There are many reasons Star Trek has endured for almost 60 years. Often cited for the series’ success are its humanistic ideals, its sense of exploration, and its imaginative, hopeful stories of the future. But another reason Star Trek connects with fans is that it is frequently hilarious with some of the funniest episodes in sci-fi history.
Star Trek’s humor might just be its secret weapon (set on stun, of course), so here are a few of our favorites of the funniest episodes in the franchise.
Star Trek: Enterprise – “Acquisition” – Season 1, Episode 19
The Ferengi are always good for a comedy episode in Star Trek, but this installment of Enterprise is particularly notable for the clever ways in which it allows Ferengi to board the NX-01 without the crew ever knowing who they are. Sure, most of the crew are unconscious for the majority of the story, but even Trip Tucker, the only one who stays awake and sees what’s going on, never identifies the looting interlopers.
“Acquisition” includes wonderful moments like an encounter between a Ferengi and Porthos and the constant squabbling between the would-be thieves while also managing to have Trip running around the ship in his underwear. This episode indulges the desire of the writers to allow their crew to interact with the scheming species while maintaining their mysterious status for the next couple of centuries.
Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Qpid” – Season 4, Episode 20
Few story elements bring out comedic gold in Star Trek, like putting our characters in whimsical roles and scenarios, and one of the best of these is “Qpid,” a classic episode wherein Q deposits Captain Picard and company in Sherwood Forest. With each character taking a different role from the Robin Hood stories, the great fun of the episode is watching everyone adapt to their ridiculous surroundings.
The funniest moments include Worf smashing Geordi’s lute (“Sorry,” he says, handing him the demolished instrument), Troi accidentally shooting arrows into Data’s Friar Tuck, and of course, Worf’s iconic line, “Captain, I protest! I am not a merry man!” It’s a fun frolic of an episode.
Star Trek: Lower Decks – “An Embarrassment of Dooplers” – Season 2, Episode 5
Star Trek: Lower Decks frequently has us laughing, as it should, but “An Embarrassment of Dooplers” featuring a character who duplicates himself every time he gets embarrassed is one of the best it has to offer. Guest star Richard Kind’s performance as the emotionally fragile Doopler emissary is pitch-perfect, while the crew’s attempts to keep him calm cause them no end of frazzled nerves of their own. Meanwhile, Mariner and Boimler’s attempts to get into a big, exclusive Starfleet party lead to zany extremes and a really sweet ending moment.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – “Trials And Tribble-ations” – Season 5, Episode 6
The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine classic “Trials and Tribble-ations,” putting Sisko, Dax, Bashir, Odo, and Worf into the events of the Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” has to go down as one of the best, cleverest, and funniest episodes of the entire franchise. While it certainly represents a technical marvel for the technology of the time, it is also loaded with sight gags, awkward situations, and incredibly clever means of including the DS9 crew in the hilarity on the Enterprise and the K7 station.
Not only does it bring its characters into the zany fight on the station in creative and hilarious ways, but it also gives Star Trek’s first acknowledgment of the visual change in the Klingons since the Original Series, giving Worf one of his best comedic lines, “We do not discuss it with outsiders.”
Star Trek: The Original Series – “The Trouble With Tribbles” – Season 2 Episode 15
The classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles” is the Enterprise crew’s original encounter with the most infamous little furballs in the galaxy and is easily one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. There is increasing hilarity around the ship and the K7 station as the seemingly innocent, cooing creatures continue to multiply, threatening to overtake both.
There is the classic shot of Captain Kirk buried in Tribbles as more continue to fall on his head throughout the scene. But the famous brawl in the K7 station’s commissary is full of comical hijinks, especially Tribble dealer Cyrano Jones’ determined focus on nabbing as many drinks from the now-open bar as he possibly can.
Star Trek: Voyager – “Body and Soul” – Seaosn 7 Episode 7
The comedy of Star Trek: Voyager’s “Body and Soul” centers around Jeri Ryan’s performance as Seven of Nine, who spends the majority of the episode inhabited by the Doctor. Ryan’s spot-on impression of costar Robert Picardo and the awkward situations she is put in throughout are pure comic gold. As the role of Seven of Nine was often somewhat narrow and emotionally limited, it’s incredibly rewarding to see her depicted in such a delightfully different way, demonstrating Ryan’s skill with comedy and allowing her room to at least breathe metaphorically, even if she didn’t get to change out of that silver jumpsuit.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – “The Elysian Kingdom” –
Admittedly, this Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode, while one of the funniest episodes, might also rank among the most heartbreaking in the franchise when it returns to reality. “The Elysian Kingdom” spends most of its time letting the crew romp around an Enterprise that has been turned into a storybook kingdom, with consistently hilarious results. From Hemmer delighting in dramatically doing “magic” with his scientific equipment to Captain Pike as a complete coward and buffoon, showing off Anson Mount’s incredible comic timing, this episode is loaded with laughs.
But the part that had us wiping away the most tears of laughter has to be La’an Noonien Singh’s turn as an impossibly frilly, shrill, and vapid princess who is obsessed with her dog (Christina Chong’s real-life pup). Of all the episodes in this list, we laughed the longest, the hardest, and for the most minutes of the episode’s run time watching this one.