Professional Butt-Kisser

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Chief Hearst: Mauser, you are the the most incredible ass-kisser I have ever seen.
Sgt. Mauser: (smiling) Thank you very much, sir. I do my best.

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment

Like the name says, the Professional Butt-Kisser is a career sycophant and Yes-Man. They don't care who is in charge, so long as they're the right hand man. If their current boss were to meet an untimely end (or just get fired/demoted), they will happily offer their services to their replacement, even if they just saw how the new boss killed the old one! Despite their desire to be close the reins of power, they never harbor any ambitions of Dragon-hood, their own boss-hood, much less betraying their current boss. (Weeellllll... until the new one pushes them out of the job, anyway.)

As this type of career (if not career-ist) brown-noser lacks ambition, so are they also devoid of all malice - both because they usually qualify as a Minion with an F In Evil if their master is a villain, and are in no way sad or angry their last boss is gone. They're more of a True Neutral bureaucrat, and are (interestingly) usually at least competent at their job as personal assistant, though rarely to Hypercompetent Sidekick levels. Where they do excel is at shmoozing their new boss into accepting them, even to the point of getting an Ax Crazy villain to not just let them live, but convincing them they're more useful alive and working for them. Despite their (evil and crazy) boss' strange, abusive or incompetent behavior, they never feel put out and seem to derive some strange satisfaction from serving someone so powerful.

It's worth mentioning that despite the utterly slimy nature of the character, they tend to get off fairly lightly in terms of divine retribution. It may be because of the Stepford Smiler-like lack of malice, or the lack of concrete evil deeds.

Often doubles as an Obstructive Bureaucrat and/or Smug Snake. See also Lickspittle, Punch Clock Villain and Battle Butler. Contrast Chronic Backstabbing Disorder; both have little loyalty to their allies, but the Professional Butt-Kisser never rebels. See Teacher's Pet for the Professional Butt-Kisser in training.

Examples of Professional Butt-Kisser include:

Anime and Manga

  • Diethard from Code Geass is one of these, a Britannian newshound who joins the Black Knights largely because he sees them as the winning party. Later, once Lelouch is exposed and betrayed by the Black Knights, Diethard gleefully switches sides and joins Schneizel in his quest to conquer the world.
  • Demagawa in Death Note. Until he gets SAKUJO'ed by Mikami.
  • Takayama's secretary in Witchblade is a cross between this and Battle Butler. When Takayama resigns as CEO of Doji Corporation and Wado takes over, he has no problems with shifting his loyalty to the new boss. He is, however, willing to stay and help Takayama to reprogram their killer robot army, buying Masane a little more time to defend Tokyo from an onslaught of berserk robots. Also, he had guts to stand and face an insane murder-cyborg with a weapon that didn't even significantly slow her down.
  • Thunderblast in Transformers Cybertron is this meets My Girl Is a Slut. She doesn't want to be the most powerful, unlike most of the serious villains - she wants to have the ear (and maybe more) of the most powerful. YMMV on whether she is also a parody of Ms. Fanservice.


  • Wiggins is this to Radcliffe in Pocahontas, which is why he may come off as gay.
  • In Coneheads, INS Agent Seedling's assistant Turnbull (David Spade) manages to become a confidant to the leader of the Coneheads' people after he and his boss are captured and enslaved.
  • In Demolition Man, associate Bob manages to survive Doctor Cocteau's death by working with Phoenix to defrost other convicts, and after Phoenix bites it he manages to get employed by the rebel leader Edgar Friendly (who tells him to stop wearing the kimono because he thinks he looks like a couch with it, and pick a hair color).
  • Gretchen Weiner, Regina's second-in-command in Mean Girls. After Regina's downfall, Gretchen attaches herself to another Queen Bee. We last see her brown-nosing in Vietnamese!
  • Chad in In the Loop takes this trope and tries to turn it into an artform. Unfortunately, he combines it with being a Smug Snake with the result that the people he tries to suck up to barely pay him any attention and everyone else just thinks he's a creep.
  • The B-movie Circuitry Man (or possibly it was some other equally-forgettable flick) features a female Mook who is loyal to her "Boss", but cheerfully switches allegiance the instant her current employer gets killed; this happens two or three times in the course of the movie, and at the end, she survives to drive off into the sunset with Boss #4 or #5...
  • Comedian Larry Miller is to Professional Butt Kissers what William Atherton and Christopher McDonald are to Smug Snakes; nobody does 'em better.


