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Not on the List

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"Do you know my friend... George Washington?"

When a Bouncer is controlling access to a high-end restaurant, the Coolest Club Ever, or private party, a person attempting to enter from the Wannabe Line will not be on the list of guests authorized for admittance. The doorman will deny them entry, and wacky antics usually ensue in an effort to convince the guard to let them in.

The Wannabe usually insists they are on the list and demands the bouncer check again. Often, they may attempt to invoke You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With, Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!, or Screw the Rules, I Have Money! in an effort to force their way into the venue with various levels of success. Similarly, a famous person may try to get into a place they are not on the list of, hoping to rely on their reputation, only to have the bouncer not know who they are and refuse to budge.

Common gags involve using this as an excuse to deny entry without even checking the list at all, or not bothering to ask the guest for their name at all. Can be Played for Laughs at places where there would obviously not be security nor an access list, like a fast-food restaurant or family party.

Compare No Fame, No Wealth, No Service, for when characters are allowed entry into exclusive places primarily because they have social clout or wealth, regardless (and often, in spite) of whether or not they were on the list. See also Uninvited to the Party for when one particular person is not even invited to the event to begin with.


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  • The Vikings from Capital One's "What's in Your Wallet" series try to get into a night club. The Vikings' goat is allowed into the bar but the Vikings themselves are Not On The List. Link is here.
  • A beer commercial has a guy hiring a bouncer... for his house. And his wife's not on the list.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Brent, once the biggest celebrity in town, is told he's not on the list to dine at a trendy restaurant. When Flint, whose invention made the town successful again, is let in, Brent complains "You're letting him in? But that guy's a nerd!"
  • Coco: When the bouncer won't allow Miguel to enter Ernesto's party, the former boldly claims to be Ernesto's great-great grandson. When this doesn't fly with the bouncer, Miguel successfully sneaks in as a member of the hired music band.
  • Robots. Rodney and Fender are trying to get into the Bigweld Ball and are told, "Uh, you're not on the list."
  • Shrek 2: Just before he enters the king's banquet hall, Donkey is heard arguing with the guard.
    Donkey: What do you mean I'm not on the list? Don't tell me you don't know who I am!
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies: The Teen Titans get denied entry into the premiere of Batman's movie and then Hollywood's sets by the same guard because they are not on the list. Both times, they simply sneak in with Raven's portal powers. The second time they go to the Hollywood sets, the guard is about to deny them again, but then he checks the list and they are on it this time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Snatch., Avi's group is stopped before gaining admittance to an unlicensed boxing match. Avis is annoyed, griping, "We're on the list!"
  • The Mask invokes this trope twice: The first time, when Ipkiss goes to the Coco Bongo club with his friend and wasn't let in, the second when The Mask goes to the club and pushes his way through after throwing a lot of money around.
    Bouncer: You on the list?
    The Mask: Noooooo, but I believe my friends are! Perhaps you might know them: Franklin, Grant, and Jackson?
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Bueller and friends try to get into a fancy restaurant but they're not on the reservation list; eventually they pretend they're someone who is on the list.
  • Made has the two main gangster wanna-bes trying to get into a club where they're supposed to meet a crimelord. Unfortunately, they're not on the list, so the bouncers refuse them admittance. As they argue, Dustin Diamond breezes right through the door. One of them expresses outrage that "Screech" is on the list and not them.
  • In Real Genius, the protagonists try to get into a U.S. Air Force base and are told, "You're not on the list."
  • The King of Comedy: In one of the scenes, a writer who was scheduled to appear as a guest on Jerry Langford's show is told by the guard that he's not on the list (presumably, he was bumped off the list at the last minute to accommodate for a kidnapper demanding to appear as the first guest.)
  • Get Carter (2000):
    Bouncer: Sorry Mr. Carter, you're not on the list.
    Jack Carter: [Jack punches him] Nobody likes the list guy.
  • Stan Lee makes cameos this way in a lot of Marvel films.
  • In Blade (1998), the bouncer asks the titular character if he has an invitation instead of checking a list. Needless to say, he doesn't and throws the guy through the door.
  • Strange Days when Lenny Nero tries to get into the Retinal Fetish.
  • Constantine (2005): The eponymous protagonist is literally told this when trying to get into a club.
  • At the end of Asterix: Mission Cleopatre, Julius Caesar tries to get into the party hosted by Cleopatra, only to find he's not on the list. His general is, all the side characters are, but he is not. Or, actually, he is — the list guy just takes his sweet time to recheck. And after letting him in, decides under his breath that customers this obnoxious are not getting in again.
  • The Danish film Klovn has two guys arriving at a special once-a-year bordello hosted by a powerful acquaintance. The first guy gets in, but the second guy is not on the list. The host arrives and claims that the second guy is excluded because he's too ugly, but then admits that it's because the man didn't read Heart of Darkness for their book club and refused to take a grade-school hazing as punishment.
  • A deleted scene in Zoolander features a long sequence in which the titular character elbows his way through multiple Wannabe Lines and into progressively smaller and more exclusive VIP sections before finally reaching rival Hansel to deliver a zinger. There's also a gag in the DVD menu comparing the Special Features menu to the Coolest Club Ever and the remote to a man insisting he is on the list, even though he is Not On The List, although if he were cool, he wouldn't even need to BE on the list, because he'd be that cool.
  • In Almost Famous, wannabe rock journalist William Miller is unable to get backstage to do a story on Black Sabbath because he's not on the list. Not until Stillwater shows up is Miller able to get in, and that's only because Russell Hammond is able to intimidate the doorman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Living Color!. The "Club Bouncers" sketches had two bouncers (played by Jamie Foxx and Tommy Davidson) telling people they weren't on the list and couldn't enter.
  • How I Met Your Mother. Being on the list is an important plot element in Season 1's "Okay Awesome" episode. Robin is on the list to get into the club since she's already in when Ted and Barney arrive and her word is enough to get them in. However, she is not on the list for the VIP room and when she exits the club to sort out the situation, she's unable to re-enter, since her name has already been crossed off. That is, until Lily joins her and takes action.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Dee tries berating the bouncer outside a club after Dennis coaches her on getting in. She takes it too far and she's denied entry.
  • Joe Fontana in Law & Order says "It's ok, we're authorized" whenever there is a list or a subject is unwilling to discuss something.
    • Used and inverted by Det. Eames in Criminal Intent to a bouncer at a nightclub.
      Eames: "We're on the list"
      Bouncer: "Yes you are..."
  • Murphy Brown: In a Flashback episode showing the crew's various experiences at their first presidential elections, Murphy sneaks a peek at the list of eligible voters and claims the name of the first woman she sees - who is 82 years old. Murphy then goes on a rant about not being able to vote yet and is dragged out of the polling place.
  • 30 Rock
    Kenneth: I'm sorry, this is a private party.
    Ridikolous: Hold on: we're with Tracy Jordan.
    Kenneth: And Mr. Jordan himself said "don't let no one in who's not on the list 'cause this mess is gonna get raw like sushi, so haters to the left."
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force episode "Light Source: Part 2"
    Styxoid: No passage!
    Leelee: Excuse me? Do you know who I am? I'm Leelee Pimvare. Rearrange the letters in my last name, and, oh, what do you get? Yeah, "vampire." In fact, I'm the next Queen of the Vampires, so...
    Styxoid 2: You're not on the list.
  • In an episode of Bones the bouncer tells Booth he's not on the list (but lets Brennan in); Booth then shows the bouncer his FBI badge.
  • Parodied in a MADtv (1995) skit featuring Kason, where a man called Ayan Pepperman is not on the list.
    Ayan: Excuse me. Ayan Pepperman?
    Kason: Mmm-hmm. [checks list] Yeah, you're not on the list.
    Ayan: Uh, yes I am. The last name is Pepperman. P-E-P-P—
    Kason: Yeah, I am familiar with that condiment, and I know how to spell it. But you're still not on the list.
    Ayan: Do you know who I am?
    Kason: Sir, when I was seven years old, I lost my clairvoyant abilities, so no, I don't know who you are.
  • Angel demonstrates this is a serious problem for vampires, given that they Must Be Invited to get into almost any building. Take this example from "The Girl in Question":
    Angelus: I think it's time The Immortal found out exactly who he's dealing with. I think it's time for blood vengeance!
