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It's an interesting dilemma. All three of us would rather be normal people than freaks, but tomorrow morning, people will be waiting in the tent for Colette to twist her body into strange positions, for Beverly and Elliot to eat corn, for Chabo to growl and attack the crowd, for Kevin to write his name with both hands, and for me to try on one of those coats. Madame Lulu says we must always give people what they want, and they want freaks performing on a stage.

Hugo was one of the carnival freaks at Caligari Carnival. He had a hunched back which made him look abnormal. He was a member of the House of Freaks with Colette, a "freak" for being a contortionist, and Kevin, a "freak" for being ambidextrous.


Early Life

It's an interesting dilemma.

Hugo experienced much persecution in his life due to being born with a hunched back. He considered himself a "freak" due to being so hated, and eventually, as an adult, joined Caligari Carnival. His boss, Madame Lulu, didn't care much for him, and put him in a freakshow with Colette the Contortionist and Kevin the Ambidextrous person. Though Hugo wished to get paid, Lulu told them that being employed at all was a privilege.

Hugo became very loyal to the carnival and to Lulu, becoming very convinced of Lulu's motto that they should always "give the people what they want," and that if the people wanted a freakshow, then he should continue to let them treat him horribly.

Hugo seemed to be the cook in the caravan he shared with his coworkers, and he often prepared their meals.[2] He kept several items of food in the pantry, including hot mustard, marshmallows, pumpkin pie filling, and glue. He also had a ukulele that he would play on lazy afternoons.[3]

He became acquainted with Count Olaf, who would often visit the carnival, though Olaf treated him as horribly as Lulu did. He believed Olaf to be Lulu's gentleman friend.[2]

The Carnivorous Carnival

Madame Lulu says that we must always give people what they want, and that man wants us ready right away.

Madame Lulu awakens Hugo in the middle of the night, and he answers the door to find their new coworkers- Beverly and Elliot, The Two-Headed Freak and Chabo the Wolf Baby. She instructs him to tell the new "freaks" what to do for the show the next morning, and leaves. He welcomes their new coworkers and brings them inside, introducing them to Colette and Kevin. Beverly, Elliot and Chabo seem confused as to why their coworkers think they are freakish, and Hugo informs them of his belief that they should follow Madame Lulu's advice to give the people what they want, and believes they will never be accepted as they are. He and Kevin prepare hammocks for the new workers before going back to sleep.

Hugo is awoken by the Hook-Handed Man pounding on the door and announcing that it's time for the freakshow, and that Count Olaf is angry after finding out that one of the Baudelaire parents is still alive. Beverly and Elliot mention that Baudelaire children from the newspaper, which Hugo had not heard of; however, he quickly tells them that they should go and put on a good show.

They go out to the freakshow tent, where the Hook-Handed man has a Tagliatelle Grande to hit them with if they don't obey. Hugo assures him that they are professionals before they take their places onstage. They are heckled by the crowd, and Hugo performs by attempting to put on a normal coat, which rips over his hunchback. He retreats, blushing, while the others perform.

After the show, Hugo makes the group hot chocolate, and Chabo suggests adding a bit of cinnamon, impressing him. Beverly and Elliot again try to convince their coworkers that they could surely find a job that treated them better. Hugo brings over the hot chocolate, unsure that they would ever be considered normal, but he encourages Chabo, saying that she could be an excellent chef if she wasn't a "freak."

The group hears Count Olaf's car approaching, and they leave the caravan to see that he and Lulu have brought back starving lions for a new attraction, where they will pick a freak to feed to the lions. Hugo and his coworkers are concerned about this announcement, but eventually he decides to lead the others into the caravan to play dominoes and forget their troubles.

Later that night, Hugo cooks a pot of tom ka gai for dinner, and he admits he is "not wild about the idea of being eaten by a lion." However, he knows that it will be a good show for the audience. Beverly and Elliot again encourage their coworkers that a new opportunity may arrive, and at that moment, Count Olaf's girlfriend, Esmé Squalor, knocks on the door. Hugo lets her in, excited that a normal person wants to talk to them.

Esmé, claiming to love freaks, enters and sits down, and Hugo offers her a drink, which she refuses. She flatters them, encouraging the lonely freaks to listen to her, and then requests that she will give them the opportunity to join Count Olaf's troupe. Hugo loves the idea of wearing a costume, and Esmé informs them that all they have to do is push Madame Lulu to the lions instead of jumping themselves. While the coworkers are initially apprehensive, and Beverly and Elliot are horrified, Esmé claims that it's giving the people what they want, and Hugo agrees that it doesn't sound so bad. He, Colette and Kevin are excited to become henchpeople of Count Olaf, and Esmé then gives them gifts to further convince them- for Hugo, she gives an oversized coat from their costume trunk that the Hook-Handed Man had formerly used as a doorman disguise. The large coat covers his hunchback, making him much happier. Beverly, Elliot and Chabo still seem upset, though, an Hugo demands to know why they're moping after being given an opportunity. They admit that they ddon't want to throw Lulu to the lions, but Hugo insists that Esmé is right and they should give the people what they want. He, Colette and Kevin inform Esmé that they want to join Olaf and will throw Lulu if they are chosen.

The next morning, Hugo dresses in his "freakish" clothes for the last time and gathers with Colette and Kevin by the lion pit for the show. He informs a hesitant Elliot that he plans to throw Lulu to the pit if he is chosen, and is no longer nervous about the idea. Beverly and Elliot are chosen, but after they start to stall Olaf and Lulu, the crowd gets angry and demands they be pushed. Hugo announces that he and his coworkers are brave enough to push them, and then Olaf can employ them. He, Colette and Kevin fight with the rest of the crowd to push them into the pit, with Hugo bumping into the White-Faced Women and falling down with them, but Beverly and Elliot escape in the chaos, and Lulu and the Bald Man with the Long Nose fall in instead.

Olaf indeed decides to hire Hugo, Colette and Kevin, and informs them that Beverly, Elliot and Chabo are secretly the Baudelaire orphans. He and Esmé take Chabo- Sunny Baudelaire- into the car, while they have Hugo, Colette and Kevin sit in the backseat, and put Violet and Klaus Baudelaire in an attached caravan. They drive away from the carnival, which Olaf has set on fire, and halfway up a slope of the Mortmain Mountains, Hugo holds Colette, who holds Kevin, who cuts the rope to the attached caravan, sending Violet and Klaus tumbling down the slope.

The Slippery Slope

What did that man mean when he said 'Where there's smoke there's fire'?
— Chapter Six

He, Kevin and Colette remain cramped into the backseat of Olaf's car with the Hook-Handed Man and White-Faced Women while they continue up the slope. When Olaf mentions that burning down V.F.D. Headquarters will be the end of their problems, Hugo questions him, as he and his coworkers have not been informed of their hatred of VFD. While the Hook-Handed Man informs them that they must destroy the Snicket File to hide Olaf's crimes, Olaf will not let anyone explain what VFD stands for.

They reach the top of Mount Fraught, and sleep in tents set up by Sunny, who has been turned into an infant servant by Olaf. The next morning, Hugo complains that Colette won't share the dental floss, which Olaf sees no use for. He helps Olaf and Esmé set up a picnic blanket, which Esmé instructs him to fold into a large triangle. Hugo compliments her (stolen) snowsuit, and after Sunny babbles, Hugo informs his bosses that she never makes sense, and says that's probably why she was able to fool him into thinking she was a freak. Sunny prepares them breakfast, but he and Colette become suspicious of the raw toast, convinced that she is trying to poison them.

After Olaf destroys Sunny's meal, the Man with a Beard but No Hair and Woman with Hair but No Beard arrive and inform the group that they have burnt down VFD Headquarters. They go into a tent with Olaf and Esmé to read over and then burn the Snicket File, and question the appearance of these new arsonists; Hugo questions the man's quote "Where there's smoke, there's fire."

The next day, False Spring arrives, and Sunny prepares them False Spring Rolls, which Hugo critiques as needing more dill. He and Olaf's troupe watch as several masked volunteers arrive and offer to trade the location of The Sugar Bowl for Sunny Baudelaire. However, a troupe of Snow Scouts arrive, and in an attempt to save them from kidnapping, the volunteers reveal themselves to be Violet and Klaus Baudelaire, as well as Quigley Quagmire. Sunny escapes and reunites with her siblings, and Olaf's troupe convinces the Snow Scouts to step onto a large net, where they are captured by eagles. The Baudelaires and Quigley then escape, leaving Olaf's troupe on the slope.

Hugo, Colette and Kevin are sent ahead to Hotel Denouement for Olaf's plan to destroy Volunteers, while Olaf, Esmé and their recently adopted daughter Carmelita Spats go into a submarine to search for and kill Captain Widdershins.[4]

The Penultimate Peril

Hugo disguised on the rooftop.

I could never be a noble person. I have a hump on my back.

Hugo is disguised as a Hotel Denouement worker on the roof, with green sunglasses and a long baggy robe to cover his hunchback. He uses a giant spatula to flip sunbathers over, while watching to assist Esmé and Carmelita. He watches Carmelita shoot down the V.F.D. Crows with a harpoon gun, before following them to the lobby, where they run into Olaf, who is confronting the Baudelaires, Dewey Denouement, Justice Strauss and Jerome Squalor. The Baudelaires try, and fail, once again to convince their former coworkers to be noble people.

Arthur Poe's arrival causes the Baudelaires to drop a harpoon gun that kills Dewey Denouement, shocking the former carnival employees. When a crowd arrives and nearly becomes a mob, Hugo agrees with Mrs. Bass' claim that the Baudelaires should be punished, and he deems that they are too freakish to be allowed to move freely.

During the trial of the Baudelaire children and Count Olaf, Hugo submits some carnival posters as evidence, and he declares them freaks when the trial is disrupted. When the Hotel Denouement Fire is started, Hugo, Colette, and Kevin are last seen on one of the floors holding the bird paper that Klaus hung on the outside of the sauna. Hugo asks if the plan for the hor d'ouvres is still in operation.

It is left uncertain if Hugo survived the fire at the Hotel Denouement.

Netflix Series Divergent Canon

I thought working for Count Olaf would be glamorous and fun, but in my short time in his employ, I have aided in kidnapping and murder, I have spent a bumpy ride in the trunk of a car, and I have had my self-worth degraded, undoing years of therapy. I'm beginning to question my life choices. And frankly, so should you!

While Hugo's role in the carnival and as the Baudelaires' coworker is mainly the same in the episode adaptations of The Carnivorous Carnival, there are slight differences to his character; while he is still loyal to the Carnival, he is much quicker to agree to Esmé's request that they murder Madame Lulu, and he is placed in the trunk with his coworkers instead of the backseat.

Hugo's role as the cook of the caravan instead seems to be given to Kevin, and it is implied he may be a part of the Haines family, as he uses the family phrase of "hurryupping" when Esmé visits.[5] He also mentions having done "years of therapy."

After reaching Mount Fraught, Olaf's troupe refuses to let the "freaks" camp with them, and orders them to make their campsite somewhere away from them. Angry, Hugo lectures them about the horrible things they have done, saying that they should question their life choices.

While trying to start a fire, Hugo admits that he has some money saved up from the carnival, and that he could buy them a farm to live on. He informs them that they still have time to turn their lives around, and that nobody can call them freaks. At that moment, the former Madame Lulu, Kit Snicket, arrives, though she is unrecognized by her former employees. She helps them start a fire, and informs them that they deserve better.

The Man with a Beard but No Hair and the Woman with Hair But No Beard then arrive, ordering the coworkers to leave. They reveal that they are in Count Olaf's troupe, and threaten to scream to summon him. At that, the Woman and Man pull out swords to "test that theory."[1]

The carnival employees are never seen again, and the rest of the troupe concludes that the Man and Woman likely killed them. However, this is unconfirmed.[6]

He is portrayed by Kevin Cahoon.


The Carnivorous Carnival

I know you are the boss, Madame Lulu, but it's the middle of the night. Don't you want your freaks to be well-rested?
— Chapter Three
I had a feeling you'd be smart. After all, you have twice as many brains as most people.
— Chapter Three
It's better than being a hunchback. Your hands may be freaky, but you have absolutely normal shoulders.
— Chapter Three
I've never heard of these Baudelaires. Did I hear you mention they were murderers?
— Chapter Four
It's an interesting dilemma, but I think that we're all equally freakish. Now, let's get out there and put on a good show!
— Chapter Four
Don't worry, sir. We're professionals.
— Chapter Four
I'm not sure that's true. I think that a two-headed person is going to be considered pretty freakish no matter where they go.
— Chapter Four
Let's try to forget our troubles and play dominoes.
— Chapter Four
You should be very proud of yourself. If you weren't a freak, Chabo, you could grow up to be an excellent chef.
— Chapter Four
I hate to criticize, but is there any way we can make the carnival more popular without feeding us to the lions? I must confess that I'm a little nervous about that part.
— Chapter Five
I'm still not wild about the idea of being eaten by a lion.
— Chapter Eight
Let's all be on our best behavior. It's not often that a normal person wants to talk to us, and I think we should make the most of this opportunity.
— Chapter Eight
When you put it like that, it doesn't sound so bad.
— Chapter Eight
Just think, tomorrow we'll stop being freaks, and we'll be henchmen of Count Olaf.
— Chapter Eight
What's the matter with you? You've been offered an exciting job and given a generous present, and yet both your heads are moping around.
— Chapter Eight
I bet she only half agrees. I bet her wolf half can't wait to watch her get eaten.
— Chapter Eight
Klaus Baudelaire: It still seems like a wicked thing to do.
Hugo: I don't think so. It's giving people what they want, just like Lulu says.
—Chapter Eight
Hugo: I'm so glad this is my last day in these clothes. Just think- soon I'll be a member of Count Olaf's troupe, and I'll never have to look like a freak again.
Klaus Baudelaire: Unless you're thrown to the lions.
Hugo: Are you kidding? If I'm the one chosen, I'm going to throw Madame Lulu into the pit, just like Esmé said.
—Chapter Ten
We are brave. Count Olaf, let us prove it to you, and then you can employ us!
— Chapter Eleven

The Slippery Slope

Hey boss, Colette won't share the dental floss.
— Chapter Six
Count Olaf: Must you bicker every single morning? Somebody take this blanket and set the table over there on that flat rock.
Hugo: I'd be happy to.
Esmé Squalor: Fold the blanket into a large triangle. That's the in way to do it.
Hugo: Yes ma'am, and, if you don't mind my saying so, that's a very handsome snowsuit you are wearing.
Esmé Squalor: I'm glad you like it, Hugo. It's stolen.
—Chapter Six
That infant never makes any sense. No wonder she fooled us into thinking she was a carnival freak.
— Chapter Six
Colette: This toast feels raw. Is it safe to eat raw toast?
Hugo: Of course not. I bet that baby is trying to poison us.
—Chapter Six

The Penultimate Peril

It's true, boss. I may be a mere hunchback, but I saw Carmelita shoot down the crows using the harpoon gun Violet brought her.
— Chapter Nine
Yes! Criminals are too freakish to be running around loose!
— Chapter Ten
I submit these carnival posters!
— Chapter Eleven
They're freaks!
— Chapter Eleven





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