Contrast Wacky Sound Effect for "wrong" sound effects not noticed by the characters and Special Effect Failure, which happens when the sound effect goes unintentionally wrong, regardless of the amusement factor of said error. Also contrast Unsound Effect, which uses something that isn't really a sound at all. Broken Echo is a Sister Trope, where it's a voice that's wrong instead of a sound effect.
- In the Flemish absurdist comic The Final The End, the main character is working at his desk when the phone rings.
Sound FX: SLORF!
"I really must have that phone's onomatopoeia repaired."
- In a Captain Klutz comic by Don Martin, Mad Scientist Dr. Rotten has his home-made missile blow up in his face, but seems more disappointed with the sound effect it produces: "Wango? After all those years of sweat and toil, my Rotten Atomic Missle goes 'Wango'?!"
- A Mafia henchman in an Achille Talon comic has a strange illness that causes every sound he makes to be rendered as a completely unrelated onomatopoeia (like whacking someone on the head with a huge "gulp" sound, for instance), and his boss regularly complains about it (this is a comic where Medium Awareness is a common occurrence for its characters). The henchman is overjoyed at the end of the story to discover that he's cured when the manacles he's handcuffed with make a correct "click" sound.
- In a gag, the doorbell only goes "Ding—". When Garfield opens the door, there's a technician from Ed's Dong Repair.
- In another, Garfield kicks Odie off the table with a "BLAGOONGA!" sound. He remarks on the unusual noise, then goes and tells Jon that "Odie needs tuning".
- And in a third, he gets hit with a shoe that goes "SPLUT!" when it hits him. He looks off-panel and says "Shoes don't go 'splut'!", after which a pie hits him in the face with a SPLUT! sound effect.
- Another strip had Jon pouring milk into cereal telling Garfield that it makes sounds when milk is added. The cereal makes the sound of a Klaxon.
Garfield: I hope it tastes better than it sounds.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- "Scientific progress goes 'boink'?"
- Similarly, apparently the sound effect of walking around in galoshes is "galosh galosh galosh".
- Peanuts: The page image comes from a 1956 strip in which Linus observes a falling leaf that goes "klunk" upon hitting the ground. Fast forward to 1961, and Linus sees another falling leaf land with a "♪".
- In Laurence Olivier's film of William Shakespeare's Henry V (of all things!), during the Elizabethan-style production with which it opens, the Archbishop of Canterbury asks the Bishop of Ely, "Is it four o'clock?" A bell duly rings — three times; we see Shakespeare himself rushing backstage, the bell rings once more, and Ely replies, "It is."
- The main character of the Italian film Volere volare (To Want to Fly) is the sound effects guy for Italian dubs of American cartoons. At one point, he's been asked to dub a serious live-action love scene, and fills it with zany cartoon noises.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? had this as a recurring game, called "Sound Effects", where they'd pull volunteers from the audience to make sound effects for a scene acted out by two of the comedians. Hilarity Ensues. In the most memorable incident, Drew Carey is reduced to tears by an inappropriately foleyed elephant.
- In a Saturday Night Live sketch called "Pranksters", Seth Meyers hosts a show where guests show video of themselves pulling pranks on other people, accompanied by wacky sound effects. When one psycho guest shows himself actually murdering a guy in the parking lot, the FX continue, much to the host's annoyance.
- In one episode of Are You Being Served?, the staff of Grace Brothers are performing a radio play. Captain Peacock's character arrives at a pub and asks for a pint. The sound effect of the pint being poured is created by a jug of water being poured into a bowl from a significant height, and sounds more like somebody urinating. Miss Brahms, playing the barmaid, says "I bet you were dying for that".
- In a "Mama's Family" sketch on The Carol Burnett Show, Tim Conway started adlibbing about siamese circus elephants that were joined at the trunk. He went to make the trumpeting sound they made, and it came out sounding something like, "fnork!"... which sent the rest of the cast into hysterics.
- One Russ Abbot sketch opens with a sound-effects man checking that he has all the effects necessary for a radio drama about an escape from a World War 2 prison camp. Unfortunately for him, when the recording starts it is for a Regency romance, and the rest of the sketch covers his increasingly desperate attempts to match the sounds he has to the action.
- A M*A*S*H episode has Hawkeye mock-announcing a phony baseball broadcast for Frank Burns' "benefit", with B.J., Radar, and Klinger providing sound effects. At one point Hawkeye says, "...and it's in there for a strike!" and an unthinking B.J. taps the wooden bat he's holding. After glaring at him, Hawkeye continues: "...wait a minute, he got a part of it..."
- During a host segment from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff on The Projected Man, Crow kills Mike with the "Touch of Death". While dragging his body into the theater, Servo remembers that they had forgotten to sign off for commercial sign.
[Servo enters stage right]
Servo: We'll be right back.
[Servo exits stage right]
Crow: [off] I thought you didn't have any legs.
Servo: [off] I—I don't.
Crow: So where did you get the footsteps?
Servo: Good question!
- There were several times on The Price Is Right where the beeper on the Showcase Showdown wheel is not beeping when it spins. The host (Bob Barker/Drew Carey) would have the audience beep for the wheel.
- In the Get Smart episode "Moonlighting Becomes You", 99 goes undercover at a radio station that is secretly communicating messages to KAOS agents, and as the plot thickens, Max is sent undercover as the sound effects man for a dramatic series. True to form, he does an absolutely terrible job, getting almost every sound effect wrong and forcing the episode's writer and narrator, Hannibal Day (Victor Buono), to improvise as best he can as his patience wears ever thinner. It starts with Max knocking on a prop door at the cue for a doorbell, followed by ringing the doorbell when Hannibal switches to saying there was a knocking at the door, and things go downhill from there.
Hannibal: I knew I was surrounded, and to engage in battle would prove fatal. That's when I picked up the knife, and threw it! [Max fires a blank-loaded prop gun] ... Luckily, the knife hit a gun lying on the floor and the gun fired once. [Max fires the prop gun twice more] ... Twice... maybe more... [Max fires the prop gun again] Then, I ran for the door! [Max makes clip-clop noises with a pair of coconut halves in a box of gravel] ... On my horse. But I wasn't sure if it would open or not. [Max pretends to struggle with the doorknob on the prop door to no avail; Hannibal chuckles] Yes... just what I thought. The door was hopelessly stuck! [Max accidentally opens the door with a loud creak; Hannibal scowls] ... But only for a minute. [he throws down his script in anger, and starts reading off 99's script] If it hadn't been for the landlady, I might never have been saved. Call it fate... [Max leans too heavily on the music stand with his copy of the script, and it collapses, sending him loudly floorwards] ... that caused me to fall through the trap door... [looks skyward as if to say "Why, God??"]
- The 1931 song "My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies" (covered by The Bonzo Dog Band) contains a reference:
The only time he made a bungle
was when a tiger in the jungle
With a mighty roar, dropped dead
With bullets in its head
And Rob mooed like a cow instead.
- In The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away" from A Quick One there's a section where the chorus sings "cello, cello, cello" because the band couldn't afford real cellos.
- In the video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Fat", the second chorus's choreography goes off the rails when Al notices the exaggerated sound effects that his arm motions make, and then experiments with it.
- Two rounds on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue have been based on this. In "Bedtime Story", the teams have to tell a story with random sound effects being added in, and then have to make the story fit the effects. In "Human Voicebox" one team tells a story and the other has to add appropriate sound effects using only their voices, but the first team is deliberately misleading them as to what effects would be appropriate.
Tim: It was the opening of Parliament. The Queen arrived to be greeted by the Band of the Grenadier Guards.Barry and Graeme: [A valiant attempt at the Band of the Grenadier Guards playing "Colonel Bogey's March"]Tim: ...who were between numbers.Tony: Then the band struck up.Barry and Graeme: [Go through the whole "Colonel Bogey" thing again]Tony: ...a friendship with those nice boys in the Coldstream Guards.Tim: The crowd waited patiently for a sight of the Queen, only to be interrupted by the sound of the band.Barry and Graeme: [After some hesitation, another chorus of "Colonel Bogey"]Tim: ...the sound of the banned protesters, who had pushed their way to the front with their anti-monarchist banners.
- In the Tertiary Phase of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, the Guide decides the sound effect of the Wicket Key opening the Slo-Time Gate doesn't work, and redoes the scene with a different one.
- The Dutch comedian Henk Elsink's song "Johanna" has several messed-up sound effects. Some of them are due to literal interpretations of metaphors, others due to wrong timing.
Then somebody knocks on her door.
Sound FX: [ring ring]
Then somebody rings her doorbell.
Sound FX: '[[knock knock]
[frustrated]'' Then somebody knocks and rings at her door!
- In his sketch "The Mailman", another Dutch comedian, Andre Van Duin, had several problems with a prop doorbell. At first the bell doesn't work, so he decides to say the sound effect himself: "Bell." The second time the sound does work, and when his co-actor asks, "Did you ring the bell again?" Van Duin answers, "No, the sound technician did." Based on the co-actor's corpsing after that last line, it was a joke Van Duin threw in on the spot.
- Bob and George, starting in the appropriately titled Sack the Sound Effects Guy! strip of the Introducing the Author arc and carrying on for a while.
Offscreen Voice: HALT!! Behold my power!
Sound FX: BURP!!
Proto Man: Burp?
Offscreen Voice: Sorry, wrong sound effect.
- As shown in this The Gutters, you need a good letterer if you want your sound effect to make sense.
- Sluggy Freelance did this one early in its run. They conclude they need a new sounds effects guy in the comic when an ominous crash of thunder goes, "MOOOO!"
- When Tedd in El Goonish Shive is describing the possibility of Elliott suddenly transforming during a passionate moment:
Tedd: Yeah, but what if they're about to kiss or something when when all of a sudden— BOING!
Susan: "Boing"? Seriously?
- The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XVII," based on the Orson Welles radio play The War of the Worlds.
Orson Welles: The devastation is incredible! They're grinding up the bodies of human beings!
[sound technician uses an eggbeater to grind up corn flakes]
Welles: Now they're riding horses in the rain!
[sound technician clacks coconut halves against a wooden board while pouring water into a metal tray]
Welles: Now they're playing the xylophone while bowling near an airport!
[sound technician holds up sign reading "Screw you" and leaves]
- A part of Duck Amuck has the tormenting animator replace the sound effects for Daffy. So when Daffy attempts to play the guitar, machine-gun sounds erupt, then the sound of a car horn. When Daffy throws down the guitar in disgust, there's a gunshot and the braying of a donkey. When Daffy tries to protest, sounds of a rooster, a kookaburra, and a kitten come out.
- Whenever Ricochet Rabbit (a Hanna-Barbera character from 1964) "ricochets into the sunset," he bounces off a rock, a cactus and another rock to the sound of zings, pings, and gunshots. When his assistant, Droopalong Coyote tries to do the same, the sounds of thuds, clanks and boings accompany him before he crashes into one of the objects or—as in one cartoon's end—the sun itself.
- The Danger Mouse episode "Play it again Wufgang" went all meta with this trope: the episode's incidental music soundtrack failed, requiring Penfold to carry and operate a tapedeck everywhere.
Danger Mouse: Are you sure that's the right tape?
- An episode of Teen Titans Go! has all of the world's sounds stolen by an unexpectedly cutesy villain. Inexplicably, the Titans are able to create new sounds for the lost ones by mimicking the lost sound enough times, causing the new (often poorly made) sound to take over for the stolen one. The Titans recognize that the results aren't perfect (every incidence of a new sound is exactly alike with zero variation), but accept it anyway, at least until they can get Earth's noises back where they belong (with a few other sound placement hiccups along the way, which they point out).
- In the segment "Mr. Fix-It Fixes It" from Richard Scarry's Best Silly Stories and Songs Video Ever!, Mr. Fix-It has to fix Freddy's tricycle horn, Fireman Ralph's siren, Grandma Bear's cuckoo clock, and Lily Bunny's doll, by 3 o' clock. All of the items aren't making their proper sounds anymore (e.g. Freddy's horn doesn't honk) which is why they need them fixed. Once Mr. Fix-It repairs the items, the characters then go to use the items. However, they find that Mr. Fix-It got the sound effects all mixed up. They then proceed to sing a song about what if all sound effects got mixed up.
- Gerald McBoing-Boing. Well, when he started talking, you know what he said? He didn't talk words, he went "Boing! Boing!" instead.
- In the Family Guy episode "Excellence in Broadcasting", Brian moves in with Rush Limbaugh and replaces several of his belongings with shoddy, American-made ones. He also got him a new cat that moos at him.
- Garfield and Friends had a whole episode about this, called "Sound Judgment." The show's sound effects guy quits and Garfield has Odie fill in for him. Every sound effect for the rest of the episode is completely random and inappropriate, down to every footstep being a different random sound.