Laughably Evil

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His act's a real killer.
"He's an absolutely awful human being. The strange thing about comedy is that if an awful character makes people laugh, people feel affectionate towards him. It's insane because if they had to sit next to him for five minutes at a dinner, they would absolutely not be able to cope with him. They would loathe him. But because he makes them laugh, they think, deep down, he's alright."

Villains can be many things... Magnificent Bastard, horrific, philosophical... but special attention goes to the villain that makes you laugh. It might be because he's an idiot, it might be that you empathize with him, or it might be simply that his actions are so unexpected. In any case, some villains will always be funny.

Of course, funny does not always equal weak. Praise be to the villain who can cause a chuckle from his audience, right before viciously thwarting the hero's best efforts. In fact, if done correctly, the very things that make a villain Laughably Evil can make them downright disturbing once they begin crossing the Moral Event Horizon. Villain laughing at faking someone out with a gun with a "BANG!" flag coming out? Funny. Same villain doing the exact same laugh when shooting them for real a few seconds later? Creepy. A truly well written one can manage to pull off both at once. See the trope picture for an excellent example of this subtype. Just because a character is Laughably Evil, it does not disqualify them from being a Complete Monster and there are many villains that manage to be both. In these cases, what makes them funny also makes them very unsettling because of how much fun they have committing the most horrific acts possible.

Often overlaps with the Harmless Villain (Harmless Villains are inherently funny, but funny villains are not inherently harmless), Affably Evil (get the joke?), Faux Affably Evil (who are often funny), the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and Magnificent Bastard. And with Large Ham (playing a villain seems to be very fun). It's also a prerequisite for the Terrible Trio and the Quirky Miniboss Squad. Contrast with Monster Clown, because clowns make people cry. Interestingly, this either subverts or complements Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor, as does Too Funny to Be Evil, a closely related sister trope. Tends to be the sort who Crosses the Line Twice. See also: Laugh with Me and Beware the Silly Ones.

Examples of Laughably Evil include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Jason Beck from The Big O. When he's not being an egotistical fop, he's actually frighteningly competent. Too bad this is overshadowed by his over the top hubris, which pushes him firmly into the "Laughably" part of this trope.
  • Most of the villains of early Dragon Ball are like this. Such villains include General Blue, who is utterly hilarious in personality but also a very deadly opponent, and Emperor Pilaf, who has no idea what he's doing. Also Majin Buu, especially in his Fat Buu form, where his antics and are so childish, goofy, and cartoonish that you almost forget that his "games" are killing millions of people, at least until the Establishing Shot of the barren wasteland where a thriving city used to be.
  • The Team Rocket trio from Pokémon are this, which is the reason why they are so popular. At least until Best Wishes, when their boss gives them an actual serious assignment.
  • Tobi from Naruto was this at first. Then he decided to stop fucking around.
  • Dedede in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. He's arguably more evil than his game counterpart, but also one of the most entertaining characters on the show.
  • A number of villains from One Piece, such as Buggy the Clown, a Villainous Harlequin who's (violently) sensitive about his nose, and Spandam, who alternately kicks the dog in new and horrible ways and makes himself look like an idiot.
    • On the opposite side of the power spectrum is Kaku. The second most powerful member of Cipher Pol 9, he can transform into a giraffe. No, you didn't misread that. He can transform into an actual giraffe. Even better, he can transform into a half-man/half-giraffe. One that keeps his trademark square nose. He sincerely believes giraffes to be powerful creatures and during his fight with Zoro was prone to defending them by saying such things as "Witness the power of a giraffe!". Though that could be part-denial since everyone keeps mocking him for his powers. Oh, and he uses his nose as a weapon.
      • Believe it or not, out of all the animals characters can transform into so far, the giraffe appears to be one of the very best (in this form his storm kick attack was amplified like crazy, he can shorten his neck to lengthten his arms and legs, he can shoot out his head like a cannonball ...). The only one that seems to be superior is the rare phoenix.
      • Any animal that can kick a full-grown lion ass-over-appetite is powerful, even if their goofy build and lack of vocalizations in the range of human hearing obscures that fact.
      • What makes the fight even funnier is that Kaku has just eaten his Devil Fruit, and is figuring its powers out as he goes along. Crowning Moment of Funny comes when he discovers the aforementioned "shorten neck to extend arms and legs" move, reasons that it works on the same principle as a pasta machine, then names the move "Pasta Machine." Also in his favor is that, despite being a government agent, he's a pretty chill guy, even giving a good-natured laugh to a post-battle quip from one of the heroes.
  • Mara from Ah! My Goddess. She takes time out of her busy day tormenting goddesses and attempting world conquest in order to knock a child's ice cream cone out of his hands to fulfill a snide wish by his sister. Either Kick the Dog, Crowning Moment of Awesome, or both. A truly admirable commitment to evil on any scale. For those who are wondering this happens in the first season of the TV series—if not in Mara's first episode, then in her first or second appearance after that. The scene in question actually makes her seem oddly like a Disgaea character, laughing maniacally at her "evil deed" and resulting in both of the kids kicking her in the shin simultaneously and high-tailing it, to her angry surprise.
  • Baki and Minki from Hell Teacher Nube. They're (nominally) evil, powerful, hugely destructive Oni, but the former adores ice cream, toys, and riding around on the little kids' train in the park, and the latter has some bizarre notions of what a good big brother/little sister relationship should be like.
  • Gates of Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid is so over-the-top with his Chaotic Evil antics that everything he does is completely random. Despite the sadistic violence, this makes him even funnier.
  • Wester from Fresh Pretty Cure.
  • Xellos from Slayers might fit...his antics are certainly funny enough; it's just that no one is sure what his real goals are, so calling him a 'villain' may or may not be accurate.
  • Oda Nobunaga from the Sengoku Basara anime. It's not because he's dumb. Or incompetent. Or even snarky, for that matter. It's just that he's so mind-bogglingly, skull-stompingly, baby-eatingly evil that he becomes hilariously awesome just through his very existence.
  • The various teens of Ranma ½ could conceivably come off as this, as opposed to Comedic Sociopathy. Not one of them (except for Kasumi, and even she made mischief on some occasions in the early manga) has done something that doesn't make them look at least partially villainous, yet these same deeds (and the regulars who generally are villains) still manage to be funny because of their attempts at evil.
  • Prince Walter from The Brave Of Gold Goldran fits this trope.
  • Almost all of the Order of the Glittering Star from Star Driver. Their everyday personas are so over the top that you can't fully take their villain sides seriously - all of them being hammy certainly helps too.
  • Katsuhiko Jinnai from El Hazard the Magnificent World is constantly over-the-top and has a funny Evil Laugh.
  • Pixy Misa from Pretty Sammy. She is a parody of Dark Magical Girl.
  • The Golden Witch Beatrice in Umineko no Naku Koro ni is aware that she is the villain of the series, and is just adoring the role. She's a Large Ham and she loves to chew the scenery, just listen to it when she talks to Battler. However, Eva-Beatrice on the other hand...
  • Blastmon from Digimon Xros Wars is said to be immensely powerful, but has the mind of a 5-year-old and calls the other generals by nicknames. Then he's defeated by the heroes and is reduced to a hopping head for the rest of the series. Before him, there was Etemon, an over the top rockstar monkey who's both silly, and far stronger then the last Big Bad.
  • Prince Eccentro of Mon Colle Knights. He's the comedian of the anime, often accompanied by a Fiery Redhead and a Cloudcuckoolander as two of his followers, thus why he's so popular with fans of the show.
    • The aforementioned Batch and Gluko are also quite comedic. Quite often at the end of many episodes, Gluko often happily stands by and adores the scenery while Batch and Eccentro get rather embarassing moments. They even get into rather comedic situations involving Ms. Loon.
  • Laharl in Makai Senki Disgaea has quite the reputation for having some rather funny moments. Also, in Episode 3, Vulcanus becomes this when he accidentally almost falls off a statue and causes it to fall, which leads to Flonne and Etna's clothing & personality swaps. When he finds Flonne sleeping with Laharl and Etna, he flips out and hits her with a This Is Unforgivable! and attempts to kill all three but accidentally falls into a clam exhibit and is unable to get out for the rest of the episode. Later, while he's still trying to get out, he knocks over the same statue again, causing clothing swaps again, this time for Laharl, Etna, Flonne, and one of the Prinnies.
  • Barry the Chopper of Fullmetal Alchemist is an unrepentant Serial Killer whose lunacy and total inability to understand normal human morality is Played for Laughs. Some people view Envy as this, though that has more to do with its terrible fighting skills and godawful fashion sense than with any real humour on its part.
    • Before he went all One-Winged Angel, Father had a tendency to make small, sardonic quips while horrendous battle raged all around him - usually along the lines of "Why does everybody feel the need to demolish my home?"

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Joker thrives on this trope. One of the main goals towards portraying the character is to make his actions such that you can laugh one moment, and be horrified the next. Brilliantly brought out by many of the actors to portray him in other media, most prominently Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger and, most recently, Brent Spinner. Whether it's electrocuting a gangster while singing showtunes, casually (and cheerfully) stalking an everyday accountant in the middle of rush-hour traffic, or doing a magic trick by making a pencil disappear, you can always find it either way with the Joker. Cesar Romero too. Maybe it's because he was so Harmless Villain or such a Large Ham, or maybe just because the show was So Bad It's Good, but he was genuinely hilarious, if not nearly as terrifying as Ledger's Joker.

Paul Dini on the Joker: Joker's that perfect combination of schoolyard bully and class clown. The kind of sicko who will make you laugh just before he sticks the knife in and twists it.

"Moving WALKway! Not moving STANDway, Granny Fuckwit, MOVING FUCKING WALKWAY!!!" (cue gunfire)


Fan Fics[edit | hide]


Film -- Animated[edit | hide]

  • The Thief and the Cobbler: Zigzag, the Evil Chancellor, is usually amusing, but is introduced by a scene where he condemns a cobbler to death for spilling tacks he happened to step on, and only gets worse.
  • The Disney Animated Canon provides us lots of Laughably Evil villains:
    • Peter Pan: Captain Hook. That is all.
    • No one makes you laugh like Gaston.
    • Kronk from The Emperors New Groove. Even though he's not all that much of a villain to begin with...
      • Yzma is so over the top in her characterization and frequent Lampshading of standard Disney villain tropes that she's somewhere between this trope played straight and a parody of it. It also doesn't hurt that the character is voiced by Eartha Kitt.
    • In The Incredibles, Syndrome is another Disney villain who is both humorous and unnerving. Many of his lines will sound very familiar to anyone who is a comicbook fanboy or knows one, and his goofy, hammy demeanour can almost make you forget that the guy is guilty of mass murder, would knowingly kill children, and is essentially plotting to start killing hundreds of innocent people and get hero-worshipped for stopping. Just as an example:

Elastigirl? You married Elastigirl? (notices the children) And got bizzaaaay!

    • Hades from Disney's |Hercules. Thanks to James Woods, he changed from being a stereotypical chilling villain to fast-talking, tempestuous and absolutely awesome. Easily the best part of the movie.

Hades: Er, guys? Olympus would be that way...


Film -- Live Action[edit | hide]

Guy of Gisborne: Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe, or...
Sherriff of Nottingham: Because it's dull, you twit. It'll HURT. MORE.


Literature[edit | hide]


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • John Simm's Master in Doctor Who certainly qualifies as a Crosses The Line Twice villain.
  • Benjamin Linus is one ruthless, manipulative, and downright creepy motherfucker. He also has some of the best lines in the series.
  • All of the villains in the Adam West Batman show fit, but the best examples are all of the one-shot villains that are unique to the show. And the Riddler, whose infamous riddles would continuously be solved by a Boy Wonder who was otherwise only good for getting kidnapped.
  • All of the villains on The League of Gentlemen. There are very few shows that could make a pair of incestuous Corrupt Hick Serial Killers hilarious.
  • Spike could be quite funny, such as when he passed out in Angel's backyard and woke up when the sun made his hand catch fire.
    • Also in the episode where he watches from a roof-top while Angel saves a girl and provides sarcastic voice-over narration.

As Victim: Oh, how can I thank you, you mysterious black-clad hunk of a night thing?
As Angel: No need, little lady, your tears of gratitude are enough for me. You see I was once a badass vampire, but love, and a pesky curse defanged me, and now I'm just a biiiiiig, fluffy puppy with bad teeth.
As Victim: But there must be some way I can... show my appreciation.
As Angel: No! Helping those in need's my job, and working up a load of sexual tension and prancing away like a magnificent poof is truly thanks enough.
As Victim: I understand. I have a nephew who's gay, so-
As Angel: Say no more. Evil's still afoot. And I'm almost out of that nancy-boy hair-gel I like so much. Quickly, to the Angel-mobile! Away!

Musical[edit | hide]

  • Monsieur (and also Madame) Thénardier in the musical version of Les Misérables, quite an achievement considering how nasty he is in the book. Monsieur Thénardier's Villain Song "Master of the House", in which he swindles guests out of money and possessions, stands out as a rare moment of light relief and is probably the funniest song in the entire play.
  • Similarly, Fagin in Oliver!

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Chris Jericho was one of these in WCW and in his early days in WWE. When he returned to the WWE, he tried to be a face, but has since lapsed back into this, and is much better.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Da Orkz of Warhammer 40,000 are a race of Psychopathic Manchildren who fill in as the comic relief of the setting, in no small part due to crossing the line twice. Most factions in Warhammer 40k will wage genocidal war on you because they hate you with the burning fire of a thousand suns. The Orks will wage genocidal war on you because it's their idea of entertainment.
  • In Nomine features Kobal, the Demon Prince of Dark Humor. There is also his "blood brother" Haagenti, the Demon Prince of Gluttony, who also holds purview over torture and sight gags (which many consider to be a form of torture).
  • Pathfinder goblins, bless their psychopathic little hearts.
  • Goblins in any given Magic the Gathering setting tend to be psychopathic, destructive, homicidal, genocidal, suicidal and absolutely hilarious.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Edwin from Baldurs Gate and its sequel is sociopathic, irritable and has a massive ego but is genuinely cranky to the point of amusement and bumbling enough to be this trope. Half the laughter comes from him being sulky.
  • Many, if not all, of the main enemies in the Super Mario Bros. series. From Bowser's kidnapping of the princess turning out to be lovesickness, Wart being the tyrant of a dream world while critically weak to vegetables (he hates the taste), to even the names of many of the stage bosses (King Caliente's Spicy Return!). Not to mention anyone who's an antagonist in an RPG or spinoff (*Chunks Awaaaay!* ) (I HAVE FURY!).
    • Special mention also goes to Dimentio, who often has rather quirky behaviors that count as somewhat comical, and yet commits genuinely horrific actions while cracking jokes.
    • However, Bowser is portrayed in a more serious manner in the main series platform games. Especially Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.
      • He's a more serious threat in terms of malice in said games, but is still a comical ham of the highest order personality wise, so fits this trope to a tee.

Bowser: I'm HUUUUUUUUGE!!!!

Hero: (after Escherion turns into a frog) Huh... I guess you inverted your powers. Every spell you try to cast on me, you actually cast on yourself.
Escherion: *ribbit ribbit*
Hero: I'm sure you just said something very rude in froggy.

  • The Lich Palawa Joko in Guild Wars: Nightfall once terrorised the entirety of the continent of Elona, whose forces were the greatest threat said continent faced until the Charr invasion many centuries later. Being unable to die or be killed, he had to be sealed away at the location of his defeat, and there he would have remained... if the plot hadn't required that you release him from his imprisonment for several very good reasons. But that's okay, all Joko wants is to reform his undead Army Of Darkness, which you've got to help him with as well. Astoundingly, he fails to be a threat for the remainder of the game, and while you're dealing with the Big Bad he's spending the rest of the time hilariously failing to get any sort of organisation from his mindless minions. What a guy. Still, he'll be back for the sequel.
  • Many of the player character's evil options in the Knights of the Old Republic games are hilarious. And then there's a certain over-eager assassin droid.

"Definition: Love is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometres away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope."

  • GLaDoS from Portal.
    • Wheatley in the sequel.
    • And Cave Johnson. Some of his quotes made his voice actor uncomfortable—to the point they had to cut a scene from Portal 2 because he refused to record Cave's lines for it, finding them too disturbing—despite this actor having played Complete Monsters in the past. And yet, he's hilarious.
  • The player in Evil Genius. Think Dr. Evil.
  • Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal, Dr. Nefarious.
  • King Dedede from the Kirby series.
  • Dr. Wily, from the Mega Man series. He pulls off evil plots like holding a Russian scientist's daughter hostage and spreading a robot virus, yet tends to use silly-looking robots, frequently wiggle his eyebrows, and beg for mercy upon his defeat. Every single time. The guy is a living paradox. The best example of this, is the time he stole the world's strongest robots, while wearing a rather flimsy disguise.
  • Hazama of BlazBlue fame is a walking Crowning Moment of Funny. He's also the kind of guy who crosses the Moral Event Horizon nine times before he's even woken up. This perception has changed over time, however. As Hazama/Terumi becomes more and more saturated and pretty much everywhere and his motives comes off extremely shallow, Broken Base was formed, some just think he stops being laughable altogether.
  • Naturally Dr "Eggman" Robotnik of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and only seems to be leaning further this way as of recently. Many alternate media representations are similar (see below). What do you expect from an egg shaped scientist who makes toy-like robots?
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. James Woods as Toreno, the paranoid government agent. Disrepecting dead women to a monologue on how all modern conspiracy theories are no where near the truth.
  • General Sarrano is an evil, manipulative, foul-mouthed bastard who delights in the suffering of others, gleefully betrays everyone around him, and is generally an all-around un-fun guy to be around. At the same time, he's a hilariously over-the-top jackass with a never-ending stream of creative invective to toss at anyone and everyone around him.
  • Every villain in the Crash Bandicoot series.
  • Ditto for the entire Rogues Gallery of Earthworm Jim (even more so in the cartoon).
  • Most of the minor villains from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series games. However, they are often phased out when the not-so-hilarious Big Bad shows up.
  • King Bohan and Flying Fox from Heavenly Sword. King Bohan is voiced by Andy Serkis and is funny even when being a total bastard. Flying Fox has a very shrill voice and is even hammier than Bohan.
  • Kaos, the Big Bad of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. He's got the personality of Invader Zim, Large Ham and all. Though it should be noted he's actually far more compentant than his personality would imply. Doesn't make him any less fun to watch, however.

Kaos: My head is awesome, I tell you! Fear it! Fear my GIANT FLOATING HEAD!

  • In the first Mother game, Hippies will try to attack Ninten with rulers. They'll also try to shout into a bullhorn that Ninten's mother was looking for him.
  • Cicero, from Skyrim. He's a jester who is a touch unstable, and also happens to be the Night Mother's keeper, an important position in the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Hades from Kid Icarus: Uprising. The few times when he gets dead serious, however, he's actually pretty terrifying.
  • Sho Minamimoto from The World Ends With You, if only for how bizarre he is. Even when he's planning genocide and planning to kill god, he's somehow hilarious. A language or math certainly helps in that.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Essentially all the villains in Sluggy Freelance except, arguably, Daedalus. Horribus, in particular, is a big example. One moment he's begging for his teddy bear (making him vice president to his empire, no less) and getting hit in the head with anvils in the middle of his Dramatic Entrance, the next he's incinerating minions and dropping a bridge on the heroine.
    • Darksoul in the oft-underappreciated "Oceans Unmoving" storyline is a borderline example, whose humor mostly comes after you find out the plot twist; He is actually the present day Bun Bun, while the Bun Bun shown is from the past; present day Bun Bun (Darksoul) has Laser Guided Amnesia, and his pseudo-deadpan snarking is actually him ticked off on the fact that he has no idea what's going on; everything his past self is involved in is ridiculously random ("Leaf people?"), and he knows he should know what's going on.
    • Even Daedalus can be funny. The only villains who weren't affably evil were Evil Aylee Clone and Kusari, who usually plays the straight man to the laughable evil around her, and even when dressed up as 'Hello Kitty' was more chilling than chuckle-worthy.
  • Lord Attez seems this way in Cwen's Quest. Although we only see very little of him, it seems pretty clear he is a hysterical & horrible person from his various traumatized children.
  • Black Mage in Eight Bit Theater could be downright hilarious while suffering.
  • Richard from Looking for Group.
  • Xykon from the The Order of the Stick. He may be a horrible threat, but he gets some of the best lines and comedic moments.

Tarquin: But once he won the first two or three bouts I threw his way, I couldn't just slit his throat in the night, you know? He's a crowd favourite. It's weird, no matter how many no matter how many people he kills, the audience still think he's lovable.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Negaduck: "When I throw... THE SWITCH!!!!!"

    • Even Bulba has his moments:

Darkwing (taken by surprise after already doing his dramatic intro): Er...I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am...the sur-surprise in your...cereal box...
Bulba: Yes, yes, I know. I heard.

"This is Captain Jetstorm speaking. Please feel free to run about the tarmac and flee for you miserable little lives."