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Who's on First?

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Chalmers: Well, Seymour, it seems we've put together a baseball team, and I was wondering, who's on first, eh?
Skinner: Yes! Not the pronoun, but rather a player with the unlikely name of "Who" is on first!
Chalmers: Well, that's just great, Seymour! We've been out here six seconds and you've already managed to blow the routine!
The Simpsons, "Marge Simpson in: Screaming Yellow Honkers"

A comedy scene where the proper names of persons, places, or things sound like lexical parts of speech, pronouns or exclamations, such as Hu, Watt, Mee, Yu, etc. Basically, a huge Hurricane of Puns. Usually, one character will describe a situation using these terms solely as names, while another character uses them constantly as pronouns and gets increasingly bewildered. Example:

Bob: Who's in charge here?
Alice: That's correct.
Bob: Huh?
Alice: Hu is in charge here.
Bob: How should I know?
Alice: You said Hu was in charge here, and it's true.
Bob: But what's his name?
Alice: No, Watt led the Peasant's Revolt.

This is named from a vaudeville routine regarding baseball which, while popular at the time, is best known as an Abbott and Costello sketch. Abbott and Costello also used variants of the routine in much of their comedy, such as their commercial for "Hertz U-Drive":note 

"If it hurts, you drive!"
"Every company has a head, this company's head's Hertz"
"Well, why don't he take an aspirin?"

or shipbuilding:

"What's that over there?"
"That's a hull of a ship."
or other baseball players:
"The bat was made for Slaughter."
"Ain'tcha got any bats made for baseball?"

This could expand into a Hurricane of Puns: "to make money loafing, you have to really knead the dough."

If used in the actual plot, this is usually the result of an idiot Comically Missing the Point. However, this is not necessary if the Straight Man is being intentionally ambiguous. It needs be emphasized that it is very important for the routine (as the Simpsons quote shows) that no matter how smart either side is or how exasperated it gets (or how eager is one of them to please the other), none of them will ask a question or provide an answer that will be utterly unambiguous.


Occasionally, characters have this as a running joke about their name. Slightly more serious versions may use this as a form of loophole or Prophecy Twist: knowing that No Man of Woman Born may slay you is little comfort when Mr. Noman from the village of Womanborn shows up at your door looking for blood.

See Chain of Corrections and Sustained Misunderstanding for related tropes. Sometimes overlaps with What's a Henway? A "The One with..." title can result in something similar. Often includes a Real Joke Name or two. Frequently, if not usually, overlaps with Overly Long Gag.


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  • A Visa commercial from a few years back had NBA star Yao Ming attempting to make a purchase at the "Big Apple Souvenir Shop":
    Yao: Can I write a check?
    Cashier: [gestures at an "absolutely no checks" sign behind her] Yo!
    Yao: Yao.
    Cashier: [points at sign again] Yo!
    Yao: [points at "Yao" insignia on his shirt] Yao!
    Cashier: [waves store manager over] Yo!
    Manager: Yo.
    Yao: Can I write a check?
    Manager: [points at sign] Yo!
    Yao: Yao!
    Manager: Yo!
    Other customer: [recognizing Ming] You!
    Yao: Yao!
    Customer: You!
    Yao: Yao!
    Store owner: [to Ming] Yo!
    Yao: Can I write a check?
    Owner: [points at sign] Yo!
    [Yao finally gives up and walks out as the voiceover guy gives the usual spiel about how Visa check cards are accepted almost everywhere; as he leaves, we see a new customer (who happens to be baseball great Yogi Berra) enter the store]
    Berra: Can I write a check?
    Cashier: Yo!
    Berra: Gi. Yo-gi!
  • There was an ad for a minivan in which the happy owners were asked what they liked best about it. "Its all-wheel drive," was the reply. "Yes, we know it's all you'll drive, but what's your favorite feature?"
  • This '80s commercial for Kellogg's Nut & Honey cereal.
  • There was a radio advertisement for Heluva Good dips which involves a conversation between two men trying the dip. One is confused by the other when the name of the dip is said, since he sounds like he's saying "Hell of a good dip."
  • An early '90s commercial for a brand new cereal called Bran News used a pair of Abbott and Costello lookalikes to do this style of comedy.
  • This 2013 Toyota Camry ad, featuring mascot character "Coach T." and Craig T. Nelson from Coach.
  • This advertisement for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert involving Stephen, David Tennant and Doctor Who.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Marmalade Boy, when an American exchange student named Michael first arrives at the protagonists' household, he gets confused by the names "Yuu" and "Miki", mistaking them for "you" and "me". Subverted shortly afterward; he was faking it.
    • He's also somewhat amused at the fact that Miki is a feminine name in Japan, while Mickey is a masculine name in English-speaking countries.
  • Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl: One of Yawara's teammates on her judo squad is named Nanda. This is a legit Japanese surname, but it also means roughly "what?" or "what the?" (nan da?, short form of nan desu ka?), which is used for quick laughs a couple of times.
  • Yakitate!! Japan seems to love these.
    • Similar to the above, one dialogue involves some confusion regarding the type of Indian bread known as "naan".
    • After every episode, they used to do a small "Facts about Bread" corner. In one of them, Kawachi and Tsukino asked Azuma about his favourite animal, and Azuma answered "Jaa, panda" ("Yes, the Panda!"). Of course, that sounds like "Ja-pan da" ("It's the Ja-pan") so his friends, thinking/realizing he was obsessed with bread, sighed and dropped the subject.
    • During the Pantasia Employee Examination, the candidates are asked to bake croissants ("kurowassan"). Azuma, being Azuma, doesn't understand and instead wonders about this mysterious Mr. Kurowa ("Kurowa-san").
  • In order to avoid this trope, Yoh's name was changed to Yuu in the Spanish version of Shaman King, since "yo" means "I" in Spanish. The Mexican dub left the name, but pronounced it "I-oh" ("ee-oh")...and since there are people who mispronounce "yo" as "ió"...
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: In Japanese, "nai" is a verb suffix denoting negativity. It can be used alone to mean "nothing", or as a general denial. On her travels, Alpha meets an android named Nai. She also meets a girl named "Kokone", which can be said as "Koko, ne?" which loosely translates to "Here?" She uses this pun the first time she meets her, too.
  • School Rumble has a series of misunderstandings based on Harima's cousin Itoko. "Itoko" also means "cousin", and whenever someone asks "What's your relationship with her?" he answers that "She's my cousin." but people read it as "She's my Itoko" and figure they're in a relationship...
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited has the main characters Ai and Yuu. Their names mean "love" and "courage" in Japanese. This was lampshaded by the dub voice actresses for the two in the commentary on one of the DVDs.
  • Slayers fans can use "Sore wa himitsu desu" in conversation. If someone in the conversation doesn't understand Japanese, Hilarity Ensues.
    • For those readers who may not be familiar, it means "It's a secret" and is the Catch-Phrase of Xellos.
  • Digimon Xros Wars: Damemon's first meeting with Yuu Amano started out this way, as a result of Damemon's love of interspersed Gratuitous English (in this case, the word "you" being homophonous to "Yuu").
  • The main character of Guilty Crown is named Shu. It's a Meaningful Name for him as it's the Japanese word for "together", but many English-speaking viewers loved to make fun of the guy named "Shoe."
  • Noein: not present in the show itself, but it does have two main characters named "Yuu" and "Ai". Certain lines in the English dub therefore sound unintentionally hilarious ("That's the same cellphone strap Ai has!").
  • Dear god, Yuugo from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. His name sounds very similar to Yuugou, the Japanese word for "Fusion." This is a problem for several reasons: one, the Fusion Dimension are currently the main villains of the show and thus a lot of people want to know whether one is associated with them or not: two, Yuugo is so hot-headed that his general reaction to his name being gotten wrong is to flatten people: and three, Yuugo had no idea that Fusion users were attacking people so thus he doesn't understand the context. The results of this either have enormously bad consequences or Hilarity Ensues.

