For whatever reason, there is a party. Whilst a party is normally going to be a fairly festive affair in its own right, sometimes it just needs spicing up — this is where Life of the Party comes into play.
This character will don lampshades (no, not that kind), dance on tables, swing from the chandelier, and generally party harder and wilder than anybody else. Sometimes this is done to signify just how awesome a party is, other times it can be to show that the character is immature or is acting inappropriately — say, by drinking excessively at a fancy, upper-class tuxedo party and hitting on the mayor's daughter.
Sometimes there's an episode where this character shows up, and the other characters have "grown up", while this character hasn't, in which case they may be introduced as someone's Old Friend.
Often this can be the Fratbro or Hard-Drinking Party Girl, but sometimes it's the quiet one who suddenly leaps out of their shell. Sometimes this is done to show a character overcompensating for a hidden unhappiness, which makes them a Sad Clown.
Contrast with Lampshade Wearing, which is just someone killing the party.
Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, trying to be this in Real Life generally backfires and ends in either humiliation or disdain from peers (or both).
The 2005 film of the same name can be found here.
- Expecting to Fall into Ruin, I Aim to Become a Blacksmith: When protagonist Kururi gets a pet dragon, Pubi, said dragon proceeds to be a Spoiled Brat who roams the countryside drinking, partying, and visiting hot springs, occasionally asking Kururi for money.
- Maison Ikkoku: Mrs. Ichinose, Akemi, and Yotsuya are always looking for excuses to throw a party, drink heavily, and sing loudly, no matter how much they are annoying their neighbors.
- Ivan Turbincă: The main character is an absolute party animal, and he exhausts demons with his constant partying.
- Bluto from Animal House
- This pic◊ comes from the film The Carpetbaggers, where one of the main characters gets drunk at a costume party and dances around a chandelier until it comes crashing down (she lives, though).
- A nerd in Can't Hardly Wait turns into this when he drinks for the first time.
- The Mask
- Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
"I remember the first time I saw Gareth dancing. I feared lives would be lost."
- In The Party, Peter Sellers' character becomes this somewhat unwittingly.
- Long Duk Dong, in Sixteen Candles, subverting his Asian and Nerdy representation earlier in the film.
- In Swiss movie L'Invitation(1973), the boss throws a garden party for his employees which goes progressively wronger as people lose inibitions and say what they really think. On top of all this the office junior, un-used to strong drink, gets up on the table and strips.
- Damon Knight's short story "The Handler" is about an enormous charismatic man who is the Life Of A Party, but is also a puppet controlled by the despised pathetic little man crammed inside his chest.
- Lord Peter Wimsey in the novel Murder Must Advertise infiltrates the Bright Young Things' parties in an attention-grabbing harlequin costume.
- 30 Rock: Jack grudgingly accompanies Liz to her high school reunion, where he's mistaken for the class popular guy — he doesn't correct the crowd, and enjoys his star status.
- Fun Bobby, who wasn't fun anymore once he sobered up.
- Gandalf the Party Wizard from "The One Where They're Going to Party!"
- Happy Days: Arthur Fonzerelli, even after he jumped the shark.
- Marry Me (2014): Annie's cousin Scooby. So much so that she and her dads compete to get him to come to their wedding.
- One Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch has a man looking to be more attractive to people via motivational tapes, and the salesman offers a few until settling on "Life and soul of the party".
Cleese: What's that like?
Chapman: Well it's a sort of ah... 'Ello squire! 'Aven't seen you for a bit, 'aven't seen you for a bit either, Beryl! Hahah! Two pints of wallop, please, love still driving the Jensen, then? Cheer up Jack it may never 'appen what's your poison then?
- Meredith from The Office (US). Until her hair gets set on fire at the Moroccan Christmas Party.
- Ted on Schitt's Creek shows up at Patrick's Slumber Party themed housewarming having consumed all of Alexis's fruity alcohol coolers and cheerfully ready to party. He strips down to his boxers and tank top to the admiration of pretty much everyone and enthusiastically joins the party games. His drunken kiss with David during Spin the Bottle prompts jealous irritation from Alexis and Patrick.
- Sex and the City:
- A one-shot character used to be a party girl and is now married and pregnant. She actually considers her party years her Glory Days.
- Anothernote is the Life of the Party somewhat gone to seed. She falls out of a skyscraper window midway through the episode...
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Andrew W.K., of course, is pretty much this trope in musical form. PARTY HARD
- Inverted: The Beatles' "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party."
- Eve 6's "Victoria" is a lament about being romantically involved with one — namely, that she'd rather stay out all night and party than come home to the narrator.
- "Twice Shy" by Flanders and Swann:
When it's Ladies' Night at the Carlton Club,
And a young woman comes in.
Smoking a six-inch Burma cheroot,
And playing a violin.
- "Big Shot" by Billy Joel is based on the darker version of this trope.
But now you just don't remember all the things you said
And you're not sure that you want to know
I'll give you one hint, honey:
You sure did put on a show
- Prince's "Partyman" is about this type of person. Used as part of Batman (1989) during the scene where the Joker enters the Gotham City museum and starts wrecking the place with his artistic vandalism of various works.
- Deconstructed in the Less Than Jake song "The Life Of The Party Has Left The Building."
- Deconstructed with Kate in the musical adaptation of The Wild Party. Kate is a vivacious, flirty party girl who makes a grand entrance to the party, but by the end of the first act has lost the spotlight (and the men) to her friend Queenie. At the top of Act 2, she sings a veiled self-loathing song about her role as "The Life of the Party", invoking the trope name.
- Briar Beauty from Ever After High can turn a freaking study party into a blast and still have everyone pass a notoriously unfair exam. Girl is brilliant, but would rather "Live It Up" more than anything else.
- In Disco Elysium, the player character is this... or was, or used to try to be. Most people around him understand that his partying is just a euphemism for his irresponsible and destructive drinking and drug use, and it's clear that it hasn't made him happier, but there are definitely aspects of his lifestyle that have a kind of purity to them. Particularly, when the Horrific Necktie (who represents his party lifestyle) reminisces about how they met, the player can choose that trying the tie on made him feel happy, or young again, or that it didn't make him happy 'but at least I have a funny tie'.
- Power Gig: Rise of the SixString has the Riffriders: a clan that feels life is a non-stop party and that nothing should break your stride. Their clan home is an abandoned mall they converted into a multi-floor arcade/theme park with live bands playing every night.
- Total War: Warhammer III: This is the characterization of Nurglings, energetic tiny demons who form different shapes and pull off stunts like a team of midget acrobats both in and out of combat, dancing, laughing, and even high-fiving along the way.
- Hero House has Thor, who can get even a Wake pumping enough to have Gamera downing shots.
- Implied: Paramount's two-reeler Abner the Baseball (1963), derived from the Eddie Lawrence record of the same name, has the titular baseball narrating his life up to the point that Mickey Mantle his him to score the longest home run ever. During the game, some fans chime in:
1st Fan: Give it a ride, ya dirty!
2nd Fan: Blast it outta the park!
3rd Fan: Tear da cover off dat ball!
Abner: Ooh, that last guy. I'll bet he's the life of the party.
- In Futurama, Slurms McKenzie is the most absolutely pathetic deconstruction of this trope possible. He is contractually obligated to be an icon of partying long past being sick of it personally, and his only escape from partying is death.
- Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic will try to be this if it's not a party she set up. If it is one she made, she will try to make it as lively as possible. She even has a party cannon — a cannon that shoots out ready-made party supplies. Even if, at times, she does things that could kill the party for others who are trying to enjoy themselves — such as making a band play unfitting music for the event, ravenously devouring all the sweets and snacks set out for everyone and leaving nothing for anyone else to eat (going so far as to stuff her face with a plate of cupcakes PRINCESS CELESTIA HERSELF was about to eat right in front of her), and doing things that, while usually funny to watch happen to someone else, would drive you absolutely up a wall or make you incredibly upset if you were there yourself.
- Emperor Awesome from Wander over Yonder. Noted for throwing parties so wild that they destroy planets. Then moving right on to the next planet.
- In the What If…? (2021) episode "What If... Thor Were an Only Child?", the eponymous God of Thunder from Asgard has grown to be a party animal (since Loki was brought back to the Frost Giants and didn't grow to become a schemer) and brings parties and destructive merriment across the galaxy, accompanied by an array of aliens wherever he goes. It's implied his parties are so destructive that they destroy worlds, but this is revealed to be untrue, though they are still quite destructive.
- Guy Diamond is this in Trolls: The Beat Goes On! and for the plot of an episode he trains a Shrinking Violet troll into exceeding him. In the sequel series TrollsTrollstopia, they both run a recruitment drive to deal with the increased population from the other tribes emigrating to their village. They've even made a name for their group that literally is The Life of the Party.