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Comedic Sociopathy
aka: Comedic Sociopath

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"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die."

Comedy, as has been noted before, ain't pretty.

John Cleese once noted, when talking about Fawlty Towers, that comedy is very much like tragedy, the only difference being that comedy lacks sympathy towards the character. This is often because the character in question usually doesn't deserve sympathy; for example, Basil Fawlty lives a life full of hardships, annoyances and general misery, but because he is anti-social and offensive towards his guests and staff, often with little provocation, and most of his misery is caused by his own actions, you find yourself laughing at him rather than mourning his misfortune. If Basil Fawlty were a decent person rather than an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, Fawlty Towers would be a depressing exercise in watching a man being tortured undeservedly — a Kafka Komedy.

We sometimes laugh when we see someone else get hurt. Schadenfreude is a staple of humor, there's no question about that, but Slapstick is only acceptable in limited doses. People just don't throw around banana peels like they used to. Thus, in order for humor to be committed, writers must turn to the psychological equivalent.

This means that in any given situation, the Butt-Monkey of the moment must be surrounded by people who are capable of making him miserable, whether intentionally or not. This capacity for cruelty and its lack of consequences comprise what we call Comedic Sociopathy.

Sociopathy, loosely, is a condition in which a person is indifferent to or unaware of the rights and feelings of other people. In comedy, these symptoms show up in the darnedest places. Any time a character needs to be trodden on, put upon, tongue-lashed, stung, bashed, insulted, dejected, neglected, and all kinds of other mean nasty ugly things, somebody's got to be there to do it to them. This means that, regardless of the personalities of all the characters involved, everyone eventually develops these symptoms.

What's amazing about the way this plays out is not that there will be characters who are mean, snarky, sarcastic, and uncaring, but the behavior of the characters who are not. In order for the appropriate level of hilarious misery to occur, other characters — even kind, loving characters — must temporarily lose their ability to sense, understand, or care about the emotional discomfort, pain, and suffering that the current Butt-Monkey is experiencing. They may regain it when the plot calls for it, but for that critical moment of "gag," the character is essentially a sociopath. In the worst cases, when there's a Writer on Board, Comedic Sociopathy can cause characterization to break down completely, allowing close friends to deliver cutting remarks like casually thrown knives.

Comedic Sociopathy can be seen in almost all comedy. It is the root of shows like Seinfeld, Family Guy, and Fawlty Towers, but it shows up just as readily on Sesame Street.

See also Heroic Comedic Sociopath, a Comedic Hero who does this all the time and loves it. This trope is what the Sadist Show and Black Comedy live off of. This may result in No Sympathy in situations where the character is clearly deserving of it (even if it's about vengeance), unless if the intended victim is an Asshole Victim and thus having their Karma Houdini Warranty expired. Too Funny to Be Evil coupled with Rule of Funny is the basic principle that allows this trope to work. Compare to Laugh with Me! or Cringe Comedy. When this trope gets taken to extreme, over-the-top levels, it's Crosses the Line Twice. See also Disproportionate Retribution, because in comedy this is usually okay. If the example falls short on the "comedic" aspect and just comes off as cruel, it may get the reaction "Dude, Not Funny!" Conversely, if the butt of the joke is a good sport, they may agree it's Actually Pretty Funny.


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  • The Panda from the "Never Say No To Panda" adverts who gets angry at people who say no to eating his cheese. Usually it's just trashing the surrounding area, but in the hospital advert he pulls the drip from the patient.
  • Jack Link's Beef Jerky's "Messin' with Sasquatch" series has a few guys play pranks on a sasquatch, then watching as the big guy goes Bigfoot on their behinds, among other body parts.
  • The central conceit of nearly every Wilkins Coffee ad has Wilkins, who loves his namesake coffee, inflicting some violent punishment on Wontkins, who can't stand it.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess has Belldandy herself, who is a goddess, All-Loving Hero, Friend to All Living Things (and nonliving things!), and The Empath. Belldandy is not omniscient, but she is powerfully sensitive to emotions, and always knows just the right thing to say or do to give everyone else the epiphanies they need to triumph. She is beautiful and compassionate and perfect in every way... except to Keiichi, the man she loves. With Keiichi, she literally cannot distinguish love from the flu. She says exactly the wrong things to cause Keiichi to panic about others finding out her secret, and never notices his fear or flusteration. She embarrasses him, throws unintentional jealous fits that cause earthquakes and paranormal activity, and generally causes as much stress and mayhem for Keiichi as the villains, or at least the other good guys. Belldandy is a perpetrator, however unintentionally, of Comedic Sociopathy of the highest order, and poor Keiichi is her unwitting victim.
  • Back Street Girls Gokudolls: The Bad Boss Inugane forces multiple unwilling men into sex change operations to become Japanese idols partly for his own profit and tends to be very abusive towards the Gokudolls. Often seen with a bat, including in the opening. His catchphrase is "I'm not a Devil, after all" typically delivered when he's torturing someone.
  • Mayuri Kurotsuchi from Bleach in his Hueco Mundo appearance. An awkward case, as the fanbase remains divided as to whether it could be considered comedy or not. One side of the fence found it all very amusing, while the other found it repulsive. The latter because the Butt-Monkey in that situation was a former enemy and the grandson of one of Kurotsuchi's many For Science! victims. The former because not everyone who reads/watches Bleach considers the whole thing Serious Business and finds Mayuri and his unapologetic sociopathy hilarious. Basically, it comes down to Mood Whiplash; the last time we saw Mayuri, he was anything but comedic, so it was a bit weird seeing this sadistic, abusive, mass-murdering psychopath suddenly Played for Laughs.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The way Bo-bobo treats all of his friends but Beauty is harsh.
  • In Chrono Crusade, although Rosette is firmly portrayed as a very caring individual, she has several moments where she flies off the handle and doesn't think about how much destruction she's causing (or how much abuse she's putting poor Chrono through). This is justified, however — Rosette's Hot-Blooded enough that she's probably genuinely not realizing what she's doing in the heat of the moment, Chrono can regenerate (and any major use of his powers hurts her more than him anyway), and whenever someone's shown as being actually hurt by her rambunctiousness, she's always horrified and repentant.
  • D.Gray-Man: Cross's emotional and physical abuse of Allen is usually played for laughs. However, this was more in the anime which was a part of Cross' Adaptational Villainy. In the manga, Allen has only suffered genuine trauma with the amount of debts he's had to pay off due to Cross. Whereas in the anime, Cross abandons Allen to be beaten by thugs, orders Allen to bring him man-eating animals, throws him to legions of Akuma without training him, and had Allen so scarred that he believed that all generals were evil due to his experience with Cross. But Word of God says Cross considers Allen to be his son, and he was never portrayed as badly in the manga.
  • Dragon Ball: All the main characters, especially in the first story arc of the first series, except for Goku and Puar. So, the audience doesn’t feel sorry for them when misfortune hits. This eventually gets downplayed as the series moved on.
    • Because of Bulma's selfish, Spoiled Brat personality at the beginning of the series, it's nearly impossible to feel sorry for her when misfortune hits. Just in the first episode of Dragon Ball she hits Goku with her car, shoots him, tries to bribe him with feeling on her butt, and manipulates him to gain access to his Dragon Ball. So, her being captured by a dinosaur and peeing herself is treated as a comedic moment. She, thankfully, grows out of this for the most part.
    • Oolong is a perverted pig who actually drugged Goku and Bulma so he could feel up Bulma while she was unconscious (this was changed in the dub to him wanting to steal the Dragon Balls).
    • Yamcha is a desert thief who has no problem trying to kill a 12-year-old Goku.
    • Master Roshi is a pervert who blackmails Bulma to show him her panties and tries to watch Launch undress.
    • Krillin is a Dirty Coward who cheats Goku out of his meal after he fairly found Roshi's rock.
    • Launch's evil side is an infamous bank robber who regularly shoots people.
  • While almost everyone in Excel♡Saga is a sociopath to some extent, due to varying levels of Jerkass and indifference, Hyatt is the only one who is actually oblivious to the problems she causes to Watanabe. Even stronger in the manga where Hyatt flat-out just doesn't care about the problems she causes him.
  • FLCL: Although, it could be argued that this whole angle was a Batman Gambit on Haruko's part to force Naota into the proper state of emotional turbulence needed to free Atomsk... wait, that doesn't make it better at all, does it?
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Winry throws a wrench at Ed every time he breaks his automail (that's often) and it's always supposed to be comedy, despite the fact that it could actually be lethal.
    • Then there's Barry the Chopper, who, in everything except Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), is played largely for comedy despite being the soul of a Serial Killer bound inside a suit of armour, who openly fantasises about cutting apart Hawkeye with a cleaver.
  • Gintama's comedy runs heavily on characters being jerks to each other, violence, blackmail, stalking, and Toilet Humour.
  • Yukinari of Girls Bravo spends just about every episode of the first season being horribly abused by his 'best friend' for being an Accidental Pervert. On one occasion she kicked him so hard that his head hit the edge of his bathtub and he bled profusely. For having the audacity to walk into his own bathroom when his friend was borrowing his shower. And yet, it's all Played for Laughs. This show also includes instances of other horrible acts of violence and rampant attempted Black Comedy Rape. Even in the second season her actions are questionable, like when she emotionally manipulated Yukinari into cross-dressing for an event and allowed him to get molested by Fukuyama since it meant Fukuyama would pay her. Of course, that was played for comedy as well.
  • Happy Kanako’s Killer Life: Kanako’s Protagonist Journey to Villain and the ease with which she decides Murder Is the Best Solution are entirely Played for Laughs.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers has an ever growing array of characters representing various countries and territories from around the world. The number of Tsundere and Kuudere characters that result means the show runs on this trope. Most notable with Russia and the other Eastern European countries as they take Dysfunction Junction to higher levels.
  • Much of the comedy in Inuyasha relies on sociopathy, with Miroku's lechery (including Sango's violent reactions), Shippo's pranks, Kagome's abuse of the "sit" command, and everyone's treatment of Myoga.
  • Kamisama Kiss: Let's start with Tomoe, Nanami's Kitsune familiar. His idea of a fair and proper fight involves torture, with one good example being how he combines Forced Transformation with Faux Flame, transforming his opponent into livestock with the intent to cook them alive and eat them. Then we have the main villain of the series, Akura-Ou, a Psychopathic Manchild who's smiling, happy-go-lucky and silly while committing war crimes. No, this is not a horror show; it's a Romantic Comedy.
  • Love Hina: As soon as Keitaro became the house manager, he was the subject of endless hijinks and comic misfortune at the hands of the residents. The most prominent of these is "Naru Punch" Naru.
  • Maison Ikkoku attempted to use the same formula as Ranma ˝ and Urusei Yatsura but with a far more sympathetic protagonist, making the cruelty much more apparent and sometimes sparking an entirely different set of reactions.
  • My Monster Secret runs on this. Most characters, even those usually nice, have their jerkish or… uncommendable moments and suffer the consequences one way or another, but Akane is both one of the main sources of plot advancement and the main target of karmic justice for all her trolling (mostly from her great-great-granddaughter Akari, her main victim). And then there are Shimada and Ryou, characters whose sole purpose is apparently for the universe to make them pay for their crime of existing. Both of them are selfish, greedy and socially inept... so of course they end up as a "couple". And there's nothing romantic about it.
  • Some of the comedy in the series comes from Naruto taking Sakura's brutal super-powered punches, with zany music playing in the background. Also, on one occasion when Jiraiya was caught peeping on Tsunade bathing in his younger years, she proceeded to break both of his arms, six of his ribs, and ruptured a number of his organs as punishment. He himself states he came very close to dying. This was also treated as comedy when Yamato warned Naruto if he peeked on Sakura while they were at the onset she would probably do the same to him as punishment and Naruto gets Blank White Eyes and stays in the same spot in a Heroic BSoD state for the rest of the day.
  • No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!: Kuroki Tomoko is the embodiment of this more often than not. She's a creepy, anti-social loner with very few friends. The reader might feel sorry for her if she didn't ensure this would remain the case by constantly insulting people in her mind, and occasionally verbally as well. Her bad thoughts usually land her in trouble in one way or another, so most of her pain and suffering is actually her fault... and the reason she's not popular.
  • Happens from time to time in the early chapters of PandoraHearts. The main protagonist Oz can be kind of a jerk sometimes, but it's always Played for Laughs. Especially when it's aimed at Gilbert. Everyone (including — especially — the author) seems to delight in tormenting Gilbert.
  • The entire Popee the Performer series runs on this, especially with the titular Popee, a sadistic teenage wannabe-clown who easily flies off the handle and frequently maims or kills his coworker Kedamono, particularly when he's feeling upstaged. Thus, when the other characters bite back, it's hard to feel sorry for him. Though that doesn't mean the other main characters, Kedamono and Papi, aren't capable of their own cruelty. Luckily for them, the series runs on Negative Continuity.
  • Pique and Lilie's treatment of Ahiru in Princess Tutu is sometimes cruel enough that it swerves into this trope. In fact, by the time the second season rolls around, Lilie's love of drama has her flanderized into someone so obsessed with causing suffering so she can "comfort" the people who experience it that it's a Running Gag in the fandom that Lilie is actually a sadist.
  • Ranma ˝. If you can't maintain a sense of humor, you miss the point. Every one of the characters is a grade-A Jerkass at one point or another, even the saintly-seeming Kasumi. It's all for the funny, but analyzing the series seriously puts every single character squarely into Dysfunction Junction.
  • Somehow, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei manages to pull off the feat of playing Comedic Sociopathy for laughs... and, yes, this statement takes into consideration the fact that Comedic Sociopathy is already playing sociopathy for laughs.
  • The princess from Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle causes at least one death per chapter in her quest for a good night's sleep in the Demon Lord's castle, and on several occasions has even committed mass genocide. The only reason the castle isn't completely empty is because Death Is Cheap.
  • Knuckles' treatment in Sonic X verged into this trope on occasion as he gradually evolved into the Butt-Monkey of the group. It wasn't that unusual to have rivals Sonic and Rouge or even Amy winding him up, it was more so when Cream and Cosmo joined in on it though. He got involved in the final season arc to stop the Meterax after the latter physically threatened him.
  • Tona-Gura!: Yuuji's intrusive, often juvenile pursuit of Kazuki and his sister Marie's literally armed response to any and all signs of such lewdness. Possibly also Hatsune tying Marie up to stop her punishment of Yuuji and her ignoring Kazuki's stated desire to stop her extreme efforts at matchmaking.
  • Urusei Yatsura: We have the perverted Loser Protagonist and his Magical Girlfriend who electrocutes him regularly. The rest of the cast is more or less similar.
  • Violinist of Hameln has this in approximately 90% of humor associated with Hamel. Whenever the mood switches from serious to comedic, he acts like an absolute asshole towards his companions, particularly the girl he secretly loves, as well as unfortunate bystanders. And, like everything else in this manga, his Comedic Sociopathy is quite over the top. In other words, which half of his Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality is currently dominant depends on whether the scene is supposed to be humorous or not.
  • One of the main reasons for people dropping Your Lie in April (as pointed out on one anime review site that skipped reviewing between episodes 6-11) is because its traumatized main character, Kousei, is prone to being abused, such as being kicked, slapped, or having stuff thrown at him by the girls, Tsubaki and Kaori. In the end, one of them (Kaori) apologizes to him via her posthumous letter for being mean and hitting him all this time.

