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  "If you're not smart enough to play a real instrument, they give you two sticks, put you in the back, and call you a drummer."

In the eyes of many people, a percussionist isn't a real musician. After all, how many brain cells can it really take to bang on stuff with sticks? Probably not many. As a result, it's not rare for a drummer to be portrayed as, well, stupid.

NOT Truth in Television. Playing percussion adequately often involves managing many more actions and ideas at the same time than most other instruments. Real drummers often refer to themselves as "percussionists" in an attempt to distance themselves from this trope.

Compare All Drummers Are Animals, as there can be some overlap. Contrast Nobody Loves the Bassist.

Examples of Dumb and Drummer include:

Anime and Manga

  • K-On! has Ritsu Tainaka. As the Light Music Club's drummer, she isn't particularly stupid, just lazy and forgetful. Although the reason she plays the drums is because she thinks playing the guitar or keyboard is too complicated and would frustrate her.


  • Vertigo Pop: London is about an aging rock star named Rocky looking to regain his lost youth. In a flashback set in India, a guru offers him some hash to smoke and Rocky's drummer gets envious:

 Daz: Hey, I want some of this present. It sounds crazy.

Rocky: Sorry, Daz. Not for you.

Daz: And why not?

Rocky: Because... Because you're a drummer. And drummers... they're not meant to have life-changing transcendental experiences.

  • Pierce, from Zits. Unworldly, soft-hearted when it comes to living creatures, and lacking impulse control-yes. He's definitely not stupid, though,and the trope rarely if ever is mentioned in the strip.


 "A case better left unsolved"

      • They didn't really die from stupidity though. They were more a parody of high rates of mortality among musicians. There are several real life examples of "cursed" spots in certain bands, though as with everything else in Spinal Tap, it's turned up to 11 for the film.
  • Animal from The Muppet Movie was portrayed this way.
  • Inverted with That Thing You Do. The drummer is the hero of the story and even inspires a brief fashion trend with his trademark sunglasses.


  • Averted in Zero History by William Gibson: Heidi Hyde is a former drummer, but it doesn't seem to have caused any lasting mental handicap.
  • Lias "Cliff" Bluestone from Soul Music is a rather simple-minded troll who's frequently described as "one of nature's drummers".

Live Action TV

  • Ash from I'm in The Band is considered a Genius best. At worst, he's a moron.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith's list of loser ex-boyfriends went "Ronnie: deadbeat. Steve: klepto. Kenny: drummer."
  • Drake and Josh utilized this trope whenever Drake's band appeared, and his drummer felt the need to call drums every time they went onstage.
  • Glee: In some respects, Finn Hudson is a walking, talking (though not at the same time) drummer joke...
  • The Muppet Show: Animal, again.


  • Brad Paisley's "Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday," running down the list of holiday songs identifying who they'd offend:

 "How 'bout 'Little Drummer Boy?'"

"Nope, that offends short people."

"And you can't say 'drummer,' 'cause that'll offend real musicians."

New Media

Video Games

  • The Loading Screen for Guitar Hero 3 has random quotes, one of which is, "I'm the drummer, I don't have to understand any of this S#!%!"
    • Another reads, "Don't let your drummer handle the money."

Web Original

 Mary Palaroncini: How come they made me fat and have orange hair?

Larry Palaroncini: Because you're the comic relief!

Western Animation

Jokes and Anecdotes

  • The page quote, obviously.
  • "What does it mean when the drummer's drooling out of both sides of his mouth?" "The stage is level."
  • "What's got three legs and a twat at the top?" "A drum stool."
  • "How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?" "Just one, but he has to figure out not to hit it with a stick first."
  • "How can you tell if there's a drummer at your door?" "The knocking speeds up and he comes in at the wrong time."
  • "Did you hear about the guitarist who locked his keys in his car?" "It took him an hour to get the drummer out."
  • "What do you call a drummer who's broken up with his girlfriend?" "Homeless."
  • "What do you call a guy who likes to hang out with musicians?" "A drummer."
  • "Why can't drummers tell jokes timing".
  • Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
    A: With a drum machine you only have to punch the information in once.
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