"Oh, no, it's the cops! Oh, and a... construction worker!"
Private strippers show up in sitcomland all the time. Male or female, they come dressed as police officers and are mistaken for them (the protagonist is often accidentally handcuffed to them), while real cops (or some other authority figures) are thought to be strippers, leading the protagonists to rip their shirts off.
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- Inverted with a Jack in the Box commercial for breakfast platters, in which Jack approves of a policeman, a firefighter, and a construction worker being the hardworking people who would eat them. Cut to said figures baring all at a bachelorette party.
- Reversed in a strip by Sergio Aragones in Mad Magazine A female police officer storms into a room full of bad guys—and is woefully outnumbered. She then backpedals, pretends to be a stripper, gets a tip, waves goodbye, then runs to the police car and radios for more backup.
Films — Live-Action
- In Down Periscope, Commander Dodge initially mistakes a female officer assigned to his submarine for a stripper. The fact that she was the first woman allowed into the submarine service branch doesn't exactly justify it.
- In Days Of Thunder, the racing crew plays this trick on Cole (Tom Cruise) to great hilarity. Later in the movie, Cole assumes the doctor (Nicole Kidman) who is examining him is a repeat of the trick by his crew, but she isn't.
- In the remake of The In Laws, FBI agents show up in the middle of the (alcohol-fueled) bachelorette party and are temporarily mistaken for strippers.
- In Lets Be Cops it happens to the guys impersonating police.
- In one of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown mystery stories, the criminal gets rid of a policeman by convincing everyone at the house that the man is actually in costume for a pantomime show. He beats up the cop while the audience laughs at the slapstick comedy.
- In Spin City, Stuart sends a priest to the girls' bachelorette party whom they mistake for a stripper and rip his shirt open. The women get revenge by sending a real male stripper to the guys, whom they mistake for a cop. At least Carter enjoys it.
- Frasier: The title character ends up handcuffed to the lovely Officer Nasty (hired for Donnie's bachelor party) while he is demonstrating to her how she can make her dancing sexier.
- An episode of Seinfeld featured the stripper and real cop getting their wires crossed — the bachelorette party gets an actual officer showing up expecting a robbery, while the actual robbery has the "cop" show up and start taking his clothes off.
- Wings: Helen is handcuffed to the stripping cop hired for her bachelorette party.
- Friends: Phoebe's stripper is Officer Goodbody, played by Danny DeVito.
- Reno 911!
- One episode in Season One has the female cops hire stripper cops for Clementine's bachelorette party. One of the stripper cops turns out to be Officer Jones.
- A later episode has Deputy Garcia show up for a noise complaint at a bachelorette party, and be mistaken for a stripper. He gives the partygoers a stern lecture about respect for the uniform, and how this is the third time someone from the sheriff's department has been called out to their party. Enter, from the restroom, Lt. Dangle and Deputy Junior dancing in their underwear.
- The Golden Girls: A real cop shows up at Dorothy's bachelorette party. Blanche gropes him thinking he's the stripper, then slaps him one more time even after the real stripper (also dressed as a cop) arrives. Then we are told, "the stripper used to be a cop and the cop always wanted to be a dancer. Now they're both wearing each other's hats and it's starting to get weird."
- In the 1988 Only Fools and Horses Christmas special "Dates", a stripper dressed as a naval officer is hired for Uncle Albert's birthday party. Much to Del's horror, she turns out to be the woman he's dating, Raquel Turner, who told him she was an actress. Later in the episode, a policewoman tries to question Del about his dodgy van, and he assumes this is Albert getting back at him.
- In the Blackadder II episode "Beer", Blackadder's puritanical relatives are mistaken for strippers, as is Queen Elizabeth herself.
- In The Commish, one episode's teaser featured a gentleman who had ordered a prostitute dressed for a cop, waiting to meet her in a hotel lobby. He encounters a real (female) cop instead. We never get to see the payoff — roll opening credits and commercial; when the episode "proper" starts, we get a glimpse of him handcuffed to a chair in the booking area as the camera pans by.
- The Bill. A going-away party for an officer being transferred includes the requisite stripper dressed (undressed?) as a WPC. As she leaves the party the stripper sees two real policewomen turning up (in uniform) to see their colleague off, and threatens to complain to her union about the apparent double-booking.
- An episode of Monk has the title detective mistake a stripper for an actual cop and force the poor man down to the crime scene.
- Arrested Development: Michael and Gob use policemen-themed strippers to fake-arrest George Michael and scare him straight. Also, Gob nearly gets his head blown off when the would-be customer takes him for a real policeman.
- Invoked on Whose Line Is It Anyway? duging a game of Newsflash. The footage behind Colin is obviously a stripper dressed (at first) as a cop, but after all the hints are dropped Colin's best guess is "naked... ops?"
- Even Doctor Who got in a (mild) version of this. The adult Amy Pond debuts in a police uniform, which she winds up revealing is a costume for her job as a "kissogram".
- On Castle one victim was, apparently, a police officer. Yeah, you know where it's going.
- Happens in The New Adventures of Old Christine. A muscular young cop named Officer Johnson arrives on Christine's doorstep to warn her of a prowler in the neighbourhood. However, it happens to be Christine's birthday and she thinks Barb has sent her a stripper. Cue one increasingly confused conversation between Christine and Officer Johnson.
- In an episode of Coach Christine is at a bachelorette party where a real cop shows up and is mistaken for the male stripper.
- The Thin Blue Line had two officers investigate a man who had the curtains closed for a few days, causing neighbors to be worried about him. Since he was hiring prostitutes, he thought the police officer was one of them, and was better choice than the nurse.
- Discussed in Being Human: when Mitchell wonders how Herrick knew about a criminal allegation against him, Herrick looks down at the police uniform he's wearing and sarcastically asks "all this time, have you been thinking I'm a stripogram?"
- Ellen: In "Go Girlz," during the slumber party, Ellen mistakes a cop for a stripper, who in turn enjoys the mix-up and plays along.
- In an episode of Grounded For Life: Claudia is throwing a bachelorette party for one of her girlfriends while Sean incites a mob of angry Yankees fans for catching a fly ball still in play. A cop shows up who Sean thinks is here to control the mob outside the house, but he is a stripper.
- Bones shows Booth running into this problem once when trying to bring in a male stripper for questioning - said stripper was working a bachelorette party at the time, and the guest of honor thought Booth was a second stripper. His attempts at asserting his actual identity as an FBI agent are ignored by the party-goers, and by the time the actual stripper realizes Booth's identity, the ladies have already pulled down Booth's pants have have started stuffing money down his clothes.
- The Glades The whole substation rushes out to a report of an officer found dead. No-one recognizes him and Daniel is trying to run his badge number. Jim reveals the man's actual profession by stripping the pants off him.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look - "I know they do policeman strippers, I've run into this problem before..."
- A sketch on That Mitchell & Webb Sound involves two play-writes struggling to find inspiration for a new farce, while the typical events of one unfold around them. This includes mistaking a policeman for a stripper (and then vice versa).
- In Home Movies, Coach John McGuirk mistakes a male cop for a stripper, who arrests him for not writing an essay.
- Chief Wiggum of The Simpsons once had this happen with a bachelorette party, but decided to just go with it since he wanted the money.