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Cue Card Pause

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"But Jack was too clever. He led the sea king inland, stretching out the waves, which sucked! [turns over page] ...OUT the sea king's power as there was not enough water to drown Jack."

A gag in which a character is reading something aloud, and accidentally cuts themself.

(Beat.) in the middle of a sentence by stopping too early. The truncated sentence is still grammatical, so it sounds like they're saying something complete.

(Another beat.) different from what they meant, and it takes a moment for the audience and the other characters to catch up with the new information and parse the sentence correctly. This usually results from trying to read from cue cards, note cards or a screen that doesn't scroll quickly enough. A similar catch-up effect can occur if an unprepared character encounters a garden path sentence or a crash blossom headline. Sometimes a part of Bad "Bad Acting".

Averting this is why a lot of instructions begin with a direction to fully read all instructions before starting.

Compare Bait-and-Switch Comment, Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud, Stopped Reading Too Soon, and Telegraph Gag STOP.


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  • A television ad for Bet 24 (an online gambling service) features gaffe-prone sportsman Mark Wary (previously seen on comedy programs The Wedge and Mark Loves Sharon) saying that he is going to "get online to score... some great odds".
  • A radio ad had a man typing a letter on a typewriter, with a well-timed pause coming at the end (ding! zip!) of every line. "Sincerely, your Son" (ding! zip!) ...-in-Law".
  • A 1970s British deodorant ad starring Peter Wyngarde (of Department S and Jason King).
    Narrator: Peter Wyngarde smells...
    [Wyngarde gives a sour look to camera]
    Narrator: [laughs] ...great!
  • A commercial involves a guy driving around town in a nice-looking car with the GPS telling him where to go. Finally, the GPS says to turn right. The guy does... and drives into a store, followed by the GPS continuing "in 50 feet". Note: this is why all navigators say the distance first.
  • A New Zealand ad for auto repair chain Midas had this exchange between a guy reading instructions to a friend working under the car:
    Guy A: Remove Tab A.
    -sound of tab being pulled-
    Guy B: Yep.
    Guy A: ...under no circumstances.
    -sound of liquid pouring onto the shop floor-
  • One ad campaign for 7-UP had the slogan "Make 7UP Yours." One of the guys had a t-shirt that split the phrase as (front) "Make 7" (back) "Up Yours".

    Anime & Manga 
  • A running gag in Pokémon: The Series with Cedric Juniper, resulting in lines like "No way! would I ever refuse you," and "'Turning the Venipede statue to the left... (Cilan does so) is a bad idea!'"
    Professor Juniper: My father has a habit of stopping in the middle of a sentence when he has important things on his mind.
  • Ranma ˝: This is the ultimate cause of Ranma's cat phobia. His father read about a training method where you tie fish sausages around the trainee and throw them in a pit full of hungry cats; if he had finished reading before trying it out on his son he'd have found that the book was using this as an example of a method only a complete idiot would use.
  • Happens several times in Slayers NEXT episode 14.
    Lina: When you run into a wall, applying some force to it...
    Lina: not what you want to do.
    (Amelia falls into a pit)
    Lina: As we go into the middle hallway, there's a button on the right wall.
    Gourry: Found it!
    Lina: Do not push it.
    Gourry: I just did.
    (cue arrow trap)
    Lina: On the right wall, you'll see a button.
    Gourry: Which I won't push.
    Lina: Do not walk past without pushing it.
    Gourry: I just walked past it.
    (cue rock trap)

    Card Games 
  • A version of this trope caused confusion for Magic: The Gathering players with the card Book Burning. The first line reads "Unless a player has Book Burning", which could be a clause in itself, leading some players to insert a nonexistent comma between that and the other half of the clause "deal 6 damage to him or her,". This made some people believe the card damaged a player and did the other clause (put the top 6 cards of their deck into their graveyard) unless they could produce a copy of Book Burning, instead of its actual effect of "milling" 6 unless someone takes 6 damage. The official wording changed quickly, but since that version of the card is the only one that was ever printed...

    Comic Strips 
  • The Belgian comic Le Chat:
    • In one strip, the Cat is reading a newspaper, headlined "THE PRESIDENT BEATS HIS WIFE". He then unfolds the paper, letting us read the rest of the sentence: "AT SCRABBLE".
    • Another has a back-and-forth switch with Roger, the unseen barkeep:
      The Cat: The government is struggling...
      Roger: Got that right.
      The Cat: to give emergency financial aid...
      Roger: I take that back.
      The Cat: to bankrupt real estate developers.
      Roger: I'll repeat what I just recanted.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • In Kung Fu Panda 3, when Po, Shifu and the Furious Five look through Oogway's scrolls to find out more about Kai.
    Shifu: (reading the scroll) "Long ago, I had a brother..."
    Monkey: Oogway had a brother?
    Shifu: (unrolls more of the scroll) "In arms!" In arms, sorry. He says "brother-in-arms".
    Mantis: Maybe you should just unroll it all at once?

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, we get "Your father really is at the bottom of the ocean. [dramatic pause, sad music] He's in a submarine, looking for you!" Mocked in this Nostalgia Critic segment.
  • At the start of Carry On Behind, Professor Roland Crump's lecture goes From Bad to Worse, starting with this trope after dropping his notes and getting them mixed up:
    Professor Crump: And we know from the crude drawings, on the walls of his cave, that he frequently exposed himself. (Audience laughter) Er, uh, exposed himself to all manner of dangers in his search for food, and the other. (Audience laughter) Ah, huh, heh. The other significant feature of his existence was the presence of iced glaciers in the vicinity which undoubtedly caused the piles. (Audience laughter) The pile, the piles of debris to move down and cover his dwelling place.
  • Carry On Henry. King Henry introduces Bettina, a new and pretty lady-in-waiting, to Queen Marie. Her poorly prepared speech does not reassure her about King Henry's fidelity.
    Bettina: Your Majesty. It is a great honour. The King has done me.
    King Henry: No no no! No full stop. "A great honour the King has done me".
    Bettina: Oh that's right. Sorry. It is a great honour the King he has done me by making me.
    King Henry: "By making me your lady-in-waiting". Dear, oh dear, oh dear.
    Bettina: By making me your lady-in-waiting, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
  • In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, Leo/Flynn reads out part of the backstory from a note passed to him by the GM. The other characters/players motion for him to notice that he's supposed to turn the card over before he does.
    Flynn: But Jack was too clever. He led the sea king inland, stretching out the waves, which sucked!
    [turns over page]
    Flynn: ...OUT the sea king's power, as there was not enough water to drown Jack.
  • Happens to Gladys Glover in It Should Happen to You to hilarious effect; she cuts words in ha lf, awk—wardly, andthenspeedsthroughtherestofthespeech.
  • The Martian: Soon after NASA learns Mark Watney is alive and now completely alone on Mars, Kapoor wonders about Watney's mental state given he's millions of miles from the nearest human being and years away from any possible rescue. Smash Cut to Watney's latest video log entry where he seems rather beat while Vicki Sue Robinson's "Turn the Beat Around" plays because 70's disco is the only music genre to be found there.
    Watney: I am definitely going to die up here. (beat) ...if I have to listen to any more God-awful disco music.
  • In 7 Zwerge, this happens while Speedy is reading from the book about mushrooms because Speedy is slow and pauses a lot while talking.
    Speedy: Especially delicious is the red fire mushroom.
    [Bubi eats the mushroom]
    Speedy: But only to deer. In humans, it produces a terrible burning sensation in your throat.
    [Bubi hurriedly drinks some water]
    Speedy: The intake of fluids only strengthens this effect.
  • In Stripped to Kill, Sgt. Heineman is reading from an arrest report regarding Dazzle:
    And I quote: "I never hit her. I only held her fanny."
    (Pauses. Looks at the report again.)
    "I never hit her. I only held her." (Beat) "Fanny hit her."

  • I did your mom... a favor... by making you... a birthday cake.
  • So come down to our store at the mall, where you can see our lovely models in heat — (pause, turn page) — resistant clothing which will keep you cool all summer!
  • In a country occupied by the British, some protestors are carrying a long banner which reads "We are fed up with Britain!" Coming to a street which is too narrow to fit the banner through, they tear it in half and divide into two groups. They are now carrying two banners: "We are fed" and "Up with Britain!"

  • Older Than Steam: Voltaire's Zadig has a chapter in which Zadig composes a poem to glorify the king, which is then broken in half. One half of the poem reads like a scathing attack on the king,
    To flagrant Crimes
    His Crown he owes;
    To peaceful Times
    The worst of Foes.
which gets Zadig into deep trouble until the other half is found.
Tyrants are prone to flagrant Crimes;
To Clemency his Crown he owes;
To Concord and to peaceful Times,
Love only is the worst of Foes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gameshows love this for Padding, especially ones like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? where the final results are delayed as long as possible for suspense. Classic version goes something like this: "Oh I'm sorry... but that is... ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!"

  • 30 Rock: Liz Lemon has an outlook on life, and has turned to "Lizbeanism":
    Liz: Lizbeanism means that I am a dike... against the rising waters of mediocrity.
  • The Army Game: Ted Lune, as Pvt. Len Bone, would often read out a letter from his mother. The letter relied heavily on all different kinds of reading-out-loud tropes, and invariably finished with an inversion of this particular one; for example, "Mrs Jones next door has bought six pigs. She keeps them in the back yard and there's an awful smell from your loving mother." This was based on a popular bit from his stand-up routines (see Radio below).
  • Arrested Development has the Bluths repeatedly saddled with a doctor who always does this, like saying someone is going to be all right...because their left hand is gone. The third time he appears, Lucille mutters "Oh great, it's the wordsmith."
  • Babylon 5:
    • In "The Coming of Shadows", the Centauri Emperor announces his plans for a peace treaty with the Narns, just after his ambassador Londo Mollari has made a deal with the Shadows to attack a Narn outpost. When Londo sees Narn ambassador G'Kar approaching he naturally fears the worst, especially when G'Kar says "Mollari! I'm going to get you..." And then G'Kar finishes the sentence: "...a drink!", revealing that he hasn't learned of the attack yet. Of course, this doesn't exactly make Londo feel any better about the situation.
    • In "Shadow Dancing", Delenn describes Minbari courting rituals to Sheridan. If the man presses his case too far over the woman's objections, she explains, she can "leave when he falls asleep, file a complaint with the Elders, even cut off his..." Sheridan looks horrified as Delenn stumbles a moment trying to find the right word, until she continues, "...access to her family".
  • The Benny Hill Show had a sketch with a woman who was having a similar problem putting an awkward pause just before the final word in a sentence. Two lines she had trouble with were "What's that in the road, a head?"note  and "What is this thing called, love?"note .
  • Used in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth. George is Blackadder's defense lawyer in a Kangaroo Court:
    George: ... and I firmly believe that, like me, you will conclude that Captain Blackadder is, in fact, totally and utterly... guilty!
    [he sits; Blackadder turns over the page; George jumps up again]
    George: ... of nothing more than trying to do his duty under difficult circumstances!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Fear Itself", our heroine is told that there are two ways to banish a fear demon.
      Giles: Destroying the Mark of Gachnar...
      [punch! break!]
      [Giles flips the page]
      Giles: not one of them, and will in fact immediately bring forth the Fear Demon itself.
    • Season 9; monster appears: "Buffy, it is time for you to pay ... your student loans."
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
    • 5/9/2012, in response to President Obama publicly supporting same-sex marriage, Jon announces, "There you have it, the President of the United States is gay... (flips the page over) ...friendly, gay-friendly. Damn you, ellipses!"
    • In another 2012 episode, Jon's report that Obama is allegedly the worst president in history gets immediately disproven:
      Jon: Obama's place as the worst president in history explains why he's getting so crushed...
      [cut to news clip showing Obama five points ahead of Romney in the polls]
      Jon: ''[reading notes] ...with support. Crushed with support.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Drake & Josh: Drake bets that he can go a set amount of time without any junk food, and Josh bets the same, but with video games. Megan throws together a contract. Whoever caves must die ... (*turns page*) his hair pink.
  • Farscape. Chiana provides a momentary Ship Tease due to her habit of speaking like this when she tells John Crichton: "I would love come with me, but..."
  • On Friends, the friends are trying to find a good review of Joey's latest play. Monica finally finds one:
    Monica: "In a mediocre play, Joseph Tribbiani was able to achieve brilliant new levels of..." continued on page 153... "sucking."
  • Done in Hogan's Heroes when the POWs have a problem with an escape plan, and they use Klink's Incredibly Obvious Bug to get him to do something. One of them has made scripts, and the page turn causes some problems. (From memory):
    Carter: Boy, I can't wait to get back home for some good old apple. '[Beat, rustling of papers] Pie. [cue dirty looks at the person who wrote it]''
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • In one episode, Ted's Girl of the Week has a habit of pausing to take a sip of her drink at the most inappropriate point in a sentence. By the second or third time, it's hard to believe she's not doing it on purpose just to mess with him.
      Royce: My Dad used to make multigrain pancakes. He's the one who got me working in porn. [sip] You know, PORN? Parents Offering Recognition and Nutrition? It's a charity for inner-city teens who don't have access to sports or healthy food. [sighs, chuckles] That reminds me, I killed my brother, [sip] with this joke I told him last night. A barber, a stripper and a Jew [sip] liard-trained violinist walk into a bar....
    Each time she pauses, a big labelled suitcase appears behind her in Ted's imagination, representing her "baggage", disappearing after she finishes the sentence. The third time the label reads "Ted, wait for her to finish."
    • In another episode, Marshall tries stand-up comedy, and Ted and Barney lie to him about how good he was:
      Barney: You killed! [Marshall walks away] ... Everyone's Thursday night.
  • In a Just Shoot Me! episode, Finch is reading to Jack the instructions for assembling a dollhouse.
    Finch: First, cut the cardboard in half...
    Jack: Aha! [he snips the piece of cardboard]
    Finch: [turns instructions over] ...diagonally.
  • In the M*A*S*H episode "The Army-Navy Game", during a Wire Dilemma:
    Henry: [reading instructions] And carefully cut the wires leading to the clockwork fuse at the head.
    [Trapper cuts the wires]
    Henry: But first, remove the fuse.
  • Rita Moreno complained about this trope while on The Muppet Show, and insisted that they just wing it. Kermit had no problem with the idea, but noted that the cue-card boy might complain;
    Sweetums: Nice lady don't want Sweetums to hold cue cards?
    Rita: Uh, no.
    Sweetums: Nice lady want Sweetums to hold somethin' else?
    Rita: Sure, you can hold whatever you like.
    Sweetums: Ha ha! That best offer me had all day! [Carries Rita off]
    • They had a special called "The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show" that had a bit where Piggy asked John Ritter and George Hamilton to read some cue cards to eat up some time while she changed. The messages on the cue cards are meant to praise Piggy but Ritter and Hamilton end up reading them as if they were insults.
    John Ritter: When Streisand first saw her, she threw up...her hands in despair and said "There's no sense in any of us working anymore now!"
  • Frequently on Quantum Leap, with Al reading data off the tiny handlink screen. For example, in "M.I.A.":
    Al: You graduated from UCST in '65 with a BA in Criminal. [smacks the handlink] Justice.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Recurring Character Tim Calhoun, a senator who runs for president. He's got his speeches on index cards but for some reason only part of a sentence is on a given card. For example (during the Mark Foley sex scandal, where Foley had sent sexually explicit text messages to underage congressional pages):
      Tim Calhoun: I have touched many pages in my life... because I am a voracious reader... of child pornography... studies. Illustrated studies.
    • During Weekend Updates in the Colin Jose/Michael Che era, they've had "Supercentenarian Mort Fallen" (Mikey Day) on as a guest. He reads what sounds like upbeat news about what his cohorts are up to, only to turn it into bad news, usually about the person's death.
      Colin: Are there any headlines you got there about living supercentenarians?
      Mort: Oh yeah. Lifelong bachelor 111-year-old Mel Thomas became the country's oldest newlywed last week when he married 99-year-old Ethel Birmingham...
      Colin: Cradle-robber, right?
      Mort: ...on her deathbed.
      Colin: Don't pause.
  • Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell: Inverted when Shaun fails to pause while commenting on Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce's current troubles:
    "Coming up. The woman behind the Barnaby Joyce sexual harassment allegations is identified as Senator Michael McCormack. <Beat> Sorry. The woman behind the Barnaby Joyce sexual harassment allegations is identified. As Senator Michael McCormack takes his place as Nationals' leader. <aside> Two lines."
  • On Spin City:
    Mayor: Good afternoon, all. I want to start out with a personal outrage that has been going on too long. Public access... pornography.
    Mike: [to James, the Mayor's speechwriter] You want to work on where you break those cards.
    Mayor: I just want to make sure that material with graphic sexual content is available and seen... only by those people who specifically want to see it.
    Mike: [to James] OK, you did that one on purpose.
  • In Yes, Minister, politician Jim Hacker is reading a speech, in his usual leaden uninspired way, with heavy reliance on a script. Trying to convey that Britain is a full and enthusiastic member of the European Union, he gets to the bottom of the page and reads as far as "Our French....." There is then a leaden pause as he turns the page and picks up with "....friends'' as if the implied continuation had never even occurred to him as a possibility. note .
  • Believe it or not, Groucho Marx was a live-action inversion, in that he did use cue cards for his quips during You Bet Your Life. Based on info about his guests, Groucho would run through various scenarios in order to get an idea of what would probably come up on the program; he then wrote down his best responses on cards, to then be read on the air as needed. That he could pull this off as completely natural is part of his brilliance.

