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Not on the List
"Do you know my friend... George Washington?"

A person is standing in line at a restaurant, club, or private party, and when they get to the head of the line the bouncer checks a list. The person is not on the list, so they can't go in. The plot usually requires them to get into said venue, so wacky antics usually ensue. Or punching.

This has various incarnations:

  • Not on the List: Character wants to get into a club and the bouncer says they're not on the list. Subtypes:
    • Bouncer actually checks;
    • Bouncer doesn't even check (Pre-judged!)
  • (But) I'm on the List: Character says this to bouncer. Played for laughs if it is common knowledge there's no list.
  • Check it Again / Do you know who I Am: Character is either not important and thinks they are or *is* important but just not to the bouncer/venue/geolocation.
  • The character's money says they're on the list. The bouncer may or may not agree.

A sister trope of

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Commercials 
  • The Vikings from Capital One's "What's in Your Wallet" series try to get into a night club. The Vikings' goat is allowed into the bar but the Vikings themselves are Not on the List. Link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwRYK2qk2zI
  • A recent beer commercial has a guy hiring a bouncer...for his house. And his wife's not on the list.

    Film 
  • In Snatch, Avi's group is stopped before gaining admittance to an unlicensed boxing match. Avis is annoyed, griping, "We're on the list!"
  • A Night At The Roxbury mentions this trope no less than seven times.
  • The Mask invokes this trope twice: The first time, when Ipkiss goes to the Coco Bongo club with his friend and isn't let in, the second when The Mask goes to the club and pushes his way through after throwing a lot of money around.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Bueller and friends try to get into a fancy restaurant but they're not on the reservation list; eventually they pretend they're someone who is on the list.
  • Made has the two man gangster wanna-bes trying to get into a club where they're supposed to meet a crimelord. Unfortunately, they're not on the list, so the bouncers refuse them admittance. As they argue, Dustin Diamond breezes right through the door. One of them expresses outrage that "Screech" is on the list and not them.
  • Robots. Rodney and Fender are trying to get into the Bigweld Ball and are told, "Uh, you're not on the list."
  • Real Genius. The protagonists are trying to get into a U.S. Air Force base and are told, "You're not on the list."
  • The King Of Comedy: Rupert is told, "If your name is not on the list, we cannot let you in."
  • Get Carter
    Bouncer: Sorry Mr. Carter, you're not on the list.
    Jack Carter: [Jack punches him] Nobody likes the list guy.
  • Stan Lee makes cameos this way in a lot of Marvel films.
  • In Blade the bouncer asks the titular character if he has a invitation instead of checking a list. Needless to say, he doesn't and throws the guy through the door.
  • Strange Days when Lenny Nero tries to get in to the Retinal Fetish.
  • Constantine when trying to get into a club is literally told this.
  • At the end of Astérix: Mission Cleopatre, Julius Caesar tries to get into the party hosted by Cleopatra, only to find he's not on the list. His general is, all the side characters are, but he is not.
  • The Danish film Klovn has two guys arriving at a special once-a-year bordello hosted by a powerful acquaintence. The first guy gets in, but the second guy is not on the list. The host arrives and claims that the second guy is excluded because he's too ugly, but then admits that it's because the man didn't read Heart of Darkness for their book club and refused to take a grade-school hazing as punishment.
  • A deleted scene in Zoolander features a long sequence in which the titular character elbows his way through multiple Wannabe Lines and into progressively smaller and more exclusive VIP sections before finally reaching rival Hansel to deliver a zinger. There's also a gag in the DVD menu comparing the Special Features menu to the Coolest Club Ever and the remote to a man insisting he is on the list, even though he is Not on the List, although if he were cool, he wouldn't even need to BE on the list, because he'd be that cool.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Brent, once the biggest celebrity in town, is told he's not on the list to dine at a trendy restaurant. When Flint, whose invention made the town successful again, is let in, Brent complains "You're letting him in? But that guy's a nerd!"
  • In Almost Famous, wannabe rock journalist William Miller is unable to get backstage to do a story on Black Sabbath because he's not on the list. Not until Stillwater shows up is Miller able to get in, and that's only because Russell Hammond is able to intimidate the doorman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Living Color!. The "Club Bouncers" sketches had two bouncers (played by Jamie Foxx and Tommy Davidson) telling people they weren't on the list and couldn't enter.
  • How I Met Your Mother. Being on the list is an important plot element in Season 1's "Okay Awesome" episode. Robin is on the list to get into the club since she's already in when Ted and Barney arrive and her word is enough to get them in. However, she is not on the list for the VIP room and when she exits the club to sort out the situation, she's unable to re-enter, since her name has already been crossed off. That is, until Lily joins her and takes action.
  • Joe Fontana in Law & Order says "It's ok, we're authorized" whenever there is a list or a subject is unwilling to discuss something.
    • Used and inverted by Det. Eames in Criminal Intent to a bouncer at a nightclub.
      Eames: "We're on the list"
      Bouncer: "Yes you are..."
  • Murphy Brown: In a Flashback episode showing the crew's various experiences at their first presidential elections, Murphy sneaks a peek at the list of eligible voters and claims the name of the first woman she sees - who is 82 years old. Murphy then goes on a rant about not being able to vote yet and is dragged out of the polling place.
  • 30 Rock
    Kenneth: I'm sorry, this is a private party.
    Ridikolous: Hold on: we're with Tracy Jordan.
    Kenneth: And Mr. Jordan himself said "don't let no one in who's not on the list 'cause this mess is gonna get raw like sushi, so haters to the left."
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force episode "Light Source: Part 2"
    Styxoid: No passage!
    Leelee: Excuse me? Do you know who I am? I'm Leelee Pimvare. Rearrange the letters in my last name, and, oh, what do you get? Yeah, "vampire." In fact, I'm the next Queen of the Vampires, so...
    Styxoid 2: You're not on the list.
  • In an episode of Bones the bouncer tells Booth he's not on the list (but lets Brennan in); Booth then shows the bouncer his FBI badge.
  • Parodied in a Mad TV skit featuring Kason, where a man called Ayan Pepperman is not on the list.
    Ayan: Excuse me. Ayan Pepperman?
    Kason: Mmm-hmm. [checks list] Yeah, you're not on the list.
    Ayan: Uh, yes I am. The last name is Pepperman. P-E-P-P—
    Kason: Yeah, I am familiar with that condiment, and I know how to spell it. But you're still not on the list.
    Ayan: Do you know who I am?
    Kason: Sir, when I was seven years old, I lost my clairvoyant abilities, so no, I don't know who you are.
  • A running gag on Muppets Tonight was the guest star trying to get in and being stopped by security guard Bobo the bear who had to check if they were on the list. The ultimate example probably being with guest star Prince... during his "formerly known as" phase.
    Prince: I'm the artist formerly known as Prince.
    Bobo: And I'm the bear currently known as not amused.
  • Angel demonstrates this is a serious problem for vampires, given that they need a Vampire Invitation.
    Angelus: I think it's time The Immortal found out exactly who he's dealing with. I think it's time for blood vengeance!
    (Gilligan Cut to them arguing with a bouncer at a society bash thrown by the Immortal)
    Angelus: Blood vengeance. I'm sure we're on the list. Is there anything under blood vengeance?
  • And there's that awesome scene in Moonlighting with David, Maddie, and a hotel security officer all speaking in Seussian rhyming couplets:
    Security Officer: I'm sorry, but you're not on the guest list.
    David: That's because we're not guests. We're looking for a man with a mole on his nose.
    Officer: A mole on his nose?
    Maddie: A mole on his nose.
    Officer: [to Maddie] What kind of clothes?
    Maddie: [to David] What kind of clothes?
    David: What kind of clothes do you suppose?
    Officer: What kind of clothes do I suppose would be worn by a man with a mole on his nose? Who knows?
    David: Did I happen to mention,did I bother to disclose, that this man that we're seeking with the mole on his nose? I'm not sure of his clothes or anything else, except he's Chinese, a big clue by itself.
    David: Gotta read a lot of Dr. Seuss.
    Officer: I'm sorry to say, I'm sad to report, I haven't seen anyone at all of that sort. Not a man who's Chinese with a mole on his nose with some kind of clothes that you can't suppose. So get away from this door and get out of this place, or I'll have to hurt you - put my foot in your face.

    Music 
  • Klaxons - "The Bouncer" has "not on the list" as lyrics.
  • Kesha - "Party at a Rich Dude's House" invokes this trope.
  • David Bowie — His Loser Protagonist Vic in Jazzin' for Blue Jean claims to be on the list, so the bouncer at the door waves him through. Inside, the clerk with the list quickly figures out he's a phony: He's reading off of it to get a name to use — and the people just coming in are the actual names in question! She hides the list from him and his ruse falls apart.

    Pinball 
  • On later stages of The Party Zone, the player must Make a Request before entering the Cosmic Cottage; failure to do so causes Da Bouncer to kick him out.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "The Harder They Clone". The doorman at an illegal club tells the Troubleshooters they aren't on the list and can't get in.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 2 has the Afterlife club. A Human is using this with an Elcor Bouncer.
    "Aria's expecting me. Ugh."
    "Coldly: If she was expecting you, you would already be inside."
    • In the sequel's Citadel DLC, if he's invited to Shepard's house party, Grunt appoints himself doorman. Nobody's on the list.
    Grunt: Yes, I like pie. And no, you can't come in.
    Commander Shepard doesnt have a half-brother named "Sheppy the Volus".
    You just lost the fight for your right to party.
    (to Shepard) It's easy. Just push this button and say "no!"
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you have to get into the most popular nightclub in Hengsha, the Hive. The bouncer doesn't even have a list, he just says that only members are allowed in. Fortunately, membership is as easy as one thousand credits. Alternative methods include finding the back entrance, punching the bouncer in the face or stealing someone else's membership card.
  • Comes up in Tak and the Power of Juju, where Tak has to get into a certain area. The Juju spirit guarding it has to check to see if Tak is on the list first, and spends an annoyingly long time doing so. Luckily, Tak's name is on the list, so the Juju opens the door...right onto Tak.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, you cannot get into Joker's Party if you are not on the list as a Thug explains to Batman. He looks down his list through all the B's and seeing Batman is on it, lets him through. Ironically if you look at the list yourself, you will see it just has BATMAN!!! written on it.
  • Subverted in DmC: Devil May Cry, in which Dante brashly approaches Lilith's Club and gets stopped by the bouncer, who rejects him because he's actually not on the list. Dante's response? Uppercut the bouncer, knocking him unconscious, then add insult to injury by writing "Fuck you" on the bouncer's list and jokingly saying "I am now!" and barging into the club uninvited.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner - In the email "night life", Strong Bad goes to Club Technochocolate.
    Strong Bad: [narrating] Of course, the club only lets the freshest clientele inside. But my name has been laser-etched into the guest list by now.
    Strong Mad: NAME, PLEASE!
    Strong Bad: Come on, man, drop the act! I've gotta get into the pwahty club!
    Strong Mad: [looking at a grease-stained Blubb-O's bag] YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST!

    Webcomic 

    Western Animation 
  • Hercules, "Hercules and the Prom": Herc is trying to sneak into the Underworld to save Orpheus. This is the second type.
    Hercules: But I'm on the list.
    Panic: Oh, yeah? Well, guess what? There is no list.
    Hercules: Then how do you know I'm not on it?
    Pain: He's got you there.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar, "All King, No Kingdom": After King Julien divides the lemur habitat into his side and Maurice and Mort's side, the latter throw a party on their side. Julien tries to get in, but the gorillas stop him, saying that he's not on the list. After checking again, they find Julien on the list... of whom not to let in.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer tries to get into Flaming Moe's. The bouncer tells him "Your name's not on the list," and Homer rightly points out that he didn't even tell him his name. Of course, he then does tell him, and it isn't on the list.
  • In a Ducktales comic in Disney Adventures, Huey, Dewey and Louie try to get into a party for criminals by posing as a new gang called "The Danger Ducks". They're tied up and held captive out the back, until Webby arrives and manages to forge their name on the list before rescuing them. The bouncer is fooled and is instantly apologetic.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Best Day Ever Spongebob is not allowed into Squidward's clarinet recital because his name wasn't on the list. After several tries to get in, the guard realizes Spongebob was on the VIP list. However as soon as Spongebob gets in Squidward's recital is over.
  • Played extensively in King of the Hill episode Smoking and the Bandit. Started when Peggy tailing Hank, Dale, Bobby, and Joseph in pursuit of the "smoking bandit". Peggy thought they went to the nightclub, but she's stopped by the bouncer. She tries giving various names since she's not "on the list" and also holding back the line. When she's finally allowed inside, she couldn't cover the $12 charge.
  • Conversed in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, when Lucy can't believe Charlie Brown got invited to a Halloween party.
    Lucy: There were two lists, Charlie Brown: those to invite and those not to invite. You must have been put on the wrong list.
  • An episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has Ami and Ymi take advantage of this trope. Because they're not on the list to get into Kaz's party, they change his name on the clipboard to "Raz" to get the bouncer to kick him out.


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