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"A Chronicle of Enterprising Demises Honoring those who improve the species... by accidentally removing themselves from it!"
While I have common sense I rarely let it interfere with my actions, prefering to use it to analyse why I shouldn't have done what ever it is that I did to cause the most recent Darwin moment.—James Nicoll
The Darwin Awards are a collection of stories of those that have given the best their DNA can offer to the gene pool. That is, they removed their DNA from the gene pool through actions (of their own devising) with such stupidity that the fact they can no longer breed is worth an award. It is worth noting that, although most of the winners remove themselves from the gene pool in a fatal manner, there are a precious few who manage to remove their ability to breed in a spectacularly stupid manner while still remaining alive (albeit... incomplete) afterwards.
Although internet based the Darwin Awards have released books detailing the "winners" of that year.
There are four categories:
- Darwin Award winners: Those killed or unable to reproduce . Further being classed as;
- Confirmed by Darwin: In reliable news sources.
- Unconfirmed by Darwin: Unable to find reliable sources however not proved to be false.
- Debunked by Darwin: A story previously thought to be true is found to be false.
Honorable MentionsAt Risk Survivors: Those that did their best to kill themselves yet somehow managed to survive.
- Urban Legends: Those stories believed to be true yet have no basis in reality.
- Personal Accounts: Members of the internet put forth their own personal stories with no other proof.
Finally, there was actually a film (The Darwin Awards) based off of some of the stories from this site. A few of the stories were also tested by the Myth Busters (who, incidentally enough, made cameo appearances in the movie).
NOTE: People who take out innocents in the process of removing themselves from the gene pool are expressly disqualified from Darwin Awards consideration by the website. The same goes for people with mental disorders. Youths under the age of 16 are generally disqualified unless a majority of the youth's peers agree the action taken by the nominee was incredibly stupid.
The Darwin Awards contain examples of the following tropes:
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The excessive consumption of intoxicating beverages often plays a major role in these stories.
- A few of the books have had to include disclaimers explaining that this doesn't excuse you from winning a Darwin Award, since it was your decision to get drunk in the first place.
- Ballistic Discount: Subverted. The genius who decided to rob a gun store fails miserably. The story was good enough that it also wound up on 1000 Ways to Die.
- This story has been embellished.
- Black Comedy, Cringe Comedy
- Black Comedy Rape: There are a few stories dealing with attempted rapes that went horribly, horribly wrong. Like the story of the woman who bit her assailant's balls off. And took off with them, and handed them in to the police, which meant her assailant was arrested when he checked into the hospital with a matching injury. The evidence proceedings for that case must have been interesting.
- But You Screw One Goat!: One of the winners who was left alive but unable to reproduce ended up that way by attempting to have sex with a porcupine.
- The Cameo: The Darwin Awards movie boasts cameos by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as well as Metallica.
- Chainsaw Good: See Off with His Head and Testosterone Poisoning.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Most accounts are this mixed with a healthy smattering of Undignified Death.
- Don't Try This At Home: Many Darwin Award winners have died attempting to re-enact things they saw on TV.
- Death as Comedy
- Draft Dodging: Tales of those killed or crippled while attempting to inflict a minor injury to avoid military service include a farmhand kicked in the head by a draught horse, and a man who had his arm bitten off by a lion.
- Forgot I Couldn't Swim
- Epic Fail
- Eskimos Aren't Real: "Real, live buffalo don't exist!"
- Gangsta Style
- Gone Horribly Right
- Groin Attack: Self-inflicted attacks are the general cause of a person exiting the pool without exiting this mortal coil. However, they can also prove fatal. Here and here are just two of a fairly large number of examples.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: As well as many of the Award "winners", founder Wendy Northcutt considers herself a klutz and a "potential Darwin Award candidate", which would be this trope (and cruelly ironic) if it happens.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: here, here and here.
- Karmic Death
- Kick the Dog/Villain Ball: Some of the less savory nominees and honorable mentions.
- Laser-Guided Karma: here.
- Macho Masochism
- Medal of Dishonor: The Darwin Award.
- Motorcycle Jousting
- Off with His Head: See Chainsaw Good and Testosterone Poisoning.
- Out with a Bang/Death by Sex: Considered textbook examples since the victims are stopped from procreating while making the attempt.
- Pants-Positive Safety: More than a few cases. None of 'em ended well.
- Poor Communication Kills: "Are you OK?" "Yes!"
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: Do not taunt lightning.
- Soft Glass: Some winners fatally avert this trope.
- Stupid Crooks: A few of the award's recipients. A chapter in one of the books is dedicated to them.
- Testosterone Poisoning: The Most Macho Man In Europe.
- And a whole lot more. One of the chapters in one of the books is actually titled "Testosterone Poisoning".
- The Movie: A fictional film was made in 2006 about two investigators chasing Darwin Award-type stupidity, starring Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder. (Reviews were generally bad, according to The Other Wiki.)
- Too Dumb to Live: All of them. In fact, that's the entire point of the Darwin Awards, and, according to the creator, one of the biggest reasons why it's funny instead of morbid.
- A few "lucky" ones actually don't kill themselves, but still end up being unable to have children.
- Tree Buchet: According to an Urban Legend, a heavy storm caused a tree to get bent over and wedged under the eaves of a house. The homeowner climbed up the tree to saw the top of tree off to free it from the eaves. Once he cut through, the tree sprung back, catapulting the owner to his death.
- Underside Ride: One Darwin Award winner tried this while attempting to diagnose a truck's engine, apparently to watch the engine while it worked. It seemed a fine idea until the moving parts caught his sleeve...
- Undignified Death: Pretty much all deaths that don't count as Cruel And Unusual Deaths.
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough...?: Apparently, quite a lot of people.
- William Telling
- ↑ Also occasionally includes people who are in jail for life or ridiculously long settings for similar reasons