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Birthday Suit Surprise Party

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The question is: Who was more surprised?

The door burst open she stood there,
With all of me mates from the docks,
And they all sang "Happy Birthday to You,"
And all I had on were my socks.
Benny Hill, The Benny Hill Show, "Anna Marie"

Nakedness. Nobody ever gets tired of it. The exact reasons for being naked are irrelevant, for inevitably the time must come when we must end this plot. Cast aside the foolishness of a naked person traipsing around the universe gay as a chickadee, and finally have them safely at home where the nakedness can bother no one and so—


Well, so much for the comfort and all that. Looks like at just the right time, nakedness has become funny again. Because after all, as far as embarrassing humor goes, it's hard to top having all your friends and family see you without any clothes on while celebrating your arrival into this world (amusingly enough, in the same state as you were back then).

Usually the disrobing happens for a deliberate reason. The character in question is under the impression that he or she is about to get some. Oh, you adorable sex hounds! Obviously, this does not show up so much in G-rated versions, which rather involve Naked People Trapped Outside.

This trope is based off an old story, as Snopes explains here and here. The Reveal of the surprise guests almost always ends the story — very rarely does the party happen and then we see what happens next.

See also Caught with Your Pants Down. Compare Open the Door and See All the People. A Naked Freak-Out is an entirely justified reaction. It's nearly always a birthday party, making this a subtrope of Birthday Party Goes Wrong.


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  • Non-nude variation: A '90s Michelob Light commercial had a woman coming home and finding a note from her husband: "Grab the Michelob Light from the fridge and meet me in the living room." Grinning mischievously, she runs upstairs, changes into a slinky negligee, and comes back down to the living room...
  • This dentist commercial, which provides the above image. A woman comes home from a long day of work and undresses to take a bath. When she turns the lights on, she discovers her friends and family are there to throw her a surprise party.

    Fan Works 
  • Vow of Nudity: Fiora and Walburt throw Haara one of these in one story, though since it's this series, there's no awkwardness as they're already naked as well!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The title moment of American Pie - even funnier, more explicit and more em-bare-assing in the unrated DVD version.
  • Played With in Chalet Girl - Kim is having her birthday party at the Chalet she works on and she and her friends are hanging out in the hot tub when a drunk Kim climbs out of it naked to dance in the snow... just as the Chalet owners arrive to catch her naked, including her Love Interest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There was a sketch on The Benny Hill Show involving a man being invited back to his girlfriend's flat. She leaves to "slip into something more comfortable". He strips off in the expectation of sex, then all of his friends leap out shouting, "Surprise!"
  • Happens to Jeri Ryan's character in Boston Public. She strips down to just a shirt for some goodbye sex with her ex-boyfriend in the office, only to be surprised by everyone jumping out and shouting "Surpri__ohh."
    "OK, you got me."
  • Coupling has a wonderfully Exaggerated variation of this. Jeff's Love Interest blindfolds him in the office after hours and says she has a surprise for him. He jumps to the understandable conclusion that she was going to have sex with him right then and there. So, happily singing to himself, he triumphantly dances around the room stripping off every last item. At which point the Love Interest returns — with his parents — and reveals there was a room full of people waiting to surprise him for his birthday party, and they'd been standing there watching the whole strip in mute horror. Still, it ends better for Jeff than any other example on this page, as the girlfriend herself found the whole thing a bit of a turn-on...
  • In the episode "War" from the La Femme Nikita TV series, assassins break into Nikita's apartment. They thought they'd get the drop on her. They're wrong.
  • Happens to Kenan on Kenan & Kel, although he was not completely naked—just below the waist.
  • An episode of L.A. Law also does the "in anticipation of sex" version.
  • The Cinemax show Life On Top manages to invert this trope: being the kind of show that it is, all of the guests are naked - then when the birthday girl shows up, it's with her parents in tow...
  • An early Newhart episode has a mild version of this, with Joanna showing up at the surprise party in a black negligee.
  • That '70s Show has a clothed version of this by crossing it over with Raging Stiffie. Eric has an Erotic Dream about what sort of "gift" Donna might give him for his birthday, only to wake up to family yelling "Surprise!" and serving him breakfast in bed. His parents don't seem to notice how embarrassed he is, but his sister Laurie snarks "Nice tent" before following them out of the room.

  • "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin is about a guy taking a bath on a Saturday night, getting out of the tub and leaving the bathroom, and finding there's a party going on in his house when he's just got a towel on. He jumps back in the bath and later returns to the party after putting on his dancing shoes (and, presumably, some additional clothing).

    Myths & Religion 
  • One variation on the urban legend: A middle-aged couple go to church on the wife's birthday. After they come home, the wife heads to the bath to take a shower, during which the husband lets in everyone he has invited to the surprise birthday party prepared for her and hides them in the darkened living room. Then the wife comes down the stairs stark naked and enters the living room while calling out to her husband to "come get it while it's clean".

    Video Games 
  • Happens in the 2009 Interactive Fiction Competition winner, Violet. The hero is trying to work on his dissertation but is distracted by his itchy clothes. You have to remove the clothes and finish the game naked... when it turns out Violet had thrown you a special "Dissertation finished" party. Subverted in that she knew it was coming, since she rigged your office with a hidden camera, to make sure you keep working.


    Web Original 
  • One poster on alt.folklore.urban joked that this urban legend had first been committed to parchment by Geoffrey Chaucer, and provided a version in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe to "prove" it.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in the NFB's Bob's Birthday, the animated short on which Bob and Margaret was based. In this case the guests never get to yell "Surprise!"; they just stay in their hiding places and endure the awkward conversation that follows.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. "I Only Have Surprise for You" Bloo arranges a surprise party for Mac, just as he got out of the bathtub and all the towels were gone. Bloo does this same prank again, only this time, he provides Mac with a ballerina costume.
  • Happens in an episode of the 2007 George of the Jungle where George loses his loincloth and tries to get back to the treehouse without being seen.
  • In the Mickey Mouse short "Surprise", Mickey asks his friends to not throw him a surprise party this year due to previous ones horrifying or embarrassing him. In a video tape he shows of the previous surprise parties, one was thrown by his friends while he was in the shower.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In "A Bacon Strip" (the second segment of "The Acme Acres Zone"), Hamton finds himself naked outside after doing something stupid at Plucky's urging (namely, Skinny Dipping in Montana Max's personal pool, at which point he's forced to flee leaving his clothes behind). When Hamton finally makes it home, a surprise party is awaiting him and Plucky was aware of it. Note that this time, we do see what happens next: Hamton uses a "happy birthday" banner as a loincloth and starts eating the cake.
  • Variation on The Venture Brothers: it's the Monarch's birthday, and he takes hostages Brock and Hank to his lair, where Dr. Girlfriend surprises him wearing panties and a strategically placed bow — he's embarrassed, she isn't.

    Real Life 
  • In Jeffery Brown's autobiographical comic Funny Misshapen Body, while in the hospital as a teenager, a group of well-wishing friends from his church decided to surprise him with a visit while partly undressed from his revealing hospital gown and using the portable bedside commode... it was awkward.