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You Answered Your Own Question

How do you spell "FBI"?
Rex, Toy Story 2

When Bob asks a question and the answer to the question is actually part of it. At first Bob doesn't realise this, but after a moment of reflection (expect a Beat or even a Beat Panel) he realises that he just answered his own question.

Bob will then often remark something along the lines of "Right." or "Forget I asked". Sometimes Alice will point it out to him. If Bob doesn't realise what he just did, there's a good chance that Alice will point it out anyway.

The Ditz will use a more basic version of the trope, asking how to spell "ABC" or how to call 911.

A variation of this trope is when Alice is discussing something, making a presumption Bob doesn't agree with. Bob will ask an either-or question, restating Alice's presumption and an alternative that would normally be reasonable. Alice and Bob will pause a moment, often burst out laughing and continue with Alice's original discussion as if nothing had happened.
Alice: I'll be off this weekend, so I'll bring Tropey to your place on Friday.
Bob: Wait a second! You just assume I'll be there to look after Tropey? You don't think I might have a date Friday evening?
[Beat]
Alice: I'll be there at 18:00
Bob: Bring a six-pack.

Differs from a rhetorical question in that Bob actually expects an answer when posing the question. Compare Is The Answer To This Question "Yes"?.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A McDonald's advertizement celebrating the USA's bicentennial has the Grimace asking Ronald McDonald, "How do you spell USA?"

    Comic Books 
  • Scott does this early on in Scott Pilgrim: "Amazon.ca... What's the website for that?"
  • PS238 has Atlas wondering why he should accept the throne of a planet full of corrupt aristocracy:
    Atlas: But why should I stay? This whole place is run counter to just about everything I believe in.
    Rebel: If what these boys told me is true, then you've answered your own question.

    Film 
  • Dorothy in The Straight Story: "What's the number for 911?"
  • In The Little Rascals movie:
    Buckwheat: Quick! What's the number for 911?
    Porky: How do I know?
  • Flip asking how much sixteen-penny nails are in With Six You Get Eggroll sounds like this, but the term actually refers to the size, not price, of the nail.
  • In Toy Story 2, when Rex runs into the middle of the "crime scene" model the other toys have constructed, he's asking, "How do you spell FBI?"
  • The Hunt for Red October: Jack Ryan asking himself "How do you make them want to get off a nuclear submarine..."
  • In Idle Hands Mick says, "I'm... gonna call 911. What's the number?"

    Live Action TV 
  • Sally in the Coupling episode "Inferno: "I've never understood men's obsession with lesbianism - a whole area of sex with nothing for them to do. I've just answered my own question haven't I?"
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look has a sketch in which a Mad Scientist builds a "Giant Death Ray", which turns out to be an oversized supermarket scanner.
    Major Agnew: Well, one question that obviously leaps to mind, Professor, uh, Professor...
    Professor: Death.
    Major Agnew: Professor Death, is why on Earth you elected to name this contraption of yours the Giant Death R— oh, I see.
  • In Hustle, when the team of grifters is looking for a place to stay — having been run out of every hotel in the city that's fancy enough for their standards — Eddie grumbles, "Why don't you just pay your hotel bill like normal people? ... I can't believe I asked that."
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Penny tells Leonard that everything goes wrong with their relationship when they talk. She then adds that she had an 8 month long relation with a guy named T.J. and they never talked.
    Leonard: "Wait, if you guys never talked, what did you... Never mind. Stupid question."
  • At the end of the Alf episode "Strangers in the Night", when Nosy Neighbour Mrs Armanick hears noise outside she grabs the phone and ask "Operator, this is an emergency. What's the number for 911?" In her defense, Alf had been messing about the house while she was waitching Psycho, so she was a little-high-strung.
  • Veronica Mars, in the episode "Clash of the Tritons":
    Veronica: Who framed me?
    Rick: They're called the Tritons. It's a secret society at school.
    Veronica: Why haven't I heard of them? *beat* Stupid question.
  • Occasionally, there will be a category on Jeopardy! called "Stupid Answers"; in this category, the correct response to each clue is in the clue. This being Jeopardy!, the response is not always obvious:
    Clue: Now named for James Brady, this room in the White House is where the briefing of the press takes place.Response 
  • In the Golden Girls, Rose once dialed information to get the number for 911.

