So it turns out we need to have an article about the First-Person Smartass, and now I have to tell you everything about the type of narrator who's a first-person narrator (because you obviously didn't get that from the name) and describes events in the tone of a Deadpan Snarker. He does this since he knows that, contrary to the popular misconception, narration isn't about, y’know, letting the reader in on the plot; it's about sharing with them every remotely entertaining half-of-a-train of thought you have.
This guy sometimes shows up in the Private Eye Monologue sort of work, but Urban Fantasy is where you really can't turn a corner without bumping into a dozen of them. If you want to find one, just cast a fireball in some otherwise normal city and before you're halfway done, some wannabe-protagonist will jump at you from behind a corner and start throwing pithy remarks at you about how you're being cliché and violating the laws of thermodynamics or some shit like that.
Well, fine, that's...hyperbole, I suppose...but you have to admit the guy is an awfully convenient proxy to have around if you're a clever author who wants to show the world how clever you are. Not to mention he can also function as an Audience Surrogate, incorporating and defusing a reader's skepticism with endless Lampshade Hanging of whatever bits of the story don't make sense. You can almost feel the enormous weight of the entire story's Willing Suspension of Disbelief crushing this poor bastard’s shoulders.
You can expect this guy to be intellectual and well-acquainted with pop culture (or at least works with which the author is familiar), so he can make all the right clever references at the right time. Naturally, this won't prevent them from being described as uneducated, bad at school, or just plain Book Dumb; these traits are apparently all the fucking rage for Audience Surrogates nowadays as people can't identify with someone who might possibly be a better person than they are. Unfortunately the character may end up being too smart, because the writer is afraid of looking stupid. In the case of Fan Fiction, a character of only moderate intelligence may end up being given uncharacteristically intelligent thoughts, and leaving the readers with a sense of OOC-ness.
Anyways, the Trope Namer was a review of Steven Brust's Dragaera series by The Library of Babel. And of course you're going to click that, because the "click hither and educate thyself" tone of that sentence just screams "fun."
Compare Lemony Narrator. Or don’t, I don’t care how lazy you are.
...I don’t like my job.
Examples for your curious little ass:
- Kyon, the viewpoint character of Haruhi Suzumiya; a variation of the character type, as even though he's very intelligent and literate, he's Book Dumb and rarely gets anything more than a B+.
- Kinji Tohyama of Aria the Scarlet Ammo, especially in the light novels. Dude always has a quip for each weird thing he encounters in his life.
- Issei in High School DXD has shades of this, however it's Azazel who's a lot more of a smart ass narrator whenever he discusses things in his point of view.
- "Watashi" from Humanity Has Declined. Though a fairly standard trait for a Light Novel protagonist, she stands out for her incredible cynicism.
- Shinichi Kudo/Conan Edogawa of Detective Conan snarks in his head more than Once an Episode.
- Servant × Service:
- Local Shrinking Violet Saya, surprisingly and sporadically, but very fitting with her Brutal Honesty.
- Kanon also tends to snark a lot in her head regarding some weird situations she gets into, such as Miyoshi's Brutal Honesty, Hasebe's slacking habits, Chihaya's strange personality, and Lucy's tight control of her salary, as well as the Ichimiya siblings' shared obliviousness (Taishi to the true reason Touko visits his place, and Touko to the fact that the bunny in the office is her father's avatar and the true nature of her brother and Chihaya's relationship).
Kanon: Thank goodness Touko-chan is an idiot.
- Saki Watanabe from From the New World, more so in the novels than in the anime.
- Yukito in Hotarubi No Tomoru Koro Ni alternates between normal narration and some distinctly blasé inner comments towards the members of his family - including his stepsister.
- This has become a fairly common practice in Spider-Man comic books.
- Wally West's version of The Flash is rife with snarky narration.
- When the powers that be let teen Loki narrate their own exploits (Like in the first issue of Loki: Agent of Asgard) they will do this. Their tangents on things like the nature of magic serving as exposition and underlining how nerdy they can get. Yes, the God of Mischief owns tabletop RPG rulebooks, problem?
- Rito Yuuki in To Love Death based off To Love-ru, is a snarky narrator even though his actually personality isn't. This, of course changes when it hits the fan and a dark monolith lands outside his school classroom.
