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Happy Harlequin Hat

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What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word jester?

It's the hat, isn't it?

Of course it is. That silly little hat with two or three cones made of cloth on top of it, bells or pompoms at the end, and usually with two or three colors.

Much like kings, castles, and knights, the jester hat seems to be synonymous with The Middle Ages. However, contrary to popular belief, authentic jesters did not always wear this particular hat. For example, Will Sommers, Henry VIII's jester, wore a more poofy hat, like berets on each-other, with a cloth flower on top.

So, why is this hat so famous?

Some of this may be attributed to Stańczyk, one of the more famous jesters- or at least in Poland. Even then, his iconic hat wasn't a full example, being plain red instead of multicolored.

The hat itself represents a donkey—traditionally, the hat is worn with one flap forward, and the other two off to the side, representing the nose and ears, respectively. So the hat in a sense, represented how the jester would make an ass out of himself. Many medieval and renaissance versions of the hat also were made to resemble a rooster's comb, which lead to the hat being known as a coxcomb.

Further engraining itself in common knowledge of the general public is the popularity of Harley Quinn's character in The DCU, especially following Suicide Squad (2016).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • One of Sakura's costumes, though it's like the above example.
    • Also, more than a few of the Clow Card spirits themselves wear hats like this.
  • Zazie Rainyday, from Negima! Magister Negi Magi, though her hat is one color, two flaps, no bells. It still has the design, though.
  • One Piece: Vasco Shot of the Blackbeard Pirates wears a black jester's hat. Currently the reason for this is unknown.

    Audio Plays 
  • One of these appears on the Big Finish Doctor Who Fifth Doctor Adventures cover for the episode "Axis of Insanity". True to form, the villain of the story takes the form of a court jester, and is often heralded by the sound of tinkling bells.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Film — Animated 
  • In Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the points of the King of Fools crown droop and have bells on the end like the flaps of a jester's cap.
  • In the "Steadfast Tin Soldier" segment from Fantasia 2000, the jack-in-the-box wears a harlequin hat to cover the fact that he's bald.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Court Jester sports a variation of one, two flaps, checkered, and with bells. Of course, he spends just as much time with it on as he does with it off.
  • The imaginatively named Jester from the Puppet Master films wears this.
  • In Up the Chastity Belt, Lurkalot wears one as part of his motley when he is forced to act as jester at Sir Coward's feast.
  • Friar Carl wears one of these as part of his jester costume for the masquerade ball where he and the title character meet Dracula in the film Van Helsing. He twitches his head to make the bells ring in the graveyard where they stash the Frankenstein monster, out of anxiety, for laughs, or both.

  • Till Eulenspiegel is a curious case. He originally didn't have one, going hatless or having a different jester hat. However, later adaptations and monuments have him wearing it.

  • Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado". During Carnival, Fortunato is wearing jester's motley, including a cap with bells. Poe repeatedly mentions the bells jingling throughout the story.
    • In the same vein, his short story "Hop-Frog" features several jesters, all of whom "wore motley, with caps and bells".
  • The cover art for Alan Gordon's Fools Guild Mysteries features figures wearing such a hat, and the main protagonists are a couple of professional jesters Theophilos (a.k.a. Feste from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night) and Claudia (a.k.a Viola from the same play). They are often depicted donning chalk makeup and costumes for performances.
  • Wendel Maculatum, the stoat jester in The Oaken Throne, wears one of these hats that is coloured red and yellow.
  • Willard Phule, of Robert Aspirin's Phule's Company picks for his military pseudonyms names that play on his own last name, starting as Lieutenant Scaramouche (fool character from Italian commedia dell'arte) before getting promoted to Captain Jester. He becomes so popular with his new troops that they adopt an unofficial patch for their uniforms: a skull with a jester's cap.
  • The titular character of the Sebastian Darke series wears one in the first book, which is even featured on the book's cover. However, he burns it near the beginning of the second book. But, near the end of the third book, he is given a new jester costume, complete with one of these.
  • Some jesters in A Song of Ice and Fire wear unique hats (usually called "fools' crowns"). Dontos wears a helmet, Patchface wears a headgear with fake antlers. But if a jester in question is not described as owning a special hat, artists usually draw one wearing the standard hat.
  • The Fool from Wyrd Sisters has one of these. He also has bells on his handkerchief. Coming from a long line of jesters, and being sent to the Fools' Guild at an early age, he still remembers when he first realised that his outfit "had been carefully and meticulously designed for no other purpose than making its wearer look like a complete and utter pillock". In A Tourist's Guide to Lancre, the Lancre coat of arms is "crowned" with a jester's cap.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The jesters in the Centauri court from Babylon 5 have hats almost exactly like this, for some reason.
  • Timothy Claypole wears a traditional one in the British television show Rentaghost
  • In the Storybook Episode of Scrubs, "My Princess", Dr Cox's story gives JD the Village Idiot one, as the equivalent of the also ridiculous hat he's wearing in the real world (both hats disappear after the establishing shots).
    JD: Does this hat make me look fly-eth? It jingles when I shake it!

