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Brotherhood of Funny Hats

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"You think they look funny, what with their silly hats and their little carts. If you knew what those hats actually stood for, you'd never laugh at anything, ever again..."
— Flavor text for the "Fraternal Orders" card, Illuminati: New World Order

In the media, fraternal orders and secret societies tend to go one of two ways: they're either a front for a sinister and fearful Ancient Conspiracy, or they're... the Brotherhood of Funny Hats.

These guys are more interested in living it up and "having some fun with the guys." (Er, platonically.) They go to lodge meetings (wearing funny hats, of course), throw wild parties (which may or may not conflict with the schedules of the protagonists and necessitate a Two-Timer Date, if they're members), memorize the new secret handshakes, and put new members through convoluted, embarrassing, and/or painful hazing rituals. If they pull any strings, they do it for members of the brotherhood because hey, they're just those kinds of guys.

It's not all fun and games, though. Sometimes there's a fierce pecking order in place, with more ambitious (and less scrupulous) members trying to claw their way to the top. And on rare occasions, the image of drunken, loveable middle-aged men is just an act, and they really are a front for an Ancient Conspiracy.

Hats are not actually mandatory, but—when present—can generally be relied on to be silly. For whatever reason, fiction requires that innocuous Brotherhoods like this are exclusively male. Mixed-gender groups or all-female sororities always have an ulterior motive.

While this is by no means a Dead Horse Trope there is apparently something a little retro to it, and such societies seem to appear more frequently in works set in The '50s (such as American Graffiti or Peggy Sue Got Married) than in works set in the present.

When a fraternal society is exclusively filled with upper-class men, it is also a Smoky Gentlemen's Club. See also Gang of Hats. Has nothing to do with Team Fortress 2.


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    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • In My Cage office dope Jeff is a member of the "Hammerhead Lodge"; in one strip Norm tells him he pictures them sitting around wearing Viking hats and drinking beer at their meetings. Jeff laughs at the insinuation, while thinking must kill Norm, he knows too much.
  • The Bloom County Moose Lodge featured in exactly one strip, commenting disapprovingly on the Rolling Stones' proclivity to "wear weird clothes," "make strange noises," "and act loony." They then signaled their agreement to "condemn the whole nasty situation" by making the Secret Moose Mating Call.

    Fan Works 
  • The Amorphous League of The Land of What Might-Have-Been, despite its ominous reputation and impressive powers, is actually just a club for hobbyist shapeshifters dressed up with a few rituals. They aren't seeking to take over the world with the powers they've gained, or anything other than wasting time and playing silly pranks; indeed, the League's original members were just ordinary men and women who sought a temporary escape from the pressures of living in Unbridled Radiance by learning how to shapeshift for fun. Unfortunately, the Empress came down on them hard for "crimes against beauty" and had its members hunted almost to extinction, hence why they end up becoming allies of Elphaba. They're led by the Cowardly Lion's Alternate Self, and Glinda ends up becoming a member.
  • Power Rangers fanfic Of Love and Bunnies provides an example of this with a group of teenage girls at Reefside High School who have a crush on Tommy Oliver and have created a group called D.O.R.K.S. or Dr. Oliver's Royally Kissable Stalkers...who wear the aforementioned hats.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Boxtrolls:
    • The Cheese Guild, who rule Cheesebridge like a fiefdom and hold tastings of the finest cheeses. They're known for their tall white hats.
    • Snatcher and his men wear equally silly-looking red hats.
  • Gamma Mu Mu (the rival frat house/skater team) in An Extremely Goofy Movie was depicted as one of these briefly in a montage. Predictably, Goofy's role as a candle bearer does not go over so well.
  • Conversational Troping in Horton Hears a Who! (2008), when Morton suggests the two of them are a club, Horton says they could be a secret society "and no one else can join, unless they wear funny hats!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Carry On Matron, Sir Bernard Cutting's enmity towards Dr Francis A. Goode turns to friendship when they discover they are both members of the Grand Order of Newts. A later remark from Sir Bernard to Matron implies that, unusually for a Brotherhood Of Funny Hats, the Newts admit lady members.
  • Laurel and Hardy were members of the titular order in their movie Sons of the Desert. It was such a success that their Appreciation Society took the same name.
    • In a short with a similar theme, they belonged to a lodge who wore British style "Hunting Pink" and sang A Hunting We Will Go at the start of each meeting.
    • In Our Relations, the duo belong to a lodge of an unspecified order.
    • Interesting to note that Oliver Hardy was a Freemason in Real Life.
  • The fraternal order to which Peggy Sue's grandfather belongs in Peggy Sue Got Married. "Girl's gone — let's play cards!"
  • The Mud Wrestling event in ...All the Marbles, which is about a female Professional Wrestling Tag Team, is organized by The Kiwanis Club.

  • Constance from the ''Constance Verity' Trilogy has the attention of a lot of secret societies with world domination on the brain, her old butler Jenkins having been a part of one of the "bad ones." Strangely enough, a lot of them want to blow up New Jersey for some reason.
  • In The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds is pretty much a drinking society with some elaborate, silly rituals (some of which turn out to be meaningful) that occasionally pulls lame pranks... until Frankie takes charge. Then the pranks become epic and politically charged.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Ankh-Morpork, as shown in Guards! Guards!, has many secret societies, most of whose members would like to be part of an Ancient Conspiracy, but are really just in it for the mysterious robes. And in one case, in the society that is important to the plot and winds up being incinerated by the dragon it summoned, to chant "mystic prunes".
    • Going Postal features a sequence where the protagonist is initiated into the postmen's secret society, which involves an ominous-sounding and rather painful hazing ritual known as "The Postman's Walk". It's mentioned he's previously joined several Brotherhoods of Funny Hats with names like The Men of the Furrow, as a prelude to defrauding the other members.
    • As mentioned in Lords and Ladies, Lancre, centre of all rural folklore, has a Brotherhood of Funny Hats so ancient and secret it doesn't even have a name. According to The Discworld Companion their regular meetings at an earthworks called The Long Man may be an ancient rite, or simply represent man's ancient desire to get out of the house and have a couple of pints.
    • This pretty much describes how the Unseen University was run before Archchancellor Ridicully came into the picture, a bunch of wizards who were only concerned with eating, sleeping, wearing the clothes that pointed out that they were wizards... Oh, and moving higher in the University by making an opening with the "removal" of senior wizards.
  • Pierre Bezukhov joins the Freemasons in War and Peace at the insistence of one of his mentors, to find some guys are actually into it and other guys...not so much. He gets in a huff later when Boris joins the Freemasons purely to advance his social standing.
  • In Teresa Edgerton's Goblin Moon, the Glassblowers guild has an offshoot of scholars and wearers of goofy ceremonial robes, paralleling what the Real Life Freemasons are like.
  • Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt explains in bitingly satirical terms the importance of the Brotherhood of Funny Hats to the upstanding 1920s businessman. The brotherhoods to which Babbitt himself belongs—the Elks and Rotary—aren't particulalry BOFH-ish, but he does mention that the Masons, Shriners, etc., serve the same purpose and which club you join is more or less inconsequential.
  • In Stark, Ben Elton has a character attend a meeting of the Ancient Loyal and Stupid Order of Dingoes. Many of these are also members of the Chapel of the Charitable Chickens who sing The honourable Cluck Cluck Song every hour on the hour.
    • The point is made that in small-town Australia there isn't much to do except belong to funny clubs.
  • Of the three known secret societies in The Stormlight Archive, the Sons of Honor qualify the most. They were once great, kicking off the plot with their misguided attempts to bring back the Radiants, which brought back Odium instead, and their leader Restares is an immortal Herald. However, their leaders were all killed. By Rhythm of War, they're reduced to a small group of people meeting in the dark in funny robes, easily duped by Shallan, who finishes them off with a single sting operation. In contrast, the Skybreakers are an entire order of Magic Knight Templars, and the Ghostbloods have the mysterious ability to know everything that goes on.
    Each robe was embroidered with the Double Eye of the Almighty, and Shallan had a fleeting thought, wondering at the seamstress they'd hired to do all this work. "Yes, we want twenty identical, mysterious robes, sewn with ancient arcane symbols. They're for... parties."
  • The sentient steam engines in .007 have the Amalgamated Brotherhood of Locomotives. The story ends with the main character being inducted into the Brotherhood and being declared worthy of singing their funny song.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Honeymooners featured a fraternal order known as The Raccoon Lodge.
  • Each episode of The Red Green Show ends with a meeting of the Possum Lodge, whose motto is "Quando omni flunkus, moritati" (pseudo-Latin for "When all else fails, play dead").
  • One episode of Mama's Family featured Thelma infiltrating a snake-themed Brotherhood her son had joined, called "The Order of the Cobra".
  • A You Go, Girl! episode of Punky Brewster started with Henry coming back from his meeting of the Brotherhood of Funny Hats, complete with ridiculous bison-headdress.
  • The Andy Griffith Show had an episode where Howard Sprague joins an order of which Andy and Goober are members. They only seem to wear the silly robes when they're deciding whether to accept a new member.
  • Greek offers many Fraternities/Sororities of Funny Hats. You've got the Animal House frat, the Preppy frat, the Geek frat, the Jock frat, the Pretty Girl sorority, the Slutty sorority, etc.
  • Howard Cunningham on Happy Days was a Grand Poobah of Leopard Lodge No. 462. More than one episode revolved around the lodge's annual Poobah Doo Dah.
  • Parodied in The Thin Blue Line with Grim's group, "The Todgers", an exaggerated expy of the Masons whose rituals involve wearing a dress and kissing a frozen turkey's bottom.
  • In Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank Barone belongs to one of these. Though actual funny hats were in short supply, the geriatric members of the group made up for it with activities like swimming in the nude.
  • Married... with Children's National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood, or NO MA'AM for short is supposed to fight the increasing power of women all over society. But when it comes down to it, they are just there for drinking beer.
  • Saturday Night Live has The Badger Convention, a Brotherhood of Funny Hats that goes around annoying people with childish pranks.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Lampshaded in "Live from the Grill-O-Mat" with the Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things, when John Cleese is questioned why his Staffordshire branch has not done anything.
    John Cleese: Well, Mr. Chairman; it's just that most of the members in Staffordshire feel...the whole thing's a bit silly.
    All: [Offended] Silly?!
    Graham Chapman: I suppose it is a bit. What have we been doing wasting our lives with all this nonsense? Right; OK, meeting adjourned forever!
    • The Masons also appear in the Architect's Sketch, including weird handshakes.. and de-programming masons (animated).
  • Hayden's boss in Coach was a member of one of these. Hayden was invited to one meeting to make a speech in favor of his boss becoming the new head of the order, and ended up getting appointed leader for life because their goose mascot honked during his speech.
  • The 'Keepers of the Kingdom' fill this particular role in the Riget-inspired Kingdom Hospital: a secret order of people dedicated to keeping the hospital running well, at all costs. Stegman is eventually invited into the group; it doesn't end well for him.
  • All in the Family
    • Archie is a member of the Kings of Queens lodge.
    • In a Season 8 episode another "civic" organization invites Archie to join: The Kweens Kouncil of Krusaders.
  • Robert Holmes Revisioned the Time Lords as a darkly comic variant in the Doctor Who story "The Deadly Assassin". As far as they're concerned, they're an omnipotent Ancient Conspiracy, and they do (in theory) have the power to back it up... but in practice all they do is have pompous ceremonies, wear ridiculous costumes, moan about politics and their back problems, and have no interest in doing anything either good or bad to anybody beside internal hierarchicalist backstabbing. Except for their secret police, who are more proactive and also corrupt, torturing monsters.
  • In Our Friends in the North Terry "Tosker" Cox joins the Masons in the hope that it will further his business venture as a dodgy buy-to-let landlord.
  • In Toast of London Stephen Toast joins the Masons after learning that a certain director only hires actors who are "on the square". It costs him £27.50.
  • Midsomer Murders: "Murder on St. Malley's Day" has 'The Pudding Club'; an exclusive club restricted to members of the elite Devington School's students who are pursuing careers in diplomacy. On the surface, it's just a "boy's club" that regularly eats "puddings".note  In reality, it's a front for an illegal art-smuggling ring, with the members using their positions to smuggle valuables out of foreign countries and into the school proper, to be sold off to finance the school whenever it needs the money.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: In "Victor, Victorian", it is revealed both Brackenried and Crabtree are Freemasons. While some members of the lodge regard it as Serious Business, most (including Brackenried) regard it as an excuse to get out of the house and fraternize with male company without their wives being present.
  • Eerie, Indiana: In "The Loyal Order of Corn", Edgar joins the Loyal Order of Corn Lodge, Eerie's version of the Loyal Order of Moose. The members wear hats modeled after corn stalks and new members such as Edgar are referred to as "seedlings." The kernel Mr. Radford is the nominal leader of the Order but its true leader is its long serving bartender Ned, who turns out to be an alien explorer stranded on Earth. He founded the Lodge in order to unknowingly enlist the humans' help in building a tachyon portal so that he could return to his own planet.
  • On an episode of Cheers Norm joins a fraternal organization called "The Knights of the Scimitar".
  • 2point4 Children: The episode "The Man Who Knew Too Much" features Ben, suffering from a Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis, attempting to join a secret society for plumbers called the "Brotherhood of the Plunger", complete with having to put plungers all over their body as part of the ritual.
  • Lodge 49 follows the misadventures of a fraternal group called the Order of the Lynx who slowly begin to discover that there's a bit more to their history then mere funny hats
  • In Brush Strokes, Lionel belongs to one of these, and his membership of his lodge is Serious Business to him. He dies accidentally from a fall when participating in one of the order's rituals. His regalia include a pair of gold compasses (an allusion to the Freemasons' logo). However, the head of his lodge is titled 'Salamander General' while Lionel hopes to advance to the 'Blue Grotto 5th Phase.' Neither of these terms feature in Freemasonry.


    Professional Wrestling 

  • In The Hidden Almanac, the Sacred Order of the Bull Moose is a fraternal order with funny little rituals, levels of secrecy, and several well-attended annual events including the Waffle Dinner and the New Year's Fun Run. The waffle dinner features a Lottery of Doom to select the member who will be hunted down and sacrificed to the moose gods in the fun run.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Bear in the Big Blue House episode, "The Yard Sale", Doc Hogg reveals that he is the great imperial boar of the Woodland Valley chapter of the "Swiners". At the end of the episode, he makes Bear and his friends honorary Swiners as a reward for raising enough charity money to build new homes for the muskrats through their yard sale.
  • Fraggle Rock: Mokey's attempts to get into one of these (which seems to alternate between incredibly serious and incredibly silly) make up the story of one episode.
  • Sesame Street: Telly Monster belongs to the "Triangle Lovers' Club", who do in fact wear silly hats like beanies and fezzes. Their leader is the Grand High Triangle Lover.

  • Back in its day, one of the most well-known examples was the Mystic Knights of the Sea lodge in Amos 'n' Andy (1928-1960); both protagonists belonged to it, and the lodge's leader, George "the Kingfish" Stevens, was the third central character of the series. The Kingfish's catchphrase "Holy mackerel!" continues to be used to this day.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Secret Societies in the role-playing game Paranoia all attempt to achieve Ancient Conspiracy status, but far more often end up as examples of this trope instead.
  • As illustrated by the page quote, the Fraternal Orders from Illuminati: New World Order. Given the All Conspiracy Theories Are True nature of the game, they were probably intended to represent the Freemasons, but come across as being more like Shriners. Like all the other groups in the game, they end up as puppets of a more Ancient Conspiracy.

  • In Bye Bye Birdie, Rose bursts in on a meeting of Shriners after dumping Albert F. Peterson, and teases them mercilessly—until they get sufficiently excited that she has to fend them off instead.
  • In The Green Pastures, the Nepharious Pharaoh's throne room is decorated like a lodge home, with banners inscribed "Sublime Order of Princes of the House of Pharaoh Home Chapter," "Mystic Brothers of the Egyptian Home Guard Ladies Auxiliary, No. 1," "Supreme Magicians and Wizards of the Universe," "Enchanted and Invisible Cadets of Egypt Boys' Brigade," and so forth. His officials include a couple of "Wizards" with beards, robes and pointy hats.

    Video Games 
  • The Brotherhood of Masks in The Case Of The Golden Idol is a secret society made up of members of the nobility, who worship a god called the "Gryphon". They dress in robes and ominous masks during their meetings, and follow a number of odd rites, with several being outlined for intiation and settling disputes. It's noted that, while the Brotherhood will go to lengths to protect themselves and retrieve their artifacts, they don't do much of anything outside of that. It's not until Lazarus Herst takes over as "Gryphon Reborn" that they start to grab for power.
  • The Order of the Harvest Moon (no relation) from the adventure game Harvester is the sinister version. The initiation process requires you to commit vandalism, breaking and entering, petty larceny, arson, and manslaughter, and the Order turns out to be a front for a cult of nihilists who have trapped you in a VR simulation with the intent of driving you crazy and turning you into a serial killer.
  • The Henry Stickmin series has the Toppat Clan, a criminal organization introduced in Infiltrating the Airship known for wearing many kinds of top hats that Henry is tasked with taking down by the government. They are the main antagonistic force of the series, and play a large role in not only Airship, but in Completing the Mission as well.
  • Hypnospace Outlaw has HORUS, which seems like a sinister conspiracy but is just a bunch of executives competing to hide their symbol in public places and see who who notices.
  • Suikoden V has a rare distaff version. SAPPHIRE is the Secret Alliance for the Protection of Pretty Hunks In Real Endangerment. They consist of various female characters who enjoy ogling male characters. Their motto is "To observe! To protect! To observe some more!"

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Ever and More! revolves around a meeting of a quite literal Brotherhood of Funny Hats, "The Broternal Order of Different Helmets". As the name implies, all the members wear different types of helmet, from "Supreme Overlord" Homestar's viking helmet to The Cheat's Custodian helmet. It's largely an excuse for the guys of Free Country USA to sit around drinking Cold Ones and singing songs.
    • In the Strong Bad Email "fan club", the "Deleteheads" wear hats shaped like Delete keys.


    Western Animation 
  • Probably the most famous example is the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes from The Flintstones, who either were inspired by or ripped off The Honeymooners (depending on who you ask).
    • Johnny Bravo parodied this in an episode with the Brotherhood of the Gnu (pronounced "guh-noo" by its members).
  • The Simpsons: The Stonecutters from "Homer the Great", a hidden group operating within Springfield, noted for their bizarre rituals and customs (which look suspiciously like fratboy hazing) and silly privileges (for instance, they know the real number you call is 912). They may provide the page image, but they actually straddle the line between this trope and Ancient Conspiracy. Their "I Am" Song reveals that they're behind a lot of secret activities, but these range from harmless to just plain weird — as you might expect from a group that has a kegger every night. Despite their claims, however, they're only ever shown getting drunk, and when Homer takes over and is convinced to get them to actually do something productive, all the other members abandon the Stonecutters and form another secret organization without Homer.
  • In the Futurama movie "The Beast with a Billion Backs", Bender joins the "League of Robots". Bender calls them out on being a Brotherhood of Funny Hats (though they don't actually have hats) who just sit around in their clubhouse and drink instead of actually doing anything like, say, killing all humans.
  • In Camp Lazlo, Scoutmaster Lumpus is a member of one of these, the Legume Council.
  • In Kappa Mikey, most of the cast of Lily Mu (other than Guano, he's too short) were members of the "Order of the Oni". They quit after the Order kicked Mikey out shortly after he joined.
  • Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected contains the famous "Silly Hats Only" segment.
  • In Ren & Stimpy, Stimpy and Ren's cousin Sven belong to the Royal Order of Stupids.
  • Spongebob Squarepants has "The Cephalopod Lodge", which Squidward was a member of until being kicked out due to Spongebob and Patrick.
  • The Regular Show episode Park Managers Lunch had Benson being initiated into one of these.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, some of Billy's nerdier acquaintances have a Brotherhood of Funny Hats that, with Grim's help, gets upgraded to "snake-demon summoning cult".
  • At least one Rugrats episode had the Loyal Order of Wombats, of which Grandpa Lou was a member.
  • Grunkle Stan in Gravity Falls constantly wears a fez, and it's implied that he belongs to one of these; in an early episode, he complains that "the guys at the lodge" won't go fishing with him. The official book Dipper and Mabel's Guide to Mystery and Nonstop Fun! implies that said group is called the Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel and Stan probably made it up as a part of his persona as the "Man of Mystery".
    It's almost as if someone with zero knowledge of history just jammed a bunch of mysterious looking stuff together. Whenever I ask Grunkle Stan about it he always changes the subject.

    Real Life 
  • Of the several real-life fraternal organizations that fit this trope, the Shriners stand out as being exceptionally (and intentionally) silly, with the fezzes and little cars and all.
    • They also liked Ray Stevens' song "Shriner Convention" (which is basically about drunken more-or-less upstanding middle-aged hijinx) enough to book him to play it at actual conventions. He apparently was a Shriner before he even wrote the song...
      • Although the Shriners are much sillier, the Freemasons (of whom the Shriners are a subset) do in fact have some semi-silly hats, inasmuch as the Worshipful Masters still wear top hats (which weren't silly at the time, but certainly are now).
      • There's an invitation-only subset of the Shriners in some states called the Jesters. The sole purpose of this secret, invitation-only group is (by their own charter) to be sillier. Oh, and they often end up wearing the stereotypical "Jester's Hat".
    • Adding to the silliness, all German Masons wear top hats as part of the uniform to this day.
  • The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks doubled as a drinking club during the Prohibition era.
    • They were founded much earlier, however - in 1868, according to The Other Wiki.
  • One saying about real-life fraternal orders goes, "Lions enjoy the town. Kiwanis run the town. Rotary owns the town." Presumably, the Freemasons own the entire country.
  • Then there's the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity that takes the cake for silly hats. They have recently adopted a simple beret with the Order's logo. They also sell insurance.
  • The Ancient Order of Turtles: because after a hard day's work shooting down Nazi planes, do you need a drink? You bet your sweet ass diabetic donkey you do.
  • The Church Of The Subgenius.
  • The Cult Of The Eye, which involves making celebrities join the cult by taking pictures of them wearing a silly fez.
  • The Ku Klux Klan began as a jokey fraternal order among bored Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee shortly after the end of the Civil War that made public appearances in bizarre costumes (the iconic "conical hat and white robes" didn't appear until the mid-1910's) and mostly kept to themselves before some more violent anti-Reconstruction types realized that their anonymity provided an excellent cover for intimidating newly freed black people, whether that was by pretending to be ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers or just plain beating and lynching them. This Klan was forcibly disbanded by the early 1870's though, and it wasn't until 1915 that the group was revived. It's been pointed out that if Pulaski had had an Elks lodge, then the Klan might never have been born, although racism and violence would likely still have been an issue.
    • Interestingly enough, this trope became their downfall for about a decade. In the 1940s, when the Klan was on the verge of a major comeback after a series of scandals, mass defections, and a huge IRS auditing, a turncoat leaked details of all their secret rituals to The Adventures of Superman radio show. Once everyone knew that these guys gave themselves titles like "Great Titan" and "Imperial Wizard", held "Klovocations", read from the "Kloran", and referred to themselves as the "Invisible Empire", people started taking them much less seriously and their popularity plummeted up until the Civil Rights Movement started to gain momentum in the mid-50's/early 60's. According to this article, the Klan could honestly be considered a Brotherhood of Funny Hats at worst or a parody of themselves at best, since there hasn't been a single unified Klan since the early 70's, and even among white supremacist circles, not too many people take them seriously in comparison to neo-Nazis, Odinists, and the "alt-right" movements.
  • Believe it or not, The Illuminati were basically what happened when a number of eccentric scholars and philosophers (read: 18th-century nerds) decided to form one of these. They tried to become an Ancient Conspiracy, but how well they succeeded depends on which Conspiracy Theorists you listen to.
  • The Red Hat Society, a women's social organization that was originally just for women 50 and older, but is now open to women of all ages. The name of the group comes from the fact that members who are 50 and older wear the signature red hats (with purple outfits) while members who are under fifty wear pink hats (with lavender-colored outfits).
  • The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. They actually predate the Flintstones example, having been formed in 1822.
  • The Odd Fellows — a fraternal organization of men who didn't belong to any fraternal organization.
  • The Sons of the Desert, the official Laurel and Hardy fan club, take their name from the titular Laurel and Hardy film.
  • The various livery companies of the City of London (not to be confused with Greater London or the London Metropolitan Area) are the modern incarnations of various medieval guilds such as the bowmakers, the apothecaries, the tanners, the fishmongers, the basketweavers, etc. Some of them have found a role in the modern world (like the Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers, which now license the Black Taxicab drivers, or the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers, who test all British-made firearms for safe operation), others became charities, but they all kept their old traditions, many of which involve hats. In addition, each of these livery companies is responsible for electing The Right Honorable Lord Mayor of London, who gets his own silly hat (and accompanying outfit) to wear around.
  • The Cossacks of Russia and Ukraine are a genuine socio-ethnic group that played an important role in the history of Imperial Russia, and were greatly diluted and displaced during the first half of the 20th century. The people who call themselves Russian Cossacks nowadays are mostly a series of disjointed local Funny Hats Brotherhoods that love to wear oldtimer uniforms, haul around ornate religious icons and battle banners, award each other with shiny medals and new ranks (full generals are incredibly common and numerous), and stomp their feet at moral corruption, foreign workers, atheists or whatever else they don't like. Some of these clubs do good community work (establishing patriotic clubs and museums, working with addicts etc.). Others band together and "patrol" the streets, trying to work up the courage to harass or beat up people they don't like, or disrupt "unholy" art exhibitions or political meetings.
  • The Grand Order of Water Rats. Originally a fraternal society for British music hall performers, it now admits people from all branches of entertainment, and raises money largely for former entertainers who are suffering hard times through age or illness.
  • The Order of the Occult Hand. Ominous-sounding. But it's just a group of American journalists whose secret plan is to get the phrase "It was as if an occult hand had..." in printed news stories. Joseph Flanders, a police reporter, had used the phrase in 1965 in a routine story about a family shooting. His colleagues liked it so much they started to slip it into their own stories. When the paper they all worked for went under, they went onto spread the Order to the publications they worked for afterwards. Supposedly there is another phrase that journalists use like this, though the original Order has had a resurgence in 2020.
  • The infamous Bullingdon Club is basically one of these with extra Wacky Fratboy Hijinx. No actual hats, but they have a formal uniform consisting of "bespoke tailored tailcoats in dark navy blue, with a matching velvet collar, offset with ivory silk lapel revers, brass monogrammed buttons, a mustard waistcoat, and a sky blue bow tie." Their Initiation Ceremony varies in detail, but includes lighting a £50 note on fire in front of a homeless person and (allegedly) committing depraved acts with the head of a dead pig. Being an Upper-Class Twit is not an official membership requirement in their charter, but it helps.


Video Example(s):


The Freemasons

Prince Philip takes Prince Charles to his first meeting.

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