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"I only tell the truth when it makes it sound like I'm lying."
April Ludgate, Parks and Recreation
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Remember, kids, it isn't lying if you tell the truth in a sarcastic tone of voice!

The Main Characters are all trying to hold up the Masquerade, but the Nosy Neighbor is sniffing around, trying to figure out the secret. They won't settle for the standard excuses, and you can't convincingly make up something new on the spot. What's a Secret Keeper to do?

Simple: Tell the truth, but in a tone of voice that suggests you don't mean a word of it. ("Yeah. Of course my roommate is a vampire. I'm so sorry I forgot to invite you to his coffin-warming party.") This usually will get them off your case, plus if they actually do meet your vampire roommate one day, they'll be less likely to take him seriously.

Occasionally results in the trope user being hurt that no-one believes that he/she could have done what they sarcastically confessed to. It can also be used to lampshade the absurdity of the plot or setting.

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See also Clark Kenting, Appeal to Audacity. Contrast with Cassandra Truth. A Cassandra Gambit is a large-scale non-sarcastic version of this. Compare You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You. Suspiciously Specific Denial can drift into this trope. The third type of Framing the Guilty Party may overlap. A particularly crafty character might use it as a form of Public Secret Message. It also may be a ploy for someone who's considered Too Funny to Be Evil. Compare and contrast "Just Joking" Justification.

Note that a Sarcastic Confession is one which the confessing party intends will not be taken seriously. Otherwise, it's an Ignored Confession.

We advise you to never try this in Real Life, particularly if you are being questioned by police. In some cases, the authorities in question are legally obligated to take anything you say at face value and act accordingly.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch tells Euphemia about his Geass ability being able to force anyone he uses it on to do absolutely anything he tells them to. As an example, he jokingly tells her that if he orders her to kill all Japanese people, she would have to do it. Prior to this incident, he was able to use his Geass ability at will, but during this conversation he loses the ability to control it, and it stays on permanently. Which means the sarcastic order he gave her became an absolute one, and she went out to immediately order the slaughter of innocent Japanese people who she had been trying to help.
  • Subverted in Haruhi Suzumiya. Early in the series, Kyon calls up Haruhi to hang out alone at a local café and uses the opportunity to reveal the truth of everything that's happened so far in a long conversation. Despite him being sincere, she still does not believe Kyon because he had already established himself as the Deadpan Snarker by that point, and is annoyed that he wasted her time.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!, chapter 82:
    Chao: You want to know my real identity?
    Setsuna: That's right!
    Chao: Hehehe... sometimes I'm a Chinese inventor full of mystery. Sometimes I'm a treasure box inside the class, a Mad Scientist. Sometimes I'm the number one genius inside the academy, and sometimes I'm the boss of the popular Chinese stand "Chao Bao Zi". My real identity is... AN ALIEN FROM MARS!!
    Setsuna: WHAT KIND OF JOKE IS THIS!!
    • During the Magical World arc, we find out that the layout of the world they are on is similar to the planet Mars, and that "joke" that Chao made earlier really IS a Cassandra Truth.
  • In Black Butler, some torturers tell Sebastian (who is a demon disguised as a butler) that he'd better confess or they'll hurt him. He admits that he was responsible for the Black Death, but since that was 500 years ago, they don't believe him.
  • Kida does this for Mikado in Durarara!! when some of Mikado's classmates overhear them talking about Mika staying at Mikado's apartment.
  • In a filler episode of One Piece, Zoro is captured by the Marines and questioned by an officer about how they infiltrated their base. He sarcastically tells them the truth—they dropped in from the sky with the help of a giant octopus balloon. The officer thinks he's mocking him.
  • Early in FLCL, Noata asks Haruko what she is. One of her sarcastic responses is "I'm an alien".
  • Bleach: While Zangetsu watches silently from the sidelines, Ichigo fights his inner hollow. The inner hollow tells him that he is the real Zangetsu. He's mocking Ichigo at the time, having taken Zangetsu off Ichigo and placed an asauchi in Ichigo's hands instead. It takes Ichigo most of the fight to pay attention and realize he needs to prove himself to the silent Zangetsu to deserve another chance. Once Zangetsu accepts his resolve, Ichigo doesn't simply taken back the form of his sword, he converts the inner hollow to his color scheme in the process. The real confession that Ichigo never once cottoned on to is that the inner hollow really is the real Zangetsu. Old Man Zangetsu was his Quincy power and the inner hollow was the true form of his Shinigami power.
  • In Dance in the Vampire Bund, after noticing odd behavior from Princess Mina Tepes in the month since a fearsome attack on her domain, Akira Regendorf asks if she is hiding anything from him and is told "I'm not really Mina, I'm an impostor... I traded places with the real Mina, and sent her off into the darkness. She is gone now and will never come back." Even as Akira chides the Undead Child before him for her tasteless joke, the actual Mina Tepes is hiding in a New York alleyway having escaped Duke Rozemann.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman, as Bruce Wayne, was once called for Jury Duty and stated that he would not be a suitable juror because he was Batman, and helped apprehend the criminal. No one believed him, because everyone knows Bruce Wayne is a fop and an utter dope (he later told Robin that, since he was under oath, he had no choice but to admit that he was Batman).
  • In an issue of Justice League of America, white Martians start controlling the minds of people in an attempt to ruin the lives of the Justice League. They force Dick Grayson to cut the Bat-Rope while Batman is dangling from it, send an angry mob after Jimmy Olsen, etc. One of their tricks is to briefly take control of Lois Lane while she and Clark are at the Daily Planet, and have her rip open Clark's suit and expose him as Superman. Immediately afterward she comes to her senses and tries to fix it via this trope. With Clark's super-speedy help she is able to make it look like a prank by ripping open an intern's suit as well, revealing that he suddenly has a Batman shirt underneath. However, when she attempts to continue the gag by ripping open her own shirt and exposing herself as Wonder Woman Clark isn't fast enough and she ends up just... exposing herself.
  • In Supergirl/Batgirl story Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Barbara Gordon is signing books, and a customer asks how she gets so many details:
    Customer: Ms. Gordon — your books are so real! How do you get so many details?
    Barbara: I'm secretly Batgirl.
    Customer: No, really!
    [laughs]
  • Spider-Man:
    • In an early issue, Spidey is injured in battle with the Vulture and spends the rest of the issue with his arm in a sling, telling people he hurt it in P.E. Betty refuses to believe this is the case and asks him for the truth:
      Peter: It happened when I was fighting the Vulture in mid-air for dear life.
      Betty: Oh well. Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.
    • In another issue, Mary Jane's Aunt Anna confronts her with the evidence that Peter is constantly sneaking off at all hours and meeting with strange people, so obviously he's having an affair. MJ sarcastically explains that the real reason he does that stuff is because he's Spider-Man.
    • In a strip from the Newspaper comic, Jameson demands to know how Peter always gets such good photos of Spider-Man. Peter comes out and says it's because he is Spider-Man and Jameson kicks him out of the office complaining that he can "never get a straight answer out of Parker".
    • In yet another issue, this is an essential part of the villain's plan. The assassin the Foreigner promises Spidey that he'll turn himself in if the hero simply hears him out and helps him. Later, he keeps his word, telling the police that he's a murderer. However, as he expected, the cops believe he's a just a crackpot, and he's quickly released. (This is a brilliant move on the Foreigner's part, seeing as he's such a good assassin, only a select few people even know who he is, and there are almost no police files on him. The authorities simply don't know about him.)
    • In the newspaper comic, Jameson to interviews Spider-Man (hate him or not, he sells a lot of papers...). Jameson asks where he got his powers, then indignantly dismisses the "bitten by a radioactive spider" story as something Spidey made up to mock him.
  • A Running Gag in the revived Spider-Man 2099 is that whenever Miguel displays future knowledge or lacks knowledge of the present, he simply tells people that he's a time traveller, they assume he's joking, and all is well.
    • Actually, this is a constant in Peter David and his works. Almost any of his comics will have at least a few scenes of a character explaining a bizarre event or action with the utter truth and isn't believed one bit.
  • Cormor from The Dungeon Series is an automaton and therefore cannot lie. At the beginning of his life, it gets him into all sort of trouble. After a few centuries, he's gotten good enough at Sarcastic Confession to build a whole life as an undercover automaton.
  • Marvel 1602:
    • The Grand Inquisitor's messenger Petros is asked by King James of Scotland how he manages to carry a message from there to Spain and back in only a few days. His response? "I ran very fast, sir." Naturally, King James remarks on how funny he is.
    • Subverted when an inquisitor investigating the witchbreed insiders takes his statement at face value to use it as a confession.
  • From a Big Top story arc, where Dusty has been secretly replaced by a robot duplicate:
    Dustybot: Pete. Tell me a secret, please.
    Pete: What? What's with you? You've been acting really weird. Why do you want to hear secrets?
    Dustybot: It is my primary objective. I have been programmed for intelligence collection.
    Pete: Oh, ha ha. Seriously, what's up?
    Dustybot: I'm just needy. Hold me, human.
  • Summed up neatly in Darkhawk with the line, "The best way to keep a good secret is to tell everybody—then nobody believes you."
  • Subverted in Spider-Woman, a police officer asks Jessica what her Skrull-detecting watch is. She tells him it's a watch, but he doesn't believe her. So she tells him it's an alien detector. To her surprise, he nods and asks her how it works. After all, there's a dead alien in the morgue, and Spider-Woman put it there, so that makes sense.
  • This was how the Metans operated in Ditko's version of Shade, the Changing Man: their outpost on Earth was disguised as a conspiracy theory insisting Metans were among us.
  • The Flash:
    • The Trickster does this in the prelude to Blue Devil.
      Security Guard: Hiya, Mr. Jesse! What brings you here? I heard you was working over at Associated Pictures!
      Trickster: That's right, Fred... I'm just here to steal the Blue Devil costume!
      Security Guard: Ha ha! Always with the jokes!
    • Barry Allen does this in a classic Silver Age Flash comic. (This one, if you're curious.) When Iris wonders aloud about the timing of Barry's absences, he just casually tells her she's right: "One and one still makes one! I'm the Flash!" Naturally, this flippant claim convinces Iris he's not.
  • The Punisher 2099:
    • A police department shrink strongly suspects that Jake Gallows is the Punisher (spoiler: he is) and barges into his home for a surprise visit/inspection/psych evaluation. When she starts questioning him Jake confesses that he's the Punisher, and he has a bunch of criminals locked up in his basement, and he's just been down there beating one of them half to death for kicks. He even offers to show her the Punisher costume he keeps in the bedroom. Of course she brushes all this off as misplaced anger over the death of his family. Little did she know that every word of it was true.
    • Subverted later when he feels attracted to her and feels bad for lying to her, so he actually confeses to being The Punisher. She doesn't believe him at first, and thinks he's being sarcastic like the first time. He then proceeds to prove it.
  • Hitman: Tommy Monaghan and his friend Nat the Hat are moving boxes of ammunition into his apartment when a neighbor asks what's in them. He tells her that they're full of guns and ammo, because he's a hitman, and he also has telepathy and x-ray vision. All true, but so absurd she doesn't believe him, and they end up dating. Some time later, a hit goes bad and he turns up on her doorstep shot up and covered in blood... She does not take this well.
  • Done strangely twice by Donald Duck in Double Duck:
    • The first time, tired of lying to her, he admits to Daisy he's a spy. Daisy, who previously fell for Donald's immense bullshit, believes it's a joke.
    • The second time Daisy has found out that Donald is a spy, and is asking him if he has other secrets. He tells her he's also Paperinik, Duckburg's own superhero/vigilante. She believes him (not that it matters, given she gets her memory wiped of the whole adventure soon after). The other agents don't.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust:
    • Before going out Misato asks Shinji and Asuka if they will be alright by themselves. Asuka replies: "Please, Misato. I can handle baka-Shinji. Somehow, I will control myself against his suave, Don Juan-like charms and not let him ravish me. [...] He and I will eat dinner, wash, and I'll send him right to bed." Meaning her bed.
    • Rei says in front of Hikari and Touji that Shinji and Asuka are screwing up each other like rabbits in such a way everybody believe she is joking (she is not):
      Asuka rolled her eyes at him. "You're our friends and need our support right now, and this is serious NERV business. Shinji and I are more than mature enough to stop fussing and focus when it's important."
      Behind them, Rei quietly said, "Mature? As soon as no one's looking they're constantly making out, really. They're like bonobos on Spring Break. Nothing but 'whumpa, whumpa, whumpa' all the time." There was no change in her usual perfectly deadpan tone.
      Shinji and Asuka froze. 'Oh Holy shit! Rei, what happened to keeping that secret?!' Shinji thought frantically. Touji and Hikari gaped in shock for a moment before exploding into laughter.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, when Kyon's mother asks him if he's stopped being a delinquent, he replies that he's skipped straight to joining the yakuza.
    • Kyon uses Sarcastic Confessions many more times in the same fic, including the following gem to Sasaki, the resident Agent Scully:
      Let's see... I have to have a conversation with past instances of several people, rescue an heiress from twelve boryokudan thugs, arrange for an alien artifact to be delivered, and... hum, tomorrow is Tuesday, so I really should study for that math test, too.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Shinji goes out and gets Asuka some of her favorite chocolates to cheer her up. Misato spots this and asks where he got them.
    Shinji:"I am in reality Superman. I flew to Germany, bought Asuka a box of chocolates, and flew back just in time to sneak in here before anyone saw me."
  • Thousand Shinji: Shinji is a master at lying by telling the truth. In a scene Misato walks into Shinji and Asuka sprawled out over the floor after making out. So Shinji tells:
    “This is exactly what it looks. Asuka and I were making out so hot and heavily that we tipped over and broke the chair.”
    • Later Asuka asks him how he got them out of that mess earlier, and Shinji explains the theory:
      Asuka:“Anyway, how did you do that earlier?”
      Shinji:“In situations where denial or dishonesty is expected, the truth can often be dismissed as fabrication. Control of a situation is not just based off what you do, but what others expect you to do,”
      Asuka:“You… lied by telling the truth?”
      Shinji:“Think of it like pretending to make a feint in combat. If your opponent expects you to feint, if you follow through then the expected strike was the lie while the feint was a real attack,”
      Asuka:“Okay, that makes a bit more sense when put into those terms,”
  • In the Rurouni Kenshin fanfic To See You Again, when Yuriko's parents demand to know what's been going on for the past forty chapters or so, she says, "[Kenshin] came through a time-warp, and I'm the reincarnation of his wife." She also said, "I mean, he's not like a hundred and fifty!" Of course, this is exactly what happened. Yuriko's father actually figured out it was the truth by the epilogue. He was cool with it.
  • In the Harry Potter Peggy Sue fanfiction Oh God Not Again!, Harry constantly tells the truth about how he knows certain things, stating specifically that no one would believe the truth anyway.
    • A notable example:
      Dumbledore: I am quite curious: how do you know so much about the attacks?
      Harry: I've come back from the future.
      Dumbledore: Indeed.
      Harry: Oh, yes. Of course, when I'm from, Ginny Weasley had the Diary and was attacking only Muggleborns, Sirius Black was completely innocent of the crimes he was sent to Azkaban for—without a trial—and escaped next year, Draco Malfoy is the Master of the Elder Wand, and Snape helps euthanize you.
      Dumbledore: Indeed. How did you come back, if you don't mind me asking?
      Harry: Drapery accident. It was very traumatic.
      Dumbledore: I wish you would be honest with me, Harry.
  • In A Hero, a Doctor Who and Puella Magi Madoka Magica crossover fanfic, Dalek Sec introduces himself like so: "I AM AN IM-PERIAL-IS-TIC SPACE NAZI."
  • At one point in the Danny Phantom fic Ghost Zone Experience, Maddie angrily tells Danny (when he's in his ghost form) not to swipe their ghost hunting equipment (again). After a moment, he cheekily replies with "Yes, mother."
  • A quick snippet between Yugito and A:
    "Yes, Raikage-sama. While I was in Konoha, I met people who can travel between dimensions, several people who came back through time to prevent Armageddon, more than half of the jinchuriki in the world, learned of a secret organization that wants to take over the elemental nations, and met the creator of all the known universes in existence. It was a very enlightening experience."
  • In George Weasley and the Computational Error, George isn't allowed to admit that he's a time traveler for a year, but whenever he's questioned about his identity (at least when he's possessing his younger self) he does admit that he's George Weasley. At one point, he lays claim to all the other names he's acquired throughout canon as being identifiers for him, including "Harry Potter" and "Tentacula".
  • Comes up in Honesty is the Best Policy during an interrogation.
    Leon: Next question—have you ever practiced sorcery?
    Merlin: Oh, yeah—all the time. Like an idiot, every day I practice magic right under Uther's nose, right here in the very heart of Camelot. In fact, I use it around you knights a fair bit, too—not that you lot have ever noticed. In between mucking out the stables, scrubbing floors, being used as a target, and cleaning Arthur's socks—I'm enchanting weapons and scrub brushes, lighting fires with my incredible powers and then learning new spells at night, holed up with my secret spell book. You see—I'm actually an all-powerful sorcerer. I just still feel this strange need to scrub Arthur's floors and let him throw things at me.
    Leon: Honestly, Merlin, you shouldn't joke about such things.
  • In Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything, after Kiyomi learned that her father had an affair while her mother was pregnant, she worries that Light might do the same to her. Light assures her "you're my affair". He'd been seeing L for years before he even met her. L does this too when he tells his steady boyfriend Stephen that he "fucks Prime Ministers".
  • In Back to the Roots, after being badgered about his past constantly, Ichigo finally says, "Aizen is going to rule the world, because he betrayed Soul Society and killed the Spirit King. I'm here to kill him before that happens because I'm a time traveler from the future. A future where you [Yoruichi] are a cat, and Kisuke Urahara owns a Candy-Shop." Shusui and Yoruichi find this story hilarious. Even Aizen, who's eavesdropping, thinks Ichigo is crazy.
  • In the final chapter of Death Note II The Hidden Note, KJ tells Angela that he's writing his cause of death in a journal he brought with him. When she asks why, he tells her that he's Kira, her dad Nate River isn't insane, the journal he's writing in is actually a Death Note disguised as a journal, his mother and father are Shinigami now, and they're there to see him as he finishes being the new Kira. To which she smiles and says that if he didn't want to tell the truth, he could have just said so.
  • In Harry Potter and the Marauders of the Mind, Harry is looking for a book which supposedly tells how to become the Master of Death so he can create new bodies for the spirits of his parents, Sirius, and Remus. During his search, he mentions it to Andromeda Tonks.
    Andromeda: So are you going to tell me why you need Sacrum Obitus?
    Harry: So I can become the Master of Death. Obviously.
    Andromeda: Of course. How silly of me.
  • In Once More with Feeling, Lelouch gets called by Suzaku during the Saitama battle, asking where he is.
    Lelouch: I'm in the middle of a life-or-death battle with the Emperor's forces.
    Suzaku: Uh-huh, and I'm actually Zero.
  • In Strangely Literal during a conversation about true intentions, Xander asks Cameron what her true intentions are.
    Xander: (After studying her expression) "Not even a hint of a smile. You are good."
  • Whenever asked what he is in The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor, Naruto will flippantly tell people he's a god. Likewise if he's asked how he became a god, he'll tell the questioner that he killed a zombie, let his wife eat a primordial god, then she fed him the fruit of life to make him a god as well.
  • In Dreams Harry is sent back to his second year at Hogwarts when he's hit by a spell, then time-jumps again to fourth year after Ron beats him up for dating Ginny. Hermione becomes suspicious.
    Hermione: Don't just sit there. Say something!
    Harry: What do you want me to say Hermione? That I'm some sort of time or inter-dimensional traveller switching places with my alternate self at random times?
    Hermione: No!...I don't know! I just wish I knew what was going on.
  • Ladybug in a Half Shell: When Chloe accidentally kisses Casey Jone's cheek thinking he was Adrien, Nino was holding Donatello’s camera, capturing all of it. He tells her that the footage has already uploaded to his computer and he was already emailing it to her entire class. When she demands to know where he lives to that she can sue him properly, Casey Jones tells her where Donatello lives knowing that she won’t believe him.
  • In chapter 4 of On Love Squares, Triangles, and Pairings Simple, Alya insists that Marinette explain how she went from being unable to even talk to Adrien to kissing him over a single weekend. Marinette responds by telling her exactly how it happened:
    Marinette: Well, if you must know, he showed up on my balcony last night, serenaded me with Disney tunes, carried me off to the Eiffel Tower for a romantic midnight dinner, plied me with champagne, and declared his eternal love for me. That good enough for you?
    Alya: (rolls eyes) Fine, keep it your secret for now.
  • Across The Time:
    Nearly-Headless Nick: If only our dear Harry would tell us what his secret is.
    Harry: Alright, fine. What if I tell you guys that I'm not from here? What if I tell you that I came from the distant future and in that future I am the best auror ever live - or so they told me, and I was trained to handle both human and magical creatures such as ghost as well?
    Hermione: If you didn't want to answer our questions in an honest and truthful way then just say it. You don't have to blurt all those crazing things just like what you did on the train.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku "warns" Obi-Wan that the Sith control the Galactic Republic, knowing that he won't be believed. He conveniently avoids saying that the Trade Federation is still working for Darth Sidious and that Dooku himself is a Sith Lord named Tyranus, however. The Expanded Universe implies, though, that even at this point he might want to kill Sidious, without consciously realizing that such urges are perfectly natural for a Sith (of course, he also lied a handful of times in the same conversation. He's quite the Manipulative Bastard).
    • The Jedi Council, for their part, aren't sure if he was lying or not- although they clearly see that he was trying to sow seeds of mistrust between them and the Senate, they nonetheless agree that they need to be wary of the Senate, which by Revenge of the Sith bites them hard as Master Windu tries to kill Chancellor Palpatine- revealed to be the Dark Lord himself- rather than expose him to a corrupt Senate that he thinks the Jedi will need to take over in order to prevent the Republic falling into chaos, which allows Palpatine to make his own sarcastic confession and say that the Jedi tried to kill him and take over the Republic, thus he was fully justified in purging them. He is 100% right when he tells the Senate this, he just leaves out the fact that he himself is pure evil and Windu was trying to stop him.
  • In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Professor Browne rants that the weakness of the criminal mind is "you tell them the complete truth and they'll believe nothing!" He says this right in front of the bad guys whom he proceeds to pull this on. They fall for it.
  • In Calendar Girls, Chris enters a store-bought cake into a baking contest, which it wins. When the judges call her up to share the secrets of her success, she says that she followed her mother's advice, the last part of which is to buy one at the store. Everyone thinks she's kidding.
  • Happens in Dial M for Murder in the most blatant way possible.
  • In No Country for Old Men, Llewelyn Moss discovers the scene of a drug deal gone awry—along with a satchel containing two million dollars. Upon taking it home, his wife asks what's inside the satchel, where he promptly answers "It's fulla money."
  • The Girl Next Door: "Do those girls go to your school?" "No, actually, they're porn stars."
  • In Hard Candy, Hayley jokingly says early on that "Four out of five doctors agree that I am actually insane." Later, she repeats it, not at all jokingly.
  • In Bruges:
    • Ray, a hitman whose first job (assassinating a priest) went horribly awry when he accidentally killed a little boy, is asked during a date what he does for a living.
    Ray: I shoot people for money.
    Chloe: What kinds of people?
    Ray: Priests, children, you know. The usual.
    Chloe: Is there a lot of money to be made in that business?
    Ray: There is for priests, there isn't for children.
    • The film applies this trope to other characters too. But since the movie doesn't take place from their perspective, the audience finds themselves on the receiving end of sarcastic confessions and are not sure whether the character is telling the truth or just being sarcastic.
  • In Little Big Man, Jack Crabb tells General Custer in the final battle scene exactly what's going to happen if he charges forward. Crabb gives Custer the information because he knows that he won't be believed, and he isn't.
  • In Practical Magic, Sally Owens accidentally kills Jimmy Angelov with an overdose of belladonna, and then after she and her sister resurrect him as a homicidal revenant, she is forced to kill him again. Later in the film, when lawman Gary Hallet asks her if she killed Angelov, she answers—perfectly truthfully and with a flippant tone—"Oh, yeah. A couple of times."
  • In Red Eye, there was a minor case of this. Jackson Rippner is very unhappy about his meaningful name...
    Lisa: That wasn't very nice of your parents.
    Jackson: No! That's what I told them! Right before I killed them.
    • The dialogue first third of that film is almost entirely composed of Sarcastic Confessions, until he makes it clear he's not joking.
  • Cardinal Richelieu does this in The Three Musketeers (1993). King Louis tells the Cardinal that he's heard rumors that he is planning to betray him. Richelieu responds:
    Richelieu: Ah, yes. That is usually the first. Let me see if I remember it correctly. While the English attack from without, the wicked Cardinal undermines from within, forging a secret alliance with Buckingham and placing himself on the throne. But really, Your Majesty, why stop there? I have heard much more festive variations. I make oaths with pagan gods, seduce the queen in her own chamber, teach pigs to dance and horses to fly, and keep the moon carefully hidden within the folds of my robe. Have I forgotten anything?
    • A scene or two before he'd tried to seduce the queen in her bath chamber, too!
  • In Nighthawks, the Big Bad is flirting with a girl when she asks him what he does for a living.
    "I'm an international terrorist wanted for bombings all over the world, and a lady-killer."
  • In Closer, Larry ask Alice (while she works as his stripper) what her real name is, and spends a good amount of money on it. She tells him it's Jane Jones. That being a rather unusual name, he doesn't believe her of course. At the end of the movie, we see her passport...
  • In The Accidental Golfer, Bruno at one point is asked by his wife who just called him. He says truthfully that it was his lover. "Haha." his wife sarcastically answers.
  • In Road to Perdition, a waitress asks Michael Sullivan and his son what they are doing in the middle of nowhere. Michael Sullivan Jr answers that they are bank robbers in an innocent voice. She treats this as a joke and doesn't look into the string of bank robberies following the gangster and his son across America.
  • In Liar Liar, Jim Carrey is cursed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (at least as he perceives it) for a whole day, and unable to lie by omission or even remain silent. Naturally, he is asked what he really thinks of his bosses right in front of them. He gets out of the situation by taking it so far over the top that everyone thinks he's roasting them. He also attempts to trick the judge into adjourning for the day by beating himself up and then giving the judge a description of who did it (i.e. a desperate man). It almost works, until the judge asks him if he's able to continue. He's forced to say yes.
  • True Lies shows that even under a Truth Serum, the bad guys don't believe Arnie when he says he's gonna kill 'em.
  • In Creature with Atom Brain the forensic scientist, Chet Walker, is so annoyed by the press badgering him to give them details about the murder that he goes right out and tells them that the murder was committed by an undead monster with radioactive blood. They all get mad at him.
  • In The Breakfast Club, principal Richard Vernon tries to publicly shame John Bender for having pulled a false fire alarm, leading to his detention:
    Vernon: What would you do if your home, your family... your dope was on fire?
    Bender: Impossible, sir, it's in Johnson's underwear.
    • Of course, earlier in the film he had indeed tucked his bag of weed into Brian Johnson's pants.
  • In For a Few Dollars More, the Man With No Name joins a gang of robbers with the intent of getting close to their leader and kill him for the bounty on his head. His answer to the question why he wants to join: "Well, with such a big reward being offered on all of you gentlemen, I thought I might just tag along on your next robbery, might just turn you in to the law".
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow does this with the two bickering redcoats, then points out that he knew they wouldn't believe him.
      Mullroy: What's your purpose in Port Royal, Mr. Smith?
      Murtogg: Yeah, and no lies.
      Jack Sparrow: Well, then, I confess, it is my intention to commandeer one of these ships, pick up a crew in Tortuga, raid, pillage, plunder and otherwise pilfer my weasely black guts out.
      Murtogg: I said no lies.
      Mullroy: I think he's telling the truth.
      Murtogg: If he were telling the truth, he wouldn't have told us.
      Jack Sparrow: Unless, of course, he knew you wouldn't believe the truth even if he told it to you.
    • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Angelica tells Jack that she's convinced Blackbeard she's his daughter. He's understandably confused when it turns out she convinced him by virtue of it being true.
      Jack Sparrow: You lied to me... by telling the truth?
      Angelica: Yes.
      Jack Sparrow: That is very good, may I use that?
  • Show Me Love: Elin mixes this with Not Listening to Me, Are You? and adds in a pile of "Really needs to say this aloud to another person."
    [she and her mother is watching TV. Her mother is engrossed in the show]
    Elin: [out of the blue] Mom, I am a lesbian. I am a homosexual.
    [her mother looks up from the TV, have clearly only heard one half of what she said]
    Elin: ...just kidding.
    [Mom looks bewildered and then mentally shrugs and returns to her show]
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: When Lincoln's love interest Mary Todd asked Abe in a picnic why he was tired, he told her that he had been killing vampires at night, knowing full well that Mary would think he was joking.
  • In Red Lights, Sally and Tom are watching Matheson getting torn apart during a televised debate, and Tom tells Sally he hopes Matheson doesn't end up using the "dog and bone" analogy. When she does, Sally asks Tom how he knows, and Tom replies sarcastically, "because I'm psychic". The Twist Ending is that he actually is.
  • It's a Running Gag in Grosse Pointe Blank that no one ever believes Martin when, after being asked what he does for a living, he tells them he's a professional killer.
    Debi: [after learning the truth] You were joking! People joke all the time about the horrible things they do, they don't do them! It's absurd!
  • Ghost Ship: The major reveal in the film is innocuously foreshadowed pretty early on, but this only becomes clear in hindsight.
    Epps: Have you told anyone else about this?
    Ferriman: Not a living soul.
  • In Cabin by the Lake, horror writer and serial killer Stanley plainly tells his Hollywood agent over the phone that he's kidnapped a girl and is keeping her hostage to do some research for his script. She ignorantly tells him to drown the girl.
  • The Fugitive:
    • Dr. Richard Kimble has shaved off his beard and disguised himself as a doctor at a local hospital when a state trooper asks him if he's seen someone with Kimble's description, he says "Every time I look in the mirror, pal — except the beard, of course." Sounds risky, but it might have been more suspicious if he didn't acknowledge it.
    • Later in the same film, when the real killer is asked if he knew any reason why Dr. Kimble would come after him, he says "Well, hell yeah — I have a prosthetic arm. I must have murdered his wife, right?"
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, shortly after arriving in the past, Wolverine is confronted by some thugs who want to kill him for sleeping with their boss's daughter. Wolverine tries to convince them that it was his past self who did it and that they shouldn't be punishing him, all the while cracking some time travel jokes.
  • In 7 Zwerge, when questioned by the castle guard, Brummboss announces that he's there to bring freedom back to the land, defeat the false Queen, and free Snow White. The guard assumes he's applying for Court Jester and lets him in.
  • Done for a short time in The Princess Bride — Westley (still unable to move due to recently being Only Mostly Dead) taunts Humperdinck while lying in a bed with "It's possible, Pig, I might be bluffing. It's conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand," — then, he stands up.
  • From Day Night Day Night, when someone is assisting a girl who dropped her heavy backpack on the sidewalk, and is reluctant to receive help:
    "What you got in there, body parts?"
    "A bomb"
    "Stop joking."
  • In Presumed Innocent, Rusty says to the lawyer prosecuting him for the murder of his mistress "you're right—you're always right". The lawyer actually tells the judge about this "confession", to no avail.
  • Done non-verbally as a Moment of Awesome in the Mel Brooks' remake of To Be or Not to Be. The theater trope sneaks several dozen Jewish refugees past a theater full of Nazis by dressing them up as clowns and making their getaway part of the show. When an elderly couple begins to panic, one of the clowns puts on a Nazi hat and pretends to be a Gestapo officer, then slaps Stars of David on them and marches them out to uproarious laughter.
  • In Other Halves, when asked why she doesn't have a boyfriend, Jasmine responds, "Because I kill and eat all my sexual conquests." The viewer knows this is remarkably close to the truth.
  • Where Eagles Dare. Smith tells Schaffer the reason he's late is because he found a beautiful blonde woman lying in the snow. Said woman is an intelligence agent who parachuted in after the commando team and is secretly working with Smith.
  • The Post: As Bagdikian is bringing the Pentagon Papers on his flight back to D.C., the stewardess sees him trying to put a seatbelt on one of the boxes he has, and notes it must be precious cargo. Bagdikian responds, "It's just government secrets," which she laughs at.
  • Assault on Wall Street: After Jim begins assassinating bankers and stock brokers for their role in the financial crash, he meets up with his old police and security guard pals in their diner hang-out. When he brings up the recent killings, he sarcastically admits that he's the one behind it, but they take it as a joke. Still, it raises obvious doubts if one pays attention to their unnerved facial expressions.

    Jokes 

    Myths & Religion 
  • Horribly subverted in the story of Samson and Delilah. After lying about what his Achilles' Heel is three times, he tells the truth the fourth time, apparently expecting her not to believe him. He really should've seen it coming, though, since she did try all the other things he claimed would weaken him; there's really no reason to think she wouldn't give it a shot this time, too.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Muppets Tonight episode "The Cameo Show", when Charles Darwin and two police officers come across the Muppets carrying the dead body of Arsenio Hall (It Makes Sense in Context), and Darwin asks "what's in the bag, a dead body?", they sarcastically admit that they killed the guest star. And then when he asks what's really in the bag, after they make sure he doesn't have a warrant, Rizzo says that it's Arsenio Hall, and they all laugh again.

    Radio 
  • A common tactic in The Unbelievable Truth, in which panelists are given five truths to "smuggle" past the others in a lecture of Blatant Lies (sometimes, for example, by slipping them into long lists).
  • From the BBC radio adaptation of the Raffles story "Nine Points of the Law":
    Addenbrooke: To hear you talk, one would think you'd done this kind of thing before.
    Raffles: Oh, we have. We're the most notorious thieves in London, Bunny and I.
    Addenbrooke: Heaven help us all if you ever do take to that line of country, gentlemen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted the Sidereals have a charm (magic power), Avoiding The Truth Technique, just for doing this.

    Theatre 
  • In Norm Macdonald's 2017 standup special Hitler's Dog, Gossip, and Trickery, Norm describes a scenario in which a wife confronts her husband about the fact that he's been making eyes at her sister, and her husband responds with a sarcastic confession that grows more and more outlandish.
    Husband: Hey, the only reason I married you is to fuck your sister, right?
    Wife: No, I shouldn't have brought it up.
    Husband: No! Why wouldn't you bring it up? I mean, you're the victim in this whole thing. I remember at the vows, I kept thinking, "I am going to seduce every member of my wife's family. Regardless of gender."
  • At the climax of the film/play Arsenic and Old Lace, Mortimer uses sarcasm combined with Refuge in Audacity to convince the police captain that his old aunts are crazy when they casually confess to having thirteen bodies buried in their cellar. It helps that they've just signed papers committing themselves to a mental institution.
  • In Pygmalion, Henry Higgins is successfully (if secretly) passing off Eliza as a Duchess at a grand Ball; when he himself is asked his opinion of her, he says she's just a poor flower girl.
  • In the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Percy announces that he's the Scarlet Pimpernel in the middle of the royal ball, much to the amusement of all present.
  • In The Goat, Martin uses a sarcastic confession to test the waters before he flat out confesses to his wife that he's been sleeping with the title character. She laughs it off.
  • After the title character of Tartuffe is caught making a move on his host's wife, the guy who caught him immediately runs off to tell on him to said host, Orgon. Tartuffe responds by saying that yes, he is a terrible, cruel, evil, sinful person who is unworthy of trust. Orgon assumes he's being humble and acting as befits a holy man, and decides that the accusations are all lies.

    Video Games 
  • The Tales Series likes this one. At least once every game, one of the characters will reveal their tragic and touching emo backstory with fanfare... and then, having elicited sympathy from the rest of the party, they'll proceed to claim they were "just kidding".
  • In the second chapter of New Danganronpa V3, Miu Iruma takes a jab at Tsumugi Shirogane's plain appearance and personality, saying that her glasses are the only thing that make her noticeable. Tsumugi replies that in actuality, her glasses are the only thing concealing her true form, and those who witness it pay a terrible price. Her "true form" is indeed as horrific as she implies, since she's the mastermind and Loony Fan who orchestrated the entire killing game.
    • Before the Chapter 2 trial, when Kokichi and Kirumi suggest that the killing game is being shown to the people outside, Monokuma says that the 13 remaining students are the only ones left in the world. Subverted in that this is only true within the "Truman Show" Plot.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion features a quest where you have to kill everyone at a party, Agatha Christie style. When you introduce yourself, one of the conversation options is "I'm an assassin, sent to kill you.", which just earns you a laugh—"Well, I'm glad someone has a sense of humour about this event,"—and immediately maxes out her disposition toward you.
  • In Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, at one point either Carla Valenti or Tyler Miles goes talk to Lucas Kane about the murder case. Then they show him a composite sketch of the killer (said sketch's accuracy depending on the player's actions earlier). The only way to avoid raising suspicion is an option marked "Joke" where he says, "That could be a lot of people I know. Heck, it could even be me!"
  • Iori Yagami from The King of Fighters sarcastically claims that despite his violent tendencies, Orochi blood, and generally being a Jerk Ass, he hates violence. The fandom is torn as to whether or not his comment was sarcastic.
    • This is implied to be genuine. He holds a deep hatred towards his father for making him what he is today; his initial hostility towards Kyo stems from their clan rivalry, and Iori figured that killing Kyo (his father's intention apparently) would end his suffering.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • The player can use this to get through customs at the starport on Onderon.
      Exile: The shuttle belongs to the leader of the Mandalorians. I'm a powerful Jedi.
      Customs official: You could have just said "no". Answers like that mean more paperwork for me.
    • If you choose this route, a group of bounty hunters (who would have ambushed you regardless of how you answered the official's questions) says your unusual comments helped them track you down.
  • Used in X-change Alternative. When the protagonist's parents are on the phone and questioning him about why his voice sounds so odd, the player can choose to either lie or just admit his situation. The latter results in him snapping and explaining how a bizarre drug turned him into a girl, laughing insanely all the while and making no attempt to hide his lighter voice. Not only do they assume it's some elaborate joke, it's also the only way to deflect their suspicion.
  • Alpha Protocol has a scene where the main character meets Scarlet for the first time. They engage in small talk, and when she asks what Mike does for a living, one option is to admit you're a spy, which Mike does in his usual tone of voice. Naturally, she doesn't believe him.
  • Arcade Gannon from Fallout: New Vegas will joke with you that he used to be a militant fascist if you ask about his past. He used to be a member of the Enclave, an organization of, well, militant fascists.
  • Happens in Persona 4 during the King's Game incident, when Naoto attempts to coerce The Team into revealing their involvement in the serial murder case. A drunk Yukiko and Rise proceed to explain that whenever the culprit throws someone into the TV, they go in and "Beat the crap outta Shadows with [their] Personas." Naturally, Naoto doesn't buy such an obvious lie for a second. She changes her tune when she gets thrown in. Side note: how the hell they managed to get drunk off non-alcoholic drinks is something we will never know.
  • If the player pisses him off enough, and choses the right conversation options, Solas from Dragon Age: Inquisition will let you in on his post-game plans early.
    Inquisitor: The man who spends half his life in the Fade has no ideas on how to help the elves?
    Solas: Not unless we collapse the Veil and bring the Fade here so I can casually reshape reality, no.
  • At one point in Chrono Trigger, when the Gate Key is stolen by reptites, Azala asks the party what the purpose of said device is. You can either refuse to talk, or you can tell her exactly what it is. If you do the latter, she won't believe you, noting that no one would actually talk so easily if the device did what you said it did, and the story proceeds as though you refused to talk (since, from Azala's perspective, that's basically what you did).
  • Batman: The Telltale Series:
    • When Gordon asks who Batman keeps talking to over his comm, one option is to simply say "my butler." Naturally, Gordon doesn't believe it.
    • The first episode of season two starts with Bruce visiting a casino to get dirt on the Arms Dealer who owns it. When a woman asks Bruce what he's up to, he can "confess" that he's there undercover.

