''Sometimes a talented person is hired to act talentless.''

Hey, you know that actor that plays that character? The one that cannot sing? Turns out they are a classically trained opera singer. Ironic, isn't it?

Not really. Irony As She Is Cast happens when known skills of an actor and the displayed skills of a role do not mesh - and the fan ''knows'' this. If the fan didn't know the actor, then there would be no dissonance.

Their ability might even have been the reason for casting;
* The actor wants to break out of their [[AdamWesting defined role]].
* The ''type'' of ineptitude is enhanced by, or impossible without, the actor's knowledge.
* ThePowersThatBe do not want to use a StuntDouble.
* ThePowersThatBe simply thought [[RuleOfFunny it would be funny]].

The second one is worth expanding on: To be funnily bad (when this is used in comedy) requires a great deal of precision. You have to be off tune in exactly the right way to be clearly off tune, at ''exactly the right time'' to engage maximum laughter; the level of skill involved is actually frequently ''much greater'' than performing "properly".

Do not expect the character to ever improve in the talent - at least, [[StatusQuoIsGod not for more than one episode]]. The Character might only be as bad as they are due to the Actor being so good.

Irony As She Is Cast might be reactionary in a long-lived role; extreme cases might try to counter what's RippedFromTheHeadlines.

Frequently implements: DreadfulMusician; HollywoodToneDeaf; or BadBadActing (or any of the tropes under StylisticSuck). Rarely implements HollywoodHomely (although it can be a subtrope of it, instead of talented playing talentless, it's beautiful playing ugly); that is more likely to be DyeingForYourArt. Contrast: CastTheExpert, where this person was chosen specifically ''for'' their talent; BeautifulAllAlong, where improvement is part of the story; and TheCastShowoff, where a talent gets to be in the limelight.

Never requires a TalentDouble. Is not based of the beliefs of the actor - which tends to result in a ShallowParody - but may be as a result of observed reactions to that belief.

The TropeNamer is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_As_She_Is_Spoke English As She Is Spoke]], probably the first real-life example of MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels, and not really related to the trope at all. But it makes for a good trope name.


[[folder: Advertising]]

* Windows started to use John Hodgman's PC character from the Mac ads even though Hodgman is actually a Mac user.


[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* Creator/RieTanaka, a voice actor well-respected for her singing abilities, has been frequently cast as tone-deaf characters:
** Yomi from ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh''.
** Xanthippe in ''Anime/TheGirlWhoLeaptThroughSpace''.
** Eriko in ''Kimikiss''.
* Creator/HekiruShiina has a singing career. Guess which is the worst subject for her character in ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'', Hikaru Shidou... singing.
* Creator/MinamiTakayama, the Japanese voice actress for Conan of ''Manga/DetectiveConan'', is actually a singer in the J-Pop band "Two-Mix"; before ''Conan'', her voice was what she was best known for. Naturally, in the series itself, Conan [[HollywoodToneDeaf cannot hold a tune to save his life]]. Two-Mix itself actually appeared on the show once and invited Conan to sing with them, [[LampshadeHanging as a wink to all her fans]]. They played with it, too: the episode in question makes it a plot point [[CelebrityParadox that Conan sounded like her]].
* Creator/TakehitoKoyasu, while not really a big name in singing career, also sings. Cue ''Anime/{{Macross 7}}'' where his character Gamlin Kizaki tried to 'outsing' Basara Nekki in singing despite his protests... only for Gamlin to have a ''horrendous'' singing tune.
* Creator/MaayaSakamoto is much better known for her singing career than her acting career, especially considering she's done quite a few anime songs, and worked with the famous Music/YokoKanno for some of them. In ''Manga/OuranHighSchoolHostClub'' she played Fujioka Haruhi who is an atrocious actor, and apparently a horrible singer... so horrible we never actually hear her sing, but LIPSYNC a song by Chieko Kawabe (who sang the opening). Oddly enough, Haruhi's English voice actress, Creator/CaitlinGlass, also has a very nice singing voice.
* Kaere of ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' is sometimes joked to be a dreadful guitar player and awful singer. Her voice actress, Yu Kobayashi, plays guitar as a hobby and is clearly a quite good singer as evidenced by her singing in various music for the show. Kaere's character songs play around with this trope--at some points they are very discordant and Karere is HollywoodToneDeaf, but this is a reflection of the character's multiple personality disorder. When that's not in effect, the singing is very good.
* Creator/AyaHirano playing [[Manga/LuckyStar Konata Izumi]]. Anyone who's watched Hirano as LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya (also singing that series' themes) knows that she has a fantastic singing voice. Konata, on the other hand... [[CuteButCacophonic doesn't]] (her ''butchering'' of "[[Manga/DragonBall Cha-la Head Cha-la]]" is but an example).
** The same applies to Yuko Goto, voice actor of Mikuru: she sings very well in the theme songs, but her in-character rendition of Koi no Mikuru Densetsu is hilariously off-key
* The OP theme of ''Anime/MapleTown'' is sung by Satoko Yamano, who also does the voice of minor character Puriprin. As with many of the above examples, Puriprin is notable for being a ''horrible'' singer: her practice session before the school play is cacophonous enough to wake the entire town.
* This, combined with PlayingAgainstType, was the stated reason Creator/JunFukuyama was cast as the MagnificentBastard AntiHero lead in ''Anime/CodeGeass'', while Suzaku, the KnightInShiningArmor, is played by Creator/TakahiroSakurai, known for playing {{Anti Hero}}es. The director wanted the dissonance since both characters are trying desperately to be something they're not. For the English dub Creator/JohnnyYongBosch, best known for being a former {{Power Ranger|s}} and [[Manga/{{Bleach}} Ichigo Kurosaki]], and Creator/YuriLowenthal, best known for [[Manga/{{Naruto}} Sasuke Uchiha]], were given the same respective roles, with the original director having a hand in their casting as well.
* In ''Manga/KotouraSan'', [[{{Telepathy}} Haruka Kotoura]] (played by Creator/HisakoKanemoto) is severely HollywoodToneDeaf as shown [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybxurIDFvNY here]]. The irony is that Creator/HisakoKanemoto also played [[Anime/SmilePrettyCure Yayoi Kise/Cure Peace]] ''just months before'' and had sung [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rsk7OZQ94w her]] ImageSong ([[http://prettycure.wikia.com/wiki/100%25_Hero Lyrics here]]) [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic very competently]]! Need more proof of Hisako-san's singing talent? Look no further than ''Manga/ShinryakuIkaMusume'''s [[MemeticMutation infamously]] [[EarWorm addicting]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCcLrC4MuLI opening theme]] ([[http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/ikamusume/shinryakunosusume.htm Lyrics here]]) since [[DoItYourselfThemeTune she sang that one too]]!
* In ''Anime/ActionHeroineCheerFruits'', Ann Azuki is such a DreadfulMusician that her singing is actually [[SuckinessIsPainful physically painful]]; her SelfProclaimedRival Kanon Shimura is only marginally better than her (at least her singing doesn't hurt the listeners...). Naturally, their seiyuu Miku Ito and Haruka Shiraishi are actually quite talented singers, and in fact they (along with the actresses who play the rest of the Cheer Fruits crew) [[DoItYourselfThemeTune sing the show's opening and ending themes]].

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Daryl Sabara is Jewish, but voiced Hero Boy in ''Film/ThePolarExpress''.
* Creator/IdinaMenzel of ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' and ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' fame, had her only song "Enchanted" cut from the film ''Film/{{Enchanted}}''
%%* And while we're on the subject of ''Frozen'', Creator/KristenBell's personality is completely different from Anna's.
* Creator/PeterDinklage, an actor with dwarfism, as Captain Gutt, a Gigantopithicus (ten-foot-tall extinct ape) in ''WesternAnimation/IceAge4ContinentalDrift'' and a giant eagle in ''WesterenAnimation/TheAngryBirdsMovie''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLorax'', Audrey is voiced by Music/TaylorSwift. Despite it being a musical, Audrey never sings.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Creator/ConradVeidt, an outspoken anti-fascist who fled Germany when the Nazis came to power, spent the war [[AllGermansAreNazis playing Nazi villains in America]], most famously as Major Strasser in ''Film/{{Casablanca}}''.
** This happened frequently, many European expats in Hollywood had fled the Nazis to begin with and ended up playing them in movies and television.
** Usually the actors were fine with it because it gave them a chance to either lampoon or warn about fascism. Being clearly painted as belonging to the BigBad and often dying horribly also probably helped.
* ''Film/ThePrestige''.
** Ricky Jay, the film's magic consultant, as an incompetent stage magician.
** Also celibate UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla, played by Music/DavidBowie.
* Creator/MadelineKahn - a classically-trained opera singer, among her other talents - playing the German Lili Von Schtupp in ''Film/BlazingSaddles''. Lili is extremely popular for her sex appeal, but her singing voice is deep, heavily accented, and mostly off-key. Namely because she's an old-west parody of MarleneDietrich.
* Creator/MirandaCosgrove (Carly on ''Series/ICarly'') needed lessons in how to sing badly to play Summer Hathaway in ''Film/SchoolOfRock''.
* Music/DavidBowie has played characters that sang off-key in ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth'' and ''Film/MerryChristmasMrLawrence''.
* Creator/MerylStreep playing hammy bad actress Madeline Ashton in ''Film/DeathBecomesHer''.
** Similarly, Streep playing the titular character in ''Film/FlorenceFosterJenkins.'' The ''whole point of the movie'' is that Jenkins is an absolutely awful singer who thinks she's great. Streep herself is an accomplished singer, having appeared in the movie musicals ''Mamma Mia!'' and ''Into the Woods'', and even as a hard-rocker in ''Ricki and the Flash.'' Streep is also known for her humility and awareness of her own limitations, unlike Florence, who seems (literally) tone-deaf to her own bad singing.
* Ralph Garman, a radio host, voice actor, impressionist and a pretty damn good singer, was cast by his friend Creator/KevinSmith as the mute Caleb in ''Film/RedState''.
* Played with by Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont in ''Film/SinginInTheRain''. Hagen, actually a talented singer, plays Lina with a hilariously shrill and screechy Brooklyn-accented voice and no sense of pitch. However, when Cathy Selden (played by Debbie Reynolds) dubs Lina's voicework for her in order to salvage the studio's current film, it's actually Hagen singing, not Reynolds.
* At the end of the Creator/SteveMartin film ''Film/AllOfMe'', mystic and CloudCuckoolander Prahka Lasa is "playing" the piano as accompaniment to a saxophonist performing the eponymous song. This consists of him hitting a single note at the end of each musical phrase for the first verse of the song (and it's the same note each time, except once). Richard Libertini, the actor playing Prahka Lasa, was a professional musician before becoming an actor. Subverted in that a) it's always the right note to blend in with the song and b) at the end of the first verse, he looks at the rest of the keyboard as if in surprise and begins a quite talented accompaniment.
* The ''Film/{{Hairspray}}'' movie with John Travolta and Christopher Walken romantically singing together and dancing very, very badly. It's even funnier as both are well known as excellent dancers and are doing it [[StylisticSuck badly on purpose]].
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in ''Film/MajorLeague'', where the big slugger for the Yankees is played by Peter Vuckovich, who ''did'' play in the Major Leagues, but was a pitcher who never hit a home run.
* David Krumholtz is Jewish, but played the Head Elf Bernard in the first two ''[[Film/TheSantaClause Santa Clause]]'' films.
* In a deleted scene in ''Film/LittleFockers'', Barbara friggin' Streisand's character sings "Happy Birthday" horrendously off-key. Though this may be a joking reference to the commonly observed 'fact' that it's impossible to sing that damned song on-key in a group.
* This trope is invoked occasionally with Creator/MarkWahlberg, who, because he started out in music as Marky Mark, is assumed to be a good singer. He's actually a good rapper, but it's this trope that's being milked when he sings badly in a movie.
** In ''Film/{{Ted}}'', he does a very, very, very horrendous job of singing [[Film/{{Octopussy}} "All Time High"]].
** He sings [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie "The Touch"]] poorly in ''Film/BoogieNights''.
* In ''Film/ThePinkPantherStrikesAgain'', Michael Robbins is [[NonSingingVoice dubbed]] with a truly appalling singing voice courtesy of an uncredited... Creator/JulieAndrews!
* In ''Film/{{Goldeneye}}'', Minnie Driver is cast as terrible lounge singer Irina, whose rendition of "Stand By Your Man" is compared to "strangling a cat" by Film/JamesBond.
* In ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', George Bailey, played by Creator/JimmyStewart, is denied from military service during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII because of his deaf left ear. His little brother is accepted and receives the Medal of Honor as a pilot. The real Stewart was a bomber pilot and Lt. Colonel in WWII, later being promoted to Brigadier General after the war.
* ''Film/{{Looper}}'' has a mild one where Joe is shown earlier studying French and isn't very good with it. His actor Creator/JosephGordonLevitt is quite fluent in French. This is an accidental example, as Joe was planned to live out his days in France (hence why he's learning French). But budget reasons made it more practical for him to move to China instead.
* In ''Film/ToHaveAndHaveNot'', Creator/HumphreyBogart, known as much for his drinking as his acting, plays the relatively sober Harry.
* Played with in ''Film/StageDoor'', Creator/KatharineHepburn, considered one of the best actresses who ever lived (and who went on to win four [[UsefulNotes/AcademyAward Best Actress Oscars]], playing the talent-free wannabe actress Terry Randall. However, Terry is also seen questioning everything all of the decisions of the writer and director of the play she's in, which Hepburn apparently did in real life.
* Creator/KristenStewart, who has been dogged by paparazzi since her appearances in ''Franchise/{{Twilight}}'', plays a personal assistant who loves reading gossip in ''Clouds of Sils Maria''.
* In the film ''Film/{{Australia}}'', the character of Lady Sarah Ashley is a Brit. She's played by ''real'' Australian Creator/NicoleKidman. Even in an film about Australia, directed by an Australian, and starring Australians, she's not even playing her own nationality, but a FakeBrit.
* Joanna "Jojo" Levesque gets this twice in ''Film/{{Aquamarine}}'' - she plays the best friend to a girl with a fear of swimming and has a scene where she swims with dolphins... and '''she''' was the one who was afraid. Similarly, out of the three leads (her, Creator/EmmaRoberts and Sara Paxton) she's the only one who's a professional singer - and the only one who doesn't sing on the movie's soundtrack at all.
* In ''Romance on the High Seas'', it's a plot point that the wealthy Mrs. Elvira Kent (Janis Paige), who allows herself to be impersonated on a tropical cruise by a not-so-wealthy nightclub singer really named Georgia Garrett (Creator/DorisDay), is a terrible singer. The mistaken-identity complications are resolved in the movie's final scene where both women wind up on the same nightclub stage in Rio, but Mrs. Kent's singing abilities are undemonstrated even here. Janis Paige was a perfectly competent singer, as demonstrated by her leading role in the original production of ''Theatre/ThePajamaGame'', though the movie version of that musical doubled the irony by recasting her part with Creator/DorisDay.
* An inversion: despite his most famous role (you know the one), Creator/DanielRadcliffe has admitted to being terrible at magic, going on to talk about how he screwed up the one thing he ''can'' do well--a card trick--while filming a scene in ''Film/NowYouSeeMe2''.
* In ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'', the title character plays bass for a mediocre garage band. Michael Cera, who had been playing bass for years, had to be told to suck more on camera.
* Creator/EmilyBlunt has made films while pregnant, and both times she plays a woman who ''can't'' have children. First as the Baker's Wife in ''Film/IntoTheWoods'' - who has been cursed by a witch to never bear children. Secondly as Rachel in ''Literature/TheGirlOnTheTrain'' whose marriage fell apart when she found out she was barren.
* In a similar vein, Jason Bateman plays a reluctant father in ''{{Film/Juno}}'' around the same time he was welcoming his first son into the world.
* In-universe example in ''Film/KingKong2005''. Carl Denham decides to cast Ann Darrow as the female lead in his film because she looks like a perfect Woobie - "Ann, you're the saddest girl I've ever seen" - and is surprised to find out that she's a vaudeville comedian, who makes people laugh.
* An odd example in ''Film/TheBlackDahlia''. Mia Kirschner received rave reviews - even from those who hated the film - for her work. Playing a terrible actress who can't get a part.
* ''Film/MalcolmX'': Legendary civil rights attorney William Kunstler has a cameo as the racist judge whose harsh sentencing of Malcolm and Shorty is clearly motivated by the fact that they've been sleeping with white women.
* ''Film/CyberSeductionHisSecretLife'': The mother in this LifetimeMovieOfTheWeek who screams at her teenage son for looking at softcore internet pornography and desperately tries to get him to stop is played by Kelly Lynch, who is known for doing numerous nude scenes in different movies.
* ''Film/AmericanHistoryX'' cast Roma woman and anti-ziganophobia activist Creator/FairuzaBalk as a committed neo-Nazi.
* An unintentional example by Creator/RussellCrowe in the 2012 adaptation of ''Theatre/LesMiserables'': Crowe had been in Australian Rock Band "30 Odd Foot of Grunts", and yet his his seeming inability to sing as required for the character was one of the main criticisms of the film.
* Another unintentional example can be found in [[{{Film/WonderWoman2017}} Wonder Woman]] with the casting of Gal Gadot as the titular character: Despite the film's anti-war thesis, Gal Gadot's support of the Israeli Defense Force during the Gaza conflict and her participation of the Lebanon bombing of 2006 drew a lot of controversy, causing the film to be [[{{Banned in China}} banned in Lebanon]]
* The casting of Creator/NeilPatrickHarris, an openly gay man, as a deviant over-the-top heterosexual in the various Harold & Kumar films.
* Simon Callow has played Charles Dickens no less than five times. In ''The Man Who Invented Christmas'', a movie about the writing of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol''... he plays John Leech, the book's ''illustrator''.
* Another inversion is Creator/MyrnaLoy; she found long success playing nurturing mothers and wives. As the woman herself pointed out, in real life she went through four unsuccessful marriages, never had any children, and possessed no domestic skills whatsoever.

* The characters of P.Howard (Jenő Rejtő) are supposedly illiterate pirates or otherwise simple folk, but when narrating in first person, they sound like schooled and literate middle class citizens trying too hard to pretend they are complete morons, because they reflect the style of the author.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov once stated that Creator/MarkTwain's real genius was in writing ''[[Literature/AdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn Huckleberry Finn]]'' so that Huck, who is uneducated and all-but-illiterate, is telling it in such a way that not once does the reader ask himself "How is this illiterate moron telling the story ''so well''?"

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/TheMole'', the person playing the Mole purposely does badly at things at which they are highly skilled.
* Alfonso Ribeiro is actually a professional dancer (with an instruction video to boot), but Carlton Banks on ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'' has a humorously goofy and unhip dance routine that serves as a RunningGag. But as unhip as his dancing may be, he is clearly performing the moves the way he intended--i.e., he is an uncool dancer, but not a ''bad'' one.
** On the other hand, there were a couple of episodes where he got to [[TheCastShowOff actually show his skills]], including one where Carlton is convinced to [[YouCanLeaveYourHatOn strip]] and throws in some of Music/MichaelJackson's iconic moves (Ribeiro was a backup dancer for Jackson), in ''Series/SoulTrain'', no less.
* In the original cast of ''Series/{{Glee}}'', before the character pool starting growing and flooding over, the cast's best dancer by a million miles was Kevin [=McHale=]. His character, Artie, is in a wheelchair.
** Later on, Matt Bomer is cast as Blaine's older brother, who can't act. (Also, interestingly, [[StraightGay Matt Bomer]] plays the heterosexual brother and [[CampStraight Darren Criss]] the gay one.)
* Broadway veteran Jason Alexander had to tone down his voice to convincingly sing badly as George Costanza in ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}''.
* ''Series/HogansHeroes''
** Colonel Klink is a horrendous violin player. His actor Werner Klemperer was apparently very talented at it. His father Otto was a famous symphony conductor who left Germany in 1933 when Hitler came to power and served in the US Army during [=WW2=].
** Many of the actors who played Nazis were actually Jews.
* Creator/NeilPatrickHarris, an openly gay man, plays Barney, a ladykiller, in ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''.
** Also, Creator/PeterWyngarde playing skirt-chaser ''Series/JasonKing'' (although Wyngarde's homosexuality was not known to the general public at the time, it was common knowledge within acting circles).
* Same thing with Dan Butler on ''Series/{{Frasier}}''.
** Beer-guzzling, opera-hating Martin Crane is played by the late John Mahoney, who was a connoisseur of both. He even shared his love of them with David Hyde Pierce, who had little to no interest in both at the start of the show.
* In "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", an episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' where Sisko recruits a baseball team to challenge a Vulcan rival, the actors portraying the inexperienced players were actually better at baseball than those playing the experienced players.
** Much of the episode's plot is driven by [[GeniusDitz Rom's]] utter hopelessness at baseball. His actor, Max Grodénchik, was a semiprofessional player before pursuing his acting career, and could only appear as bad as he was supposed to by playing left-handed.
* Music/SClub7 did this a couple of times on the TV show. Hannah is said to be a horrible actress and bungles her lines as an extra on a TV show. In real life Hannah Spearitt studied acting for several years and had acted in numerous productions before joining the band. Another episode has Rachel failing at being a model. Rachel Stevens was part of a modelling agency prior to joining the band.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'':
** In an early episode, Jack was written into a sketch, causing [[HilarityEnsues Hilarity To Ensue]] when he turned out to be a really terrible actor. Of course, he's played by Creator/AlecBaldwin, who has been nominated for Oscars and is widely considered to be an excellent comic actor, ''especially'' for sketch comedy (''Saturday Night Live'' has always loved having him on).
** Liz Lemon can be pretty incompetent as a showrunner (depending on the episode). Creator/TinaFey is not, as seen when she was head writer on ''Saturday Night Live'' from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s--and then running ''30 Rock'' itself (probably the most acclaimed comedy of its era, which was a pretty good time for comedies).
** Because ''30 Rock'' is [[ShowWithinAShow a show about making a fictional show]], it could use this trope in-universe. It did so when the new actor Danny, a skilled singer, [[HollywoodToneDeaf pretends to be a terrible one]] to avoid upstaging his costar Jenna.
* In the ''Series/BigTimeRush'' episode ''Big Time Rides'', the fictional James has to learn how to ride a bike, while the real-life James already knows how to.
* On ''Series/HannahMontana'', Miley's best friend Lilly is shown to have [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbKrHQtunlQ&feature=related a terrible singing voice]]. In real life, Emily Osment [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8HpguNf6R0 is a capable singer]]. In the episode where her poor singing is demonstrated, the "edited" version of the song is actually Osment's real singing voice.
* In ''Franchise/PowerRangers'', Billy was a triple-example: his characterisation started as that of a bumbling dork, who was also incredibly clumsy. His actor, David Yost, used to be a champion gymnast. He was also initially portrayed as quite hopeless at fighting while unmorphed and generally weak. Whether or not Yost was as skilled as his cast mates is debatable, but he sure was muscular for a supposedly wimpy teen. Finally, in a darker form of the trope, Billy was the ranger most consistently shown as getting the girl and winding up in romantic entanglements. In real life, David Yost was a closeted homosexual and claims that the people who wrote the show knew this and were trying to make fun of him. (The only people who didn't were his fellow ranger actors.)
* ''Series/HiDeHi'': Gladys is known for her bizarre semi-off key opera singing. Ruth Madoc is a professional singer.
* ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': [[Music/{{Garbage}} Shirley Manson's]] daughter notes that she can't sing.
* While Debra from ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'' shows mediocre singing skills at the end of "Sweet Charity," Patricia Heaton is an accomplished singer.
* ''Series/ICarly'': Carly Shay cannot draw. Creator/MirandaCosgrove can, very well.
* Natalie Bassingthwaite did an impressive job playing a bad singer on ''Series/{{Neighbours}}'' considering her success with the Rogue Traders.
* Both the [[Series/TheOfficeUK David Brent]] (played by Creator/RickyGervais) and [[Series/TheOfficeUS Michael Scott]] (played by Creator/SteveCarell) versions of ''The Office'' have extremely talented comedians playing a character that is not only not funny, but doesn't understand enough about comedy to understand that they are not funny. See, especially, Michael Scott's improv comedy classes.
* ''Series/KathAndKim'': Kim is shown singing off-key in two episodes. Gina Riley, her actress, is a very talented singer who has appeared in several theater productions, and the theme song is also proof.
* On ''Series/LawAndOrder'', Lennie Briscoe describes himself as having no knowledge of music whatsoever. His actor (the late Creator/JerryOrbach) was a veteran Broadway song-and-dance man, who even recorded a solo album.
* In an episode of ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'', the entire cast apart from April and Andy go on a hunting trip. As noted on the DVDCommentary, Chris Pratt, who plays Andy, is the only hunter in the cast.
* In ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'', Peg is an awful singer. Creator/KateySagal is a talented singer who has recorded albums and was a backup singer for Music/BetteMidler, amongst others.
* Moesha, who was played by the singer Brandy, could not carry a tune to save her life.
* In the TV-Movie ''Film/BriansSong'', real-life Michigan State football player James Caan portrayed scrappy underdog Brian Piccolo, while Creator/BillyDeeWilliams, who did not have a sports background, played the supremely talented Gale Sayers. Caan had to consciously hold back in the training scenes to make Williams seem more believable as the superior athlete.
* One of the world's all time greatest violinists, Jascha Heifetz, whose name is synonymous with perfection, had a talent for imitating bad students playing the violin and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5SluQyVqWQ once did this on national television.]] In reality, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPcnGrie his playing]] was ''so'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21dsRBeIy8A awesome that]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPC5VU8sjDU it is close]] to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFaq9kTlcaY perfection in matters]] violin.
* Musician-turned-comedian Creator/VictorBorge made a routine out of this: he would play a piece from memory, but throw in a single off-key note, which gradually multiplied into three bad notes, then five, then an altogether unrecognizable mess. At this point he usually stopped, got hold of the sheet music, and played the song again while reading very carefully -- until he started hitting the same bad notes again... the implication being that he wasn't a bad player, he'd just learned the piece from a hopelessly erroneous transcription.
** Other jokes along those lines involved [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuWUp1M-vuM playing something that sounded oddly familiar but yet not, staring at the sheet music for a moment, then flipping it over]].
* In ''Series/JeevesAndWooster'', Wooster (played by Creator/HughLaurie) was, at best, a competent piano player, while Jeeves (played by Creator/StephenFry) was better. In real life, it's the other way around.
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'': Alex Russo is a terrible singer. Music/SelenaGomez, on the other hand, can sing pretty well.
* In a ''Series/{{Friends}}'' episode, Joey tried to learn French, but he was only capable of speaking gibberish. His actor, Matt [=LeBlanc=] is a fluent French speaker.
* Similarly, on ''Series/LawAndOrderUK'', DS Matt Devlin completely butchers the French language when trying to interview a witness. In real life, Devlin's actor, Creator/JamieBamber, speaks excellent French (aside from an early childhood spent in Paris, it's one of ''two'' languages that he studied, along with Italian, for his Modern Language degree).
* On ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', Timothy Hutton is this. While he is an Academy Award winning actor, the character Nate Ford is almost entirely a LargeHam when he plays roles in universe.
* In ''Series/GomerPyleUSMC,'' Frank Sutton's Sgt. Carter is portrayed as completely hopeless at hand-to-hand combat. In real life, Sutton was an Army Veteran and a black-belt in Judo.
* ''[[Series/DoubleDare1986 Double Dare]]'', likely the TropeCodifier for the "CoveredInGunge GameShow", was hosted by Marc Summers. Who has obsessive compulsive disorder. While it is hard to watch the reruns these days knowing this, it does explain why he had towels with him whenever the families got into the physical challenges.[[note]]Given the nature of (some of) those physical challenges as well as the obstacle courses, the families would have needed towels anyway regardless of who hosted, so it's actually a moot point.[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Creator/MarkPellegrino, an outspoken born-again Christian, plays [[{{Satan}} Lucifer.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', Derek Jacobi, a classically trained actor with a long and tremendously successful career on stage and screen who has played in ''Hamlet'', ''Much to Do About Nothing'', and ''Richard III'', plays a one-time Shakespearean actor forced to slum it. Frasier and Niles try to bring him back to respectability, only it turns out that he's much more terrible at performing Shakespeare than they remember.
** Jacobi has been cast as a stammerer at least three times.
* While filming ''Series/Roots1977'', Creator/LevarBurton's character, Kunta Kinte, was supposed to be chased down in a sprint by his future wife's father. The father was played by football Hall-of-Famer O. J. Simpson, and it was expected that Simpson would have absolutely no problem catching Burton. Problem was, Burton had been a medal-winning track star in high school and could leave Simpson in the dirt when running flat out. After six ruined takes, the director finally took Burton aside and instructed him to ''not'' run flat out.
* ''Series/AlloAllo'' Edith Artois is such a horrible cabaret singer that the patrons of Café René stuff cheese in their ears to avoid hearing her, but the actress who plays her, Carmen Silvera, was a talented singer. René Artois is forever uncomfortable with Lieutenant Gruber's infatuation with him, but the actor who plays René, Gorden Kaye, is an out gay man (while Guy Siner, who plays Gruber, is heterosexual). Actor Sam Kelly is Jewish, and plays German Wehrmacht Captain Hans Geering[[note]]Which led to the UrbanLegend that Hans' unique response to "Heil Hitler" ("'Tler!") was a result of Kelly refusing to give the proper salute. Kelly denied this, claiming it was meant to emphasize Hans' laziness[[/note]].
* An early episode of ''Series/TheIncredibleHulk'' featured Martin Kove AKA [[Film/TheKarateKid Master Kreese]] and a three-time Black Belt as a completely untalented boxer.
* On ''Series/UnderTheDome'', Lyle sings horribly off-key during his short time in prison. He's played by Music/DwightYoakam, who is ''better'' known as a country singer than as an actor.
* In the ''Series/{{Nashville}}'' episode "I Can't Get Over You To Save My Life," movie star Noah West asks country music star Juliette Barnes if she's acted much (she hasn't). Noah is played by Derek Hough, who's ''much'' better known for [[Series/DancingWithTheStars his dancing]] than his acting; Juliette is played by Creator/HaydenPanettiere, who's been in the business since she was a tot.
* In ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', Biggles, played by Creator/GrahamChapman, finds out that his friend Algy is a StraightGay "poof," and shoots him. Chapman was StraightGay in RealLife.
* A variant, related not to talent but to class: in the first series of ''Series/DowntonAbbey'', Creator/RoseLeslie plays the working-class housemaid Gwen Dawson in the giant titular great house. Leslie herself comes from an old Scottish noble family; she was literally raised in a castle, and her parents own ''another'' castle. This wouldn't be terribly remarkable if it weren't for the fact that the [[UsefulNotes/ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion British class system]] is practically a character on its own on ''Downton''--and because she is the ''only'' true BlueBlood aristocrat[[note]]Dame Creator/MaggieSmith and other titled performers earned their [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever honours]] and are uniformly of non-aristocratic background[[/note]] ever to have been part of the main cast (in a show filled with fictional and not-so-fictional nobs, up to and including the Royal Family).
* In ''Series/TheWildWildWest'''s "The Night of the Murderous Spring," Dr. Loveless, Antoinette and Kitten Twitty go down with their boat in a lake, due to the fact that none of them can swim. Luckily, Michael Dunn (Loveless) was a great swimmer - when Phoebe Dorin (Antoinette) came close to drowning during the filming, he rescued her.
* Part of the comedy of ''Series/KeepingUpAppearances'' involves Hyacinth being such a terrible singer that Emmet dreads even being in the same room as her. Patricia Routledge, who portrays Hyacinth, happens to have an excellent singing voice in real life, and in fact, actually shared the 1968 Tony Award for Best Actress with Leslie Uggams.
* In the ''{{Series/Undeclared}}'' episode "The Assistant", Steve's father Hal insists on performing an original song for Creator/AdamSandler (AsHimself), and turns out to be a DreadfulMusician: Hal is played by singer/songwriter Loudon Wainright III.
* ''Series/AmericanGods'': 12,000 year old pagan fertillity godess Ostara of the Dawn who in the present Day is a StepfordSmiler who is secretly furious over the fact that Christianity has co-opted her name and Day of worship as Easter, is played by devout Christian Creator/KristinChenoweth.
* On ''Series/{{Insecure}}'', a major part of Molly's character is that she ReallyGetsAround (in fact at one point one character asks her, "Can you teach me how to ho?") and uses a lot of profanity. The actress that plays her, Yvonne Orji, is in fact a devout Christian, who only does clean comedy, and is saving her virginity for marriage.
* Musical comedy show ''Series/{{Crazy Ex Girlfriend}}'' has Rachel Bloom play Rebecca Bunch, a woman who frequently imagines herself in dramatic musical numbers but when heard to sing diagetically instead of in an imagine spot is awful. Bloom herself has long been known for her singing comedy.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Everyone remembers the infamous skit where Wrestling/SantinoMarella tries (and [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments fails]]) to do the splits on the ring apron[[note]]He was attempting to imitate Wrestling/{{Melina}}'s entrance. For Wrestling/BethPhoenix's reaction, go [[Radar/ProWrestling here]].[[/note]] Santino actually can do the splits, as he has demonstrated in other matches. Although there is a difference between a side-split (legs out on either side, which he was doing on the apron) and a front-split (legs forward and back, which he does in matches.)
* Wrestling/{{TNA}}'s Joseph Park, a wrestling lawyer, was shown to be shockingly inept at wrestling, even not knowing how to get into the ring and winning by sheer luck despite being 6'8 and 300 pounds. Of course, he's played by Chris Parks, a 15 year veteran of wrestling who also portrays [[Characters/{{TNA}} Abyss]].

* Part of comedian [[Radio/TheJackBennyProgram Jack Benny's]] persona was his inability to play the violin, much less realize it. In real life, Benny was an accomplished violinist, often performing with Isaac Stern.
** As an amusing anecdote, Jack was at one point asked to dine at TheWhiteHouse, and while he was there he would play his violin. When he arrived, a Secret Service agent asked him what he was carrying in his violin case. Benny answered that he had a Thompson submachine gun in there, "the old Chicago typewriter". The agent sighed and said "Thank God, I was afraid you had your violin in there."
** Apparently, only a very good violinist can pull off playing badly for comic effect. A ''bad'' violinist doing it is just horrible.
*** This holds true for just about any musical or theatrical endeavor, resulting in this trope in the first place; someone who is very good can be far, far worse than someone who is actually bad or merely mediocre.
** Speaking of Benny, he often compared his skills to the legendary [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jascha_Heifetz Jascha Heifetz]] (see the live action TV folder), who himself occasionally recorded hilarious imitations of bad violin students for fun. Once one such imitation of Heifetz was actually rejected in a blind audition test. Heifetz's actual playing was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27n4rQ-VIT8 truly]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO032oAasec&feature=related spectacular]].
* In ''Radio/TheGoonShow'', Neddie Seagoon is portrayed as utterly unable to carry a tune in several buckets. His actor Harry Secombe had a successful singing career.
* Les Dawson and Eric Morecambe both used "playing the piano really badly" in their acts. Of course, both actually played very well, as is necessary to make playing badly comical rather than tedious, and in fact it can be harder to play the wrong notes while keeping the tune recognisable than to just play the tune right.

* A classic character type in musical theater is TheRival to the aspiring actor/dancer/singer protagonist. Of course, the rival is never as good as the protagonist at acting/singing/dancing. However, this is frequently Irony As She Is Cast. For example in ''Theatre/{{Hairspray}}'', the actress playing Amber Von Tussle has to be a good dancer, because it takes a lot of skill to trip consistently and safely.
** The girl playing Penny has an even harder job--she has to be awkward and a beat behind everybody else.
* In ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', Carlotta is a shrill, shrieky Opera singer who is beginning to get on in years. She's been played by many talented and wonderful singers, who switch from her shrieking voice during the parts where she's supposed to sound badly into a perfect operetta during the ensemble musical numbers. After all, even when she sings badly, she is ''still'' supposed to reach a high note during it.
* In-universe example: In ''Theatre/TheMoonIsBlue'', the virginal Patty tends to play a tart on TV.
* A somewhat meta example: In ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}'', Thomas Jefferson uses "immigrant" derisively towards West Indes-born Hamilton several times. Jefferson's actor also plays Lafayette in Act I (who would, in America, technically be an immigrant from France), and famously has the line "Immigrants - we get the job done". The irony is likely intentional.
* Creator/LinManuelMiranda has played immigrants in both of his shows: Usnavi in ''Theatre/InTheHeights'' and Alexander Hamilton in ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}'', and is in general very pro-immigrant. Not only is Miranda American-born, his father (who immigrated from Puerto Rico) does not come from the same place as either Usnavi (who is proudly Dominican) or Hamilton (who was born and raised in the British West Indes).
* The character of Janet in ''Theatre/TheDrowsyChaperone'' is a famous actress who (in-universe) is played by Jane Roberts, a relative up-and-comer in the theater world. In the Original Broadway Cast, she's played by Sutton Foster, who at the time was one of the most well-known modern Broadway actresses, thus making this a rare case of IronyAsSheIsCast (in the show) and CastTheExpert (in the ShowWithinAShow).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* During the saving skits in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsUX'', [[VideoGame/VirtualOn Fei-Yen HD]] (aka [[Music/{{Vocaloid}} Miku]]) starts to speaks in a very robotic way, contrasting with her cheerful personality during the game. This is mostly [[Creator/SakiFujita her voice actress]] trying to sound like Miku just like in the original Music/{{Vocaloid}} software, rather than Banpresto trying to use the software for that job. Ironically, she does a ''bad'' job doing that, even if that scene is supposed to be a TearJerker for the player.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidGroundZeroes'', Robin Atkin Downes has to do a bunch of [[BadBadActing horrible impersonations]] of ''Franchise/MetalGear'' characters in-character as Kaz. The voice actor himself is actually an extremely gifted vocal impressionist and nailed every line in the original recording session, with most sounding virtually indistinguishable from the original actor. The director had to call him in again to rerecord them all properly badly. Fortunately, the game gives Robin Atkin Downes the opportunity to show off his actual range when he plays Psycho Mantis and Revolver Ocelot in the [[UnexpectedGameplayChange quiz game at the end]].
* Celeste, one of the characters in ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'', speaks in the English version with a bad French [[spoiler: because she's faking it due to her escapism from her real identity]]. She's voiced by Creator/MarieveHerington, a French-Canadian, in the English dub.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Dr. Robotnik from ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' is a horrible singer. However, his voice actor, the late Long John Baldry, was a blues and folk-rock singer.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'':
** In an episode, ComicBook/{{Catwoman}} jokingly mentions that ComicBook/BlackCanary being gagged is for the best since she has a horrendous singing voice.[[note]]This is entirely canon in the comics; Oracle has compared Canary's singing to torture on multiple occasions.[[/note]] Black Canary's voice actress, Creator/GreyDeLisle, is a Grammy-winning professional singer.
** Though in context the joke is a BaitAndSwitch, since Black Canary's "singing voice" superpower is not fun to hear up close.
** In the MusicalEpisode "Mayhem of the Music Meister," we get to hear her sing, and it's beautiful. (The whole cast - and Creator/NeilPatrickHarris, as the Music Meister - will surprise you, actually.) Apparently Catwoman was just having fun with her.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' SchoolPlay episode, ''Laughing Fit'', Ulrich gives a spectacularly bad performance as Romeo prior to the [[ResetButton Return to the Past]]...his [[CrossDressingVoices voice actress]] was on Broadway at one point.
* The ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' episode "Hidden Talent" reveals Kim as a singer who cannot hit high notes. Kim's voice actress is Christy Romano, an accomplished singer.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Madeleine Peters, who voices Scootaloo is notorious for her rather bad singing in "The Show Stoppers." However, according to Daniel Ingram, Madeleine is actually a very good singer (as evidenced by her vocals during "One Bad Apple" and "Flight to the Finish") and was told to butcher the song. He would also very much like an opportunity to record a version of the Crusaders' theme sung properly.
** ClaireCorlett grew into this trope. She only provided the speaking voice for Sweetie Belle in Seasons 1-3, with MichelleCreber doing the singing. On the one occasion during this time that Claire sang in her own right, she turned in a screeching, off-key campfire song, going sharply against Sweetie's previous beautiful vocals. As of Season 4, she is doing both the speaking and singing; based on fans' reaction to the latter, she is doing an excellent job.
* Leela in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' is played by Katey Sagal, who has worked as a professional singer before she became known for playing Peg Bundy on ''Series/MarriedWithChildren''. While during musical numbers, she gets to [[TheCastShowOff show off]] her chops, [[MusicalWorldHypothesis in-character]] Leela has a terrible singing voice, as seen when she attempts to serenade invading aliens with a horrific version of "I Will Always Love You," prompting them to scream, "The humans are attacking!"
* Creator/JessHarnell as [[ComicBook/{{Asterix}} Cacofonix]] in ''[[Recap/AsterixAndTheNormans Asterix and the Vikings]]''. In reality, Jess can sing quite well (he possesses a ''quadruple-octave'' vocal range and is a member of a band called Rock Sugar). Somewhat lampshaded in the animated feature film ''Asterix and the Big Fight'' where Cacofonix's singing actors Jean-Jacques Cramier and George Harrison do an amazing rock song, only to be knocked out like always with the villagers declaring him a horrible singer (it is implied at least in that scene that he is a brilliant singer, but way ahead of his time).
* The voice cast of ''WesternAnimation/TheLorax'' includes Creator/ZacEfron, who's the star of the ''Film/HighSchoolMusical'' series, and Music/TaylorSwift, who's Taylor Swift. Even though the movie is basically a musical, neither of their characters ever sings a note (Swift has yet to take an acting role that involves singing, whether in-character or as part of its soundtrack).
* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'', the 49-foot 11-inch Ginormica is voiced by the 5-foot 1-inch Reese Witherspoon. The "behind the scenes" footage even lampshades this.