Comedic Sociopathy

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"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall in an open sewer and die."

Comedy, as has been noted before, ain't pretty.

John Cleese once noted, when talking about Fawlty Towers, that comedy is very much like Tragedy, the only difference being that comedy lacks sympathy towards the character. This is often because the character in question does not particularly merit sympathy; Basil Fawlty, for example, lives a life full of hardships, annoyances and general misery, but because he is antisocial and offensive towards his guests and staff often with little provocation (and that most of his misery is caused by his own actions), you find yourself laughing at him rather than mourning his misfortune. If Basil Fawlty were a decent person rather than an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, Fawlty Towers would be a depressing exercise in watching a man tortured undeservedly.

We sometimes laugh when we see someone else get hurt. Schadenfreude is a staple of humor, there's no question about that. But Slapstick is only acceptable in limited doses these days, and people just don't throw around banana peels like they used to. And so, in order for humor to be committed, writers must turn to the psychological equivalent.

This means that in any given situation, the Butt Monkey of the moment must be surrounded by people who are capable of making him miserable, whether intentionally or not. This capacity for cruelty and its lack of consequences comprise what we call Comedic Sociopathy.

Sociopathy, loosely, is a condition in which a person is indifferent to or unaware of the rights and feelings of other people. In comedy, these symptoms show up in the darnedest places. Any time a character needs to be trodden on, put upon, tongue-lashed, stung, bashed, insulted, dejected, neglected, and all kinds of other mean nasty ugly things, somebody's got to be there to do it to them. And so, regardless of the personalities of all the characters involved, everyone eventually develops these symptoms.

What's amazing about the way this plays out is not that there will be characters who are mean, and snarky, and sarcastic, and uncaring, but the behavior of the characters who are not. In order for the appropriate level of hilarious misery to occur, other characters—even kind, loving characters—must temporarily lose their ability to sense, understand, or care about the emotional discomfort, pain, and suffering that the current Butt Monkey is experiencing. They may regain it when the plot calls for it, but for that critical moment of "gag," the character is essentially a sociopath. In the worst cases, when there's a Writer on Board, Comedic Sociopathy can cause characterization to break down completely, allowing close friends to deliver cutting remarks like casually thrown knives.

Comedic Sociopathy can be seen in nearly all comedy. It is the root of shows like Seinfeld, Family Guy, and Fawlty Towers, but it shows up just as readily on Sesame Street. To the cruel, it is meat and drink; to the kind, it is the chicken the vegan compliments as the best tofu ever. You chuckled, didn't you? Sociopath.

A subtrope of the Out-of-Character Moment. See also Heroic Comedic Sociopath, a character who does this all the time and loves it. This trope is what the Sadist Show lives off of. This may result in No Sympathy in situations where the character is clearly deserving of it. Too Funny to Be Evil coupled with Rule of Funny is the basic principle that allows this trope to work. Compare to Laugh with Me or Cringe Comedy.

Examples of Comedic Sociopathy include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Ah! My Goddess has Belldandy herself, who is a goddess, The Messiah, Friend to All Living Things (and nonliving things!), and The Empath. Belldandy is not omniscient, but she is powerfully sensitive to emotions, and always knows just the right thing to say or do to give everyone else the epiphanies they need to triumph. She is beautiful and compassionate and perfect in every way...except to Keiichi, the man she loves. With Keiichi, she literally cannot distinguish love from the flu. She says exactly the wrong things to cause Keiichi to panic about others finding out her secret, and never notices his fear or flusteration. She embarrasses him, throws unintentional jealous fits that cause earthquakes and paranormal activity, and generally causes as much stress and mayhem for Keiichi as the villains, or at least the other good guys. Belldandy is a victim of Comedic Sociopathy of the highest order.
  • Mostly involving Shinji at the beginning of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The rest of the series however...
  • Ranma ½. If you can't maintain a sense of humor, you miss the point. Every one of the characters is a grade-A Jerkass at one point or another, even the saintly seeming Kasumi. It's all for the funny, but analyzing the series seriously puts every single character squarely into Dysfunction Junction.
  • Love Hina. If you can't stand Ranma, don't watch this anime. The manga is a little less so.
  • Taken to extremes with Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan. Dokuro honestly thinks she's helping Sakura in spite of her frequent (and often deadly) physical assaults, constant demands for his attention, and having been (directly and indirectly) responsible for Sakura's social isolation.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has an ever growing array of characters representing various countries and territories from around the world. The number of Tsundere and Kuudere characters that result means the show runs on this trope.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Sexual harassment? Check. Regularly abuses her best friends? Check. Blackmails people with photos of scandalous events she orchestrated? Check. Abducts people just because she thinks they're interesting? Check. Treats people as objects and is generally incapable of comprehending the fact that other people possess feelings that differ from her own? Check.
    • While the series itself treats these actions as comedic, characters within the series (especially Kyon) see it as... well, incredibly selfish and annoying.
  • Urusei Yatsura lives off of this. We have the perverted Loser Protagonist and his Magical Girlfriend who electrocutes him regularly. The rest of the cast is more or less similar.
  • Maison Ikkoku made this troper wish for a baseball bat wrapped with razor wire and dipped in acid to take to the majority of the cast, and fails to understand how the main character managed not to kill either himself and/or the fuckers who seem to conspire to make his life living hell for their unthinking amusement. attempted to use the same formula as Ranma ½ and Urusei Yatsura but with a far more sympathetic protagonist, making the cruelty much more apparent and sometimes sparking an entirely different set of reactions.
  • FLCL. Although, it could be argued that this whole angle was a Batman Gambit on Haruko's part to force Naota into the proper state of emotional turbulence needed to free Atomsk... wait, that doesn't make it better at all, does it?
  • Full Metal Panic! - especially Fumoffu. And lord, the Full Metal Panic: Overload manga turns this up thirty notches.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Tsuna is the world's Butt Monkey.
  • Mayuri Kurotsuchi from Bleach in his Hueco Mundo appearance. An awkward case, as the fanbase remains divided as to whether it could be considered comedy or not. One side of the fence found it all very amusing, while the other found it repulsive. The latter because the Butt Monkey in that situation was a former enemy and the grandson of one of Kurotsuchi's many For Science! victims. The former because not everyone who reads/watches Bleach considers the whole thing Serious Business, and finds Mayuri and his unapologetic sociopathy hilarious.
  • In Tona Gura, Yuuji's intrusive, often juvenile pursuit of Kazuki, and his sister Marie's literally armed response to any and all signs of such lewdness. Possibly also Hatsune tying Marie up to stop her punishment of Yuuji, and her ignoring Kazuki's stated desire to stop her extreme efforts at matchmaking.
  • D Gray Man: Cross Marian's abusive treatment of his student Allen Walker is played for laughs.
  • Combine this with Heroic Comedic Sociopath and you get Kogurashi from Kamen no Maid Guy.
  • Somehow, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei manages to pull of the feat of playing Comedic Sociopathy for laughs... And, yes, this statement takes into consideration the fact that Comedic Sociopathy is already playing on sociopathy for laughs.
  • In Chrono Crusade, although Rosette is firmly portrayed as a very caring individual, she has several moments where she flies off the handle and doesn't think about how much destruction she's causing (or how much abuse she's putting poor Chrono through). This is Justified Trope, however—Rosette's Hot-Blooded enough that she's probably genuinely not realizing what she's doing in the heat of the moment, Chrono can regenerate (and any major use of his powers hurts her more than him anyway), and whenever someone's shown as being actually hurt by her rambunctiousness, she's always portrayed as horrified and repentant.
  • Pique and Lilie's treatment of Ahiru in Princess Tutu is sometimes cruel enough that it swerves into this trope. In fact, by the time the second season rolls around Lilie's love of drama has her flanderized into someone so obsessed with causing suffering so she can "comfort" the people who experience it that it's a Running Gag in the fandom that Lilie is actually a sadist.
  • Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo runs on this trope well, especially the way Bo-bobo treats all of his friends but Beauty.
  • Gintama, like, all of it.
  • Eyeshield 21's Sociopathic Hero Hiruma gleefully inflicts this on everyone else.
  • Happens from time to time in Pandora Hearts. The main protagonist Oz can be kind of a jerk sometimes, but it's always played for laughs. Especially when it's aimed at Gilbert. Everyone (including the author) seems to delight in tormenting Gilbert.
  • Knuckles' treatment in Sonic X bordered into this trope on occasion as he gradually evolved into the Butt Monkey of the group. It wasn't that unusual to have rivals Sonic and Rouge or even bratty jerkasses like Amy winding him up, it was more so when Cream and Cosmo joined in on it though. He got involved in the final season arc to stop the Meterax after the latter physically threatened him.
  • While almost everyone in Excel Saga is a sociopath to some extent, due to varying levels of Jerkass and indifference, Hyatt is the only one who is actually oblivious to problems she causes to Watanabe.
  • Yukinari of Girls Bravo spends just about every episode of the first season being horribly abused by his 'best friend' for being an Accidental Pervert. On one occasion she kicked him so hard that his head hit the edge of his bathtub and he bled profusely. For having the audacity to walk into his own bathroom when his friend was borrowing his shower. And yet, it's all Played for Laughs. This show also includes instances of other horrible acts of violence and rampant attempted Black Comedy Rape. Even in the second season her actions are questionable, like when she emotionally manipulated Yukinari into cross-dressing for an event and allowed him to get molested by Fukuyama since it meant Fukuyama would pay her. Of course, that was played for comedy as well.
  • Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist throws a wrench at Ed every time he breaks his automail (that's often) and it's always supposed to be comedy. Despite the fact that it could actually be lethal.
  • Some of the comedy in the series comes from Naruto taking Sakura's brutal super-powered punches, with zany music playing in the background. Also, on one occasion when Jiraiya was caught peeping on Tsunade bathing in his younger years, she proceeded to break both of his arms, six of his ribs, and ruptured a number of his organs as punishment. He himself states he came very close to dying. This was also treated as comedy when Yamato warned Naruto if he peeked on Sakura while they were at the onsen she would probably do the same to him as punishment and Naruto gets Blank White Eyes and stays in the same spot in a Heroic BSOD state for the rest of the day.
  • The relationship between Louise and Saito in Zero no Tsukaima is distinctly unhealthy as Louise is, quite frankly, violently abusive towards Saito. She calls him her dog, but if she treated even an actual dog like that she'd be prosecuted for animal cruelty. At one point in the novels, she beats him with a whip, after viciously beating him the night before. Not a riding crop, an actual whip.
  • Back to Rumiko Takahashi, much of the comedy in Inuyasha relies on sociopathy, with Miroku's lechery (including Sango's violent reactions), Shippo's pranks, Kagome's abuse of the "sit" command, and everyone's treatment of Myoga.
  • Durarara!!: Shizuo is always throwing heavy things (vending machines, trash cans...) at anyone that made him angry; especially Izaya. However, Izaya doesn't seem to have any damage from it, and gives back as much in the form of fast moving cars, knife assaults, and hits on Shizuo's life. (It's a strange relationship.)
  • Approximately 90% of humor associated with Hamel in Violinist of Hameln is built on this trope. Whenever the mood switches from serious to comedic, he acts like an absolute asshole towards his companions, particularly the girl he secretly loves, as well as unfortunate bystanders. And like everything else in this manga, his Comedic Sociopathy is quite over the top. In other words, which half of his Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality is currently dominant depends on whether the scene is supposed to be humorous or not.
  • Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka
  • Lina Inverse falls somewhere between this and Selfish Good. While she has a moral code that she abides by, her selfishness frequently causes her to be completely apathetic to issues of those around her (including charging a village to take care of a dragon...that she accidentally released). Her multiple berserk buttons don't help either, though they are done comedically
  • Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. It's one of the most extreme examples out there! The two men, Akihisa Yoshi and Yuuji Sakamoto are abused by their own admirers in just about every episode over the stupidest stuff! Yuuji's admirer Shouko is particularly nasty as she pokes out his eyeballs frequently so he can't look at other girls, tazes him, makes him go to school without his pants, and even drowns him just so she can give him CPR! What's more is that Yuuji's friends support the relationship and even sometimes encourages Shouko to beat on him! She's even popular among the fanbase!


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Knights of the Dinner Table lives off of this trope, especially with how the players and Hackmasters relate to each other. Justified, as it's an outgrowth of the Killer Game Master philosophy that dominated roleplaying games the time period the comic parodies—Hackmasters were expected to show players no mercy and players were expected to twist the knife if they got even a smidgen of an advantage. This, however, only applies within the game... it's considered in very poor taste between the characters to invoke this trope in Real Life. Jerkasses like Stevil and Bob still pull it, but they're much more likely to get called on it.
  • The Joker is a very literal comedic sociopath. Some of his best moments are as hilarious as they are evil.

Robin: I have to admit, the barracuda down the pants was funny.
Batman: No, it wasn't.

  • In Sam and Max Freelance Police, Max's most common solution when he's given the reins may as well be "give the problem the coolest death possible."
  • Fun With Milk and Cheese lives on this trope. The only reason the comic gets away with beating up senior citizens, stabbing bystanders, and incinerating furries is because it's too comedic to take seriously.
  • Bad guy Schlich from one Wilhelm Busch story is made of this. Several times, he comments "That's fatal - heh, heh, but not for me!"
  • Calamity James of The Beano is the world's unluckiest boy, and gets chewed up by life in every strip; sometimes the punishment comes from his pet lemming or even his mother. This trope makes it funny, though the poor boy wouldn't see it that way.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, in spades.


Fanfic[edit | hide]

  • Meta-example: Characters that fit this trope are often the subject of bashing by authors who like to file off the "comedic" part of the trope and turn up the "sociopathy" aspect by treating their behavior seriously. Does a girl smack around a guy for catching her coming out of a bath or for being just kind of a goofball? Treat her as if she's dangerously unhinged or make the slapstick violence cause real injuries. In some fandoms, treatment of this trope as Dude, Not Funny is more common than playing it straight.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Kind Hearts and Coronets involves several hilarious murders, and even the natural deaths are as funny.
  • Meet the Parents. It's so horrible, that you start to feel sorry for Greg thirty minutes in.
  • Along Came Polly makes light of a blind ferret who keeps hurting himself by running into walls.
  • The Coen Brothers' A Serious Man is a very good example of this. The premise is very Job-like, but many people have reported that the worse things get for him, the more you laugh out of the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
    • Burn After Reading plays it more for laughs; the characters all suffer horribly (often due to their own idiocy) and it's hilarious.
  • The Filipino comedy/romance film "Ang Tanging Pamilya" has a lot of gags revolving around Comedic Sociopathy, with the victim being the American character (played by Sam Milby). Some of the said gags include:
    • Being forced to ride his girlfriend's father's jeepney from weird angles (hang by the handlebars on the back door, then climb on top of the friggin' roof, then hang below the jeepney a la Indiana Jones).
    • Being forced to clean said jeepney while a huge downpour of rain is happening. The accompanied comment from those two characters ("That's just some mild rain.") just made it worse.
    • Having to bring a pregnant woman to the hospital and assist her during delivery - while he himself has an appointment to make with his girlfriend.
    • Stopping a fistfight on his way to the said appointment - and getting arrested along with the two quarreling dudes. To add insult to the injury, he was set free several hours later just because he did not immediately say he was not part of the trouble (he was saying that fact all along, even during the arrest).
    • Finally, having an Innocent Bystander faint right in front of him as he was to meet up with his girlfriend, prompting him to send the dude to the hospital (man, he's such a messiah).
  • Shrek has a few minor examples, which would be quite throwaway if they didn't undermine the movies' central Aesop. "It's what inside that counts" is all fine and good - except that Shrek and Fiona will behave like hedonistic sociopaths whenever it doesn't affect the plot. (They get better)
    • In the first movie, the couple have a cutesy scene where they're falling in love. They display their affections by blowing up a toad and a snake into balloons. It's funny as heck, but they just let the creatures float away, with little chance of deflating. Let's not even mention that poor bird.
      • Isn't this justified by the fact that they ARE ogres, even if it's not yet known about Fiona? Shrek mentions at a few points about how mean he is supposed to be.
    • The honeymoon montage of the second movie is just full of this! It's bad enough that Fiona essentially commits murder by throwing Ariel to the sharks. Who could forget Shrek and Fiona's enjoying a mud bath while surrounded by fairies trapped in jars?
    • Dragon eating Farquaad doesn't count, though. Everybody loved her for that.
  • Home Alone is a Trope Codifier for recent times. Kids and teenagers might find it funny at the time, but after growing up and for the adults who were too old to catch it when they were kids, the Fridge Horror of all that bodily harm sets in.
  • The Dark Knight Saga. Admit it. You laughed at the pencil trick.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces has a Master's degree in history and believes life peaked with medieval feudalism and has degenerated ever since. He announces this loudly while bouncing between menial jobs and managing his valve.
  • Bubba Rogowski in Dennis Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro novels. He's weirdly cute when Angie makes him blush or when he asks Patrick to record all his TV shows (including Entertainment Tonight) while he's in prison for a year. Not so much when he's torturing someone for information or selling weapons to child molesters.
  • Alec, in Swordspoint, embodies this: he's the Deadpan Snarker and he knows it, but he's always at his most amusing when people are high or dying or suffering from severe heartache.
  • Carl Hiaasen's novels usually include at least one unlikely, terrible, imaginative and painfully undignified death. A man dies during liposuction when the under-qualified surgeon (and bad guy) has a breakdown; another drowns after falling into a dolphin pool while the sexually-deviant dolphin has its way with him. What makes them hilarious is the bizarre circumstances and that it's the comeuppance of one of the book's villains.
  • No one is nice to Bertie Wooster. The unwritten rule is that if things go wrong, all the other characters (sans Jeeves) will instantly turn on him, whether or not they're aware of the fact that he just spent the entire story trying to help them. Even Jeeves is a Heroic Comedic Sociopath who regularly puts Bertie through terrible situations in order to preserve the divine status quo.
  • Kill Time or Die Trying thrives on this trope, particularly Nathan, who viciously insults strangers and friends alike.
  • Filth by Irvine Welsh runs on this trope.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Arrested Development, a show around the farcical exploits of a wealthy family grappling with the loss of their fortune after the patriarch is arrested for many dubious dealings, leaving the Only Sane Man Michael Bluth at the helm of a sinking ship... of fools.
  • Showcased brilliantly in just about every episode of Blackadder...until the end of the fourth season, when the Comedic Sociopathy of General Melchett and Field Marshall Haig ceases to be comedic and leads to an amazingly poignant finale.
    • If you only replace Blackadder with Lexx, and those characters with 790, the same applies.
  • Merlin is one of the most lovable characters ever, but it's still funny as hell when Arthur throws stuff at him—until Merlin escapes Arthur's presence, and we see him with a character sympathetic to his plight. Suddenly, it isn't funny anymore. Until the next time, and then it's hilarious. The Belligerent Sexual Tension doesn't hurt with the funniness, though.
  • Absolutely everyone in the world of The Worst Week of My Life displays this attitude towards Howard.
  • The female cast of Las Vegas frequently acts like this, often having Danny act as the Only Sane Man. Of course, at least with Sam and Nessa, it was their job to do this. Still...
  • Kenny vs. Spenny. Specifically Kenny, but the crew engages in it from time to time.
  • Soap 's rich cast of characters routinely, and hilariously, took turns humiliating themselves and each other. The mentally ill elderly war veteran, the guy trying to get out of the Mafia, the suicidal gay character, the ventriloquist convinced his dummy is real, the put-upon African-American butler, the promiscuous Tate daughters, the philandering husbands, the sexually dysfunctional Catholic priest, were all mined for loads and loads of comedy gold. In addition, the first season's storyline was based around the murder of a character's son, which of course, was committed in the most hilariously over-the-top fashion possible.
  • Sock from Reaper pretty much exemplifies this.
  • Nearly all the characters in That '70s Show, especially in the later seasons, become prone to this in regards to Eric, from his best friends to his girlfriend to even (and sometimes especially) his parents.
    • In fact, in one episode, Kelso takes personal offense to the way Hyde treats him after he falls off the water tower, and the fact that it all stemmed from Hyde criticizing the way he drew a pot leaf. Hyde then counters with a childhood story of when Kelso laughed as Kelso's dog bit Hyde, causing him to bleed and cry. Lesson learned by Kelso: "It's funny when friends get hurt."
      • "Close enough." - Hyde*
  • Fawlty Towers: Basil Fawlty himself is occasionally guilty of this. One example that comes to mind is when he tricks a deaf guest into turning her hearing aid all the way up—and then shouts as loud as he can directly into it.
  • The Thick of It and The Movie, In the Loop, practically have this trope as their guiding force.
  • Mash mostly used Frank Burns's misfortunes to this end, although he was never a terribly sympathetic character. Henry Blake also suffered a fair amount of comedic misfortune, though he was much more sympathetic than Frank.
  • Howard Moon in The Mighty Boosh gradually became more a victim of cruel humour as the series progressed.
  • Neil in The Young Ones, gratuitously so, although often subverted absurdly to give him the upper hand (i.e. Vyvyan throwing a petrol into his and Rik's bedrooms, only to have the rather positive side effect of clearing up his sinuses).
    • Rik as well, often much more viciously and without any sympathy.
  • Titus is built on this trope, yet subverts it, in that even the father is somewhat sympathetic.
  • Everyone on Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
  • Pretty much everyone on Seinfeld.
  • Pretty much everyone on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • Megan, to Drake and Josh's titular characters.
    • And Sam Puckett in its spiritual successor, iCarly.
    • And while not to the same extent, Jade West on Victorious.
  • Charlie Harper on Two and A Half Men had big elements of this.
  • The entire purpose of Wipeout 2008 is hearing the hilarious commentary while seeing contestants fail and wipeout on obstacles.
  • Most Japanese game shows have this in spades.
  • The hosts of MythBusters, especially Adam, invoke this trope on a regular basis at their own expense.
  • Dr. House has moments of this. He managed to redecorate a Jewish doctor's face on a poster into a Hitler in front of said Jewish doctor, then knock out his girlfriend's nagging mother and his best friend with sedatives on the girlfriend's birthday dinner in a single episode. Definitely a Heroic/Comedic sociopath.
  • Glee. Practically every character is a Jerkass. Sue is the most notable, given her increasingly cartoonish acts of villainy.
  • While almost everyone in Parks and Recreation does quite a number on poor old Jerry, Leslie Knope is by far the most jarring since she is (usually) so upbeat, positive and kind to everyone.
  • Fairly common on Community, ranging from the time Pierce decided to ruin a Dungeons & Dragons game the others were holding to avert a suicide just because he felt excluded, to LeVar Burton's guest appearance, in which his reaction to his host breaking down over dinner and running away was "More fish for Kunta." Also, how everyone in the entire world treats Chang.
  • One episode of How I Met Your Mother has Barney ransacking the their house, finding and stealing but ultimately not actually watching a sex tape made by Marshall and Lily. In TV Land, the premise for wacky shenanigans; in Real Life, an egregious (not to mention felonious) violation of privacy.
    • Some of Barney's past exploits should definitely count. He's pretty sure he once sold a woman.
  • When Nadia's response to how she deals with stress is "lash out and take it out on [her] loved ones" on Bitchin' Kitchen, you know she isn't the sweetest apple in the cart.
  • This became a greater presence in Scrubs in Season six as absolutely everyone treated J.D. horribly for almost no reason and complained when he lamented his crappy situation. Whats worse is that We are apparently supposed to agree with the Sociopaths that J.D. should stop whining and grow up (Regardless of the fact that he is an incredibly nice guy being put through absolute hell).
  • A prominent part of almost any Colgate Comedy Hour episode featuring Jerry Lewis or Lou Costello.


Music[edit | hide]

  • "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?" by Weird Al Yankovic has the singer/narrator sing the titular chorus in an aggrieved fashion because horrific tragedies cause him to be slightly inconvenienced. Lyrics here.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

Charles Schulz: The nature of comedy is tragedy. It's funny... it's funny because it's happening to somebody else.

  • Much of the parents' Daryl and Wanda's misfortunes could be explained by this trope in Baby Blues.
  • Dogbert from Dilbert.


New Media[edit | hide]

  • I Love Bees: Durga, a vengeful A.I. Is a Crapshoot, often humorously decides to punish people (for offenses like doing their jobs and annoying people she likes) by hacking into their accounts and changing details to make it look like they committed various crimes. She also makes a guy lose his job for interrupting her conversation, which he has no way of knowing was happening.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Statement: Knights of the Old Republic features HK-47, an assassination droid that was designed with a love of violence and hatred of anything living. Commentary: However, HK is also one of the primary sources of humor in the series.
    • Elaboration: This is largely because even though he wants to kill almost everybody he sees, and says so, he cannot act on these desires without your orders. Statement: The result is lines such as the following.

HK-47 [after a harmless Jawa asks for the player's help]: Translation: 98% probability that members of the miniature organic’s tribe are being held by Sand People, master. Doubtless he wishes assistance. [There is also a] 2% probability that the miniature organic is simply looking for trouble and needs to be blasted. That may be wishful thinking on my part, master.

  • Later in Star Wars the Old Republic the sociopathy belongs to dark side sith. For the inquisitor, there is literally nothing Lightning cannot do, including shock foes, kill of quest givers, and keep mouthy companions in line.
  • With Iji, we have the Komato, to whom "right to bear arms" is a religious tenet [1] and "public safety"... is not.
    • They play Marco Polo in minefields. Rocket Jumping is not only a sport, but they add Rocket Juggling.
  • The Aqua Teen Hunger Force game features advice during the tutorial such as "Go ahead, break all of Carl's windows. They're not yours anyway."
  • Mass Effect 2: Renegade Shepard is a unfeeling jerkass which leads to some damn hilarious moments.
  • Sengoku Rance: Rance. The only thing saving him from being a Villain Protagonist Played for Laughs is that the Big Bad is even worse (like raping his daughter and mutilating her at the same time, or having prepubescent Kouhime gangraped instead of just killing her) and, unlike Rance, has no redeeming qualities.
  • Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy has this in spades, especially when the game focuses on Ulrika's workshop. Special mention goes to Chloe, who loves to spam her curses incantations on people around her and is having fun watching how said incantations work (usually goes horribly right).
  • Between the amount of room for... creativity... heavy reliance on the Chunky Salsa Rule, and copious ASCII Gorn, this is basically half the fun of Dwarf Fortress.
  • Team Fortress 2. You can say two very true things about the main cast: 1. They are all funny as hell. 2. They are all murderous sociopaths.
  • Sam and Max Freelance Police is this trope taken to eleven, especially with Max. And he gets to be the president of the US for two seasons!
  • Portal and Portal 2 derive much of their Black Comedy from this trope.
    • The first game makes an extended joke out of Aperture Science's and GLaDOS' apparent total disregard for the sanity and well-being of their test subjects. It helps that you don't actually see all the other people that died horribly to bring things to their present state.
    • The sequel shows that Aperture Science was practically built on this, with CEO Cave Johnson being a lunatic with an obsession with pointless and dangerous experiments to the point that he nearly ran his company into the ground.

Cave Johnson: "Don't have any tumors? Well, unless you were wearing lead underpants when you sat on the chairs in our lobby, we took care of that too."

    • Wheatley makes a point of observing that the turrets that you've been disposing of so cavalierly throughout both games are programmed to be able to feel pain. (Worse, there's no reason to create a gun turret that feels pain.)
      • This is doubly disturbing when you consider several of the lines the turrets utter upon "death" such as "Whyyyyyyyy?!" and "I don't hate you."
    • In co-op, the player characters are robots so that when they die due to ineptitude or griefing, the deaths are funny rather than scary.
    • GLaDOS even references this trope; she says that Chell's fucked up situation of being help captive and asleep for an...unknown amount of time is humorous because;

GLaDOS: Comedy is tragedy plus time. So when you think about it, its actually pretty funny.

  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has an Orc Dark Brotherhood member that recounts his murder of a five-year old if you talk to him before your first contract. While this sounds horrible, it's actually quite hilarious in the way that he recounts it.

Gogron gro-Bolmog: The great thing about killing a target up close and personal is you can talk to 'em before you do it! You know, say something scary! For example, this one time I had a contract to kill a little Nord girl at her birthday party. She asked me if I was the jester! So I said to her."No, I am a messenger of death." You should have seen the look on her face! Ha ha ha ha! Anyway, she won't be seeing age six!


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Tsukihime has Arcueid doing this to the protagonist in spades, from her visiting his high school and attempting to get his attention by waving wildly in the middle of the grounds (and admitting that she was just about to jump directly up to the third floor window by his desk to talk to him during class) to her barging/sneaking into the Tohno Mansion on a regular basis to meet him (not a very wise thing to do, considering Akiha's jealously).
    • She does have some justification for this. Part of it is because she's naive enough to literally not understand what she's doing wrong, and part of it is because her mission (tracking down Roa) is just that important.
    • The creepiest moment is probably when she considers breaking Shiki's glasses (something she knows would drive him insane) just because he was given them from another woman...
  • Fate Stay Night has cases of this as well, such as when Saber seriously attempted to convince Shirou to let her go with him everywhere, including school, so she can protect him (note that she considers full body armor as casual dress).
    • Ironically, from what does happen, this actually would have been a good idea despite the stress it would have caused.
    • Shirou sometimes does this as well, as Issei 'did-you-just-tell-me-to-take-off-my-clothes?!' Ryudo can attest.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

"Their faces are being eaten by beard-shaped parasites!"
"Kill 'em all and let the flames sort them out!"
"Why everything I love is combustible!

and the ever-favorite

"Now you're just doing it to annoy me, You don't even have heat vision!"

    • The ironic aspect of this is that they're not merely sociopaths, who have no concept of morality or ethics, but are also incapable of any self-control, even when they stand to benefit. During one arc their only goal is to make a profit by doing "side-quests." This begins with attempting to work for a mob boss, who they soon overthrow; they then end trying to extort the police, but end up killing them; they try to extort the towns people, but end up killing them; and finally fail to even hold onto their power because Black Mage blows the whole town to hell.
    • Red Mage doesn't seem like a sociopath for several hundred strips. Then he starts doing horrible things to chocobos.
  • Blazen's Alternate Character Interpretation of Litchi definitely qualifies. She's an Bad Bad Girl Magnificent Bitch who tricked Tao into carving up the body of a dead hooker and then made meat-buns out of her before feeding them to Tao and Ragna. Although, Comedic Sociopathy pretty much sums most of the comedy in Blazen. Just look at Jin and Hazama...
  • Mike from Shortpacked lives and breathes this trope. If it weren't for this and the fact that most of his stunts Cross The Line Twice, he would be the most heinous of villains. Instead he's one of the strip's most popular characters. See for yourself.
  • The Black Hat Guy of Xkcd exemplifies this, as shown here.
  • Punintended's comics demonstrate this on occasion, as seen here. Vegetable and the banter between the authors makes one ask if the authors themselves are somewhat examples of this.
  • Fuzzy from Sam and Fuzzy could very well be the patron saint of this trope.
  • Wray of Snowflakes is a lovably intense bully who fancies herself a Viking warrior. Her arsenal includes the insane amount of devotion she brings to these activities almost always Crosses the Line Twice, transforming what would normally be a traumatizing childhood experience into pure hilarity.
  • Every Spark who isn't an outright Villain in Girl Genius. Even the well-intentioned ones when they're in their madness place. Then there's the Jaegerkin.
  • Just about all the humor in Ansem Retort is this (particularly Axel, Zexion, and Darth Maul, usually to Riku.) The very first strip involves Axel burning down an orphanage, then a courthouse.
  • The entire premise of Two Guys and Guy revolves around its three sociopathic main characters.
  • Nearly all of the characters in The Snail Factory are completely apathetic to the suffering and horrible maiming of others.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Platform Hell games, the majority of which are ROM hacks or otherwise non-commercially made, lend themselves to this. See Let's Plays of games like Kaizo Mario World and I Wanna Be the Guy.
    • Most Let's Plays about games with a lot of violence or carnage get most of their humour from the player laughing like a maniac while slaughtering things needlessly. And quite a few games without a lot of violence or carnage too.
  • In this video one of the reviewers basically abandons the other in a pit full of metroids, and even taunts him "suck it in wuss!". Also this two part parody is entirely made of this trope.
  • The Desu Des Brigade especially Vixen and Mal, but notably in the Christmas Special. Tentacle Violations for all!
  • Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, in Thalia's Musings:

"I try to help my [worshippers] by providing a series of comic mishaps in their lives. They never seem very appreciative." [1]

  • Gronkh shows some examples of this:
    • He often is cruel to Minecraft animals for laughs.
    • His entire mini-LP of the game "Die Polizei" was about being a racist, sadist, foul-mouthed asshole, to emphasize the bad quality of the game and spice it up.
  • Tobuscus displays this in "Safety Torch", in which he terrorizes a little kid with imaginary monsters and encourages him to burn down his house so he can extort him for money.
  • The whole premise of Llamas with Hats. Paul whines at Carl for whatever horribly violent he's done just prior to the episode.
  • Neville gets treated horribly by everyone in Potter Puppet Pals—especially Ron, Hermione and Harry, three of his best friends in canon. It gets to the point where he decides he'll just explode.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Captain Hero: YES! Captain Hero ONE! Billions of innocent Zebulonians...um...dead...oh. Uh...I....[Slinks off]

  • Frequently used in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The most spectacular moment has to be when Sokka gets rid of the crew of an airship by luring them into the bomb-bay with the promise of "hot cakes and sweet cream" to celebrate a crew member's birthday (which it really was) and then opens the doors, dumping them into the ocean.
  • 99% of the time Goofy in Goof Troop is completely oblivious to how much destruction and pain his clumsiness inflicts, especially to his neighbor Pete.
  • Of the central characters on Futurama, perhaps only Bender really qualifies as a true sociopath. Nevertheless, the characters all show tremendous disregard for each other's feelings. And everyone's sociopathic for Zoidberg.
  • Practically everyone in Family Guy, Peter most prominently.
    • Lois may be a more notable example if only for her rather contrasting persona compared to Jerkass Peter, she still seems to be established as the caring and intelligent housewife of the family, though depending on gag, can switch between nurturing and loving her kids endlessly or being as abusive and neglectful to them as Peter.
    • Needless to say, nearly all of Meg's treatment in later seasons leans towards this trope.
  • It's rampant in Happy Tree Friends; the basis of the series is cute little critters dying hideous deaths. The average characters reaction upon another's death is either disinterest or running or shifting away to try not to get involved with it. Considering the universe, that's probably wise...
  • Although many characters in South Park fit this trope, the most obvious example would have to be Cartman, who freely manipulates and uses everybody around him according to whichever whim has him at the moment. As an example: In the episode Ginger Kids, Cartman freely advocates denying all ginger kids basic human rights. After Stan and Kyle conspire to turn Cartman into a ginger with makeup, convinced that it is the only way he'll learn fairness, Cartman proceeds to instantly convert to the ginger cause and quickly advocates the total genocide of all non-gingers, especially the gingers who are "Faking It" with make up.
    • He killed a guy's parents and fed them to him. Adding insult to injury by making his favourite band laugh at him.
      • He was upset with that after learning that was his father.... making him half-ginger.
    • Butters and Pip are frequent victims of Comedic Sociopathy; you would expect a Jerkass like Cartman to exploit or bully the unfortunate souls, but be less expectant of Stan and Kyle (and sometimes even Chef) acting as Manipulative Bastards around them (anti-bigoted Kyle even went into long winded rant at 'Frenchy little frog' Pip that earned him a broken nose). In later episodes this treatment toned down slightly with closer to Earth characters acting more sympathetic towards Butters and Pip being put Out of Focus until he was squashed by Mecha-Streisand.

Everyone: Shut up Pip!

  • If it weren't for Amusing Injuries, Eddy's Brother from Ed, Edd n Eddy would step over from this to just plain sociopath, though it stopped being amusing due to how far his brother took the abuse and how it's implied he's been abusing his brother since he was a kid.
  • Often on Jimmy Two Shoes. Heloise in particular is fond of engaging in sadistic actions for fun, including sucking up all the water around a tree so it will wilt and attempting to bury someone alive.
  • The Henry and June wraparounds on KaBlam!. It's about a slightly ditzy ten-year-old boy and his Jerkass admirer/best friend who LOVES beating this kid up. On top of that, he's constantly beat up by a sasquatch. He needs so much hugging. Most likely enforced, it is a comedy.
  • In Tom and Jerry, many of Tom's injuries which are intended to be funny are sometimes downright cruel such as anvils or a heavy blunt object landing on his head, getting poked in the eyes, stabbed with knives or pitchforks, getting shot with guns, heavy objects dropped onto his feet, getting his teeth smashed or pulled out, mauled by Spike, etc. No wonder some viewers end up Rooting for the Empire.
  • In one of Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon Show shorts, an old man drags his two grandkids away from a video game to tell them a rambling, nonsensical story about the time he defeated the aliens. Near the end, he starts trailing off; after a worried second, the girl asks if he's dead, and her brother responds that no, he just turned down Gramps' oxygen. Then they go off and play the video game while their grandfather slumbers away with the very real possibility that he'll suffocate because the selfish little brats wanted to play Nintendo.
  • As one of the series' resident Butt Monkeys, Bill is on the receiving end of a fair bit of this on King of the Hill.
  • The creepy old claymation guy on Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids could barely go a host segment without abusing his pet spider in some morbidly humorous way.
  • Roger of American Dad dishes this out to everybody.
  • Gaz in Invader Zim is something of a Comedic Sociopath.
  1. as long as you pay for them