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Webcomic / Ape, Not Monkey

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Ape, Not Monkey is a webcomic by Jeffrey Watson that has been running from July 2008. The three main characters of the strip are Toby, a skeptical atheist ape; Pastor Bear, a fundamentalist and creationist Christian bear; and Wilbur, a dog who swears by alternative medicine and is an environmentalist.

Later, more characters are added: H.R., a confidence trickster who is a mongoose; Thomas, a religious moderate tortoise; Arlen, a pika who is also a paranoid Conspiracy Theorist; Piggy McCarthy, a pig who believes vaccines are dangerous; Clemens, a Hollywood Atheist who treats "every religious claim as a scientific one", and Dee-Quack Chopra, a duck version of Deepak Chopra.

The strip doesn't pull punches when criticising people's beliefs and is written from a clearly atheist and skeptical perspective.


This webcomic provides examples of:

  • All-Natural Snake Oil:
    • H.R. sells plain water to Wilbur on the basis that it's natural, earthly and 100% recyclable.
    • Wilbur also complains that zoo food is bioengineered and not natural, and natural food is better for you. He then starts eating a poisonous bush.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Wilbur worries that on Friday the Thirteenth he might get a blood clot, have bugs crawl into his nose, sleepwalk or wake up as a republican!.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Pastor Bear's Intelligent Design textbook has a picture labelled "Flagellum" which does not show any flagella.
    • Pastor Bear's Bacterial Flagellum is treated as a species of bacteria, while flagella are actually bacterial organelles.
  • Bee Afraid: A swarm of bees starts chasing Toby as Pastor Bear enthuses about how beautiful God's creation is.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: The webcomic doesn't exactly portray religion in a good light and has pretty much every religious character portrayed as being moronic.
    • Pastor Bear declares that Toby is a member of the intellectual elite for not believing in God.
    • One guy laughs at Toby and says that he'll never be as smart as a human, before going off to church to pray to the magical sky god.
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  • Cloudcuckoolander: The strip runs on this. Examples are everything Arlen thinks about the world, Pastor Bear trying to make his own gasoline, and numerous side characters' beliefs.
  • Con Man: H.R.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Toby. in strip two.
    Pastor Bear: "...Now if you excuse me, I'm going to Church."
    Toby: "Maybe God will favor you with a present for such behaviour."
  • The Fundamentalist: Pastor Bear, who also preaches of Fire and Brimstone Hell.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Holistic Organiser of Biodegradable Opportunities, or H.O.B.O for short.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The God of the Gaps isn't doing well, as scientific advances mean that people don't need him to explain things like earthquakes and disease.
  • Gravity Is Only a Theory: Pastor Bear says that evolution is only a theory and therefore doesn't exist. Toby replies that it's a scientific theory, in the same way as the theories of gravity and electricity, so Pastor Bear decides that gravity isn't real either.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: In this strip.
    Pastor Bear: "You know who also liked evolution?"
    "Adolf Hitler!"
    Toby: "You know who also associated things with Adolf Hitler?"
  • Hypocritical Humour: Pastor Bear says that Toby is heartless for having no faith in God, then goes to church to tell some people they're going to burn in hell for eternity.
  • I Am Not Weasel: The title implies that Toby, an ape, gets called a monkey a lot.
  • Identical Panel Gag: For a few strips there's a Running Gag where Toby gets tomatoes thrown at him, and the same panel is used each time he gets hit.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Downplayed. H.R. tries to con people into cooking all the rodents, insects and lizards in the land to please God, as those are H.R's favourite foods. Granted, H.R. is a mongoose, but this is a world of Funny Animals, and the creatures he's talking about are sapient.
    • Piggy McCarthy doesn't eat beef because he considers cows to be sacred, but is happy eating bacon.
  • Lethal Chef: Pastor Bear in the third strip.
    Toby: "And there's a shoe in it!"
    Pastor Bear: "Perhaps having faith in my cooking abilities isn't enough."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Word of God in this interview says Dee-Quack Chopra is a parody of Deepak Chopra and Arlen is a stand-in for Alex Jones.
    • Glenn Bear, a side character in a few strips, is a parody of Glenn Beck.
  • Orphaned Series: The strip only published 4 or 5 updates between June of 2014, and January of 2015, and none since. Comments to one of these strips suggests a new job swallowed up the artist's time, though he still posts comments and links on his Twitter.
    • And in early 2019, the strip's site went offline, leaving nothing but the hosting company's page.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Everyone believes Thomas to be dead after he falls off a cliff, until he pops back out of his shell.
  • Shown Their Work: It may just be coincidence, but Toby's telescope isn't the standard cartoon telescope, it actually resembles a Newtonian reflector telescope.
  • Spice Rack Panacea: One of the many things H.R. sells Wilbur is a "herbal beverage" which is supposed to cleanse his body of toxins. It's actually swamp water.
  • Superstition Episode: A running gag (for example, the short arc starting here) is for Toby to try and discredit some superstition or other, only to be hit by a "coincidental" strike of bad luck.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Wilbur believes this, and builds himself a device covered in lucky charms to protect himself on Friday the Thirteenth. Interestingly, he hangs his horseshoe with the ends pointing downwards, while tradition states is actually unlucky as this allows all the luck to run out of the ends.
  • Toilet Humour: Pastor Bear uses a jellyfish as an example of God's creation, until the jellyfish tells him that jellyfish poop through their mouths.
  • Un-Entendre: in this strip:
    Pastor Bear: "God has planted the seeds of success inside you."
    Toby: "And he didn't even buy me dinner first!"
  • Unexplained Recovery: A man who was clinically dead for 45 minutes, mentioned in the very first strip.
  • Unsound Effect: "Whittle" and "cut" are used for Pastor Bear cutting a piece of wood.
  • Visual Pun: Wilbur and Pastor Bear are trying to make science and religion fit together, and are using a square piece of wood to represent religion, and a round hole to represent science. Pastor Bear tries to shave a piece off the block of wood to make it fit into the hole, and it shatters, causing him to cry "I didn't realise how fragile the thing was!".
    • They then make the 'science' hole much larger, allowing the piece of wood to fit into it. Wilbur notes that now everything is compatible with science, including UFOs, astrology, and leprechauns.
    • Wilbur dresses up as "redacted" for Halloween, just like all the blacked out government documents which he says could contain secret conspiracy information. Thomas then rips of all the black stickers so he can learn what all the secrets are, and is surprised to find that there's nothing underneath.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Nobody has any sympathy at all for the new seagull at the zoo, believing the zoo should have spent their government funding on some other animal.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: After wearing a bucket on his head, Wilbur declares himself the first person to discover that he has bad breath. Toby replies that Wilbur wasn't the first.


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