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Alcohol-Induced Idiocy

Kyle: Dude, why is your store called the Indian Burial Ground Pet Store?
Store owner: Well, there was an Indian burial ground here before I bought it.
Stan: So you just built your store on an Indian burial ground!?
Store owner: Oh hell no. First I dug up all the bodies, pissed on them, and then buried them again upside-down.
Kyle: Why!?
Store owner: Why? I don't know. I was drunk.

Incidents of jaw-dropping stupidity brought about by a character's excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.

This tends to overlap with In Vino Veritas: Often the character committing the act of Alcohol-Induced Idiocy will be an otherwise sensible and reasonably intelligent person when sober. If the character is normally dimwitted, getting drunk will make him even dumber. In both cases, the character's inebriation usually results in him being a danger to himself and others.

Someone who becomes a Drunken Master when intoxicated is the direct opposite, though sometimes these tropes can alternate (e.g. a rock musician who is more capable drunk onstage than sober, but then gets beaten up after picking a pointless fight he has no chance of winning the moment he gets offstage) or can even co-exist (the thing the drunken mastery is of is something that someone in any kind of rational mental space would not do, e.g. walking a tightrope above a guaranteed fatal drop without safety gear, wrestling a actual bear). Liquid Courage tends to be a more positive occurrence.

Alcohol-Induced Idiocy can be similar to the Idiot Ball or any other plot device that depends on Contrived Stupidity. Thus, this trope is related to Too Dumb to Live, What an Idiot, Out-of-Character Moment, What Were You Thinking?, and Phlebotinum Induced Stupidity. The only difference is that this trope comes with a built-in excuse.

Can often lead to a character getting an Embarrassing Tattoo... or doing something much, much worse. Some of the other results of Alcohol-Induced Idiocy are covered in the What Did I Do Last Night?, You Wake Up in a Room, and Sorry Ociffer tropes. May overlap with Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb.

In comedy works, we (the audience) might not hear all the details of what happened while a character was under the influence, just humorous and tantalizing hints to feed our imaginations.

The Alcohol-Induced Idiocy trope can also be used as An Aesop about the dangers of over-consuming alcohol and drunk driving.

Unfortunately, instances of Alcohol-Induced Idiocy are so common that this is Truth in Television.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Haddock of Tintin practically lives by this trope. Highlights include: knocking out an airplane pilot mid-flight for not letting him use the controls, diving into the ocean without his helmet on, lighting a bonfire in a lifeboat, and exiting a space rocket to try to float back to earth.
  • Very often in Astérix:
    • In The Laurel Wreath, Vitalstatistix and Obelix both overindulge at a family gathering, prompting Vitalstatistix to make a suicidal bet that he can bring them a stew spiced with Caesar's laurel wreath, and Obelix to enthusiastically endorse this stupid idea until there's no way anyone can back down - slurring "zigactly!" ("farpaitement!" in French). Asterix spends much of the rest of the adventure passive-aggressively using the word 'zigactly' to remind Obelix of how much of a fool he made of himself.
    • In Asterix in Britain the Roman soldiers are forced to sample hundreds of wine barrels to find one that contains magic potion. The unit starts out perfectly coordinated as they tap open the barrels, drink a little, and move to the next ones. We watch over the panels as everyone gets progressively less coordinated until they're lying in unconscious piles, at which point the Roman who did get magic potion decides to start a fight.
    • In The Chieftain's Shield a Roman soldier, frequently disciplined for his excessive drinking, is ordered to dress as a Gaul and infiltrate a bar to seek information. As soon as he gets out of his superior's eyes he makes a beeline for the bar, gets hammered and starts talking in Latin phrases, declining his Alcohol Hic as 'hic! haec! hoc!', and complaining about his Centurion, making his disguise so pathetic that the Gauls express a certain amount of pity for him.
    • Tremensdelirius, The Alcoholic legionary in Caesar's Gift is made of this trope. He begins the story by sneaking off to get drunk the day before his retirement, and, despite being urged to keep quiet so the rest of the army doesn't find him, decides to start singing really loudly. When he gets discovered, he starts badmouthing Caesar. When Caesar, who is preparing land gifts for the retiring legionaries, finds out, he decides to give Tremensdelirius the deeds to the Gaulish village full of super-powered Roman-hating madmen, in full knowledge that when Tremensdelirius goes to claim the land the villagers will make his life a living hell. On his way there, Tremensdelerius gets drunk and swaps the absurdly valuable deed with an innocent innkeeper in return for wine.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Bloom County, Steve Dallas has a tendency to exhibit this after imbibing too much.
    • Opus, years later, gets into a scandal when he makes some offensive remarks after drinking too much, parodying the infamous Anti-Semitic remarks of Mel Gibson during his arrest for DUI.
  • When Farley covered the National Park Olympics, the most popular event was the Get Drunk and Do Something Stupid Freestyle.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, Professor Ratigan congratulates himself on his outstanding villainy and celebrates with his minions. One of them, Bartholomew, gets so drunk that he unwittingly calls his master a rat (which he is), Ratigan's Berserk Button. He takes Bartholomew with him and serves him up to his pet cat for lunch.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the beginning of Cool Hand Luke, the title character vandalizes some parking meters after imbibing too much. Things don't get better for him afterward.
  • The Fly (1986): In retrospect, Seth Brundle should've waited until he was sober before deciding whether or not to test his matter teleportation device on himself.
  • The Hangover,The Hangover: Part II, and The Hangover: Part III obviously.
  • At the beginning of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Harry meets his childhood love, Harmony... only to get drunk and sleep with her friend.
  • The Titfield Thunderbolt: After spending some time drowning their sorrows over the wreck of the engine, Dan and Mr. Valentine decide to borrow a temporary replacement from the nearest big railway shed. Because they are drunk, rather than doing the smart thing and telephoning the shed, they go there to borrow an engine without asking the foreman, and end up driving it off the turntable onto bare ground, through the streets, and into a park where the locomotive stops when it crashes into a tree offscreen.
  • Best Night Ever is set at bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas and after the heroine and her friends start partying... well remember the photo montage at the end of The Hangover? Essentially that only female and in live action.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy sees Drax "The Destroyer," drunk off his ass, decide that calling the genocidal Knight Templar and telling him where the Guardians and the MacGuffin they possess are located was something approaching a decent plan — in smaller words, he drunk-dialed Ronan.

    Literature 
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Freckles is certain that Wessner will not have the courage to return, unless he's half-drunk.
  • Used a lot in Jeeves and Wooster:
  • The Drawing of the Dark, a novel that is, at least in part, about a 16th century bouncer at a bar in Vienna, contains numerous examples, including Duffy, the bouncer in question, starting a drunken barfight to prevent a drunken barfight.
  • In The Pistoleer, a poker player, Frank, drunkenly accuses another of cheating. The "cheater" asks how he could be cheating, when Frank's doing all the winning. Frank stares at his pile for a second, before saying "Hell, maybe I'm the one's cheating." An observer has no idea how the accused cheater, a decent fellow, got into a poker game with a bunch of violent cattlemen, except that he was drinking more than usual, "which is sufficient explanation for almost any stupidity a man might do."
  • In the original book of Roald Dahl's The BFG, after the giants are captured and imprisoned in a deep pit, three particularly drunk and silly men decide it's a good idea to climb over the fence keeping people from falling in. They, naturally, fall in, and are equally naturally gobbled down by the ravenous giants.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a few spectacular examples. Getting drunk and insulting not only your sister's husband, but his entire people quite publicly? And then threatening to cut your sister's unborn child out? Not clever, Viserys Targaryen. Not clever at all. Mind you, it runs in the family: well before he ever came onto the scene, Prince Aerion showed that, after a long drinking session, it's not, perhaps, the wisest move to try turning into a dragon by finishing up with the local equivalent of Greek Fire crossed with napalm by way of white phosphorous as a chaser. And, this is not just restricted to Targaryens. Cersei and Tyrion Lannister can drink themselves into deep trouble if you let them — but, at least he can talk himself back out more often than not, given enough chance to. Or, how about Robert Baratheon — you can spot his IQ dropping with the number of goblets or wineskins he's killed off: and, yes — it gets him killed by Hunting Accident. There are many, many more...
  • A plot point in the Robert E. Howard story The Shadow of the Vulture — a bunch of drunk and riled-up soldiers recklessly charging out the nearest gate of besieged Vienna to get at the surprised Turkish army just so happens to be the one thing that stops the Turks in turn from exploiting the breach in a wall caused by a mine that coincidentally happened to blow up just then. While it helps save the city, many of the soldiers involved themselves are less lucky once the Turks get over their initial surprise...

    Live-Action TV 
  • This happens frequently in Workaholics, with the main characters often either at work, or drunk somewhere (usually on the roof of their house)-or both. In the episode "Real Time" they get drunk and leave their boss insulting voice-mails, and then try to race to the office ahead of her to delete them the next day. Only they're still drunk, and they keep drinking to avoid being hungover-which means they have to do everything from taking the bus, to stealing kids' bikes, to skitching to get to the office. When they could have just called a cab.
  • In Happy Endings, the characters spend, by their own admission "half their lives" in Rosalita's, their favorite bar. But they usually don't get too drunk. Notable exceptions include the episode "Bo Fight", in which Dave, still reeling from Alex pulling a Runaway Bride on him, gets really drunk with Max and they go looking for Bo, the guy she (sort of) ran off with.
  • Auf Wiedersehen, Pet has Neville experience the "wake up with an Embarrassing Tattoo" version.
  • Lampshaded on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Beer Bad" with its Devolution Device plot that turns the college kids and Buffy into neanderthals. Played straight in "Life Serial" when Buffy goes out drinking with Spike, throws a punch at a Big Red Devil and falls flat on her face.
  • On Cheers, recovering-alcoholic Sam suffers a relapse and drunkenly bets a man that if he hasn't married Jacqueline Bisset in one year, he'll let him have the bar. 364 days later, after Sam has long since sobered up and gone back on the wagon, the man shows up at the bar to collect on the bet.
  • How I Met Your Mother has this all over the place. Ted's apartment is above a bar and they spend a lot of their free time there drinking. From time to time, one or more of them gets really drunk and does something really stupid. Hilarity Ensues.
    • The "Home Wreckers" episode had a game where the friends had to guess whether Marshal was drunk or a kid when he did something stupid like putting fireworks in the microwave (Drunk) or when he tried to ride his bike down an extension ladder from the roof of a two story house (Kid).
  • A common occurrence on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Justified since the main characters are alcoholic idiots who run a bar.
  • The trope is somewhat inverted on an episode of Monk where Stottlemeyer solves a crime because consuming booze actually makes him more intellegent. He just can't remember how he solved it, and spends most of the episode trying to figure out what he did on his bender while fighting a hangover the next morning.
  • On My Name Is Earl, many of the misdeeds that Earl is trying to correct involved alcohol.
  • On the second season premiere of Shameless, the family patriarch is clearly soused when he decides that making a $10,000 bet (when he can barely afford his current booze bottle) is a good idea.
  • Somewhere in the region of every third death on One Thousand Ways To Die begins with the corpse-in-progress drinking.
  • Played for Drama in Breaking Bad, Walter White drinks a bit too much wine, and ends up telling Hank that Gale Boetticher may not be the real Heisenberg.
  • And it happens on Reality Television, too. Anyone for Survivor?
  • Any time the MythBusters have to get drunk on camera for a myth, hilarity of some kind is sure to ensue. The hangover myth (beer vs. beer and liquor) is a prime example; it includes Tory jumping into bed by climbing the wall outside the bedroom (rather than, you know, using the door to get in).
  • The Young Ones had a brilliant one in the second episode.
    Rick: It's nice to have a front door.
    Vyvyan: We had a front door in the last house.
    Rick: Yes, Vyvyan, but it was nailed to the ceiling in the living room.
    Vyvyan: So? I had to. I was drunk.

    Music 
  • The Dead Kennedys: "Too Drunk to Fuck"
  • hide's "Drink Or Die!!!" (English translation from Nopperabou.net)
    My fingers are shaking and my speech is slurred
    But I'm a 180% proof human firebomb
    From town to town, from bar to bar
    I'm an eternal alcohol gypsy
    Nihonshu, bourbon, beer with absinthe
    Shochu, doburoku, tequila
    I'm ready for anything, bring on the alcohol
    No use dreading the hospital now, will you drink?
    If you get hurt, why not party in Obstetrics and Gynecology?\\
  • Implied in Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville":
    Don't know the reason I stayed here all season
    With nothing to show but this brand-new tattoo,
    But it's a real beauty, a Mexican cutie—
    How it got here, I haven't a clue.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In some versions of the story about the sinking of Ys from Celtic Mythology and French folklore, the Princess Dahut-Ahès gets drunk and opens the dike gate that protects the city from flooding at high tide during a storm.

    Video Games 
  • The dwarfs in Dwarf Fortress can be seen as this since they are perpetually drinking, and considering their notorious Artificial Stupidity...
  • One quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim seems to be a Shout-Out to The Hangover. A guy in a tavern challenges you to a drinking contest. After four drinks, you black out... and wake up in the Temple of Dibella in Markarth. You then spend the next little while learning what you did last night due to Alcohol-Induced Stupidity, and trying to fix things. In the end, it turns out you were the victim of an elaborate prank by Sanguine, the Daedric Prince of Debauchery.
    • This is also the reason a particular inn is known as The Drunken Huntsman. One of the owners, Elrindir, explains that they got the name from an incident where he and this brother Anoriath went hunting after consuming too much alcohol for good measure. Long story short, Anoriath thought his brother was a deer and he was Shot in the Ass with an arrow.
  • In ''Kingdom of Loathing', getting too drunk results in normal adventures being overridden by Drunken Stupors, which occasionally result in very stupid actions.
  • In the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, Shepard has to bail out Grunt with C-Sec after he decided to celebrate his birthday with a wild night out on the Citadel, causing a lot of property damage in the process.
  • Invoked in World of Warcraft, where consuming alcohol causes your character to underestimate the levels of enemy targets (the more you consume, the lower the targets' level looks). If you forgot you were drunk, you might see an enemy two levels above you and try and take it on, only to get stomped by a mob that's actually seven levels higher than you.
  • In Final Fantasy X, as the party prepares to cross the Moonflow, Auron recalls his previous trip to the Moonflow with the late Braska and Jecht, which ended in the alcoholic and drunk Jecht attacking a shoopuf, forcing Braska to pay for damages out of his own pocket. After that incident, Jecht never drank again.

    Web Comics 
  • In Wizard School, drunken Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist Graham gets a tattoo to "seal the deal" with an attractive woman — and promptly wakes up in a room with two children and a talking goat who inform him that he's The Chosen One.
  • Questionable Content: Marten + taser + alcohol = forgetting basic taser safety knowledge.
  • In the 'book-only' Start of Darkness, the second prequel to The Order of the Stick (and labeled as Book #-1), it's explained that this is how Eugene Greenhilt made his Blood Oath of Vengence against Xykon. While searching for information on the sorcerer, many of Eugene's leads were in the seedier parts of Cliffport and he had to buy the lowlifes a round of drinks. He apparently had a few too many himself and ended up wandering into a tattoo parlor that also did rituals.
  • Yeagar from Nodwick isn't the cleverest person even when sober, but some of his best (read: most disastrous) ideas usually come to him when drunk. One comic features this exchange when Artax is explaining why he has returned from a scouting trip without Yeagar:
    Artax: And then Yeagar said those six words that strike terror into my soul...
    Nodwick & Piffany: "Hold my ale and watch this."
  • Allen The Alien: Allen drinks too much and manages to land himself in an Alien Abduction.
  • The plot of the Cyanide and Happiness short "Drunk". The protagonist's brain is normally smarter than his body. Many, many drinks later, this is no longer the case. His body and his poop both realize that driving while drunk is a bad idea and try to dissuade the brain from doing so. They fail.

    Web Original 
  • According to Nash, many of the stories that end up on What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? probably began with four words: "Here, hold my beer."
  • The whole premise of Markiplier's series Drunk Minecraft. The only conclusion where you get a group of drunk adults playing Minecraft with an admin that's happy to give them whatever they want, provided they don't piss the admin off, which of course they do.
  • Rooster Teeth and its division Achievement Hunter both fall into this, and cases of this make up many of the funny stories on the podcast. In one particular case, Gavin Free ended up drunk during an episode of Let's Play Minecraft and almost derailed their efforts to complete a difficult achievement, stealing their gold and making a "Tower of Pimps", and assaulting them in-game. He admitted that in hindsight, it was painful to watch.
  • Despite what you may think, this happens very little in A Couple of Cunts in the Countryside. Some embarrassing stories do get told in the alcohol episode, though.
  • While the Yogscast are generally okay, they do have their moments as well, mostly during their Christmas livestreams:
    • Sparkles* stumbled into a livestream that he wasn't supposed to be in during the 2012 Honey Drive, blatantly refusing to leave when Duncan Jones (himself something of an offender) told him to and singing the wrong lyrics to songs. When Duncan finally managed to convince him to leave and he gave Simon Lane a goodbye hug, he nearly fell over twice. Then Lewis and Simon got drunk, playing "Jingle Cats" over the speakers repeatedly, talking about utter nonsense and nearly calling up Sips at one in the morning. It got so bad that Hannah Rutherford had to try and intervene to get them to stop... only for them to try and mute her.
    • Lewis Brindley, when drunk, proves that he's Not So Above It All, blatantly cheating and going on an unprovoked rant.
    • Duncan has earned the nickname "Drunkan" from both fans and the other Yogs, due to his drinking on livestreams and the ensuing chaos that results.
    • Hat Films have told a story about Turpster getting very drunk during a pub quiz at i49, in which they and Turps ended up in an overflow room since there were so many people there. After another team from the overflow room emerged victorious, Turps decided that this meant everyone in the overflow room had won and tried going up with the winning team.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: "The Route of All Evil"
    Dwight Conrad: I heard alcohol makes you stupid.
    Fry: No I'm... doesn't!
  • The Simpsons: happens frequently and is often displayed by Homer (and sometimes his barfly buddy Barney Gumble).
    • In a flashback scene during "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer", Homer, after drinking too much beer at a chili cook-off, decides to take off all his clothes and climb into a cotton-candy machine and pretend he's a "puffy pink cloud."
    • From one Treehouse Of Terror episode:
    Homer: Oh, Lisa, you and your stories: Bart's a vampire, beer kills brain cells. Now let's go back to that... building... thingie... where our beds and TV... is.
    • In an example involving Barney, the "Mr. Plow" episode features a flashback scene where we see a teenage Barney studying for the SAT when Homer sneaks in with a six pack of beer. After Homer pressures him, Barney reluctantly agrees to take a drink and, with one sip, we actually see his IQ drop sharply.
    • Parodied in "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", where Bart and Milhouse go on a squishee bender. The next day, Bart discovers he's joined the Junior Campers, and Milhouse has a dirty word shaved into the back of his head. Barney, who drank some of the Squishee, wound up joining the Navy, and apparently not for the first time.
    • In "Deep Space Homer", Barney, when selected by NASA to be an astronaut, swears off alcohol and successfully completes his training program with flying colors. Unfortunately, when he takes a sip of a congratulatory glass of champagne, his face immediately reverts back into its permanently soused expression as he proclaims, "It begins." He then steals a jet pack and careens drunkenly through the sky until it runs out of fuel, causing him to crash onto a pillow factory roof and bounce onto the street below where he's run over by a marshmallow truck. The fact that it was non-alcoholic champagne says something about Barney's alcoholism.
  • Brian from Family Guy tends to be the voice of reason in the Griffin family, but whenever he gets drunk he will often do something incredibly stupid. Odds are, Peter will be right along with him.

    Real Life 
  • The Darwin Awards would likely cease to exist, or at least lose a significant portion of their content, were it not for this trope.
    • Several relatives of Darwin "winners" protested the deceased being mocked on the site, on account of their judgement being impaired by alcohol. The Darwin Awards judges replied that those people made the decision, conscious and sober, to impair their judgement with alcohol in the first place.
  • Korsakoff's Syndrome.
  • Drunk driving. Dangerous, stupid, and illegal.
  • Many accidents involving firearms or civilian explosives (fireworks, stage pyro) involve this trope. Combining this trope with a gun or with fireworks has led to more emergency room admissions and deaths than can probably be listed.
  • Quite a few famous deaths (actors, comedians, musicians, and the list goes on) have happened as a result of this trope. A list of them all would possibly overwhelm the page.
  • Many, if not all, of the Wacky Fratboy Hijinks alluded to on Texts From Last Night apparently involved alcohol, drugs, or both. Some, however, were just perfectly sober people making poor decisions.
  • Fark.com also subsists on a diet of "Why, yes, alcohol was a factor" headlines. When this intersects with the Florida tag, it gets truly bizarre.
  • During his career of being the first and only person to ever routinely drunk drive a superpower, Boris Yeltsin managed to unfortunately combine this trope with Vodka Drunkenski on more than one occasion. One of his most infamous examples being when he visited President Bill Clinton in Washington, DC. The trip pretty much ended when Yeltsin drunkenly stumbled out of Blair Housenote  one morning and tried to hail a cab because he wanted some pizza. On Pennsylvania Avenue. In his underwear.
  • Part of what made The Wild West so wild was that there was that in every town, bored cowboys, depressed miners and celebrating gamblers had a ready supply of booze in the form of the local saloon. The other thing they had plenty of cheap and affordable access to were firearms. A few too many drinks convinced many a would-be gunslinger that the best response to a perceived insult was to shoot the other guy's head off.
  • The US Depart. of Defense has its "That Guy" campaign to try and counter this trope.
  • Truth in Television, as many police officers and emergency room doctors can attest.
  • Everything that comes after someone saying, "Hold my beer and watch this." (A statement known in some circles as a "Redneck's Famous Last Words.")


Achievements in IgnoranceContrived Stupidity TropesApathetic Citizens
Vice CityThis Index Means TroubleArab-Israeli Conflict
Alcoholic ParentHard Drinking TropesAll Beer Is Ale
The Aggressive Drug DealerThis Is Your Index on DrugsAlien Catnip
Forgot About His PowersIdiot BallMistaken for Index
Adults Are UselessStupidity TropesAlmighty Idiot
TintinImageSource/Comic BooksApologetic Attacker

alternative title(s): Alcohol Induced Stupidity
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