No Sense of Humor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
This beak was not made for smiling.

Geordi: Data... I made that joke seven years ago.
Data: I know! I just got it!


A character with No Sense of Humor is incapable of enjoying jokes, comedy, or humor of any sort. Maybe the character is The Stoic turned Up to Eleven, or an otherworldly being with no notion of comedy, or the victim of a traumatizing accident—whatever it is, this person will not (or cannot) respond to humor, tell jokes, or even recognize when something is funny at all.

Some characters with No Sense of Humor maintain their seriousness by sheer force of will. Others might have a conceptual understanding of humor, but simply treat it as an odd curiosity or with a clinical detachment. Oftentimes, such a character is placed in absurd situations to elicit laughs from the audience.

A common characteristic for The Stoic, The Spock, and the Grande Dame.

Arguably a subtrope of No Social Skills depending on the culture. May overlap with Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor and Sarcasm Blind. Also see Late to the Punchline, Don't Explain the Joke and Cannot Tell a Joke.

Examples of No Sense of Humor include:

Anime and Manga

  • Light from Death Note lacks any sort of sense of humor. Although he does make a "joke" about wanting to trade away half his life for shinigami wings.
  • Touya Akira and Touya Majin in Hikaru no Go.
  • In the Houshin Engi manga, the ultimate Big Bad, Jyoka, has absolutely no sense of humor. Lampshaded by Taikoubou at one point.
  • Almost all of the big villains in Berserk.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, just try to name one of the Seiryu Seishi that had any sort of sense of humor, or even any funny moments. All of them are always dead serious and never find humor in any situation.
  • Juubei Kakei from GetBackers.
  • Creed Diskenth of Black Cat.
  • Narumi from Karakuri Circus—which proves problematic because the only way to stop his Incurable Cough of Death is to make him laugh.
  • No-nonsense Badass soldier Giroro of Keroro Gunsou.
  • Hatori Sohma from Fruits Basket.
  • Mikael from Tenshi ni Narumon... if we're not counting the last three or four episodes that is -- although in those episodes it's not what one would call "a healthy sense of humor" either.

Comic Books

  • Alan Moore's Promethea features a female cop named Lucille Ball in the supporting cast. She frequently has to say, "No relation" and remind people that she has No Sense Of Humor.
  • Batman himself sometimes falls under this trope, Depending on the Writer.
    • Surprisingly enough, the original version of The Joker. In his first appearance, he was a permanently smiling psychotic gangster with no sense of humor whatsoever. In his first fight with Batman, Bats is actually the one making puns, while Joker is screaming "I am going to kill you!"
  • Moon Knight, also Depending on the Writer. Rather apt given that he's an Expy for Batman.
  • X-Men: Professor X and Magneto are frequently flanderized as no-nonsense extremists. James McAvoy's portrayal of Xavier in X-Men: First Class is the first attempt to move away from this, although one might simply assume that as he gets older, he will get more serious. Also, Ian McKellen gave Magneto a deadpan, cynical sense of humor which was expanded on by Michael Fassbender.

Film -- Live-Action

  • In No Country for Old Men, according to Carson Wells the big problem with Anton Chighurh isn't that he is batshit insane, but that he lacks a sense of humor.
  • The various Terminators exhibit this behavior, being emotionless robots.
  • Colonel O'Neil of Stargate. Used for a joke in the television series (see below).
  • From Happy-Go-Lucky, Scott the driving instructor, and Poppy's older sister Helen.
  • In Highlander, The Kurgan accuses nuns of being this.
  • Agent K in Men in Black quips that FBI agents are not allowed to have a sense of humor.
  • This, and attempts to develop a sense of humor, are the focus of Sha Wujing's character arc in The Lost Empire (a sort of unofficial sequel to Journey to the West.) He's eventually told that it's better to have no sense of humor than to have the sense of humor that the villains have, and he laughs for the first time at the realization that he was worried over nothing.
  • Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? A very serious case, considering he's a toon.
  • In Hot Fuzz Nicholas Angel's devotion to his job above everything else has made him a first-class police officer. It's also rendered him a completely humourless, pedantic and uptight prick.


