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"We're Live" Realization

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Roger Goodell: Alright, let's do a take where everyone applauds.
Producer: Uh, sir? We were live.
Goodell: ...You can make cartoons live!? Oh God!
Gridiron Heights, season 6 announcement

The dawn of live broadcasting has also lead to the dawn of the hot mic, in which a person accidentally says something over the air that they didn't mean to, leading to the realization that they've made fools of themselves on live television, radio, streaming, etc. — and that their mistake has been broadcast to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

This trope covers characters who either realize they're live, or are informed they are live, after making a mistake or a fool of themselves.

A Sister Trope of Is This Thing Still On?, which focuses on Hot Mic incidents. Compare Always a Live Transmission. This kind of thing can happen during a Talk Show Appearance. Can lead to Oh, Crap!. In some instances, the character may have to do some Verbal Backpedaling. May be combined with Accidental Public Confession or Engineered Public Confession.

Truth in Television, as mentioned above.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Case Closed has one case where Kogouro Mouri, during a TV interview, jokingly calls a female partner to prove a point, before asking them to edit out the call so his wife doesn't find out. Then he finds out it's a live interview. This actually helps to catch the murderer later, as the call implodes their alibi by proving they used the phone later on. Hilariously enough, this then gets a call back a chapter later when his wife sees the moment being rebroadcast by a news program.
  • The first season of the anime adaptation of IDOLiSH7 has the idol group very embarrassed to discover their floundering on their web show with their fans was live and couldn't be edited.
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl: A Running Gag has Rhonda from Sinnoh Now! constantly getting smacked on the head with the boom mic held by her boom operator and angrily chewing him out for it. It happens a few times while they do live recordings and whenever Rhonda is told about it, she quickly tries to pretend that it never happened and continues with her story with an embarrassed look on her face.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Episode 29 has Carly sneaking into the hospital disguised as a nurse where Jack is admitted into after accidentally bumping into a reporter doing a segment. Carly apologizes, with the reporter muttering under her breath that she [the reporter] will show Carly who's sorry. Cue a look of embarrassment on her face when her cameraman tells her that they're still live.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: Adu Du makes a talk show to sabotage BoBoiBoy's image, and expresses his disdain to Probe, who he made the host when Bago Go's commercial advertises BoBoiBoy figurines during the show's breaks. Computer hints at Adu Du that the commercial time is already over when he says that.
    Adu Du: You're totally incompetent! We're doing this show in order to sabotage BoBoiBoy! But you're promoting a BoBoiBoy action figure in this show!
    Computer: Psst psst.
    Adu Du: What is it?!
    Computer: We're live now, Mr. Boss.
    Probe: ...And that was a special sketch entitled, uh, Mr. Boss and his Useless Underlings.

    Fan Works 
  • In LadyBugOut, Chat Noir angrily confronts Ladybug over the titular blog, blaming her for how some people have posted unflattering memes about his Skewed Priorities. While she immediately notices that her yoyo has started broadcasting and tries warning him, he viciously berates her, revealing his extremely entitled and self-centered attitude before she finally hits back with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that culminates in "If you could've understood me, you would've seen when I was uncomfortable, known when I needed you to be serious, and — oh, yeah — you would've noticed that I was trying to get your attention before because my yoyo has been RECORDING AND STREAMING EVERYTHING."
  • The Vinyl Scratch Tapes:
    • In the first episode, we come back from a commercial to hear Vinyl and Octavia mid-argument before Octavia suddenly asks, "Uh... does that little red light mean we're on?"
      Vinyl: Wha—? Oh, Crap!
      (She dives for the microphone before the broadcast cuts out for half a minute.)
      Vinyl: And we?re back! Sorry about that, folks. We had some technical difficulties. Caused by, um, technical... things. But we're fine now!
    • There are a few more instances throughout the show where the characters are taken off-guard by the transmission being on and continue their conversations for a while before they notice. Justified, as in-universe radio is very new; Vinyl and Octavia's talk show is the first of its kind, and the only previous radio transmissions only played music with no commentary. No one is entirely accustomed to the technology yet.

  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: The opening credits show Ron Burgundy performing various vocal exercises and drinking scotch, as well as one "We're live? I don't believe you." A deleted scene shows that at one point in the film's development, some or all of these were indeed broadcasted live.

  • Ciaphas Cain: One planetary governor named Merkin W. Pismire the Younger delivers a depressingly bad "reassuring" speech to his planet.
    My fellow Periremundans, it's with a heavy heart that I address you all tonight. Um, unless you're in a different time zone, of course, when I guess you'll be having breakfast. Or sleeping, or whatever. Erm... By now you'll all have heard what's really been going on for the last few months, and no doubt you were as surprised as I was when I first saw the news picts this morning. Um, that's to say my daughters saw them, and lost no time in bringing me up to speed. Um... You may all rest assured that I voxed Arbitrator Keesh as soon as I became aware of the situation, and demanded a full report, which, I'm sure, will prove extremely reassuring as soon as it arrives, or the young man I spoke to has time to pass on the message. Anyway, I can state quite confidently that things are completely under control. We've all heard these silly rumours about low-altitude settlements suddenly losing contact with the rest of the planet, and I'm quite sure there's no truth to any of them. It's probably just these genestealer scallywags spreading scare stories to undermine our morale. I mean, if the enemy was already here in force, I'm sure I'd know all about it. My staff is pretty good at keeping on top of the important stuff. So goodnight, and Emperor bless you all. You can rest assured that everything that can be done will be done. was that? Gubernatorial enough? Or should we go again? Err...What do you mean, it was live?
  • Good Omens: Aziraphale, after being "killed" and thus out of his body, spends a segment of the book Body Surfing, trying to find a viable host. At one point, he ends up in the body of a televangelist who is preaching about Armageddon and how it's inevitable Heaven will win. Quite fed up with the Ineffable Plan at this point, Aziraphale goes on at length about how, no, actually, it's not inevitable at all.
    Aziraphale: (still in the televangelist's body) Between our war and your war, they're going to kill everyone and let God sort it out — right? Anyway, sorry to stand here wittering, I've just a quick question — where am I?
    Televangelist: It's the devil! Lord, protect me! The devil is speakin' through me!
    Aziraphale: Oh, no, quite the opposite, in fact. I'm an angel. Ah. This has to be America, doesn't it? So sorry, can't stay... (He finally looks around, and notices the sobbing studio crew and horrified cameramen) Gosh, am I on television?

    Live-Action TV 
  • Given Frasier centers around the titular character's radio show, it was bound to happen sooner or later—and finally did in an episode where Frasier's already inadvertently offended Seattle by suggesting its rainy climate could worsen depression. He finally apologizes, only to then, when he thinks he's off the air, go on a rant to Roz about how whiny his listeners are. Naturally, it turns out he was still on.
  • Played with on The Hogan Family. Mrs. Poole agrees to do a cooking show for Dave. A few seconds before they start filming, she assures Dave that if she does anything he doesn't like, she'll happily do it again. Dave tells her it's live, causing her to become paralyzed with stage fright.
  • A variation occurs in Leverage. Dr. Hannity, who has spent millions developing a super-wheat resistant to a form of mold that kills all other wheat, is preparing to kickstart a worldwide famine so that her wheat will be in demand. She explains this to our Villain Protagonists as they try to leave the building with a sample of "The Blight" to prevent her scheme. Except that team leader Nate is The Chessmaster and snuck in a reporter and her cameraman, who now inform Hannity and her Heavy.
  • In an episode of Mama's Family, Thelma starts doing a segment on the radio to review products. At the beginning of the first segment, she happens to be screaming at Roselle Huplander on the phone when the broadcast starts, and immediately has to go into some Verbal Backpedaling to not offend anyone.
  • Mork & Mindy: In one episode, Mindy, who's having a quarrel with Mork, talks with the relationship guru at the TV station where she works during commercial. The two talk it out. Then the woman quietly realizes that they went live some time ago. The alarm buzzes, and Mindy resignedly tells her boss that she'll be there in a minute.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Killer Radio", Jessica goes toe-to-toe with an insulting radio host called Marcus Rule. The end of the episode has Marcus insulting his listeners, calling them things like "the most stupid, muddle-headed doofuses this side of a zoo" while his mic is live and showing horror upon finding out, causing Jessica to quip that now she realizes why it's called "killer radio." It's hard to tell if Louise and the tech control man turned the mic on specifically to catch it, but they're certainly happy with the result.
  • Pardon The Interruption: This was used as a Running Gag for a while in 2010 and infrequently thereafter. When the show comes back from its final commercial break for the "Happy Time" segment, it comes back to Tony Kornheiser in the midst of an odd or innuendous story to Michael Wilbon, "unaware" that they're live until Tony Reali yells from off-camera that they're on.
    Kornheiser: So I've only dated one Canadian—Margot Kidder. Let me tell ya, I Superman'd — oh, we're on, how 'bout that?
  • The penultimate episode of The Republic of Sarah ends with Sarah discovering to her horror that she was still being broadcast when she admitted to lying about the father of Corinne's son.
  • Ted Lasso: In "The Signal", Nate is interviewed after his "Park The Bus" tactic helps AFC Richmond upset Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup quarterfinal. When he refers to himself as a "Wonder Kid", he is corrected by the interviewer, who says the correct term is Wunderkind. Nate sheepishly asks if this can be fixed in editing, but is told that this is live.
  • Temps de chien: After Antoine has attacked a dog live during a morning show, Hugo Rivard (the show's host) tells the viewers that they'll take a commercial break, causing Antoine to ask in disbelief if he's serious that they're still live.
  • Happens all the time in 31 Minutos, at least once an episode. It's Juanin's job to warn everyone that the cameras are rolling and it's time to go live, but he's usually late to stop people (especially the anchor, Tulio) from saying/doing something embarrassing.
  • The Whose Line Is It Anyway? game "News Flash" often starts with Ryan and the episode's guest performer as newscasters having a Seinfeldian Conversation before realizing that they're live and quickly cutting to Colin in front of the Green Screen as the field reporter.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Sid Eudy once did this on a WWF pre-show. Thinking his promo was pre-taped, he asked Jim Ross to let him start over from the beginning. Ross responded, "We're live, pal."

    Video Games 
  • In Mutant Football League, the MVP of a game may not realize he's live.
    MVP: Being the MVP makes me want to go risk everything by distributing cough syrup across state lines and starting an illegal gargoyle fighting ring. You in? Huh? What camera?

    Web Animation 
  • 442oons: In the 2022 Napoli-Liverpool short, Liverpool owner John Henry goes on a tirade against the fans calling them ungrateful with them expecting an apology. When he's informed he's live, he hastily backtracks and offers his insincerest apology, before adding that his wife is beautiful.
  • The Champions: Diego Costa explains that the reason why Atletico Madrid never told Antoine Griezmann about the secret Fightletico fight club was that Griezmann had so many cameras following him, before remembering that he's on the Confession Cam on a reality TV show. He then lets out an "Oh wait, f**k!"
  • Gridiron Heights: In the season 6 trailer, after Roger Goodell finishes his press conference announcing the new rule changes, he ends it by asking if they can do a take where everyone applauds. He's informed by someone offscreen that this was live. Goodell's reaction is priceless.

    Web Video 
  • Auralnauts Star Wars Saga: In Ep. 5 "Attack of the Phantom Past", The Empire (who are actually good guys in this reimagining) try to organize a Christmas parade as a memorial for the destruction of Alderaan. However, the malevolent Laser Moon AI takes over all the mechas in the parade, and it quickly becomes another massacre. General Veers calls Regional Manager Vader to say he "may want to hold off on broadcasting" until they get the situation under control. Vader replies it's a live feed, and they've been broadcasting all morning.
  • Ordinary Sausage: In a post-episode scene for the Kidney sausage, the Doritos Dinosaur talks in a posh British accent about aerating red wine an hour before serving. Mr. Sausage then informs him that they're recording, to which he reverts to his original loud Doritos loving character.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The News", it's averted celebrity Daisy the Donkey gets upstaged by her co-star and proceeds to have a violent tantrum that leads her actor Antoine Perez to be sentenced to community service.
  • Family Guy: Played with twice in "I Never Met the Dead Man". After Peter knocks out Quahog's television service, Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons feel free to say and do things they can't during their newscast, since no one will be watching... only to be informed that they're still on in Boston. A little later, Tom takes a shot at his wife, confident that she won't hear because she lives in Quahog... only to be told that that the town's service was restored.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "World Wide Wabbit", the friends try to keep Mr. Herriman from finding out that he's become an Internet sensation because of an embarrassing video leaked to the public. Just as they try to distract him by inviting him to watch the news, Frankie answers the door to find a news crew wanting to interview "Funny Bunny". She and Mac shoo them away, only to find out that they're on live and that Herriman's learning of his memetic status from that very newscast.
  • Futurama: In "The Problem with Popplers", after Lrrr tells Earth what Pooplers really are (Unborn fetus of their kind) and threatens to eat them in retaliation. He thinks the transmission has been cut off and scratches his backside, telling his wife and subordinates about having to scratch but being unable to during the middle of something... and then realizes the feed is still going which then cuts off.
  • Justice League: In "Flash and Substance", after Linda Park finishes a news report on the opening of the Flash museum, she converses with the camerawoman about how Flash is hot and is in disbelief that her colleague isn't smitten, only to be told that she's still live. Cue an embarrassed facepalm.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: A reporter is waiting for the Ghostbusters to board a plane to Hollywood, except they're running late. When they get there, the crowds have vanished, and the reporter goes on an angry rant at the Ghostbusters, only to be told that they're now Live. This repeats later in the episode at the debut of the Movie.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Mortyplicity", Rick broadcasts a looping message via a Huge Holographic Head meant to lure in endless decoys of the Smith Family to be killed. Right when the message ends, Rick - with the hologram still on - is informed by Morty that the message is still being recorded and hasn't started looping yet.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Krusty Gets Kancelled", after Kent Brockman covers Gabbo's hot mic incident where he refers to kids as "SOBs", he signs off. Unaware the camera is still on, he chuckles to himself and says "That outta hold those SOBs". A convenient "Brockman in trouble" graphic pops up prompting Kent to do a double-take. Later, a Spinning Newspaper reveals that Brockman's gaffe made everyone forget about Gabbo's, who was no longer in trouble.
    • In "Coming to Homerica", the people of Springfield get sick from eating tainted barley in Krusty Burger's newest sandwich, and Kent Brockman interviews an Ogdenville wheat farmer, who blames it on a rat problem.
      Kent: So, you're guaranteeing it's safe to eat Ogdenville barley once more?
      Farmer: Well, where there's barley, there's rats, you know. Now, when will you be starting the interview?
      Kent: That just went out live.
      Farmer: (beat) Well then, we're screwed.
    • In "Radio Bart", Bart falls down the Springfield Well for real after tricking the citizens of Springfield into thinking that a little boy named Timmy O'Toole fell into it. When Kent Brockman interviews Homer and Marge during a news report, Homer says that he and Marge didn't want Bart and that he was an accident, which prompts Marge to scold him for it. Homer asks Kent if he can edit what he said out, and Kent tells him he can't since they're live.
    • Even recorded media isn't safe: One of Troy McClure's ever-informative videos on DNA ends with Little Billy asking Troy what DNA stands for, Troy looking blankly at the camera, and the video ending.
  • South Park:
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In "Buster's New Bike" (part of "Son of the Wacko World of Sports"), Buster buys a new bicycle from Bicycle Bob's emporium. However, the new bike turns out to be old metal pieces slapped together and falls apart in less than half an hour, and when Bob refuses to refund Buster's money or give him back his old bicycle, Buster decides to get back at Bob. Buster disguises himself as a commercial director and tricks Bob into reading a cue card saying he's a crook as he films him. Upon reading the cue card, Bob tells Buster to destroy the film. Buster tells him, "What film? We're live!"
  • Total Drama: As a reality TV show, every episode is broadcasted live in-universe, but some characters still express thoughts that shouldn't be heard.
    • In Total Drama Island when Heather asks Lindsay if she can keep secrets, she accidentally reveals on (inter)national TV that her sister had diarrhea during a date.
    • In episode 2 of Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, Carrie states her feelings for Devin to the camera, even though Devin still had a girlfriend who might watch the show.
    • In "The Shawshank Ridonction", the winning team gets the reward of contacting somebody they want. Junior suggests calling his mother, but his father, Dwayne, suggests ordering pizza, forgetting that his wife might watch this. He becomes very embarrassed after this.

    Real Life 
  • This infamous gaffe from ABC 7 in Washington state... "I so pale".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Were Live Realisation


A Show With Stakes

In a guest appearance on Stephen Colbert's late night talk show, his colleague Jon Stewart gives an impassioned speech against the Republican party that culminates in him briefly forgetting that he's on broadcast television.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / WereLiveRealization

Media sources: