"That's not bad writing; that actually happened."Note: This is for in-universe examples. Do not use this to try and tell other tropers you are not making something up. Instead of linking to this trope, link to the proof that you're not making it up (like the picture caption), or at least use Sincerity Mode. Someone working on a show thinks the audience might not believe something being shown or described is real. It's not that the writer thinks the audience is stupid. It's that the thing being shown actually is ridiculous or silly enough that there is good reason enough to think it's not real. So the writer includes a disclaimer directly to the audience. Sometimes this is Breaking the Fourth Wall, but often it's a non-fiction show. Either way, this is making sure the audience knows this is not a joke. This is often to avoid Aluminum Christmas Trees. If the fact is particularly unpleasant for one reason or another, variations on "I wish I was making this up" are likely. Poe's Law can also invoke this trope, if only to distinguish the made-up parody from the real deal. Then again, maybe not... For this reason, if done badly, especially on purpose, this trope becomes indistinguishable from Suspiciously Specific Denial. Compare Who Writes This Crap?!, Take That, Reality Is Unrealistic, Not Hyperbole. Contrast Dan Browned.
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- 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 badass 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.
- Axis Powers Hetalia gives us "The legend of Red Mount Fuji"
- Narrator: Yeah, They really tried to do this people, Google it!!
- Some versions of Gate's manga have a note saying "Yes, really" about how the Princess' name is Piña Co Lada.
- While The Cartoon History of the Universe usually makes up quotes for Rule of Funny, occasionally a quote will come with a disclaimer of "Someone actually said this!"
- Garth Ennis' Punisher MAX had a Corrupt Corporate Executive explain his company's large-scale Ponzi Scheme with a disclaimer of "and this is legal, I shit you not."
- 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."
- One Teen Titans story had Beast Boy's cousin Matt Logan run an official Titans West recruitment drive (a.k.a. a house party). One-time Titan Duela Dent busts out of her mental hospital and crashes the scene with some villains and henchmen, pissed that she didn't receive an invitation. Matt says he tried calling her but claims she was in the middle of electroshock therapy. Matt asserts he's not kidding.
- In Equestria: A History Revealed, this trope is played straight in the essay's abstract and several times throughout. However, the content and the methods use to derive those theories then calls the narrator's claims into question.
- Subverted later on when the narrator reveals she's been making up most of her essay as she goes along. It's okay though, she crosses that sentence out.
- Cinema Snob Reviews Frozen (a fan comic where The Cinema Snob reviews Frozen) mentions an out-of-universe explanation for events in Man of Steel, and then posts a screencap of part of that web page, with the URL, to show Snob isn't joking about it.
- In If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em, it's pointed out that all 5 of the horrible dishes Rainbow Dash and Applejack tried were based on actual delicacies. Kumis, Escamoles, Durian, Casu Marzu, and Balutes... Only thing that was changed was the names of the countries they're based from (mainly to fit in with the Just For Pun tendencies). The author has gone on to add that out of all 5 of them, he will never ever try Balutes, not even for money.
- Author: Foul fruit, I can go by. Rotten cheese, not too far off. Horse (bleeped).... HORSE (bleeped).... I could do for the right money... but you could offer me 3.4 billion dollars tax-free right here, right now, and I would under NO circumstance ever even CONSIDER eating nearly born ducks...
- Everything in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series is made up - except the author's assertion that Prince Vince himself was responsible for her writing the interquel Meteor Shower. In response to the Running Gag in the series that Prince Vince is an avid Tumblr user, someone actually created a Tumblr account for the character, which proceeded to badger the author to write the story. (Yes, really.) So the author's notes for the interquel had to include this slightly bewildered disclaimer.
- American Hustle humorously opens with "Some of this happened."
- Swimming To Cambodia. Spalding Gray swears he's not making anything up - except that the banana sticks to the wall. You'll know it when you hear it.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The screenwriter kindly informs us at the start of the movie that "Most of what follows is true."
- 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 end of CSA: The Confederate States of America has a section dedicated to showing the reality behind some of the wilder aspects of the Alternate History.
- 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.)
- Cecil B. DeMille's 1929 silent melodrama The Godless Girl takes place for the most part in a reformatory ruled by a cruel head guard. A title card appears mid-film that claims that the guard's abuses of the inmates and the horrible conditions of the facility are commonplace in many reformatories, and attention must be called to this for the better rehabilitation of our delinquent youth.
- 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.
- A variation of this is The Human Centipede's claim that it's "100% medically accurate".
- 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."
- The Big Short includes fourth-wall-breaking disclaimers around the more implausible parts of the story, clarifying which parts were inventions of artistic license, and which parts did in fact happen. One of them is a moment where doomsayer Mark Baum is holding a debate with an analyst who believes Bear Sterns stock is rock solid, at the exact moment when Bear Sterns stock starts tanking.
- 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.
- Inverted at the beginning of The Hunt for Red October, which states that "nothing of what you are about to see...ever happened."
- Günther Wallraff in Ganz Unten ("Lowest of the Low"), exposing the racism and horrible working conditions of the Turkish immigrant workers in the 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.
- Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers starts with one in the preface:
In which it is proved that, notwithstanding their names' ending in OS and IS, the heroes of the story which we are about to have the honor to relate to our readers have nothing mythological about them. [...] It is not my intention here to enter into an analysis of this curious work; and I shall satisfy myself with referring such of my readers as appreciate the pictures of the period to its pages. They will therein find portraits penciled by the hand of a master; and although these squibs may be, for the most part, traced upon the doors of barracks and the walls of cabarets, they will not find the likenesses of Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, Richelieu, Mazarin, and the courtiers of the period, less faithful than in the history of M. Anquetil. [...] D'Artagnan relates that on his first visit to M. de Treville, captain of the king's Musketeers, he met in the antechamber three young men, serving in the illustrious corps into which he was soliciting the honor of being received, bearing the names of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. We must confess these three strange names struck us; and it immediately occurred to us that they were but pseudonyms, under which d'Artagnan had disguised names perhaps illustrious, or else that the bearers of these borrowed names had themselves chosen them on the day in which, from caprice, discontent, or want of fortune, they had donned the simple Musketeer's uniform. [...] It will suffice, then, to tell them that at the moment at which, discouraged by so many fruitless investigations, we were about to abandon our search, we at length found, guided by the counsels of our illustrious friend Paulin Paris, a manuscript in folio, endorsed 4772 or 4773, we do not recollect which, having for title, "Memoirs of the Comte de la Fere, Touching Some Events Which Passed in France Toward the End of the Reign of King Louis XIII and the Commencement of the Reign of King Louis XIV." It may be easily imagined how great was our joy when, in turning over this manuscript, our last hope, we found at the twentieth page the name of Athos, at the twenty-seventh the name of Porthos, and at the thirty-first the name of Aramis.
- 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 the case of one of his more famous articles, namely on the Exploding Whale, he says "I absolutely swear I am not making this up; in fact, I have it all on videotape" (said video is now available on Youtube).
- In one column, Steve Mirsky uses the phrase "I'm not kidding, that's the actual plot." after summarizing Dean Koontz's Relentless.
- Staying with Dean Koontz, in Dragon Tears Connie refers to numerous examples of human callousness and apathy in what she refers to as "The Pre-Millennium Cotillion." An Author's Note at the end of the book reveals that every single event described came from real news articles.
- 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
- 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.
- The author's note/introduction to the Stephen King story collection Hearts in Atlantis, in a section that includes the usual "This Is a Work of Fiction" disclaimer, also contains the line "Although it is difficult to believe, The '60s are not fictional; they actually happened."
- 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
- 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 Fire by 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."
- The non-fiction book The WrestleCrap Book Of Lists said that professional wrestler Joanie Laurer (Chyna) appeared as a judge for a Most Beautiful Transsexual contest, following that statement up with a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer.
- In another book by WrestleCrap The 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.
- From Don't Panic, Neil Gaiman's biography of Douglas Adams:
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.
- In Armageddon: The Musical, Robert Rankin annotates one of his Bible quotes ("and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps") with "Revelation 14:2. Look it up if you don't believe me."
- James Herriot once related his talkative tailor's long ramble that most people would be hard-pressed to remember five minutes later, much less several decades, then said in brackets that he was able to reproduce it because he took notes, presumably after he got home. Ironically, the books were heavily altered from reality, for various reasons.
- The afterword of The Guns of the South includes a part where Harry Turtledove talks about the influences on the novel. For example, he took the names for the soldiers of the 47th North Carolina from actual historical records, but made up personalities for them (like writing Billy Beddingfield as a hothead with authority problems because the real Beddingfield had a habit of getting promoted and demoted in quick succession).
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.
- 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).* The same team's The Hamster Wheel had this in a segment on weather in the media:
Alan Wilkie: Hang on there, why can't we just have a qualfied meteorologist simply explaining the forecast?Andrew Hansen: Well you could Alan - or, you could hire a trampolining dwarf!(cue clip from Britain's Bounciest Weather, accompanied by the caption, "Yes, this IS a real weather report. We swear.")note
- 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 with Jon Stewart, Jon 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 photo and 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.
- John Oliver has picked up using "And this is true" on his own show, such as saying how the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn. Yes, really. He will sometimes escalate with a "and this is fantastic" for things that are true but really easy to mistake for made-up; as long as he emphasizes a point this way, it's real.
- Jon's successor, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, has to use this multiple times in just one segment. Trevor reads aloud passages from a letter written by Donald Trump's doctor gushing about the man's health. He also has to confirm that Idi Amin's overly long self-declared title is in fact real.
- He plays a clip of Bernie Sanders performing a spoken-word folk song and has to say that yes, the clip is real.
- After posting a web-only clip of Roy Wood, Jr. re-enacting Donald Trump's interview with the Washington Post, the show's Twitter had to say that yes, he really did say all that to the newspaper and it was verbatim, including a link to the actual transcript.
- 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. (Prince himself even said that the story 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.
- 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."
- 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". This takes after the original DC Comics source material; 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.
- The Kung Fu Monkey blog frequently acts as a Disclaimer for Leverage. That's not just for the plots Ripped Fromthe Headlines, either; according to the producers and writers in the audio commentaries, many of the evil deeds executed by the Corrupt Corporate Executive of the week were in fact, based on real crimes or acts of immorality that they'd researched and when they cut loose with the Evil Speech Of Evil, it's frequently taken from genuine transcripts of crooks and fat cats doing exactly that. Any changes are because Rogers and his writing staff have to tone them down.
- 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.
- The author of Sir Orfeo added this disclaimer when claiming that Thrace (a region in modern-day Turkey) was the old name for the city of Winchester in England.
- 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.
- 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.
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon periodically features a "Do Not Read List" of curious books, and he points out at the top of the segment that all of them are real and can be looked up at Amazon.com. (Examples have included a variety of Harlequin/Mills & Boon romances, an Adventures in Wonderland tie-in book that recapped the episode O.J. Simpson appeared in, and the infamous Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say "No" to Drugs.)
- 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.
- In Casanova, when Casanova invents the national lottery, the woman Old Casanova is telling his life story actually stops him to question this, and he replies "Look it up if you don't believe me!" And you can. (The bit about him coining the phrase "You've got to be in it to win it", on the other hand...)
- Adam Ruins Everything is all about bringing up obscure and uncomfortable facts that the audience might find hard to believe, so to back them up the host cites his sources in the top corner of the screen. There's also a tie-in website where you can browse those sources to see for yourself, again flashed on-screen.
- Done in two consecutive episodes by Stargate SG-1:
- In "Inauguration" the new President, Henry Hayes, is briefed on the stargate program by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs:
Gen. Francis Maynard: Mr. President, for the past seven years, the United States Air Force has been sending teams to other planets by means of an alien device known as a stargate.
Hayes: (starts laughing) That's funny. That's very funny. My first day. This is a joke, right? I have a great sense of humour. I didn't know that you had one, but this is good because we're finding out about each other. Now I have to call the ex-President of Togo, and when I'm done, apparently the rest of the world is coming to an end.
Maynard: (dead serious) The ex-President of Togo will have to wait, sir. This is not a joke.
- Then in "Lost City, Part 1", Vice President Kinsey briefs Elizabeth Weir on the stargate program, handing her a folder topped with a hand-written note from President Hayes saying "THIS IS NOT A JOKE" with his signature.
- In "Inauguration" the new President, Henry Hayes, is briefed on the stargate program by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs:
- The Firefly episode "Out of Gas" has an early scene where Shepherd Book is apparently relating a Noodle Incident that happened while he was at the Southdown Abbey on Persephone to much hilarity. We the viewers join Our Intrepid Heroes at this exchange:
Zoe: (laughing) No! That is not true. No.
Book: I swear it is!
- Dragnet famously began each episode with "Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent."
- Inverted in the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Unlucky in Love", which closes with a Totally Made This Up Disclaimer:
Despite the story you have just seen there is no evidence to suggest that Lucy Maud Montgomery met Constable George Crabtree or that her work was influenced by him. (He's not real).
- 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.
- In his short Game Informer review of Kabuki Warriors for the Xbox, editor Andy McNamara wrote that the early AI opponents are so easy that "I literally won a match just bashing the controller against my ass. I wish I was joking, but the score is seriously Kabuki Warriors zero, my ass one."
- 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...
- 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!"
- On Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, host Peter Sagal will often preface a story that sounds unbelievable with one of these so the audience and panelists know he isn't joking this time.
Peter: They've robbed twelve banks, and they nearly botched one of their getaways because - and this is true - one of the desperadoes had to keep stopping to pee.
Religion and Mythology
- Older Than Feudalism in The Bible:
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 crucifixion 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 asleep.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.
