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Literal Soapbox Speech

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A character stands on top of an object, usually a chair, a stand, a literal soapbox, or some type of improvised platform to give a rousing speech, start a protest or just to air out their grievances.

Given how the speeches are usually done on impulse, improvisation is integral to the trope.

While soapboxing might have had dramatic flair in the past, it's often played for comedy nowadays.

A trademark tactic of the Soapbox Sadie and the Granola Girl. May also be utilized by a Slogan-Yelling Megaphone Guy for extra attention.

See also Rousing Speech.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Spoofed when Calvin retrieves a small, cardboard soap box to stand on so he can "harangue the multitudes."
    Hobbes You'd probably be more impressive if you tried using the soap.
    Calvin: Let me know if you see any multitudes.

    Film—Animated 
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    Film—Live Action 
  • The Incredible Shrinking Woman: Pat Kramer, a few inches tall, stands on top of a bar of soap and yells at her family. "Honey, when you get down off your soapbox, we can talk..." says her husband.
  • Independence Day: As July 4 dawns, President Whitmore grabs a bullhorn mic and jumps on the back of a truck to rouse the spirits of his pilots before they embark upon the battle that will determine if humanity survives or is annihilated.
  • Midway (2019): Admiral Yamaguchi twice gives a speech while standing on what appears to be an ammo crate. He first does this to rally the pilots of Hiryuu 's air unit after the initial American attack that cripples the other three carriers. The second occurs at the end; amid the fires on the ship's flight deck, he announces the Hiryuu is lost and must be scuttled. Yamaguchi asserts his intention to stay aboard, ordering the evacuating crew to continue to serve the emperor and fulfill their duties.
  • Newsies: During "The World Will Know", Jack hops on the pedestal of a statue of Joseph Pulitzer to start rallying the newsies for a strike against Pulitzer and Hearst.
  • Pacific Rim: Before Striker Eureka and Gypsy Danger head out to seal the rift once and for all, Stacker Pentecost gives his "Canceling the Apocalypse" speech while standing on the remains of a fallen Jaeger.
  • RocknRolla: Two junkies constantly bother the Wild Bunch by making exaggerated sales pitches for useless items (including fur coats in the middle of summer). The one who talks carries a milk crate with him to stand on while doing his pitch; subverted on their third try when Cookie buys a painting from them before he can get on the crate.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: When Eddie chews out Roger for entertaining the bar patrons when he's supposed to be hiding, Roger defends his nature to make others laugh and stands on a soapbox while making his case.

    Literature 
  • In Warrior Cats, after the Clans arrive at the lake, Blackstar jumps up on a nearby tree stump to address all four Clans. At one point, three of the leaders stand on it together and the fourth clearly won't fit, and Squirrelpaw remarks that they'll need to find something else for the leaders to sit on at Gatherings.
  • The Wheel of Time: After Egwene is raised as Amyrlin Seat, leader of one faction of Aes Sedai Magical Society, the next-highest ranking members lift her up with a platform of Air magic to address the full assembly. Her narration jokes that they're literally "raising the Amyrlin Seat".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Gets Trapped.'' Dennis berates the Gang for their current predicament (trying to avoid being seen by the owners of a house they broke into), but they point out he stood on a table in a fast-food joint and made a Rousing Speech that got them all hyped up. He admits it was an awesome speech.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • In Hamilton, Samuel Seabury stands on a box in the middle of town square to read his list of grievances against the Revolution. Hamilton comes over and argues with him, leading to them getting in a fight over the box, shoving each other off of it while taking turns standing on it.

    Video Games 
  • In Persona 5, disgraced ex-Diet member Toranosuke Yoshida is reduced to doing soapbox speeches after decades of political failure has left him with no political base to draw upon. Although the formerly selfish politician has changed his ways and sincerely wants to make the world a better place, he has no funds to campaign with. So he instead stands atop a soapbox and gives speeches to any passerby near Shibuya Station. After Joker helps restore his confidence, "Old Man Tora" becomes a popular figure among the youth for his progressive platform and is successfully reelected.
  • Diablo III: In Act V, in the survivor's enclave in Westmarch, we find one individual standing on an actual soapbox seemingly attempting to start a new religion worshiping Malthael, who's followers will be spared his wanton killing, provided they donate, of course. Some of the crowd agree, others just think he's trying to get some quick coin.
  • The Evangelize action in Republic: The Revolution sees the functionary climb on a crate in the middle of a public space and address the passers-by. Its description even deliberately invokes the trope: "Get up on your soapbox and let the people know that you share their concerns and more importantly, that you have a solution."
  • The Sims 3: University Life: When a Sim uses the "Me Too!" Megaphone to rant about a subject, they bring out a soapbox to stand on first.
  • The Sims Freeplay: Assigning your Sim to a soapbox in the park allows him or her to make a speech.

    Web Animation 
  • A minor running gag in Homestar Runner, mostly done by Homestar himself. A sub-gag is how the soapbox in question is labeled with the supposed contents of it, with the count going up by one each time the soapbox appears, starting with "eleven soaps".

     Webcomics 
  • Star Impact: During the Chapter 4 Aster vs. Lily pre-fight press conference, a reporter asks Aster if she's nervous facing off against Lily, who has much more boxing experience than her, for her very first pro match. Stryker gives her some pointers:
    Stryker: Go on girl. Give them a good answer.
    [Beat]
    Aster: [setting one foot on the table and striking a hammy pose] NOT AT ALL! Like I said before I don't plan on showing those gloves a loss! I'M A LEGEND IN THE MAKING!
  • Unsounded: Sette has her spellwright friend conjure up a platform under her feet when she publicly confronts her older, taller cousin.
    Sette: (Duane, make me tall and glorious.)

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: Parodied in the episode "Camp Refoogee" where Stan makes fun of his daughter, Hayley's Soapbox Sadie tendencies. A kid sets a literal soapbox in front of him during his speech.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen", Pinkie Pie has an ability to predict the future that Twilight Sparkle can't seem to explain rationally. When Pinkie asks what the difference is between her ability and Twilight's magic, Twilight stands on a literal soapbox and lectures Pinkie on how magic is practiced and codified.
  • The Replacements: "Days of Blunder" has Riley on the soapbox to protest sexism in the Downhill Derby.

    Real Life 
  • While slightly downplayed, there is, in fact, a place in England where people give public speeches, and are required to bring, if not a literal soapbox, at least something to stand on, based on a tradition involving a literal interpretation of 'on English soil'.
  • John Major delivered speeches from a soapbox when campaigning for elections, including the 1992 and 1997 General Elections while he was Prime Minister.


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