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The Funniest Moments In Star Trek History

Odds are when you think of "Star Trek," humor isn't the first thing that springs to mind. At least, not intentional humor. You think of things like ridged alien foreheads, the pointy-eared Spock lecturing Dr. McCoy about logic, or officers shouting out diminishing shield percentages during spaceship battles. To many, "Star Trek" is only funny when it's not trying to be, like Captain Kirk slapping himself silly in the original series' "Plato's Stepchildren." Or the mugato from "A Private Little War," who is meant to horrify viewers but — because it's basically a white-haired monkey-lizard with a unicorn horn — inspires a completely different response.

But while the stories may be best known for their sci-fi concepts and dense technical jargon, "Star Trek" creators have proven they know how to turn on the funny ever since the early days of the franchise. Whether they're entire episodes, hilarious scenes, or little more than a couple of lines of dialogue, here's what we count as the funniest moments in the history of "Star Trek." 

By the way, since it's more of a comedy than any other "Trek" property, we figured it wouldn't be fair to include examples from "Star Trek: Lower Decks" — otherwise we could have mentioned almost nothing but that series. 

Odo gets a zinger in on Quark

One of the most fun conflicts to witness on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," is the back and forth between Constable Odo (René Auberjonois) and the scheming Ferengi Quark (Armin Shimerman). One of their funniest exchanges happens in Season 4's "The Way of the Warrior," just before the epic battle between the eponymous station and a fleet of Klingon ships. 

Finding Quark outside his bar, Odo tells him it's time to head to the emergency shelter, but Quark assures Odo he intends to defend his property. Quark isn't known for being able to defend himself against so much as a tribble, much less battle-hardened Klingon warriors, so Odo is understandably skeptical. The bartender produces a box that he thinks holds a disrupter pistol. When he opens the box, boldly claiming he'll "be ready for" the Klingons, rather than a weapon, there's a note inside. Without skipping a beat or asking permission, Odo grabs the note and reads it — it's from Quark's brother Rom, informing him he gutted his disruptor to fix their replicator.  

Snatching the paper from Odo, Quark yells, "I will kill him!" 

Odo, clearly satisfied with this turn of events, responds, "With what?"

Picard hams it up to save Lwaxana Troi

One of the funniest recurring characters ever to appear in "Star Trek" is Deanna Troi's intrusive and flirtatious mother Lwaxana, played by the late Majel Barrett. In her third appearance on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" — Season 3's "Ménage à Troi" — her predicament forces Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) to deliver a speech so ridiculously over-the-top that even if you've never watched "TNG," you've likely seen the memes inspired by it.

After Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna (Marina Sirtis), and Lwaxana are kidnapped by the Ferengi DaiMon Tog, Lwaxana succeeds in getting Riker and her daughter sent back to the Enterprise by promising to be Tog's lover. When the Enterprise contacts Tog, Lwaxana plays at not wanting to be rescued, and tells Picard that "it's over" between them. Deanna figures out what her mother is doing, and tells Picard he will have to fight for her. 

In a display so melodramatic it would even make William Shatner groan, Picard professes his love for Lwaxana, threatens Tog with annihilation, and recites famous lines from Shakespearean sonnets with as much grandiose flair as he can muster. Worf watches in disgust, looking like he's about to rage-puke. It's Picard like you've never seen him, and probably wouldn't want to see him again. 

The tribbles make their first appearance

One of the funniest episodes of "Star Trek" arrives in Season 2 of "Star Trek: The Original Series." In "The Trouble with Tribbles," things start off on a much more serious note. The Enterprise is already on its way to Deep Space Station K-7, but they put the pedal to the metal when they receive an alert that the station is under attack. The alert proves to be a false alarm but there is danger waiting at K-7: a domineering Federation bureaucrat, a Klingon spy, and a space trader named Cyrano Jones (Stanley Adams) who sells members of the Enterprise crew some of the most troublesome pets in the galaxy — tribbles.

"The Trouble with Tribbles" is a classic, and one of the first examples of a whimsically goofy "TOS" episode that makes a point of not taking itself too seriously. From the countless puffballs that multiply faster than a gremlin in a tropical storm, to the ridiculous barroom brawl between the Klingons and Enterprise crew members, to the peddler Cyrano Jones willing to risk life and limb in order to score a free drink, "The Trouble with Tribbles" is a great time.

Bashir and O'Brien plan Worf's death right before his wedding

In "You Are Cordially Invited," when Worf (Michael Dorn) and Jadzia (Terry Farrell) marry in Season 6 of "DS9," Worf invites Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney) and Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig), among others, to the ritual of Kal'Hyah. Thinking they can expect the Klingon version of a bachelor party, they happily accept. But rather than drinking or exotic dancers, the path to Kal'Hyah involves fasting for four days and nights, being drained of blood, hanging from a pole over intense heat, and other creative tortures. 

When Worf abruptly cancels the wedding, Bashir and O'Brien are thrilled to cut their torment short and head straight to Quark's for a feast. But before they can sink their teeth in, Sisko (Avery Brooks) and Martok (J.G. Hertzler) arrive to let them know the wedding's back on, and when Quark takes their untouched food away, you can practically hear them whining like disappointed puppies.

After several vows from both friends that they're going to "kill Worf," the wedding finally arrives and part of the friends' duty — as part of Klingon tradition — is to attack Worf and Jadzia with blunted weapons called Ma'Stakas. While everyone else applauds the newlyweds' kiss, Bashir looks like Obi-Wan Kenobi waiting for a force field to come down, incessantly asking Martok, "Now?" When Martok finally gives the word, Bashir and O'Brien rush Worf and Jadzia with cries of rage and the credits roll to the sound of the mock battle.

Spock doesn't like Italian food

One of the best "Star Trek" films featuring the original crew is 1986's "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." In order to answer the call of an alien probe which is blindly triggering power losses and apocalyptic storms on Earth, Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew must go back in time to recover a humpback whale — a species extinct by the 23rd century. 

While "TOS" had plenty of instances of sending the heroes back in time, none of those stories feel as natural or believable as "Star Trek IV." Rather than facing any particular physical threat, the biggest challenge the heroes face is culture shock. They don't have money, when they try to use a bus they're stymied by the need for "exact change," and in particular they're confused by what Spock (Leonard Nimoy) calls "colorful metaphors," i.e. all the swearing.

One of the funniest scenes involves Kirk and Spock trying to earn the trust of the marine biologist Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks). Kirk is trying, and failing, to seem like the "normal" one compared to Spock. When Gillian asks them if they like Italian food, one of the most natural, adorably funny moments ever in "Star Trek" unfolds, as Kirk and Spock bicker like an angry old couple, with Spock insisting "no" and Kirk saying "yes" about a half dozen times each.

Worf is no merry man

Because of the machinations of the mischievous entity Q — one of the greatest "Star Trek" villains — Captain Picard, his senior staff, and Picard's old flame Vash find themselves transported to Sherwood Forest in Season 4's "Qpid."

There's little about "Qpid" that won't make you laugh. Picard and his senior officers are made up as Robin Hood's merry men, including Data (Brent Spiner), who bears the famous bald dome of Friar Tuck. Worf is, predictably, the most incensed by the situation, famously complaining to Picard, "Sir, I protest. I am not a merry man!" 

The most laugh-out-loud moment comes when Geordi (Levar Burton), much more comfortable in his role as Alan-a-Dale than Worf is as Will Scarlett, rests and plucks at his mandolin. Without comment or permission, Worf calmly walks over to Geordi, grabs the mandolin, and — in a wonderful homage to 1978's "National Lampoon's Animal House"smashes the instrument against a nearby tree.

Kirk and Spock are hilarious as wiseguys

If you're a "Star Trek" fan, then you no doubt are familiar with the Prime Directive, which prohibits members of Starfleet from interfering with the natural progression of any society outside the United Federation of Planets. Serving as a comically dangerous example of why the Prime Directive exists is the "TOS" Season 2 episode, "A Piece of the Action." 

One hundred years before the events of the episode — before the Prime Directive is established — Sigma Iotia II is visited by the Earth ship Horizon. To help teach the planet's natives, the Horizon crew leaves behind a number of books, including a non-fiction book titled "Chicago Mobs of the Twenties." After the Horizon leaves, the Iotians come to see this book as a holy text and base their entire culture on it. When Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) beam down to the planet, they find a world where just about every grown male dresses and speaks like tough guys in mobster movies, and people openly carry Tommy Guns up and down the street as if there was nothing strange about it.

Along with the episode's crazy premise, "A Piece of the Action" gets even funnier once Kirk and Spock get hold of their own mobster get-ups and Kirk starts doing his own impersonation of a Chicago gangster. Shatner wouldn't fool anyone on Earth, and it's tough to tell whether that's intentional, which just makes the whole thing funnier.

Star Trek made fun of itself in Trials and Tribble-ations

Early in Season 5 of "DS9," the series made television history with "Trials and Tribble-ations" in a way that only a "Star Trek" series could. Using technology that had been popularized with the 1994 film "Forrest Gump," the cast of the show is sent back in time to the 1967 "TOS" episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," and somehow manages to get more laughs than the earlier episode.

Along with perfectly recreating the sets, props and wardrobe of the earlier series, "Tribble-ations" uses the opportunity to poke fun at itself. O'Brien, the tireless engineer, is so lost on the Enterprise that when he tries to perform routine maintenance, he takes out all the nearby lights. Bashir gets hit on by a woman he becomes convinced is his great-grandmother, and afterward he considers the possibility that if he doesn't get involved with her, he might never be born. 

Hands down, the best moment comes when a waitress points out a table full of Klingons. Everyone but Worf is confused, because, of course, Klingons look a lot different in the original series. It's the first time in the franchise anyone acknowledges what always seems like a glaring inconsistency, and it comes off perfectly. 

Scotty gets drunk and gives dirty looks in Relics

In all of the examples of crossovers between "TNG" and "TOS," the funniest is "Relics," the Season 6 "TNG" episode in which the Enterprise crew saves Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) from his 75-year wait in a transporter buffer.

Often just as sad as it is funny, "Relics" finds Scotty trying to feel relevant in this new century, eventually pestering Geordi La Forge so much that the younger engineer loses it and yells at Scotty. With the surprising aid of Data, Scotty gets hammered with a drink the android can only identify with "it is green" — a hilarious callback to Scotty's own dialogue while attempting to drink an alien under the table in the Season 2 "TOS" episode "By Any Other Name." His slurred, annoyed exchange with the holodeck computer while trying to recreate the deck of the original Enterprise is wonderful. 

There's also a perfect, blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment at the end of the episode that perfectly reflects one of the biggest differences between "TNG" and "TOS." As Scotty is leaving the ship, sharing handshakes and kisses on the cheek with the different officers, his only farewell to the Klingon Worf is a quick but unmistakably dirty look.  

Scotty has trouble with a computer

Imagine being suddenly transported to the 23rd century and needing to use a computer more advanced than anything you'd ever seen. Well, in "Star Trek IV," Scotty and McCoy are confused not by how advanced a computer is, but how primitive

On their quest to bring 20th century humpback whales back to the 23rd century, Scotty, McCoy, and Sulu (George Takei) are tasked with figuring out a way to construct a makeshift aquarium aboard the Bounty. While Sulu secures an aircraft, Scotty and McCoy find a plexiglass manufacturer and pretend to be famous scientists with an appointment to tour the factory. At the end of the tour, Scotty plans to offer the head of the plant, Dr. Nichols, the futuristic formula to transparent aluminum, but he needs to use Nichols' computer to prove it can work. 

Twice, Scotty tries using the computer by saying "Computer," predictably without luck. Thinking he's figured it out, McCoy hands Scotty the mouse. Smiling widely, Scotty holds the mouse to his face like a walkie talkie and says, "Hello, computer." Finally Nichols, annoyed at this point, says, "Just use the keyboard." 

The Magnificent Ferengi is the best Ferengi episode

"DS9" enjoys a lot of great, and usually funny, Ferengi episodes. Arguably the best of them features a surprising amount of gallow's humor — Season 6's "The Magnificent Ferengi."

Quark's mother Ishka is kidnapped by the Dominion. To get her back, Quark arranges for a prisoner exchange. When Quark assembles the titular "magnificent" Ferengi, it feels like a farcical version of "Ocean's Eleven." Along with Quark is Rom, his nephew Nog, the usually villainous Liquidator Brunt, Quark's now penniless cousin Galia, and a new character — the assassin Leck. Together they transport the Vorta Keevan to DS9's abandoned twin station Empok Nor for the prisoner exchange, and things are going fine until Galia unintentionally kills Keevan.

With Keevan's death, the episode stops feeling like a parody of "Ocean's Eleven" and becomes a more thrilling, but still funny, version of "Weekend at Bernie's." Fitting Keevan's corpse with neural stimulators, Nog manages to manipulate Keevan's corpse just long enough to make it walk partway down the hall during the prisoner exchange, just long enough for the Ferengi to secure Ishka. Then the corpse turns and walks into a wall — continuing to try walk through it like a glitching video game character. For a cherry on top, the Vorta sent to collect Keevan — Yelgrun — is played by the godfather of punk himself, Iggy Pop.

Scotty knows this ship...

Considering it's arguably the worst "Star Trek" movie ever made, the fact that 1989's "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" remains William Shatner's only turn as a "Trek" director — not counting his "Trek" documentaries — shouldn't come as a surprise. But the film isn't without its merits. It's one of the funnier entries in the franchise, though some of its detractors would argue that in part it's the movie's over-reliance on humor that weighs it down. But one easy, uncharacteristically slapstick moment in "Star Trek V" survives as one of the franchise's most uproarious gags.

After the forces loyal to Spock's fanatical brother Sybok seize control of the Enterprise, Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy are imprisoned in the brig, but not for long. After Scotty frees them with explosives, the liberated trio make a plan to sneak their way to the emergency transmitter, but they're worried about search parties. Scotty gives them directions he's confident should steer them clear of Sybok's people. Before the trio rushes off, Kirk emphatically thanks Scotty and calls him "amazing."

Turning and walking in the other direction, Scotty mutters, "There's nothing amazing about it. I know this ship like the back of my hand." With a loud "BONG!" Scotty's forehead connects with a bulkhead he should have easily been able to avoid. He crashes to the ground, unconscious. It's perfectly timed and classic.

Keiko's second pregnancy scares Worf

If you understand the context, the single-word response Worf delivers to Quark in "Accession" — a Season 4 episode of "DS9" — should make you laugh hard enough to knock you out of any recliner, couch, or captain's chair. Dr. Bashir and O'Brien are sharing a drink in Quark's bar, discussing the news that O'Brien's wife Keiko is pregnant with another baby. It's just then that, behind Bashir and O'Brien, Quark runs into Worf and says, "Did you hear? Keiko's going to have another baby."

To understand what happens next, you need to know that five years earlier in the Season 5 "TNG" episode "Disaster," much of the Enterprise is rendered inoperable and most of the crew is stranded in different parts of the ship. This, of course, is when Keiko O'Brien — pregnant with her first baby — goes into labor while stuck in Ten Forward. As the most qualified crew member — but still with precious little medical knowledge — it's Worf who's forced to assist with Keiko's pregnancy, and it's clear for every second of it he'd rather be facing down an entire army of Romulans. 

So this is why, five years later in "Accession," when Quark delivers the news that "Keiko's going to have another baby," Worf's immediate reaction is to respond with a panicked "Now?!?"