    Comic Books 
  • Bad guy Schlich from one Wilhelm Busch story is made of this. Several times, he comments "That's fatal — heh, heh, but not for me!"
  • Calamity James of The Beano is the world's unluckiest boy, and gets chewed up by life in every strip; sometimes the punishment comes from his pet lemming or even his mother. This trope makes it funny, though the poor boy wouldn't see it that way.
  • Fun With Milk & Cheese: The only reason the comic gets away with beating up senior citizens, stabbing bystanders, and incinerating furries is because it's too comedic to take seriously.
  • Iznogoud: Iznogoud's cruelty and Mean Boss tendencies towards Wa'at Alahf are entirely played for laughs.
  • The Joker is a very literal comedic sociopath. Some of his best moments are as hilarious as they are evil.
    Robin: I have to admit, the barracuda down the pants was funny.
    Batman: No, it wasn't.
  • From Kabouter Wesley:
    Magic watering can: If you say "Turbo" twice, I catch fire!
    Wesley: (beat) And what is the practical use of that?
    Magic watering can: Nothing, it's really painful even.
    Wesley: TURBO TURBO!
    Cue the magic watering can catching fire, screaming in pain, and Wesley laughing his ass off. The roles get reversed later on.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: with how the players and Hackmasters relate to each other. Justified, as it's an outgrowth of the Killer Gamemaster philosophy that dominated roleplaying games during the time period the comic parodies — Hackmasters were expected to show players no mercy and players were expected to twist the knife if they got even a smidgen of an advantage. This, however, only applies within the game... it's considered in very poor taste between the characters to invoke this trope in Real Life. Jerkasses like Stevil and Bob still pull it, but they're much more likely to get called on it.
  • "Sheik of Araby" from MAD #3 has Sergeant Guillotine Pistol-Whipping his own men and worse:
    Sergeant: You! Chantilly! Your tongue is 'anging out!
    Chantilly: But Sarjhant! I am thirstee!
    Sergeant: You talk back to me...Sarjhant Guillotine? I break you in two! (Folds his spine in half) Pa! (Tosses him over the battlements) Zen I throw you ay-way!...Com-sa!
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In "Los mercenarios" the two main characters go so far as throwing their boss from the window when (they think) they are rich.
  • In Sam & Max: Freelance Police, Max's most common solution when he's given the reins may as well be "give the problem the coolest death possible."
  • Ultimate Hawkeye, especially when he's written by Mark Millar.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles:
    • Applies to Bolt and the other animals in the Black Comedy "The Murder Mystery." They engage in murder, sociopathic behavior, and Insurance Fraud, all Played for Laughs.
    • The pair of Siamese cats (both named Bigglesworth) in "The Party" attempt to lure Mittens into playing a party game with them based on Alfred Hitchcock films which involve likely injury or death to their prospective guest. It's treated as Dark Comedy and Played for Laughs.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Played with. Mukrezar's actions during his war with the Avatar left an entire continent devastated and populated by nothing but the undead. If the number of undead is any indication, casualties numbered in the millions easily. He tortures for pleasure and is inventive when doing so. He is also a terrible cook. Yet the only person who seems to actually find this funny is Mukrezar himself and his Butler. Everyone else hates and/or fears him. Despite all this, he is a genuinely funny and charismatic character and largely liked by those that follow the story.
  • Equestria: A History Revealed: The Lemony Narrator seems to relish in this trope, though it's all Played for Laughs. But some of the things she chooses to make fun of even had the author admit they felt terrible for writing it.
  • Irreversible Damage: Greg displays his usual selfish streak, lack of perspective, and tendency to view everything solely in terms of how it personally conveniences or inconveniences him. However, unlike in canon where this applies just to the minor troubles and actions of a middle school kid, in this story his casual lack of interest in the consequences of his actions is applied to things like turning Chirag invisible and then losing track of him, forcefully turning Rowley into a girl and then ditching him mid-panic attack, and magically compelling multiple people, including his own brother, to dance until they die of exhaustion.
  • "Out to Lunch", a missing-scene fanfic for The Magician's Nephew, plays Jadis' established sociopathy for comedy, as she robs Mr. Smythe of his best jewellery and is a jerk to everyone at the restaurant.
  • Darth Maul and Darth Sidious in the Sith Academy Parody Fic series are neck-deep in it. While Obi-Wan is Maul's favorite target, Sidious sees it as his duty to abuse Maul's position as his apprentice at every opportunity.
  • Tamers Forever Series: None of the characters ever seem to mind it when the author is being strangled during the stingers. Probably because they have to read what he puts them through.
  • The Highlander fic What's a Little Homicide Between Friends is built on this. Duncan and Methos, immortals who can't be killed permanently unless someone cuts their heads off, get into a hilariously in-character game of one-upmanship that involves assassinating each other over and over again in increasingly outlandish ways.
    Joe (after Duncan gets taken out by an anvil): Are you purposely using Looney Tunes sketches or do you think you're being cute?
  • X-Men: The Early Years delights in sociopathic humor. Scott, Hank and Warren drive any boy who comes close to Jean crazy, Scott plays with the minds of people who displease him, Jean resorts to physical violence against whoever gets her angry, Hank and Warren tie Bobby up when they want to get rid of him...

    Films — Animated 
  • Peter Pan. Watching someone fight for their life against a crocodile shouldn't be funny. But somehow, it is. Hilariously funny, in fact.
  • Shrek has a few minor examples, which would be quite throwaway if they didn't undermine the movies' central Aesop. "It's what inside that counts" is all fine and good — except that Shrek and Fiona will behave like hedonistic sociopaths whenever it doesn't affect the plot. (They get better.)
    • In the first movie, the couple have a cutesy scene where they're falling in love. They display their affections by blowing up a toad and a snake into balloons. It's funny as heck, but they just let the creatures float away, with little chance of deflating. And there's also that scene with the bird that popped.
    • The honeymoon montage of the second movie is just full of this. It's bad enough that Fiona essentially commits murder by throwing Ariel to the sharks, but we also see Shrek and Fiona enjoying a mud bath while surrounded by fairies trapped in jars.
    • Dragon eating Farquaad doesn't count, though. Everybody loved her for that.
  • Storks: The film derives some dark humor out of fairly likable leads being cruel to each other. Junior ruthlessly mocks Tulip's tearful statement for being unintelligible as he walks away from her. Later, Tulip returns the favor when beating him with a stick to amuse the baby.
  • Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph gets one such moment toward the end of the film, when Princess Vanellope declares that everyone who was ever mean to her will be executed. It turns out Vanellope was joking, but Calhoun didn't know that at the time.
    Felix: Oh, my land!
    Calhoun: Oh-hoo... this place just got interesting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family - it's easy to forget that for all their otherwise harmless Nightmare Fetishism, Addamses do kill people, guilty or not, sometimes in gruesome ways (although mostly offscreen or not 100%-confirmed), all of it played for laughs.
  • Along Came Polly makes light of a blind ferret who keeps hurting himself by running into walls.
  • The Filipino comedy/romance film Ang Tanging Pamilya has a lot of gags revolving around Comedic Sociopathy, with the victim being the American character (played by Sam Milby). Some of the said gags include:
    • Being forced to ride his girlfriend's father's jeepney from weird angles (hang by the handlebars on the back door, then climb on top of the friggin' roof, then hang below the jeepney à la Indiana Jones).
    • Being forced to clean said jeepney while a huge downpour of rain is happening. The accompanied comment from those two characters ("That's just some mild rain.") just made it worse.
    • Having to bring a pregnant woman to the hospital and assist her during delivery — while he himself has an appointment to make with his girlfriend.
    • Stopping a fistfight on his way to the said appointment — and getting arrested along with the two quarreling dudes. To add insult to the injury, he was set free several hours later just because he did not immediately say he was not part of the trouble (he was saying that fact all along, even during the arrest).
    • Finally, having an Innocent Bystander faint right in front of him as he was to meet up with his girlfriend, prompting him to send the dude to the hospital (man, he's such a messiah).
  • A relatively minor example in Barely Lethal; Liz Larson observes that she likes stabbing people when she takes out a lethal assassin trying to kill her family by stabbing the killer in the leg with a knife.
  • Bean: Deconstructed. David and Bean go to an amusement park in Los Angeles, but he finds the thriller ride simulator so boring that it puts him to sleep. Bean reprograms the ride and disables the safety features so that customers are literally thrown out of their seats at high speed. Unlike the series, the movie attaches realistic consequences to Bean's typical shenanigans: the police promptly arrest him (again!).
  • The Big Lebowski has Walter, whose violent streak comes to embody Serious Business.
  • Burn After Reading plays it more for laughs; the characters all suffer horribly (often due to their own idiocy) and it's hilarious.
  • In A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong Chris says that the only way Robert will get to play Ebenezer Scrooge is if he, Chris, was completely incapacitated. Cue Robert coming up with increasingly bizarre ways to try and injure Chris.
  • Dumb and Dumber To: Harry and Lloyd plant a hundred or so firecrackers underneath Travis's bed in retaliation for an earlier prank, and nearly burn him alive.
  • Goodfellas, in some scenes, reaching disturbing levels.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) has Rocket Raccoon and Drax the Destroyer, one of whom is an amoral mercenary and one of whom is a vengeance-driven Human Alien from a warrior culture. The best example is probably at the end of the movie, when they both try to get pardoned for any future crimes they might commit after just being given a clean slate for their old ones:
    Rocket: Question: What if I see something that I wanna take and it belongs to someone else?
    Rhomann: You would be arrested.
    Rocket: But what if I want it more than the person who has it?
    Rhomann: It's still illegal.
    (And later...)
    Drax: Say someone does something that irks me, and I decide to remove his spine?
    Rhomann: T-that's actually murder, one of the worst crimes of all. So, also illegal.
  • The Hangover Part II puts Alan in this territory by having him give Teddy some roofalin. Teddy proceeds to sever his own finger while under the influence.
  • Help!: John, most notably, but really all of them; at some point, each suggests cutting Ringo's finger off (John does so holding a steak knife and says it would be like "having a tooth out"), and George, Ringo and John's complete non-reaction when Ringo supposedly squashes Paul.
  • Home Alone is a Trope Codifier for recent times. Kids and teenagers might find it funny at the time, but after growing up and watching it as an adult, the Fridge Horror of all that bodily harm sets in. This article, written by an ER doctor, details the horrific injuries the burglars would sustain from Kevin's traps if they weren't slapstick comedy characters. Although they did choose to break into someone else's house and to not withdraw when they found that the house was occupied by someone prepared to defend it, so YMMV on whether you feel sorry for them.
  • Juan of the Dead:
    • While out killing zombies, Lázaro takes the opportunity to brutally kill a (non-zombified) guy who owes him money and shrugs off everyone else's horror at the slaying.
    • Juan and his friends are out looting when they see an old guy in a wheelchair begging for help. Juan sends Lázaro and California to go help him. They come back carrying their loot in the wheelchair. Lázaro explains that the old man died and they left him behind. California clarifies that it wasn't necessarily in that order.
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets involves several hilarious murders, and even the natural deaths are as funny.
  • In Lost & Found (1999), protagonist Dylan hatches a scheme to kidnap his pretty neighbor's dog in order to stage a fake dog hunt so that he can get to know her. His behavior only gets more immoral from there.
  • Meet the Parents: It's so horrible that you start to feel sorry for Greg thirty minutes in.
  • A Serious Man is a very good example of this. The premise is very Job-like, but many people have reported that the worse things get for him, the more you laugh out of the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
  • Sky High (2005): Boomer and Medulla partake in this on occasion.
  • Star Trek: Generations. Lampshaded then deconstructed. While Worf was getting dropped into the ocean (in the holodeck...) as "reward" for promotion to Lieutenant Commander...
    Data: I am uncertain as to why someone falling into freezing water is amusing.
    Beverly: It's all done in good fun, Data. Get in the spirit of things.
    Data: Ah. (cue Data pushing Beverly overboard, then wondering why no one is laughing)

  • Carl Hiaasen's novels usually include at least one unlikely, terrible, imaginative and painfully undignified death. A man dies during liposuction when the under-qualified surgeon (and bad guy) has a breakdown; another drowns after falling into a dolphin pool while the sexually-deviant dolphin has its way with him. What makes them hilarious is the bizarre circumstances and that it's the comeuppance of one of the book's villains.
  • Every vampire in Almost Night is this trope. Several scenes include them killing people for fun, maiming people, and popping the head off a puppy to let the blood gush out like a champagne bottle.
  • In Apathy and Other Small Victories, protagonist Shane is the sort of guy who blows off going to his co-worker's funeral so that he can go and get drunk and steal saltshakers. He's a jerk and utterly proud of it.
  • Baccano!: Ladd Russo. He dances like a maniac on the corpses of people he killed, Boom Headshots a little kid, freaking skips when he hears someone getting killed, and shows his love for his fiancee by regularly threatening to kill her (though to be fair, she's a Death Seeker, and he really does care for her in his own way). His huge, shit-eating grin doesn't hurt, either.
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts has one of the most extreme examples out there. The two main male characters, Akihisa Yoshi and Yuuji Sakamoto, are abused by their own admirers in just about every episode of the anime over the stupidest stuff. Yuuji's admirer Shouko is particularly nasty as she pokes out his eyeballs frequently so he can't look at other girls, tazes him, makes him go to school without his pants, and even drowns him just so she can give him CPR. What's more is that Yuuji's friends support the relationship and even sometimes encourage Shouko to beat on him.
  • Taken to extremes with Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan. Dokuro honestly thinks she's helping Sakura in spite of her frequent (and often deadly) physical assaults, constant demands for his attention, and having been (directly and indirectly) responsible for Sakura's social isolation.
  • This is the premise for a lot of humor in A Certain Magical Index. Touma's bad luck constantly has him constantly running into naked or partially-undressed girls changing in all manner of weird places — in a park in broad daylight, an unlocked classroom, a large tent (he rushed in after hearing a scream). The results usually involve titular character Index biting him on the head. He gets slapped and/or punched and has objects thrown at him on a regular basis. Some girl gets pissed at him when she walks in on him changing. The guy just can't win.
  • Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces has a Master's degree in history and believes life peaked with medieval feudalism and has degenerated ever since. He announces this loudly while bouncing between menial jobs and managing his valve.
  • The Culture: The badass Blood Knight Sapient Ship Falling Outside the Usual Moral Constraints. Oh so very, very much.
  • Durarara!!: Shizuo is always throwing heavy things (vending machines, trash cans...) at anyone that made him angry, especially Izaya. However, Izaya doesn't seem to have any damage from it, and gives back as much in the form of fast moving cars, knife assaults, and hits on Shizuo's life. (It's a strange relationship.)
  • In The Familiar of Zero, the relationship between Louise and Saito is distinctly unhealthy as Louise is, quite frankly, violently abusive towards Saito. She calls him her dog, but if she treated even an actual dog like that she'd be prosecuted for animal cruelty. At one point in the novels, she beats him with a whip after viciously beating him the night before. Not a riding crop, an actual whip.
  • Bubba Rogowski in Dennis Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro Series. He's weirdly cute when Angie makes him blush or when he asks Patrick to record all his TV shows (including Entertainment Tonight) while he's in prison for a year. Not so much when he's torturing someone for information or selling weapons to child molesters.
  • Several scenes in Hannibal fall into this category, among them the scene of Krendler being fed pieces of his own brain by Hannibal, and Hannibal convincing a drug-addled Mason Verger to cut off his own face.
  • The titular character of Haruhi Suzumiya frequently engages in sexual harassment, regularly abuses her best friends, blackmails people with photos of scandalous events she orchestrated, abducts people just because she thinks they're interesting, treats people as objects and is generally incapable of comprehending the fact that other people possess feelings that differ from her own. However, while the series itself treats these actions as comedic, characters within the series (especially Kyon) see it as incredibly selfish and annoying... so part of the comedy comes from their reactions to Haruhi's antics.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: No one is nice to Bertie Wooster. The unwritten rule is that if things go wrong, all the other characters (sans Jeeves) will instantly turn on him, whether or not they're aware of the fact that he just spent the entire story trying to help them. Even Jeeves is a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who regularly puts Bertie through terrible situations in order to preserve the divine status quo.
  • Journey to Chaos: Hasina is a Mad Scientist who wants to dissect Eric. This is a Running Gag.
  • Kill time or die trying has Nathan, who viciously insults strangers and friends alike.
  • Slayers: Lina Inverse falls somewhere between this and a more mercenary attitude. While she has a moral code that she abides by, her selfishness frequently causes her to be completely apathetic to issues of those around her (including charging a village to take care of a dragon... that she accidentally released). Her Hair-Trigger Temper doesn't help either, though they are done comedically.
  • A couple of the point of view characters dip into this territory in A Song of Ice and Fire novels, namely Cersei and Victarion, who fill the role of Villain Protagonist. They are thoroughly awful people, but there's a little humor in their complete obliviousness that offsets the dark acts they're involved in.
  • The series The Supervillainy Saga pretty much runs on this trope. Its protagonist, Gary Karkofsky, is a Card-Carrying Villain in a Cape Punk world where most supervillains act like their crimes are Serious Business. His Bunny-Ears Lawyer antics pretty much result in him being constantly underestimated and horrible Karmic Death for other villains. Gary, himself, is hilarious throughout his evil plans.
  • Alec in Swordspoint embodies this: he's the Deadpan Snarker and he knows it, but he's always at his most amusing when people are high, dying, or suffering from severe heartache.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development, a show around the farcical exploits of a wealthy family grappling with the loss of their fortune after the patriarch is arrested for many dubious dealings, leaving the Only Sane Man Michael Bluth at the helm of a sinking ship... of fools.
  • When Nadia's response to how she deals with stress is "lash out and take it out on [her] loved ones" on Bitchin'Kitchen, you know she isn't the sweetest apple in the cart.
  • Showcased brilliantly in just about every episode of Blackadder... until the end of the fourth season, when the Comedic Sociopathy of General Melchett and Field Marshall Haig ceases to be comedic and leads to an amazingly poignant finale.
    • If you replace Blackadder with Lexx, and those characters with 790, the same applies.
  • A prominent part of almost any Colgate Comedy Hour episode featuring Jerry Lewis or Lou Costello.
  • Fairly common on Community.
    • Pierce deciding to ruin a Dungeons & Dragons game the others were holding to help a suicidal player just because he felt excluded.
    • LeVar Burton's guest appearance, in which his reaction to his host breaking down over dinner and running away was "More fish for Kunta."
    • Also, how everyone in the entire world treats Chang.
    • And Todd.
    • The entire study group is occasionally guilty of this. The rest of the school will sometimes call them out on how they make every single situation about themselves and don't care about anyone else's problems. One given example is them barricading the study room to search for a lost pen while several people outside are waiting to use it to, well, study. They promptly dismiss them.
  • Dirk Gently: Dirk treats his partner like a dogsbody, refuses to pay his receptionist because that way she'll stop showing up to "work" in order to get her pay, lies to the police with a remarkable degree of enthusiasm, swindles his clients, pickpockets corpses, and gives the wrong address to a pizza business so that it will be late and he won't have to pay... all in one episode.
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23: Chloe, the titular Bitch in Apartment 23, is the epitome of comedic sociopathy. The only thing she cares about is herself and she has absolutely no qualms to abuse everyone around her to further her agenda. Examples include getting her love interest deported because she felt he didn't appreciate her enough, drugging her roommate to a two-day blackout because she missed having her around and setting said roommate up with her own father to get back at her paraplegic mother. Occasionally she does something genuinely nice, like getting June money to visit her parents on Christmas, but this always includes manipulation and scamming.
  • On The Electric Company (1971), the Corsican Twins were this — to each other. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Fawlty Towers: Basil Fawlty himself is occasionally guilty of this. One example that comes to mind is when he tricks a deaf guest into turning her hearing aid all the way up — and then shouts as loud as he can directly into it.
  • The Ferals: This trope was the engine that made the entire show run. Most of the main characters are capable of an astonishing degree of selfishness and cruelty — theft, violence, running scams, and vandalism aren't incidental moments of bad behavior, they're the Feral way of life. The plot to an entire episode is based on Rattus stealing everyone's money to bet on himself at a cheese-eating contest, before developing toothache just before the match — leading to increasingly violent and slapstick-y attempts to get him to visit a dentist, up to and including knocking him unconscious with a baseball bat and tying him up.
    Modi: (brandishing said bat) Do you want me to wake him up? Do you? Do you?
  • Glee: Practically every character is a Jerkass. Sue is the most notable, given her increasingly cartoonish acts of villainy.
  • The Good Place:
    • Protagonist Eleanor Shellstrop's former job of selling fake medicine to old people is played as a joke, though Chidi is justifiably appalled.
    • This trope is Michael's entire motivation for creating Neighborhood 12358W, a.k.a 'the Good Place', so that Architects can watch the torture within the Neighborhood without having to do all the work.
    • An even more literal example in season two: apparently, it's common for demons to enjoy a "Comedy Roast", an art form supposedly invented in the Bad Place that consists of insulting humans in cruel and humiliating ways, up to and including calling Jason dumb, saying Tahani's life was pointless and empty, mocking Chidi and Eleanor's complicated romantic situation, and hammering down her throat once again that Eleanor is a terrible person who deserves eternal torture.
    • Probably the most hilariously sociopathic example of this on the show is when Michael tries to figure out human morals by using his powers to create the trolley problem in real life: That is, he puts several of the characters on an actual trolley and makes them choose whether to run over multiple people, or steer the trolley so that it only runs over one person. Needless to say, body parts are flying all over, and the characters he puts through this fun moral choice are traumatized, but it's so over-the-top, it's hilarious. Fortunately, since he used his powers to create the people they killed, they probably weren't completely real.
  • Gotham: This trope makes up most of Jerome Valeska's screen time, unsurprisingly, since he's one of the show's two main takes on the Joker. His brother, Jeremiah, also is prone to this after being exposed to two separate types of chemicals that drive people insane and undergoing serious sanity slippage. For instance, there's this gem in the finale while he's kidnapping another character's daughter:
  • Dr. House has moments of this. He managed to edit a Jewish doctor's face on a poster to look like Hitler in front of said Jewish doctor, then knock out his girlfriend's nagging mother and his best friend with sedatives on the girlfriend's birthday dinner in a single episode. Definitely a Heroic/Comedic sociopath.
  • One episode of How I Met Your Mother has Barney ransacking their house, finding and stealing but ultimately not actually watching a sex tape made by Marshall and Lily. In TV Land, the premise for wacky shenanigans; in Real Life, an egregious (not to mention felonious) violation of privacy.
  • An Idiot Abroad could be summed up as two intelligent British comedians send a fairly dim man abroad, make him as uncomfortable as possible, and then laugh in his face about it. Though how much the titular idiot is in on the joke is open to question.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is made of this trope, which the main characters being malignant narcissists who have to interact with normal people.
  • The entire point of Jackass is built around this: the guys are all getting hurt, but it's done with so much hilarity and gusto and even the victim ends up laughing their ass off at the end of it that you can't help but laugh along after wincing in pain.
  • The female cast of Las Vegas frequently acts like this, often having Danny act as the Only Sane Man. Of course, at least with Sam and Nessa, it was their job to do this. Still...
  • Most of the characters in Letterkenny have foibles, and a lot of the comedy is about treating people poorly because ain't no one got time for niceties, even in polite Canada. It's the moments that subvert this trope that stand out, like when the tough guy with no love for meth heads starts a fight to protect the meth heads from out-of-town Natives.
  • Similarly, Al Bundy (and the Bundys in general) from Married... with Children, as a fair amount of their grief is either self-inflicted or inflicted on each other, barring the occasional Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment.
  • M*A*S*H mostly used Frank Burns' misfortunes to this end, although he was never a terribly sympathetic character. Henry Blake also suffered a fair amount of comedic misfortune, though he was much more sympathetic than Frank.
  • Merlin is one of the most lovable characters ever, but it's still funny as hell when Arthur throws stuff at him — until Merlin escapes Arthur's presence, and we see him with a character sympathetic to his plight. Suddenly, it isn't funny anymore... until the next time, and then it's hilarious again. It also helps that Merlin spends most of his time making jibes at Arthur's expense, and semi-frequently uses his magic to get his own back. The fact that it can be very easily interpreted as Belligerent Sexual Tension doesn't hurt with the funniness, either.
  • Howard Moon in The Mighty Boosh gradually became more a victim of cruel humor as the series progressed.
  • While generally a Manchild or Cloudcuckoolander, Mr. Bean is often cruel and vicious, mocking patients at the hospital including a wheelchair bound person in a neck-brace, constantly running a Reliant Regal off the road, and generally being a selfish nuisance with zero concern for others. This balance between lack of understanding and actual malice varies from episode to episode, however.
  • The hosts of MythBusters, especially Adam, invoke this trope on a regular basis at their own expense.
  • While almost everyone in Parks and Recreation does quite a number on poor old Jerry, Leslie Knope is by far the most jarring since she is (usually) so upbeat, positive and kind to everyone.
  • Peep Show: Everyone is an absolutely terrible person...which is what makes the show so funny and brilliant.
  • The Cat on Red Dwarf at least started out as about as big of a comedic sociopath as you'd expect a humanoid cat to be.
    "Hey, monkey, you're sick. Sick, helpless and unconscious. If you weren't my friend, I'd steal your shoes. Time for a snack!" (shimmies offscreen)
  • This became a greater presence in Scrubs in season six. Absolutely everyone treated JD horribly for almost no reason and complained when he lamented his crappy situation. What's worse is that we are apparently supposed to agree with the sociopaths that JD should stop whining and grow up, regardless of the fact that he is an incredibly Nice Guy being put through absolute hell.
    • The character most at fault would be the Janitor, who was comically merciless towards JD right from the beginning — and even mocks him about it.
  • The description points out that this is just as likely to show up on Sesame Street.
    • The blue guy Grover always ends up waiting on ("Oh, not you again!"). Poor guy usually just wants his lunch — but if you sympathize with him, the humor is lost. Here, watch the poor guy try to explain that he has a fly in his soup.
    • This trope is pretty much the dynamic between Bert and Ernie as well, with the latter completely oblivious to how irritating he can be toward Bert. It's worth noting that Ernie himself is often irritated by the gluttonous, equally oblivious (if not more) Cookie Monster.
    • Kermit the Frog is often a victim of this no matter what Muppet program he's on. Poor frog can't even get a t-shirt on Sesame Street.
  • The version of Sherlock Holmes from the BBC's Sherlock has more than a few moments of this, being a self-proclaimed high functioning sociopath. A good example is probably when two little girls want Sherlock to help them find their grandma, because they were told that grandma went to a special place and they couldn't see her.
  • Soap's rich cast of characters routinely, and hilariously, took turns humiliating themselves and each other. The mentally ill elderly war veteran, the guy trying to get out of the Mafia, the suicidal gay character, the ventriloquist convinced his dummy is real, the put-upon African-American butler, the promiscuous Tate daughters, the philandering husbands, the sexually dysfunctional Catholic priest, were all mined for loads and loads of comedy gold. In addition, the first season's storyline was based around the murder of a character's son, which of course, was committed in the most hilariously over-the-top fashion possible.
  • Supernatural has a 6th Season storyline in which Sam Winchester literally loses his soul. His brother Dean dealing with his once sweet and often guilt-ridden brother's complete lack of morals and/or human emotion is often played for laughs.
  • Nearly all the characters in That '70s Show, especially in the later seasons, become prone to this in regards to Eric, from his best friends to his girlfriend to even (and sometimes especially) his parents.
    • In fact, in one episode, Kelso takes personal offense to the way Hyde treats him after he falls off the water tower and the fact that it all stemmed from Hyde criticizing the way he drew a pot leaf. Hyde then counters with a childhood story of when Kelso laughed as Kelso's dog bit Hyde, causing him to bleed and cry. Lesson learned by Kelso: "It's funny when friends get hurt."
      Hyde: Close enough.
  • The audience from Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Some of the series' funniest moments include Drew choking on a mint, Ryan accidentally breaking a light bulb with his head (and still staying in-character as Carol Channing), and Chip injuring Ryan when jumping on his back.
    Drew: Hey, it's always funny when it happens to somebody else!
  • The entire purpose of Wipeout is hearing the hilarious commentary while seeing contestants fail and wipeout on obstacles.
  • Really applies to pretty much every wizard and everything magic on Wizards of Waverly Place. Max shattering Stevie apparently didn't register with anyone as an accidental homicide; no one seems to see anything wrong with Justin creating a Frankenstein-esque monster and setting her loose in school; and Stevie's sending Jeremy from Science down some magical hole to "no idea where" is purely played for laughs even though Harper implied he died. Compared to these offences, even though she's the perennial trouble maker Alex's petty pranks aren't actually all that bad (especially since she invariably ends up punished or apologizing).
  • Absolutely everyone in the world of The Worst Week of My Life displays this attitude towards Howard.
  • Neil in The Young Ones, gratuitously so, although often subverted absurdly to give him the upper hand (i.e. Vyvyan throwing a petrol into his and Rik's bedrooms, only to have the rather positive side effect of clearing up his sinuses).

  • This is true of nearly all of "Weird Al" Yankovic's original songs; the narrator is almost always some kind of sociopath or weirdo.
    • "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" has the singer/narrator sing the titular chorus in an aggrieved fashion because horrific tragedies cause him to be slightly inconvenienced. Lyrics here.
    • "Good Old Days," which reads like something out of Ed Gein's childhood.
    • In "Albuquerque", the narrator's sarcasm-blindness leads to him chopping off a coworker's limbs. He also does the "I haven't had a bite in three days" bit by chomping out a guy's jugular vein, and is annoyed that the man just screams while bleeding to death instead of appreciating the joke.
    • "I Remember Larry" — both Larry (whose pranks often cross the line into criminal territory) and the narrator (who gets back at Larry by breaking into his house late at night and murdering him). The narrator believes Larry would consider this a "pretty good gag."
  • In the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray", when Cecil shoots the sailor, the narrator's only reaction is "Oh, you shouldn't do that/Don't you know you'll stain the carpet/Now don't you know you'll mess the carpet."
  • The music video of "Murder on the Dancefloor" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor have her entering a dance competition and using various unscrupulous tricks from laxative-spiked drinks, to tripping people, to sliding butter underneath them, to ultimately leaning over one of the judges with her cleavage showing (and apparently convincing him there's something in it for him to judge her favorably).
  • 100 gecs: The protagonist of "stupid horse" goes downright psychotic over losing a bet in horse racing. They beat up the jockey, steal their phone and their horse, and run away while ranting about how they lost all their money. Despite this, the music has a humorous tone to it.
  • Slim Shady, Eminem's alter ego who acts like a depraved parody of the violence of Gangsta Rap, with an added dose of sexual perversion on the side. In "Just Lose It", Slim says that he's "touched on everything but little boys". Slim was intended as A Darker Me for Eminem's fans to live vicariously through, a degenerate who actually does all the horrible things that teenage boys joke about with one another, cranked up to such a ridiculous extreme that it Crosses the Line Twice.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Much of the parents Daryl and Wanda's misfortunes could be explained by this trope in Baby Blues.
  • Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes enjoys beating the stuffing out of Calvin without being provoked. After one such beating, he criticized Calvin for 'moving upwind'. Calvin moved because he could hear Hobbes coming.
  • Garfield: Especially in the earlier years, much of the humor comes from Garfield's abuse of almost everyone he meets, usually just for his own amusement. Jon, Odie, Nermal, spiders, dogs on chains and the mailman are frequent targets. Garfield himself is on the receiving end sometimes too.
  • Peanuts: Pretty much anyone who has ever interacted with Charlie Brown. Seriously, there was a whole town full of people who gave Charlie Brown rocks when he went trick-or-treating.
    Charles Schulz: The nature of comedy is tragedy. It's funny... it's funny because it's happening to somebody else.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Much of The Gimmick of New Jack's revolves around being so excessively violent, borderline homicidal and completely lacking in most of the basic elements of human empathy that it becomes a treat to see him unleashed on wrestlers people don't like. Shooter Storm's mother issued a complaint to Pro Wrestling Xtreme for booking her son in a match with New Jack, so to comfort her, he decided to wrestle a "normal" match with Storm before killing him.
  • After "Stone Cold" Steve Austin retired from being a wrestler, most of his segments on WWE programming started to run on this logic. Stone Cold used to be popular because he rebelled against a corrupt authority figure. He became popular enough that he could get cheers for attacking an elderly woman who was a non athlete without any provocation.
  • Cheerleader Melissa is still incredibly violent and often extremely insensitive even with the designated baby face, but she is genuinely smiling and affable too, as if she doesn't always realize how badly she comes off to others sometimes.
  • This is about the only way to justify Edge kidnapping Kane's father and Smackdown not making minimal effort to portray this action as wrong.

  • In a meta example, many of the members on This Is War act like this. A fair few characters live up to this, however, with events like Logan burning Tex's clothes and making her walk home through crowded London streets in her underwear.

  • Avenue Q features a song titled "Schadenfreude":
    Do you ever clap when a waitress falls and drops a tray of glasses?
    And ain't it fun to watch figure skaters fall down on their asses?
    And don'tcha feel all warm and cozy, watching people out in the rain!
    That's... Schaaaaaadenfreude! People taking pleasure in your pain!
  • Titus Andronicus has such grotesque and over the top violence that it's darkly comedic, particularly the final scene where Titus prepares meat pies from Empress Tamora's sons and serves them to her at an elaborate banquet. Played memorably by Anthony Hopkins in the film adaptation.

    Video Games 
  • The Aqua Teen Hunger Force game features advice during the tutorial such as "Go ahead, break all of Carl's windows. They're not yours anyway."
  • Extremely common in Borderlands 2, but Handsome Jack and Hyperion easily take the cake for sheer unnecessary cruelty delivered dripping with Black Comedy.
    Handsome Jack: This is Handsome Jack, thanking you, loyal test subject for helping bring Pandora into the future. The experiments you'll be put through will help us uncover new uses for Eridium, new cures for medicine and — seriously? [chuckles] Why are you having me read this crap? This is freaking hilarious. They know we're gonna mutate the hell out of 'em, why lie to 'em? [static]
  • In Call Of Duty Modern Warfare, some of the skins for the Operators in multiplayer bring an element of humorous sociopathy to the game. All the executions are pretty brutal, as one would expect from a warfare game. However, there's something funny when you have a giant-breasted soldier wearing cat ears and leggings with a chibi self-characiture getting kneed in her privates and getting her neck snapped.
  • HK-47 has a spiritual successor in Shale, from Dragon Age: Origins — after thirty years frozen in the middle of a village square, she's arrived at the logical conclusion of the phrase "familiarity breeds contempt." And her first act after being recruited into your party? Stomping on a chicken.
  • Between the amount of room for... creativity... heavy reliance on the Chunky Salsa Rule, and copious ASCII gorn, this is basically half the fun of Dwarf Fortress. Heh. Fun.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Oblivion has an Orc Dark Brotherhood member who recounts his murder of a five-year-old if you talk to him before your first contract. While this sounds horrible, it's actually quite hilarious in the way that he recounts it:
      Gogron gro-Bolmog: The great thing about killing a target up close and personal is you can talk to 'em before you do it! You know, say something scary! For example, this one time I had a contract to kill a little Nord girl at her birthday party. She asked me if I was the jester! So I said to her, "No, I am a messenger of death." You should have seen the look on her face! Ha ha ha ha! Anyway, she won't be seeing age six!
    • Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC has Master Neloth, a Telvanni Mage-Lord Mad Scientist and Insufferable Genius. Many of his statements are horrific but also hilarious. To note:
      "This won't hurt. But if it does, don't yell too loudly. I have very sensitive ears."
      "It was fascinating to watch those tentacles grow out of your eyes."
  • With Iji, we have the Komato, to whom "right to bear arms" is a religious tenetnote  and "public safety"... is not. They play Marco Polo in minefields. Rocket Jumping is not only a sport, but they add Rocket Juggling.
  • Late-1990s early-2000s Insomniac Games absolutely loved this trope. Probably 50% of all the cutscenes in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and the first two Ratchet & Clank games involve some poor soul getting eaten, squished, falling into lava or at least smacked around a bit.
  • Knights of the Old Republic features HK-47, an assassination droid that was designed with a love of violence and hatred of anything living.
    • This is largely because even though he wants to kill almost everybody he sees, and says so, he cannot act on these desires without your orders.
      HK-47: [after a harmless Jawa asks for the player's help] Translation: 98% probability that members of the miniature organic's tribe are being held by Sand People, master. Doubtless he wishes assistance. [There is also a] 2% probability that the miniature organic is simply looking for trouble and needs to be blasted. That may be wishful thinking on my part, master.
    • This could also describe his maker, Darth Revan, since he must have had a pretty twisted sense of humor to create a droid like that in the first place. According to HK-47, Revan thought it was so funny when HK started calling his apprentice, Malak a meatbag, that he programmed him to refer to all 'organics' that way, but especially Malak since it annoyed him so much.
  • Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy has this in spades, especially when the game focuses on Ulrika's workshop. Special mention goes to Chloe, who loves to spam her curses incantations on people around her and is having fun watching how said incantations work (usually goes horribly right).
  • Mass Effect 2: Renegade Shepard is a unfeeling jerkass which leads to some damn hilarious moments.
  • In the stages of McPixel, McPixel's task is to make sure the bomb doesn't blow up, no one said anything about making sure bystanders don't get hurt or used as battering rams.
  • Most of the Fatalities in the Mortal Kombat series are played straight with their violence and brutality, but some characters absolutely find the humor in violently killing their defenseless opponents in an over-the-top manner. Johnny Cage can split the head of a 10,000-year-old warrior-assassin in half and stick a gold trophy in her neck stump that's gushing blood. His daughter, Cassie, can also shoot a princess full of bullets before kicking her in the lady parts so hard that her entire skull and spine fly out of her body.
  • Poker Night at the Inventory, guest starring The Heavy from Team Fortress 2, has him gleefully regale his fellow players with the story of him finding an Engineer who had previously killed the Heavy's whole team, shoving the Engineer's wrench down the man's throat and ripping all his fingers off, while he laughs his head off through the whole story. Even Max the sociopathic bunny is squicked out.
  • Portal derives much of its Black Comedy from this trope.
    • The first game makes an extended joke out of Aperture Science and GLaDOS's apparent total disregard for the sanity and well-being of their test subjects. It helps that you don't actually see all the other people that died horribly to bring things to their present state.
    • The sequel shows that Aperture Science was practically built on this, with CEO Cave Johnson being a lunatic with an obsession with pointless and dangerous experiments to the point that he nearly ran his company into the ground.
      Cave Johnson: Don't have any tumors? Well, unless you were wearing lead underpants when you sat on the chairs in our lobby, we took care of that too.
    • Wheatley makes a point of observing that the turrets that you've been disposing of so cavalierly throughout both games are programmed to be able to feel pain. (Worse, there's no reason to create a gun turret that feels pain.)
      • This is doubly disturbing considering several of the lines the turrets utter upon "death" such as "Whyyyyyyyy?!" and "I don't hate you." To say nothing when you start making them get rejected in Portal 2 ("Whee... OH NO!", "I did everything you ASKED...!").
    • In co-op, the player characters are robots so that when they die due to ineptitude or griefing, the deaths are funny rather than scary. It also helps that Death Is Cheap, due to the fact that, as a robot, they just make you a new body, reload your memories, and drop you back into the action. And when you finish a level, they just take you apart again or just blow you up where you stand, at the end of a testing series.
    • GLaDOS even references this trope: She says that Chell's messed up situation of being held captive and asleep for an unknown amount of time is humorous because:
      GLaDOS: Comedy equals tragedy plus time. And you have been asleep for a while. So I guess it's actually pretty funny when you do the math.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] takes place in a Crapsack World where New York is run by Sociopathic Soldiers on one hand and zombies on the other. Naturally most of the humor comes from this.
    Blackwatch Soldier: Dude, I shot this guy yesterday, I swear to God, he looked just like Jimmy Fallon! I mean, it wasn't Fallon, but he looked just like him!
  • Saints Row: The third installment ramps up the sociopathy to ludicrous levels. Throwing civilians is a thing. Murdering dozens of innocent cops is a thing. If you do it just right, you can convince the SWAT team to murder police officers -for- you. Then the sequel lectures you for all this nonsense.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Max and Sam often use this trope, but Max is especially comical and sociopathic, and he gets to be the president of the US for two seasons!
    Max: Gratuitous acts of senseless violence are my forte.

    Max: Either termites are boring through my skull, or one of us is ticking.
    Sam: Oh yea! [pulls out a time bomb] Max, where should I put this, so it won't hurt anyone we know or care about?
    Max: Out the window, Sam! There is nothing but strangers out there!
    [Sam throws the bomb outside, it promptly explodes]
    Sam: I hope nobody was on that bus!
    Max: Nobody we know at least!

    Sam: Geez, I don't know anyone who could firebomb kittens! [the kittens are a Thing-esque shape-shifting monster]
    Max: Here. Let me.
  • Sengoku Rance: Rance. The only thing saving him from being a Villain Protagonist Played for Laughs is that the Big Bad is even worse (like raping his daughter and mutilating her at the same time or having prepubescent Kouhime gang-raped instead of just killing her) and, unlike Rance, has no redeeming qualities.
  • Later in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the sociopathy belongs to Dark Side Sith. For the Inquisitor, there is literally nothing lightning cannot do, including shock foes, kill quest givers, and keep mouthy companions in line. Brief example: During a quest to interrogate a prisoner on the tutorial planet, you can shock him to force him to sing, and then shock him again when he doesn't sing to your liking. Yes. It goes that far.
  • Team Fortress 2. You can say two very true things about the main cast: 1. They are all funny as hell. 2. They are all highly-paid mercenaries of questionable mental stability, hired to repeatedly kill their doppelgängers on the other team (or lately, fight armies of killer robots).
    • The Scout is a Trash Talking soda-chugging blur with a baseball bat, the Soldier is Ax-Crazy, the Demoman is a drunk Mad Bomber, the Spy seems to have Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, the Pyro is a pyromaniac, the Heavy Weapons Guy is a Boisterous Bruiser, the Medic is a Mad Scientist, and the Sniper is an antisocial hitman from the Australian Outback... The Engineer seems to be the calmest and most friendly of them all, until you notice his creepy smile (and the fact that you never see his eyes behind the goggles, at least not in the game).
      • The Scout trained himself to run faster just because so that he could get a head start on beating on people.
      • The Soldier (who never actually was in the army because no branch of the US military wanted the madman) is a jingoistic, nationalistic, homophobic, xenophobic, paranoid schizophreniac who in his youth went on a Nazi killing spree in Poland, starting in 1945 and ending in 1949... oh, and he collect severed heads of enemies and talks to them.
      • The Pyro can't really talk comprehensibly, but the fact that s/he still goes out to set people on fire when s/he's taken in enough smoke and asbestos that s/he can't talk through a breathing mask says enough. And as s/he is spreading fire and chaos, s/he sees it as spreading rainbows and happiness.
      • The Heavy Weapons Guy has built a bed for his minigun Sasha and gets paranoid and aggressive about people touching his weapon. He holds mock conversations with his sandvich (pretending that it urges him to kill people), and repeatedly calls the enemy team "babies". He is actually quite laid-back and friendly off the battlefield, but if he is angered he will rip people limb from limb with his bare hands.
      • The Demoman is a black Scottish cyclops who handles high explosives while perpetually drunk.
      • The Engineer's motto is "use a gun, and if that don't work, use more gun!"
      • The RED team's Medic, while operating on the Heavy, jokes about a previous operation where he completely removed the patient's skeleton. Said operation cost him his medical license. He also keeps a flock of doves flying around in the surgery room, one of which (Archimedes) seems to enjoy roosting in human guts. He also kept the severed (but still alive) head of the enemy Spy in his fridge.
        Spy: Kill me.
        Medic: Later. [closes fridge door]

        Medic: Can you feel ze Schadenfreude?

        Medic: Whoops. Zhat was not medicine. Zhat was doctor-assisted homicide.
      • The Sniper's Motto, "Be polite, be efficient, have a plan to kill everyone you meet." (which is a take on a motto out of The US Marines, changing "professional" to "efficient"). Also, he stores his piss in jars and throws it at people.
        Sniper: Boom, headshot.
      • The Spy tends towards the repeat backstabbing part of things a bit too much and really enjoys screwing around with his victims more than he should. And the RED Spy is sleeping with BLU Scout's mom.
    • Even the Engineer exhibits massive When All You Have Is a Hammer… tendencies. The Sniper, interestingly, vociferously denies being a "crazed gunman" and insists on being called an assassin, arguing that the difference is "one's a job and the other's mental sickness!"
    • To be fair, nearly everyone in the Team Fortress 2 universe seems to be a sociopath.
      • The Administrator runs both teams, runs commentary on the violence and she clearly enjoys sending the teams to blow each other to bits with the goal of a perpetual stalemate, while the Respawn machine makes sure they cannot die permanently.
        Administrator: Oh, I love this.
      • Her secretary, Miss Pauling, seems like a charming, mousy young woman in sensible shoes and glasses... until you see her executing a man in cold blood by luring him into an abandoned mine on the order of the Administrator, shooting him and then burying his corpse under quicklime.
      • Saxton Hale, CEO of Mann Corporation (who only appears in the TF2 comics), is a big, burly, bare-chested, boisterous Australian who runs around beating people up, fire-bombs hippies, kills endangered wildlife with his bare hands, pushes around his employees, jumps out of flying airplanes (while beating up "evil-doers"), and in general is as self-centered as you can be. Also, he promotes his manly deeds by appearing as the titular character in self-published Saxton Hale comics he sells.
      • Redmond and Blutarch Mann, the insane and scheming twin brothers who ran the corporations that owned RED and BLU team, respectively, never cared for anyone but themselves. After inheriting their father's land together, they tried for 120 years to outlive each other (with the help of Unobtanium), employing mercenaries to do the dirty work for them, making them true psychopaths who considered other people as mere tools. Even graverobbing wasn't below them. They finally met their end when they met their third twin-brother, Gray Mann, and his knife.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night has cases of this as well, such as when Saber seriously attempted to convince Shirou to let her go with him everywhere, including school, so she can protect him (note that she considers full body armor as casual dress).
    • Ironically, from what does happen, this actually would have been a good idea despite the stress it would have caused.
    • Shirou sometimes does this as well, as Issei 'did-you-just-tell-me-to-take-off-my-clothes?!' Ryudo can attest.
  • Tsukihime has Arcueid doing this to the protagonist in spades, from her visiting his high school and attempting to get his attention by waving wildly in the middle of the grounds (and admitting that she was just about to jump directly up to the third floor window by his desk to talk to him during class) to her barging/sneaking into the Tohno Mansion on a regular basis to meet him (not a very wise thing to do, considering Akiha's jealously).
    • She does have some justification for this. Part of it is because she's naive enough to literally not understand what she's doing wrong, and part of it is because her mission (tracking down Roa) is just that important. While most examples of her bad behavior from original visual novel (and corresponding manga/anime) can explained by naivety or desperation, later works portray her as genuine troll to everyone around her (including Shiki), just because she can.
    • The creepiest moment is probably when she considers breaking Shiki's glasses (something she knows would drive him insane) just because he was given them from another woman.

    Web Animation 
  • It's rampant in Happy Tree Friends; the basis of the series is cute little critters dying hideous deaths. The average character's reaction upon another's death is either disinterest or running or shifting away to try not to get involved with it. Considering the universe, that's probably wise...
  • Pillow in Battle for Dream Island is extremely unhinged and obsessed with murder, even to the point of killing her own teammates and/or throwing them around. At one point she threw several contestants off the top of a hotel.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater: Nearly every character is either on the giving or receiving end. The four main characters have all been on the giving end at some point (well, except Fighter — he's a casualty).
    • Special mention must be made of the "Invasion of Dwarfland" arc, which gives such lines as:
      "Their faces are being eaten by beard-shaped parasites!"
      "Kill 'em all and let the flames sort them out!"
      "Why everything I love is combustible!"
and the ever-favorite
"Now you're just doing it to annoy me; you don't even have heat vision!"
  • The ironic aspect of this is that they're not merely sociopaths, who have no concept of morality or ethics, but are also incapable of any self-control, even when they stand to benefit. During one arc their only goal is to make a profit by doing "side-quests." This begins with attempting to work for a mob boss, who they soon overthrow; they then end trying to extort the police, but end up killing them; they try to extort the towns people, but end up killing them; and finally fail to even hold onto their power because Black Mage blows the whole town to hell.
  • Red Mage doesn't seem like a sociopath for several hundred strips. Then he starts doing horrible things to chocobos.
  • Just about all the humor in Ansem Retort is this (particularly Axel, Zexion, and Darth Maul, usually to Riku). The very first strip involves Axel burning down an orphanage, then a courthouse.
  • Basic Instructions is a low-key version. Scott Meyer has said that he views his Author Avatar as a Villain Protagonist who is an asshole to his coworkers, his company's one client and his friends, usually in the form of funny snark and points-scoring, and Comics!Scott is very much A Lighter Shade of Black compared to Mullet Boss or Jenkins.
  • Blazen!'s Alternative Character Interpretation of Litchi definitely qualifies. She's a Bad Bad Girl Magnificent Bitch who tricked Tao into carving up the body of a dead hooker and then made meat-buns out of her before feeding them to Tao and Ragna. Although, Comedic Sociopathy pretty much sums most of the comedy in Blazen. Just look at Jin and Hazama...
  • Hex from Charby the Vampirate tends to horribly and creatively maim and murder over annoyances and perceived slights, Charby also has a habit of dishing out Disproportionate Retribution to humans though he slowly gets better about this after accidentally befriending a human Hunter of Monsters.
  • After winding up in a Teleporter Accident, CK from Commander Kitty decides to run the next test on his Bumbling Sidekick, Mittens. Adding insult to injury, CK has a pair of shockwatch stickers slapped to him.
  • Sim in Cthulhu Slippers has no problem sending lethal products to his customers and field testing his only friend's body armor while the friend is still wearing it.
  • Every Spark who isn't an outright Villain in Girl Genius. Even the well-intentioned ones when they're in their madness place. Then there's the Jaegerkin and Castle Heterodyne, and of course Bang.
  • The girl Blacksmith in Godslave is just waiting to see her colleague getting pounded by Edith.
  • Every iteration of Homestuck's Jack Noir starts out as this, particularly Spades Slick and the post-Scratch kid's Jack Noir. A lot of times, it becomes a lot less funny later on.
    • Almost all antagonists in Homestuck are prone to humorous actions or dialog at some point. This makes it all the more jarring when they commit horrific atrocities. Case in point: Caliborn.
    • Terezi exhibits this early in the comic, when many had her chalked up as a Lawful Evil character. Her courtroom FLARP scene did nothing to dispel this impression. Later, it turns out she's not anywhere near as bad as she seems.
    • Vriska. Dear god, Vriska.
      ATnote : sORRY FOR WHAT,
      AGnote : For 8eing crippled, you ass!
      AG: Yes.
      AG: Say you're sorry.
      AT: uH, tHE CIRCUMSTANCES,note 
  • Nearly all of the humor in Lackadaisy comes from tragedies and horrific injuries being presented in an amusing light. It helps that the main characters and most of those they tangle with are murderers, arsonists or getting paid blood money so they're endearing in their quirks, but not anyone the reader has to feel too upset about having their lives ruined or ended.
  • The Last Days of Foxhound starts with a Dysfunction Junction of asshole special ops weirdos treating each other and their enemies badly for laughs and then goes through rounds of Cerebus Syndrome until you feel sad when they're inevitably killed by Solid Snake.
  • Richard from Looking for Group could very well be the pope of this trope. Comic #60 pretty much gets the point across.
  • Mr Square uses this as a cornerstone to its comics. The titular Mr. Square is often put through both physical, and existential horrors for laughs. In this comic he stands in absolute desolation and sadness as a "Schadenfreude-hat" salesman sets up shop next to him.
  • Muh Phoenix: Everybody at some point, but the Phoenix Force speaks like this constantly.
  • Wonderella in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, despite nominally being a superhero, only really cares about her own needs and desires and doesn't particularly care about collateral damage if it gets the job done quickly. Just to hammer the point home, when she and Wonderita encounter the Mirror Universe Wonderella, she's exactly the same as Wonderella Prime.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf of The Order of the Stick has both the archetype of the Heroic Comedic Sociopath and Comedic Sociopathy at the core of his character. There are too many examples of his behavior to chronicle here, but you don't have to read too far into the comic before he starts displaying his hilariously sadistic self full-tilt. In one recent arc, he force-fed a guard in a gladiatorial arena another man's internal organs, which had been neatly sliced out by his cat. Then he pulled them out the other end.
    • In the early strips, everyone occasionally displayed comedic sociopathy; for example, after Roy was almost killed by poison traps and couldn't move, Elan used the opportunity to scribble obscenities on him. In real life, that would be terrible. The whole group also saw Durkon as little more than a walking band aid, and left him behind, wounded, only remembering him when they needed healing. This changed, and, so far, only Belkar retained his sociopathy.
  • Punintended's comics demonstrate this on occasion, as seen here. Vegetable and the banter between the authors makes one ask if the authors themselves are somewhat examples of this.
  • A significant portion of the characters created for the Black Comedy Webcomics Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Cyanide and Happiness do unimaginably cruel, horrible, and evil things, which is, of course, Played for Laughs.
  • Shortpacked!: If it weren't for this and the fact that most of his stunts Cross The Line Twice, Mike would be the most heinous of villains. Instead he's one of the strip's most popular characters. See for yourself.
  • Nearly all of the characters in The Snail Factory are completely apathetic to the suffering and horrible maiming of others.
  • Wray of Snowflakes is a lovably intense bully who fancies herself a Viking warrior. Her arsenal includes the insane amount of devotion she brings to these activities almost always Crosses the Line Twice, transforming what would normally be a traumatizing childhood experience into pure hilarity.
  • Sturgeon's Law: Marissa does this but unlike many webcomics, she's called out for it and considered more than just a whimsical Deadpan Snarker.
  • The entire premise of Two Guys and Guy revolves around its three sociopathic main characters.
  • Wondermark: Humour is frequently derived from someone acting like an asshole, but Gax — an alien with a particular loathing for 1) the planet Earth and 2) everybody on it — is a particularly reliable source, since he's one of the comic's few actual recurring characters.
    Gax: I shouldn't tell you this, Rob, but there is such a thing as a Gaxian luck spell! I should warn you - it's extremely powerful.
    Rob: I could really use a little luck tonight! Does it work on humans?
    Gax: I assure you that it does.
    Gax: (to Rob, who is smouldering, wearing torn clothes, and generally looks like he's been through the wringer backwards) I did not specify what KIND of luck.
  • Yan from Ying & Yan is often unapologetically mean to his conjoined twin brother Ying, insulting him even when he is faced with a problem like identity theft.
  • Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal (2022) ends with Ziggy and Silly passing the time in prison by getting beaten up by the other inmates. There's even a queue for who gets to pummel them next.

    Web Original 
  • There's huge amounts of needless violence Camp Camp, much of it directed towards David. Examples from the first episode alone include David being run over by the bus (twice!), David being bitten by Nikki, David being assaulted by a guitar-wielding Gwen and Space Kid being used as a Human Shield.
  • The DesuDesBrigade especially Vixen and Mal, but notably in the Christmas Special. Tentacle Violations for all!
  • Near-constant in Farce of the Three Kingdoms, given that all the serious violence of the original novel is instead Played for Laughs.
  • From Fat, French and Fabulous: "You have probably seriously considered throwing a human child down a storm drain on numerous occasions."
  • I Love Bees (a Halo 2 ARG): Durga, a vengeful AI, often humorously decides to punish people (for offenses like doing their jobs and annoying people she likes) by hacking into their accounts and changing details to make it look like they committed various crimes. She also makes a guy lose his job for interrupting her conversation, which he has no way of knowing was happening.
  • The whole premise of Llamas with Hats. Paul whines at Carl for whatever horribly violent things he's done just prior to the episode.
  • In "Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Bloopers", everyone gets sent to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games for many silly "disabilities", such as swallowing, having hands crushed, or hit in the head by the "stone futball", having almost drowned, being shot by an arrow, punched in the crotch, having ball shoved up butt, and injury from not finding a bathroom. Even the Horse is there for being shot in the leg by Buford Tannen over who's better on horse. Mario's disability takes the cake: Being beaten up after purposefully inflicting the disabilities upon others and forcing them to go the Paralympics. (After Mario apologizes, everything goes back to normal though.)
  • Cannibalism. Abuse to women and children, whether they are alive or dead. Two countdowns including a series of dark jokes, with the latter including HONORABLE MENTIONS. The Music Video Show has slid into this in season four.
    "There. NOW you'll have to come back to the [therapy] session." After, she kicks a woman down stairs.
    • Season five proves that she has no soul, figuratively.
  • More or less the premise of the first five seasons of Red vs. Blue. Wyoming shooting a captive? Cruel. Caboose blowing Church up with a tank? Hilarious. The Beaver Creek Reds and Blues slaughtering each other in a parody of the video game the show is set in? One of the best episodes. Pelican crushes Donut? Lulz ensue. Donut stuck by Tex? Still a meme a decade later.
  • Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, in Thalia's Musings:
    "I try to help my [worshipers] by providing a series of comic mishaps in their lives. They never seem very appreciative." [1]
  • In Touhou: a Glimmer of an Outside World, this is possibly the most likely response to any situation where a character can get hurt: it's going to end up hilarious.

    Web Video 
  • BigMooney06 excels in this trope. You'd never think an unstoppable assassin walking through an area killing everyone, even defenseless innocents, would be so funny.
  • Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv) has been known to make the occasional use of this.
  • The Game Grumps often discuss this and accuse their fans of it, as the videos they make where they're playing terrible games or horror games, or really anything that makes them rage, scream in horror, or otherwise just suffer, get the most views and votes. Among their three most popular videos of all time, alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild which was highly anticipated due to Arin's views on the Zelda series (namely, how much he criticizes Ocarina of Time and vocally hates Skyward Sword), are their playthrough of P.T. and when they played Ross's sadistic Super Mario Maker levels.
    Dan: So, thank you for supporting us! And also, what the fuck is your problem at the same time, y'know?
    Arin: Inside, we're all a bunch of sadists.
  • This is GrayStillPlays' brand of comedy. In simulation games, Gray always attempts to make the worst possible choices, and get people killed whenever possible, and boy, does he make it hilarious.
  • Gronkh shows some examples of this:
    • He often is cruel to Minecraft animals for laughs.
    • His entire mini-LP of the game Die Polizei was about being a racist, sadist, foul-mouthed asshole, to emphasize the bad quality of the game and spice it up.
  • The Hobo Bros discuss the concept of schadenfreude while struggling with the levels in one of their Super Mario Maker videos.
  • hololive has plenty of idols who engages in unidol-like behavior, and their sociopathy is often Played for Laughs. The prime example however is Suisei Hoshimachi, who gained a notorious reputation of Memetic Psychopath this way when it comes to video games where she can inflict violence on others, especially group collaboration game Project Winter where she infamously killed five people, one whom she taunts wearing the disguise of one of her friends and imitates her, and finishes off with a golden axe. All Played for Laughs of course.
  • Hot Bikini Beans contains numerous examples of this throughout the series.
  • JonTron's "Starcade" series involved Darth Vader forcing Jon to review a bunch of Star Wars games. This was ultimately just to keep him distracted while Emperor Palpatine accomplished his evil plan: rebuilding Star Wars Kinect, purely to enjoy the misery it will inflict on everyone else.
    Jon: What do you want from me?! Why do this?!
    Palpatine: Because I want to see people all around the galaxy do the funny Han Solo dance!
    Jon: Oh God, no!
    Palpatine: And I will be there to watch as every last person gets frustrated because the controls almost work, but NEVER QUITE DO WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO!
    Jon: Impossible evil! What wretched part of the galaxy did you spawn from?!
    Palpatine: Los Angeles.
    [Palpatine shocks Jon with Force Lightning]
    Palpatine: And after this, we will go into my chambers... and I will watch you try to NAVIGATE THE MENUS!
  • Platform Hell games, the majority of which are ROM hacks or otherwise non-commercially made, lend themselves to this. See Let's Plays of games like Kaizo Mario World and I Wanna Be the Guy.
    • Most Let's Plays about games with a lot of violence or carnage get most of their humor from the player laughing like a maniac while slaughtering things needlessly. And quite a few games without a lot of violence or carnage too.
  • Neville gets treated horribly by everyone in Potter Puppet Pals — especially Ron, Hermione and Harry, three of his best friends in canon. It gets to the point where he decides he'll just explode.
  • React Gaming has most episodes running on two sides of how it's fun to watch teens\adults suffer: horror games (bonus if Oculus Rift is employed, as the immersion heightens the Jump Scare effectiveness), or Nintendo Hard stuff (particular mention to Battletoads and its Friendly Fire).
  • RedLetterMedia: Mr. Plinkett is a Serial Killer who reviews movies in great detail. Jay and Mike from Half in the Bag only seem to care about making money and barely know what "guilt" is. This is all Played for Laughs.
  • Sam & Mickey's videos get most of their humor from making life for Barbie and/or those around her a living hell.
  • Nearly all of the SMPLive characters are bad people who do bad things. This isn't meant to tell any kind of lesson, you're just supposed to laugh at how awful they all are.
  • This pops up twice on Steam Train, once with Ross on the delivering end by forcing Dan to play Default Dan, and once with Ross on the receiving end when he was forced to play Eryi's Action by Arin. For the former, Ross is cackling like a sadistic maniac every step of the way as Dan is, to paraphrase his summary of the game, "punished for knowing how other games work." For the latter, Arin is cackling like a sadistic maniac every step of the way while Ross stumbles blindly into the impossible-to-see-coming deliberately cheap deaths the game is peppered with. Then, to bring it full circle, Ross and Dan would get to cackle like sadistic maniacs when Arin was forced to play his sadistic Super Mario Maker levels, but see above for that one.
    Ross: This game sucks ass! Whoever made this game is a sus- sad- susa- saddamist!!!
  • TheStrawhatNO!:
    • Most of the love letter sidequest in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is spent laughing at Cawlin's misfortune.
      Thorn: I'm gonna sit here and laugh at you! Ha! Ha-ha!
      Travis: So tell me how you feel, 'cause I don't care!
    • The entire Sleeping Dogs (2012) Let's Play is this. Travis causes more than a ridiculous amount of pain, murder and destruction to the citizens of Hong Kong (innocent and otherwise), and the trio spend the whole time cracking up over it.
  • Tobuscus displays this in "Safety Torch", in which he terrorizes a little kid with imaginary monsters and encourages him to burn down his house so he can extort him for money.
  • The web series Unknown Movies deconstructs this trope by playing the "angry, crazy, jerkass reviewer who says he'll hurt people or things that they don't like" trope and leading it to its logical (and horrifying) conclusion.
  • Chonny from yourchonny is often a victim of this in his skits, courtesy of the parents that he is portraying.

    Western Animation 
  • Frequently used in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • This fuels both Beavis and Butt-Head and the audience watching them.
  • Louise from Bob's Burgers definitely qualifies. In the first episode alone, she convinces the town that their restaurant uses human flesh in their burgers and at the point where Bob is close to defusing the situation, convinces the crowd to turn on him.
  • Dan of Dan Vs.. The whole show is built around Dan going to great lengths to exact revenge on anyone and anything he feels has wronged him. He even maintains a list.
  • Drawn Together. Special mention has to go to Captain Hero, whose actions might be better described as Comedic Psychopathy.
    Captain Hero: YES! Captain Hero ONE! Billions of innocent Zebulonians... um... dead... oh. Uh... I...(slinks off)
  • The Urpneys are regularly beaten, squashed, fried and otherwise comically decimated by everyone from their Bad Boss, their Mad Scientist rival, to the messianic Dream Maker, his Noop Kid Sidekicks and their pet dog fish in The Dreamstone, largely for being shanghaied into a villainous mission they don't even want to be part of. Played (at least partially) less comedically in the opening of the pilot episode, where it is shown clearly that an Urpney can ultimately be killed.
  • If it weren't for Amusing Injuries, Eddy's brother from Ed, Edd n Eddy would step over from this to just plain sociopath, though it stopped being amusing due to how far his brother took the abuse and how it's implied he's been abusing his brother since he was a kid.
  • Practically everyone in Family Guy, Peter most prominently.
    • Lois may be a more notable example if only for her rather contrasting persona compared to Jerkass Peter; she still seems to be established as the caring and intelligent housewife of the family, though depending on the gag, can switch between nurturing and loving her kids endlessly or being as abusive and neglectful to them as Peter.
    • Needless to say, nearly all of Meg's treatment in later seasons leans towards this trope.
  • Of the central characters on Futurama, perhaps only Bender really qualifies as a true sociopath. Nevertheless, the characters all show tremendous disregard for each other's feelings. And everyone's sociopathic for Zoidberg.
    • Zapp Brannigan is utterly selfish and narcissistic, and not even in an endearing way like Bender. There's an element of comedic sociopath to his actions, but the humor from his character is mostly drawn from the horrible things that happen to him.
  • 99% of the time, Goofy in Goof Troop is completely oblivious to how much destruction and pain his clumsiness inflicts, especially to his neighbor Pete.
  • Uncle Grizzly, The creepy old claymation guy on Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids could barely go a host segment without abusing his pet spider in some morbidly humorous way.
  • Gaz in Invader Zim is something of a Comedic Sociopath. The entire show is essentially this.
  • One of the most memorable gags in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the one where Charlie Brown gets rocks instead of Halloween candy. From every single house that he and his friends visit while trick-or-treating. That is a pretty impressive display of hatred for a single kid.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes loves using violent slapstick and Black Comedy as quick jokes. Heloise in particular is fond of engaging in sadistic actions for fun, including sucking up all the water around a tree so it will wilt and attempting to bury someone alive. It actually works rather well given the series is supposed to be set in Hell by another name.
  • The Henry and June wraparounds on KaBlam!. It's about a slightly ditzy ten-year-old boy and his Jerkass admirer/best friend who loves beating this kid up. On top of that, he's constantly beat up by a sasquatch. He needs so much hugging. Most likely enforced, it is a comedy.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat, Stumpy and even Kaeloo herself on occasion. Everybody is this towards Stumpy half the time.
  • As one of the series' resident Butt Monkeys, Bill is on the receiving end of a fair bit of this on King of the Hill.
  • The Modifyers: Much of the show's humor stems from the way Rat suffers. He's forced to play second fiddle to Lacey, who toys with him. While their boss, Baron Vain, walks all over him and was even going to feed him to his pet for interrupting him (on top of failing him).
  • Rick and Morty: Most characters have their moments, though Rick supplies the most by far. Sociopathy from anyone is almost always played for laughs; most of the show's drama comes from when characters don't act like sociopaths.
    Morty: You sold a gun to a murderer so we can play video games?
    Rick: Yeah sure, if you spend all day shuffling words around you can make anything sound bad, Morty.
    • Deconstructed. Rick Sanchez certainly comes across as one, but it's implied to be a defense mechanism fostered over decades — if he ever stopped to empathize with those he's wronged over the years or consider the full consequences of his actions, he just might go completely insane.
  • Robot Chicken showcased this with Uncle Owen in one of the Star Wars specials, with him whispering something to Beru and prompting a laugh. The joke was "I guess that makes him Little Orphan Annie!", with Owen citing the "Tragedy + Time = Comedy" formula (and blithely ignoring the corpse of Anakin's mother right there). This comes back to bite him in the ass hard later on, though.
  • Although many characters in South Park fit this trope, the most obvious example would have to be Cartman, who freely manipulates and uses everybody around him according to whichever whim has him at the moment. As an example: In the episode "Ginger Kids", Cartman freely advocates denying all ginger kids basic human rights. After Stan and Kyle conspire to turn Cartman into a ginger with makeup, convinced that it is the only way he'll learn fairness, Cartman proceeds to instantly convert to the ginger cause and quickly advocates the total genocide of all non-gingers... especially the gingers who are "faking it" with makeup.
    • He killed a guy's parents and fed them to him, then added insult to injury by making his favorite band laugh at him. He was upset with that after learning that was his father... making him half-ginger.
    • Butters and Pip are frequent victims of Comedic Sociopathy; you would expect a Jerkass like Cartman to exploit or bully the unfortunate souls, but be less expectant of Stan and Kyle (and sometimes even Chef) acting as Manipulative Bastards around them (anti-bigoted Kyle even went into a long-winded rant at "Frenchy little frog" Pip that earned him a broken nose). In later episodes, this treatment was toned down slightly, with closer-to-Earth characters acting more sympathetic towards Butters and Pip being put Out of Focus until he was squashed by Mecha-Streisand.
      Everyone: Shut up, Pip!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants became this after the movie. All characters have had shades of this (excluding Sandy), especially Mr. Krabs; after his marked Flanderization following the movie, he's actually a Comedic Sociopath, insensitive and immoral, arguably the kid's show equivalent of Cartman. Even to the extent that gets to have very disturbing moments, including "One Coarse Meal", where he nearly drives Plankton to suicide.
    • And in fact, the most frequent victims of Comedic Sociopathy are Squidward, Plankton and Gary, who are often injured or humiliated by most other characters.
    • Depending on the Writer, Squidward can have a playful sociopathic side himself. As a result, it's hard not to enjoy it with him.
  • Thomas & Friends: Laughter at the ironic misfortune of a featured character is a common story element inherited from The Railway Series. This began to get downplayed when the show was exported to the US, as child psychologists consulted by the producers recommended making the main characters' relationships less antagonistic.
  • In Tom and Jerry, many of Tom's injuries can be cruel yet funny, such as anvils or a heavy blunt object landing on his head, getting poked in the eyes, stabbed with knives or pitchforks, getting shot with guns, heavy objects dropped onto his feet, getting his teeth smashed or pulled out, mauled by Spike, etc. It's gotten to the point where some viewers end up rooting for Tom over Jerry. In fairness, the Comedic Sociopathy was non discriminate at times, with Jerry or some other character getting it even worse whenever Tom became more sympathetic.
    • This particular instance is heavily parodied and sometimes lampshaded in The Simpsons, specifically with The Itchy & Scratchy Show — Tom at least tries to do something to Jerry before getting beat up, but Scratchy is generally minding his own business when Itchy shows up to murder him. Itchy And Scratchy in fact based itself more on the Herman and Katnip series, which takes the cat and mouse formula and increases the slapstick violence.
  • Total Drama engages in this very regularly, thanks to being a spoof of reality TV that is hosted by a literal sociopath. Literally every character in the show has been hurt or humiliated in some manner for the purposes of comedy.
  • Random!Blitzwing of Transformers: Animated. He rips off Ratchet's hand at one point. And it is hilarious.
  • In one of Cartoon Network's What A Cartoon! Show shorts, an old man drags his two grandkids away from a video game to tell them a rambling, nonsensical story about the time he defeated the aliens. Near the end, he starts trailing off; after a worried second, the girl asks if he's dead, and her brother responds that no, he just turned down Gramps' oxygen. Then they go off and play the video game while their grandfather slumbers away with the very real possibility that he'll suffocate because the selfish little brats wanted to play a game.
    • Sledgehammer O'Possum from the short short "Out and About" runs on this, he inflicts all kinds of pain and torture on a dog who didn't even do anything to him, all in the name of comedy. If it weren't Played for Laughs and Amusing Injuries didn't occur Sledgehammer would be seen as a total psychopath.
  • Almost everything that the Blue Beetle AI says in Young Justice (2010) is an insanely violent overreaction to the current situation. It was just as bad when Jaime and the Scarab first appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Thankfully, it got majorly toned down as the two hit Character Development strides.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Comedic Sociopath, Schadenfreude


Krabby Land

SpongeBob manages to entertain a group of children with humorous injuries.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

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Main / ComedicSociopathy

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