  • Discworld
    • Granny Weatherwax understands humor on a conceptual level, but has absolutely no sense of humor and has no understanding of how or why jokes work.
    • Death also has No Sense of Humor, being an anthropomorphic personification who doesn't understand human emotions. His brief attempts to inject humor into his work failed spectacularly.
    • In Going Postal, Adora Belle Dearheart tells Moist Von Lipwig that she has no sense of humour due to her embarrassing name.
    • In Making Money, the head bank clerk Malvolio Bent has "no sense of humour whatsoever. It has been proven by phrenology." It becomes more apparent when one considers his background as the child of a clown, being laughed out of the arena during his first performance (which failed), fleeing from the circus and vowing never to laugh again.
  • In The Deed of Paksenarrion, gnomes are absolute Lawful Neutral with No Sense of Humor, believing that only they know and follow the true laws laid down at creation by the High Lord.
  • Harry Potter: Percy Weasley "wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cozy." He does have a bit of a harshly sarcastic moment in Deathly Hallows, though, which is remarked upon with astonishment by his siblings.
  • In The Screwtape Letters, the devils' inability to understand humor is played for laughs.
  • From Mercedes Lackey's SERRATed Edge novels, Unseleighe psychics have absolutely No Sense of Humor, along with little comprehension of allegory and the imaginations of bricks. In one novel, they were driven insane trying to comprehend the lyrics of They Might Be Giants.
  • From Animorphs, Andalites. All of them besides Ax.
  • Thomas from Malevil. He even notes that he's known for not having a sense of humor but doesn't argue the point.
  • Pedro Camacho from Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.
  • In Warrior Cats, Rainflower begins scolding Crookedjaw and Oakheart for telling friendly jokes about the queens, making a (quite) boring lecture about how the queens "enjoy helping their Clan". Crookedjaw and Oakheart just roll their eyes at this.
  • Asher in Someone Else's War.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek
    • Vulcans are renowned for having No Sense of Humor, though many of them are Deadpan Snarkers instead.
    • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation repeatedly attempts to understand humor as part of his quest to become more human. He doesn't succeed until he gets his emotion chip, which is one of the plot threads in the above-quoted movie.
  • Brad Chase from Boston Legal.
  • Castiel on Supernatural.
  • Lampshaded on Criminal Minds: Reid (falsely) calls Aaron Hotchner a narcissist as clue to where he is taken hostage. While figuring this out, Hotch asks the team what they consider his greatest folly. Spontanous answer by Prentiss: "You have no sense of humor!" Actually something of a subversion. Hotch does have a sense of humour; it's just so dry the Sahara looks like a swamp by comparison, and at this point Prentiss hasn't caught on to it yet.
  • The Colonel in episode 8 of Monty Python's Flying Circus who stopped sketches for being "too silly":

"Now, nobody likes a good laugh more than I do... except perhaps my wife and some of her friends... oh yes and Captain Johnston. Come to think of it most people likes a good laugh more than I do."

  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He understands the concept of humor, he just doesn't get humor. When he's told that something is a joke, he forces the most fake laugh ever heard on television. And the things he does find humorous are usually beyond the scope of "mere mortals" like the remainder of the cast.
  • In early episodes of Mork and Mindy, Mork identifies people making In-Universe jokes by saying "Oh, humor -- Ar-Ar!" And almost as often he does that when people aren't joking.
  • A common trait for the villains on Doctor Who. And some non-villains, like the Ood.
  • Major Neuheim of Private Schulz is a Pointy-Haired Boss, not to mention a Nazi, who is totally lacking in warmth and anything resembling a sense of humor. However, his humorlessness is itself a source of comedy.
  • Played with in Stargate SG-1, Colonel O'Neill has very specifically stated that his name is spelled with two Ls on several occasions; this is because there's another Colonel Jack O'Neil in the fictional version of the USAF, one with No Sense Of Humor. This is an in-joke and lampshading of the fact that Kurt Russell's version of the character in the movie (spelled with one L in the credits) was significantly less funny.
    • Teal'c almost never tells a joke or laughs (unless you count his occasional plays on Earth idioms), with one exception.
  • Wesley on Buffy the Vampire Slayer started out this way, but later became a more rounded character as he transitioned to Angel.

Newspaper Comics

Puppet Shows

  • Sam the American Eagle from The Muppet Show.
    • In one of the Muppet's "at the ball" sketches, a female dancer asked her partner, "Do you know who is the most humorless man in the world?" When he said no, she replied, "You are, Fathead!" He, of course, responded, "I don't get it."
  • From Les Guignols de l'info, Eva Joly, a French-Norwegian ecologist and former judge.

Tabletop Games

  • Any being with the disadvantage "No Sense Of Humor" in GURPS.

