An ineffectual character shows up with an ineffectual "weapon", usually something that's not a weapon at all. Har har har! He's without a chance wait a minute, turns out that this weapon is really dangerous! Related to Improbable Weapon User and Improvised Weapon. Sometimes used as an end to an apparent Brandishment Bluff.
Can be done with a Finger Gun, especially if the user has Finger Firearms. Compare Happy Fun Ball, Lethal Joke Item, Nerf Arm, Hidden Weapons and Shoe Phone. Supertrope to Sword Cane (hiding a sword in a seemingly normal stick), Senseless Violins (hiding weapons in seemingly innocuous instrument case) and Instrument of Murder (hiding weapons in instruments that are activated when it's played). Can overlap with Edible Bludgeon if an actual banana or other food is used.
Has nothing to do with talking bananas that have arms. That's Anthropomorphic Food.
- In Banana no Nana, bananas are Nana's Weapon of Choice. With her powers, she can turn bananas into a sword, a shield, a spear, a whip, a bow and arrow, a tent... The list goes on and on.
- The Eto and Zodiac guns from Et Cetera look like toy guns with their odd shaped cylinders, can not fire proper bullets, and only elicit scorn and derision when their wielders try to point them at their enemies. If used correctly, fired while in contact with something related to one of the animals of their respective zodiacs, they can be very destructive, and are considered two of the strongest guns in existence.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: Giorno Giovanna's Stand, Gold Experience, has the ability to turn inorganic objects, including weapons, into organic objects and back. He performs the trope literally by turning a gun into a banana and having it revert back into a gun just as Polpo was eating it to trick him into shooting himself.
- Princess Principal is spy fiction. The Princess, a new addition to the protagonist spy team, picks up the lone pen in a Wall of Weapons. Upon twisting the tip, she finds it contains not ink, but ammunition, and a real firing mechanism! Alas, this discovery comes at the cost of a poor stone bust across the room.
- Doom Patrol: Mr. Nobody has a boiled egg and is not afraid to use it. He thinks you know what he means.
- Detective Richard Fell recognized that the Axe-Crazy guy putting razors into grocery produce was probably dangerous with a banana in his hand.
Fell: It was a good shooting. The guy was armed, after all. With death bananas.
- In one Jimmy Olsen comic, Jimmy fought a demented cartoonist whose arsenal included cream pies filled with acid, and a rubber chicken loaded with lead weights.
- Often subverted by The Joker who carries a gun that when fired just puts out a stick and flag that says "BANG!" but then afterwards proves to be anyway deadly in various ways (fires the flag like a spear, sprays Joker toxin, etc).
- In a Pink Panther comic, Pink Panther threatens the villain with his pointer finger. The villain laughs... and Pink Panther somehow manages to fire from his finger.
- Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Masters of Neptune crash to earth in what they claim to be an uncontrollable chunk of their home planet, but the many "rocks" that fall from it into the sea are actually terraforming devices and bombs disguised as rocks.
- In the Babar movie, when Baber, Celeste, & Zephir's attempt to impersonate a rhino Totem Pole Trench style with the aid of a cape and a banana doesn't work out, Zephir quickly finds another use for the latter:
- Despicable Me 2 has the "lipstick taser".
Lucy: You know, you really should announce your weapons after you fire them, Mr. Gru. For example lipstick taser! Oh, it works so good.
- Played for drama in Chronicle where Andrew points a Finger Gun at a local gang member and uses his telekinesis to knock him down.
- At the climax of Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Marvin the Martian and Bugs Bunny pull this trope on one another in the space of about ten seconds.
Marvin: Now I'm going to have to shoot you with my Bubble Gun.
[Marvin fires the gun, which produces a small bubble]
Bugs: Heh... [Aside Glance] ...well ain't that—
[the bubble violently explodes, hurling Bugs away]
Bugs: Of course, you realise, this means war.
[Bugs pulls out a carrot... and a lightsaber blade emerges from it]]
- Dancing Aztecs: Invoked and subverted. Frank and Floyd escape from Bad Death Jonesburg by convincing him that their pencil flashlight is actually a cleverly disguised gun. Because Bad Death thinks their Federal Agents, and is a fan of the kinds of movies were federal agents use those kind of weapons, it works.
- Subverted (or something) in the Discworld novel Sourcery. Rincewind is desparate enough to attack Living God and Reality Warper Coin with a half-brick in a sock. Coin initially assumes it's some item of power he hasn't heard of; his next guess is this trope. It isn't either, but Coin is so fascinated by the concept (half-bricks in socks don't ever really occur to you when you have limitless magic at your disposal) that he spares Rincewind, so the ineffectual weapon got the job done regardless.
- The Dresden Files: Harry expands a bit on his past in Ghost Story. Part of this past included knocking over a gas station when he was sixteen. Present-day Harry can use magic to make bolts of pure kinetic energy with his spell "Forzare". What was clearly the prequel to that spell was Harry sticking his hand in a bag and yelling "BANG!" to use the spell, and intimidate the store clerk.
- Star Wars Legends: Corran Horn disguises a lightsaber as junk a couple of times.
- X-Wing: The Bacta War: Corran tack-welds the business end of a hydrospanner (a kind of hand tool) to the emitter end of his grandfather Nejaa Halcyon's lightsaber (recovered in the previous book from one of Emperor Palpatine's trophy rooms). This lets him conceal the weapon on him but easily make it usable again with a hard smack against the ground.
- I, Jedi: When Corran, undercover in a Space Pirate gang, goes to build a lightsaber of his own, he builds the mechanism into a handlebar from a wrecked speeder bike, liberated from one of the local Bad Guy Bars. He later ends up having to get home naked due to a misadventure, and the gang boss assumes he was driving drunk and wrecked his bike.
- Poor Bernd Das Brot only got a banana while Chili and Briegel were armed with the cool laser guns (budget cuts, you know). But as usual, he saves the day, against the Clown warriors (yes). When clowns see a banana, they MUST slip on it, and so he single-fruitedly defeats their whole army.
- Doctor Who:
- "Pssh, what could a screwdriver do?" is a pretty common reaction at first. But did we mention it's sonic?
- "The End of the World": After the Doctor exposes Lady Cassandra as the villain, she has her assistants point the misters they've been using to moisturize her at him. It turns out they can spray acid as well.
- One episode of Family Matters had Eddie rooming with Steve Urkel. When it turns out Steve has been experimenting on explosive fruit and storing them in the fridge with the real food, Eddie gets angry, and Steve holds him off with "stay away or I unpin this apple!"
- Get Smart: Maxwell Smart had a .22 calibre Finger Gun. Fires two shots.
- Inverted when KAOS abducts Smart, with his escaping being part of their plan. At one point Smart raises a finger to a KAOS guy who throws up his hands, as if Smart had a finger gun. Smart insists it's just a finger and shows the KAOS guy, who gives up and leaves. Alone in his cell, Smart mutters to himself "Come on, Smart. Use that fantastic brain of yours!"
- Subverted in the episode "Age Before Duty" when Max and the Chief, infiltrating the enemy base in disguise as janitors, threaten the enemy KAOS agents with what they claim is a bazooka broom (which can not only fire a bazooka shell, but let you sweep up the mess afterwards). When the agents refuse to take them seriously, the Chief tells Max to let them have it, only for Max to be unable to find a trigger and realise he'd accidentally taken a real broom instead. As well as leaving them defenceless, Max also has the realisation that he's left Doc Simon back at the lab unknowingly sweeping the floor with a bazooka.
- Demonstrated in the Agent Sophie sketch in Horrible Histories. The titular character warns her french contact to be careful with what appears to be a bottle of wine. It's actually a bomb to be used if she's ever trapped by Nazis. She even mentions making landmines look like cowpats. However this doesn't extend to the one her contact is holding.
- M*A*S*H had Radar, drunk (on half a glass of beer) after being threatened by a colonel for losing his expensive gun, quoting John Wayne, saying "You're dead where you stand" and pointing his teddy bear at him... A bang is heard, Radar looks astonished. note
Radar: My bear went off!
- Inverted in a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch with a police sergeant teaching his charges how to defend themselves against anyone armed with fresh fruit. He uses a gun, a 16-ton weight, a tiger, and an entire building loaded with gelignite. Nothing but his insane rambling indicates the fruit was actually a dangerous weapon.
