Everyone knows the X-Files is a very creepy show, in fact I’ve already covered my top 5 scariest episodes which you can read here. However it’s not often remembered for being a funny show, despite the fact that there’s a surprising number of hilarious episodes across its run. Here’s a list of my personal 5 favourite funniest episodes.
Slight spoilers for each episode follow.
Bad Blood – Season 5
Although this list is numberless I have to confess Bad Blood would be my number one episode if it wasn’t. Turning the format on its head the episode starts towards the end of the story in a moment that itself is hilarious and an inspired use of the cut to the opening sequence. Having knowingly screwed up Mulder and Scully are in their office dreading their upcoming meeting where they need to explain themselves. Before going in they decide to go over their story. We then see a crossover of explanations including repeat moments but told from either character, which results in ridiculously exaggerated versions of them which are an absolute joy to watch.
There’s a lot of humour in the episode but the best moments come from the unreliably narrated versions of the same events. Scully’s version of Mulder completely under-appreciates her while he buzzes with enthusiasm about his theroies. Meanwhile Mulder portrays Scully as someone who completely disbelieves him to the point of mocking his ideas while he sincerely looks for the truth. It’s an incredibly self aware episode that pokes fun at both characters by exaggerating their personalities to the extreme. For anyone who’s come to know the characters well the episode is simply brilliant.
War of the Coprophages – Season 3
An exterminator is seemingly killed by a swarm of cockroaches while working. Later more deaths take place which are also apparently the result of a growing cockroach infestation that is spreading across the town. As the story progresses the inhabitants of the town are stricken with panic while it becomes increasingly questionable whether the cockroaches are actually responsible for anything after all.
The episode is has some fun social commentary in the form of the scene in which panicked buyers rush around a shop grabbing anything they can, it perfectly captures the fearful culture of today’s world that a single news broadcast can trigger. It’s also a nice nod to War of the Worlds of course, which the title clearly is a reference to. There’s also a very quick crafty moment that’s slipped in there that made me actually laugh aloud, but I won’t spoil it there. It has far less stand out moments than the other episodes on this list, but it’s notable for sustaining a very amusing atmosphere while not breaking from the show’s normal formula.
X-Cops – Season 7
X-Cops is a very unique episode in that it pretends to be a documentary style episode in the form of the TV show Cops. The episode never breaks character and remains in this format the whole time. The opening of the episode follows a police officer as he responds to a call that a woman has witnessed a monster nearby. Soon we see the officer running in terror from an unseen creature as the shaky camera also flees back towards the cop car. Afterwards Mulder and Scully arrive and begin their investigation with the police.
The episode is filled with amusing little jokes such as Scully’s disdain of the camera crew and her initial insistence on avoiding being filmed. It creates comical moments as the camera resorts to sneaking up on the two as they attempt to talk privately. Meanwhile Mulder sees the cameras as an opportunity to capture evidence on film while is perfectly in character. Even towards the climax, when things get much creepier, there’s still the occasional moment that made me laugh.
Humbug – Season 2
Humbug is was the very first comedic episode of the X-Files and showed that there was room for comedy in the series. Set in a town full of circus performers, someone or something is killing off members of the town. The suspicions soon fall on the mythical Fiji Mermaid, that no one seems to be able to find. Meanwhile Mulder and Scully are steadily introduced to the weird and wacky local population.
The episode is actually quite intelligent and toys with the audience’s expectations. For instance, the initial look at what we assume is the monster is actually the victim, later Michael J. Anderson’s character defensively criticises the unsaid assumptions that he must be a former circus member but then gets burned by his own logic. It’s all about challenging expectations and showing that different doesn’t necessarily mean dangerous, like it usually does on the show. As a bonus the final moment is a memorable joke that fits the tone of the episode perfectly.
Jose Chung’s From Outer Space – Season 3
While Bad Blood is perhaps the funniest episode, Jose Chung’s From Outer Space has the most ludicrous moments of the series. Deceptively starting with what looks to be a terrifying and revelatory moment as aliens arrive to abduct two teenagers, the episode quickly changes gears as the grey skinned aliens turn and wonder what the hell is going on when another alien arrives. Later Mulder is convinced aliens are responsible for taking the couple while Scully thinks there’s nothing to it. What develops then is a series of ridiculous stories told by different people including appearances by game show host Alex Trebek and former wrestler Jesse Ventura.
This was the first episode that really broke off from the X-Files’ normal format. There’s just endless little moments in this episode that can be picked out, a standout being the enraged character who Scully’s censors in her re-telling causing him to constantly say the word “bleeping” with all the vehemence as someone cursing. Other gems include a smoking alien, Mulder screaming in shock and Scully accidentally creating an alien autopsy conspiracy video. It’d be a bleeping shame if you didn’t go back and watch this episode.
Want more X-Files articles? Check out this post for a list of all of the X-Files content this week.