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Alcohol does very strange things to people. It makes people slur their speech, it can make them see double, and some people even pass out after having even a single drink. However the strangest of all the effects that alcohol can have on people is... hiccuping? In many shows, the hiccup is often a shorthand for "this person is drunk", because, apparently, having them slur their words and stagger around the house isn't easily understood.
Why they use a hiccup isn't really understood, though one possible explanation is that, since alcohol reduces inhibitions and can make even the most boring things hilariously funny (for no reason readily apparent to people outside of the bottle), a prolonged fit of the giggles, chuckles, or outright cackling laughter provokes a case of hiccups. Of course, this explanation doesn't work for those souls who don't have much to laugh about at the moment, but they can always cry so much they get the hiccups.
Truth in Television for some drinkers.
Not to be confused for a hick that likes to drink.
Anime and Manga
- In at least the English dub of Azumanga Daioh, Yukari is known to let out a "hic" when she's been drinking. (It may just be to pad out the syllables to match the amount of time that the mouth moves.)
- Belldandy lets out a few of these after she gets drunk... on cola.
- In Urusei Yatsura Lum has some after getting drunk off of pickled plums
- When Kaoru gets drunk in Rurouni Kenshin
- Roy Fokker does this, at least in The Movie.
- Rock Lee also does this when he ends up taking in alcoholic stuff.
- In Psyren, Matsuri, after driving over drunk to get Sakurako treatment after she makes it back to her world, has one when she says "It's your powers coming online (hic)"
- Elf Quest: Pike after eating dreamberries. Not actually alcoholic, admittedly, and with fewer unpleasant side effects. Though, this does raise the obvious allegations that dreamberries are a narcotic...
- Drunken people in the Asterix books hiccup a lot. This is sometimes played with, as in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, where an inebriated Roman goes not only hic, but also haec and hoc (all actual Latin words, all meaning "this").
- Captain Haddock, and Snowy in the earlier stories, often hiccups when drunk.
- In the Popeye comic strips, a single hiccup is enough to prove to the press that King Blozo is a drinker, despite his insistence that he isn't. It turns out to be the pea soup his cook gives him.
- The Mary Worth comic strip is a champion of temperance, making nearly every character who is weak or bad a conspicuous, hiccuping drinker - often endearing them to many readers (see: Helen Clark in The Comics Curmudgeon).
- This once happened with The Riddler in The Long Halloween
Films — Animation
- Dumbo the elephant. Partly justified in that he's drunk off champagne (though it would really make him belch more than hiccough).
- Well, to be fair, Dumbo already had the hiccups before he got drunk. They just got worse afterward. Played straight with Timothy.
- Also Hiss in Disney's Robin Hood after being trapped in a barrel of ale.
- Robespierre in Gay Purr-ee.
- Gideon from Pinocchio, it is noted that this is his only "dialogue" in the film.
- Uncle Waldo from The Aristocats.
- The drunk Scotsman from The Illusionist.
- Honest John in An American Tail.
Films — Live-Action
- Happens in the original Miracle on 34th Street.
- Happens to Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind".
- Mike's hiccup in The Philadelphia Story (which was followed by a comedic blooper which stayed in the final film)
- They even included it in the musical remake, High Society.
- Near the beginning of The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samantha lampshades this trope while on the way home from a Christmas party with her clearly drunk friend, jokingly mentioning bubbles coming from his mouth that make a "hic" sound when they pop.
- Richard Harmon from Divorce American Style
- A hilarious variation occurs in City Lights when The Tramp, in a drunken stupor, accidentally swallows a whistle, causing him to disrupt the party, unintentionally flag down several taxis, and call a pack of dogs.
- Long Duk Dong on Sixteen Candles
- Several of the titular Gremlins hiccup when they get drunk at the bar.
- The cat ghoulie hiccups once Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College after they drink the frat brothers' beer supply, they also belch quite a bit.
- One of Prince Herbert's guards in Monty Python and The Holy Grail constantly hiccups, hinting that he's been hitting the wine a bit early. Also happens in Spamalot.
- Affects Jason in Mystery Team.
- Mary Poppins hiccups after taking a spoonful of "Rum Punch" flavoured medicine.
- Norville Barnes hiccuped a few times as he was drowning his sorrows in The Hudsucker Proxy.
- Buddy Love after getting drunk in the original version of The Nutty Professor (and the elixir wearing off a little too soon).
- Older Than Feudalism. Plato's Symposium is set during a house party. When Aristophanes shows to make his speech up he has hiccups which Socrates blames on surfeit, excessive drinking.
- Several characters in Harry Potter including Sir Cadogan, Winky, Horace Slughorn, and Hagrid.
- Rudyard Kipling wrote a spoof William Shakespeare play in which many of Shakespeare's characters cross over from their varying plays. When Hamlet, clearly drunk, shows up to talk with Prince Hal, one of the first things he says is "Your pardon too. 'Tis the Rhenish." A "footnote" explains that what he was asking Hal's pardon for was evidently a hiccup.
- In the hilarious I Love Lucy incident where Lucy does a commercial for Vitameatavegamin, she hiccups once several minutes into her inebriation.
- Also lampshaded in another episode, where Lucy believes everyone has forgotten her birthday. Feeling unloved, she goes to the park and starts crying, which causes her to start hiccuping. A man walks by and mistakes her for a poor person, which she denies:
Lucy: No, trust me. (hiccup) I'm loaded!
- Foster Brooks, who played a stage alcoholic for decades despite being a teetotaler, hiccuped as part of his schtick.
- Bottom: "Why'd it take so long? The bus station's only two streets away!" "Yeah, well -hic- the wind was against me..."
- In My Name Is Earl, Earl apparently gets the hiccups when he's both drunk and nervous as displayed in Stole A Motorcycle.
- An early episode of Myth Busters tested several tricks that are supposed to defeat a Breathalyzer. (They all failed.) At the end of the episode, loopy-drunk Adam is giving the wrapup and Jamie throws in a fake hiccup.
- Happened to Otis at least once in The Andy Griffith Show.
- A combination of this and Hiccup Hijinks happened to Jack Tripper in an early episode of Three's Company. It should be noted, while Jack wasn't actually drunk, he did have enough beer to give himself the hiccups, potentially blowing his cover by revealing himself to Chrissy's mother, whom he was hiding from.
- The song Cocktails For Two uses this as a routine sound effect.
- The Spike Jones song, "Clink Clink Another Drink". Naturally, the hiccuping vocals were provided by none other than Mel Blanc.
- In Bioshock, picking up two or more alcoholic beverages in quick succession will cause the screen to blur and sway, along with a very audible hiccuping noise.
- The player characters in Tibia will hiccup when drunk. In text, as the game doesn't have sounds.
- If your character is drunk in Kingdom of Loathing, a -hic- will sometimes appear at the end of your lines in chat.
- In World of Warcraft, when your character consumes the in-game drinks, a "...hic" will sometimes be added to the end of your lines in chat, as well as random 'S'es becoming 'sh'es.
- This mechanism used to have hilarious consequences when applied to words like "sit", making it a (possibly) unintentional Getting Crap Past the Radar moment for the 'T' rated game. It was supposedly "fixed" in a patch.
- This is particularly humorous when, after a long day of questing, you buy one of those fancy keg things from Dalaran and muck about in Ogrimmar. Eventually, a tale off somebody having aggroed some wandering elite, or a patrol, and somebody will proudly proclaim that he/she "shaved your assh back there... hic!".
- Ultima Online had this as the only side effect of drinking. There are no combat penalties for fighting even after drinking all the alcohol your inventory can hold.
- The Drunken Dwarf in RuneScape.
- Elmo, Temple of Elemental Evil's perpetually drunk arms at man... err, man at arms, does all of these, plus if recruited by a female PC, "Prudy lady" is part of some of his combat quotes.
- Troika's Arcanum also features it on Sogg Meadmug.
- Subverted in Toejam and Earl, where the title characters will start to burp obnoxiously after consuming a Root Beer.
- Rise Kujikawa in Persona 4 has a drunk hic on the class trip, at the club, right before the merry friends play the King's Game. Of course, it turns out that she really wasn't drunk. She just thought she was.
- The drunk driver in Police Quest.
- In the Apple II-era game Infiltrator II, you can find a bottle of vodka in an enemy base, and if you so chooses you can drink it and hic to your heart's content.
- King's Quest VI: Heir Today Gone Tomorrow. For genies peppermint acts like alcohol does for humans. Give Shamir Shamazel a peppermint and he suffers from hiccups, slurred speech, and disorientation.
- It's rare to find a scene where Blaze Union's Sleip isn't hiccuping (or belching or suppressing the urge to vomit), but then she does spend most of the game completely plastered.
- In Fire Emblem:Path of Radiance, chapter 23. Those who have seen the rest of the following conversation know that this guy was clearly drunk.
- Shinon: Good for you, huh? Har har! ...Hic! You're in love with a pwetty wittle princess, you're fighting side-by-side with yer sub-human pals. Yes! Yer moving up! Oooo, look at you! It's big mister Ike! Leading the good life!
- In Alice: Madness Returns, Alice hiccups every couple of seconds when she's shrunk.
- Conkers Bad Fur Day, obviously when drunk, hiccups whenever you try to jump.
- Happens in the Dragon Quest series (especially in the remakes) when you talk to guys who are drunk in pubs. There is also one time in IV when you talk to a drunken guy outside the bar in Endor at night, and he feels like he's not "wurring my slurds or anything".
- By the end of The Hardy Show episode "Win The Shot, Call The Spot", basically Truth or Dare without the Truth and with booze, Jeff and Matt Hardy are completely wasted on vodka, and Jeff actually does spend the credits having an uncontrollable bout of the hiccups.
- This episode of Drunk History on VBS.tv. Hilariously.
- At the end of the Breakfast of Booze episode of EPICMEALTIME: "Next time, we eat a cult. ... *hic!*"
- Occurs about five minutes in to The Nostalgia Critic's Drinking Game review of IT. He only gets more hammered from there.
- The Whiteboard:
- Slightly Damned: Iratu hiccups during his first appearance, completely sloshed.
- In Impure Blood, the escape passes a drunk being helped home.
- In Sinfest, one sign that God is drunk.
- Seen It a Million Times in Warner Brothers cartoons, when the stereotypical drunk staggers past, slurs a vague statement, and hiccups. Usually accompanied by a highly ironictune.
- A Merrie Melodies cartoon (High Note) featured a drunk musical note staggering around, hiccuping.
- In the Walter Lanz Woody Woodpecker Cartoon Wild Bill Hiccup, there was a character who was a parody of Wild Bill Hickock, who hiccuped constantly while holding a bottle.
- The Jolly Rum Cookies in the Cookie Carnival Disney short do this in their song.
- Speaking of Disney, Pluto is drunk in not one but two of his early pictures, "Alpine Climbers" and "Pluto's Quinpuplets", complete with full hiccup flourish.
- Tom Cat would also do it in his cartoons when inebriated. He spends nearly the whole of "Part Time Pal" quite drunk, for example—first on hard cider, than some errantly-spilled bay rum. The hiccups actually help him avoid Mammy's swinging broom.
- Barney Gumble's trademark belch is a more realistic variation of this trope.
- Played straight however with Marge, Bart, an animatronic Ben Franklin, and Homer at least once.
- In The Great Mouse Detective, the poor rat who let slip "Rat" was hiccupping throughout his speech and song as well.
- The Casseticon Rumble did this in the original The Transformers cartoon where the Decepticons get "over-energized" on Energon cubes. Made even funnier when you consider Transformers don't even need to breathe.
- In the episode of DuckTales "Too Much of a Gold Thing", Scrooge McDuck gets one of these, however, he isn't inebriated, unless you call Gold Fever, as Beakly calls it, inebriation. Supposedly, Gold Fever is what happens when someone becomes so greedy, they forget what is important, this is eventually played true when Scrooge risks his, his Nephews, Beakly, and her Granddaughter's lives, just for a giant disk of gold, only to find a building made of the stuff. This is when he starts hiccuping, and, if I recall correctly, it lasts the rest of the episode.
- Hewey, Dewey, and Louie get infected as well.
- It involved automobiles!