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Leaving Audience

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This is when a character is doing a speech/acting/dancing/reading in front of an audience. If the subject is a bit complicated, the writers want to tell us it's complicated. And since the average guy doesn't like complicated stuff, he leaves. So you have this character on stage, reading a report about possible life on Mars, which is critical to the main plot, while random people are getting up and out of the room. Sometimes until there are only a dozen people left listening.


Sometimes done to show that the scientist is comically anti-social and doesn't have enough charisma to hold an audience, even if he's showing off alien technology that would make everyone immortal. Or possibly that his theories are so off-the-wall that they can't possibly be taken seriously—see the Stargate example below. In this latter variant the audience is usually the speaker's peers, rather than random guys, and they're leaving not because they don't understand him but because they think he's full of it, and some of them tell him so.

Compare with Chirping Crickets, Long Speech Tea Time, Walking Out on the Show.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • A chapter of Franken Fran has Fran delivering a lecture on her new process of delivering babies via metamorphosis, with the ideal that it can be used to reduce birth mortality rates among the mothers. As the other doctors flee the room in horror, we have a rare moment of Fran being brought to tears until a new doctor walks into the room to express interest. The doctor ends up stealing the credit for the procedure, which becomes vastly popular until the normal ending karma kicks in.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie Stargate did a very good Leaving Audience scene with Dr. Daniel Jackson explaining the vital plot point that someone other than the Egyptians (possibly aliens) built the pyramids — and it also tells us a lot about his character in his reaction to everyone leaving.
  • Happens to Wayne Szalinski in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
  • The titular characters of The Producers want this to happen when they stage the play Springtime for Hitler. And the entire audience is indeed on the verge of doing it right after the end of the opening number, which is a cheerful celebration of the Nazis overrunning Europe. Then "Hitler" himself appears on stage...
  • Not a single speech, but in Real Genius, a montage of Mitch's student life repeatedly shows him attending a lecture. In each one, fewer and fewer students are bothering to attend, leaving tape recorders in their place. By the last shot, Mitch sits in the lecture hall all by himself, as even the professor has ditched class, leaving a tape player to lecture to him and dozens of tape recorders.

  • Happens to a lecturer on Mormonism in Around the World in Eighty Days. Thirty people show up, but after a few minutes Passepartout is the sole auditor—and then even he leaves.
  • Horrible Histories: The book on Newton illustrates one of Newton's lectures by showing the nearly-empty lecture hall and the one attendees' response to Newton asking if there are any questions: "May I sweep up now, sir?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Barney puts on an intentionally awful one-man play to prove a point to Lily. It doesn't take long to whittle the audience down to just the main cast, and even they can barely resist the urge to walk out.

  • One Music: P.D.Q. Bach song is apparently so bad that everything that somebody tries to perform it, the musicians storm out of the auditorium in a huff.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of American Dad! had Klaus become a hype man for a rapper for an episode. When he unveils his own rap video at the end, he finds that the crowd he gathered for it left so fast that the door was ripped off its hinges and carried halfway into the parking lot.
  • Road Rovers, "Still a Few Bugs in the System": The wacko of the week talks about how bugs have lived for millions of years, and people leave as he talks about humans becoming bugs to allow for longer life.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Krusty Gets Kancelled", after Gabbo gets the rights to show Itchy and Scratchy cartoons, Krusty is forced to air "Eastern Europe's favorite cat-and-mouse team, Worker and Parasite". After showing a baffling and badly-animated pastiche of Eastern European animation, Krusty wonders "What the hell was that?!", then notices all the kids have left the audience.
    • In "The Seven-Beer Snitch", Springfield has just built a new performing arts center. The place is packed. The Springfield Philharmonic Orchestra starts into Ludwig van Beethoven's 5th Symphony... and after eight notes are played, everyone simultaneously stands up and makes for the door. Aside from Marge horrified to learn that the town is uncultured, Lenny declares they already have the song as a ring tone. Exaggerated when even the orchestra leaves after Marge announces that the next piece is by Phillip Glass.
  • Looney Tunes:'
    • The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Baton Bunny" had Bugs conducting the Warner Bros. Symphony in "Morning, Noon And Night In Vienna" and coping with a pesky fly while doing so. As he turns to take his bows afterwards, he discovers the house empty.
    • In one Porky Pig cartoon called "Porky's Cartoon", Porky features a cartoon hand-doodled by himself. At the end of the episode, however, only one member of the audience is remaining: a skunk. Whether the others left because of the cartoon's animation or were driven out by the skunk's stench is left ambiguous.
  • The Pink Panther short "Pink, Plunk, Plink" had the Panther disrupting a symphony trying to perform Beethoven's Fifth with the Pink Panther theme. After dispatching the conductor, the Panther conducts the orchestra in the theme. After he concludes, he hears one pair of hands clapping. Turning around, the Panther sees the sole audience member left—Henry Mancini, the composer of the Pink Panther theme.
  • A Snagglepuss cartoon had the character attempting to do Shakespeare in front of an audience of the Major's fellow adventurers at their club, only for the audience to leave. This lets Snagglepuss escape.
  • Futurama: In "That's Lobstertainment", Zoidberg's washed-up uncle Harold Zoid attempts to make a serious dramatic film with the famous robot actor Calculon. At the film's opening night, however, the movie is so bad that everybody walks out before it ends. Calculon comments that he's seen plagues with better openings then that.