Simply put, a phone call in which only one half of the conversation is heard. This trope is sometimes used in conjunction with a Noodle Incident
or Noodle Implements
(see the Saturday Night Live
example below). Repeating so the Audience Can Hear
is typically employed as well.
after Bob Newhart, who used it in his stand-up routines in the 1960s as well as some of his works below.
open/close all folders
- In Dr. Strangelove, we hear President Muffley's side of his call to Soviet Premier Kisov explaining the situation. From the way Muffley has to keep explaining things in simple terms and nudging the conversation back on topic, it's clear that (as the Soviet ambassador warned) Kisov is thoroughly drunk.
- Hell is for Heroes is a 1962 film about WWII GIs who have to hold an outpost until their relief arrives. They occupy an abandoned German pillbox with a microphone linked back to enemy headquarters. Bob Newhart plays an army clerk who makes fake radio reports so the Germans will believe that the squad is bigger than it is. Many of them are quite funny.
- One of the regular skits on GLOW were the Easy As KGB segments, featuring Col. Ninotchka (a typical anti-American Russian wrestler) on the phone with her very stupid subordinate, Vladimir.
- Paul E. Dangerously (a young pre-ECW Paul Heyman) used to regularly carry a cell phone with him at all times in WCW, sometimes talking to someone while a match was in progress. Naturally, only his half of the conversation got shown on TV.
- Lily Tomlin's Ernestine character was a telephone operator. Audiences heard only her half of her conversations.
- Shelly Berman was good at this sort of thing. His most famous bit was The Morning After The Night Before, where he calls his friend after a wild party, and hears about his unremembered drunken behavior.
- Alan Bennett's 'Telegram' sketch, in which he attempts to dictate a telgram he wishes to send to the operator over the telephone and keeps being sidetracked.