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Current adverts for UK consumer magazine Which?, for instance:
Only Which? use genuinely filthy dogs to test washing machines for pet odour removal. (Beat.) That's actually what we do.
The infamous Canadian Liberal Party attack ads of 2006 used these disclaimers while claiming outrageous things about their opponent Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party; for example, subtly suggesting a future Police State as the Conservative Party plans to bring soldiers (with guns!) into Canadian cities. This went into narm territory with the ads that added "We are not allowed to make this up."
Anime and Manga
In Rurouni Kenshin, when local Bad Ass Saitou Hajime casually mentions that he's married, the manga has a little note in the panel: "This is historical fact."
Made much funnier by the fact that none of the characters can believe anyone would marry Saitou. Kenshin remarks that his wife must have the patience of Buddha.
Used for the in-universe audience in Transmetropolitan, Spider writes about the campaign speech of Hitler Expy Bob Heller for The Word. It's so full of violence and profanity that he felt compelled to append to the end of the report, "I swear I didn't make a word of that up."
Persepolis has this in one scene - where the headmistress yells at the girls' parents for not wearing their veils properly because hair is arousing. Marjanne's dad says "If hair is as arousing as you think, then you should shave your mustache!". Marjanne put in a disclaimer that said "Yes, he really did say that."
The Men Who Stare at Goats has text at the beginning stating "More of this is truer than you would believe." This itself becomes humorous in juxtaposition with the very first scene: a strait-laced man in a strait-laced military uniform with a strait-laced mustache running headlong into a wall and probably concussing himself.
The poster tagline for Charlie Wilson's War reads: "Based on a true story. You think we could make this up?"
I Love You Phillip Morris: The unlikely true story of a gay con man escaping from a Texas prison five times to be reunited with his boyfriend (who he met in prison), becoming the CFO of a major company, faking his own death, and impersonating doctors, lawyers, FBI agents, etc, along the way. Hard to believe, right? So the filmakers begin with this disclaimer in the opening credits: "This really happened. It really did."
The tagline for The Informant! is that it's "based on a true tattle-tale."
Fargo starts with a title screen saying that it's a true story. (The movie is completely fictional, but the Coen Brothers claim that some pieces of it came from various real cases.)
The HBO TV movie The Pentagon Wars has a title card that goes something like "The following story would be a comedy (beat) if it didn't really happen". Imagine you want to make, essentially, an armored Humvee for fast troop transport but your higher-ups kept adding More Dakka to the Cool Car to the point of actually endangering the troops and when your idea is finally made in the way you wanted it to be in the first place you're fired and the dakka-obsessed generals get promoted.
Inverted with the movie about Audie Murphy... starring Audie Murphy. The man was talented a soldier, and they deliberately cut out some of his exploits from the movie believing that not even a "I Did Not Make This Up" disclaimer would be able to make the viewers believe it actually happened.
The original version of D.O.A., during the closing credits, assures us that there is such a thing as "luminous poison" that glows in the dark.
The film Pain and Gain takes many pains to impress upon us that is is a true story, including interrupting a scene in which The Rock is grilling hands on a barbecue grill with the message "This is still a true story."
In the early 1930s, Hollywood studios would take pains to get around the then-emerging Hays Code by including written disclaimers at the beginning of their films insisting that any depiction of controversial social or political conditions was true-to-life (as well as emphasizing that the producers did not condone any of the behavior or attitudes displayed in a particular film). Such a disclaimer was seen at the very beginning of Cabin in the Cotton, an early "social-problem" film (and famously featuring the then-teenaged Bette Davis's first major role), which Warner Bros. was very worried about because it depicted the mistreatment of poor Southern sharecroppers by corrupt plantation owners. The filmmakers claimed that they just wanted to show social conditions as they really were and did not intend to take sides. But the bulk of the story's sympathy obviously lies with the sharecroppers, and Cabin in the Cotton winds up having an ideological slant sufficiently leftist to have made it the first American film to be approved for screening in communist countries.
Günther Wallraff in Ganz Unten ("Lowest of the Low"), exposing the racism and horrible working conditions of the Turkish immigrant workers in German Federal Republic.
In the afterword of Lords of the Bow, the author describes several areas where the novel differed from history — and at the very end, points out that the incident where several thousand young women jumped from the walls of Yenking (now Beijing) to their deaths rather than starve to death during the Mongol siege actually happened.
Mary Beth Bonacci is a Christian lecturer who talks to teenagers about abstinence. In her book, Real Love, she features answers to actual questions from teens about sexuality. One of the questions, essentially, is from a guy who is interested in a girl, and wants to know whether he should ask her out or simply rape her. Bonacci begins her answer with this disclaimer.
"I am not making this up" is a Catch Phrase of humor writer Dave Barry; he even named one of his books Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. Although sometimes he is anyway. On occasion, when he's reporting something genuine but really ridiculous, he'll say something like "I'm pretty sure I must have made this up."
In one column, Steve Mirsky uses the phrase "I'm not kidding, that's the actual plot." after summarizing Dean Koontz's Relentless.
In the Author's Note at the end of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Terry Pratchett points out two plot points from the book that were taken from real life facts or events regarding rats. He also notes, "Most of the true stuff — or, at least, the stuff that people say is true — is so unbelievable that I didn't include it in case readers thought I'd made it up."
Another Discworld example is in The Truth when he mentions in the beginning his research about how cities dealt with flooding problems that inspired Ahnk-Morpork's method is based on the city Seattle, Washington's methods used towards the end of the 19th century.note "Really. Go and see. Try the clam chowder while you're there."
Another example in Nation, where he says that, among other things, a cannon made of whatever was lying around has been used several times in real life.
Inverted in Complete World Knowledge. Each books starts with a reminder that John Hodgman is making this up. Although he has insisted that one blurb on the back of the first book, a letter of praise from a magus of the Church of Satan, is, in fact, genuine, although Hodgman himself is not a Satanist.
Mary Renault wrote in the novel Funeral Games that Alexander the Great's body didn't decompose during the 48 hours following his death even though he had died in Babylon during a heat wave. Critics accused Renault of falling prey to the modern Eastern Orthodox myth of the "incorruptible saint". Renault pointed out in an author's note to the second edition that the story of Alexander's incorruptibility is part of the historical record, and was likely the result of his troops mistaking a profound pre-death coma for actual death. This kind of thing happened all the time with Renault's works, with the critics screeching in rage about things she got right because they weren't in accordance with conventional politically correct (for the 50s) wisdom.
In the "Caveat, and Warning for Travelers" that opens the novel American Gods, Neil Gaiman states the following: "Furthermore, it goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise in this story are fictional or used in a fictional context. Only the gods are real."note Except for that one god who was completely made up for the book.
The opening of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn opens with a fictional "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Although Tom Sawyer is not a real person, the book is told from Huck Finn's perspective, and therefore Tom is real to the narrator (because they are from the same universe). Huck breaks the fourth wall to acknowledge that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth . . . Mary, and the Widow Douglas, is all told about in that book—which is mostly a true book; with some stretchers, as I said before." Given that Tom Sawyer ends with Tom and Huck finding buried gold worth $12,000—which was enough to live on for the rest of your life, with proper management, in the 1860s—guarded by a dead "Injun" murderer, it's little wonder Huck was at such pains to make sure everybody knew it really happened.
Neil Strauss does this at the beginning of The Game. He would have to because no one would believe the crazy events and people that he wrote about in the book.
In the Orphanage / Jason Wander series by Robert Buettner, in the second book Orphan's Destiny, the main character quotes "I am not making this up". It almost has to be a deliberate nod to Dave Barry, as it occurs in Florida and is in reference to orange juice and space-industry politics.
The Mercedes Lackey novel This Sceptered Isle contains one character who moves permanently underhill (elfland) and is replaced by a construct which slowly falls apart in magic-poor england. His "corpse" is then wrapped in lead to hold it together and buried before anyone can look at it. The book's afterward explains that he:
died on the twenty-second of July, in the Palace of St. James, exactly as described in our story. And, as we described, for some unknown reason, though the official cause of death was stated as "consumption," his body was wrapped in lead and buried with almost obscene haste and in great secrecy. ... No one knows why he was treated in this odd fashion, though there has been a great deal of speculation by hundreds of scholars over the years. ... One almost does begin to believe in Sidhe. . . .
1632 ends with a disclaimer about which characters were real, which fictional, and which were fictional but based on a real category of people.
At the end of the Doctor Who New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire, there's an epilogue, in which Benny Summerfield, having finished reading All-Consuming Fireby John Watson, queries the Doctor about such details of Victorian life as using strychnine as a flavouring for beer, and filtering sugar through bull's blood. He assures her they're all true.
Inverted by humorist W. Bruce Cameron in the Final Thoughts of his 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter, with a reference to Dave Barry's disclaimers. He states "So what really happened? I think it would be best for everyone if you regard every single thing you just read as a complete fiction. That's certainly how I see it, anyway."
In another book by WrestleCrapThe Death of WCW, they talk about the show being written "literally" at the last minute. They then insist that they're not being facetious, the show was sometimes written while it was being broadcast live.
In the book Website Creation In Plain English, the author says of a certain ASCII character, "it makes a computer go beep." He then explains he's not making this up and links to That Other Wiki's article on the Bell Character. That's the thing to put on an infinite loop in high school computer science.
Apocryphal stories have grown up about Douglas's superhuman ability to miss deadlines. Upon closer inspection, they all seem to be true.
Political columnist Jim Geraghty's debut novel The Weed Agency applies footnotes to some of the more ridiculous things his Obstructive Bureaucrat characters do as proof that, yes, someone somewhere has actually done these things.
Jonathan Swift begins A Modest Proposal with a long, wordy insistence that he's being completely serious about the titular proposal. Subverted, of course in that this is satirical, but this may be why it flew over so many readers' heads at the time it was written.
Live Action TV
Laverne and Shirley: The 1980 episode "Why Did the Fireman … " saw Lenny and Squiggy attempt to break the news to Laverne that her firefighter boyfriend had been killed in the line of duty. Laverne thinks that the two guys are playing a sick joke, and similarly shouts down Shirley when she also tries to explain that her boyfriend was dead. By episode's end, Laverne's father finally gets her to realize that everyone was telling the truth.
Family Matters: Severa episodes, where Urkel learns that Laura's current boyfriend or potential suitor is up to no good, only for Laura to tell Urkel — in a not-so-nice way, mind you — to get lost forever. In the end, Laura would realize that Urkel was right, either with the boyfriend showing his true colors or another friend confirming Urkel's findings.
The Chaser's War on Everything, known for Gag Subs, did this for their segment on Middle East TV, with the disclaimer "All translations independently verified by the ABC". It included things such as a member of the Egyptian Unique Mustache Association praising Adolf Hitler's mustache (along with his genocide of Jews).
In the Flight of the Conchords documentary A Texan Odyssey, a series of shots of Texans with cowboy hats dancing to country music in a bar is accompanied with the voiceover, "The people you see here are not actors. They're really like that."
The CBBC show Horrible Histories has signs pop up during sketches, to the effect that they're not making up certain historical details. They even do it in the Expository Theme Tune when telling the audience that the show is hosted by a talking rat, although that was dropped after the first series.
This sketch on Victorian-era names has a line at the beginning explaining that all the names are real, and makes special note to put a sign after every single name to reassure the view that they are, in fact, real names. Given how absurd most of them are it's entirely justified.
They also occasionally have signs telling the audience when they are making it up, usually saying something like "This is Silly."
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart will occasionally insist "And this is true" whenever something that actually happened sounded like a joke, due to the show's humorous way of re-telling actual news stories.
Note that the show is fond of the Blatant Lies version, for humor ("This is a real photoand in no way doctored"), but it takes pains to make the two very easy to tell apart, since the Blatant Lies are done in an over the top manner often involving nonsensical things like unicorns and poorly photoshopped photos. So they try to make it easy to distinguish when they're making a joke or listing serious facts.
The Soup uses similar disclaimers ("We did not doctor this, it really happened!") when showing real television clips that are uncomfortably close to the kind of satirical videos the show sometimes airs. See for example Spaghetti Cat.
British TV has a show, The Bubble, around this trope: four celeb guests are kept incommunicado for a week, then brought on stage and asked to guess which of a collection of news items really happened while they were out of touch and which are made up. They rarely do better than blind guessing.
Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill, provides commentary in the DVD release of the miniseries adaptation. He says "this really happened" for a few of the more ridiculous-looking events, notably when Corporal Person has a moment of Casual Danger Dialog where he calmly gets out of his vehicle and stands out in the open to yell at another driver to move, during the middle of an ambush with bullets flying everywhere around him.
During Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories on Chappelle's Show, he tells a story about Prince inviting him, his brother and some friends to play basketball. After trouncing the Murphys' team, Prince makes them pancakes, at which point the camera cuts back to Charlie Murphy, who assures us, "Really. Pancakes." After that Charlie assures us even further by asking the audience who in their right mind would make this up, and then demands that if we don't believe him to challenge Prince to a game of basketball ourselves and see how talented he is.
During the True Hollywood Stories about Rick James, Rick James himself assures the audience that the insanity between him and Charlie Murphy they are about to see actually happened by saying, "Now this is true."
Rick James: See, I never just did things just to do them. Come on, what am I gonna do? Just all of a sudden jump up and grind my feet on somebody's couch like it's something to do? Come on. I got a little more sense then that. (Beat) Yeah, I remember grinding my feet on Eddie's couch.
Lois and Clark dragged out the Will They or Won't They? between the eponymous characters for so long, with them supposedly getting married twice, that they titled the actual marriage episode "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding".
Of course, this takes after the original DC Comics source material; that publisher has a long tradition of doing such things as marrying Lois and Clark, featured prominently on comic book covers, and having it turn out to be in an alternate universe or something; in the 1960s and 1970s, it was common to use the blurb "Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story!" when the story was actually part of the normal continuity.
And then to abuse even that. "Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story" would be a hallucination. "Not a hallucination, not a dream, not a hoax" would be an imaginary story. Etc. Etc. Etc...
The skit 'Los Caquitos', from the Chespirito TV show, has an episode were Botija bets with Chompiras in a poker game based on the "good luck" that his horoscope predicted, yet it ends backfiring. The episode ends with a disclaimer saying that the horoscopes used through the episode were not made up by the writer, but taken verbatim from an actual Mexican newspaper.
In an interview with Conan O'Brien, Paul Giamatti said that "Thunderpants is a fine motion picture that I made in England a long time ago about a kid who farts uncontrollably. This came across my desk and I had to be a part of it... I play a guy from NASA who kidnaps him so that he can power a rocket." Giamatti had to repeatedly assure Conan that this was a real movie and Conan never seemed to be entirely sure whether or not Giamatti was joking. It's a real movie, and stars Ron Weasley.
This is done in-universe on How I Met Your Mother. Ted is an Unreliable Narrator who is telling his teenage children the story of the many events leading up to him meeting their mother for the first time. Every so often the events he describes are so ridiculous that he has to emphasize to his children that things really happened that way.
However, this phrase is almost exclusively used when Barney is telling Blatant Lies (happens fairly often), making it a subversion.
In his tenure as host of The Tonight Show, Jack Paar would often begin a joke with the phrase "I kid you not" by way of introduction to a bizarre piece of news.
During June of 2011 several tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts, and the various news outlets covering it had to repeatedly reassure their viewers that this was, in fact, actually happening. In this case it was trying to keep people from putting themselves in the path of the tornadoes.
On Top Gear Jeremy is describing the large array of health and safety warnings that come with his quad-bike/jet-ski to James. His favorite warns about "forceful water penetration into the rectum or vagina". James put on a pair of glasses to take a closer look and confirmed that was the actually text of the warning.
The first semifinal game of the 2014 World Cup between Brazil and Germany became an unexpected Curb-Stomp Battle, highlighted by four German goals between the 23rd and 29th minutes to make it 5-0 and spurring the English broadcaster to quip, "If you're just tuning in, yes, the number on the score line is correct." Germany ended up winning 7-1.
Dragon's April humour issue used to have a letter column with all the weirdest letters they'd got over the previous year, ranging from bizarre threats against fictional characters to people with a unique ideas of what would make the game "realistic". They would regularly open these columns by assuring the reader that these were real letters from real people.
The musical satirist Anna Russell did routines that were factually accurate, yet got so many laughs, that "I'm not making this up, you know!" became her most famous catchphrase.
There is a really brilliant choral cantata called Rejoice In The Lamb by Benjamin Britten, based off the semi-crazy poem Jubilate Agno by the semi-crazy Christopher Smart. The alto solo begins like this:
For the mouse is a creature of great personal valor! For — this is a true case — Cat takes female mouse: male mouse will not depart, But stands threatening and daring...
Luke Ski prefaces "Born To Lose" by assuring listeners that every word (and hence, every humiliation of his that it recounts) is absolutely true.
Frank Zappa's "Let's Make The Water Turn Black", which recalls the hijinks of brothers Ronnie and Kenny Williams, Frank's neighbors during the early 1960s.
Now believe me when I tell you that my song is really true I want everyone to listen and believe It's about some little people from a long time ago And all the things the neighbors didn't know...
The Twitterfeed for The Bugle mostly features the same type of satire as the podcast, with the label "FACT ALERT" for the bits that aren't.
One Bloom County strip showed new father Hodgepodge wearing a bra-like bib which holds bottles to allow men to "experience the joy of breastfeeding", as the narration puts it. After a Beat Panel, Hodge looks at the "camera" and says "That's it. The joke is that we're not kidding. $79, Sharper Image."
Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail is memetically famous for the phrases "yuman rights", "elf 'n safety", and "couldn't make this up". Except research has found that, yes, he actually does. Constantly.
The Boston Globe once ran an article where the first sentence was literally "We are not making this up: Boston is a very safe place to drive." Given the city's reputation, the disclaimer was necessary.
From an LA Times article about an Italian politician whose sex scandal with transsexual South American prostitutes drove him to a monastery: "Note to reader: The writer would love to pretend he has made all this up, but this is Italy, where one's imagination pales beside the operatic brio of real-life librettos that unfold with delicious, unseemly decadence."
The New Jersey Nets basketball team had an abysmal 2009-2010 season, with a final record of 12–70. Once, after winning a game, one paper's headline read: "It's true: Nets win!"
Several apostles have made this claim, often appealing to the fact that there were still-living witnesses at the time:
John 19:35: "The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe." - "The man" is John himself, speaking about how he was a witness of the crucifixtion of Jesus Christ.
Acts 26:25-26: But Paul said, "I am not going mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and sound mind. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner."
1 Corinthians 15:6: After [Christ was raised up,] he was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleepnote Read: died.
2 Peter 1:16: For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
There's also the pre-emptive invocation of this trope:
Habakkuk 1:5: Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told to you.
Stand Up Comedy
If a comedian tells a true story to get laughs, you will often hear from them, "I'm not making this up" (or a variation of the phrase). Despite this disclaimer, it's still pretty hard to tell whether or not the story in question is true.
Christopher Titus used it when describing to the audience his father's exact wishes on how he wanted his funeral and how he wanted to be buried. He wanted to be put into a cardboard box, "open casket," a cover charge at the door (ladies get in free), and everyone would get a chance to pee on him (complete with Willie Nelsons "Blue-Eyes Crying in the Rain" playing). And that isn't even covering what he wanted done with his ashes...
"On my children... I did not write that, I am repeating it."
Just listening to Titus' stuff, it's not hard to realize he's making rather little of it up. The majority of it seems to be true, with just a little exaggeration here and there. He's admitted himself, his job is rather like therapy for him, as he's telling stories from his life and having people laugh along with him. If he "mock laughs", he's still working on finding it funny.
"Stopped drinking because it's not really good for your health - and I fell into a bonfire." *audience laughs, Titus mock-laughs* "Yeah, you're done drinkin' then, you don't need AA."
Also happens in his special Neverlution when he is talking about the attempted Times Square car bomb. He says "I've been in comedy for 25 years, and I have never been that funny."
Bill Cosby ended up creating a whole routine about being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle when he played football for Temple University. He did so because he was tired of people asking him if his claims that he played football were true.
"Don't keep asking me 'did you really play?' Yes, I really played! At one time, I had a beautiful body!"
Jeff Dunham starts his show "Arguing With Myself" relating an incident involving customs officers and Peanut (one of his puppets). "This is all true, it's too stupid to make up..."
Not to mention the jokes Peanut makes about... the geniuses who brought a bunch of deaf people to a ventriloquist act. Jeff finishes with: "the sad thing is, this is all completely true."
Similarly, in Will Ferrell's one-man show You're Welcome America, in which he played Dubya, a screen would occasionally ding loudly and display "Actual Quote" to distinguish Ferrell's brand of inanity from Bush's (The authentic quotes were usually dumber).
Mike Birbiglia actually lampshades his use of it in one routine, taking a moment to comment on how hard it is to convince people that he is, in fact, telling the truth.
These people come up to me after the show and go "Is that true?" and I go "Yeah", and they go "Is it?" and I'm not really sure what to say to that. I guess I could go "YEAH!" and they'd go "It's probably true, he said it louder".
"And this is true — unlike all the other bullshit I've been feeding you. 'When she started to tell the truth at the end, it really opened up for me, I just walked through, I felt connection for once...' " - Kate Clinton
Otis Lee Crenshaw, delivering a joke about psychopath Charles Manson, states that he "holds the world record for one-armed press-ups, and - I am not making this up - the world record for tossing midget."
When Lewis Black talks about his experiences in Miami, specifically when his rental car was stolen, he describes an encounter with a police officer who did not have a firm grasp of the English language. Verbs eluded him. Before repeating what the officer said, Black quips:
And I'm quoting here, because I don't have the time or the energy to make shit up anymore. He said, "How you money make."
Brian Regan used a bit where he related some of the most inane instructions he'd ever seen... on the side of a box of Pop-Tarts. It had, like, 17 steps to it (actually just 3), along with microwave instructions!
Regan: And I swear, it says "Microwave on high for three seconds"... If you're wakin', eatin', and haulin' in 3 seconds, it's time for a change of lifestyle.
Rush Limbaugh uses this as a sort of catch phrase when quoting news stories out of the newspaper that are... Well absurd.
I have here, in my formerly nicotine-stained-fingers, *rattles paper around near the mic* a story from Reuters that says...
Herman Cain (while substituting for Neal Boortz) has reassured listeners that the Congressional switch board is indeed XXX-SOB-USOB and he is not making the number up. It turned out that the number, while allowing the caller to be connected to their congressman's office, belonged to a lobbying firm, not the government.
Wait Wait Dont Tell Me's Peter Sagal also says "... and this is true:" a lot. While the fact thus introduced may indeed be true, it's usually followed up by another one that's blatantly false.
The "Bluff the Listener" challenge is this inverted, two panelists will make stories up, and a third will tell a true story, and the listener has to guess the true one.
The game show Balderdash works on the same principle. Three celebrities will give a factoid about a particular topic; one of them is true.
There's a round called Notes And Queries on Im Sorry I Havent A Clue, in which Humph asks a question and one of the panellists come up with a possible answer, before Humph reads out the real one. Whenever the questions or answers got ridiculous enough, Humph would remind everyone that they were "out of a real book".
During Anna Russell's synopsis of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, she looks at the audience and says "I'm not making this up, you know!" (And she isn't.) Due to the context and delivery, it's one of the biggest laugh lines in her entire Ring routine. (This phrase became so strongly identified with her that it is in fact the title of her autobiography.)
The Fly-By-Night Club, a comedy revue in Alaska that performed at a (now long-closed) theater, had the running-gag line of "We're not making this up, people; we're not that good," when talking about epic non-politics failures by US Representative Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski (they bet in one of Alaska's only legal pool bets, that the ice at a specific spot on a specific river would break... On April 31st).
In the musical The Robber Bridegroom, the opening number, "Once Upon the Natchez Trace," contains repeated assertions that "this is true." Of course, this song talks about things like a man whose brother was only a talking head, and a woman whose beauty was so incredible that her sleeping naked under a full moon caused the moon to burn as hot as the sun.
German comedian Volker Pispers says the line in regards to an experiment, where they pitched a monkey against investment-bankers.
In case you aren’t familiar with Pokemon x/y, most of the dialogue in this comic is taken from actual in-game dialogue and Prof Sycamore’s reaction is how he actually responded to Lysandre’s weird Serial killer rant.
Girl Genius carried a message of goodwill to its colourist and his wife who was going through childbirth. When referencing her, they felt the need to clarify that yes, her middle name really is Danger.
In his Inspector Gadget film review, he points out that when a billboard advertising Yahoo falls on the Big Bad's car, he isn't the one who dubbed in the Yahoo jingle of the time (a man singing "Yahooooo~ooo!" in a vaguely hillbilly-sounding voice).
The cafe in this video is a real place. The last part even gives you the address in case you want to stop by.
During his review of Hook, he points out that his referring to one character as Officer Phil Collins was not a throwaway line for someone who bore resemblance to Collins - that really was Collins doing a cameo.
Also, in his review of the Digimon movie, he points out that the scene where Davis instantly goes from sobbing uncontrollably about Willis' backstory to smiling in the most chipper of manners was not edited by him at all.
His review of Catwoman opens with a therapist leading a "Catwoman Anonymous" meeting.
Counsellor: Yes, Sean Young. We all remember how you ambushed Tim Burton dressed as Catwoman in order to force him to put you in the role. *Aside Glance* That's not comedic writing. She really did that, folks.
In his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III review, when the screen fades from that random rat to Splinter and back, he says that he's "not making that up, they actually did that fade".
In one of Stegblob's YouTube Poop videos, he showed a blooper where Grounder's mouth was moving but Sonic was talking. Stegblob put up a banner at the bottom saying, "I DID NOT POOP THIS BIT!" (This was actually quite common in DiC's cartoons.)
Also with a gun in Painkiller. "I wish I could make this up! It shoots shurikens and lightning! It could only be more awesome if it had tits and was on fire."
And in his review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, when he feels the need to call out that his comparison to Scooby-Doo was not exaggerated, as the main character actually "acquires a comedy talking dog as a sidekick. No, really, this is a thing that happens". (With a picture of a robotic dog, with a big arrow pointing to it and a caption, "a thing that happens.")
No really, I'm not joking, they steal the music from Rocky.
Again for Highlander: The Source. Before showing the finale, he spends a good minute assuring the viewer that the scene is completely unchanged (apart from adding the Benny Hill music) and was shot like that, to be shown on national TV.
He also spends a good 15 seconds in "The Importance of Wearing Pants" reassuring us that he's not making up the story about the player who somehow left the house without his pants.
In his review of The Ring: Terror's Realm, Spoony promises the viewers that the cartoon-esque "splat" noise heard throughout the review is actually in the game and not something he added as a joke.
When talking about the mass-censorship of comics in the mid 20th century, Moviebob added this disclaimer saying (complete with emphasis) "THIS. ACTUALLY. HAPPENED.'"
One of the mods has even adopted "No, really." as his catchphrase.
The Jabootu review of the movie Sphere says this about the movie's ending: "No, really, that's what they came up with. No, I am not making this up just to make the movie sound stupider than it already is..."
Then, and I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, Batman orders Robin to "Use your Bat Lube!"
In the Atop the Fourth Wall review of All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, Linkara reads out the script that came with the special edition in which Frank Miller details Vicki Vale's ass shot. All he does is read it out and put up a caption that says "This is not a joke. This is the actual script."
In his Ultimates 3 review, he keeps using his hilarious drunk voice for Tony Stark even after Tony is revealed to be a robot imposter. He then singles out a line where the robot asks for vodka due to its personality imprint. "And that was just in case you thought I was being facetious in having the robot still have the drunk voice."
His live review of the Spider-Man Manga, when he mentions it's by the same writer as Spider-Man: Reign.
Linkara It's also the story where Mary-Jane was killed by Peter Parker's radioactive sperm... I am not kidding at all.
He also mentions Spider-Ham in his One More Day review and tells the viewer to google it.
He invokes this twice in his review of The Punisher 2099 #1, mentioning stories where the Punisher becomes a Frankenstein monster and a black guy (the latter he says he'll review some time).
In an episode covering the history of the Teen Titans, Linkara revealed that Danny Chase is his favourite superhero of all time. "I am so not kidding."
She does it again in her The Happening In Fifteen Minutes script, having a reporter say that the event "may be an act of God we may never fully understand" and then instantly pointing out that this line comes directly from the movie.
When Todd in the Shadows reviewed "Bedrock", he listed a couple of names from Young Money: "Mack Maine, Jae Millz, Lil Chuckee, Lil Twist, T-Streets, and a bunch of other names that sound like I'm just making them up, though I swear to God I'm not."
This disclaimer also shows up on the review of "Break Up" by Mario, Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett after the line, "Don't I make your earlobe freeze?"
Subtitle: Seriously, I didn't make that up.
"But lost in the discussion of Baby Got Back's deeper meaning — and yes, people were actually talking about this in exactly those kinds of terms, I'm not pulling any of this out of my ass... so to speak."
One of the survivors was put in a program called Paws for Tales, where kids too shy to read aloud to human audiences practice their reading skills in front of dogs. No, really. That's not a sarcastic fake program we made up. (And that's not a stock image. That's Jonny Justice, the actual dog we're talking about.)
[Cushing's syndrome] is characterized by a big, swollen, moon-shaped face, emotional instability, acne, muscle weakening, hair loss, truncal obesity, and buffalo hump. For fuck's sake, buffalo hump! That's not even one of my hilarious pretend things I toss into lists, it's a real thing! Called buffalo hump!
I spent literally all afternoon trying to come up with a fake Britney Spears book proposal that would do comedic justice to the concept of a fake Britney Spears book proposal, but it justisn't possible.
In this YouTube video ("Something's WRONG with MY LITTLE PONY: Friendship is Magic" [by a fan, just having fun]), the creator of the video talks about cutie marks on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as a metaphor for tattoos and states that he's not being serious, but if he can add two and two get five, then just imagine the crazy ultra-conservative-right-wingers who tried to ban Harry Potter or who thought Pokémon encouraged devil-worship and that Sponge Bob Square Pants was used as a vehicle for pro-gay propaganda. "Seriously, Google these things. I'm not makin' this up."
SF Debris: SF Debris uses "I am being serious" disclaimers from time to time in his reviews:
"Time-traveling space Nazis. Yes, really."
"I normally don't use the phrase 'I shit you not', except when I'm teaching Sunday school, but in this case, I can't think of anything more appropriate." (From his review of Twin Peaks, describing Agent Cooper's methods)
Various versions of this abound on What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, and "I couldn't make this shit up if I tried" is said at the opening of every pre-recorded episode. Also done on Nash's other shows, particularly Doctor Who Classic Reviews. Also often heard on Nash's weekly live show Radio Dead Air, where he often talks about geek culture and outrageous happenings therein.
A popular trend among fandom blogs on Tumblr is to take ridiculous scenes out of context and post a hashtag that it is an actual line from the series. This is mostly done by the Supernatural fandom with many lines showing just how insane a series it is.
When JonTron puts a Commodore 64 cassette in a normal cassette player, he gets a loud screeching noise. Cue Jon looking at the camera with a disturbed look on his face while "(ACTUAL NOISE IT MADE)" appears on-screen.
There's also his Food Fight review, where he showcases a particularly crappy scene with a chocolate squirrel crying chocolate, pointing out that is the "Literal actual noise from film!".
Yet another example, this one from the Zoo Race episode: Jon has to put up a small bit of text at the bottom, reading REMINDER: ACTUALLY HAPPENING, because the situation the game found itself in (a train, driven by a swimming champion sheep, crashing into a Bible verse billboard with each cart exploding into fireworks on impact) is just that absurd.
As pointed out above, The Editing Room scripts often have the disclaimers (actual line) or THIS HAPPENS to point out that something was actually said or done in the movie being parodied.
Occasionally comes up in Retsupurae. For example "Adults React to PewDiePie" features a Running Gag of Diabetus simply deadpan reading a list of Pew Die Pie video titles. Every appearance is accompanied by YouTube annotations reading "ACTUAL VIDEO TITLES" or similar.
Chris Sims of Comics Alliance describes the X-Men episode "The Juggernaut Returns" thusly:
Last week, we had a fun, goofy one-off episode where a local nerd stole the power of the Juggernaut to make himself irresistible on the dance floor, only to end up crashing through the roof of a TV studio where they were shooting an episode of Power Rangers while the X-Men restored his stolen magical power to its rightful (and homicidal) owner. None of what I just wrote is an exaggeration or a joke. It is an accurate summary of what is, at this point, probably my favorite episode of the series.
Folding Ideas: The Foldable Human discussing the meaning of The Cremaster Cycle.
The Foldable Human: So what's it all about? It's all about balls. No seriously, it's about balls. The cremaster muscle* Warning, the images are Not Safe for Work. is the tiny muscle that controls the raising and lowering of the testicles within the scrotum. And the entire cycle is about sexual differentiation in the fetus.
A few episode of Needs More Gay have this, usually when referring to a movie that's so ludicrously awful or strange, such as Marci X and the as-of-yet unfinished White Chicks sequel, that one has to be reassured that they do, in fact, exist.
Jerry Beck's "Animation Scoop" article on an animated Madea movie is nothing more than an advertisement for the film with a lengthy disclaimer that it was not, in fact, a joke, a prank or an SNL skit.
South Park had the message "This Is What Scientologists Actually Believe" played over a scene showing the mythos of Scientology. Note this is almost verbatim the text of OT3, a regular part of the Scientology doctrine. Scientologists have been trying to forget that certain aspect of their religion. note When the Swedish government allowed the books to be open to the public, Scientologist members were sent to their libraries each day for months to prevent anyone else from reading it. Believe or not, South Park's portrayal is actually less ridiculous than the actual mythology. South Park proclaims that frozen aliens were dumped into various volcanoes all over Earth's surface; in reality, Scientology teaches the frozen aliens were strapped to the volcanoes and then blown up with imperial-engineered hydrogen bombs. Then the disembodied souls - "thetans" - were forced by psychiatrists to watch a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" at a theater which implanted all the ideas about religion into their minds. And it ought to be noted that these souls were lured to Teegeeack (Earth) on the pretense of income tax inspections. Put it this way: if the makers of the episode were making all that stuff up, it would have been fairly normal.
In "The Return of Chef", they had a similar disclaimer about the Super Adventure Club, a Fictional Counterpart of Scientology. The episode was essentially a Take That to Scientology (again) because the creators believed the organization forced Isaac Hayes (who voiced Chef) to leave the show.
In Titan Maximum, they had a sword made out of aggregated diamond nanorods, the hardest substance in the known universe. What sounds like typical technobabble is remarked by saying that aggregated diamond nanorods are, in fact, a real thing, and they're every bit as hard as advertised. Making a sword out of the things probably wouldn't be a great idea (hardness isn't the only trait a good sword needs), but they really are the hardest substance known to man.
Near the end of the second episode of Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball, Brian (as Chewbacca) asks why Mort (Lando) is wearing Han's clothes. Brian then turns to the camera and explains that this isn't some weird joke they've made up. If you watch The Empire Strikes Back, Lando really is wearing Han's clothes for this scene.
The Simpsons: When Homer is telling the family about the time he worked at the Bowl-o-rama, there's a flashback scene of him shooting at the air with a shotgun, scaring people away in a failed attempt to attract more customers. Lisa interrupts to ask Marge to make him tell the true story (there was a Running Gag with the story becoming unrealistic, until someone told Homer or Bart to stick to the true story). Marge tells her sadly that it did happen like that.
In another episodes, a Springfield Shopper headline reads WIGGUM RESCUES BOY; NO, REALLY.
Garfield and Friends: Garfield once showed two videos of Jon's previous dates. The second one was so short that, before starting it, he warned the viewers there're no cuts.
From Howl, by Allen Ginsberg. Of course, given his reputation for being a little bit of a drug enthusiast, there's no telling if it really did happen.
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer
As Mark Twain put it - "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."
I am not making it up. I'll say it one more time: Tim's publicist's name is Bumble Ward. There is somebody on this planet... named Bumble.
Part of the reason why The Strangeways Prison riot was able to spread so quickly was because it started on April 1st, causing several of the upper staff in control of the prison to question the authenticity of the calls for help.
This article discusses in length the (fan supported) sexual tension between Emma and Regina. Included in the article are several pictures as evidence, with the words "NOT FAN ART- ACTUAL SHOW" on the bottom.