It is widely claimed that at any party, there will naturally be a lull in the conversation every seven minutes.
On TV, this will always happen just when someone raises their voice to be heard by exactly one person in spite of the crowd or background noise, when they say something private, highly insulting, or incredibly bizarre (or all three). Hilarity Ensues
Another version occurs not with speech, but with music. Somebody will be talking rather loudly to be heard over music, and the music will stop (or the person they're speaking to will remove their headphones) right when the person hits a screaming volume.
Sometimes results in an Orphaned Punchline
- A variation happens in Black Lagoon as Dutch and the gang try to sneak away from a gunfight without being noticed. Unfortunately, Revy gets into an argument with the bartender on the way out and loudly insults him... at the exact moment everyone stops shooting.
- The idiot hero Rat-Man is trying to tell to his best friend that he masturbates a lot. Their conversation is drowned by a near TV, until someone switches to a less loud channel, while Rat-Man says "I masturbate like a Cossack greyhound!". Later, his best friends refuse to shake his hand...
- In Porterhouse Blue, an undergraduate university student goes to see a certain professor whom he has been assured is an experienced counselor for personal problems. The professor claims to be having hearing problems and hands the student a bullhorn, then encourages him to explain his situation in full. The student does so, unaware that his anguished confession of sexual obsession with his big breasted middle-aged bedder is echoing throughout the quad. From the amused reaction of the older students, it is implied that the professor isn't really deaf, he just enjoys getting students to humiliate themselves this way.
- Literary example in the first book of The Wheel of Time, where Rand shouts "Later!" to Perrin just in a lull while everybody is questioning Padan Fain about news of the problems outside.
- In Henry Green's Concluding (1948) a woman at a ball is preparing to defame a man named Rock to her colleague just as the ballroom's gramophone dies. "This Rock," she shouts over the now-quiet room, and deftly turns it into a pun about the building's foundation.
- In The Magician's Nephew]], a bird in the newly-created Narnia does this, to the great amusement of the other talking animals. Rather than scold his creations for laughing, Aslan, equally amused, informs the bird that he has become the first joke.
- In Polgara The Sorceress Polgara waits before she enters a room, knowing that a lull in the conversation will come eventually and timing her entrance to that. When the lull doesn't come soon enough for her taste, she asks her mother to give her a hand (it makes sense in context).
- Played with on Whose Line Is It Anyway? during a game of Scenes From a Hat where the scene was "Things you don't want to be shouting at a party when the loud music suddenly stops."
- In one episode of Cheers, Norm is forced to shout over construction noises, but the audience still can't hear what he's saying until the construction pauses just as he shouts, "The world's biggest ass!"
- Likewise, in an episode of Will and Grace, the conversation lulls at a gallery opening on cue every time someone says "I'm out," prompting applause from the audience at the unintentional Double Entendre.
- In another Will and Grace episode, Grace is talking to Karen at the opera. Grace is speaking loudly to be heard over the soprano; the music fades to silence in time for Grace's last word, "homos!" to echo several times through the silent theater.
- Father Ted: "Chirpy Burpy Cheep Sheep" - Ted makes a dramatic entrance to the King of the Sheep tournament. As he announces to all assembled the identity of the saboteurs, the audience mutter among themselves; as they finish, a man is clearly heard to say "Fuckin' hell!" (swearing, apart from "feck" and "bollocks", never otherwise appeared in Father Ted).
- In How I Met Your Mother, Ted is on a blind date at an unbearably loud dance club. After realising that his date is just nodding along politely and can't really hear a thing he's saying, he starts saying random silly things for the fun of it — then the music cuts out just in time for him to yell "I'm wetting my pants!" in her face.
- Later during the same episode, the club plays a different song with enough space during each beat that Barney and Marshall can talk during each lull.
- In the long running mexican Sitcom El Chavo del ocho this happens very often, with everybody arguing until Profesor Jirafales or some authority figure makes everybody shut up*"]], and only the naive Chavo still talks, always saying something insulting towards the authority person (such as referring to Profesor Jirafales as "Maestro Longaniza", as Don Ramón aften does).
"Se me chispoteo."
- Subverted in at least one episode, when after a similar situation happens, it ends with El Chavo saying "And now I'm not sayin' anything".
- Frasier: "The Doctor Is Out". Frasier and Niles have walked into a gay bar looking for someone they believe is gay. Loud music is playing, and Niles feels more and more uncomfortable, especially knowing that Daphne expects him home soon - so he pleads with Frasier to give it up and leave, and just as the music stops, he yells, "I'm begging you, please take me home!".
- In another episode, there is construction in Frasier's apartment. Daphne and one of the construction workers are struggling to have a conversation. There's a lull just in time for everyone to hear Daphne say, "I said I don't want to go out with you!"
- In a late episode of Friends, Mike Hannigan takes Phoebe to a hockey game for their one-year anniversary. Straining to get her voice heard by Mike over the roar of the crowd, Phoebe yells out "You're so smart, and generous, and you're AMAZING in bed!" Guess at what point the crowd died down.
- In one episode of Gary And Mike, the titular duo is at a punk gig, Gary tries to tell Mike that "This band sucks, let's go", with predictable results.
- Being Human: George approaching his time of the month and wanting to "Bang the granny" out of any woman he can find.
- In the British version of The Office, David Brent gets caught in the middle of a (lame) dirty joke in the Seven Minute Lull at the end of "The Party."
- Happens in Neighbours when the stereo is unplugged just when Janae is telling Darren that they should come clean to Libby about their kiss.
- In an episode of Mork and Mindy, the lull happens just as Mork tells Mindy "...and you look great naked."
- One of Penn Jillette's trick is a double magic trick with another magician, the two of them simultaneously asking separate audience members to draw a card and not show it. They both talk really fast over each other's lines and when the other one stops, he leaves Penn to deliver the perfectly audible line "... while traveling through vinegar", bereft of any context.
- This happened in the Saturday Night Live skit, "Family Dinner". Will Ferrell plays a beleaguered father shouting to be heard over his bickering family at the dinner table. They would always stop abruptly just as he shouted something unimpressive in an attempt to assert his authority, such as "I'm a division manager!" or "I drive a Dodge Stratus!"
- In the M*A*S*H episode where everyone thinks that Trapper is going back to the States due to an ulcer, the camp is throwing him a "farewell" party. At one point Hawkeye gives a heartfelt speech about how they'll all miss him as a friend and colleague, and in the ensuing silence, a drunken Colonel Blake is overheard trying to pick up a nurse in a corner of the room.
- The Eminem song "Just Lose It" includes the lines: "And it's cool if you let one go/ Nobody's gonna know, who'd hear it?/ Give a little "poot poot", it's OK! [Music Stops - Fart Sound plays]/ Oops my CD just skipped/ And everyone just heard you let one rip"
- College Humor's "Awkward Rap" references this.
- Reel Big Fish has one of these during the "Tyler Jones Breakdown" when Aaron declares "This is the part of the show where we talk over each other." At the end Scott is the only one left speaking as he lampshades the entire event, stating that the audience wouldn't understand anything they were saying but it would still "be maybe kinda funny."
- Creed has one of these in the middle of "Signs", with the implication being that when they claim "This is not about sex!", all people hear is the word "sex".
- Happens at the end of Act Two of Noises Off, when stage manager Poppy tries to have a serious conversation with her director and former lover Lloyd. Since they're backstage she tries talking to him in a whisper, until she gets frustrated by his attempts to brush her off and shouts "Well I'm sorry, but you've got to hear BECAUSE I'M PREGNANT!!!" just as the scene being played onstage ends.
- On an early episode of QI John Sessions told the following anecdote:
The late, lamented, and great Sir John Gielgud was directing a young actor in the West End once, and the young actor was pausing a lot, as young actors tend to do. And Gielgud said to him, "Oh, stop. No, no. No, you must never pause. Never pause in the West End. I paused many, many years ago, and during the silence, I heard a voice from the third row go, 'Oh, you hideous beast! You've just come all over my umbrella!'"
- Courtesy of Texts from Last Night:
Of course the bar would go completely silent right as I yell out "I don't have AIDS"