Archetype of the Week: The Fool

Category: Archetype of the Week
Created on Friday, 14 May 2010 Written by Steve

The fool is a comic relief character who makes the audience laugh by consistently making bad decisions, ignoring social boundaries, and generally acting absurdly. While some fools actively try to be funny, many are blissfully unaware of their shortcomings and flaws. Most fools are good-natured or too inept to be a threat to anyone but themselves, but in it is possible for a fool with power (and competent minions) to cause a lot of damage.


Likely Stories
The fool is a universal archetype who can appear in any type of story.

The Name Game
Fools often have names that are funny or unusual, but this is not strictly required. Additionally, fools frequently have nicknames (often diminutive of belittling). 

The Numbers
Although some fools are in fact stupid, a low Brain Number is not required of a fool. The fool's Nerve Number will usually be either very high or very low, depending on whether he consciously disregards social norms or is simply blissfully unaware of his inappropriate behavior. The fool's Body Number will depend on his Job.

Suggested Jobs:
Actor, Analrapist, Bailiff, Bartender, Bureaucrat, Cartoon Animal, Celebutante, Cop, Court Jester, Deputy, Door-to-door Salesman, Figure Skater, Garbage Man, Hobo, Hippie, Meteorologist, Middle Manager, Inventor, Janitor, Knight, Lawyer, Musician, Philatelist, Pilot, Pirate, Politician, Pundit, Sailor, Stand-Up Comedian, Super-Hero, Television Reporter, Real Estate Developer, Roller Derby Coach, Security Guard, Slacker, Small Time Thief, Soldier, Sportscaster, Stage Magician, Used Car Salesman, Warrior, Wildlife Marshal

Suggested Gimmicks:
Absurdity Magnet, Almost Famous, Bag of Tricks, Charmed Life, Dumb Luck, Everybody's Buddy, Hard To Kill, Idiot Savant, Ignorance Is Bliss, Innocent, Lucky, Wealthy, Weird Luck

Suggested Weaknesses:
Alcoholic, Bad Karma, Clueless, Clumsy, Communication Breakdown, Dazed and Confused, Delusional, Dumb As A Rock,  Gullible, Idiot Savant, In The Closet, Know It All, Lecherous, Narcissism, Overconfidence, Victim of the Past, Weird Luck

Suggested Skills:
Astronomy, Bar Tricks, Bird Watching, Blogging, Break Dancing, Comic Book Trivia, Computers, Cosplay, Cross Dressing, Dog Breeding, Dumpster Diving, Drug Lore, Duct Tape Artist, Eavesdropping, Flute, Freeloading, Geocaching, HAM Radio, History, Jigsaw Puzzles, Juggling, Knows A Lot About Shrimp, Macrame, Magic Tricks, Office Politics, Pez Lore, Practical Jokes, Public Speaking, Puppetry, Religion, Role Playing, Sassy, Satire, Singing, Spelunking, Sports, Star Wars Trivia, Story Telling, Taxidermy, Tombstone Rubbing, Trekkie, Topiary, Toy Collector, UFOology, Video Games, Yo-Yo

WWPHITM?
Jeff Anderson, Dietrich Bader, Adam Baldwin, Lucille Ball, Jason Bateman, Glenn Beck, Samantha Bee, Mel Blanc, Jeff Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Josh Brolin, Julie Brown, Steve Buscemi, Nicholas Cage, Steve Carell, Jackie Chan, Chevy Chase, Tommy Chong, Nicholas Colasanto, Stephen Colbert, Gary Cole, Rob Corddry, David Cross, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Alexis Denisof, Bob Denver, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes, Mike Epps, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Nathan Fillion, John Goodman, Judy Greer, Tom Hanks, Neil Patrick Harris, Sammo Hung, Madeline Kahn, Don Knotts, David Koechner, Jane Krakowski, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Leblanc, Jason Lee, John Larroquette, Cheech Marin, Steve Martin, Jason Mewes, Richard Moll, Leslie Nielson, Tim Blake Nelson, Catherine O'Hara, Bronson Pinchot, Brad Pitt, Amy Pohler, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Gilda Radner, Michael Rapaport, John C. Reilly, Rob Riggle, Tim Robbins, Maya Rudolph, Adam Sandler, Peter Sellers, Kristen Schaal, William Shatner, Dax Shepard, Sarah Silverman, Suzanne Somers, Ryan Stiles, Nicole Sullivan, Ethan Suplee, Chris Tucker, Alan Tudyk, Patrick Warburton, Betty White, Robin Williams, Andrew Wilson, Owen Wilson, Henry Winkler

Tag Line:
"I don't have a clue what you're talkin' about, Phil. Not a fucking clue."--Admiral Benson, Hot Shots!

Tools of the Trade

It depends on the character's job, but fools often use unusual or non-standard equipment. Additionally, many fools have a prized possession or collection that they attach a lot of importance to.

Where You'll Find Him
Fools tend to be followers, even when they believe themselves to be leaders. Therefore, they tend to tag along wherever the rest of their social circle goes. 

Social Circle
Good-natured fools tend to have a close-knit group of friends who look out for them. The "pompous ass" variety of fool is usually a loner because nobody wants to deal with him. 

Sample Character
Huckleberry "Woody" Boyd
Body:
13
Brain: 11
Nerve:
11
Job: Bartender (13)
Gimmick: God Watches Over Children and Fools (13)
Weakness: Yokel (13)
Skills: Indiana Lore +3, Bowling +2, Acting +1
WWPHITM? Woody Harrelson
Dumb Fact: Was Coach's pen pal (they exchanged pens through the mail)
Tag Line: "You fellas ever dress up farm animals in woman's clothing?"
HP: 13
YY: 4

Inspirational Materials
Books & Comics
Ambush Bug
Bone (Smiley Bone)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Groo by Sergio Aragones
Last Call by Tim Powers (Dondi Snayheever)
Preacher (Arseface)
Romeo & Juliet (Mercutio)
Sandman by Neil Gaiman (Merv Pumpkinhead)
The Simpsons (Homer)

Movies & TV
Anchorman (Ron Burgundy, Brick Tamland, most of the other characters to some extent)
The Andy Griffith Show (Barney Fife)
The Big Lebowski (The Dude, Walter, Donnie)
Burn After Reading (Chad Feldheimer)
The Colbert Report (Stephen Colbert)
Dodgeball (Pepper Brooks)
The Fisher King (Parry)
Forrest Gump
Ghostbusters (Walter Peck)
Gilligan's Island (Gilligan)
Idiocracy
The Jerk (Navin R. Johnson)
Naked Gun series (Frank Drebin)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Delmar)
Office Space (Bill Lumbergh, Lawrence)
Pink Panther series (Jacques Clouseau)
Pirates of the Caribbean series (Captain Jack Sparrow)
Seinfeld
This Is Spinal Tap
W (George W. Bush)
Warner Brothers cartoons (most of the characters)

 

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Archetype of the Week: The Fool.
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