  • Stardrek repeatedly does this with Mr. Snott on the comm.
    Captain Jerk: Bridge to Engineering!
    Mr. Snott: Snott here, Captain!
    Captain Jerk: What's not there, Snotty?
  • Jeff Dunham does this when breaking out his new character Sweet Daddy D.
  • French humorist Raymond Devos was well-known for his wordplay sketches, including one using the cities of Caen (pronounced like "quand", French for "when"), Troyes (pronounced like "trois", French for "three") and Sète (pronounced like "sept", French for "seven").
  • The original sketch was sent up in 2006 with the performance of a Shakespearean version that must be seen to be believed.
  • A fictional Abbott and Costello routine was written with "Costello" trying to learn Hebrew, only to discover that mi is "who" and hu is "he" and hiy is "she". Hilarity Ensues. ...and we are all together! There was actually a kid's song made about this by a band called "Country Yossi".
  • The Chinese version.
  • This takes the joke to the 21st century by exploiting the potentially confusing names of popular computer programs.
  • One Russian comedy routine was pretty similar to the Abbott and Costello one (though direct influence is unlikely) and featured two characters, with the first one trying to find out the surname of the second, which was incidentally "Авас" (Andyours).
  • Rowan Atkinson had a piece where he is an English schoolteacher taking role, and of course all the students' names have unsavory connotations. "Myprick?" pause. "Has anybody seen Myprick?" pause. "Come on, somebody must have seen Myprick!"
  • Puke N' Snot:
    • This Former Renaissance Fair comedy duo featured a similar skit when Puke is portraying the legendary Robin Hood, and is talking about the location of their secret hideout.
      Snot: This forest of yours wouldn't be named Gump would it?
      Puke: The location of our hideout is a closely guarded secret. Would you like to hear it?
      Snot: Sure would.
      Puke: Oh, so you know already.
      Snot: [beat] Know what?
      Puke: The name of the forest.
      Snot: No, would you tell me?
      Puke: Sherwood.
      Snot: [beat] Okay! When?
    • They took it even further in their skit I'd Like to Buy an Eye when they impersonate pirates about to attack another ship.
      Snot: Aim your cannons at the foremast!
      Puke: Whip out your cannons, aim them at the four masts- The four masts? I thought there were only three masts!
      Snot: Well there are, but the first mast is fore.
      Puke: If the first mast is four, where's the third mast?
      Snot: That's mizzen.
      Puke: Where the hell did it go?
      Snot: Behind the main!
      Puke: The water main? Spanish main? Charlemagne? What main?
      Snot: The mainmast!
      Puke: What's the main mast?!
      Snot: Number two!
      Puke: I thought poop was number two!
      Snot: The poop is on the rear!
      Puke: Now that's the first thing you've said that makes sense!
      Snot: What's confusing you?
      Puke: I wanna know where's the fourth mast?
      Snot: There's only three masts!
      Puke: Then the fourth is missing!
      Snot: The third's mizzen!
      Puke: I know it's missing, where the hell did it go?!
      Snot: I told you, it's sticking out of the poop!
      Puke: Grrr!
  • Jeff Dunham and Achmed the Dead Terrorist go through a whole discussion on the Kardashians and Kanye West.
    Achmed: Oh I love the Kardashians!
    Jeff: Really, who's your favorite?
    Achmed: The black one.
    Jeff: That's Kanye, he's West.
    Achmed: Aaahhhh, I'm pretty sure he's South.
    Jeff: Not the direction.
    Achmed: No direction?
    Jeff: Not that direction.
    Achmed: Which direction?
    Jeff: None.
    Achmed: None?
    Jeff: Well, one direction.
    Achmed: He's in a boy band?
    Jeff: No, I said he's West.
    Achmed: Well he's certainly not North.
    Both: No.
    Jeff: No, that's his daughter.
    Achmed: His daughter is up North?
    Jeff: No, his daughter is North.
    Achmed: That's what I said!
    Jeff: No, his daughter is Northwest.
    Achmed: She's quick.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted and Lamp Shaded in Y: The Last Man:
    You: My name is You!
    Yorick: You? Like Why-Oh-Ewe?
    You: Hai!
    Yorick: Well, that is some Who's on First-shit right there!
    • On another occasion, Agent 355 poses as a member of the WHO. When someone replies, "Who?" she spoils it by explaining that it's the World Health Organization, much to Yorick's disappointment. "You were just a couple of lines away from an Abbott and Costello routine."
  • Used as a Running Gag in Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge story "Fortune on the Rocks". For example, when Scrooge and his nephews are preparing to climb a craggy mountain:
    Donald: So where do I hammer this spike?
    Louie: Right there, Unca Donald! That's your fault.
    Donald: Oh, sure! Blame everything on me!
    • Don Rosa likes this joke, though usually not taken to its Overly Long Gag lengths. Many of his stories have Donald Duck misunderstanding some name or other word.
  • In a Spider-Man comic (Spectacular Spider-Man #106):
    Spider-Man: What's that guy got anyway?
    Wasp: A certain je ne sais quoi.
    Spider-Man: And that means...
    Wasp: "I don't know what."
    Spider-Man: If you don't know what it means, how can you say it?
    Wasp: You're kidding, right?
    Spider-Man: You'll never know.
  • Occasionally used in Archie Comics.
    • This one took a little while:
      Veronica: What are you ordering?
      Reggie: I want oysters.
      Veronica: And you, Archie?
      Archie: I want oyster stew.
      Betty: [to the cook] They both want oysters.
      Archie: I don't!
      Veronica: You just said you did! He said he wanted oysters, and you said you wanted oysters, too!
      Archie: That's right. I want oyster stew.
      Veronica: That's what I said.
      Archie: ...but I don't want oysters!
      [everyone groans]
    • And then, at a time when they went camping, Archie was the one who woke up to an owl's hooting, and proceeded to wake the others:
      Archie: Did you say who?
      Jughead: Who me?
      Reggie: Who said who said who me?
      Moose: Duh...Who what?
      Chuck: Hoo-boy!
    • And in another strip:
      Betty: Hey Archie!
      Archie: Did you call me, Betty?
      Betty: Why would I call you Betty? You don't look like a Betty.
    • And this:
      Jughead: Look at the bunch of cows!
      Farmer: No, herd.
      Jughead: Heard of what?
      Farmer: Herd of cows.
      Jughead: Sure, I've heard of cows!
      Farmer: No, a cow herd.
      Jughead: What do I care what a cow heard? I've never kept any secrets from a cow!
  • MAD did "Abbott and Costello Sort the MTV Video Library."
    Costello: Here's a bunch of Alanis Morissette tapes, but they're all mixed up. Which song is this one?
    Abbott: "You Oughta Know."
    Costello: I don't know the names of the songs. Which song is this!?
    Abbott: "You Oughta Know"!
    Costello: But I DON'T know! What about this other Alanis Morissette video?
    Abbott: It's "Ironic".
    Costello: It's ironic that I don't know the name of the video?
  • Judge Dredd had Kenny Who? (yes, even the question mark is part of his name), a struggling artist trying to establish himself in Mega City One. Kenny was a running gag based on artist Cam Kennedy's experiences trying to break into the industry in America.
  • When The Thing is in France during the Civil War he gets into an exchange like this involving the words "We" and "Oui". He mentions the trope namer.
  • In one Lucky Luke story, an Indian scout notices smoke at the horizon, signifying that settlers have entered his tribe's territory. So naturally he sends a smoke signal back to his village, saying "There is smoke at the horizon". This trope ensues when the Chieftain asks what the smoke signal means...
  • One early issue of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog series has Robotnik try and find the leader of the Freedom Fighter's intelligence division. After uncovering the (literal!) mole, the interrogation goes thusly...
    Robotnik: Who is the head of the secret intelligence?
    Mole: That's right!
    Robotnik: What?!
    Mole: No, not "what"- "Who!"
  • The Tiny Titans version of Owlman led to one of these. Saying Hoo to Batman.
  • A brief example in a Batman crossover, where a guy tells Batman about this super-hero who had accosted him: "His name's Strange." "What's strange about it?" "No, that's his name. Adam Strange."
  • Referenced in The Cartoon History of the Universe when Gonick points out that ancient Hindus composed a poem to the great god "Who".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) has this bit from Issue #8, when Sonic and Silver first meet Whisper the Wolf and names are exchanged.
    Whisper: Whisper.
    Sonic: Cool.
    Silver: (whispering) Okay. But... why?
    Sonic: No, genius. Whisper is her name.
  • Górsky & Butch includes a gag about a village of Asian monks, all of whom have names that sound exactly like various Polish pronouns and prepositions.

    Comic Strips 
  • In FoxTrot, Jason and Marcus do one relating to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, complete with a reference to the Trope Namer:
    Marcus: Who are they?
    Jason: Yes.
    Marcus: I mean the people.
    Jason: Who.
    Marcus: The ones standing in a circle singing that "Fahoo" song!
    Jason: They're Who.
    Marcus: What are you asking me for?!
    Jason: Abbott and Costello meet the Grinch.
    Paige: Who?
  • Pearls Before Swine:
    • A storyline from 2009 involved Pig and his "bitter x" (a refrigerator magnet in the shape of a literal letter x), culminating in this strip from November 29.
    • Another Pearls Before Swine storyline from October 19, 2014 follows the spirit/letter of this trope much more closely with Rat being slowly driven insane while trying to ask Goat whose band's drummer was Keith Moon (you can read their whole conversation in its full glory on the Quotes page for this article). It culminates with Rat screaming "I don't know!" and Goat saying, "Third base!"
  • The Family Circus features a ghostly prankster named Not Me. It's not hard to see how his antics get the children (who know of Not Me's existence) into even worse trouble when they try to explain their way out of it. And when there's too much mischief for one, Not Me is joined by his Distaff Counterpart, Ida Know.
  • Also shows up in Get Fuzzy, when Rob has to tell Satchel to call a doctor for him.
    Rob: No, that's Dr. Weir. I need to see Dr. Wen.
    Satchel: Weir! Wen! Hu!
  • An old Peanuts Sunday strip has Sally working on her penmanship when Linus comes in:
    Sally: I'm practicing my Y's.
    Linus: Why?
    Sally: No, Y's! I did a whole row of them.
    Linus: Oh.
    Sally: Not O's, Y's!
    Linus: I see.
    Sally: I C? Who said anything about I's and C's? These are Y's! Don't you ever listen?
    Linus: Gee!
    Sally: Not G! Y's!! Now pay attention... these are U's...
    Linus: They don't look like me at all...
    [Sally throws her papers and pen at Linus in the last panel]
  • In The Wacky Adventures of Pedro, confusion (further detailed on the Quotes page) ensues after Pedro asks an alien for the name of the planet that will play host to the Miss Galactic Nebula Beauty Contest, and he mishears the answer, "Owrplannit", as, "Our planet".
  • In one Pickles strip, Opal found her husband Earl watching TV and asked what he was watching. He replied, "My Name Is Earl." She said that she already knew his name and repeated her question.

    Fan Works 
  • Played with in Breaking Character, a Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun fic where Kashima's eccentric father is responsible for naming his two daughters Yuu and Mii. Hori fails to notice it until it's pointed out to him, with the other person joking about the possibility of additional sisters Ai and Wii.
  • Done in this Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction, and this Tenchi Muyo! fanfiction.
  • In Harry Potter fanfiction, this has been done numerous times with Sirius Black. "Sirius"/"serious" jokes are generally understood to be quite lame by this point.
    • There's a LiveJournal icon floating around among the Sirius/Remus shippers with the following exchange between Harry and Remus:
    Harry: You're a werewolf?!
    Remus: Yes.
    Harry: Are you fucking serious?!
    Remus: That too.
    • And then, the Memetic Mutation: "Why so Sirius?"
    • Mugglecast has a cowbell they ring when lame jokes including that one start getting abused.
    • The author of the HP fic Who's a Hero? both uses and lampshades the trope.
    • Lampshaded in the Dangerverse, where the Pack parents state Sirius can only make that joke once a year.
    • In one episode of The Lazer Collection, Ron mentions that Dumbledore has had an accident. When Harry asks if it was serious, Ron replies, "No, it was Snape." Cue Fail Horn and I'mma Firin' My Lazer!
    • This would only really work in an American accent; British people pronounce the words differently enough that the joke wouldn't work — "Sirius" / "seee-rious". See also the various Harry/hairy puns the fandom makes.
  • Used in this fan-performed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time variant of the joke, between Sheik and Link.
  • Used in this fan video for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, featuring Derpy Hooves getting confused because her driving instructor keeps telling her to back up the car and the fact he keeps telling her to "go ahead". She decides in the end to just make the car go sideways instead... Somehow...
  • Happens in Turnabout Storm between Phoenix and Owlowiscious, in reference to the Running Gag of "Owl's Well That Ends Well":
    Phoenix: Hey! An owl.
    Owlowiscious: Hoo.
    Phoenix: You, you're an owl.
    Owlowiscious: Hoo.
    Phoenix: You mean "Who am I?". Phoenix Wright, with a "Ph" and a "W".
    Owlowiscious: Hoo.
    Phoenix: You know? You make Big Macintosh look like a blabbermouth.
    Owlowiscious: Hoo.
    Phoenix: *sigh*
    • Later on Spike manages to get stuck in the cycle once again.
  • A similar joke occurs when Sonic meets Owlowiscious in Chaotic Harmony:
    Sonic:’s just an owl. You aren’t going to start talking, right?
    Owlowiscious: Who?
    Sonic: You, duh.
    Owlowiscious: Who?
    Sonic: You! I’m talking to you right now!
    Owlowiscious: Who?
    Sonic: You! You, okay!? Geez, and I thought that pink pony was annoying!
    Owlowiscious: Who?
    Sonic: Alright, that’s it! Say ‘who’ one more time. I dare ya, birdie! I. Dare. You.
  • And a similar joke occurs when Trixie meets Owlowiscious in Getting Back on Your Hooves:
    Trixie: Um...hello there...
    Owlowiscious: Hoo?
    Trixie: Trixie.
    Owlowiscious: Hoo?
    Trixie: Umm...Trixie.
    Owlowiscious: Hoo?
    Trixie: Trixie!
    Owlowiscious: Hoo?
    Trixie: You stubborn bird! I said my name is Trixie!
    Owlowiscious: Hoo?
    Twilight: Trixie, he's an owl, that's all he can say!
    Trixie: Oh… Um yes… Trixie knew that! Oh look at the time! Goodnight…
  • And again in A Voice Among the Strangers. This time it happens offscreen between Spike and Owlowicious, with Spike only realising later that he fell into the same trap as always.
    Twilight: We would have been here sooner but Owlowiscious and Spike got into an argument over who was cleaning up later today.
    Spike: Hey, it's not my fault he kept asking who was meant to... be... doing-... argh.
    • This one is noteworthy because it happens in a story where the Equestrian language explicitly sounds nothing like English.
  • May the Best Friends Win (the sequel to Rainbooms and Royalty) has this exchange between Pinkie and Twilight when the former sees the latter's messed up mane.
    Pinkie: You sort of look like that doctor... what's his name?
    Twilight: Who?
    Pinkie: That's what I'm trying to remember!
    Doctor: I'm the Doctor.
    Harry: Who?
    Doctor: No relation.
  • Similar to the above is this example from chapter 5 of Stargate Equestria: Connection:
    O'Neill: Hey, pal! Name's Jack O'Neill! What's yours?
    Who: Uh. Who?
    O'Neill: What?
    Who: What?
    O'Neill: Who. Are you?
    Who: Oh. Um, yeah...
  • The Big Bad of Hogwarts Exposed, known in-universe only as the "Great One", is actually the Minister for Magic, whose surname is Wrong. This led one reviewer to suggest that this trope was the reason she'd never been caught despite being a complete idiot, because:
    Auror Chief: So, have you found out who the Great One is?
    Auror: She's Wrong.
    Auror Chief: I know she's wrong, but who is she?
  • Examples from the Calvinverse:
    Calvin: Forget about it, that's history!
    Hobbes: No, that's math.
  • In Hogwarts' Dawn Hogwarts created a brand-new House for Harry and his friends after he became estranged from most of the other Gryffindors during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Since as a building it possessed limited sentience, it christened the new House "Your House," which created some confusion at dinner when Dumbledore told Harry that he was now a member of "Your House."
  • In The Non-Bronyverse, TD runs across a pair of diamond dogs named Huo and Watt. He can barely manage to keep a straight face as he runs through the gag.
  • Webwork has a brief gag when it's revealed that Jade's birth name is Yu, causing Tohru to wonder if his grasp of English isn't as good as he thinks it is. Part of what kicks off the plot hinges on the similarity between "Yu" and "You"
  • Hans Von Hozel: "One day, House was walk into his House."
  • In The Phantom of the Genre, while trying to catch a ghost in an old theater, Rarity proposes having a seance, to which Pinkie keeps responding "Ahntz" to Rarity's chagrin.
  • In The Undesirables a combination of Lightning Dust's drunkenness and Luna's use of the Royal "We" leads to the following exchange.
    Princess Luna: As We were saying, I—
    Lightning Dust: Who's We?
    Princess Luna: Me.
    Lightning Dust: You?
    Princess Luna: Aye!
    Lightning Dust: I?
    Princess Luna: Yes!
    Lightning Dust: Me?
    Princess Luna: SILENCE!
  • In This Bites!, Cross and Soundbite weaponize the dialogue to get the drop on a Government Agent who got the drop on them.
    • Followed by Soundbite broadcasting the original sketch to the entire world. Busted guts abound.
  • From Hardcore Entertainment presents: 'Seven Does Voyager'
    Bootlix: Er...actually Captain...
    Cptn Analway: What?
    Bootlix: They said they're obeying your orders.
    Cptn Analway: WHAT?
    Bootlix: You just said that.
    Cptn Analway: Said what?
    Bootlix: What.
    Cptn Analway: What did I just say?
    Bootlix: You said 'what'.
    Cptn Analway: What?
    Bootlix: Yes, what.
    Analway feels a throbbing in her head that she has not experienced since she let her hair down from its tight bun.
    Cptn Analway: No, I meant what...ARGH! What order?
  • From SO Schip:
    North Cat fan: Sorry, I would have come to the game, but these tickets are far too much money, and it'll cost me An Arm and a Leg.
    oghond (stares in shock at the other person's arm): Your arm?!
    North Cat fan: Yes, ik ben arm. note 
    oghond: No, no, no, your arm.
    North Cat fan: That's what I said: ik ben arm.
    oghond: You're not an arm; you're a human person!
    North Cat fan: Ik geen arm, maar ik ben arm.
    oghond: What- huh- what?
    North Cat fan: I'M POOR.
    oghond: Then why didn't you just say that in the first place?
    North Cat fan: I did! I said it'd cost me an arm and a leg to buy these tickets!
    South Cat fan: Your arm?
    North Cat fan: Oh god...

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens in Winnie-the-Pooh
    Rabbit: Can you tie a knot?
    Piglet: I cannot.
    Rabbit: Ah, so you can knot?
    Piglet: No, I cannot knot.
    Rabbit: Not knot?
    Pooh: Who's there?
    Rabbit: Pooh!
    Pooh: Pooh who?
    Rabbit: No, Pooh...Piglet, you'll need more than two knots?
    Piglet: Not possible.
    Owl: Ah, so it is possible to knot those pieces.
    Piglet: Not these pieces.
    Pooh: Yes, knot those pieces.
    Piglet: Why not?
    Eeyore: 'Cause it's all for naught.
  • In ''Mulan, when Sheng is asking for the name of a disguised Mulan:
    Sheng: What's your name?
    Mulan: Uh... I, I, uh...
    Chi Fu: Your commanding officer just asked you a question!
    Mulan: Uh, I've got a name, ha! And it's a boy's name, too.
    Mushu [whispering while hiding in Mulan's knapsack]: How about Ling?
    Mulan [looking at Ling]: His name's Ling.
    Sheng: I didn't ask for his name. I asked for yours!
    Mushu: Try, uh, uh... ah... Chu.
    Mulan: Ah Chu.
    Shang: Ah Chu?
    Mushu: Gesundheit; I kill myself.
    Mulan: Mushu...
    Shang: Mushu?
    Mulan: No!
    Shang [losing patience] Then what is it?
    Mushu: Ping! Ping was my best friend growing up.
    Mulan: It's Ping.
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman:
    • While visiting Marie Antoinette:
      Sherman: Mrs. Antoinette, can we have some cake?
      Marie Antoinette: Mais oui.
      Sherman: Oh, I'm sorry. May we have some cake?
    • Later, during an encounter with King Tut, Peabody introduces a high priest named Ai, prompting Sherman to predictably ask, "He's you?"
  • Done in Atlantis: The Lost Empire with a mix-up over the names of the crew.
    Princess Kida: Cookies are sweet, but yours is not. Sweet is kindly, but that is not his name. Audrey is sweet, but she is not your doctor. And the little digging animal called Mole, he is your pet?
    Milo: Close enough.
  • In Inside Out, the two guards who guard Riley's subconscious get in an argument when one thinks the other took his hat. The problem is, rather than writing their name inside their own hat, both of them wrote "my hat" instead.
  • In The Lion King, Nala attempts to explain matters to Timon and Pumbaa:
    Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey?
    Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar.
    Timon: Who?
    Nala: Scar.
    Pumbaa: Who's got a scar?
    Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle.
    Timon: The monkey's his uncle? (A Call-Back to Scar saying that Simba becoming king would make him "a monkey's uncle" earlier in the movie.)
  • In All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Carface (notably a reasonably savvy and competent villain previously) falls for the "sole"-"soul" homonym, having sided with the Devil on the assumption he would sell shoes. He promptly gets Dragged Off to Hell at the end of the movie.
  • The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: When Victor demands that Wallace get his hairpiece out of the Bun-Vac 6000.
    Victor: I want... Toupee, please.
    Wallace: Oh, grand. Uh, we take check or cash.
    Victor: Toupee, you idiot! My hair is in your machine!
    Wallace: Oh, no, it's only rabbits in there. The hare, I think you'll find, is a much larger mammal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played with briefly in Babe when the eponymous pig meets an old sheep named Maa:
    Babe: I'm a pig, what are you?
    Maa: Ewe.
    Babe: Pig. What. Are. You?
    Maa: I'm! A! Ewe! A EWE!
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead has one, with one character smart enough to figure it out before it goes too long:
    The Player: The old man thinks he's in love with his daughter.
    Rosencrantz: Good God. We're out of our depths here.
    The Player: No, no, no! He hasn't got a daughter! The old man thinks he's in love with his daughter.
    Rosencrantz: The old man is?
    The Player: Hamlet... in love... with the old man's daughter... the old man... thinks.
    Rosencrantz: Ah.
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947) has one as its ending — see if it sounds familiar:
    Dick: You remind me of a man.
    Margaret: What man?
    Dick: The man with the power.
    Margaret: What power?
    Dick: The power of Hoodoo.
    Margaret: Who do?
    Dick: You do.
    Margaret: Do what?
    Dick: Remind me of a man.
    Margaret: What man?
    Dick: The man with the power.
    Margaret: What power?
    Dick: Give up?
    Margaret: Give up. Let's go.
  • Rush Hour 3 had this sketch with characters Mi and Yu.
    Yu: May I help you?
    Carter: We'll be asking the questions, old man. Who are you?
    Yu: Yu.
    Carter: No, not me, you!
    Yu: Yes, I am Yu.
    Carter: Just answer the damn question! Who are you?
    Yu: I have told you!
    Carter: Are you deaf?
    Yu: No, Yu is blind.
    Carter: I'm not blind, you blind.
    Yu: That is what I just said.
    Carter: You just said what?
    Yu: I did not say "what", I said "Yu"!
    Carter: That's what I'm asking you!
    Yu: And Yu is answering!
    Carter: Shut up! [to Mi] You!
    Yu: Yes?
    Carter: Not you, him! What's your name?
    Mi: Mi.
    Carter: Yes, you!
    Mi: I am Mi.
    Yu: He is Mi, and I am Yu.
    Carter: And I'm about to whoop your old ass, man, cause I'm sick of playing games! You! Me! Everybody's ass around here! Him!
  • Rush Hour 2 did it in the opposite direction, when discussing Chris Tucker's character's apparent death.
    Inspector Lee: Not Yu, YOU!
    • Worth noting that this was mainly for Rule of Funny, as the Chinese syllable 'Yu' is not actually the same as the English 'you'. (It's like ü in the German 'über'.)
  • Austin Powers in Goldmember: Austin meets nubile teenage twin sisters Fook Mi and Fook Yu.
    • In a deleted scene they reveal that those aren't their real names, making all the associated confusions completely unnecessary.
  • Airplane! uses characters with names resembling calls used in airport radio talk:
    Flight Control: Flight 209 you're clear for takeoff.
    Clarence Oveur: Roger.
    Roger Murdock: Huh?
    FC: LA departure frequency 123.9.
    Clarence Oveur: Roger.
    Roger Murdock: Huh?
    Victor Basta: Request vector, over.
    Clarence Oveur: What?
    FC: Flight 209 clear for vector 324.
    Roger Murdock: We have clearance, Clarence.
    Clarence Oveur: Roger, Roger, what's our vector, Victor?
    FC: Now we're in radio clearance, over.
    Clarence Oveur: That's Clarence Oveur, over.
    Victor Basta: Roger.
    Roger Murdock: Huh?
    FC: Roger, over.
    Clarence Oveur: What?
    Roger Murdock: Huh?
    Victor Basta: Who?
  • Airplane II: The Sequel has a scene very much the one above, as well as some courtroom testimony:
    Witness: Striker was the squadron leader. He brought us in real low. But he couldn't handle it.
    Prosecutor: Buddy couldn't handle it? Was Buddy one of your crew?
    Witness: Right. Buddy was the bombardier. But it was Striker who couldn't handle it, and he went to pieces.
    Prosecutor: Andy went to pieces?
    Witness: No. Andy was the navigator. He was all right. Buddy went to pieces. It was awful how he came unglued.
    Prosecutor: Howie came unglued?
    Witness: Oh, no. Howie was a rock, the best tailgunner in the outfit. Buddy came unglued.
    Prosecutor: And he bailed out?
    Witness: No! Andy hung tough! Buddy bailed out. How he survived, it was a miracle.
    Prosecutor: Then Howie survived?
    Witness: No, 'fraid not. We lost Howie the next day.
    Prosecutor: Over Macho Grande?
    Witness: No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande.
  • The Dinner Game (Le Diner de cons) has Leblanc. Juste Leblanc. That is, a Bond, James Bond mistaken for Only One Name. Juste translates to "just," and Leblanc, roughly, to "White." A further problem is that the "juste" can also mean "right, as in "is that right?" And an unrelated woman named Marlène Sassoeur ("Hi, I'm Marlene Hissister...") The first conversation could be transcribed thus:
    Pierre: His name is Just White.
    François: Doesn't he have a first name?
    Pierre: I told you, it's Just White! White is his surname, and it's Just his name. Your name is François, is it just? Well, same for him, it's Just.
  • What's Up, Doc? had an exchange between a judge and a thickly accented character named Hugh. The judge thought he was saying, "I am you!" until the judge snapped, "Stop saying that! Make him stop saying that!"
  • Jesse and Chester in Dude, Where's My Car? discover that they have tattoos of each other's Catch Phrases ("Dude" and "Sweet") on their backs. Then they ask each other what they say, resulting in much confusion. This goes on for quite a while.
    • A harder-to-catch example occurs at the Chinese drive-thru, where Jesse and Chester think a waiter is asking "And then?" to see if they want something else. It's actually a Chinese phrase.
  • Happens when the heroes are talking about the Big Bad, Helen Hu, in Kung Phooey, which also comes with a bunch of Punny Names.
  • The Pink Panther (2006), in a reversal, has Inspector Clouseau, upon hearing that a murder victim's last words were "Oh, it's you", wanting to interrogate every person in Paris with the name of Yu. Surprisingly enough, this actually led somewhere.
  • In Spaceballs, Dark Helmet discovers that half his crew are from the "Asshole" family, making it rather convenient to insult them.
    Dark Helmet: I knew it, I'm surrounded by Assholes! [beat, pulls down mask] Keep firing, Assholes!
    • In the TV edit, they're all from the "Moron" family, which better fits their behavior and deportment.
  • The Three Stooges: In the short The Three Stooges Disorder In The Court, we get a brief example when Curly confuses how to address the judge and the attorney tries to correct him. It's a brief example because the judge, a Reasonable Authority Figure, cuts to the chase:
    Attourney: Mr. Howard, kindly tell the court what you know about the murder of Kirk Robin.
    Curly: Well, it was like this, Mr. Court—
    Attourney: [whispered] Address the judge as "Your Honour!"
    Curly: Well, it was like this, My Honour—
    Attourney: [still whispered] "Your Honour," not "My Honour"!
    Curly: Why? Don'tcha like 'im?
    Judge: Allow the witness to continue! The court understands him.
  • Murder by Death: The butler's name, Jamesir Bensonmum, plays into questions about his name by confusing "Bensonmum" with "Benson, ma'am" and "Jamesir" with "James, sir". This all makes more sense with an English accent.
    Dora: Thank you. You are?
    Butler: Bensonmum.
    Dora: Thank you, Benson.
    Butler: No, no, no, no, no...Bensonmum. My name is Bensonmum.
    Dick: Bensonmum?
    Butler: Yes, sir. Jamesir Bensonum.
    Dick: Jamesir?
    Butler: Yes, sir.
    Dick: Jamesir Bensonmum?
    Butler: Yes, sir.
    Dick: How odd.
    Butler: My father's name, sir.
    Dick: What was your father's name?
    Butler: Howard. Howard Bensonmum.
    Dick: Your father was Howard Bensonmum?
    Dora: Leave it be, Dickie. I've had enough.
  • Broken Lizard's Club Dread had a character named Yu, naturally leading to a few short versions of this trope.
    Juan: Pete! Yu and Hank are dead!
    Coconut Pete: Why? What did we do?
    Juan: No, man! Yu and Hank are fucking dead!
    Coconut Pete: Are you threatening me?!
  • In 200 Motels, the MC, Rance Muhammitz, has many names, including, apparently, "Opal You Hot Little Bitch".
  • Back to the Future has Marty trying to order a diet soft drink at Lou's Café in 1955:
    Lou: You gonna order something, kid?
    Marty: Uh, yeah...give me a Tab.
    Lou: Tab? I can't give you a tab unless you order something.
    Marty: All right, give me a Pepsi Free.
    Lou: You want a Pepsi, pal, you're gonna pay for it!
    Marty: Look, just give me something without any sugar in it, okay?
    [Lou brings him a black coffee]
  • Another Mel Brooks film, History of the World Part I, has a scene with Brooks as a waiter at Christ's Last Supper. When he tries to take the Apostles' food orders while Jesus is discussing his imminent betrayal with them, they angrily tell him to go away.
    Waiter: All right, all right! Jesus!
    Jesus: Yes?
    Waiter: What?
    Jesus: What?
    Waiter: What?
    Jesus: Yes?
    Waiter: Jesus!
    Jesus: What?
    Waiter: Yes?
    Jesus: What?
    Waiter: Wha...You said "what?"
    Jesus: What?
    Waiter: [irritated] Nothing.
  • Done in The Sandlot, though with reference to S'Mores rather then a name.
    Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s'more?
    Smalls: Some more of what?
    Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s'more?
    Smalls: I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
    Ham Porter: You're killing me, Smalls!
    • This particular version is actually Older Than Radio, as a similar minstrel-show routine involved one of the company asking another member if he wanted molasses, only to be told "Molasses? I ain't had any lasses yet!"
  • In The Maiden Heist, Roger Barlow gets confused by the radio talk usage of "roger".
  • Abbott and Costello do this in their movie The Naughty Nineties. Credit where it's due! Though the idea may have existed before, this routine is both the Trope Namer and the Trope Codifier.
  • The Little Rascals short "Little Daddy" when Farina is telling a story of Noah's Ark to Stymie. It led to Stymie's confusion over "Yeah" and "Noah" thinking they both built the boat.
  • Classic example from Clue
    Col. Mustard: Wadsworth, am I right in thinking there is nobody else in this house?
    Wadsworth: Um- no.
    Col. Mustard: Then there is someone else in this house?
    Wadsworth: No, sorry. I said no meaning yes.
    Col. Mustard: "No meaning yes?" Look I want a straight answer, is there someone else, or isn't there? Yes or no?
    Wadsworth: Um, no.
    Col. Mustard: No there IS, or no there ISN'T!?
    Wadsworth: Yes.
    [Mrs. White smashes her glass against a fireplace]
Mrs. White:
Col. Mustard: Well, there is still some confusion as to whether or not there is anybody else in this house.
Wadsworth: I told you, there isn't!
Col. Mustard: There isn't any confusion, or there isn't anybody else?
Wadsworth: Either, or both.
Col. Mustard: Just give me a clear answer!
Wadsworth: Certainly! What was the question?
Col. Mustard: Is there anybody else in the house!
Everyone: No!!!
  • In Purple Rain, "what" is the password:
    Morris: Okay. What's the password?
    Jerome: You got it.
    Morris: Got what?
    Jerome: The password.
    Morris: The password is what?
    Jerome: Exactly.
    Morris: The password is exactly?
    Jerome: No, it's okay.
    Morris: The password is okay?
    Jerome: Far as I'm concerned.
    Morris: Damn it, say the password!
    Jerome: What.
    Morris: Say the password, onion head!
    Jerome: The password is what?
    Morris: [frustrated] That's what I'm asking you!
    Jerome: [more frustrated] It's the password!
    Morris: The password is it?
    Jerome: [exasperated] Ahhhhh! The password is what!
    Morris: It! You just said so!
    Jerome: The password isn't it! The password is?
    Morris: What?
    Jerome: Got it!
    Morris: I got it?
    Jerome: Right.
    Morris: It or right?
  • In 1941, a group of Japanese soldiers capture one American, Hollis P. Wood, and take him to a Japanese submarine to interrogate him:
    Cmdr. Mitamura: Where Hollywood?
    Hollis: Right here.
    Mitamura: What?
    Hollis: You're looking at him.
    Mitamura: Who?
    Hollis: Hollis Wood.
    Mitamura: Where?
    Hollis: I'm right here! Shoot, can't ya understand plain English?
    Mitamura: Hollywood?
    Hollis: Huh?
    Mitamura: Where?
    Hollis: Here!
    [Mitamura opens a map and shows it to Hollis]
    Mitamura: Where Hollywood? North? South?
    Hollis: Ohhhhh! You want me to tell you where Hollywood is!
  • Mr. Magoo: The bad guy is a Brazilian drug lord by the name of Ortega Peru. This leads to a lot of confused dialogue whenever someone says that Peru is in Brazil.
  • In Doctor Strange (2016) we have this exchange:
    Kaecilius: You'll die defending this world, Mister...
    Dr. Strange: Doctor.
    Kaecilius: Mister Doctor?
    Dr. Strange: It's "Strange".
    Kaecilius: Maybe. Who am I to judge?
    • One fight scene later, and Kaecilius still thinks that Strange's surname is "Doctor", leading to an exasperated Strange having to explain it to him.
  • The World's End:
    Gary: I don't even know what a pronoun is.
    Oliver: Well, it's a word that can function by itself as a noun which refers to something else in the discourse.
    Gary: I don't get it.
    Andrew: You just used one.
    Gary: Did I?
    Andrew: "It" it's a pronoun.
    Gary: What is?
    Andrew: It!
    Gary: Is it?
    Andrew: Christ!

  • First one:
    Q: Who invented the steam engine?
    A: Watt.
    Q: I said "Who invented the steam engine?"
  • And:
    Q: Hao Hai is a Chinese mountain.
    A: I don't know, how high is it?
  • Also:
    Q: Who was the 1975 F1 World Champion?
    A: Lauda.
  • Also with a Bilingual Bonus:
    Q: How do you say "horses" in Dutch?
    A: Paarden
  • Also:
    Q: What's the capital of Alaska?
    A: Juneau.
    Q: If I knew, I wouldn't be asking.
  • Also:
    "My wife went on a cruise."
    "No, she wanted to go."
  • And:
    Q: Where's your sister taking her holiday?
    A: Alaska.note 
    Q: No don't worry, I'll do it myself.
  • Also:
    "Last week I took a break in Austria."
    "No, just skiing."
  • A classic Jewish joke involves asking what "ani lo yodeah" means. "What does 'ani lo yodeah' mean?" "I don't know." (Yeah, that's literally what it means)
    • This actually plays a pivotal role in a (possibly apocryphal) story involving a Jewish sage and an anti-Semitic Christian priest. The latter arranges a religious debate between the two, with the fate of the Jewish community hanging in the balance; the priest intends it to be fixed. However, the first question the sage asks the priest is what the words "Ani lo yodeah" mean, and the priest makes a fool of himself in front of the king, who sees him declaring he doesn't know the answer.
    • A variation have their lives on the line and the priest knowing Hebrew and being able to correctly answer the question. Since the axeman didn't speak a word of Hebrew, he mistook the priest's answer for an admission of ignorance, and he wound up getting the axe. Either way, the Jews win, everybody goes home, the end.
      • Another variant on this uses the French term "Je ne sais quoi", which means "I don't know what".
  • "There are four brothers, Anybody, Nobody, Everybody, and Somebody. Everybody had a job to do, and Anybody could have done it, but Nobody ended up doing it. This made Somebody mad, because when Everybody has a job to do and Anybody can do it, Nobody should be doing nothing!"
  • Another joke:
    Mexican kid: [in Spanish] Sir, I would like to buy some socks.
    American store clerk: What?
    Kid: [in Spanish] Socks! I need socks!
    Clerk: Look, is this what you're looking for? [holds up pants]
    Kid: No.
    Clerk: Is this it? [holds up shoes]
    Kid: No.
    Clerk: Uh, this? [holds up socks]
    Kid: ¡Eso sí que es! [in Spanish, "that is it!"]
    Clerk: Well, if you could spell it, why'd ya waste my time?
  • Three men are living in an apartment house: Mr. Crazy on first floor, Mr. Nobody on second, Mr. No-one on third. One day, they're all looking out of their windows. Then, Mr. Nobody throws a flowerpot on Mr. Crazy's head. Mr. No-one has seen it. So Mr. Crazy calls 911:
    Mr. Crazy: Nobody has thrown a flowerpot on my head! And No-one is my witness!
    Policeman: Sir, are you crazy?
    Mr. Crazy: Yes, exactly!
  • How about:
    Q: Can you tell me Napoleon Bonaparte's nationality?
    A: Corsican.
    Q: OK, so what was it?
  • And there's:
    Q: Hao Long is a Chinese name.
    A: ...eleven letters?
    Q: No, Hao Long is a Chinese name.
  • A joke that's usually told like an urban legend: An airplane employee named John Gay is taking a flight using one of the free tickets he gets from his job. Not liking his assigned seat, he switches with someone else. Unfortunately, the plane is overbooked, so the flight attendant has to go and ask people to give up their seats, starting with holders of free tickets. She asks the man who took Mr. Gay's seat "Are you Gay?" He says "Well, yes, miss, I am." She says, "You'll have to give up your seat." Realizing what happened, the actual John Gay stands up and says "no, no, I'm Gay." A third man stands up and says "Hell, I'm gay too. They can't throw ''all'' of us off the plane."
  • A joke with many variations: A man named "Damn You" (or something more vulgar) has a brother named "Trouble", and one day Trouble goes missing. When Damn You goes to a policeman for help, the following exchange takes place.
    Police: What's your name again?
    Damn You: Damn You.
    Police: I asked for your NAME.
    Damn You: And I said, Damn You!
    Police: Listen, are you looking for trouble?
    Damn You: Yes, that's why I came to you!
    • Another variation has the man have two brothers, Manners and Trash. Trash falls down on the side of the road, and while Manners is helping him up Damn You goes for help. After going through the routine and getting asked "Where are your manners?", he replies "Out on the road, picking up Trash!"
  • A Scottish man tells his friend he is getting married, and will wear a kilt at the ceremony. The friend asks "What colour is the Tartan?" and the Scotsman replies "She's in white, same as usual."
  • And of course, the old grade-school standby. Only went as long as a kid's patience.
    Q: Pete and Re-Pete are in a boat. Pete falls off, so who's left?
    A: Re-Pete.
    Q: Pete and Re-Pete are in a boat. Pete falls off, so who's left?
  • A similar one, more along the lines of Schmuck Bait:
    Q: Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me-Now were in a boat. Adam and Eve fell out. Who was left?
    A: Pinch-Me-Now. [gets pinched] OWWW!
  • And of course:
    Look under there.
    Under where?
    Heh-heh, you said underwear!
  • Two chemists walk into a bar. One of them orders a cup of H₂O. When asked for his order, the other says: "H₂O too note , please". They received their orders; the second chemist died shortly after.
  • From online game conversation:
    "What does sth mean?"
    "Yeah, but what?"
    • The same can happen if someone asks what IDK means. It stands for "I don't know", but if someone's particularly dense they might think you're saying you don't actually know what it means.
  • One created during the 2014 World Cup:
    "The thing about the Netherlands is they don't have a playmaker like Messi."
    "The thing about the Netherlands — and their so-called 'total football' — is they don't have a playmaker like Messi."
  • While the term "dad joke" can mean any joke that's So Unfunny, It's Funny (because such jokes are the bread and butter of a Bumbling Dad's awkward attempts at humour), it can also refer more specifically to a brand of groaners that invert this trope:
    Kid: Dad, I'm hungry.
    Dad: Hi Hungry, I'm Dad.
  • Two farmers are talking.
    Farmer 1: I just got a flock of cows.
    Farmer 2: Herd.
    Farmer 1: Heard what?
    Farmer 2: Cow herd.
    Farmer 1: Why are you calling me a coward?
    Farmer 2: I didn't say "coward", I said "cow herd".
    Farmer 1: What if a cow heard? They can't understand English.
    Farmer 2: No, I meant "herd", like in herd of cows.
    Farmer 1: Of course I've heard of cows. I've got a whole flock of 'em!

