Created By: CarlosNZ on September 27, 2011 Last Edited By: CaveCat on November 5, 2015

Telephone Answer Gag

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Someone answers a domestic phone in the manner of a receptionist, apropos of what is going on in the room at the time. eg. "Hello, Johnson Lunatic Asylum" or "Hello, Jenny's House of Love".

Often done to express frustration by the Only Sane Man in a houseful of nutters.

(Note: Not on the PhoneTropes page. Recommended to start here from LostAndFound.)


Examples

Film

Live-Action TV
  • On Just Shoot Me!, Dennis once answered the phone with "Mistress Maya's House of Discipline."

Theater
  • Done twice in one musical montage (over a period of months) in the song "Opening Doors" from Merrily We Roll Along. Frank answers the phone "Chinese Laundry" and later "Hamburg Heaven". Mary is always unfazed.

Newspaper Comics
  • A Garfield strip had Jon answer the phone under the assumption that it was Liz, answering it with the line, "Jon's Love Shack, Lip-Lock Arbuckle speaking", only to discover that it was actually Mrs. Feeny calling.

Western Animation
  • Bart Simpson would often do this when answering the phone. "Joe's Crematorium. You kill'em, we grill'em."
  • This line from the third act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Bogus To The Rescue":
    Bogus: Hellooooo, Bogus House of Heroes, nobody too rough!

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • September 27, 2011
    CarlosNZ
    I would suggest naming this trope after the funniest example we can find. I have a feeling it's used a lot in FawltyTowers. That's probably a good contender.
  • September 27, 2011
    surgoshan
    Hello Insert Shenanigans Here? This is something where it'll be hard to avoid a dialogy title.
  • September 27, 2011
    TechUnadept
  • September 27, 2011
    KamenZero
    from the Cat In The Hat movie, Cat answers the house phone with "City Morgue!"
  • September 27, 2011
    TonyG
    • Bart Simpson would often do this when answering the phone. "Joe's Crematorium. You kill'em, we grill'em."
    • On Just Shoot Me, Dennis once answered the phone with "Mistress Maya's House of Discipline."
  • September 30, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    I second Telephone Answer Gag.

  • October 1, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    One common expression of this is to answer the phone with "Grand Central", when a lot of people have been calling or the room is crowded.
  • October 1, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In an older commercial for...something, a mom at a party with lots of kids running around answers the phone, "Hello, Grand Central Station."

    EDIT: Ouch, Ninja'd by 18 seconds.
  • October 1, 2011
    MadMan400096
    The name fails the One Mario Limit, so we're gonna have to name it something else.
  • October 1, 2011
    SunnyV
  • October 1, 2011
    Deboss
    Me Too. Also, needs a Laconic. Telephone Answer Gag is good for me. As a general note, you should never hide a work name under a pothole in the examples list.
  • August 7, 2013
    CaveCat
    • A Garfield strip had Jon answer the phone under the assumption that it was Liz, answering it with the line, "Jon's Love Shack, Lip-Lock Arbuckle speaking", only to discover that it was actually Mrs. Feeny calling.
    • This line from the third act of the Mr Bogus episode "Bogus To The Rescue":
      Bogus: Hellooooo, Bogus House of Heroes, nobody too rough!
  • August 7, 2013
    Duncan
    • Done twice in one musical montage (over a period of months) in the song "Opening Doors" from Merrily We Roll Along. Frank answers the phone "Chinese Laundry" and later "Hamburg Heaven". Mary is always unfazed.
  • August 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Live Action TV: Inverted on The Mothers-In-Law where the mothers are running a catering service out of their home but their husbands don't know. When the phone rings and she answers it with the name of the company, her husband overhears and she claims she was joking.
  • August 7, 2013
    DAN004
    • In One Piece, near the end of Little Garden arc, Sanji picks up a Den Den Mushi (a snail phone) and says "Hello, this is Baratie Restaurant" (where he used to work in). The call comes from Mr. 0 who was meant to call his subordinate (who has just been beaten by Luffy earlier).
  • August 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    I am not fond of the current title, as it's too broad. There are many ways to gag answer a telephone than just claiming another place has been called.
  • August 7, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    These examples doesn't fit in with the others, but...

    • In The Batman, Barbara Gordon makes a running gag of answering the phone with comically different locations and identities than who she actually is. It comes in handy in the future when she becomes Oracle, and her father calls her up while she's in the middle of a mission without ever figuring out that she is Oracle.

    • Lost Mind Of Doctor Brain opens with Dr. Brain's niece Elena calling her uncle. Dr. Brain answers the phone as "Joe's Pizza" as a joke before immediately correcting himself.

    • In the movie The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, the college students are pulling a Bavarian Fire Drill by posing as a painting service to infiltrate the antagonist's house. They have a student stationed by the college pay phone to better reinforce the ruse, until the student leaves and the antagonists dial the number a second time, where another student not in on the scheme responds with one of these.
  • August 7, 2013
    chicagomel
    • Natalie did this on Forever Knight once, answering Nick's call to the morgur with "Natalie's bed and breakfast".
  • August 7, 2013
    XFllo
    About this current working title being too broad... I think this might be actually good, because Tropes Are Not Narrow and this draft might be turned into a page for more phone gags, not only the one with place names.

    However, if we identify more telephone gags and if they are distinct enough, then we could write the pages as sub-tropes, and then of course the titles should be as specific and as clear as possible.

    (edit: correcting grammar and typos)
  • August 7, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ So you vote to expand this?

    Regardless, the names is still too broad, as it implies any sort of joke that can happen when answering.
  • August 8, 2013
    XFllo
    Yes, I'm all for expanding this draft. My point was that it should be broad so that it could be used for all receiving-phone-call jokes that might be used in fiction. Not that I know a lot of them.
  • November 4, 2015
    Prfnoff
  • November 4, 2015
    robinjohnson
  • November 5, 2015
    PaulA
    • In Dirk, the stage adaptation of Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency, Dirk's secretary is in the habit of answering the phone with made-up business names when she's mad at Dirk, which is most of the time. This culminates in a scene where she tells the caller that they've reached an exotically-named brothel, only then to realise that it's her mother calling.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=llukhef6yifrv46i4kaf3gqp