- A literal example in a duel segment of Turkey Television. When choosing their pistols, one of the duelists is forced to take a banana. The real pistol jams, but the banana fires a lethal blast and kills the other duelist.
- The Muppet Show: The very first episode had a sketch featuring Fozzie as an Old West-style criminal whose entire arsenal consisted of fruits and vegetables, including pickles as six-shooters, a carrot as a knife, and an exploding apple.
Bartender: S-sorry, Kid, I didn't know the pickles were loaded!
- The Goon Show:
- "You fool, you can't shoot me with a banana, it's-" [Bang! Bang!] "... swine ... it was ... loaded!" [thump]
- In another episode, Seagoon is told that Moriarty killed himself by pointing his finger at his head, and saying "bang".
Seagoon: Thats ridiculous. [Laughs] How can a man shoot himself by pointing his finger at his head like this and going -
[Gunshot, body falls]
Undertaker: Mine, I think.
- The New World of Darkness supplement Armory provides weapons stats for common, everyday tools. More than one cocky player has met their end because they didn't believe that a sufficiently skilled combatant with a screwdriver could be any harm.
- Using the first level of the Improvised Weapon Fighting Style in odd places can lead to some of this.
- The Orks in Warhammer 40,000 are so latently psychic that anything they believe should behave like a gun, will. Just about the only limit to this power is handing them a literal banana and telling them it's a real sneaky shoota. But trust us, hand them a box of broken gun parts and a welding torch, and they will find a way to make bullets come out of that banana. From where is anyone's guess.
- An inadvertent example from a stage play. The scene involved two men, one of whom was supposed to draw his gun and murder the other, but he realized after he was on stage that he had forgotten to bring his prop gun. Desperate for improvisation, he kicks the other person. The murder victim is willing to go with it. He falls off his chair, writhes in the floor and gasps out a last line... "His boot was poisoned!"
- In American McGee's Alice, the Blunderbuss (the most powerful weapon in the game) hardly looks formidable. It's an old gun made of wood and brass, and while large, requiring Alice to use both hands, the general trigger area is quite petite and thin; however, as it goes further up, the gun's barrel is extremely crooked, and the muzzle fans out to a flared muzzle. Still, when she actually fires it, watch out. There'll be nothing left of whatever enemies she's pointing at but bloody gibbets.
- In Ape Escape, Blue Monkey of the Freaky Monkey Five has a literal banana gun which fires real bullets. You also have a banana boomerang which can attract the monkeys and fetch items, a remote controlled car bomb, and more.
- The 1993 Amiga game Hired Guns by DMA Design had a banana as the most powerful explosive weapon in the game as a joke item, similar to Worms.
- In LEGO DC Super-Villains, the guards at Gorilla City wield laser pistol bananas.
- Plants vs. Zombies is based on the premise that you defend your home during a Zombie Apocalypse with assorted vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and other plants that can do massive damage to endless hordes of invading zombies. The sequel introduces Banana Launcher, who acts like a SCUD missile system, which means there is now a literal armed banana.
- In SoulCalibur Ghost Pirate Cervantes normally dual wields swords, one of which has a pistol built into the hilt. His Nerf Arm is a pair of wooden toy swords... which can still somehow fire bullets despite visibly lacking the pistol.
- A very literal case in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate one of the new items introduced in the game is the Banana Gun. It's literally just a banana that the character holds like a gun. The flesh of the banana is fired as a slow-moving but powerful explosive projectile and the leftover peel can be used exactly how you'd expect.
- The Heavy in Team Fortress 2 has a taunt where he points a Finger Gun and "fires" it at someone. If you happen to be in its line of fire, it's a one-hit kill.
- In the TimeSplitters series, there is a tendency to give the player a massive abundance of powerful weapons from destructive to plain Game-Breaker and BFG, however in every installment they include the weapon "Brick", which may sound stupid at first, but tends to be more of a Lethal Joke Item. Bricks can be thrown as fast as you can pull the trigger, they do acceptable damage, and they have pretty good range and consistent accuracy. Best of all, they ricochet with full force, so if it hits someone and bounces off into a wall, it could bounce back into them and repeat until the target is dead.
- In the Worms games (especially the ones from Armageddon onward), the sillier a weapon is, the more dangerous it is. Sheep, bananas, and little old ladies can and will explode violently. And let's not get started on the Concrete Donkey, which plows its way through the entire stage when dropped and is guaranteed to kill any worms it falls on.
- Played literally straight in The Frollo Show episode Frollo Fucks the Gods, where Gaston knocks out a clerk with a banana while he and Frollo rob beans from an OXXO store.
- Stardestroyer Dot Net theorizes that the phaser in Star Trek: The Next Generation was originally designed as one of these, to explain why it looks so unwieldy - Starfleet officers are expected to fill diplomatic roles, and they could pass the phaser off as a scanner or a shaver if it was discovered, and are well-trained enough to still hit with a badly-designed weapon.
- A Team Fortress 2 Machinima where the Heavy invents a Sandvich gun proves surprisingly effective.
- Bounty Hamster - "Hah! You didn't think that banana was loaded!"
- In an episode of Filmation's Ghostbusters, the heroes have to get past Fangster and Long John, who are guarding a room. Tracy takes out a cute wind-up toy tank and sets it towards the two henchmen. They look at it, and then burst out laughing... Then it fires a freeze ray, freezing them sold. (Unfortunately, it only freezes them for seven seconds, so the heroes have to run past them quickly.)
- In the Goof Troop Christmas special, Goofy manages to shoot a bear with a mop because he picked it up by accident and thought he was using the shotgun he meant to grab.
- At least a couple of episodes of Kaeloo take this trope literally by having characters use bananas in place of actual guns.
- In one Kim Possible episode, the Tweebs warn Drakken that they've got a silicon phase disruptor. After a moment of nervousness, Drakken decides that they're bluffing, because such a device is much too large for two kids to carry. Unfortunately for him, they really do have one — a miniaturized version of their own creation, which they use to remotely fry Drakken's mind control chips.
- Often used in Looney Tunes shorts.
- "The Unmentionables": Bugs Bunny threatens mobster Rocky with a carrot. Rocky laughs it off, until the carrot fires in his face. Unfortunately, it won't fire again.
Bugs: "That's the trouble with carrots: they're only good once."
- In another one, Bug threatens Blacque Jacque Shellacque with a pop gun. The outlaw laughs, and pulls the cork from it, only to have it explode in his face.
- "Drip-Along Daffy": Nasty Canasta is felled by a tiny wind-up soldier whose rifle packs a mighty wallop.
- "The Unmentionables": Bugs Bunny threatens mobster Rocky with a carrot. Rocky laughs it off, until the carrot fires in his face. Unfortunately, it won't fire again.
- Perfect Hair Forever: "Listen to me. I can capture anyone that I want, at anytime. IN BUNS!!"
- Literal example in one Super Friends episode, where the Hall of Justice was invaded by some nasty members of Gleek's species who used Ray Guns shaped like bananas. The funniest part of the episode came at the end after the villains were apprehended, when Gleek tried to eat one - with rather explosive results.
- The Amazing Sixfinger, which is a toy that shoots darts. You can watch the frankly weird commercial here.
- Leading up to the 1948 War of Independence, the fledgling state of Israel had a problem: they had more success with their underground bullet factory than they had smuggling guns, so they had more bullets than they could conceivably fire! They had to figure out novel ways to deliver bullets to invaders, and one of these ideas was one-shot walking canes for Jerusalem's (otherwise defenseless) elderly.
- Many of the leaders and fighters in the 1948 war had previously served in British/Commonwealth forces in World War II or in Resistance groups in occupied Europe. Some would have been well aware of improbable weapons devised by British Intelligence for their use. These included fountain pens adapted to fire either darts or small calibre bullets. And, yes... walking sticks incorporating one-shot devices had also been devised. It's not for nothing that Q in the James Bond movies was based on the guy who devised these things.
- Doing this sort of thing is incredibly common in the espionage business. Objects like lipstick tubes, umbrellas, and fountain pens have been turned into guns.
- In March 2021, police in North Carolina found a Glock 19 pistol disguised as a Nerf blaster while executing a drug raid. It is painted blue and orange and placed inside a Nerf shell form underneath.