  • The album cover for Cowboy Mouth's 1996 album "Are You With Me" features a pan up shot of a Jester with an iconic 3 coned hat. Although the photo is black and white (grey tones), the hat appears to be a dark and light color variation.
  • The Grateful Dead Songbook featured a skeleton wearing a droopy green jesters cap with bells, and holding a lute; the image went on to become one of their best-selling t-shirts, and spawned countless fan-art variations.
  • Poets of the Fall:

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ultimate Pro Wrestling school graduate Smelly used a two coned jester had as entrance attire.
  • Jeckles The Jester, seen in All Pro Wrestling, NWA Pro and others tends to be seen with a very long two toned, three cone dangling hat. Although almost as often seen without it. Then again, his walking stick has this design even when he doesn't wear it himself.
  • Despite his name, Giant Clown wore one of these in the Mexican based International Wrestling League, while teaming up with Beast The Clown and Doink the Clown against such enemies as Los Payasos Diabolicos and The Psycho Circus.

  • Touchstone from As You Like It wears this in some productions, and is believed by some to be the inspiration for the semi-famous reading jester picture. He is also the inspiration for the Fool Statue in Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-Upon-Avon.
  • Oddly enough, Arlecchino, that is, the Harlequin from Commedia dell'Arte, is not typically an example. The traditional hat worn by Arlecchino was originally decorated with a rabbit's tail as a symbol of Bergamo, his place of origin.
  • The Fool from King Lear is explicitly stated by the text to be wearing a coxcomb.
  • In some versions of Twelfth Night, Feste wears this.

    Video Games 
  • Harle from Chrono Cross wears one of these along side a full jester ensemble.
  • One of the villain groups in City of Heroes was the Carnival of Shadows. Some of their low-level minions wore a jester's cap, along with their Stripperific costumes.
  • Darkest Dungeon's Jester class has one, although it is worn and patched up in places.
  • Jester from Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening unsurprisingly wears one of these as part of his outfit.
  • Cicero from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim wears a variation of this, along with the rest of the outfit, after he kills a jester.
  • Evil court jesters Zorn and Thorn from Final Fantasy IX.
  • Several of the Acrobat-exclusive headgears in FlyFF.
  • On the subject of Monster Clowns, Shaco from the League of Legends series of video games wear this in all five of his skins.
  • The titular character of the Kirby franchise can obtain a two-coned hat along with the power to shoot beams out of a cane. In Kirby Super Star, Kirby also wore it in Mirror form. And so did the antagonist Marx.
  • Malcolm in the The Legend of Kyrandia games wears one. In the third game, wearing a leather jerkin and/or a squirrel as a disguise will also remove the hat and cause fewer people to recognize him, despite no change in his loud yellow-and-purple sleeves and leggings. The jester hat seems to be the only thing most laypeople remember about him!
  • The title character of NiGHTS into Dreams… has a mask-hat with two pointy two-tone flaps, but no bells, similar to Harley Quinn's outfit.
  • The Joker Jester hat in Ragnarok Online.
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure: As a jester-like creature, Vex's head is actually shaped like one of these. His head has two floppy points, each with a bell at the end. The red and blue stripes all along his body help with this effect.
  • Spark the Electric Jester, as the title lets you know, features a character and his robot replacement that wear this kind of hat. This trait is likely influenced by the aforementioned Kirby games since in one of the Sonic fangames previously made by the author, Sonic and Tails could obtain Kirby's Beam and Mirror abilities.
  • The Monster Clown Dimentio from Super Paper Mario has a variation of this.
  • The Scream Fortress VIII update of Team Fortress 2 introduced the Pestering Jester cosmetic, a medieval jester hat for the Scout, Soldier, Pyro and Heavy.
  • TimeSplitters 2 has Viola, a vigilante who sneaks into the Notre Dame Cathedral to stop a cult leader, wearing this hat as part of her disguise.
  • The 5th stage boss of Touhou Kanjuden ~ Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, Clownpiece, wears an odd four-coned variation, with two of the cones twisted around each other to connect to a single pompom.

    Web Animation 
  • The Amazing Digital Circus: Pomni's clown outfit comes with a two-pointed jester's cap. Pomni herself, however, is anything but happy.
  • Helluva Boss:
    • Fizzarolli and his robotic replicas wear these, fitting his whole jester theme. The "happy" part is subverted when it's shown that the hat covers his broken horns.
    • Mammon, Fizz's boss, dresses in a spiky jester outfit with dollar signs hanging off the flaps of his hat.


    Western Animation 
  • Alias the Jester has a traditional hat.
  • Bugs Bunny wears one, with two flaps that fit over his ears, in "Knighty Knight Bugs".
  • The Darkwing Duck villain Quackerjack wore a jester hat with one purple flap and one red flap, with a bell on each end.
  • In one of the pilot shorts of The Fairly OddParents!, Vicky forces Timmy to wear as jester cap as she makes him to do a ton of chores.
  • The aptly named Jester from Jane and the Dragon wears a variation of this, like the anime examples above.
  • King of the Hill: Bobby Hill sports one in "Joust Like a Woman", though it's hard to tell whether or not there are any bells.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Pinkie Pie has an interesting variation that she wears in the second half of the Season 3 premiere; five colors and two flaps. note 
  • Riri from Potatoes and Dragons wears a two-point version with bells on the tips. It is also a mask that covers his face. (Or his face is the same colour as his hat. It's hard to tell.)
  • On The Simpsons when Homer talks a couple of late-middle-aged hippies into going on a "good old fashioned freak-out" he wears one of these while freaking the normals.
    Have no fear, the Cosmic Fool is here, to blow the lid off your conformist button-down world!
  • In an episode of Steven Universe, Steven wins a purple jester cap as a prize for completing Pearl's rigorous training exercises.
  • One of the gadgets of the week on Totally Spies! was a jesters cap that extended the flaps and rotated them rapidly to whip up a tornado.

    Real Life 
  • As it's been mentioned before, jesters commonly wore these, though they weren't always multicolored.
  • The hat is almost as synonymous with Mardi Gras as it is with medieval times.
  • The members of the Staten Island Quartett Club [sic] sported these, though they had four flaps.
  • Pardoes, the mascot of the Dutch theme park Efteling located in North Brabant, is usually seen like this. Including when he's wearing his wizard outfit. His girlfriend Pardijn does have a similar appearance but is seen wearing a crown instead, and it has no bells.


Video Example(s):



The vast majority of his debut episode is dedicated to showing how little he values Fizzarolli as an employee and mascot, which leaves one wondering just how mistreated his regular workers must be. Cases include him disregarding pretty much everything Fizzarolli had to say about his discomfort with how he was treated and feeling and using Fizzarolli as a target while throwing knives at him blindfolded. Then there’s the verbal abuse, body-shaming when he thinks Fizzarolli has gained a little weight and he doesn’t want them to change all the robofizzes to fit, and threatening physical violence when Fizzarolli quits, only being stopped by the timely intervention of Asmodeus.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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