Count Olaf said in a wheezy whisper. He was very tall and very thin, dressed in a gray suit that had many dark stains on it. His face was unshaven, and rather than two eyebrows, like most human beings have, he had just one long one. His eyes were very, very shiny, which made him look both hungry and angry. "Hello, my children. Please step into your new home..."

Count Olaf is the so-evil-he's-laughable villain of the books collectively titled A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Distinguishing characteristics include his unibrow, his bald head, and the tattoo in the shape of an eye on his ankle. But beware: the Count often travels incognito and is a master of disguise. He has been known to dress as a pirate (complete with fake peg leg), the world's best gym teacher, a receptionist named Shirley, and a snake specialist named Stephano who knows nothing about snakes. As his creator describes, "Count Olaf is one of the world's six worst villains...He is rude, he is treacherous and all he thinks about is getting his filthy hands on the enormous Baudelaire fortune." Olaf pursues the three Bauldelaire children through a projected thirteen book "series of unfortunate events".

Count Olaf has henchmen, as all good villains do, that help him in his dastardly work and occasionally perform the plays he writes under the pseudonym Al Funcoot. They pose as an acting troupe and live and travel everywhere with the Count. The troupe includes but is not limited to two women who always have powdered white faces, a bald man with a long nose, a man with a hook for a hand, and Esme, Olaf's extremely unpleasant girlfriend. Esme is second in command to the Count, and also happens to be the sixth most important financial advisor in the world. She has chin length black hair with bangs and is easily recognizable because she dresses in the most ridiculous clothing available for the sake of being "in".

Count Olaf owns a scary house in the suburbs, but never seems to be there after the first book. Most of his time is spent traveling around in search of the Bauldelaires in a big black automobile with his acting troupe.

"I wish I could tell you that the Bauldelaires' first impressions of Count Olaf and his house were incorrect, as first impressions so often are. But these impressions--that Count Olaf was a horrible person, and his house a depressing pigsty--were absolutely correct."

The song below was written by Stephin Merritt, who is a long time collaborator with Daniel Handler, in the Count's (dis)honor and sung by the Bauldelaire Memorial Orchestra. It is available to download at lemonysnicket.com.

Scream and Run Away
The Count has an eye on his ankle, and lives in a horrible place
He wants all your money, he's never at all funny
He wants to remove your face
And you might be thinking what a romp this is, but wait till you meet his accomplices
When you see Count Olaf you're suddenly full of disgust and despair and dismay
In the hole of the soul of Count Olaf there's no love
When you see Count Olaf, count to zero, then scream and run away

Scream scream scream, and run away
Run, run run run run run run run or die, die die di-die die die die
Run, run run run run run run run, or die, die die die die die die die die die

Two women with powdered white faces, and one long-nosed bald man with warts
Things worsen and worsen, there's a hook-handed person
And others with nastier parts
This evil and unpleasant crew, complete Count Olaf's acting troupe
The goal of Count Olaf is getting control of the fortunes of urchins and orphans alike
Count Olaf is no laughing matter
When you see Count Olaf count to zero, then scream and run away

Scream, scream, scream, and run away
Run run run run run run run or die, die die di-die die die die
Run, run run run run run run run, or die, die die die die die die die die die