We realize that not everyone might find tonight’s State of the Union hugely entertaining, so we’ve assembled some ways to make it fun. Most of these activities guarantee you’ll be nice and buzzed by the time Rep. Michele Bachmann gives her Tea Party response (not to be confused with the official Republican response, given by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan). And don’t worry, there are games for the nondrinker as well.
1. For All Drinkers: The classic drinking game for the evening has to be the State of the Union Address Drinking Game. You begin with a standard drink when you hear “the state of our union is strong,” but if the president mentions “budget freeze,” get your blender out: “Mix a frozen drink, pour the frozen drink into a cup half the size of the drink and lick the remnants off the floor.” Better than just shots and beer, right?
2. For More Committed Drinkers: Comedian Will Durst offers a drinking game on his blog at the San Francisco Chronicle. He stipulates a rather specific group—a banker, two people donning jeans and flannel, and a bedraggled fourth—but, really, any bunch of people who like to get boozy should be up for it. Samples: “Everybody has to drink 2 shots of beer whenever John Boehner appears to cry. 1 shot of bourbon if he breaks down sobbing and disappears entirely from view ... If either Vice President Biden or the Speaker of the House Boehner is seen nodding off on camera, last person to start singing ‘Wake Up, Little Susie’ has to drink 3 shots of beer.” Keep your eyes behind the president, ladies and gentlemen.
3. For Sophisticated Drinkers With a Theatrical Bent: Esquire’s drinking game will keep you riveted on the evening’s drama. At boilerplate moments, including “closeup of sad senator,” take a gulp of beer. If John McCain is caught rolling his eyes, you advance to a shot of liquor. In the unlikely event there are “fisticuffs”—although with Democrats and Republicans sitting together on bipartisan dates, who knows?—take two shots. Any mention of Keith Olbermann’s employment status gets you three shots. You might only get tipsy, but how much fun would it be if any of this actually happened?
After some of these drinking games, you may not remember the speech come morning, but no one else will, either.
4. For Capitol Hill Staffers Out on the Town: Members of Congress may be stuck listening to the speech live, but legislative aides can live it up outside work. In a town where politics is king, D.C. bars are pulling out the stops with games and offers. At Ventnor Sports Café, viewers can choose a word and get $1 shots every time Obama uses it. Choose carefully and make sure you have a designated driver.
5. For Social Networkers: The Facebook page of the State of the Union Drinking Game offers not only its own set of rules but also a chance to compare notes with other players on what you’re drinking and where you’re watching. Take a drink each time the TV talking heads mention that one member of the government has stayed home in case of disaster—and each time Joe Biden nods off.
6. For Right-Leaning Lushes: Conservative blog Yes, But, However! has a somewhat ideological set of drinking rules. But don’t let the politics fool you: By the speech’s end, the state of the union may or may not be good, but the state of the player will be plastered. Participants drink a whole six-pack if Biden is present, slam a martini for every “either/or” fallacy, and knock back some bathtub gin for every swipe at Wall Street—“because that’s all you will be able to afford by the end of the week.” Those who take part are unlikely to remember the speech come tomorrow morning—but as Howard Kurtz points out, no one else will, either.
7. For Teetotaling Constitutional Enthusiasts: Get to Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center for a raucous game of State of the Union bingo. The goal is to correctly pick out words or phrases Obama may say, like “health care” or “economy.” The winner won’t get drunk but, on the bright side, could win a yearlong membership to the National Constitution Center.
8. For Conservative Teetotalers: Here’s your chance to play bingo with Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform. As at the National Constitution Center, you win by correctly matching terms Obama may use. Unsurprisingly, however, Norquist & Co. are a bit more partisan. ATR gives a handy key to phrases the president may use. “Investment” is defined as “Even more government spending to employ union workers.” “Health Care Reform” is an “unconstitutional effort to raise taxes, raise spending, and limit health-care choices.” And one word we’ll definitely hear tonight—“compromise”—is defined as “Do what I want.” Ouch.
Shushannah Walshe covers politics for The Daily Beast. She is the co-author of Sarah From Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. She was a reporter and producer at the Fox News Channel from August 2001 until the end of the 2008 presidential campaign.