Colbert Bump

aka: Popularity By Proxy
The after-effects of the Bump.

"Frankly, if I knew that's what you could get for hosting Have I Got News for You, I wouldn't have settled for Mock the Week."
Dara O'Briain on Boris Johnson's election as mayor of London

An easy way for a relatively unknown or unpopular actor, politician, or musician to experience a sudden increase in popularity is to appear on The Colbert Report or a similar talk show. This usually is because they managed to grab and impress the audience of that show, who then spreads the word via Word Of Mouth of how good they are. It's the number one reason to appear on certain shows, especially ones where the host enjoys tormenting the guests. This even extends to elements of a relatively obscure work gets featured in a newer work, which often happens with popular crossover series like Super Smash Bros..

When public figures who mainly appeal to adults appear on children's shows, that's Sesame Street Cred. When this happens to songs, it's Revival by Commercialization. When it happens to objects or goods, it's The Red Stapler. When applied to an online article or resource, it's called "being slashdotted". Contrast Leno Device, which would involve Colbert appearing on a show to prove how big a story is.


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  • Jerry Springer let his security chief, Steve Wilkos, fill in for him often; this led to Wilkos getting his own talk show.
  • Similarly, several of Oprah Winfrey's frequent guests would eventually get their own shows, most notably Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz.
  • Steve Martin was a little-known standup comic who had a special on HBO before anyone knew what it was. Then he hosted Saturday Night Live in its second season and became America's hottest young comedian overnight. His subsequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (including several appearances as a guest host) helped to solidify his popularity.
  • Stacie Leah Rippy, due to her appearances on The Mentalist and True Blood.
  • The actresses playing these nurses from Holby City, with Viral Marketing playing a part; a fan of Holby City decided to spread the word via social networks. Amazingly their identities are (to the public at least) still obscure, with no names in the End Credits.
  • Taken to its literal extent with Stephen Colbert's self-proclaimed "rivalry" with Korean pop idol Rain, after his appearance in the Speed Racer movie, leading to Ninja Assassin and Rain winning an MTV Movie Award.
  • Selena Gomez, The Jonas Brothers, China Anne McClain, and Sierra McCormick got their start as guest stars on Hannah Montana, while Bella Thorne, Bridgit Mendler, Adam Irigoyen from Shake It Up and Gregg Sulkin first appeared as guests on Wizards of Waverly Place (Mendler and Sulkin played prominent roles in the show, so their careers were helped more than those of Thorne and Irigoyen).
  • In the Netherlands, there is a popular tv duo composed of Carlo Boshardt and Irene Moors. Irene was hosting the show Telekids while Carlo was only there in case they had to get a substitute, but she saw the potential in him - she regularly faked illness so they had to ask Carlo to fill in for her only to show up at the last moment and host the show together. This went on for two years until the producers caved in and made him co-host. This partnership is still going strong almost twenty years later.
  • Amusingly, the biggest moneymaking film in history, Avatar had an inverted version: when it was filmed, the two main characters were played by a relatively unknown Australian actor and an actress best known for playing a minor character hanging around Johnny Depp. By the time the film was completed and released, its two stars had a far higher name recognition thanks to their star turns in two little films called Terminator Salvation and Star Trek which had come out in the meantime.
  • DC Douglas once had a career doing narration for Geico commercials, until the Tea Party and Freedom Works got him fired. What followed afterward was a highly lucrative career doing voice work in animation and video games (his role as Albert Wesker propelling him to stardom) and the admiration of fans for those roles.
  • Jokingly inverted on the August 13, 2012 episode of The Daily Show. Not only did the episode feature Twilight star Robert Pattinson, but this was also his first public appearance after Kristen Stewart cheated on him. Jon Stewart jokes that they probably got a lot of teenage girls watching just to see Robert Pattinson. '' The opening segment is called "Welcome Twilight Fans, This Is a Topical Comedy Show". Later on, when Jon Stewart interviews Pattinson, he shows a clip of the crowds hanging around the studio to catch a glimpse of him.
  • Doing stand-up on The Tonight Show during Johnny Carson's stint was a major career boost for comedians, and being called over to the couch pretty much guaranteed overnight success. More recent comedians to get the honor include Drew Carey, Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Steven Wright, Roseanne Barr, Bill Maher, Jeff Dunham and Jeff Foxworthy.

  • For years, Jim Rome has referred to "Jungle Karma" on The Jim Rome Show to refer to the tendency for athletes and athletic teams to have success after appearing on his show, as well as a corresponding bout of bad luck if an athlete stiffs him.
  • Sports Illustrated has a strange relationship with the people that appear on their cover—everybody wants to be on it, but there's supposedly a curse related to whoever gets the coveted cover photo.
    • Ditto the Madden and ''NCAA' series of video games. This is usually referred to as the "Madden Curse".
    • This "curse" can be explained by a concept called "regression to the mean". On average, people tend to perform close to their average (their "mean"). Athletes that get a cover in Sports Illustrated are usually having an unusually high point in their career. Soon after, it seems like they got worse, but they really just went back to playing closer to their average.
  • Sports-related variant: in the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery, the Milwaukee Bucks were represented by the co-owner's daughter, who went from 240 followers to 36 thousand on Twitter (plus many homages). A friend of hers commented\joked profusely.

  • Though most are not entirely unknown, any novelist or poet who wins an international award will see the purchase of their work sky rocket.
    • After Mario Vargas Llosa was announced as the 2010 Nobel Prize laureate, "collectible" versions of his books went from a few dollars into and beyond the hundreds of dollars and even Amazon sold out of everything due to people rushing to read his work.
    • In October 2013, Alice Munroe was revealed to be that year's laureate. Six months later, she was still a top ten paperback bestseller in Sweden.
  • Though well-respected among fantasy aficionados, the Studio Ghibli adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle introduced a huge number of anime fans to the works of Diana Wynne Jones, and helped make her Wizard's Castle series, previously one of her smaller projects, into one of her best-known works.
  • Books endorsed by Oprah's Book Club sell very well.

  • The Nostalgia Critic has this effect on films/shows he reviews, on this site if nowhere else. It's very telling that Big Lipped Alligator Moment became a page on this Wiki within an hour of the posting of the video that coined the phrase.
  • Ditto Linkara and History of Power Rangers. Carter Grayson, the Red Ranger of Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue was previously considered the most boring character of the most boring season, and generally disliked as a very bland example of a Red Ranger. But Linkara "instantly liked this guy" and made a case for him, and he became a fan favorite overnight.
  • Several older Humongous Mecha series saw renewed/revived popularity upon making a debut in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover Super Robot Wars franchise, with Xabungle and Hades Project Zeorymer being the prime examples.
    • The Big O had a similar resurgence in Japan due to Super Robot Wars Z, in which it was ridiculously overpowered. This was notable as Big O previously got very little attention in Japan at all, only even acquiring a second season because of Cartoon Network commissioning it. This bump mainly took the shape of a new crop of merchandise Big O had previously not had, including Figma of Roger and Dorothy, as well as an expensive rendition of the titular mech in Max Gokin form.
    • Their parody non-appearances on Megas XLR have also produced mini-bumps (not that kind).
  • This happens to anyone mocked by Retsupurae. It's not always a good type of popularity, with a lot of the time this leading to tons of negative comments on said LPer's videos, but it's turned stuff like Gaming In The Clinton Years from obscure barely watched local TV shows to extremely popular (for all the wrong reasons) Youtube series.
    • On a more positive note, several goons learned of Sir Ron Lionheart after he was mocked by Retsupurae. After getting a lot of unnecessary hate, his popularity quickly skyrocketed after one goon posted his LP of Sonic the Hedgehog (The Porcupine) in the Cybershell's Sonic LP thread (which had been viewing, linking to, and making other Sonic-based playthroughs during his frequent schedule slips). He was found as a more ideal version of a Man Child.
    • Many of the flash games tend to get this as well, particularly Arise, The Trapped Trilogy, and anything by Zap Dramatic.
  • Let's Plays, especially the most popular Let's players, have a habit of causing an spike in sales of the games they're currently going over. A good example of this is Chuggaaconroy regarding Ōkami and NintendoCapriSun regarding Plants vs. Zombies.
  • Let's Players also do this to each other. Notably, when The Runaway Guys (a collaboration of Chuggaaconroy, NintendoCapriSun and ProtonJon, three of the most popular LPers on YouTube) featured JoshJepson as a guest player, the latter experienced a significant surge in popularity.
    • It has been said that any video commented, liked, or mentioned by raocow will get several thousand additional views within the day.
  • This has happened on this very wiki! (not repeatedly, though): after TV Tropes was mentioned in XKCD, a mob of newbies washed over the forums and wiki, trashing the servers.
  • Seems to be David Herbert's goal with his new review series Jump On for comics.
    • On a similar note, any scientific topic mentioned in the comic (from transformations to probability theory) will see the corresponding Other Wiki page get swarmed (and vandalized) within hours.
  • In its heyday, a positive review from Webcomic-review blog Websnark could boost a comic's site traffic higher than ever before. In a subversion, the writer of the blog, Eric Burns, never quite seemed all that comfortable with the influence he wrote his way into, and was frequently a reason for his sabbaticals from the blog.
  • Homestuck occasionally links to Youtube videos to illustrate points, such as here. These videos tend to more than double in views and comments overnight, to the bemusement and (usually) gratefulness of whoever uploaded them.
    That is Wonderful. Do thank Mr. Hussie for me, and also all of you wonderful homestuck fans who appreciate and support my continuing efforts to bring my Historic and eclectic collection of early recordings to a new generation of listeners.
    • Homestuck's end-of-act 5 video of 2011-10-25 was hosted on Newgrounds to avoid crashing the site. It slashdotted Newgrounds within minutes.
  • In 2008, bumps from VG Cats and DeceasedCrab made Eversion's popularity overshadow the entire Commonplace Book competition it was made for. And it was third place in the compo!
  • Neil Gaiman gave Gunnerkrigg Court a much larger readership after praising it on his blog.
  • Through the nature of Wiki Walking, TV Tropes itself has a tendency to give support to Youtube videos that illustrate a certain trope. These videos would otherwise probably fall into the yt obscurity, and thus you may see a top comment saying "Who else got here from TV Tropes?"
  • Similarly, "I got here from Cracked." comment is often featured on videos used to illustrate articles there.
  • When Mark Oshiro began reviewing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, his blog was linked to by a popular Buffy fansite which resulted in a flood of new readers that crashed his server and forced him to find a new server to prevent this from happening again.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 had this effect on many of the films it featured, all of which had originally been chosen because they were so obscure that the rights to broadcast them were cheap. In some cases, the bump was so effective that when the time came for finagling a film's rights for home video and DVD releases, the show could no longer afford them.
  • Anything that gets featured on Equestria Daily tends to get a pretty pronounced boost in popularity.
    • Allow us to elaborate on the effect. There exists a character named Derpy Hooves, who is extremely popular with the fans. A vinyl molded figure of her was made alongside one of Rainbow Dash in early September 2012 by Hot Topic, who released the date and time that they would be released to the public. Equestria Daily noticed and posted this. The Derpy toy sold out in four minutes! All thousands of these toys, sold out in just four minutes.
    • My Little Pony Online, a fan game project, got their Episode 1 release mentioned. The downloads were unavailable for several hours because of just how many fans had flooded the site.
  • The Tarantino Bump affected Battle Royale. There's been a notable surge in new fans ever since he declared it to be his favourite film made since 1992.
  • The Cynical Brit, John Bain, has garnered quite a reputation amongst independent developers of PC games as being the go-to man if you want your site and / or server overloaded. With one million Youtube subscribers and a series dedicated to giving a first impression of a game, his channel provides much needed publicity for those developers who can't afford a marketing budget.
    • In a similar vein, Jesse Cox's collaboration with Josh "indiestatik" Mattingly, The Greenlight, is designed to do this for indie games currently up for approval to be added to Steam.
  • Toonami, an action-animation block on Cartoon Network (though it has since moved to [adult swim]), has provided these for some of its shows. In fact, you could say that it provided one for anime itself in the US, since while japanese animation was already known back then, it wasn't nearly as popular as it is now before Toonami came around.
    • Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon were initially unknown in America, as they both failed to garner success during their initial syndicated runs and were only partially dubbed by The Ocean Group and DIC Entertainment, respectively. Then they were picked up by Cartoon Network for airing on Toonami, where they managed to net the block some major ratings. This increase in popularity also resulted in both shows getting dubbed further.
    • The Big O was originally a failure in Japan. In the US, however, its run on Toonami (as well as [adult swim]) was so successful that it got a second season co-produced by Cartoon Network.
    • Even the revived Toonami on [adult swim] is still dishing out Colbert Bumps. Deadman Wonderland, much like Big O, bombed in its native Japan, but during its run on Toonami to promote its DVD release, it managed to rival Bleach in ratings just after its first night on the block.
    • Toonami's airing of Evangelion 1.11 to commemorate the block's 15th anniversary managed to boost the sales of the Blu-Ray release of not only 1.11, but Evangelion 2.22 as well, to the point where both movies managed to top the Amazon anime charts.
  • xkcd was yet another obscure geeky webcomic until Boingboing linked to it.
  • The Thick of It got a big boost, particularly among younger and non-British viewers, after its leading man Peter Capaldi got cast as the Twelfth Doctor.
  • After a Buzzfeed article mentioned a small obscure Facebook group about dying and dead shopping malls in April 2014, said group's membership more than tripled.
  • The Avengers wound up doing this for all of its characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with their own movie franchises. All of the respective post Avengers films, namely Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, each wound up significantly out-grossing their previous installments by at least doubling what they made or more.
  • All of the songs featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, the most notable of the bunch being Blue Swede's Hooked on a Feeling.

  • Painkiller saw a massive spike in Steam downloads after Yahtzee praised the game in a Zero Punctuation review - so much so that the Steam advert for the game actually quoted Yahtzee on how great the game is.
  • Arma 2, a realistic FPS/simulator, had a huge increase in sales when DayZ (a zombie mod for the game) was released.
  • Conan O'Brien, attempting to take the place of Oprah, has recommended several kitschy items, from Troll 2 to a Steven Seagal album to a calendar entitled Extraordinary Chickens. Sure enough, they've gone up in popularity, and their Amazon pages show that people who buy one will frequently buy others.