- Several apostles have made this claim, often appealing to the fact that there were still-living witnesses at the time:
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.
- There's also the preemptive invocation of this trope:
- The Book of Mormon begins with a lengthy introduction called the Testimony of the Three Witnesses.
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."
"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."
- 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.
- 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."
- Dana Carvey also used this in regards to the Presidency of George W. Bush.
Dana Carvey: You can't write this shit!
- 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".
- Wendy Bagwell: "And this is a fact, what I'm telling you, with my hand up..." (1:25). That phrase shows up in some form in most of Wendy's stories.
- "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.
- Russell Peters has a bit about sign language. The signs themselves are appalling.
- 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... Don't 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.
- 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.
- There's a round called Notes And Queries on I'm Sorry I Haven't 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.
- One particularly funny moment of Hamilton has this when Burr tells us that Hamilton was so popular with the ladies, Martha Washington named a particularly randy tomcat after him.
Hamilton: (to the audience) That's true!
- Made funnier by the fact that Hamilton is played by the director, producer and writer — it's basically Lin-Manuel Miranda breaking character just to geek out a little bit and assure us that no, he did not make this part up.
- World of Warcraft now has one of these:
Summons and dismisses a rideable Magic Rooster. No, seriously. This is a very fast mount.
- The achievement for beating the final chapter of Portal 2 bears the description "That Just Happened." Given how you earn it, it's nice to have the confirmation.
- 'Coming 2016 (Seriously)'. Scott Crawthon has been infamous for inverting Schedule Slip for every game in the Five Nights at Freddy's series.
- In the Snowdin area of Undertale, you can find a sign reading "WARNING: Dog Marriage" (foreshadowing the mini-boss fight with Dogamy and Dogaressa). Read it again, and you'll be informed "Yes, you read that correctly".
- Penny Arcade has this in a strip discussing the gay porn Collection Sidequest in Shadow Hearts: Covenant: "That's not the joke. This is something you actually do."
- The title of the strip detailing Gabe's encounter with Jack Thompson is entitled And All Of It True.
- Also, the Gillette Razor Power Fusion Gamer: This Is Actually A Real Thing.
- Mr. Popularity shows that Tycho has over 24,000 unanswered emails on his iPhone; the middle panel of the strip shows a screenshot of it with a caption assuring the reader that it's for real.
- Monster of the Week, Affectionate Parody of The X-Files, has author Shaenon Garrity sometimes noting that really improbable thing in the strip has actually happened in the series.
- In War of the Coprophages author notes: "I can do nothing better with this episode than just quote all the best lines". She proceeds to do exactly that.
- "Left his heart in San Francisco" - Actual joke used in this episodenote
- Old lady eaten by chickens: thing that happens
- Real fact: Horse framed in the scientist's death
- Taken to Running Gag levels: sometimes arrow points at some speech bubble with "Actual line/joke/dialogue used in the episode" attached.
- Seen in this parody in Touhou Nekokayou.
- This xkcd strip puts the disclaimer in the alt-text.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things has a Pokémon villain doing a speech on how he'll cleanse society of its dregs, and is promptly applauded by a professor for being "passionate". In the commentary, the author said most of the dialogue was verbatim from the game.
The Rant: 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.
- Full Frontal Nerdity does it in this strip.
- And again in this strip.
- This comic from PHD, recounting artist Jorge Cham's experiences at British customs — which were absurd enough that there are not one, but two, disclaimers.
- Used in the opening panel of this classic (and utterly hilarious) VG Cats.
- Lil' Formers did a comic parodying handheld games, including a panel about Scribblenauts, which included in The Rant a note, "The above strip is not even a joke, that's really how I beat that level."
- Cyanide & Happiness:
- This strip points out that Tim Buckley actually said this in the file name. And he actually did. Cyanide was hardly the only source that mocked this. Or the fact that the author "gleefully" made a comic strip about this misfortune, for the matter....
- This strip, regarding the idea that gay marriage is the first step to legalizing interspecies marriage.
After they legalized gay marriage, it was just a slippery slope until goat marriage was legal too.*
* Some people pretty much think this.
- Darths & Droids has done this by name at least once, linking back to this very wiki. Note that this is incorrect use, and should not be mimicked.
- In Concession, Kate (who is a pedophile) takes Artie (who is not, despite that one time with the 9 year old transgender kid) to a NAMBLA meeting. In The Rant, Immy assured the reader that this is, in fact, a real thing.
- In one Real Life Comics strip, a Dave and Busters waitress refuses to serve Greg a Pepsi because he's not old enough to drink alcohol. In The Rant, Greg Dean says that this actually happened to him.
- Used by Sonya of Ménage ŕ 3 here.
- 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-universe in Shortpacked!: after having some plotlines summarized, Ethan explains he cannot leave his retail job to do stand-up comedy full time because "I can't make this shit up!"
- Critical Miss has one in this strip while trying (and failing) to satirize a quote by the executive producer of The War Z.
- Appears in Exterminatus Now in reference to a real life event:
Lothar (character): "Police Waste 3 Hours at Bumper Cars After a Report of a Collision."
Writer's Note: Actual story I read in a newspaper — Lothar
- A Dumbing of Age strip in which Sarah and Jacob bond over mocking Joyce's creationism ends with Sarah saying "You don't even have to spin the things she believes into jokes! You can just say what they are!" and has the Alt Text "THIS IS WHAT JOYCE BROWNS ACTUALLY BELIEVE".
- Planet of Hats, which turns each episode of Star Trek into a comic, will note that certain lines that could be mistaken for parody (e.g., "They're not crew, they're me cargo!" from "Mudd's Women") comes from the show itself.
- Strong Bad Gameways ends with a brief video of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People that shows Strong Bad standing and then walking away due to impatience. The screen says, "ACTUAL GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE!"
- "Actual 4Kids dialog" from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, and a variation in Sailor Moon Abridged
"We're going to do battle with ancient Egyptian laser beams!" (Caption: THIS ISN'T A JOKE - IT REALLY HAPPENS)
Polnareff: OH, what's that? You say I can beat your bum? Oh, you're into that stuff! (Caption: ACTUAL DUB DIALOGUE)
- Also, in Teen Titans The Abridged Series, with "INSTANCES OF ACTUAL DIALOGUE".
- Two more instances, in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged in regards to one particularly weird line:
Kakyoin: POLNAREFF! He's in the CHROME of the STEERING WHEEL! (Caption: ACTUAL DUB INFLECTION)
- And the second in regards to a bizarre case of Lip Lock in the dub, when Kakyoin spots J. Geil's Hanged Man in the steering wheel of their pickup:
- In Gargoyles Abridged, an "ACTUAL EPISODE DIALOGUE" message pops up when Demona says "blast your soul."
- Most of the Newgrounds You Are A Fucking Moron animations have Reginald say something like this at least once.
- That Guy with the Glasses and Doug Walker:
- When The Nostalgia Critic noted the Real Life part of Space Jam.
- In his review of the animated... adaptation... Titanic: The Legend Goes On, he holds up the DVD case as proof that it actually exists.
- 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, when he recognizes the kissing couple sprinkled by pixie dust as George Lucas and Carrie Fisher, he exclaims, "I swear to God, that's not a joke!"
- A similar gag is featured in the Topless Robot's Transformers 2 post-review FAQ.
- And in The Editing Room abridged script of the movie.
- In his review of the Cannon Films' Captain America, he states he is not making "Captain America escapes an ambush by hot chicks by entering a pick-up truck driven by Ned Beatty" up.
- In his Captain N: The Game Master review he made sure to point out that the oo-we-oo sounds from The Wizard of Oz weren't added to the scene of marching mooks by him, but were actually from the show itself.
- THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! In The Neverending Story III.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bum Reviews: Very often used by Chester A. Bum, a homeless guy who is the nicest movie critic ever. For example, an extract from his review of The X-Files: I Want to Believe: "So Mulder and Scully are out to stop evil doctors by using a paedophile priest who is also a psychic! I swear to God, I am not making that up!" Usually Punctuated! For! Emphasis! but it's hard to tell since he has No Indoor Voice.
- Also from his team: The Nostalgia Chick:
- On The Little Mermaid's Ursula:
"Not only was her design based on a drag queen..." *shows picture of Divine* "No, really.
- In Freddy Got Fingered, Oancitizen says regarding acclaimed performance art involving a woman stripping, bathing in honey and doing a monologue about Winnie-the-Pooh doing BDSM: "Before you ask, I'm not making a word of that up."
- In her "Worst Disney Sequels" list, she first talks about the somber themes of The Fox and the Hound, where societal expectations destroy a friendship between the main characters, then notes: "In Fox And The Hound 2, a midquel, Copper and Todd join a band. (Beat) I'm not kidding." She can't quite suppress a grin as she says it.
- When she counts down her viewer-voted list of the top 10 boy bands of the 90s, she reels off a list of boy bands that also existed during that time. She then says "Guess which one of these I made up", followed by the caption, "Hint: None of them."
- Oan's show had during The Doom Generation a monologue performed by 90s Kid that the caption reveals was actually used in the film's marketing campaign!
- On The Little Mermaid's Ursula:
- Every time The Angry Video Game Nerd says "I am dead fucking serious."
- 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 (Robotnik Becomes Prime Minister, at 2:33), 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.)
- When Zero Punctuation says "I wish I was fucking kidding!" when describing the ending of Condemned 2: Bloodshot.
- 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.")
- Spoony also used this during the Training Montage of Clones Of Bruce Lee
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 Terrors 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.'"
- Occurs quite a lot in The Agony Booth recaps. Sometimes there's a screencap to prove it.
- Even came up in an interview once...
- One of the mods has even adopted "No, really." as his catchphrase.
- Even came up in an interview once...
- When YouTuber DarkMatter2525's animations about religion have an animated version of a scene from the bible, the bible verse is displayed. Usually this is citation, but for some of the more ridiculous parts it's used as a disclaimer.
- 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 reviewed in 2015).
- In an episode covering the history of the Teen Titans, Linkara revealed that Danny Chase is his favourite superhero of all time. "I am not kidding at all, I love the little brat."
- Done in one of his live shows when he has to assure us that the dialogue we're seeing is not an unauthorised doujinshi or a poorly-written scanlation, it's an actual comic published by Dark Horse Comics and approved by Studio Gainax.
- As Cleolinda Jones put it in her overview, "Hand to God, I did not make one word of that up. Twilight means never having to say you're 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.
- Scott Keith, wrestling critic, reviews Undertaker vs. Yokozuna at Royal Rumble 1994.
So please, before we begin, bear in mind that I am making NONE of this up, and everything I am about to describe actually happened, live on a PPV. This is not, just to clarify, an LSD hallucination gone wrong, or a dream sequence that ended with Pat Patterson waking up in the shower in the next morning.
- 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."
- 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?"
- Auto-Tune the News once sampled a speech by Steve Buyer warning that smoking lettuce is as harmful to your health as smoking tobacco. Immediately after, just to prove no Manipulative Editing was at work, they include a news report about the actual speech, with the whole thing remixed together into Crowning Music of Awesome.
- Sean O'Neal's article on an upcoming Miley Cyrus movie, with the twist being that he seems to be trying to convince himself that this god-awful premise is actually real.
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.)
- One in an article on Celebrities who are secretly Happyologists.
We're not sure about Van Susteren, but her husband is a level 8, the highest level currently available (can only be achieved while on a boat at sea; seriously, we are not making this shit up).
- Another one how colors control your life.
High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or HEALS technology, condenses the power of 12 suns (not making this up) into a heatless device.
- And another:
- Quoth "5 Spectacularly Crazy Meltdowns by CEOs of Major Companies", of an entire paragraph of insane claims made by John McAfee: "Not a single thing we said in the preceding paragraph is a joke."
- From "5 Animal Rights Campaigns That Managed to Screw Over Animals", about the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting ring:
- From "The 6 Most Horrifying Product Recalls in China":
[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!
- Seanbaby does this as well, in "6 Superheroes Who Completely Lost Their shit":
If you're wondering, someone did save Human Torch by superheating a hot dog cart below him until it exploded. I'm serious, look it up.
- "5 Steps to Writing Successful Suspense (With Glenn Beck!)" describes The Reveal of the master plan in Glenn Beck's The Overton Window as follows:
Noah stumbles into a room that holds his father's computer and finds an evil master plan in a PowerPoint Presentation that was left open. Seriously.
- From "5 Real Supervillain Attacks on America That History Forgot:
In the summer of 1974, disgruntled aerospace engineer and public masturbator Muharem Kurbegovic began sending bizarre, rambling tapes to newspapers, claiming he had mailed Bob Hope postcards to all nine members of the Supreme Court laced with tiny canisters of nerve gas — possibly because he was angry with the judicial system since his public masturbation charge had prevented him from opening a go-go club and was also placing his bid for U.S. citizenship in jeopardy. Absolutely no part of that is a joke.
- One in an article on Celebrities who are secretly Happyologists.
- GameCentral's review of Coronation Street: The Mystery of the Missing Hotpot Recipe begins
This is a real game that exists. Don't say it isn't... it is!
- Used by Mr. Plinkett in his review of Baby's Day Out... while claiming that the movie spawned a Congressional hearing on whether the federal government should ban the production of Hollywood movies.
- Skippy's List has examples:
174. Furby® is not allowed into classified areas. (I swear to the gods, I did not make that up, it's actually DOD policy.)
- While reviewing Human Killing Machine, Dr. Ashen does this after explaining that once you defeat Igor, you must fight his dog, named "Shepski."
Dr. Ashen: I am not making this up, I promise!
- Rage Comics have seen the addition of a new "True Story" Rage Face (a Memetic Mutation of Barney Stinson's line from How I Met Your Mother), used by authors of Rage Comics to invoke this trope.
- Geoffrey K. Pullum, a linguist writing for the Language Log, gives a Not Making This Up Disclaimer just before talking about Dan Brown using the expression "learning the ropes in the trenches" in Deception Point.
- The "Jezebel" site offers the headline "Today in Things I Couldn’t Even Make Up, Britney Spears Is Writing a Novel"
- 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 SpongeBob SquarePants 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)
- The Nth Degree: Mentioning that Barclay becoming smarter mirrors the plot of a certain science fiction work... a Japanese TV show:
- 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.
- cs188 is pretty well-known for creating Inherently Funny Words, specifically those like JoJ, SuS, and FaaF. Thus, when he did Pooping the Charts Vol. 5 - Sex-Crazed Pop Stars, he ended up slapping a disclaimer of "I really didn't edit that!" when the lyrics to the Kanye West/Katy Perry song "E.T." seem to use the word "JoJ"
- When The Cinema Snob reviewed I Spit on Your Grave, he mentioned "Turkish I Spit On Your Grave", and showed a picture to let us know that film exists.
- 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.
"I couldn't make this shit up. I couldn't make this shit up if I tr- I am sad that I lack the talent, to make this shit up."
- 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!".
- Later, in his Pokemon Bootleg Games video, on one particularly (and hilariously) bad piece of translation:
Jontron: LIKE APHRODITE RISING FROM THE SEAFOAM OF URANUS' SEVERED BALLSACK! *To the side* No, really, I'm serious, that's how it happened, look it up, it's... it's true, it's definitely true.
- And another one, this time when making a simile. Jon seems to find himself using this trope often.
BEEP BEEP BEEP. OH SORRY, WHAT'S THAT? THAT'S JUST THE "YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP" ALARM.
- 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.
- In his Disney Bootlegs video, a bootleg The Lion King game has Simba ride on a platform with a Swastika on it to reach the end of the game.
- 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 PewDiePie video titles. Every appearance is accompanied by YouTube annotations reading "ACTUAL VIDEO TITLES" or similar.
- The channel's normal content has also featured this at least twice. A video of one particular Flash game earned the title of "Silent Hill Upskirt Fighter. Really.", which is lampshaded as "the world's most clickbaity title" and yet "100% REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CONTENT." A later video of a Star Wars Flash game has "star wars", "9/11" and "osama bin laden" as tags, which the description says "feels like [they're] exploiting the search algorithm but [they're] somehow not."
- 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.
- During the analysis section of the Death Battle episode featuring Ryu and Scorpion, the words "Yes... This is real..." was displayed while the hosts shared the clip of Scorpion hosting his own cooking show.
- They do it again in the episode featuring Kirby and Majin Buu, specifically when talking about how Kirby once threw a giant frying pan at a giant acid monster, making them both go through the ceiling into orbit, go straight into the sun, have it circle the burning star, and have it land back in the same room with a perfectly cooked monster.
- 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* 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.
- PC Gamer's online article "The 10 worst and most WTF adventure game puzzles" does this twice in a single paragraph when discussing the infamous moustache puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3:
His disguise consists of a fake moustache, which he makes by... I am not making this up... putting some masking tape on a hole and scaring a black cat past it so that some of its fur sticks onto it. Gabriel then sticks it onto his face with maple syrup. This is a thing that actually happens.
- In the Honest Trailers video for Jupiter Ascending, the plot is described as "so ridiculous, we're just going to tell you what happens. This is actually the story". While it's being recapped, further disclaimers appear on the screen, from "this is the actual plot of the movie" and "seriously, we're not making this up" to "this was actually screened at Sundance" and "someone paid 175 million dollars for this", culminating with "Are you sure these are the same guys who made The Matrix?"
- Taken to extremes in the College Humor sketch The Adventures of Kim Jong-Un, one episode details how Kim Jong-Nam was disowned for being caught sneaking into Tokyo Disney Land and has a massive disclaimer reading "THIS IS TRUE", followed by how he conquered it and made it his kingdom with a disclaimer reading "NOT THIS PART", and finishing with how he had Kim Jong-Il turned into a cyborg with a disclaimer reading "JUST A GUESS BUT PROBABLY RIGHT?"
- In RockedReviews' review of Nickelback's album Silver Side Up, the host Luke realizes that the album was released on the exact day of the attacks on the World Trade Center. He initially figured someone was messing with Wikipedia that day, but they weren't.
- The Comics Curmudgeon summarises a storyline in Gasoline Alley:
Driven to madness by the incessant basketball-dribbling of a bunch of young African-American fellows, Slim has decided to destroy the public court on which their noisy pastime is played by simulating a meteor strike. Dear God, I wish I had a made up a single word in that previous sentence.
- Comes up frequently on How Did This Get Made?. Most often it's in response to a particularly absurd scene or piece of dialogue. For example, in their episode for 88 Minutes, after Al Pacino's character asks another character "Did you ever let an unauthorized person into my secure files area?"
Pete Holmes: That's a line that American treasure Al Pacino memorized and delivered! Multiple takes!
- In Wrestle Wrestle Spoony insists, when reviewing a TNA Impact episode, that Hulk Hogan giving a guy his ring, and that shouting that he can feel its power, is actually one of the plot lines.
- Joueur du Grenier: In the "2D to 3D" episode, the opening of Mortal Kombat: Special Forces is shown with a disclaimer "No, this ain't edited, it's the game's real intro sequence."
- During Dorkly Originals "Why Kylo Ren ACTUALLY turned to the dark side" video when Ren points out that the dark side has cool powers like Force Lightning while the light side has stuff like "Animal Friendships" the phrase "Animal Friendship is an ACTUAL, completely canonical light side power" appears at the bottom of the screen. Then to hammer it home, when Ren leaves with a pair of women to go to Supreme Leader Snoke's kegger, the phrase "Seriously. ANIMAL. FRIENDSHIP." pops up.
- When Whatculture Wrestling announced that they would be launching their own wrestling promotion, What Culture Pro Wrestling, they emphasized, "Yes, this is really happening." Later they released a "10 Things You Need To Know About WCPW" to answer fan questions, and the first thing on that list was "It's Actually Happening."
- WatchMojo has this to say about John Wayne as Ghengis Khan in their "Top 10 Worst Whitewashed Roles" video:
WatchMojo: No, seriously. We're not making this up.
- 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 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 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, similar subtitles are used in the shameless JCVD Expy's Scientology description.
- "Be very careful, Joey!"
- 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.
- Another example is the time they spoofed Stand by Me. At the end of that part of the episode, the Voiceover (Richard Dreyfuss, the same person who provided the Voice Over of the grown-up protagonist In the actual film) informs the audience that Cleveland's character (Vern) went on to marry Rebecca Romijn. Immediately afterwards, he then tells the viewers that he wasn't making this up. In real life, the guy (Jerry O'Connell) who played the fat kid in the movie went on to marry Rebecca Romijn.
- 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.
- In Gravity Falls episode "The Stanchurian Candidate", Dipper outlines the town's electoral process as making a literal "stump speech", followed by a debate where the audience throws birdseed on their favorite candidate, and the winner is the one to receive a 'birdly kiss' from a 'freedom eagle.' Dipper caps this off with, "I couldn't make this up if I tried."
- In the Poorly Disguised Pilot for Crash Nebula, Sprig's father gives him the family cowpie before he leaves, to which Sprig thanks. He then pauses the story to admit that he wasn't being sarcastic. It really was a touching family moment that happened to involve poop.
- The New Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show takes the form of a variety show of which the main attraction is Mr. Peabody telling a story of one of his time travel exploits. As part of every episode, he gets the story notarized live to guarantee to his audience that he is telling a story that actually happened to him.
- 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."
- Said by Kevin Smith in an anecdote about his interactions with Tim Burton, when he brings up Burton's publicist, whose actual, real name is Bumble Ward.
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.
- "I am not kidding." said Dick Van Dyke, after being rescued by porpoises. ("The porpoises were unavailable for comment.")
- 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.
- 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.
- There's this article that discusses just how absurdist Tolkien purists can be. The writer even has to state at the beginning that he didn't make any of the examples up and included some real life incidents to prove it.
- On October 30, 2012, Disney bought LucasFilm Ltd., including the rights to Star Wars, and immediately announced that they had begun pre-production on Episode VII. Within minutes, news websites, columnists, and bloggers everywhere had to preface their articles with "No, this is not a joke."
- When presenting the Medal of Honor to a captain who got injured tackling a suicide bomber, Barack Obama recalled his story: "He wasn’t sure, but he thought that he was in Germany, and someone was at his bedside talking to him And he thought that it was the lead singer from the heavy metal band Korn. Flo thought, “What’s going on? Am I hallucinating?” But he wasn't, it was all real. Today, Florent Groberg, I want to convince you that you are not hallucinating. You are actually in the White House. Those cameras are on, I am not the lead singer from Korn..."
- Abe Vigoda had been erroneously reported as dead twice before in 1982 and 1987, so when he died for real on January 26, 2016, many reports said "This is not a hoax."