Repeated Cue Tardy Response

This trope occurs when a character says a cue line, but the expected response doesn't happen, so the character has to repeat their cue. Typically used for humor, subverting expectations.

Sometimes the expected response never comes: the character says the words, but nothing happens. Maybe they weren't heard, so they repeat it again, louder and with more emphasis, and still nothing happens. The character is now stuck in an awkward position. Examples would include an actor stuck on stage in front of an audience who must now wing it, or a character waiting for someone to spring a trap that never comes.

Rule of Funny requires that, if the event does eventually happen, it will always occur either after the character has given up, or between recitations. Example: "Behold this event...Now!" (beat) "...Now!" (beat) "...N-" (interrupted by event)


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  • Animorphs: Rachel is trying to get Erek (whose hologram is malfunctioning) out of the store, but a particularly obnoxious clerk is in the way. Fortunately, Marco is there in gorilla morph, ready to knock him out!
    Rachel: Look out, that lava lamp is about to fall and hit you in the head!
    Employee: Huh?
    Marco: <Huh?>
    Rachel: -Death Glare- I said, look out, that lava lamp is about to fall and hit you in the head!
    Marco: <Oh, right.> -Tap on the Head-

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: In Exit Strategy, Michael is in a meeting with Wayne Jarvis. Wayne dramatically says, "[GOB]'s on the news right now," and turns the television on. GOB is not on the news. They wait for quite a while before the aforementioned news report finally comes on.
    Wayne Jarvis: And imagine the impact if that had come on right when we turned on the TV.
  • That '70s Show: Donna tells Eric to hide in the woods so he can jump out at the end of a ghost story she is going to tell.
    Donna: You'll know when she's coming because she screams before she kills. Let's see if we can hear her.
    Donna: I said, let's see if we can hear her!
    Eric (off screen): Donna, I'm stuck in a thorn bush.
  • In Just Shoot Me!, Dennis forgot to buy Jack's lottery ticket on the one occassion when he actually wins. To cover it up, he doctors a ticket and leaves Jack's office window open, so that the ticket will fly away when Nina opens the door. The cue is Dennis saying "Lucky day", but Nina mistakingly thinks it's Marvin Gaye. Dennis continues on saying "Lucky day" in vain before Nina opens the door because she got tired of waiting.
  • In Father Ted, Ted needs to hold a raffle for a prize that isn't his to give away, so he rigs the draw by giving Dougal the winning ticket. Dougal remains oblivious after the number is called several times, responding only when Ted addresses him directly.

  • The climax of Mallrats featured Brody setting up to expose the antagonist's previous crime (indecency with a minor) to be as public as possible, but it backfires in this fashion when the tape gets dropped. Cue protagonist yelling, "NOW!" several times while being hauled away before events turn and the tape plays, resetting Brody's plan.
  • In the Pixar film Cars, Lightning McQueen says, "Is it getting dark out?" at which point Lizzie was supposed to activate the neon lights, but she didn't hear him. Lightning tries again, she actually forgot what she was supposed to do and Red decides to do her job for her.
  • Pixar does it again in Finding Nemo when Nemo is about to be inducted into the fish tank's fraternal bond, the ceremony taking place atop Mount Wanna-hock-a-loogie.
    Bloat: If you can swim through...the Ring...of Fire!
    (Nemo looks confused as nothing happens)
    Bloat: (aside) The Ring of Fire, Jacques! The Ring of Fire!
    Jacques: Sorry! (starts spinning the wheel to make bubbles burst out of the mountain)
    Bloat! The Ring of Fire!
  • In Iron Man 3, a restrained Tony Stark faces this while summoning his armor.


    Video Games 
  • At the end of Team Fortress 2 tie-in video Meet the Spy, the BLU Soldier has killed the BLU Spy because the latter was "obviously" the RED Spy.
    BLU Soldier: Watch, he'll turn red any second now. ... Annyyy second now...
  • In Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction, Emperor Tachyon has finally gotten ahold of the Dimensionator, a device that will allow him to free the cragmites, the imprisoned race of which he's a member. He says, "The time has come for the cragmites to rise again!" puncuating the last word by pulling the lawnmower-like ripcord on the device. Nothing happens.
    Tachyon:...To rise again! *pulls the cord, nothing happens.*
    *Cut to the heroes looking bored*
    'Tachyon:' *Twitchy Eye* To rise AGAIN! *pulls the cord, portal opens*

    Web Original 
  • In Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 4, by ThisIsIt, when Red Guy asks about the relevance of the Internet, Colin hesitates.
    Red Guy: But in this digital world, what can we do?
    Red Guy: (insistently) What can we—
    Colin: Hey, good question!
  • During The Nostalgia Critic's review of Inspector Gadget, when Gadget comes back from the dead simply by "having the heart."
    Critic: That’s right. Even though it defies everything logical and everything scientific, Inspector Gadget comes back to life simply through the will of heart. ...I said “simply through the will of heart.” ...“Simply through the will of heart!” ..Excuse me.
He then runs off and berates Ma-Ti into saying his famous line again solely for the purposes of this Running Gag. Ma-Ti is certainly not happy to do so.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Agent Washington has Sarge at gunpoint and order him to disarm, taking his shotgun. He then orders Sarge to march to the blue base.
    Sarge: Son, you can insult me. You can ambush me. You can even take away my weapons. But if you think I'm gonna set one single pinkie toe inside a Blue base, without my shotgun, you must not know who you're dealing with.
    Washington: I said move.
    Sarge: And I said: Shotgun.
    Washington: Yes. I have your shotgun.
    Sarge: No, I mean... Shot. Gun.
    Washington: What, you think I'm going to give you your shotgun cause you ask?
    Sarge: No! I said SHOTGUN! SHOTGUN DAMMIT!
    Grif (muffled): Oh, right, shotgun! That's my cue!
    Grif (after running Washington over): Next time we choose a codeword, how about we choose one you don't say every five seconds.
  • Happens twice within one minute during Marik's first Evil Council meeting, when he's about to reveal his Evil Plan:
    Marik: Drumroll, please!
    (no drumroll)
    Marik: Come on, is it too much to ask for a [EFF!]ing drumroll?
    (drumroll starts)
    Marik: Thank you, for God's sake. In order to defeat Yugi Muto, we're going a children's card game with him! Dun dun duuuuuuun!
    (drumroll continues)
    Bakura: That's your plan?
    Pegasus: I already did that.
    Weevil: Yeah, heh heh, me too.
    Marik: This will be no ordinary card game! It will...look, you can stop the drumroll now.
    (drumroll stops)
    Marik: Thank you.

  • In The Illustrated Guide To Law, the chapter on eyewitness identification begins with a lengthy introduction involving how memory works, different kinds of identification procedures, and how law enforcement can inadvertently cause a false identification... but no discussion of law. Finally, the police officer character gets frustrated, throws his coat on the ground, and asks what the law requires him to do. Then there is a long beat of several panels. Just as the officer begins asking the question again, the narrator jumps into view, saying "did someone say law?"

    Western Animation 
  • The Looney Tunes short The Isle of Pingo-Pongo (one of the Censored Eleven) employs this in its final gag, ending a Running Gag involving Egghead asking the narrator when it's time for his part.
    Narrator: And with the soft, sweet strains of the native music still lingering in the air, we say farewell to this island of enchantment as the sun sinks slowly in the west. (nothing) As the sun sinks slowly in the west. (still nothing) As the sun sinks...
    Egghead: N-N-N-Now, boss?
    Narrator: Yeah, now!
    (Egghead takes a shotgun out of his violin case and shoots the sun down)
  • In an episode of The Great Grape Ape, Grape Ape is dressed as a genie and hiding in a large vase. Beegle Beagle has arranged for Grape Ape to come out of the vase after the former knocks three times, but Grape Ape is slow to catch on.