- The protagonist of the mega-multi-cross fanfic Sleeping with the Girls, mainly as a device to keep the protagonist deliberately unnamed as an Affectionate Parody of the ISO Standard self-insert fic.
- The narrator from Marie D. Suesse and the Mystery New Pirate Age!! occasionally takes breaks from narrating the story to make fun of common cliches found in fanfics and point out logical fallacies.
- Daniel Lawson in the Glee fanfic series The Harmon Verse takes this trope and has his babies—one of the best things about Daniel is how he snarks about anything in front of him.
- Turnabout Storm: True to Ace Attorney form, both point of view characters, Phoenix Wright and Twilight Sparkle, partake in this to cope with the fact that they are the Only Sane Man/Mare in a world of crazies. Even then, neither is shy about pulling some regular snarking occasionally.
- My Little Investigations protagonist Twilight Sparkle is this as per Ace Attorney standards.
- And, to pull off the trifecta, Hard Reset and its sequels feature Twilight's perspective. While not overloaded, she still has her moments.
- Starlight Over Detrot has Detective Hard Boiled do this, as part of its Noir styling.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- Hobbes narrating like this in "The Time Pauser".
- Calvin gets his turn for the first half of "The Transmitter Conspiracy Part 1".
- Jericho, the narrator of Jericho, whose narration style is founded upon snark. Without breaking the fourth wall, he is constantly making fun of the story he's in and the world and characters therein, kind of like a demented Douglas Adams.
- Link is very much this in The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13. Turns out that in the first person sections he's conversing with a shadow demon that's sharing his body, so it makes sense he'd describe things less than objectively.
- Miho is this in Innocence Need Not Apply, as a result of the author applying Alternative Character Interpretation to her experiences, resulting in her becoming jaded and bitter, but determined to save the lives of her comrades should they fall into danger, although she doesn't always express said feelings openly.
- Captain Kanril Eleya of Bait and Switch and related fics. Not all the time, but the story is told from her point of view and she's not afraid to crack jokes in the narration. She's even snarked at herself on occasion, such as when she caught herself gawking at her ops officer when he was lifting weights. It really comes out when she's annoyed at the universe in general, as in the side story Reality Is Fluid:
Eleya: (listening to the First Minister of Bajor giving a speech) "This project ushers in a new era of cooperation between Cardassia and Bajor. We are healing the wounds of the Occupation and the Dominion War, blah blah blah." Okay, that last part was me.
- The Pokémon fanfic Pokemon Take Two has two narrators. Raion, a standard Deadpan Snarker, and Narrator-tan, a very... cheerful example. S/he only takes up the narrator role when Raion isn't present in a scene, though, mostly appearing in Omakes.
- The Narrator of the 1996 sections of Redaction of the Golden Witch is one of these. He doesn't exactly have the highest opinion of his three companions, and doesn't hold back in his thoughts. Since he doesn't use quotation marks when actually speaking, it seems like he doesn't hold back during conversations, either…
- In Sean Bean Saves Westeros, the "real life" Sean Bean is transported into the land of Westeros of A Song of Ice and Fire. Now living as Ned Stark, not just playing him on TV, Sean Bean indulges in inner monologues as a coping mechanism. He snarks at almost everything happening in Westeros, and often disparages George for the epically screwed-up world he’s penned.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic My Time Of Dying. Despite the story being about his struggle with depression, narrator and Snarker Scourge pulls this off a lot in the Present Tense, often thinking directly at the reader. The best part of this is that it feels entirely In Character for him to do this.
Scourge: [in his head] Oh yeah, they're holding the Suppression Squad too on account of deliberately crossing zones to try and kill me. Now I'm being talked to about that by the 'Good Cop', who is incidentally Zamy Roze. It's as if I'll have forgotten how they've just quizzed me six hours straight on everything from the illegal zone-jumping to the regularity of my bowel movements.
- The Demesne Of The Reluctant Twilight Sparkle is told entirely through Twilight's stream-of-consciousness POV, so this crops up quite a bit, at least as much at her own expense as at anypony else's.
- Joey Wheeler narrates Being Dead Ain't Easy. It's so full of snark that your internal voice may be replaced with his after reading it.
- The protagonist of New Reality is regularly this, and sometimes even in tough situations.
- Catch Your Breath: Kei, all the way through. A quarter of the story’s length is composed of Kei’s exposition about her thoughts at a given time and speculation on the story’s universe, while another fourth is color commentary. The remaining half is the plot.
- The narrator and protagonist of Fear and Loathing in Wine Country is a drug addict who, by her own admission, spent the bulk of every chapter high.
I now turn your attention to the villains, because by now you're most likely curious as to what they're up to, and like with Ryobi and her eternal war against my girls and my house while I was gone, I rely solely on others' account so again, discern the truth with your own eyes. Or ears. Or whatever you got. Smoke 'em if you got 'em after all. And that was one of the few essential philosophies that Kat and I lived by as we mentioned last chapter. It don't matter what it is you smoke, but you better be lighting them up if we say it.
- Lathbora Viran features Solas as the viewpoint character, snarking back out loud as well as in his own head.
- The Unabridged Memoirs of Darth Plagueis the Wise is, as the title suggests, narrated by Darth Plagueis. And he tends to get his mental Deadpan Snarker on quite often, especially when dealing with Senators or Jedi.
- Fallout: Equestria is written from the first-person perspective of Littlepip, a unicorn mare from Stable 2 who has quite a lot to say about everything that comes her way. She combines this trope with regular Deadpan Snarkery on occasion.
- Pokemon: The Unknown Continuum features a protagonist who absolutely hates being in the situation of a typical Mystery Dungeon player character. His narration in the first third of the fic is often coated in snark.
- Goodfellas milks the fun of the narrator's snarkery when he describes events.
- Bridget Jones, especially in the original script, has more snarky (even to the point of being mean to whoever is insulting her) responses in her head and diary rather than in real life. She also offers some snarky opinions of people like her mother and parents' peers.
- About half the fun of Lord of War is Nicholas Cage's gloriously dry snark as he narrates over events.
Yuri: Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure: no one was lining up to buy their cars.
- When Stephen King characters tell their own stories, they have a tendency to be this way, but it's mostly light and situational cynicism on display, rather than the characters being chronic smartasses. Michael Noonan of Bag of Bones is probably the best example.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
- The eponymous Percy Jackson. It's probably common amongst Half-Bloods, as a coping mechanism extension of their diagnosed-as-ADHD battle instincts. After all, if you find yourself standing before Hades, God of the Dead, who's cloaked in a robe sewn together from souls of the damned, then wondering what some poor saps must've done to get themselves assigned to being his boxer shorts has got to be better than having your mind lock up in fear.
- The Heroes of Olympus Sequel Series shows the point of view of multiple demigods, all of whom are various levels of smartass—although they're third-person, making them Lemony Narrators.
- Apollo's narration in The Trials of Apollo is also plenty snarky.
- Somehow taken Up to Eleven in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Many fans of Riordan have commented that they're surprised it even was possible to make Magnus Chase even more of a smartass than Percy.
- Shelena, the narrator of Loyal Enemies, just can't let anything slide, and when she can't speak out loud, the amount of snark in her inner monologue goes Up to Eleven. Her most common targets are Rest and Veres, but everyone gets his or her share of it.
- Nero Wolfe's assistant Archie Goodwin is both the hardboiled gumshoe to Wolfe's rarified Great Detective and the narrator of all the mysteries the two find themselves involved in. This means that the reader is treated to generous helpings of dry, deadpan sarcasm and quips about almost everything that happens and everyone that Goodwin comes across. To paraphrase their Friendly Enemy Inspector Cramer, Goodwin would cheerfully joke around at his own execution if given half a chance.
- How to Avoid Death on a Daily Basis Colin leads his party through surreal obscene situations that comedians would kill for. He runs a funny if pessimistic commentary on his life.
- Spenser is somewhat a Poor Man's Substitute of this trope and is often brought up as the direct inspiration for fantasy novels using this character-type.
- The protagonist of Frank Portman's "King Dork" mentally snarks his way through the book, but is usually less than stellar at speaking aloud. To wit: "By my count, I had said no more than twenty-one words to her, and that's only if you count 'um'. And my first bit of dialogue had been nothing less retarded than 'I'm cool"
- Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos in the Dragaera series, who besides being an aristocrat of a sort reflects Brust's Author Appeal in being a gourmet cook. One of the first examples of this in fantasy, along with Corwin from The Chronicles of Amber, and indirect Trope Namer. When Kiera the Thief is narrating in Orca, she's this way as well.
- Glen Cook utilises this in some of his series:
- Sean Drummond, narrator of Brian Haig's novels, often speculates on things he'd like to say but shouldn't. Or things he did say, and shouldn't have.
- The No Name Given spy protagonist of The Ipcress File and sequels by Len Deighton.
- The Dresden Files:
"For God's sake. At least the vampires would call to make an appointment.
- Harry Dresden is a private eye in an urban fantasy verse, so of course he indulges. Expect dozens of bad jokes and pop culture references per book. A lot of it is the fact that he's also a Stepford Snarker with a heck of a lot of angst, as well as being a defense mechanism against various supernatural monsters (as he explains, you never show weakness or fear to predators unless you want them to attack you).
- Thomas Raith, the narrator and protagonist of the Dresdenverse story Backup, proves equal to his brother Harry in terms of interspersing action and sass.
- John Marcone narrates the story Even Hand, and intersperses ruthless pragmatism with very dry snark. For example, after a monster blows open his door:
- Molly narrates the story Bombshells and follows her mentor's example by being fairly snarky, though not as much as Dresden, Thomas or Marcone.
- Jim Butcher used this trope for his Spider-Man novel, The Darkest Hours, casting Peter Parker as the narrator.
- Lindsey Davis's Marcus Didius Falco - a good cook, and married to an aristocrat. Also a deconstruction of this trope; as a citizen of 1st century Rome, he hasn't read any Chandler and doesn't know that private eyes are loners...
- Colt Regan does this quite a bit in between strange tangents on such subjects as the political leanings of baked goods.
- Also true of many other Urban Fantasy narrators such as Rachel Morgan (The Hollows), Anita Blake, Kelley Armstrong's heroines in the Women of the Otherworld books (some more smartass than others), Kitty from the Kitty Norville series, and Cal of Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series.
- Corwin and Merlin from Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber possibly started the trend in Fantasy. Random gets in on the action for a chapter, too, when he's telling Corwin about one of his recent adventures.
- As a dark example, Dexter somewhat fits this type, being a surprisingly charming and cheerful Serial Killer.
- John Taylor from Simon R. Green's Nightside series is like a more pessimistic Harry Dresden.
- David Wong, of John Dies at the End, deadpans, lies, and occasionally half-heartedly mocks the weird shit that confronts him and his goofball friend. He occasionally veers into nihilistic author tracts... that are actually attempts by the Shadow Men to get him to commit suicide and stopping his heroics.
- Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain Warhammer 40,000 novels are excerpts from his private memoirs. In them, Cain reveals that he is very much a Deadpan Snarker at heart, regardless of how well he hides it in public.
- Bartimaeus of The Bartimaeus Trilogy in the chapters he narrates, and even more so in the footnotes. In the last book of the trilogy, he even manages to snark chapters another character narrates because he and Nathaniel are sharing a body.
- Warren Ellis's Crooked Little Vein features a main character who tells the story from the first person and is most definitely a smartass, but subverts the rest of the trope by... well, being a typical Ellis protagonist, really.
"I don't have a secretary. Sometimes I flip on a phone voice-changer I got for five bucks on eBay and pretend to be my own secretary. It is very sad."
- Dennis St. Michel from The Luck of Dennis St. Michel, Viscount Stokington is one of these, usually insulting or mocking the other characters in his narration while being polite or deferential in his dialogue.
- Justified in Matt Stover's Heroes Die, where the protagonist is having his experiences as a particularly violent sort of adventurer in a fantasy world recorded for the entertainment of the masses on a dystopian future Earth.
- Thomas Lang, protagonist of Hugh Laurie's The Gunseller is a less well read example of this: "Yes, he had one arm and he taught unarmed combat. Sometimes life is like that".
- Bob Howard in the "Laundry" novels by Charles Stross is Harry Palmer as a computer geek. Who has to deal with monster.
- Subverted by Betsy Taylor, the heroine and narrator of the Betsy the Vampire Queen series. She's got the tone right, but she takes the "smart" out of "smartass".
- Odd Thomas definitely counts, though he's usually more humble about his smartass remarks. Being a Dean Koontz character, though, he also often goes on philosophical tangents, which is pleasant.
- Arkady Makarovich Dolgoruky, eponymous (and well-described) narrator of Dostoevsky's The Adolescent.
- Felix Castor in Mike Carey's series is another urban fantasy example, like a much, much darker Harry Dresden.
- Caliban Leandros, oh so very much. His brother Niko has his moments as well, though he's much more restrained.
- Thomas Ligotti does this a lot, albeit rather subtly.
- Delia Marshall Turner's Nameless Magery is a mix of SF and fantasy, narrated by the rather self-deprecating and earthy character of Lisane, who is quite well-educated by the standards of her own planet. Some of the humor comes from Lisane's observations about the culture of the alien planet she has crash-landed on and comparisons to the culture of her homeworld. The sequel Of Swords And Spells is narrated by Malka, who is also a bit sarcastic and tends to give herself self-deprecating nicknames like "Malka the Mighty, victorious in defeating soup", though she is not quite as snarky as Lisane.
- Rivers of London, told from the ever so slightly sarcastic and opinionated POV of Detective Constable Peter Grant.
- Animorphs does this with all of the humans to some extent, but mostly Marco.
- The anonymous narrator of Red Harvest. "I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red-haired mucker called Hickey Dewey in the Big Ship in Butte. He also called his shirt a shoit. I didn’t think anything of what he’d done to the city’s name. Later I’d heard men who could pronounce their r’s give it the same pronunciation. I still didn’t see anything in it but the meaningless sort of humor used to make richardsnary the thieves’ word for dictionary. A few years later, I went to Personville and learned better."
- In some of the stories from Stanisław Lem's Tales of Pirx the Pilot, Pirx himself is narrating and shows off his snarky kind of humor.
- Gemma from A Great and Terrible Beauty does this. It frequently gets her in trouble, as what she's thinking is pretty damn funny, so she cracks a smile, usually at the worst time possible.
- R from Warm Bodies. Justified, as he has trouble actually making legible words with his mouth (he is a zombie, after all), so most of the snarky dialogue we get from him is simply his train of thought.
- While generally the opposite of this trope, P. G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster has his moments.
I don't know if you have ever tooled off to East Dulwich to offer a strange female a hundred smackers to release your Uncle George. In case you haven't, I may tell you that there are plenty of things that are lots better fun.
- Gen, the narrator of the first book in The Queen's Thief series, dips into this often.
- Cameron Smith, the protagonist and narrator of Libba Bray's novel Going Bovine
- Even Alex, from A Clockwork Orange, is often this way - though he is really, really (rightfully) pissed at most of the other characters. It can be pretty difficult to notice, since he speaks entirely in Nadsat.
- Fly in Doom is a major smartass, making sarcastic and witty remarks even as things almost literally go to hell. Arlene, Albert, and Jill are all smartasses in their POV chapters as well.
- Vern, the main character of the "Dragon Eye, PI" series by Karina Fabian. He's a dragon who was shrunken down in size and power by St. George (the magically super-powered pain in the tail) who is from a parallel world of magic but now living in ours since The Gap (the name which scientists gave it which, Vern assures us, made a certain company leap for joy) opened to allow traffic between worlds, and currently deals with crimes where Mundane and Magical cross. Need confirmation, check out his introduction to himself, his partner (Sister Grace), and the 'verse: http://dragoneyepi.blogspot.com/p/dragoneye-universe.html
- Every viewpoint character in Of Fear and Faith has shades of this, August and Aiden especially.
- The unnamed narrator of the comic neo-noir Mr Blank and its sequel.
- The narration of The First Law is third-person, but characters' thoughts are stated so often that there's a definite impression of First-Person Smartass. Especially in any viewpoint chapter of Glokta's.
- Frank Trigg is the Anti Anti Christ protagonist of Tim Marquitz's Demon Squad series. He's also very-very snarky about everything.
