Follow TV Tropes


Is This Thing Still On?

Go To
Breen isn't actually too far off...

Mr. Random: Look at them. Enjoying their triumph. "Ooh, we're so happy! We saved Klimpaloon! Let's all sing!" Well, enjoy it now, because I will get my hands on Klimpaloon! I'll unravel his secret, even if I have to rip him apart, stitch by stitch and then, the moronic people of the world will beat a path to my door, and beg for my cheap Klimpaloon knockoff line, 'cause consumers are just like lemmings, brainless little animals that I can manipulate right off the fiscal cliff like the puppet master I am! HA HA! Heh, eh, huh, heh? ...Was that thing on?
Audience: Yes, yes it was.
Mr. Random: My career's over, isn't it?
Audience: Yes, yes it is.

A character is making an announcement on TV/radio/a PA system/whatever you have. Either at the beginning or, more commonly, after the end, the character will be heard making some tangential offhand or vulgar remark, only to (belatedly) realize that they're still on the air and said unsavory remark just got broadcast live to their audiences. May lead to Endangering News Broadcast when what they said was supposed to be a secret. There is a certain amount of Fridge Logic at play when this occurs in something pre-recorded, as these moments would be edited out under normal circumstances. But that isn't as funny.

Expect to see a Face Palm and something along the lines of "Oh God, is this thing still on?"

Compare Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, Forgot About the Mind Reader, Left It In, and "We're Live" Realization. If a character is deliberately tricked or provoked into this, it is an example of the Engineered Public Confession. If the character does this during a video call, than it's an example of Video Call Fail. Not to be confused with Is This Thing On?, nor with what people say about shows still airing despite having fallen from popularity many years ago. May overlap with Studio Chatter, although that is always deliberately left in and sometimes scripted. Contrasts with Leave the Camera Running, which is done deliberately.

Time to go find that page... (Beat) Wait. Is this still on?


    open/close all folders 

  • An ad for State Farm insurance (as part of its "double check" campaign) ran an ad where a group of referees who had no clue what ruling to make on a play gathered in a huddle. The head ref had... oops!... left the mic on, advertising to the entire stadium that they were completely clueless.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Moral from the beginning of Fullmetal Alchemist. Never rant about your evil plan in the audio room. Just don't.
  • A variation in Karin: Usui's mother is being molested by her boss in a supermarket, and he accidentally pushes her into the intercom, turning it on. They both get fired, resulting in her becoming very depressed and attracting the title character.
  • In the Show Within a Show for Lucky Star, after the two hosts for Lucky Channel went off on a rampage, the "executive producer" is heard talking about how he had his doubts about them from the very beginning, before an underling informs him that the cameras are rolling, and he frantically orders someone to shut them off.
  • One Piece has something of this vein happen to General Failure Spandam. When trying to contact one of his agents, he inadvertently presses the button that will summon a devastating military attack on their location. When he actually contacts his agent and explains this, he's horrified to realize he'd gone and broadcast his confession, his prisoner's warnings about the mercilessness of the attack, and his almost Kefka-like glee at everyone's deaths furthering his own ambitions to his entire base. Upon his discovery, he meekly tries to say "and my name is 'Straw Hat Luffy'." No one buys it.
  • In Poison Berry in My Brain, the mind council members have implied that this has happened before, by accidentally shouting into the microphone and causing Ichiko to blurt out things out of character.
  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross Kamjin is reporting via audio-visual radio to his new commander Breetai when his aide arrives and claims the prize of their bet about their ability to ram more of Breetai's ships than the number of their ramming ships by defolding not far enough. Breetai was not amused.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, Page, a high-ranking Executor, gives a speech at the magical law retreat, prompting Roji to ask why Page is there when there's still an investigation into Enchu and the other villains.
    Page: (muttering) Oh, zip it, you nosy plebs. You think I wanted this job? (embarrassed) Oh, heh, heh, forgive me. Did I say that out loud?
    Roji: Yeah, kinda.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: The first moments of the first episode feature the train conductor accidentally revealing his enthusiasm to go karaoke after his shift, even singing to warm himself up, after announcing the train was close arriving at its destination. BoBoiBoy himself would leave his seat to inform him, but not before laughing himself.
    Conductor: Hey kid, what are you doing here? What? The mic's still on? Oh, no! Uh, we were having some technical issues and I apologize for the mistakes. Thank you for your patience and please don't tell my boss.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Subverted in Batman Incorporated (2022), when after getting instructions from Ghost-Maker over his com-link, Guacho mutters about how much he hates him. Ghost-Maker tells him his com is still open, and Guacho just says "I am aware."
  • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl: After Lex Luthor rants about his evil actions to the faces of Supergirl and Batgirl, the latter points to a TV set and says his words are being broadcast everywhere right now.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: In an early issue of "Threeboot", Cos went into a rant to Sun Boy about how the team was falling apart, without realising he had an open comchannel. This didn't help.
  • Rom: Spaceknight: A variant is used when Rom manages to free himself from a female Dire Wraith scientist's restraints, gets to a friendly human who is similarly restrained and orders the trapped villain to free him. She does so, but also quietly turns on an intercom and plays up being trapped and threatened by the alien for the benefit of the lab complex's security forces. By the time Rom realizes what she is doing, it's too late and security is charging to the room.
  • Supergirl: In Action Comics #319, Donna Storm frames Linda Danvers—the eponymous heroine—for stealing. Donna gloats over framing Linda, without realizing her words are being broadcast through the school's P. A. system.
  • X-Men: In X-Men: Gold, after a televised debate with an anti-mutant, Kitty Pryde admits that she's still trying to figure out her feelings toward a guy (Peter Rasputin) she had a history with and still liked. After leaving the TV studio, Peter teased Kitty about this guy she said she liked, adding, "You may have left the microphone on".

    Comic Strips 
  • In one of the strips for Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, the title character has to give a speech about the R.U. Sirius to the crew, but can't seem to figure out what he says. The inept Engineer Cliff Clewless attempts to feed him on what to say via a bug, but the plan quickly unravels when, shortly after having Brewster give the greeting, Cliff ends up being distracted by a female member passing by in his vicinity, tries to give a pickup line along the lines of "You must be a parking ticket, because you've got "fine" written all over you", and subsequently being pepper-sprayed, all of which Brewster ended up parroting, causing either Brewster to realize that it was still on or him parroting Cliff's response. Lieutenant Pamela Mae Snap later tells Agent X that the speech in question, despite the obvious fact that Brewster ended up actually parroting what he should say via a bug, was actually one of Brewster's better speeches, implying that the previous ones usually turned out far worse.
  • In Doonesbury, Mark has a "guest" named Chase Talbot on his radio show. Mark keeps dropping hints about their being a couple, and they argue about it during the commercial break before realizing the mic was still on.
  • The Far Side has a comic of a pair of airline pilots talking. One of them is horrified, screaming that the fuel light is on, and that they're all going to die. "Oh, wait. My mistake. That's the intercom light."
  • In FoxTrot, Roger is singing "Love Machine" in the shower, and Jason, who was programming the voice answering machine, included Roger singing "Love Machine" as part of the message as one of his pranks. A few weeks later, in the final panel, has Roger confronting Jason on this fact, and Jason reminds Roger that Roger was the one who bought the model that had a cord that reached all the way upstairs.
  • In a Gil Thorp storyline, former student Robby Howry has started a blog and billboard campaign about how bad a coach Gil is, and that Milford deserves better. Local radio pundit Marty Moon, also no supporter of Gil, invites Robby onto his show, but then becomes worried that he's going to take it over. So he manipulates Robby into saying "I'm too big for Milford! This dump is just my launching pad!" live on air.
  • Happens to Popeye of all people, in the Thimble Theatre Spinachova arc. Having founded and named himself dictator of his own country, Popeye goes on the radio and broadcasts a speech on how he thinks his citizens are such great people, etc, etc. There's a beat panel of said citizens looking very pleased when;
    Popeye: [over radio] Blow me down! I guess that oughter make them dumbheads love me. OH, MY GORSH! Dear sheeps- don't pay no attention to that last crack- I thought I had the microphome turned off.

    Fan Works 
  • What kicks off the Announcer AU is Izuku getting lost at the UA Sports Festival a year before canon would start. After Present Mic and Eraserhead give their commentary on the match between Suneater and Shielder, Izuku starts breaking down their Quirks...while leaning on the power button for one of the microphones. Izuku's fame skyrocketed from there, as the faculty decided to keep him on and let him keep analyzing the competitors.
  • Arrow: Rebirth: While he didn't live long enough to find out, Malcolm Merlyn blurted out the existence of the League of Assassins to the entire world during his last confrontation with Oliver due to Henry Fyff hijacking the live feed and keeping it running after Malcolm tried to turn it off. This has massive consequences for everyone that extend well beyond his death.
  • Happens in one early Ask King Sombra post.
  • In chapter seven of Bait and Switch (STO), Ens. Kate McMillan is offscreen acting as JG K'lak's Target Spotter. During the second firefight of the chapter she's overheard via combadge giving him a reference for a large stump that looked like K'lak's ... something (he fired before she could say what). After the firefight:
    K'lak: [secondhand via McMillan's combadge] Ensign, what are you doing comparing a tree stump to my—
    Tess: McMillan, you know your combadge is still transmitting, right?
    McMillan: OH GOD!
    Birail: [stifles laughter]
  • In the Calvin at Camp episode "Legends of the Hidden Campus," Eddy is caught on tape admitting that the game is completely rigged. Luckily for him, no one seems to notice or care.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, when Cui tells Vegeta that Frieza is on his way to Planet Namek thanks to his intel on the Dragon Balls, Vegeta protests that he couldn't have known, as his scouter's audio feed was off the whole time...before remembering he wasn't alone when he went to Earth.
    Vegeta: GodDAMN IT NAPPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! (Blasts off to Namek)
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: After issuing a shipwide summons (that begins with an Is This Thing On?), Rarity has a moment of this with a croissant and coffee.
  • In this (NSFW) fancomic, Hatsune Miku forgets to turn off her mic as she... visits the facilities. Hilarity Ensues.
  • As shouldn't come as a surprise considering the name, a variant of this is the catalyst for the entire plot of Intercom, a fanfic based on Inside Out. The intercom in question exists in Riley's mind, and is occasionally used by her emotions to speak to her as a "conscience"-type voice. Rather than accidentally leaving it on after using it, however, one of them accidentally damages it, without realizing they had also activated it in the process. Most importantly, it's stuck—they can't turn it off. They realize this when Riley asks "who said that?" immediately after Disgust says something.
  • In LadyBugOut, Chat Noir swats Ladybug's yoyo out of her hand while ranting at her about how he's entitled to her love, accusing her of trying to defy destiny. What he doesn't realize is that the yoyo's recording and broadcasting his rant live on her blog. While Ladybug does notice and attempts to warn him, he ignores her, too caught up in ripping her a new one for not giving in to his advances.
  • The Bleach fanfic PA System Blues first two chapters run on this due to unintentionally turning the PA system back on.
  • In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows parody, Potterdammerung, Voldemort does this while magically broadcasting his voice across Hogwarts, where the students hear the Dark Lord explain that he doesn't want pickles on his Big Mac.
  • This parody of Resident Evil Village has Lady Dimitrescu muttering "To hell with the ceremony" while failing to completely close her laptop, prompting a reminder from Mother Miranda that she is still in the call.
  • In the Star Trek Continues episode "Fairest of Them All", which takes place in the mirror universe, Spock gradually recruits crewmembers to mutiny and stop the ruthless behavior typical of the Empire. With Kirk on the brink of insanity, he meets him alone in a rec room and quietly goads him into saying (more like shrieking at the top of his lungs) what he really thinks of the crew... then steps aside to reveal that he had the intercom on the whole time and everybody on the entire ship heard that.
  • In The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments, Sweetie Belle forgets to disable her voice amplification spell after the Crusaders threaten Nightmare Moon in Chapter 2.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged's eighth episode, Kirito has his big moment rushing in to save the Aincrad Liberation Front from a floor boss, in which he gives a "No More Holding Back" Speech on how he hates but will still fight for his fellow players. Turns out the ALF was broadcasting the whole raid, so by the next episode Kirito's reputation as a badass loner is in tatters, everyone in SAO has latched onto him as some sort of savior, a major guild is twisting his arm to make him a team player, and his friends can't stop laughing about it.
    Tiffany: You really had no idea they were livestreaming?
    Kirito: No, obviously if I had been privy to that little tidbit, I might have conducted myself in a slightly different manner.
    Lizbeth: Oh, don't worry so much, Ki. No one cares about your adorable little Freak Out, they're all too busy being in awe that you can hold two swords at the same time!
    Tiffany: He is The Chosen One! As it was foretold by the scrolls!
    Liz and Tif: [howl with laughter]
    Kirito: This is my life now. I am in hell.
  • Happens several times in This Bites!:
    • Cross accidentally broadcasts a few of Blackbeard's crimes when they encounter him during the Knock-Up Stream launch.
    • Cross's torture by Enel and the surgery to save his life are broadcasted worldwide because everyone (including Soundbite) forgot they were still broadcasting.
    • The entirety of the battle with Baron Omatsuri, INCLUDING ALL THE STRAW HATS BEING DEVOURED, is broadcast as well.
      • Averted about halfway through when the characters who remain realize it's still broadcasting but keep it going so as to be a warning to all would-be travelers to stay away from Omatsuri Island.
  • The Vinyl Scratch Tapes: It takes them until part three to figure out when they aren't on the air.
  • In Weres Harry a Ministry official forgets to turn off the Wizarding Wireless microphone after announcing the Second Task, so a fair chunk of the British wizarding world get to hear Harry and Ludo Bagman arguing about the interest potential of sitting and looking at a lake for an hour.
  • Yet again, with a little extra help gives us one when, after Sarutobi welcomes the crowd to the Chunin Exam Finals, followed by Naruto and Sasuke performing their Firestorm combo. After Orochimaru and Hiruzen comment on the jutsu, one of the latter's aides informs him his mic is still on, leading to the following:
    "What? The microphone is still on? This is why I hate technology... erm oh wait, they can still hear me. Um. YES! So welcome everyone to the Chunin exams! How do I turn this damn thing off again?"

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens in All Creatures Big and Small when the ark's lion captain makes the following statement; his blunder is pointed out by a fellow shipmate:
    Captain: May I also remind you that this is a non-carnivorous voyage. Thank you for your understanding. I could really go for some giraffe right about now...
    Flamingo: Captain, you're still on air!
    Captain: Whoops...
  • In Animalympics, Bolt Jenkins manages this without saying a word. When his hero Boris Amphibiensky completely botches the high jump, he gives the audience an amused smirk before realizing he's supposed to look determined.
  • Darla Dimple in Cats Don't Dance. She tells off Danny the cat, because she's angry he's upstaged her at her big premiere. Unaware that in her frantic attempts to sabotage him from doing so, she accidentally turned on one of the boom mics. So her boss and all of Hollywood hears her scream, "I should've drowned you all when I FLOODED THE STAGE!!!" As a result, she loses her career and her popularity, and is forced to work as a janitor as punishment for her crimes.
    "I can't believe it..."
  • On The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, SpongeBob steps into the podium thinking he's just been named manager of the Krusty Krab 2. He starts making his speech when Mr. Krabs whispers in his ear:
    SpongeBob: I'm making a complete what of myself? The most embarrassing thing you've ever seen? And now I'm making it worse by repeating everything you say into the microphone?
  • In Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Victor whispers to the Constable not to start a panic, but the were-rabbit wasn't dead yet. Unfortunately, the Constable accidentally repeated this through his megaphone for the entire vegetable competition to hear, causing a mass Stunned Silence. Victor facepalms while the Constable says "Oops" before everyone goes into a panic.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Airplane!
    • Right after Rex Kramer says that their only hope is to build up Ted Stryker's confidence, he launches into a rant about how poorly suited Stryker is to fly the plane, not realizing that his microphone button is pressed.
      Kramer: Stryker, you ever flown a multi-engine plane?
      Stryker: No, never.
      Kramer: Shit! It's a goddamn waste of time. There's no way he can land it! [snip] Route him into Lake Michigan. At least avoid killing innocent people!
    • Airplane II: The Sequel, Commander Buck Murdock of Alpha Beta Base on the Moon.
      Ted Stryker: I hope he's not still bitter about what happened between us during the war.
      Buck Murdock: If it weren't for the people up there, I'd say let Ted Stryker go down in a fiery twisted mass of molten metal.
  • Subverted in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy — "What? I'm on right now?... I don't believe you." Ron Burgundy in fact cheerfully and obliviously subverts this two more times in the movie, being compelled to say anything that's written on the teleprompter — something which takes a much darker (though still hilarious) turn when a mean-spirited prank causes him to say "Go fuck yourselves, San Diego" in place of his usual sign-off phrase.
  • Twice in Apollo 13: the first time, Jim Lovell uses some colorful language while attempting a tricky bit of piloting, not realizing (until Mission Control informs him) that his mic is live. Later, the astronauts are having a heated argument when Houston calls; Lovell snaps, "Are we on VOX?" This time they aren't, and he's able to switch to polite-and-professional mode before answering. The first one actually happened, the second was made up by the film makers. Another, more serious live-mic mistake Lovell actually made on that mission: "Well, I'm afraid this is going to be the last lunar mission for a long time..."
  • In Bringing Down the House Steve Martin "infiltrates" the bad guys' club in a very bad "wigger" disguise, complete with his own boombox. After sitting down with the bad guy, he is ordered to turn off the boombox — and he carefully presses Record as well, getting the entire confession on tape in the end.
  • In Confessions From A Holiday Camp, Timmy Lea finds himself trapped outside with no clothes on after one of his sexual exploits goes awry. He makes his way to the camp DJ's office with nothing on but a towel and proceeds to have sex with her while broadcasting the audio all over camp. While the campers applaud him, his brother-in-law Sid is not impressed since the camp owner is a real Drill Sergeant Nasty and they don't want to get fired:
    Sid: What are you trying to do, eh? Drive me into the bloody nuthouse?! Flashing yourself all over the camp! Broadcasting your sex life for everybody to hear!
  • Subverted in Escape from L.A.: Snake Plissken has covertly swapped an EMP control device with a similar-looking but useless playback device. The fascist President, in the middle of a nationally broadcast speech, orders Snake's death so they can find the real one. When reminded that the camera is on, he actually tells the cameramen to film the execution.
  • Occurs toward the end of the classic A Face in the Crowd from 1957. Antihero Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes spends the bulk of the film riding his television-friendly image to fame and power, cynically hiding his true nature behind an aw-shucks façade. At the conclusion of one broadcast, Rhodes is sitting on stage with his fellow performers, apparently engaging in casual chitchat. As the show's theme music dominates the soundtrack, the home viewers can't hear what Rhodes is really saying: he's expressing his venomous contempt for his audience. Marcia Jeffries, a disillusioned former lover and business partner, commandeers the studio's control room and switches the audio so Rhodes's words are broadcast to the world. Rhodes is thereby ruined.
  • In Galaxy Quest, Nesmith explains a plan to defeat Sarris while Sarris is still listening and watching on the big screen, thanks to the crew's mistaking the "cut the comm link" across-the-throat gesture for a "we're dead" gesture. And not actually knowing where the hold button is, anyway.
  • A made-for-TV Hallmark movie had the main female trying to get into an airport, and ended up professing her love for the main male. Which turns out to be a good thing.
  • A time reverse case in Head of State when Mays make a bad comment regarding school shooting to the camera, thinks it wasn't on yet, but it was revealed that it was on all the time and is still recording. Lewis then use the tape to attack Mays' presidential campaign. Interestingly, this results in a falling out between Mays and his campaign managers, who think that he royally screwed the pooch. Later, though, one of the comes back and tells him that this can be fixed pretty quickly.
  • Horrible Bosses: Harken's confession is broadcast to and recorded 'for quality control purposes' by the navigation-system operator.
  • Jindrake in Max Keeble's Big Move had a running joke relating to this trope (that, or Accidental Public Confession): The first time he is using the teleprompter to give the announcements, after apparently turning it off, he inadvertently ended up exposing to the whole school that his appearance was all an act (he had a drape that was designed in such a way that implied that he was near the capitol building, and wore a costume that indicated a rank similar to that of a senator, congressman, or even the President of the United States.) with hilarity ensuing. He later did it a second time, only this time, he put pencils up his nose and acted as though he was a walrus. It was implied that he may have been doing that intentionally, but in either case, Hilarity Ensues. He later had one happen when he witnesses Max's cutout board stating comic-style that Jindrake was wearing a thong, which after the official end of the announcements, people were still seeing it. Subverted the fourth time when busting Max, where he did make sure he turned it off. Of course that didn't stop Max from reactivating the camera and exposing that Jindrake embezzled the school budget.
  • In Meet Dave, a mutiny is happening inside the eponymous Mobile-Suit Human... with the communication system still open. Hence the two cops who were interrogating "Dave" hear him fiercely arguing with himself, until Number Two realises it and order to close the speakers.
  • Happens in Mister Roberts when Morton leaves the mic to the ship's PA switched on when screaming at Roberts. This lets the crew know the truth about Roberts' strange behavior and that Morton is really the one to blame.
  • In The Monster Maker, Dr. Markoff is trying to call his assistant Maxine on the intercom when Lawrence bursts into the office. Markoff forgets to switch off the intercom, and Maxine hears the entire angry confrontation between the two which spells out all of Markoff's evil scheme.
  • In My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Vicki bails on Gus at the altar and tells Toula that she can't marry Gus (again) because he's a crazy old guy that gets drunk, snores loudly, and is always telling her what to do. The whole time she fails to realize her mic, which would have broadcast her voice to the whole church, is still on and the whole church audience including Gus hears her. In the end, Gus does forgive her and she apologizes, right before they do indeed (re)marry.
  • At the beginning of My Favorite Martian, the main character Tim is fired when, while feeding lines to Brainless Beauty reporter Brace while she's interviewing a NASA captain, the microphone catches him muttering "God, you're beautiful," which Brace repeats to the captain.
  • Frank Drebin wears a remote mic in The Naked Gun before taking a trip to the can. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Slightly before the climax of Problem Child, Ben asks his Jerkass father Big Ben for money to pay the ransom of his kidnapped wife and son while the former is preparing for his Mayor campaign speech. When he turns him down, Ben then asks "Hey dad! Why don't you tell all the voters what you really plan on doing with this town!" and surreptitiously turns on the camera:
    Big Ben: I don't give a rat's ass for the voters! All I care about is the power and the power that'll give me the money. That's why I'm a success and you're not! America for the Americans. If you believe that nonsense, you're even stupider than I thought! I'd sell my soul to the Japanese if they made me an offer. And as for you, don't come suckering around me if you want something! The only thing you'll get from me is this! (moons the camera)
  • In the "Weird Al" Yankovic movie UHF, the villain goes into a tirade before one of the protagonists on what he really thinks of his viewers, unaware that he's being taped. Near the end when he's going to make a public announcement, they put the recording on instead, putting the final nails in his coffin.
  • Water (1985). Governor Baxter Thwaites announces over Radio Cascara that American company Spenco has jobs for them, so the island isn't going to be evacuated. His shrill wife Dolores charges up there, furious that they're not leaving Cascara and the two have a domestic argument that's broadcast to an amused populace (Dolores slaps away the DJ's hand every time he reaches past her to switch off the microphone). When Dolores announces that she's going to kill herself, everyone cheers.
  • In The Witch Files, Claire's dad is trying to fix her camera tripod, and delivers a monologue about how much he hates his job and wondering where his life went wrong. He finishes with the tripod and hands it to Claire, who glances at the camera and ask "Dad, did you know the camera's still recording?".

  • There is an old joke about an airline pilot who, following the typical pre-flight announcements, forgot to turn off the microphone before telling his co-pilot (and by extension, the entire plane) that "I could really go for a cup of coffee and a blowjob right now."
    • Told as a joke in Good Will Hunting.
    • In an extended version he says, "After we finish our coffee let's screw the stewardess." Upon hearing that, the stewardess storms to the cockpit in fury, only to be stopped by an elderly passenger who says: "Why such a hurry? They've yet to finish their coffee first."

  • Beautiful Music for Ugly Children: Gabe, an eighteen-year-old DJ, gets caught up talking on the phone to Mara, resulting in several seconds of dead air. Gabe says "Oh shit!" and puts on another song. Then Mara starts laughing because his words went on the air. Gabe is afraid he'll get in trouble with the FCC, but John tells him not to worry because everyone curses on the air at some point.
  • Cauldron by Jack McDevitt. A spacecraft makes a Blind Jump into an unexplored system and almost hits an asteroid. Unfortunately the captain's Oh, Crap! was recorded on the black box and by law they can't rewrite it. He admits it won't exactly rank with "one giant leap" as Famous First Words of History.
  • In one Ciaphas Cain novel, an out-of-touch, confused planetary governor gives a very awkwardly delivered speech, followed by a comment on how all of his mistakes would be edited out before broadcasting... what do you mean that was live?
  • A Colder War, a Cthulhu Mythos short story by Charles Stross. The End of the World as We Know It (World War Three with Eldritch Abomination weapons) comes about because Ronald Reagan makes his "bombing in five minutes" joke (see "Real Life") before a live mic just when Iran has launched a nuclear attack on Iraq.
  • In Good Omens, a disembodied Aziraphale possesses a televangelist in the middle of a broadcast, and dismissively informs him and his viewers that the Rapture is a load of bunk and the human race will be lucky if any of them survive The End of the World as We Know It. Then he notices the camera crew, and sheepishly remarks "Gosh, am I on television?"
  • InCryptid: In Chaos Choreography, during the battle with the giant snake demon, nobody remembers to turn off the live TV cameras until it's over. Verity reasons that it's inevitable that the Covenant will find out, and gives a message to them through the camera:
    Verity: My name is Verity Price. Stay out of my continent.
  • In A Conspiracy of Kings, the fourth book of The Queen's Thief, Sophos has just given an idealistic speech about cooperation and mutual benefit with Attolia and Eddis to the barons of Sounis, who all stare at him blankly. The current Mede ambassador walks up behind him and insults both Sophos and Sounis in a whisper, unaware that the amphitheatre they're in was designed specifically so that actors' stage-whispers would carry up to the furthest seats. This along with a well-aimed pistol shot by Sophos helps sway the barons.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: In the eighth book Count Olaf began laughing maniacally until his girlfriend informed him the intercom was still on.
  • This happens to Principal Kidswatter in the Wayside School books. As soon as he finishes a long welcome-back announcement about how he's so glad school is back in session after the cows left (...don't ask) and how the students can come to him any time because they're all friends, he launches into a diatribe about how much he hates kids and how much it sucked to be called away from his vacation in the Bahamas. He's also not very nice to the secretaries telling him the microphone was still on... In fact it's played with until the end of the chapter. "What red button? ...There is no red button. Oh, here it—"
  • In Yellow Blue Tibia the protagonist, a translator, is being interrogated by a police officer. Unfortunately this is the Soviet Union and the officer think he's a traitor for speaking to Americans earlier in the book, so uses a "one note attempt to intimidate". He records a semi-professional interview, but frequently stops the tape recorder to make comments about what he will do to the protagonist's manhood. At length. He switches the tape on and off so often that he messes up and ends up missing the interview and recording the threats! His reaction when he notices his blunder? "The Captain will be annoyed!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock:
    • Happens twice to Liz Lemon in the second episode. First she assures Jenna that Tracy Morgan is a talentless nut who nobody wants to be involved with the show but Jack. Jenna is still wearing her microphone however and everybody (including Tracy) hears. Later on she attempts to apologize to him by explaining that she was just trying to calm the "paranoid and neurotic" Jenna, and also insults the other writers. This time she's actually in front of a camera and everybody both sees and hears her.
    • It also happens to Jack Donaghy, when he doesn't realize that a remote mic is broadcasting him while he gives himself an extremely embarrassing pep talk.
  • Agatha Raisin: In "Agatha and the Wellspring of Death", Agatha is talking to the PA of her latest client when Gemma bursts and starts questioning her about the fact she spent the night with said client. Their discussion goes on for some time before the PA speaks up to remind them that she is still there. To make matters worse, it is later revealed that the PA is also the client's girlfriend.
  • In Alias, Sydney and Vaughn are discussing a romantic night together. After they start getting dirtier, Sydney suddenly asks, "Wait, are we still on comms?" Her father Jack answers, "Yes, you're still on comms! Right now!"
  • Arrow:
    • In a season 4 episode, Oliver and Felicity discuss relationship issues over the radio, while Oliver (as Green Arrow) is on a mission. Diggle opens his line, stating that he can hear everything. When Felicity asks if everyone can hear their conversation, Black Canary and Speedy simultaneously confirm this.
    • Another one happens when Team Arrow do a crossover with The Flash (2014) in "Legends of Today". Felicity is running Mission Control while Team Arrow are engaging the villains, starting by removing their guns with a magnetic arrow and following up with Good Old Fisticuffs.
      Felicity: [imitating Oliver] Felicity, the magnetic arrow gag will never work. [as herself] Yes, it will my love, because I am really smart! And guess what, Oliver — it did work!
      Oliver: [on radio] Felicity, honey, it's a little hard to fight with you doing that in my ear!
      Felicity: Oh, I totally forgot this was an open line.
  • In one episode of Benson, most of the main cast are on a plane trip when the pilot suddenly dies. Governor Gatling has had some flying lessons allowing him to operate the plane, while Benson frantically tries to get the radio working to call for help. When he thinks it is working he begins screaming into the the headset in panic about how they are all going to die. Denise then comes forward to the cockpit to tell Benson that he is in fact, talking on the cabin intercom and that everyone on the plane just heard him. Benson sheepishly keeps fiddling with the radio until he is finally able to get in touch with someone.
  • Better Call Saul: Jimmy actually invokes this on himself intentionally, in the episode "Lantern". His reasons are very complex, but suffice to say that one of his schemes drove a wedge between some friends. The only way he could fix it was to "accidentally" allow all the friends to hear him confessing that he had done it all to expedite a million-dollar payoff to himself. This was true, and it made him into the bad guy so the friends could reconcile.
  • Beckett suffered a variation of this in Castle; in the episode "47 Seconds", she confronts a suspect in the interrogation room, who claims to have no memory of what happened to him after he was shot. Beckett tells him that she was shot once and remembered everything that happened immediately after. Unfortunately for Beckett, 1) Castle was standing on the other side of the two-way mirror, and 2) she had earlier told him that she didn't remember what happened after she was shot, because she didn't want to deal with his admitting his love for her when she was shot. Things got tense between them until the 4th season finale, when she finally admitted her feelings for him.
  • In the first couple seasons of Chuck, the title character gets in trouble a lot when he doesn't realize that their communication equipment is on.
  • The Colbert Report parodied the infamous Bill O'Reilly "Inside Edition" clip ("Fuck it! We'll do it live!") with Colbert unable to say the words "I'm sorry." when they appear on the prompter. The expected fit of rage follows, Colbert Cluster F Bombs the show's producer and everyone else within earshot...
    Colbert: We'll do it live!
    Producer: Stephen... this is live.
  • Come Back Mrs. Noah was a British sitcom about several people stranded on a space station. They reassure themselves that the people back home undoubtedly have a plan to get them back down, only to connect to Mission Control as he's saying "I've no idea how we're going to get them back down!" They're then switched to a talk show where an expert is saying that they'll be stranded in space forever before he's quickly hushed by everyone else.
  • The Daily Show: Whenever an interviewee says something particularly unsettling to a correspondent. Once, in October 2013, Aasif Mandvi asked a GOP chairman "You know that we can hear you, right?" when he all but admitted that their party's voting laws are designed to suppress Democratic and black voters.note 
  • Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Dead", Captain Magambo and Dr. Taylor of UNIT gush about the fact that they're actually speaking to the Doctor over the phone.
    Magambo: We all want to meet him, but we all know what that day will bring.
    The Doctor: I can hear everything you're saying!
  • In Ellen, the title character accidentally broadcasts her coming out over an airport PA system.
  • An episode of Empty Nest has Dr. Harry Weston fielding calls from the public on a radio talk show. After an incredibly long day, Harry declared, "Thank God that's over, because I really have to go to the bathroom!", leading his embarrassed producer to tell him to turn off his microphone.
  • ER:
    • During the live episode "Ambush", recently reunited lovers Doug and Carol sneaked off to canoodle and make plans for the following night. When they noticed that the camera guy had followed them, Doug made several snide comments which amused Carol—until she noticed that the guy was waving at them and promptly flipped out upon realizing that her microphone was still on and that he had heard everything (they were concealing their new relationship from everyone).
    • Several seasons earlier, Mark had pulled Doug into an empty trauma room to confide that he was nervous about his upcoming date, the first since his divorce. Later in the episode, the ER staff is gathered in the same room, watching a trauma that was taped so that staff could review and improve their techniques. When Kerry rewinds the tape, she comes across the conversation between Mark and Doug, which was recorded because neither man was even aware of the camera's presence, much less that it was on—and the entire ER staff gets to hear Mark admit to Doug that he's never had sex with anyone but his ex-wife.
  • Firefly
    • Happens in the pilot when Jayne tests an earworm transmitter... while standing right next to Mal.
    • Also:
      Jayne: [over radio] Whoa now, girl, that is just plain dirty.
      Mal: Jayne, you aware that your radio's transmittin'? Cause I ain't feelin' particular girlish or dirty at the moment.
  • Happens in Flashpoint, very nearly resulting in serious consequences for several members of the SRU team. At the end of "A New Life", Jules and Sam (who are secretly dating, in violation of SRU policy) have a brief conversation suggesting the truth about their relationship. Several episodes later, it's revealed that they forgot to turn off their microphones and their conversation was picked up and recorded by the auto-transcriptor.
  • For All Mankind: Molly Cobb is informed that President Richard Nixon is on the line to speak to the first American woman on the Moon. As she's The Lad-ette, she replies, "Really? Shit!" only to be told she's live on all the networks.
    Molly: I hope they bleeped that out.
  • An episode of Forensic Files had a woman being suspected of murdering her husband. She's brought into the interrogation room and badgered to the point of tears. The detective leaves the room. . . and the woman continues to weep, "God, please help me, I didn't do this". Those viewing the tape felt that her tears were sincere and took a second look at the evidence. Indeed, the woman was innocent.
  • A regular feature of Frasier, which justifies the trope by having the title character repeatedly broadcast embarrassing or insulting comments on his radio show (in one instance actually having sex on the radio), unaware that he is on the air. Notable uses include:
    • In "Look Before You Leap", Frasier is due to sing during a PBS telethon but gets cold feet at the last minute.
      Roz: But you promised all your fans!
      Frasier: Oh, what's the difference? [camera goes live] WHO WATCHES PBS?! [he notices the live camera and immediately calms down] I'll tell you who: discerning, cultured viewers, like yourselves.
    • "The Adventures of Bad Boy and Dirty Girl":
      Newscast: [on radio] In local news, Congressman Robert Gill was accused of accepting bribes from a waste treatment facility. Asked to comment, the congressman said—
      Frasier: [cuts in orgasmically] Yes! YES!!! I am a bad boy, aren't I, you dirty girl! Come to your bad boy! Oh, yes... Oh, no! Is that the on-air light?
      Kate: [on radio, whispering] Stop talking.
      Frasier: You must have hit the switch with your elbow while we were...
      Kate: Stop talking!
      Frasier: We'd better hurry up and get dressed while we still...
      Niles: [listening to them from his car radio] STOP TALKING! [Niles rear ends another car, causing the airbag to inflate in his face]
    • "A New Position for Roz", when she is teaching Noel how to produce Frasier's show:
      Roz: Now, let me give you some pointers on call screening. Your first priority are your leapers and jumpers. Next up, angry people, they're great energy and a welcome change from our largest group, the sad sacks. The trick of it is, you want to arrange these calls so that each segment is "can't miss" radio.
      Noel: I thought it was just about Frasier doing good work.
      Roz: Please, it's all about ratings! If the station had its way, every call would end in an auto-erotic suicide.
      Frasier: [from the booth] Thank you, Roz, now that Seattle knows how we do things around here, perhaps you could let Noel know to keep his elbow off the mic button!
  • On an episode of Frontline, Mike starts insulting one of Elliot's songs after his microphone has been cut off at the end of the show. Unfortunately, he forgets that the camera is still on him during the end credits and that there's a sign language interpreter next to him. His comments are translated accurately and reported in the following day's newspaper.
  • In the Full House episode "Room for One More?", when Danny is temporarily taking over the at-home radio DJ segment while Jesse goes to check up on the boys (especially Nicky), D.J., Kimmy, Steve, and some other boys in the wrestling team enter the studio room in the hope of recording a rap song Kimmy had written for the wrestling team pep rally, and they start to "hit it" after Danny asks to hear what it sounds like and assures them that some pre-recorded songs are playing and that no one would hear them. Cue Jesse listening to their rap song on air while cradling Nicky with an incredulous expression before he manages to compose himself enough to go downstairs into the studio room and get the radio segment back to normal. It turns out that the instruction Joey gave Danny earlier that was meant to play the pre-recorded songs was the wrong one.
    Danny: Jess, I'm sorry. Joey told me to hit the third fader from the left.
    Jesse: It's the third fader from the right.
    [both Jesse and Danny give a scrutinizing look on Joey]
    Joey: You know, from down here, you really lose all sense of direction.