    (Gilligan Cut to them arguing with a bouncer at a society bash thrown by the Immortal)
    Angelus: Blood vengeance. I'm sure we're on the list. Is there anything under blood vengeance?
  • And there's that awesome scene in Moonlighting with David, Maddie, and a hotel security officer all speaking in Seussian rhyming couplets:
    Security Officer: I'm sorry, but you're not on the guest list.
    David: That's because we're not guests. We're looking for a man with a mole on his nose.
    Officer: A mole on his nose?
    Maddie: A mole on his nose.
    Officer: [to Maddie] What kind of clothes?
    Maddie: [to David] What kind of clothes?
    David: What kind of clothes do you suppose?
    Officer: What kind of clothes do I suppose would be worn by a man with a mole on his nose? Who knows?
    David: Did I happen to mention, did I bother to disclose, that this man that we're seeking with the mole on his nose? I'm not sure of his clothes or anything else, except he's Chinese, a big clue by itself.
    Maddie: How do you do that?
    David: Gotta read a lot of Dr. Seuss.
    Officer: I'm sorry to say, I'm sad to report, I haven't seen anyone at all of that sort. Not a man who's Chinese with a mole on his nose with some kind of clothes that you can't suppose. So get away from this door and get out of this place, or I'll have to hurt you - put my foot in your face.
  • In one episode of Muppets Tonight, Bobo - acting as the doorman - doesn't let Larry King in, saying he isn't on the list; in a later scene, when Sal and Johnny try to get in, they aren't on either (but Bobo does find King's name, who is presumed to have left). In the final scene, Special Guest Billy Crystal is wondering whatever happened to his band, who never showed up; cut to them (lookalikes of Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth, Boris Yeltsin, Clint Eastwood, and Ronald Reagan) waiting at the door with Bobo trying to find them on the list.
  • Drake & Josh has the two trying to get into classmate, Thorton's, party after they had been banned due to an earlier incident. When the bouncer won't let them in due to not being on the list, they try to make it up to Thorton by giving him Drake's signed Abbey Road album, but even afterwards, the bouncer still won't let them in for not being on the list and Thorton won't invite them in either.
  • The Really Loud House episode "No Louds Allowed" has Lincoln and Clyde opening an exclusive club in the attic and doing this to the former's sisters after having his bedroom intruded upon just one too many times. It's not long before Leni and Luna (having their club in the backyard), then Lucy and Lisa (having theirs in the basement), and finally, Lynn Jr. and Lana (having theirs in the backyard shed after converting it into a sports lounge), start doing it to them, and for that matter, one another, out of retaliation.
  • Sonny with a Chance: Chad invites Sonny and Tawni to his birthday party, but Sonny declines the invitation because her best friend from Wisconsin is visiting. When Tawni brings Sonny's friend to the party, Sonny tries to enter the party herself only to find that she is on the "Don't Let Sonny Munroe Into This Party Under Any Circumstance" list.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "Parties" has everyone but Cookie invited to Seth's party due to him nearly burning down Seth's house last time. Cookie manages to get in by disguising himself in drag and telling the bouncer, "I'm not on the list, but Seth told me to come by".
  • Friends: An off-screen example occurs in season 4. Rachel has plans to meet up with her crush, Joshua, at a club he's invested in. He promised to put her name on the list but when she got there she found out that her name had been misspelled as "Rachel Greep" rather than "Rachel Green". The bouncer refused to accept that it was a typo and let some other girl, who loudly claimed to be "Rachel Greep", in.
  • Arrow. In a Running Gag of Ditch the Bodyguards in the first few episodes, Oliver Queen enters a nightclub and when his bodyguard John Diggle is stopped from following, claims he's never seen Diggle before in his life. This backfires when the club bouncers beat him up and Diggle isn't there to stop it.
  • Treadstone. Soyun tries slipping into a South Korean nightclub with a group of other women, but is stopped by the doorman.
    Doorman: Are you on the list?
    Soyun: The men I'm meeting don't leave their names on lists.
    Doorman: Who are they?
    Soyun: Russians. And I think you know exactly who I'm talking about.
  • Altered Carbon. Takeshi Kovacs isn't on the list to get into a high-class club used by the Meths he wants to talk to, but fortunately he knows a Yakuza boss who arranges for him to be placed on the list by the time they've finished their conversation. Later that same Yakuza boss turns up at the Governor's reception party despite him not being on the list. The Governor gives him what he wants just to get rid of him as quickly as possible.

  • Klaxons - "The Bouncer" has "not on the list" as lyrics.
  • Kesha - "Party at a Rich Dude's House" invokes this trope.
  • David Bowie — His Loser Protagonist Vic in Jazzin' for Blue Jean claims to be on the list, so the bouncer at the door waves him through. Inside, the clerk with the list quickly figures out he's a phony: He's reading off of it to get a name to use — and the people just coming in are the actual names in question! She hides the list from him and his ruse falls apart.

  • On later stages of The Party Zone, the player must Make a Request before entering the Cosmic Cottage; failure to do so causes Da Bouncer to kick him out.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • A running gag on Muppets Tonight was the guest star trying to get in and being stopped by security guard Bobo the bear who had to check if they were on the list. The ultimate example probably being with guest star Prince... during his "formerly known as" phase.
    Prince: I'm the artist formerly known as Prince.
    Bobo: And I'm the bear currently known as not amused.
  • In the The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, "Horton Has a Hit", Morton the Elephant Bird tries to get into the theater where his father, Horton, is performing, to stop a World Tour that Yertle the Turtle is planning to take him on afterwards. The Security Guard refuses to let him in, telling him he's not on the guest list. Morton asks him who is, and he checks his list and tells him, "Everyone except Morton the Elephant Bird". Upon hearing this, Morton leaves, then comes back in a Coat Hat and Mask disguise so the Security Guard will let him in.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "The Harder They Clone". The doorman at an illegal club tells the Troubleshooters they aren't on the list and can't get in.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 2 has the Afterlife club. A human is using this with an elcor bouncer.
    "Aria's expecting me. Ugh."
    "Coldly: If she was expecting you, you would already be inside."
    • In the sequel's Citadel DLC, if he's invited to Shepard's house party, Grunt appoints himself doorman. Nobody's on the list.
      Grunt: Yes, I like pie. And no, you can't come in.
      Commander Shepard doesn't have a half-brother named "Sheppy the Volus".
      You just lost the fight for your right to party.
      Definitely no mimes allowed. There's no box, there never was!
      You again? I thought you were dead. You can't come in.
      You're selling cookies? Uh...well...No. I shouldn't let you in. Damn.
      (to Shepard) It's easy. Just push this button and say "no!"
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you have to get into the most popular nightclub in Hengsha, the Hive. The bouncer doesn't even have a list, he just says that only members are allowed in. Fortunately, membership is as easy as one thousand credits. Alternative methods include finding the back entrance, punching the bouncer in the face or stealing someone else's membership card.
  • PAYDAY 2 - The bouncer at the Tasteful Club subverts this:
    Bouncer: Sorry guys, you're not on the list...Ah, whatever. You guys seem like class-acts.
  • Comes up in Tak and the Power of Juju, where Tak has to get into a certain area. The Juju spirit guarding it has to check to see if Tak is on the list first, and spends an annoyingly long time doing so. Luckily, Tak's name is on the list, so the Juju opens the door...right onto Tak.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, you cannot get into Joker's Party if you are not on the list as a Thug explains to Batman. He looks down his list through all the B's and seeing Batman is on it, lets him through. Ironically if you look at the list yourself, you will see it just has BATMAN!!! written on it.
  • Subverted in DmC: Devil May Cry, in which Dante brashly approaches Lilith's Club and gets stopped by the bouncer, who rejects him because he's actually not on the list. Dante's response? Uppercut the bouncer, knocking him unconscious, then add insult to injury by writing "Fuck you" on the bouncer's list and jokingly saying "I am now!" and barging into the club uninvited.
  • As an inversion of Must Be Invited, the Gatekeeper in Darkest Dungeon holds an invitation from one of the Courtyard's bosses. He will check if you're on the list, and dismiss a party member, causing stress damage. If you want the invitation, you will have to kill him for it.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner - In the Strong Bad Email "nightlife", Strong Bad goes to Club Technochocolate.
    Strong Bad: [narrating] Of course, the club only lets the freshest clientele inside. But my name has been laser-etched into the guest list by now.
    Strong Mad: NAME, PLEASE!
    Strong Bad: Come on, man, drop the act! I've gotta get into the pwahty cloughb!
    Strong Mad: (looking at a grease-stained Blubb-O's bag) YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST!
    Strong Bad: "The list"? You're looking at a greasy bag of fast food!
    Strong Mad: DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF! (laughs)
    Strong Bad: Wait, what? Strong Mad, did you just make a joke? That was pretty good.


    Western Animation 
  • Hercules: The Animated Series, "Hercules and the Prom": Herc is trying to sneak into the Underworld to save Orpheus. This is the second type.
    Hercules: But I'm on the list.
    Panic: Oh, yeah? Well, guess what? There is no list.
    Hercules: Then how do you know I'm not on it?
    Pain: He's got you there.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar, "All King, No Kingdom": After King Julien divides the lemur habitat into his side and Maurice and Mort's side, the latter throws a party on their side. Julien tries to get in, but the gorillas stop him, saying that he's not on the list. After checking again, they find Julien on the list... of whom not to let in.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer tries to get into Flaming Moe's. The bouncer tells him "Your name's not on the list," and Homer rightly points out that he didn't even tell him his name. Of course, he then does tell him, and it isn't on the list.
  • In a DuckTales (1987) comic in Disney Adventures, Huey, Dewey and Louie try to get into a party for criminals by posing as a new gang called "The Danger Ducks". They're tied up and held captive out the back, until Webby arrives and manages to forge their name on the list before rescuing them. The bouncer is fooled and is instantly apologetic.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode Best Day Ever Spongebob is not allowed into Squidward's clarinet recital because his name wasn't on the list. At the end, the guard realizes Spongebob was on the VIP list, but by the time Spongebob gets in, Squidward's recital is over.
  • Played extensively in King of the Hill episode Smoking and the Bandit. Started when Peggy tailing Hank, Dale, Bobby, and Joseph in pursuit of the "smoking bandit". Peggy thought they went to the nightclub, but she's stopped by the bouncer. She tries giving various names since she's not "on the list" and also holding back the line. When she's finally allowed inside, she couldn't cover the $12 charge.
  • Conversed in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, when Lucy can't believe Charlie Brown got invited to a Halloween party.
    Lucy: There were two lists, Charlie Brown: those to invite and those not to invite. You must have been put on the wrong list.
  • An episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has Ami and Ymi take advantage of this trope. Because they're not on the list to get into Kaz's party, they change his name on the clipboard to "Raz" to get the bouncer to kick him out.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Access Denied", Mordecai and Rigby tried to get in to the nightclub to enjoy Margaret's birthday party. However, the doorman rejects them from going in because they're not on the list. Unfortunately, it turns out that they went to the wrong club.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Chez Platypus", Candace and Jeremy decide to have a dinner date in the restaurant that Phineas and Ferb built in the backyard. However, Candace grows impatient when Buford refuses to let them in resulting in them spending the entire night waiting outside the restaurant until it is sold to monster trucker leaving only the tables for Candace and Jeremy.
  • In The Batman episode "Call of the Cobblepot", The Penguin, in his civilian identity of Oswald Cobblepot, tries to enter one of Bruce Wayne's parties. Alfred says he's not on the list. Penguin retaliates by stealing the list and then robbing everyone who was on it, one by one.
  • Animaniacs (1993): In "Critical Condition", Slappy uses "not on the list" to deny two film critics entrance to a film premiere - despite their invitations. They'd severely ticked her off criticizing some of her old cartoons, and this is just the beginning of her revenge.
  • FudÍncio e Seus Amigos: In "Champa Avonts", Conrado throws a party and the bouncer doesn't let the rest of the gang enter, since they're not on the list. However, they get access to the names of the people on the list and impersonate them to be allowed in. This works for almost all of them, except one, since the real deal actually showed up.
  • Inversion: in The Pink Panther cartoon "Sink Pink," a big game hunter schemes to corral as many animals as he can using the story of Noah's Ark as a blueprint. As the hunter checks a list of what he's obtained, he sees pink panthers on it but none are on board his ark. Our pink hero proceeds to troll the hunter through the cartoon and has a rare final word: "Why can't man be more like animals?"
  • Tiny Toons Looniversity: At the end of "Save the Loo Bru", Montana Max tries to get into the Loo Bru to see a stage show featuring Brinessa Bunny and Ruth Less (Bugs and Buster in drag). Dizzy Devil is working as a bouncer and refuses to let him in, saying he's not on the list. When Monty tells Dizzy that he paid to have his name put on the list, Dizzy tells him that he refused to put his name on the list because he tried to tear down the Loo Bru in the first place.

    Real Life 
  • One person who was not invited to the lavish 1821 coronation of George IV as king of the United Kingdom was his estranged wife and nominal queen consort, Caroline of Brunswick. Despite this, Caroline and an entourage came to the coronation at Westminster Abbey anyway, where she intended to assert her right as queen to be crowned and anointed alongside him. Guards refused her entry even though they were well aware of who she was, saying no one could be admitted without a ticket; Caroline insisted she didn't need a ticket because she was queen. Caroline tried several side and back entrances but had doors slammed in her face each time, and finally gave up and left.


Video Example(s):


Luna-Class and Above Only

There's a bouncer keeping people out of the Starfleet party. Boimler bluffs his way in as his clone on the Titan, but Mariner and the rest of the senior staff aren't allowed in.

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Main / NotOnTheList

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