Sometimes, someone is singing or playing a musical instrument or a drum
— not to be malicious or anything — and he just WILL. NOT. SHUT. UP, until it finally makes another character yell for him to stop or just start screaming insanely, or lash out in some way. It doesn't necessarily have to be bad
music (though it often is), it's just that it's incessant (or sometimes just in a style the hearer just can't stand to hear) and goes beyond the hearer's point of enduring, and to him it becomes like Nails on a Blackboard
and he just wants it to end. The "madness" is usually figurative and temporary, but can occasionally be literal and permanent.
Related to Big "Shut Up!"
, which is often the outcome. Also related to Dreadful Musician
. Can be related to It Won't Turn Off
. Could be a case of The Thing That Would Not Leave
if this happens inside a person's house. Compare Brown Note
, which is a related trope. (The difference? This trope is when the music is not harmful itself but irritates you to madness; Brown Note is when the music is inherently
harmful.) Also compare Loud of War
, which is this trope done maliciously. Also
compare Hell Is That Noise
. Not to be confused with Ear Worm
, although it could be caused by one. Make it so only one character (or a few) can hear the music, and it becomes a form of Terrible Ticking
Anime & Manga
- In the Cheetos commercial "Piano", a girl and Chester the Cheetos cheetah are repeatedly playing just the beginning of the tune "Chopsticks" over and over. Finally, a guy in the foreground has had enough and says, "Don't you two know anything else?" The girl and Chester look annoyed, then start playing it again — one octave higher.
- In Darker Than Black, Hei's downstairs neighbors practice for their band into the wee hours of nonstop. Averted, in that this never bothered him, either due to his zen-like calm, or the fact that he's generally never home. Un-averted, when he has Kenji Sakurai as a guest, and he complains about the noise.
- This is how Welcome to the NHK starts.
- Cacofonix, the Bard from Astérix qualifies, so much so that this talent is often weaponized.
- The Donald comic Drie Konigen has Donald chased by a The March of the Three Kings, wherever he goes.
- A National Lampoon comic strip had a guy with a downstairs neighbor who had the worst taste in music, who left for a couple of weeks with his phonograph playing Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" - the record started skipping, repeating "owe my soul to" over and over. Nobody could get in and shut it off, and eventually the guy ended up on the street, blank-eyed and chanting "Owe my soul to Tennessee Ernie...Owe my soul to Tennessee Ernie..."
- A tourist visiting deepest Africa becomes ever more maddened by the incessant sound of native drums, about which the natives will only ever say, "Very bad when drumming stops!" About to completely lose it, he finally forces one of them to tell him what happens when the drumming stops. The native replies: "Bass solo."
- Not playing an instrument exactly, but in Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult, one of the main characters is a scientist who studies, well, whale songs. For a while he plays recordings of them at home all the time, until he catches his wife attacking the stereo with a knife because she can't stand to listen to them anymore.
- "Hail Carpathia" becomes musical torture for Chloe Williams when she is held in custody by the Global Community in the Left Behind book Armageddon. She counters this somewhat by singing "Fail Carpathia".
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Qpid", Q turned the bridge crew into Robin Hood and his merry men. Geordie became the Alan a-Dale analog, and kept plucking annoyingly at a lute. Finally Worf had had enough, walked up, snatched the lute and smashed it against a tree (in an homage to the Animal House example above).
- Monty Python's Flying Circus, the Cheese Shop sketch. When John Cleese's character enters, there are some guys playing Greek music and dancing. After several minutes of the annoying music in the background, he turns around and yells, "Will you shut that bloody dancing up!" and they stop playing.
- Mind you, he started out insisting that he "liked a nice tune", and this is after several minutes trying to guess what kind of cheese the shop has (none) displaying saint-like patience all the while. Real Crowning Moment of Funny material.
- Also happens in the Spam sketch.
- One CSI: Crime Scene Investigation case involved a garotted musician. Turned out he was killed by an angry neighbour who couldn't stand the noise.
- This is also the plot of the Bones episode "The Wannabe in the Weeds".
- In the Mash episode "The Smell of Music", Winchester's French horn aggravates BJ and Hawkeye such that they refuse to bathe until he gives it up.
- Norton often did this in The Honeymooners, prompting Ralph to finally yell at him to stop.
- In season 7 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sammy sings in the shower as Larry's trying to sleep, prompting an extremely agitated outburst. 'SHUT THE FUCK UP!'
- Cheri Oteri's appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm was as a mentally unstable nanny who was driven mad by constantly hearing the Looney Tunes theme while working at an amusement park. She sings it constantly and it drives her into a murderous rage.
- "The Song That Never Ends" from Lamb Chop's Play-Along drives Shari Lewis mad.
- In the BBC comedy show, Not the Nine O'Clock News, Gryff-Rhys Jones played a colonial planter, driven to drink by the noise of the jungle, who staggers drunkenly onto the verandah and demands, "Will you shut up! Will this damn noise never end!" The camera pans back, revealing that what we have taken to be the chittering of night insect noise is really 30 or 40 natives, each of whom is playing with a Rubik's Cube...
- In Modern Family, Jay gives Gloria a karaoke machine, and she keeps singing off key, to Jay's dismay. He keeps trying to break it to her gently, but in the end it's Manny who snaps and yells at her to stop. In The Stinger, Jay tries out the karaoke machine, but Manny pulls the plug and warns Jay, "This won't be the last plug I pull".
- As one of the final challenges in the second season of The Mole, the players had to spend the whole night in different hotel rooms suited to their own fears/annoyances. One player was stuck in a room where "Tiny Bubbles" played the entire time. Sometimes half speed, sometimes double speed, sometimes backwards...
- In an episode of Undeclared, a girl played "How Bizarre" by OMC on a portable stereo non-stop for several hours.
- In Weeds, Nancy sang "Polly Wolly Doodle" ad naseum while banging on a pot (no pun intended - probably) when Silas refused to leave his room after breaking up with his girlfriend.
- In one episode of I Love Lucy, Little Ricky takes a liking to the drums. His father is thrilled at first, but Little Ricky won't. Stop. Playing. And. Creating. A. Rhythm. That. They. Find. Themselves. Doing. Everything. To.
- In The Golden Girls, the ladies get back from a long car trip to Atlanta (they live in Miami.) Rose walks in the door singing "Three bottles of beer on the wall..." She gets down to two, then quits and says she going to bed. Dorothy jumps on her about this, "You get all the way to 'two bottles of beer,' then you quit?" Rose cheerfully says, "Drives you nuts, doesn't it?"
- In Scrubs, JD imagines Colin Hay of the band Men At Work singing his song "Overkill" on the sidewalk, while playing a guitar. He starts to follow JD, still singing, showing up in increasingly improbable places, like an elevator and taking the place of a corpse at the morgue. At last Dr. Cox tries to talk to JD while this is going on, loses his temper, and smashes Colin's guitar.
Colin Hay:...I have other songs, you know.
- In a famous (or perhaps infamous) episode of The Gong Show, every single act that came out on stage sang Morris Albert's "Feelings". The judges began fighting over who could gong the act first.
- Maw Maw from Raising Hope will incessantly play "The Chinese Torture Song" (Chopsticks) whenever she gets near a piano.
- On The Big Bang Theory, one night at three in the morning, Sheldon decides to play the bongos, waking Leonard and Penny up. He even turns some of their dialogue into rhythmic chants to go along with his drumming.
Sheldon: Leonard sleeps, while I play bongos!
Leonard: No, no he doesn't.
Sheldon: Leonard no sleep, while I play bongos!
- While Jim is working in Stamford on The Office (US), he and Karen get into a war of this. She creaks her chair back and forth, then he starts to sing "Lovefool".
Love me, love me. Say that you love me. (speaking)
Whatever happened to those guys?
- In The Order of the Stick, Elan often drives his teammates to this.
- S.S.D.D has a strip with a Maytec security officer making a log entry about an increasing number of incidents where base personnel suddenly went berserk and attacked others or Maytec property, while Christmas muzak is playing in the background. Then...
- Bagpipes, for many. (They were used by armies for just that reason, another example of this trope being weaponized.)
- Yodeling, for many. (Also weaponized in Mars Attacks!, but for the Martians it was more of a Brown Note.)
- The Most Unwanted Song combines elements that were revealed in a survey to be the least desirable elements in a song. Answers included extremely high or low voices, child singers, lyrics about cowboys, lyrics about holidays and commercial jingle lyrics; the song therefore includes a soprano rapping about cowboys and children singing holiday-themed jingles advertising Wal-Mart. Extreme length was another turnoff, so it ended up being 22 minutes long.
- There have been several instances where radio stations have a "stop the music" donation for charity, where they'll play a song that is considered annoying on repeat until their goal has been met. (The most common example is MMMBop by Hanson.
- Anyone that's ever known an elementary schooler probably knows this one: "I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves, everybody's nerves, everybody's nerves! I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves and this is how it goes: I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves, everybody's nerves, everybody's nerves! I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves and this is how it goes: I know a song..." 'Repeat until someone smacks you upside the head, or your mom yells at you to stop.