  • Get Krack!n: McLennan spends one episode wondering if her late period is indicative of an unexpected pregnancy. When she gets a pelvic exam without switching her microphone off, the audience hears all the gross details. McLennan wasn't pregnant. Her late period was due to a tampon getting stuck and now she has a urinary tract infection.
  • The Goes Wrong Show
    • In "Harper's Locket", while showing pre-taped footage of a wooden horse intended to show it being shot, represented by means of a squib.
      Cameraman: Action! (horse explodes) ...You're right, we probably could've used less.
    • In "90 Degrees", as Robert voices Ruffles offstage, his headset occasionally picks up and broadcasts Chris's remarks, as well as an entire altercation where Robert's almost caught shoplifting, then later when the police come to arrest him.
  • In The Good Wife, Alicia has a teleconference with an opposing firm. After the meeting, David Lee turns off the monitor, but forgets to disconnect from Skype, allowing Alicia and her colleagues to eavesdrop on their entire strategy.
  • In the Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities episode The Autopsy, the alien finishes taking control of Dr. Winters' body, only for him to reveal that on top of having managed to blind, deafen, and mortally wound himself prior to the transfer completing, the alien's chances of catching someone else by surprise or concealing the existence of its species will be severely hampered because the autopsy tape was recording when it revealed itself, and would have caught a good chunk of it smugly explaining its nature and limitations before running out.
  • In Have I Got News for You, Guest Host Jeremy Clarkson managed to offend several countries with offhand remarks. Panelist Charles Kennedy noted that he'd offended Scotland and Ireland and wondered if he was planning to try for Wales next. Jeremy added that he'd also offended Birmingham, but that it was before recording had started. Paul Merton pointed out that they were, however, recording now.
  • Home Improvement: In the episode "Let's Go To The Videotape", Tim videotapes Jill making a speech at a library fundraiser and then shows his friends at the hardware store how to use the video camera. Then, not knowing the camera is still recording, he starts complaining about how boring Jill's speech was and how he's tired of listening to her talk about her psychology classes. Of course, Jill ends up seeing the tape later, and she's not happy.
  • Horrible Histories: After discussing her marital prospects on a Skype equivalent with William Cecil, Elizabeth I announces that she is married to England. Cecil says goodbye and then mutters "She's finally lost it", prompting Elizabeth to respond "I'm still here, Cecil!"
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank goes on a monologue about how people can do whatever sick and twisted thing they want to his corpse when he's dead. At the time, he's mic'd up and backstage at a children's beauty pageant that he's hosting.
  • A variation occurs in Kim's Convenience when Shannon starts singing a goofy song she made up over the PA as she's closing the store; she does know the microphone is on, but she assumes that all of her co-workers have gone home. However, Jung has stayed late and is highly amused by her performance.
  • The season 17 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has a suspect brought in for an interview and informed it's being (video) recorded. When he states he's calling his lawyer after realizing he's a suspect, the interview is stopped and he's left alone, and as soon as the lawyer arrives she announces the interview is over and they leave. He subsequently makes bail and disappears, after which a potential witness is found dead, but when they find the suspect, he claims self-defense and the key piece of evidence to disprove this is missing. But Carisi had realized while transporting him back to New York that the guy is a compulsive talker, so they start listening to his autopsy recordings to see if he says anything useful. And then Carisi bothers to watch the video of the interview after Benson and Barba left the room and they see him muttering to himself how he's going to have to kill the victim, indicating clear intent. No one, including his defense team, had previously watched the entire video. They'd all stopped when the interrogation had ended, assuming there'd be no more useful information on the recording.
  • In Life's Too Short, Ricky Gervais manages to piss off Steve Carell because he doesn't understand how to hang up on Skype.
  • In one episode of M*A*S*H, Hot Lips has a scorching case of prickly heat and wakes up Col. Potter in the middle of the night to authorize some rash cream for the next supply shipment. Unfortunately, the Colonel has had trouble sleeping and has taken a powerful sleeping pill. As a result, he is in a daze at the communications desk and begins rambling about Margaret's condition, just as Klinger accidentally trips the camp PA.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Ballad of Midsomer County", a murderer is accidentally Caught on Tape when he commits a murder in a recording studio; not realising that the victim had been recording at the time.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan: Subverted in episode 15. When the chef of Outdoor Chef angrily tells Clarabel he still wants to make pinched cake with salted egg, Clarabel points out that the camera is on. The chef doesn't care (the show is pre-recorded after all) and continue his rant.
  • Modern Family:
    • In "Diamond in the Rough", Mitchell and Phil have a heated text exchange about what a bad idea that a house that Cam and Claire want to buy and flip is. However, they are using the group address they used yesterday and Claire is receiving every text.
    • To a ridiculous degree in the season 6 premiere "The Long Honeymoon" where it turns out Haley's blog had gained so much traffic because she didn't actually know how to turn off the livestream function, nor did she realize she hadn't, meaning that her laptop was streaming pretty much constantly, even when she was changing in view of the camera.
  • Monk:
    • In the episode "Mr. Monk Gets Fired", Stottlemeyer admits to his wife that he realizes that having her do the documentary on him and the rest of the police force was a very big mistake, as the current case he's investigating, Monk getting fired, and the Commissioner hounding him is getting on his nerves... and then he realizes the camera's still on.
    • In "Mr. Monk and The End, Part 1", Stottlemeyer and a squad of policemen are staking out at a train station for Kazarinski to capture him alive and find out what product he poisoned Monk with, as well as which poison he used. Disher arrives at the control tower after their odd lack of an announcement for a certain train. He goes up and finds that Kazarinski has killed the announcer in the control tower and stolen the announcer's uniform. Unfortunately, Kazarinski left something else besides dead bodies at the tower, as he also left the mic on, causing the staff and passengers to hear Randy attempting to report to Stottlemeyer. This leads to some Fridge Logic: If the mic was on when Kazarinski killed the announcer, the gunshot would have been audible over the loudspeakers and would have been heard in the station. And even if he had used a silencer, the body would have made a sound while hitting the floor, and he would make noise while removing the announcer's uniform, which would certainly sound like a struggle.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "The Return of Preston Giles", the murderer makes a confession to their second victim just before they kill them, not realizing that the victim had a tape recorder running on their desk as they had been recording comments on a manuscript when the killer entered the office. This results in the murderer's confession being Caught on Tape.
  • In one episode of Murphy Brown, the FYI anchors are instructed to pretend to talk to each other during the closing credits. Unfortunately, Murphy forgot to turn off her mic and her inappropriate commentary goes on the air.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • In "Mitchell", Frank accidentally contacts the Satellite of Love by leaning on The Button. Since Joel and the 'bots are on survival test maneuvers, Gypsy is the only one to respond. She overhears the Mads discussing how to kill temp worker Mike — and thinks they're planning to off Joel, which leads to Joel's escape from the S.O.L.
    • Played with in "Beginning of the End": Mike decides to find out whether the communications system works both ways and tries calling the Mads... who, not even knowing they're on in the first place, are caught engaging in some very suspect Ambiguously Gay pastimes.
      Dr. Forrester: [looks suspiciously toward console] ...Oh my God. Switch on the game, Frank! Switch on the game! [Frank hurriedly finds a football game on TV; the Mads sit back down on the couch as far away from each other as possible]
  • In an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Vice-Principal Crubbs personally tells students involved in a vandalism spree to not let word get out to the other staff that, should their outdated equipment be damaged, the school would pay for an updated replacement. Unfortunately for him, he had his hand pressed on the intercom button, and the entire staff then proceeds to destroy... everything.
  • The Orville: In "Mad Idolatry", Captain Ed Mercer and first officer Kelly Grayson get chewed out by comm for Grayson's actions which led to cultural contamination on a planet and particularly for Mercer not explaining what Grayson did in his initial report. She orders the crew not to return to the surface until after the civilization on it achieves space travel, which should be in less than a month, given the accelerated time on the planet compared with real time. After he thinks they're done, Mercer starts mocking "That's an order," only for the admiral to say "What?!" and he realizes in a panic they're still on.
    Mercer: Oh, God, I'm so sorry. Please, Admiral, have mercy, please. Thank you. Okay, bye.
  • It happened unintentionally to a guest on Penn & Teller: Bullshit! and subverted. After redecorating a room via supposed Feng Shui, said guest whispers to his helpers, not realizing that the mic is still on, "Still looks like shit."
  • The Price Is Right: In a 1981 show, announcer Johnny Olson told contestant Sandra Hallisey to "Come on down!" to Contestants Row, where she mistakenly shouted "I broke my bra!" into a microphone after taking her place, and host Bob Barker would make light of that.
  • The Professionals: In "Heroes", Bodie isn't happy about being told by Cowley to work with a Psycho Sidekick, and starts venting accordingly until...
    Cowley: The radio is still open, Bodie. But continue with your interesting assessment. Cowley is...?
    Bodie: Would you believe: warm and considerate?
  • Radio Active:
    • One episode involves Morgan accidentally playing her singing along with a song over the radio, and her singing becoming a hit. The other students on the show try to fake things "accidentally" going over the air to show some talent of theirs, but the student body quickly tires of it.
    • Another episode involves Morgan accidentally playing over the air that she intends to quit the radio show because it's too much stress, and Hilarity Ensues as the others go to great lengths to get her to stay, since she's the only one who is actually organized.
  • This happens quite a few times in Radio Enfer, which is a series about a bunch of teenagers in charge of a high school radio station. For example, The Teaser for a Season 1 episode has Léo saying "Testing, testing, 1-2, check..." to the microphone before Carl tells him that he's on the air. Léo promptly faints, given that he's rather shy when it comes to talking in public.
  • In "Salvage", the pilot for the short-lived series Salvage 1, Skip Carmichael suggests to Mel Slozar a way they might wile away the time on their flight to the moon. When she demurs, he asks if would help if he closed the blind. Their ground control then comes over the radio saying "No, but you might want to turn off your microphone".
  • The "beginning" version is a Running Gag in Saturday Night Live. As "Weekend Update" starts, moderator Chevy Chase will be on the phone in a saucy conversation with his girlfriend, then notice the camera was on, and quickly hang up.
  • In a skit on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon as Mitt Romney performs a webcast that's supposed to win the votes of the younger demographic. The bit ends with Romney insulting his target audience not knowing that the webcam is still on, a spoof of his infamous "47 percent" quote.
  • The British 1997 black comedy Underworld begins with William Smith coming home to find his young wife Gilda has run away. He goes to the neighbors to ask if they know anything. The neighbor goes upstairs to talk to his own wife, with their conversation relayed downstairs via baby monitor, showing they knew all about the affair Gilda was having with the kid who worked in the local store due to The Immodest Orgasms they'd hear after William left for work. The husband comes downstairs with an I Need to Go Iron My Dog excuse he's cooked up with his missus (also overheard), only to find William is already leaving, having learned Too Much Information already.
  • Utopia (2014): In "Lights, Camera, Inaction", Nat and Ash are setting up a teleconference with Olaf Olafson from UNESCO. Nat asks "Why do Norwegian people always look like they've got of the shower?" and then tells Ash to turn the mute off, only for Olaf to say "I can hear you". After the prickly meeting ends, Ash shuts off the link and Nat says "Well, he was a barrel of laughs" and then Olaf's voice comes back "And if you need anything else, just call".
  • In Welcome to Wrexham, Ryan Reynolds forgets to turn his microphone off before going to the bathroom so the show treats viewers to real sounds of him peeing.
  • Subverted in The West Wing when Bartlet makes an insulting comment about his election opponent while the mic is still open just after a radio interview. Panic sets in amongst the staff and it seems they get away lucky when the opposition's response is totally inept. CJ is the only one to realize, at the end, that the president had to have done it deliberately.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    • One of the Scenes from a Hat was "things the pilot wishes he hadn't said when the intercom was on." The performers listed:
      Ryan Stiles: Ooh, those chalupas are coming back on me.
      Colin Mochrie: Hawaii's shaped like a liver, right?
      Ryan Stiles: This is easier than I thought!
      Colin Mochrie: I'm so horny I can't think straight!
      Brad Sherwood: Did you see the jugs on the girl in row 4?
    • Another time was "I didn't know the mic was on."
      Ryan Stiles: Jeez it's (beep)ing cold in here.
      Ryan Stiles: That's a thousand points to everyone, we'll be back after this commercial. [pretends to look under desk] You all right under there?
  • In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin reports to Rudy, the head of the Monster Hunter Council that three level 6 monsters (his vampire girlfriend and her parents) have been detected on Waverly Place and Rudy says he'll send over their best available monster hunters. After the conversation ends, Rudy says "That kid'll be a bone necklace inside of an hour", prompting an appropriately frightened look from Justin. Rudy notices this and begins backpedaling, saying that he meant a different bone necklace.
    Rudy: How do I turn this thing off?!
  • This is the basis for an episode of Yes, Minister. Sir Humphrey, as a senior government official, records a radio interview on the subject of unemployment, but while chatting to the host afterwards, he freely admits that "nobody tells the truth about unemployment" because "no politicians have got the guts to do anything about it". Of course, the microphone was still on, and the rest of the episode is about Humphrey trying to get hold of the recording before it can get him into trouble with the Prime Minister. The PM does find out, and is surprised that the usually sophisticated Humphrey didn't know better than to fall victim to this trope, saying that you should always treat every microphone as if it were a live microphone (Humphrey, being a civil servant rather than a politician, is inexperienced in broadcasting).

