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"I am not making this up. I couldn't on my BEST day make this up. It would be my greatest dream of dreams to be able to come up with something this INCREDIBLE!"note 
Scott, Extra Credits

Someone working on a show thinks the audience might not believe that the Truth in Television shown or described is actually real. It's not that the writer thinks the audience is stupid. It's that the thing being shown actually is ridiculous or silly enough that there is good reason to think it's not real. So the writer includes a disclaimer directly to the audience. Sometimes this is Breaking the Fourth Wall, but often it's a non-fiction show. Either way, this is making sure the audience knows this is not a joke: whatever is shown actually is that way, even if it sounds unbelievable or exaggerated.

This is often to avoid Aluminum Christmas Trees. If the fact is particularly unpleasant for one reason or another, variations on "I wish I was making this up" are likely.

Poe's Law can also invoke this trope if only to distinguish the made-up parody from the real deal. Then again, maybe not...

For this reason, if done badly, especially on purpose, this trope becomes indistinguishable from Suspiciously Specific Denial.

Compare Who Writes This Crap?!, Take That!, Reality Is Unrealistic, Not Hyperbole, A Rare Sentence.

See also Lampshaded the Obscure Reference. Cassandra Truth is an example when the characters discuss this In-Universe to each other. Spoofed with Their Own Words is when a parody quotes dialogue word-for-word to make fun of how absurd the original material already sounds.

Contrast Falsely Advertised Accuracy.

This trope applies to In-Universe Examples Only. Do not Pot Hole to this page in an attempt to deny an event has been fabricated, or to express your disbelief concerning something stated in a given work. Instead, link to the proof that the event happened (like the picture caption), quote the unlikely passage from the work in question. If neither are possible, pot-hole to Sincerity Mode instead.

In-Universe Examples Only:

    open/close all folders 
  • Adverts for UK consumer magazine Which?, for instance:
    Only Which? use genuinely filthy dogs to test washing machines for pet odor removal. (Beat.) That's actually what we do.
  • A commercial for Honda cars had a police officer recounting a story of a car theft, where the thief pulled up in an old Honda, and stole a new one. The officer's last line is "You can't make this stuff up."
  • The anti-smoking campaign Truth once had a series of ads that posed as a fake Work Com called Fair Enough, which depicted members of a tobacco company coming up with ridiculous and outlandish ideas to advertise cigarettes. The dialogue in each of the ads were taken directly from actual tobacco company documents.
  • The Liberal Party of Canada's 2006 ad campaign against Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper, with very questionable and likely unprovable claims, had several (including the infamous "Soldiers with guns. In our cities." ad) that ended with "We're not kidding. He actually said that" or "We did not make this up," and one that even claims "We're not allowed to make stuff up." Naturally, this caused Memetic Mutation and was widely parodied by outlets such as the Globe & Mail, National Post, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Royal Canadian Air Farce and even The Daily Show.
  • Played for laughs in a 90s UK ad for Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, where trainees for the French Foreign Legion are subjected to the "Resistance Test" in which officers torment them by eating said cereal in front of them. The full-length version began with an Opening Scroll claiming that "What you are about to see actually happened", however, they were later forced to remove it after it was pointed out that no, it actually didn't.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, when local badass Saitou Hajime casually mentions that he's married, the manga has a little note in the panel: "This is historical fact."
    • Made much funnier by the fact that none of the characters can believe anyone would marry Saitou. Kenshin remarks that his wife must have the patience of Buddha.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers gives us "The Legend of Red Mount Fuji", where America attempts to paint Mt. Fuji red. As the narrator points out:
    Narrator: Yeah, they really tried to do this people, Google it!!
  • Some versions of Gate's manga have a note saying "Yes, really" about how the Princess' name is Piña Co Lada.
  • During some fights in Holyland, the manga takes a little sidebar to explain the actual physics of some of the real-life techniques being used and why they are or are not effective in that situation.
  • At least once an episode during the closing credits for Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department. The Anime contains numerous shout outs to various Toku properties, mostly smaller local and regional productions that are part of local tourism drives and the end credits reserve a portion for pointing out the real properties and info for the audience can find out more themselves.

    Comic Books 
  • While The Cartoon History of the Universe usually makes up quotes for Rule of Funny, occasionally a quote will come with a disclaimer of "Someone actually said this!"
  • Garth Ennis' Punisher MAX had a Corrupt Corporate Executive explain his company's large-scale Ponzi Scheme with a disclaimer of "and this is legal, I shit you not".
  • Monica's Gang: In a Chuck Billy story, Chuck explains his assignment about bees to his classmates and teacher, which is humorously visualised with anthropomorphic bees. In one scene, a worker bee complains about how they are drinking just one drop of honey before getting out of the hive to look for nectar, but her superior says that that quantity was enough for a single bee to fly for long distances. A note in the page specifies how that part wasn't actually invention from the writer and bees really can do that in real life.
  • Used for the in-universe audience in Transmetropolitan, Spider writes about the campaign speech of Hitler Expy Bob Heller for The Word. It's so full of violence and profanity that he felt compelled to append to the end of the report, "I swear I didn't make a word of that up."
  • Persepolis has this in one scene — where the headmistress yells at the girls' parents for not wearing their veils properly because hair is arousing. Marjanne's dad says "If hair is as arousing as you think, then you should shave your mustache!". Marjanne put in a disclaimer that said: "Yes, he really did say that."
  • One Teen Titans story had Beast Boy's cousin Matt Logan run an official Titans West recruitment drive (a.k.a. a house party). One-time Titan Duela Dent busts out of her mental hospital and crashes the scene with some villains and henchmen, pissed that she didn't receive an invitation. Matt says he tried calling her but claims she was in the middle of electroshock therapy. Matt asserts he's not kidding.
  • This is the following solicitation for a Harley Quinn storyline (Vol. 2, #17-19) where she and her newly-formed Gang of Harleys battle Captain Strong, an obscure Bronze Age DCU character who is a Captain Ersatz of Popeye (more details about him here):
    The Gang of Harleys rocks on with a super fun appearance by Captain Strong! Yes, that is a real character, we promise!
  • In Superman Smashes the Klan, Roberta notes that the Unity House was founded by a priest, a minister, and a rabbi, which almost sounds like the setup for a joke.
    Roberta: Turns out the Unity House is a community center started by - and this sounds like the setup for a joke but it's not - a priest, a minister, and a rabbi.
  • Several reviews of Spidey Super Stories had to clarify that off-the-wall villains like The Thumper, a girl dressed up like Napoleon Bonaparte with a boxing glove weapon, actually happened.
  • In Asterix and the Griffin, when Julius Caesar's best animal tracker assures him that there are griffins in Sarmatia, Caesar retorts that it was this tracker's advice that led to him writing in Commentaries on the Gallic War that there are unicorns in Germania. A footnote clarifies that he really did claim this. Volume 6, Chapter 26.
  • During issue 2 of You Are Deadpool, the titular character meets Ghost Rider's friend who is definitely not Jesus. A caption steps in to inform the readers they're not making this guy up, adding "they couldn't get away with this in the 70s".

    Comic Strips 
  • One Bloom County strip showed new father Hodgepodge wearing a bra-like bib which holds bottles to allow men to "experience the joy of breastfeeding", as the narration puts it. After a Beat Panel, Hodge looks at the "camera" and says "That's it. The joke is that we're not kidding. $39, Sharper Image."
  • The Boondocks: One strip made fun of the "I'm a Dollar Menu Guy" McDonald's campaign with a parody of its infamous "I'd hit it" banner. A footnote below the spoof read "Actual McDonalds ad".