Video Games

  • The Sims
    • This is a trait you can give your sims in The Sims 3. It causes them to respond badly to being told jokes.
    • Also in the first two games, extremely Serious sims (Sims with very few points in the Playful personality aspect) typically don't respond well to jokes.
  • Resident synthetic intelligences EDI and Legion from Mass Effect 2. Though EDI certainly tries.

Web Comics

  • The warship A.I. Tag from Schlock Mercenary was originally created with no sense of humor, but has tried to learn it to better understand his opponents.
  • Third Character of Jayden and Crusader is a particularly violent atheist with no sense of humour at all.
  • Frank from Two Guys and Guy.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Batman in Batman: The Animated Series is thought by many to have no sense of humor, but that's a false perception influenced by his extremely introverted personality.
  • Adult Ben, as seen in the Ben 10 episode "Ben 10,000".
  • Optimus Prime in Transformers Prime. It's stated that all Primes are like this—the Matrix of Leadership, which contains the accumulated wisdom of all past Primes, gives them a sense of responsibility, dignity and gravitas that leaves little room for goofing around.
  • Lemongrab of Adventure Time. He tries, though. He really does try... but he fails horribly.
  • Zane in Ninjago is noted at trying to understand humor but seems to fail.The reason for this is that he is a Ridiculously Human Robot that normally has all of his emotion switches off, including humor.Its sadder then it sounds.
  • Gravity Falls; FBI Agent Powers, who comes to investigate the Mystery Shack in Season Two, claims to have been born with a rare condition that causes him to lack a sense of humor. It seems to help him in his job quite a bit.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragonshy", Pinkie Pie claims "Sharing a laugh is a surefire way to get someone on your side!" She quickly discovers this is not a good strategy to use on a dragon...

Real Life

  • An egregiously cliché blanket accusation of defenders of Dead Baby Comedy. It will usually be coupled with some ranting about Political Correctness Gone Mad and a bit of Parody Retcon sprinkled in.
  • Germans are often stereotyped as having No Sense of Humor. In reality, German Humour is a bit more complicated; Germans definitely do have a sense of humour, and enjoy comedy, but their ideas about what is funny and what isn't can vary greatly from those of English speakers.
    • And German people think the English have no humor, or at least this special "English Humour"...
    • This trope was parodied by UN Ambassador Hans Beinholtz whose sense of humour was...dry, to say the least.
  • Nuns can fall under this, depending on the nun.
  • An executive for Looney Tunes once overheard a group of writers laughing at jokes being thought up for a specific Looney Tunes. The executive stormed in and asked what all the laughing had to do with the making of animated cartoons.
    • Sounds like Ed Seltzer. He was well-known for having the sense of humor of an underripe potato. They used to use him as a sort of barometer for the quality of their ideas; if he liked it, they were off the mark. Seltzer was, in fact, the specific genesis of the cartoon "Bully For Bugs", when he barged into a brainstorming session and declared, sans all provocation, that bullfights weren't funny, and there were to be no cartoons about them.
  • A frequent side effect of Asperger's is the inability to understand humour, as well as sarcasm, due to their being Literal-Minded. (Or they may understand it but have trouble distinguishing it from sincerity, which leads to similar reactions.) This can be subverted by Aspies themselves, who can learn to understand humour just as well as any other emotion.
    • Not exactly. A sense of humour and what's funny or not is acquired; aspies, not being so naturally keen on social interaction, can often develop a rather dark sense of humour, as they do not have the same inhibitions against it.
      • Also, it should be clarified that "understanding humor" and "appreciating humor" are two different things. It is possible to lack an appreciation of humor for reasons other than social ineptness.
  • The Islamic tyrant Ruholla Khomeini is famous for this, one even claiming "There is no room for play in Islam, there are no jokes, there is no fun, there is no humour."
  • Attila the Hun is reputed to have had no sense of humour. Allegedly an envoy from the Eastern Roman empire who met with Attila once at dinner described it as follows: “By mixing up the languages of the Italians with those of the Huns and Goths, [an entertainer] fascinated everyone and made them break out into uncontrollable laughter, all that is except Attila. He remained impassive, without any change of expression, and neither by word or gesture did he seem to share in the merriment ….” The impression left was that Attila lacked a sense of humor and cared about nothing but power.
  • Margaret Dumont, favorite foil of the Marx Brothers in film, was legendarily devoid of a sense of humor (making her perfect for the parts she played). One story frequently told about her recounted a performance so hilarious that the entire cast and crew on the set that day cracked up -- except for Dumont, who, utterly bewildered, turned to Groucho and demanded, "Julius, why are they laughing?"