  • Minecraft sold around 1000 copies after being referenced on the Valve blog. Shortly afterward, Penny Arcade made a series of comics about it, which led to 7000 more sales and a server meltdown.
    • Likewise, Terraria was an obscure indie game until the Minecraft devs mentioned it on their blog. Sales shot up to the point that it was higher on Steam's bestseller list than Portal 2 for several days.
    • Penny Arcade causes a similar effect whenever they mention anything. This is probably why Nintendo got them to do a five-part The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword comic. So a frequent a phenomenon that it has been named. When the mention of a website on Penny Arcade leads to so many hits that the website's servers go down, it is said that the website in question has been "wanged". Jerry "Tycho" Holkins wrote that a recommendation from them can seem like a hostile act, "functionally indistinguishable from a Denial Of Service attack".
  • Two consecutive bumps for Spiral Knights. When the game was integrated with Steam, there was a sudden influx of players. Later that day, Team Fortress 2 updated and added a hat themed around one of the helmets of the game, which created another rush of players, some asking how to get the new hat.
    • Team Fortress 2 in general has this effect on games which offer in-game promotional items as pre-order bonuses, particularly if promotional weapons are being offered.
  • One brand of cologne has received a rather sudden boost in sales. The cause? Both 2chan and 4chan noticed that the bottle resembled one that Kotetsu Kaburagi from Tiger & Bunny owned and decided they needed to know what Kotetsu smelled like.
  • Two Best Friends Play did two episodes on games from the Xbox Line Indie, the majority of the games were harpooned for their poor quality, until the last one on the second episode, which ended with them saying outright that everybody should buy T.E.C 3001. It went from rank 151 to 80 in under one hour of the video being released.
  • Among the LEGO fandom, Brickset is a prominent cause of a variation of this trope, usually used in description of online sales or premature uploading of information on future sets - once such a sale gets mentioned on Brickset, it's often sold out within a matter of hours. This has been dubbed the "Brickset effect".
  • After being mentioned in The Avengers, Shawarma has shown a dramatic rise in popularity.
  • This pretty much happens to anything mentioned on The Apprentice or Dragon's Den (aka Shark Tank). For example, after Keynoir was mentioned in an episode, their Twitter account basically exploded in popularity. Not to mention how some products now actually advertise 'featured on Dragon's Den' on the packaging... Or how the Bridge Cafe went from an extremely obscure local eatery to somewhere fans of the show end up trying to visit.
  • The World Ends with You barely broke 150,000 copies of Nintendo DS game sales. Then Neku was featured in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Cue the game shooting up the Amazon bestseller list and more people playing this well-received but overlooked game.
    • Heck, a major reason why TRON: Legacy came to be was because of Kingdom Hearts II, which includes a world based on the original film. The world, called Space Paranoids, became quite popular with the fanbase, and gained the origin film new fans. When The Grid was confirmed for KH3D, many fans rejoiced!
  • Matt Smith's bow-tie wearing Eleventh Doctor led to a dramatic increase in bow tie sales.
  • The Brazilian Ministry of Defense for the app-game Banana Kong. It Makes Sense in Context: a functionary of the ministry published in the official Twitter a tweet telling he reached 370 meters. Sells exploded afterwards, but the tweet was deleted.
  • Similar to Super Robot Wars, a lot of Nintendo properties get a lot of exposure when featured in their crossover Mascot Fighter, Super Smash Bros.. In particular, the positive response given to the Fire Emblem characters, Marth and Roy led to the previously Japan-only series becoming another one of Nintendo's global franchises. The inclusion of Ness from EarthBound also led to people going back to (re)play it, resulting in the previously overlooked game being Vindicated by History.
    • Kid Icarus is another one. After Pit made the Brawl roster, the series got its first sequel in over twenty years.
  • The release of Sideways had a very positive effect on sales of Pinot noir wines, and a (smaller) negative effect on sales of Merlot. This was dubbed "The Sideways Effect" in the winemaking industry.
    • Similarly, the manga series Drops Of God has influenced wine sales in Asia. A mention in-series can boost the popularity of previously obscure wines, and the series is credited with helping wine sales in South Korea rise from under a third of the alcohol market to 70 percent.
  • Homestuck features the character Gamzee, who loves drinking Faygo, and this has increased Faygo sales a bit, especially in places where you can't find Faygo in stores and have to order it over the web.
  • Wendsleydale cheese has been saved from obscurity by Wallace & Gromit. Wallace is obsessed with cheese in general but Wendsleydale is his favourite.
  • In scale modelling, the popularity of both Girls und Panzer and World of Tanks has resulted in increased sales of model tanks.

  • A good deal of Childish Gambino fans found him through his role on Community.
    • Childish Gambino also engaged in a very weird example with his sampling of an obscure YouTube video in "II. Zealots of Stockholm (Free Information)". The sample in question is "I'm a freaky bitch/I am 5 foot 8, 390/And I am a freaky bitch". The video is a vlog of a woman describing her sex life.
  • KT Tunstall's big break happened when she performed "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Later... with Jools Holland after being given only 24 hours notice.
    • Seasick Steve's regular appearances on Jools Holland's Hootenanny made him popular.
  • Not really with TV shows, but this is exactly how rap crews work. One member becomes famous, and then the crew come with him. This is the reason groups like G-Unit and GOOD Music become popular. Most of the members of the latter have managed to become major stars in their own right though.
  • In the early '90's The Word had a similar effect with bands like Nirvana. It also notoriously damaged Shabba Ranks's career when he spouted homophobic remarks and was called out for it by Mark Lamarr; "That is absolute crap and you know it"
  • The Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Funnily enough, this one actually went both ways, with The Ed Sullivan Show seeing a ratings boost for the weeks featuring the Beatles.
  • Another The Ed Sullivan Show guest who boosted both his own and the show's ratings was Elvis Presley.
  • Not many people in Britain had heard of the Sex Pistols until they were interviewed live on Thames TV and Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones said both the S and F words in the space of a few minutes. Even though it was only shown in the London area, "The Filth and the Fury" was headline news across the country the next day. A smaller but similar effect came when they played live on Manchester Granada TV, thus introducing Anarchy in the UK to the north of England.
    • In a more recent example, most Americans had never heard of Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross until "Sachsgate."
  • Can also be called The Skins Effect; a number of bands, notably Gossip and Foals, experienced huge boosts in popularity and success as a result of their music appearing in the show. Alex Hancock (the show's music supervisor) is looking into ways to make this a deliberate part of the show, by only ever including music by unsigned bands; he's up against OFCOM and cross-promotion rules, though.
  • Probably related to the phenomenon of people rediscovering vintage pop music through Quentin Tarantino's iconic uses of it.
  • The Jellybotties won't ever exactly be tearing up the charts, but they experienced a bump in popularity when Alan Davies sang a few bars of "Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable" on QI. It's now their most popular song by far.
    • For proof of this, type "Peter Cushing" into Google and the song's title is the sixth auto-complete option. It's the first auto-complete result when searching for "Peter Cushing" on YouTube.
  • It's generally believed that White Zombie's popularity got a big boost after Beavis And Butthead showed them and gave them good reviews; Even Rob Zombie himself claims this in a recent interview he did. Conversely, the reputation of Winger particularly suffered.
    • Similarly, Danzig's "Mother" became a hit several years after its release due to its video appearing on the show.
    • Kirk Wildstein of Crowbar said that after their video got infamy on the show, their album at the time went from mediocre sales to being their best selling album of their career.
  • Whenever a popular YouTube series (such as The Gmod Idiot Box) uses a song that can be found on YouTube, said song will get a whole lot of hits all of a sudden, and a slew of comments all of which extensively quote the original video.
  • After John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles namechecked him as their favorite singer in a 1968 talk show interview, Harry Nilsson's popularity took off in the early Seventies.
  • This trope can also be called "The Glee Factor", as many musicians and songs and styles who've been covered by the cast (Britney Spears, Madonna) have had Career Resurrections and renewed interest after their music was featured. The Glee versions themselves have been pretty big hits on the Billboard charts.
    • Todd in the Shadows, reviewing "We Are Young" by fun. and "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye together, after realizing that the two songs' going to #1 on the Billboard charts consecutively despite being rather left-field pop hits was largely due to Glee, went as far to say that "Glee is the new MTV." There's a good reason for this: "We Are Young" first gained attention when it was featured in the episode "Hold On to Sixteen" but never peaked until after being used in a Chevy commercial that played during the Super Bowl a few months later; inversely, "Somebody That I Used To Know" took off in the States well before Glee covered it in the episode "Big Brother", but reached #1 the week after it was covered.
    • Some bands have also reported booming sales after being featured as DLC in Rock Band and Guitar Hero games.
  • Wikipedia reports that the sales of songs included in Brütal Legend went up 700% after the game came out. The best example is Brocas Helm, who before, was so obscure they could not be found for digital purchase anywhere, but afterward, received a massive boost in popularity, and became available due to demand.
  • Erasure had a significant boost to their popularity when one of the songs was used in the suddenly-popular webgame Robot Unicorn Attack. (They had previously had minor hits (and hit videos) in America in the late 1980s with "A Little Respect" and "Chains Of Love", and a mid-1990s cover of ABBA's "Take A Chance On Me".)
  • The odds of a third-place runner-up on American Idol going to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 are small enough (it's actually never happened before), while the odds of a third-place runner-up on Canadian Idol going to #1 in the States are next to nothing...but that's exactly what happened to Carly Rae Jepsen and "Call Me Maybe" after Justin Bieber praised the song on Twitter, putting in motion what later became a huge musical and memetic phenomenon. Unfortunately, this didn't really apply to Jepsen herself, as after only one more hitnote , she faded into obscurity. Even the Beliebers consider her a one/two hit wonder now.
