"If you're not smart enough to play a real instrument, they give you two sticks, put you in the back, and call you a drummer."
In the eyes of many people, a percussionist isn't a real musician. After all, how many brain cells can it really take to bang on stuff with sticks? Probably not many. As a result, it's not rare for a drummer to be portrayed as, well, stupid.
NOT Truth in Television
. Playing percussion adequately often involves managing many more actions and ideas at the same time than most other instruments. Real drummers often refer to themselves as "percussionists
" in an attempt to distance themselves from this trope as well as because many drummers also play general percussion.
Compare All Drummers Are Animals
, as there can be some overlap. Contrast Nobody Loves the Bassist
Anime and Manga
- K-On! has Ritsu Tainaka. As the Light Music Club's drummer, she isn't particularly stupid, just lazy and forgetful. Although the reason she plays the drums is because she thinks playing the guitar or keyboard is too complicated and would frustrate her.
- Vertigo Pop: London is about an aging rock star named Rocky looking to regain his lost youth. In a flashback set in India, a guru offers him some hash to smoke and Rocky's drummer gets envious:
Daz: Hey, I want some of this present. It sounds crazy.
Rocky: Sorry, Daz. Not for you.
Daz: And why not?
Rocky: Because... Because you're a drummer. And drummers... they're not meant to have life-changing transcendental experiences.
- Pierce, from Zits. Unworldly, soft-hearted when it comes to living creatures, and lacking impulse control-yes. He's definitely not stupid, though,and the trope rarely if ever is mentioned in the strip.
- Played for Laughs in This Is Spinal Tap. All of their drummers get killed off.
- Animal from The Muppet Movie was portrayed this way.
- Inverted with That Thing You Do!. The drummer is the hero of the story and even inspires a brief fashion trend with his trademark sunglasses.
- The drummer in Still Crazy clearly isn't the brightest in the band and the narrator expresses the opinion that "If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then drummers are from Pluto."
- Averted in Zero History by William Gibson: Heidi Hyde is a former drummer, but it doesn't seem to have caused any lasting mental handicap.
- Lias "Cliff" Bluestone from Soul Music is a rather simple-minded troll who's frequently described as "one of nature's drummers".
- Ash from I'm In The Band is considered a Genius Ditz...at best. At worst, he's a moron.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith's list of loser ex-boyfriends went "Ronnie: deadbeat. Steve: klepto. Kenny: drummer."
- Drake & Josh utilized this trope whenever Drake's band appeared, and his drummer felt the need to call drums every time they went onstage.
- Glee: In some respects, Finn Hudson is a walking, talking (though not at the same time) drummer joke...
- The Muppet Show: Animal, again.
- The Loading Screen for Guitar Hero 3 has random quotes, one of which is, "I'm the drummer, I don't have to understand any of this S#!%!"
- Another reads, "Don't let your drummer handle the money."
Jokes and Anecdotes
- Kevin from Rhapsodies is essentially a amalgamation of every drummer joke you ever heard. Though he's more oblivious than stupid.
- The page quote, obviously.
- "What does it mean when the drummer's drooling out of both sides of his mouth?" "The stage is level."
- "What's got three legs and a twat at the top?" "A drum stool."
- "How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?" "Just one, but he has to figure out not to hit it with a stick first."
- "How can you tell if there's a drummer at your door?" "The knocking speeds up and he comes in at the wrong time."
- "Did you hear about the guitarist who locked his keys in his car?" "It took him an hour to get the drummer out."
- "How do you confuse a drummer?" "Put sheet music in front of him."
- "What do you call a drummer who's broken up with his girlfriend?" "Homeless."
- "What do you call a guy who likes to hang out with musicians?" "A drummer."
- "Why can't drummers tell jokes timing".
- Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
A: With a drum machine you only have to punch the information in once.
Alternate Answer: About 40 seconds by the end of the song.
- And in revenge: "How late does [band] play?" "About half a beat behind the drummer..."