  • At the end of The Beatles' Third Christmas Record (1965), we get this exchange:
    Paul: That's got it done, then. Eh... What are we gonna do now?
    George: Has he turned it off?
    Paul: I think he has.
    George: Have you turned it off, lad?
    Ringo: Hey, basher!
    John: It's still the same.
    Ringo: Turned it off, basher?
  • In blink-182's Family Reunion.
  • In Iron Maiden's "The Thin Line Between Love and Hate," after the song ends you can hear Bruce say "Oh, I fucking missed it" (the song is from Bruce's first album back with the band), followed by his realization that the statement had been recorded. The statement itself does appear to be a genuine accident, but the realization clearly isn't, as the sudden increase in background static makes it clear that it was recorded separately.
  • In the last chorus of Steve Earle by Sugarland, the line "The others wanted your whole heart, but I just want your sleeve..." degenerates into a rapid-fire stream of speech— "...and the shirt that goes with it 'cause it smells like you and you know I like to sleep in that, and a vacation house, at the beach, and a really small wedding, only 'bout three hundred people, did I tell you that I've got kids?..." — until Jennifer Nettles finally stops to ask, "Is this thing on?"
  • They Might Be Giants: Used metaphorically in "This Microphone" from I Like Fun, which is about a guy's struggle to conceal his feelings and his "twelve fatal flaws".
    Caring is carting bad ideas to the dump
    And taking my time, taking my time
    Hey, this microphone was turned on all along

    Puppet Shows 
  • On Sesame Street, the News Flash skits usually began with reporter Kermit the Frog addressing an off-screen producer or stagehand before realizing he was on the air.

  • A famous Urban Legend has it some children's radio presenter in the '30s finished up his show, then said "That oughtta hold the little bastards!" on an open mic. He was allegedly fired immediately. The slip is supposedly uttered by Uncle Don, but his career says otherwise. note 
    • In Poland, an urban legend has it that a radio host finished his teddy bear show in a similar fashion, stating "And now, dear children, you can kiss the bear's ass goodbye."
  • One of the great moments of NBC's old Monitor radio show; a 1969 news capsule ended with NBC's Dean Mell recapping the headline, followed by Monitor writer Charlie Garment (Nixon advisor Leonard Garment's brother) uttering the word "bullshit" and a flustered Gene Rayburn (yes, that Gene Rayburn) trying to segue back into the program. Garment explained in a telephone interview that he'd been in the studio with Rayburn, but facing away from him, having an argument with producer Parker Gibbs about Vietnam. He didn't know they had opened Gene's mic just before he uttered the magic word. (If you want to hear it, it's at the Earthstation1 website — look for "Truth in Reporting" under Broadcast Bloopers.)
  • Bob & Ray inverted this with the newsman character Wally Ballou, who would invariably start talking before the mic was on. ("— ly Ballou speaking...")
  • Inverted in one episode of Cabin Pressure, when Douglas pressurises Martin into making an embarassing passenger announcement, then explains that he rewired the microphone so the green light indicated it was off.
    Martin: But ... the light's not on now!
    Douglas: Yes, but now I have got my thumb on the mute button.
    • Played straight in that soon after he takes his finger off the mute button and the whole plane hears him yelling triumphantly as he divebombs towards some polar bears.
  • Used in-universe at the start of an episode of Hello Cheeky.
    John: Did I ever catch my what in a mangle?
    Barry: I just thought— wait, the green light's on.

  • Terrorists McLocke, Kaige and Rice from Survival of the Fittest accidentally activate the PA system in their headquarters, treating the students to a charming rendition of a Slash Fic (involving two of the students) they found on the web.

  • In Follies, Max and Stella Deems did radio after the Follies closed, until one day when Max said, "Stella, baby, this is a load of crap," not realizing he was on mic.
  • Act 2 of The Play That Goes Wrong begins with Trevor broadcasting some disparaging remarks about the play across the theatre before Chris desperately signals him to turn off his headset.
    • The sequel, Peter Pan Goes Wrong features sound cues that are accidentally replaced by the embarrassing discussions about Max's love for Sandra, as well as Robert making disparaging remarks about Max's acting abilities.

    Video Games 
  • The Statesman Task Force for City of Heroes has a cutscene where the resident Mad Scientist, Dr. Aeon, traps the player characters in a desolate future, before rambling on about how they can escape. Realizing that he goofed by revealing exactly that, he orders the tape erased and the speech done over, but is reminded that (per his orders) they're broadcasting live.
  • In the original Command & Conquer, after a GDI mission in which you saved a town from being wiped out by Nod, there is a cinematic featuring a reporter in front of a scene of destruction, claiming that the town was wiped out by GDI. It then cuts to a green-screen in a studio, where Kane begins to give orders on the distribution of the propaganda video, before noticing the still-live camera and shooting it.
    Kane: Is that camera still running...?!
    (the camera is shot and static fills the screen briefly)
  • In Dishonored, the Pacifist Run method of taking down Lord Regent Hiram Burrows involves one of these... but for extra bonehead points, it's not even live. Burrows recorded himself confessing to unleashing The Plague on Dunwall in the hopes of killing off the "lower classes"; your mission is to break into his private safe, steal the recording, and hand it off to the propaganda/news announcer, who gladly plays it for you. You even get the satisfaction of seeing Burrows led away by the guards afterwards.
  • In ER: The Game, the player is frequently called over the intercom to be assigned a new task. One of these calls...
    Jerry Markovic: This place is going to the dogs! What...? The mic is on? Ahem... Doctor, the lady with the dogs has finished her exams and is waiting for you...
  • The Fallout series:
    • One Legion quest in Fallout: New Vegas involves assassinating NCR President Aaron Kimball during a bold but dangerous visit to Hoover Dam. If you don't interrupt him, Kimball gives a Rousing Speech lauding the sacrifices of the Republic soldiers and steeling them for the coming fight against the Legion. Then...
      Kimball: Thank you, thank you... [to his bodyguards] All right, let's get the fuck out of here. What, do you think I want to get shot? Let's get out of here.
    • Fallout 4:
      • Haddock Cove in Far Harbour was construced by the Husky family as a supposedly impenetrable outpost... impenetrable, that is, except to the Mirelurks lurking in the water below. All that remains are corpses, and a handful of holotapes recorded by clan leader Bray, all of which end with him being unable to figure out how to stop recording. He can't catch a break even while recording his final tape, as he's being torn apart.
        "Aw, God, is this thing still recording?!? You've got to be kidding me!"
      • The Supermutant Radio station broadcasts a human woman promising that if humans come to Shaw School Place they'll be helped and not torn limb from limb and eaten. A supermutant interupts and complains that he wants to eat humans. The woman then reminds him she's saying the words he told her to say and they're a lie, it's a trick. He remembers and she continues with the message. This loops continually, presumably the supermutants don't listen to their own radio station.
  • In Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, the Vortaak leader finishes his speech, pauses for about two seconds, and realizes the camera is still rolling.
    That is all. [Beat] ...Am I still on? Oh. Well. We now return you to... whatever it was you were doing. [turns to his offscreen crew as the transmission goes to static] Idiots.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: One side quest starts when two outcasts start talking to one another about how they know where on Elaaden Annea keeps her supply of water, with which she maintains the monopoly on the place. It's only after they talk about it they realize they're broadcasting to the entire valley they're in (though fortunately for them, most of the local criminals are a little busy with Ryder laying siege to the place).
  • Towards the climax of Max Payne, Nicole Horne repeatedly taunts Max over speakers as he fights his way through her headquarters. Then, after a sudden burst of static, Max gets a message that seems to have been intended for her henchmen instead:
    Horne: What do you mean, 'he's unstoppable'? You are superior to him in every way that counts. You are better trained, better equipped, you outnumber him at least twenty-to-one. Do. Your. Job.
  • In The Movies, on the radio announcement two years before the depression event hits early in the game.
    Radio Announcer: ... Including this news reporter, who's set to make a fortune and kiss goodbye to all you hardworking suckers out there. Wait, is this thing still on?
  • Octodad This happens with a supermarket employee in one level.
    Employee: See, when the light's on that means the mic's off. So it's safe to talk about how we get our meat from.. What? it is? Uh-I was just saying it's safe to talk about how we get our meat from... Nowhere. Gervason's!
  • Gnarl does this in Overlord. After making a few comments to the effect that women should Stay in the Kitchen, he accidentally leaves the communication spell active, revealing that while you're off smiting good he's serving tea and biscuits to your mistress.
  • Pink Panther's Passport to Peril: The second time Pug and Louie hijack Pink's plane, they decide to keep the fact that they are flying the plane now a secret from him so he won't escape again like the first time. Unfortunately, they forget to switch off the intercom so Pink can clearly follow the conversation they are having inside the cockpit, thus alerting him to the danger.
  • One episode of Pokémon Black and White's fictional TV show Koukan Talk features the host speaking entirely in romanjinized Japanese before noticing the camera is running and ending the episode.
  • Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary: In the introduction to the web manzais made to advertise the game, after finishing her announcement, Ringo asks Maguro if they can go get some takoyaki on their way home before being shocked to realize they're still rolling. She does the same thing in the outro after asking Maguro for the answer to a question in her homework.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • In Ratchet & Clank (2002), Supreme Executive Chairman Drek broadcasts his plan to take parts of other planets (destroying them) to piece together a new planet to replace his polluted homeworld. He starts in a polite tone, but drops it after a crewman yells "cut!":
      Chairman Drek: And if you don't like it you can take your whiny, snivelling, snot-nosed populations, form a line behind me and kiss my—! mean it's still on? Well turn it off, you idiot!
    • When you reach a certain point in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Big Al professess his love for Helga over the intercom at the Starship Phoenix, then realizes the intercom light is flashing.
    • Also averted in Up Your Arsenal; Dr. Nefarious appears in hologram form to mock the heroes. After an awkward pause, he whispers to his butler "All right, Lawrence, you can turn it off now!"
  • One of the early missions in Shakedown: Hawaii involves getting some talent for a commercial to sell cola rebranded as game fuel. After faking gameplay footage by mashing buttons and unintentional spit take from the employee who performed said footage (a car thief from a showroom), it's revealed that those cameras were marked as "Live Streaming" cameras, and the commercial footage got leaked onto the internet, putting the cola company in hot water, especially since the CEO, one of the playable characters, invested the entire brand's budget on the commercial.
  • Used in one of Eggman's PA announcements in Sonic Colors.
    Eggman: Please beware of the spikes on the Asteroid Coaster. They are sharp. ...Really, we have to warn people about spikes?! Like they won't notice the spikes — I mean, come on, the cars are nothing BUT spikes! Unbelievable! Wh— uh— my what is still on?
  • First contact between the humans and VUX in the Star Control universe went sour when the human captain reacted to the appearance of his VUX counterpart with the memorable words "That's the ugliest freak-face I've ever seen!". Unfortunately, the mic was on. And the VUX had very, very good translation technology.
  • Both of the UNN reporters in StarCraft II are terrible about this. For instance, when Kate reports on Donny Vermillion's sudden hospitalization in a neutral "news" tone, and wishes him well — and forgets to turn her mic off before celebrating her promotion to anchor.
  • Tyrian has this happen in Episode 4. Big Good Transon Lohk leaves the mic on after recording his messages twice; the first time is only mildly interesting, but the second time drove the protagonist to do this.
  • In Undertale, King Asgore's nickname "King Fluffybuns" comes from a pet name his wife Toriel used during a public address while passing him the microphone, not realizing it was still live. To his credit, Asgore took it in stride.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: When returning home after being finished with Polaris, there's a broadcast that accidentally reveals important information and ends on "Why the fuck is this still on?!"
  • During World of Warcraft's Operation Gnomeregan event, the Mad Scientist who's taken over the gnomes' underground city uses a "Brag-Bot" to taunt the heroes. First he launches into his rant, stops to make sure that the mic is on, and then starts over. Later, while gloating how his trump card will vaporize everyone, he wishes aloud that he could see his arch-rival's face before realizing that the mic is still on.

    Visual Novels 
  • Eroge! Sex and Games Make Sexy Games: In Nene's Bad Ending, Reina accidentally hits the call button on her phone while she's having sex with a cheating Tomoya, causing Nene on the other end to hear everything.

    Web Animation 
  • The end of Batmetal Returns had Batman playing in the bath with figurines of himself and Aquaman. After having the latter kiss the former's ass, he realized in horror the camera was still rolling and hastily shut it off.
  • In The Most Popular Girls in School, it's revealed Bert Hickey was fired from the NFL after announcing the n-word... the thing is, the power was out, and he thought the mics were off.
  • Parodied in Red vs. Blue Season 9's trailer, where Pelican pilot 479'er insults the air traffic controllers, leading to this exchange:
    Controllers: We heard that, 479'er.
    479'er: Yup. That's cause I transmitted it.


    Web Original 
  • On Not Always Legal, a couple of con artists claiming they'd never received an Xbox they'd ordered brag to each other about getting the refund AND the Xbox while they're still on the line... a recorded line. The call goes straight to Fraud Prevention.
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, thanks to an inept communication technician, a quick strategy session is broadcast to the ship they're about to attack.
  • VanossGaming & Company: in a video featuring the group playing Among Us, they alternate between a proximity voice chat mod during gameplay, and Discord voice chat during meetings, with dead players muting themselves so they can't interfere or simply reveal who killed them. H2ODelirious is killed by an Impostor early in a match and during the meeting, thinking he's muted and nobody can hear him, blurts out that this is Vanoss's third time as Impostor, unwittingly outing Vanoss as an Impostor. To top it off, Vanoss wasn't even the impostor that killed Delirious, it was fourzer0seven, but Delirious had been messing with Vanoss and saw him go into a vent, which only Impostors can do, immediately after he was killed.

    Web Videos 
  • In "The End of the World!?" by Matthew Santoro, Matthew and Hugo dance to some music together in a silly manner, but then Matt realizes that the camera is still on, so he tells Hugo to stop.
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries:
    • When Lizzie was shooting her video blog entries, her sisters and other characters would occasionally come into her room. She once assured her sister Jane that she would edit it out later, but their conversation turned out useful for the entry, so Lizzie kept it. In later stories, Lizzie would state that she had the person's permission to post it online.
    • Subverted, however, in the episode "C vs C". Lizzy and Charlotte confront Caroline Lee on-camera, but offer to turn it off before their interrogation. Caroline, however, tells them to leave it on, as she's certain she has nothing to hide or confess. Unfortunately for her, it gradually starts to show that she does.
    • Later in the story, Darcy's company Pemberley Digital developed a story-telling application that automatically recorded and edited phone calls and conversations, with automatic up-load to the channel. That explains how some of the private moments got into Gigi Darcy's spin-off and viewers could see it. When Gigi called him, Darcy immediately asked whether she's using Domino demo, and ended the call when she said she did.
  • Nightmare Time: In the episode "Killer Track," Mayor Solomon Lauter accidentally reveals his disdain for the citizens of Hatchetfield, calling them "insects." He doesn't realize his microphone hasn't been turned off yet.
  • DeRez "Searching for Gordon Freeman": While having a private discussion about the fact that the cameraman doesn't know how to edit, Dave decides they can work with it, doing everything in one take, as long as there are no screw-ups. Then, "Is that on?"
Danya is not pleased, particularly when they go from reading the fic to insulting him and the entire organisation.
  • This 2020 skit in which Brent Spiner, having just had an interview via Zoom, gets up and performs a (somewhat NSFW) musical routine, dancing all over his house and singing about how awesome he is and how the whole world loves him and wants him back. Then...
    Interviewer: Brent, you never ended the Zoom.
    Spiner: What?!
    Interviewer: I was recording the whole thing. I'm totally going to put this on TikTok right now.
    Spiner: ...What's TikTok?
  • What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? provides two examples of this from different episodes:
    • In "Regret at Leisure", a Southwest Airlines pilot released a lengthy tirade that was the very epitome of "not safe for work" about the slim dating pickings about the flight attendants he flew with. All while it was carried over the air traffic controller's channel.
    • In "Rebel, Rebel", an American Airlines flight attendant informed passengers that were returning to the gate due to technical difficulties, only for another flight attendant to confirm that they were ready for take off, leading to the first attendant going completely nuts and screaming that the plane will crash, to the point where she had to be restrained. Also, the PA was still on when this transpired.

    Western Animation 
  • Used and lampshaded several times in the American Dad! episode "You Debt Your Life". The school's morning announcement readers repeatedly get Drunk with Power, only to be deposed by this. The crème de la crème comes after Principal Lewis has cancelled the announcements and grumbles about why he ever quit being a cocaine dealer in South America, where he had all the money, blow, and girls ("...not women, girls!") he could ever want. Then a teacher tells him that the mic is still on; cue hearty Precision F-Strike.
  • Animaniacs:
    • In a 1996 episode, the Warners are heard over the closing credits, complaining about work, dissing their voice actors, even trying to figure out who Steven Spielberg is. It is at the end when they discover they still had their microphones on.
    • In "Yes, Always", Pinky and the Brain take the roles of a director and Orson Welles in an almost word-for-word recreation (with a few words changed for the intended audience) of the famous "Frozen Peas" recording. This includes the director / Pinky muttering, "At the moment", and then it diverges for a few seconds out of the whole thing when he realizes he's standing on the intercom button, at which point Brain remarks, "I heard that."
  • In the Arthur special regarding Francine starting a rock band that quickly becomes a celebrity band, the Principal, after doing the announcements, is muttering bitterly to himself about the band's choice of a band name ("You Stink!"), only to realize shortly thereafter realize that he left the mic on.
  • The "beginning" variant shows up in Batman: The Animated Series. After the theme of the "Jokers Wild" casino is revealed on live television (complete with revolving laughing Joker head), reporter Summer Gleeson is caught on camera muttering, "Just disgusting."
  • Bob's Burgers: The Fischoeder brothers do this no less than three times in "Dawn of the Peck". The first time, they're at the Turkey Trot podium arguing about the fact that they are about to unleash "dangerous birds" into the crowd before realizing the microphone is on. The second and third times are when they're being interviewed on TV and accidentally let slip that there's still people trapped on the wharf with the birds.
  • One episode of Celebrity Deathmatch had the show sponsored by the Big Bull Beer Company, but after the company owner canceled the agreement after a particularly ugly fight that ended up toppling his Product Placement, Nick and Johnny are told by the stagehand "We're clear," and they're finally able to vent at not only the man's pushiness but also the low quality of the beer. It's then that Johnny notices something amiss... and says the trope as he realizes their gripe was Caught on Tape.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Rival Busker", when Dmitry asks Bitsy if he could have his daughter's wedding at her hotel on the phone, Bitsy tells Helen to mute the call and then tells her she's going to pretend her hotel is fully book so she can leverage with him, until Helen tells her she hasn't muted it yet. With the secret out, Bitsy tells Dmitry he could have his daughter's wedding in the secret ballroom in her hotel in exchange for talking business, until Helen reveals she muted the call, frustrating Bitsy.
  • In one episode of Combo Niños, Diadoro makes unflattering comments about the audience just as his assistant has finished repairing the equipment and activating the microphone.
  • Cyberchase In the season 1 episode "Codename: Icky", Hacker uses a secret device of his to tap in to the cybersquad's submarine so he can overhear what they are saying in regards to their conversations about Aquari-Yum's energy-eating slug but the device also includes a microphone. When Buzz accidentally sits on the button that activates it, the kids are also able to hear Hacker and his cronies, and the episode's plot is about them making a code that Hacker cannot decipher.
  • Happens in Dogstar when Captain Rex of the Beagle calls to thank the crew of the Valiant and then turns to his science officer and tells him it was a good thing that humans never realized that they were the ones who stole all of the dogs from Earth. The science officer then calmly informs him that the comm screen is still on.
  • The Doug episode "Doug Didn't Do It" combined this with Accidental AND Engineered Public Confession; Roger, who framed Doug for stealing one of Vice-Principal Bone's yodeling trophies, goes into the office to taunt Doug, sits at Bone's desk and kicks his feet up — switching on the intercom just in time for Bone to hear the whole thing. Doug even tries to warn him, but Roger's too full of himself to notice and just mocks Doug further until it's far too late. The punishment Bone was about to give Doug for stealing the trophy was that he polish all of his trophies after school, but Doug's punishment is reversed and Roger gets it instead.
  • Family Guy:
    • When all the cable TV in Quahog shuts down in "I Never Met the Dead Man", the people on the news start saying offensive things before being told that they're still on in Boston. They later decide to do things one of the anchor's wife in Quahog wouldn't like right as the cable comes back there too.
    • And in "The Story on Page One", Stewie puts a mind-control device on Chris and speaks through him, and then accidentally transmits a conversation between himself and a bum while Chris is in a store trying to buy murder supplies.
    • Another incident occurred in "Stuck Together, Torn Apart" when Peter, Quagmire, Joe, and Cleveland were watching Lois with police surveillance equipment. Things get fuzzy and Peter turns up the dial, somehow turning Audio listening technology into mind-reading technology.
      Joe: Peter, the power's not supposed to go that high!
      Quagmire: [in his head] Damn, this itches! I wonder who gave it to me. Probably that skank who needed a ride to the gas station. Last time I do somebody a favor... [looks around nervously]) Oh God, they must have heard me - oh God, I can hear me! [loudly "hums" a John Philip Sousa march]
    • A fourth incident occurs in "Internal Affairs" when Joe confesses to Peter and Quagmire, while changing his baby's diaper, that he cheated on his wife. Only when an angry Bonnie bursts through the door do the guys realize that the baby monitor in Suzie's room was on allowing Bonnie (and presumably everyone else downstairs) to overhear Joe's confession.
  • Lrrr from Futurama in "The Problem With Popplers" after he makes a threatening transmission to Earth and cues for the camera to be off.
    Lrrr: Well, that went OK. [starts to scratch himself] I tell you, when - when you know you can't scratch, that's when you really have to, huh? Oh, oh, yeah, ooh, that feels a lot better - what? It's still on?! UGH! [camera cuts off]
  • The following occurs in the Justice League episode "Flash and Substance", with Linda talking about the Flash:
    Linda Park: Are we off? Jeez, he's a total babe. [fanning herself with her reading card] Like the entire track team at once. I can't believe you're not into him, Marla.
    Marla the camera person: ...Okay, now you're off.
    [Linda slaps the card on her forehead in embarrassment]
  • Mr. Random from Phineas and Ferb makes a long speech about his villainous revenge behind the curtain at the end of "The Klimpaloon Ultimatum", only to foil himself by talking into the still-on mic.
  • The Urban Legend mentioned in the Radio section is given a nod in the Pinky and the Brain song about the parts of the brain, by The Brain, naturally.
    • In "Calvin Brain", Brain's latest plan for world domination is undone when a behind-the-scenes documentary crew films him unleashing a diatribe on the shallowness of the fashion industry and the brainlessness of those who follow its dicates. His last words on the video are even "Was that thing on?"
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In "McOne Armed and Dangerous", the Ninja's efforts to denounce Hannibal McFist during a public event would have been in vain if not for this trope.
  • In the Rocky and Bullwinkle story arc "Banana Formula", Boris, disguised as a doctor, recorded Bullwinkle's voice who keeps hiccupping the secret formula that was written on a banana he ate earlier. He presents the audio footage to Fearless Leader, but accidently left the tape recorder on when conversing and laughing with Natasha how ugly he is. Fearless Leader threatens Boris with a gun which will be the end for him and shoots the recorder causing a spring to knock him out cold.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Whacking Day" has Skinner luring Bart and the school bullies into an extremely Obvious Trap to get them out of the way for the Superintendent's visit. He then says "...fools!" and begins maniacally cackling, realizing too late he's left the intercom on, but Bart and the bullies fail to catch on anyway.
    • Subverted with Groundskeeper Willy on "Do What You Feel Day" in "Bart's Inner Child":
      Willy: [on a podium] If elected mayor, my first act will be to kill the whole lot of you, and burn your town to cinders!
      Technician: [whispering] The mic's on.
      Willy: I know it's on!
    • In "Treehouse of Horror IV," a vampiric Burns greets the Simpsons over the intercom:
      Burns: Welcome! Come in... Ah, fresh victims for my ever-growing army of the undead.
      Smithers: Sir, you have to let go of the button.
      Burns: Oh, son of a bi
    • Subverted in "Krusty Gets Kancelled", with Gabbo and his "all the kids in Springfield are SOBs" comment (a line inspired by the "Uncle Don's slip" urban legend mentioned above). Although in this case, it was more of an Engineered Public Confession than an actual "Is this thing still on?" moment, as the camera was actually off, but Bart managed to stealthily turn it back on while Gabbo was ranting about how Springfield's children are sons of bitches, but this only bolsters his popularity. It is played completely straight with Kent Brockman shortly thereafter, however, with predictable results, ironically right after chastising Gabbo for the faux pas.
      Kent Brockman: Gabbo's language has no place on or off TV. And that's My Two Cents. Heheh, that oughta hold the little SOBs. Heheh... [a prompt comes up with his picture while giddily saying this previous statement and a caption saying "Brockman in Trouble"]...WHAT THE?!
    • In "HOMR", Homer is brought on stage to demonstrate a motion capture suit for animation. After hamming it up a bit, he goes off to the bathroom, complete with the CG dog doing likewise. "Urinal cake eroding... eroding... gone!"
    • Also, a case of "Is this thing already on?"
      Ogdenville Farmer: Well, a rat got in the plow so we got a hose to it.
      Kent Brockman: So is Ogdenville barley safe to eat again?
      Farmer: Well, when there is barley there is rats. When will this interview starting?
      Kent: That just went out live.
      Farmer: Well, we're screwed.
    • And in another case of "Is this thing already on?", this time from "Behind the Laughter":
      Moe: Oh, Homer was spending money like a teenage Arab. He bought me a Rolex and cashmere jeans. I felt kinda guilty 'cause I was always tryin' to score with his wife. So when do we start filming? ... Oh.
    • In "The Front," another case of "Is this thing already on?" occurs after Krusty shows a particularly bad Itchy & Scratchy cartoon.
      Krusty: I could pull a better cartoon out of my a- hahahahaha! Hey kids!
    • One episode has Smithers becoming a drag race announcer after losing his job. His off-the-cuff comments keep getting caught on the mic until he is finally thrown out into an alley for doing a bad job.
  • South Park:
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Evil Spatula", Plankton has given SpongeBob a spatula that he claims can talk, but really it is Plankton who talks to through a microphone, so he try and get the Krabby Patty recipe off him. At one point he becomes excited that his plan is working and tells Karen it's time to go to the next step, all while the microphone is still on, but SpongeBob doesn't know what is going on and just laughs with his evil laughter.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "No Small Parts", Boimler promises to Mariner that he'll keep her secret about being Freeman's daughter, not knowing that they're speaking over an open comm link. The same conversation has Mariner calling First Officer Ransom a "pathetic little fly in amber".
    Ransom: I am not a little fly in amber!
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In "Donatello Trashes Slash", Vernon does a report on a new turtle exhibit at the aquarium. After he's finished, he goes to a rant on how he thinks it's a waste of taxpayers' money on "dirty, smelly reptiles". Unfortunately, the cameraman informs him they're still rolling. Needless to say, Donatello, who saw the report, isn't pleased.

There. That oughta hold the little S.O.B's... wait...


The Baby Monitor

Bonnie overhears that Joe cheated on her via their baby monitor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / IsThisThingStillOn

Media sources: