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Non Sequitur

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"I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-kiri Rock. I need scissors! 61!"

A Non Sequitur (Latin for "it does not follow") in fiction is an event or line of dialogue which comes out of nowhere and- PUPPIES! Ahem... and bears no relevance to the subject at hand. It is a staple of surrealism and humor, and often establishes a character as The Ditz or a Cloudcuckoolander. I like bananas anyways.

Can also refer to a type of logical fallacy.

The newspaper daily strip of the same name is here.

Compare Red Herring, when a distraction is used to divert attention; related to Insane Troll Logic.

Sub-Tropes include:

Related to Word-Salad Humor and, when applied to the Rule of Scary, Word-Salad Horror.


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    Anime & Manga. Watermelons 

    Fan Works. OUCH! 
  • The Boy Who Cried Idiot:
    • Clyde calls himself a guinea pig for no apparent reason when he's telling off Martin for calling him, Rusty, Zach, and Liam ugly. Then, Martin takes Lincoln away from Clyde and says it's because "guinea pigs eat mice", even though A.) they don't, and B.) Lincoln is not a mouse.
    • Lincoln tells Chandler that "My name is Lincoln, not Larry", even though Chandler hadn't called him Larry.
    • Martin randomly calls Lincoln a cucumber once.
  • Part 2 of Strange Times Are Upon Us opens with a 19th-century American boy going deer-hunting. Seems a perfectly normal Slice of Life scene until:
    Quietly as he could, he unslung the much-loved flintlock longrifle his great-grandfather had fought with in the Revolution and loaded it, tearing the cartridge open and pouring the powder down, followed by the paper and the bullet with the ramrod. Then he added the priming powder to the pan, which was when the dinosaur dropped out of the oak tree.note 

    The deer never knew what hit it.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Anabel has a few of these during the Sabrina arc, due to randomly trying to teleport herself, Misty and Iris as they try to find Ash outside her telepathy range. This leaves her completely disoriented and upon landing, she says things like "Succotash" and "Buttermilk waffles".

    Films — Live-Action. MONKEYS! 
  • There are several in The Room. The most infamous being this (which, depending on how much credit you give to the screenwriter, might qualify as a deliberate example of Hypocritical Humour):
    Mark: "How was work today?"
    Johnny: "Oh, pretty good. We got a new client at the bank. We'll make a lot of money."
    Mark: "What client?"
    Johnny: "I can not tell you, it's confidential."
    Mark: "Oh, come on."
    Johnny: "I can't. Anyway, how is your sex life?"
  • Played as a joke in Time Bandits when Robin Hood asks a dwarf bandit how long he's been a robber. The robber replies, "Four-foot-one!" A confused Robin stammers out, "Four-foot-one? That... that... that is a long time, isn't it?" before moving on. Since the bandit is an ageless, time-jumping angelic being, he apparently decided to simply supply his height rather then try to answer the question.
  • Groucho, at times:
    Groucho: "Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
  • Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker liked to employ this. The Kentucky Fried Movie has one in "BIG JIM has satisfied women throughout the world! And the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln!", and Airplane! features just about every line by Johnny, such as "First the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came but they got too big and fat so they died and turned to oil. Then the Arabs came and they were driving Mercedes Benz's. And Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. I couldn't believe it."
  • Short Circuit: shortly after Number 5 gains sapience and starts wandering around confused, its programmers are logged into its OS remotely and are trying to enter commands, to which it always just responds "Malfunction. Need input." Until finally it, out of nowhere, asks "Wouldn't You Like To Be A Pepper Too?", which completely baffles everyone. Newton guesses the robot is using its print scanner to read a sign somewhere, which turns out to be correct.

    Literature. I'm sure you like it. 
  • Fregley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid always opens with bizarre, disturbing lines whenever Greg walks by his house, such as "Wanna see my secret freckle?"
  • In Sam, Bangs & Moonshine, when Bangs "warns" (actually in her imagination) Sam about the tide, she says, "Pardon me while I go to the moon".

