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The Wizard of Id is a daily newspaper comic strip created by American cartoonists Brant Parker and Johnny Hart. Beginning in 1964, the strip follows the antics of a large cast of characters in a shabby medieval kingdom called "Id". From time to time, the King refers to his subjects as "Idiots". (The title is a play on The Wizard of Oz, combined with the Freudian psychological term Id, which represents the instinctive and primal part of the human psyche.)
The Wizard of Id deals with the goings-on of the run-down and oppressed mythical kingdom of Id. It follows people from all corners of the kingdom, but concentrates on the court of a tyrannical dwarfish monarch known only as "the King". The cast is large for a daily cartoon strip, and there are recurring jokes for a variety of continuing characters and for the kingdom itself.
While it's set a thousand years ago, the strip's humor occasionally satirizes modern American culture, and deliberate anachronisms are rampant. Technology changes to suit whatever a gag requires; a battle with spears and arrows might be followed by a peasant using an ATM. The general trend is that even though the personalities of the characters are well known, their surroundings will morph to allow a good joke. For instance, in some strips the King is curiously elected to his monarchial position, (albeit through rigged ballots). The aspects that stay the same, however, are that Id is in the middle of nowhere, home to a large castle surrounded by a moat. The King and his subjects run an inept army perpetually at war with "the Huns", while the unhappy, overtaxed peasants (or Idiots) make little money as farmers and stablehands to keep modest lifestyles.
The strip contains examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Bung the Jester
- Anachronism Stew
- Aside Glance: In seemingly every single strip.
- Bad News in a Good Way: The King, aware that his useless knight Sir Rodney is bringing news of his defeat, reminds him of the old Roman custom in which the bearer of bad tidings was put to death. A sweating Rodney replies with the 'joyous' news that one of the King's more awful provinces with its rebellious peasants, stinking swamps (etc, etc) has been given to the Huns to worry about.
- Balcony Speech
- Bearer of Bad News: See Bad News in a Good Way
- Book Safe: The lawyer uses his thick lawbooks to store drink.
- Chain Letter
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The King, The Wizard, Turnkey, the Duke, Lackey, and many others.
- Exact Words: This example -
Man: I want a potion that will add forty years to my life!
Wizard: Try this.
(Drinks it - flash - man is now old and bent)
Old Man: ...Let me rephrase that.
- And another instance where Sir Rodney is participating in an archery tournament.
Rodney: Give me a potion that will make me hit the bull's eye.
Wizard: Here. [Gives potion]
[Rodney Drinks potion and proceeds to take his shot]
[Cut to Rodney now impaled halfway through the target].
- Frankenstein's Monster: Abra Cadaver
- Gag Nose: Sir Rodney
- Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die
- Greasy Spoon
- Jail Bake
- Japanese Ranguage: A stereotypical Asian gets tossed into the prison, and strikes up a conversation with perennial inmate Spook. The Asian remarks that he's hungry, and would "rike big dish of flied lice". Spook tells him the food's bad enough already, don't go giving them ideas...
- Jim Henson: He once created a puppet show based on The Wizard of Id.
- Lovable Coward: Sir Rodney
- Mister Big: The King
- The Napoleon: The King
- Ninja Prop
- Overly Long Name: Spook's full name is Wellington J. Farnsworth Spookingdorf the Third.
- Parody Magic Spell: The Wizard's signature all-purpose spell is "Frammin' on the jim-jam, frippin' at the krotz!" Cartoonists Parker and Hart derived this from the Chris Sharp jazz instrumental, "Frimmin' on the Jim-Jam."
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: An old strip had the King of Id threatening to imprison anyone caught telling ethnic jokes. When one of his guards quips, "We don't have a Chinaman's chance of making that stick," the next panel shows said guard in the dungeon.
- Real Joke Name: The former Trope Namer with the unfortunately named Mulligan the Headsman.
- Road Apples: The primary duty of the stablehands is a Running Gag.
- Saint Bernard Rescue
- Shark Pool: The moat around the castle filled with Stock Ness Monsters.
- Smithical Marriage: Subverted. The couple are married and named Smith, and the wife suggests using a different name because they always get sniggered at.
- Stealth Pun: A visitor to the untrustworthy King's castle notices that the King's flag consists of a pair of black X's on a white background. The visitor asks for the name of this emblem. The king moves on to another pun before it mentioned the king is represented by Double Crosses.
- Stock Ness Monster: The moat monsters
- Time for Plan B: The King asks his knight Rodney why the battle plan is called Plan B instead of Plan A. Rodney replies that they always end up having to go to Plan B anyway.
- Trashcan Bonfire: In the comic for September 10th, 2011.
- Unsound Effect
- Unwilling Suspension: Usually a prisoner ends up hanging from his wrist chains.
- Vote Early, Vote Often