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Swallowed a Fly

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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.

    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.

    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.

    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 
  • One episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy had Eddy unintentionally swallowing a fly and lost his voice because of it.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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'...''
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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):


Jack swallowed a bug

Jack accidentally does this when explaining Inspirado to the audience.

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Example of:

Main / SwallowedAFly

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Main / SwallowedAFly