  • Aerosmith's "Big Ten Inch Record" where Steven Tyler sings about his girlfriend liking his "big ten-inch (pause) record".
  • One Capitol Steps sketch (paraphrasing), had Boris Yeltsin's aide apologize that Yeltsin couldn't talk, because he was dead... tired after his trip to the US. He apologized, because he was dying... to meet everyone, but he was in bed with a minor... condition.
  • Tim Cavanaugh, "I Wanna Kiss Her", gets this by way of a line break.
    I wanna kiss her but
    She won't let me
    • This is actually the entire point of the song. Another example: "I want to hold her behind / Closed doors and more"
  • From Divinyls' "I Touch Myself":
    You're the one... who makes me come... running.
  • The classic version from Lit: "You make me come... you make me complete... you make me completely miserable."
  • Often used by Les Luthiers, especially when Rabinovich tries to read an introduction to a musical piece.
  • "Never Wanted to Dance" by Mindless Self Indulgence uses this in the chorus.
    Never wanted to dance with nobody but you (do do do, do do do, do-do do do)
    Never wanted to dance with nobody but you
    Wouldn't take no for an answer you fucking bitch
  • My Chemical Romance's "The Sharpest Lives"
    So why don't you blow me
    A kiss before she goes?
  • PDQBach's "Art of the Ground Round" leans hard on the first syllable of a few words.
    Nellie is a nice girl, but Hannah is a HORR-ible prude.
    Paul is a policeman, but Peter is a PIMP-ly and rude young man!
  • From "GLITTER" by Save Face:
    Anything you want me to do
    I'll do anything for you
    ( end up dead real soon)
    Anything you want me to say
    I'll say if it gets you to stay
    (...the hell away from me)
  • "Rose" by Geoff Smith.
    Tell your mom I said hello.
    Tell her I'm sorry that I ever let you go [Beat]
    Far from the life you knew.
  • And in Voltaire's innuendo-laden tribute to Doctor Who, "Bigger on the Inside", we have "So if you think you'd like a sonic screw / Driver like I'm holding in my hand..."
  • Subtle one in "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Your Horoscope For Today": "Try to avoid any Virgos or Leos/(beat)/With the Ebola virus"
    • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Handy", he cheerfully proclaims that he can be your stripper! ...Of lacquer.
  • Musical variation: starting to play a well-known phrase of music (dun dun dun...) and then turning the page to get the rest of it (''DUUUUUUUNNN!'). Igudesman & Joo do it here, and Victor Borge displays a variant here.
  • "How's your whole ... family".

  • A favourite gag on the very self-deprecating show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
    • Thus (note — Barry Cryer is a regular panelist):
      Humphrey Lyttelton: Celebrities from Leeds include Alan Bennett and Barry Cryer. [Beat] Something wrong there... oh, hang on — celebrities from Leeds include Alan Bennett, and Barry Cryer used to know his milkman.
    • Similarly:
      Humph: That went awfully well. Let's get on with the next round. ...I'm sorry, I misread that... "That went awfully. Well, let's get on with the next round."
  • During the 1950s/60s, on weekdays, the BBC used to broadcast a midday show with a live audience. One of the regular guests was a stand-up comic called Ted Lune, who always finished his act by reading out a letter from his mother. The letter relied heavily on all different kinds of reading-out-loud tropes, and invariably finished with an inversion of this particular one; for example, "Mrs Jones next door has bought six pigs. She keeps them in the back yard and there's an awful smell from your loving mother." Media-switch version here (from the sitcom The Army Game).

    Tabletop Games 

  • The Art Of Coarse Acting: While playing the Reverend Henry in "Pride at Southanger Park", Aaron has his script hidden inside his bible. While reading, the breaks result in him continually insulting the character of Cecily:
    "And now she has turned eighteen, I hope I will still have the pleasure of having her... attend my services at St. Boniface's."
    "Stop crying, Cecily. You are revolting... against your uncle's wishes."
    "Really, Cecily. You are a dog... -matic child."
    "I shall perform the service as they are plainly mad... -ly in love."
  • Inverted in Assassins, where Squeaky Fromme reads the inscription on the back of the photo of Jodie Foster without any pauses, ending with:
    "...and the peasants will drool over us property of Columbia Pictures?"
  • In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), as Adam reads his biography of Shakespeare from notecards:
    Adam: The third of eight children, he was the eldest son of John Shakespeare, a locally prominent merchant, and Mary Arden, daughter of a Roman. [he pauses, flips to the next card, with no comprehension of what he's reading] Catholic member of the landed gentry.
And then, Adam flips to the next card, and his speech turns into one about the timeline of WWII.
  • In A Midsummer Night's Dream, the prologue to the Mechanicals' Play Within a Play "Pyramus and Thisbe" is perfectly sound if read with the proper punctuation, but Shakespeare mispunctuated it, on purpose.
    If we offend, it is with our good will.
    That you should think, we come not to offend,
    But with good will. To show our simple skill,
    That is the true beginning of our end.
    Consider then, we come but in despite.
    We do not come, as minding to content you,
    Our true intent is. All for your delight
    We are not here. That you should here repent you,
    The actors are at hand: and, by their show,
    You shall know all that you are like to know,
  • Michael Green's coarse-acting play of Moby-Dick, when the old sea dog says "...there's nothing like the smell of sperm." (remembers the rest of the line as everyone gapes) "Oil! Sperm oil!"
  • In The Music Man, Mayor Shinn attempts to introduce an act for the Fourth of July celebration.
    "The Wa-Tan-Yee Girls of the local wigwam of Heeawatha will now present a spectacle, my wife – in which my wife, Eulalie McKecknie Shinn, will take a leading part."
  • The Play That Goes Wrong: When Annie gets shoved on to take Sandra's place as the Femme Fatale, she is reading her lines from the script, leading to such readings as:
    Annie: I know I was engaged to Charles, but Cecil was mine and.
    (Silence. Chris turns the page in Annie's script.)
    Annie: ...I was his.
    • Peter Pan Goes Wrong: During the Marooner's Rock scene, Dennis as Mr. Smee does not have his headset and has to read his lines from cue cards. Due to being written in a hurry, they break in some unfortunate places:
    • Because of this, the stage crew in A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong tried another approach: writing Dennis' lines on various props and set pieces. Hilarity ensues when some of the words are mirrored or on the bottom of objects.
  • In Ralph Roister Doister, Roister does not understand why Dame Christian Custance was so offended by his love letter... until Mathew Merrygreek reads it out loud with more normal rhythms instead of Roister's awkward prosody. For example, a passage Roister intended to read "That ye be worthy favour; of no living man to be abhorred; of every honest man to be taken for a woman inclined to vice, nothing at all; to Virtue giving her due price," becomes instead "That ye be worthy favour of no living man; to be abhorred of every honest man; to be taken for a woman inclined to vice; nothing at all to Virtue giving her due price."
  • The song from Omelette, the Show Within a Show in Something Rotten!, has an unfortunate line break:
    My father said this to me
    That he did, and then he blew me...
    Away with wisdom simple and concise...
  • Quoth the vampires in Tanz Der Vampire:
    What a relief, at last we're given something new and delightful to kill...
    Our time.

    Video Games 
  • At one point in Fallout: New Vegas, some female NCR troopers are bathing in a fountain on the Vegas strip. One of the securitrons surrounding the troopers makes a request...
    Securitron: Please remove your bra.
    Securitron: From the bottom of the fountain.
  • The infamous first boss of Final Fantasy VII, the Guard Scorpion. Cloud tells you, "Attack while its tail's up!/It'll counterattack with its laser!" By the time you see the second line and understand that this was meant as a warning, it may be too late.
  • In Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal, during one of your rival's speeches we have this little gem:
    Rival: I AM... I Am a Monster
    [next page]
    Rival: COACH.
  • Terranigma makes the dolls before Bloody Mary a huge hell because of how they stop in the middle of the rhyme with no hint as to how they are supposed to be beaten. The hint is in the second half, after they stop a second time.

    Web Comics 
  • During the Blue Dragon flashback in Captain SNES: The Game Masta, Cid used an older version of his "Peep" ability, which normally just reveals an enemy's hit points and weaknesses, on Blue Dragon while fighting her in a forced Best Her to Bed Her contest. But said older version also revealed her measurements and "didn't quite analyze the right sort of weaknesses". The text buffer for the latter fell under this trope:
    Peep Data: Weak against Haikus, Honesty, skilled craftsmen, and pussy
    Blue Dragon: Maybe your friend is right. Maybe I have been blinded—
    Cid: Sweet! You're a lesbian! All my dreams have come true!
    Peep Data: cats.
    Cid: Oh wait. Nevermind.
    Blue Dragon: Lesbian!! Oh they're gonna be cleaning your body off the floor with a spatula, Beard Boy!

    Web Original 
  • 20020: When Ten pushes Juice to say how many football teams are involved with his game, he types out "11"... and hangs on that for a few seconds before adding one more "1".
  • Chuggaaconroy: "It's time I state that Xenoblade Chronicles 1 was my last Let's Play... made in Sony Vegas. I'm switching to Premiere for the next LP."
  • From The Completionist's video on Superman 64:
    Superman 64 is broken. [long pause] ... sorry. Superman 64 is broken into two different kinds of stages...
  • Cracked's video "Everything You Know About Vikings Is A Lie" ends with the slip, "Let's get crazy-horny...vikings out of pop culture."
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has this priceless gem:
    Captain Hammer: I hate the homeless. [flips cue card] ...ness problem that plagues our city...
    • Lampshaded when he throws away his "tiny cue cards".
  • Done in the Good Mythical Morning episode "Cutting Your Own Hair Challenge".
    Link: The winner gets to die... (long pause)...Alex's hair in Good Mythical More.
  • From this article
    The code between us and
    Tammie Burns needs to be beaten into submission.
  • Several internet memes use a format with separate blocks of text at the top and bottom of an image, so a few using this format utilize this sort of gag:
    • The "Good Intentions Axe Murderer" meme.
    • The "Successful Black Man" meme is a similar stereotype-defying bait-and-switch gag:
      I didn't finish high school... I enrolled at Harvard when I was sixteen.
    • Same thing with the Ordinary Muslim Man meme, with lines like "72 virgins... went to a Star Trek convention" and "America will burn... through their oil reserves if they don't migrate to a renewable source."
    • Inverted with "Almost-PC Redneck".
      It don't matter if yer yellow, black, brown, orange... or normal.
      I support my sister's right to get an abortion... would've been cool to be a dad, though.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: As all the teachers admit to their lies, the gym coach says "and I'm not a woman... who can say she's never lied on her resume, either."
  • In one episode of Archer, Archer's mother Mallory is criticizing his relationship with African-American Lana and says she doesn't want him to be with a black... ops field agent.
  • In the BoJack Horseman episode "The Best Thing That Ever Happened", BoJack uses index cards to fire Princess Carolyn as his agent. Unfortunately, somehow, some jokes meant for the Comedy Central Roast of January Jones slipped in. (He wasn't invited but just wanted to write some jokes in case he got called for it.)
  • Family Guy:
    • This is Dr. Hartman's entire schtick:
      Dr. Hartman: Mrs. Griffin, I'm afraid Peter will never walk again...
      Dr. Hartman: ...without remembering how lucky he is that he'll only be in a wheelchair for two weeks.
    • It also frequently appears in courtroom scenes:
      Prosecutor: In short, Mr.'ve inspired mistrust all mentally handicapped people!
      Judge: Thank you, counsel, for your comically misleading remarks.
  • Used and immediately lampshaded in the Gravity Falls episode "Boss Mabel":
    Dipper: [reading from his Great Big Book of Everything] Got it! "When fighting a Gremloblin use water..."
    [Mabel throws water on the Gremloblin]
    Dipper: [turns page] "... only as a last resort as water will make him much much scarier"?! Who writes sentences like that?!
  • Looney Tunes: A Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Hare-less Wolf", has a scene where a dim-witted wolf attempts to employ a hand-grenade against Bugs and reads the instructions.
    "Check that pin; see that is on the index finger of your right hand. If so, discard the pin. You are now ready to throw the grenade. Over...
    (turns instruction sheet over)
    Warning; it is important to remember perform...this operation..." (BOOM)
  • Robot Chicken:
    Zod: "Kneel Before Zod!... Lay down on your backs before Zod. Now, using your lower abdominals, raise your legs and hold on a five count before Zod. One, before Zod! Two, before Zod! Three, before Zod...
    Cobra Commander: You will pay FOR COBRA!… Or you can choose from third-party health insurance plans, both PPOs and HMOs.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life episode "Nothin' To Sneeze At", Bev accidentally gets a new nose, but then ends up catching a disease and needed to be taken back to the hospital. Dr. Hutchinson then informed a nervously waiting Ed that they weren't able to save her, causing him to experience Color Failure. Then Hutch looks back over the report and realizes she meant to say they couldn't save Bev's nose.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Treehouse of Horror IX" Krusty is doing a Halloween special, dressed as a vampire...
      Krusty: Tonight I'm going to suck!
      [next card]
      Krusty: ... your blood!
    • In "Cape Feare", Sideshow Bob is out on parole and mailing Bart death threats. As Bart becomes increasingly paranoid, he runs into his mom, Flanders and Mrs. Krabappel:
      Marge: [menacingly, with large scissors] Bart... I'm going to GET you...[brightly, clipping coupons]...some ice cream at the store since I'm saving so much money on Diet Cola.
      Ned Flanders: [menacingly, wearing a Freddy Krueger razor glove] Say your prayers, Simpson...[brightly]...because the schools can't force you like they should. Maude, these new finger razors make hedge trimming as much fun as sitting through church.
      Mrs. Krabappel: [menacingly] You're going to be my murder victim, Bart...[brightly] our school production of Lizzy Borden, starring Martin Prince as Lizzy.
    • And yet another:
      Kent Brockman: Our top story tonight, a tremendous EXPLOSION... in the price of lumber. President Reagan DIES... his hair, plus Garry Trudeau and his new musical comedy revue.

    Real Life 
  • Happens a lot in Real Life with those LED signs in front of restaurants and churches that page through input. Examples:
    • A church sign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has gained some notoriety for reading "You don't have to/Do it alone!" It pages slowly enough that a passing car could only see the second page ("We give up, you're on your own!")
    • This video, by “Weird Al” Yankovic in which a police sign tells motorists, "DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE". However, the “DON’T” is shown separately from “DRINK AND DRIVE”, so Al is able to employ clever timing to jokingly act disgusted at the police seemingly encouraging people to “DRINK AND DRIVE”.
    • Similarly, Ohio drivers' licenses have "DONT DRINK AND DRIVE" in a repeating holographic pattern; the "DONT" is often cut off the top of the card.
    • Without any malfunctioning required, the original pausing version can also be seen in at least one sign on the main island of Hawaii, informing motorists: "You Drink / You Drive / You Lose". If you're speeding past it at the speed limit, you might only see that it encourages you to drive after drinking, or for that matter, describing the rules to a generic Drinking Game ("You Lose — You Drink").
    • Pencils intended to have an anti-drug message had to be recalled in 1998. The pencils were marked with the message "Too Cool to Do Drugs" to its students. Unfortunately, sharpening the pencil changed the message to "Cool to Do Drugs". And soon enough it was a bit more to the point, reading "Do Drugs".
  • Sometimes an Invoked Trope for attention-getting news headlines, such as a radio newscaster announcing that war has been declared... on grasshoppers in an agriculture-heavy state.
  • Somewhat related to this is grammatical punctuation making some sentences when punctuated or unpunctuated differently leads to entirely different meanings.
    "Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off." / "Charles the First walked and talked. Half an hour after, his head was cut off."
    "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves." / "...Eats shoots and leaves."
    "She finds joy in cooking her family and her dog." / "She finds joy in cooking, her family, and her dog."
    "Let's eat Grandma." / "Let's eat, Grandma."
    "We helped our uncle jack off a horse." / "We helped our uncle, Jack, off a horse."
    "I saw her snatch...the suitcase from the corner, "I held her but(t)...a moment in my arms", "I kissed her as(s)...she was leaving for the station", "To see her brother Jack off on the bus."


Video Example(s):


Gravity Falls

"When fighting a Gremloblin use water..." [turns page] "...only as a last resort, as water will make him much much scarier."

How well does it match the trope?

4.96 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / CueCardPause

Media sources: