The cultural touchstone of the 1990s, Chris Carter's sci-fi classic The X-Files started out as a tense thriller about conspiracies, aliens, and the paranormal, but over the years, the show became increasingly self-aware, especially in a number of highly entertaining comedic episodes. Unsurprisingly, most of those gems were written by either Vince Gilligan or Darin Morgan, who penned a good number of X-Files' best installments.
For a sci-fi drama, The X-Files sure does have a lot of funny episodes and before we get to the top ten, we'd like to shoutout the runners-up: "Humbug", "Arcadia", "The Post-Modern Prometheus", "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas", "Hollywood A.D.", "Syzygy", and "Triangle".
10 JE SOUHAITE (SEASON 7, EPISODE 21)
Penned by Vince Gilligan, the season seven episode “Je Souhaite” revolves around an ancient genie who causes trouble due to her master’s poorly thought out wishes. Embracing the weirdness of the world that The X-Files has created, Gilligan wrote an episode in which a man becomes invisible, gets hit by a bus, and wanders out of a locked morgue, and it’s no big deal. Hell, Mulder makes the entire population of Earth disappear for an hour, and it’s no big deal.
“Je Souhaite” was the last stand-alone episode prior to David Duchovny’s departure from the show, which is probably why there's so much freaky, weird, and wonderful stuffed in forty-five minutes. While it may never rank among the top ten or twenty greatest X-Files episodes of all time, this story about a somewhat mean-spirited genie certainly has memorable and hilarious comedic moments. Scully’s giddiness over the invisible man, Mulder’s exasperated “oh” when Scully for the umptieth time refuses to believe her own eyes, the various misfortunate outcomes of the wishes, and, of course, Mulder’s three wishes.
9 DREAMLAND I & II (SEASON 6, EPISODE 4 & 5)
In this season six two-parter, Mulder and Scully head to a location near Area 51 when a freak incident involving a malfunctioning UFO causes Mulder and Area 51 agent Morris Fletcher to swap bodies. Stuck in Fletcher’s body Mulder quickly raises suspicions with his wife who starts suspecting he’s having an affair with “Special Tramp” Dana Scully, while Fletcher’s strict adherence to the rules, as well as, calling Scully “baby” raises a red flag with Scully.
While “Dreamland” is packed with all kinds of wacky situations that result from this Freaky Friday setup, the episode is most famous for the hilarious dance scene in which Mulder-as-Fletcher does the dance from the 1933 comedy movie Duck Soup in front of the mirror. The interactions between Scully and Fletcher-as-Mulder are hilarious, especially as Scully begins to lose patience with this new, unnatural Mulder.
8 SMALL POTATOES (SEASON 4, EPISODE 20)
Coming in late season four, “Small Potatoes” has one of X-Files most bonkers and hilarious interrogations ever. When Mulder and Scully arrive in a small town in West Virginia where five babies have recently been born with tails, they interrogate one of the mothers who straight up tells them that the father of her baby is from another planet. She tells Mulder and Scully that Luke Skywalker is the baby daddy, prompting Scully to ask the best question anyone’s ever asked in an interrogation: “did he have a lightsaber?” And that’s just the beginning of the episode.
Mulder and Scully rather quickly arrest a suspect, a janitor named Eddie Van Blundht, who is proven to be the father of all five babies. However, none of the women have any recollection of having sexual relations with him. As it turns out, the reason they don’t is Van Blundht can physically transform himself into anyone. Naturally, all kinds of hilarious shenanigans ensue as Mulder and Scully chase after a suspect who can literally be anyone. Things get even crazier when Van Blundht transforms into Mulder, goes to work as an FBI agent, and tries to seduce Scully. The moment the real Mulder breaks down Scully's door just in time to stop the kiss is always hilarious.
7 X-COPS (SEASON 7, EPISODE 12)
This special season seven episode is a fictional crossover between The X-Files and the reality television program Cops. The episode is presented in the format of any other Cops episode, only with Mulder and Scully at the center of the investigation into an alleged monster that’s been terrorizing a neighborhood in LA.
Mulder and Scully are joined by local cops, and the camera crew, as they hunt the monster. Mulder has wild theories (he thinks it’s a werewolf), while his skeptical partner fears how people who aren’t used to his spooky theories will react. Still, it’s Mulder who embraces the popularity, while Scully is characteristically annoyed by the camera crew, resulting in some pretty hilarious scenes. The alleged monster is quite interesting as well because it transforms into the mortal fear of the person it attacks, so everyone who encounters it inevitably gives a different description, including one person who described Freddy Krueger. “X-Cops” is weird, at times a bit spooky, but above all it's hilarious. The format, while unorthodox makes, the comedic moments even funnier, Mulder and Scully's dynamic is flawless, and who can forget line's Scully’s creepy “because the FBI has nothing to hide”, or Mulder's "I don't think it's live television, Scully. She just said *bleep*".
6 MULDER AND SCULLY MEET THE WERE-MONSTER (SEASON 10, EPISODE 3)
When The X-Files came back in 2016, we were all skeptical about the show’s ability to still deliver the kind of entertainment we got from it throughout the original nine-season run. But while the first two episodes didn't impress, the third episode knocked it out of the park.
Written and directed by an X-Files veteran, Darin Morgan, this fantastic comedic episode revolves around mysterious killings seemingly perpetrated by a were-monster. The twist is, said monster is a lizard-creature, who was bitten by a human and thus turns into one during the day. As for the murders, they were all done by a regular man, and the “monster” Guy Man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Morgan worked in tons of in-jokes and Easter eggs into the episode, Mulder and Scully are as riveting and hilarious as ever, and Guy Man's understanding of what it means to be human is both hilarious and disturbingly accurate. The “this is how I like my Mulder” scene is one of the funniest X-Files scenes ever and Mulder’s interactions with the Internet and modern technology are priceless. "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster" is a smart, hilarious, and above all, an immensely fun celebration of the show.
5 THE LOST ART OF FOREHEAD SWEAT (SEASON 11, EPISODE 4)
In season eleven, Darin Morgan came back once again to write and direct the best episode of the season, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat”. As goofy as any other Morgan installment, “Forehead Sweat” underscores what Morgan’s been telling us all these years, reality is ugly, but it’s also kinda hilarious in its ugliness. The episode deals with the Mandela effect (or was it Mengele effect?) which is pretty much the human mind misremembering stuff. A man named Reggie claims that he worked with Mulder and Scully on the X-Files, but that the two of them forgot about him either due to the Mandela effect, or Dr. They, or the fact that it happened in a parallel universe. Reggie takes us back to some classic (and some not so classic) X-Files episodes in hilarious flashbacks.
In this modern take on The X-Files, Morgan lampoons the show, comments on the current political climate, and questions whether the X-Files, as a show, even has a place in today's society. The elusive and surprisingly upfront Dr. They straight up tells Mulder that no one even knows what's meant by 'the truth' anymore, so the truth no longer matters, meaning the X-Files no longer has a purpose. Listening to Dr. They's take on today's society is funny, but, in hindsight, it may inspire you to ponder at length about our ugly reality.
4 WAR OF THE COPROPHAGES (SEASON 3, EPISODE 12)
In this crazy Darin Morgan classic, Mulder gets caught up investigating a small town where the residents are seemingly being killed by cockroaches. While Mulder and the attractive bug expert Bambi – yes, her name is Bambi – work the case, Scully is trying to have a peaceful evening at home but Mulder keeps calling to pick her brain about the infestation of killer cockroaches. It goes something like this: there's a death, Mulder calls Scully, Scully has a reasonable explanation, repeat. Thanks to Morgan's outstanding writing, their interactions over the course of this episode are some of the best and funniest Mulder and Scully moments. Alas, despite Scully’s perfectly reasonable explanations, when dead bodies continue to pile up, she arrives in Miller’s Grove, defuses a situation in a local supply store, and delivers some sick burns on Bambi, and gets covered in manure for her troubles.
The episode throws so many conjectures that it's easy for us, as well as the characters, to draw the wrong conclusions. Those wrong conclusions led the townspeople to make bad decisions, which in turn led to more bad/deadly outcomes that supported their theory, which in the end resulted in mass paranoia. If anything, this episode goes to show that we'd rather believe in some shady government conspiracy or an alien invasion than the simple truth: as disgusting as it may be, bugs, like manure in the final moments of the episode, are everywhere.
3 CLYDE BRUCKMAN'S FINAL REPOSE (SEASON 3, EPISODE 4)
This season three episode won Darin Morgan an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in Drama Series. Guest-starring the late Peter Boyle as the titular Clyde Bruckman, a reluctant psychic with the ability to tell how and when people are going to die, the episode revolves around Mulder and Scully’s investigation into a series of murders of psychics and fortune tellers.
The episode's dark humor is perfect, with the best jokes largely delivered by Boyle whose flawless deadpan sells the episode. Nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious. On top of that, the fake psychic, the Stupendous Yappi, is yet another amusing character that makes an appearance in "Clyde Bruckman". And even though the episode has a tragic ending, it’s still one of the funniest installments in the series.
2 JOSE CHUNG'S FROM OUTER SPACE (SEASON 3, EPISODE 20)
This season three episode was written by Darin Morgan, which should tell you that what you'll experience when you watch "Jose Chung’s From Outer Space" will be absolutely ridiculous in the best possible way. In “Jose Chung”, the titular famed sci-fi novelist is attempting to write a book about an alleged alien abduction of two teenagers, but with multiple unreliable narrators, he’s having trouble piecing the story together.
“Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” is a fourth-wall-bending, meta-humor-packed episode that comments on the absurd nature of the show. It’s as if Morgan's telling us “yeah we get how bizarre and bonkers all this stuff is and we love it”. Because while the episode certainly pokes fun at The X-Files, it is never embarrassed by what the show is. This episode has all kinds of hilarious gimmicks – a cigarette-smoking alien, men in black who look like Alex Trebek, and multiple hypnoses, Mulder's hilarious yelp, the sweet potato pie interrogation, and various ridiculous confabulations. It's smart, it's funny, and it's an undeniable classic.
1 BAD BLOOD (SEASON 5, EPISODE 12)
Written by Vince Gilligan, the season five episode "Bad Blood" is widely recognized as one of the best episodes of The X-Files. In this monster-of-the-week installment, Mulder and Scully are in deep trouble when Mulder drives a stake through the heart of a young man he believes to be a vampire. They try to get their stories straight, however, give two widely different accounts of the same events – from the observations made about the hypothetical vampire and the case in general to their depictions of each other.
In Scully’s version of events, Mulder is overly excited about everything and unappreciative of her hard work. While, in Mulder’s story, Scully is grumpy and doesn't listen to his brilliant theories. The episode relies on Mulder and Scully's contrasting stories to explore their dynamic in the most hilarious fashion. From start to finish, this timeless X-Files classic is packed with hilarious scenes and lines, such as "I didn't do the... with the thing", “this man’s shoes are untied”, “begin autopsy on one white male, age 60, who is arguably having a worse time in Texas than I am... although not by much”, Mulder singing the Shaft theme, and “essentially, exactly the way it happened”, just to name a few.