    Magazines 
  • in the MAD parody of the first Superman movie, someone asks why everyone is fleeing a disaster site when "the government told us there's no danger." The reply: "You just answered your own question, buddy!"

    Music 
  • David Byrne invoked this when being asked about a Talking Heads reunion:
    "I'd get these bizarre letters from Tina," he said, gritting his teeth. "They'd say what a fucking dumb jerk and asshole piece of shit I was. It would go into detail how badly I'd behaved. What a terrible person I was. How hard I was to work with. How unfair I was. It was this thing meant to make me feel real terrible and how much 'I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.' And then in the end she'd go, 'Why don't you want to work with us? Why in the world don't you want to work with us? What's the matter?'" Byrne paused and sighed. "You've answered the question. Look at the beginning of your letter, look at the end. You've answered it. There is some kind of weird denial going on."

    Newspaper Comics 
  • This Dilbert comic (June 4, 1995): "Do you think our boss will believe a vendor over his own loyal employees?"

    Other 
  • The occasional physics quiz question:
    • Which weighs the most, a pound of lead, a pound of aluminum, or a pound of cork?
      • Surprisingly, this actually becomes a valid question when one of the items in question is measured using troy weight (such as gold); a troy pound weighs less than a standard (avoirdupois) pound.
    • What is the rate of change of a constant? (Used in analyzing DC circuits with capacitors and inductors.)
  • What's The Number For 911? is actually the title of a collection of bizarre and/or stupid 911 calls.

    Radio 
  • It Pays to be Ignorant, a parody of radio quiz shows, featured this kind of question:
    • "Who wrote the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and what famous historical figure was it about?"
    • "What season of the year does spring fever refer to?"
    • "What color was George Washington's white horse?"
      • The irony in that last one, however, is that it most likely wasn't white. White horses are, in terms of skin colour, grey, unless they're albino.

    Theater and Comedy 
  • George Carlin about losing things:
    "You what?" I lost my yo-yo. "Well where did you have it last?" Eh! If I knew that... I'd still have my yo-yo. "Well... it must be somewhere." Right! "Well it just didn't get up and walk away". That one always got to me. 'It just didn't get up and walk away'. One time I lost the cat. It just got up and walked away. Then she actually started to say it to me... "Well, it just didn't get up and ... *cough* *cough*" Eh ma. I think you've figured this one out.

    Webcomics 
  • Yuki in Ménage à 3: "He... he kissed another girl! How can he do that when he doesn't even know that I might possibly consider liking him?" Beat "Oh right... all that stuff I just said..."
  • In this xkcd: "Crap! How did the pole-vaulters get up to our balcony?"
  • In the same vein in El Goonish Shive: "I don't know how our prized lockpicking gorilla escaped, but..."
  • Lich in 8-Bit Theater, after being killed.
    Lich: What the hell is this?
    Kary: You answered your own question, pal.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Ralph accidentally lands a contract to host the WikiBreaks site. When Kevin expresses his discomfort about this, Ralph asks: "How would anyone ever discover a connection between us and this site that exposes every secret under the - " [beat] "Oh. Right."
  • In Freefall, when robots are being trained as a police force for the planet's non-human population.
    Deputy Mayor: Our non-human population consists of one person, Sam. Do we really need an entire police force for one larcenous squid?
    Police Robot: Sir, I believe if you look past the obvious answer, you'll see one that's even more obvious.
  • Happens in this Something Positive:
    Overreacting Wiccan: You'll never know what it's like to live with the pain of your ancestors being oppressed for who they were! That they lived in fear because they might get lynched! To know they'd suffered so I'd have the right to—
    **Beat Panel**
    Kim: Do you need some time to comprehend why saying that to me makes you stupid?
    Overreacting Wiccan: ... No, I think I've figured that out.
  • In this Basic Instructions:
    Rick: WHY'RE YOU STILL SAYING IT THAT WAY? YOU KNOW IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!
    Beat
    Rick: I JUST ANSWERED MY OWN QUESTION!
    Scott: And on the firstth try!
  • In one strip of Survivor: Fan Characters:
    Hugo: Taylor said that "he" showed her the idol, and there are only four guys, and I know I don't have it so... [...] (to Charlie) Well, either Hogan or Sky has it; one of them is lying.
    Charlie: It could be Craig; he's a guy.
    Hugo: Like I said, either Sky or Hogan is lying.
  • Applejack in Friendship is Dragons. When the Mane Six enters the ruins where the Elements of Harmony are kept:
    AJ: "Then what the heck is Nightmare Moon up to anyhow? Is she waitin' outside or somethin'?"
    AJ: ".. Aw, shoot, I just answered my own question."
  • One comic of The Order of the Stick has the group wandering through a maze, and Elan tries to be helpful.
    Elan: Can't we drop breadcrumbs like that story where they dropped breadcrumbs but the birds came and ate them all and they got lost and never mind I get it.
  • Occurs in Erfworld in a conversation between Parson and Charlie:
    Charlie: What were they doing in that black raiment, fighting for Gobwin Knob?
    Parson: If you read that question again, Charlie, you'll notice that it answers itself.
  • Ubersoft: When the Boss tries to find out which Binky is the father of Jingles, the Cheerful Google Notification Bell:
    Boss: There are three entities that might claim that name: one has been transformed into a sophisticated office supplement and is a prominent spokesman for Apple. One is a childlike creature whose manufactured innocence makes him a poor candidate for procreation. One is an embittered alcoholic. Haunted by a legacy of poor and impulsive decisions ...
    Boss: Ah yes. I see.

    Western Animation 
  • Zatanna in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Zatanna": "What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons? Or did I just answer my own question?"
  • Homer in The Simpsons episode "Bart vs. Thanksgiving": "Operator! Give me the number for 911!"
    • In "This Little Wiggy" after Chief Wiggum catches Bart and Ralph in his closet, which he told Ralph not to go in:
      Wiggum: What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: "What number do you dial for 911?!"
  • In the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Unearthed", when the Non-Malicious Monster stops fighting the Power Trio :
    Kevin: Is that Monster for "I give up"?
    Ben as Humongosaur: Do I look like I speak Monsterese?
    Beat while Kevin gives an Aside Glance
    Ben: Oh ... Right.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Home Sweet Homing Pigeon," Dastardly persuades Klunk, Zilly and Muttley—who have all been discharged—to sign his memory book (he's actually tricking them into signing re-enlistment forms). Klunk: "How do you spell 'X,' chief?"
  • In one episode of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Coconuts asks what he would want with a "two-ton baby ape who can lift giant rocks and fire bananas like a shotgun" who thinks Coconuts is his daddy. He promptly realises that this would be a perfect ally to help him catch Sonic and get in good with Robotnik.
  • South Park: In "Raisins" after Bebe tells Stan that Wendy has broken up with him:
    Stan: Whoa, wait a minute. What did I do wrong? I haven't even talked to Wendy for weeks!
  • Kim Possible: Dr. Drakken is surprised to hear about a connection between one of the classmates who laughed at him in college and his arch-nemesis: "Wait, you mean Dr. Possible and Kim Possible are related?" He tries to cover for his oversight by insisting that "Possible" is a very common surname and trying to "prove" it with a phone book.
  • Invoked for laughs in the Archer episode "Jeu Monaguesque".
    (Archer walks in, sipping a martini and carrying a Briefcase Full of Money)
    Malory: Sterling? Why isn't the briefcase handcuffed to your drinking hand?!
    Archer: Pretty sure you just answered your own question, there.
    (casually takes a sip)
  • "Operator, give me the number for 911!"

     Truth In Television 
  • Anyone who's ever worked in a fast food restaurant is very familiar with this trope. "Does the double bacon cheeseburger have bacon?" "What's the difference between the 3-piece and 5-piece chicken nuggets?"
  • "What time is the 3 o'clock parade?" is apparently asked so often at Disney Theme Parks that they've made T-shirts with the question on them, being asked by Goofy.
Yiddish as a Second LanguageDialogueYou Are Not Alone
Ye Olde Butcherede EnglisheImageSource/Web ComicsYellow Peril
You and What Army?Stock PhrasesYou Are a Credit to Your Race

alternative title(s): Whats The Number For 911
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