- The Spellmonger Series's narrator Minalan the Spellmonger is all about snark, whether he's mouthing off to kings, colleagues, gods, or the reader.
- When Miron gets to narrate part of Dora Wilk Series, he turns out to be harbouring deep layers of snarkiness in his mind, most of which never get to leave it.
- The main protagonist of Zero Sight. His running commentaries is source of much of the series humour.
My libido had just burst out of the closet and was tripping over the furniture yelling "Who? What? Where?" (Please excuse him. He doesn't get out much).
- Witkacy in Shaman Blues gets quite some mileage from being able to talk directly to the reader.
- Jaume of The Dinosaur Lords has a lot to say about unwashed religious bigots who's been put under his command, but can't because it would be unpolitical, so he resigns himself to snarking in his head.
- C.T. Phipps has a tendency to do this with his Red Room and The Supervillainy Saga series. All of his protagonists tend to speak in nonstop sardonicism and pop culture references.
- Mark Watney in The Martian is frequently a smartass in the log he keeps while stranded on Mars. His communications with NASA also tend towards smartassery.
- Fiona van Dahl is a fan of this trope, as the entirety of Eden Green and a large section of New Night are in this form.
- Heather Stone, protagonist/narrator of Newshound, is a bit more subdued in her snark than some of the other examples on this page, but still regularly offers up the occasional witticism on the people and events in her life.
- Wade from Ready Player One, as you would expect from a teenager.
- Dexter is just as much a smart-ass on TV as in the books, if not more so. There's even a subversion in one episode where Dex's internal monologue becomes external for a line; the only one who notices, of course, is Doakes.
- Burn Notice has Jeffrey Donovan's character Michael Westen consistently snarking about his situation and environment, though he walks the line between First-Person Smartass and Deadpan Snarker with stylish aplomb. Upon rigging a club with C4, Michael walks in on the club owner/drug distributor with a business proposal, drinks his alcohol and acts pretty much like he owns the place... while holding a dead man's switch. If he is injured and lets go, the place will explode. As this happens, he narrates:
Michael Westen: Sometimes the only way to win is to ensure that if you lose, everyone loses. It works for nuclear weapons, and it works for me.
- George of the Mundane Afterlife Dramedy Dead Like Me.
- Game of Thrones:
At the time, Westeros was a filthy backwater with seven kings squabbling over borders and minor glories. *beat* So much for progress.
- In the box sets, there is in-character discussion and lectures about various bits of Weserosi history, places, and events. Most characters do so simply in an informational manner, (although there are occasional hints of Unreliable Narrator, Half Truths, exaggerating the glories of minor victories or sly hints at things that history is too polite to talk about) but the sections done by Stannis Baratheon are peppered with smart ass comments. (Which, considering the personality Stannis has, is rather ironic.) A few examples:
(On the subject of the island of Dragonstone) The island itself was and is nothing. It had no gold or gems to lure Valyrian nobility. All it has is rock. Mostly a shiny black stone too brittle for war and too sharp for building. The Targaryens called it "dragon glass". I call it it useless.
The Targaryens managed to raise a castle here. Simpletons claimed they used ancient Valyrian sorcery, forgetting that the Targaryens brought a small army with them from Essos. There's no magic in strong backs.
- Sandor Clegane gets one or two in his own segment.
Most families claim to be descended from some great ancestor or hero so far back that nobody can prove them liars.
- One can't end this section without mentioning Will from The Inbetweeners who is both the main protagonist and the voice-over narrator. Already a Deadpan Snarker of dimensions in the series itself, he manages to take it up a notch when he narrates. In reviews, even people who don't like the series and/or movie in general will usually admit to have gotten a few laughs out of Will's narration. The appeal (especially to grown-up viewers) probably comes from how he criticizes phenomena in everyday life that seem completely normal or even cool to most teenagers, but when you grow up, you realize how stupid or awkward they were.
- Lizzie McGuire's inner thoughts are much snarkier and outspoken than the protagonist in her real life.
- Shaun Hastings from the Assassin's Creed series has a strong tendency to enter his entries into the Animus database in this manner. Expect him to painfully show you how obviously inferior you are to him. What else would you expect if you have a professional Dead Pan Snarker maintain a digital encyclopedia?
- Garret from the Thief series is at least an FPS smartass.
- Squall Leonhart in Final Fantasy VIII isn't much of a talker, but he keeps up a running Inner Monologue throughout the game and spares nobody from his sardonic mental commentary. This was retained for his appearances in the Dissidia: Final Fantasy games - for instance, when approached by the Warrior of Light:
Squall: [in utterly deadpan Sarcasm Mode] (Wow... what a dazzling fellow.)
- Your character in Kingdom of Loathing often acts this way, as part of the game's general style and sense of humor.
- Even Mario's bro Luigi gets in on this when you examine objects with the Game Boy Horror.
- Descent's Material Defender.
Bureaucrat: You will have multiple objectives on this mission.
Material Defender: You mean contradictory objectives, don't you? Destroy all infected mines. Keep the invading force from spreading further. But be sure to rescue any survivors. Destroy as many robots as possible. And each one of these objectives is the most important. Why did they have to design this mission by committee?
Material Defender: Translation from bureaucratese: they're hosed, and I'm the only one that can cut their loses.
- Hilariously subverted in Ghost Trick, where ghosts communicate through telepathy, so Sissel keeps forgetting that everyone can hear his private thoughts.
- Phoenix Wright of the Ace Attorney series fits the description as well. In fact, any playable character in any of the Ace Attorney games is this trope, because it's probably the best way of handling their Only Sane Man status.
- Kyle Hyde from Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a quite a smartass - and it even seeps into his dialogue with other characters, but he's also arguably the Only Sane Man in the titular Hotel.
- Shirou of Fate/stay night. He's more famous for not dying when he is killed in the anime adaptation, but in the game, his narration is remarkably sarcastic. This is made more obvious when you realize that despite the narrative shift from Rin in the prologue to Shirou in the actual game, the actual observations don't change at all. The only major change is the motivations of the narrator. Rin actually likes him because she senses this side of him, which is why she spends so much time making fun of him. Archer is what Shirou would be like if he stopped being polite.
- Hisao Nakai of Katawa Shoujo is quite snarky in his narration.
- Tomoya from CLANNAD, as you'd expect when the narrator is The Gadfly.
- Riki of Little Busters!, another Key/Visual Arts game, is also kind of snarky, though much less so than Tomoya, and he tends to keep his inner misgivings to himself unless he's talking to someone he knows can take it such as Masato or Kurugaya.
- The player character of Havenfall Is For Lovers uses snark at least in part as a coping mechanism to deal with her dissatisfaction with her circumstances and with being out of her depth. Since she's very frequently out of her depth once the supernatural side of her Hated Hometown starts intruding into her life, her narration and inner monologue provide a steady stream of snark and self-deprecation.
- Zombie, the narrator and Supporting Protagonist of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name pulls this off pretty well.
- Homestuck straddles this and Lemony Narrator — it's told in second person and usually clearly from a certain character's point of view, but sometimes comes across more of an omniscient narrator, particularly when it Breaks The Fourth Wall. And either way, it is inevitably very sarcastic.
- Whateley Universe:
- Phase is a superpowered mutant rather than a PI, but in the stories in which he is the narrator, he is a snarky commentator, very intellectual, well read, even for a teenager who has been to all the 'right' private schools, far too knowledgeable about food (even if he's spent his life as the heir to billions eating the finest food anywhere), and still associates with the other rich kids at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy.
- Chaka has a snarky (and sassy)) observation for many a situation. She's a lot more easy-going than Phase, though, although that's not a high bar to clear.
- Gaven Morren of The Tale Of The Exile is this, being partially based on Garret from the Thief series mentioned above.
- Freeman's Mind turns the Silent Protagonist of Half-Life into a snarky, sarcastic sociopath.
- Flint Perez from Outliers fits the trope well, generally giving his own smartass commentary on whatever's going on and going off on random asides. Hannah, the other narrator, tends more towards the deadpan than the snarker, but still has her moments.
- In The Lay of Paul Twister, the titular character narrates his stories in this style.
- Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale tends to pull this off when talking about Strexcorp.