Published Mar 6, 2023
Worf's Most Glorious One-Liners, Ranked
Though he is not a merry man, Worf's one-liners are not to be underestimated.
By Jay Stobie
With a personality as complicated as any Klingon ritual, Worf tended to conceal his sense of humor from those around him.
Of course, the Starfleet officer also had a habit of inadvertently delivering punchlines that entertained his comrades. By the time he lived aboard Deep Space 9, Worf's comedic confidence had matured to the point where he would purposely make remarks that left the rest of the crew guessing as to whether or not he was being serious.
Brace yourself for some uproarious Klingon belly laughs as we revisit the scenes that feature Worf's most amusing moments.
Despite the inherent awkwardness, Worf's first contact with Bashir went about as well as O'Brien could have hoped when he introduced the two officers to one another. The doctor's friendly invitation quickly gave way to Worf’s lukewarm reply, but he genuinely appeared to be doing his best to be polite. Worf eventually acquiesced to the request, impaling the gameboard with the dart in a show of brute strength. The exchange proved to be quite fitting for the former U.S.S. Enterprise-D security chief's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debut.
Needless to say, Worf is not one for small talk. After slurping up the tea provided to him at the Uxbridge home, the Starfleet officer once again sought to demonstrate his courteous side by complimenting both the beverage and the decor. As is often the case, Worf's effort to fill the silence served as a catalyst for an unintentionally jocular exchange. Regardless of his cumbersome reply, the fact that Worf wanted to offer words of praise for Rishon's tea illuminated a heartwarming aspect to his character.
Having survived a skirmish with the Dominion that took place aboard the U.S.S. Defiant, Worf aimed to fulfill his promise to Jadzia Dax and composed a poem to celebrate the occasion. Emphasizing how much the project meant to him, Deep Space 9's strategic operations officer recited the first line about the little ship with a serious tone and a stern glare. Temporarily taken aback by the lackluster introduction, Jadzia quickly surmised that this prose marked the rare occasion when her husband was consciously playing a practical joke. Worf's willingness to let down his guard to elicit a laugh from his wife exemplified her positive influence over his Klingon persona.
Worf's competitive chatter clearly indicated that he felt more at ease during a bat'leth tournament than a baseball game. Then again, who would have guessed otherwise? As they prepared to do battle with the Logicians, Worf tried to join in on Sisko's call for the Niners to rile up their adversaries with old fashioned banter. Unsurprisingly, his mind immediately jumped toward the violent declaration, but Worf's inclination to participate in the good-natured teasing underlined his assimilation into Deep Space 9's ranks.
Participating in his son Alexander's Ancient West holoprogram, Worf acted as the local town sheriff and swiftly imprisoned the outlaw Eli Hollander. Unfamiliar with the customs of the time, the 24th Century security chief looked to his son for advice on how to proceed with the western narrative. The question itself was logical, as no one could be expected to retain knowledge on a galaxy's worth of historical facts. However, the inquiry came off as comical due to its saturation in Worf's signature blend of wholesome innocence and brutal Klingon values.
Young Wesley Crusher's search for dating advice reached a slight impasse when it ran up against Worf's description of Klingon mating rituals. Delivering the account brought a smile to Worf's face and ignited a gleam in his eyes, but he soon realized that his detailed commentary had caused the boy to feel even more confused and unsettled than he had been at the start of their conversation. The Klingon's deadpan about a male's need to duck functioned as a way to soften the blow to Wesley's psyche, while the reference to love poems nicely foreshadowed the prank Worf eventually played on Jadzia in “One Little Ship.”
“I suppose I don't have to tell you to keep a close eye on him?”
“At the first sign of betrayal, I will kill him.
But, I promise to return the body intact.”
“I assume that's a joke?”
“We will see.”
- Sisko and Worf in “In Purgatory's Shadow”
In addition to the brilliant pairing of Worf and Garak for a reconnaissance mission to the Gamma Quadrant, “In Purgatory's Shadow” featured this hilarious heart-to-heart between Sisko and his strategic operations officer. Worf deftly walked the thin line that separated his stoic honor from his hidden sense of humor, expertly crafting a punchline that left Sisko wondering whether or not his security officer would seriously consider executing Garak. Come to think of it, we still can’t be sure if Worf envisioned his retort as a witticism!
The classic scene that saw Guinan introduce Worf to prune juice just happened to take place at the beginning of the equally iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Yesterday's Enterprise.” Worf's delight over the Earth beverage's taste overwhelmed his stern demeanor and put the Klingon at ease, leading to a beguiling discussion about the security chief's romantic pursuits. Worf assured the El-Aurian bartender that his status as a bachelor reflected a preference for Klingon women rather than an inability to attract a mate, but Guinan's attentive ear and keen eye allowed her to perceive that Worf's boasts potentially concealed feelings of loneliness. Considering the passionate relationship that Worf developed with the non-Klingon Jadzia Dax, one could presume that Guinan's assessment was accurate.
Although widely viewed by fans as the definitive example of Worf's involuntary comedic timing, the Klingon's reaction to finding himself in a facsimile of Sherwood Forest stunningly lands at the second position on our list. Q's decision to whisk the Enterprise-D's crew away to the mythical locale left Captain Picard and his senior staff outfitted as Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Dressed as Will Scarlet, Worf's statement served the dual purpose of asserting that he was neither one of Robin's outlaws nor a cheerful person. Combined with the visual gag inherent in his strange attire, Worf’s exclamatory remark has earned its rightful place in our farcical pantheon.
“I'll, uh, be sure and call you when she's ready to deliver.
You can lend a hand.”
“Seven months? Unfortunately, I will be away from the station
at that time... far away... visiting my parents, on Earth... excuse me.”
- Bashir and Worf in “Accession”
Mere seconds after learning that Keiko was pregnant with another child, Worf failed to conjure up a believable excuse as to why he would be unable to help with the birth. An excellent callback to the Klingon's pivotal role in delivering Keiko's first child Molly, Worf's sudden discomfort peeled back his warrior's veneer and revealed his inability to deal with a natural process endured by species throughout the galaxy. Off-balance and humbled, Worf dug himself deeper into the abyss of embarrassment with every word he spoke, until he opted to physically extricate himself from the situation. Able to stare down Borg drones and Jem'Hadar soldiers, the mighty Worf refused to place himself anywhere near another cheerful baby O'Brien.
My First Contact with Michael Dorn
This article was originally published on September 14, 2020.
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer and consultant who has contributed articles to StarTrek.com, Star Trek Explorer, and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and StarWars.com. Jay can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.