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Creator: Denis Leary
"Life sucks; get a fucking helmet!"

"'I'm not happy!' I'm not happy!' Nobody's "happy"! Happiness comes in small doses — it's a cigarette, or a chocolate chip cookie or a five-second orgasm; that's all it is, okay?! You cum, you eat the cookie, you smoke the butt, you go to sleep, you wake up in the morning and you go to fucking work! That is it, end of fucking list!"

Denis Colin Leary (born August 18, 1957) is a comedian born in Worcester, Massachusetts to Irish Catholic immigrants. His routines involve a deeply cutting, rambling, profane Motor Mouth style, and is not afraid to go after whatever he damn well feels like.

He's incredibly proud of his Irish heritage, and does not apologize for his love of the Boston Red Sox, the Bruins, or Boston in general (he even forgave Bill Buckner, even though it seemed no one else will).

He's related, through various marriages to Conan O Brien. He's also an old friend of Jon Stewart, and is a guest on The Daily Show fairly regularly

Due to a personal rift between Leary and Bill Hicks, fueled by allegations of plagiarising Hicks' material, it's best not to mention him around fans of Hicks. We'll just leave it at that, but The Other Wiki has more information for the curious.


He's appeared in more than 40 films, including:

TV Series involving him in some way include:


Tropes associated with Denis Leary:

  • Annoying Arrows: In No Cure For Cancer he relates a story (retold in Why We Suck) about how when he was a kid, his brother and brother's friend once shot him in the head with an arrow. The two of them then proceeded to run away and Denis' father actually pulled the arrow out before taking him to the hospital at the insistence of his mother.
  • Author Appeal: He does a lot with Boston and/or firefighters, so expect a lot of that whenever he's involved.
  • Confessional: Discussed in one of his stand-up specials...in regards to Irish cuisine:
    Denis: I was in Barnes & Noble the other day, and I saw a book entitled "Irish Cuisine" and I laughed my balls off; okay?! Irish cuisine?! You know what Irish cuisine is, folks—we put everything into a pot and we boil it for seventeen-and-a-half-hours. Until you can eat it with a straw! (slurp) "Thanks, ma! Where's dessert? Okay, there it is. (slurp) Thanks, ma!" That's not cuisine, that's penance; that's what that is. "Bless me father, for I have sinned: I just blew Father O'Grady, what should I do?" "Eat your supper through a straw!"
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most of his stand-up routines are loaded with this trope.
  • Deadpan Snarker: May as well be the patron saint of this trope.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Is it impossible to get a cup of coffee-flavored coffee in this country?"
  • Eagleland: Why We Suck.
  • Exact Words / Laser-Guided Karma: After the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, a bumper for an award show done in the style of a MasterCard "Priceless" commercial showed various Red Sox fans saying what they would give for a Sox championship. It then comes to Leary, who is told he said he would give his left nut to see it happen. After a few moments of denial, he goes, "Huh... that does sound like something I would say, doesn't it?" while another guy holds up what appears to be a pair of hedge clippers. The end of the spot featured half of (a fake version of) the MasterCard logonote  falling away while Leary's voice exclaims "Ow! You bastards!"
  • Fighting Irish: And goddamn proud of it too.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Life's Gonna Suck.
  • Hidden Depths: Would you guess that he's actually a published poet, an avid fan of poetry in general, and has been a guest editor for the renowned Ploughshares literary magazine?
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: A bit on No Cure For Cancer. He's glad Jesus died when he did, because otherwise he would have ended up like Elvis in his 40s. He then performs an extended Jesus-as-Elvis impression, followed by:
    "I'm going to hell for that bit. And you're all coming with me!."
  • Jerkass: How many people view him, and the song "Asshole" is pretty much a celebration of Jerkasses and his stand-up persona in general. Of course, it's part of his act. See below.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: This seems to be his default setting. No matter how crude his stand up routine is. No matter how much we call him an asshole. Much of his snark has truth to it.
  • Life Imitates Art: In one comedy routine, he talked about writing a book: Shut The Fuck Up by Dr. Denis Leary. Well, he's written a book, and while it's got a different title (Why We Suck), the fact that he has an honorary D.F.A. from Emerson College allows him to credit himself as Dr. Denis Leary.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: During No Cure for Cancer he relates a story about how his father nearly severed his thumb with a circular saw and just said he needed some electrical tape. He also wouldn't let his wife drive him to the hospital.
    He would not let my mother drive him to the hospital; that was too much of a threat to his masculinity to be seen riding in a car driven by a woman. So he taped up the thumb with black electrical tape, and drove himself minus one thumb to the hospital. I turned to my brother and said "Hey pal, forget about crying, okay? Crying is over. We're never gonna be able to cry about anything ever, okay? Our father figure is a man who could sever his own head with a chainsaw and he'd staple gun it back on (staple sound effects) 'Fuckin head came off!' (staple sound effects)"
    • He goes on to say that one time, when he was visiting, his dad accidentally shot a nail through his hand with a nail gun. His reaction? Pull it out with his teeth.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor Don't let his abrasive stand-up persona fool you. Plus, he started an organization for firefighters and their families. He's pretty much a nice, goodhearted guy who loves pretending to be a bastard.
    • It really comes through in his Daily Show appearances where he drops the act and spends a couple of minutes just chilling with one of his best friends.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Traditional Irish Folk Song"
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Replacing the letter "r" with an "a" and replacing the "-a" at the end of words with an "-er" is incredibly noticeable.
  • Raised Catholic: Though he admits that during a scene in Rescue Me where his character had to recite the Hail Mary prayer he couldn't remember it, though he's able to list the starting lineup of the 1967 Boston Red Sox off the top of his headnote 
  • The Roast: He was the first to be roasted by Comedy Central and their counterpart to the New York Friar's Club Roast.
  • Running Gag: Almost any time he brings up his late father, expect wood paneling to be brought up, since Mr. Leary was so fond of putting up wood paneling that he even had it on his car. Also, in his stand-up comedy acts, he often briefly references things that he's said earlier in the show.
  • Self-Deprecation: From his song "Kiss My A$$":
    "Kiss my skinny, Irish, Emmy-losing ass!"
  • Southies: Though he's actually from Worcester, which depending on who you ask is either central or western Massachusetts.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Denis, with one N.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Trope Namer.
  • Two Words: Obvious Trope: His MTV promos.
  • Understatement: In one routine, he spends the first thirty seconds or so energetically puffing on his cigarette, gasping and wheezing several times, until he is half-obscured by a cloud of blue smoke. His summary?
  • Verbal Tic: Okay?
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Denis and Jon Stewart are best friends, but whenever Leary appears on The Daily Show all they do is insult and rag on one another, while Jon has never been one to stick to an interview point, most of the time whatever Leary is on the show for is never even brought up.


NirvanaCreator/Triple JThe Cranberries
Martin LawrenceComic ActorsJohn Leguizamo
Martin LawrenceRecorded and Stand-Up ComedyStewart Lee
Lucy LawlessVoice ActorsCassandra Lee
George LazenbyActorsHeath Ledger

alternative title(s): Denis Leary
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