Follow TV Tropes


Mischief-Making Monkey

Go To
"Perfect timing, Abu! As usual!"

Monkeys are often portrayed in fiction as mischievous little pranksters, who like to steal things (hats seem to be a common target), throw stuff at people (including their own excrement), drop Banana Peels, and otherwise make monkey business. Sometimes, the mischief-making monkey is a Karmic Trickster. Downright malicious examples can overlap with Maniac Monkeys, whereas funny, goofy examples overlap with Silly Simian.

There is some Truth in Television with this, while wild monkeys are rarely intentionally mischievous they can still be serious troublemakers. In Asian countries especially monkeys have a notorious reputation for being obnoxious and thieving vermin, not unlike how many folk in the West regard pigeons.

May be a reason for Hilarity in Zoos. Compare Rascally Raccoon and Screwball Squirrel for other animals stereotyped as troublemakers.


    open/close all folders 

  • A Visa card advertisement had orangutans stealing the luggage of Catherine Zeta-Jones until she ransoms it back by using her Visa card to order a truckload of bananas. The monkeys are so impressed they want the Visa card as well. Catherine refuses and is about to drive off whereupon the leader of the monkeys shows he's nicked her car keys too.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Spiral City has Shizuka's stuffed monkey, Wooky, being brought to life by the Life Key and behaving like a mischievous monkey would - including meddling with the Key bringing random objects like a Colonel Sanders statue, a lab skeleton, a Mannakin Piss replica and an election poster to life and then barging into a meeting with his new "friends".
  • In Inuyasha, three little monkey youkai appear as playful pests. Subverted by their leader Sarugami, who's The Stoic.
  • Jewelpet: Tata, a squirrel monkey Jewelpet, is very mischievous and chaotic, and often a nuisance to the heroes. He's also known for stealing stuff in the second and fourth seasons.
  • In Blood Blockade Battlefront, Sonic is introduced stealing Leo's camera and has to be chased down for the rest of the episode.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Ash's hat had been stolen twice by monkey Pokémon he would then end up capturing:
    • In the Indigo League arc, a Mankey stole it off his head after violently attacking his face. The Mankey then made fun of Ash by turning the hat backwards and miming his throwing action.
    • In the Hoenn arc, an Aipom stole it as part of an offering to a giant Slaking on the nearby mountain. She would follow the group after that episode, frequently stealing Ash's hat again and again until he eventually formally captured her. Even then, she still retained her fondness for misappropriating headgear.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the locations on the map at the end of issue #2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) is "Here there be Monkeys", with a subtitle warning visitors to guard their valuables.
  • The Punisher: A Mafioso goes to the zoo with a date and a Butt-Monkey bodyguard. While at the monkey cages, the don manages to get his penis ripped off by a chimp. Naturally, it all falls on the bodyguard's fault, who would have been executed if Frank hadn't been in need of an informant. The mook later suffers brain damage, falls in love with a pumpkin, and heads out west with it.
  • Y: The Last Man. Ampersand might be a crucial clue to the Gendercide and Yorick's pet, but that still doesn't stop it from throwing shit and biting people. The former might well have saved Yorick's life, passing on whatever immunity the monkey had.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Rio, the marmosets are all thieves and con artists (within the animal kingdom, at least).
  • While his human partner Aladdin steals only what he really needs out of necessity, Abu will grab anything that isn't nailed down, and takes great pleasure in using it to mess with people.
  • The half-monkey, half-catfish ongis in Raya and the Last Dragon definitely qualify, working with con-baby Noi to rob people blind.
  • The Rugrats Movie has the Banana Bros. Monkey Circus. When Sergei and Igor, the circus' owners stop their train at a station for coffee and donuts, they leave the monkeys unattended. The monkeys then take control of the train, eventually crashing it into a forest. When the babies get lost in the forest trying to return Dil, Tommy's new baby brother to the hospital, they meet up with the monkeys, who while rather playful, go crazy when Tommy tries to feed Dil banana-flavored baby food. When Tommy gets fed up with Dil's selfish behavior that led to Chuckie, Phil and Lil abandoning him, he tries to leave Dil in the forest to live with the monkeys, but has a change of heart when he sees just how frightened his brother is.
  • Tarzan: The baby baboon who steals Jane's sketchbook (and her portrait of him, in particular).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus, one scene featured The Tramp performing a tightrope routine because the regular could not be found. While highly entertaining, especially after the Tramp's safety harness falls off, a group of monkeys that has harassed Chaplin's character throughout the movie decides to get involved, crawling all over him, biting him, and removing his pants.
  • The monkeys in Jumanji, who wreak havoc all across the town.
  • A cute, playful little monkey shows up around Sallah's home when Indy visits him in Raiders of the Lost Ark causing a bit of comical mischief as the two discuss their plan to find the ark. Little do they know, both the monkey and its owner are spying on them for the Nazis. The monkey even knows their salute!
  • Captain Barbossa's monkey Jack in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Not just to the opponents of his owner or the protagonists but to his fellow crewmen too, such as constantly annoying his fellow namesake Jack Sparrow or stealing Ragetti's wooden eye from him.
    Jack Sparrow: I hate that monkey!
  • Downplayed in Nope. Jupiter's backstory involves a chimpanzee on the set of the sitcom Gordy's Home killing two of his human costars and maiming a third after being frightened by a balloon popping on set. Though Jupiter was seriously traumatized by this event alone, it's made worse by pop culture in-universe treating the event like this trope, complete with a Saturday Night Live sketch mocking the incident starring Chris Kattan as the chimp.
  • In Mutiny on the Buses, some monkeys sneak onto the safari bus and cause trouble for Stan and Blakey, especially once they get hold of the steering wheel.

  • Sun Wukong from Journey to the West is what happens when a mischievous monkey gains extreme god-like powers. Had it not been for The Buddha's intervention, he would have overthrown Heaven.
  • Zephyr from Babar is often mischievous.
  • The monkeys in Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina steal all the peddler's stock, and he has to use another well-known monkey trait to get the caps back.
  • The Famous Five: Five go to Demon's Rocks begins with chaos in an overcrowded Kirrin Cottage, with a boy Tinker, and his pet monkey Mischief, who is adorable yet gets up to all sorts of antics, including pelting the cook Joan and Aunt Fanny with raisins.
  • Girls to the Rescue: Lek's pet monkey in "Mai's Magic" serves as his partner in crime. It's able to steal and plant items for him. However, the story presents Lek as the real problem; the end shows that Mai and her family took in the monkey for a while as Lek served time in jail for his scam.
  • The title character of the children's book Good Night, Gorilla! is a mischievous young gorilla who steals a zookeeper's keys and releases the other animals in the zoo.
  • Animal Inn: Book 3 features Gigi the capuchin, who causes quite a bit of trouble for the Taylor family when she's recovered enough. The last straw for Val is when Gigi bites Cleveland's tail, prompting Val to insist that the monkey go. (And she does, to a nearby petting zoo that treats its animals well.)
  • Butt Out!: Baboon is a cheeky little monkey who enjoys walking around town without clothes and showing off his butt to everyone, which naturally flabbergasts them all. In the sequel Don't Butt In!, after being convinced to start wearing pants he then decides to use the pants to annoy everybody too.
  • The One and Only Ivan is a gorilla, but he was seen in much this way when he was young and living in a human home. He broke and ruined a lot of things, less out of deliberate mischief and more often by accident, out of curiosity, or in a fit of longing for something familiar, as when he used chocolate frosting to 'paint' in the kitchen the way that he would have 'painted' with mud in the wild.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of The Lucy Show, Lucy gets a job babysitting but finds out she's expected to care for a couple's three chimpanzees which they see as their children. The chimps put off going to bed with all sorts of tricks including riding bikes and playing Cowboys and Indians. The couple comes home to an exhausted Lucy who apologizes that the chimps aren't in bed. The "parents" are just glad she didn't run away like the last babysitter.
  • Friends: In Season 1, Ross kept a white-faced capuchin named Marcel in order to get used to having someone who depended on him, in preparation for his then-unborn son. Needless to say, Marcel got into a lot of mischief, including setting the girls' TV to the Spanish language SAP. Ross eventually donated him to a zoo, and he was last seen starring opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Outbreak 2.
  • Community: Annie's Boobs, the thieving monkey.
  • On How I Met Your Mother Marshall may or may not have been mugged by a monkey; he refuses to say. From the same episode, Ted claims a monkey stole a doll, climbed a model of the Empire State Building and was attacked by paper airplanes, but fans have their doubts.
  • Monk: Long story, but in "Mr. Monk and the Panic Room," Sharona is the only one who refuses to believe the victim of the week was not shot by his pet chimpanzee, Darwinnote . She rescues him from being euthanized and eventually hides him at the last place anyone would believe him to be, Monk's house. Later, Monk is seen walking around in a daze having had a psychotic break due to Darwin absolutely trashing the place. It's so bad he tries to put the house up for sale. His landlord is *not* amused.

    Theme Parks 
  • Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor attraction starts off when the owner Henry Mystic's monkey Albert opens a magical music box that causes the manor's exotic relics on display come alive.

    Video Games 
  • Big Karnak have monkeys as minor enemies along the Nile's coast. They stay out of range from your attacks, since your sole weapon at the time is your sword, and constantly pelts you with coconuts, although you can deflect their nuts back with your weapon.
  • Scarab of Ra has a monkey that cannot hurt you, but likes to steal your gold and whatever else you might be carrying. Then after it's robbed you bare, it might come back to tweak your nose.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a kleptomaniac monkey familiar that increases meat drops when used (meat being Loathing's currency, in a bizarre justification of the Money Spider trope).
  • In Samurai Warriors, Hideyoshi has a monkey motif and has a mischievous, playful attitude.
  • In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, the third world is mainly inhabited by monkeys called Grinders that spit watermelon seeds at Yoshi and sometimes drop bombs.
  • Super Mario 64 had the hat-stealing Ukiki of Tall, Tall Mountain.
  • In The Lion King, the second level had a lot of monkeys hanging from trees waiting to toss something around. That something is Simba, who can roar at them to change the direction they toss him.
  • The Chimp from Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a blue chimpanzee that will challenge Mario/Luigi to some sort of challenge several times in the game, such as stomping as many Goombas as possible, ice skating to knock out enemies a la Whack-A-Mole, bowling over pin-shaped enemies using the rock power-up or swimming for coins.
  • Levels set in ancient Egypt in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped often feature monkeys who hide in (and can apparently teleport between) vases, while they throw stuff at Crash. Break the last of the vases in a given area, however, and the monkey will cower with its hands over its head, leaving you free to jump on his head a few times for more Wumpa Fruit, if you're so inclined.
  • Sun Wukong, the Monkey King from Dota 2 literally has an ability called Mischief, which transforms him into a semi-random object to blend in with the area and makes AI-controlled units (such as creeps and towers) ignore him. Videos abound on YouTube about the cheeky plays that this enables.
  • Spelunky has monkeys in the Jungle levels as a minor enemy. Unlike most things in this game, they can't do direct damage to you; they simply latch onto your back for a bit and steal ropes, bombs, or money (or simply knock you down for a moment). The only real danger they pose is if one knocks you into (or near) something dangerous, like spikes, a piranha pool, a mantrap...
  • The 2017 reveal trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2 features Knox, part of the crew of Space Pirates who will be serving as the game's heroes. Knox is a genetically-enhanced chimp with a cheeky Cockney accent and a really foul mouth who's first introduced selling a golden pig idol to Pig Man Zhou Yuzhu in exchange for an M-disk. Zhou Yuzhu greedily grabs the idol, only for one of its jewel eyes to fall off, its gold paint rubs off to reveal it's actually brown, and it melts in his palms.
    Zhou Yuzhu: WHAT?!
    Knox: What "What"? That's Swiss-fuckin'-chocolate, Pig! (he then punches out the skylights above his head with a mechanical fist on a grappling rope, before hightailing it out of there)
  • In Sesame Street Counting Cafe for the Sega Genesis, Mr. Johnson rewards Grover with a star for each successful order he brings him. When he rewards Grover with the fifth star, a monkey wearing sneakers will appear and take the star from him. Grover then must find the monkey somewhere on Sesame Street so he can take the star back from him. The bananas the monkey throws give Grover clues on where he's hiding.
  • Temtem has the monkey-like Smazee, which according to the Tempedia loves playing and monkeying around.
  • A flash game from the Cartoon Network website, entitled "Brick It!" is largely based on Breakout, but features various CN monkeys as antagonists. Magilla Gorilla will grab your paddle and discard his banana peels on it, Bingo will catch and fling your ball, I.R. Baboon will toss coconuts at your paddle, Monkey will take your extra balls, Mojo Jojo will add new bricks to the play field (and will drop one upon his defeat), and Blip will chuck bricks at your paddle and mess with your score.
  • In Moshi Monsters, the Chop Chop Moshling species is a textbook example of this, with their biography describing them as "part-time ninjas, [...] full-time jokers" who "leave a trail of whoopee cushions, banana skins and stink bombs wherever they go."

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY gives us the monkey faunus Sun Wukong. His introduction has him running away from guards who caught him stowing away on a ship and throwing a banana peel into their faces. And his jokey antics don't stop there.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Suchi, Ma-Ti's pet monkey, has been known to get into mischief. In "Creep from the Deep", Gi scolds him for bothering her while she's working on the eco-sub, implying that he's known to distract or get in the way while people are trying to do things. (In this case, though, at least part of this is trying to warn her that she dropped a bolt.) In another episode, he takes a pair of scissors to Dr. Blight's hair, much to her dismay, after she had tried to use him as a test subject.
  • Rhinokey from The Wuzzles, although he's only half monkey, is the joker of the gang.
  • In the spin-off TV spots of Kung Fu Panda, Master Monkey is the most mischievous of the Furious Five, which is not often seen in the movies.
  • Madeline:
    • The episode "Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo" has a mischievous monkey steals Madeline's new parasol, then unlocks all of the zoo's cages, making Madeline and Pepito running all around the zoo first to chase him then to get the animals back in their cages.
    • Averted with the Recurring Extra street busking organ grinder and his monkey. The monkey remains at his job happily dancing and collecting the money donations, and occasionally Madeline and the girls will briefly dance with him.
  • Mr. Twitchy from Rated "A" for Awesome hinders the gang just as much as he helps them.
  • In the Superman short "Terror on the Midway", a mischievous monkey releases a bunch of circus animals, including a terrifying Killer Gorilla.
  • PJ Masks: Season 4 introduces Munki-Gu, a talking Monkey supervillain who only lives for causing mischief. He doesn't even care if he targets the heroes or other villains, as long as he can have his fun.
  • Let's Go Luna!: In "Spring Has Not Sprung", some monkeys steal Andy's camera.


Video Example(s):


The Marmosets

In Rio, the marmosets are all thieves and con artists (within the animal kingdom, at least) as shown in this scene.

How well does it match the trope?

4.2 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MischiefMakingMonkey

Media sources: