Created By: StevenT on January 13, 2013 Last Edited By: Druplesnubb on January 4, 2014
Troped

Stupid Question Bait

A panelist starts asking for questions and gets irrelevant questions from the audience.

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Trope
A person who is making a presentation at a panel is taking questions and makes the mistake of asking "Any questions?" instead of asking for questions relevant to the topic at hand.

If the person taking questions then asks specifically for questions related to the topic at hand, it's common for either nobody to have any questions or for someone who already asked an off-topic question to repeat the same question and reword it so it's faintly related to the topic.

A variant is where a character asks 'any questions', then places a criteria on the questions that causes everyone to retract their question, usually depicted with Hands Go Down.

Ask a Stupid Question... is a related concept.

Examples:

Film - Animation
  • Subverted in Madagascar: 2 when Skipper was organizing the newly recruited (by Phil & Mason) monkeys to repair their plane.
    Skipper: (addressing the Monkeys) Stop Lollygagging, and let's get to work. We'll divide into three groups. Group Alpha, you're in charge of sheet metal fabrication. Group Bronson, you'll handle assembly. Group George Peppard, you'll handle craft services. Any questions?''
    (beat)
    Mason: (about to say something)
    Skipper: (interrupts him) Good! Now let's get to work!

Film - Live Action
  • At the start of Jurassic Park III, Alan Grant has just finished giving a talk to an audience, and asks if anyone has any questions. Hands go up all over the room. Grant adds that he means any questions that aren't about Jurassic Park, and most of the hands go down. When he further specifies that he doesn't want questions about the events of Jurassic Park II either, there are hardly any hands left.
  • In Aliens, after a meeting about the lifeforms that were spotted on the planet surface before they go in for a rescue mission. Lieutenant Gorman asks if there are any questions and Private Hudson asks "How do I get out of this chicken shit outfit?"

Live Action TV
  • Friends: When Ross started to teach at the university, he was nervous about making a good impression and spoke in an English accent. He later tried to phase in out during one or two sentences. When Ross asked for questions, everybody raised their arm. One guy bluntly asked about the accent. Ross tried to be cool, but said what happened. When he asked for more questions, more people raised their arm. When he specified he meant about palaeontology and the stuff he taught, all put it down. This presumably happens again when moments later, Rachel stormed into the class and berated him for lying to her about having annulled their drunken marriage from Vegas.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon opens up to audience questions as a way of getting everyone back on topic after the group's panel on the ethical use of science in the 21st century turned into everyone squabbling as the panel consists entirely of friends and couples. Unfortunately, the person in that audience to respond was their friend Penny, who only wanted to add additional commentary to the squabbling. It was probably his fault for not prefacing it with "questions that actually have something to do with ethics, and not our personal problems".
  • In Parks and Recreation, whenever holding a public forum or announcing an event on television were the floor opens to the community to ask questions, they may ask these types of questions. This happens to Ron once when he is announcing, on television, information about an upcoming event and people phone in with questions completely off topic (e.g. woodworking or tips on cooking meat).

Video Games

Web Animation
  • Web Animation parody of Resident Evil featured this trope when Wesker asked for questions.
    Wesker: Any questions?
    Chris Redfield: Why are you always wearing glasses?
    Wesker: Any smart questions?

Web Comics
  • xkcd: A press conference about an asteroid heading towards Earth gets sidetracked by reporters asking about what role Social Media has played.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Marge vs. the Monorail" when Lyle Lanley is doing a presentation in Lisa's class.
      Lyle Lanley: Now, I'm here to answer any questions you children may have about the monorail.
      Kid: Can it outrun The Flash?
      Lyle Lanley: You bet.
      Kid: Can Superman outrun The Flash?
      Lyle Lanley: Eh, sure, why not.
    • When ex-president George Bush moves to the neighbourhood, Homer pulls a prank on him, gluing a clown wig to his head before he has to give a speech:
      Bush ...and that's why I will continue to oppose teen alcoholism. Any questions?
      (Everyone in the room raises their hand)
      Bush: Bearing in mind, I already explained about the wig...
      (Everyone lowers their hand)
  • Clerks: The Animated Series: When the chief of police is holding a press conference about a suspected outbreak while wearing an Officer Big Mac costume, the reporters are more interested in asking him questions related to McDonalds.
    Steve-Dave: Will this administration ever bring the Hamburglar to justice?
    Big Mac: No... Yes. Look, does anybody have any questions about the virus that could kill us all?
    Reporter: Can the virus kill the Grimace?
    Big Mac: Nothing can kill the Grimace. All right, we're done here.
  • A somewhat provoked case in South Park after George W. Bush explains his theory of Saddam Hussein being sent to heaven after Satan broke up with him:
    President Bush: Question?
    Crowd member: Are you high, or just incredibly stupid?
    President Bush: I assure you. I am not high.
  • Family Guy:
    • Stewie goes to a Star Trek convention because he wants to see the actors from Star Trek: The Next Generation. There's a Q&A session. Normally people ask questions about the show. Stewie is annoyed because the questions aren't about Star Trek. Ultimately he decides to use his time machine to kidnap the cast and force them to hang out with him.
      Fan 1: Um, often times my household's sponges accumulate an awful amount of build-up. What can I do to prevent this?
      Patrick Stewart: That's an excellent question. It's very important to thoroughly wring out your sponges after every usage. This will prevent the accumulation of grime and bacteria. A dry sponge is a happy sponge.
      Stewie: That's not a Star Trek question!
      Fan 2: I have a question for Jonathan Frakes. I have this itch on the back of my leg. And I can't figure out if it's a bug bite or dry skin?
      Frakes: Do you take hot showers?
      Fan 2: Yes.
      Frakes: Dry skin.
      Fan 2: Thanks.
      Stewie: These aren't Star Trek questions, what the hell?
      Fan 3: I have a question for Gates McFadden. I've got an artesian well on my property and the water pressure is lousy. Any suggestions?
      McFadden: I would check the point first, before re-priming it. But remember that the summer months take a particular toll on any region's aquafer, depending on the local climate.
      Stewie: This is horseshit!
      Moderator: And that's the last question.
    • Appeared in a Cutaway Gag to one time when Peter had cow udders. He's making a presentation to a business meeting.
      Peter: Any questions?
      all hands go up
      Peter: Not about my udders.
      all hands go down
      Peter: All right, looks like we have a deal!
  • In the Garfield and Friends episode "All About Odie", Garfield lets the audience ask questions before beginning the lecture, only to be asked, "Is wrestling fixed?"
    Garfield: I should've asked, "Are there any intelligent questions?"
  • This happens Once an Episode on Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain. The Brain explains the plan of the episode, then asks, "Any questions?" This prompts Pinky to ask a completely irrelevant question. It isn't until the end of the episode when the Brain answers the question. For example, when Pinky asked why Fred Flintstone keeps ordering giant ribs every week, the Brain explains the concept of end titles at the end of the episode.

Real Life
  • "Groucho Marx, who loathed pretension and could not abide the occult, was once coaxed into attending a seance. He sat, quiet and respectful, as the Swami stared into a crystal ball, called up departed souls from the beyond and answered queries from his guests in an eerie monotone. After a long spell of omniscience the sorcerer intoned, 'My medium is growing tired. There is time for one more question.' Groucho asked it. 'What is the capital of North Dakota?'"
  • At a Democratic primary debate at UNLV for the 2008 convention, one college student who got in had a whole list of questions. The people running the debate made her pick this one for Hillary Clinton: "Do you like diamonds or pearls?" (She liked them both.)

Community Feedback Replies: 56
  • January 13, 2013
    fluffything
    • A (sadly no longer available) Web Animation parody of Resident Evil featured this.
      Wesker: Any questions?
      Chris Redfield: Why are you always wearing glasses?
      Wesker: Any smart questions?
  • January 13, 2013
    StarSword
    No New Stock Phrases. Motion to discard.
  • January 13, 2013
    bobfrank
    This isn't about the stock phrase itself, but about the comedy scenario around it. Let's keep it.
  • January 13, 2013
    Astaroth
    What about, as a varient, where a character asks 'any questions',then places a criteria on the questions that causes everyone to retract their question? For example, in one episode of The Simpsons, Homer pulls a prank on George Bush, gluing a clown wig to his head before he has to give a speech:
    Bush: ...and that's why I will continue to oppose teen alcoholism. Any questions?
    (Everyone in the room raises their hand)
    Bush: Bearing in mind, I already explained about the wig...
    (Everyone lowers their hand)
  • January 13, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^Then the title needs to be changed.
  • January 13, 2013
    peccantis
  • January 13, 2013
    robinjohnson
    Ask For Any Questions?

    • At the start of Jurassic Park III, Alan Grant has just finished giving a talk to an audience, and asks if anyone has any questions. Hands go up all over the room. Grant adds that he means any questions that aren't about Jurassic Park, and most of the hands go down. When he further specifies that he doesn't want questions about the events of Jurassic Park II either, there are hardly any hands left.
  • January 13, 2013
    Prfnoff
    The current title is exactly the sort of phrase that will cause misuse. I suggest Asking For Stupid Questions.
  • January 13, 2013
    theTwoFacedAngel
    I support Asking For Stupid Questions. It avoids the No New Stock Phrases issue and describes it perfectly
  • January 14, 2013
    peccantis
    ^ & ^^ thirding suggested name.
  • January 14, 2013
    randomsurfer
    "Groucho Marx, who loathed pretension and could not abide the occult, was once coaxed into attending a seance. He sat, quiet and respectful, as the Swami stared into a crystal ball, called up departed souls from the beyond and answered queries from his guests in an eerie monotone. After a long spell of omniscience the sorcerer intoned, 'My medium is growing tired. There is time for one more question.' Groucho asked it. 'What is the capital of North Dakota?'"
  • July 15, 2013
    XFllo
    • Friends: When Ross started to teach at the university, Rachel stormed into the class and berated him for lying to her about annulment of their drunken marriage. When Ross asked for questions at the end of the lesson, everybody raised their arm. When he specified that he meant about the stuff he taught, all put it down.
  • July 16, 2013
    DAN004
    Ask A Stupid Question is related.

    Maybe I'd suggest Stupid Question Bait?
  • July 16, 2013
    Chabal2
    See also Hands Go Down, when all the questions are stupid (the Simpsons and Jurassic Park are there).
  • July 16, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    • On the The Big Bang Theory Sheldon opens up to audience questions as a way of getting everyone back on topic after the group's panel on the ethical use of science in the 21st century turned into everyone squabbling. Unfortunately, the person in that audience to respond was Penny, who only wanted to add additional commentary to the squabbling. It was probably his fault for not prefacing it with "questions that actually have something to do with ethics, and not our personal problems".
  • July 16, 2013
    Alvin
    I remember this happening at least once on Night Court. I'll try to be more specific later.
  • November 7, 2013
    XFllo
    Bumping.
  • November 7, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    that's not how you do laconic. it's so long it could count as the average description newbs come up with here in YKTTW.

    suggesting "A panelist starts asking for questions and gets irrelevant questions from his audience."

    anyway

    Film - Animation

    • Subverted In Madagascar: 2 when Skipper was organizing the newly recruited (by Phil & Mason) monkeys to repair their plane.
      Skipper: ''*addressing the Monkeys* Stop Lollygagging, and let's get to work.
      We'll divide into three groups.
      Group Alpha, you're in charge of sheet metal fabrication.
      Group Bronson, you'll handle assembly.
      Group George Peppard, you'll handle craft services.
      Any questions?''
      *beat*
      Mason: *About to say something*
      Skipper:*interrupts him* Good! Now let's get to work!
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    One danger of making a Dialog trope: It being a Stock Phrase. =P

    What about Asking For Any Questions?
  • November 8, 2013
    KarjamP

    And I support Asking For Stupid Questions, a Snowclone that works.
  • November 8, 2013
    XFllo
    I changed the laconic and the working title to Asking For Stupid Questions. We can still discuss it of course.

    Later I'll copy and sort the examples from the discussion. I guess I'll be a new trope sponsor then ;-)
  • November 8, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ that's not a very informative example.
  • November 8, 2013
    dspitzle
    I like DAN 004's suggested title of Stupid Question Bait, myself. On the other hand, it occurs to me that it may be larger than the specific case we're discussing here, including people making statements which spawn dumb follow-up questions. On the other hand, I should toss out "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?" as a prominent recurring example...
  • November 8, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    yeah, because there's already Are You Pondering What Im Pondering for that.
  • November 19, 2013
    XFllo
    I overlooked Stupid Question Bait. I think it's my favourite.
  • November 19, 2013
    KarjamP
    Want me to elaborate, Shanghai Slave?

    • At the end of an comic autobiography by Dav Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame, he asked some students he was explaining his life to if they had any questions. Much to his annoyance, the kids invoked this trope.
  • November 19, 2013
    spacemarine50
    Ask A Stupid Question needs to be mentioned in the description. For an example:

  • November 19, 2013
    DAN004
  • November 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Fourthing (?) Stupid Question Bait.

    Video Games:
  • November 20, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    2013-11-19 02:14:48 by Karjam P

    yeah. though i don't understand why you have to address me in your reply...

    sexthing Stupid Question Bait Plz.
  • November 20, 2013
    KarjamP
    ^^ that's not a very informative example.
    That's what you said to me, so I assume you wanted me to elaborate. :P
  • November 20, 2013
    Owen547
    • In ParksandRecreation, whenever holding a public forum or announcing an event on television were the floor opens to the community to ask questions, they may ask these types of questions. This happens to Ron once when he is announcing, on television, information about an upcoming event and people phone in with questions completely off topic (e.g. woodworking or tips on cooking meat).
  • November 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Is anyone actually managing this?
  • November 20, 2013
    DAN004
    X Fllo does.
  • November 21, 2013
    Psi001
  • November 21, 2013
    XFllo
    Yes, I took it and agreed to be a new sponsor, but I actually don't have time now and will have a busy weekend. So if anyone wants to copy the examples, be my guests ;-) Anyone can do the work.

    Also, we have a rule about Zero Context Examples. They are uninformative and not allowed anywhere on the wiki. Shanghai Slave was right to remind you, Karjam P.
  • November 21, 2013
    StarSword
    Ok, I'm in the middle of reviewing something but I can update it. EDIT: At some point... EDITED EDIT: Never mind.
  • November 21, 2013
    XFllo
    OK, I actually managed to copy the examples from the discussion and do some Rolling Updates, though the descriptions needs to be improved.

    Writes-up that have issues:

    Where to put this one?
    • "Groucho Marx, who loathed pretension and could not abide the occult, was once coaxed into attending a seance. He sat, quiet and respectful, as the Swami stared into a crystal ball, called up departed souls from the beyond and answered queries from his guests in an eerie monotone. After a long spell of omniscience the sorcerer intoned, 'My medium is growing tired. There is time for one more question.' Groucho asked it. 'What is the capital of North Dakota?'"

    Almost Zero Context Example; not adding it unless it gets explained.

    Invoked Trope is when a character intentionally sets it up. When the trope happens, it's Played Straight. Unless you provide context for how it was set up by the kids, I'm not adding it. Plus it needs an elaboration as to what the kids ask about.
    • At the end of an comic autobiography by Dav Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame, he asked some students he was explaining his life to if they had any questions. Much to his annoyance, the kids invoked this trope.

    I remember this happening at least once on Night Court. I'll try to be more specific later. Zero Context.
  • November 21, 2013
    Owen547
    • In Aliens, after a meeting about the lifeforms that were spotted on the planet surface before they go in for a rescue mission. Lieutenant Gorman asks if there are any questions and Private Hudson asks "How do I get out of this chicken shit outfit?"
  • November 21, 2013
    randomsurfer
    xkcd: a press conference about an asteroid heading towards Earth gets sidetracked by reporters asking about what role Social Media has played.

    re Groucho: I guess I'd put it in Real Life for lack of a better place. It's an anecdote about a comedian in his real life.

    re Family Guy: Stewie goes to a Star Trek convention because he wants to see the actors from Next Generation. There's a Q&A session. Normally people ask questions about the show, such as (real question) "Whose idea was it for Data to have a cat?" But the one he goes to the actors get:
    Fan 1: Um, often times my household's sponges accumulate an awful amount of buildup. What can I do to prevent this?
    Patrick Stewart: That's an exellent question. It's very important to thoroughly wring out your sponges after every usage. This will prevent the accumulation of grime and bacteria. A dry sponge is a happy sponge.
    Stewie: That's not a Star Trek question!
    Fan 2: I have a question for Jonathan Frakes. I have this itch on the back of my leg. And I can't figure out if it's a bug bite or dry skin?
    Frakes: Do you take hot showers?
    Fan 2: Yes.
    Frakes: Dry skin.
    Fan 2: Thanks.
    Stewie: These aren't Star Trek questions, what the hell?
    Fan 3: I have a question for Gates McFadden. I've got an artesian well on my property and the water pressure is lousy. Any suggestions?
    McFadden I would check the point first, before re-priming it.But remember that the summer months take a particular toll on any region's aquafer, depending on the local climate.
    Stewie: This is horseshit!
    Moderator: And that's the last question
    All three get fairly cogent replies, but Stewie is annoyed because the questions aren't about Star Trek. Ultimately he decides to use his time machine to kidnap the cast and force them to hang out with him.
  • November 21, 2013
    XFllo
    ^Thanks. About Groucho Marx — perhaps we could make a Stand-up and Recorded Comedy folder? I'm not sure this should have a real life folder.
  • November 21, 2013
    Statalyzer
    I like the name Stupid Question Bait.
  • November 22, 2013
    KarjamP
    @XFillio I already knew that.

    I just did not know what happened there.
  • November 22, 2013
    XFllo
    @Karjam P: If you knew already, why all the fuss and why were you surprised somebody wanted you to elaborate? The rule is don't post ZCE anywhere on the wiki. Period. You could post them here or in the discussion pages, but acknowledge to elaborate on them later.

    BTW, my handle is X F-L-L-O ;-)
  • November 22, 2013
    KarjamP
    ^I wasn't surprised at that.

    I was surprised at the fact that I made a Zero Context Example.

    I think there's misunderstanding going on here.
  • November 22, 2013
    Sailor11sedna
    I know of a real life "example." At a Democratic primary debate at UNLV for the 2008 convention, one college student who got in had a whole list of questions. The people running the debate made her pick this one for Hillary Clinton: "Do you like diamonds or pearls?" (She liked them both.)
  • November 22, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The problem in putting Groucho in any kind of a "comedy" section is that, to the best of anyone's knowledge, it wasn't a comedy routine. It was (at least allegedly) a real-life incident from the life of a Deadpan Snarker. He saw an opportunity and took it.
  • November 24, 2013
    StarSword
    ^I'd say stick it in Real Life, TBH.

    Have a hat. I think this is launch-ready.
  • November 24, 2013
    Itzika
    I'm confused as to why Bread Eggs Breaded Eggs is linked in the description. Bread Eggs Breaded Eggs is a trope regarding nonsensical list items, not reworded questions. I suspect there is or should be a relevant trope for that, but it's not that one.
  • November 26, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ Yes, I quite agree. I somehow overlooked it. I just deleted the sinkhole from the description.

    The examples look ok, but the description might need to be rewritten. Or is it fine?
  • December 12, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Another Family Guy, in a Cutaway Gag to one time when Peter had cow udders. He's making a presentation to a business meeting.
    Peter: Any questions?
    all hands go up
    Peter: Not about my udders.
    all hands go down
    Peter: All right, looks like we have a deal!
  • December 22, 2013
    XFllo
    Bump. One more hat?
  • December 23, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • December 24, 2013
    StarSword
    Check for missing examples first, like the one three posts above me.
  • December 24, 2013
    NESBoy
    In the Garfield And Friends episode "All About Odie", Garfield lets the audience ask questions before beginning the lecture, only to be asked, "Is wrestling fixed?"
    Garfield: I should've asked, "Are there any intelligent questions?"
  • December 24, 2013
    NESBoy
    This happens Once An Episode on Pinky Elmyra And The Brain. The Brain explains the plan of the episode, then asks, "Any questions?" This prompts Pinky to ask a completely irrelevant question. It isn't until the end of the episode when the Brain answers the question. For example, when Pinky asked why Fred Flintstone keeps ordering giant ribs every week, the Brain explains the concept of end titles at the end of the episode.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ucqxul27bm2kqms35v54deyg