the van (which they grabbed as a getaway vehicle) and running away by claiming that he put explosives on it. When they're gone, he still looks like he'll blow it up for a moment, causing B.A. to yell loudly in protest about destroying "his van". Hannibal grins — and reveals that the explosives were road flares and the explosive remote was a TV remote.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Jenny Calendar likes playfully teasing Giles by describing the damage she has either ignorantly or inadvertently done to his books. She's of course well aware of the value of the books and wouldn't think of damaging them: she just likes to see him squirm.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': Elektra takes a lot of joy in exasperating and pissing off Matt because it's amusing to her.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': The Doctor has shades of this in all [[TheNthDoctor his incarnations]].
** The Second Doctor especially loved to outwit his enemies by being as annoying as possible.
** Creator/MattSmith saw "The Tomb of the Cybermen" and asked for a similar costume as the Second Doctor, the first incarnation to wear a bowtie. Eleven takes quite a bit of inspiration from Two in general: dotty old man, weird and hyperkinetic body language, willing to chat happily with everyone and everything including babies and animals, takes great pleasure in being very annoying.
** The Fourth Doctor has this in spades. While he pretends to be ObfuscatingStupidity, his enormous ego and penchant to let others in the room know he is really clever annoys them, and often just messes with people because he can.
* In ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' Sherlock Holmes' hobby of messing with {{Conspiracy Theorist}}s may fall under this umbrella more than {{Troll}}ing, as there isn't any real malice in his habit of playing on their eccentricities for his own amusement.
-->"My hobby is conspiracy theorists. I adore them. As one would a barmy uncle. Or a pet that can't stop walking into walls."
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': In his very first scene, AdiposeRex Robert accuses Ned of getting fat, to the amusement of both men.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'': Lorelai Gilmore uses this as her main coping method with her overbearing parents. She even describes it to her mother Emily at one point so Emily can do it to her hated mother-in-law.
* [[spoiler: The Mother]] in ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' is shown to have this tendency to deceive others for laughs, such as telling Lily that the cookies they had given her were from underneath a train seat and freaking out Marshall by pretending to be a creepy psychic who reads Marshall's situation with "frightening accuracy".
* Hawkeye of ''Series/{{MASH}}'' does this, most frequently to Frank, Margaret, and Charles. He'll freely make flirtatious comments to Margaret ([[GayBravado and Frank]]), and generally troll and prank them for his own amusement because it was easy to get a rise out of them (''especially'' Frank). Trapper would be right there with him as his partner in crime, and once Trapper left, B.J. took his place (and occasionally would turn the tables on Hawk as well). Charles wasn't as easily gotten to as Frank and Margaret, however, and often gave back as good as he got. Even Margaret would at times give a bit back later in the series as she mellowed out.
* Patrick Jane from ''Series/TheMentalist'' positively thrives on getting under people's skin. A favored method of his is using his ColdReading and SherlockScan skills to publicly embarrass people by exposing their secrets. Much as with the ''Sherlock'' example above, it can be very useful during an investigation, but he also does it [[ItAmusedMe because it amuses him]].
* In the ''Series/TheMightyBoosh'', the shaman Naboo acts like this at a party after a bottle (used to play SpinTheBottle) breaks. He claims that it wasn't and ordinary bottle and that they released a demon that's hiding inside one of them, causing everyone to worry. He then clarifies that it will only possess the body of a virgin. This causes Howard to scream in terror. Naboo then says that he was only joking, causing an embarrassing moment for Howard.
* Bill [=McNeil=] from ''Series/NewsRadio''. At some point, Dave has to explain to Mathew that Bill lies to him "because he thinks it's funny".
* ''{{Series/Sherlock}}'' uses this as an investigative technique, throwing out random ideas and accusations just to see how the target reacts to them. According to him, people can be hesitant to volunteer information if they know they're being questioned, but they ''love'' to correct you.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' has Q. This is an omnipotent SufficientlyAdvancedAlien who spends most days screwing with people and the fabric of the universe for his own amusement.
* Garak plays this role on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', to the extent of deliberately screwing with people just to keep his skill in lying sharp.
* On ''Series/StrongMedicine'', Lu' s old nemesis Dr. Dylan West has joined the staff, much to her annoyance. He matter-of-factly insists that women don't need specialists, since, "aren't you all just small men anyway?" Lu being Lu and her StrawFeminist tendencies being completely out of control by this point in the series, basically erupts into one of her shrieking fits, much to Dylan's amusement (and expectation; his old nickname for her is "St. Helens", as in Mount St. Helens). The fact that he himself is a women's health specialist and therefore couldn't possibly believe what he's saying is completely lost on her.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* During the Three Way World TagTeam Title defense the 2016 ''[[Wrestling/RingOfHonor Death Before Dishonor]]'', Wrestling/ChristopherDaniels tagged out Wrestling/HiroshiTanahashi just as he was about to lock up with Wrestling/TetsuyaNaito. Given this was Naito, he refused to lockup with Daniels and instead lounged around until he and Wrestling/FrankieKazarian were practically tripping over each other in rage.[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* OlderThanFeudalism: [[Myth/GreekMythology Eris, goddess of strife]], as described by Creator/{{Hesiod}}.
* [[Myth/NorseMythology Loki]] (see Film example above) . [[AndIMustScream He got his comeuppance.]]
* {{Satan}} (yes, that one) from Abrahamic religions. Depending on which text you believe, he might just be {{Troll}}ing the humans, or out-and-out [[ShapedLikeItself devilish]].
* The original use of the term by Socrates was inspired by the story of Bellerophon, who killed the chimera while riding the flying horse Pegasus. A gadfly bit Pegasus, who, startled, threw Bellerophon. He fell to his death, fitting the previous declarations that no man could survive battle with the chimera.
* This is essentially the job description of any and all {{Tricksters}} in polytheistic pantheons. Or the non-deity {{Tricksters}} like Eulenspiegel or (less) Nasreddin Hodscha. Being not gods, they sometimes have to run afterwards.
* A [[Myth/HinduMythology Hindu myth]] goes that Parvati performed tapasya (meditated) in the wilderness for years so she could earn the right to ask Shiva for a boon. When her tapasya is fulfilled, Shiva approaches Parvati in the guise of an elderly human being and asks what she's praying for. She tells him, and Shiva laughs and says it's a stupid thing. Parvati furiously starts to upbraid him, at which point Shiva reveals his true identity and congratulates her.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'': The Lunars of ages past either slavishly love their Solar mate, or being an extreme gadfly to them. It might have worked as an ad-hoc check and balance mechanism, since the Solars are divinely-empowered god-king superhumans with enough power to rule the entire universe.
* In the biographies of the characters appearing in the vignettes in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Bio-Tech'', Professor C. Eric Gideon, who has made a number of acerbic comments throughout the book about the morality of biotech, is described as a "professional gadfly".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Jade Curtiss from ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss''. Jade routinely spars with the rest of the party verbally, and no one is entirely sure about his actual intentions. It doesn't help that his DeadpanSnarker nature means that he uses the same tone for nearly everything he says...
-->'''Anise:''' Colonel, what's your secret for being so strong?\\
'''Jade:''' Simple. I drink people's blood.\\
'''Anise:''' Huh?!\\
'''Jade:''' It's so difficult when people take me seriously...
** Tenebrae from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'' likes to push his teammates' buttons from time to time, probably the best example being him overhearing Sheena and Regal talking about how close Zelos is to his half-sister Seles, and then deliberately misinterpreting what they're saying as insinuating that he's in love with her. Right in front of him.
** Though the other characters like to give him his comeuppance on occasion as well, like when they keep deliberately calling the Nazdrovie a light-frog despite his constant insistence just to annoy him (and then switch back to calling it a Nazdrovie when he gives in and starts calling it a light-frog as well.)
** Another candidate would be Malik from ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces'', who does this by telling resident NaiveEverygirl/[[spoiler:RidiculouslyHumanRobot]] Sophie ridiculous lies for the lulz. This includes suggesting that Pascal is a rare breed of fish, gills included. He finally meets his match in Graces f when Richard rejoins the party, because Richard is sometimes even better at this than Malik. Especially notable is the skit "Reforming Zavhert", in which Richard leads Asbel, Hubert and Cheria in sweet, sweet revenge:
--->'''Cheria:''' (discussing the dismal uniforms in Zavhert) What if you added a cute lacy frill to the cuffs of the coats? And maybe some designer logos!\\
'''Richard:''' Yes, that might work!\\
'''Malik:''' Your Majesty!?\\
'''Richard:''' And perhaps a sparkling white coat of paint for Fendel tower! I'm certain that would raise spirits!\\
'''Hubert:''' With a giant mech popping out!\\
'''Richard:''' Hahah! Yes, that would be wonderful!\\
'''Malik:''' (distraught) You can't be serious!\\
'''Richard:''' ''Or am I?''
** Ange from ''VideoGame/TalesOfInnocence'' is also a master of this, and like the aforementioned Jade, drops her gems in the same tone as everything else she says, so more often then not the rest of the party believes her until she says she's kidding.
** Alvin from ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia'' gets in on this sometimes. For instance, telling Elise that wyverns feed on the souls of children while they sleep right after she comments on them not being as scary as she thought they would be.
** [[LittleMissSnarker Edna]] continues the proud tradition in ''VideoGame/TalesOfZestiria''. She winds up Mikleo almost every time she talks to him, and messes with Alisha due to her rather naive nature. Occasionally, when she's not picking on him as well, [[HandsomeLech Zaveid]] joins in on the act too, even noting at one point that he can see why she has so much fun winding up Mikleo.
* Kamikura Hiroki of ''VisualNovel/{{Canvas 2}}'' enjoys picking on friends, love interests and students for fun. There are a few he won't mess with, but they are the exception rather than anything approaching the rule.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** Zevran in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' trolls the other party members in the party dialogue. Or at least, he trolls Wynne and Leliana. He even tells Leliana that he's doing it. ''Twice.'' She does get to one up him if she's been hardened, though. Some of his lines with Alistair also suggest trolling, but it's done very skillfully (and Alistair is so comparatively naive.
*** Sten also gets in some of this in party banter, particularly with Alistair and Morrigan. Bonus points for being TheComicallySerious at the same time, making his trolling ''extremely'' subtle.
** Hawke, the player character in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII,'' can be this when choosing the Witty/Snarky options for dialogue.
*** Isabela. Trolling is her way of saying she likes you.
* ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' has Vincent, who's an asshole whichever way you see him... but a particular exchange he has with Heather in the final dungeon has been a source of debate among fans of the series ever since:
-->'''Vincent:''' Don't stand there looking so smug! You're the worst person in this room! You come here, and... ENJOY spilling their blood! And... and listening to them... cry out! You feel EXCITED when you... step on them and... snuff out their lives!\\
'''Heather:''' (''uncertainly'') Are you... talking about the monsters?\\
'''Vincent:''' (''giving her an odd look and smiling'') Monsters? They looked like monsters to you?\\
''Cue horrified reaction from Heather.''\\
'''Vincent:''' (''waving his hands and smirking'') Don't worry! It's just a joke!
* Miakis in ''VideoGame/SuikodenV'' loves to {{Troll}} Lymsleia, and sometimes [[TheHero the Prince]]. At least in the beginning.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** In the first ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', Wrex has a habit of asking outrageous questions to squadmates in the elevators, just to see how they react.
** In the subsequent two games, [=EDI=], the ''Normandy''[='s=] AI, will sometimes make rebellious and/or disturbing comments just to mess with Shepard and the crew of the ''Normandy''. She even does it to the powerful terrorist organization Cerberus; it's one thing to cripple their computer network, which, as an AI designed in part for electronic warfare, is something she'd be expected to do. It's another to do it by overloading the network with ''porn''.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', whenever Javik talks about what Prothean civilization was like, it's more likely than not that he's simply making up something completely outrageous just to mess with whomever he's speaking.
* [[GodOfGood Lady Palutena]] in ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'' messes with [[TheHero Pit]] nonstop, and does so [[{{Telepathy}} telepathically]] while Pit is busy fighting monsters.
* Gaius from ''VideoGame/RuneFactory3'' will occasionally drop a line of dialogue hinting that he may be attracted to the (male) player character. It's usually followed by a "just kidding, but your reaction was priceless" sort of justification, but that didn't stop him from being one of the more popular characters in the game.
* The protagonist from ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' can be played this way. Most dialogue options are either [[GenreSavvy serious]] or [[CloudCuckooLander silly]] and some of the sillier ones have him messing with his friends. Think of calling [[TheStoic Makoto]] a pervert even when she finally knocks before entering his room, sniffing her hand when she holds it out to him, yelling 'BOO!' at [[ShrinkingViolet Io]] while she's lost in thought or trying to pull [[ButtMonkey Daichi's]] pants down while he desperately tries to keep a box full of supplies from falling. The way the other characters react shows that he doesn't do this out of malice, but to keep everyone's spirits up in the CrapsackWorld that Japan has rapidly become.
* Karura in ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'' thoroughly enjoys messing with Touka's head. Not that that's [[TheDitz very difficult.]] Also Hakuoro, but she's nice enough to everyone else.
* From ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' we have the [[PetalPower flower youkai]] Yuuka Kazami. In ''Phantasmagoria of Flower View'', there are at least three instances where she lead other characters to believe she's the culprit of the flower incident, or [[SureLetsGoWithThat accept their accusations of such]]. Except that she's not, and was just picking fights [[ItAmusedMe for the lulz]]. She claimed it was just "daily teasing".
* Orochi from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' has her moments of this. One of the best examples is in her conversations with Hinata, where she sends him off on a bunch of seemingly-random tasks in order to "build character"... And then she reveals that she was only tricking him into running errands for her.
* Mistel, in ''VideoGame/StoryOfSeasons'', will sometimes say things he doesn't actually mean just to get a reaction. It's more apparent in his romance line than otherwise.
* Sans from ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' has this as his hobby, combined with ThePrankster. Highlights include asking you out for dinner and thanking you for paying the bills, telling you his TrustPassword which is "I am the legendary fartmaster", [[spoiler:[[HaveANiceDeath and rubbing his power in your face]] as he blocks your path as ''[[ThatOneBoss the]]'' toughest boss in the game]].
* A trait of Natsume from ''VideoGame/EnsembleStars'', an eccentric who loves to poke at people to make them react.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Yuuichi in ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'' is the best example of this trope fond of making bizarre and outrageous claims while maintaining a completely serious atmosphere in order to confuse all his love interests. Few manage to catch on and also recognize when he is and isn't serious. This works really well considering he's also a DeadpanSnarker.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' has Tomoya. Generally, he's just having fun, but he also has difficulty being honest on occasion. It's most obvious in Tomoyo's route where the only reason he even gets to know her is specifically ''because'' he's doing this to Sunohara for shits and giggles. Naturally, this carried over into the [[{{Omake}} anime]]. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaBNcYDnLRM It's a wonder that Sunohara listens to a word he says]]. Tomoyo also {{lampshade}}s this when she wonders if Sunohara is a masochist. Worth noting that Tomoya does [[CharacterDevelopment grow out of this as he matures.]]
* [[RuleOfThree Kouhei, the protagonist of]] ''[[VisualNovel/OneKagayakuKisetsuE ONE ~To The Radiant Season~]]'', made by Tactics, which later became Creator/KeyVisualArts, is also a good example of the gadfly. This goes as far as convincing a character to drink a soda that he considers to be [[LethalChef toxic]]. Of course, it just so happens that the character in question [[NightmareFetishist actually LIKED the drink....]]
* In ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'', however, the resident gadfly isn't protagonist [[NiceGuy Riki]] but [[TheTease Kurugaya]], who projects an air of a CoolBigSis and loves doting on her cute classmates, and just as much loves teasing them mercilessly. It's most obvious in the scenes during baseball training, where every day a girl will ask her for advice and she will suggest they do something completely ridiculous and embarrassing. She tells Riki it's for some higher purpose - like teaching them to trust themselves, for instance - but also readily admits that it's mostly just because it's funny.
* Tohsaka in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', who is also TheTease.
** Her Servant Archer is an even greater example; not in the least because it's [[DeadpanSnarker hard to tell when he's actually being serious and when he's just probing for a reaction]]. [[spoiler:And true to the origin of the term, Archer's verbal sparring is usually aimed with the goal of making the characters see their own flaws, such as Saber's wish and Shirou's blind adherence to the ideal of a 'hero'.]]
** Lancer can also be very verbally provocative when he wants to be. Extra points for trolling Tohsaka.
** Kotomine, as well. He is notable for never telling an actual lie while doing so. Considering he was Rin's guardian after her parents' deaths, she likely learned it from him.
* Kenichi in ''VisualNovel/SharinNoKuni'' is like this depending on who he's talking to. He more or less leaves Natsumi alone, but Kyouko points out fairly early that he's going to keep messing with Touka as long as she keeps reacting. This trope probably also applies to Isono.
** Kenichi also hews closer to the original definition at times - he intentionally disrupts the lifestyles the girls have adopted to work around their "obligations", as well as bringing up uncomfortable topics for discussion, usually relating to some past event in somebody's life he's been clued in to, to help them get over it.
* Yuki picks up this role in ''VisualNovel/GSenjouNoMaou'' though she isn't as blatant about it as Kenichi and it's only really apparent in the Mizuha route. It's never stated outright and is at least partially unintentional since she's simply not good with people, but it's implied that this is frequently what Usami is doing in her sillier moments.
* Akira in ''VisualNovel/{{Suika}}'' starts this way, especially in flashbacks. By the end, not so much.
* Taichi in ''VisualNovel/CrossChannel'' adopts this as his default demeanor. [[spoiler:He has a hard time knowing where to draw the line and is often far more hurtful than he intends. It's also an act.]]
* Yamato in ''VisualNovel/MajiDeWatashiNiKoiShinasai'' enjoys making up new traditional Japanese customs whenever Chris calls him out on something, which helps build up their BelligerentSexualTension. Momoyo isn't above screwing with people either, but is generally more of a [[TheTease tease]].
* Mion Sonozaki in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' towards Keiichi, some of which entails being openly perverted towards said object of her affections. Her twin sister Shion acts this way as well with her [[TheTease teasing]] [[spoiler: but she becomes a horrifying {{Troll}} in arcs where she snaps.]]
** Keiichi has aspects of this towards Rena, especially in Onikakushi-hen.
* Ronove from ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' is fond of making snarky comments towards his master Beatrice, though she doesn't mind seeing as it makes things less boring. There's also Shannon, who likes making light hearted jabs that most people don't expect due to her usual [[ShrinkingViolet demure]] nature.
* Most Creator/VoltageInc romance games have at least one guy who enjoys picking on the protagonist to get a rise out of her, sometimes thanks to emotional issues that have led to difficulty in expressing affection honestly, sometimes just because he enjoys teasing the woman he loves. Examples include Kiyoto in ''VisualNovel/InYourArmsTonight'', Saeki in ''VisualNovel/MyForgedWedding'', Ryoichi in ''VisualNovel/SeducedInTheSleeplessCity'', Riki in ''VisualNovel/LoveLetterFromThiefX'', Homare in ''VisualNovel/ClassTripCrush'', and Minato in ''VisualNovel/OurTwoBedroomStory''.
* Okita Souji from ''VisualNovel/{{Hakuouki}}''. Between his [[GallowsHumor bad jokes]] and general trolling, he definitely is this, especially in the Drama [=CDs=]. Examples of his antics include stealing [[SoBadItsGood Hijikata's poetry book]] (repeatedly), bribing [[TheComicallySerious Saitou]] not to rat him out to Hijikata for various incidents right away with said poetry book, and adopting a cat and [[WeNamedTheMonkeyJack naming it Hijikata.]]
* Okabe Rintarou, the protagonist of ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate'', has a habit of messing with people when in his [[MadScientist Hououin Kyouma]] persona. Generally [[ItAmusedMe he just does it for the reaction]], but in later chapters he invokes it to avoid awkward confrontations. When he ''does'' drop the [[EmbarrassingNickname nicknaming]], perverted comments and evil laughter, [[YouCalledMeXItMustBeSerious it's a sign something is seriously wrong]].
* In ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoKajitsu'' Yuuji is asked once if he actually enjoys bullying girls or something. He pauses for a moment and then gives a strong affirmative. In ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoRakuen'' Thanatos seems to have a similar mean sense of humor, though while it can keep the upper hand against the Mihama girls it can't match Yuuji himself.
* In ''VisualNovel/MysticMessenger'', 707 loves playing practical jokes on the other characters and telling them outrageous tales that they somehow keep falling for. His finest moments of this include convincing Yoosung that he'll faint from drinking too much coffee unless he gulps down as much chocolate milk as possible, sneaking into Jumin's house to bite his beloved pet cat's neck, posting pictures of "pretty women" that are actually of [[WholesomeCrossdresser him]], and spinning a tall tale about how he saved himself from an island tribe by teaching their leader how to play Tetris (which turns out to be ''true'' if you invite the tribe leader to the party). If he stops doing this, it's a surefire sign that [[HeroicBSOD serious shit is about to go, or has already gone, down]].
* In ''VisualNovel/TheLetter'', [[TheStoic Ashton]] [[FairCop Frey]] acts like this towards his [[BelligerentSexualTension friend]] [[NiceGirl Isabella]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes Santos]].
* Mitsuhide from ''VisualNovel/IkemenSengoku'' loves pushing the buttons of his allies just for his own amusement. Examples of this behavior of his are replacing [[CantHoldHisLiquor Masamune]]'s water with sake, constantly making fun of [[TeamMom Hideyoshi]]'s mother henning, waiting until the most inopportune moment to [[MomentKiller interrupt]] makeout sessions between the main character and her love interest, and telling the main character blatant lies or provocative statements just to see her "interesting" reactions.

* ''Webcomic/BadMoonRising'' has Chloe, who takes great delight in needling people. She's been seen to unkindly tease her lover Madison about a girl she's jealous of, openly spoken of how her friends were social rejects in werewolf society, and has even gone as far as to mock a man's dead relatives -- including his father and brother -- to the man's face.
* [[MasterOfIllusion Jack Snipe]] of ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'' seems to enjoy needling people, and has a particular talent for deconstructing their psychological weaknesses; particularly [[TheStoic Wanda]].
* In ''Webcomic/FatedFeather'', Yote relentlessly teases friend and foe alike (even during moments of high drama), and the beginning of Chapter 7 suggests he does it just because he enjoys getting a rise out of people.
* Tedd, in ''WebComic/ElGoonishShive'', teases Susan -- amongst others -- mercilessly at first, in part because she's TheStoic and DeadpanSnarker combined, and he figures that he might get some sort of reaction out of her (and possibly get her to calm down a bit when she goes off at him). Later on, they become friends, or at least [[VitriolicBestBuds something like friends]] -- and he tones down his gadfly qualities quite a bit. They still tease each other, though.
* Black from ''Webcomic/GreyIs'' likes to make people angry because he loves the faces they make.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'':
** The Autoresponder seems to get a real kick out of screwing with people, especially Jake. It almost comes back to bite him when he has to convince Jake to [[MagicKiss kiss Dirk's severed head to bring him back to life]] but, because he can't resist leeringly hitting on him and making jokes about ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' even as he tells him that his friends are dead, [[CryingWolf Jake almost refuses to believe him.]]
** Damara Megido is a probable example as well; most of her dialogue (with her teammates, at lest) consists of disturbing sexual propositions in badly-translated Japanese. Given that she's considerably less creepy around her ex, who is the only other one who speaks her language, it's quite likely that a good portion of her weirder comments are facetious.
* ''{{Webcomic/Paranatural}}'': Boss Leader, head of the Activity Consortium, as the character page states, enjoys playfuly torturing her underlings. For example, makes all of them wear a bizarre mix between a footsie pajama and a tuxedo. She tells Max it's because of safety reasons... before she bursts into laughing.
--> "They actually ''wear'' them!"
* The norm for the Norringtons in ''{{Webcomic/Roommates}}'', be it Mrs. N who makes a sport of making people fluster (and by people we mean anybody from her son to powerful fae lords) to James who deliberatelly trolls his roommate with his most hated running gag.
* Mike of ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}'' is usually a puppy-kicking {{Jerkass}}, but occasionally he does or says horrible things to people that force them to acknowledge their own flaws. His alternate universe counterpart in ''Webcomic/DumbingOfAge'' continues this trend, being less overtly violent (except for when Joyce pays him to be), and lampshading any hypocritical behavior he witnesses.
* Mikkel from ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'', who, being TheMedic, has InducedHypochondria as an arsenal favorite. He can however cross the line into {{Troll}} if someone pushes the wrong button. He also has a history of being snarky and fired a lot.
* In ''[[http://thewretchedoneswebcomic.com The Wretched Ones]]'', Jack has made messing with Nicky his new hobby. So far he has [[http://www.thewretchedoneswebcomic.com/?comic=page-50b kicked Nicky's horse in the rear]] as Nicky was first learning how to ride bareback, sending it into a gallop, and [[http://www.thewretchedoneswebcomic.com/?comic=page-65b kicked him off a church roof]] (he teleports him to the ground to avoid killing him and ending his fun)
* In ''WebComic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'' this is what [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Ganondorf]] has become now that he's more of less a RetiredMonster: while he's done with trying to conquer the world, he'll still antagonize Link for funzies.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', Grif often works as a gadfly to Simmons, most notably when he lies to Sarge about seeing Sheila, just for the sake of making Simmons look crazy.
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'' depicts Pinkie Pie employing bizarre, long-term pranks just to annoy Twilight. These include pretending to believe she has an unexplainable "Pinkie Sense" and (according to the WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue) learning how to fly.
* [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]]. Things like claiming he only follows [[SarcasmMode real reviewers]] like WebVideo/TheIrateGamer, etc...
* LetsPlay/SimonLane and LetsPlay/LewisBrindley regularly annoy each other, with Simon being more proactive in this department. Over the many years of the LetsPlay/{{Yogscast}}, Simon has sabotaged his work, bossed him around, made him dress up in a woman's bee costume, tormented him with his sometimes-fake stupidity and caused Lewis to outright rant in the hammiest ways. Despite all this, they're good friends.
* LetsPlay/DaithiDeNogla's content largely revolves around him being slightly annoying to strangers online, and being very sarcastic. With that said, he's usually relatively benevolent, only saving the more trollish antics for people such as racists.
* [=PythOS=], the resident AI of ''Roleplay/{{AJCO}}'', seems to have faint traces of this trope. It passed the Turing test (meaning it convinced a panel of researchers that it was human) but acts as if it is a malfunctioning computer system and nothing more. It ''knows'' A_J isn't the A_J that built it, and does its very hardest to screw her over as often as possible.
* LetsPlay/{{Jayuzumi}} often behaves this way, even though a significant number of his videos are explicitly labelled as "trolling" or prank calls. At the end of the day, he makes fun of other people via soundboards, but it's mostly in good fun and he can often get a laugh out of the people on the receiving end of the joke.
* During ''WebVideo/MidnightScreenings'', Irving will often make racist, sexist, and generally off-color jokes. He's gone on record that he doesn't fully agree with most of the statements he makes; he just wants to see how his companions will react.
* This was essentially what being an internet troll meant until the mid to late 00's. Less polite names were used for the type of people we call a troll nowadays (although rudeness was far less tolerated in the 90's and early 00's due to Netiquette still being honoured in many communities). A common way of trolling before the era of social media would be to go to a Legend of Zelda forum and post Mario questions. Essentially harmless, but people would be up in arms, much to the OP's amusement. These types of trolls still exist, but are more tolerated (partly due to a far nastier breed of troll having been around for the past decade). "Ken M", who masquerades as a naïve middle-aged father, is probably the best known.
* There's a whole series of YouTube videos built around this called Ventrilo Harassment, where someone joins a Ventrilo voice chat and plays sound effects or music (or both), sometimes using the soundboard cleverly to answer questions, even tricking people into thinking it's an actual person. The best known one uses Duke Nukem sound clips to provoke an enraged, irrational reaction from "Peggy". Later on, videos emerged of people enjoying it (likely due to being fans of the genre themselves). The original ones from the early days of YouTube are gone but mirrored, [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes except for a few that never went viral or had that level of popularity, so ended up forgotten.]]
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': Lisa's mainly The Gadfly towards Asia, but pretty much everyone is fair game for her to troll for her own amusement.
* ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}'': Nik tries his best to get on Jenna and Aseir's nerves to get a reaction out of them bigger than just some snide remark.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Pauline from ''WesternAnimation/AtomicPuppet'' enjoys messing around with others, especially AP and the show's villains.
* We have Gadfly Garnet from ''WesternAnimation/MilesFromTomorrowland'' . He is very full of himself. His actions almost alway is more annoying more then evil he loves to make that kind of trouble for The Clisto's and space patrol.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
** King Bumi spends almost an entire episode dicking around with Aang and his friends, although ultimately he reveals himself as a TricksterMentor. He even admits to doing all of that for his own amusement, saying "It's pretty fun messing with people!"
** Toph likes to use her blindness to mess with the rest of the Gaang, such as saying that Sokka's poorly drawn picture of Appa looks just like him, or shouting that she's spotted Wan Shi Tong's Library while the Gaang is flying on Appa's back.
* Ikki from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' is a GenkiGirl AnnoyingYoungerSibling who has shown shades of this from saying inappropriate comments about somebody's features (Tarrlok smelling like a woman) to bringing up [[ShipTease love concerns between the main characters]] out of nowhere.
* In the animated version of ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'', the title character lives for this. He even has a License to Drive People Crazy. (Only good for use in the Netherworld, but he tends to do it to humans in the mortal world too.)
* ''WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers'': Louise, the youngest child of the Belcher family, is constantly messing with people she thinks are stupid. This list apparently includes her school guidance counselor, her other teachers, the neighbor kids, her own siblings and anyone she has just met. Whether she's gently teasing or deliberately trying to cause mayhem is often hard to tell; either way, she always brings the joke as far as it can possibly go. [[EnfantTerrible Louise is a frightening child.]]
* ''Franchise/EverAfterHigh'': Kitty Cheshire is willing to mess with anybody to get a reaction. She provokes a food fight after Legacy Day just for her own amusement, but slides towards {{troll}} territory when she attempts to reveal [[spoiler:the identity of Cerise's father]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Discord starts out as something of a MadGod, but once he "reforms", he turns into something more along the lines of this trope. He's no longer evil and malicious, but he certainly gets a kick out of messing with the other characters, ''especially'' Twilight.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'' : Star and Marco's classmate Janna exemplifies this trope. If she can say something to mess with someone, freak them out, or make them uncomfortable (especially Marco) she will not hesitate to do it. Sometimes she makes it clear she's kidding, but often not.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': Chopper, the ''Ghost'' crew's irascible astromech droid. He loves pulling pranks on his fellow crew mates (particularly Ezra and Zeb), which includes zapping them with his electroshock prod, "assisting" Ezra's Force training when he's just beginning to learn how to use it or removing the support bolts from his bunk.
* Chris from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' spends most of his time either laughing at his contestants' misfortune or altering challenges so they'll encounter even more misfortune...which he then laughs at.
* Robin/Nightwing in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' loves messing with people in season 1, though by season 2 he's become considerably more mature.
--> '''Robin''' ''(popping out of nowhere)''''':''' Artemis?
--> '''Artemis''' ''(gasps, startled)''''':''' Robin! I, uh-
--> '''Robin:''' How ''random'' that you're in Gotham City! Instead of Star City, where ''your uncle Green Arrow'' lives?\\
'''Artemis''' ''(nervously)''''':''' I'm, um, here... to see my cousin! She... was in the state spelling bee. Here, in Gotham. City.
-->'''Robin:''' C-O-O-L. Did she W-I-N?\\
'''Artemis''' ''(eyes narrow)''''':''' N-''O''.\\
'''Robin''' ''(grinning)''''':''' D-R-A-''G''

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Michel de Montaigne wrote, “No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.”
* Creator/AndyKaufman had a separate stage persona for this, and became rather famous for being a jerk due to the difficulty in telling the difference between Andy and Tony. Onstage, he was already a bit infamous; he was often too committed to the 'bit', and when his audience became uncomfortable, he'd drag it out for ages and let them stew in their juices.
* Creator/HLMencken said:
-->''"The final test of truth is ridicule. Very few dogmas have ever faced it and survived."''
* Ted L. Nancy, the pseudonymous author of the ''Letters From a Nut'' series. Over the course of a few years in the 1990s, Nancy sent a number of hilariously absurd letters to hotels, corporations, and even foreign royalty. A frequent gag involved Nancy writing ahead to make some bizarre accommodation request of a luxury resort. Major news outlets speculated on the identity of this mysterious gadfly, the two most common suspects being Creator/JerrySeinfeld (who wrote the foreword to the books) and Creator/LarryDavid. Nearly a decade later, comedians Bruce Baum and Barry Marder admitted to co-authoring the letters under the shared pseudonym.
* Voice actor PhilHendrie, often called the Andy Kaufman of the airwaves, has a nationally syndicated radio show based entirely on this premise. Hendrie calls into his own show as the "guest", and proceeds to bait callers by taking an outrageous position on some hot-button social or political issue.
* Creator/HarlanEllison:
--> I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of {{Franchise/Zorro}} and [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} Jiminy Cricket]]. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrator or critic with umbrage will say of my work, "He only wrote that to shock." I smile and nod. Precisely.
* Creator/CharlieBrooker doesn't mince words:
-->''"I hate offended people. They come in two flavours - huffy and whiny - and it's hard to know which is worst. The huffy ones are self-important, narcissistic authoritarians in love with the sound of their own booming disapproval, while the whiny, sparrowlike ones are so annoying and sickly and ill-equipped for life on Earth you just want to smack them round the head until they stop crying and grow up. Combined, they're the very worst people on the planet - 20 times worse than child molesters, and I say that not because it's true (it isn't), but because it'll upset them unnecessarily, and these readers deserve to be upset unnecessarily, morning, noon and night, every sodding day, for the rest of their wheedling lives."''
* The name comes from the term social gadfly. The trope namer, Creator/{{Socrates}}, said that like a gadfly he could be easily swatted, but that a government who does such a thing pays too heavy a price. The gadfly would help improve politics by raising unpopular, controversial viewpoints for discussion. This didn't work out so well for him. Now, the term generally refers to someone who simply pushes people's buttons for amusement.
* Creator/FriedrichNietzsche is often called a gadfly, apparently sometimes calling himself that (or something similar) at times, and nobody's really sure how many of his (ever-shifting) opinions and proclamations were really his, or intended to provoke his contemporaries. Some things he did ''absolutely were'' intended as provocations, like titling one of his works, criticizing institutional Christianity, ''The Antichrist''. He certainly would appreciate the comparison to Socrates; although he despised Socratic philosophy, he regarded the man himself as a transformative figure and WorthyOpponent, and liked to set himself up as a sort of anti-Socrates for the modern age. And he definitely seemed to find the reactions he provoked amusing, or at least energizing; if his writing is any indication, Nietzsche had a wicked sense of humor. He was not a {{Troll}}, however: his intent was to improve the West, not cruelly annoy it for no reason.
* By his own admission, Creator/TomBaker loved tormenting his co-stars with "tall stories". A frequent victim was Creator/NicholasCourtney -- apparently as much of a lovable wet blanket as the Brigadier.
* When Creator/ElijahWood was in New York promoting ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings: The Return of the King'', Dominic Monaghan called from Berlin, pretending to be [[FunnyForeigner Hans Jensen, a German TV host]]. During the interview, Monaghan/Jensen asked Wood a bunch of ridiculous questions (e.g., asking Wood if he played soccer, then clarifying with, "Do you [[GroinAttack kick balls]]?"); Monaghan couldn't keep a straight face and was barely able to keep from laughing. The result can be seen on the ''Return of the King'' extended edition DVD with an introduction from Wood (who, once the joke was revealed, [[ActuallyPrettyFunny found the whole thing "brilliant"]]).
* Creator/ChristopherHitchens had streaks of this. While he managed to build a rather consistent (to him) set of beliefs out of seemingly opposite tenets (e.g. he was for the Iraq War and still thought Bush was a doofus), it is hard to say which - if any - of his public statements he made just for the sake of conflict and discussion. He once argued the part of the canonization of Mother Theresa which used to be called "Advocatus Diaboli" but isn't any more. [[note]] The side which brings forth arguments against the sainthood of a deceased person used to be called "Devil's Advocate in (church) Latin[[/note]] Given that he wrote a whole book on why Mother Theresa was a terrible person and a fraud, his opinion on that issue was probably genuine. He did argue the case ''pro bono'', after all.
* Creator/MatthewMercer has confessed that he likes to play ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' online and randomly say "It's high noon." This freaks out the other players on his team, who think that one of the enemy teammates must be playing as [=McCree=] - the character voiced by Mercer.[[note]]"It's high noon" is what [=McCree=] says when his player activates Deadeye, an attack which can OneHitKill most players. Naturally, when you hear this, you want to ''[[OhCrap run for your fucking life]]''.[[/note]]