A villain whose politeness is an act that only serves to enhance their evil. Unlike Affably Evil characters, whose niceness is genuine despite their malice, these villains adopt this pleasant persona. They lack a villainous demeanor, yet they are truly, wholly, and unrepentantly evil regardless. This kind of villain maintains a friendly, courteous mask even as they commit incredibly heinous acts. An Affably Evil villain will treat The Hero like a friend, genuinely regret having to fight them, and seriously try to win them over. A Faux Affably Evil villain will say, "You know, I always look forward to our little meetings" while gruesomely torturing them for fun.
At heart, they're utterly soulless, but they mask it with a pleasant, polite, "normal" attitude, perhaps because they have social standards to live up to or because their pleasantness reflects their sheer enjoyment of evil. Maybe it's a sign of their severely warped morality, or a form of deception or psychological warfare. Or maybe they're just unbearably full of themselves. It's anyone's guess what this kind of villain will do if they suffer a Villainous Breakdown; maybe they will drop all pretenses and find that they are Not So Above It All or maybe they will fall into a state of Dissonant Serenity, blabbering off-kilter pseudo-mannerisms as they lapse into their final and greatest puppy-murdering spree.
Do not confuse with Laughably Evil, which is a villain who is funny rather than polite. While many Faux Affably Evil villains are also Laughably Evil, many other villains are one but not the other. Compare and contrast Affably Evil (whose niceness is sincere) and this Trope's opposite, Noble Demon (whose demeanor is evil in contrast to their actions). For the Evulz is a common motivation, though using this trope as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity is also possible. Also see its (possibly) downplayed counterpart Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, where a Jerkass at the best of times, is hiding behind a Nice Guy facade in order to trick people and doesn't necessarily keep it after showing his real face, and Stepford Smiler, when a miserable and/or mentally unstable person is hiding behind a cheery and sweet facade. May also overlap with Soft-Spoken Sadist, Sugary Malice, Wise Old Folk Facade.
Contrast with Good Is Not Nice, which is a good character that just isn't polite. Not to be confused with Wicked Cultured where a cultured façade hides unpleasant behavior. This trope is also one of the defining traits of a sociopath.
- Anime & Manga
- Films Animation
- Films Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has a few examples:
- Dr. Finitevus from is one of the most urbane characters you'll ever meet - it also happens that his main goal is to "purify the world in flames."
- Dr. Eggman himself has nearly all the same whimsy and charm as his video game counterpart, but is far more murderous and irredeemable, having personally taken over and destroyed the alternate Mobius he hails from.
Riddler: Well, well. So the shaved monkey has failed. How utterly, utterly expected.
- The Joker, Depending on the Writer. Sometimes he's this, sometimes he's Laughably Evil, and sometimes he's just a Monster Clown. Sometimes, he's more than one at the same time.
- The Penguin zigzags between this and being genuinely Affably Evil Depending on the Writer. At times he can be shown to be genuinely polite and respectful of others while having standards. When he's in a foul mood or the writers want to emphasize his more villainous nature, he will be this.
- The Riddler, he may seem Affably Evil when he's in a good mood, but his disposition can quickly take a hard swerve into dismissive Smug Smiler on a good day, and Ax-Crazy murderer if he's particularly tee'd off. His Arkhamverse counterpart leans more towards this, but it's present to some extent in all his incarnations.
- The Mad Hatter is this. He dresses like a gentleman and acts like one, but he's a psychopath.
- Hush is a textbook example. Thomas Elliot acts all affable on the outside, but he truly means none of it. He cuts out the brakes of his parents car at a disturbingly early age in order to inherit their money. He's a mass murdering psychopath who cares for no one but himself.
- During his time as king of Gotham's criminal underworld, the Black Mask had some great lines. Considering he built his empire on a mountain of corpses, and his hobby is torture, a lot of it Crosses the Line Twice.
- James Gordon Jr. is a very well-mannered and thought-to-be-rehabilitated psychopath. He's also a very recent villain.
- Erik Killmonger from the Black Panther series. He presents himself as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to conquer Wakanda because he genuinely thinks he'd be better for the country than T'Challa, but in reality, he's mostly motivated by revenge. He even boasts that he'd murder the entire population just so long as it meant that T'Challa would no longer be able to rule over them.
- The Daredevil villain Bullseye. He may be a Psycho for Hire with few redeeming features, but he does love to quip. His MAX counterpart is even more friendly, seeming downright cheerful most of the time. But that's probably because he's a complete and utter maniac who makes mainstream-Bullseye look sane.
- The Kingpin is usually genuinely Affably Evil, but his more monstrous iterations, such as his MAX counterpart, lean more toward this, being more smug and lacking the main Kingpin's more noble traits.
- Deadpool varies between this and being genuinely Affably Evil. He's always been Crazy Awesome, but he varies between being a Noble Demon and being Faux Affably Evil, depending on his current state of sanity/writer. When Nolan North voiced him, he played a Composite Character version, with the personality and dashing good looks of Deadpool in the main universe (in which his morality and sanity varies) and the motivation of Ultimate Marvel Deadpool (in which he is a Cape Buster and straight up villain).
- In Fall Out Toy Works, Baron makes himself out to be perfectly civil in his business dealings and serves as a mall Santa for orphaned kids...but it's very much an act and only the most oblivious would be fooled.
- Mongul in the Alan Moore Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything is very much this.
Mongul: I understand that your society makes distinctions based on age and gender. Perhaps you can tell me which one of you it would be polite to kill first.
- Judge Dredd: Judge Death, an undead executioner from another world, has a habit of happily greeting his victims before squeezing the life out of them. He's also a lot more prone to bits of dark humor and Pre Mortem One Liners than his three associates. Must be the Slasher Smile.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
- Mr. Hyde, whilst not evil, is a perfect example of this with his Blue and Orange Morality, frequent dog shooting, and his Poisonous Friend attitude. The most notable example of this is where he maintains a polite demeanor, observes the London cityscape, and discusses how lucky and chipper he feels whilst he pummels and rapes Griffin because he assaulted Mina. This is then further added to in a later scene, where he maintains a conversation even when he notices that he is covered in the gradually appearing invisible man's blood (due to his recent demise). He even deserves bonus points considering that, upon seeing the horrific aftermath of the above event, Captain Nemo tries to kill Hyde in disgust whilst Hyde continues eating his dinner. Of note, he appeared to be pantomiming eating dinner up until then, because the main course was Griffin's leg which, like his blood, only became visible after he died.
- In Volume 1, Professor Moriarty displays the honour and good manners of a Wicked Cultured villain dealing with a Worthy Opponent in the Great Game ... as long as he's winning. When the cracks start to show, he'll maintain the appearance, while dropping snide criticism at his foes. When he's really not winning, he shows he's Not So Above It All by screaming abuse at them. He does it in the Flash Back to Reichenbach, and he does it again at the climax.
- Requiem Vampire Knight: Otto von Todt is so jovial and friendly at times (primarily around Heinrich) that you almost forget that in life he was a sadistic Nazi concentration camp guard. Notably, he gets a lot more openly nasty when Heinrich hooks up with his Jewish girlfriend Rebecca again in Résurrection.
- Decepticon Justice Division leader Tarn quotes literature and plays fine music while he and his teammates torture you to death. His preferred method of killing isn't even violent—he's capable of modulating his voice in a way that lets him destroy your soul. Of course, that's only after his buddies have run out of ways to mangle you.
First Aid: You're smiling. Everything you did at Delphiall those patients you killedand you're smiling?
- Pharma starts out being friendly and likeable. As it goes on, though, it turns out that he's come to see murder as a joke and torture as a fun little peccadillo.
Pharma: I know, I knowI'm incorrigible.
- DC's Vandal Savage (who, having been alive since caveman days, is a little bit more than Really 700 Years Old) has often acted quite genteel towards Earth's heroes. He also had an unsatisfactory minion for dinner with some of his colleagues and other subordinates. Sorry, he had the minion as dinner. He's a sociopath who is surprisingly persuasive. Not actually likable, but still fairly persuasive, if only through the controversial "agree or I burn your parents alive" technique.
- The Xenophage, an alien that preys on symbiotes like Venom, is a very eloquent brain-eating monster.
- Most of The Trust and the veteran Minutemen in 100 Bullets, with the exception of Wylie Times who is Affably Evil and Jack Daw who doesn't even try.
- To those she actually sees worthy of respect, Lady Shiva is actually incredibly polite, and even cracks jokes on occasion. But even her closest allies are keenly aware that she would kill or even torture them in an instant if it suited her purposes, or even if she just gets bored.
- Lex Luthor from Superman, when he's not portrayed as genuine Affably Evil, is this. Beneath his charasmatic exterior lies a man who is willing to manipulate, steal, and commit murder to get what he wants.
- Heart of Gold (Cardcaptor Sakura): Shinatobe casually chats with Sakura and Syaoran, calmly asking them to "die for her." The fact that she asks them to do so as calmly and casually as asking them a favor completely freaks the two out. As it turns out, Shina wasn't actually evil, just Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Alex from an Adventure Time fanfic named after her is really on polite terms even when it comes to hurting both Marceline and Princess Bubblegum.
- Pinkie Pie from Cupcakes. She maintains her trademark Genki Girl attitude even while torturing and killing other ponies.
- In the second book of Child of the Storm, Ghosts of the Past, 'Dave', an ancient dragon is a prime example - he's intelligent, smooth-talking, and happy to carry on a conversation for his own amusement... which is all very clearly a facade, with a comparison being made to a cat playing with a mouse, but with actual intelligence and sadism behind it. He also freely admits that he enjoys breaking the wills of and enslaving anyone unfortunate enough to stumble across his lair, if he doesn't just eat them. This is unsurprising, since the author admits that he was patterned off a mixture of Smaug, a canon example, and Glaurung.
- Randall Silva from An Emerald Unearthed fits this to a T. He is a ruthless Loan Shark and complete scumbag, but he always behaves in a jovial and friendly manner. He always provides sarcastic comments to pretend to be a lighthearted person even when he threatens loved ones for not making payments. Emerald describes him as a man who would kill you with a smile on his face.
- Marble from Equestrylvania begins as a sweet, sensitive, stuttering mare. Later on, she still has a very pleasant and perky attitude, but has poisoned many foals with a deadly toxin that will kill them in a few hours, extorts Twilight Sparkle for the cure, and threatens and torments her friends. And she does it all with a smile! Then it turns out she was being possessed by Actrise, so this trope applies more to the latter.
- Fallout: Equestria: Snowfall has King Sombra. While his current interactions with Sleet Gray and his friends makes him look like a polite and sociable pony, his true wickedness is revealed in the malevolent glee he takes in making the crystal pony among them nearly cross the Despair Event Horizon.
- The Grand Highblood in Hivefled can be quite personable while answering reader questions and talking about art or spirituality. He's also a murderous, incestuous Monster Clown who likes to sexually abuse and murder teenagers and then collect their ghosts.
- Voodoo King Damballa of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, or rather the side story Month of Sundays, laughs and makes smart talk with the Cosmic Hunting Dogs and is such a jovial guy... who's currently under contract with Shotaro and revived him as a crazy marionette with nails for teeth and is currently doing that to Haruto Souma and Eiji Hino.
