Follow TV Tropes


Dumbass DJ

Go To
*faaaaaaaaart* You've just been Badgered!

"Radio's all about guys with subpar intellects killing four goddamn hours a morning."

The Dumbass DJ is, as the name suggests, a DJ who is a loud, obnoxious boor who makes moronic quips between songs. When used in fiction, the character is almost always intended to be unlikable; expect everyone else to respond with open derision and hatred. In the very rare cases that you're supposed to like them, they frequently become The Scrappy, a Creator's Pet or (if very lucky) So Bad, It's Good.

Stereotypical Dumbass DJs hold a morning slot for a Top-40 station, and try (sometimes successfully) to amuse their audience with with Toilet Humor, Vulgar Humor, and ridiculous overacting.

Expect them to describe themselves as "wacky," "crazy," or "edgy," insult callers and guests, and scream half of their lines. If they're a pair, expect one to be named after an animal. See also Large Ham Radio; Shock Jock.



    open/close all folders 

  • David Cross' bit about Morning DJs.
    "We're here with funnyman David Cross; David, you didn't know it yet, but you're just in time for the Friday Morning Fart Song! ("What? No...") All right! You're listening to the Gator and the Lunatic!"
  • Peter Kay has a routine about wedding DJs who fit this trope, as well as being The Unintelligible.
  • The Sklar Brothers do an imitation of a zoo crew style radio show as one of their bits.
  • Some of George Carlin's earliest bits have him as deejays Weird Willy West and Scott Lame. West's sign-off song:
    We've got the old tunes, the new tunes,
    The show tunes, the blue tunes,
    The greatest music in town...
    But we never play it!

    Comic Books 
  • A Judge Dredd comic centers around a DJ who keeps hearing voices in his head telling him that nobody likes him and he should kill himself, until finally he breaks down and does it. The coroner investigating his death explains that he was a dormant esper whose psychic powers were just surfacing, and the voices were what his listeners really thought of him. The coroner says the DJ didn't deserve to be hated that much... until he hears a recording of his radio show. Worse still, said DJ was able to air his show twenty four hours a day with the aid of a sleep machine and an extended mix of a particularly annoying record.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Comedians Of Comedy documentary, Patton Oswalt complains about his upcoming promotional stop at a radio show, predicting that the deejays are probably going to be blisteringly unfunny. When he gets to the radio studio in the next scene, the morning zoo crew pulls a whooppee cushion prank on him, which they seem to think is the height of hilarity.
  • Bill Murray gets to wake up every day for the rest of his life to the sound of two yammering deejays in Groundhog Day. "Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today!" The first sign he's finally escaped the loop? Their spiel changes.
  • Ruby Rhod from The Fifth Element managed to be effeminate, sleazy, and hammy all at once.
  • Shakes the Clown featured a brief bit with a pair of DJs who were actually named Loud and Obnoxious.
  • The two DJs in Dead Air start out like this, until a zombie apocalypse gets going outside their studio. They drop the dumbass, insulting schtick once they realize that something really nasty is actually going on.
  • Rockin' Roger from Suck, played by Henry Rollins and proving to be Too Dumb to Live when he insults the vampire band in his studio on air.
  • Handsome Dan from Wayne's World 2. Not only does the name not describe him well, but he's too busy selecting music and preparing his comedic sound effects to pay attention to what his guests are saying. That is, openly and remorselessly insulting him on his own show.
  • Elderly actor Byron Orlock suffers through an interview with one of these in the horror film Targets.
    Kip Larkin: Mr. O, I must have dug your flicks like four zillion times! You blew my mind!
  • In Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, one of the signs of the changes that North Norfolk Digital is going through is that the morning show is now hosted by a team of these.
  • Downplayed example: Wink Wilkinson (John Candy) from Little Shop of Horrors. Likely modeled on Murray the K (see Real Life).

  • The Tim Dorsey novel Hammerhead Ranch Motel had Boris The Hateful Piece Of Shit (Yes, that was his legal name, though the FCC required him to honk a foghorn when saying the last word when on the air). He was killed when Serge disguised himself as a lotion boy and slathered his body with homemade coconut oil-scented napalm.
  • Deconstructed in Jennifer Weiner's sequel to Good in Bed, "Certain Girls." There is a flashback where a young Cannie hears a bit where these two DJs (whose show is suffering low ratings) look at the wedding announcements for the ugliest bride and they stop at this one called "Wide Bride", the dubious winner gets a supply of Alpo delivered to her house. Cannie's mother is disgusted and switches to NPR, whereas Cannie wonders about how the bride, the groom, the bride's mother and friends feel about the business and worries about her or a loved one receiving this sort of abuse.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Law & Order: SVU had an episode about a teenage boy who was inspired by a particular Dumbass DJ to commit a crime.
  • Josh Weinstein, who performed Mystery Science Theater 3000's Tom Servo in the show's early seasons, has stated that his voice for the character was intended to sound like a Small Name, Big Ego radio DJ.
  • Harry Enfield and Chums: Harry Enfield's sketch comedy characters Smashie and Nicey combine this with aging rock star syndrome. The characters made that much of an impact, they were namechecked by the BBC Radio 1 station manager when tasked with rejuvinating the station's image.
  • Radar from M*A*S*H becomes a bit of one in episode "Your Hit Parade".
  • A sketch in Big Train is about a terrible pun making DJ who repeatedly interrupts the start of a song to make stupid puns on the word "Bean", until he runs out of puns and goes down into a basement to yell at a group of chained children who were supposed to be writing his jokes for him.
  • Frasier has the radio station hire two of these in one episode. Although when Frasier starts to give them a speech about the nobility of entertainment etc. he accidentally sets them to arguing with each other - and when he tries to continue one of them snaps that he went to college and already knows what Frasier's trying to say, then hits his Berserk Button by correcting Frasier's French pronunciation.
  • Parks and Recreation had Crazy Ira and The Douche, whose entire shows seem to revolve around fart jokes. The soundboard operator looks like he wants to kill himself. The Douche had actually graduated college with an impressive literature degree, but after taking the job as The Douche, his show persona eventually merged with his real personality to turn him into a full-time The Douche.
  • The "Z105" skits on Saturday Night Live center on one of these, as played by Jimmy Fallon. This particular skitnote  has Ben Affleck as a fellow Dumbass DJ — and old college rival. They battle it out with their impressions: TuSpock ("Live large and prosper, Biotch"), Sherlock Homo ("Elementary, my queer Watson"), Man in the Can, Man in the Box, Sanjay, Rajneesh, the Gay Three Stooges, and of course, Andrea with the weather..."And we're baaaack!"
    • Also the later B-108 Morning Show sketches, with Richard and The Buffalo (Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan), two Pretty Fly for a White Guy jocks who host a hip-hop show on a small town Minnesota station.
  • In Hi-de-Hi!, which is set in a 1950s holiday camp, Gladys is Radio Maplin's DJ. She spends all her time making unfunny, stilted jokes, trolling for gifts from the campers, and indulging her delusion that she can sing.
  • Louis C.K. on Louie suffers through a phone interview with some radio idiots ("Tracer, Pig, and The Hole") to promote an upcoming show. The idiots are basically unintelligible except for a few stretches here and there; Louie just endures their prattle and it's not clear whether he can understand them or just doesn't care.
    Tracer: So, Louie! What do you think of the whole clammydamcham thing going on at the rammydam?
    Louie: [hiding his annoyance] Well, I wouldn't want to be that guy, sounds like he's in a lot of trouble.
    Tracer: Ha ha ha!!
    The Hole: Oh my gooooood!
    Tracer: That's a cramalamadinga!
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • "The Gang Dances Their Asses Off" features "Power 102, the Zoo Crew," as performed by the Sklar Brothers.
    • Dennis, Dee and Frank try to start an intelligent internet talk radio show, but quickly descend into zoo crew idiocy.
  • One episode of the FBI negotiations\hostage rescue series Standoff had one such DJ who was making a hostage taking harder by drumming up support for the criminal and trying to instigate the crowd he had gathered there into a riot. Despite lawyers trying to defend him he is eventually arrested for his interference.
  • Would you believe Oscar the Grouch was one for a while? One episode of Sesame Street had him get his own radio show called "The Can", which consisted mainly of insulting people who called in. Bonus points for answering the phone "You're on The Can!"

  • The song "Falling Down" by CunningLynguists is about three people who have a really, REALLY bad day on the same day, and eventually collide. In the beginning, a annoying radio DJ announces a traffic jam, then directly insults the listener, and to top it all "We're gonna play three full hours of the Baha Men!"
  • David Cross recycled a bit of his stand-up routine (see below) to play an obnoxious DJ in the music video for "Juicebox" by The Strokes.
  • The Queens of the Stone Age album Songs for the Deaf had Dumbass DJ intros to several tracks. A dumbass DJ closes "No One Knows". However, the segment is entirely in Spanish.
  • To a point, used in the beginning of the Dead Kennedys song "MTV Get Off the Air"; "Hi! I'm your video DJ! I always talk like I'm wigged out on Quaaludes!"
  • Nitzer Ebb's "DJVD", off Ebbhead, talks about DJs suffering from "originality deficiency".

  • Chris Morris's aptly named Wayne Kerrnote  from On The Hour, who keeps up his Dumbass DJ schtick even when broadcasting from a war zone.
  • "The Tim and Phil Morning Show" skits on Martin/Molloy were about a pair of DJs who attempt to be this but are woefully ill-equipped to pull it off.
  • The titular host of The Adam Carolla Show loves to parody this. One of his regular targets and impressions is the morning drive-time DJ who is too excited to be reading weather weather weather, news top of the hour, at the half hour, traffic traffic traffic weather etc. Also the stereotypical strip club DJ (Him imitating them with a string of strip club cliches, always ending with "Jade, stage five!" while Bald Bryan plays a Cherry Pie music bed).
  • Don Imus was something of a Trope Maker in The '70s, working his way up from Palmdale, California to Cleveland to New York with all kinds of wacky schtick like prank calls, fake newscasts and recurring characters. After becoming a Recovered Addict he shifted the show to start including serious discussions of politics and current events alongside the usual comedy, but he still has a habit of letting his tongue get him in trouble. He had his MSNBC simulcast of his Imus In The Morning canceled in 2007 after he called the Rutgers women's basketball team a bunch of "nappy-headed hos." He has since bounced from RFD-TV to Fox Business News while simulcast on WABC radio in New York.
  • In 2013, Atlanta sports radio station WQXI canceled their morning show Mayhem In The A.M. after the show's hosts—who were subsequently fired—mocked New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
  • The Ur-Example is Murray the K, who was a major radio personality from The '50s to The '70s. Given the era he worked in, he wasn't so much vulgar or abusive as slap-happy and a Jive Turkey.
  • Mancow Muller. Because the WWE doesn't air in the mornings! This is the guy who once claimed to have fled from murderous druids in the Chicago suburbs. He's like Alex Jones mated with a LARPer (with severe ADHD) and beat it with a copy of Atlas Shrugged.
  • Glenn Beck was one of these early in his radio career. Perhaps the high point of this time in his career was when he made fun of a rival DJ on the air, after his wife had a miscarriage.
  • Opie & Anthony:
    • During the month of October, the hosts usually runs their "Jocktober" feature, where they listen to (and mercilessly poke fun at) radio morning shows from around the country. Ant used to joke that, one of these days, the fans they'd cultivated over the decades ("peckahs!") would turn around and devour OaA alive. In 2014, Opie took over the show in a suspected coup d'etat while Ant got fired over some racist Twitter rants, retreating to a safety of his Long Island "compound" where he would continue to broadcast said racist rants. At first, the r/opieandanthony subreddit was divided on which host to root for...

      ...until the "peckahs" united in their hatred of both and launched their very own Jocktober targeting both Opie and Ant.
    • Anthomy Cumia got bounced by Sirius FM following an incident where he was attacked by a black hooker in NYC. He then tweeted about the incident, and his allegedly racist tweets caused enough flak for Sirius XM to fire him. Once he left, Opie (Ant's producer and Ed McMahon flak) completely took over the show, and it became clear that Ant needs OaA as much as OaA needs him. The Opester is a capable producer, while Ant plainly has no idea how to organize a show. Opie is not a natural comedian; Ant is a born comedian with uncanny timing, but he needs a co-host (something he currently lacks) to keep him in check. Ant and Opie have also done many of the "HACK BITS" they used to scream about. (Ketchup contest? Really?)
    • O&A built a very specific, niche audience who wanted to just see people fail and laugh at them. However, this was only a small, but fiercely loyal, portion of their fans, called "The Pests". Most O&A listeners were more interested in current events, film discussion, occasional sports talk, and listening to friends tease eachother and tell jokes.
  • Bubba the Love Sponge. A B-list radio host turned backstage interviewer on TNA Impact! in 2010 almost entirely because of the influence of his good friend Hulk Hogan. The idea of a professional public speaker getting an interviewer slot isn't entirely without merit, but Bubba carried over the smarmy, condescending speaking style he (and most morning talk show DJs, for that matter) used on his show and tried his level best to get over at the expense of the talent he was supposed to push and build up. A pro wrestling interviewer is supposed to be a piece of walking, talking furniture, completely unnoticeable except when appropriately reacting to whatever the talent he or she is interviewing has to say. But Bubba would often be confrontational with wrestlers in his interview segments, acting as though he were an "equal", arguing against and cutting down whatever his interviewees had to say and generally deflating whatever buildup or goal the interview was meant to accomplish. It was made worse by Hogan's constant patronage, virtually ensuring that Bubba had constant Protection from Editors in effect and shielding him from any consequences. It got to the point where fans in the live audiences would boo immediately whenever Bubba was shown on screen.

    He finally got what was coming to him, along with a hefty dose of Laser-Guided Karma, after an PR fiasco where he said "Fuck Haiti!" in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the country. He got into a physical confrontation with female TNA wrestler Kia Stevens, giving an extremely backhanded apology for his remarks, and then confronted and openly insulted Stevens when she appeared on one of his friend's radio shows to talk about the whole thing. TNA finally gave him the sack after this whole debacle, and arranged for Mick Foley to punch him in the face in his last appearance. A couple years later, he was involved in another scandal after setting his (now former) friend Hogan up with his own wife and secretly filming the encounter with a hidden camera that was eventually leaking onto the internet, presumably with the thought of blackmailing him later on.
  • Michael J. Nelson's essay collection Mind Over Matters has a chapter titled "Wacky Morning Misrepresentation" devoted entirely to taking the piss out of Morning Zoo show DJs.
  • Tim Westwood, an embarrassing 'wigga' who refers to himself as 'The big dog'.
  • Chris Moyles, whose show mostly consists of playing top 40 music and news, and making fun of his cohosts. The show is quite funny on occasion but it doesn't change the fact it is lowbrow humour.
    • Things got a lot worse with Nick Grimshaw replaced Chris Moyles. Instead of commenting on things that relate to the average Radio 1 listener he goes on about all the celebs he hangs out with in his personal life. All this can go on for 20 minutes or even more.
  • Chris Evans (not that one), who replaced the most popular morning radio program in Britain, is notorious for being one of these.
    • Long-time fans of Wogan, while having no great beef against Evans, tend to find him unbearably shouty and over-excited too early in the morning, compared to Wogan's more low-key laid-back approach.
    • Evans was hired to present the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1 explicitly to try and separate the channel from its "Smashie & Nicey" image by bringing in the audience of younger listeners he had cultivated working in commercial radio. Ironically enough, as he has aged, Evans has increasingly received criticism for ending up as a Smashie & Nicey stereotype himself, constantly reminding listeners about his charity work (which, to be clear, is praiseworthy in real terms but frequently comes off as cynical), chummy sycophancy with celebrity guests and airtime given over to stories about his wife and children, who almost seemed like members of his usual cast by the time his run on BBC 2 came to an end.
  • Lex and Terry are notable goofballs from Jacksonville who have almost every show they've done full of immature sex jokes.
  • The Greaseman is another case from Jacksonville, he is infamously known for saying, regarding Martin Luther King Day: "Why don't we plug four more and get the whole week off?"
  • The Wolfman (not to be confused with Wolfman Jack) is a radio DJ for Topeka, Kansas's KMAJ and is an Indecisive Parody who refuses to play any real music instead only playing his prerecorded rants (which sometimes begin with the opening bars of a real song before he subverts it and turns it off) and calls everyone "sissies". He is known for public appearances wearing what looks like a cheap wolf mascot costume stolen from a local high school that has seen better days, sometimes he puts boxing gloves and boxing shorts over the costume to hold exhibition boxing matches where he loses to everyone. His only victory came over a toddler who had no idea what was going on and exited the ring, forfeiting, and handing Wolfman his only win. He also has a fake call-in Radio Contest where nobody can win. Typically a winner can't enter again for 30 days but in this case, any participant, win or lose (and they always lose) can't call back for 30 days for any reason whatsoever. If one were to ever win, the prize would be a copy of Wolfman's CD, which is just a collection of his prerecorded rants. Whoopee.

    Video Games 
  • Nearly every DJ in the Grand Theft Auto universe is obnoxious or dysfunctional in some way or another. One admits to cannibalism. See GTA Radio for more.
  • DJ Stryker in Burnout 3: Takedown. Bonus points for being a real radio DJ.
  • There's rather a lot of DJs in some of the venues on Second Life (at least outside the really professional, first-tier places like Dance Island) that Will. Not. Shut. Up. Some can pull this off; others, not so much.
  • Tropico 3:
  • In Hector: Badge of Carnage, ClapFM is run by one of these. Notable for his liberal and gratuitous use of canned farting sound effects.
  • The Splatoon series' DJ Octavio is a rare downright villainous example, putting out a droning dubstep beat on his turntable and spouting cheese all the while.
    DJ Octavio: It's time to... D-D-D-DROP THE SEA BASS!
  • Alan J from Sega's Ferrari F355 Challenge and Top Skater is this in spades. He even references Outrun by saying that it's a brilliant song to drive to with a hot blonde in the car.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: This is one of the stock radio personalities mocked by Strong Bad in the Strong Bad Email "radio". "The AM Morning Crude Crew" are depicted in a promotional picture as two copies of Strong Bad named "Stoops" (who has a fake arrow through his head) and "Gusso" (who is throwing up), and Strong Bad describes them as "bad stand-up comedians you can't heckle... or jeckle... or throw high-ball glasses at". Their delivery is punctuated by repeated canned laughter and stock "silly" sound effects. Even Homestar, who's normally at least half-reasonable, drunkenly shouts at his radio while the morning crew is on and ultimately throws a highball glass at it (despite Strong Bad saying you couldn't). Strong Bad also briefly makes Strong Sad act like a fast-talking shock-jock to demonstrate how radio DJs should sound nothing like their appearance would seem to suggest they sound.
    Strong Sad: What's the phrase that pays that plays for days? It's numbitty-nine-oh-two, "The Sturge." Don't you touch that zabbitablah!

    Web Comics 
  • Sam & Fuzzy inverts this trope with DJ Positive, a DJ whose on-air persona was being excessively cheery and good-natured and wanting all his listeners to have a lovely day. Naturally, this put him on Fridge's bad side, who lived up to his death threats the moment he got a mobile body.

    Web Original 
  • LoadingReadyRun
    • They had one sketch about a pair of shock jock DJs doing a really dreadful morning show, with phone pranks failing, awful music and everything going wrong. Their boss comes in and announces he is the Devil and that they are in an Ironic Hell. Only he's just yanking their chain and it's just a bad morning. Only it is hell.
    • Inverted in their series Qwerpline, in which G-Money seems pretty sensible and in Nsburg is almost certainly the sanest person there. His cohost A-Train has his quirks, but is still less crazy than almost everyone they interact with, and turns out to make a pretty good alderman after being accidentally elected.
  • DJ Mac Megahertz on Hero Factory FM. The guy fails at just about everything (though not as badly as some of his colleagues), but that's why the show is so hilarious (or So Bad, It's Good). If they only had a figure of him.
  • A Derrick Comedy sketch involves two of these stuck in their recording room due to the "Wolfpocalypse" while still keeping up their schtick.
  • A fairly popular internet meme has a blond-haired female DJ, supposedly a ditz, making "Dumbass DJ" type remarks. One example can be found here.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged features obnoxious radio hosts TJ and the Wombat, who fit this trope to a T. They seem like an unrelated distraction to the plot until Cell calls them and asks if they can put on Video Killed the Radio Star...
    • In History of Trunks Abridged they're still around in Future Trunks' time, keeping track of the androids' carnage and being as tasteless as possible about it. However, a comment by Trunks implies that they're still keeping up their obnoxious personas as a coping mechanism due to constantly living under the threat of the androids.
  • Random Assault: Andy closing song on episode 27 was the pinnacle of this.
  • From the Regular Car Reviews video on the 1994 Lincoln Town Car;
    "He-hey! Welcome back to 98.3 The Beer Belly! We got Hawaiian shirts, Bud Light in a beer koozie, Cheeseburger in Paradise coming up top of the hour, and we're giving away a Lincoln Town Car!"

    Western Animation 
  • Garfield from Garfield and Friends despises radio deejays. When Jon becomes one in "DJ John", it's played as Faux Horrific, and Garfield quickly works to get John fired. It certainly doesn't help that John starts neglecting his pets when he lets the job go to his head.
  • In the Daria episode "Jake of Hearts", two wacky morning deejays ("Bing and the Spatula Man") set up camp for a week at Lawndale High, to Daria's obvious non-delight. Daria, who's been coping with her father's heart attack, proceeds to give them a bitter "The Reason You Suck" Speech that leaves the two so mortified, they pack up and leave.
    Daria: A few days ago, my father had a heart attack, forcing me to admit his mortality to myself for the first time. Accepting this grim new knowledge has been especially difficult, as I've been under constant, yammering assault by two utterly brainless and talentless so-called "radio personalities". And so, for these reasons, I, Daria Morgendorffer, am "Mental in the Morning".
  • The Simpsons:
  • One episode of Family Guy has Brian get a radio show that displaces Dumbass DJs "Weenie and the Butt", whose show mercilessly abused prerecorded sound bites. His show starts off as the wannabe intellectual (but incredibly boring) The Lunch Hour, but at the prodding of Stewie and the executives turns it into "Dingo and the Baby", a definite example of Lowest Common Denominator (as seen when they have a bikini-clad woman attempt to catch hot dogs in her mouth to win a boob job). After Brian realizes what he's become and quits, the episode ends by showing that Cleveland and Quagmire have replaced them.
  • One sketch on Robot Chicken had Dr. Ryan Stone accidentally call a couple of these while trying to reach NASA.
  • The South Park episode "Ass Burgers" from season 15 featured an annoying radio show called "Big Harry and Mike in the Morning". Presumably, Stan was the only one who found it intolerable since the major plot of the episode was his growing pessimism toward society.
  • Leslie Willis a.k.a Livewire of Superman: The Animated Series was one of these before becoming a supervillain. She spent much of her airtime denouncing and mocking Superman in order to get reactions. Her transformation was the result of hosting a concert in a thunderstorm despite the police and Superman trying to talk some sense into her about the danger — in fact, she went so far as to rile up the crowd in order to prevent the police from shutting the event down.
  • The Xavier: Renegade Angel episode "Signs from Godrilla" features "Succotash and the Bird", a Christian radio show featuring a motor mouth host, constant abuse of sound effects, and frequent segues into asking listeners to "Call us up and win some cash!"
  • Mighty Magiswords has a fairly subdued example of "Tree-J and the Wolf", who run the WDDF radio station located in the Deepest Darkest Forest. Tree-J talks like an obnoxious Large Ham DJ but is otherwise harmless and generous with giving out prizes, but "The Wolf" is the worst part of the two of them. The Wolf is prone to sneaking up behind characters and unleashing a barrage of air horns just to make things extra annoying. Also, as Prohyas often points out, radios don't exist in this world.

Alternative Title(s): Dumbass Deejay


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: