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Mr. Incredible: "I was wrong to treat you that way. I'm sorry."

Syndrome: "See?! Now you respect me, because I'm a threat! That's the way it works."

Did they laugh at you?

No: Lead normal life.

Yes: Show them! Show them all!
Cracked.com, villainous flowchart

So you have a character who is the butt of every joke. They are regularly put through hell, purely for the audience's amusement. And they have had enough.

What did the heroes do wrong? Maybe the harmless mook wasn't so harmless after all. Maybe that last jibe went too far. Whatever the reason, this character is through with being the comedy sidekick and determined to show the heroes precisely why you should Beware the Nice Ones.

And what better way to go about it than to become a villain?

Who's laughing now, hero? Who's laughing NOW?!

This can occur with victims of a world full of Jerk Jocks, where the Kids Are Cruel and Teens Are Monsters. By this point, they don't realize the irony: that by taking revenge, they have become as bad as those who victimized them. This could also result in the Butt Monkey being pushed back down into the former position, or the character could become relatively harmless but still extremely annoying. May result in the character becoming Arch Enemies with the most abusive.

A deconstruction of tropes such as Butt Monkey and The Chew Toy, a specific variant of Face Heel Turn, and a form of Freudian Excuse. Compare Start of Darkness, Beware the Nice Ones, Break the Cutie, Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Kick the Dog, Not-So-Harmless Villain, and Then Let Me Be Evil.

Not to be confused with Who's Crying Now.

Examples of Who's Laughing Now? include:


Anime and Manga

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Butt Monkey + A God Am I - Therapists = The End of the World as We Know It. The mind-bending Cosmic Horror wasn't exactly helping.
  • Minoru in the Show Within a Show in Lucky Star.
  • Teru Mikami in Death Note.
    • And, in a way, Touta Matsuda.
    • All the Death Note users in the pilot chapter (see the anvils?)
    • Kiyomi Takada in the live-action movie.
    • Arguably Light Yagami- he was seriously considering the school bully for his second kill despite how it might implicate him to kill someone he knows.
  • The sequence in Umineko no Naku Koro ni where Maria tortures Rosa over and over as revenge for all the abuse she has suffered at her hands over the years. It doesn't help that most of the torture is graphic and that Beatrice resurrects Rosa over and over for Maria to torture.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass got a lot of mockery from various nobles. He got his laugh.
  • Sasuke from Naruto thinks he's acting out this trope when he tries to remember Konoha, and remembers everybody laughing, concluding that they must have really been laughing at him, and now he'll start getting his revenge! They actually weren't laughing at him but rather at some joke or something, he's just completely insane.
    • Alternatively, it's an unnecessarily dramatic way of saying that he hates Konoha for living and growing thanks to Itachi's sacrifice and yet being completely unaware of it. So what better way to make Itachi's sacrifice meaningful than to destroy the village he sacrificed everything for?
    • Naruto has a few shades of this early on, before he grows out of his Butt Monkey and pariah status, and Naruto himself has said a couple times that if not for his True Companions he might have wound up being an example of this trope.
  • In Pokémon, Ash's recent rival Paul was a Jerkass who treated Chimchar, a fire ape, like a literal Butt Monkey, insulting it and yelling at it every time it lost a battle. Paul finally got so fed up that he pulled a non-lethal You Have Failed Me and released Chimchar. Luckily, Chimchar was quickly brought on to Ash's team, who promised to take better care of it. Thanks to Ash, Chimchar started to become successful and confident. It soon evolved to its final stage. What's more, both evolutions were right in front of Paul, who was shocked to see the power that his old Pokémon has gained. In your face, Paul! Later he gets Hoist by His Own Petard in the Sinnoh League, as he ends up losing to that same Infernape that he abused as a Chimchar.
    • Which is also how Ash got his Charmander. Charmander's original owner hated how 'weak' he was and abandoned it in a rainstorm to basically die. That Charmander grew into Charizard, Ash's strongest Pokémon.
      • At the end of his debut episode even, Charmander finally realized how much of a douche his trainer is, and paid him in kind.
    • Literally happens in "A Shroomish Skirmish". Ash's Corphish and May's Torchic settle their differences after Corphish protected Torchic from a herd of angry Breloom, and Torchic returned the favor by evolving into Combusken to save him. At the end of the episode, Corphish attempts to steal Combusken's food again (which started their squabble in the first place) but was now more intimidated by the more powerful Combusken, and Combusken simply laughs it off.
    • And then there's the Team Rocket trio, who were originally constantly kicked around by the heroes, but during the Best Wishes series, they actually became like this.
  • A variation happens in Gurren Lagann, when Rossiu, who's had more than a few digs sent his way by Kamina, grows up to be an Evil Chancellor and nearly has Simon (The Hero and Kamina's main protege) executed- albeit for an unrelated reason.
  • Tetsuo Shima in Akira not only pulls it off, but moves to the next level and creates his own universe.
  • Lucy from Elfen Lied. after suffering years of abuse the final straw is when the bullies beat her puppy to death right in front of her--and they only found out about it because the Alpha Bitch Bitch in Sheep's Clothing pretended to be her friend. "You know who isn't human? You know who isn't human?! PEOPLE LIKE YOU!"...and the bullies explode in Ludicrous Gibs.
    • Plus her first fight scene with that Badass Normal gun-maniac. He attacks her in the form of Nyuu, and when she turns back into Lucy, she outright says the trope phrase as she blinds him and removes his arm.
  • In the second season of Sailor Moon Wiseman convinces ChibiUsa that everyone saw her as an annoying little brat and wanted her gone. She uses the powers he gives her to turn into Black Lady and treats her former friends this way.
  • It's never brought up in-series and is therefore something of a meta example, but Noriko Takaya definitely qualifies. First episode? She has almost no talent or self-confidence, and is the academy's Chew Toy / Butt Monkey, qualifying for Chief Woobie after she has a short mental breakdown. Episodes five and six? She's a genderflipped Simon.