  • Inverted with Japanese musician Gackt. Part of the reason he keeps appearing in so many video games and dramas is because his appearances in such media often results in a boost in ratings, viewership, and sales in the shows he appears.
    • Also inverted to a lesser extent by the Silversun Pickups. Though not exactly in mainstream pop-culture (they're still signed to indy label Dangerbird Reccords), they were a surprise hit with their first studio albuum, and they appeared on David Letterman's late night show because they had just showed up on the radar.
  • On VH-1, Mike Score said a Flock of Seagulls' popularity was noticeably increased just by being mentioned in passing in Pulp Fiction. This is actually rather sad, if you think about it.
    • Not when you consider AFOS' popularity peaked 12 years before Pulp Fiction came out.
  • Portal gave a bump to Jonathan Coulton thanks to "Still Alive"; Portal 2 gave a bump to The National thanks to "Exile Vilify".
  • Kurt Cobain of Nirvana did this a lot by plugging his favorite indie bands in interviews. Those who benefited included but are not limited to Shonen Knife, Beat Happening, and especially the Vaselines.
  • A medium sized German TV show used Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's version of Over the Rainbow as a leitmotif for a 2010 Green Aesop episode. The cover subsequently shot up to Number 1 in the German single charts for 9 weeks - 13 years after the artist's death.
  • Lordi garnered considerable attention and interest after performing "Hard Rock Hallelujah" at the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • A reverse bump has been noted for movies featured on MST3K: Their IMDB scores tend to take quite a hit, especially in comparison to comparable works by the same directors, and regardless of whether the film in question is more goofy than bad.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic homaged Sondheim numbers twice during season 1. Lots of people had never even heard of Into the Woods and Sunday In The Park With George, until they watched the show.
    • In addition, the band Hey Ocean has received a significant boost in popularity because of singer Ashleigh Ball's voice work on the show. This can be said for the international popularity of One More Girl (a Canadian sister country group featuring Brit McKillip, the voice of Princess Cadence), and Applebloom's voice actress Michelle Creber (who has released three albums since the show began).
      • It's safe to say that ANYTHING it parodies or pays homage to is going to get some traffic.
      • Hell, the show itself probably counts. Hardly anyone outside its target demographic would have dared to watch it if 4chan hadn't gotten hold of it, in a spectacular Real Life version of I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham.
    • And any popular pony Fan Vid will cause the music used to get a lot of hits on Youtube as well, with a lot of users with pony avatars showing up and commenting (and other people complaining about them doing so.)
  • This has proven to be quite common with some songs that users on YouTube started commenting, "Thumbs up if you found/came here from X."
  • Chris LeDoux would sign a record deal with Capitol Records shortly after Garth Brooks mentioned him in his hit song "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)". Two years later LeDoux would have a top-10 hit with "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy" and would frequently end concerts by saying "Thanks Garth." Unfortunately, he never had another top 10 hit.
  • Josh Groban's big break came at the 1999 Grammy Awards, where he stood in for Andrea Bocelli in a duet with Céline Dion. Rosie O'Donnell and Ally McBeal came calling soon afterwards.
  • A lot of people found out who The Pixies are through Fight Club
  • By the early 2000s, Rick James had largely become disgraced thanks to drug addictions and a 3-year prison sentence. Then Dave Chappelle spoofed his life on Chappelle's Show, and Rick's popularity reached new heights.
  • Yes has seen a surge in popularity, from anime fans of all people, as a result of "Roundabout" being used as the ending theme of the new anime adaption of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Tony Bennett credits his appearance on SCTV with introducing him favorably to a new generation and reviving his career.
  • Cher Lloyd. Ed Sheeran. Olly Murs. Little Mix. What do these four British artists have in common? They all used One Direction to become popular in the United States. Cher Lloyd finished fourth on the 2010 edition of The X Factor, right behind One Direction. Ed Sheeran has written songs for One Direction. Olly Murs has performed in America as an opener for One Direction. Little Mix's Perrie Edwards is engaged to Zayn Malik from...you guessed it, One Direction.
    • One Direction have also helped spawn interest in the American version of the X Factor.
    • In 2013, Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer were selected as One Direction's opening act for their second tour. Unsurprisingly, this spurred international interest in the band, and led to a #1 album the next year.
    • It works inversely as well. One Direction's popularity sent others' careers down the drain, such as Justin Bieber and The Wanted.
  • After being prominently featured in the soundtracks of the Test Drive videogame series, Pitch Shifter and Fear Factory received a strong bump in popularity. The latter got even more popular thanks to their breakthrough hit, the Cover Version of Gary Numan's "Cars", being featured in Test Drive 6 (as the opening theme) and the American release of Gran Turismo 2.
  • Speaking of Gran Turismo, not many people ever knew about The Cardigans before their prominent appearance in GT2's soundtrack with "My Favourite Game", which would later become their Signature Song.
  • Queen gained a resurgence of interest in 1985 following their performance at Live Aid, and a posthumous one in 1992 thanks to the use of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in Wayne's World.
  • Though she maintained a fairly high profile in pop and children's programming circles since 2006, and occasional hits like "Party In The USA" crossed over to the adult charts, it wasn't until Miley Cyrus appeared at the the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards walking out of a giant teddy bear in teddy bear unitard, wearing teddy bear-ears-shaped Girlish Pigtails, tongue hanging out, performing her hit "We Can't Stop", then stripping to lingerie while twerking suggestively behind fellow performer Robin Thicke as he performed his hit "Blurred Lines" that her profile rapidly took off for the rest of the year. Her album Bangerz shot up to number 1, she appeared on the cover of ''Rolling Stone magazine in a barely-concealed topless photo, and with her change to a provocative, controversial, more adult image her music gained new audiences outside of her once more Disney Channel-oriented fanbase. It also helped to bring the very hip-hop-centric dancing style of "twerking" into the public consciousness.
  • The Voice brought renewed interest to both Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton.
  • The Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" was released in 1988, but it became a hit in the US in 1993 when it was featured on Benny & Joon.
  • Triple J is an alternative radio station in Australia which hosts the Hottest 100 each year. Despite it getting nearly a billion votes worldwide annually, most of the artists who win are popular only in Australia, with some exceptions ("No One Knows" in 2002, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" in 2003," "Take Me Out" in 2004, "Knights of Cydonia" in 2007, "Sex on Fire" in 2008). However, in recent years, if the artist wins the countdown, the rest of the world takes note the following year. Many do unfortunately fall into One-Hit Wonder status.
    • Case and Point:
      • 2009: "Little Lion Man" by Mumford and Sons wins in a landslide. In 2010, the song becomes a hit on alt-rock radio and cracks the Top 40 on Billboard.
      • 2011: Music/Gotye wins with Somebody that I Used to Know. Largely obscure outside of Australia, the song becomes a #1 hit in most countries, including the US, and wins a Grammy!
      • 2012: "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won. For reference, like Mumford and sons and most other frequent Hottest 100 entrants, the duo is true indie, with no record label. Even more anomalous, this is the first and only time to date a [[{Hip Hop}} RAP]] song won on an alternative station poll. The week it was #1 on the Hottest 100, it hit #1 in the States! This is somewhat less surprising as the song had been gaining steam in the US for about a month.
      • And if there was any doubt to its power before, 2013 cements its status as the Colbert Bump of indie music. Vance Joy won with "Riptide" over "Get Lucky" and "Royals", which were two of the biggest songs globally that year. Before this, Vance Joy didn't even have a record deal and was only known in-station through the Unearthed podcast. Afterwards, the song hit the Top 10 in several countries and netted vance a deal with Atlantic.
  • Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding got a huge amount of publicity when she won Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammys. Unfortunately, much of this was due to a perceived Award Snub over Justin Bieber, and to a lesser extent, Drake; according to an edition of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader her page on That Other Wiki was vandalized multiple times by many of Bieber's fans with sayings such as "JUSTIN DESERVED IT GO DIE IN A HOLE".
  • Mel Tormé enjoyed a career upswing thanks to his appearances on Night Court.

  • A shrine featured as a set piece in Lucky Star has gotten about five times as many visitors.
  • Foreign destinations that Michael Palin visits on his BBC show frequently experience greater tourist numbers.
  • Strangely, after Sacha Baron Cohen raked them over the coals in Borat, the nation of Kazakhstan saw a surge in tourism.
  • Anywhere visited by Rick Mercer tends to experience a tourism boost.
  • Anthony Bourdain often causes a bump in business from non-locals for a restaurant he praises.
  • The city of Forks, Washington has gotten scads of tourists due to it being featured as the main setting of Twilight.
  • Regionally, the areas of Pittsburgh PBS "scrapbook documentary" producer Rick Sebak produces popular specials about, such as Kennywood Park, the North Side, the Strip District, the Primanti Brothers sandwich shop and Oakland, PA have turned into tourist traps (or more popular tourist traps), for locals and out-of-towners. (Oakland is itself the home of WQED, the TV station where Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was taped at.)
  • The opening of the Norway pavilion at EPCOT Center in 1989 led to a 400% increase in American tourism to the actual country Norway the following year.
  • Silver Spoon is set at an agricultural high school based on a real one in Hokkaido, whose dairy program more than doubled its number of applicants a couple years after the series started.
  • The Way had a hotel on the Cameno Pilgrammage route whose management needed considerable persuading to allow their appearance in the film. However, after the film came out, the management had so many visitors inquiring if "The Way" suite was available that they began marketing it as such.
  • Sales at Goodwill stores reportedly rose 10% following the release of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop".
  • Prior to NCIS, real NCIS agents referred to themselves as the Rodney Dangerfields of law enforcement because the agency was so obscure they couldn't get any respect. Once the show became a hit, people knew what the agency did and news reports stopped saying "Naval investigators" and actually referring to the agency as "NCIS" or "Naval Criminal Investigative Service".
  • The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has enjoyed a massive tourism increase due to being the setting of Breaking Bad. Though the locals are little dismayed that one side-effect of this is that the city is now automatically associated with crystal meth.

  • The Trope Namer is Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report. Whenever politicians, especially ones running for an office, experience a bump in poll numbers after being on his show, Colbert would take credit for it by saying that they received the Colbert Bump. He also claims responsibility whenever authors' books do well or musicians' songs do well. He once claimed responsibility for making Paul McCartney popular. The trope led to a series of crossover sketches in which Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Conan O'Brien fought over whose show was responsible for Mike Huckabee's temporary rise in popularity.
  • Boris Johnson was a pretty minor journalist (not yet even a Conservative MP) when he made his first appearance on Have I Got News for You, but each hilarious appearance boosted his popularity, to the point where the hosts of the show joked he could become leader of the Conservative Party despite his buffoonish persona. His relatively huge profile compared to other politicians was apparently of great concern to Labour Party officials when he ran for the office of Mayor of London (it was said that Boris was about the only politician recognizable by his first name alone, while most were referred to on last name or Full-Name Basis), which he then won. Several years in and he is, without joking, considered as a potential future leader of his party and this PM, despite not even being an MP anymore. Still seen as an outside chance, but one that must be considered (Update: Since winning re-election at a time of otherwise dire unpopularity for Tories in the polls, there are quite serious hopes in some quarters that he will be PM, and the best Tory in the country).
    • Johnson's main opponent in the election was Ken Livingstone, whose earlier mayoral campaigns had also benefited from several appearances on Have I Got News for You. Since Ken has been chosen as Boris's chief opponent at the next election, he has appeared on the show once more.
    • HIGNFY was also unwittingly the jumping-off point for Neil and Christine Hamilton in their successful transformation from "corrupt ex-MP and his shamelessly supportive wife" to "pair of absurd media whores."
    • The Lib Dems became significantly more popular after Charles Kennedy's numerous appearances too.
    • In recently years Nigel Farage, leader of the minor but growing UKIP party usually appears at least once a season. The other panelists spend most of the show mocking him and his policies but presumably he thinks that the publicity is worth it.
  • Hillary Clinton experienced a brief surge in popularity during the 2008 presidential elections after her appearance on Saturday Night Live. Sarah Palin's appearance, meanwhile, brought the show's ratings to their highest in a long time.
  • Bill Clinton's sax-riffing appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show was credited with popularizing him with younger voters in 1992. Four years prior to that, Clinton received a bump by appearing on The Tonight Show. Up to that point, he was best known for giving an embarrassingly long speech at the Democratic National Convention that year, which was the reason for his initial appearance.
  • Richard Nixon's 1968 appearance on Laugh-In coincided with a distinct leap in his electoral poll numbers.
  • Barack Obama, when he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show before his presidential run and Oprah famously declared him "The One."
    • Oprah also brought the world Doctor Phil, who started off as a one off, then a weekly occurrence, and now has his own spinoff.
      • The same goes for Rachael Ray.
      • And Dr. Oz. Really, if this trope wasn't named "Colbert Bump" it would be named "Oprah Bump". In fact, Dr. Oz, himself, has this in the form of "Dr. Oz effect", where certain things he promotes on his show do, in fact, get a bump in sales.
      • In fact, the only Oprah-promoted talker who didn't succeed was Iyanla, who ran afoul of the inverse of this trope, losing all credibility and ratings after a row with Oprah, after she rode a bump to her own talker. The women made up on the eve of Oprah's final show.
  • The 2010 UK General Election campaign was the first one to see the leaders of the three largest national parties (the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats) take part in a series of live TV debates. Before the first debate was broadcast, very few people were aware of the leader of the smaller Lib Dem party, Nick Clegg; however, his strong performance on the first TV debate compared to the other party leaders saw his approval rating soar. That is, until he eventually became Deputy Prime Minister in the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government...
    • It is worth noting that if not for the bump, the Liberal Democrats would probably have done even worse than they did, due to policies which the electorate did not exactly jump behind, so in this case the bump actually saved him.
  • Herman Cain, once the little-known CEO of a pizza company, was given his own talk show after popular response to the times he substituted for Neal Boortz. He rode his bump all the way to a high-profile presidential campaign, making him quite possibly one of the best examples of this yet.
    • Cain once remarked on his Twitter how he got the bump after Stephen Colbert declared him the winner of a Republican debate. Colbert corrected him by saying that Cain must appear on his show to receive the bump.
  • Fictional example: Man of the Year. Robin Williams' character is a Jon Stewart-esque talk show host who satirically runs for President...and wins due to this trope (and a computer glitch).

Alternative Title(s):

Popularity By Proxy