  • Casper in The Story of Henri Tod (one of the Blackford Oakes series) gives the impression of this very much in the early part of the story.
  • There is a character exactly like this in the trope-filled novel Stolen from Gypsies.
  • The Igors in Discworld work like this—perfectly loyal until the torch-and-pitchfork brigade come calling, then it's out the back door to find a new master. Genre-savvy characters have taken advantage of this to ask them how to get in and out unobtrusively.
  • In one of the Animorphs books, the gang encounters a computer with all the information they need. With every question they ask the computer, the computer responds with everything it knows, with an absolute bare minimum of four glorifications to Visser Three.

Tobias: How exactly do you program a computer to kiss butt like that?

  • Mr. Collins of Pride and Prejudice is the Regency equivalent of this; while Lady Catherine de Bourgh is not exactly his boss, he does depend on her goodwill for future advancement, and ensures this goodwill (or, given Lady Catherine's overall disagreeable character, something close to it) through shameless groveling to the point where he's sucking up to her when she's not even in the local vicinity. He even fulfills the "switching allegiances when necessary' part of the trope; when Elizabeth and Darcy are rumored to be engaged to marry, he writes Elizabeth's father a letter expressing Lady Catherine's condemnation of the engagement. Mr. Bennet writes back once the engagement becomes a reality and points out that, if he was to get in Darcy's good books, things would be even better for him. Mr. Collins' objections suddenly cease.
  • Percy Weasley becomes this in the later Harry Potter books after he joins the Ministry of Magic, sucking up to anyone who is at all important. At one point he bows so low that his glasses fall off and shatter.

Live-Action TV

  • Dr. Jeffrey Steadman from Scrubs.
  • Dwight Schrute in The Office. Aside from the few episodes he's fired (and promptly rehired) or trying to usurp Michael's job.
  • Phil Smith on The Thick of It.
  • An offscreen example from 3rd Rock from the Sun: the family all know that their distant superior, The Big Giant Head, only got his position "by kissing The Big Giant Butt."
  • Played for Laughs and subverted with Evaristo Espina from the "La Oficina ("The Office") segment in the Chilean humor show Jappening con Ja, who had almost all the marking of the trope but is also fiercely loyal to his boss. He's so iconic that in Spanish Chilean slang, the word "espinita" is actually used to define the trope itself.
  • Weyoun on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine literally worships the Founders, the rulers of the Dominion. In fact, this trope is the hat of the entire Vorta race.
  • Hodges on CSI. He's always out to kiss up to the boss and doesn't really have any ambition, he wants to stay in the lab where he's happy. Grissom used to get terribly annoyed at him sometimes.


  • The folkloric Venezuelan song El Jalabolas portrays the singer as one of these, who is quite proud of it and claims to be so successful at butt-kissing that the rich people of the area fight to have him as their underling. While his acts are bordering into Lickspittle territory (mentioning that he is willing to let himself be beaten, lie to his parents, abandoning his children and lending his wife to others if that benefits his boss), he also admits that his motivations are purely monetary.
  • Rudolph's tormentors in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"; sure, they eventually apologize, after the boss starts to like him.
  • The Brian Beathard Orchestra's response to "Rudolph", "Dammit, I'm Vixen", accuses Rudolph of being the butt-kisser, sucking up to Santa every year to get the plum lead position on the sled team.

Professional Wrestling

  • Michael Cole on Monday Night RAW and Friday Night Smackdown usually kisses the butts of just about every heel, except for Daniel Bryan.
  • Vince McMahon's "Kiss My Ass" club is a literal version of this.



Cyrano: What would you have me do?
Seek for the patronage of some great man,
And like a creeping vine on a tall tree
Crawl upward, where I cannot stand alone?
No thank you! Dedicate, as others do,
Poems to pawnbrokers? Be a buffoon
In the vile hope of teasing out a smile
On some cold face ? No thank you ! Eat a toad
For breakfast every morning? Make my knees
Callous, and cultivate a supple spine,
Wear out my belly grovelling In the dust?
No thank you ! Scratch the back of any swine
That roots up gold for me? Tickle the horns
Of Mammon with my left hand, while my right
Too proud to know his partner's business,
Takes in the fee? No thank you! Use the fire
God gave me to burn incense all day long
Under the nose of wood and stone? No thank you!
Shall I go leaping into ladies' laps
And licking fingers? or to change the form
Navigating with madrigals for oars,
My sails full of the sighs of dowagers?
No thank you !


Video Games

Web Animation

  • Simmons from Red vs. Blue, commonly referred to by Grif as a "kiss-ass". And not just Grif: pretty much anyone who's ever met Simmons is aware of his sycophancy. On one occasion, Sarge decided to forego commanding them to do something useful and just commanded them to do what they were going to do anyway (except for Grif, who made sarcastic remarks instead). Simmons' order was "kiss ass at will," which he did, with gusto.

Simmons: You're both an excellent leader and a handsome man, sir.
Sarge: Excellent work, Simmons.


Web Comics

  • Qarr The Imp from The Order of the Stick even have this as his personal motto. At first working for Kubota by order of his higher-ups (well, lower-ups, since they're from the Lower Planes), he then tries to bind himself to Vaarsuvius (who killed Kubota) and ends up at the service of the IFCC.

Qarr: See, the first lesson of being 18-inches tall is: Find someone more powerful than you are, and glue your lips to their ass.


Western Animation

  • Transformers Animated
    • Sunstorm (Sycophant Starscream) heaps praise and compliments on everyone. He especially praises the original and most brilliant Starscream, and later Megatron. Of course, he's not nearly as awesome as you, wonderful article reader. You're so cool!
    • Lugnut too, though only for Megatron. He seems to not only worship Megatron in the most literal sense of the term, but he actually swears by him—and he doesn't hesitate to remind Megatron of this fact in person. Even the megalomaniacal leader of the Decepticons sometimes gets tired of it, but keeps Lugnut around anyway because he's completely reliable.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Averted by Waylon Smithers, whose devotion to Mr. Burns is genuine and absolute (and, well, more than just professional). It's also implied in one episode to be quite literal in Smithers' case, as he asks Mr. Burns, when the latter claims during a meltdown that he has nothing left but to kiss his sorry ass goodbye, if he could kiss Mr. Burns' ass.
    • Played straight with his lawyers though, who absolutely refused to inform him he was making bad decisions even when he was losing everything. Hell, when he did, they still said he made all the right moves and when he called them out, they agreed in the exact same way.
  • Wuya of Xiaolin Showdown happily offers to work for whatever villain happens to be the top villain, only to come crawling back to work for Jack Spicer when said villain gets defeated. As a matter of fact, Wuya is extremely competent herself, but when she's trapped in "spirit form" she has no choice but to enlist a partner in crime.

Real Life

  • The University of Kansas is one of these to the Big 12 Conference, especially during the 2011-2012 departures of four charter members (possibly due to the fact that they lost to teams that they easily beat in basketball).
  • The Venezuelan term "jalamecate" (translatable as "rope-puller"), which is used to describe people both in this trope and in Lickspittle, comes from the anecdote that during the independence wars the Liberator Simon Bolivar liked to take naps on his hammock and tended to be in better spirits (and as such more prone to giving favors) when he was swing during his nap, so people who wanted to catch him in a good mood had his slaves to pull the ropes tying the hammock to make it swing, or even went to pull the rope themselves.