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Swallowed a Fly

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Welp, she's dead.

Somehow, a fly, or a winged insect, gets into a character's mouth, sometimes by the character moving very fast. Hilarity Ensues in many different ways, usually after gagging. Bonus points if someone convinces the swallower that they'll die because of it.


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    Comic Books 
  • In the Franco-Belgian comic Les Motards by Charles Degotte, a full-page gag is dedicated to one simple joke:
    Q: How do you recognize a happy motorcyclist?
    [a dozen of panels then show Spidi smiling while riding his engine]
    A: He has plenty bugs sticking to his teeth.

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens on one of the Hilarious Outtakes in A Bug's Life. Slim swallows a much smaller bug. Wrap your head around that.
    • Considering that larger species of insects and spiders do feed on smaller invertebrates, this isn't really surprising that a stick insect (which can grow to be several inches long) could accidentally get a tiny gnat stuck in his throat.
  • The Incredibles: when Dash runs into the swarm of bugs, one apparently gets in his mouth and he gags and spits it out.
  • In The Sword in the Stone, Wart, in the form of a fish, expresses disgust when he swallows a bug.
    Merlin: Well, what's wrong with that? After all, my boy, you are a fish. Instincts, you know.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The infamous outtake of Marlon Brando complaining about swallowing a fly while filming Apocalypse Now.
  • In the Firefly movie Serenity, after a horrific encounter with The Reavers, the crew barely makes it back, and crashes the runabout back onto Serenity. Simon Tam (who stayed behind) is frantic over River, who is oddly calm:
    River Tam: I swallowed a bug.
  • Belloq in the last few minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark is clearly seen to have a fly crawling across his face and into his mouth.

  • In Fudge-a-Mania, Peter Hatcher believes he might have done this while riding to Bob's bicycle shop. This event makes him an honorary member of Bob's "I Swallowed a Fly" or ISAF club.
  • Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm has Zak find a drog beetle in his food, to his horror. Later in an alarmingly thick swarm he and Tash have to be careful not to inhale any.
  • The children's story of a little lady who swallowed a fly parodies this, in that she swallows a spider to get the fly, then a bird to get the spider, then a cat, a dog, to finally either a cow or horse.
  • Golly Gump Swallowed A Fly, a children's book by Joanna Cole, which is similar to the aforementioned "little lady who swallowed a fly". The title character accidentally swallows a fly (it flew into his mouth while he was competing in a yawning contest), and proceeds to deliberately swallow other beings to catch the previous creature — he swallows a spider to catch the fly, a bird to catch the spider, a cat to catch the bird, a dog to catch the cat, and a dogcatcher to catch the dog! Finally, in order to deal with his problem, Golly angrily threatens the six: "If you don't all get out of there, I'm going to swallow a grizzly bear!" The six take the hint and successfully leave, while Golly learns an important lesson about covering his mouth while yawning to prevent this from happening again.

    Live-Action TV 

  • I know an old Lady who swallowed a fly but I don't know why she swallowed the fly...
  • Vocaloid Kaito did this in I Wish They'd Just Die (Shineba ii Noni)

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Greek Mythology, Zeus swallows Metis after she transforms into a fly. Cranial pregnancy ensues.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • At one point, Garfield attempted to get over his fear of Mondays by laughing at it. He leaned his head back and laughed as loud and hard as he could, oblivious to the bug the size of his head heading straight for his open mouth.
  • Zits: One strip starts with Jeremy swallowing a fly. Hector comments that in some cultures, it's either a sign of good luck or it meant Jeremy was to become a Virgin Sacrifice.

    Video Games 
  • In Full Throttle, Ben chats with his old biker gang leader, Father Torque, while they're both in the middle of riding. Exhausting all conversation trees will cause Torque to say that he can't talk anymore because he's eating too many bugs.
  • The Secret World PCs gain their Anima powers by swallowing a special kind of bee.
  • A bug flies into Lissa's mouth during an early cutscene in Fire Emblem: Awakening.
  • Jimmy can claim this when answering a pager in PAYDAY 2.
  • Comes up in one cutscene in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, where we're treated to a lovely sight of one of the Desert Riders with bugs in his teeth.

    Web Animation 
  • The Homestar Runner cartoon "Bug in Mouth Disease" features Homestar distraught because he accidentally swallowed a bug. "The good times are over!"

    Web Comics 
  • This strip from The Oatmeal
  • In Goblins, goblin children are named by the tribe's fortune teller, based on a prediction. One tribe with a particularly inept fortune teller (and even more inept scribes) has a member named "Stop the Ceremony I Swallowed a Bug!"
  • The Serenity example is referenced in this xkcd strip.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "With Friends Like Steve's", during Barry's creepy monologue, a fly is seen crawling into his mouth as he speaks, which seriously freaks out Steve.
  • The Animaniacs parody of Apocalypse Now has this happening to the Jerry-Lewis-flavored director.
    Director: I ate a bug! [...] A bug I ate! With little wings'...''
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: From "The Northern Air Temple", when Katara tries out a glider:
    Katara: How do I land this thing? What if I land over a — AAACKKK-ACK-BLECK! Bug! Bug! Ack, that was a bug!
  • Big City Greens: In one episode, Cricket sticks out his head out a car window while singing and accidentally swallows a fly. He comments upon it, then a whole swarm hits him in the face.
  • Dragon Tales: An example combined with Nose Shove appears in the episode "A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words", where Ord sniffs up a doodle fairy and sneezes her out.
  • One episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy had Eddy unintentionally swallowing a fly and lost his voice because of it.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: Happens a few times to Foop in the episode "Two and a Half Babies", only with sprites instead of bugs.
  • The Spongebob Squarepants episode "Nasty Patty" had the health inspector swallow a fly before he could take a bite of the 'Nasty Patty' that Spongebob and Mr. Krabs fixed up, thinking he was an impostor. They believe that they killed him when they see him lying on the floor.
  • Total Drama:
    • Chef gets himself some me-time in "Are We There Yeti?", part of which he spends on singing and playing the harp. In the middle of his melodious performance, a fly enters his mouth. Chef subsequently takes his time working up the mucus and spit to form a substantial blob around the fly to spit it out more easily.
    • In "Runaway Model", Scott's maniacal evil laugh in the confessional comes to an undignified end when he swallows one of the flies in there with him.
  • In the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode, "Internal Affairs", Dudley shrinks himself to the size of a flea with Keswick's Shrink Ray so the cookie he eats will be a giant one. Shortly afterwards, the Chief gets a call from General Warthog, who has been captured by the Chameleon, who is planning to disguise himself as him to infiltrate the government and launch a missile at T.U.F.F. Headquarters. Dudley and the Chief set off to rescue the General in the Chief's convertible, and on the way over, Dudley asks the Chief how he can get bugs in his teeth when he is so small. The Chief tells him they're not bugs, they're amoebas.
  • The Wild Thornberrys: From the series premiere:
    Nigel: Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. And roaming in its shadow, the king of beasts, the lion, known to local tribesmen as—ACK OOK ICH ACH BLUAH!

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: notice the bugs on your windshield? It's very possible to have bugs collide with you at high speeds. If you don't have any protection and are currently talking or yawning or such, well... Which is why this is a common event for cyclists. Just be thankful it wasn't another trope instead if you weren't wearing glasses.
  • Meta example: one stock snark to someone who's either talking too much or has their jaw dropped in amazement is "Close your mouth before you start catching flies".
  • In his autobiography Kiss and Make Up, Gene Simmons details an incident that happened to him at summer camp, involving a talent-show stage, a spotlight, a singing Gene and a huge moth.
  • The bout of cussing of this reporter was caused by a fly or some other insect flying into his mouth.


Video Example(s):


"Just blow it up!"

A variant occurs in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy threatens to shoot the Ark of the Covenant with a panzerfaust if the Nazis don't release Marion. Belloq refuses, taunts Indy to blow it up, and points out how Indy can't do it because of the Ark's archaeological value. Indy thinks about it, realizes Belloq is right and gives up. To prove his point, Belloq even helps Indy by holding the German soldiers at gunpoint with a submachine gun when they try to shoot Indy or get in the way of Indy's line of fire.

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