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Do Not Taunt Cthulhu

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"You have an inflated sense of your importance. To a thing like me, a thing like you, well...think how you'd feel if a bacterium sat at your table and started to get snarky. This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that's barely out of its diapers. I'm old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you."

It won't end well.

So you're facing a powerful enemy, and you appear to have some sort of power over them? Perhaps you've locked them up, or they're not as terrifying as you thought, or maybe they've lost all their powers. In any case, you start to taunt them, confident in your victory.

They promptly obliterate you.

Of course, other things can happen. Maybe you can stare into the abyss and make it blink first. Point is if you're gonna talk crap to an Eldritch Abomination, make sure you can back it up first.

A Sister Trope to Death by Mocking and Bullying a Dragon. A subtrope of Too Dumb to Live, for what should be fairly obvious reasons. Often overlaps with Tempting Fate.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess is a nice girl... but when a jerkass attempts to rape her, she kicks his ass. With lightning. In the manga, she instead tosses him through a wall, with a tornado.
  • In Attack on Titan, the Survey Corps has a really bad habit of taunting the Female Titan whenever they appear to have the advantage.
  • In Bokurano, one military officer who points a gun at Koyemshi loses the hand(anime)/fingers(manga) attached to it, and Koyemshi comments "You really are beyond help. Provoking an enemy without grasping his strength?". In the anime, immediately after Kanji gives a You Monster! remark to Koyemshi for the second time, he asks if he has a death wish, then arranges for him to pilot next which will end with his death.
  • In Claymore, the Claymore Teresa is confronted by the chief of a marauding bandit gang. This chief wastes a lot of time showing off the effectiveness and deadliness of his Falcon Sword. For context, the Falcon Sword is allegedly so fast that to the human eye it's just a blur, effectively making it undodgeable and unblockable and making the user untouchable. The bandit chief proclaims that Teresa would need luck just to get close and that she's but a sitting duck. Teresa then proceeds to cut him down instantly, without saying a word and without giving the bandit chief even a chance to see what just killed him. And that's what happens when you mess with one of the most powerful characters in the entire series.
  • Throughout Death Note, Ryuk has provided little more than goofy antics. Then, at the end, Light, desperate to save himself, demands that Ryuk kill the Kira investigation team. Ryuk responds by writing Light's name down and showing it to him, letting Light spend the last forty seconds of his life horrified that he's about to die. Ryuk, for all his silliness, is not human, doesn't think like a human, and will not be ordered around by a human.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Chi-Chi never learns. After smacking Super Buu for killing her son (he's really alive, but she didn't know), Buu turns her into an egg and smashes her! She probably shouldn't have confronted him, but still, dick move!
    • Speaking of Buu, in the Battle of Gods movie, Buu is on the receiving end of this trope when he eats two plates of pudding that Lord Beerus wanted and then mocks him for it. Beerus responds by blasting him into a lake, then fishing him out and smashing his head against Gohan's. Bear in mind that Buu is himself a Humanoid Abomination notorious for killing and eating his way through Universe 7's pantheon, but Beerus is the god that even other gods fear.
    • In said movie, Bulma walks up to Beerus, yells at him for ruining her birthday party, and slaps him. His response? He just slaps her back. Bulma is really lucky he held back or else he would have obliterated her!
    • Goku even references this come Resurrection 'F'; the minute they hear from Bulma about Frieza's return, Goku insists to Vegeta they need to get back to Earth right away before Bulma does or says something stupid to piss Frieza off.
    • In general, anyone who is not a superpowered planet-killing warrior had better be polite when they speak to Shenron. It's implied that he's killed people in the past who took too long to decide on a wish, and in Resurrection F, he lampshades to Sorbet that being rude to the super-powerful magical dragon-god is not a wise idea (Sorbet immediately rephrases his wish to be more polite). The only being that has ever cowed Shenron is the aforementioned Beerus.
    • Even Goku gets in on this sometimes. Remember when that Ginyu Force brute Recoome literally gave him the bird when his scouter showed Goku had a mere power level of 5000 (to Recoome's 65000-ish)? Goku slugged him in the gut and took him out with a single hit. Recoome didn't know that Z-Fighters can hide their true power levels from scouters, and Goku was in reality three times stronger than him.
      Goku: I saw an opening that screamed "attack", so I did. Hah!
  • In Elfen Lied, Bando mocks Lucy, technically Nyu at the time, despite knowing the potential powers she has — although he is an arrogant bastard not too far from the Diclonii. She breaks both arms and gouges out his eyes.
  • In Fairy Tail, God Serena, the strongest member of the Ten Wizard Saints of Ishgal and a member of the Spriggan Twelve of Alvarez, tries to pick a fight with Acnologia, the most powerful Dragon Slayer in existence who more or less wiped out the dragons (who were powerful enough to casually destroy mountains with their attacks) over 400 years ago. Acnologia proceeds to eviscerate Serena so fast everyone watching barely comprehends what happened as Serena drops dead in a pool of his own blood.
  • In Little Witch Academia (2013), the Alpha Bitch and her cohorts find an ominous container at the bottom of a dungeon. They open it, expecting some sort of final boss, but a harmless lizard crawls out. Unaware of the fact that it eats magic, they make fun of it and blast it with spells. It quickly grows into an enormous dragon and goes on a rampage through the school.
  • Quattro from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS thought it would be a good idea to piss off Nanoha by torturing her daughter and forcing the two of them to fight each other. As soon as Nanoha found where she was hiding, she responded with a Blaster 3 Divine Buster from the other side of the Saint's Cradle.
  • In Pokémon: The First Movie, Ash's Charizard, upon being released from his Poké Ball, looks Mewtwo in the eye before defiantly blasting a Flamethrower in his direction. Mewtwo just shrugs it off.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, do not attack Shana or get in Yuji's (as the Snake of the Festival) way with her or else he'll grievously hurt and/or even kill you.
  • Ryoko does this twice in the Tenchi Muyo! OVAs. The first time, she mocks Ayeka's attempts at torturing information out of her with electrical shocks from her guardians; Ayeka just uses Sword Tenchi's lockout instead, which hurts like a bitch. The second time, Ryoko makes the mistake of laughing at Ayeka's cutesy voice towards her mother Misaki; Misaki responds by grabbing Ryoko's cheeks and stretching.

    Comic Books 
  • Occurs in the Astro City story "Where the Action Is." After publisher Manny Monkton pisses off a super-villain with his sensationalist stories, he becomes inspired to create a new line of comics dealing with Cosmic Entities, beings who "won't give a gnat's fart" about whatever he says about them. When the first issue of their new series hits the stands, their entire publishing office vanished the very next day; onlookers claimed they smelled something at the scene that may have been a gnat's fart.
  • Hellblazer: The protagonist actually flipped off Satan. The latter returned the favor.
  • Subverted in Judge Dredd. During one of the Dark Judges' invasions of Mega City One, a man whose wife was about to be murdered by Judge Death bravely grabbed a nearby chair and knocked the armored skeletal Hanging Judge over the head. As the monster prepares to stomp him into a pancake, a group of normal Judges forces him to flee.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Doctor Strange foe Dormammu once greatly increased his already immense power by tapping into the power of the physical embodiment of the universe, to the point of literally pushing the Hulk around. Unfazed, the green goliath threatened Dormammu, but the dark lord merely mocked him and warned that insulting him would be unwise. When the Hulk asked why, Dormammu responded that he had enough power to defeat him without lifting a finger, but Hulk's only response was "That I'd like t'see". In the next panel, Hulk was turned into glass.
    • Hulk has been on the other side of this as well. Taunting him isn't really advisable, yet people are dead set on picking fights with him. (Loki promptly added insult to injury, becoming an instant Internet meme — which proves that even gods should take this advice to heart.) Heck in the above example with Dormammu, a couple issues later Hulk returns the favor by thunderclapping the demon unconscious.
    • Jubilee of the X-Men once thought it was a good idea to taunt a pack of hungry dinosaurs from the safety of the far side of a forcefield wall. Then the flying dinosaur riders turned up...
    • In The Unbelievable Gwenpool:
      • Gwenpool mocks M.O.D.O.K. since she sees him as a C-List villain. He responds by vaporizing her friend Cecil on the spot and then forcibly recruiting her into his organization on the pain of being killed as well.
      • She also mocks a seemingly defeated Deadpool claiming to be invincible in her own comic book... let's just say that gloating about your own Fourth-Wall Observer skills is just giving him ideas.
    • In The Punisher MAX, some thugs thought it'd be a good idea to Prison Rape The Kingpin in the days before he became The Don. Even though he was just a small-time thug like them at the time, it didn't end well for one of them or his wife.
  • Superman foe Mongul (the first one) met his end this way. During Underworld Unleashed, the demon lord Neron appeared before a gathering of villains and offered them power in exchange for their souls. Neron allowed any villain that didn't want to participate to simply leave. However, Mongul refused by attacking Neron; Neron brutally killed him, and consumed his soul.
  • In Thunderbolts, The Leader Samuel Sterns once negotiated a contract with Mephisto with favorable terms for him and the Thunderbolts. The Leader left rather satisfied that he beat the devil at his own game, while Mephisto stewed in frustration. At the end of this run of the series, The Leader is doomed to suffer the Ghost Rider's Penance Stare for the rest of his life as punishment for all the crap he's done throughout the series. Cue Mephisto waltzing in with a new contract in hand. The Leader immediately signs the new contract to escape the Penance Stare. Mephisto sends the Ghost Rider back to Johnny Blaze (much to Blaze's displeasure) and escorts Sterns to Hell while describing all of the tortures he has in mind for Sterns.
  • In Wild's End, Mr. Fawkes flips off the alien death robot that is chasing him. It then easily overturns the car he is riding in.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield:
    • In one strip, Garfield starts teasing a leashed dog.
      Garfield: Dogs are stupid. [Slaps the dog silly] With bad breath.
      [The dog snaps his collar.]
      Garfield: [Visibly trembling and sweating nervously] But I love them anyway.
    • In another, Garfield spots a tiny dog's head sticking out of a large doghouse.
      Garfield: That tiny dog could use a twang.
      [Garfield twangs the dog's nose, only for it to stand up and reveal that it's a Tiny-Headed Behemoth with legs that are so muscular they're almost as big around as Garfield is.]
      Garfield: Talk about your unpleasant surprises.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Morozko", the old man's daughter is extremely rude and demanding to Father Frost, a powerful and ancient spirit of cold and Winter, until he inevitably gets mad and freezes her to death.

    Fan Works 
  • Do not corrupt Chtullu would better fit the case in Akumatizing the Kwamis, where Gabriel Agreste decides to akumatize the captive kwamis through their Miraculous to gain more of their power. This not only makes them stronger and free of his control but also allows them to spread their akumatization to other kwamis, including Nooro. As such, they strip Gabriel of his powers and he is left to their very little mercy.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: They're called Legendary Pokémon for a reason, Yang... And they very much don't like it when your only fighting strategy is Attack! Attack! Attack!.
  • Child of the Storm has this happen more than once:
    • In the first book, Dumbledore relates a story of the Clan Akkaba summoning the Phoenix Force to do their grunt work when being hunted by Dracula and the Grey Court. While the Phoenix hates vampires, as Frigga later puts it, "[The Phoenix] does not take well to being summoned."
    • As both Gravemoss (a Physical God level Necromancer) and Chthon (Elder God of Chaos and Black Magic) find out in the finale, this could just as easily be called Do Not Taunt Doctor Strange.
    • In the sequel's Red Room arc, Yelena Belova, psychotic new claimant of the Black Widow name, does this twice.
      • The first time, she mocks her predecessor as an old woman who has gone soft. Natasha promptly beats the crap out of her while simultaneously delivering a brutal Breaking Speech, slicing off her thumb in the ensuing knife fight.
      • The second time, Yelena's backed up by the Winter Guard and thinks she has Natasha cornered, taking the time to gloat about how she now has something — or someone — she saw as Natasha's (Harry — or rather, his body, programmed by the Red Room as the Red Son) who she molested right in front of Natasha. Cue a) the Avengers (this being a trap), b) a Tranquil Fury-inspired No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Natasha that was so utterly brutally one-sided that the story doesn't even bother showing it.
    • Also during the Red Room arc, the Juggernaut, unleashed as a distraction, taunts a currently Mjolnir-deprived Thor, who was in a very bad mood to begin with. Cue Unstoppable Rage so spectacular that it takes the Hulk to restrain Thor from accidentally destabilising the entire Eastern Seaboard as a mere side-effect of his beatdown of the Juggernaut.
    • In fact, the entire Red Room arc is the Red Room very unwisely taunting not just the Avengers, but Asgard. Which responds, Old Testament style.
    • Dudley a.k.a. the Beast/the Blob, a superpowered thug and a newly turned Grey Court (Dracula style) vampire, nearly kills Uhtred, draining him almost dry and ripping his eye out, before throwing his half-dead body at Harry and gloating about how good he tasted. This, despite having personal experience of the Wrath of Harry. What happens next is both expected and not at all pretty.
    • Doctor Reynolds a.k.a. the Void/the Parasite makes the grave mistake of repeatedly provoking Harry by trying to more or less eat Clark's soul. Despite having it repeatedly demonstrated that even when Harry's playing relatively nicely for Clark's sake, mashing his Berserk Button like this is a very painful idea, he keeps doing it, finally almost choking Clark by transmuting the carbon dioxide in his lungs into dry ice (among other things). Harry loses his temper. Cue dismemberment, Mind Rape so brutal that the dismemberment is described as "a mere courtesy detail", and being drop-kicked into space. Good Thing You Can Heal, really.
    • The Spirit of the Fortress dances back and forth on the edge of this, generally tormenting Harry and his friends, but being wise enough of Harry's threat that it doesn't quite make him snap - as he points out, after possessing Hermione, it doesn't eat their soul as it does everyone else. Why? Because its host's memories provide graphic evidence of just how terminally bad an idea that would be.
  • Lampshaded in Savior of Demons, where Bulma has no problem taking Frieza down a notch, but even she reflects that it's not such a great idea when Goku isn't standing right there monitoring him.
  • Thousand Shinji: Invoked. Leliel slights Asuka, pissing off Shinji in the process. Shinji asks Leliel if it dares to fight him, and then he realizes that taunting an Angel may not be a good idea.
    Shinji: The "other" as you call her is the master of the world of physical combat, something you disdain but are you powerful enough to take me, a master of the mind?
    Shinji: [thinking] In retrospect perhaps such taunting was a bad idea if Rei’s commentary on the method of attack used by the Fifteenth Angel is correct.
    Asuka: Idiot!
    Shinji: Hey! I had no idea the situation would evolve like this!
  • In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four, Fury doesn't know when to shut up, not even when finding herself in the presence of the God of War. Wonder Woman has to restrain her:
    At that word from Mars, even Hippolyte shut up.
    But Fury didn't. "You overstuffed, tin-plated, dorkless big bag of stinkwind," she began. "I'll shut up when I wanna shut up, not when some dumb smokeass tells me to—"
    "Lyta," said Wonder Woman, clapping a hand over her daughter's mouth, "shut up."
  • In one chapter of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Progress, Princess Luna, the immortal god-queen of the moon, is tormented with her fear of baseballs by Angel Bunny. In the next chapter, Luna starts to overcome said fear with a little help from Fluttershy and Applebloom and proceeds to terrify Angel into submission when he tries it again (mainly because he broke her glasses).
  • In the Total Drama story, Legacy, when Chef Hatchet leaves Duncan and LeShawna to guard the (currently unarmed and docile) serial killer, he sternly warns them to not taunt the prisoner.
  • In Pony POV Series, enraging the Gods is never a good idea, even if generally they're nice folks (if in the Draconequi's case, operating on an alien morality).
    • This is particularly true of Entropy, the female Draconequi Elder, who does not like to be spoken back to and will erase anyone that does.
    • The generally kind Goddess of Love Venus' (who's incapable of unjustified malice) son Cupid was killed by a vindictive pony with a Concept Killing Spear. She descended to mortal reality in an Unstoppable Rage and blew a hole through said pegasus before they could even try to use it against her, then reduced said pegasus' house to a molten crater. And it's implied killing them wasn't the end of it, but Celestia never explained exactly what Venus did to her. Just that killing the son of the CONCEPT of Maternal Love was a very bad idea. A later story reveals she had her friend Pandora erase her name and appearance from all memory so thoroughly the girl herself can't recall it, turned part of her soul into an Angel for her own use, then threw her soul straight into Hell itself (though part of this was also because in killing Cupid, the pony erased countless innocent creatures from existence and felt no remorse for any of it).
      Celestia: For if a mortal mother's fury is terrible, imagine the wrath of a mother with the power of creation at her hooves.
    • Queen Tiamat, the Dragons' patron deity, is exceptionally polite and generally a nice woman. However, attempted genocide on her people will piss her off, and her resulting Roaring Rampage of Revenge leveled a country.
    • Entropy's wrath may be the most feared, but all of the Elders are decidedly not ones to screw with. The Father of All Alicorns is slow to anger, but his wrath is noted as putting his Draconequi counterpart Havoc's to shame (and Havoc is warden of Hell). In the above case with Venus, he paused her wrath only long enough to show the pony the full extent of her crimes, and when she showed no remorse at all for the devastation she caused, told Venus Do with Him as You Will. The all-loving Fauna Luster's anger has yet to be seen, but is implied to be something even Discord isn't insane enough to call down and even Nightmare Eclipse for all her megalomania knew better than to enrage her. One of the only ways to enrage her is to harm unborn souls who have yet to live, something no one is willing to do for fear of her wrath.
  • Episode 64 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos is basically this trope in episode form. Super Sonic, Super Shadow, and Super Eric all run afoul of Lord Maledict himself, and Sonic ramps his cocky confidence to the max before attacking Satan, believing that they're invincible. Cue villainous Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: In the Cell Arc, Tien has gotten into the habit of snarking at Vegeta whenever the opportunity arises. Krillin at one point asks why Tien is doing it, as Vegeta could very easily kill him, Tien's response?
    "At this point, it's a game. If he kills me, he loses. And he knows that."
    • There's also the time Garlic Jr. tried to antagonize Mister Popo on Kami's Lookout. BIG mistake as Popo swiftly assimilates him, ending Garlic Jr.'s story arc before it could even properly start.
  • In This Bites!, Cross's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Aokiji has the latter decide to kill him.
  • In the crossover fanfic The Dresden Fillies, Princess Celestia, who would normally qualify as the Cthulhu in this equation, attempts to interrogate He Who Walks Behind, an extremely dangerous Outsider. It is very much unimpressed and even delivers a short "The Reason You Suck" Speech before it proceeds to seriously injure her. She manages to destroy its physical form, but that is at best a minor setback for it.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines provides a few examples of this:
    • A sidestory follows Gym Leader Falkner as he tries to track Ho-Oh with the intention to catch it. Using a Rainbow Wing, he finds it atop Mt. Silver where he boasts that he will catch Ho-Oh, ordering his Pidgeot to give him his strongest attack. Ho-Oh not only doesn't even faze with the attack, but with a single flap sends them plummeting down the mountain, and it's a miracle that Falkner survives, albeit with bruises and first-degree burns all over his body.
    • The main story has a chapter in Pallet Town where Ash and his female companions are doing some training, until a Zapdos suddenly shows up seemingly out of nowhere, forcing them to fight it until it leaves. The Stinger of the chapter reveals that it was angry because Cross attempted to catch it. Compared to Falkner, Cross got off rather easy (only a broken arm upon falling down the hill), and despite acknowledging how stupidly reckless he was, he still intends to catch Ho-Oh one day.
  • When he reappears, Ethan Rayne in Xendra is shown being almost continuously tortured by the various gods he serves for his actions on Halloween, at least partially because several of the children who temporarily turned into demons are now turning back into demons again. When his shirt spontaneously bursts into flames, Xander notes that Ethan's chest looks like someone wrapped him in chains then pulled them off at high speeds. As they watch, the words "Deliver me to the Slayer" are carved into his chest.
  • Fates Collide: Mercury Black warns Emerald Sustrai not to antagonize Jack the Ripper, and he goes out of his way to appease her, as he feels she can easily kill them.
  • In Gaz's Horrible Halloween of Doom, after Gaz destroys a sacrificial offering that Dib was planning to make to Samhain, the Celtic god of death and the harvest, the god himself retaliates by cursing her with terrible luck on Halloween night. In order: she's forced to wear an embarrassing, extremely girly fairy princess costume (and her rival Iggins sees her in it), gets kidnapped by a paranormal investigator who mistakes her for a "Sugar Fairy", trips into a thorn bush, and gets her costume ripped up, has to walk home in the pouring rain, gets splashed with mud by a passing truck, and when she finally gets home, she spontaneously gets several cavities in her mouth just as she's about to enjoy her candy, prompting her father to throw all of it in the trash and haul her down to the basement for a few rounds of painful dental surgery.
  • Tobias in Traveler tried to catch Darkrai like he did in canon. Unfortunately for him, he lives in a Darker and Edgier world where Darkrai is a Physical God rather than an Olympus Mon. When Ash meets him, Tobias has gone insane and is overflowing with dark type energy.
  • This is especially the case when it comes to Communication. Because there is No Fourth Wall the players are directly interacting with the Mortal Concepts, they take extra care NOT to say anything that may very much piss their backers up as they are very aware that said backers are capable of turning things From Bad to Worse at a snap of a finger.
  • Inverted in A different weasel makes a difference at the beginning of the great battle for the Wall. A lone White Walker cruelly executes a Night's Watch member, lifts his severed head to show it to the defenders, and then gives an Evil Laugh. Tyrion Lannister promptly obliterates it with an obsidian-tipped scorpion bolt, and the other defenders all roar defiantly. The rest of the army of dead hesitates, taken aback by humanity's courage and defiance.
  • In Habenyan Chooses A Bride For Ritsuka, Habetrot's Open Mouth, Insert Foot tendencies with happily married servants tend to do this, usually by suggesting they can marry Ritsuka despite their past marriages, and usually end up with some like Tomoe Gozen and Bradamante retaliating. Then she questions why Europa would want to stay committed to Zeus due to his adultery in myths. In fury, Europa calls upon Proper-Human History Zeus, who while caring to humans has no problem smiting Habetrot for doubting his love to Europa.
  • In Gaz: FORMER Mistress of Nightmares, Gaz threatens a fellow student with her usual statement of sending someone to a nightmare realm. Unfortunately for her, this is overheard by the god of dreams, Hypno, who is offended by what he perceives as her stepping onto his turf. In retaliation, he sentences her to endless waking, trapping her in a series of increasingly worse nightmares, with the occasional Hope Spot of thinking she's woken up. She eventually does wake up for real, but it turns out that Hypno has made it so that this will happen every time she goes to sleep for the next month.
  • In the Eventide Verse branch-timeline fic Crystalforged, an adult Flurry Heart, currently the only alicorn and the first that the Forge has seen in millennia, ends up targeted by a group of bounty hunters looking to drag her off to the Order of the Two Sisters who consider any alicorn other than Celestia and Luna to be false gods. When warned of her identity, their leader brushes it off and mocks that he'll be sure to put her in their "fanciest chains." She responds by freezing them all solid and stealing their starship.

    Films — Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship: When Sunset Shimmer and Trixie find out who has been erasing their friends' memories, Sunset starts threatening them before Trixie points out it is a bad idea to threaten someone who can erase their memories at will. Sure enough, the two get their memories of the past few minutes erased and get locked in a room. Fortunately, Sunset left a Note to Self telling her to check a camera she had hidden in the room, which recorded what had happened.
  • The Prince of Egypt: The song "Playing With the Big Boys Now" is a challenge/taunt from Ramses's magicians to Moses, and by extension God. The next song, "The Plagues", demonstrates that this was not wise.
  • Prior to the events of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Puss had spent eight of his nine lives laughing in the face of death, thinking himself invincible. This, combined with how stupid his previous deaths were (highlights include walking off a tall building because he wanted to prove that cats always land on their feet, being crushed by a barbell after refusing help from a spotter, shooting himself out of a cannon to “revolutionize travel”, being incinerated by an oven after setting the temperature too high, and continuing to eat a meal containing shellfish despite being allergic to it), pisses off The Grim Reaper so much that he decides to personally end Puss's final life and only relents upon witnessing his Character Development.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Amityville Dollhouse has a character taunt the demonic dollhouse by saying that they are not afraid of it before daring it to do something. It responds by giving a girl stigmata before setting her on fire.
  • Blazing Saddles taught us to not shoot Mongo, it just makes him mad.
  • Played for Laughs in Bruce Almighty. Bruce challenges God by playing How Many Fingers?. God warns Bruce not to test The Lord, but Bruce insists. After God guesses correctly a few times, Bruce tries to cheat by changing the number of fingers mid-guess. Cue his hand showing the right number of fingers - seven of em.
  • The serial-killing menace in The Car goes out of its way to run down people who taunt it, including plowing through one victim's house.
  • In A Christmas Carol: The Musical, Scrooge mocks Marley as being an Acid Reflux Nightmare, jabbing him with a finger until he gets agitated enough to really scare Scrooge.
  • In Clash of the Titans (2010), the human characters do this a lot. Their plan is apparently to render the gods mortal by ceasing to worship them. They appear to have overlooked the fact that they're still invincible teleporting superbeings, who don't take kindly to humanity's rather laughable attempts to fight them. The Dragon is memorable for taunting Zeus (i.e. the god of thunder) on a cliff during a thunderstorm by raising his sword toward the heavens. That would be a bad idea without all-powerful beings who get angry at the drop of a hat.
  • Death Note: When Light mistakenly thinks that Ryuk killed numerous FBI agents and brought the police on him in the process, he threatens to write the demon's name in the Death Note. Ryuk just responds that he can go ahead and try, but warns Light that nobody has ever been able to get in more than two letters in time.
  • In Dracula Untold, the Ottomans invoked this when the envoy mentions taking Vlad's son and 1000 boys for their army. Vlad subsequently kills them all. Played with in that at the time he really was just a subservient vassal that they could boss around with no trouble, but their exorbitant demands do motivate him to become a bloodsucking monster who can wipe out the entire Ottoman army singlehandedly.
  • In Ghostbusters II, Peter Venkman tries to insult Vigo the Carpathian, but it ends badly.
    Venkman: Not so fast, Vigo. Hey, Vigo, yeah, you, the bimbo with the baby. Didn't you know the big-shoulder look is out? You know, I have met some dumb blondes in my life, but you take the taco, pal. Only a Carpathian will come back to life now and choose New York. Tasty pick, bonehead. If you had brain one in that huge melon on top of your neck, you'd be living the sweet life out in Southern California's beautiful San Fernando Valley.
    (Vigo shoots off an Agony Beam at the Ghostbusters)
    Venkman: Oh, darn it. Ohh... darn it.
  • Highlander II: The Quickening: The Corrupt Corporate Executive forms an alliance against Connor McLeod with General Katana, the alien warlord Big Bad. He eventually ends up on the bad end of Katana's sword after getting too snarky with him.
  • Labyrinth: You really shouldn't tell The Fair Folk that their challenges are "a piece of cake". When Sarah tells this to Jareth, the Goblin King responds by summoning the clock that demonstrates how much time she has left and spinning the hands forward an hour.
  • Towards the end of Licence to Kill, it's safe to say that Franz Sanchez had a bad day. His drug refining facility has been destroyed, the religious cult cover has been exposed, and James Bond has now destroyed two of the tankers with millions of dollars worth of petro-cocaine and managed to steal one. The last thing he needs at this point was his snot-nosed financial adviser berating him for messing up a lucrative business.
  • Two villain-on-hero examples come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both directed at Hulk of course.
    • The first happens in The Incredible Hulk when Emil "Soon-to-Be-Abomination" Blonsky walks right up to the big green guy and says "Is that all you got?". He is promptly punted into a tree and breaks most of his bones.
    • The second example happens at the tail end of The Avengers. Loki mistakenly believes that Hulk can be threatened into surrendering, and is grabbed by the leg and beaten into the ground for his trouble. "Puny god."
  • Dorian Tyrell at the end of The Mask. Despite his heavily armed men being defeated by Stanley while wearing the titular mask, Stanley surviving a bomb going off in his stomach while wearing it, and Dorian himself having casually survived multiple bullet wounds while wearing it, Dorian still tries to kill Stanley with just a knife while Stanley's wearing the mask. It ends with Dorian getting flushed down a pool.
  • In Men in Black, both the tow truck driver and the morgue receptionist learn the hard way what a bad idea it is to taunt "Edgar". Though the tow truck driver was backing up his claim with a pistol.
  • When unveiling the mirror in Oculus, Kaylie makes a quick quip about how it must have been left hungry for new victims. The mirror follows up that remark with a Mirror Scare.
  • Primeval features a scene where Orlando Jones' character is being chased by Gustave the man-eater Nile crocodile and tricks him into wedging himself between two separate forks of a two-trunked tree. He then turns around to flip the crocodile off before he carries on running. Shortly afterwards, Gustave escapes, catches up to Jones, and kills him.
  • Silent Hill: In the 2006 film, Anna (a member of the friendly neighborhood death Cult) is caught outside during an Otherworld transition after choosing to insult and pelt Dahlia Gillespie, the mother of the character who controls the town with rocks rather than rushing to safety. Predictably, Pyramid Head materializes behind her and promptly skins her alive, throwing her flesh at the church door once it closes. While Anna's mother blames this on the protagonist and tries to inflame the mob, the Cult's leader Christabella gets a rare moment as the voice of reason and points out that Anna's poor decisions were to blame.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Starfleet really shouldn't have woken up Khan.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, Admiral Motti feels the need to mock Darth Vader (and the Force), who, it must be said, is a telekinetic, lightsaber-packing, 7-foot-tall armored cyborg who has no qualms about killing people. Just to make a point, Vader gives the first-ever demonstration of what the Force is capable of by using it to casually strangle the admiral from across the room, stopping only after Tarkin asked.
    • Similarly, Rogue One has Director Krennic going to Darth Vader to deliver some complaints, trying to get his control over the Death Star project back. Vader eventually gets tired of it and briefly Force chokes him, while delivering the zinger "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director."
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Mace Windu seems to gain the upper hand in a duel against Darth Sidious, also known as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. He proceeds to repeatedly inform him he's lost, and that his plans have failed. Palpatine then unleashes a storm of Force Lightning against him, which Windu barely holds off (and even then, it seems that Palpatine lets him do it in order to scar his own face and fake an unprovoked Jedi attack later). After Windu holds off his first attack, Palpatine then suddenly zaps him again and throws his electrified corpse out the window of his office.
  • Stuart Little 2:
    • Margalo apparently does this to Falcon after landing in Stuart's car. It's all fake, to ingratiate her to Stuart. Stuart lampshades it, though.
      Margalo: Get lost, you disgusting vulture! Eat my feathers, you vile buzzard!
      Stuart: Do we really wanna antagonize him?
    • After being told that Margolo isn't going anywhere, Stuart replies, "Yes she is!" and fires an arrow at Falcon, which simply bounces off his beak. This, of course, pisses him off, and his retaliation almost manages to kill Stuart.
  • Swimming To Cambodia:
    Athol Fugard: Spalding! The sea's a lovely lady when you play in her. But if you play with her, she's a BITCH! Play in the sea, yes, but never play with her. You're lucky to be here! You're lucky to be ALIVE!
  • X-Men: Apocalypse has the title villain, the most powerful mutant ever, even taken for a god in ancient days, who can manipulate things down to their molecules. Thus, when a bunch of guys threaten Apocalypse, he uses the stone particles on nearby walls for fatal damage; when Caliban pulls a gun on him, he disintegrates the firearm and would have done worse if Psylocke didn't come to her boss's aid; when Quicksilver uses his Super Speed to punch Apocalypse repeatedly, he traps the speedster's foot in the ground and breaks his other leg; and when Raven disguises herself as one of his Horsemen to get close enough to slit his throat, he simply regenerates the wound and proceeds to throttle her to death.

  • "Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons, for You Are Crunchy and Taste Good with Ketchup." is a spin on the J. R. R. Tolkien line "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger", in The Lord of the Rings, which is possibly a further interpretation of a quote of the even earlier G. K. Chesterton: "Do not invoke the ancient gods, for they annoy very easily."
    • The (possible) origin of the "Dragons" version is Bored of the Rings. It has also been attributed to:
    • Another version: "Do not tempt Fate; it is fickle and has poor impulse control."
    • This one is quite popular on the TF bunny farm: "Meddle not in the affairs of Decepticons, for you are squishy and make funny noises when violently deactivated."
    • There's also the spoof "Do not meddle in the affairs of Fangirls, for you are hot and would go well with other men."
    • "Do not meddle in the affairs of bards, for they aren't subtle at all and your name scans to Greensleeves."
    • "Never meddle in the affairs of Daleks, for you are mortal and look good in photo-negative."
  • Animorphs: The heroes are talking to the Ellimist, a benevolent and powerful alien currently mimicking the form of one of their teenage classmates. When Marco makes a smart remark about this on impulse, the Ellimist takes it in good fun, but Jake notes that Marco probably didn't plan to make fun of someone who could conceivably erase him and his entire ancestry from history.
  • A Christmas Carol: Scrooge mocks Marley as being an Acid Reflux Nightmare. Marley promptly scares the daylights out of him with a marrow-chilling howl.
  • Cthulhu Mythos:
    • The franchise has played with this. However, Lovecraft doesn't involve Cthulhu, or any of the Great Old Ones directly. Instead, it's used with the Great Ones, weak gods of the Dreamlands that can be tricked by smart mortals. However, the Great Ones are protected by the Other Gods, who wreak retribution on those who would disturb their wards.
    • Brian Lumley's "The House of Cthulhu" focuses on some barbarians who go to R'lyeh. Their leader dismisses the legend of a star-spawned abomination as a myth to scare away the weak, and believes the "tomb" to hold vast treasures. He's wrong.
    • Philip Jose Farmer's short story The Freshman mentions a Miskatonic University student who wrote a bit of crude graffiti about Yog-Sothoth and the condition his body was found in.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld books:
    • In The Colour of Magic, Rincewind describes Twoflower as such: if total chaos and destruction were lightning, Twoflower is the equivalent of "-standing on top of a mountain in a thunderstorm, wearing full copper plate armour, while shouting at the top of your voice 'ALL GODS ARE BASTARDS!'"
    • Another example is Abraxas, a philosopher mentioned in passing who denies the existence of the gods. They call him "Charcoal" because of the smell.
    • In Lords and Ladies, a prankster tries to trick one of his friends into calling the Librarian a monkey. The Librarian realizes what's going on and goes easy on the would-be victim, and later that night tosses the prankster in the river. The narration sums up the moral as "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, especially simian ones. Not all of them are subtle."
    • In Soul Music, a worker comes to complain about the Librarian stealing the wheels off his cart. When he continues to mouth off to Mustrum Ridcully despite the Archchancellor trying to be amicable, he mentions that wizards aren't allowed to use their magic on normal people... at which point he becomes a frog, with Ridcully noting that the aforementioned rule is, by his reckoning, more of a guideline.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry does this pretty much all the time. Sometimes the "power" he has over the creature in question is that they consider that it would be politically disadvantageous or just impolite to kill him, rather tenuous protections. At one point, when going to ask Odin for help, he thinks of a joke, then remembers that he shouldn't mouth off to his door guards. Then does it anyway, and defends himself by pointing out that he's insulted the faerie queens, vampire courts, and demigods; at this point, it's expected of him.
    • After a certain point in the series, Harry himself could be considered Cthulhu...
    • In Ghost Story, Harry makes the mistake of leaving the "el" off of the Archangel Uriel's name. Uriel, who's a cheerful and affable sort, very quickly tells Harry that he does not want to make that mistake again. The Fridge Brilliance behind it: "Uriel" means "Light of God", with "el" being the "God" part. Who else's name meant just "light"? Lucifer.
    • Inverted in Death Masks when Murphy meets Harry's mentor, Ebenezar. She is not impressed and demands brusquely that she be the driver since he doesn't have a license in Chicago. Harry tells Ebenezar he better just let her do so, calling the older man 'sir'. Cue Murphy dropping her armload in pure, unfiltered shock at hearing Harry Dresden address someone with authority with respect. She talks to Ebenezar afterwards as if he's on the same level as the Pope.
  • In Everworld, Senna is pretty quick to remind the team that it's nice to stand by your morals, but sane people do not anger the trigger-happy gods by refusing to sacrifice a goat. Unfortunately, they don't listen, and it takes some very quick thinking by Jalil to get them out of a serious mess.
  • The Expanse has the Laconian Empire try interacting with the Dark Gods/Goths the only way they can think of: They send an antimatter bomb at them. They respond by collapsing a neutron star into a black hole and proceeding to try their hardest to wipe out humanity by altering fundamental laws of physics on a system-wide scale. They actually find a way to do so and kill a whole system, and the only thing that spares the rest of humanity is that they didn't actually realise it had worked.
  • In The Girl from the Well book The Suffering, some kids try performing a ritual to summon a ghost to harmlessly possess a doll. However, they make the mistake of taunting the ghost by nicknaming it "Dumbelina". This pisses it off, disrupts the ritual, and causes the doll it possesses to become a Killer Doll instead of a harmless one.
  • In The Grim Reaper's Apprentice, Jax decides to fight Heaven. He's lived life as a human and has only worked one day as a Grim Reaper. It doesn't go too well.
  • In the Harry Potter books, Hogwarts' motto translates to "Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon". Take from that what you will.
  • The Hobbit: Bilbo makes this mistake when talking to Smaug. While Smaug can't see him since he's invisible, he can smell Bilbo, as well as hear him breathing, so he's got a good rough idea of where the little hobbit is. Smaug also has fire breath. Bilbo gets somewhat burned for taunting the dragon, and in a rare case where the person who did the taunting figures out it's a bad idea, is prompted into saying "Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo, You Fool!!"
  • A quite literal case in Isekaid Shoggoth as the "Tools of the gods" as the locals call shoggoth, are quite loathe of mockery. Alyssa, who happens to be one posing as a human woman, because seeing her true form would drive you permanently, self-mutilatingly insane, will give fair warning when you're doing something that annoys her. Be foolish enough to persist in making yourself a nuisance, and she will give you a gruesome death in one form or another, usually by making your head into a nice appetizer.
  • Journey to Chaos: It is never a good idea to taunt this world's deities.
    • A Mage's Power: Siron Esrah reacts with shock when Eric sasses Tasio because it is "the behavior of madmen to speak with such disrespect to the god of Tricksters!"
    • Looming Shadow: Kallen nearly dies from an avalanche and hypothermia because she challenged Snol, the Ice goddess. Later in the same book, Eric is strangled by The Grim Reaper for the same reason.
    • Mana Mutation Menace: Order himself, one of the Powers That Be, is called "namagumi" by two elves. The first one is promptly subdued, depowered and captured by what the elves would call a devil; the second one is indulged just long enough to learn that Resistance Is Futile, and then he is subdued and depowered.
  • In the Khaavren Romances, Morrolan e'Drien sets off to kill the Physical God Tri'na'gore for various reasons, including that god's followers sacking his adopted hometown while he was away. After slaughtering a village full of Tri'na'gore worshipers, Morrolan decides to relieve himself on the god's altar, causing him to manifest so quickly and angrily that Morrolan barely has time to button up his pants. This was a bad idea on Tri'na'gore's part.
  • The Laundry Files: In a lecture on BLUE HADES, it's mentioned that the authorities wish to avoid pissing off the Deep Ones because this ancient species that lives in the deep oceans can trigger undersea landslides resulting in a super-tsunami that would wipe out most of humanity. And that's just for starters, as it's speculated that this is just a threat the Deep Ones use like the bayonet on a rifle pointed at a savage tribesman; something we can comprehend in an Outside-Context Problem.
  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus taunts Polyphemus the Cyclops after having blinded him and escaping back to the ship. An unwise decision on Odysseus' part, since this incenses Polyphemus' father — who just happens to be Poseidon, god of the sea, who ensures that Odysseus doesn't make it back home for another ten years. What really made this unwise is that Odysseus revealed his real name while taunting. If he just had let Polyphemus think it was "No Man" who blinded him, then he wouldn't have suffered for almost ten years. A film version had Odysseus taunt Poseidon himself after the destruction of Troy, claiming humans no longer needed gods. After finally having enough of being fate's bitch, Odysseus asks Poseidon what he wanted. Poseidon replied that he merely wanted to show Odysseus that humans will always need gods.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the twelfth expedition into the Eldritch Location Area X hears a moaning creature in the reeds and decides to taunt it by moaning back at it. When the moaning becomes louder and angrier, they realize that this was perhaps not such a good idea after all, and quickly desist.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: When Sebastién and Agathe try to bring a wind-blown straw hat back to its owner, Eastern Wind threatens to blow them to the Castle of Plumauvent -where they will be imprisoned- if they interfere with its "amusement". Feeling emboldened by his adventures and overconfident about his flying skills, Sébastien actually challenges Eastern Wind to try. Fortunately for both children, Eastern Wind is so fickle that it forgot about them and the hat before Sébastien was finished speaking.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. In the short story "Enterprise Fish", an Upper-Class Twit is The Load on an investigation into the eponymous creature, a huge monster fish beached and decaying on the shores of Alaska. He doesn't listen when the protagonist tries to explain that the creature isn't 'dead' as it's actually a colony of creatures, all feeding off the decaying body of their host. The twit starts slapping and then kicking the corpse, only to be swallowed whole by something leaping out of its flesh.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The episode "Fear Itself" has a subversion, where they see the Fear Demon that has been terrifying them all episode turn out to be no more than a Barbie doll. Xander starts baby-talking him when Giles tells him to "Don't taunt the fear demon." Xander wants to know if it's a threat, but Giles assures him "No. It's just tacky."
    • And in "Something Blue":
      Buffy: Oh, look at my poor neck. All bare and tender and exposed. All that blood just pum-ping away.
      Spike: Giles, make her stop!
    • Buffy is attacked by a vampire on the way home from the burger joint she works at, only for him to back off as she smells awful. The vampire is in the middle of saying he'll just have to try eating her another day when a pissed-off Buffy hurls a stake into his chest.
    • Even the Ultimate Evil is not immune to Buffy's snark.
      The First: You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl. I am something that you can't even conceive. The First Evil. Beyond sin, beyond death. I am the thing the darkness fears. You'll never see me, but I am everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate—
      Buffy: Alright, I get it. You're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?
      The First: You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With.
      Buffy: Let me guess. Is it... evil?
  • When Stephen Colbert interviewed Smaug the dragon on his show in the wake of the third Hobbit movie, Colbert chose to mock Smaug about how thoroughly Bilbo tricked him and how goofy Smaug looked when he lost track of the little hobbit. While Colbert was cackling like a maniac, Smaug decided to teach him a lesson:
    Smaug: Oh. Oh, I see. I guess my people didn't tell you.
    Colbert: ...Tell me what?
    Smaug: Never laugh at a live dragon, MOTHERFUCKER! [Breathes a gout of flame at Colbert and torches the studio.]
  • Deadliest Catch:
    Cornelia Marie Crewmember: Is that all you got?
    [a few minutes later, a rogue wave washes over the aforementioned boat's deck]
    Mike Rowe: It's not wise to taunt the Bering Sea.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In Season 1 of Heroes, Mohinder has Sylar tied up and begins to taunt him. The trope name didn't need to be said for the audience to start saying it.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Not a good idea to upset someone that can change into a large green monster.
    Banner: Mister McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
  • In the Series 1 finale of Merlin, Merlin is trying to heal Arthur, but needs to Balance Death's Books in order to do so, something he can't do but Nimueh can. She mocks him about this by going for his mother, and then his mentor. She mocks him outright in their brief duel, telling him his "childish tricks" are useless against her. He explodes her with lightning, and harnesses her life to trade for his mentor's. Anyone with the title "destined to be the most powerful sorcerer of all time" is not to be trifled with.
  • Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger has the king of Shugoddamn, Racules, insisting that only he can be the leader of the team because his patron deity, God Kuwagata, forms the majority of the series' giant mecha, King-Ohger. Said giant mechanical stag beetle has been dormant in the town square for many years, apparently unable to be awoken. When the young rebel Gira steals Racules' Ohger Calibur and calls him out for secretly being the Evil Overlord throwing his people's lives away, God Kuwagata awakens and gives Gira, not Racules, the power to become Kuwagata Ohger. It's implied that God Kuwagata already understood Racules had descended into tyranny and deliberately chose Gira to wield its power, screwing the evil king's plans over completely.
  • A human hero version occurs in the Agatha Christie's Poirot adaptation of Curtain: Poirot's Last Case: Stephen Norton, on hearing that Hercule Poirot is about to execute him, pulls off a "Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!" stance, temporarily withholds the amyl nitrite from him when he needs it, (almost) breaks him by talking in a Doomed Moral Victor manner, and attempts to trigger Poirot's Berserk Button by calling him an "old man". It is more than enough to sign Norton's death warrant via Slipping a Mickey and a Pretty Little Headshot.
  • Saturday Night Live: Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
  • In Smallville, Jimmy is dumb enough to taunt Davis Bloome a.k.a. Doomsday.
  • Part of the backstory of Patrick Jane of The Mentalist. While playing at being a psychic, he taunted a serial killer, who retaliated by murdering Jane's wife and daughter. This was enough to make Jane quit the psychic game permanently.
    • Invoked by Jane later in the series. Faced with a serial killer he could identify but who he could not prove, he went on a talk show with the killer and goaded him into insulting Red John. It worked out pretty much exactly as he had intended.
  • Subverted in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Space Seed", wherein McCoy taunts Khan who is holding a scalpel to his throat, but Khan indicates afterward that the taunting is what saved McCoy's life.
    Khan: Where am I?
    McCoy: You're in bed, holding a knife at your doctor's throat.
    Khan: Answer my question.
    McCoy: It would be most effective if you would cut the carotid artery, just under the left ear.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the very first episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", Tasha Yar goes on an impassioned, disgusted rant against Q's Kangaroo Court and is frozen for her trouble.
    • Picard learns the hard way that for all his flippancy, Q is still a near-omnipotent being of god-like power. In "Q Who", when Q offers to join the Enterprise crew, even going so far as offering to renounce his powers and bring his near-limitless knowledge to their aid, they all but laugh in his face, claiming they are equipped to handle things themselves. With a snap of his fingers, Q puts it to the test by hurling them into the path of the Borg. Even if Q wasn't exactly trustworthy, it was a supremely arrogant statement on the part of Picard, and one that ended up costing him not only his pride (having to beg Q to save them) but the lives of several crew members.note 
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In the episode "Q2", Q takes his son, q, to task for meddling with the Borg.
      Q: If the Continuum has told you once, they've told you 1000 times: DON'T! PROVOKE! THE BORG!
    • In the same episode, q at one point seals Neelix's mouth shut. Later on, when his powers are removed temporarily, Neelix feels the need to mock and annoy an individual who may once again gain unlimited power in a week.
  • Supernatural: Even Dean immediately shuts up in Death's presence. When they mess things up in Season 6 and the Leviathans get out of Purgatory, Death tells Dean what he needs to do to put them back in. Dean snarks for the first time in Death's presence. Death immediately turns around and says "Figure it out.". Dean shrinks down and obeys. This is after Dean uses Lucifer's own spell to bind Death. Dean and Bobby try to politely make requests and sometimes demands from Death but always end up stuttering and adding some nice words and/or honorific to the request. After Castiel frees Death and takes off, we have the awkward moment of Death sitting amongst the people who bound him to their service and we get this exchange.
    [Sam and Bobby look to Dean]
    Dean: ... Ahem... umm-
    Death: Shut up, Dean.
    [Dean nods quickly and shuts his mouth]
  • Taken: In "Jacob and Jesse", Owen Crawford learned the hard way that it was a serious mistake to kidnap Jacob Clarke and force him to try and fly the alien ship when Jacob shows him all of his memories and all of his fears. In "Acid Tests", he told his son Sam that it was the only time that he was ever frightened in his adult life.
    Jacob: Mr. Crawford... look at me.
  • Torchwood:
    • Like the Doctor, this trope applies to Jack, and when he dies and comes back, Owen to some extent. People underestimate Jack, thinking he's nothing more than an ordinary human, albeit a very annoying one... with over a century of experience in combat, obfuscation, and political intrigue. And that's selling him short.
    • In Children of Earth, Jack gets a harsh lesson from the 456 as to why this is a bad idea. They may not be Eldrich Abominations, but they're certainly Sufficiently Advanced Aliens with the technology to back up their power. When he confronts them in 10 Downing Street they laugh it off and retaliate by flooding the building with a lethal virus that kills in seconds. As an immortal Jack makes it out, but many others die for his arrogance including Ianto.
  • In The Walking Dead (2010), Carl finds a walker with its feet stuck in the mud by a riverbank, and decides to foolishly stay, throwing rocks at it, then coming in close to shoot it... at which point it manages to wrench one of its legs free, knocking the gun from his hand, and nearly catches him before he can get away. Later, it makes its way to the farm and kills Dale.

  • In Leslie Fish's Filk Song "Bashing the Balrog", a low-level adventuring party attempts to take on the titular balrog, with predictable results. Especially pertinent is this verse:
    It is even more foolhardy
    For the changed and weakened party
    To stare back at the Balrog and to say,
    "We can zap and we can bite you,
    We are quite prepared to fight you,
    We suggest you turn around and fly away!"

    And that's called insulting the balrog
    For balrogs aren't easy to bluff
    They know with a competent balrog,
    No army is half strong enough.
  • There is a children's song in which a group of young monkeys, whilst playing in a tree, begin teasing Mr. Crocodile (or Mr. Alligator in some versions) about how he can't catch them... and then continue to do so even after their fellows start disappearing one by one. Unsurprisingly, the song ends with an empty tree and a full crocodile.
  • In the music video for "The Wolf" by SIAMES, in which three addicts are being chased bloodthirsty wolves symbolizing their respective vices with intense stamina and shadow powers who are hellbent on catching them. When the second person is approached by the wolf, her first instinct is to pick up her skateboard and crack it against the wolf's skull. It barely flinches, and once she realizes how screwed she is, she runs like hell as it gives chase.
  • The video for The Offspring's You're Gonna Go Far Kid has a man receiving a magical guitar from a goddess which forces people to dance, heals the sick and injured, and makes money rain from the sky. When he starts robbing the poor and using his guitar to get rich, she reappears and uses the guitar to make him dance himself to death.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Don't take God lightly. There's a reason "Don't take His name in vain" is one of the Commandments, and many Blasphemous Boasts have been answered.
    • The same goes for His representatives; the best example is probably when a bunch of (ambiguously aged) youths decides to start mouthing off to Elisha. They are promptly mauled by bears.
    • Also applies to angels, as well. One person (the high priest, no less!) thought it was a good idea to mouth off to Gabriel—essentially, Gabriel told him that his wife would bear a son, and the priest's response was more or less "Yeah, right!". This ended poorly—he didn't die or anything, but being mute for 9 months while his wife was pregnant must have been a real pain.
  • The legend of the Wandering Jew. This guy decided it would be fun to taunt Jesus on his way to be crucified. According to the legend, this man is still wandering around to this day, and will be until the Second Coming.
  • Celtic Mythology's epic The Cattle Raid of Cooley: When Fergus goes to negotiate the terms of Combat by Champion with Cu Chulainn, Etarcomol begs to come along. Fergus allows Etarcomol to accompany him on the condition that Etarcomol keeps his mouth shut, as nothing good can come out of taunting an unstoppable demigod as Just a Kid. So naturally, Etarcomol decides to taunt the unstoppable demigod, challenge the unstoppable demigod to a duel, and insist on continuing the Duel to the Death after the unstoppable demigod kicks his ass three times in a row and tells him to scram.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • On the way home after the Trojan War, Ajax the Lesser thought it a good idea to mock the gods, leading to a storm that wrecked his ships and left him stranded on a reef in the middle of the sea. Undeterred, he keeps mouthing off, boasting that even the gods couldn't kill him. They then proceeded to demonstrate that yes, yes they could.
    • Niobe, a mortal queen, boasted to her people that she should be worshipped instead of the goddess Leto since she had seven sons and seven daughters while Leto only had one son and one daughter. Leto's children, Artemis and Apollo, were furious at this insult to their mother and shot all of Niobe's children dead with their arrows.
  • Native American Mythology: Don't mess with Coyote. He's best friends with God, immortal, capable of shape-shifting, and could very well just kill you outright if he's not in a good mood.
    • In one story, he uses a bear pelt to turn himself into a bear and brutally kills and eats the hunter who killed him twice before.
    • In another story, he's eaten by a giant, who taunts him that he'll starve to death in the giant's belly. Coyote proceeds to carve the giant up from the inside and dine on his guts.


  • In the Prologue to Cavalli's opera La Didone, Juno warns mortals not to offend the gods, because 'swift or slow, vengeance is certain'. Given that she's just engineered the destruction of Troy because one of its princes didn't name her the most beautiful goddess ever, we know to take her at her word.
  • In Boyce's opera Peleus and Thetis, the two title characters are a human prince and a goddess respectively and are in love. But Jupiter is also in love with Thetis, and doesn't take kindly to a human rival:
    Presumptuous slave, rival to Jove,
    How dar'st thou, mortal, thus defy
    A goddess with audacious love
    And irritate a god with jealousy?
    Presumptuous mortal, hence!
    Tremble at omnipotence!
  • In Tamburlaine: Tamburlaine slaughtered millions of Muslims without bringing any divine intervention, but when he burns the Koran and says Muhammad is nothing special…

  • In BIONICLE's Federation of Fear webserial, Carapar tries to attack their world's Cthulhu counterpart Tren Krom, only to get destroyed by one of the creature's laser eyes.

    Video Games 
  • In an MMORPG, it's never a good idea to mock the Random Number God, because it may mess up your day or deny you gear drops. Don't shower it with praise either, that only pulls its attention on you. Or casually mention it in chat. Or ignore it. Who knows what really sets it off to begin with?
  • AI War: Fleet Command sees the player(s) starting a resistance movement against the titular AI that controls the entire Milky Way except for the player(s)' homeworld. The game heavily emphasizes guerilla warfare tactics, taking only what you need and raiding specific targets so that you do not draw the attention of the AI. If you play this game like you would a standard RTS, conquering and destroying everything, the AI will NOT be pleased, and will promptly roll over you with an endless tide of ships.
  • Subverted in Arcanum. One of the end-game characters is a giant, humanoid dragon. Logic would suggest not pissing this creature off. However, as you can learn earlier in the game, this creature is actually a human who transformed himself with magic and a huge coward. Puff up your chest (or mention Nasrudin, the wizard who locked him up in the final dungeon in the first place) and he'll be cowed instantly. Even better, he's one of the few characters in the game you can't provoke to attack you through dialogue. Keep threatening and insulting him all you like, he won't raise a talon.
  • Yuuto lacks what might be considered proper respect for the godlike Wisdom in Aselia the Eternal - The Spirit of Eternity Sword. As in, he insults it, berates it, and ignores it whenever possible. Not that he has no respect, he's just rude in general.
  • After solving a conflict between a priestess of Umberlee and some followers of Talos, the hero of Baldur's Gate notes that "Gods are not to be trifled with. They trifle back."
  • This basically sums up every single angel in Bayonetta 2, considering that they all know exactly who Bayonetta is and what she's accomplished in the previous game (including the brutal murder of all four of the highest ranking angels and god), yet they still think they can take her on. One particular example would be the Valiance from the first chapter, who ends up getting stabbed to death with his own face when they try to face her by themself.
  • In Brütal Legend, when confronting Doviculus, Lars Halford boasts about his status as the Big Good. In return, Doviculus impales him with his weapon and notes that it was easier than he thought.
  • Everything that happens in the Chzo Mythos can be traced back to a Celtic druid trying to summon a "pain elemental" to repel the Roman invaders from Britain. The creature, actually the god-like Chzo, found this disagreeable, and instead dragged the man into its own world for an extensive lesson in humility and suffering. And the Arrogant Man knew the Name of the King.
  • In City of Heroes, there are classes and powersets that include a Taunt power. Tankers are especially encouraged to taunt high-level villains... including gods.
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, poor Cole decides to inform the team that the Firstborn is going to unleash some crazy awesome reality-bending magical shit. As thanks, he implodes her mortal form.
  • In Cthulhu Saves the World, this happens with the Trope Namer himself. When he and his party sleep in the Innsmouth tavern, villagers attack him, only to get thoroughly thwacked. Once it turns out Dagon took over his cult and sent the villagers after him, Cthulhu then goes right into his lair and proceeds to vanquish him.
  • In Darkest Dungeon, this is what happens when your heroes do something to draw the attention of that which lies below. Smashing reliefs that depict the horror within the Darkest Dungeon will cause a massive amount of Stress damage as the entity becomes enraged, almost certainly driving that hero mad. Heroes who succeed at a quest into the Darkest Dungeon will also suffer a backlash from this and refuse to ever return to that place.
  • Played with in Dragon Age II. Knight-Commander Meredith clearly sees herself as The Hero and despite her mandate to track down Apostates, she allows Mage Hawke to continue roaming freely around Kirkwall. It's heavily implied that Meredith doesn't want a riot for arresting the people's Champion, not to mention the fact that even if she managed to get Mage!Hawke in chains, she'd likely lose hundreds of Templars during the attempt. Anders and Merril are likewise protected due to their association with Hawke, regardless of Hawke's class. When Meredith finally does go after Mage!Hawke, it ends... poorly for her.
  • This is a stated part of the player character's strategy in Artix Entertainment's DragonFable. The hero regularly mocks, insults, and otherwise annoys their enemies, and seems to love cracking lame jokes before a fight. Lampshaded in that it's stated in one quest as part of an actual strategy, right down to explaining why the jokes are so bad.
    Laugh in the face of danger. Use your humor to fight off fear. And if the jokes are bad enough, they might just drive your enemies away. That's both an efficient use of energy AND entertaining!
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is understandably inadvisable when dealing with the Daedric Princes. A quick death, or worse, often follows. Some particularly noteworthy examples:
  • In Evil Genius, you can capture enemy agents and taunt them for points (at a small risk of them escaping). If you capture a Super Agent, your Evil Genius will go out of their way to do this, the Super Agent will escape, and assuming they don't kill you right then and there, they will blow up half your base on their way out.
  • During the Tranquility Lane segment of Fallout 3, you encounter the person in control of the virtual-reality scenario, a little girl named Betty. If you attack her, she calmly tells you that you "have to be punished" - and then you die on the spot.
  • At the start of the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money, you wake up without your equipment and with a shiny bomb collar around your neck. Father Elijah tells you (via the holographic display in the fountain) that he had it placed there, that you may go free if you do what he tells you, and that he won't hesitate to blow your head up if you refuse to play along, or try to get smart with him. You have a dialogue option to refuse rather rudely. Choose it, and he will blow your head up. Hey, what did you expect would happen?
  • Gemcraft lets you enrage the incoming monster hordes, making them stronger and more numerous each time you do so. Planned well, it'll provide you with more mana from kills and a significant score boost. Planned poorly, well, you know how it goes.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • Zhongli is the most recent form that Rex Lapis/Morax the Geo Archon has taken. One of his titles is the God of Contracts. In his first character quest, he makes a contract with a Fatui agent, a worshipper of Hivaria (the God of Salt) and the Traveler, when searching for artifacts of the God of Salt in some ancient ruins, with the deal being that any artifact found with will first go to the agent, then the worshipper, and them the Traveler in that order. When both the agent and the worshipper break the contract, he gives them a thorough beatdown and a breaking speech respectively.
    • La Signora is a member of the Fatui Harbingers, and according to Venti, each of them were granted godlike powers from the Tsaristza. When she made her first appearance, she ambushed Venti, aka Barbatos, the Anemo Archon, to steal his gnosis, and in her next appearance, Zhongli gave her his gnosis as per his deal with the Tsaristza. However, when she tried to challenge the Raiden Shogun, the Electro Archon, after the Traveler had defeated her in a duel, she found out the hard way why you should never challenge a god, even if said god never had the gnosis to begin with.
  • In Grim Dawn, it is possible to mock and belittle the avatar of Mogdrogen (the god of beasts). It is also possible to get killed by him less than ten seconds later, as he is the game's resident Superboss.
  • Left 4 Dead: As any experienced player will tell you, do not startle the Witch!
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Metroid Prime, on one of the Space Pirates terminals you can read "Science Team reminds all personnel to refrain from antagonizing Metroids. Severe penalties will be enforced for all violations of this order." Similarly, the Chozo warn against defacing their artifacts lest the offenders "face [their] wrath, unfettered and raw." Meta-Ridley missed the memo. The Space Pirates were also warned to refrain from feeding the Metroids pet food, as they can't digest solid food and get sick (and more irritable) from eating it. Do not food-poison Cthulhu?
  • The Neverwinter Nights module A Hunt Through the Dark contains a dream sequence in which your character is visited by and receives new powers from Lolth. Talking back to Lolth is a really, really bad idea. As is talking back to Piwiewen in the opening scene. The Neverwinter Nights 2 module The Maimed God's Saga allows your character, a cleric of Tyr, to talk to Malar, god of savagery, through a portal to his home plane. Mouthing off at the end of the conversation results in him attempting to blast you out of existence through the portal. Only a Deus ex Machina from Tyr saves your life.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, the Watcher may end up in the realm of one of the gods, specifically, Rymrgand, the God of Entropy. They will threaten to annihilate the Watcher's soul but ultimately decide against it...unless the Watcher says they "welcome oblivion". Predictably, that results in an instant death. Downplayed in that, if not betrayed in an imported Pillars of Eternity save, the god tolerates a lot of other insults and challenges with dry wit and an occasional chuckle.
  • At one point in Planescape: Torment, you find a little doll that looks like the Lady of Pain. You have the opportunity to mock it. You can mock it repeatedly, even. This is incidentally one of the few ways for you to get permanently killed. The Game Over message even reads "You just tested your immortality on the wrong Power, berk."
    • Additionally, as the byproduct of extraordinarily powerful necromantic magic, it may not be a good idea for the Nameless One to offend Lothgar, Keeper of Skulls.
    • Morte, one of the companions, has an ability called Litany of Curses that, when used on an enemy causes him to spout a random insult at it. If you attempt to use it on some of the most powerful enemies in the game, such as The Fiend From Mordor's Box, in place of his normal insult, Morte will instead say "No way, I am not taunting that!"
  • Taunting or angering a Legendary Pokémon tends to end badly for the person doing it. Cyrus was the first to learn this fact, as he mocked Giratina for thinking it could stop his plans before getting dragged to Pokemon's version of Hell by it. If this weren't a children's game, it probably would have killed him right there and then.
    • On a lesser level, using the move Taunt on a Legendary you're fighting isn't always a good idea, because that move will lock them into moves that do damage. This can be useful if it's a Legendary that likes to buff its own stats, but if it's one that has a tendency to waste its time on harmless moves when not Taunted, then you're in for a tough time.
  • In one of the Extra Missions for Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, a berserk Arceus is tearing shit up, and Purple Eyes tries to appeal to it in an attempt to wipe everything else out. Once the player has calmed Arceus down, it disappears to its home plane... and takes Purple Eyes with it. Says something about how all sorts of really nasty villains exist throughout the Pokéverse, and this is the guy deemed unfit for the mortal plane.
  • One particularly stupid Blackwatch officer in [PROTOTYPE 2] makes a drunken prank call to the Humanoid Abomination protagonist insulting his mother and calling his associate a "pasty hacker cunt." You get an entire mission dedicated to murdering him.
  • In Psychonauts, you can use your Psychic Powers on a large variety of things, including the teachers who taught you the techniques. Doing so will not make them attack you back, but they note that they certainly could:
    Cruller (after being picked up with telekinesis): "Yes, very good. Now try it on something that won't make your head explode when you make it mad!"
  • In Resident Evil 4, there's a massive monster in a lake that can easily swallow a person whole. Attempting to taunt it by shooting the water has it emerge in blazingly fast speeds and kill you in one bite. The HD remaster adds an achievement for doing this and it's aptly named "Don't Shoot the Water!"
  • In RuneScape quest "Sliske's Endgame", you have the option to insult Elder God Jas, one of The Makers of the RuneScape multiverse and the most powerful being in existence. The game will even warn you against it (4 times!). If you do it anyways, she kills you instantly.
  • In the first SpongeBob SquarePants game, you are warned, "It's not a good idea to antagonize the Dutchman right now."
  • In StarCraft, on a certain installation mission, a pair of marines are shooting at some zerglings in a pen. One complacently states "Hehe, they're not so tough, they bleed too." The base is subsequently overrun by zerg.
    • In a similar type of mission in the Brood War Expansion. When the base gets overrun by Zerg, your squad will eventually come across a group of Ultralisks trapped in a pen. One of the marines will say, "Well wouldya look at that! They're trapped!" And they really are.
    • It is played straight in the demo (which is set before the events of the retail game), where after a marine says the same thing, the zerg units escape through a door that opens right then and there.
  • If you choose to go beyond Death's Door in Sunless Skies you get several choices after discovering that the "afterlife" involves having your soul ground up and eaten by the local Judgement, one of which is to simply try and shoot at it. Your attack proves utterly ineffective beyond messing up a bit of the machinery, and the Sapphir'd King simply decides that you don't exist, erasing you from existence.
  • In Team Fortress 2, There is only one golden rule if you're near a Heavy: NEVER touch his weaponry, especially his Minigun whom he calls "Sasha", or else he will mow you down with it. It's also dangerous if you kill his assisting Medic.
  • Tsukihime: Mentioned in side materials as to why ORT is on the list of Dead Apostle Ancestors (most powerful vampires) despite not being a vampire itself. ORT is the Ultimate One of the Oort Cloud and was found sleeping beneath South America. Fearing the sheer power ORT possessed, the 5th Dead Apostle Ancestor decided to try to kill it in its sleep. ORT obliterated the Ancestor, barely stirring from its slumber. The other Ancestors wisely decided they would leave ORT the hell alone, and declared ORT to have taken the former Ancestor's place.
  • Undertale has a very, very meta example of this. If you go for the No Mercy route, the Final Boss there is going to give you a very bad time. Halfway into the fight, the boss will call out to the good person inside of you and offer a chance to reconcile. Accept, and he hits you with an undodgeable, unblockable attack that instantly kills you, and tells you that if you are truly sorry, you should never come back. Alright, pulling off an I Surrender, Suckers followed by Redemption Equals Death is legit. Problem is, he had the gall to mock you for it; even the usual game over music is replaced by a sped-up in-game trolling song. That mockery has been known to enrage enough players to redouble their effort to take the boss down.
    • If you succeed, and then reload the game to kill the boss actually scare him, for the first time in the game. Do Not Taunt The Player, indeed.
      "That expression that you're're really kind of a freak, huh?"
  • In Episode 5 of The Wolf Among Us, Bloody Mary deliberately toys with Bigby during their fight in an attempt to bring out the true Big Bad Wolf. She succeeds, as Bigby transforms into a Stegosaurus-sized wolf and slaughters her. Hilariously enough, at the start of Episode 1, the Woodsman tries to do the exact same thing.
    "I know you're in there! Come on out, you fucking dog!"
    • With the Woodsman, he is at least justified, in that he is one of the few people who can actually match Bigby.
  • A fairly literal example occurs with Yogg-Saron in World of Warcraft, although the taunter doesn't know he is taunting an Old God. Brann Bronzebeard breaks down the door to Ulduar violently, waking up the slumbering supernatural evil. When you assault the fortress to free the Titan Keepers and put the Old God back inside his prison, you first have to fight the remnants of Bronzebeard's expedition: now gone completely insane.
    • A literal example happens in the Eternal Palace raid in Nazjatar. At a few points, you can find the Queen Azshara keeping tabs in your progress. Upsetting her by performing a /rude or /spit emote at any point can get you Instantly killed on the spot.

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel: Sir Pentious tries to defeat Alastor with a giant laser cannon, claiming that he has the element of surprise and the power of evil on his side, but Alastor happens to be one of Hell's most powerful sinners (from a mortal upbringing at that) and defeats the Naga within seconds. Fortunately for him and his Egg Bois, demons are (with one exception) incapable of death at the hands of other demons, so he survives, albeit definitely worse for wear.
  • Red vs. Blue has Tucker and Sister, high off antifreeze, mistaking the all-powerful King Atlus Arcadium Rex for a hallucination and jeering him. He proceeds to zap them with lightning, which would have killed both had they not discovered Atlus' creator imbued them with special protection.
  • RWBY: Long ago, a woman offended the gods by trying to trick them into resurrecting her dead love; they cursed her with Complete Immortality so she would never be able to reunite with her love until she repented. Instead, she realized that the gods could be tricked, and thus were not perfect and infallible. She used her immortality to raise an army against the gods. They responded by wiping out the entire human race, leaving only the woman alive to suffer.
  • In episode 11 of Pokémon Generations, titled “The New World”, like in Pokémon Platinum, Giratina arrives to stop Cyrus. In an effort to prevent Giratina from ruining his plans, he has Dialga and Palkia attack it, and Giratina retaliates by breaking the two Red Chains that Cyrus had created right in front of him, thus stripping him of Dialga and Palkia completely (as the two escape back to their own dimensions as a result of Giratina freeing them), and then proceeding to drag Cyrus off to the Distortion World.
  • Helluva Boss: When prince of hell Stolas visits Loo Loo Land (in the episode of the same name) with his daughter, gangs of random imps keep trying to kidnap him. They're usually killed by the Immediate Murder Professionals — whom Stolas hired to be his bodyguards probably because he has the hots for their leader — but the last one, who pulls a knife on him, he finally bothers to deal with himself. By looking at it.

  • 8-Bit Theater brings us this conversation between Black Mage and Sarda:
    Black Mage: Don't take this the wrong way, but that sounds like crap. Almost as crap-like as Red Mage Here.
    Sarda: Are you done belly-achin'?
    Black Mage: No, actually. I would like to take a moment to note what an odd choice... Oh, what have I done?
    Fighter: What's crawling out of Black Mage's mouth?
    Sarda: He's just vomiting his entire digestive tract.
  • Digger gives us a gem of wisdom by Ed:
    Digger: [to Sweetgrass Voice] Mmmm, yes, wasted opportunity, that, very sad. When was that, exactly? Before or after Shadowchild tore strips out of you and sent you whining back to your mommy?
    Ed: Um... Ed is not being sure if taunting ancient unspeakable evil is being the best idea...
  • In El Goonish Shive, while Arthur wants a situation where magic will change how it works, he realizes that trying to force the hand of a Sentient Cosmic Force is like messing with a god, and is very careful not to try and push things too much in that regard, explaining that to his assistant when she questions why they aren't doing more to cause a change.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: When Antimony flicks Coyote's nose, she gets a reminder that however friendly they come across, Physical Gods are not to be trifled with. Unusually for this trope, she watches his display calmly and stays for a chat after. Shortly after, when she accidentally pushes Ysengrin's Berserk Button, it's much more serious.
  • Looking for Group:
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Strip 275:
      Thor: How do you like that, you deicidal maniac? Huh? HUH? Now who's so big and tough?
      Loki: Dude, don't taunt the god-killing abomination.
    • The OotS strip itself was a reference to the most hilarious of the many, many warnings found on the label of the Happy Fun Ball. (see also The Other Wiki).
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Yokoka challenges Hurricane, a dragon, to a fight. Yfa even tells her that messing with someone able to control the weather is a bad idea.

    Web Original 
  • The second through fourth items of the 1001+ Things That The Worst Party In Eberron Is Forbidden From Doing:
    2. Do not taunt Cardinal Krozen about his inability to capture/kill the Crew. It's not bad, just tacky.
    3. Do not taunt The Lords of Dust about their inability to capture the Crew. It really should be bad, but it's not. Still tacky.
    4. Do not taunt Queen Aurala about her inability to capture the Crew. Otherwise, she'll stamp her foot and pout.
  • In Caught Not Sleeping, Caught, believing that the Operator symbols being left in his area are just part of some kind of prank, leaves a $20 bill in one of them (a waggish reference to the meme that Slendy chases people because they owe him money), playing along and laughing about how stupid the joke was. He then turns around and finds that the very real Slender Man does not enjoy being mocked.
  • There is a creepypasta floating around the Internet called The Willow Men. In the story, the narrator sees fit in his ultimate wisdom to taunt the titular forest spirits, who are widely known to exact justice for perceived wrongdoings. Things quickly go downhill...
  • The protagonist Blake has a bad habit of doing this when cornered in Pact. Considering that one of the beings in question is a literal manifestation of Conquest and close to a god and another is a Sphinx who dislikes smartmouths, that is a bad thing.
  • Lizbeth's dad, from Raising Angels, taught her not to do this.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-2128 (a.k.a. The Liar's Cradle) is an omniscient furnace that will confirm or deny any true or false statement given to it by someone sitting inside it by burning alive people who state things which are false. Continued tests show that the furnace is actually sentient and really enjoys the sensation of burning living human flesh inside it. After being given several statements in a row in the vein of "The Liar's Cradle would love to burn my delicious flesh right now" which it had to answer true to, to its own increasing anger, the next person who entered and gave the simple statement "The Earth is round.", SCP-2128 chooses to interpret "Earth" as meaning soil rather than planet and incinerates the person inside particularly slowly and painfully.
    • SCP-1440 is a Walking Wasteland who, according to himself, once challenged Death to a game of cards and won. While the Brothers Death are able to take a loss and were happy to let him go, he decided to mock Death by not only playing again but going all or nothing. After three more rounds, he had won three powerful artifacts that he could use to prevent death. Death took this personally, and ever since, two of the three brothers have followed him around and destroyed any manmade civilization that he comes near.
  • Wildbow seems to like this trope, as Tattletale in Worm has the same habit of mouthing off to the most dangerous parahuman in sight. It occasionally gets her into trouble.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In the Season 2 episode "It Came From the Nightosphere", Marceline's soul-sucking demon father encounters the Marauders, and they rather unwisely make fun of him.
      Hunson: What wears a dark suit, is completely evil, and is about to suck out all your souls?
      Marauder: Yo momma!
      Hunson: ...That's right, I'm your momma! (sucks out the Marauders' souls)
    • In the Season 6 premiere "Wake Up" a group of Prismo's friends show up at a party to ridicule the Lich, who has been stuck in a dormant state in the former's Time Cube. Justified, as Prismo and his friends are all Physical Gods, so they're all safe. Except they're totally not, and the Lich ends up killing Prismo.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had Zhao, a man who thought that killing the spirit of the moon was a good idea. We don't really know what consequences it ultimately might have had, but it definitely got the ocean spirit to rip apart the Fire Nation fleet.
    • By the time of the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, we find out that he was tossed in the Fog of Lost Souls, a Spirit World prison for intrusive humans that forever leaves them in a despondent state. He's forever doomed to be ranting about being the Moonslayer and wanting to capture the Avatar.
    • General Fong of the Earth Kingdom thought "teaching" Aang to enter the Avatar State by kidnapping and threatening Katara was a grand idea. He got really, really lucky he didn't end up as a decapitated pancake, as they were most definitely not amused.
  • In one episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, King Ramses dispenses all-devouring locusts upon the Bagges when Eustace refuses to return his slab and Courage dispels the other two curses; the threat of imminent doom causes Eustace to throw the slab over, which causes the locusts to disappear. Believing that Ramses had used up all his curses, Eustace grabs the slab back and starts taunting him anew. Guess how that turned out. Muriel even called him out on it before the locusts came into play.
    Muriel: Eustace, what're ya waitin' for? 'Til we're six feet under?!
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • On an episode:
      Rolf: Careful, Eddy, do not taunt the doodle!
      [Eddy keeps doing so, chicken flips out]
    • In another episode:
    • Of course, in this case, it was reversed, as rather harmless Ed was taunting his insane little sister Sarah.
  • The Slimer! short "Don't Tease the Sleaze" is pretty much made of this. The eponymous Sleaze is locked in the Ghostbusters' containment unit. Ray cautions Slimer not to taunt it. You know what happens next.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In Jack O’Lantern’s backstory, he stole Grim’s scythe and used it as a bargaining chip to force Grim to give him eternal life. Grim agreed but decided to make sure Jack would never show his face around town again.
  • Subverted in Hercules: The Animated Series, when Hercules boldly confronts a three-headed sea serpent, only to be nervous after seeing the monster up close.
    Hercules: Enough! Leave now or prepare to fight to the finish! [all three heads look at him] Did I say fight to the finish? [stammer] No-no, when I say finish...
  • In Jumanji The Series, any player who tries to cheat, insult, or damage the malignant game gets randomly transformed into an animal, or gets attacked by its inhabitants. Of course, it mostly happens to Peter, whether it's his fault or not.
  • Justice League: "The Brave and the Bold" has The Flash and Green Lantern facing a villain capable of Mind Control from within a large crowd of innocents that were already under his Mind Control. When The Flash does his usual witty banter, Green Lantern tries to stop him with the immortal line "Flash, don't heckle the Supervillain!"
  • The Legend of Korra: during their one-on-one duel near Zaofu in Season 4, Kuvira confidently tells Korra that she's free to use all the elements, even the Avatar State. While Korra initially does poorly when only using the elements, she wipes the floor with Kuvira after she enters the Avatar State, was a few seconds away from turning her into a stain on the ground, and only stopped when she hallucinated Kuvira to be Dark Korra.
  • Looney Tunes: in Ali Baba Bunny, Daffy Duck desecrates a lamp with a genie (whom Daffy thought was after the riches he plundered from Ali Baba's cave). The genie prepares to deliver the consequences to Daffy, who merely says "Consequences, shmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." Cue Daffy getting zapped by the genie's magic and shrunk.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Yes, this show gets an entry here. For what? The Tree of Harmony/Elements of Harmony. In "The Mean 6", using Sympathetic Magic, Chrysalis makes Evil Doppelgangers of the Mane Six, for the purposes of stealing the Elements of Harmony. When they eventually find the Elements, the Tree reacts to them being the opposite of the true Elements by grabbing them in tendrils and killing them on-screen in a very graphic way, or as graphic as allowed for a girls/kids show, before finally reducing them to the chunks of heartwood they were created from. It's quite disturbing.
  • In the season 2 finale of The Owl House, Belos taunts the Collector openly when he makes it clear he has no plan on following through on his promise to free them since he can't afford to have the magic they gave him in exchange for said freedom fall into his enemies' hands. When King finds and frees the Collector anyway, they casually insist to Belos that they're not angry, then initiate a game of tag and slam Belos against a wall so hard his entire body is reduced to necrotic green paste.
  • Samurai Jack; in Season 5, the elderly Scotsman wheels up to Aku and starts hurling insults at him. Aku vaporizes the Scotsman in one hit. He comes back as a ghost less than half a minute later. And it did leave Aku so bummed out that he stopped his previous rampage on the spot and went home to sulk.
  • From The Simpsons:
    Marge: Bart, stop pestering Satan!
    • In the very same episode, Homer pounds on Satan's Berserk Button with a singsong chant of, "I'm smarter than the Devil! I'm smarter than the Devil...!"
    • In another Treehouse of Horror, Death comes for Bart's soul. Bart leads him on a slapstick chase through the house which ends when Bart uses a toppled chair to trip Death. Cue Death hovering back to his feet and menacing angrily over Bart. Bart's only saved by a well-timed Homer appearing to bash Death in the back of the head with a bowling ball.
  • Sofia the First: Sofia is the only one who can wield the Amulet of Avalor and bear its power, and before Elena was freed, doing bad deeds or even letting someone else use it is obviously a bad idea. When Amber stole the amulet and wore it herself, the amulet cursed her by summoning the evil Princess Ivy. When Cedric got his hands on it by switching the jewel with a knockoff when Sofia was distracted, this was enough to enrage the amulet to the point of cursing him repeatedly, until Sofia realizes she can't use her powers and Cedric is forced to return the jewel to its true owner.
  • South Park:
  • Steven Universe: Do not call Yellow Diamond a "clod". She's big, in charge of the military, one of the most powerful Gems in existence, and possesses a lightning blast that can destabilize any Gem in one shot. Peridot did and got destabilized for her troubles the second time around.
  • The trope is taken to its most depressing level in Superman: The Animated Series. Darkseid is trying to take over Earth. He's captured Superman and it looks like he's going to win. But Dan Turpin steps up, rallies the public, and even manages to free Superman. Then New Genesis shows up to scare Darkseid off. As Darkseid leaves, Turpin shouts taunts after him. Darkseid pauses, then tells Superman that every victory has its price right before vaporizing Turpin in an excellent example of not-played-for-laughs spite.
  • In the pilot episode of TRON: Uprising, Beck's friend Bodhi mouths off to the Black Guards that have just moved into Argon, claiming not to be afraid of them. He's promptly murdered to demonstrate that, yeah, you totally should be. Didn't quite have that effect on Beck, naturally.
  • DO NOT, under any circumstances, taunt Brock Sampson of The Venture Bros. Seriously, don't.
    Doctor Orpheus: Sooo, anybody who doesn't immediately give you respect, you murder?
  • From Wakfu, do not taunt Rushu. He is the progenitor of all Sushus, stands at least 10 metres tall, and can devastate entire armies single-handedly. Even Sadlygrove, the resident Leeroy Jenkins Blood Knight, wet his pants the moment Rushu's about to pulverize him for taunting him. Subverted with Goultard, who's not afraid to taunt him and is actually strong enough to wreck Rushu around.


Garlic Jr. vs Mr. Popo

Garlic Jr. attacks the lookout and makes the foolish mistake of defying Mr. Popo.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / DoNotTauntCthulhu

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