A butt-monkey (aka "Megward the Wizard", a term coined by TheMysteriousMrEnter; "punching bag", "torture victim", "outcast", "chew toy", "laughing stock", "bad luck", or "accident") is a character who is always the butt of a demeaning joke, goes through a "put them through hell" plotline, and/or the only character who endures all the slapstick pain & misery inflicted onto them, which is often played for comedy. For whatever reason, butt-monkeys seem to walk through life with a permanent "Kick Me" sign attached to their backs, invisible to them but all too visible to the rest of the world to see. They are the polar opposite of karma houdinis, but sometimes getting bullied and abused can also lead to a trope besides this.
Furthermore, not all butt-monkeys are unlucky characters because they are frequently just accident-prone characters and get abused for no reason.
Pretty much nothing ever goes right for this character, and if something bad happens, chances are it happens to them, or somebody else (as a twist shock), to add another schlimazel/schlemiel/scapegoat to the mix.
To basically sum up this trope, it's a character who goes through hell. Physically, mentally, verbally, or all of the above.
Keep in mind that some of them became popular because of this (e.g. Butters from South Park).
The Overall Reason For Why This Trope Sucks
- Basically, this trope serves as tiresome character development.
- Where characters you adore or root for to succeed as characters, are suffering through all kinds of pain, misery, and torture that they didn't really deserve at all in the first place, often in an overly mean-spirited manner (to the point of overkill). Meanwhile, these karma houdinis always get away scot-free from what they do and deserve a sense of retribution for their actions, far more than what these scapegoats go through.
- There are plenty of butt-monkeys that do deserve their misfortunes and are also karmic butt-monkeys for being unlikable, stupid, rude, annoying, selfish, mean, villainous, etc. Such to the point that it can range from being satisfying, funny, or even hilarious in some instances. (i.e Eric Cartman from South Park, Roy Rooster from Garfield & Friends, Deandra "Dee" Reynolds and Charlie Kelly from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, just to list a few.)
- There are many butt-monkey characters that are well-written. Much to the point of being rather likable, relatable, and sympathetic. (i.e Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Mario and Chef Pee Pee from SuperMarioLogan, Roger Rabbit, Squidward Tentacles, Plankton, Fred and Scooter from SpongeBob Squarepants, Dr. Flug from Villainous, Butters from South Park, Abyo from Pucca, Coop Burtonburger from Kid vs. Kat, Johnny Bravo, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Tom Cat from Tom and Jerry for example.)