- One of the leaders of the HCS, in Human Curiosity. When he finds that England has escaped confinement, he smiles, politely addresses him, and then beats the ever-loving tar out of him. He then has England dragged downstairs and forces him to look at the frozen corpse of Portugal and, when England tries to attack him, calmly says to not act out or else he'll be killed and frozen next.
- Yuuka Kazami in the Touhou fanfiction Imperfect Metamorphosis takes great pride in being a gracious host and pleasant conversationalist, and is completely unapologetic about her passion for torture, rape, and mass murder. Indeed, part of the reason everyone finds her so terrifying is that no one knows how much of her pleasantry is an act, and she is just as likely to affectionately pat someone on the head as she is to casually crush their skull.
- Radcliffe from Keepers of the Elements is this. He blows up a planet, kidnaps, tortures with spells just because, and enslaves someone with mind control, and certainly isn't above brutal murder, yet acts rather calm and charming most of the time.
- Raiden, the Big Bad of Mortal Kombat: Desperation. Polite, charming, composed he appears as a Smug Snake to his ex-allies and generally speaks to them in a condescending and snobbish manner. But beneath that superficial charm, lies a power-hungry tyrant and unhinged brute who relishes in the suffering and despair of others, and his cruelty streak is far worse than that of Shao Kahn and Shinnok. In fact, part of the reason his ex-allies find him so terrifying is that his mood could swing at the drop of a hat - one minute, he could be calm and collected, but a minute later, he'll be cackling like a lunatic.
- My Little Wesker sends Albert Wesker to Ponyville as a magical equine right after the events of Kijuju. He remains incredibly polite and verbose, even as he delivers threats and insults and plots to overthrow Equestria's leaders and ascend to Physical Godhood, with the Elements of Harmony as his first goal to either conquer or destroy.
- Ceylon of Necessary to Win speaks very formally, even when insulting her own subordinates or her enemies. It's indicated that her refined manner of speech is yet another means of her acting superior to others.
- Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has MissingNo, who almost always speaks to Ash in a genial tone, but it's very clear that it considers him to be little more than a plaything to torment. Furthermore, while it talks about the horrible things it did to Ash's friends as though it were doing them favors, its disappointment at May not suffering a tragedy shows that it only really cares about hurting them.
- The Pony POV Series:
- Discord, of course, as per canon. However, the Dark World arc also adds in the Valeyard, who has all of the Doctor's personality quirks, but none of his morals.
- The Shining Armor Arc has General-Admiral Makarov. He presents himself initially as an affable and charismatic person, but that turns out to be a result of his Charm Person abilities. It turns out that beneath the facade he's a narcissistic sociopath who will kill people for not knowing who he is and beneath that, he's a Equineoid Abomination who's willing to kill millions in his quest to conquer the world and make everything be about him.
- The dark wizard Lung from the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni starts out seemingly polite, if a bit condescending. Then he starts torturing Jade in order to try and break her to his will.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Jovian and Jacqueline Kikion often act polite and sweet, but are openly sadistic Psycho Lesbians and Blood Knights who thrive on causing people pain, doing such things as sexually abusing Felucia and Kyouko while holding them hostage and blowing up Tsukune's house right in front of him for shits and giggles.
- The Land Before Time fanfiction The Seven Hunters introduces Calin, a fastbiter who puts on a smug, yet cordial demeanor. He even waves and talks in a conversational tone as he is discussing how his pack is going to kill the dinosaurs that he is conversing with.
- Sonic X: Dark Chaos:
- Tsali has shades of this in the rewrite. Despite his Ax-Crazy love for killing and bloodshed, he's quite sociable and sympathetic to Trinity, even after he realizes that Trinity is an Angel spy.
- Maledict himself hides his megalomania and obsessive desire for power under a rather level-headed demeanor and a thin veneer of good intentions. On the other side, Jesus hides his own lust for revenge and callous dislike of non-Angels under a facade of concern and empathy, even though he was perfectly fine with slaughtering quadrillions of innocent people to invade the Milky Way.
- Daymare Sun/Queen Celestia, the Big Bad of Sunshine and Fire. As the Evil Counterpart to Princess Celestia, she has the same kind tone when she talks to her underlings, but it is clear she is manipulating them, and toys with Daylight Sparkle's (Twilight's Evil Counterpart) emotions. And she calls multiversal conquest "making new friends."
- In Zero no Tsukaima: Saito the Onmyoji, this describes Graf Johan von Leopold at his most composed. The politeness of his language does absolutely nothing to mask his condescending manner, and his brutality and self-centeredness speak for themselves.
- Lord fits this to a T. He hardly goes a sentence without a ridiculous rant and crazy laugh, all whilst he is mind raping his victims, slaughtering over a billion people, and thinking of killing an innocent girl as a good way to pass the time.
- His other Original Character Alexander Sovereign comes close, as he can talk about a grand war that would make the first two look like child's play, all while speaking in a polite tone. The only reason he bypasses this is because he has no emotions to begin with.
- Dufayel, the Big Bad of Old West, is polite and prefers to approach problems in a civilized way, like trying to convince the heroes to leave with his reimbursements. However, if you resist his charms and continue foiling his plans, he's willing to show you how vindictive he truly is.
- Intentionally subverted by Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin. As Harry himself put it: He makes a point of trying to act charming and likeable and deliberately failing....And because he fails to be charming and likeable, people think they see through him and find Lord Potters ruthless fixer behind the false image. And they never guess that the ruthless fixer is just another false image to hide the back-stabbing Death Eater that represents his true self.
- In Total Drama fanfic series Monster Chronicles Cedric can put on a very cheerful and eccentric front, but he's also a total sadist who's ready to kill at the drop of a hat.
- Dayofthe Barney Trilogy: Barney and Baby Bop are turned into this. They maintain their cute, friendly, lovable children's show host mannerisms even as they order out the genocide of adults. They act incredibly friendly to children, but will decapitate boys and impregnate girls with creatures that will kill them during pregnancy once said children turn 13, which they consider to be too old.
- The speaker in the Jonathan Coulton song "Re: Your Brains" is a guy named Bob who has become a zombie during the Zombie Apocalypse. Bob spends the whole song trying to convince a former coworker named Tom to give up and just let the zombie horde go ahead and devour him. (Specifically, his brain.) Bob the zombie does all this in an achingly polite manner, even occasionally praising Tom, but in every stanza of the song there's at least one line that shows that the politeness is a thin disguise, and Bob the zombie is enjoying the thought of getting to slowly and painfully murder his former acquaintance. For example, here's the last stanza of the song:
I've got another meeting Tom, maybe we could wrap it up
I know we'll get to common ground somehow
Meanwhile I'll report back to my colleagues who were chewing on the doors
I guess we'll table this for now
I'm glad to see you take constructive criticism well
Thank you for your time I know we're all busy as hell
And we'll put this thing to bed
When I bash your head open!
- It has been said that Satan doesn't come to you as a scary and intimidating devil, but rather, he will appear to you in a seemingly nice and appealing way. He's known as the Prince of Lies for a reason.
- Greek mythology included Procrustes. A blacksmith who would allow travelers to rest in his home for the night and behave extremely polite toward them...until they were asleep. He always offered them a bed. If they were too short to be a perfect fit, he would get out his blacksmith tools and stretch them out (the guests, not the bed). If they were too tall to make it a perfect fit, he'd get out his blacksmith tools and cut off their limbs. If they were a perfect fit, he'd hide the bed and show them another that they didn't fit just perfectly in. Acting like a perfectly polite and friendly host in order to hide his sadistic, murderous nature, Procrustes demonstrated this trope quite well.
- In Dilbert, Catbert, Evil Director of Human Resources, was hired precisely because he possesses this quality. The caption of the page image is a quote from the strip in which he was hired.
- In Wolf 359, the protagonists discover that their bosses are involved in some sort of evil conspiracy and are almost certainly plotting to kill them. When, we finally meet a member of Mission Command, Mr. Cutter is exceedingly polite, soft-spoken, and personable. In fact, he is all of these things to such an exaggerated degree that it comes across as a bit unnerving. It quickly becomes clear that his friendly demeanor is just a calculated façade he uses to better play his role as a chessmaster corporate executive. And he's very good at his job - by the time he makes his exit, he's played various mind games with the characters, sown seeds of doubt about everything they're doing, and manipulated them into considering killing a person... all while addressing them on a first-name basis, asking about their Christmas celebrations, and telling them how happy he is with the great work they're doing. Since both characters and audience are aware that he is an active and present threat, the fact that he's so overbearingly polite and friendly just makes him feel more unnerving and unpredictable.
- The Magnus Archives has several of these, mostly servants of various Powers, as any affability is covering up a fundamental desire to terrorize and destroy.
- Particularly notable are Michael Crewe and Simon Fairchild, servants of The Vast. When both give their statements, they are polite and charming self, even taking their losses in good humor. However, both have terrorized at least dozens of innocent people, and make the sadistic joy they take in it perfectly clear.
- "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, who could sound folksy and charming even while deliberately cheating a little boy out of a chance to win some of his money.
- Eric Bischoff, his genuine baby face runs are few and far between and he's never the face by default, so he has no real motivation to be nice to anyone other than perhaps to save his own skin. Otherwise he's just stringing you along, don't listen.
- William Regal during his heel runs. He would often act like a dignified and well-mannered quintessential British gentleman, waving to the crowd, wiping his feet before entering the ring and scolding rudeness on-camera. Beneath that cultured exterior was a man who was quick to anger and not beneath breaking the rules when things weren't going his way during a match, up to and including, but not limited to: chair and title belt shots, grabbing the ropes for leverage during submission holds, and infamously, the use of brass knuckles. His antics outside of matches included insulting the fans, kissing Mr. McMahon's ass (figuratively AND literally), and even an instance of PEEING ON THE BIG SHOW'S LEG.
- Chris Jericho was this trope while performing his "Anton Chigurh" tribute gimmick from 2008 to 2010.
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield, especially during his final angle against Rey Mysterio. You have never heard the word amigo delivered with so much dripping sarcasm.
- Silvie Silver spoke in a patronizing manner to Santana Garrett in Ring Warriors while explaining all the moves she learned in Mexico and how much they would hurt. She dropped the act after Garrett pinned her.
- Michelle McCool, who was so good at this trope that she called to mind the Uncanny Valley.
- Raisha Saeed spoke as if she was a reasonable, level headed stoic looking out for the best interests of her clients, such as Awesome Kong. Her actions repeatedly proved her to be a sadist, to the point that sometimes Kong thought she went too far.
- After being defeated by Mr. 450 at the World Wrestling League's Insurrection event, Sensacional Carlitos wanted a rematch at Navidad Corporativa and insisted he would be healthy by then even though he had a broken jaw at the time. 450 urged him not to do it, saying if Carlitos had no concern for his own health he should think about friends and family.
- At the first Women Of Honor event, Veda Scott snatched a microphone and called the crowd to give a respectful sendoff to Jenny Rose, who was scheduled to return to the Japan-based Diana promotion. Scott then ended Rose's ROH run on a low note by bludgeoning her with that mic.
- Lord Darkness from BBC Radio's ElvenQuest almost borders on Well-Intentioned Extremist whenever he temporarily forgets that he's evil incarnate, but is always this trope.
- Sir Gregory Pitkin in BBC's The Men from the Ministry can sometimes be rather friendly on Mr. Lamb and Lennox-Brown when things go well, but it's just a mask and he'll do a 180 degree turn once things go downhill.
- Old Harry's Game:
- Satan is a mix of this trope and Affably Evil. To most people, he's this, often utilizing Exact Words to make people think he's about to give them what they want right before torturing them. To other supernatural beings, and to the handful of humans he respects, he's Affably Evil; he'll still torture them if they become annoying, but when he's not doing so, he's quite friendly and can sometimes even act as a caring presence.
- Thomas Crimp, a demented murder-rapist whose crimes sicken even Satan. He's nonetheless quite polite until things start going wrong.
- In Cabin Pressure, when the pilots first meet Gordon Shappey, he comes across as friendly enough, despite what Carolyn and Arthur have been telling them. (Martin even makes the mistake of telling Carolyn "He didn't seem too bad", before hastily amending it to "Didn't seem too bad, but he obviously is awful.") As soon as the actual negotiations start, he shows himself to be utterly vindictive, culminating in a Kick the Dog moment when he throws an extremely nervous Arthur's gift back in his face out of sheer spite.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Asmodeus. Despite being probably the most evil being in the setting and responsible for countless acts of torture even against his closest allies, he's always portrayed as urbane, unflappable, and chillingly reasonable.
- Very common with Devils, who are Lawful Evil. In most cases, Devils usually want mortals to make agreements with them of their own free will, but they are an always Evil race for a reason.
- Glasstaff in "The Lost Mine of Phandelver" is described as being this, referring to murders as "unpleasant little business" and being generally polite.
- Also fairly common among Ravenloft darklords.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The Dark Eldar are surprisingly cheerful and fun-loving for a society based around torturing people and eating their souls. Given that their own souls are involuntarily devoted to an Eldritch Abomination that feeds on sensations, it's probably part of the job.
- In the Night Lords series, Abaddon the Despoiler is this during his conversation with Talos.
- Depending on your opinion on the alignment in the setting, Amberley Veil, Inquisitor of Ordo Xenos, is a particular example that might fit with the trope. More generally, any leader of the designated good guysnote who isn't too busy being an obvious jerk, a Large Ham or a genuine good guy (the later being very rare instance) fits the description as well. note
- Another Sondheim example would be most of the main characters from Into the Woods. Based on characters from classic fairytales, they're generally friendly, bright, and optimistic... and in acquiring what they most dearly wished for, they ruin (and end) many lives, often including their own. The Witch eventually calls them out on it: 'You're so nice. You're not good, you're not bad, you're just nice'. This is especially true of The Wolf. It's even lampshaded by Little Red Riding Hood's song later: "Nice is not the same as good!"
- The Thenardiers in Les Misérables are more Laughably Evil to the audience, but in the context of the play, they use their politeness to do their evil - putting on a polite, friendly face while they snatch away your wallet when you aren't looking. The characters who are aware of their deeds seem to think this just makes them more sadistic, and they certainly come off this way to the audience (especially when their only concern during the June Rebellion is what they'll get from looting the corpses even when their daughter is among them) while their silliness still makes them among the most popular characters.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: The eponymous character himself and Mrs. Lovett, especially in "Have a Little Priest" — they're very droll, even as they make people into meat pies. For context, their first order of business on deciding to murder everybody who comes into Sweeny's barber shop and then make them into meat pies is a Hurricane of Puns about what different people taste like.
Mrs. Lovett: Here's the politician, so oily it's served with a doily. Have one!
Sweeney Todd: Put it on a bun. Well, you never know if it's going to run!
- In Tosca, Scarpia cultivates an image of respectability and even piety as a weak disguise for his essentially cruel and tyrannical nature. When he tries to woo Tosca with superficial politeness before presenting her with the Scarpia Ultimatum, she sees through him and contemptuously asks him what the price will be.
- William Shakespeare was good at this, with Richard III and Shylock from The Merchant of Venice. And Iago from Othello, who manages to be everyone's favourite character.
- Monokuma aka Junko Enoshima from the Danganronpa series is a combination of this trope and Laughably Evil. He acts like a cartoonish stuffed bear who's too funny to be taken seriously as a villain, but he's really an Ax-Crazy despair fetishist Evil Overlord who psychologically torments students via a sick killing game, in which he puts on a wisecracking Game Show Host demeanor as he casually slings insulting jokes towards the helpless participants. As Junko, she speaks and behaves like a cute, bubbly Gyaru Girl/Valley Girl, even as she brutally murdered innocent victims and took pleasure in their suffering, started a despair cult that destroyed most of human civilization, and broadcasted the game live as a sadistic Reality TV show, not to mention how she will even backstab her own allies without a second thought.
- Celestia Ludenberg from the first game is one of the more callous and ruthless students, even before she manipulates one student into killing another, then kills her accomplice in order to graduate and win a cash reward. Despite that, she maintains at least a façade of good manners, using polite speech and honorifics(-kun for boys and -san for girls) on people, apart from a few moments of anger. When she condescendingly "reassures" Makoto that no one expects much of him anyway while trying to refute his argument, Makoto thinks that he's never heard anyone sound so nice while being so mean before.
- Zouken Matou in Fate/stay night is rotten and evil to the core, but he seems to enjoy putting on false politeness when tormenting or manipulating his victims. This contrasts him with the actually Affably Evil Kirei Kotomine, who genuinely likes the protagonists but also would not hesitate to kill them.
- The Big Bads of the Grisaia Series are like this:
- Both Irisu Kiyoka and Sakaki Michiaki in Grisaia no Kajitsu. Kiyoka is polite when it comes to conversation but considering the fact that she peppers her dialogue with either death threats or dickish insults along with her actions, its clear that shes nothing but a petty sociopath. Michiaki seems to be a genuinely nice guy with a calm demeanor and reassuring smile, however he is mostly empty in the inside, only caring to further his corporate interests.
- Heath Oslo in Grisaia no Meikyuu and Grisaia no Rakuen is polite, well dressed and fairly charming, but he's also an internationally wanted terrorist, a pedophile, and performs experiments on children that give them all cancer or cause them to commit suicide. He also has a nasty temper, but he keeps it bottled up at all times, so it's hard to tell when he's angry.
- Bolt in SC2VN is capable of being respectful when he's on camera, but he's still a jerk.
- Reiko and her sisters from Contemplating Reiko are Evilly Adorable.
- Issac Jenner from Demonology 101, though gradually less so after meeting Madeline.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: U4 Buu. Even as he's absorbing the entire stadium, he doesn't fail to crack a few jokes, but it's clear from, well, the fact that he's absorbing the entire stadium shows that he has no remorse or desire to hold back.
- Drowtales has Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen, who presents herself as an enlightened peacemaker with the best interests of her kind at heart to mask her true nature, and once things start going wrong she has her Mask of Sanity slip to reveal her true sociopathy
- The evil wizard Faden from Exiern, like Mister J, is in the evil game as much for the lulz as anything else.
- Girl Genius:
- Bangladesh Dupree, who derives much endless glee from torture, murder, and mass destruction. Her upbeat personality and casual attitude only make her more likeable — to the audience, at least. Most other characters rather fear her. Contrast to the Other who showers cutesy and "darlings" all the time, but tries too hard.
- It's notable though that she's also like that around people she absolutely genuinely cares about such as Gilgamesh or her employer, in which case her affable personality is actually genuine and sincere friendship.
- Also, Castle Heterodyne, which has an attitude rather like that of the aforementioned HK-47 and a fanatical devotion to the Heterodynes. Except it's the size of a vast, sprawling complex and a lot more creatively vicious.
- Similar to Dupree, Castle's faux personality could be actually sincere towards certain people such as any Heterodynes as well as fellow Heterodyne servants, including ones such as the jagers where they can converse about relatively non-evil subjects such as potential lovers for their Hterodyne masters.
- Bangladesh Dupree, who derives much endless glee from torture, murder, and mass destruction. Her upbeat personality and casual attitude only make her more likeable — to the audience, at least. Most other characters rather fear her. Contrast to the Other who showers cutesy and "darlings" all the time, but tries too hard.
- Doc Scratch pretends to be a pleasant old man with a soft spot for young ladies. In reality, he is a conniving, devious villain, who has imprisoned an innocent girl in his house who is now a Death Seeker because of it, is the cause of a previously peaceful planet becoming a Crapsack World, and in spite of never once lying, manages to convince every single one of the children that they are destroying the Green Sun, when in reality they were creating it. The kicker? His only reason for doing this was to prove that they are "S u c k e r s."
- In late Act 6, Aranea has unexpectedly shown this trait. She's just trying to help, guys! And if a few people get permanently killed or mindscrewed along the way, well, it's all for the greater good, right?
- Used liberally in The Last Days Of FOXHOUND, where at least half the jokes are mostly Mantis and Ocelot making each other's life a living hell.
- Richard from Looking for Group slaughters entire villages on a regular basis and is very funny while doing it. Just watch "Slaughter The World", and find yourself laughing yourself sick as Richard drop-kicks puppies over the horizon.
Richard: You got Dick-roll'd.Cale: Hah! Dick-rolled!
- The main cast of Narbonic, except Artie and early Dave.
- In The Order of the Stick:
Xykon: Bring the phylactery back, and I'll let you keep two internal organs of your choice. Act fast, this offer is for a limited time! (Fires a Meteor Swarm at the fleeing heroes)
- The Big Bad Xykon is a sadistic monster with no redeeming qualities, not to mention kind of a dick, but he can be very funny and charming (even Redcloak, who loathes Xykon and has been subtly manipulating him for years, admits that Xykon can be good company but warns Jirix that this does not mean that Xykon can be trusted one iota.) Xykon's Breaking Speeches tend to be very conversational in tone if not subject matternote , and he "kindly" offers mercies when his enemies are plainly outmatched by him, like:
- Bozzok, head of the Greysky City Thieves' Guild has a friendly, easy-going personality that would lead one to think that he's the Noble Demon/ Reasonable Authority Figure type of Weird Trade Union leader. However, the reality is that Bozzok is a treacherous snake who pursues brutal retribution against anyone who challenges him.
- General Tarquin, Evil Overlord of the Empire of Blood initially appears to be an Affably Evil Noble Demon, but the strip gradually shows that he's really this- a cruel egomaniac who takes Disproportionate Retribution on anyone who doesn't play according to his "rules", and whose facade of affability crumbles after things stop going his way.
- Angelo, from Our Little Adventure. He's quite the little monster, but acts fairly polite and friendly most of the time. The main reasons he is so good to his minions are because they serve him on a pseudo-religious level and his husband Brian (whose kindess is quite a bit more genuine) advised him to.
- Alaster Wight of |Suppression treats everyone as his best buddy despite being a self proclaimed "sadistic badass bastard". He's got a smile that's equal parts Chesire and Slasher.
- General Levaughn Matsui "Hugo" Xinchub from Schlock Mercenary can carry on polite conversations, but still has no problems with murder and other mayhem to serve his goals, smiling at the thoughts of death and destruction that serves his purpose.
- Devil in Sinfest can be very funny when he's in a good mood. And sometimes throws loud but harmless prima donna hissy fits or long rants, which sometimes has comedic effects too. Depending on the subject, his clownade can be more than sinister — still hilarious though, isn't? And when he's in a bad mood, there may be barely enough time to say "Oh, Crap!".
- In Slightly Damned, we have Moonshade, who speaks in a polite manner but works with demons that are trying to abandon hell and take Medius as their own. He is a Sadist, who likes to taunt his victims mid-fight. This is best exemplified when Buwaro and Kieri accidentally run afoul of Melli, the fire guardian: he warns them that she's dangerous, says he's seen that they're good kids, and offers to take care of her for them; when he speaks to her, he starts out calmly, then stabs her in the shoulder mid-sentence, then, after he kills her, makes a snide remark:
Moonshade...Aaaannnd another Guardian bites the dussst! And with such a dramatic exit! So much for not setting the city on fire, though. Ha ha!
- Sluggy Freelance
"Howdy-ho neighbors! Could we borrow the Book of E-ville, and all of your souls? Don't get up, we'll help ourselves!"
- K'Z'K is almost always outwardly cheerful, as well as polite in a way that could be considered sarcastic, even though his actions are perfectly in line with his status as a demon bent on stealing souls and Taking Over The World to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
- Subverted with Dr. Dastarde from "Anima — Revelation" on his first introduction. He's set up as potentially being the unknown villain behind the scenes, and his first line, while Finger-Tenting in a typical Diabolical Mastermind setup, is "We meet at last, Zoë! A Seer I've heard oh-so-much about! I am oh-so-happy for you to join us!" Also, he appears to have no anima hovering next to him — in this world, that would presumably mean being The Soulless. However, the next strip reveals he talks like that because he's really that childishly friendly, and his anima was just hiding in reflection of his own shyness. Since Zoë is the character whose point of view the reader has been following, she's pretty confused by the subversion as well.note
- Cal V1n of Weapon Brown is charismatic, enjoys jokes (especially his own), and is quite friendly. Up until he decides that you need to die. For any reason, including "because it would be funny", "because you're annoying", and "because I can". Even leaders of The Syndicate are terrified of him, for the simple fact that he's an unstoppable killing machine who only does what he's told due to some severe mental conditioning, and that is of questionable effectiveness. Part of this comes from the fact that he was transformed into a living weapon at the age of seven, and his first actions upon gaining his powers were to kill every other test subject. He was impossible to control without mental conditioning, and it's implied that the conditioning won't hold for very long.
- Black Hat Man from XKCD, he has no qualms with killing and actively attempts to hurt and humiliate random strangers, but will calmly and politely explain why most of the time.
- Yocchi from Yamara. There's hardly anything "redeeming" about her, as she happily plays villain, but...She manages to be so stylish and funny even in the To the Pain sequence that even her victim doesn't seem to hold too much of a grudge, and after all, she herself is known to be Too Kinky to Torture, cheerfully crazy, and The Chew Toy to boot, so it's somehow hard to blame her.
- Zebra Girl: Mister Chalk in dealing with Zandra.
- Kill Six Billion Demons: When King Pryan Sor approaches Dimension Lord and Evil Overlord Mottom with a "gift" of the bones of his people who have died of famine because of her actions, she gently tells her she's been touched by his words and promises to grant him unending life and the ability to feed others. Then she violently transforms him into a tree.
- 1999: Mr. Bear is a misanthropic Satanist who takes out his contempt toward the human race by sacrificing children to the Devil. He runs his own channel and creates shows geared toward children. His most popular being "Mr. Bear's House", where he wears a bear costume and acts like a typical kids show host. When he invites children to guest star in his episodes, he acts just like a lovable children's entertainer similar to Barney The Dinosaur or Bear from Bear In The Big Blue House. He refers to the children as his friends and acts super jolly around them; lecturing them about the dangers of scissors while cutting a child's fingers off and stating that drugged orange juice will help them on their journey to the afterlife as he prepares to burn them alive.
- Most State characters in AJCO, but particularly A_J and Breyos. They mask their loathing and contempt for others (and each other) behind fake politeness, and then act offended if anyone calls them out on it as they were 'only being polite'. Their savvier enemies, such as S_K and Egg, are starting to act the same way whenever they have to deal with them (only without the 'Evil' part... maybe).
- In Alice Isn't Dead, Humanoid Abomination the Thistle Man first approaches the Narrator by engaging in seemingly genial, folksy small-talk that leaves her very unnerved. She notes that "nothing about his tone matched [what] he was saying," and subsequently pegs him as having decided to bother her from the first. He keeps up the pretense when inviting her to "see sumthin' funny," which happens to be a private display of his ability to pacify and slowly kill a hapless victim of his choosing, by eating him alive.
- Ask That Guy. A completely depraved, devil-worshiping murderer, he is nonetheless quite cheerful as he answers all your questions in the most disturbing ways imaginable.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
Frieza: I hear these heroic speeches so wearily often. So I started keeping a mental list of how many times I hear certain lines.Namekian Red Shirt: You... you insane bastard!Freiza (cheerfully): A hundred and ninety!
- Mr. Popo is interpreted as this in.
- Freeza was already this in the original, but in Abridged, this aspect is further magnified to make him even more terrifying. LittleKuriboh's magnificent performance helps.
- Dreamscape: Ethan is very chatty and lively...but its only to make him more unnerving.
- Terrence in KateModern is this 60% of the time (he has a terrible temper, though).
- Simon Talbot from The Descendants makes up terribly punny names for his various experiments. For example, he asks if 'Cadmus' is too cutesy for a project involving inflicting Body Horror on a captive to splice dragon genomes into her. He then names her after a Disney villain.
- Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
- In the second installment, Tony the Talking Clock at first acts like a kind teacher who wants to show the puppets the importance of time. He drops the act quickly when Green Bird presses his Berserk Button by questioning the existence of time, at which point he yells at them literally until their ears bleed and then rots them alive.
- Similarly, in the fourth installment, Collin the Computer claims to want to help the puppets and show them how to be clever like him. It quickly becomes clear that he has no intention of helping, and after Red Thing touches his keyboard, he fulfills the "evil" part of the trope by instead trapping the puppets in a digital world where they can't do anything except open doors for eternity.
- The Food Band from the fifth episode pretend to be friendly, but they ignore everything the main characters say, and its heavily implied they tricked Yellow Guy into eating Duck Guy after harvesting the latters organs while he was still alive.
- Epic Rap Battles of History:
- Adolf Hitler makes a number of polite requests to Darth Vader, all of which are euphemisms for putting him in a concentration camp. He drops the act during his Villainous Breakdown in the third battle when he shoots Boba Fett because he's mad that Vader keeps beating him.
- Hannibal Lecter deliberately remains completely calm throughout his battle as part of his attempt to break Jack the Ripper by talking. He almost drops the act when Jack points out he's a fictional character, but manages to compose himself before it's time for his verse.
- At the end of his second verse, Julius Caesar's voice takes on an eerily calm tone as he tells Shaka Zulu that he's not going to kill Zulu or his tribe; they'll be much more useful as his slaves. The look on his face suggests that he's actually planning what to do after the battle and not just making empty threats as is common in the battles. Earlier, Caesar also responds to Zulu's boasts of having the strength of a lion and the speed of a cheetah with "Ooh, can I be a hyena? Because I'm going to laugh when I pave roads with the bones of your goat-herding ass."
- Walt Disney ends his rap by gleefully commanding Jim Henson and Stan Lee to "GAZE UPON MY EMPIRE OF JOY!". Said empire being hundreds of oppressed artists being worked to the bone, with the implication that Henson and Lee are soon to join them. In fact, Disney maintains a smile on his face for his entire rap, only stopping to mock his artists for begging him to stop. In keeping with the Disney business model, he's also one of the only rappers in the series who doesn't swear at all.
- HAL 9000 opens his verse with "I'm sorry, Bill. I can't let you do that." but clearly isn't actually apologetic in the slightest.
- Hat Films, in their Minecraft series Hat Corp, tend to harass the other members of the Yogscast on their respective videos, but do so with a fake sense of politeness.
- Dr. Heiter of Human Centipede: The Musical adopts this demeanor while, among other things, kidnapping, threatening, and murdering people. This is particularly noticeable during his Villain Song.
- In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Lucius talks like a high-pitched and slightly excited stereotype of a boy band fangirl. Once you start listening to what he's saying, though, he becomes one of the creepiest characters in the show.
- The French blogger "l'Odieux Connard" (literally, the Heinous Asshole) picture himself as one in any of his articles.
'''(After shooting a hipster from his house)"Well, he's still twitching a bit. Listen, Sir, I'm not willing to waste a second bullet for you, so please tune down your grumbling, I would like to sleep with my windows opened, we're in summer!"
- Liruru Von Astaroth, in the MSF High IRC and MSF High forums (backstory only), is somewhere between this and Affably Evil. She, amongst other things, has genuine True Companions, is a kind, gentle ruler of a planet...and is willing to commit millions of murders for her goals, and has, thanks to A Million Is a Statistic.
- Red vs. Blue:
- Wyoming fits this to a T. He has a polite, cool-headed and consistent demeanour, though as befitting this trope it's very insincere. Whenever he kills an enemy or victim, he always gives an insincere "sorry".
- His boss and the main antagonist for the Blood Gulch Chronicles, O'Malley fits this even better. He's a Large Ham that is always entertaining, with an equally fake polite demeanour. Unlike Wyoming, however, he's largely incompetent- until the last part of the fifth season when he almost gets given the opportunity to go all Omnicidal Maniac on everybody's asses.
- Come Season 12, Felix turns out to be a case of this, with false compliments designed to twist the knife.
- RWBY: Cinder Fall is very charismatic and capable of putting on a polite front as a means of getting what she wants. However, it is all a facade to hide her true sinister nature. When negotiating with Adam and the White Fang, she acts polite and respectful towards him and begrudgingly forces herself to bow in respect when he refuses her offer. However, once she obtains half of the Fall Maiden's power, she returns and slaughters his men to force him to join him. When overlooking the chaos in Vale, she revels in the carnage and tells Mercury to record it. As her sanity decays throughout Volume 5, Cinder's polite facade becomes less sincere as more of her sadistic side shines through, seen in her negotiations with Raven where her politeness is undercut by her thinly-veiled death threats towards her and her tribe.
- The Slender Man Mythos: The Slender Man can come off as either this or just genuinely Affably Evil Depending on the Writer. Both portrayals are quite common due to the suit.
- Turpster tends to behave this way as the murderer in Murder! or Trouble in Terrorist Town.
- The Duke of Francis, in Twig, is superficially kind, polite, respectful of his subordinates (at the price of absolute loyalty) and yet is also a psychotic Blood Knight who in his spare time rearranges people's lives to de-stress.
- Lauren Mallard from Welcome to Night Vale. On the surface she seems like a cheerful, friendly woman, but she takes a rather sinister interest in knowing the names of Cecil's loved ones.
- Mimeo of the Whateley Universe. He cheerfully chats with another super, while really setting the guy up to be hunted forever by Mafia hitmen.
- Coil is polite, reasonable, and acts friendly, but employs child molesters and murderers, wants to take over a city for no real reason beyond his own egotism, and commits gruesome murders when he's absolutely sure there will be no evidence.
- Jack Slash also counts. He's always polite and genial, despite having spent twenty years or more leading the Slaughterhouse Nine across North America on a rampage that has seen cities devastated and tens of thousands of men, women, and children tortured and murdered in the most horrible ways he and his companions can think of. He has no reason for this beyond his own enjoyment.
- Marik, Melvin, Florence, and Gozaburo in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.