    Fan Works 
  • ''Afterglow: The story stops to confirm that yes, you really can buy caviar-topped ice cream sundaes in Dubai.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, this trope is played straight in the essay's abstract and several times throughout. However, the content and the methods used to derive those theories then calls the narrator's claims into question.
    • Subverted later on when the narrator reveals she's been making up most of her essay as she goes along. It's okay, though — she crosses that sentence out.
  • Cinema Snob Reviews Frozen (a fan comic where The Cinema Snob reviews Frozen (2013)) mentions an out-of-universe explanation for events in Man of Steel, and then posts a screencap of part of that web page, with the URL, to show Snob isn't joking about it.
  • Nimbus Llewelyn, known for plot twists and action that can go from straight 'mad' to touching the other side of sanity, at one point had one of his main characters, Harry Dresden, in Ghosts of the Past ride a polka-powered zombie T-Rex called Sue into battle. So far, so unsurprisingly mad. However, in several Author's Notes, he had to reiterate that this was not his idea, and it was actually canon for The Dresden Files, citing the book in which it took place.
    • A few chapters later, he also had to clarify that the mention of Mindless Ones (one-eyed stony giant minions for your average demonic Marvel conqueror) performing a street dance routine at the behest of Doctor Strange was not, in fact, his invention. Instead, it was a homage to the 'Dance, Critters' scene from Nextwave, when a bunch of Mindless Ones did pretty much exactly that.
  • In If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em, it's pointed out that all 5 of the horrible dishes Rainbow Dash and Applejack tried were based on actual delicacies. Kumis, Escamoles, Durian, Casu Marzu, and Balutes... The only thing that was changed was the names of the countries they're based on (mainly to fit in with the Just for Pun tendencies). The author has gone on to add that out of all 5 of them, he will never ever try Balutes, not even for money.
    Author: Foul fruit, I can go by. Rotten cheese, not too far off. Bugs, we've ALL done that at one point. Horse juice.... HORSE juice...... I could do for the right money... but you could offer me 3.4 billion dollars tax-free right here, right now, and I would under NO circumstance ever even CONSIDER eating nearly born ducks...
  • Everything in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series is made up - except the author's assertion that Prince Vince himself was responsible for her writing the interquel Meteor Shower. In response to the Running Gag in the series that Prince Vince is an avid Tumblr user, someone actually created a Tumblr account for the character, which proceeded to badger the author to write the story. (Yes, really.) So the author's notes for the interquel had to include this slightly bewildered disclaimer.
    No, I'm not confusing reality with fantasy (this time); my Tumblr is actually followed by a blog called princevinceoftheneitherworld, and His Highness made it quite clear that he was not happy.
  • After being accused of "distorting" Carol Danvers as a character by turning her into a "moustache-twirling villain," the writer of Origin Story added a pair of Author's Notes to the story's twenty-sixth chapter that describe, in detail, how Carol Danvers was portrayed by Marvel Comics itself, prior to Disney acquiring Marvel and deciding that Captain Marvel needed to be "spit-shined and spruced up and rehabilitated from her anti-hero roots" (the writer's exact words), and how if anyone was to blame for Carol Danvers being an asshole, it was Marvel. And in terms of the evidence, at least, he's right. Everything he cites as evidence that his portraying Danvers as a bitch is justified actually happened - though the Character Development, both negative and positive, took place well before the Disney deal was in the pipeline, and as fans of the character countered, it wasn't the whole picture:
    • As some reviewers have somewhat tetchily observed: First, the incidents cited were either taken wildly out of context, or were flat-out Out of Character - it is no coincidence that a lot of the incidents cited were from Civil War (2006), a storyline infamous for the number of characters it railroaded, including characters like Tony Stark, who did far worse and yet was generally sympathetically portrayed in the fic. Second, portraying Carol as an anti-hero is one thing, except that the author portrayed her as if her negative traits were her only traits.
  • In the description to the Tales of the Undiscovered Swords, the author has put a disclaimer saying none of the swords that are given personifications in the fics are made up by the author.
  • In This Bites!, while broadcasting that Luffy got into a surfing contest against the Octopi Shogunate Octavio, Cross reassures listeners that he couldn't make this up if he tried.
    • During Isaiah and Terry's introduction, Soundbite insists he's not even changing their dialogue.
    • Soundbite insists he's not lying that the SBS broadcasts actually have shaken up the faith of several Marines.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has this trope pop up a couple of times. The first was in a side story where a character does confirm that yes, he did lose a league to a Jigglypuff in a Princess dress (and even mentions having the VHS tape to prove it). It later occurred in the main story involving why Ash caught dozens of Grimer. Yes Bulbasaur, they really were being controlled by his possible half sister.
  • The Discworld-themed fics of A.A. Pessimal take their cue from Terry Pratchett in that many of the most seemingly absurd, ridiculous or exaggerated concepts incorporated genuinely are taken from real life. Copious footnotes are freely used to emphasize this point. For instance, the toxic state of, err, Smith-Rhodesia really is based on a real country on Earth, or at least as it was up till 1980. And one of the most nightmarish characters in it is, word-for-word, a real person who incredibly achieved high political office in that country, who almost single-handedly made our Rhodesia a pariah state. There are many more such examples in Pessimal's writing. Southern Africa really was that weird and generally unpleasant if your skin wasn't sufficiently white.
    • There are lots of examples of this in Pessimal, which tend to be accompanied by exploratory footnotes. British diplomats in Moscow, or at least the thicker ones, really did read the Cyrillic word PECTOPAH (a phonetic rendition of the French "Restaurant", meaning the same) exactly as it looked in Roman script. Leading to the in-joke among savvier Brit expats - "Where shall we pectopah tonight?"
  • Halloween Unspectacular:
    • "A Regal Intermission" from HU4 has a couple of examples. First when mention is made of William III dying from his horse tripping over a mole, then when bringing up the sex chair designed by Edward VII, E350 has to reiterate that those things really happened.
    • In "E350 Presents: Rapunzel", from HU8, when Priscilla Northwest (who's playing Rapunzel's mother) says that she only wants to eat rapunzel flowers, the narration takes the time to clarify that that actually happens in the original fairytale.
    • At one point in "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Seelowe", the WWII essay from HU10, E350 states that having the largest army in the world means nothing if the troops can't be supplied and have to resort to cannibalism. He then clarifies that that's not a bit of Black Comedy, it's literally what some Japanese troops in the Pacific had to do when the islands they were on got cut off.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, during the Quirk Apprehension Test, Aizawa singles out Izuku (who in this story is a Kryptonian, with all the power package being one entails) to evaluate the extent of his powers, and this exchange ensues:
    Aizawa: As I'm sure we all know, you scored first place in the exam. What was your record in the ball throw back in junior high?
    Izuku: 520 meters.
    Aizawa: (not happy) I meant without your Quirk.
    Izuku: 520 meters.
    Aizawa: (Even less happy) It's the first day of school, so you know nothing about me, but I'm going to tell you right here and now that it's not a good idea to be the smartass in my class.
    Izuku: N-No! That's not what I'm doing! Really, it's not! It's just that my Quirk isn't the kind of Quirk I can just turn on and off on command. If I want to use less power, I have to consciously put in the effort to put out less power, but that's not the easiest thing to do, especially when I'm doing physical activities. Even though I'd always try and restrain myself, I'd always end up using too much power, and then the teacher would get mad at me because, like you said, we aren't supposed to use Quirks or other abilities for this kind of stuff-
    Aizawa: Okay, that's enough. I get it, you're a bad example.
  • How the Light Gets In: Two of Felicity's actions in Chapter 3 (suggesting they test if it's really Laurel by offering her alcohol and referring to her as "[Oliver's] dead ex") pissed off a lot of readers. Whether they accused the author of writing her badly, or just raged against Felicity in general varied. Becks Rylynn defended herself by pointing out those are both things Felicity has actually done in the show.
  • Doctor Fluffy states that in the draft of TCB: Spectrum: Case Files, he had to put a note reading "DISCLAIMER: ACTUAL CHATOYANCE QUOTE" over some of Reitman's lines as some of the editors thought they were exaggerated for the sake of making her a Straw Character.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Mr. Stone has to stop for a second to add that the mirage Pokémon incident actually happened after some of the people he tells about it react with skepticism to some of the more outlandish details.
  • At one point in Divergent Points: ML Salt, the protagonists encounter an alternate Lila bragging to Salt!Alyanote  about a charity for penguin sweaters and how she's hurt that Marinette is refusing to help. Main Alya scoffs that her counterpart is falling for an obvious lie, until her Marinette reveals that penguin sweaters did exist and were orignally used to treat penguins for oil spills until it was discovered they weren't helpful at all, and they were sold to raise donations for penguins instead. Alya realizes that the fake Lila is likely going to sell the sweaters and keep the money for herself.
  • In one Fire Emblem Engage fan comic, Louis tells Roy about one thing they have in common- their names are vowels bookended by consonants. The comic points out that this is actual dialogue from their Bond conversations in the game.

  • American Hustle humorously opens with "Some of this happened."
  • Swimming To Cambodia. Spalding Gray swears he's not making anything up - except that the banana sticks to the wall. You'll know it when you hear it.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The screenwriter kindly informs us at the start of the movie that "Most of what follows is true."
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats has text at the beginning stating "More of this is true than you would believe." This itself becomes humorous in juxtaposition with the very first scene: a strait-laced man in a strait-laced military uniform with a strait-laced mustache running headlong into a wall and probably concussing himself.
  • The end of C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America has a section dedicated to showing the reality behind some of the wilder aspects of the Alternate History. Notably, a majority of the products advertised in the faux commercials, the ones with racist caricatures and slave imagery? All were real products, and the section concludes that there is still unnoticed slave imagery in modern advertising (such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, two brands which weren't retired for having slavery-derived imagery until 2020).
  • The poster tagline for Charlie Wilson's War reads: "Based on a true story. You think we could make this up?"
  • The disclaimer at the very start of Dr. Strangelove augments it with the standard disclaimer about its satirical cast:
    It is the stated position of the U.S. Air Force that their safeguards would prevent the occurence of such events as are depicted in this film. Furthermore, it should be noted that none of the characters portrayed in this film are meant to represent any real persons living or dead.
  • I Love You Phillip Morris: The unlikely true story of a gay con man escaping from a Texas prison five times to be reunited with his boyfriend (who he met in prison), becoming the CFO of a major company, faking his own death, and impersonating doctors, lawyers, FBI agents, etc, along the way. Hard to believe, right? So the filmmakers begin with this disclaimer in the opening credits: "This really happened. It really did."
  • The tagline for The Informant! is that it's "based on a true tattle-tale".
  • Fargo starts with a title screen saying that it's a true story. (The movie is completely fictional, but the Coen Brothers claim that some pieces of it came from various real cases.)
  • Cecil B. DeMille's 1929 silent melodrama The Godless Girl takes place for the most part in a reformatory ruled by a cruel head guard. A title card appears mid-film that claims that the guard's abuses of the inmates and the horrible conditions of the facility are commonplace in many reformatories, and attention must be called to this for the better rehabilitation of our delinquent youth.
  • The HBO TV movie The Pentagon Wars has a title card that goes something like "The following story would be a comedy (beat) if it didn't really happen".
  • A variation of this is The Human Centipede's claim that it's "100% medically accurate".note 
  • The Battle of Midway: A documentary short that featured live footage of the Real Life attack on Midway Atoll. The color guard at Midway goes out at 0800 on June 4 to raise the flag, as they do every day. With Japanese bombs raining down all around them. As the flag goes up the pole the narrator says "Yes. This really happened."
  • The original version of D.O.A., during the closing credits, assures us that there is such a thing as "luminous poison" that glows in the dark.
  • The film Pain & Gain takes many pains to impress upon us that is a true story, including interrupting a scene in which The Rock's character, Paul, is grilling hands on a barbecue grill with the message "This is still a true story."
  • The Big Short includes fourth-wall-breaking disclaimers around the more implausible parts of the story, clarifying which parts were inventions of artistic license, and which parts did in fact happen. One of them is a moment where doomsayer Mark Baum is holding a debate with an analyst who believes Bear Sterns stock is rock solid, at the exact moment when Bear Sterns stock starts tanking.
  • In the early 1930s, Hollywood studios would take pains to get around The Hays Code, just then emerging, by including written disclaimers at the beginning of their films insisting that any depiction of controversial social or political conditions was true-to-life (as well as emphasizing that the producers did not condone any of the behavior or attitudes displayed in a particular film). Such a disclaimer was seen at the very beginning of Cabin in the Cotton, an early "social-problem" film (and famously featuring the then-teenage Bette Davis's first major role), which Warner Bros. was very worried about because it depicted the mistreatment of poor Southern sharecroppers by corrupt plantation owners. The filmmakers claimed that they just wanted to show social conditions as they really were and did not intend to take sides. But the bulk of the story's sympathy obviously lies with the sharecroppers, and Cabin in the Cotton winds up having an ideological slant sufficiently leftist to have made it the first American film to be approved for screening in communist countries.
  • Inverted at the beginning of The Hunt for Red October, which states that "nothing of what you are about to see... ever happened."
  • Dear White People scriptwriter Justin Simien thought about re-writing the screenplay because the notion of a race riot breaking out due to a predominantly white fraternity deciding to throw a Black Face party seemed too ridiculous to put on screen. At the end of the film, a montage showed pictures of real-life white college students doing just that.
  • Hysteria: An opening title asserts that the movie is based on true events and then continues... Really. This period romantic comedy from late Victorian London chronicles the invention of a vibrator.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie features a Long List of obscure DC Comics villains in The Joker's Villain Team-Up at the beginning of the movie, including King Tut, Kite-Man, Calendar-Man, the Kabuki Twins, and the Condiment King.
    Pilot: Okay, are you making some of those up?
    Joker: Nope! They're all real! Probably worth a Google.
  • Napoléon has a title card at the beginning that lets the viewer know how to tell what is fact and what is fiction. Through the course of the movie, several highly unlikely events are confirmed to indeed be factual.
    All events and quotations taken directly from history are followed by the reference – "Historical"
  • Several reviews of An American Christmas Carol had to clarify that they weren't making up things like Thatcher's son being called "Mr. T" or the radio playing disco music as a precursor to the future scenes.
  • Tag and its promotional campaign repeatedly points out that the movie is based on an actual group of grown men who have been playing a game of Tag for over 20 years and that some of the seemingly ridiculous things the players do in the movie really did happen.
  • American Animals jabs at the frequency of Very Loosely Based on a True Story works with the tagline "This is not based on a true story- this happened" (ironically, a theme of the movie was that even the Real Life thieves didn't agree on exactly how everything happened, with multiple versions of the "truth" portrayed).
  • On of the taglines for the movie BlacKkKlansman is: "Based on some fo' real, fo' real sh*t."
  • A rare visual example in Rocketman (2019). The end credits show stills of star Taron Egarton in various costumes worn throughout the film, side by side with archival photos from Elton John's old shows in order to show that yes, his outfits really were that outrageous: the man wasn't known as "Captain Fantastic" for nothing!
    • Played with for the film's tagline: "Based on a true fantasy."

  • Inverted by humorist W. Bruce Cameron in the Final Thoughts of his 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter, with a reference to Dave Barry's disclaimers. He states, "So what really happened? I think it would be best for everyone if you regard every single thing you just read as a complete fiction. That's certainly how I see it, anyway."
  • 1632 ends with a disclaimer about which characters were real, which fictional, and which were fictional but based on a real category of people.
  • The opening of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn opens with a fictional "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Although Tom Sawyer is not a real person, the book is told from Huck Finn's perspective, and therefore Tom is real to the narrator (because they are from the same universe). Huck breaks the fourth wall to acknowledge that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was made by Mr. Mark Twain, "and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth ... Mary, and the Widow Douglas, is all told about in that book — which is mostly a true book; with some stretchers, as I said before." Given that Tom Sawyer ends with Tom and Huck finding buried gold worth $12,000 — which was enough to live on for the rest of your life, with proper management, in the 1860s — guarded by a dead "Injun" murderer, it's little wonder Huck was at such pains to make sure everybody knew it really happened.
  • In the "Caveat, and Warning for Travelers" that opens the novel American Gods, Neil Gaiman states the following: "Furthermore, it goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise in this story are fictional or used in a fictional context. Only the gods are real."note 
  • In Armageddon: The Musical, Robert Rankin annotates one of his Bible quotes ("and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps") with "Revelation 14:2. Look it up if you don't believe me."
  • "I am not making this up" is a Catchphrase of humor writer Dave Barry; he even named one of his books Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. Of course, sometimes he is anyway. On occasion, when he's reporting something genuine but really ridiculous, he'll say something like "I'm pretty sure I must have made this up." In the case of one of his more famous articles, namely on the Exploding Whale, he says "I absolutely swear I am not making this up; in fact, I have it all on videotape." Said video is now available on YouTube.
    • On one occasion, he emphasizes his veracity with the addendum "and I urge you to look it up if you don't believe me" before saying that the state sport of Maryland is jousting.
  • Inverted in Complete World Knowledge. Each book starts with a reminder that John Hodgman is making this up. Although he has insisted that one blurb on the back of the first book, a letter of praise from a magus of the Church of Satan, is, in fact, genuine, although Hodgman himself is not a Satanist.
  • Conqueror: In the afterword of Lords of the Bow, the author describes several areas where the novel differed from history — and at the very end, points out that the incident where several thousand young women jumped from the walls of Yenking (now Beijing) to their deaths rather than starve to death during the Mongol siege actually happened.
  • Graham Masterton opened The Devils of D-Day with the disclaimer:
    All of the devils and demons that appear in this book are legendary creatures of Hell, and there is substantial recorded evidence of their existence. For that reason, it is probably inadvisable to attempt to conjure up any of them by repeating out loud the incantations used in the text, which are also genuine.
  • Discworld:
    • In the Author's Note at the end of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Terry Pratchett points out two plot points from the book that were taken from real life facts or events regarding rats. He also notes, "Most of the true stuff — or, at least, the stuff that people say is true — is so unbelievable that I didn't include it in case readers thought I'd made it up."
    • In The Truth, when the author mentions, in the beginning, his research about how cities dealt with flooding problems that inspired Ankh-Morpork's method is based on the city Seattle, Washington's methods used towards the end of the 19th century.note 
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: At the end of All-Consuming Fire, there's an epilogue, in which Benny Summerfield, having finished reading All-Consuming Fire by John Watson, queries the Doctor about such details of Victorian life as using strychnine as a flavouring for beer, and filtering sugar through bull's blood. He assures her they're all true.
  • From Don't Panic, Neil Gaiman's biography of Douglas Adams:
    Apocryphal stories have grown up about Douglas's superhuman ability to miss deadlines. Upon closer inspection, they all seem to be true.
  • Staying with Dean Koontz, in Dragon Tears Connie refers to numerous examples of human callousness and apathy in what she refers to as "The Pre-Millennium Cotillion". An Author's Note at the end of the book reveals that every single event described came from real news articles.
  • Mary Renault wrote in the novel Funeral Games that Alexander the Great's body didn't decompose during the 48 hours following his death even though he had died in Babylon during a heat wave. Critics accused Renault of falling prey to the modern Eastern Orthodox myth of the "incorruptible saint". Renault pointed out in an author's note to the second edition that the story of Alexander's incorruptibility is part of the historical record, and was likely the result of his troops mistaking a profound pre-death coma for actual death. This kind of thing happened all the time with Renault's works, with the critics screeching in rage about things she got right because they weren't in accordance with conventional politically correct (for the 50s) wisdom.
  • Neil Strauss does this at the beginning of The Game (2005). He would have to because no one would believe the crazy events and people that he wrote about in the book.
  • Günther Wallraff in Ganz Unten ("Lowest of the Low"), exposing the racism and horrible working conditions of the Turkish immigrant workers in the German Federal Republic.
  • The afterword of The Guns of the South includes a part where Harry Turtledove talks about the influences on the novel. For example, he took the names for the soldiers of the 47th North Carolina from actual historical records but made up personalities for them (like writing Billy Beddingfield as a hothead with authority problems because the real Beddingfield had a habit of getting promoted and demoted in quick succession).
  • Harley Quinn: Reckoning revolves around a group of female college students fighting back against misogyny in their work environment. The author's afterword mentions that many of the things done by the Reckoning's targets are inspired by real incidents, and specifically points out several that the reader might otherwise assume were too outlandish to happen in real life.
  • The author's note/introduction to the Stephen King story collection Hearts in Atlantis, in a section that includes the usual "This Is a Work of Fiction" disclaimer, also contains the line "Although it is difficult to believe, The '60s are not fictional; they actually happened."
  • Mateo's backstory in Heretical Edge is that he was kidnapped by a religious pack of werewolves who applied Electric Torture to his dick in an attempt to turn him straight, then turned him into a werewolf after he pretended it had worked and asked to join them. The author's comment on the chapter where this was revealed included the line "I Really Fucking Wish That Electrocuting Genitals To ‘Cure’ Gayness Was Something I Made Up".
  • James Herriot once related his talkative tailor's long ramble that most people would be hard-pressed to remember five minutes later, much less several decades, then said in brackets that he was able to reproduce it because he took notes, presumably after he got home. Ironically, the books were heavily altered from reality, for various reasons.
  • Modern Villainess's author provides a glossary section after each chapter. In chapter 2, Runa mentions they hired American actors with law degrees to be spokespeople for the Moonlight Fund in order to mask its origins. In the glossary for Chapter 2, the author specifically clarifies:
    Actors with law degrees: They exist. You just need to do some research.
  • In one column, Steve Mirsky uses the phrase "I'm not kidding, that's the actual plot," after summarizing Dean Koontz's Relentless.
  • Jonathan Swift begins A Modest Proposal with a long, wordy insistence that he's being completely serious about the titular proposal. Subverted, of course in that this is satirical, but this may be why it flew over so many readers' heads at the time it was written.
  • In Nation, Pratchett says that, among other things, a cannon made of whatever was lying around has been used several times in real life.
  • In the Orphanage / Jason Wander series by Robert Buettner, in the second book Orphan's Destiny, the main character quotes "I am not making this up." It almost has to be a deliberate nod to Dave Barry, as it occurs in Florida and is in reference to orange juice and space-industry politics.
  • Mary Beth Bonacci is a Christian lecturer who talks to teenagers about abstinence. In her book, Real Love, she features answers to actual questions from teens about sexuality. One of the questions, essentially, was asked by a guy who is interested in a girl and wants to know whether he should ask her out or simply rape her. Bonacci begins her answer with this disclaimer:
    "If you are friends with a girl and you start to have sexual feelings for her, should you talk about it with her or just force it on her?"
    I am not making this up. This is an actual question submitted to me during a question-and-answer period.
    I hope by now the answer is obvious. You should never, ever force anything on anyone. This is assault. It is illegal, as well as immoral, sinful, and highly unchaste.
  • The author of the Chivalric Romance Sir Orfeo (Orpheus and Eurydice WITH KNIGHTS!) added this disclaimer in when claiming that Thrace (a region in modern-day Turkey) was the old name for the city of Winchester in England, and this was, in fact, where "Orfeo" reigned.
  • The Mercedes Lackey novel This Sceptered Isle contains one character who moves permanently underhill (elfland) and is replaced by a construct which slowly falls apart in magic-poor England. His "corpse" is then wrapped in lead to hold it together and buried before anyone can look at it. The book's afterword explains that he:
    died on the twenty-second of July, in the Palace of St. James, exactly as described in our story. And, as we described, for some unknown reason, though the official cause of death was stated as "consumption", his body was wrapped in lead and buried with almost obscene haste and in great secrecy. ...No one knows why he was treated in this odd fashion, though there has been a great deal of speculation by hundreds of scholars over the years. ...One almost does begin to believe in Sidhe…
  • In the book Website Creation In Plain English, the author says of a certain ASCII character, "it makes a computer go beep." He then explains he's not making this up and links to That Other Wiki's article on the Bell Character. That's the thing to put on an infinite loop in high school computer science.
  • Political columnist Jim Geraghty's debut novel The Weed Agency applies footnotes to some of the more ridiculous things his Obstructive Bureaucrat characters do as proof that, yes, someone somewhere has actually done these things.
  • The non-fiction book The WrestleCrap Book Of Lists said that professional wrestler Joanie Laurer (Chyna) appeared as a judge for a Most Beautiful Trans Person contest, following that statement up with a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer.
    • In another book by WrestleCrap The Death of WCW, they talk about the show being written "literally" at the last minute. They then insist that they're not being facetious, the show was sometimes written while it was being broadcast live.
  • In Leonard Maltin's movie guide, in his review of Berlin Alexanderplatz, it says that the running time is 931 minutes (15 and a half hours) and says, "No, that is not a typo!".

    Live-Action TV 
  • During June of 2011 several tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts, and the various news outlets covering it had to repeatedly reassure their viewers that this was, in fact, actually happening. In this case, it was trying to keep people from putting themselves in the path of the tornadoes.
  • Adam Ruins Everything is all about bringing up obscure and uncomfortable facts that the audience might find hard to believe, so to back them up the host cites his sources in the top corner of the screen. There's also a tie-in website where you can browse those sources to see for yourself, again flashed on-screen.
  • In the final segment of Americas Dumbest Criminals (the third version, with a live studio audience), the account would be shown under the heading of, "We're Not Making This Up!"
  • British TV has a show, The Bubble, around this trope: four celeb guests are kept incommunicado for a week, then brought on stage and asked to guess which of a collection of news items really happened while they were out of touch and which are made up. They rarely do better than blind guessing.
  • In Casanova, when Casanova invents the national lottery, the woman Old Casanova is telling his life story actually stops him to question this, and he replies "Look it up if you don't believe me!" And you can. (The bit about him coining the phrase "You've got to be in it to win it", on the other hand...)
  • During Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories on Chappelle's Show, he tells a story about Prince inviting him, his brother, and some friends to play basketball. After trouncing the Murphys' team, Prince makes them pancakes, at which point the camera cuts back to Charlie Murphy, who assures us, "Really. Pancakes." After this, Charlie assures us even further by asking the audience who in their right mind would make this up, and then demands that if we don't believe him, we should challenge Prince to a game of basketball ourselves and see how talented he is. (Prince himself even said that the story is true.)
    • During the True Hollywood Stories about Rick James, Rick James himself assures the audience that the insanity between him and Charlie Murphy they are about to see actually happened by saying, "Now this is true."
      Rick James: See, I never just did things just to do them. Come on, what am I gonna do? Just all of a sudden jump up and grind my feet on somebody's couch like it's something to do? Come on. I got a little more sense than that. [beat] Yeah, I remember grinding my feet on Eddie's couch.
  • The Chaser team are known for Gag Subs and parody sketches, but they have applied this to actual footage where appropriate:
    • The Chaser's War On Everything had a segment on Middle East TV, with the disclaimer "All translations independently verified by the ABC". It included things such as a member of the Egyptian Unique Mustache Association praising Adolf Hitler's mustache (along with his genocide of Jews).
    • The Hamster Wheel had this in a segment on bizarre approaches to weather reporting:
      Alan Wilkie: Hang on there, why can't we just have a qualified meteorologist simply explaining the forecast?
      Andrew Hansen: Well you could Alan - or, you could hire a trampolining dwarf!
      [cue clip from Britain's Bounciest Weather, accompanied by the caption, "Yes, this IS a real weather report. We swear."]note 
  • The skit 'Los Caquitos', from the Chespirito TV show, has an episode were Botija bets with Chompiras in a poker game based on the "good luck" that his horoscope predicted, yet it ends backfiring. The episode ends with a disclaimer saying that the horoscopes used through the episode were not made up by the writer, but taken verbatim from an actual Mexican newspaper.
  • In an interview with Conan O'Brien, Paul Giamatti said that "Thunderpants is a fine motion picture that I made in England a long time ago about a kid who farts uncontrollably. This came across my desk and I had to be a part of it... I play a guy from NASA who kidnaps him so that he can power a rocket." Giamatti had to repeatedly assure Conan that this was a real movie and Conan never seemed to be entirely sure whether or not Giamatti was joking. It's a real movie, and stars Ron Weasley.
  • On The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jon will occasionally insist "And this is true," whenever something that actually happened sounded like a joke, due to the show's humorous way of re-telling actual news stories.
    • Note that the show is fond of the Blatant Lies version, for humor ("This is a real photo and in no way doctored"), but it takes pains to make the two very easy to tell apart, since the Blatant Lies are done in an over the top manner often involving nonsensical things like unicorns and deliberately poorly photoshopped photos. So they try to make it easy to distinguish when they're making a joke or listing serious facts.
    • John Oliver has picked up using "And this is true" on his own show, such as saying how the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn. Yes, really. He will sometimes escalate with a "and this is fantastic" for things that are true but really easy to mistake for made-up; as long as he emphasizes a point this way, it's real.
  • Dragnet famously began each episode with "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent," which was also repeated at the end of the episode. This is because Jack Webb sourced his material from actual policemen. Spinoff Adam-12 did the same thing and posted a similar disclaimer at the end of its episodes with "incidents" replacing "story".
  • The Firefly episode "Out of Gas" has an early scene where Shepherd Book is apparently relating a Noodle Incident that happened while he was at the Southdown Abbey on Persephone to much hilarity. We the viewers join Our Intrepid Heroes at this exchange:
    Zoe: (laughing) No! That is not true. No.
    Book: I swear it is!
  • In the Flight of the Conchords documentary A Texan Odyssey, a series of shots of Texans with cowboy hats dancing to country music in a bar is accompanied with the voiceover, "The people you see here are not actors. They're really like that."
  • Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill, provides commentary in the DVD release of the miniseries adaptation. He says "this really happened" for a few of the more ridiculous-looking events, notably when Corporal Person has a moment of Casual Danger Dialogue where he calmly gets out of his vehicle and stands out in the open to yell at another driver to move, during the middle of an ambush with bullets flying everywhere around him.
  • One episode of Hard Quiz had a question regarding the supposed last words of Saint Lawrence, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side!" Tom Gleeson followed this by revealing that Lawrence was made the patron saint of, among other things, comedians and barbecues. "That sounds like a joke, but it's not."
  • The CBBC show Horrible Histories has signs pop up during sketches, to the effect that they're not making up certain historical details. They even do it in the Expository Theme Tune when telling the audience that the show is hosted by a talking rat, although that was dropped after the first series.
    • This sketch on Victorian-era names has a line at the beginning explaining that all the names are in fact, real names. Given how absurd most of them are it's entirely justified.
    • They also occasionally have signs telling the audience when they are making it up, usually saying something like "This is Silly."
  • This is done in-universe on How I Met Your Mother. Ted is an Unreliable Narrator who is telling his teenage children the story of the many events leading up to him meeting their mother for the first time. Every so often the events he describes are so ridiculous that he has to emphasize to his children that things really happened that way.
    • True story. - Barney Stinson
      • However, this phrase is almost exclusively used when Barney is telling Blatant Lies (happens fairly often), making it a subversion.
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon periodically features a "Do Not Read List" of curious books, and he points out at the top of the segment that all of them are real and can be looked up at (Examples have included a variety of Harlequin/Mills & Boon romances, an Adventures in Wonderland tie-in book that recapped the episode O.J. Simpson appeared in, and the infamous Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say "No" to Drugs.)
  • Laverne & Shirley: The 1980 episode "Why Did the Fireman... " has Lenny and Squiggy attempt to break the news to Laverne that her firefighter boyfriend had been killed in the line of duty. Laverne thinks that the two guys are playing a sick joke, and similarly shouts down Shirley when she also tries to explain that her boyfriend really is dead. By the episode's end, Laverne's father finally gets her to realize that everyone was telling the truth.
  • The Kung Fu Monkey blog frequently acts as a Disclaimer for Leverage. That's not just for the plots Ripped from the Headlines, either; according to the producers and writers in the audio commentaries, many of the evil deeds executed by the Corrupt Corporate Executive of the week were in fact, based on real crimes or acts of immorality that they'd researched and when they cut loose with the Evil Speech Of Evil, it's frequently taken from genuine transcripts of crooks and fat cats doing exactly that. Any changes are because Rogers and his writing staff have to tone them down, either because the writers thought it was too outrageous to be believed, or because they thought it was just too depressing that people actually got away with this sort of behaviour for real.
  • Lois & Clark dragged out the Will They or Won't They? between the eponymous characters for so long, with them supposedly getting married twice, that they titled the actual marriage episode "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding". This takes after the original DC Comics source material; it was common to use the blurb "Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story!" when the story was actually part of the normal continuity.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "The Red/White Blues" involves Klinger and Goldman, two characters of Mediterranean descent, falling ill after taking Primaquine, even though the common knowledge at the time was that the drug only caused negative side effects in Black people. At the conclusion of the episode, the on-screen text informs the audience that sometime after the episode would have taken place (i.e., during the Korean War), medical researchers found that the drug did, in fact, cause illness in Mediterranean people as well as Blacks.
  • Inverted in the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Unlucky in Love", which closes with a Totally Made This Up Disclaimer:
    Despite the story you have just seen there is no evidence to suggest that Lucy Maud Montgomery met Constable George Crabtree or that her work was influenced by him. (He's not real).
  • Saturday Night Live: In the week following the infamous "Larry the Lobster" sketch, Eddie Murphy read a real letter on the air concerning the sketch, beginning by saying "This is real, legit. There's a stamp and a return address."
  • The Soup uses similar disclaimers ("We did not doctor this, it really happened!") when showing real television clips that are uncomfortably close to the kind of satirical videos the show sometimes airs. See for example Spaghetti Cat.
  • Done in two consecutive episodes by Stargate SG-1:
    • In "Inauguration" the new President, Henry Hayes, is briefed on the Stargate program by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs:
      Gen. Francis Maynard: Mr. President, for the past seven years, the United States Air Force has been sending teams to other planets by means of an alien device known as a stargate.
      Hayes: [starts laughing] That's funny. That's very funny. My first day. This is a joke, right? I have a great sense of humour. I didn't know that you had one, but this is good because we're finding out about each other. Now I have to call the ex-President of Togo, and when I'm done, apparently the rest of the world is coming to an end.
      Maynard: [dead serious] The ex-President of Togo will have to wait, sir. This is not a joke.
    • Then in "Lost City, Part 1", Vice President Kinsey briefs Elizabeth Weir on the Stargate program, handing her a folder topped with a hand-written note from President Hayes saying "THIS IS NOT A JOKE" with his signature.
  • In his tenure as host of The Tonight Show, Jack Paar would often begin a joke with the phrase "I kid you not" by way of introduction to a bizarre piece of news.
  • On Top Gear Jeremy is describing the large array of health and safety warnings that come with his quad-bike/jet-ski to James. His favorite warns about "forceful water penetration into the rectum or vagina". James put on a pair of glasses to take a closer look and confirmed that was the actual text of the warning.
  • Episodes of The Goldbergs are based on Adam Goldberg's childhood, but in one episode when his elder sister steals their dad's car then accidentally backs it over a cliff, the narrator has to stop the car mid-plummet to assure the audience that his elder sibling really did accidentally drop the family car over a cliff.
  • On TV Burp, Harry Hill would invoke this trope when featuring real shows with ridiculous premises.
    Harry Hill: Yeah, it's Young Butcher of the Year. (turning to side camera) We haven't made it up, it's a real show.
  • The Happy Days episode, "The Magic Show", began with Ron Howard informing the audience that the magic tricks performed in the episode were done live and not the results of camera edits.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Better Call Saul, where a series of Saul's commercials show people overtly making obviously defamatory claims about damages done by various businesses in town that Saul can help you sue. At one point, a disclaimer flashes past at the bottom of the screen saying "Actor portrayal based on actual incidents or fiction."
  • Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? had an episode, Tango Mysterioso, where Greg Lee's own mother appeared as an informant to drop a clue. A subtitle below her said "Greg's Mother (Really...No Kidding)". His reaction sells the claim.
  • Three game shows—Call My Bluff (1965), Oh, My Word! (1967) and Wordplay (1986)—had the same basic objective, to give differing definitions to an unusual word and pick out the right definition.

  • Dragon's April humor issue used to have a letter column with all the weirdest letters they'd got over the previous year, ranging from bizarre threats against fictional characters to people with a unique idea of what would make the game "realistic". They would regularly open these columns by assuring the reader that these were real letters from real people.
  • National Lampoon's "True Facts". Otherwise comprised mostly of silly and outlandish news stories, certain issues dedicated to this also include the likes of businesses, road signs, and headlines.
  • Similar to Dragon, the sourcebook/fanzine The Rifter had an April Fool's edition which included ridiculous questions and their equally ridiculous answers. It's noted at the beginning of the article that some of the questions are real, and some are made up, though they don't say which is which. Though supposedly, the "group that killed Erin Tarn" letter was real.
  • In his short Game Informer review of Kabuki Warriors for the Xbox, editor Andy McNamara wrote that the early A.I. opponents are so easy that "I literally won a match just bashing the controller against my ass. I wish I was joking, but the score is seriously Kabuki Warriors zero, my ass one."

  • The musical satirist Anna Russell did routines that were factually accurate, yet got so many laughs, that "You know, I'm not making this up!" became her most famous catchphrase. She may be the Trope Codifier.
  • There is a really brilliant choral cantata called Rejoice In The Lamb by Benjamin Britten, based off the semi-crazy poem Jubilate Agno by the semi-crazy Christopher Smart. The alto solo begins like this:
    For the mouse is a creature of great personal valor!
    For — this is a true case—
    Cat takes female mouse: male mouse will not depart,
    But stands threatening and daring...
  • Luke Ski prefaces "Born To Lose" by assuring listeners that every word (and hence, every humiliation of his that it recounts) is absolutely true.
  • Frank Zappa's "Let's Make The Water Turn Black", which recalls the hijinks of brothers Ronnie and Kenny Williams, Frank's neighbors during the early 1960s.
    Now believe me when I tell you that my song is really true
    I want everyone to listen and believe
    It's about some little people from a long time ago
    And all the things the neighbors didn't know...
  • The track which precedes The Arrogant Worms satirical song "Let There Be Guns" is "A Real Letter From a Real Yahoo", which is simply a letter to the editor by Bill Macy of Gainesville, Florida, to the Gainesville Sun, read aloud with no musical accompaniment.

  • Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail is memetically famous for the phrases "yuman rights", "elf 'n safety", and "couldn't make this up". Except research has found that, yes, he actually does. Constantly.
  • The Boston Globe once ran an article where the first sentence was literally "We are not making this up: Boston is a very safe place to drive." Given the city's reputation, the disclaimer was necessary.
  • From an LA Times article about an Italian politician whose sex scandal with trans South American prostitutes drove him to a monastery: "Note to reader: The writer would love to pretend he has made all this up, but this is Italy, where one's imagination pales beside the operatic brio of real-life librettos that unfold with delicious, unseemly decadence."
  • The New Jersey Nets basketball team had an abysmal 2009-2010 season, with a final record of 12–70. Once, after winning a game, one paper's headline read: "It's true: Nets win!"
  • Humor columnist Dave Barry frequently does make things up for the sake of parody, so when he is not doing so he sometimes asserts "I am not making this up" to avoid any mistakes.

  • In Mom Can't Cook!: A DCOM Podcast, hosts Andy and Luke note that in several Disney Channel Original Movies, there are occasions when the connection between two scenes seems random or disjointed, and feel the need to state that they aren't glossing over anything for comedic effect. This is emphasised especially strongly for Under Wraps and The Other Me, which aren't as easily findable as the other films watched (and therefore the listeners are more reliant on their descriptions).

  • On Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, host Peter Sagal often embellishes parts of stories for comedy, and the audience and panelists know this. If part of the true story sounds unbelievable, he will preface it with one of these so everyone knows he isn't joking this time.
    Peter: They've robbed twelve banks, and they nearly botched one of their getaways because - and this is true - one of the desperadoes had to keep stopping to pee.
  • In the late 1940s the Superman Radio show had Superman take on the KKK, with Supes observing and roundly mocking all of the weird rituals and initiations with a hard emphasis that this is what real Klan members believed at the time. The widespread mockery that this caused Klan members to suffer is credited as one of the reasons the first iteration of it fell apart; nobody could take them seriously anymore and it wasn't "cool" to be part of this collection of weirdos that even the ultimate American ideal in Superman thought was dumb.
  • On the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue Advice Book round, when the "real" answers were dafter than the teams' joke ones, Humph would remind the audience that they all came from a real book.
  • Satirized at the start of Stan Freberg's "St. George and the Dragonet":
    The story you are about to hear is true. Only the needle should be changed to protect the record.

  • Older Than Feudalism in The Bible:
    • Several apostles have made this claim, often appealing to the fact that there were still-living witnesses at the time of writing:
      John 19:35: "The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe."
      Acts 26:25-26: But Paul said, "I am not going mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and a sound mind. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention since this thing was not done in a corner."
      1 Corinthians 15:6: After [Christ was raised up,] he was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
      2 Peter 1:16: For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
    • There's also the preemptive invocation of this trope:
      Habakkuk 1:5: Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told to you.
    • Jesus had a habit of peppering his sermons with "Truly, truly I say to you..." as a way of saying "Listen up, here comes something really important".
  • The Book of Mormon begins with a lengthy introduction called the Testimony of the Three Witnesses.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • If a comedian tells a true story to get laughs, you will often hear from them, "I'm not making this up" (or a variation of the phrase). Despite this disclaimer, it's still pretty hard to tell whether or not the story in question is true.
  • Anna Russell drops this line as part of her "analysis" of Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen.
  • Christopher Titus used it when describing to the audience his father's exact wishes on how he wanted his funeral and how he wanted to be buried. He wanted to be put into a cardboard box, "open casket", a cover charge at the door (ladies get in free), and everyone would get a chance to pee on him (complete with Willie Nelsons "Blue-Eyes Crying in the Rain" playing). And that isn't even covering what he wanted to be done with his ashes...
    "On my children... I did not write that, I am repeating it."
    • Just listening to Titus' stuff, it's not hard to realize he's making rather little of it up. The majority of it seems to be true, with just a little exaggeration here and there. He's admitted himself, his job is rather like therapy for him, as he's telling stories from his life and having people laugh along with him. If he "mock laughs", he's still working on finding it funny.
    "Stopped drinking because it's not really good for your health - and I fell into a bonfire." *audience laughs, Titus mock-laughs* "Yeah, you're done drinkin' then, you don't need AA."
    • Also happens in his special Neverlution when he is talking about the attempted Times Square car bomb. He says "I've been in comedy for 25 years, and I have never been that funny."
  • Bill Cosby ended up creating a whole routine about being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle when he played football for Temple University. He did so because he was tired of people asking him if his claims that he played football were true.
    "Don't keep asking me 'did you really play?' Yes, I really played! At one time, I had a beautiful body!"
  • Jeff Dunham starts his show "Arguing With Myself" relating an incident involving customs officers and Peanut (one of his puppets). "This is all true, it's too stupid to make up..."
    • Not to mention the jokes Peanut makes about... the geniuses who brought a bunch of deaf people to a ventriloquist act. Jeff finishes with: "the sad thing is, this is all completely true."
    • When he unveils several embarrassing photos of himself and his dummies from his younger days, he assures the audience that none of them were photoshopped.
  • Dana Carvey also used this in regards to the Presidency of George W. Bush.
    Dana Carvey: You can't write this shit!
  • Similarly, in Will Ferrell's one-man show You're Welcome America, in which he played Dubya, a screen would occasionally ding loudly and display "Actual Quote" to distinguish Ferrell's brand of inanity from Bush's (the authentic quotes were usually dumber).
  • Mike Birbiglia actually lampshades his use of it in one routine, taking a moment to comment on how hard it is to convince people that he is, in fact, telling the truth.
    These people come up to me after the show and go "Is that true?" and I go "Yeah", and they go "Is it?" and I'm not really sure what to say to that. I guess I could go "YEAH!" and they'd go "It's probably true, he said it louder."
  • Wendy Bagwell: "And this is a fact, what I'm telling you, with my hand up..." (1:25). That phrase shows up in some form in most of Wendy's stories.
  • "And this is true — unlike all the other bullshit I've been feeding you. 'When she started to tell the truth at the end, it really opened up for me, I just walked through, I felt connection for once...'" - Kate Clinton
  • Otis Lee Crenshaw, delivering a joke about psychopath Charles Manson, states that he "holds the world record for one-armed press-ups, and - I am not making this up - the world record for tossing midget."
  • When Lewis Black talks about his experiences in Miami, specifically when his rental car was stolen, he describes an encounter with a police officer who did not have a firm grasp of the English language. Verbs eluded him. Before repeating what the officer said, Black quips:
    And I'm quoting here because I don't have the time or the energy to make shit up anymore. He said, "How you money make."
  • Brian Regan used a bit where he related some of the most inane instructions he'd ever seen... on the side of a box of Pop-Tarts. It had, like, 17 steps to it (actually just 3), along with microwave instructions!
    Regan: And I swear, it says "Microwave on high for three seconds "...If you're wakin', eatin', and haulin' in 3 seconds, it's time for a change of lifestyle.
  • Russell Peters has a bit about sign language. The signs themselves are appalling.
  • Yakov Smirnoff found himself having to say this when mentioning that during his career in the Soviet Union he had to submit his routines to the Ministry of Comedy for approval. This wasn't originally part of the act — people genuinely thought he was kidding!
  • In one of Adam Hills' numerous anecdotes about his prosthetic foot, he mentions that he had to list it as a disability on his driver's license application (though he doesn't consider himself disabled because there's nothing he can't do aside from wearing thongs). Whenever he tells this story, he makes a point of bringing an audience member on stage to read out the condition on his license: "Must wear artificial right foot while driving."
  • Hannibal Buress had a routine about Bill Cosby, where he criticized Cosby for having a smug public persona: "He gets on TV, "Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the '80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!" Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches. "I don't curse on stage!" But yeah you're a rapist, so…" Buress then added that he's not just joking and there are a lot of rape allegations against Cosby, but people don't believe him when he talks about it. "I've done this bit on stage and people don't believe me, people think I'm making it up. I'm like, "Bill Cosby has a lot of rape allegations," and they go, "No, you do!" Ironically, a recording of this routine went viral, causing many women to come forward with allegations about Cosby. Cosby's public image was ruined and he was eventually tried and convicted of sexual assault. Although his conviction was overturned three years later.
  • During George Carlin's 10th HBO special, George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy, an unusually short, for Carlin, 27-minute set with a 1/2 hour retrospective on his career is performed. During the set, Carlin tells the story about how his male cat loses his testicles, later his penis, and starts being the bottom to his male dog during sex. At the end of the set (as John Stewart is about to interview him, though sometimes the montage airs at the end of the show) a montage of pictures from George's life is shown, including the cat with all his parts, then no parts, and then the dod seemingly mounting the cat.
  • Randy Feltface, in his Ernest Hemingway segment, whenever he goes into or describes something batshit crazy that he found out Hemingway did.
    Randy: Got pneumonia, moved back to Cuba, and spent of his spare time on his boat, tracking Nazi U-boats with a machine gun and a pile of hand grenades! I am not making this shit up!
    Randy: (later in the same bit) Had a file opened on him by J. Edgar Hoover. Left a bunch of shit in a safe in Cuba and moved to Idaho, paranoid that the feds were following him. Which they were, because he spent most of the 1940s working for the KGB! Again: not making this shit up!
  • Jeff Foxworthy once had a bit about a family party at Hooters, "If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'!"
  • The video clip for Austen Tayshus' spoken-word single, "Australiana", opens with a voice-over claiming that the story to follow is true. "Only the names have been changed to make it funny."

    Talk Radio 
  • Rush Limbaugh uses this as a sort of catchphrase when quoting news stories out of the newspaper that are... Well absurd.
    I have here, in my formerly nicotine-stained-fingers, *rattles paper around near the mic* a story from Reuters that says...
  • Herman Cain (while substituting for Neal Boortz) has reassured listeners that the Congressional switchboard is indeed XXX-SOB-USOB and he is not making the number up. It turned out that the number while allowing the caller to be connected to their congressman's office, belonged to a lobbying firm, not the government.
  • Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me's Peter Sagal also says "...and this is true:" a lot. While the fact thus introduced may indeed be true, it's usually followed up by another one that's blatantly false.
    • The "Bluff the Listener" challenge is this inverted, two panelists will make stories up, and a third will tell a true story, and the listener has to guess the true one.
      • The game show Balderdash works on the same principle. Three celebrities will give a factoid about a particular topic; one of them is true.
  • There's a round called Notes And Queries on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, in which Humph asks a question and one of the panelists come up with a possible answer before Humph reads out the real one. Whenever the questions or answers got ridiculous enough, Humph would remind everyone that they were "out of a real book".

  • During Anna Russell's synopsis of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, she looks at the audience and says "I'm not making this up, you know!" (And she isn't.) Due to the context and delivery, it's one of the biggest laugh lines in her entire Ring routine. (This phrase became so strongly identified with her that it is, in fact, the title of her autobiography.)
  • The Fly-By-Night Club, a comedy revue in Alaska that performed at a (now long-closed) theater, had the running-gag line of "We're not making this up, people; we're not that good," when talking about epic non-politics failures by U.S. Representative Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski (they bet in one of Alaska's only legal pool bets, that the ice at a specific spot on a specific river would break... On April 31st).
  • In the musical The Robber Bridegroom, the opening number, "Once Upon the Natchez Trace", contains repeated assertions that "this is true." Of course, this song talks about things like a man whose brother was only a talking head, and a woman whose beauty was so incredible that her sleeping naked under a full moon caused the moon to burn as hot as the sun.
  • German comedian Volker Pispers says the line in regards to an experiment, where they pitched a monkey against investment-bankers.
  • One particularly funny moment of Hamilton has this when Burr tells us that Hamilton was so popular with the ladies, Martha Washington named a particularly randy tomcat after him.
    Hamilton: (to the audience) That's true!
    • Made funnier by the fact that Hamilton was originally played by the director, producer, and writer — it's basically Lin-Manuel Miranda breaking character just to geek out a little bit and assure us that no, he did not make this part up.
      • Which gets even better/worse when you find out it was likely not true - it was originally put forth by British newspapers as a grandiose claim meant to discredit the rebels.
  • Carrie Fisher went to this length during her Wishful Drinking comedic show to make sure everyone believed her when she said George Lucas told her to not wear a bra under her costume for Star Wars since "there's no underwear in space".
  • A minor example in The Drowsy Chaperone when the Man in the Chair claims that Show Within a Show actor Roman Bartelli was partially eaten by his poodles after he died. Of course, Roman Bartelli isn't a real actor (none of the "actors" in the show are), so the story is entirely made up. In-universe, though, it's true.
    The Man in the Chair: Try not to think about the poodles.

    Video Games 
  • In Snowdin Forest in Undertale, you can find a sign reading "WARNING: Dog Marriage" (foreshadowing the mini-boss fight with Dogamy and Dogaressa). Read it again, and you'll be informed: "Yes, you read that correctly".
  • In VHFSMACVUSMRRM, the Arcade mode ending for Felix the Cat has him going to visit his lover, Miss Kitty and finds out she had a lot of kittens while he was away. Unable to take the responsibility he proceeds to go to a gas plant to end his life. The ending then points out "This is canon, look it up."
  • Hi-Fi RUSH is a colourful rhythm action game. The Evil Within is a Survival Horror game. Both are made by the same studio. The announcement trailer for Hi-Fi RUSH even said "From the makers of The Evil Within. (Seriously)."


    Web Videos 
  • In an episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, Quentin Tarantino mocks Alfred Hitchcock for being rejected by the British Army due to his obesity. Tarantino then breaks the fourth wall to assure the audience that that really happened, and he even tells the viewers to look it up on Wikipedia if we don't believe him.note 
  • False Swipe Gaming: In the video covering Mr. Mime and Mr. Rime, Kellen says that Mr. Mime was banned to Ubers in Gen 3, and says that it's not some delayed April Fools' prank. He even says you can look it up yourself if you don't believe him.
  • In the History Matters episode "Why Are Purple Flags So Rare", the narrator explains that the Royal French flag really was all white and not a mean joke about the French's infamous reputation to always surrender.
  • Because Internet Historian's channel is largely based around summarizing ridiculous real life events in a humorous fashion, he will often end up stopping for a moment to inform the audience that what he's talking about did, in-fact, actually happen.
    • In "The Failure of Dashcon", as the video shows the convention organizers and goers performing The Hunger Games sign in a show of unity, the subtitles read "This shit actually happened."
    • This happens twice in "The Story of Kony2012". The first comes when Internet Historian notes that the video Jason Russell made of him and his friends performing a dance routine to spread awareness of Kony's atrocities is an actual video that exists. The second comes right before discussing two of the ICC's potential plans to lure out Kony (the first being trying to get Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to call Kony out for a fake dinner, and later Sean Penn when the two refused, and the second being attempting to get use of George Clooney's spy satellite so as to spy on Kony), where Internet Historian notes that he's not making any of this up, alongside the caption "This shit is too dumb to make up."
    • In "Going Camping at the End of the World", right before explaining the math Harold Camping used to predict when the Rapture would happen, Internet Historian stops to leave a disclaimer that "This isn't a bit" and that this is actually what Camping did.
    • In "The Cost of Concordia", after Internet Historian claims that de Falco told Schettino to "Vada a bordo, cazzo!" ("Get back on board, for fuck's sake!"), he makes it clear that this actually happened by playing the actual audio clip of de Falco saying it.
    • During "The Great iPhone Massacre" he talks about how 4Chan tricked gullible users into putting their brand-new $700 iPhone 6s in the microwave to charge the battery and clarifies, while face-palming, "people really did this, by the way."
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • When he announces he is reviewing Titanic: The Legend Goes On, he kicks it off by saying "Now before you say anything let me answer your very first question: Yes, this is real!"
    • In his review of Inspector Gadget (1999), when a Yahoo! billboard falls on Dr. Claw's car, on-screen text clarifies that he didn't add the jingle.
    • His review of Catwoman (2004) begins with a skit where a number of the actresses who wanted to be Catwoman are in grief counseling and the counselor recounts how Sean Young ambushed Tim Burton dressed as the character in order to force him to put her in the role. Then he looks right at the camera:
      Counselor: That's not comedic writing. She really did that, folks.
    • During his review of Space Jam, he talks about how in the movie, Michael Jordan retires from basketball to become a professional baseball player.
      Critic: And that's not bad writing. That actually happened.
  • World War II: At the start of Episode 39 - "The Allied Clusterf**k in France" Indy has to make one of these over the phone, presumably over the Fall of France and the almost farcical shuffle in the Allied command while the Germans keep pushing into France and Belgium.
  • Marsh (best known for his coverage of Shin Megami Tensei) predictably made one in his video about Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners regarding a particularly miraculous instance of good luck. For specifics, he was faced with the task of saving Nei without any idea that he had to use the cell phone in his inventory, which meant that he had a 5/6 chance of failing to pick the right coffin and thus getting her killed — and he guessed correctly on his first go.
    "I'm dead serious, it was just a lucky guess, I was completely shocked."
  • JonTron has employed this a number of times:
    • When he puts a Commodore 64 cassette in a normal cassette player, he gets a loud screeching noise. Cue Jon looking at the camera with a disturbed look on his face while "(ACTUAL NOISE IT MADE)" appears on-screen.
    • There's his Food Fight review, where he showcases a particularly crappy scene with a chocolate squirrel crying chocolate, pointing out via caption that is the "Literal actual noise from film!"
    • In his Pokemon Bootleg Games video, on one particularly (and hilariously) bad piece of translation:
      "I couldn't make this shit up. I couldn't make this shit up if I tr- I am sad that I lack the talent, to make this shit up."
    • This one from the Zoo Race episode: Jon has to put up a small bit of text at the bottom, reading REMINDER: ACTUALLY HAPPENING, because the situation the game found itself in, a train, driven by a swimming champion sheep, crashing into a Bible verse billboard with each cart exploding into fireworks on impact, is just that absurd.
    • During Howling II: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch when showing the end credits which consist of the same clip of a woman opening her top and exposing her breast seventeen times to the drum beat of the music, bright yellow letters that read "UNDOCTORED FOOTAGE" are emblazoned at the top of the screen.
    • When playing a Chinese bootleg video game adaptation of The Lion King Simba has to ride a zeppelin with a massive swastika on it. Granted it's actually a Non-Nazi Swastika, but the sight nevertheless trips the "You Can't Make This Shit Up Alarm": a ringing digital alarm clock that reads "LOL SRSLY?!"
    • Earlier, he's flabbergasted at the fact that a different bootleg has, as a Game Over screen, Simba, Timon or Pumbaa (depending on which one you chose to play as) being Driven to Suicide.
      "Somebody made this, folks. This is real."
    • The start of his Takeshi's Challenge review sees him compare the game's creation to that of Aphrodite, and stops his dramatic speech to confirm that this is actually how Aphrodite was born.
    • In his Space Ace review, he points out that Don Bluth is the half second-cousin of (former Massachusetts governor and then-recent presidential nominee) Mitt Romney, followed by a frenetic graphic proclaiming that "THIS IS ACTUALLY TRUE".
    • It happens a few times during the "movie" Cool as Ice when at one part it abruptly cuts to high-speed looping animation of a kid in a rocking chair and dancing in front of a tv while a guy reads a newspaper played over wacky hip-hop music. During the scene the phrase "THIS IS ACTUALLY IN THE FILM" slowly appears on the screen. Not long after it cuts to one of Vanilla Ice's friends wearing diving goggles and a headlamp while The Twilight Zone (1959) music plays, this time with the caption "THIS IS ACTUALLY HOW THE FILM IS EDITED". And of course, all of this comes and goes without context and is never mentioned again...
    • His Part 2 review of Kid Nation has him interview Jimmy, an actual contestant on the show, and get confirmation that the show was more or less real and that yes, they actually did dump these kids off in the middle of nowhere and, outside of some minor concessions to stop it from going full Lord of the Flies, basically did leave the kids to their own devices. The episode's subtitle reads "FORTY KIDS. NO PARENTS. THEY ACTUALLY DID THIS."
  • JelloApocalypse in the So This Is Basically... series frequently changes the names of characters in the media he explains for comedic effect. So the Cowboy Bebop video has THAT'S NOT A JOKE, IT'S SERIOUSLY HIS NAME in big bold letters underneath Viscious's name when he is introduced.
  • UrinatingTree's video on the Los Angeles Dodgers' loss to the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 World Series ends with mention of the Dodgers' potential violations of federal law. As Tree is known for his hyperbolic statements on failing and incompetently-run teams, he feels the need to assure his viewers that "I wish I was being hyperbolic."
  • In The Table, where comedian Ben Brainard portrays each US state, South Dakota wears a t-shirt that says "Meth. We're on it." When DC and Florida ask him about it, he says that's their real slogan for fighting meth. Florida laughs at him for like a minute straight.
  • This video about Voltron: Legendary Defender shipping has a mini-rant when it gets to Shiro/Matt, affirming that yes, for some reason the fandom decided to call this pairing "Shatt" instead of "Miro".
  • In the Mappy web series, there is one clarifying that Monmotaro coming out of Tarosuke's mouth actually does happen in Shadow Land, the game they come from.
  • During Screen Rant's Pitch Meeting for Back to the Future, the producer isn't sure about the title and at one point suggests "Space Man from Pluto" instead, along with this:
    Producer: Yeah yeah yeah, that is a real note a Hollywood executive is giving. Let's call it Space Man from Pluto instead of Back to the Future!
  • The first instalment of the Dumb Lawyer Quotes IRL but in Ace Attorney, which contains hilariously stupid exchanges between lawyers and witnesses, begins with, "FYI: These were said in actual courts."
  • PsychicPebbles (of Smiling Friends and OneyPlays fame) has the video GET OUT OF MY CAR which begins with the disclaimer "The following audio is 100% real". And yes, it is.
  • During the Worst Ever Series review of the HyperScan, he slowly opens it while describing it and you can hear dreadful brittle cracking and creaking with text overlaid that reads "*ACTUAL AUDIO".
  • The Kill Count: During the Tremors kill count, guest host Zoran mentions an episode of the spinoff TV series that featured a prehistoric shrimp monster. He then adds that he's being completely serious about that.
  • Tom Scott's video about "What is the Best Thing?" gives the results of a poll he ran that ranked a curated list of 7,188 ideas and objects to determine the answer to that question, at least according to a survey of people on the internet that watch his videos. Out of all those things, the highest-ranked sex-related term turned out to be "orgasm", which came in at 69th place — Tom swears he didn't make that up.
  • In VG Myths, Gamechamp makes one at the start of the Pokemon Red No-Damage Run, as well as during it when describing how the level grinding sessions take actual days.
  • Panda Redd had to release a video about his Lord Deathman skits and explain that no, nothing he's said about Lord Deathman is fake. His name really is Larry, he really does look like a man in a cheap Skeletor costume, and he really can name every pokemon and their evolutions. He later had to release another video telling everyone that yes, Lord Deathman really is dating Ra's al Ghul's mother.
  • Max0r:
    • At several points during his review of DOOM Eternal, a message on screen states that "This gameplay is not sped up", hammering home that despite Max0r's Rapid-Fire Comedy editing style, the game really is that fast-paced.
    • Also from DOOM Eternal, when discussing the DLC, he notes that "John Doom's Alexa is God... that's not a joke or an exaggeration. His name is Vega and he's the physical remnant of God's consciousness in AI form." This is, in fact, true in-game.
    • In "An Incorrect Summary of Elden Ring", when discussing the motivations of the demigods for starting the Shattering, most of them are pretty standard, except Mogh, who it is stated "was just really, really attracted to his younger brother". A note pops on the screen saying "This is canon"... and it is, in fact.
  • John Wolfe's video "Netflix's Resident Evil Was A Disaster" kicks off with footage of a scientist badly dancing and singing over the caption "Yes, this is actually in the show."
    John: Yes, that was a real clip from Netflix's Resident Evil!

    Western Animation 
  • South Park:
    • It had the message "This Is What Scientologists Actually Believe" played over a scene showing the mythos of Scientology. Note this is almost verbatim the text of OT3, a regular part of the Scientology doctrine. Scientologists have been trying to forgetnote  that certain aspect of their religion.note  Believe or not, South Park's portrayal is actually less ridiculous than the actual mythology. South Park proclaims that frozen aliens were dumped into various volcanoes all over Earth's surface; in reality, Scientology teaches the frozen aliens were strapped to the volcanoes and then blown up with imperial-engineered hydrogen bombs. Then the disembodied souls - "thetans" - were forced by psychiatrists to watch a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" at a theater which implanted all the ideas about religion into their minds. And it ought to be noted that these souls were lured to Teegeeack (Earth) on the pretense of income tax inspections. Put it this way: If the makers of the episode were making all that stuff up, it would have been fairly normal.
    • In "The Return of Chef", they had a similar disclaimer about the Super Adventure Club, a Fictional Counterpart of Scientology. The episode was essentially a Take That! to Scientology (again) because the creators believed the organization forced Isaac Hayes (who voiced Chef) to leave the show.
    • In "Band in China", when Randy asks why the Chinese president hates Winnie The Pooh, Mickey Mouse explains that some Chinese people posted pictures on the internet comparing his appearance to Winnie and even says, "It's a real thing. Look it up."
  • In Titan Maximum, they had a sword made out of aggregated diamond nanorods, the hardest substance in the known universe. What sounds like typical technobabble is remarked by saying that aggregated diamond nanorods are, in fact, a real thing, and they're every bit as hard as advertised. Making a sword out of the things probably wouldn't be a great idea (hardness isn't the only trait a good sword needs), but they really are the hardest substance known to man.
  • Family Guy:
    • Near the end of the second Star Wars episode, Brian (as Chewbacca) asks why Mort (Lando) is wearing Han's clothes. Brian then turns to the camera and explains that this isn't some weird joke they've made up. If you watch The Empire Strikes Back, Lando really is wearing Han's clothes for this scene.note 
    • Another example is the time they spoofed Stand by Me. At the end of that part of the episode, the voiceover (Richard Dreyfuss, the same person who provided the voiceover of the grown-up protagonist in the actual film) informs the audience that Cleveland's character (Vern) went on to marry Rebecca Romijn. Immediately afterward, he then tells the viewers that he wasn't making this up. In real life, the guy (Jerry O'Connell) who played the fat kid in the movie went on to marry Rebecca Romijn.
    • In a DVD-exclusive scene from "Amish Guy", Peter goes on a rant about Garfield: His 9 Lives and asks the creator why he included a story about Garfield murdering an old woman. He then shows the viewer an illustration of a feral Garfield from the page he's talking about.
    • In "Carter and Tricia", after Carter buys the brewery, he insists that the cans now be made out of cheaper, potentially toxic material. Angela warns him that if news of the change were to get out, it'd be one of the most notorious developments in beer history, second only to Michelob Ultra Dragon Fruit Peach. A disclaimer appears onscreen reading "ACTUAL BRAND OF BEER. HONEST TO GOD."
    • In "Underaged Peter", a cutaway has Thomas Edison blatantly stealing credit for the lightbulb and phonograph. A song then plays "Look it up, Edison was a dick."
      • It's more complicated than that. The lightbulb is also claimed to be invented by Lewis Latimer, and Joseph Swan, separately. Lewis Latimer was a Patent Lawyer and associate of Edison who is credited with a different, longer-lasting filament, but not the lightbulb itself, and was an improvement on Edison's design. Latimer and his estate has never claimed to invent the Lightbulb, just the new filament. Joseph Swan was a British man who also attempted to invent a lightbulb, but the design was slightly different, and happened across the world in a time with limited global communication, so Edison is believed to not have copied him. In fact, this led to a merger between the two to create the Edison & Swan United Electric Light Company, which sold an electric lamp incorporating elements from both designs. Everyone talks about Edison, no one talks about Edi-Swan.
      • Edison did invent the Phonograph, which records and plays back sound... he just wasn't the first person to record sound. He did create the first device to play it back, which also recorded sound.
    • In "Foxx in the Men House", after deciding that he's only going to use public women's restrooms from now on, Peter goes to an Anthropologie and tries to distract the cashier by asking for items that they couldn't possibly have so she'd be forced to check in the back. He asks if they have a $4,000 ping-pong table shaped like Easter Island, then a phone made out of shredded phonebooks that doesn't make or receive calls, both of which she says they have with disclaimers appearing onscreen saying "ACTUAL ANTHROPOLOGIE ITEM!"
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "And Maggie Makes Three", where Homer tells the story of Maggie's birth, he says that his idea to draw customers to the bowling alley was to fire a shotgun into the air while shouting about bowling, which naturally had the opposite effect. Lisa interrupts with "Mom, make him tell it right!" (earlier in the episode Homer made up a story about dealing with international terrorists), but Marge sadly informs her that that's exactly what happened.
    • In one episode, a Springfield Shopper headline reads WIGGUM RESCUES BOY; NO, REALLY.
    • In "Walking Big & Tall", Moe says he went to Tuscaloosa and mentions a restaurant called "Moe's Original BBQ." He then opens his jacket to reveal a bib that says "This Is A Real Place."
    • Season 28 has Mr. Burns feeling very out of place with Yale's new liberal bent, starting with one of the Deans dropping this "Actual Quote from Yale Student" on him.
      Dean: You'd be creating a space for violence to happen.
    • In Season 30, Episode 7, the episode where Marge sells Tupperware, her hairdresser advises her to embrace that everyone thinks she is a drag queen because the best Tupperware salespeople are in drag. The show then pauses to posts 3 separate URLs to back this claim.
  • Garfield and Friends: Garfield once showed two videos of Jon's previous dates— his longest and his shortest in that order. The latter was so short that, before showing it, Garfield warned the viewers there're no cuts.
  • In Gravity Falls episode "The Stanchurian Candidate", Dipper outlines the town's electoral process as making a literal "stump speech", followed by a debate where the audience throws birdseed on their favorite candidate, and the winner is the one to receive a 'birdly kiss' from a 'freedom eagle.' Dipper caps this off with, "I couldn't make this up if I tried."
  • In the Poorly-Disguised Pilot for Crash Nebula, Sprig's father gives him the family cowpie before he leaves, to which Sprig thanks. He then pauses the story to admit that he wasn't being sarcastic. It really was a touching family moment that happened to involve poop.
  • The Dragnet disclaimer is spoofed in the Looney Tunes short "Rocket Squad":
    The story you are about to see is true. The drawings have been changed to protect the innocent.
  • The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show takes the form of a variety show of which the main attraction is Mr. Peabody telling a story of one of his time travel exploits. As part of every episode, he gets the story notarized live to guarantee to his audience that he is telling a story that actually happened to him.
  • Robot Chicken uses this twice in two very different ways:
    • One for straight humor to take a shot at DC with their segment "REAL Characters in the DC Universe". It features characters like B'dg, Firestorm, and Mister Banjo, and the narrator would gleefully declare "Can you believe it, folks? He really exists!"
    • ...and one for darker humor in 12 Years A Student where the teacher says "To give you a better sense of what being on a slave ship would have been like, everybody get down on the floor so I can duct tape your hands and feet together. Then I’m going to choose five of ya to be the slave masters". It then cuts to gray and states: "This is not a sketch. This actually happened to one of our writers in the fifth grade. The teacher's name was Patricia Anderson. We just want the world to know."
  • Milo Murphy's Law: The Christmas episode has a full-size (and manned) fishing boat crash through the mall skylight, while the background singers blandly yet melodically proclaim "This is really happening."
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town: Burgermeister Meisterburger's toy ban declares, as follows:
    Burgermeister Meisterburger: Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful, and anyone found with a toy in his possession shall be placed under arrest, and thrown in the dungeon. No kidding!
  • In The Weekenders, Lor once forced everyone to sit through a marathon of awful romance movies to figure out the best way to woo her crush Thompson. When she later announces the day next they can watch another film, everyone runs off in horror except Tino, who states he has a doctor's note explaining that if he watches one more romantic movie his head will explode. Lor notes that it was signed by an actual doctor.
  • A 1952 Woody Woodpecker cartoon, "The Great Who-Dood-It," subverts the standard crime drama disclaimer by stating right off that the ensuing story is "a big fat lie!"

  • In journalism and academic writing, the "[sic]" disclaimer serves as this. It tells the reader that the author is quoting someone verbatim, with the spelling/grammatical mistake and/or factual error left intact.
  • From Howl, by Allen Ginsberg. Of course, given his reputation for being a little bit of a drug enthusiast, there's no telling if it really did happen.
    who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer
  • As Mark Twain put it - "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."
  • G. K. Chesterton said something similar: "Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction… for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it."
  • Humor columnist Dave Barry used this as a catchphrase when reporting strange news (e.g., exploding toilets), and even used it as the title of a book.
  • Said by Kevin Smith in an anecdote about his interactions with Tim Burton, when he brings up Burton's publicist, whose actual, real name is Bumble Ward.
    I am not making it up. I'll say it one more time: Tim's publicist's name is Bumble Ward. There is somebody on this planet... named Bumble.
  • Part of the reason why the Strangeways Prison riot was able to spread so quickly was that it started on April 1st, causing several of the upper staff in control of the prison to question the authenticity of the calls for help.
  • "I am not kidding," said Dick Van Dyke, after being rescued by porpoises. ("The porpoises were unavailable for comment.")
  • This article discusses in length the (fan supported) sexual tension between Emma and Regina. Included in the article are several pictures as evidence, with the words "NOT FAN ART - ACTUAL SHOW" on the bottom.
  • The first semifinal game of the 2014 World Cup between Brazil and Germany became an unexpected Curb-Stomp Battle, highlighted by four German goals between the 23rd and 29th minutes to make it 5-0 and spurring ESPN's broadcaster Ian Darke to quip, "If you're just tuning in, yes, the number on the scoreline is correct." Germany ended up winning 7-1.
  • On October 30, 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm Ltd., including the rights to Star Wars, and immediately announced that they had begun pre-production on Episode VII. Within minutes, news websites, columnists, and bloggers everywhere had to preface their articles with "No, this is not a joke."
  • When presenting the Medal of Honor to a captain who got injured tackling a suicide bomber, Barack Obama recalled his story: "He wasn't sure, but he thought that he was in Germany, and someone was at his bedside talking to him And he thought that it was the lead singer from the heavy metal band Korn. Flo thought, "What's going on? Am I hallucinating?" But he wasn't, it was all real. Today, Florent Groberg, I want to convince you that you are not hallucinating. You are actually in the White House. Those cameras are on, I am not the lead singer from Korn..."
  • Prior to the last Australian Federal Election in 2016, one candidate gained some notoriety for his name. More than one news article had to state that they were not making up the name and that it was, in fact, his legal name. The name? Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow. (And for the record, yes he's an actual scientist!)
  • At the 89th Academy Awards, no one was surprised when Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land had won Best Picture, as the film had a record-tying fourteen nominations and had already won six awards that evening. But then, a few minutes into the speech, producer Justin Hurwitz jumped in to say that there had been a mix up and Moonlight had actually won. Not only was this the one and only time in Oscar history that the wrong winner had been announced, but it was a huge upset, and it was for the final category of the night. It's no wonder Hurwitz had to say, "This is not a joke!" and then actually display the envelope to the camera to confirm that this was real.
  • NPR's website wrote a story about Cornell University's infamous pumpkin prank. The same day the story came out, the author had to write that no, she wasn't making it up, that the university revealed that they managed to sequence the genome of two pumpkin species.
  • The winner of the 2019 U.S. Women's Open in golf was Lee Jeong-eun. Professionally, though, she plays as Jeongeun Lee6, as when she had joined the LPGA of Korea Tour there were five other golfers also known as Lee Jeong-eun. When ESPN announced the winner of that tournament, they had to add an extra line that "Lee6" was not a typo of any kind.
  • In the board game Stupid Deaths, this is a common reaction by the person reading out a True case when accused of cheating by making it up, or other reactions by the other players that can mostly be summed up as 'No way!'. (Despite being a board game, this happens fairly often. As you'd expect of a board game that details such deaths as a poodle falling out of a window, killing the person it landed on. A witness stepped into the street and was hit by a bus, whereupon another witness had a heart attack and died on the spot.)
  • Legendary actor Abe Vigoda had been a victim of so many death hoaxes starting in the 1980's that it became a Running Gag to refer to him as though he was dead. Sometimes Vigoda himself would appear to show that he is in fact still alive. It got so ridiculous that an entire website was created with the sole purpose of reporting whether Vigoda was alive or dead was created. When he actually died in January 2016 at the ripe old age of 94, nearly all of the articles and videos reporting his death had to put disclaimers saying that it was not a hoax and that he was really dead.

Alternative Title(s): I Am Not Making This Up Disclaimer


The football crow cheering... not me, that's in the cutscene!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (44 votes)

Example of:

Main / NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer

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