    Web Animation 
  • An offscreen example was mentioned in The Frollo Show during the events of episode 16. When Wilford Brimley becomes The Starscream to the remaining members of Los no Frollos and reveals his own evil plans, Hitler admits that Wilford told him about it, but he dismissed his ramblings as mere "old man talk".

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary
  • Basic premise of the Comet, the tabloid newspaper for which our Main Characters work in Scandal Sheet As Detweiler, the editor-in-chief, puts it, "We operate on two principles. First, that the most artistic way to lie is to tell the truth so unconvincingly that people are sure you are lying, and second, the best place to hide a needle isn't a haystack — it's a big pile of other needles." As it turns out, the Comet actually employs a sasquatch named Phil and regularly gets information from a vampire named Samantha. They consider it their role in life to protect the rare and endangered supernatural beings of the Earth from being discovered and exploited by others. As such, most of the stories in the paper are made-up crap, but some of them are true — no journalist with any self-respect at all will pursue them, though, since it's well-known that once it's been in the Comet, it can't possibly be correct.
  • Invoked in Erfworld, Summer Update 22:
    ChrlsNChrg: There's an interesting principle at work, here.
    If I tell them what happened, freely, then they won't believe it.
    But if I charge them what the information is worth, then they'll buy it.
    LordHamster: In both senses.
  • Done accidentally in The Wotch, in this comic. Jason is trying to keep Ivan off the trail and outright lies to him. When Ivan calls his bluff, Jason tells the truth. Then Ivan decides that Jason was lying the second time, and goes along with what Jason said the first time, when he was outright lying.
    Jason: Wow, I'm more clever than I thought.
  • Pulled twice in Captain SNES: The Game Masta. Both comics have "The Best Lie" in the title (with the first following with "is the Truth".) The first time, Alex convinces Daos that he put up a powerful mental shield so that Daos could not see his greatest fear, when, actually, his greatest fear (Evil Otto from Berzerk) looked like something that Daos didn't consider remotely terrifying (a blinking smiley face.) The second, Bass, after having already bluffed Amon into believing that he could achieve great power in the desert, admits (in a nervous tone) that he lied previously and was trying to trick Amon.
    Bass: In fact, I'm doing it right now!
  • Last Res0rt has Jigsaw Forte pulling this one off:
    Jason: Tell me where Daisy went already! You should know!
    Jigsaw: Sure, because we all know I'm a mind reader. After this we're planning a magic act. Think you'd look good in sequins?
  • The Awakened
    Sue: Oh, yeah, and I'm kind of in love with you, but you never seem to notice.
  • In Sinfest, Slick evades the question about whether a song is about Monique by phrasing it as an accusation of It's All About Me.
  • Used in Between Failures (Page 979), although not perfectly.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, this is how Winsbury and Janet hide their Secret Relationship; as soon as one of their friends expresses the first hint of suspicion, they admit to being together, then tell a highly implausible and self-contradictory tale of how it happened. By the time they've finished, everyone has lost interest and assumed the whole thing is nonsense. Even Bud, their psychic crab chaperon, seems to have dismissed their relationship as too unlikely.
  • In Questionable Content, Pintsize gives outlandish answers when asked where he has been. Readers who read the previous days' comics will know that the third answer is true, but upon hearing it Marten assumes that Pintsize is still screwing around and just gives up asking. The comic description says that all three answers were true.
  • In Get Medieval, mob boss Broat cheerfully informs his legal business associates that he has to go hire mob hitmen.
    Voes: Your wife hates when you do that.
    Broat: And they never suspect a thing.
  • Early in A Girl and Her Fed, Hope uses this to deliberately troll Speedy.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko:
    Yumi: I've gotta go.
    William: Really? Where to?
    Yumi: To save the world...
  • In Danny Phantom, Vlad does this a lot, particularly in The Movie, where he several times admits he's a diabolical supervillain, takes a pause, and then joins in the laughter at that utterly ridiculous idea.
  • On an episode of Gargoyles, a robbery attempt goes sour when the cops show up. A woman known to the crooks as "Sally" angrily demands to know who called the police. When no one owns up to it, she shrugs and says "Well, I guess it was me!" It was. "Sally" was actually Detective Elisa Maza in disguise.
  • Parodied in the movie of Phineas and Ferb when Doofenshmirtz-2 lies to our dimensions' Doofenshmirtz, only for him to pick up on it...
    Doofenshmirtz-1: ...were you just being sarcastic?
    Doofenshmirtz-2: [sarcastically] No...
    Doofenshmirtz-1: I'm pretty sure that's what I sound like when I'm being sarcastic!
  • In the Pinky and the Brain episode "Snowball", Snowball tries to turn Pinky against Brain by telling him that he's taking his ideas and claim as his own. Later, when Snowball takes over the world and asks Pinky to be his vice-dictator with the promise of his own amusement park, Brain makes a sarcastic statement that just happens to mirror the exact words Snowball used earlier.
    Brain: [sarcastic] Oh, go ahead, Pinky! I don't need you! What do you think? I just have you around so I can steal your brilliant ideas and claim them as my own? That I'm just using you, Pinky? Oh, yes, I'm using you for your brilliance!
    Pinky: [tearing up] But... that's exactly what Snowball said. Why, it's true! Troz! TROZ! [sobs] I'll take that job! Provided there are no lines for the Tilt-A-Whirl.
  • Inverted (and combined with Crying Wolf) in the Regular Show episode "Grilled Cheese Deluxe". After an episode of competing to see who was the better liar, Benson demands to know what happened to mangle his sandwich so. Rigby excitedly gives a garbled, but truthful, explanation of the rather fantastic events between Benson discovering the theft of his first sandwich, and the current one being placed in his hands; Benson chews him out for lying. Mordecai, worn out and frustrated, drops a much shorter and more plausible lie, and Benson says, "There. Now wasn't it so much easier telling the truth?"
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer once went to great lengths with this when he had to tell Marge that a chimp had kidnapped Bart. Comes complete with Lampshade Hanging as Homer goes on to explicitly describe the trope and sarcastically inform Marge that he's making full use of it. When Marge finds out and gets mad that it was hidden from her, Homer complains that he did tell her, in great detail. In that same scene, Lisa asks why he's confessing sarcastically, pointing out that Marge will still be angry when she finds out; Homer responds by giving us this little gem:
      Homer: Maybe I'm talking like this because I can't stop. Oh help me, Lisa! I have serious mental problems!
    • Parodied when Homer dresses up as an airline pilot to drink at the pilots-only bar of the Springfield airport:
      Pilot: Hey... you're not just impersonating a pilot so you can drink here, are you?
      Homer: [dejected] Yeah. That's exactly why I'm here.
      Pilot: [laughs] You fly boys, you crack me up!
      [Gilligan Cut to Homer being forcefully shoved in the cockpit pilot seat]
      Homer: But I keep telling you I'm not a pilot!
      Pilot: And I keep telling you, you fly boys crack me up!
  • Hilariously inverted in the South Park episode "Ladder to Heaven", where God catches Saddam Hussein building a WMD plant in Heaven.
    God: Saddam, I've been hearing rumors that you're secretly building weapons of mass destruction up here.
    Saddam: Weapons of mass destruction? No! This is a chocolate chip factory. See?
    God: It looks like a chemical weapons plant.
    Saddam: Look, God, if I was gonna secretly build a chemical weapons plant, I wouldn't make it look like a chemical weapons plant, would I? I'd make it look like a chocolate chip factory or something.
    God: ...alright, just checking. [leaves]
    Saddam: Stupid asshole.
  • From Superman: The Animated Series, "The Main Man":
    Lois: I'm confused, Kent. See, I've lived in Metropolis most of my life and I can't figure out how some yokel from Smallville is suddenly getting every hot story in town.
    Clark: Well, Lois, [lowers his glasses] the truth is, I'm actually Superman in disguise and I only pretend to be a journalist in order to hear about disasters as they happen, and then squeeze you out of the byline.
    [pause]
    Lois: You're a sick man, Kent. [walks off]
    Clark: [with a sly smile] You asked...

    Real Life 
  • When Philippe Petit was going though the airport to get to New York for his famous tight-roping between the Twin Towers, a security officer naturally asked him what all the equipment was for. He told him. The officer laughed and let him through.
  • While the above warning that this doesn't work as well in Real Life is true, teachers and parents seem to be more susceptible to it. Or were at some point. Perhaps it has something to do with that stage where Not Now, Kid is in effect and kids have realized it. Given Troper Demographics, we still don't advise it.
  • As noted in the article, many an Obstructive Bureaucrat or Reasonable Authority Figure will avert this handily.
  • In Richard Feynman's autobiography, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Feynman tells of a fraternity prank where a door was stolen. He was the one who stole it, but even a year after it happened they still had no idea who had stolen it. He had confessed, but everyone just remembered that all the fraternity members had denied it. ("Yeah, I stole the door." "Cut it out, Feynman, this is serious!")
    • Additionally, he relates the story of how he got into a drunken brawl in a night club, with a black eye to prove it. When he truthfully explained where he got it, nobody believed him.
  • Allegedly, famed Prohibition agent Izzy Einstein was fond of using this trope to gain entrance to speakeasies, beseeching the guy on the door to let him in, as he was 'A very thirsty Prohibition Agent'.
  • Uncommon but effective in Poker. Simply announcing the real contents of your hand is a good luring tactic because everyone will dismiss it outright as a bluff. Even more effective if you show them afterwards because the next time, your opponent will think twice.
  • Once, a taxi driver asked a city newcomer checking out of a hotel if he had a dead body inside his heavy bag. The newcomer matter-of-factly answered yes, and the taxi driver laughed. The newcomer was Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • General James Wilkinson, head of the US Army under Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, was long suspected of being in the pay of the Spanish crown — so much so that the General would jovially agree that he was a "Spanish pensioner" at social gatherings. Turns out, he was.
  • One of the Cambridge Five would regularly claim to be a KGB agent.
  • Averted in airports as the above warning is particularly true when it comes to security officials, especially since September 11th. When you are asked at an airport if you have packed your bags yourself/if you have any hazardous materials in them, going: "Yeah. Of course I do. I've got 10 pounds of C4, some sub-machine guns and a small nuclear warhead." will not result in laughs. It will result in you having your hands cuffed behind your back, kneeling on the floor in a small room with several automatic weapons pointed at you.

    Also when completing the questionnaires upon entering any country. If you are asked for example with the question, "Do you intend the overthrow of the government through violence?" Answering "Almost exclusively" will result in a fairly lengthy interrogation session and a strip search.

    Finally, you can still be charged with things like perjury and causing a public disturbance. Security professionals take their jobs seriously, and don't screw around. It's less problematic to try to be witty in non-dangerous ways, but they've heard it all a million times already. If you're lucky, you might come across a customs official who even keeps a tally of the number of people who, when asked "Are you carrying over $10,000 in cash?", respond with the tired joke of "I wish". So don't bother.
    • You might wonder then why officials even ask. After all, anyone actually committing a crime will say no, and anyone engaging in this trope is just going to be a pain in their butts, right? First, some people may be ignorant of the law and willfully disclose an oversight rather than risk committing a crime, and second, because if you say no and are caught, they can add more charges to your case.
  • Jimmy Savilenote  during his life frequently made "jokes" like saying what he did at one point in his life was "anybody I could get me hands on," and that he was "feared in every girls' school in this country." As Ian Hislop put it, "it's a brilliant disguise: you dress up as a pedophile."
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was asked in a press conference if he had anything to do with the lane closures on the perpetually congested George Washington bridge. He joked that you might not have noticed, but he was the one setting up the traffic cones. A month later, his office was implicated in closing lanes on the George Washington bridge to punish a mayor who didn't endorse him.
  • Corrie Ten Boom's book The Hiding Place relates an incident in which her niece, who had been taught to always tell the truth no matter what, was questioned by Nazis searching for her brothers (who were hiding in a cellar under a trapdoor, covered by a rug, beneath the kitchen table). She told them that her brothers were "under the table" and then burst out laughing when they lifted the tablecloth to look.
  • As a young man, Julius Caesar (future ruler of Rome) was captured by pirates and held for ransom, which was a common tactic at the time. Apparently, Caesar was so charismatic that the pirates took a liking to him, and laughed when he joked that once he was released, he would definitely raise a naval task force, come back, and crucify them all. Once the ransom was paid, Caesar went back to Rome, raised a naval task force, came back, and crucified them all.
  • In the French royal court of 1589, a monk named Jacques Clément requested to meet the (very unpopular) king Henry III, under the pretext of giving him a secret message. When interrogated by the guards about his intention (there were lots of rumours about an imminent assassination attempt against the king), he joked that he was indeed "a great killer". Once alone with Henry III, he stabbed him in the groin, and the king died the next day.

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