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Mr. Croup: You find us funny, Messier Marquis, do you not? A source of amusement. Is that not so? With our pretty clothes, and our convoluted circumlocutions-Mr. Croup: -and our little silliness of manner and behaviour. And perhaps we are funny. [...] But you must never imagine, that just because something is funny, Messier Marquis, it is not dangerous.
Mr. Vandemar: (murmuring) I haven't got a circumlo...
So you've got a person who might fulfill the role of comedic relief. For the most part, both the fans and the characters in-story see them as just a great big doofus. Possibly, they spend more time acting ridiculous or laughing in the face of Serious Business than getting dangerous. Sure, they might rant up and down about how they're going to conquer the world in the name of Evil with a capital E or drive the villains to suicide through bad jokes, but in the end they seem to pose little threat to all present.
There's just one thing most people forget: acting silly does not mean you aren't a One-Man Army. It could be a façade. It could be that they just do it for the lulz. A rarely-pressed Berserk Button can be pressed. Either way, beware the silly ones.
Compare Harmless Villain and Not-So-Harmless Villain. Contrast Miles Gloriosus. May overlap with Cloudcuckoolander, at least by appearances. May make you liable to Threat Backfire. See also Beware the Nice Ones.
Anime & Manga
- Pictured above is Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist. Of all of the homunculi, he's pretty much the only one who's played for laughs, since he's fat, dumb, and overall acts like a loveable dope. There's also the fact that he's very innocent, and only does what he does because his higher-ups tell him to, and he genuinely doesn't see any wrong in what he's doing. However, as his name suggests, he has a bit of a hunger streak. In the manga and Brotherhood, it's not helped when he's reminded of Lust's death by Roy Mustang's hands, which drives him into the monstrous state also shown above.
- Etemon in Digimon Adventure. Yes, he's a wannabe rock star comedy monkey, but that never stopped him from curbstomping the protagonists every time they saw him. The fact that he's a level higher than them and can negate their ability to powerup helps tremendously. He also managed to throw their leader, Taichi, back to the real world, resulting in the break up of the team left behind in the Digital World. He did it by dying, mind you, but that was a lot better than his predecessor Devimon did. And even then, he comes back and kicks off the series's Running Gag of killing Leomon at least once a series.
- Pinocchimon and Piemon are silly, fun-loving sociopaths. The latter gets bonus points for also being a Monster Clown.
- Many a Monster of the Week from Inuyasha.
- Prince Clovis from Code Geass is depicted as a buffoon and is loved by his siblings, but he ordered his men to indiscriminately slaughter everyone they came across in order to cover up his mistakes. One wonders what other atrocities he might have gone on to casually commit had Lelouch not shot him after interrogating him.
- In Black Butler, we have Lau. You know, the goofy guy who constantly barges into the Phantomhive mansion and irritates the crud out of Ciel? it was all an act. Oh, and he was the head of the Chinese mafia.
- Also Madame Red. The red-dressed, haired and eyed aunt of Ciel who sees him as her surrogate son? She's half of Jack the Ripper, punishing prostitutes for requesting abortions while she can't have kids because of an accident that also killed her husband; the other half being her seemingly-stupid but highly sociopathic shinigami butler Grell Sutcliff.
- Don't forget about the three bungling servants at the Phantomhive mansion. While they seemingly behave incompetently, the truth of the matter is Sebastian hired them as bodyguards to protect the mansion. Bard's a former soldier, Maylene's an ex-professional assassin and Finny has superhuman strength. The three managed to effectively force a gang of mobsters to retreat in their failed attempt to attack the mansion.
- In Trinity Blood, we get a rare hero example. Abel Nightroad is portrayed as a complete and utter moron throughout the entirety of the series. But beware! Threatening just about ANYone he cares about is a really bad idea. "Nanomachine Crusnik 02, output 40% approved." <<< This phrase activates an utterly terrifying demon monster that eats vampires. Moron indeed BEWARE!
- One Piece lives and breathes this trope. Many a villain is introduced as an apparently harmless weirdo who keeps accidentally hypnotizing himself or humorously disagrees with the protagonist about the taste of a pie or just plain looks and/or talks funny. A few chapters later they turn out to be truly dangerous, usually without losing any of their silliness.
- Right, so, in Naruto, there's this group of bad guys. After one bites it, this minion of the Man-Eating Plant guy gets promoted to full miniboss-status. He seems kinda lame, but as it turns out, he's not only the organization's founder and secret leader, he's orchestrated nearly every major development in the series' history for over a hundred years.
- His partner Deidara was a candidate as well. Sure, his banter about art and his violent temper are funny, but he was able to take out Gaara and didn't do so bad against Sasuke either.
- Speaking of Gaara, his demon Shukaku certainly qualifies. While he is amusing to watch and acts like a violent drunk, he is still very dangerous and was more than a match for the boss toad Gamabunta.
- Gai as well. While the guy comes off as a goof ball in his first appearance, it should be noted that Itachi viewed him as a legitimate threat. Also he is perhaps the only character not to have lost a fight. Of the fights he's been in, two of them were against Kisame.
- His partner Deidara was a candidate as well. Sure, his banter about art and his violent temper are funny, but he was able to take out Gaara and didn't do so bad against Sasuke either.
- Dragon Ball Z has the Ginyu Force, five goofy manchildren whose poses are Serious Business as they play rock-paper-scissors to decides who fights who and bet on candies on who wins. Their power levels and/or their physical and special abilities are no laughing matter. Guldo alone would have killed Krillin and Gohan had Vegeta not stepped in. And even then, the three together were absolutely no match for any one of the other four.
- Also the last villain of the series, Majin Buu - a fat, childish, bubblegum-pink creature, which nevertheless was rightfully seen as the most dangerous entity in the universe.
- Pokémon's Team Rocket would actually succeed in many of their schemes if the twerps didn't get involved. In Best Wishes, the silliness is completely dropped for Jessie and James, and at a minimum for Meowth.
- Rurouni Kenshin has Kenshin, who is usually a polite, obvious moron ... and, if you push him too far, the legendary assassin Hitokiri Battousai.
- Hibino Hareluya of Hareluya II Boy, right down to ranting about World Domination.
- Apachai and Kensei of Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple, the former an Adult Child while the latter is a Dirty Old Man, but both are masters.
- Lex Luthor varies from Magnificent Bastard to Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, but one shudders to think what might have happened had Superman not stopped him all those times....
- Batman's foe list has numerous villains who may be this way. For example, the Riddler mostly got into crime just to play mind games with Batman for fun. But from Commissioner Gordon's perspective, he's not only a Magnificent Bastard, but a Complete Monster as well.
- The Joker is portrayed this way in some cases, too.
- In the old Valiant Comics series for The Legend of Zelda, Zelda points out that regardless of how often the forces of good win, they're still on the losing side. Ganon has effectively endless hordes of minions, the good guys have... Link and Zelda. If Ganon ever gets his hands on the rest of the Triforce, they're screwed.
- Granny Goodness is laughed at for being an old lady super-villain, until you remember that 1. She's the only minion of Darkseid who doesn't get her ass kicked on a regular basis by super-heroes/Orion and 2. She's the Goddess of Horrific Child Abuse on Apokolips, which means that whenever we see her not scheming against Darkseid's enemies, she's routinely crossing the Moral Event Horizon with young girls and boys.
- Not to mention that being a super-villain is certainly a hard job and despite her age, she is still around, so you know she's good.
- Also, being around Darkseid for any amount of time and not getting the Omega Beams or Omega Sanction speaks volumes as to how dangerous she truly is.
- And just imagine how bad her abuse has to be for it to qualify as "horrific" on Apokolips.
- Ragdoll from Secret Six, no doubt. He's a master of the non sequitur, he's also perfectly capable of wrapping around you like a python and willing to snap your neck at the drop of a hat.
- In a recent issue, while attacking the rest of the team (and winning) he even gets a rant about people assuming he's just the comedy relief.
- Alfie O'Meagan from Nth Man the Ultimate Ninja likes cookies and milk, plays video games, collects comic books, and has sandbox battles stomping on toy soldiers. Problem is, he's also a Psychopathic Manchild Reality Warper...
- Mad Jim Jaspers from Marvel's Captain Britain comics - ran around an alternate universe England with a gang of ludicrous criminals, committing ludicrous crimes... and happened to be a Reality Warper of such magnitude that his entire universe had to be destroyed to prevent the Jaspers Warp from contaminating the multiverse at large. And his main universe equivalent is even more powerful... and a member of Parliment.
- Zodon from PS238 is a Jerkass and the comic's bigtime Chew Toy, with most of his plans ending him up in greater trouble than he started. Problem is, this is usually because one of the teachers or the students got in his way -- if they hadn't, the trouble -- and much bigger amounts of it -- would be someone else's.
- Ambush Bug is a normal human in a ridiculous green suit amongst the gods of the DC Universe. In his heyday, he defeated an entire group of enemies with little to no effort while utterly humiliating them and could take on Superman or Supergirl before essentially defeating himself. Nowadays he's more relaxed.
- The Violator from Spawn. Taking the form of a pudgy clown, he's primarily around for comic relief. But at any time, the seemingly harmless clown, can morph into a demonic killing machine, easily capable of kicking Spawn's ass.
- Plastic Man is a zany, rubbery man who spouts silly jokes while having cartoonish adventures. He's also one of the most powerful members of the Justice League. On at least one occasion, he single-handedly took down a villain who had easily beaten Superman.
- Deadpool. No more need be said.
Film -- Animated
- In Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung is has just about killed Master Shifu only to be interrupted by Po. The snow leopard scoffs at the idea that this comical panda could possibly be the Dragon Warrior, only to find out the hard way that he most definitely is!
- Disney's Willy the Giant. In the first scenes of Mickey and the Beanstalk, Willy is introduced as a terrifying kleptomaniac who seems more stormcloud than giant. In his second entrance, he appears as a goofy shapeshifter with a fondness for pink bunnies, and an inability to pronounce the word "pistachio." Oh, and he's also a Big Eater who almost accidentally eats the Disney power trio. But don't confuse his playfulness for dimwittedness like Mickey, Donald and Goofy tried to. Count yourself lucky if he keeps you as a literal souvenir in a box, rather than squishing you like an insect. And when Willy gets really riled up, he also wields an iron morningstar the size of a two-story house.
- Mr. Croup in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere even Lampshades that just because something is silly doesn't mean it can't be dangerous. Then he and his associate Mr. Vandemar crucify the person who found them funny. While arguing whether circumlocution is a grammatical technique or a body part. (The former, if you were wondering.)
- Warlord Zsinj is like this in The Courtship of Princess Leia, but in the X Wing Series we see it's only as a cover. He goes to extraordinary lengths to convince people that he is a foolish, fat, mustachioed criminal, while underneath he is a talented, experienced strategic genius.
- His second-in-command, General Melvar, almost goes to the opposite extreme. The persona he shows everyone but Zsinj is almost extraordinarily cruel, sadistic, and an Ax Crazy idiot. When they're gone, his features are curiously bland, he enjoys startling his Warlord, and he's a Deadpan Snarker. They'll both kick puppies like there's no tomorrow, but they're more businesslike about it.
- Count Fosco in Wilkie Collins' classic sensation novel The Woman in White is the Victorian-era poster boy for this trope.
- Nanny Ogg in Discworld is a prime example, looking like an amiably-wrinkled, sexual-innuendo-prone old woman, with a mind like a razor. Bear in mind she's been Granny Weatherwax's friend since they were girls.
- Harry Dresden is perpetually sarcastic, spouting pop culture references at the drop of a hat and is generally quite friendly. He is also powerful enough to give the Senior Council pause.
- Albert Campion, protagonist of most of Margery Allingham's books. He might act like a silly ass, natter on about his mouse's birthday, and compulsively make jokes, but you should never underestimate his mental or physical capabilities. Ever.
- Similarly, Lord Peter Wimsey plays the idiot man about town to the hilt, including carrying the requisite cane and monocle, and babbling on at the drop of a hat. The cane and monocle are secretly tools. Lord Peter is unstoppable as a detective. And it is seldom mentioned, but he is a war hero.
- While Bast's light-hearted and, well, silly demeanor often provides some much-needed comic relief in The Name of the Wind, you really do not want to get on his bad side. As a Fae, he often cares only for his own whims and desires... and he will happily string a fiddle with your guts and make you play it while he dances, should you get in his way.
- In Supernaturally, Jack seems to act like an immature teenager. He uses his Portal Door ability to appear in a girls' lockerroom and to appear in Evie's room to jump on her bed. However, he is secretly behind all the random paranormal encounters that Evie keeps having, because he wants to use her to get rid of the faeries. When she doesn't agree to do this, he banishes her into the Faerie Paths.
- In Foundation and Empire, Magnifico Giganticus appears first as a rather pathetic clown before being revealed as a mutant telepath known as the Mule.
Live Action TV
- Lothor of Power Rangers Ninja Storm. He spends most of the series sitting on his throne and cracking meta-jokes while his henchmen fight the Rangers for him, but is still a dangerous opponent whenever he can be bothered.
- The Doctor of Doctor Who just wants to have a bit of fun. "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes" he says, he's been accurately described as a "madman with a box", and no-one with his dress sense (no matter how much it changes) could ever be taken seriously. He's also stopped more villainous plots and saved more lives than could possibly be counted, and is outright feared by some of the most evil beings in existence.
- Florian from Overlord II is a bumbling, useless buffoon whose entire purpose appears to be to embarrass the elven race, right up until it's revealed that he is actually the Big Bad and built The Empire purely so he could transform himself into a god.
- Demyx from Kingdom Hearts II is a great example. The first time you run into him, on Hades' lair, he is running away from him. Then, during the battle at Hollow Bastion, you have to fight him. Pushover, right? No.
- To an extent, Axel, for those who hadn't played Chain of Memories. At first, he's just a Punch Clock Villain who wants to grab Roxas and go home. Then you fight him as Roxas. Somehow, you never really forget that moment whenever you deal with Axel afterwards.
- Xigbar is one of the Organization's least serious members. He acts like a Surfer Dude treating every situation like it's part of a frat party, constantly he teases Sora and co with riddles and casual banter. However...in truth he's tricky and quite a pain to battle if you don't concentrate. But most importantly, he's even part Xehanort.
- Sonic the Hedgehog has Dr. Eggman. The patron saint of Hoist by His Own Petard, he even ends Sonic Adventure 2 on surprisingly amicable terms with the heroic members of the cast. Considering how useless he seems to be, you almost start to feel sorry for him. And then you turn around and take a look at his track record. His original shtick of sealing animals inside his robot minions, either to provide power or AI or just plain For the Evulz (or some combination of these reasons) already catapults him far past the Moral Event Horizon, and has demonstrated enough Offscreen Villain Dark Matter to construct his very own Death Star knock-off, as well as two Airborne Aircraft Carriers in the same game. Consider also that Sonic Unleashed starts off with Sonic tearing his way through Eggman's space fleet. Let's read that again: Eggman's space fleet. It's not that Eggman sucks as a villain; it's that Sonic is just that good (that, and Eggman has an unfortunate habit of trying to harness the power of Eldritch Abominations that are far beyond his control).
- Dr. Eggman in Sonic Adventure 2 starts off the plot by personally destroying a big chunk of a top secret military installation and hacking the computer security system surrounding the Sealed Evil in a Can. And the first thing he did after getting the ARK and the Chaos Emeralds was blow up half the moon (apparently it didn't stick) and give the entire world a 24 hour "surrender-or-die" demand. Eggman is over confident, but his track record kind of warrants it.
- Eggman would've already succeeded in killing Sonic twice if not for Deus Ex Machina, twice.
- The ending of Sonic Chronicles. Eggman doesn't go with the rest of the gang to stop Ix, claiming he needs to operate some groundside machine to let the others through. Thanks to the differential time flow inside Ix's prison, by the time Sonic et al get out, Eggman's rebuilt Eggmanland and may well have taken over the world.
- And then there's Sonic Colors. Not only was he the Big Bad for the entirety of the game, but had it not been for a broken piece of a robot damaging a vital component of his latest weapon, he would've succeeded in his ultimate plan to mind-control the entire population of Earth with Sonic and Tails none the wiser.
- Eggman had also managed to enslave three planets and an inhabited Asteroid Thicket, as well as build the largest space fleet seen yet, completely under Sonic's nose, and covered much of the land on all of the planets and asteroids with his own metal facilities. He would've completely snuffed Planet Wisp of life as well had Sonic not caught on in time, and he may have succeeded with Sweet Mountain.
- Best example of this? Sonic Forces. Holy shit.
- The comic relief character in any BioWare game usually doesn't appear harmless per se, but he/she/it is usually one of the scariest people on your team.
- Knights of the Old Republic: HK-47 isn't the most effective combatant on your team, but he's an assassin droid tailor-built by the greatest Sith Lord in recent memory and has a very impressive kill count.
- Jade Empire: The prime source of comic relief is Black Whirlwind. He's half again as tall as anyone else on your team, he's got more chest hair than every other person in the game combined, and he dual-wields axes that look like the main character might have trouble lifting one.
- Dragon Age II: Merrill's social unawareness and clumsiness form a major portion of the humor in the game. She's also a blood mage with no spells other than those designed to inflict very painful deaths.
- Mass Effect trilogy: Jeff "Joker" Moreau is the snarktastic guy who flies the ship, and would literally snap in half if you picked him up and shook him hard. He's the guy who fired the shot that killed Sovereign. By the third game, he's considered the best pilot in the Systems Alliance, and possibly all of Council space. By a significant margin, at that.
- Mass Effect 2: Mordin Solus is an unintimidating salarian doctor who sings Gilbert and Sullivan. He also has purely offensive combat powers, used to be part of the salarian Special Tasks Group (his outfit is a lab coat worn over a commando uniform), and once killed a krogan by stabbing him in the face with a pitchfork.
- In Dragon Age II, the protagonist can be played with this personality, with Snarky!Hawke frequently using Buffy-Speak and Obfuscating Stupidity to lure their opponents into a false sense of security that they can't possibly be that dangerous, right?
- Mega Man has Dr. Wily who, like Robotnik, loses to a blue guy on a regular basis, but at the same time is a brilliant scientist capable of creating robots with great powers. His greatest creation, Zero, even outlasts Dr. Light's last creation, X, and saves all of humanity (though X was active for much longer).
- Wily is dead and buried but his legacy has yet to fade from the series. The Virus he made with Zero was the origin of Sigma, and was adapted to make the Dark Elf.
- His Battle Network counterpart never stops being a credible threat; every time he's stopped, he's literally minutes from causing The End of the World as We Know It.
- Of course, Bowser of Super Mario Bros is often portrayed comically and sometimes Mario will indeed be Go-Karting with Bowser or challenging him to other games, but it's clear that he would probably succeed in taking over the world if Mario and Luigi and allies didn't keep thwarting him.
- For a very clear example, see Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, about half of which you spend playing as Bowser. Even though for most of the game he has Mario and Luigi helping to power up his body from the inside, he's shown to be a very powerful fighter. In fact, enemies that weren't too difficult for Bowser to pummel into submission become borderline Demonic Spiders when Mario and Luigi try taking them on!
- All the villains of Super Paper Mario are pretty silly, especially the true Big Bad. They plan to destroy the multiverse, and succeed in destroying at least one.
- The original Silly Villain, though, was Garland "I will knock you all down!" from Final Fantasy I. Who knew that the very first boss you fight would wind up being the final boss, Chaos, in a huge Xanatos Gambit?
- And in Dissidia Final Fantasy and its prequel, Garland becomes just that much scarier.
- Kefka of Final Fantasy VI. Over the course of the game he goes from a cackling nutjob in clown makeup, with fairly unremarkable combat abilities, to a Physical God (but still a cackling nutjob in clown makeup, with the exception of the final boss fight).
- This carried over to the Dissidia Final Fantasy games. Yes, he's the Chaos Warrior most likely to crack a joke about farting, and has a walk silly enough to get him into the Ministry, but, when the situation calls for it, he's incredibly conniving and dangerous.
- In fact, it even turns out that he's the one who jumpstarted the rivalry between Cloud and Sephiroth!
- This carried over to the Dissidia Final Fantasy games. Yes, he's the Chaos Warrior most likely to crack a joke about farting, and has a walk silly enough to get him into the Ministry, but, when the situation calls for it, he's incredibly conniving and dangerous.
- And let's not leave out Gilgamesh, of Final Fantasy V. Every times he opens his mouth it's for a badass boast, biting insult, or random pop culture reference. Sometimes all at once. And despite bing a complete nutter, and the source of most of the games funniest moments, he's still able to level entire armies singlehandedly, survive onslaughts from ancient sealed monsters, and oneshot an endgame boss. And this is before he started hopping universes.
- Purge, from Space Channel 5 (part 2). At first, he seems just as goofy and camp as everyone else in the game. He constantly giggles, pelvic thrusts, and dons a sparkly purple disco suit for your penultimate dance-off. Heck, with Michael Jackson and a giant laser at your side, all it should take is one attack to finish him off! ... "Tch, yeah right!"
- Dr. Mundo from League of Legends. He's huge, he's purple, he talks in the third person, he has a silly voice, and he has silly dialogue. He is also a serial killer who regularly engages in human experimentation.
- Kaos, the Big Bad of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, is pretty much an Expy of Invader Zim. His first battle with the heroes pretty much ended with the Core of Light, the only thing keeping Skylands safe from the forces of Darkness, destroyed along with most of their HQ and all the Skylanders plus their Big Good MIA.
- Ghirahim, the Big Bad of The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, could be considered an inversion, as the "beware" side was seen first when he mentions that he created the tornado to capture Zelda. He displays his silliness in his campy lines and hand gestures after Link gets to meet him.
- The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim has Cicero, the mad jester and Keeper of the Night Mother. At first his wheezing giggle, eccentric personality and high-pitched voice are merely obnoxious. Then he attacks Astrid, wounds Veezara and disappears to the empty Dawnstar Sanctuary, after wounding an Arnbjorn in hot pursuit. He will continue to taunt the player from the shadows of the Sanctuary as the player fights through a legion of Spectral Assassins, though he grows increasingly panicky as the player continues to progress.
- Jasper Batt Jr. from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Setting aside the fact that he used his pizza empire to climb to the top of the UAA and was the one who ordered the hit on Bishop, most players will think, "He's just a scrawny, bucked-tooth nerd with a hilariously bad sense of fashion. How bad can he be?" Then they actually fight the guy and he turns out to be one of the most irritating bosses in video game history.
- A heroic example: Tyrell from Golden Sun Dark Dawn is blatantly set up as the bumbling sidekick. He starts the game by getting into trouble over his head and breaking valuable equipment, he makes fun of the bad guys' names, he identifies an extinct settlement as such by the lack of food, and he flips out and attempts a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Arcanus. Wait, what?
- Sho Minamimoto of The World Ends With You seems not such a big deal when he first appears. He's just some annoying reaper who screams in a megaphone and makes junk sculptures while talking in math. Even when you first fight him, he's not too bad. Oh, and he unleashed an army of nearly indestructible monsters on the UG and managed to come back to life in a new body that ends up being one of the hardest optional bosses in the game. Also, HE'S TRYING TO KILL GOD AND ALMOST DID IT TWICE.
- Steven Heck of Alpha Protocol is a very silly individual: he rambles on about conspiracy theories involving the Federal Reserve having William McKinley assassinated and the government tinkering with the price of strawberries to control people's minds, gives Word Salad Titles to every covert operation that occurs in Taipei, is willing to use the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on someone to get him to remember where he put his car keys, and takes Time Cube quotes seriously. He is also, however, one of the most dangerous men alive, capable of wiping out entire rooms full of soldiers and elite intelligence operatives singlehanded. His method of dealing with the Chinese Secret Police agents who have Mike Thorton pinned down in the Taipei subway perfectly captures Heck's mix of silly and lethal:
"During the pursuit, Steven Heck (at Agent Thorton's request) arrived to offer emergency backup. Said backup came in the form of Heck crudely mounting a minigun to a subway car and firing wildly at Chinese secret police officers as his train passed the platform."
- Quite common in Danganronpa: on top of the already goofy Monokuma, many of the silliest characters turn out to be some of the nastiest, even in the "school modes" of the games. This commonly overlaps with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, as they hide their worst characteristics until the last moment.
- Yasuhiro Hagakure attempts to get Makoto Naegi to sell his organs to the Yakuza, and kicks him out of their room if he fails to pay up.
- The series's Fat Bastards also fall under this often; Teruteru is a good example; while at first the worst things he does include sexual harassment of Sonia Nevermind and Hiyoko Saionji, he ends up spearing "Twogami"... because he was trying to hit Nagito Komaeda. While this action does seem justified, his free-time events show an even darker side to him; he doesn't actually care about his siblings, and he roofies Hajime Hinata.
- Xykon in Order of the Stick spends much of his time as borderline comic relief: much of his villainy appears to be of the card carrying variety, and many of his interactions with his supposed subordinate Redcloak imply that the latter is the far more intelligent of the two. Of course, this all obscures the fact that Xykon scares the pants off of Redcloak; even though he's the high priest of an evil god, Redcloak's goal is equality for goblins, orcs, and other races that are normally just cannon fodder, while Xykon's goal is more or less "Take Over the World and inflict as much pain and mayhem as undeadly possible".
- Even with the heroes out to stop him, he's a credible threat to the entire world. They kind of beat him the first time kind of by accident, but since then they've been lucky to get away with their lives when tackling him (and not always so lucky), and that's with him conquering a city and beating its forces at the same time.
- The time when he took on the entire roomful of Sapphire Guard makes this even more apparent. He starts out by tossing a super bouncy ball at them, which was inscribed with a Symbol of Insanity that made them kill each other. Xykon got a whole lot less funny all of a sudden. He even commented that he could've just kept to the air and blast all of them. The only reason he had the Sapphire Guard kill each other was because he thought it would be "going the extra mile".
- Let's not forget Xykon's Batman Gambit in Start of Darkness: Xykon tempted Redcloak into killing his brother Right-Eye to protect him. The Hannibal Lecture that follows speaks for itself.
Xykon: So therefore, you're just going to continue following me and doing whatever I order you to do. Because as long as you're loyal to me, I'll let you pretend this never happened. We'll just go about our daily business, and you can hide from the horrifying truth of what you've become - namely, a murderer who just killed his baby brother in cold blood. And hey, we can pretend that you don't really have any options about any of the despicable actions I ask you to take here on out rather than acknowledging that, like Right-Eye, you do in fact have a choice. But unlike Right-Eye there, you're too chickenshit to ever make it. You'll obey me forever now, because I give you an excuse for your inexcusable behavior. Now, are you going to stand there and tell me I'm wrong? Didn't think so.
- Khrima from Adventurers spends most of the story as comic relief, since he's laughably bad at conceiving with evil plans and his minions are(for the most part) about as threatening as a wet sock. It's hard to take him seriously as an Evil Overlord, especially when compared to Eternion later on. Despite all this, he still manages to be a very tough Final Boss with no less than four One-Winged Angel forms.
- Lewie the Lich of Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic is initially kind of laughable. Then he decides to try playing Sauron, and after a couple of misfires (beholders can't wear rings...), he enslaves an entire mountain of monsters.
- This trope could actually be considered the hat of many of the comic's protagonists, both monstrous and otherwise. Just for another example, here's what can happen if you underestimate one of the bigger cloud cuckoolanders on the mountain...
- Marmalade was introduced as a harmless mook in Dark Legacy Comics but when he became self-aware, he became a Complete Monster.
- Lord Kyran from Emergency Exit is usualy depicted as both silly and harmless then you get moments like this and this.
- Homestuck: Gamzee goes from a goofy, stoner Love Freak while drugged out on sopor slime to a frighteningly effective Slasher-esque killer when sober.
- The Jaegermonsters known as da Boyz in Girl Genius are variously-hued, apparently dim (except for Dimo, who is often the Only Sane Man of the trio) Funetik Aksent speaking comic relief...until it's time to fight, and then readers are reminded that they are brightly-colored engineered super soldiers who do not just have pointy teeth and sharp nails for decoration.
- Sluggy Freelance: Torg is ina wacky mood!
- Don't forget the beware part.
- Brian Souballo, from Our Little Adventure. He is hard to take seriously as the Big Bad as he's friendly and a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander. His cheerful demeanor was only ruined once by an old magic teacher he was trying to recruit for the empire. Read about it.
- Head Alien of Its Walky fame generally comes off as a cartoon villain, constantly dreaming up plans doomed to be easily foiled by the introduction of the heroes, who never passes up the opportunity to show his love for dramatic tension, even when doing so hinders or even cripples his plans. Of course, he is also a mastermind of the Xanatos Gambit, always managing to further some goal every time he is effortlessly crushed, and all it takes is a moment of talking before he's got you trapped with a Hannibal Lecture, eating out of his hand doing exactly what he wants.
- Black Mage is the Chew Toy of Eight Bit Theater and spends most of his time stabbing Fighter and failing to get into White Mage's pants. A few times, however, he's acquired enough power that he decides he doesn't need his companions. On these occasions, he shows in no uncertain terms that he's not joking about being an Omnicidal Maniac, and he has come very close to wiping out reality. On one occasion, he finally succeeded in murdering the rest of the Light Warriors only for Sarda to resurrect them just to screw with Black Mage.
- Jareth from the Mega Crossover fancomic Roommates. Let's see he seems like a Keet, blond, prankster with questionable level of self-preservation instinct who only wants to have fun. Did we mention that he can warp time and space? Manipulate your memories and dreams and more? And he also has a Super-Powered Evil Side not above trying to kill his own friends (and almost succeeding only a Chekhov's Skill saved them).
- At times, Dr. Insano of The Spoony Experiment and Atop the Fourth Wall seems like an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, but there have been times where he's been a somewhat legit menace, such as the times he took control of the giant robot Neutro, discovered the Anti-Comic Equation (with Warrior #1, a comic so irredeemably awful it distorted the space-time continuum), and hired Squall to assassinate Spoony. Despite all this, Spoony still let him assist him with the review of the awful film, The Clones Of Bruce Lee.
- The Evil League of Evil in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog features such silly gimmicks as Dead Bowie and Fake Thomas Jefferson, but they're all unrepentant murderers at the very least.
- The Evil Mastermind, an Evil Genius from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is this. He favors grandiose schemes and Xanatos Gambits and schemes within schemes within schemes. (Whaddaya want? He's a super-intelligent twelve year old boy.) Most of the heroes consider him a joke. But you know, he did almost poison New York City's whole water supply that one time. And other time he actually had control of the nation's air traffic control systems for nearly half an hour...
- Generator (Jade Sinclair) of the Whateley Universe. She's cute, she's wacky, she invents crazy stuff, she looks like she's only ten... She stopped a supervillain with the powers of the werewolf by nailing him to a tree with railroad spikes. She destroyed an entire Syndicate hardsite by killing their minions and making it look like she had turned them into zombies. Her shoulder angels nearly caused warfare across the Whateley Academy campus.
- Nora Valkyrie from RWBY, if only because she has a Grenade Launcher.
- Kim Possible's Harmless Villain Drakken and Sidekick Dark Action Girl poster girl Shego would arguably be Not So Harmless Villains without someone to foil their plans. Once, they attempted to build an army of cute little toy robots.... 100,000,000 of them.
- Dr. Robotnik of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is regarded as less competent than his deadly serious SatAM counterpart. But he and his robot minions Scratch and Grounder execute any number of formidably dangerous plans to take over Mobius that only fail because of Sonic, but they often succeed at capturing or otherwise incapacitating Sonic.
- The supervillains in The Venture Brothers are indulged for precisely this reason. In particular, the Monarch seemed content for years to engage in a cat-and-mouse (or "cat-and-also-cat" as he described it) rivalry with Dr. Venture, preferring to live out a hero/villain fantasy with the disinterested scientist than actually kill him when he had the opportunity. The early episodes would even make him seem like a Harmless Villain if not for his habit of killing his own henchmen. Then he loses the right to arch Venture, and promptly murders his next five archenemies out of frustration.
- Shredder from the '80s TMNT cartoon probably qualifies.
- Turtles Forever explicitly spells out that he and Krang are sitting on technology powerful enough to completely take over the multiverse if used by someone with brains.
- Skeletor from the early 80's Filmation He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon was portrayed in a ridiculous manner at times, but there's no doubt that if He-Man and his allies didn't exist, he would have been able to create much chaos and, possibly, take over Eternia completely.
- Self-proclaimed boy genius Jack Spicer from Xiaolin Showdown starts off as the main villain but slowly slips into a mockable state as more powerful villains show up, even to the point of being a fanboy of the Prince Of Darkness, Chase. By season three, the Xiaolin monks are defeating him for sport, fight scenes with him last on average three minutes, and he only lays claim to one Shen-Gong-Wu, the ridiculous Monkey Staff. Cue the season finale, Time After Time pt. 1, where Omi freezes himself to get to the future, and in his absence, Jack takes over the world, including imprisoning the remaining three Xiaolin warriors and the three main villains of the show.
- In spite of the silliness of the show, the villains from Freakazoid managed to be more or less serious enough to appear dangerous. But if you look at him from the perspective of the bad guys, Freakazoid himself completely nails this Trope.
- In The Secret Show, a villain simply known as 'The Clown' appears and babbles on about taking over the world, while seeming completely ridiculous. The main characters decide to ignore him in favor of more visible threats, and The Clown, unopposed, takes over the world in short order.
- An episode of Phineas and Ferb had a Bad Future that occured after Candace manages to bust her brothers, which also results in Perry being taken out of commission for a few months. Without anyone to oppose him, Dr. Doofenshmirtz manages to Take Over the World (or at least the Tri-State Area, it's not really clear). Admittedly, the actions of Moral Guardians helped him, but not being opposed was still a factor.
- Most of the time, the title character of Invader Zim either falls victim to his own Genius Ditz nature or completely fails to properly use his extremely advanced technology. The few times he's half-way competent however show that he is very good at causing large scale mayhem and destruction, even if sometimes he destroys the wrong thing.
- In one episode, Zim locks GIR into "Duty Mode" (the red-eyed, serious version), and he promptly becomes much more evil and competent than Zim himself, including deciding that Zim is a threat to the mission and needs to be eliminated. Long story short, Zim just barely turns him back to normal in time to prevent a Klingon Promotion.
- One Justice League Unlimited episode focused on the Flash and his Rogues Gallery. Flash's villains might be incredibly silly theme-based, pun-spouting Punch Clock Villain holdovers from the Silver Age, but when the fighting breaks out they're able to easily take out Physical God Orion and fight competently against the Goddamn Batman.
- Flash himself is an excellent example. Wise-cracking hero with a friendly and cheerful disposition, constantly flirting and a hopeless romantic... who is also one of the most conscientious of the JLU in regards to collateral damage, regularly talks villains into giving up... and when that doesn't work, can single handedly defeat living gods like Brainiac merged with Luthor.
- At the end of Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure, the dark overlord in the Bad Future turns out to be Fred Fredburger.
- Beast Boy of Teen Titans. He's a Kid Appeal Character and the resident Plucky Comic Relief and Butt Monkey, but don't make him angry.
- Control Freak is always played for comic relief, but he's also essentially a Reality Warper with his special remote control.
- Discord from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is a cheerful, fun-loving, reality warping trickster who enjoys chocolate rain, cotton candy clouds, and corrupting and breaking ponies and laughing at their misery as their entire world crumbles around them, literally and metaphorically. He's the worst evil in the series by an enormous margin, yet always maintains a thin veneer of amiable insanity.
- Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe. One of his plots involved carving the image of his face into the moon. On the other hand, he has a knack for coming up with a lot of crazy plans, and some were Crazy Enough to Work if it wasn't for GI Joe and betrayal by his minions.
- Transformers Animated: Prometheus Black/Meltdown, despite his Disco Dan style outfits and cartoony Mad Scientist nature is, by far, the most dangerous human villain on the show. That may not seem like much, considering the other villains, but he's almost on the same level of evil as the Decepticons. While other human villains at most got a single episode of being at all dangerous, Meltdown was consistently portrayed as a genuine threat nearing if not equaling the Decepticons -- who in this continuity, are incredibly dangerous threats that are more than a match for the team on an equal playing field.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, Plankton is, at his best, a Laughably Evil villain, and at his worst, a pitable Designated Villain whose only crime is that he's The Rival to Mr. Krabbs. However, in The Movie, he frames Mr. Krabs for the theft of Neptune's crown and gets him frozen in ice, and takes over Bikini Bottom and makes everyone his slave.
- Looney Tunes: Daffy Duck and Porky Pig could be very silly...when they weren't, y'know, running around with axes.
- Goofy, when he gets Drunk with Power and put in charge in Sandwich Makers.
- One episode of Aladdin The Series had the recurring villain, Mirage, convince Chaos, who was visiting, to make a little, well, chaos, in the palace of Agrabah where Aladdin and Jasmine are holding a dinner for some nobles. Did I mention that Chaos is a silly blue cat with wings? Did I also mention that he has more power in his whisker than a palace full of genies, can conjure up his own wishes, was able to poof up an Evil Clone that Aladdin was forced to fight to a near standstill when he expressed distaste in the cliche of him always winning against his opponents in the series, shrunk Jasmine to the size of an insect and nearly getting stepped on by her own husband when she actually tried to order him to stop his mischief, and actually TERRIFIES Mirage, who if you didn't know, is an Evil Elemental who has proven many times capable of offing the heroes and wiping Agrabah off the map? And after the series, Chaos appeared one last time in a short Aladdin comic in Disney Adventures Magazine in a Deus Ex Machina type ending by stripping the powers of a devilish entity known simply as "Evil" who was near to defeating Aladdin when he felt things were getting too predictable.