It’s never good to over analyze those special things in life which simply make us happy. Thankfully, it’s a simple equation to balance. For fan’s of Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi vehicle, it’s really this simple:
Star Trek is funny. It makes us laugh.
Season after season, the many TV shows which chronicle the cosmic adventures of majestic Starship Enterprise, far from home U.S.S. Voyager and the wildly chaotic, telenovela station of Deep Space Nine bring on the truly funny more hilariously and elegantly than many of the highest rated Hollywood sitcoms. Friends, Golden Girls, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother – eat your chuckle-stained hearts out!
The funny fact: Star Trek does comedy like no other show.
On the surface, this declaration of comic goodness seems pretty self-evident, as any loyal Trekker knows how incredibly hilarious the science fiction legend is, but for the uninitiated out there, here’s a giggle tip. If you like to laugh and dig smart humor, warp on over to starship Enterprise, Voyager or station Deep Space Nine. Be prepared to have your funny bone tickled – and much more.
Funny can be subjective. What’s funny to you may not be so hilarious to me – or anyone else for that laughing matter. A universal comedy springs from people who make us laugh effortlessly. We may laugh at them, but more often than not, we’re laughing with them. We laugh at their character traits. We celebrate them. We don’t mock them. Comic greats like Lucille Ball or Jackie Gleason, to Red Foxx, Roseanne Barr, and Bea Arthur. not only make audiences howl with laughter but get us to embrace characters they lovingly craft over a course of a long running television series.
Trekkers are a lucky lot when it comes to laughs. Be it the original Trek – featuring a ‘green blooded’ Vulcan sparring with an ‘old country doctor’ to the many ways a Ferengi bargained with a Changeling Constable, fans of Gene Roddenberry’s spaceship of the imagination boast an embarrassment of silly riches when it comes to comedy.
Note: Rather than construct an exhaustive list of EVERY funny moment or FUNNIEST Treks, I’ve merely assembled some of my favorites, keeping with overall comedy tales – not select scenes or memorable one liners. Comedy is subjective. Your giggle gem may not make it. Maybe next time!
The Original Series – Funny Folk: Spock & McCoy – Scotty & Chekov
A Piece of The Action
Gangster Kirk? Hitman Spock? The Enterprise organizes their own crime mob and takes a colorful walk on the wild side of 1920’s Earth crime history when they assume the gun toting culture of an alien race emulating the colorful crime bosses and culture of 20th Century America. In the end, all they really want is… a piece of the action!
Trouble With Tribbles
Often lauded as the funniest or cutest episode in any Star Trek incarnation, this cautionary tale of pet/animal control gone wild remains a universal fan favorite. Tribbles are basically purring dust bunnies who put the pro in procreation since the little furry bastards are born pregnant.
Roguish Harry Mudd was introduced in an earlier episode – “Mudd’s Women” – but this one really brings on the funny. Mudd’s planet of androids becomes so outlandish, his own wife, nag expert Stella, rampages around as one of the marauding cyber folk. Roger C. Carmel may have been the funniest guest ever to grace Trek and was nearly rewarded with his own spin-off show back in the day. Sadly, it never launched.
The Way To Eden
Often derided, and more often joyously mocked, this tale of hippies gone wild remains weird, other worldly, but always funny. There are so many comedic scenes to choose from, but the sick bay moment where the hippy wails, ‘Gonna crack my knuckles and jump for joy, I got a clean bill of health from Dr. McCoy!’ remains a rib tickling classic. Bones, heal thyself with laughter!
Next Generation – Funny Folk: Data & Geordi – Guinan & Barclay
Betazoids can be seriously horny aliens. Can Mrs. Lwaxana Troi snag a proper mate? She’s on the heated prowl and oh so determined. Captain Picard’s determined to avoid her, and the whole darn romp becomes a complete laugh riot.
Menage A Troi
Take the scheming Ferengi, throw in the beautiful Deanna Troi and Enterprise D’s Counselor’s Mom, Lwaxana, and you get real laughs aplenty. Picard’s love proclamation to Mrs. Troi is a prime moment. Yet another dependable Troi Mom chuckle fest.
Lt. Reg Barclay loves his Holodeck time. Oh, it’s such fun. It’s a real chance for him to relax. It’s also private time for him to romance his unsuspecting crew mates – in holographic form anyway. So. What’s the problem then? You gotta lock the door! Poor ole Broccoli, he’s the Engineer without the basic engineering smarts for privacy.
Sherwood Forest awaits! The rollicking romantic adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marion come to vibrant life when the cosmic pain in the ass Q pops into our realm and plays once again with his favorite playmate, Picard. Laughs abound abundantly, but the funniest line comes from the terminally irritable Klingon, Worf: “I protest! I am not a merry man!”
When a god loses his godliness, what to do? Where does he go? Why he chooses to spend the rest of his fading mortal coil with the very human beings he’s tormented for years, of course! Seems that Q’s choice of being plopped helpless on Picard’s bulkhead is a good one – considering all the other races he’s tortured wish him deader than dead. Red Alert!
A Fistful Of Datas
Data in drag? Actually, it’s actor Brent Spiner playing a holographic android of himself playing an old western bar floozy dressed to the tacky nines. Spiner’s drag turn is worth the price of admission in this Deadwood flavored romp. Howdy, partner! Sit a spell, drink your drink and draw! Maybe Spiner should guest on RuPaul’s Drag Race?
If you could live your life over again from childhood, would you? Think it’d be loads of fun? Picard, Guinan, Keiko O’Brien and Ensign Ro are the starship adults who get that free spirited second chance childhood. Hey, maybe if Discovery doesn’t work out, they could do Star Trek: Little Rascals! I’d buy that for a dollar!
Deep Space Nine – Funny Folk: Odo & Quark, Bashir & O’Brien & Morn
House of Quark
Can Quark effectively deal with Klingon culture’s obsession with honor and a fiery Klingon woman determined to get the upper hand? Our adorable Ferengi deal maker’s no battlefield warrior, but he’s definitely got grit. Somehow, someway he’s got to find a way to fight this one out – or die trying. Remember: “When Morn leaves, it’s all over.”
Profit and Lace
A Some Like It Hot vibe sees Quark in an ultimate drag race after he gets sex reassignment surgery from Dr. Bashir. Though overall comedic, the tale employs sci-fi quickie surgery to teach Quark a lesson. He ultimately realizes how wrong his recent sexual harassment of a waitress was and rewards her for the embarrassment and the pain he caused her.
Our Man Bashir
Bashir, Julian Bashir. Romulan Ale. Shaken, not stirred. He’s the super secret medical man with a plan – or, er, something. This Bond spoof comes complete with a thrilling sense of adventure and more than a healthy dose of a sense of humor. Austin Powers, meet Dr. Bashir.
Trials & Tribbleation
Once again those troublesome Tribbles roll in like colorful tumbleweeds to tickle our collective funny bone. This tale isn’t only a howl, but a time tripping retread of The Original Series, as Captain Sisko and company journey back to Captain Kirk’s era for yet more trouble dealing with those adorable dust bunnies.
Voyager – Funny People: Tuvok & Neelix, Seven Of Nine & Doc & Seska
Bride of Chaotica
Flash Gordon isn’t simply a quaint, ancient pop culture hobby for heroic Ensign Paris. It’s an obsession. After he and pal Harry Kim dress up as cosmic swashbucklers in the vein of 20th-century pulp fiction space cowboys, the phaser energy hits the fan. Captain Proton lives! Enjoy the glorious black and white holodeck environment – if you dare!
Ferengi warps their profit loving butts to the Delta Quadrant. When Captain Janeway’s Voyager meets up with them, they must handle two con men who are posing as powerful gods. Aliens posing as gods using native mythology. Huh. Yeah. Sounds familiar…. Has anyone seen Ra? Dial that StarGate!
Would you volunteer to babysit a godlike child? You’d undoubtedly charge more than a few bucks to watch such a terrible tyke. Captain Janeway gets little choice in the matter when Q comes calling and plops his precocious and super powered junior onto our favorite lost in space Starfleet vessel. Even stripped of his godly powers, Q2 remains a ‘problem child.’ Fun fact: Q actor John de Lancie’s real-life son, Keegan, plays Q2.
Body and Soul
The Borg Drone & The Doc – what sweet, silly music they make. When 7 of 9 downloads Doc’s holomatrix into her sizable Borg implants, Voyager’s physician gets a chance to be as ‘alive’ as he’ll probably ever be. This isn’t only a fun ride, but it’s an awesome showcase for actress Jeri Ryan’s impressive mimicry skills. Mmmmm cheesecake!
Apologies to those Enterprise fans for coming up nada here. Yes, it’s a bit of an empty space to be sure. I’ve found Phlox funny at times, and the Chief Medical Officer does show off a humorous bedside manner – but that’s about all for me and the cataloging of any real humor to be found on Enterprise. The finale, “These Are The Voyages” throws us a few rib tickling gems, but since it’s basically The Next Generation boosting and then unceremoniously burying Star Trek: Enterprise, I don’t know how fair it is to include since all truly fun moments are TNG related.
Star Trek: Discovery
The hilariously iconic Harry Mudd from TOS will be revived and recycled for Discovery. Rainn Wilson will play the larger than life entrepreneur or always charismatic con man, depending on your point of view or how effectively Harry plays you. Roger C. Carmel is a hard act to follow. Those are certainly big comic shoes to fill. Wilson is definitely not the best fit physically for the beloved role, so we’ll see if his interpretation/impersonation fares any better. Let’s just hope Discovery brings us real honest to goodness laughs.
Will is an Emmy Award nominated screenwriter, book author and content producer. He’s written for magazines, the web and for several highly respected TV shows, most notably for the Star Trek franchise.
Will penned episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and he was one of the few freelancers to work on episodes for both landmark Hollywood series, born of visionary Gene Roddenberry. He’s pitched to Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine & for USA Network’s show, Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.
His articles & celebrity interviews appear in national magazines, websites, newspapers and he’s written extensively for publications such as: Yahoo! News, McCall’s Quilter’s Home, American Chronicle, Bayonne Style, OMG, Shine, Hudson Reporter, The Last Reel & Sci-Fi Pulse.
His new book, Star Trek Sex: Analyzing The Most Sexually Charged Episodes Of The Original Series, is published by Bearmanor Media.