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The Fool

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"Uh, buddy? Watch that last step."

"Sometimes it depresses me how well dumb luck works for you."
Colonel Jevee Ceeta to Kaff Tagon, Schlock Mercenary

Not the kind of fool that Mr. T pities. note 

The Fool has no idea what they're doing, has a dim idea at best who their enemies are or whether they are in danger, and has only their cheerful disposition to protect them. That and the blessing of Lady Luck herself.

The Fool's strength comes from supernatural fortune bordering on Karma. Since The Fool is such a good person, nothing bad happens to them. The Big Bad may send hundreds of assassins, but each time The Fool will bend over at just the right time, or accidentally activate some Rube Goldberg-esque chain of events that leads to the villain's downfall. Occasionally, their good luck will be siphoned from someone else around them so that they suffer bad luck. The Fool might even turn out to be The Chosen One, but they'd be the last one to suspect it.

The Fool was often the Audience Surrogate of medieval plays, representing the Everyman or Karmic Trickster, but typically more clever than smart. In the annual Feast of Fools, he was King for a Day.

See also The Ditz, The Klutz, Too Dumb to Fool, Unluckily Lucky, Obfuscating Stupidity, Cloudcuckoolander, Idiot Hero, Invincible Incompetent, and Cute Clumsy Girl. For the court fool, see Court Jester. See Idiot Houdini for the more aggressive variant of this. When mistaken for someone important, he's the Seemingly Profound Fool.

For the Christopher Moore novel about the character from King Lear, see Fool.


Example subpages


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     Comedy 
  • George Carlin referred to his job as a comedian as "foole," spelling it with a final "e" on job applications just to play with potential employers.

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Italy sure seems like one. After all, he seems to be oblivious to a lot of things including Germany's and Japan's obvious feelings for him. Key word: seemed.
  • Bane Johns, the fifth Interrogator All Guardsmen Party: despite what seems like a surfeit of confidence and a lack of strategic planning or common sense, every event in his mission seems to go his way without fail. Turns out he's a psyker with Reality Warper tendencies who can arrange probability to go in his favor - by siphoning his teammates' luck away.

    Music 
  • The Fool on the Hill, of course.
  • A song by Brazilian group Titãs has the line: "O acaso vai me proteger enquanto eu andar distraído." - Meaning "Luck will protect me as long as I walk on absent-mindedly".
  • One of jazz composer Stan Kenton's most well known pieces is entitled "La Suerte de los Tontos" - which translates as "the luck of the fool."
  • "The Company of Fools" by Great Big Sea (co-written by Russell Crowe) is about how The Fool can often be the most honest and honorable person around.

    Theatre 
  • Every other Shakespeare play has the Fool, usually as a Foil of some sort. In more serious dramas, he replaces the Fool with Those Two Guys.
    • In The Winter's Tale, the Shepherd's Son (for whom no name is given, but in some printings is called Clown) and to a lesser extent, the Shepherd.
    • Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice.
  • A stock character of the Commedia dell'Arte genre.

    Web Animation 
  • The eponymous character from Homestar Runner, especially in the earlier cartoons, when Homestar would always beat Strong Bad, no matter how much Strong Bad cheated; Homestar was eventually flanderized into a character too stupid to know when he'd lost, which also frustrated Strong Bad's efforts.
    Strong Bad: It's like, even when we win, he wins.
  • Pretty much every character in Red vs. Blue is The Fool. Caboose starts out as one as well, but he quickly descends to pure idiocy.

    Web Original 
  • The anthropomorphic cute-girl version of Windows ME, Me-tan.
  • Twig in Fallout: Nuka Break is a protagonist example. He's stupid, overweight and has abysmal combat skills. According to Word of God, if he didn't have a Luck stat of 10 in his S.P.E.C.I.A.L, he pretty much would've died years ago.
  • The eponymous character from Freeman's Mind is anything but kind or inherently good-natured, but the vast majority of his progress through the series is through sheer dumb luck. Often times, he clears the way forward by doing seemingly random, unrelated things or just wandering around aimlessly until he finds somewhere he hasn't been already.
    Freeman: Awwright! I'm making a lot of progress for not knowing what the hell I'm doing!
  • Markiplier proves to be himself to be this when playing Among Us, when he somehow manages to stumble his way to victory between being so bad at the game they assume he couldn't possibly be a successful Imposter and so audacious people refuse to believe he's creative enough to lie about such things. In one match he actually blatantly admits he killed a Crewmate but laughs it off, so his friends just assume he's being his usual self and write it off as a joke, and moments later is actually seen killing a Crewmate by Sean and pulls the dumbest, most predictable, and most obvious trick in the game: report the body himself and claim the witness did it. It works and he goes on to win the match.
    Sean: You're letting the dumbest player get away with the smartest thing! And now he's gonna gloat about it for days! You're welcome!
  • Dan plays a game similar to Markiplier's when Game Grumps come together to play Among Us. Dan's excuse for not doing any tasks is that "he's been running around trying to figure out what to do", which is basically the "dog ate my homework" of Imposter excuses in that game, but people actually believe it because he truly is that lost and clueless about the game. One game culminates in two Crewmates and Dan, with each Crewmate urging him to vote for the other survivor — an Instant-Win Condition for Dan no matter who he votes for. Another game has him running around basically having free reign to kill Crewmates because the others keep following him around trying to protect him and teach him how to play — he goes on to win this match too by, in his own words, "once again stumbling ass-backward into victory." It's not until his third match as an Imposter that he finally gets outed, and that's only because the other Imposter is Arin: it is so obvious when the titular Game Grumps are working together that they get almost immediately outed and lose with only a couple of kills.
  • Sparadrap from Noob has a general Stupid Good/Kind Hearted Simpleton attitude that sometimes verges on Too Dumb to Live, but often survives situations that should have taken him to the Respawn Point by sheer luck and obliviousness to what is happening around him. The best show for this is his long-standing Mistaken for Badass situation with Dark Avenger in the webseries and comic.

     Real Life 
  • Timothy Dexter. A man who lacked any formal education, he managed to make a fortune by making a series of horrible business decisions that, due to sheer luck, turned out to be extremely profitable. The man made the stupidest decisions possible (including a number suggested by hated enemies) and every one of them came out as a profit. Some examples:
    • Stocking up on Continental dollars during the Revolutionary War. None of the people who made the suggestion ever gave thought to the possibility that the colonies would win...which they did.
    • He'd also bought lots of British pounds and French currency, which also became valuable once trading resumed after the American Revolution.
    • On marrying a wealthy widow, he decided to play the stock market. By picking stocks at random. They all went up.
    • Selling the strangest things to the Caribbean:
      • Bed warming pans, which you don't need in the tropics. But the warming pans turned out to be great molasses ladles. (It was said, though, Dexter had a captain who watched out for him, and made the trade to the booming molasses industry.)
      • Stray cats. But it turned out the Caribbean was having a rat problem.
      • Mittens. But traders there bound for Siberia took them off his hands.
    • He sent Bibles to the East Indies, a not-exactly-Christian area. Except there were missionaries over there at the same time, eager to use the bibles to spread Christianity in the area.
    • Sending coal to Newcastle, the feat he's often known for. As in a place built on the coal-mining industry (thus the phrase "Coals to Newcastle" meaning "giving them something they have too much of already"). What happened just before it got there? The coal miners went on strike in the dead of winter, so everyone bought his coal at a premium.
    • Stocking up warehouses full of whale bones. Then someone discovered that whalebone made an ideal reinforcing material for corsets. He sold clean out.
    • He wrote a book about himself, with capitals sprinkled about at random, and no punctuation anywhere in the main text (starting with the second edition, it DID have a page of punctuation marks at the end, suggesting the readers "solt and peper it as they plese", as literal as Punctuation Shaker can get). In a case of So Bad, It's Good meets Bile Fascination, it sold well.
      • Though from the sound of it, a number of people were probably hoping that they could figure out how the hell he pulled those stunts off.
      • Or Dexter knew of his reputation as The Fool by then and played off of it. It was said he later actually used his experience to better know which markets had high demand for a needed good, and bought that good in other places where it was a bargain, then resold said good to the first markets for profit. He'd made the first manufacturing center for clay pipes, and bought stock in vital toll bridges and great tracts of land. So even The Fool might be smart as well as lucky.
      • Then again, the man also faked his own death so that he could attend his own funeral, during which he beat his wife because she wasn't sad enough over it, so he may have just been insane.
      • In a final bit of serendipity, both editions are now valuable collectors' items.


 
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