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Erudite Stoner

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Stoners: Stop right there, dudes, you're not getting past.
Barry: Hey, if people can get past, can they also get... future?
Stoners: Whoa.

There's The Stoner, then there's the Erudite Stoner. What sets this type of stoner apart from other stoners is that they're deeply philosophical, usually very mellow, slow to anger, and a veritable fount of wisdom for the straight, more uptight characters. They can often make references to Buddhist philosophy and modern poetry and literature, especially The Beat Generation writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs.

Visually, they may be hippie throwbacks, with long hair, tie-dye shirts, bell-bottom jeans, and fringed vests, or they may be up-to-date but casual in their appearance. The one thing they are highly unlikely to be is expensively or meticulously dressed and groomed.

Their speech patterns will probably be slow and somewhat rambling, and they will come out with non-sequiturs as often as they produce a gem of wisdom. But the wisdom will always be exactly what another character needed to be told, at the precise moment they need most to hear it.

It's possible that this trope is based on classic rock musicians such as The Beatles (especially John Lennon and George Harrison), Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, or Jerry Garcia. In the 1960s, people who used psychedelics to accompany meditation or creativity were sometimes known as mind trippers.

Not to be confused with the Cloudcuckoolander, who doesn't require chemical assistance to see the world through some-other-colored glasses, nor the Surfer Dude, who has similar speech patterns or habits but are usually missing the "font of wisdom" part, though the two can overlap.

This trope usually results from Higher Understanding Through Drugs. Compare/contrast with Junkie Prophet. Prone to being Sophisticated as Hell, or occasionally having Delusions of Eloquence. Compare Brilliant, but Lazy.


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    Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • Word of God from Steve Englehart is that this is how he wrote Beast in The Avengers. When Hank McCoy arrives at the Avengers auditions in #137, he describes himself as "a little older and a lot wiser, maybe, and a whole lot more laid-back" and says that after he turned blue and furry he "dropped out of sight" and attained a new perspective by reading shamanic writer Carlos Castañeda. In an interview for Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, Englehart confirmed that this new perspective also involved pot, but he knew better than to actually try to put that in the comic.

    Fan Works 
  • Buster in Adult Arthur smokes weed and vapes. He tries to help his friend Arthur, but his advice isn't very useful.
  • RM and MM from The Pokémon Squad are usually depicted as pretty smart (especially the former), and "Team Rejects" reveals that they smoke weed, which is why Giovanni rejected them.

    Films — Animated 
  • The aliens piloting the Smiley spaceship in the first Heavy Metal movie. (it was in cinemas, so here's where the post goes) One of them sounds off like a total guru on the subject of flying a spacecraft while stoned, while stoned, and manages a glorious (crash) landing on a space station while doing so.
  • A G-rated version (i.e. no drugs) is Crush the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, who through his Surfer Dude lingo gives pearls of wisdom to Marlin and Dory.
  • Filmore, the hippy-painted VW Microbus and peddler of organic fuels in Pixar's Cars. Although a family-friendly movie probably wouldn't outright say it, it is hinted at when Filmore Contemplates A Blinking Traffic Light:
    Filmore: I'm telling you, man... every third blink is slower.
    Sarge: *Beat* The '60s weren't good to you, were they?
    • Fun Fact: The Pixar animators had fun with this: every third blink really is slower.
    • Also fun fact: Filmore was voiced by George Carlin, a Real Life Erudite Stoner.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many depictions like this owe at least something to Dennis Hopper's photojournalist character in Apocalypse Now. Direct parodies of this character occur often in Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.
  • Lazlo Hollyfeld in Real Genius, though it's never stated that he took drugs; instead, he cracked years earlier from the realization that his inventions were being used to make weapons, and had spent over a decade living alone in a steam tunnel under the university.
  • While neither character fits the trope perfectly, most of the dialogue between The Dude and Walter in The Big Lebowski is of the erudite stoner variety. The Dude cites Vladimir Lenin, was a political activist in his college years, and has a quick wit and meditative demeanor. Jeff Bridges would also ask The Coen Brothers if the Dude had burned one on the way over before filming a scene.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off: The stoner (played by Charlie Sheen) that Jean meets at the police station. He nails her problem and is halfway towards nailing her when her mother shows up. Though one might argue that he is more of a tweaker or junkie than a stoner. Charlie Sheen stated that he stayed up for 48 hours to get the look he had for the film - which is not something a stoner is likely to do. Plus Charlie Sheen's drug of choice in real life seems to be coke.
  • Johnny Quid from Rock N Rolla, a drug addled rock star who is always making philosophical remarks.
  • The View Askewniverse: Silent Bob - The Trope Namesake fits this beautifully; speaks rarely but shows great wisdom even with few words in all the films he appears in and yes, he and Jay are stoners (if it weren't obvious).
    • Subverted in Clerks II, when they aren't stoners anymore. Interestingly, toward the end, when everyone turns to him expecting advice on the current predicament, he draws a blank.
    • Also in Dogma, it's Bob who inspires Jay's suggestion to petition the Cardinal, making The Metatron note (crediting Jay rather than Bob):
      "Good lord. The little stoner's got a point."
  • Road Trip has Rubin, who smokes primarily because without the mellowing effect of marijuana, he's an utter Nervous Wreck due to his intelligence.
  • Subverted in the movie Little Miss Sunshine: Alan Arkin's character is shown snorting heroin at the start of the movie, in the opening credits. Later in the movie, he spouts advice/nonsense at Dwayne about getting it on.
  • Dude, Where's My Car? has Nelson, who tries to be Zen about everything and even gets his dog high. He talks like Yoda, which gets people annoyed, although this ends up getting him a hot chick at the end. He also provides vital advice to defeat the Big Bad.
  • The Prince, a.k.a. 'the Guru of the Googly', in Save Your Legs!, who delivers philosophical insights on life through the prism of cricket metaphors. He is also heavily into the drug scene in India.
  • Fred Kwan from Galaxy Quest, Perpetually high, mellow, and accepting, with quite a few bits of wisdom and knowledge thrown in to boot.
    Guy Fleegman: I'm just a glorified extra, Fred. I'm a dead man anyway. If I'm gonna die, I'd rather go out a hero than a coward.
    Fred Kwan: Guy, Guy... maybe you're the plucky comic relief. You ever think about that?
    Guy Fleegman: Plucky?
  • Children of Men: Jasper, a former political cartoonist turned pot dealer who is Theo's go-to source of wisdom in spite of constantly being high (he has an excuse).
  • James Barris, Robert Downey Jr.'s character in the film version of A Scanner Darkly, is a never-ending font of information that turns out to be incorrect, dangerous or both.
  • Ron and Brewis in Attack the Block. Ron is a weed farmer/dealer and lives exactly the lifestyle you'd expect from a man with that job description, but he's also surprisingly intelligent and spends most of his time watching nature documentaries. Brewis, meanwhile, is a college student and a member of Amnesty International who was only in the block in the first place to score some weed from Ron and winds up deducing the aliens' biology and motives by way of those same nature docs.
  • Kumar from the Harold & Kumar series. It is hard to notice sometimes since Harold is usually the voice of reason and Kumar generally ends up making things worse for the duo, but for all intents and purposes, the guy's a genius. He has demonstrated enough skill and knowledge to perform life-saving surgery in the first film (even though, in spite of his father's best efforts, he isn't interested in going to medical school), and shows similar skill across the series, applying first aid to Vanessa and again, life-saving surgery on Santa Claus. He also built a smokeless bong, and wrote a love poem about math (which he apparently memorized in its entirety, since he can recite it without fail). Also, true to the trope, he's a huge stoner, even by the standards of these series.
  • Sean in 2:37 smokes cannabis, and is fairly prone to philosophical musings. The subjects range from love to death.
  • Avengers: Endgame makes Thor an Erudite Drunk (the only difference to a regular case of the trope, given he looks very hippie), best demonstrated as he discusses the Aether only to start rambling with bungled attempts at being philosophical.
  • The film Withnailand I has Danny, both a stoner and a drug dealer to the main characters. Danny is relaxed and verbose, does not get angry even when provoked, and is content to present his strange views of the world to Withnail and Marwood without prompting ("The hairdressers are on the take of the government...")
  • Smiley Face zig-zags with this, where at the beginning of the film Jane and her dealer have a very erudite conversation about politics and economics, but later, when Jane ends up at the hot dog factory, she think she's giving a Rousing Speech about worker's rights, only for the film to rewind to her actually just rambling profanity and Buffy Speak.

  • Tom "Stoner" Stone from 1632 is a die-hard hippie whose marijuana plants become an important painkiller for Grantville. He lives on a commune, wears tie-dye, and nearly had a master's in pharmacology at Purdue. By the standards of the time, he is considered a miraculous chemist.
  • The Dark Tower: Eddie's brother, the great sage and eminent junkie Henry Dean, fits this trope fairly well.
  • Pete in How to Build a Skydeck, whose pastimes include smoking pot on his Skydeck and talking about everything from Taoist philosophy to discussing life on other worlds and Man's place in the universe.
  • Marcus Flutie in the Jessica Darling series starts out as this, and doesn't get any less Erudite after he cleans up. Generally, this type of character is referred to as the "stonah lovah" type in the series, and Jessica has a guilty fondness for guys of the sort.
  • Reefer, Spencer's current love interest in Pretty Little Liars is this. At first, she thinks he's just some creepy stoner from Princeton who by some miracle got into the school, then it's revealed he's actually a Teen Genius majoring in Quantum Physics who grows his own pot and keeps it neatly in alphabetical order, Spencer can't help but be impressed.
  • Love Letters to the Dead has Tristan and Kristen, who both have long hair, dress like hippies, and Tristan especially is prone to philosophical musings while high.
  • In Spider Robinson's novel Time Pressure, we meet 'The Naz', a perpetually smiling brain-fried LSD casualty in the mid-'70s. Full of many strange and wonderful observations, including the psychological principles for the Graphic User Interface.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Leo on That '70s Show (almost all the main characters smoke marijuana, but it was never explicitly shown or referred to by name, except for the smoke.)
    • Bonus for being actually played by a real-life erudite stoner, Tommy Chong.
  • Phoebe Buffay from Friends, quite obviously. She started that way, and somewhere down the line became an ex-criminal Ditz.
  • Britta Perry on Community is another female example, although she becomes ditzier as time goes on.
  • In The Good Place, Doug Forcett is a stoner who managed to deduce 92% of the true nature of the afterlife while tripping on magic mushrooms. For comparison, most world religions are about 5% accurate.
  • Ash (Chad Lindberg) on Supernatural. A skilled supernatural researcher working out of a sleazy redneck bar. In his first appearance on the show, he is passed out/sleeping one off on a pool table.
  • Peter Tork from The Monkees is a strange mix of this, Granola Girl (or Guy), and The Ditz…although this trope certainly fits his real-life 60’s personality to a T (his philosophical speech from the Monkees’ film Head comes to mind).
  • A repeated theme on Dragnet. They often wound up trading philosophical barbs with Sgt. Friday and most of the time wound up in jail by the episode's end.
  • Mad Men - After having a "life-altering experience" on LSD in season five, Roger starts trying to live up to this trope. The results are mixed.
    Roger: You know, it's very interesting, but a lot of times you think people are looking at you, but they're not. Their mind's elsewhere.
    Don: Lots of people that haven't taken LSD already know that, Roger.
  • Jo's mom, Tess Masterson from Twisted (2013) is a downplayed example. She has a stash that she occasionally accesses for artistic inspiration.
  • Reverend Jim Ignatowski from Taxi, normally a Cloudcuckoolander, can be one of these in his more lucid moments.
    Southern Peru, '74, before the rains.
  • The Orville: The first use of the replicator? The ship's first officer, Kelly Grayson, orders a pot brownie when she believes she's about to have an unwanted visit by her ex-in-laws. Ed (her ex-husband) comments that her choice in strains is very potent. However, her love of cannabis hardly raises an eyebrow in the show's setting (it's treated no differently than alcohol), and it doesn't affect her competency as an officer.
  • Jonathan’s friend Argyle in Season 4 of Stranger Things is definitely an example of this. He frequently offers little nuggets of stoner wisdom to the other characters and is relatively unbothered by the series of misadventures he accidentally gets roped into.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Doonesbury's Zonker Harris is probably the second-druggiest character in syndicated comics - his uncle Duke is the first - and he's something of a cloudcuckoolander, but he's brainy as well.
    • Zonker's nephew Zipper is a major pothead and also co-owns a legal pot dispensary with his uncle.
  • Oom Paul from Conchy gives off this vibe (and it is never specified exactly what he has in his pipe). He is definitely the most philosophical character on the island (rivalled only by the sea urchin).

  • Bob Dylan's Theme-Time Radio Hour sure as hell had the slow, rambling but eloquent delivery down even if he didn't have a joint on the go while it was being recorded.

    Standup Comedy 
  • George Carlin: Carlin was very intelligent and said lots of interesting bits of wisdom, but there's no doubt as to what some of his hobbies included. He blatantly exposed this in his ''Last Words' autobiography, where it's pretty much stated that whilst pot potentially helped his career and partially fashioned him into the comic he'd become famous as, there were some terrible downsides. As Carlin once said in an interview with Jon Stewart, drugs were a lot of pleasure and very little pain when he first started taking them. Towards the end of his life, that inverted to a lot of pain and little pleasure.
    "I'd wake up in the morning and if I couldn't decide whether I wanted to smoke a joint or not, I'd smoke a joint to figure it out. And I stayed high all day long. When people asked me, 'do you get high to go onstage?' I could never understand the question. I mean, I'd been high since eight that morning. Going onstage had nothing to do with it. When you're high, it's easy to kid yourself about how clever certain mediocre pieces of material are."
  • Whoopi Goldberg: One of her personas is Fontaine, a college-educated professor turned drug dealer. Why Am I Straight? focused on a now sober Fontaine wishing he was high to avoid the bleak reality.
    Fontaine: (on being at the Anne Frank House) I noticed a small staircase leading to a big bookcase, and I'm into books you know, I got a PhD in Literature from Columbia... (audience roars with laughter — Fontaine stares at them) I know you don't think I was born a junkie. I have an education. I got a PhD I can't do shit with so I stay high so I don't get mad!

    Video Games 
  • The Mammago brothers in Beyond Good & Evil. They're pretty much Hollywood Rastafarians, after all...
    • By the way, do you remember their names: Hal, Babukar, and Issam? In original French, the first one was called Haile.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
    • The Truth (voiced by Peter Fonda) from is one. Also grows his own stuff, for consumption and distribution.
    • Ryder too, to an extent. He wants to be one, at one point he claims he was thrown out of school because he was 'too intelligent for this shit', and not because he beat up a teacher for wearing Balla colours.
    • As his name implies, Big Smoke, however, has his moment (which is instantly ruined by CJ):
    Big Smoke: Like it says in the book... We are both blessed and cursed.
    Carl Johnson: What fuckin' book?
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Franklin is the Only Sane Man of the protagonists and a Consummate Professional when it's time to do the job. He's also very fond of his pot, enough that he's the only one of the main characters who is not affected by the "bad pot" that causes the other two to go crazy.
  • Graveyard Keeper: Dig is a strange old man who lives just outside the Village in an oversized pot, speaks in a strangely philosophical manner, and grows and sells hemp, hemp seed, and "seed oil". It's not shown explicitly if he partakes of his own crop, but it's definitely implied.
  • Gustafa from the Harvest Moon series—at least, those games set in Forget-Me-Not-Valley. He's, like, at one with the cosmos, man.
  • Three Dog from Fallout 3 has the speech pattern, dress style, and the profession for it. Though the paraphernalia doesn't appear, he confesses casually in broadcast that he did harder recreational drugs in the past. Oddly he claims he might have been hallucinating under the influence of a drug that isn't hallucinogenic.
  • Zahua from Pillars of Eternity is a thoughtful Warrior Monk, with all the discipline, enlightenment, and intelligence that implies. However, his order uses some of the world's most powerful hallucinogens as part of their training, and it's implied from his random comments that Zahua spends most of the adventure completely stoned.
  • Tyranny has the sage, Lantry. He's a veritable font of knowledge on arcane and historical lore and context, who is often seen scribbling down notes on his skin until he can transfer them to paper later, or sucking on the tip of his pen after jotting something down. And those inks? Various drugs ranging from mild narcotics to synesthesia-inducing hallucinogens, ensuring Lantry is perpetually comfortably numb to whatever horrors Terratus throws his way.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kathy from Daughter for Dessert has shades of this. She’s a pothead who regularly thinks in meta ways.

  • Sid from the webcomic User Friendly. He even has a moment where he says "Is this really happening, or am I having an LSD relapse after all these years?"
  • Homestuck: Gamzee Makara speaks exclusively in this way (until he sobers up), but practically everyone around him usually dismisses his philosophical ramblings as nonsense.

    Web Original 
  • Kelly Norris from Anima's Conquest seems to be this. She is a profoundly gifted pharmacology student who synthesizes her own drugs and enjoys their effects. She is also the first to notice something shady about the school she's attending.
  • Escape the Night has Jc, who's one of the smartest guests, if he puts his mind to it.
  • Luke Mochrie and the Inners: Implied with Scott, Kinley Mochrie's Inner Musician, during the New Season Teaser.
  • Professor Tree from Pokémon Rusty. Losing a bike full of weed? Pretty funny. Ugly pokemon? Woooaaah. Two random Pidgeys? New Record. Nothing can phase this pot-fueled professor.
  • Dave_o, frequent guest commentator on Retsupurae, is a stoned-out Californian; people joke that his voice gives them a contact high. He's also highly intelligent and has strong opinions on certain topics, such as calling out The Dark Knight Rises for being (in his view) pro-authoritarian propaganda.

    Western Animation 
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee's first episode "It's Your Party and I'll Whine If I Want To" introduces a leprechaun who characterizes this trope. In later episodes, it is shown that all Leprechauns talk and act like this.
  • Dylan the rabbit in The Magic Roundabout, who's a vocal parody of exactly who you think.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long has the title character's friend Arthur "Spud" Spudinski, who talks like this (and has some rarely seen Genius Ditz computer skills), though his age and the fact that it's Disney make it unlikely he's actually a stoner.
    • One episode showed that he's just Obfuscating Stupidity so that he can enjoy life and not be stuck in the genius schools.
    • It's both and neither. Spud's good at a lot of things instead of just one, so he's not really a Genius Ditz. His, uh, eccentricities are only sometimes faked, so he's not Obfuscating Stupidity. The whole of his character is best encompassed by zigzagging between those two, Erudite Stoner, and just plain Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Beachcomber, the pacifist, hippie, nature-loving mini-bot from The Transformers. Sure, robots can't really get high, but he's working on it.
  • The hippie parodying free-spirited nomads from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • 2D from Gorillaz, despite his impressive consumption of painkillers and trademark ditziness, will occasionally come up with something unexpectedly perceptive. It's vaguely implied that he may be less dumb than just high, eccentric, and unambitious. Or he may really is that dense. It's hard to tell.
  • Fans often assume Grand Master Dashi of Xiaolin Showdown of being this. The guy is a badass, but also had some just....strange magical toys (Sweet Baby Among Us being the most infamous example). This conveniently ignores the fact that he didn't make the Shen Gong Wu.


Video Example(s):


The New Age Mystic

He appears in both a desert world and an ice world, and in both cases is a trippy customer. He does have genuine powers, however; he fixes Ratchet's ship with nothing but some valueless crystals and a mystic chant, and easily moves a rock Ratchet couldn't even blast.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / EruditeStoner

Media sources: