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"Life sucks; get a fucking helmet!"


"'I'm not happy!' I'm not happy!' Nobody's "happy"! Happiness comes in small doses — it's a cigarette, or a chocolate chip cookie or a five-second orgasm; that's all it is, okay?! You cum, you eat the cookie, you smoke the butt, you go to sleep, wake up and go the fuck to work! That is it, end of fucking list!"


Denis Leary is a comedian born in Worcester, Massachusetts to Irish Catholic immigrants. His routines involve a deeply cutting, rambling, profane Motor Mouth style, and is not afraid to go after whatever he damn well feels like.

He's incredibly proud of his Irish heritage, and does not apologize for his love of the Boston Red Sox, the Bruins, or Boston in general (he even forgave Bill Buckner, even though it seemed no one else will).

He's related, through various marriages to Conan O'Brien.

Don't mention him around fans of Bill Hicks. Let's leave it at that.

Denis Leary has performed in the following roles:

He's appeared in more than 40 films, including:

TV Series involving him in some way include:

Denis Leary provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Annoying Arrows: In No Cure For Cancer he relates a story about how when he was a kid, his brother and brother's friend once shot him in the head with an arrow. The two of them then proceeded to run away and Denis' father actually pulled the arrow out before taking him to the hospital at the insistence of his mother.
  • Author Appeal: He does a lot with Boston and/or firefighters, so expect a lot of that whenever he's involved.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most of his stand-up routines are loaded with this trope.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Is it impossible to get a cup of coffee-flavored coffee in this country?"
  • Eagle Land: Why We Suck
  • Exact Words/Laser-Guided Karma: After the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, a bumper for an award show showed various Red Sox fans saying what they would give for a Sox championship. It then comes to Leary...who is told he said he would give his left nut to see it happen. After a few moments of denial, he goes, "Huh...that does sound like something I would say, doesn't it?"
  • Fighting Irish: And goddamn proud of it too.
  • Funny Schizophrenia: Implied to be part of what's going on in his song "Voices in My Head".
  • Growing Up Sucks: Life's Gonna Suck
  • Hidden Depths: Would you guess that he's actually a published poet, an avid fan of poetry in general, and has been a guest editor for the renowned Ploughshares literary magazine?
  • I'm Going to Hell For This: A bit on No Cure For Cancer. He's glad Jesus died when he did, because otherwise he would have ended up like Elvis in his 40s. He then performs an extended Jesus-as-Elvis impression, followed by:

"I'm going to hell for that bit. And you're all coming with me."

  • Jerkass: How many people view him, and the song "Asshole" is pretty much a celebration of Jerkasses and his stand-up persona in general. Of course, it's part of his act. See below.
  • Life Imitates Art: In one comedy routine, he talked about writing a book: Shut The Fuck Up by Dr. Denis Leary. Well, he's written a book, and while it's got a different title (Why We Suck), the fact that he has an honorary D.F.A. from Emerson College allows him to credit himself as Dr. Denis Leary.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: During No Cure for Cancer he relates a story about how his father nearly severed his thumb with a circular saw and just said he needed some electrical tape. He also wouldn't let his wife drive him to the hospital.

He would not let my mother drive him to the hospital; that was too much of a threat to his masculinity to be seen riding in a car driven by a woman. So he taped up the thumb with black electrical tape, and drove himself minus one thumb to the hospital. I turned to my brother and said "Hey pal, forget about crying, okay? Crying is over. We're never gonna be able to cry about anything ever, okay? Our father figure is a man who could sever his own head with a chainsaw and he'd staple gun it back on (staple sound effects) 'Fuckin head came off!' (staple sound effects)"

    • He goes on to say that one time, when he was visiting, his dad accidentally shot a nail through his hand with a nail gun. His reaction? Pull it out with his teeth.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor Don't let his abrasive stand-up persona fool you. Plus, he started an organization for firefighters and their families. He's pretty much a nice, goodhearted guy who loves pretending to be a bastard.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Replacing the letter "r" with an "a" and replacing the "-a" at the end of words with an "-er" is incredibly noticeable.
  • Raised Catholic: Though he admits that during a scene in Rescue Me where his character had to recite the Hail Mary prayer he couldn't remember it, though he's able to list the starting lineup of the 1967 Boston Red Sox off the top of his head[1]
  • Refuge in Audacity: Frequently.
  • The Roast: He was the first to be roasted by Comedy Central and their counterpart to the New York Friar's Club Roast.
  • Running Gag: Almost any time he brings up his late father, expect wood paneling to be brought up, since Mr. Leary was so fond of putting up wood paneling that he even had it on his car.
  • Shout-Out: One of his early MTV promos was essentially a short rant about model Cindy Crawford. Crawford returned the favor in a promo of her own, right down to wearing a similar leather jacket, carrying a lit cigarette, and stalking about while ranting in exactly the same manner as Leary.
  • Southies
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Denis, with one N.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Trope Namer.
  • Two Words: Obvious Trope: His MTV promos.
  • Understatement: In one routine, he spends the first thirty seconds or so energetically puffing on his cigarette, gasping and wheezing several times, until he is half-obscured by a cloud of blue smoke. His summary?

Denis Leary: ...I smoke.

  1. "Russ Gibson at catcher. First base is George Scott. Second base is Mike Andrews. Shortstop is Rico Petrocelli. Third base was Joe Foy. Left field was Carl Yastrzemski. Center field was Reggie Smith. Right field was Tony Conigliaro, and, when he got hurt, Dalton Jones. And that's sad."