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The Mad Hatter

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"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it."
A fridge magnet

For a very long time, TV writers seemed to think that one of the universal signs of mental illness was a total inability to perceive one's self as acting oddly. It's tempting to have a mentally ill person utter such classic Mad Scientist lines as, "They Called Me Mad!, but I'm not mad, they're the ones that are mad!" And certainly, the near sociopathically quirky characters you find on the average Sitcom seem to think themselves perfectly ordinary, and in Real Life, some people afflicted by mental illnesses don't realise there's anything wrong with them.

Fortunately, this is not always the case. Few characters can be more fun than the Self-Aware Loon. He's crazy and he knows it. And he's making the best of it. Trying to dissuade them from following their crazy, broken logic by pointing out their insanity will never, ever work. To them, it will be the sincerest form of flattery.

They may be a Talkative Loon most of the time, but they have their lucid moments, and may even consider their episodes to be a welcome respite from normalcy.

Consequentially, they often get to say clever lines like, "Well, I think it's a good idea, but then, I'm crazy," "I'm crazy, but I'm not stupid," "I may be insane, but you're crazy" or "Oh yes, I'm insane. And you're stuck here with me."

Mostly characters who have become unhinged by an exceptional ordeal; rarely results from an organic disorder. Often a facet of the Waif Prophet or the Rabid Cop; and frequently a major character component of the Shell-Shocked Veteran and Special Forces military types.

Usually a fun character, and a little cartoonish, though it can also be played tragically (this is how it usually goes when The Mad Hatter's illness is organic in origin) as a character is overcome by the knowledge that they are losing their mind and are powerless to stop it. Can also be played for horror, if the affliction goes beyond "quirky", as such characters can know exactly what they are doing, and just not care.

This trope could be considered insensitive to viewers with actual mental illnesses. On the other hand, perhaps they can take some solace in a depiction of mild mental illness as something that can be coped with. And as with issues like ethnicity and disability, when characters have a sense of humor about their condition, it may not come off as too insensitive.

Archetype is named for the character from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, who, like most of Wonderland's residents, knows exactly how crazy he is, and has decided to just sit back and enjoy it. Carroll's Mad Hatter is in turn a reference to the tendency of Victorian era hatters to go mad; "as mad as a hatter" was even a common phrase at the time. The actual cause of the phenomenon was the presence of mercury within the solution used by hatters to shape and form the felt – the hatter would inhale and ingest trace amounts of mercury during his work and eventually suffer from mercury poisoning, leading to dementia and death. Contrary to popular belief, Carroll never actually refers to the character as "the Mad Hatter" in the book; he is simply called "the Hatter".

See also the Reluctant Psycho, who has mental problems. Compare Obfuscating Insanity, when the character pretends to be mad. Related in variable ways to The Wonka.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Just about everyone in Baccano! qualifies, but the reigning champion would definitely be Claire Stanfield, a.k.a. "the Rail Tracer". He's so crazy that just about everyone in the cast (including himself) has a moment where they question if he's even human. And he couldn't be happier with his mental illness.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch is the Mad Hatter in Nunnaly in Wonderland. The first thing he does is laughing mad.
  • Hellsing:
    • Jan Valentine fits the trope, sociopathically so. Despite being the loopy one compared to his brother, Luke, Jan is the superior soldier and sets off the fall of the Hellsing Organization for no real clear motivation except that he thinks it might be fun to do so. Millenium kills him for divulging information, but even so he goes out screaming, laughing, and flipping the bird.
    • Vastly superseded by the Major himself, who delightfully revels in the fact that he and his troops are quite insane and how they wish to spread their madness to every corner of the Earth. He is also eager to tell anyone who will listen about his intense love of war and how he has turned Millenium into an army with no other purpose than to wage constant war until every one of them goes out in a blaze of glory.
  • High School D×D has Freed Sellzen, who in the dub refers to himself as a "psycho priest free agent," right before he reveals that he willingly became a chimera and ate two devils.
  • Break of PandoraHearts, although he is often using Obfuscating Stupidity. To drive the point home, his Chain is the Mad Hatter itself.

    Comic Books 
  • The Joker from Batman is sometimes depicted this way, as are several other Arkham Asylum patients, including Jervis Tetch — who calls himself the Mad Hatter. Even Batman himself makes neutral-to-positive references to having mental problems.
    • The Joker has claimed that the only difference between Batman and himself is what their insanity drives them to do.
      • He also once described himself as "a certified, card-carrying, lock-me-up-throw-away-the-key looney!"
      • A number of Batman's Alternative Character Interpretations state that he is certifiably crazy — just in a constructive manner. The Killing Joke ends on this:
        Joker: See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum... And one night, one night they decide they don't like living in an asylum any more. They decide they're going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moonlight... Stretching away to freedom. Now the first guy, he jumps straight across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren't make the leap. Y'see... Y'see, he's afraid of falling. So then the first guy has an idea... He says, hey! I have my flashlight with me. I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me! B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh— says... He says, Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You'd turn it off when I was halfway across!
        [Batman cracks up laughing]
    • Funnily enough, the aforementioned Jervis Tech/Mad Hatter is often portrayed as being afflicted with a serious mental illness (typically schizophrenia) and gets upset if called insane.
    • Amadeus Arkham pities the poor shades confined to the Euclidean prison that is sanity.
    • The Creeper, especially in his later versions where his insanity basically keeps Jack Ryder sane or is tempting and fun for him.
  • In a Batman Beyond storyline where the future Justice League faced their equivalent of the Justice Lords, this was interestingly played with by Justice Lord Flash. It was previously established that regular universe Danica Williams hears the voices of the Flashes that have entered the speed force. Evil Twin Danica is utterly contemptuous of this idea, which regular Danica initially thinks is because she can't hear the voices. Evil Danica retorts that she hears lots of voices — she assumes this is because she's crazy and her counterpart is just too weak to accept this. At the end of the story which of them was right was actually unresolved.
  • Deadpool occasionally describes himself as an "addled moron", although it's never clear how much he's pretending to be stark staring mad and how much of it is actually being stark staring mad. Depending on the Writer, of course. Considering a couple of times has him with three different thought bubbles going, each with separate personalities? Not much is pretending during those interpretations. It's really hard to put Deadpool in any one category when it comes to this, what with being Ax-Crazy, borderline Cloudcuckoolander, aware of the fourth wall, extremely genre savvy, and just plain insane 100% of the time. The voices in his head often display awareness of events and information that Deadpool himself could not possibly be aware of, and continually act as "white noise" in his head, making it even harder for him to focus on any one thing. An actual in-universe reasoning for the changes in "how" crazy Deadpool is: since his healing factor is out of control (his body is somewhat accurately described as "walking talking cancer") even his BRAIN is rewiring itself with some regularity. Of course, then there's the fact that he's one of the few that completely ignores the fourth wall; he may have learned about the fact that he's in a comic book and, while he loves it, he may have been affected.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac often wonders if he's really crazy. By series end, he pretty much seems to revel in it.
  • Max from Sam & Max: Freelance Police is very comfortable with his various mental issues, which mainly include the total absence of an attention span and being a sociopath (with that exact word used), but occasionally include nihilism, paranoia, hallucinations (both the Hearing Voices kind and the visual kind, although not in combination), codependency, enjoying being hurt a suspicious amount — basically, he won the mental illness lottery. The other characters just accept this as part of who he is, especially Sam, and Max himself is generally upbeat and has tons of fun going on adventures, coming up with wild and wonderful ideas, and torturing jaywalkers.
  • The Sandman (1989): Delirium of the Endless is completely aware that she's insane. She's also aware that everyone else is insane, and that she's sane, and that she's a fish who swims in an ocean of words. With great concentration, she can force herself to align to more or less the same mental frequency that the rest of the universe runs on, but it's implied that it hurts her. Evidently, she was once Delight, until some great cosmic truth happened to her and drove her to madness.
  • Ragdoll in Secret Six, to the extent that when other lunatics join the team, he resents no longer being the craziest guy in the room.
  • Marv from Sin City, who's aware he's borderline psychotic (and considers himself less clever than he really is). "I've got a condition. I get confused." He also worries about "turn[ing] into what they always said [he] was gonna turn into — a maniac, a psycho killer." In fact, when he uncovers the truth, he takes some time to find more evidence, just to be sure his mind isn't playing tricks on him.
  • Rosy the Rascal, Amy's evil counterpart from an alternate universe in the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). A mentally unbalanced clingy jealous girl taken to the extreme (she believes the only way to get Scourge (evil Sonic)'s attention is to smash him with her hammer). She seems aware of her insanity (due to a magic ring she used on herself to get Scourge's attention, but which shattered her mind as a result) yet is unconcerned with his fact, as her only focus now is Scourge.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • This is one interpretation of John Nash at the end of A Beautiful Mind, after he comes to terms with his schizophrenia. When a man he doesn't recognize greets him at his classroom, before he addresses the man he asks a passing student to confirm that she can see him. Then he turns back and says with a smile, "Okay. I am always suspicious of new people. Now that I know you're real, who are you, and what can I do for you?"
  • Mary Stuart Masterson in Benny & Joon.
  • Michael Keaton, Peter Boyle, Stephen Furst and Christopher Lloyd in The Dream Team (1989).
  • Malice: Jed doesn't have a God complex — he is God!
  • In the first act of Silence of the Lambs prequel Red Dragon, Hannibal Lecter explains to his protege-turned-captor (Edward Norton) that he never expected to be captured by someone less intelligent than him. Norton replies, "Well, you are insane." Hannibal politely concedes.
  • Kind of the entire point of the 2014 indie Welcome To Me — Alice is stated to have a borderline personality disorder, though she lampshades the fact that her diagnosis has been reworded multiple times over the years, and her actions are primarily 'quirky,' outlandish narcissism and obsessive-compulsive behavior.
  • David Lynch 's films are full of examples, for example, Wild at Heart has the wild-eyed 00-Spool telling nonsensical stories about his dog, and pigeon-obsessed George Kovic.

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland embodies (and named) this trope. Strangely enough, though, the Mad Hatter doesn't offer many lines that exemplify this as well as the Cheshire Cat does:
    Alice: But I don't want to Go Among Mad People!
    Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    • Douglas Adams' Life, the Universe and Everything (the third book in the then-trilogy, but not the last, oddly enough) opens with Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect trapped on prehistoric Earth. Arthur decides to make most of their situation by going mad, but is side-tracked by Ford, who had the same idea first and now wants to tell him at length how much fun he's been having.
      Ford: ...and then I decided I was a lemon for a couple of weeks. I kept myself amused all that time jumping in and out of a gin and tonic... I found a small lake that thought it was a gin and tonic, and jumped in and out of that. At least, I think it thought it was a gin and tonic. I may [grins crazily] have been imagining it.
    • They then chase a time-travelling sofa, leading to Arthur happily reflecting on just how fast his slip into insanity was.
      Arthur suddenly laughed with unexpected delight. For once his day was going entirely according to plan. Not half an hour ago he had decided to go mad, and now here he was, chasing a Chesterfield sofa across the fields of prehistoric Earth.
  • In Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, the inmates at the psychiatric hospital have rules about such things: the disturbed ward gets to refer to themselves as "crazy", "mad", etc.; the less disturbed patients may call themselves "cuckoo" or other euphemisms. (It's an autobiographical novel, by the way: the hospital was Chestnut Lodge, a private institution in Rockville, Maryland.)
  • The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds: Stephen Leeds knows perfectly well that he's not normal and that the fifty-odd companions he sees and interacts with every day are just hallucinations that do not, technically, exist. However, he repatedly argues that since he's perfectly capable of functioning in spite of his condition, he isn't mentally ill per se.
  • In Lisa Goldstein's A Mask for the General, a prison psychiatrist tells Layla MacKenzie that the complete economic collapse of the US drove her insane. She rejects that: "I made it [her madness] myself, like a work of art."
  • Subverted by Zane from Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. He knows that most people don't hear a voice in their head telling them to kill everyone they meet, and so rationally enough concludes that he's mad and does his best to live with that fact. However, while Zane does have some genuine mental issues, the voice in his head is quite real.
  • Moby-Dick: Ahab says, "They call me mad, but I'm demoniac: I am madness maddened."
  • Colonel Jax in the Revelation Space Series short story "Nightingale" freely admits that he has gone mad after being turned into a living artwork representing the horror of war. The sentient hospital ship responsible for his fate, though, seems blissfully unaware of her insanity. (Some readers might agree that she's the sanest personality in the story...)
  • In Raymond Smullyan's What is the Name of This Book? and The Lady or the Tiger?, insane vampires believe they are sane but, being vampires, lie about everything they say. Thus, when an insane vampire says he is insane, he is unwittingly telling the truth.
  • Antryg Windrose, from The Windrose Chronicles by Barbara Hambly. This character — influenced somewhat by Tom Baker's Doctor — is very charismatically eccentric, has a reputation for being "dangerously insane", and in deep characterization confesses that he really is mad, from long years of having to sustain beliefs contrary to the reality of others around him.
  • The lost explorer Gordon Willikers (get it?) from Daniel Pinkwater's The Worms of Kukumlima frequently discusses or makes reference to his insanity. No one questions this even though he's quite lucid and isn't a great deal more eccentric than anyone else in the book. His insanity, therefore, comes across as a mix of an Informed Ability and a Running Gag.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1000 Ways to Die's segment "Hats-Off folks" discusses the origin of this trope via the life and death of a hatter named Barnaby, who first goes mad and then dies of mercury poisoning.
  • Tracy Jordan of 30 Rock is so proud of how crazy he is that he was completely outraged when a tabloid suggested his odd behaviour was due to drug abuse. Tracy felt this constituted "libel" and "character assassination."
    In his own words: I'm not on drugs! I'm straight up mentally ill!
  • "Howling Mad" Murdoch from The A-Team qualifies, assuming his condition wasn't totally an act to avoid the stockade.
  • Batwoman (2019). Alice, the insane leader of the Wonderland gang, and her adopted brother Mouse, leading to the obligatory quote of the Trope Namer from the Lewis Carroll-spouting villains at the end of "Mine Is a Long and Sad Tale".
    Mouse: Are we mad? I'm afraid so.
    Alice gives Evil Laugh
  • Blake's 7. In "City at the Edge of the World", Avon points out that Bayban dare not use a spaceship's laser cannon at point-blank range, as the backblast would kill him and everyone else in the area.
    Cally: You'd have to be insane to use it, then.
    Bayban: Well maybe that's it. Maybe I am insane.
  • Spike for a time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("I'm crazy. What's his excuse?").
  • Dr. Geiger on Chicago Hope. Justifying his own God-complex to a review board, he explains that because he thinks he's God, he never gets distracted by self-doubt.
    "Who's kiddin' who? Personally, I'm a mess. Should you let your sister marry me? Not a chance. But if her heart stops, you want her on my table."
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Caves of Androzani", the villain Sharaz Jek goes into a "Do you think I am mad?" rant, before quietly concluding "I am mad."
    • Deadbeat/Kingpin in "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy".
    • The Master would like to give this trope two thumbs up.
      Third Doctor: You're mad! Paranoid!
      The Master: Who isn't? I'm just a little more honest about it than most.
    • The Doctor himself gets in on this: "...There's something you'd better understand about me, cause it's important, and one day, your life may depend on it: I am definitely a madman with a box!" That goes double for the Sixth Doctor.
  • Walter Bishop on Fringe takes psychotic drugs at lunch to keep his edge. Walter owns this trope. Homemade psychotic drugs. Whenever a new character asks if Walter is crazy, Peter and Olivia just say yes and move on.

  • Doctor Steel. "I am crazy. And it's a great load off my mind."
  • Professor Elemental has gone mad from an excess of tea. "I'm madder than a hatter, and it fires my mic!"
  • A rare serious example: Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers was a great user of this trope, often to devastating effect. The Holy Bible, usually considered to be the band's best album and written mostly by Edwards (roughly 70 percent of the lyrics are his alone), contains a cast of Mad Hatters.
  • Melanie Martinez wrote a song called "Mad Hatter". It's about her character, Cry Baby, embracing her insanity.
    "So what if I'm crazy, the best people are!"
  • Keith Moon once referred to himself (accurately) as the "kept lunatic" of The Who.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The vile AAA stable Los Vipers had Maniaco, Histeria, Super Crazy, and Psicosis II among its members, but the trope wasn't just limited to rudos, as they feuded with tecnico group Los Vatos Locos: Charly Manson, May Flowers, Nygma, and Picudo.
  • Raven decided that he was crazy in TNA, incurably crazy. So he decided to embrace it and make Abyss, who he saw as being the same way, embrace it too.
  • "Showtime" Eric Young also decided that he was crazy in TNA and decided to embrace it. MVP insists that anyone who says they're crazy ain't that crazy though.
  • Also from TNA, Crazzy Steve. Sure are a lot of mad folks from a company that originated in a place called The Asylum...
  • Crazy Mary Dobson loses a lot in SHIMMER, but keeps showing up and doing the same thing with the expectation she'll win this time. She's admitted that it fits into a definition of insanity but doesn't care, and was quite proud of herself when it paid off against Sweet Saraya.

  • This exchange from The Goon Show:
    Bloodnok: Do you think I'm crazy?
    Seagoon: Yes.
    Bloodnok: What a splendid judge of character this fellow is.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Genius: The Transgression: The good Geniuses are the ones who know they're crazy. The bad Geniuses are the ones who think they're totally sane. As many disadvantages as their madness may carry, it's kind of hard not to enjoy one's madness when one can channel it into physics-defying devices and gadgets, and power them through pure crazy.
  • Nearly all characters in Toon, with the exception of Crawl of Catchooloo characters who have been rendered sane by the Slurping Horrors (yes, Toon's Sanity Meter works in reverse) and the Serious Police in Toonpunk 2020½, are crazy in a Daffy Duck/Warner Siblings sort of way, and proud of it.
  • The Malkavian Clan in Vampire: The Masquerade, and their spiritual descendants the Malkovian Bloodline in the Continuity Reboot Vampire: The Requiem. Although all Vampires lose their sanity over time, these guys start out full of crazy and then some. Their madness may have a mystical explanation, or it may just be the fact that since they live in a total Crapsack World where insanity is inevitable, you may as well skip merrily to bonkers and enjoy yourself.
    • The Malkavians of Masquerade have a variety of opinions on their madness and the insight it brings. A good chunk of the clan just views them as part and parcel of one another (heck, the clan's formal nickname is "The Clan of the Moon"), whereas a few holdouts (such as Dr. Netchurch in the books, or Alistair Grout in Bloodlines) view themselves as perfectly normal individuals with keen insight into the ways of the world.
    • This has led to a particularly contemptible sort of player character known as the fishmalk, who is crazy in a way they think is "wacky" but all the other players think is juvenile, stupid, and distracting from the rest of the game. It is named after a bizarre picture of a Malkavian kissing a fish, check it out at that link.
  • Occasionally played very darkly in Warhammer 40,000 as a symptom of corruption by Chaos, particularly by Tzeentch.
    • And by the good guys. Inquisitors and other Imperial officials occasionally muse that to the average man, doing things like blowing up your own planet to stop the enemy from claiming it, or abandoning millions to die because they aren't worth the cost of life required to save them, are unfathomably evil acts. Yet those who know the true nature of the threats facing the Imperium realize that such atrocities make a chilly sort of sense. "The very existence of the human race is the prize for victory. Our sanity is the sacrifice we make to win that laurel."

  • Mad Margaret from Ruddigore: "If I were not a little mad and generally silly, I would give you my advice upon the subject, willy-nilly; I would show you in a moment how to grapple with the question, and you'd really be astonished at the force of my suggestion. On the subject I will write you a most valuable letter full of excellent suggestions when I feel a little better, but at present I'm afraid I am as mad as any hatter, so I'll keep it to myself, for my opinion doesn't matter."

  • Vezon from BIONICLE:
    Vezon:You haven't truly lived until you have seen the world through the eyes of madness. Why, half the time I don't know if what I see is what's really there, or what I wish was there ... or what I pray, I beg, I plead is not.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Carl in Llamas with Hats is a villainous example. He freely admits that he's a "dangerous psychopath with a long history of violence" and is completely OK with this.


    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has Banana Joe's mom Banana Barbara, who suffered a complete mental breakdown from work-related stress that liquified part of her brain. This left her with the ability to divine or warp the future through painting and full of bliss. Joe paraphrases the quote used on this page to describe how she's living with her mental illness.
  • Doctor Weird from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, possibly. "It works! I am one can short of a six-pack!"
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Babel", after Shriek explains his demands to Barbara Gordon:
    Barbara: You're out of your mind.
    Shriek: Duh. [hangs up]
  • A dark example is given in Big Hero 6: The Series in the form of Obake. A Freak Lab Accident he experienced as a child damaged his temporoparietal junction, the part of the brain that allows us to distinguish right from wrong. Despite his condition being treatable, Obake leaves it as it is because he finds the ability to act without guilt or remorse to be liberating.
  • Darkwing Duck: Psycho Electro Megavolt gives us this gem.
    Megavolt: They called me crazy, they called me insane, they called me loony! Boy, were they right!
  • Ever After High has Madeline "Maddy" Hatter, the daughter of the man himself. She's basically her father, only female.
  • Futurama:
    • Leela in "The Sting":
      "Okay, I'm insane. But I'm still sane enough to know it."
    • Professor Farnsworth in "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch":
      "Even I laughed at me when I invented this alien cross-species genetic analyzer, but I guess I showed myself!"
  • Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls:
    Gideon: You're insane!
    Bill: Sure I am! What's your point?
    • Also comes up in an exchange in the finale:
    The Author: You're insane if you think I'll help you!
    Bill: Hahahah! I'm insane either way, brainiac!
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The Monkey King, once he stops being a pest, brings out the Ax-Crazy and lowers Puppet-Jackie into a woodchipper.
    Jade: You wouldn't! That's not funny!
    Monkey King: Haven't you noticed? I have a WEIRD sense of humour!
  • Most of the Looney Tunes gang know how far out-of-kilter they are.
    • This was practically Daffy Duck's catchphrase in his early, screwball days.
      Random Person: That duck's crazy!
      Daffy: You ain't just whistlin' Dixie! [maniacal laughter]
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Pinkie Pie occasionally demonstrates awareness of her own... strangeness.
      Twilight: You're a great friend. Even if we don't always understand you.
      Pinkie: Thanks, guys. You're all great friends too. Even when I don't understand me.
    • In a more villainous example, Discord: self-proclaimed Spirit of Chaos (with enough power to back it up), and completely and utterly mad. Best exemplified in his first lines:
      Celestia: [about the Elements of Harmony disappearing] This doesn't make sense!
      Discord: [evil laugh] Make sense? Oh, what fun is there in making sense?
  • Jet from Ready Jet Go! is a huge Cloudcuckoolander and enjoys every minute of it. He creates odd inventions, sings silly songs, prepares odd dishes, talks in an eccentric English, does strange dances, is perpetually optimistic and upbeat, and adores everyone.
  • Tex Avery MGM Cartoons: Screwy Squirrel knows he's nuts, and loves it. (To the point where some find him very disturbing.)
  • Gogo Dodo from Tiny Toon Adventures. He's so crazy that his insanity is mentioned in the theme song! Meanwhile, when he ends up in Wackyland, he sums it up perfectly:
    Gogo: Home surreal home!
  • Transformers:
    • Really freakin' creepy example: Tarantulas in Beast Wars. It's unclear how much of his lunacy is genuine, and it's been theorized by at least one fan that this is intentional, and he's actually the most lucid among the Predacons. Either way, the attempts at draining vital fluids of other characters, the gleeful sadism, the maniacal laughter all add up to an over-the-top loon who enjoys being an over the top loon, especially when it creeps people out... In his own words:
      Tigerhawk: [shocked] You're Insane!
      Tarantulas: [casually] So they say.
    • Animated has Blitzwing's "Random" personality. Generally much more humorous and silly than Tarantulas (though he's made at least one reference to cannibalism).
      Blitzwing: [in reference to Megatron's plan] That's crazy, even for me!
    • Rampage from Beast Wars. The quote speaks for itself:
      Rampage: Is that fear you're feeling, Maximal? Mmm... yes. My spark, it feeds on terror. Let it grow! Let it consume your circuitry! Feel it! Yes, feel it! Feel the fear!
  • The early Daffy Duck-Expy version of Woody Woodpecker used to sometimes deny his insanity even though he frequently sang a theme song about how insane he was. Which only made him seem more insane.
    So I'm crazy, what what what can I do?
    So are you!

    Real Life 
  • Crispin Hellion Glover lives this trope.
  • Possibly (though not necessarily) true Urban Legend. A man suffers a flat tire while driving by a mental institution one night. He removes the lug-nuts from the tire and places them in the hubcap while he puts the new tire on. A car comes by and hits the hubcap, scattering the lug-nuts, which are impossible to find in the dark. As the motorist frets an inmate from the other side of the fence points out that he can just take one nut from each of the remaining tires. The motorist is impressed, and admits that he didn't think the resident of an asylum would be so lucid. The inmate responds "I'm crazy, not stupid."
  • It is a common belief among those serving in the military that special forces/special ops troops are a special kind of crazy. It's believed that, even if you're not already a few bananas short of a tree when you join up, the intensive training and/or combat experience will eventually push you over the edge into madness territory. Their image in entertainment very often invokes this trope, portraying them as a self-aware Ax-Crazy or borderline Sociopathic Hero; and usually an emotionless quiet one, Deadpan Snarker, or obnoxious jokester fond of black or dead baby comedy. Gallows Humour is commonplace among special forces troops. This portrayal is often Truth in Television. The Urban Legend above is a popular self-deprecating joke among US special forces personnel.
  • A possible definition of eccentricity by psychologist Dr. David Weeks goes as follows: People with a mental illness "suffer" from their behavior while eccentrics are quite happy.
    • There should also be a way to take societal attitudes into account; when the people around the affected person are suffering while the person herself feels fine.
  • It's been said that worrying about being insane is one of the signs of a properly-functioning mind. To put it simply: if you have to ask the question, the answer is probably 'no'. That said, there is a lot of gray area to this. Many people who really are mentally ill are aware that something is wrong. They may even know what mental illness they have and be aware that doctors have misdiagnosed them.
  • Navy submariners also qualify as well. Since serving on a submarine is voluntary, those that do are seen as crazy by the rest of the Navy. To reiterate, these people voluntarily agreed to live inside of a metal tube about the size of two passenger jets with about 150 other men. (Due to design restraints, there was only sleeping spaces designed for men and women have only been allowed to be submariners since 2018 with the exception of a couple of test trials.) You do not see the sun for long periods of time. Since your day-to-day routine rarely changes and you tend to see the same 10 people throughout the day, it's easy to lose track of time and the weird paradox of being left alone on your watch station for hours by yourself, yet at the same time never being more than 15 ft from another person really starts to eat at you.
  • A possible perspective from people who subscribe to the social model of disability. Their condition doesn’t actually cause the harm, but the world around them being hostile to it. Some neurodiverse people feel that the only real problem is navigating a society that doesn’t understand or accept them. That being said, this depends entirely on details.

Alternative Title(s): Mad Hatter, Self Aware Loon