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Implausible Deniability

"Circumstantial evidence, that's all you've got!"
Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

People have trouble admitting to unpleasant things, even when the proof is right in front of their face. Whatever the situation, and for whatever reason, they will adamantly refuse to admit a situation is what it is.

It could be being caught red-handed in a theft (even if caught clearly on the security cameras). It could be losing a battle (not that the losing side might make a comeback; this would be denying that one was even at a disadvantage at all). It could be one's lie proven false. It could be caught cheating. This person will deny all of them despite the most blatant and clear evidence, through Blatant Lies and/or Insane Troll Logic.

As for why, this person may be delusional, desperate, playing coy, or would rather swallow poison than pride. Or someone might be forced to by another, for whatever reason (often politics or blackmail).

Sometimes this can be a whole group of people denying something due to fear of change.

A Sister Trope to I Reject Your Reality.

Compare Suspiciously Specific Denial, Never My Fault, I Was Never Here, You Didn't See That, Bad Liar, Everybody Knew Already, and Transparent Closet. Contrast Sarcastic Confession, Plausible Deniability, and Not What It Looks Like.


In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A Starburst commercial features Ernie the Klepto. Ernie claims to have reformed from his thieving ways. A kid points out that Ernie stole his Starbursts. Ernie replies, "No, I didn't," while actually eating the candy. The kid accepts Ernie's denial, meaning he's either really stupid, or Ernie is an Impossible Thief, since he steals the kid's helmet, his bike, his Starburst, his dog, and his shirt.
  • In the first of Troy Polamalu's Head and Shoulders commercials, one of his teammates asks if he's been using his shampoo, because it's for guys who want "thicker and fuller hair"; Troy's already impressive mane gets thicker and fuller each time the camera cuts to him when he denies it, until he sheepishly admits the obvious.
    • A follow-up commercial has Troy asking his teammates who took his shampoo, one of whom has a beard as big as Troy's hair. The bearded one says it was the guy next to him, who is bald.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Full Metal Panic!: No, Kaname, Sousuke is not following you. He decided to stop at the same cafe, take the same train and - when accidentally missing his stop that he just now decided to get off on (which is, coincidentally, the same as yours) - jump out the window of a moving train for entirely non Kaname-related reasons. Really, it's entirely coincidence!
  • In a more serious example, Light Yagami of Death Note after irrefutable evidence to his being Kira was presented, his first answer was "I've been framed! This is all a set-up!". Aizawa told him to give up the act. Understandably, given that this evidence consisted of Light shouting "I win!", and his name being the only one of the people besides Mikami's not being in the notebook.
  • In the case of School Days, Kotonoha Katsura denies that she's been wronged, and frequently tells people that she's Makoto's girlfriend and that he wouldn't cheat on her. After he tells her in person that he doesn't like her any more, it goes from implausible deniability to psychosis. She leaves several voice messages for him to a recording saying her call could not be connected, detailing plans for their dates together. In the end she says "Finally... It's just the two of us..." as she clutches his severed head as she sails off into the sunset, although partially she is speaking the truth.
  • A delusional example occurs in the manga version of Chrono Crusade. When Rosette confronts Joshua about his dependency on Chrono's horns, he responds "You're not Rosette. My sister was nice." After seeing a flashback of her half-strangling him when he (correctly) tells Chrono that her cooking is horrible, as well as eight volumes of watching her do things like damage private property, abuse Chrono (at one point until he's lying in a pool of his own blood!), and calling her superior an "old hag", it's a tragic (and somewhat hilarious) illustration of how much of his memories he's lost.
  • In Nagasarete Airantou, Ikuto refuses to believe in magic, no matter what he has seen. He assumes summoned spirits are just "creatures". One chapter has him partially transformed into an animal, which doesn't wipe his memory (unlike everyone who was fully transformed). Despite seeing friends look completely different and the changes to his own body, when he finally recovers, he believes it was just a dream. (Pitying friends try not to remind him of this.)
    • It is later explained in the manga that Ikuto was put under a magic spell to keep him from believing in mystical creatures by his sister who is half snow fairy.
  • A Running Gag in Saiunkoku Monogatari has Ri Kouyuu coming up with ridiculously implausible explanations whenever he got lost.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Mako gets a phone call about her grandmother collapsing, and then claims that she's all right. She drops the phone immediately afterward.
  • Iceberg of One Piece greets a government official with "As you can see, I'm not here."
  • In "Axis Powers Hetalia":
    • Japan is seen at the end of a strip (Frequency), in bed, naked, with Greece lying next to him. He's trying to deny that they had sex, ("I'm so glad that "It Was All Just A Dream"!"), but the fact that Greece is also naked makes that sound like Blatant Lies.
    • In another strip, a young Romano blames his chronic bedwetting on a rogue squirrel.
  • Karin of Bleach has the ability to see ghosts, but doesn't believe in them. When Yuzu points this out, Karin casually states she's in permanent denial.

    Comedy 
  • One Adam Sandler sketch has his character, a radio host, asking random people on the street to guess if the sounds he plays for them are made by people having sex or working out. He'll then play a recording of an over-the-top porn soundtrack, with people saying things like, "You're fucking the shit out of me!" When the person tells him they were having sex, he'll respond with something like, "Nope, they were doing leg squats!" then mock them for having dirty minds. (The punchline in the skit is, all the people he asks initially are men; the last person he asks is a woman, whom he then has sex with, records the act, and when he plays it back she says, "That was you having sex with me." He agrees with her, then produces his findings: that women have less dirty minds than men.)
  • In one of Bill Cosby's routines, he tells a story illustrating why "Children are so honest" is bullshit. He tells his toddler daughter she can't have a cookie, then catches her with her hand in the cookie jar. When he asks her what she's doing, she says, "I was getting a cookie for you, Daddy!"
    Cosby (as himself): I don't want a cookie!
    Cosby (as his daughter): Well then, can I have it?!
  • Chris Rock has a bit about the hypocrisy of women in clubs dancing to songs that are sexist, and that if you point it out to them, they'll go to impossible lengths to justify it. Pointing out the artist's use of words like "bitch" or "ho" elicits the reponse "He ain't talkin' bout me!" He continues saying that even if it were bizarrely specific, they'd still deny it:
    "He just said your name."
    "...No he didn't!" (continues dancing)

    Comic Books 
  • Oliver Queen's attempt to deny being Green Arrow to Mia despite being a blond guy with an identical beard who sounds exactly like Green Arrow. Maybe running for mayor and trying to keep a Secret Identity in the same town was a mistake.
  • Along the same lines, Power Girl tried to maintain a secret identity as owner/president of a small cutting-edge tech firm in her 2010-2011 series. Unfortunately for her, that's a pretty highly visible profession, and there just weren't enough twenty-year-old, six-foot-two blondes (aside from, well... you know) in the public eye for her to maintain it for very long.
    Terra: Gosh, how could anybody ever guess that Karen Starr and Power Girl are the same person? You two look nothing alike!

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Grimm Brothers' story "Our Lady's Child" (sometimes called "The Virgin Mary's Child" or "Fairy Tell-True") is built around this trope. The titular child, a foster-daughter of the Virgin Mary, denies disobeying Our Lady six times in total, even though it's clear that Mary had caught the child red-handed (or rather, gold-handed).

    Fan Fiction 
  • Invoked in the crossover The Man With No Name.
    [When Inara and the Doctor are escaping from the enemy base].
    The Doctor: You must be mistaken, Leftenant. The lady and I were just out for a stroll. You must have mistaken us for someone else.
    Security Mook: Then how do you explain the blood all over you?
    The Doctor: Um...I got mugged? Really, you should do something about that, streets aren't even safe... You're not buying that for a minute, are you?
    Security Mook: Not so much.
  • Happens with Leonardo in the last chapter of a very short Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Drabble-Fanfic titled Under The Influence.
  • In the Death Note AU Alternative Gods when the SPK show up at the NPA's Cybercrimes division:
    Halle: We have reasons to believe Kira is an exceptionally talented and highly skilled genius member of the Japanese NPA's Cybercrimes division.
    Light: Clearly, you must be talking about Matsuda.
  • In the Axis Powers Hetalia fic Mistakes, China does not want to talk about his drug habit;
    "Are those trackmarks?"
    "No."
  • In this Crosses the Line Twice piece of Axis Powers Hetalia fanart, Germany calls Japan to ask that he stop committing war crimes while Germany's trying to do business with China. Japan denies that he's doing anything of the sort, whereupon Germany points out that he can see him just out the window with assorted corpses.
    (beat)
    Japan: (looking at Germany) That's not me.
  • The Teen Titans fic Coincidences and Misunderstandings Raven confronts Jinx after the latter robs a jewelry store and has this trope go both ways.
    Raven: "And what, exactly, is your purpose here? Well?"
    Jinx: (With bags of stolen jewelry in hand) "I? I was just taking a midnight stroll. And what are you doing here, Ms. Titan, hmm?"
    Raven: "And the bags, Ms. Thief?"
    Jinx: "Well, how else would I window shop?"
    Raven: (While laughing) "I do not believe that is how that particular practice is performed."
    Jinx: "Fine, just cuff me and let's go."
    *Raven teleports the bags several feet away*
    Raven: "I see no evidence of any crime, so I suppose I will have to accept that you are, indeed, partaking in an innocuous walk. I would advise you, however, that your record is against you and grounds for suspicion. I really should escort you to your residence. However, I am now 'off-duty', so I trust you can make your own way home."
  • In Broken Facades Misa discovers her best friend Light is Kira after she makes the eye deal so to her he might as well have a neon sign on his head. Light however has no idea just how futile his denials are:
    Misa: Kira.
    Light: What about him? Do you want stats or something?
    Misa: You're Kira. I can't believe it.
    Light: Don't be ridiculous Misa. Whatever are you on about?
    Misa: You're Kira because this notebook fell on the Earth for you as well.
  • In By Royal Command, Trixie refuses to accept that Twilight Sparkle is now a princess. Even though a profiling analysis of the incredibly lewd letter (with illegible signature) that kicks off the plot reveals roughly half a dozen clues marking her as the writer. And Equestria's other three princesses each confirm that they didn't write it. And Celestia insists on bringing Trixie to Ponyville to settle the issue. And Pinkie Pie says "Twilight became a princess". Even when Trixie sees Twilight's new appearance, wings and all, she's holding on to the hope that it might all be a crazy dream.
  • In Saki After Story, Teru keeps denying that Saki is her sister, even to Sumire, who has proof from both of Teru's parents that they're sisters. Eventually, however, Teru gets through, but not before Teru has viciously beaten up Saki, leading to a My God, What Have I Done? moment before Teru is arrested.
  • In Boys Und Sensha-do, an injured Miho claims she can manage with everyday tasks by herself. It merely takes Akio lightly poking her in the ribs, causing her to grimace in pain, to show that she can't.
  • In the RWBY fic It Ends With A Dance, team JNPR is playing a Risk expy. Nora, in an attempt to keep Ren from quitting, claims that she will forgive his 'treachery' in waging war with her kingdom. Ren tries to point out that Nora attacked his kingdom first, but she doesn't listen.
  • Shatterheart, Kurogane and Fai confront Syaoran's kidnapper who immediately denies his involvement. Even though he is literally standing over Syaoran's injured body and about to pour bleach in the boy's eyes.
  • Several Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories have someone (usually from outside Sunnydale) point out that if the claims of "Gang members on PCP" were true, Sunnydale would not only be the PCP capital of the world, they'd have more gang violence per capita most other cities in the United States combined.

    Films — Animated 
  • At the end of An American Tail, when Warren T. Rat's disguise is shot off and it becomes obvious he's a cat, he still tries to maintain the charade, with the line "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?"
    • And they got that line from Chico Marx. "Lady, who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?"
  • Subverted in The Incredibles when Dash puts a tack (drawing pin) on the teacher's chair, is caught on video tape and still gets away with it due to being too fast to see. All they catch on tape is a moment where he vanishes from his chair for a second. Before they zoom in on his chair though, watch the area between Dash and the teacher's table. The blur is much less implausible.
  • In Madagascar, Alex the lion reverts to his primal instincts and attacks his zebra friend Marty, then realises what he's doing just as he bites. Awkward pause:
    Marty: Excuse me? You're biting my butt!
    Alex: (with his teeth still sunk in Marty's butt) ... No I'm not.
  • In Hoodwinked, Red comes across Japeth, a goat who claims he can only sing everything he says:
    Red Puckett: Could you stop singing for one moment?
    Japeth the Goat: [singing] No I can't, wish I could, but a mountain witch done put a spell on me, 37 years agoooooooo, and now I gotta sing every thing I saaaaaaaaayyyyyy...
    Red Puckett: Everything?
    Japeth the Goat: [speaks] That's right.
    Red Puckett: You just talked! Just now!
    Japeth the Goat: Oh, did I? [singing] Did I? Dididididodadidididoooo...
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Belle comments on the enchanted castle, and Cogsworth tries to deny it.
    Cogsworth: Enchanted? Who said anything about the castle being enchanted? (laughs weakly, then in an angry whisper to Lumiere) It was you, wasn't it? (they start to scuffle)
    Belle: (watching a talking clock and a talking candelabrum wrestle each other) ...I figured it out for myself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    • The Black Knight scene. "It's just a flesh wound." Even more so the line before it:
      King Arthur: Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!''
      Black Knight: Yes, I have.
    • The man who insists that the loudly protesting "corpse" he's trying to offload onto the body collector is, in fact, quite dead.
      • Echoed later by the King of Swamp Castle and the father of the bride in the scene with Sir Launcelot and Prince Herbert.
  • In the film The Guide for the Married Man, the main character's friend teaches him all the tricks of cheating, including denying it even if the wife walks in. However, when the friend is caught, all his teachings fail him.
  • In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin's increasingly desperate insistence that "Swedish-Made Penis Enlarger Pumps" weren't his bag, baby, as the evidence continued to mount against him.
  • In Cabin Fever, Marcy blames Paul, her recent sex partner, for making sore red marks on her back during their coital frenzy, when she knows full well that skin sores are a symptom of the disease going around. She even seems to suspect what they truly are when she first discovers them. Especially galling when you remember that she had just infected him with the disease by sleeping with him, and once again, was probably perfectly aware of this.
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Renfield eats bugs in front of Dr. Seward, and pretends he's not doing anything.
  • Played for laughs in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. When Sparrow first sees Barbossa, he assumes he's hallucinating. Barbossa mentions that, last time they met, Sparrow shot him. Sparrow just looks at him for a moment, says, "No I didn't." and keeps walking.
  • In the 1997 Harland Williams comedy RocketMan, astronaut Fred Randall's oxygen tank springs a leak, so he is connected to his superior via a breathing hose, in order that they might share air on the surface of the planet Mars. Randall then has an... ahem, "attack of indigestion", the effects of which cross over to Commander Overbeck's suit, prompting the above memorable exchange (which is no doubt familiar to most people from Real Life). Randall finally relents and admits to it, but not for long:
    Fred Randall: It wasn't me!
    Bill Overbeck: What do you mean, it wasn't you? We're 35 million miles from the nearest person!
    Fred Randall: Maybe it was Julie! [Julie, for the record, is miles away, on a different part of the planet's surface]
    Bill Overbeck: You dog!
    Fred Randall: Hey, miracles can happen!
    Bill Overbeck: Blaming this on Julie...
    Fred Randall: Okay, I admit it, it was me.
    Bill Overbeck: Thank you.
    [Fred has more "indigestion"]
    Fred Randall: Now that was Julie!
  • In Role Models there is a funny minor scene with the lawer Beth defending a thief. He's taped on security camera (identifying himself by name and admitting that he is currently committing theft) and he still insists he didn't do it.
  • Close to the end of In the Loop, Malcolm Tucker discovers that Toby (Simon Foster's assistant) was the one leaking information to the press, and confronts him; Toby makes a rather half-hearted attempt at denying it...
    Malcolm: I know it was you who leaked Linton's war committee.
    Toby: Oh... right... erm, it wasn't?
    Malcolm: "It wasn't?" That's what you're gonna say when they come and slip a hood over your head and fly you to Diego Garcia and carry out a cavity search?
    Toby: I don't actually recall... it was a very busy time...
    Malcolm: That's better.
  • In Billy Rose's Jumbo, a 1962 musical comedy set in a circus, Jimmy Durante plays an elephant trainer who tries to sneak his beloved elephant off the circus grounds and is caught red-handed.
    Sheriff: Where are you going with that elephant?
    Durante: (standing in front of the elephant) Elephant? What elephant?
  • Subverted in Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes. The evil, possessed lamp (yes, really) makes the chainsaw turn on and flail around randomly while the son is holding it and covers the daughter's room in crayon graffiti, but while the mother doesn't believe an evil spirit is behind it yet, she still denies the logical explanation that the kids did it.
  • Played for Drama in the Tom Cruise film Valkyrie. His character keeps saying that Hitler is dead, which is the only way operation Valkyrie will fly, becomes more implausible as evidence keeps piling up, up to and including Hitler himself speaking on the radio.
  • There is an independent short film called Eating Out where a man and woman spot a lesbian couple in a bar and have an argument over whether or not they are lesbians. The woman believes they are and the man stubbornly hangs on to his belief that they're not, even when he sees them making out, because "they don't dress like lesbians" and "a lesbian couple can't both be femmes."
  • Subverted in The Shawshank Redemption. Andy's defense is that, on the night that he found out his wife was cheating on him, he got drunk, loaded his gun, drove to the house of his wife's lover (leaving tire tracks and fibers at the scene)... then thought better of it and threw the gun in the river. Then, on the same night, someone else broke into the house and killed them both, using the same caliber gun that he had. Turns out that he was telling the truth, but the jury naturally doesn't buy it.
  • In Duck Soup, Sylvanian spies Chicolini and Pinky are snooping around, both disguised as President Firefly. They're not very good at it.
    Mrs. Teasdale: Your Excellency, I thought you'd left!
    Chicolini: Oh no, I no leave.
    Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
    Chicolini: Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?
  • Much like with the Video Games example below, the movie Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has several instances of this.
    • During Maya Fey's trial, Redd White insists that just because Phoenix had placed him in Mia's office at the exact time as her murder and saw the whole thing, there was no evidence at all that he actually committed the killing. No one in the gallery believes it, but the Judge does have to concede that it's true. Fortunately, he still declares Maya Not Guilty.
    • Near the end of the movie, Manfred von Karma was proven to have been right outside the Evidence Room, at the exact time Gregory Edgeworth was murdered. Von Karma insists that without a motive, there's no support at all for the claim that he had anything to do with the crime. Fortunately Phoenix does find a motive, and von Karma is convicted.
  • Almost Famous: Penny and the other groupies claim they aren't groupies, just fans of the band, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    Jokes 
  • A man visits The Shrink.
    Man: "Doctor, you've got to help me. I think I am actually dead!"
    Shrink: "Come on, it should be obvious that's impossible."
    Man: "No, really, I'm positive I'm dead."
    Shrink: "I see. A question: Do you think that dead people can bleed?"
    Man: "No, they can't."
    Shrink pricks man with a needle, causing him to bleed.
    Shrink: "And, do you still think you are right?"
    Man: "No, doctor, I was wrong: Dead people can bleed!"

    Let's Play 
  • During this episode of Sips' Trouble In Terrorist Town series, Ross from Hat Films tries to deny that he is the traitor, even when his efforts to shoot at the rest and his killing of Trott make it blatantly obvious. Now with fanart.
    Ross: IT'S NOT ME! IT'S NOT ME!
    Smiffy: Why did you start shooting at us, then?
    Smiffy: Nah, it's Ross.
    Ross kills Trott, and then shouts over the chatter from the others.
    Ross: It's not me!
    Smiffy: You were fucking shooting at us!
    Ross: No, it's not me!
    Ross and Smiffy run into each other, and Ross starts shooting at him, continuing to deny that he is responsible all the while. Observing the antics from beyond the grave, Sips is degenerating into helpless laughter.
    Smiffy: FUCK OFF!
    Smiffy goes on to win the round anyway, bringing up the "Innocents Win" message.
    Turps: You RDMing son of a bitch, he said it wasn't him!
    Ross: It wasn't me!
  • When playing Garry's Mod Murder with the rest of the Yogscast, In The Little Wood, due to his being new to the game mode, gives away the fact that he's the murderer by mentioning he can see footprints. His attempts to backpedal do not work at all, with his claiming that he can't be the murderer twice in a row (which is less likely but has happened to many players before) and that he was talking about last round.
  • During this episode of Sips' Garry's Mod Murder, Sips finds that he is the murderer and finally bumps into Hat Films' Smiffy, saying that he is innocent. This doesn't work, because Sips' evil presence is showing. Much like Ross, he continues to deny it over and over again, with the same results. He eventually gives up when he gets his knife back.
  • True to form, on Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane's fourth series of TTT note , Ross does it again, shooting Sips, Duncan Jones (after telling them "poop into mouth", a euphemism for the "Eat Shit" meme that Ross started) and then Lewis. After the alarm is raised due to Ross missing, he continues to deny it, again while firing on the innocents.
    Ross: (after having killed Duncan) Poop into mouth.
    Ross then wanders out, as Lewis enters to discover there's blood everywhere.
    Lewis: Ross? (promptly gets shot at) Ross is shooting at me!
    Ross: No I'm not! I'm not trying to make you eat shit at all! (keeps firing)
    Lewis: It's definitely Ross, he's shooting me!
    Ross: It's not me! It's not me! It's not me! Who is it?
    This sort of exchange goes on for another couple of seconds.
    Lewis: It's Ross!
    Ross: It's not me!
    Lewis: It really is!
    He eventually admits it after the round ends and he and Hannah Rutherford emerge victorious.

    Literature 
  • Several examples from the Discworld series:
    • Carcer in Night Watch would deny he had done anything, even if caught (literally) red-handed. Just like the psychopath entry under real life.
    • Trolls also tend to repeat "I never done nuffin" (They have learned that denying specific things doesn't work as well.) when they suspect they may be in trouble. Coalface is quite emphatic in this regard.
    • Detritus is the king of this. No of course he didn't nail that troll up by the ears for being the kind of scumbag that sells drugs to kids. Now, if you'll excuse him, he needs to go hide that hammer in his locker.
    • And then there's the inversion of "Done It" Duncan, who confesses to every single crime ever committed, even if it's completely impossible for him to have committed it.
    • In Unseen Academicals, the giant ever-burning candle known as the Emperor did not go out. Smeems says so, and is quick to correct Nutt when his assistant's vision shamelessly deceives him to make him believe it did.
    • In Jingo Vetinari denies that he can speak Klatchian right after he's translated everything the Klatchians on the ship are saying. Since he's talking to Colon and Nobby, it works. (He also later claims to not be able to juggle or do street magic after performing a masterful piece of street theatre, though he also claims that merely managing Ankh-Morpork is more of a balancing act than any juggling.)
  • Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land. The President and his advocates do this all the time; none of the significant characters actually BELIEVE them, but plenty of them find accepting the lie more profitable and useful than calling them on it. Back to that first entry under Truth in Television, below...
  • Natalia in The Tiger's Wife refuses point-blank to admit that she knew in advance that her grandfather was terminally ill, even though her grandmother knows perfectly well that Natalia knew, and is begging her to admit it.
  • There is a story told about the possibly fictional, possibly real Mulla Nasreddin (the Muslim World's Trickster Archetype):
    • A neighbour came to the gate of Mulla Nasreddin's yard. The Mulla went to meet him outside. "Would you mind, Mulla," the neighbour asked, "lending me your donkey today? I have some goods to transport to the next town." Having heard that that particular man was occasionally rather harsh with his own donkeys, the Mulla didn't feel inclined to lend out the animal to that him, however. So, not to seem rude, he answered: "I'm sorry, but I've already lent him to somebody else." All of a sudden the donkey could be heard braying loudly behind the wall of the yard. "But Mulla," the neighbour exclaimed. "I can hear it behind that wall!" "Who do you believe," the Mulla replied indignantly. "The donkey or your Mulla?"
  • In Hidden Talents, a kid known as "Torchie" insistently denies that he was responsible for those odd fires that keep breaking out all over the place whenever he's around. Justified, as Torchie isn't intentionally starting them... he's a pyrokinetic with a case of Power Incontinence.
  • The Freys verge on this in A Song of Ice and Fire after their Moral Event Horizon; No, no! Robb Stark and all his retainers weren't led into a trap and savagely murdered while protected by guest right! Robb turned into a werewolf! A really big one! And then started murdering HIS OWN BANNERMEN and the Freys he'd come to make amends with For the Evulz, apparently! A few characters suspect that since everyone already knows what really happened they're doing it this way just to dare someone to disagree.
  • In Robert Arthur's short story "Obstinate Uncle Otis", the main character is described as having "a lack of faith that can un-move [mountains]", including denying that a barn obstructing his view exists... and it instantly doesn't.
  • In Dave Barry Slept Here, the mystery of the missing oil in the Teapot Dome Scandal is solved when Albert Fall is caught trying to board an ocean liner with a suitcase filled with 3.256 trillion barrels of petroleum products. Fall claimed that this was a "gift" from a "friend."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Spoofed in the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Corporal Punishment". As his Bumbling Sidekick Baldrick is being called to the stand to testify in Captain Blackadder's trial, Blackadder tells him to "deny everything." First question:
    George (as Blackadder's attorney): You are Private Baldrick?
    Baldrick: No!
    George: ...Oh. Um... But you are Captain Blackadder's batman?
    Baldrick: No!
    Blackadder: (headdesks)
    George: Come on, Baldrick, can't you be a bit more helpful? It's me!
    Baldrick: No, it isn't!
    • Also from the same episode is Blackadder's description of his lawyer's most famous case. "I remember Massingbird's most famous case, the case of the bloody knife. A man was found next to a murdered body, he had the knife in his hand, thirteen witnesses that seen him stab the victim, when the police arrived he said, "I'm glad I killed the bastard." Massingbird not only got him off, but he got him knighted in the New Year's Honors list, and the relatives of the victim had to pay to have the blood washed out of his jacket."
  • A Running Gag in the dentist/spy sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus: "There is something going on here!" "No, there isn't!"
    • And, of course, no one should forget the Dead Pining For the Fjords Parrot Sketch.
      • Which was once beautifully subverted in a stage version that took full advantage of the sketch's over-familiarity: after building up to the lengthy Implausible Deniability that forms the sketch's core, the shopkeeper amiably agrees with the customer, and gives him a full refund and a few holiday coupons to compensate.
      • John Cleese has mentioned, as an early memory of recognizing something as absurd, a teacher who told his class a story about an ancient Greek wrestler who "won" a match by not letting go of his opponent even after he himself had died. The idea being that if you just never give up, you can't possibly lose.
      • The Dead Parrot sketch is loosely based on a Car Salesman sketch that Michael Palin had previously done with Graham Chapman in How To Irritate People. And that was based on a Real Life encounter Palin had with a car salesman who "had an excuse for everything" and refused to admit that there was anything wrong with a car, even as it fell apart in front of him.
    • There's also a sketch in which Graham Chapman insists he can fly while hanging from a very visible wire. And the Argument Clinic sketch dips in and out of this.
      • No it doesn't!
    • The smuggler sketch. The smuggler continues to dig himself deeper with his continued denials of having done anything. The joke being the customs officer continues to question the smuggler only to instantly believe he's not the smuggler, even as he shows what he's smuggling.
    • And of course their "Politicians - An Apology":
    "We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government, [...] Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive. We are sorry if this impression has come across."
  • Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers did it quite a bit. At one point, Manuel was semi-conscious in a laundry hamper with one arm sticking out and this exchange occurs:
    Bystander: There's someone in there!
    Basil: No, there isn't.
    Bystander: Yes, there is, I just saw him moving!
    Basil: No, you didn't.
    • Manuel does it too: "I know nothing!"
  • In the first episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, a man accused of killing a woman with his car just starts repeating "I was drinking" over and over, to the point where it becomes creepy in itself.
  • This is how Father Ted worked up the courage to kick Bishop Brennan up the backside. It actually works, until Bishop Brennan discovers this gigantic photo of Ted doing it that Dougal had been told to have commissioned.
  • Part of the Catherine Tate character Lauren Cooper's shtick is denying embarrassing situations (like being blown off by the guy she likes, or being left at the altar by the same) moments after they happened, in front of the people who witnessed them.
    Liese: But you were excited!
    Lauren: But I wasn't though.
    Liese: But you got up and did a dance, mate!
    Lauren: Yeah, I was gonna do that anyway.
  • Very common in the WWE, and TNA. What makes it worse, is that their websites tend to side with the Rudo's lies and exaggerations, so a fan who didn't actually watch the event may believe them.
  • Played for laughs in Red Dwarf, in the episode "Me^2". Lister breaks into the Rimmers' room to steal Rimmer's diary, whereupon the Cat emerges from a closet, wearing a suitably gaudy and over-the-top outfit, and turning towards the camera and shielding his face from Lister, says:
    Cat: Did you see him clearly? Could you spot him in a parade? I don't think so. I could've been anybody.
  • Happens in various episodes of Strangers with Candy, but most notably in the last one, when contractors deny that the school is being closed and replaced with a strip mall even as they tear down classrooms and build stores, a Cinnabon, etc. Of course, they get away with it since Principal Blackman and the teachers are powerless to do anything.
  • Paul Merton: The Series had a character doing a monologue explaining how he'd been falsely accused of a murder, but the evidence was so against him that he never had a chance: "Sure, the cops found me standing over the guy with a smoking pistol in my hand — sure, sure. Sure, I had the motive. I had the opportunity. I even remember killing him! But you must believe me, I didn't do it."
  • Glee, or specifically Sue Sylvester, did this when her leaking of the New Directions set list to the opposing glee clubs.
    Principal Figgins: Sue, the directors, both from the Jane Addams Academy and Haverbrook School for the Deaf, have informed me that you gave them the New Directions' set list.
    Sue: You have no proof.
    Figgins: The set lists were on Cheerios' letterhead.
    Sue: I didn't do it.
    Figgins: They say, "From the desk of Sue Sylvester."
    Sue: Circumstantial evidence.
    Figgins: They're written in your handwriting!
    Sue: Forgeries.
    Figgins: Sue, there is an Orgy of Evidence stacked against you!
    Sue: Well, you've clearly made up your mind not to be impartial in this case.
  • Supernatural, "Swan Song". In plain view of everyone, Castiel hits Michael with flaming sacred oil.
    Lucifer: [incredulous] Did you just molotov my brother with holy fire?
    Castiel: Um... no.
  • iCarly, in "iHave My Principals":
    Sam: I haven't done one bad thing this week!
    Mr. Howard: Oh, please! I know you put that big snapping turtle in the teachers' toilet.
    Sam: You got it on video?
    Mr. Howard: ...no.
    Sam: Then I didn't do it.
  • 30 Rock: "The roof is leaking!" "No, it isn't. There was a study."
  • Barney of How I Met Your Mother does this regularly.
    • Barney will alternatively be the only one to tell the truth while everyone else uses one blatant lie after another.
      Robin: Plus the show's not half bad, right?
      Marshal: Totally!
      Barney: Never seen it.
      Robin: Have you guys ever watched it?
      Lilly: Of course!
      Barney: Never seen it.
      Robin: Really? What is your favorite segment?
      Ted: Weather.
      Barney: Never seen it.
      Robin: You guys have never seen my show.
      All: Sorry.
      Barney: It's what I've been saying.
      • Subverted in that case - because he's the only one that had actually seen it, and watches it regularly, as revealed later.
    • A straighter example occurs when Barney tells Ted that GNB plans to get the residents of the Arcadian Hotel to move out by filling the place with snakes... then immediately saying "I don't recall saying 'snakes'." when questioned. He keeps mentioning or alluding to them and then denying it. Ted then does the same thing while talking to Zoey when he switches sides on the issue.
  • After a magician's trick goes horribly wrong in Americas Got Talent, he claims it was all part of the illusion—making the audience think about what they're seeing. Apparently seeing the hidden third assistant (he "only had two" assistants) and dropping a cloth, revealing the middle section of an assistant that had been "removed" is all part of the show.
  • Many American Idol contestants hideously fail their audition and immediately claim they were really "punking the judges."
  • In an episode of Friends, Phoebe tries to sneak a dog out of Monica's apartment in her handbag, but someone asks why her bag is moving. First she denies that it's moving, then says it's just her knitting. When the dog pokes its head out of the bag, she says, "Yes, I knit this. I'm very good."
  • On All That whenever a customer would point out a visible mistake Ed made at Good Burger, he would reply, "Ah... no."
  • A sort of inversion happened on an episode of Danger Man when John Drake was pretending to be a member of a certain organization in order to infiltrate their headquarters. (I don't remember the name of the guy he was pretending to be so I'll say it's "Roger Smith.") In the middle of the episode he's about to be introduced to a man (another name I don't remember, so I'll call him "Peter Jones") who is Roger Smith's oldest friend. Knowing his cover's about to be blown, upon meeting him Drake immediately insists "You're not Peter Jones!"
  • Saturday Night Live: Martin Short's Amoral Attorney character Nathan Thurm does an alternate version of this: instead of sticking to his guns in the face of insurmountable wrongness, he just switches positions and expects to get away with it ("I know that! Don't you think I know that?").
  • South of Nowhere opened one time with Ashley trying to sneak out of her girlfriend Spencer's room only to run into Spencer's mother at the bottom of the stairs. Spencer, thinking on her feet, belted out: "Ashley, when did you get here?!"... while standing at the top of said stairs.
  • Green Wing: This is a rather large part of Dr Alan Statham's character, especially when it comes to his "secret" relationship with Joanna. No, dove, there is no method of checking for broken bones which involves sucking on people's toes.
  • The Goodies: In "Scoutrageous", Graeme and Bill have been terrorising the country as 'the Lone Scout, Plus One'. When they are finally cornered by Tim and the Salvation Army, Tim orders them to take off their masks. Upon seeing their faces, Tim lets out a shocked "It was you all along!". Graeme and Bill look sheepish and Bill mutters "No". Tim then says "Oh well, that's alright then" and starts to leave.
  • Pixelface: When Claireparker asks Rex if he's tearing out pictures of apples from a book and eating them again, Rex answers "No!" through a mouthful of paper.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: It's obvious from the first episode he's in that Garak has government connections, knowledge of terrorist operations and experience with covert activities, but he insists on denying that he's a spy. Even after Dr Bashir has met the person who recruited him into the Obsidian Order, Garak continues to deny he was ever a member. After the first three years of the show, he does eventually drop the pretence.
    Garak: "My dear doctor, I am no more a spy than you are a..."
    Bashir: "Doctor?"
    • One memorable example happened in "Second Skin", where Garak is tagging along with Sisko and the crew of the Defiant to rescue Kira from Cardassia Prime. When they're intercepted by a Cardassian ship and about to get busted, Garak hails the Gul captaining it, rattles off a complex military code, orders the Gul to turn back, erase his records and not mention this to anyone..and he does. When Sisko mentions he's impressed, what does Garak say?
      Garak: Oh, that's just something I heard while hemming some trousers.
  • On Malcolm in the Middle, Lois pulls out of the Lucky Aide parking lot and immediately gets pulled over for cutting someone off. Having just had an unpleasant encounter with the same officer in the store, she thinks he's simply out to get her, and plans on fighting the ticket she gets. Malcolm later uncovers a security tape showing that Lois did indeed cut someone off. Her response? "The tape is wrong." Of course it turned out later that the guy she cut off had just finished making an illegal U-turn, making it his fault, but Lois didn't know that at the time.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, for most of the series the Vulcans repeatedly stick to their assertion that because the Vulcan Science Directorate decreed the concept of time travel as illogical, it's not possible, even when confronted with the rather frankly astonishing amount of evidence that it is!
    • Best demonstrated in "Future Tense", where T'Pol repeats this assertion when confronted with a human corpse that possesses DNA that indicates that their ancestors was a Vulcan, something impossible both medically and because both species have only been in contact with each for the past 90 years. Furthermore, he was found in a pod with no apparent engines, emits radiation that causes time to loop in the vicinity and is Bigger on the Inside. Despite this, she maintains it's definitely not from the future!
  • Nuremberg:
    • Gestapo chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner's entire strategy of legal defense is to deny everything he's done and everyone who claims that he engaged in war crimes as a liar, even when the prosecution presents him with incontrovertible evidence and multiple witness testimonies to prove it.
    • There's a moment where Hermann Goering is presented with the document which he sent to SS General Reinhard Heydrich to organize the Holocaust, but he still claims that this doesn't mean that the SS had anything to do with it. The entire courtroom does a double take from the blatant untruth of this statement, and even Goering himself has an Oh, Crap expression when he realizes what he just said.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In one episode, Will masquerades as Ashley's father for a parent teacher conference (as she neglected to tell her real father that she switched to a public school rather then a private one). It goes over well at first but Will get attracted to the teacher and tries to flirt with her. The teacher then notices Will's mustache.
    Teacher: That's a fake mustache!
    Will: No it's not.
    Teacher: (rips it off) Yes it is!
    Will: N-No it's not!
    Teacher: (To Ashely) I don't know what's going on, but I'm calling your real father right now!
    Ashely: Will!
    Will: No it's not!
  • This is the entire point of the character Sir Geoffrey Norman MP from The Fast Show

    Music 
  • "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy. The evidence against the cheating character in the song includes marks the other woman left on his shoulder, videotape showing the two in the act of cheating, and his girlfriend being either in the house or in the room. In the bridge before the last chorus, the other singer decides to just admit he cheated and apologize, even calling out Shaggy's excuses as ridiculous ("I've been listening to your reasons / That make no sense at all!").
    • Interestingly, this has resulted in the concept of the "Shaggy Defense", which goes "It wasn't me", no matter how implausible that statement is. (Originated from press coverage of the 2008 trial of R. Kelly, and has since spread to legal circles because there wasn't a simple term for such a defensenote .)
  • "That's My Story" by Collin Raye. Similar to the Shaggy song, the singer sticks to his story of spending the night in his hammock, even in the face of his wife pointing out that she took it down a week earlier, then breaks down and apologizes... for having spent the night playing poker with his friends, with no women around, nuh-uh.
  • Apparently a chronic habit of the girl from verse three of C+C Music Factory's "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm". Either that, or she honestly doesn't know the definition of "virgin".
  • "Not About You" by Jonathan Coulton. The entire song is a very contradictory attempt to claim that "this one is not about you!" Kind of like an inverse "You're So Vain".
  • The traditional folk song "Seven Drunken Nights" concerns a man who stumbles home every night from the pub to find evidence of his wife's infidelities. His wife keeps coming up with even more implausible explanations ('that's not someone's horse, it's a clothes rail'), finally culminating with 'that's not someone else's head on a pillow, it's a baby'. In some versions there are two more after that, including a man's naked but hanging out of a sheet being a pumpkin and a naked lover fleeing after 3 AM being English.
  • Gian-Carlo Menotti's opera Martin's Lie is all about this.
  • Used by The Lonely Island at the end of "Like A Boss"
    Interviewer: So that's an... average day for you, then?
    Boss: No doubt.
    Interviewer: "You chop your balls off and die!?
    Boss: Hell yeah.
    Interviewer: And I think you said something about sucking your own dick?
    Boss: Nope.
    Interviewer: Actually, I'm pretty sure you did.
    Boss: Naw, that ain't me.
    • And then there's "No Homo", where the things the dudes say get more and more blatantly homosexual as the song continues. They insist they're straight throughout, despite lyrics like...
    Jorma: No homo but I wanna dress up like Dorothy, and buttfuck a dude while he 69s Morrissey!
  • "Passive Vengeance" by Psychostick "HOW CAN YOU PROVE IT WAS ME?!"
  • Fillmore East, June 1971 by Frank Zappa has two tracks, "What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?" and "Do You Like My New Car?", where some groupies deny being groupies, despite all evidence to the contrary.
    Mark: H-HEY! listen! hey, listen to me tellin ya: we are not groupies!
    Howie: Naw, I never.. I never said...
    Mark: We are not groupies! you better understand that!.. I told Robert Plant, I told Elton John, I told all those big guys...
    Mark: Robert Plant? !
    Howie: We are not groupies!
    Mark: No, I never...
    Howie: Roger Daltrey never laid a hand on me!
    Mark: Yaw.. its obvious to see why... listen, I never...
    2nd girl: Howie
    1st girl: Tell him! tell him right now!
    2nd girl: We only like musicians for f-friends. you know?
    Girls ': Real straight arrow, Howie, really... just for friends, Howie...
    2nd girl: But we still like you yeah.. we wouldnt mind coming in your bus, but...

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At the first Wrestlemania, Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik won the tag titles after Sheik hit one of their opponents in the head with their manager Freddie Blassie's trademark cane behind the referee's back. When questioned about it after the match, not only did Blassie deny that it happened that way, he also denied owning a cane to begin with.

    Religion and Mythology 

    Theatre 
  • Played with (albeit in hypothetical situations) in "Picture This" in The Pajama Game where the secretary paints increasingly explicit scenes implying that the supervisor's wife is cheating on him, but after each, telling him that despite all indications to the contrary, he should trust her.
  • Also played with in the second act of Richard Wagner's Siegfried, where after tasting a few drops of Fafner's blood the titular hero not only can understand the bird's singing, but also hears what Mime thinks instead of what he says, thus immediately seeing through his lies. Thus the audience hears Mime telling Siegfried: "I only want to chop off your head a little."
  • In Chicago, the denial is made by a cheating boyfriend while he's still in bed with two other women: "Who you gonna believe, your own eyes or me?"
    • Roxie is packed off to the women's block in Cook County Jail, inhabited by Velma and other murderesses ("Cell Block Tango") ...not that they would admit it. Such highlights include:
    "I fired two warning shots into his head."
    "Y'know, some guys just can't hold their arsenic"
    "He ran into my knife ten times."
    "I completely blacked out, I can't remember a thing"

    Video games 
  • In Paper Mario, when Mario examines a closet in the final area (Peach's Castle, being held up by Bowser's floating fortress), a Toad that was hiding there will jump out and say "Nothing here but us clothes."
  • In the fluff of Outpost Two, an university student meets his professor with a hearty greeting and a smile, ignoring the fact that the professor's office is filled with aerogel. And that the student is embedded in the stuff up to his waist and is hanging horizontally in the doorway.
  • In Baldur's Gate you can undertake a burglary for the thieves' guild. The house's owner wakes up when you tamper with his treasure box (in his bedroom) but since he's half asleep, you convince him that you're "just the cat" and he goes back to sleep. Tamper with it again, and he'll wake up again and realize that he doesn't have a cat - so you tell him you're actually a stray that got in. At no point do you actually act like a cat, and he buys your escalating lies every time - you can't actually get caught on that quest.
  • This is a favorite tactic among witnesses in Ace Attorney. Somehow it always works two or three times.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, the bandit leader Gerad repeatedly denies being your old teammate Edgar, despite that he talks like Edgar, looks like Edgar (with dyed hair), and his name is "Edgar" with the letters jumbled up. And your party likely contains Sabin, who would probably recognize his brother even with a proper disguise. On the other hand, the moment he's regained the castle and the bandits have left, he'll act like he never tried to disguise himself to begin with. Turns out he was just trying to fool the bandits, who are apparently just that gullible.
  • In one scene in Little Busters!, Kyousuke says something that seems to indicate he has feelings for Riki right after Riki admitted mentally that he likes Kyousuke but denied it outwardly. Riki slowly grows bright red, as Masato points out with glee. Riki claims that he just probably has a cold or something.
  • In BioShock Infinite, try shooting one of the Lutece twins in the face. They will mock you for missing.
    • Justified due to the reveal that they are in a state of Quantum Immortality and possess some degree of reality warping abilities as a result. Thus, their continued existence is because they can both manipulate the bullet and because from their perspective, you always miss!
  • In Mass Effect 2, the typical Council response to Shepard's warnings about the Reapers during the first two games, which continues even after Sovereign's attack on the Citadel at the end of the first.
    Councillor Sparatus: Ah yes, "Reapers!" The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in Dark Space. We have dismissed that claim.
  • According to the police officer in the intro to The Walking Dead, every criminal he's driven to prison pleads their innocence. One man in particular, despite having been caught in the act of murdering his wife, was so emphatic that he was practically throwing a tantrum.
  • In Simon the Sorcerer the white haired old men with robes, pointy hats and mystical staves come up with increasingly ridiculous excuses to try to pass themselves off as simple country bumpkins. The only way to get them to admit that they are wizards is to point out to them that the player's cursor identifies them as such.
  • During the summer of 2014, this happened all over the forums for League of Legends. The Tribunal, the usual player-run system of banning, had to be taken down for extended maintenance. In its place, the Player Behavior team rolled out a series of new disciplinary systems that could escalate particularly toxic players to high-level bans very quickly, instead of the several months that the old Tribunal would take to permanently ban a seriously toxic player. The old Tribunal included Reform Cards, logs of the toxic behavior that got a person banned, but since the Tribunal was down they weren't available. In the interest of transparency, Lyte, the head of the Player Behavior team, offered to provide chat logs to any banned player who requested them, publicly on the game's forums if so desired. This resulted in dozens of cases where complete psychopaths would claim that they were banned in error and that they were victims of a system gone haywire, only for Lyte to post chat logs that would make Marshall Mathers circa 2003 blush. Immortalized in this Penny Arcade strip.

    Webcomics 
  • "Extra-dimensional imps! That's how this happened!" Foe Yay denial in Super Stupor.
  • Black Mage is willing to deny doing anything wrong in 8-Bit Theater. Even if caught stuffing a child's corpse into a garbage can.
  • Early on in The Order of the Stick, this was a character trait of Haley. In one strip she denies having stolen a healing potion from Belkar, even though she is standing there holding the empty bottle. He falls for it.
    • Shortly afterward she is sent to scout a room alone. When the others arrive they find that a statue is missing the gems it had for eyes, two goblins have been killed (with Haley's trademark green arrows), the lock of a treasure chest has been picked (and has one of her hairs snagged on it), and Haley now possesses a huge sack of treasure labeled "Haley's Loot". Needless to say, she claims everything was this way when she got here, and that the bag contains "Feminine products."
    • In one of the prequel books she awakens a guard while stealing a large diamond. She is able to convince him that he is still asleep and that she is just a rather Freudian dream.
    • As usual, it's all justified by the universal handwave of RPG Mechanics Verse. As any D&D player will tell you, get your Bluff skill high enough and you can make anything stick.
      • A recent page emphasizes this by having Haley take a potion that gives her a large bonus to her bluff skill. She manages to convince a series of guards that "you don't see or hear us", "you don't work here anymore", and "you're actually a yellow-footed rock wallaby". She even convinces Elan that Roy respects his opinions!
      • As Bluff defaults to Charisma, Haley has an advantage over 9 out of 10 of the population. Fridge Logic: why don't hot evil chicks run the entire setting?
    • And then there's the Knights and Knaves puzzle, where one guy cannot speak the truth. So when Haley solves the problem by shooting one of them (who happens to be the truthful one), the liar says "She did not just shoot you, and I totally expected it!".
  • In xkcd, Black Hat Guy insists that the Twin Towers are still standing.
  • A dumpster full of Jeremy's stuff in Platinum Grit was pushed into the lake by ghosts. That's Nils' story and she's sticking by it.
  • The main shtick of the Man In Black from Irregular Webcomic! is applying this to his job of covering up the existence of aliens. His first appearance had him claiming aliens do not exist...to a group of Martians. Believe it or not, his later attempts have gotten more ludicrous.
  • Evil bear from Bear Nuts does this a lot.
    • Most notable, I think, being when Evil bear is turning a kid around on a spit, and Prozac exclaims, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?". Evil bear says, "....nothing", and then proceeds to keep turning the handle.
  • Bob and George: Definately not Proto Man.
  • Gary from Ménage à 3 is not exactly an accomplished liar:
    Gary: (to Yuki) YOUR DAD IS TAKERU "TENTACLE KING" OYAMA?! THE PREMIER TENTACLE HENTAI ARTIST OF THE DOUJIN WORLD?! (catches Yuki's look) I... I mean... I have no idea who that is.
    • In a later strip, when Zii nibbles Gary's earlobe:
      Zii: D'you just cream your-
      Gary: No, but on an unrelated topic, I need to go shower right away.
  • The current story arc in David Reddick and Jason Williams' Barwench Tales deals with psychotic barwench Sarah, a girl whose attitude to customer service generally involves letting them live afterwards, attempting to deny responsibility for a corpse with a great big wound in his back - while she is holding the bloody knife. The story is currently stalled, but may be picked up here.
  • El Goonish Shive: Susan tries to claim her hair just spontaneously changed color. Nanase calls her out on it but Susan stands by her claim while acknowledging its ridiculousness. Ironically, while Susan was lying, Nanase's own hair does spontaneously change color at a later date as a side-effect of her magic burnout.

    Web Originals 
  • In A Very Potter Musical, Fudge refuses to believe that Voldemort is back even as Voldemort is killing him.
  • The Nostalgia Critic went through this when reviewing Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, after Optimus Prime dies.
    NC: And I'm just like, "He's not dead, he's not dead, no no no, he's not dead" (rocks back and forth, crying and/or screaming) "PRIME!"
  • Mitadake High. The video tapes. They're not 100% accurate: one is correct, the other is just a random possible color, and there's no knowing which is which. But when there's only one person in game with a hair color mentioned on either tape and they still deny it...
    • Of course, some people only look at one tape, and go after one person with that hair color because they haven't seen anybody else with that color hair. That person is very likely NOT the killer.
  • In Thalia's Musings, Thalia tries this with Apollo when he asks for an explanation of the noise from a Wild Teen Party. She claims her sisters are just singing each other to sleep - with a parody of ''Tik Tok''.
  • In Marik Plays Bloodlines part 6, while freaked out by Mel Gibson attacking him, Marik admits that he's gay. After calming down, the first thing he says is that Bakura couldn't possibly have heard any of that yelling he was just doing. When it becomes obvious he did, Marik claims it was the ghost. Somehow. Bakura doesn't push it much, but probably only because he knows it's a lost cause.
  • Ultra Fast Pony:
    • In "Fillin' Them Plot Holes, Bro!", Twilight insists that they haven't arrived at the castle yet, even though they're standing inside it.
    • In "The Butts Family", Applejack insists that her new tree is not, in fact, Rarity's tree which was recently stolen. The name "Rarity" carved into the new tree's trunk? Anyone named Rarity could have carved that.
    • In "Faith to Faith":
    Twilight: Maybe because Rainbow Dash peed in the water supply!
    Rainbow: Hey, you can't prove that was me!
    Twilight: You admitted doing it five minutes ago!
    Rainbow: Yeah, but maybe I can't prove that was me?
    Twilight: We saw you do it six minutes ago!
    Rainbow: Fluttershy told me to do it!
    • In "Pirate Shipping":
    Sweetie Belle: You know, the recipe for this [love potion] looks a lot like the same one they use to make alcohol.
    Scootaloo: <Are you sure this is a good idea?>
    Apple Bloom: Of course! Why wouldn't it be?
    Sweetie Belle: You know, you could almost say it's exactly the same as what they use to make alcohol.
    Scootaloo: <I'm still not sure...>
    Apple Bloom: Trust me, it will be fine!
    Sweetie Belle: It even has "alcohol" written in brackets next to it.
  • In Pony Dot Mov: When the cops bust in on fluttershy killing rainbow dash with a chainsaw Fluttershy says "this....isn't what it looks like?" At which point the corpse falls in two.
  • In Death Note The Abridged Series (Kpts4tv) L proves that Light is obviously Kira (but no one on the taskforce cares):
    Light: But it was the only paper I could find... whoops I mean Sayu could find!
    • Also:
    Light (after calling for the guy's blood moments before): Oh right, cover... Dad, you idiot! We needed him alive!
    • Night Vale city officials are prone to this:
    • Trish Hidge of the mayor's office once held a press conference in front of a brightly painted truck for the purpose of denying said truck existed. Most questions involved pointing at the truck. She later admitted that the conference was held for the purpose of practicing her denial skills. Then denied this.
    • The City Council declared that the waterfront pier they decided to build in the middle of a barren desert had not been built, and that they would not, of course, have been stupid enough to waste colossal amounts of money on any such thing. The entire town had simply had a mass hallucination that caused them to believe that a waterfront pier was being built, and any citizen who can still see the pier standing uselessly should dismiss it as evidence that they aren't over their hallucination yet. Of course, this is Night Vale, and frankly less believable things have happened.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs (naturally) in Family Guy episode "The Fat Guy Strangler". Lois absolutely refuses to admit that her long-lost brother Patrick could possibly be a killer. Even when Brian shows her Patrick's room, which is covered with pictures of him strangling fat people and a dead fat guy on the floor. When she tries to explain away the half-dead fat guy who outright says "Patrick tried to kill me", Brian yells at her and she finally admits it.
    • When Lois wanted Peter to take out the garbage, he explained on the phone that work kept him late. When she told him that the caller ID said he was calling from the house and she could even see him, Peter moved out of view. He then said "Can you see me now? Then I'm at the office."
    • Also when Brian tells Peter that he is a terrible liar, there is a cutaway to Peter and one other person in an elevator; Peter farts and then exclaims "It was you".
    • Inverted in "Sibling Rivalry" when Peter is caught with his pants down, embracing a bag of fat from Lois' liposuction:
    Peter Griffin: This is exactly what it looks like.
  • In Futurama, Bender tries this a lot. When he gets caught by mall security trying to sneak stuff out under his sweater (also stolen):
    [Cans of oil spill onto the floor. Every security camera focuses on him and the police arrive.]
    Bender: Now officers...
    [More cans hit the floor]
    Bender: I know this looks bad...
    [More cans]
    Bender: I'm sure there's a very...
    [Even more cans]
    Bender: I said...
    [Cans]
    Bender: There's a very...
    [Cans]
    Bender:...reasonable...
    [One final clatter]
    Bender: ...explanation.
    Zoidberg: Fry did it!
  • The Simpsons episode "Bart Gets Famous": When Bart accidentally destroys Krusty the Clown's set in front of a live audience, his attempt to deny it spawns the Catch Phrase "I didn't do it".
    • A first-season episode has him "I didn't do it ... Nobody saw me do it ... You can't prove anything," when Marge brings up a letter she's been given from a teacher. Ironically, the letter was about Lisa.
    • And when he accidentally destroys the class aquarium trying to do a yo-yo trick, with the string still tied to his finger.
    • Plus the time he uses a grass-killing chemical to write his name in the school lawn in giant letters.
    Bart: Maybe it was one of the other Barts.
    Skinner:: THERE ARE NO OTHER BARTS!
    • In "Whacking Day", after Bart gets expelled from Springfield Elementary, Marge decides to home-school him. As she's setting up a classroom in the garage, Bart throws a paper airplane that gets lodged in her trademark beehive hairdo, and promptly claims "I didn't do it" even though he's the only other person there.
    • One of the recurring Mafiya characters is Johnny Tightlips, who denies pretty much everything; at one point he's shot and even resists his fellow mafioso's attempt to get him medical aid (which may have been inspired by Frank Gusenberg; see Real Life below).
    Fat Tony: Did you have a nice flight, Johnny Tightlips?
    Johnny Tightlips: I ain't sayin' nothin'.
    Fat Tony: I understand. So how is your mother?
    Johnny Tightlips: Ooey, who says I have a mother?
  • Master Shake of Aqua Teen Hunger Force is powered by this. Caught red-handed, caught on tape, he will deny it all. Poorly. If he does admit it, he will lie about his motivation and totally change his story.
    • He will frame other people ahead of time, convincing others that they did something he has not even done yet. Usually Meatwad.
    • Also, Frylock in "Super Birthday Snake." Shake, Meatwad, and Carl all return as zombies after Frylock killed them. When they call him out on it, he repeatedly insists that he didn't kill them, even though they all know he did and they are standing right in front of him as zombies. The "Yes, you did," "No, I didn't," argument goes on for about a minute solid, with everyone's tones changing from scared denial/undead moaning to mild annoyance. For your amusement, seen here.
  • South Park's Randy Marsh has had a few of these. Probably the most ridiculous was in "My Future Self 'n' Me" when trying to convince Stan that his "future self" is real:
    Stan: Well, if he's really my future self, then I can cut my hand off, and his should disappear! (chop)
    Randy: Look over there! (chops off "future self"'s hand) See! His disappeared too!
    Stan: That's funny, I was faking.
    Randy: (picks up severed hand and holds it up to "future self") It was fake in the future too!
    • In the very first episode, Cartman fervently denies that he was abducted and experimented on by aliens, up to this point:
    Stan: Cartman, there's an 80-foot satellite dish sticking out of your ass!
    Cartman: (with an 80-foot satellite dish sticking out of his ass) Sure you guys, whatever!
    • In "Breast Cancer Show Ever", after Cartman gets the crap beat out of him by Wendy, he bawls in fear that all the kids at school now think he is not cool anymore since a girl beat him up. Even though everyone flat out tell Cartman that they never liked him and never thought he was cool at all, Cartman interprets the comments as the complete opposite and he makes himself feel better by lying to himself.
    • Mr. Garrison in the early seasons was a closet homosexual, but when he was questioned about it, he would always deny it. Even when Mr. Garrison went on to write a romance novel, he wound up making it a homo erotic book while claiming it was something all women wanted to see. It wasn't until Mr. Garrison confronted his fears that he finally came out of the closet and admitted he was gay... after a bit more denying, such as insisting when he was watching the men's swim teams, he was only beating off to the chicks, which Garrison's Gay Self reminded him were not there.
  • Used all the time on El Tigre. In one episode, when his father asks what he's up to, Manny replies "Nothing! Uh, helping the poor!", which satisfies his dad until he actually talks to "the poor," who haven't seen Manny today.
    Frida: Aliens!
    Manny: Mind control!
    Frida: Cold and flu season!
    Manny: Yooou're dreeeeaming thiiis!
  • On Squid Billies, Early's father lives and breathes this trope. Faced with the fact that he robbed the same bank 17 times in one day, he will interject "Allegedly!" and launch into a pointless rant. Then he will say something that confirms his action start the same process again. Sometimes he will not even wait for someone to call him out on his "confession" before throwing out "Allegedly!" again.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Candace-2 initially tries this in The Movie when she sees Phineas and Ferb with Phineas-2 and Ferb-2.
    Candace-2: Are there four of you in here? I see nothing. I have Plausible Deniability!
  • The Fairly OddParents: When Timmy creates a new radio persona known as "Double-T in the Morning", Vicky starts looking for him without knowing it's Timmy. When she finds Timmy in the radio station, Timmy says he's not Double-T, despite the flashing neon sign right above his head.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Sweet and Elite", Rarity is caught alternating between Twilight Sparkle's birthday party and a fancy Canterlot garden party held by an influential unicorn when she accidentally brings a croquet mallet from the garden party to Twilight's party, and tries to pull this:
      Rainbow Dash: Uh, what's with the croquet mallet?
      Rarity: (with the mallet in her mouth) What croquet mallet?
    • In "Somepony to Watch Over Me", Applejack finds Scootaloo hiding in Apple Bloom's wardrobe. Scootaloo tries to deny it even though Applejack is looking right at her.
      Applejack: Scootaloo?!
      Scootaloo: Ah, um... n-no.
  • At his trial for a bank robbery, Darkwing Duck villain Tuskernini claims his innocence. Confronted by Darkwing with security footage, five hundred eye witnesses positively identifying him and his own signed confession, he claims the evidence is flimsy. Then he shifts gears and claims Darkwing framed him for the crime.
  • In the first episode of House of Mouse, all the video reels go missing. Who's responsible? Certainly not Pete, because...
    Pete: {placing his hands over his own handprints} My fingerprints here mean nothing. {indicates Horace, who is tied up in a rope that is labeled "Property of Pete"} This isn't my rope, and I don't even know Horace Horsecollar!
    Horace: Hey, Pete!
    Pete: Oh, hi, Horace.
  • In Moral Orel, not realizing that Principal Fakey is cheating on his wife, Orel tells Principal Fakey he's an authority figure, so he must never be wrong. This cures Fakey of his guilt and allows him to blissfully continue to cheat on his wife. He discovers he has Gonorrhea, which he got from Nurse Bendy (she confirms she has it too). He says "I've been as faithful as ever, she must be cheating on me!" . . . as he's having sex with Bendy.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In "Gossamer is Awesomer", Daffy drives through a papier-mâché statue of Gossamer in his parade float, then immediately announces "Winnie Yang did that!".

Hitler Ate SugarAbsurdity AscendantImprobable Antidote
I Was Never HereTruth and LiesInflationary Dialogue
If I Wanted X, I Would YAdministrivia/In-Universe Examples OnlyImpossibly Tacky Clothes
Impersonation ParadoxComedy TropesImpossible Insurance
I'm a Man, I Can't Help ItCharacter Flaw IndexIn Harm's Way
I'm a HumanitarianJust for PunIn the Hood
Contemplating ReikoImageSource/Web ComicsA Love to Dismember

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