    Live-Action TV. Dancing horsies! 
  • Mrs. Davis from Our Miss Brooks is the source of the occasional non-sequitur. Mrs. Davis is very absentminded and sometimes forgets what she's saying in the middle of a sentence.
  • Brittany from Glee is known for these.
  • The Sherlock episode The Sign of Three has Sherlock delivering a speech at John's wedding. While he's talking, he realises that someone in the room is about to murdered, and goes on a deductive rampage in his mind trying to figure out who it is and who's going to murder them while also trying to keep his speech going and not arouse too much suspicion from his audience. The result is a semi-coherent speech to a crowd of confused people that keeps dipping into non sequiturs before Sherlock manages to shakily work whatever he just blurted out from his train of thought into the speech.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Voyager is actually titled "Non Sequitur" and features an extreme example; Harry Kim is sucked through a Negative Space Wedgie and wakes up in an alternate universe. Not only is he 70,000 light years from where he was, but so much time has passed since he (in his reality) disappeared with Voyager that he doesn't even know what this version of himself is supposed to be doing.
  • The "Captain Jim & Pablo" skits from early '90s Saturday Night Live come to mind, with just about everything Pablo (Adam Sandler) says qualifying:
    Pablo (Spanish accent): One time I threw a stick at a monkey...
  • Subverted and Lampshaded in Scrubs. J.D. always appears to the other characters to be saying these, because he constantly imagines something related to the issue at hand and then makes a comment about his fantasy that winds up sounding totally nonsensical to the other characters. Generally, the longer and more elaborate the fantasy, the more removed his comment will be from the situation that triggered the fantasy in the first place.
  • A Running Gag in The Sifl and Olly Show has Precious Roy speak in nothing but non sequiturs.
    Precious Roy: This is Precious Roy, and you kids better pay for that lap dance!
    Sifl: Precious, we're talking about the Civil War Corpses...
    Precious Roy: APPLE... CIDER!
    Sifl: ... What?
    Precious Roy: Suckers!
  • Night and Day was full of them - a symptom both of the show's attempts at surrealism, and of the condensed night-time omnibuses, which cut many contextualising scenes. Since the daytime episodes were axed fairly early in the UK run (though still produced in full and distributed to foreign markets), sometimes events that had occurred in axed scenes were alluded to in the omnibus or pre-titles recap, leading to confusion for viewers. Other events were simply unexplained altogether for stylistic reasons, leaving viewers to ponder on the ambiguities for themselves. These two factors combined to create an unsettling, disruptive effect which arguably added to the show's sense of mystery and atmosphere. For example:
    • Holly admitted to having sent a series of poison pen letters to Roxanne, then weeks later admitted that she didn't send them after all, with very little by way of explanation for the earlier admission.
    • In another episode, Natalie's assertion to Roxanne that she believes Danny - a character who has been absent for 18 years - to have killed Jane, and that he wants to 'destroy us all', seems to come entirely from nowhere.
    • Josh's period of Demonic Possession and apparent vampire tendencies are played incredibly ambiguously, with no real attempt to define their cause or the reason for their resolution.
  • The dialogue of The Eric Andre Show is made up of about 90% of these. Eric telling Demi Lovato, apropos of nothing, "You are my knight in shining are the wind beneath my wings...I think you're great...and I'm ready for some football," while eating a plate of spaghetti, is one of the least inexplicable examples.
  • In the final Sci-Fi Channel episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pearl pours some Mountain Dew into Observer's brain pan off screen, which causes him to spout these after every sentence. It also prevents him from stopping the Satellite of Love from coming down to Earth.
  • Countdown: In many Letters rounds (rarely Numbers) on the 8 Out of 10 Cats edition, whilst the clock is ticking, host Jimmy Carr would take part in a humorous activity, such as blowing up balloons (and then getting lifted up with them), drinking a potion to grow hair quickly or enticing a bird of prey to fly onto his arm. Rachel Riley (the arithmetician) and occasionally Susie Dent (the lexicographer) sometimes take part in these segments.

    Music. Has anyone seen my suitcase? 
  • In the song by Andrew Huang, each word is a non sequitur, even though there never had been a real point to rabbit-trail away from other than the statistics at the beginning. This how many of his other songs tend to be.
  • In Jack Sparrow by The Lonely Island, the guys have a recording session with Michael Bolton, who mentions at the beginning of the video that he had just finished watching a marathon of Pirates of the Caribbean. They all proceed to sing about being gangsters at a club...until Bolton goes off and starts singing about Captain Jack. It eventually descends into completely-unrelated mentions of Forrest Gump, Erin Brockovich, and Scarface, one after the other.
    Andy Samberg:(annoyed)...Turns out Michael Bolton's a major cinephile...
    Michael Bolton (As Jack Sparrow): You complete me.
  • The music video for Rich Boy's Throw some D's is about money, women and cars with modified classic cars being the primary focus. After about half way they start to inexplicably cut away to shots of a guy sitting on his front porch in a wheelchair and even more confusing is at the 3:19 mark when it cuts away to a guy just sitting in a shop. Most other cutaways are just displaying the ghetto and what different kinds of people live there, and it's a common thing to see in most music videos but these ones do feel a bit out of nowhere and thus funny.
  • Though a lot of They Might Be Giants songs could qualify, perhaps none embody this trope better than "Fingertips" from Apollo 18. The song features 21 separate tracks that are mostly only a few seconds long and have no relation to one another. Even better, when the album is listened to on "shuffle", the little snippets of the song get sprinkled throughout the rest of the album, leading to some even more surreal moments than what TMBG is known for.
  • "Lone Star" by The Front Bottoms, is mostly a serious song about abortion. But it ends with a bit that's variants on the line "Because freshness is expected from any Hip Hop artist, I avoid using traditional techniques."note  The bit flows smoothly musically from the rest of the song, and the lyrics are sung with increasing anguish, but the lyrics don't make any sense with the rest of the song.
  • The song A Merry Life by composer Edward Oxenford has an example of this by way of As Long as It Sounds Foreign. The song was an English language "adaptation" of the song Funiculì, Funiculà, written in 1880, which most people today would recognize as the Pizza Delivery Mission theme. The song was originally written by Luigi Denza in (possibly mock) dedication to the first funicular railway on Mount Vesuvius, got immensely popular in Italy, and was then accidentally plagiarized by German composer Richard Strauss, who didn't speak much Italian and mistook it for a traditional Neapolitan folk tune. Oxenford took it a step further by keeping the famous lyrics "Funiculì, Funiculà", but making the bulk of the lyrics about somebody singing about how great life is. Thus you get a song about the joys of life where the POV character suddenly breaks into a chorus repeating the word "cable car" over and over with no explanation.

    Podcasts Breastfeed me, mommy 
  • Dice Funk: Anne is the master of this trope. She just shouts out whatever comes across her mind, no matter how stupid, dangerous, or nonsensical the thought.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: Most episodes of the series. Cecil will report on a horrifying event before punctuating it with "And now, the Weather." Even then the weather is always a song from a guest artist, further pushing the trope
    Professional Wrestling. Stay away or I'll punch you in the mouth! 
  • In 2001 Perry Saturn adopted a gimmick where he had wrestled too many hardcore matches (in other words, took too many hard blows to the head) and became a total Cloud Cuckoo Lander. He would spout non-sequiturs and end by saying "You're welcome!"note 

    Video Games. My brother's name is Timmy. 
  • While the AI in AI Dungeon 2 is pretty good at about at least having some form of segway between events even if the plot of the original prompt goes Off the Rails pretty quickly, there are times when it'll randomly spit out a line that Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.
  • Friday Night Funkin': The little man songs from the Game Mod are full of non-sequitiurs, assorted memes, broken glass, and not-so-obscure references, which is what makes them so funny.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. "I need scissors! 61!" Justified since the Colonel AI has been corrupted by a virus, causing it to spit out nonsense.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: CJ's girlfriends repeat the same non-sequiturs ad nauseum during car trips. CJ feigns interest.
    • The pedestrians in the game can have conversations with each other. However, these conversations consist entirely of random voice clips, so they are literally nothing but a series of strung-together non-sequiturs.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours is stuffed with lines of dialogue that sometimes don't flow together quite well. Tony would ask a girl to clean his pool and she demands they go shopping. Then he asks why she hangs around all the time, even though he invited her to live there. Then Tony starts talking about murdering his enemies, sometimes even after they are dead.
  • Freedom Planet, during one of the hidden bloopers.
    Sash Lilac the Water Dragon: So Torque, [the shell duck who came to Planet Avalice] has nothing to do with [our mission to stop Lord Brevon and save our planet]. We forced him to help us against his will.
    The Royal Magister of Shang Tunote : I see. We shall establish a timtams currency exchange program.
    Lilac: Huh?
    Magister: We shall establish. A timtams. Currency exchange program.note 
  • Can occur with the match commentary in WWE Video Games, especially in the early games in the series. The commentators will suddenly talk about wrestlers not in the match, a different type of match, a move that wasn't used, etc. This has gotten better over the years, but it still happens now and again.

    Webcomics. BREAKING NEWS! 
  • The page image comes from this page of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, which can only make you go "What?"
  • David of Bittersweet Candy Bowl loves this trope.
  • Creative Release is prone to these. "AND THUS, recap episode. (not pictured: NSFW pictures of the author)".
  • Sandra on the Rocks featured a scene in which Senna and Sandra were arguing about whether the day should be devoted to "high culture" or "geek culture". Caught in the middle, Gary cried "To Belgium!"
    • Actually, he was being quite logical; he was proposing a visit to a museum of comics art in Brussels. Still, the effect on the women was adequately confusing.
  • Played with in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Zoe's answer to a question about what her friends are like appears to be a complete non-sequitur, but that accurately captures what life with them is like.
    Min: I'm dying to know what these guys Torg and Riff are like.
    Zoe: Min, how long does it take to melt a "Hootie and the Blowfish" key chain at 250 degrees?
    Min: I don't know... What does that have to do with anything?
    Zoe: Exactly.
  • xkcd has several examples, mainly because of Cloudcuckoolander Beret Guy, who regularly says the most ridiculous things without warning.
    Beret Guy: I'm a business professional! Earlier I photocopied a burrito!

    Web Original. I want cheesecake. 
  • Epic Meal Time
    • "We're about to die for this. What'you know about dyin'?"
    • "What up, meat sauce?"
    • "Sushi! Fast food! Sex!"
  • Homestar Runner:
  • The aesops that show up after each episode of Happy Tree Friends can have no relation to the episodes at all, especially in the first season.
  • This is a large part of why the Lets Player raocow is as popular as he is.
    raocow: You are not the unicorn of my love, football Charlie! You are merely a pawn in the great game that we like to call... Mario World. Although you are one of the important pawns. You are like, that one pawn in the middle that you start in the beginning of the game in order to, like, capture the whole world and stuff.
  • Pretty much anything said by The Ultimate Warrior in The Spoony Experiment. In fact, pretty much everything the real Ultimate Warrior says counts.
    • At one point Spoony's version says the entire page quote verbatim and it fits perfectly.
  • The viral video in which a news reporter interviews a boy, asking him about his zombie face paint. His response: "I like turtles."
  • There were quite a number in the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) at points where the group's sanity slipped, such as "UH-OH, I'M A TARD-ASS!", "I'M FULL OF OWLS!" and when the group began to sing Rocket Man during The End of the World.
  • Being a teenager is hard. But look at this toaster it cooks eggs too.
  • Nappa from Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged says one of these with nearly every sentence. Much to the confusion and frustration of everyone around him. It is even lampshaded in the Dragon Ball Z Kai Abridged video.
    Nappa: Hilariously derailing one-liner.
    • Goku, though not as frequent, at times does this as well.
  • Lampshaded in a mail vlog by Matthew Santoro, after Matthew opens a letter from a fan.
    Matthew: They see me rolling... They pooping! note  [Beat] I'm sorry, that's weird. Oh wait, it's my show! I can do whatever I want!
  • When Tony the Talking Clock from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared is prompted on what time actually is (specifically "But when did it start?" "And when will it stop?"), he answers "Time is important and I am a clock," and moves on as if he addressed the issue at all.
    • The floating saxophone teacher from episode 6: "BOO DOP A DOO-WOP, I TEACH YOU HOW TO BUY A CANOOOOOOOOOOOOE!" Context won't help.
  • There's so many in Evaporate that it has It's own page for it.
  • Beatrice the Golden Witch once wrote a book with a narrative entirely comprised of these. She wrote the thing in a time total of 24 hours, spread over a week, as a challenge. Since she had to be as fast as possible to get it done in under a week, it can be assumed she just wrote whatever came to her mind. This results in rapidly changing context and chapters that have nothing to do with each other. The title? "I wrote this Light Novel in like a day, it sucks and I hate it, but if it ever gets an Anime adaptation, I'll pretend it was a work of genius." She released it as an audiobook on Youtube, with her as the narrator.
  • Jack Vale Films has a whole series called "Nonsense", where he says nonsensical statements to random strangers.
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube. He just loves to pepper conversations with scammers with non-sequiturs, both to waste their time and see how they react - if they will try to engage on the subject, or just ignore and try to move on with their script.

    Western Animation. I'm an idiot. 
  • The Simpsons:
    Lisa: Hey Ralph, want to come with me and Alison to play "Anagrams"?
    Alison: We take proper names and rearrange the letters to form a description of that person.
    Ralph: My cat's breath smells like cat food.
    • As the series went on, Ralph generally became increasingly prone to these. Nancy Cartwright, who voices Ralph, has even said Ralph practically is a "non sequitur" in one of her interviews.
    • Somewhat lampshaded in the episode when Marge loses her memory. Homer suggests that they could restore her memory by... (starts whispering in her ear). After a second, Marge leans back and this exchange occurs:
    Marge: You're describing how to parallel park.
    Homer: You used to love my non-sequiturs!
  • About 50 percent of everything Ed says from Ed, Edd n Eddy says is a non sequitur. Often, when he's asked a question, his response is "buttered toast" or "gravy" and he randomly shouts "I love chickens" even when there aren't any chickens present.
  • In the Grand Finale of Generator Rex, right after the Obfuscating Insanity Van Kleiss explains how to do something spoilerrific, and not particularly relevant to the trope, he randomly asks if anyone has seen his socks.
  • Gir from Invader Zim does a lot of these.
    Gir: I saw a squirrel! It was doin' like this! (imitates squirrel movement)
  • The Gravity Falls episode "Society of the Blind Eye" features Mc Gucket with the main cast. Hence, we get this gem:
    Mc Gucket: We'll have to be stealthy-like. I'll hambone a message in case there's danger. (Slaps himself as subtitles spell out "Coyotes are coming for our sweetbreads").
    Dipper: (Beat) I have no idea what that means.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Pinkie Pie is prone to blurting out comments that only make sense to her. For example, in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" she ends her story with how she threw her first party and earned her Cutie Mark with "And that's how Equestria was made!" Then there's her tangent-filled commentary on the Running of the Leaves from "Fall Weather Friends":
      Spike: You know, Pinkie, these two ponies have a bit of a grudge match they're trying to settle. Trying to prove who's the most athletic.
      Pinkie Pie: Yes! And grudge rhymes with fudge!
      Spike: Yes it... does... what?
      Pinkie Pie: And I like fudge! But when I eat too much fudge, I get a pudge and then I can't budge!
      Spike: So... no fudge?
      Pinkie Pie: Oh, no thanks, I had a big breakfast.
    • In "Princess Spike", Spike wakes a sleep-deprived Twilight Sparkle to ask her for advice, and she mutters "Just put the hay in the apple and eat the candle."
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Interrupted", victims of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Dull-And-Boring-Inator not only become...well, dull and boring, but also gain the tendency to talk like this. Examples include:
    "I always liked pointing."
    "Did you ever notice that the side-walk is filled with little sparkly bits?"
    • Baljeet once creates a song on his computer called "Improbably Knot", which is supposed to demonstrate his difficulty with making decisions. However, while the lyrics make sense, the images that go along with them absolutely do NOT. There are dancing robots, people with fake horse heads, and flying cacti for some reason.
    Baljeet: I am sorry, everyone. It sounded a lot better in my head.
  • South Park, "Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics":
    Gerald: (singing, after everyone else has stopped) Courteney Cox, I love you; you're so hot on that show...
    Kyle: Dad... Dad? We're singing about a dreidel.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has some as well. One of them involves SpongeBob trying to get Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy out of the retirement home. He attempts to reason with them, then Mermaidman gets fed up with it and says the following:
    Mermaidman: If you don't get out of here, then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife!
    Orderly: (walks into the retirement home's main room) What is going on in here!?
    Mermaidman: (points to Spongebob) You may kiss the bride!!
  • VeggieTales: The verses in "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" by Larry the Cucumber, who follows two pirate-themed verses with lines about never having kissed a chipmunk or painted daisies on a big red rubber ball. The other two go on to lampshade the hell out of it.
  • On Clerks: The Animated Series, while trapped in the freezer Randal sees an old lady shoplifting and he yells "The weeds of crime bear bitter fruit, you old hag!" We then see a flashback to the last time he said that, where it comes out of nowhere and makes no sense.
  • Duck from Almost Naked Animals lives and breathes this trope, to the point where he has become the Ensemble Dark Horse. Every time he comes on screen he spouts these, much to the other character's confusion. but no doubt to anyone that this is the weirdest.
  • Every other word that comes out of the mouth of Xavier: Renegade Angel.
    I guess it's true what they say about a camel's ass: I am hungry.
  • Futurama:
    Bender: As a robot living among humans, I've never really felt accepted at parties or nude beaches. So I've always secretly wondered, WHAT IF I WAS 500 FEET TALL?!?!
  • Probably the funniest visual non-sequitur in cartoon history is where Bugs Bunny makes a fruit salad on Elmer Fudd's head in The Rabbit Of Seville.
    • Or when the unseen animator in Duck Amuck, who turns out to be Bugs Bunny, turns Daffy Duck into a bizarre 4-legged creature with a screwball flag on his tail.
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, Stumpy develops an obsession with vampires, and Kaeloo decides to give him psychotherapy to deal with it. Lying on the Freudian Couch, Stumpy explains how he's been having recurring nightmares about... being eaten by a "were-dumpster". Kaeloo even lampshades how that has nothing to do with vampires.
  • Adventure Time: At the end of "Power Animal", after Jake rescues Finn from the clutches of the gnomes, Jake randomly says "Let's go eat Cinnamon Bun!"
  • A promo spot created by Noggin for Connie the Cow involves Moose A. Moose exploring the sounds that various animals make before getting to Hedgy the Hedgehog and admitting "I don't know what sound a hedgehog makes" and then randomly asking him "Is that a sock on your nose?"note 

    Other. Mailboxes 
  • Seen on a button:
    American Non-Sequitur Society—We don't make sense, but we do like pizza


Video Example(s):


Larry's Non-Pirate Nonsense

While Pa Grape and Mr. Lunt have lyrics fitting for the theme of pirates (who don't do anything, of course), Larry's lyrics go in a... different direction.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / NonSequitur

Media sources: