Sometimes a speaker, be it a speaker delivering a speech, or just a person conversing, is so boring or unintersting that the people listening to them can't stay awake. This trope is used to drive home just how boring the speaker is being. It's often played for laughs, especially when the speaker fancies herself to be interesting or profound. It usually, but not always, occurs when the speaker is delivering a long monologue. In general, the speaker isn't aware that people are falling asleep on her at first. Sometimes this fact will be revealed to the audience but not to the speaker, as a way to clue the audience into the irrelevance of what the speaker is saying. Other times, the speaker and the audience will discover the listeners' sleepy state together (often in the form of a sudden loud snore). Upon discovering what has happened, the speaker may magnanimously cover his sleepy victim with a blanket or tuck them into bed. Oftentimes the speaker is Windbag Politician. Can result in Asleep in Class. Related to Long Speech Tea Time, but this trope is about characters unintentionally falling asleep on the speaker rather than deliberately ignoring them. This trope is not the same thing as a lullaby, which is a deliberate attempt to lull someone to sleep (and thus carries none of the embarrassment for the singer that this trope carries for the speaker).
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- In One Piece, when Jinbe tells Luffy and co a 7-chapters long Exposition, Luffy (in his usual fashion) is revealed to be sleeping at the end.
- In Jormungand, this happens to Tojo when he tries to explain to his comrades the significance of the Defense Intelligence Headquarters' SR unit. Unfortunately, his talk made Jonah fall asleep. He was later criticized for the long speech that also tried to make the others doze off.
- In Scrapped Princess, this happens when Zeferis tries to explain the reasoning behind her and Natalie's actions against Shanon and the others, and her resulting conflict of interests, to Pacifica who just doesn't get it. This is because her explaination consisted of Techno Babble set to holographic imagery, so Pacifica fails to understand any of it. Instead, it causes her to nod off and fall asleep. Zeferis even has to tell her to wake up so she can repeat it; this time, in simpler terms that Pacifica can understand.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog OVA, Dr. Robotnik's long-winded speech about how the Robot Factory in The Land of Darkness needs to be shut down or there will be a massive explosion puts everyone (The President, Princess Sara, Sonic, Tails, even his own robots) to sleep. He wakes them up by popping his demonstration orb.
- In After Hours, Kiki falls asleep and starts snoring while Paul is rubbing her shoulders and telling her a story about being burned.
- Inverted in The Big Green: During one of Miss Montgomery's lessons, the class decides to show her she's wasting her time trying to teach them by all of them faking snoring sounds.
- Blazing Saddles. After Bart finishes telling Jim his life story, Jim snores because he's fallen saleep. Bart says "Always like to keep my audience riveted."
- In A Goofy Movie, some of the students start dozing off while Principal Mazier gives his speech, particularly when he says "we don't want to waste our vacation sleeping..."
- The stinger in Iron Man 3 revealed that Tony Stark had been unburdening himself by narrating the entire story to Bruce Banner—and that Bruce had been asleep through most of it.
- In Mrs. Doubtfire, a cameraman filming a children's television show begins nodding off (and the screen shifts for a second) because the host is so boring.
- The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear:
- Near the end, Dr. Meinheimer finally presents his environmentally-friendly recommendations for an energy policy... and promptly causes everyone to fall asleep.
- Inverted a little later, when he's given a trashy romance novel to read, and everyone promptly wakes up.
- Michael Jordan delivers a never-say-die speech to the morose Looney Tunes at halftime of the Ultimate Game in Space Jam. The result puts every 'toon to sleep except Bugs Bunny, who remarks, "Great speech, Doc. You had them riveted."
- Bored of the Rings. When Frito and Spam first meet Goddam, he starts telling them a boring hard luck story. Spam immediately falls asleep and Frito has to keep himself awake by slapping himself in the face. Goddam continues with his story and Frito falls asleep too.
- Harry Potter: Professor Binns, the History of Magic teacher, is so boring that students routinely sleep during his class. He can't remember his students' names, and he doesn't even seem have noticed that he's dead, continuing to lecture as a ghost. He's thus really surprised when Hermione actually asks him a question in the second book, as it's the first time in a while that he's seen a student react to anything he's said.
- Invoked in Leverage: In one episode where the team gets arrested by Col. Vance, and old acquaintance of Eliot's, he starts going down everything he could charge them with until he gets to Parker, who he finds asleep. Eliot comments that she gets bored easily. Turns out a minute later that she wasn't actually asleep, she was just getting out of her handcuffs.
Col. Vance: (while arresting the team) Parker here...Parker: *Snore*Vance: Is she asleep?Eliot: She bores easy.
- Inverted on at least two occasions on M*A*S*H:
- In, "Henry, Please Come Home", Henry gives an impromptu acceptance speech after being awards the Special Citation of Merit for the efficiency rate at the 4077th cracking 90%. Hawkeye pretends to nod off during Henry's speech, though Trapper still nudges him.
- Mr. Bean:
- In one episode Mr Bean tries desperately to stay awake during a sermon at church.
- Rowan Atkinson Live: In "It Started With a Sneeze" Atkinson plays a church parishioner who tries to stay awake. Reused in the Mr Bean sketch mentioned above.** In, "O.R.", Frank goes into another one of his little mini-rants, to which Trapper remarks, "Keep talking, Frank. I could use the sleep."
- In one episode of Scrubs, a patient keeps getting light-headed and passing out, but it only happens when he yawns. Dr Cox, trying to prove a point, orders JD to tell him a story. Halfway through the first sentence the patient falls over. Halfway through the second sentence, Dr Cox falls over.
- Played with on Sesame Street regarding Professor Hastings. His lectures are so boring that he himself falls asleep while giving them.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Schisms", Riker interrupts Data's poetry reading "Ode to Spot" with a snore.
- Inverted in one Calvin and Hobbes strip. Calvin decides to count all the rocks he can find. Next panel he's up to a billion and one. Then he wakes up since it was All Just a Dream.
Calvin: Wow, I bored myself awake.
- Invoked in a Muppet comic strip, when Statler can't sleep at night so he asks Fozzie for a video of his last monologue.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, there is a talk skill called "Mimic Daravon" which puts the target to sleep. Daravon is the NPC who narrates the game's tutorials and tells the backstory to the player, and it is implied that he is an instructor with a tendency to give long boring lectures.
- Played for Laughs in Grand Theft Auto IV. Roman is so disinterested in Niko's talking about the war and the old country in the opening cutscene he falls asleep.
Niko: Roman! Are you sleeping you fat fuck? Wake up!
- There is an old woman in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask who tells Link one of two stories, but Link is not able to remain awake for it unless he is wearing the All-Night Mask. This can be used by the gamer to quickly jump ahead a day or two.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, when you first travel to the Old Owl Well, you encounter Grobnar Gnomehands, a recruitable gnome bard who is first seen singing and dancing in the middle of an open field in an attempt to get the attention of so-called "Wendersnavens", creatures that - according to him - are invisible and immaterial, and are "everywhere and nowhere". He then goes on to introduce himself, eventually trailing off into a long-winded story from his past. As you can guess, as soon as he gets into the details, the entire party falls asleep and wakes up a couple of hours later, just in time to see Grobnar finish his story. He remarks that you seemed very concentrated on the story, although the sounds you were making were rather strange, almost like snoring...
- A Running Gag in the Paper Mario series, where Mario will always fall asleep during the extended explanation of some plot critical detail (the player always hears the important parts). To date, only one speaker actually realized he fell asleep.
- In this A Modest Destiny strip, an intruder is momentarily bored to sleep by an evil snake god's "who dares" speech.
Zonkafth: I am all knowing! All powerful! All...hey, are you listening to me?
- Order Of The Stick
Xykon: Oh, sorry I just fell asleep right in the middle of that.Redcloak: You're a lich. You're actually physically incapable of sleeping.Xykon: Which should just emphasize how boring that was!
- Happens early when Vaarsuvius is telling a roomful of goblins how powerful she is and how thoroughly she will destroy them. The other members of his party actually decided that she must have been casting an extremely powerful area-effect sleep spell.
- After Redcloak finishes his long explanation of his battle strategy he finds Xykon has fallen asleep -though it's largely implied Xykon was faking it to make a point.
- In one Cracked article, when describing the inventor of Autotune's previous career as a petrochemical seismogeologist, the writer himself briefly falls asleep on his keyboard.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Card Wars", Finn can't quite stay awake through Jake's explanation of the rules of Card Wars. Understandable since this takes hours.
- In the Arthur episode, "Dear Adil", Arthur gets a Turkish penpal named Adil, however, after their first exchange of letter, Arthur has an Imagine Spot, where he believes his response letter to Adil will be so boring that not only does Adil fall asleep, but so does his father, his camel, and the entire city of Istanbul (to be fair, Arthur is under the wrong assumption that life in Turkey is like depicted in fiction, and that Adil owns a camel and lives in a tent). In fact, at one point, Arthur reads over a draft of one of his letters to Adil, and remarks, "Even I'm boring myself to sleep!" D.W. even cruely remarks that Arthur read her one of the letters he was writing, and it put her to sleep.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode, "Last But Not Beast", Dexter and his family have difficulties figuring out what to do to stop a giant monster from destroying Tokyo. Toshi (whom Dexter was part of a foreign exchange student program with) appears before them to tell them the story of a boy who defeated a giant monster, not be fearing it, but because of the power of his heart, which brought other people together in love, repelling the monster away. Dexter, Mom, and Dad are moved by Toshi's story, and decide they need to work together to rid Tokyo of the giant monster... all the while Dee Dee had fallen asleep.
- In the The Fairly Oddparents episode, "Future Lost", Timmy and Cosmo fall asleep whenever Wanda tries to teach them a lesson about doing the right thing. She does this to herself at the end of the episode after Timmy and Cosmo both fall asleep again.
- Played with in an episode of The Garfield Show where Jon, in an attempt to find a solution for his insomnia, gets asleep whenever Odie barks because of an accidental mistake during a hypnotic process. When Liz Wilson reads a scripted speech to him and Jon pays attention to it, he falls asleep when Odie barks; so when Liz notices nobody else is hearing her speak, she mistakenly thinks Jon got too bored due to the speech and quits out of anger.
- A framing device in the I Am Weasel episode, "I.R. Wild Baboon" has Weasel defending himself with a reporter over a prison phone about how he was trying to film a documentary on Baboon's peculiar and constant migration habits (it turns out Baboob was annoyed by Weasel following him and was trying to get away from him). After Weasel finishes his story, Red Guy, as the reporter, wakes up.
Red Guy: Huh? Oh, I'm so sorry, I FELL ASLEEP! (Starts jotting notes) Now, you say it all started seventeen years ago?
- Rocky and Bullwinkle: Happens quite a few times, but a couple of specific examples are as follows:
- At one point in the, "Jet Fuel Formula" story arc, Boris, (posing as a hypnotist), manages to put Bullwinkle under in order to get from him the recipe for Grandma Moose's Fudgecake recipe, which also happens to be the world's most powerful rocket fuel, however, Boris makes the mistake is asking Bullwinkle to tell him everything he knows... Bullwinkle does just that, and tells him everything he knows, nonstop for twelve hours; Boris, Natasha, and Rocky fall asleep while listening.
- In the, "Topsy Turvey World" story arc, Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Captain Peachfuzz are in a plane that's losing fuel, and altitude, that is until Rocky finds a particular book on a shelf, "Hokey smokes! I'm looking a the Congressional Record! We have enough gas in here to fly us around the world!" Sure enough, a makeshift microphone is connected to the fuel line, and Bullwinkle basically reads the entire book into the mic, refueling the plane, and in the process, putting everyone in the plane - including the narrator - to sleep.
- In The Simpsons, Principal Skinner's morning PA announcements have been shown on one occasion to put the kids in class to sleep. Mrs. Krabappel uses firecrackers to wake them up.
- In South Park, the test for determining whether a child has ADD is to read The Great Gatsby to them, aloud, and then ask questions about it. Everyone who listens falls asleep, so they're diagnosed with ADD and get put on Ritalin to "cure" it.
In Chapter 12, what kind of bottles did Miss Van Campen talk about? Anybody? Anybody?? My God, these children all have ADD! [scribbles onto his notepad quickly]
- Exaggerated on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", when Squidward plays his clarinet for Patrick. Patrick falls instantly asleep after the first note.
- Taz-Mania: After running out of orange juice, Hugh drives himself, Taz, and Uncle Drew to the store to get some more; along the way, he goes into detail about how orange juice is made, complete with a visual aid. Taz and Uncle Drew have fallen asleep by the time Hugh finishes his story.
- Tuff Puppy
- A Running Gag in the episode "Bored of Education" has Kitty putting everyone to sleep whenever she talks about proper health. At one point, Keswick uses this on a bear neighbor of his so she can hibernate and he can use her pool.
- Another episode has Keswick continually putting the other agents to sleep with his long boring technobabble speeches. Taken Up to Eleven when Keswick starts to give a long speech about why he isn't boring and promptly puts himself to sleep.
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