  Fandom: "Who's laughing now, you sadistic bitches? WHO'S?! LAUGHING?! NOW?!"


Comic Books

  • Ephialtes from 300--who, as far as Who's Laughing Now? people go, was treated rather reasonably by Leonidas, particularly in the comic (as what happened later in the movie seemed to put the lie to the idea of the Spartans' strength being the phalanx formation).
    • Leonidas got him back though, wishing him, apparently rather charitably, to live a long life. But since a Spartan's greatest honor is to die in battle, this is a rather awesome backhand to the traitor.
      • A second meaning makes it even worse: in name at least, Ephialtes has lived forever - known as one of the worst traitors in Greek history. To this day, the name "Ephialtes" in Greece carries the same connotations that "Benedict Arnold" does in the US.
    • It's worse in the comic. He tries to commit suicide after his rejection by jumping off a cliff but survives, in agony. He blames the gods for forcing him to live his torturous existence. That's what makes him renounce his Spartan heritage and the Greek gods in favour of one who actually appears to give a shit about him.
  • Spider-Man, in the crossover novel series Time's Arrow, muses on the phenomenon of Cut Lex Luthor a Check (and, indeed, the tendency of good people with powers to become vigilantes rather than making millions), and realizes it's not about the money--it's about showing up everyone who ever laughed at them.
    • In another issue, Peter Parker is at his old high school, trying to secure a teaching job when suddenly, someone comes in and starts shooting up the place. Peter changes into Spider-Man and takes the shooter out only to realise that he's just a kid who was sick and tired of being bullied by the other kids at the school. As he's hauled off to jail, Peter grimly reflects that he could have easily turned out the same way.
    • In Skin Deep storyarc Peter's former classmate, who was mercilessly bullied at school, gets superpowers and after he sees two of his former tormentors mocking at him on TV he goes and kills them. In the end Spider-Man got him frozen, probably for the rest of his life. And he is conscious. Although after One More Day it's probably not in continuity anymore.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter often mocks the even-more-pathetic-than-he-is-in-main-continuity Ultimate Shocker before beating him up with almost no effort. When Shocker gets lucky and knocks Peter out, he ties him up in a warehouse and tortures him slowly, as payback for all the times he was mocked. Interestingly, even though the guy is trying to kill him, Peter genuinely apologizes for being such a jerk after hearing Shocker's surprisingly sad Breaking Lecture.
  • In The Savage Dragon, there was a boy routinely bullied and even abused by his parents until he woke up one day with superpowers that actually made him the most powerful being on Earth. One Roaring Rampage of Revenge later, and after sweeping aside most of the other heroes, The Dragon manages to talk him down and convince him not to make himself a thing to be feared by the world. Ironically, one of many instances when the character realistically acts like a cop first, and a super-powered bruiser second.
  • The early 1990s Marvel series Sleepwalker featured a nerdy psychology student who was regularly made fun of by his Jerk Jock enemy, who teased him about being a "dateless bookworm." When he gains superhuman powers after an accident involving Sleepwalker, he immediately gets revenge on the Jerk Jock by conjuring a gang of murderous warriors from his book on Greek Mythology to kill him. Ticking time bomb, anyone?
  • One story in The Authority story involved a monster that turned out to be an abused kid that woke up with unlimited shapeshifting powers.
  • One Joker's Asylum comic highlights this as the Penguin's MO. At one point, it shows how the Penguin subtly uses his influence to drive a man to suicide, simply because the man was laughing, and happened to look in the Penguin's direction.
  • Dr. Light is a nightmare inducing one. First he's the butt-monkey of the villain world, then he... rapes Elongated Man's wife.
    • Might not count, since that was what he was "always like" after a retcon came into play.
  • In some Italian stories Donald Duck has a secret identity as Paperinik il Diabolico Vendicatore (Diabolico Vendicatore being Italian for Devilish Avenger). While he's sometimes portrayed as a more light-hearted superhero, other stories make clear it's actually about showing up everyone who laughs at Donald (he even conned Gladstone in thinking that Donald cursed him into being unlucky, and showed as Donald to get paid for taking the curse away), with the criminals fitting it due them taking the easy way in life (the very first story has Paperinik stealing Scrooge's mattress while he's sleeping on it because stealing the sacks of money in the same room would have been too easy. Just to make clear that if he ever decided to become a thief nothing and noone could stop him since the beginning).


Film

  Ash (while in the process of cutting off his own possessed hand with a chainsaw): "Who's laughing now? WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?! WAHAHAHAHA!"

  • In A Room For Romeo Brass, after Gavin plays a prank on Morrell (tricking him into making an idiot of himself in front of Romeo's sister, who he is in love with), Morrell responds by threatening him with a knife, telling him he'll kill his family, and turning Gavin's best friend, the titular Romeo, against him. Later, after Romeo's sister rejects him, he not only turns on Romeo too, but unsuccessfully attempts to make good of his threats earlier in the film.
    • Subverted, however with Romeo's dad, who instantly sees the kind of guy that Morrell really is and immediately takes the piss out of him in their first meeting. Morell threatens to go 'dark' on him. Morell doesn't get the chance; later, when he's about to make good on his earlier threats against Gavin's family, Romeo's dad charges straight in, gives Morell a hiding he won't soon forget, and then sends Morrell (who is by this point crying like a toddler) away with his tail between his legs and the promise that if he ever shows his face around there again, then Romeo's dad really will kill him.
  • Kung Fu Hustle plays with this using the main character Sing. When he was a child, he tried to save a girl from bullies, only to be badly beaten up. As an adult, he intentionally becomes a thief and "tough guy" in an attempt to invoke this trope. Problem is, he's a horrible thief and everyone around him are Kung-Fu Masters, so he ends up as the Butt Monkey. When Sing manifests super-mega-Kung-Fu might however, the film subverts this. Rather then take revenge on everyone who laughed at him, as he claimed he was going to do throughout the film, he decides to be the good person he wanted to be as a child and becomes a gentle and forgiving man.
    • This is, in itself, the best revenge of all by dint of rising above the trope to live well.
  • "I'm a dead man, Johnnie? I'm a fucking dead man? Guess again, Johnnie. Who's the dead man? Who? Who's dead, fuckface? Who? Who? I can't hear you, Johnnie. Guess again. Take another guess, Johnnie. Take another fucking guess!"
  • The Running Man: This trope is invoked when the electricity-themed 'stalker' Dynamo, having been humiliated by Ben Richards and Amber in the game zone, has decided to get even by raping Amber when he comes upon her later. It's rather beautifully thrown back in his face:

 Dynamo: Thought it was pretty funny back in the Zone, didn't you? What's the matter, bitch? Why aren't you laughing?

Amber: Because there's nothing funny about a dickless moron with a battery up his ass.


Literature

  • The eponymous central character of Stephen King's Carrie was a nice girl who endured all of the abuse from her classmates and her mother until that incident with the pig's blood at her senior prom, at which point she promptly snapped and went on a telekinetic rampage that left the town of Chamberlain devastated.
  • Arguably, Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter. The chubby boy, the weakest of the Maurader's four, underestimated by all... Turns out to be a close henchman of Voldemort and effectively betrays his best friend...
    • Not really. He never holds power in and of himself, and he's never bullied by those he betrays.
    • Professor Snape plays with this, he was bullied by them, however his attempts at revenge and betrayal ultimately lead him into remorse and to seek redemption. That said he spends his profession making the majority of Hogwart's pupils' studies hell.
  • Another heroic example occurs in Flora's Dare. After having been through a series of harrowing misadventures, Flora learns that she had been played as an Unwitting Pawn by Lord Axacaya the whole time. What really sets her off though is when she gets bushwhacked by Springheel Jack, who intends to do all sorts of "fabulous things" to her.
  • Dr. Impossible the protagonist of Soon I Will Be Invincible has this as his Start of Darkness though becoming the world's most feared supervillain does nothing to improve his status as the Butt Monkey.
  • Tweedledee, the diminutive Non-Action Big Bad of The Unholy Three tried his hardest thoughout his whole life to rise above the humiliation and bullying he received and be a good (even heroic) person in spite of it, but once he finally reached his Despair Event Horizon, he stopped caring, gave into his bitterness and his evil impulses, and - with his two friends - began a violent crime spree; this was all an effort to stroke his ego by convincing himself that he was capable of elaborate, grusome murders and was someone to be feared rather than mocked.
    • This is slightly downplayed in the Lon Chaney movie adaptations where Tweedledee - while still driven to a life of crime by mockery - is more interested in making money than in getting even with society (but is still more than willing to commit murder).


Live Action TV

  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit: Obnoxious, Scrappy lab rat Stuckey has been catching hell all season by Stabler and his senior lab partner [1], but it comes to a head after a small error allows a serial killer to go free and he gets mocked and yelled at by a bunch of people, including the killer himself. Stuckey then kills an innocent to plant evidence and get a second chance at the killer, then kills the lawyer, almost kills the judge, kills his lab partner and tortures Stabler for a bit. Were it not for the arrival of Olivia and Stuckey's feelings for her....
  • Heroic example: the NCIS episode "Deception," McGee chats with a teenaged Jerk Jock suspect about how much fun it is to taunt the geeks and nerds, giving them wedgies, shoving them into lockers, and basically making their lives a living hell. As the jock loosens up and starts laughing and agreeing, McGee reveals that he had been one of those geeks all through high school, and had always been tormented by the jocks, but guess what? McGee has the upper hand now.
  • In a first season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a girl who was ignored by everyone in the school becomes invisible as a result, and decides to take revenge on Cordelia. Then she gets taken away by government agents and apparently becomes a government assassin.
    • Even early Spike counts in this category. In flashbacks to his life when he was human it is revealed that he was a total Woobie when he was alive. He was kind, romantic poet, and he was looking after his ill mother. He was also taunted by his peers and rejected by everyone else. After he becomes a vampire and Angelus and Drucilla influence him he becomes one of the most feared vampires out there. He even uses one of his peer's old taunts like "We call him William the Bloody after his bloody awful poems." "I would rather have a railway spike through my head than listen to that." In Spike's first episode in season 2 of Buffy it is revealed that He got his name Spike from torturing his victims with railway spikes, and "William the Bloody" came to refer to carnage he left in his wake. This is obviously a reaction to old humiliations.
    • Then there's Jonathan. Buffy believes he's going to pull a Charles Whitman in the third season (but he actually intends to kill himself until she talks him out of it), he turns himself into a God Mode Sue for a fourth season episode, and he finally does become a villain in the sixth season.
    • Unanswered question from the show: How do you shoot yourself with a sniper rifle, anyway? This isn't even a hunting rifle being used in that way, it's a real sniper rifle in a break-down case.
      • Raymond Shaw managed it.
      • We don't really know Jonathan's back story here, but it could just be that the sniper rifle is the only gun he could actually get his hands on at all - remember, he's only a high school student, and an unpopular one at that - few (if any) friends with houses to look through for weapons, or ask if they know how to get a gun so he can "protect himself", claiming he has a job in a dangerous area, etc.
  • In one episode of Flashpoint, Billy, a high school boy, is bullied viciously by his best friend's Jerkass boyfriend. Guess who shows up the next day with a loaded gun? However, Billy reveals that he doesn't want to hurt them, and simply wants to scare the shit out of them until they apologize. The aforementioned best friend manages to talk him out of continuing his rampage in a Heartwarming Moments that may never be equaled, right before the ["Jerkass boyfriend stumbles into things, and an overenthusiastic cop comes in and mucks everything up."] It ends well, though.
  • The unsub in the Criminal Minds episode "Elephant's Memory" is a badly bullied kid who snaps and goes on a killing spree of everyone who's ever wronged him.
  • Just about every other Monster of the Week in the first season of Smallville was some stressed/abused kid who suddenly obtained superpowers from Green Rocks.
  • Parodied by Bob Monkhouse:

 They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well... they're not laughing now!

  • Referenced on The Office when Dwight pepper-sprays Roy who is about to attack Jim. Unfortunately, Dwight ends up spraying not just Roy, but also Jim, Pam, and himself. With tears rolling down his face, he states that he was mocked for bringing pepper spray to work, but "who's laughing now?"


Music

  • A song written by Parry Gripp is entitled Who's Laughing Now?
  • "Waking the Demon" by Bullet For My Valentine is about a bullying victim who takes revenge.
  • The Coheed and Cambria song Apollo II: The Telling Truth mentions this trope in the lyrics. It involves The Writer losing it and taking out his anger at his ex-girlfriend on the character he based off of her.
    • "So come on bitch, Why aren't you laughing now? You left me here to fend on my own. So cry on bitch, Why aren't you laughing now?"
  • "Superhero" by the band Trocadero (best known for the Red vs. Blue CD) includes the line "Your days calling me freak are numbered / Don't bother with surrender."
  • "Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance has: "The boys and girls in the clique / The awful names that they stick / You're never gonna fit in much, kid / But if you're troubled and hurt / What you got under your shirt / Will make them pay for the things that they did"
  • "The Future Soon" by Jonathan Coulton is about how the singer is laughed at now, but one day when he's grown up and it's the future take over the world with his legions of killer robots and show them all.
  • "Goin' Down" by Three Days Grace


Professional Wrestling

  • Eric Young's Face Heel Turn in TNA 2009 is a textbook Who's Laughing Now?. Young was a comedy character for much of his run in TNA, and eventually began to perceive himself as the Butt Monkey of the company, especially when he joined the Front Line and dumped many of the comedy aspects of the character. Eric's inability to get title shots and opportunities for whatever reason resulted in him forming the World Elite faction, a group of Anti-American foreigners who believe their perceived lack of success and popularity is due to the fact that they were not born in the United States.
  • Has happened pretty often in WWE in an attempt to give a comedy character a bigger push by making them "more serious" notably with Rikishi (went from dancing with Too Cool to running over Stone Cold), Gregory Helms (originally a superhero parody) and most recently with R-Truth (originally rapped his way to the ring). Nine times out of ten, it doesn't work.
  • Subverted with Santino Marella who was a comedy face but was turned heel and still kept his comedy status. He got so popular they turned him back face and he Took a Level In Badass, even winning the Tag Team Titles.


Tabletop Games

  • After the new Codex came, Imperial Guard players went into this mode. After years of being the Butt Monkey in both fluff and game rules (weak or useless units, kill points, etc.) the guard are now insanely powerful (guard units have better leadship are cheaper, and tank squads).
    • In Dawn of War, the Baneblade (the Imperial Guard's ultimate unit) says a slight variation on this: "Who's dying now?!" Considering how well Guardsmen usually fare in close combat with the other factions, it's very appropriate.
    • Also fits with this trope because IG is consistently bottom tier in the series (they're even the Butt Monkey of Relic in terms of game play).
  • Exalted: The Primordial War is basically Autochthon's one huge Who's Laughing Now? moment. After aeons of being the Butt Monkey amongst "fellow" titans, he eventually had enough and made the Exaltation to massacre the gigantic dicks. Moral of the story: don't piss off the shy genius.


Theater


Video Games

  • Halo: A recent mode released by a gamer is "who's Laughing Now?!" a variation of Grunpocalypse where the grunts are made four times tougher, immune to headshots, and benefit from two skulls which generate both extreme accuracy and bullet spam.
    • ...OhCrap.
  • Pac-Man. The game is founded upon the ability to change the game from fleeing indestructible enemies to eating them.

 Mr. Burns: Ha ha! The hunter has become the hunted!

  • Heroic (kinda) example: Tombstone from Freedom Force uses this sentence when he's returned from the dead and confronts his wife's killer, who had framed him for the murder and sent him to the electric chair.

 Tombstone: You. The innocent die while the guilty laugh. Who's laughing now?

 Terumi: Heeheehahahaha! Hahahahahaha! You recognized me, didn't you!? Hey, shitty vampire! Who's laughing now!?

    • Lotte Carmine was a scientist working at Sector Seven; for the entire time he did, he was ignored by Kokonoe, mocked by Relius, and eventually broke up with his love. He got his revenge, though at terrible prices. Then again... Eating people, insect powers, being able to deal a lot of damage... maybe him turning into Arakune isn't so bad. This is, however, subverted that the people he ate was relatively minor ones, he cannot consume his true target that is the Azure within Ragna the Bloodedge. He spends his time getting beaten up by nearly everyone (and ends up easily captured by Relius), other people (including Kokonoe and Relius) talking on how he's still a failure at his form (and they're actually proven right and Terumi hammers it down to him), his speech got impeded so bad that he can't get everything across clearly... He certainly wished to invoke the trope, but utterly fails in the middle, as he ends up with even more ridicules than respect.
  • Admit it, you've laughed when you ended a poor mook's existence with the Vanguard Rush from Mass Effect 2. And you've also probably got a good giggle realizing you're the only one who can do it. And then "Lair of the Shadow Broker" rolled around, and you met Tela Vasir. Not so funny anymore, huh?
  • Arguably he most satisfying part of any RPG is returning to a previous area and making short work of enemies that used to be Demonic Spiders.
  • In Runescape, both Lucien and Bilrach were both looked down upon by both humans and their own kind, and were disregarded as frail and weak. Now Lucien is on his way to godhood, and Bilrach is the leader of a massive army of demons, Eldritch Abominations, and powerful warriors.
  • In Portal 2, after Wheatley gets plugged into G La DOS's body.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Games, the notorious chicken calls on its comrades after being whacked with a sword one too many times by the hero, Link.
    • If you manage to glitch out of the main town in The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask and hit the black chicken with an arrow it will murder you... rather violently.
  • In Winter Shard, the game opens with a lonely, desperate Frederic being continually denied food and shelter by the people he tries to seek help from and then having his right arm ripped off by Temonz, for the sole crime of being the son of a man accused of treason. Naturally, when he's resurrected and granted dark powers by Krotus, he exults in getting his sweet revenge on these people.
  • Literal example in Kill the Dog from Duck Hunt.
  • A heroic/player version is possible in Batman: Arkham City. As the game progresses -- and in the harder levels of Challenge Maps -- you'll run into stun-baton-wielding Mooks, and they take great pleasure in destroying your combos, shaking your screen, giving their buddies ample time to take a chunk off of your health, and generally being one of the most irritating form of mooks in the game. Then came the Nightwing DLC, and as it happens, Nightwing is Dual-Wielding electrified escrima sticks. Cue payback.


Web Animation


Web Comics

  • In Eight Bit Theater, White Mage (after having her world view totally invalidated) tries to be evil before a couple panels. She turns back because, it turns out, she doesn't like hurting people. And she's really bad at it, unless the inflicting of pain is directed upon Black Mage, usually in response to one of his questionable come-on lines. On the other hand, Onion Kid manages to pull a Who's Laughing Now? with a bit more success.
  • In Author Space, Cream the Rabbit was used as the Butt Monkey for a long time, until episode 100, where she went loose in a giant Ride Armor suit that seemed to be invulnerable to all damage. After they beat up Cream, she goes back to her prior status.
  • In Vexxarr, after the titular character manages to convince the vegetable-based AI that's been trying to kill him that he's their supreme leader, he gets some incredibly creative revenge.
  • Eridan Ampora in Homestuck, although this is not the only reason for his Face Heel Turn. (Heel Even Bigger Heel Turn?)
  • From Order of the Stick

 Durkon: Now who's the short one?


Web Original

  • Lee Phillips from Kate Modern is constantly bullied by Gavin and Tariq, which is played for laughs. However, Gavin goes too far in "Subservient Lee", and Lee runs off with the software Gavin and Tariq were developing in the following video, "The Leak". Note that Lee only becomes an enemy of Gavin and Tariq, on whom he wants revenge; he remains amiable enough towards the other characters, and is portrayed largely sympathetically from then on.
  • The character codenamed Aries at the Super-Hero School Whateley Academy, in the Whateley Universe. He was bullied as a chubby kid who wasn't one of the townies. Then he got superpowers and went to Whateley, where he was bullied there for being a farm kid. However, his superpowers made him tall and handsome, as well as super-strong and super-fast (for the Whateley Universe). After he stomped a group of bullies by himself, the Big Bad drafted him as the new bully. He's really enjoying it, as far as we can tell.
    • Recently, He's been mistreated by the bullies, causing him to ponder taking another route...Plus, he keeps getting recruited to aid the heroes.
  • Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog uses this to awesome effect in "Brand New Day."
  • Michael Jackson's "Bad" also seems worth mentioning. (Most likely sequencing "Beat It")
  • The Duck Hunt Dog has laughed at your screwups once too often and is GOING DOWN!
  • Because of such bad bullying over his similarities to Doug, The Nostalgia Critic has snapped and killed people, only realizing what occurred when he sees the blood on his hands.


Western Animation

  • Butters of South Park tries to do this with his Professor Chaos alter-ego, but it doesn't work too well as most of his schemes are just too inefficient, ineffective, and downright stupid, and once causes him to lose his eye in an accident while he was having a mock battle with the main characters and they forgot they were using real weapons.
    • But by himself, he does get Cartman back, in a big way.

 Kyle: Butters, do you really think it's fair to lie like this?! Let me tell you, if you don't have—!

Butters: *snaps* No! Let me tell you something, fellas!! You always take advantage of me. And after reading Catcher in the Rye, I've learned you're nothing but phonies! I'm not letting you trick me this time. So the four of you can just suck on my wiener.

*storms off, leaving the other boys speechless*

Cartman: *beat* That inconsiderate jerk...

    • And by the time of the episode The Coon, the town seems to regard him as superhuman.
    • Cartman himself in "Scott Tenorman Must Die."
    • Cartman tries it again in the Coon vs Mysterion trilogy, after several rather unheroic actions lead to him being evicted from the Coon and Friends club (who also keep the self aggrandizing name "because it pisses him off") he actually teams up with the Cthulhu and banishes them to an alternate dimension, along with brutally killing millions of other people he finds to be "evil".
  • One of the villains in Batman Beyond was a high school peer of Terry named Willie, who decided to take revenge on his tormentors at school by controlling a Humongous Mecha used in construction.
    • And in another episode, it turns out that not only Willie spent time in the prison yard working out, the massive jolt that stopped his Golem control gave him strong psionic powers.
    • And then in Return of the Joker, after Joker has been demoralized and mocked by Terry and finally has him pinned down...

 Joker: "Come on, McGinnis, laugh it up now... you miserable little punk. LAUGH! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Terry: "Ha. Ha."

  • Terry shocks the Joker with a joy buzzer*
  • Stan, Xander Crew's assistant on Frisky Dingo, did this after calmly explaining to his employer that after Crews went missing, Stan had him declared dead and took over his multi-billion dollar corporation. After hanging up, he said "Who's laughing now, Crews? Ha ha... Me. I am laughing."
    • Earlier, one of the X-Tacles punches an incapacitated Crews in the face and says "Who's laughing now, Crews?" Xander Crews responds "I wasn't laughing before!"
  • In Transformers Animated, Blackarachnia uses this trope to convince Wasp to become techno-organic. There's just one small problem...
  • Mary Dahl alias Baby Doll, from Batman: The Animated Series, feels that Cousin Spunky unfairly caused her popularity to end, and kidnaps him:

 Baby Doll: You all remembers what happened the last time I had a birthday. Poopy old Spunky pushed my head in the cake. Everybody laughed and laughed. (smashes cake in his face) Well, I'm laughing now!

    • Note that this was an unusual example in it that actually illustrated just how delusional Baby Doll was. Not only was Cousin Spunky just a character on the TV show she starred in, but it wasn't even personal. The actor was just following the script that was written for that particular scene.
    • And she admits it, not that it makes a difference:

 Baby Doll: [in adult voice] It was real to me!

  • Darkwing Duck subverted this one. In one episode, Darkwing is stranded on a planet where EVERYONE is a superhero...except for one man known as Ordinary Guy, who all the other inhabitants live to rescue from peril. Unfortunately for him, the "heroes" tend to PUT HIM in danger just so they can save him from it. Finally, he snaps, and becomes the planet's very first villain, with the dastardly moniker of "Not-So-Ordinary Guy." The heroes, having never actually fought a bad guy before, are clueless as to what to do about this.
  • Tucker in Danny Phantom. Usually the ignored Butt Monkey, Tucker becomes aware of it when he tries to run for school president in one episode. It basically chain reacts to him taking over the entire school via a magical scepter until Danny sets him straight. Unfortunately he still gets the ignored status for the reminder of the series.
  • A Freakazoid episode had this part of it's array. The villain, the lovable Tim Curry, was going at it with the Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking bit, playing the part of a surrogate Dr. Monreau character. He says: "They called me MAD! ....Insane! Wendell! Well who's laughing NOW!?
  • An episode of Fillmore dealt with a group of kids who teamed up to get back at their bullies in the most spirit-breaking fashion. An Aesop of this was that there are better ways to deal with bullies.
  • El Tigre does this with Sergio. After being made the laughingstock of Miracle City, he declares revenge on Manny/El Tigre with his evil robot persona, Senor Sinestrio.
  • Martin Mystery finishes off its three season run with the two part episode It's Alive!, where all the frustration of Diana's being lesser than Martin in the Center, and his constantly annoying her to no end, is finally ignited when she's given a 'Needs Improvement' evaluation over Martin's 'Glowing Evaluation'. A bit more of Martin's prodding as a result of that sends her over, and when given the chance to join Octavia Paine's organization, she leaps at the chance. She then proceeds to humiliate Martin by stealing two monsters away from him, as a result of his over-confidence streak, and even laughs after the second capture. The seconds involves Octavia revealing her true intentions for the monsters, leaving her and Martin to stop her Super-creature from destroying the Center.
  • The Musical Episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold gives the villain's origin in song!

 Bullies used to pick on me because I sang in choir

But something very strange occurred when I kept singing higher

The ruffians around me quickly fell into a trance

And it was then, with wicked glee, I made those puppets dance!

I'm the Music Meister!

  • Syndrome from The Incredibles is a glaring example. In a twist, his actions as a Big Bad result in him becoming the Butt Monkey again and again.
  • Fumbles from the GI Joe short on Robot Chicken is a great example. The incessant mocking by the rest of the GI Joe cast cause him to turn to Cobra and kill them all in the end.

 It's Fumbles. It was always Fumbles.

 Pidge: Who's laughing now, biatch?

    • Another one comes from some of their Star Wars sketches. At one point, when Anakin is coming back from the Sand People with his dead mother in his arms, Owen Lars cracks a joke about how "That makes him Little Orphan Ani!" Anakin protests that it's Too Soon, while everyone else basically tells him to get over it. Later, when the stormtroopers are interrogating Owen and Beru over the location of C-3P0 and R2-D2, and the stormtrooper squad is about to set Owen and Beru on fire, the leader of the squad leans over to Owen and says "Oh, and I have a personal message from Lord Vader; he says now you can laugh at that Little Orphan Ani joke". Owen looks shocked and stunned for a second, then chooses to give Vader the finger as he dies by responding "You tell him it was funny then, and it's funny now! Little Orphan Ani! Tell him that to his face!" Relevant Links
  • Quoted verbatim in an episode of Tale Spin by a now-gloating Butt Monkey after his rather amoral plan to be taken seriously appears to be succeeding.
  • Barnacleboy in SpongeBob SquarePants becomes a villain after various put downs by the people he saves. To be fair though, Spongebob promises to respect him even though it doesn't convince him.
  • Family Guy: In Dial Meg For Murder, Meg goes to jail for housing an escaped convict. When she comes out, she's tough as hell, and gets payback on the people who mocked and abused her the past few seasons.
  • Ka Blam! had Henry leave the show after June's been messing with him, showing her who's boss. He comes back, though, when he finds her in tears.
  • In one episode of the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series, Skeletor spends the episode being mocked by his minions, because he is wearing a belt that shocks him whenever he thinks an evil thought, and seemingly can't be removed. When he finally gets the belt off, he gets his revenge by suspending his minions over a tub of lava.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had a Flash Back where Lucius, as a child, is being laughed at for his bad horns by his teacher. In the present day, that teacher's head is mounted on his wall.
  • In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, Jimmy is the Butt Monkey that even nature picks on (a Squirrel once somehow dropped a tree on top of him, apparently on purpose). However, when the Edds go too far and Break the Cutie, he reveals himself to be an extremely able Chessmaster and arranges a complicated plan resulting in all the kids chasing them down and pelting them with fruit, then getting dragged away by the Kanker Sisters. Beware the Nice Ones indeed. Also has traits of Hoist by His Own Petard, since it was Eddy that taught him to be a scam artist to begin with.
  • Elmer Sglue in The Powerpuff Girls episode "Paste Makes Waste."
  • Tim the Witch Hunter in Sabrina the Animated Series since he was a half mortal and his fellow witches made his life miserable during his school years. He comes back with a vengeance with technology powerful enough to negate their powers and capture them. Even sticking their still living heads on his wall as mounted trophies.
  • Double Subversion in Aladdin: The Return of Jafar.

 Genie: [bold, heroic] HAHAHAHAHA, who's laughing now?!

Jafar: Mmmuhahahahahahahahahahahaha! Why, I believe it's me.

  • The Lemons from Cars 2 were apparently made evil all because of this.


Real Life

  • Someday...
    • Oh yes... As Fred Dagg said "If I ruled the world/Certain people would have to wake up their ideas"
  • The Columbine High shooters are sometimes falsely portrayed as this. Many other school shooters, both before and after, were this trope to a T. Most notably is the 2007 V-Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho. His videos that he mailed to NBC directly stated that this was his motive.
  • Countries often get a taste of this after being humiliated one time too many in the last war. Germany after WWI for example, was a broken nation, with the economy in shambles, the military in ruins, a new government forced upon the public, and national morale at an all time low. The victorious Allies were responsible for many of these, deliberately weakening Germany so that it could not rise up again like it did during the Great War. Unfortunately, the job was only half done, meaning enough to give cause for the German people to rally to gain vengeance, but not enough to actually cripple their ability to recover, and even grow stronger than before. The results were, shall we say, unfortunate.
    • The same can be said from the other side of World War One, with the French savoring their revenge after their 1870 defeat (plus, the whole being pissed about the property damage).
  • Invoked by The Economist on the subject of NATO intervention in Libya's civil war:

 The only European state pressing hard for air strikes in Libya is France, which has no bitter memories of foolish support for the invasion of Iraq because France opposed that invasion. Who's a cheese-eating surrender monkey now, eh?

Notes

  1. (yelling "we've got a dead body here!!", in public, where a child is buried, in Stabler's presence is edging into Too Dumb to Live territory)
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