  • The Ur-Example is Homer's The Odyssey, where Odysseus told the cyclops Polyphemus his name was "Nobody" (μη τις). When Polyphemus started screaming that he had been blinded, his brothers asked who had done this foul deed. Polyphemus replied that "Nobody has blinded me," so his brothers told him to shut up with the screaming over things that hadn't happened; or alternatively figured the Gods blinded him (for whatever reason) and just stay away from him. So this trope is officially Older Than Feudalism.
    • The word is also a pun; in the original Greek, "Nobody" (μη τις) would have sounded similar to a word for "cunning" (μητις), for which Odysseus was known.
    • Jules Verne used the same pun in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea — Nemo's name also means "nobody" — although it wasn't made obvious until Alan Moore has Nemo himself explain the joke in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
    • There are a number of fairy tales where a man introduces himself to a giant under the name "Myself" or "I". Shouting at the neighbors "I took my eye out" is an even better way to keep them away from you.
  • Similar to the above examples, there's a scene from the Spellsinger series in which Clothahump prepares a powerful spell in the basement. Jon-Tom asks Sorbl why he's reluctant to assist his wizard master with this spell; Sorbl replies that he's afraid of "nothing" in the basement, and this trope ensues. (He really should've said "nothingness" instead.)
  • Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger does this for the chapter Pet Day. All the kids' pets have names like this, such as a cat named Dog and a dog named Cat.
    • This happens in real life, too. A zoo had a manatee named "Turtle," as well as two turtles in the same tank. Clarification ensued.
  • A boy tricked one of The Fair Folk by telling her he was My Own Self; when she was injured and complained to her mother, the mother blamed her because "My Own Self" did to this to me.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, an evil witch's slave will be freed when "two Mondays come together in a week" — at the end, a character named Mr Monday gets married, creating a Mrs Monday. Thus. This is probably an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Three Sundays in a Week," in which the impossible condition is fulfilled simply by making use of circumnavigational time differences.
  • Unsong gives us Sohu as in "SO WHO’S GOT THE COJONES TO TRY TO STOP ME?"
  • Discworld
    • In Jingo, Fred Colon accidentally gives himself and Nobby a cover story when infiltrating Klatch, by uttering "Ur" when asked for his hometown — Ur being the Klatchian city commonly joked to be the town of idiots.
      • So when it comes to idiots, Nobby and Colon are the Ur-example?
    • Then there's Rincewind's encounter in Interesting Times with an actress from the Noh school of theatre. "You don't understand. We are Noh actors." "Oh, you weren't that bad."
    • In Making Money, the Glooper, an economic modeling system using the flow of water, tends to leak, so anyone visiting its inventor needs a raincoat. Mr. Bent introduces Moist von Lipwig as "Mr. Lipwig," then Moist introduces himself by saying "I am Moist." The inventor's reply is "Perhaps we should have put the raincoats nearer the door."
  • During Welkin Weasels: Gaslight Geezers, Spindrick Sylver's anarchist group take days of the week as codenames. This leads to awkwardness when Spindrick needs help to carry the barrels of gunpowder just as his comrades start to walk away.
    "Hey!" he shouted. "Saturday!"
    Saturday turned around, thinking Spindrick was asking about the date for the next meeting. "Can't make it," he said. "Not at all."
    Spindrick thought he meant now, because he had something wrong with his legs or back or something.
    "Well, what about Monday?"
    "Monday's no good either," said Saturday. He was about to add "dentist's appointment" when Spindrick said, "Well, of course he isn't. None of us are up to any good. We're gunpowder plotters."
    "What about Tuesday?" Saturday asked. "Is Tuesday alright?"
    "Of course I'm alright," Spindrick snapped. "What about me?"
    "Well, what about you? We don't know whether you can make it. We only know if we can."
    "I'm not asking you to help me make it, just carry it across the river."
  • The classic version in Tong Lashing, along with various other Chinese name-based plays on words. Played with in the end of the routine — the whole discussion was in "Chinpanese", and upon realising what has just happened the narrator lamented that the word for "who" was the same there as in his native language.
  • Defied in William Pene DuBois' The Twenty-One Balloons when the narrator's host, Mr. F., tells him all the people on the island are named after letters, up to the T. family. When the Professor asks if he's going to be Mr. U., F. says no, and then explains the misunderstandings that would doubtless arise.
  • In Flashman and the Dragon one of the Chinese leaders is Prince I. At one point a British officer is incensed about something "I had the effrontery to say"
    Second Officer: You said that?
    First Officer: No, of course not! I said it!
    Flashman: And I swear they went straight off into a debate about the first person pronoun!
  • Done twice in The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley with Leo talking about Hugh to Marian. The first time she hears it as Who, the second as You.
  • In Prelude to Foundation, it is a bit of a Running Gag that an important region on Trantor is called Wye, pronounced the same as "why". For example, at the end, Seldon, alongside Dors and Raych, are taken there. When they ask where they are and the one who is keeping them prisoner tells them "Wye", they wonder why she asked the reason for their question.
    "What sector are we in?"
    "Because I want to know!"
Their interlocutor quickly resolves the confusion.
  • A pun similar to the one in The Odyssey (with identical outcome) is used in the Tatar poem Şüräle by Ğabdulla Tuqay. The titular creature is outwitted and trapped by a woodcutter, and on asking the offender's name gets the reply "Byltyr", which in Tatar means "last year".
  • Animorphs: In the first book told from the perspective of local good-guy alien Ax, Marco brings Ax over to his house. He knows that Ax has trouble with metaphors (even pronouncing multi-syllable words is tricky), so he warns him to only answer questions by saying "Yes" or "No". Sure enough, Ax gets left in the same room with Marco's dad, and we get this:
    Peter: [walking in] Hello?
    Ax: No.
    Peter: I'm Marco's dad. Are you a friend of his?
    Ax: Yes.
    Peter: What's your name?
    Ax: No.
    Peter: Your name is "No"?
    Ax: Yes.
    Peter: That's an unusual name, isn't it?
    Ax: No.
    Peter: It's not?
    Ax: Yes.
    Peter: Yes, it's not an unusual name?
    Ax: No.
    Peter: Now I'm totally confused.
    Ax: Yes.
    Peter: Hey, Marco? Marco? Would friend is here. Your friend "No" is here.
    Ax: No.
    Peter: Yes, that's what I said.
    Marco: (running down the stairs) Whoa! Um, Dad! You meant my friend?
    Peter: No?
    Marco: What?
    Peter: (shakes his head) I must be getting old. I don't understand you kids.
    Ax: Yes.
For the rest of that book and on at least one other occasion, Marco's dad refers to this friend of Marco's by the name No.
  • There's a short story about a trickster who fools a rich man and others by using fake names. He tells the guard that his name was "Myself", to the rich man "Hold me", to his wife "The moon", the daughter "The sauce" and the maidservant "The cat". Hilarity Ensues.
  • In one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers stories ("The Next Day"), an employee of a publisher asks the group to help him figure out why an important manuscript had yet to arrive when the author had announced that it would be delivered tomorrow several weeks before. There was a rival publishing firm called "Morrow and Company" which received the manuscript.
  • Used (but only in the English version) of Judge Dee, with "you" and "Yu". Other translations lampshade this wordplay, as it implies the judge is speaking English in sixth-century China.
  • The Feather Merchants by Max Shulman has a variation on the Abbott & Costello routine as part of a servicemen's entertainment:
    Now a pair of comics came out and rocked the joint with some snappy patter concerning a baseball game: "Who's on first base?" "No, Who's pitching. Why's on first base." "Why?" "Because he's the first baseman. What's on second base." "What?" "Yes," etc., etc.
  • The Down Girl and Sit series focuses on the adventures of two dogs that are named Happy and Dot but who respectively believe their names to be "Down Girl" and "Sit" because this is what they usually hear from their owners. In Bad to the Bone, they are sent to the park for an obedience school session along with two other dogs that go by "Hush" and "Stay." During the session, all four of the phrases are said variously to each of the dogs, causing them to believe that their owners have become confused regarding their names.
    Down Girl: Sit and I gave up. We decided to just sit down until our masters started behaving. "Good girls," the teacher said. I rolled my eyes. This could have gone on forever, but thank goodness a squirrel ran past. We all jumped. We barked and tried to chase him. Our masters yanked on our leashes. "Down, girl!" "Sit!" "Hush!" Finally! They got our names right. Now they might pass the class.
  • What Is the Name of This Book? by Raymond Smullyan does a Title Drop without giving an answer, until the very last page:
    Oh, one last thing, before I forget: What is the name of this book? Well, the name of this book is: "What Is the Name of This Book?"
  • In Life, the Universe and Everything, after the events of the last book Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect end up stranded in prehistoric Earth. Ford and Arthur stumble upon a Chesterfield sofa in the middle of a field, and Ford explains it's there because of "eddies in the space-time continuum". A confused Arthur replies "And that's his sofa, is it?"
  • In the book version of Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, Dave discusses an awkward conversation with an airport check-in staff member, who speaks with a strong Northern Irish accent and pronounces the French city Nîmes the same way he pronounces the word "name". Dave spends the first part of the conversation getting confused over whether he's asking Dave for his name or the destination of his flight.
  • A short story by Soviet writer L. Panteleev involves the narrator teaching the alphabet to a little girl. When they reach the last letter, Я ("ya"), troubles occur since the little girl mistakes it for a pronoun meaning "I", and understands the letter as "ты" ("ty", you). It culminates in her reading the phrase Якову дали яблоко ("Yakovu dali yabloko", Yakov was given an apple) as Тыкову дали тыблоко ("Tykovu dali tybloko"). Eventually, the narrator himself refers to the letter as "ty" when the girl finally gets it right.
  • In Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams Bernie claims that he and Carolyn were discussing funny names and singer Geraldine Fitzgerald came up.
    Bernie: Anyway, I said her name sounded to me like a recipe for a perfect relationship. Get it? Geraldine fits Gerald.
    Ray: Geraldine Fitzgerald. So?
    Bernie: Geraldine. Fits. Gerald.
    Ray: That's what I just said. What the hell's supposed to be so funny about that?
    Bernie: I guess you had to be there.
  • Stephen King's novel It, and the titular monster which is simply named "It", can make for some confusing sentences.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: GOB (pronounced "JOHB") makes reference to the biblical Job (which he mispronounces "JAWB"). A bartender tries to correct him, but GOB just thinks he's saying his name.
  • In iCarly, Carly gets her laptop to get fixed by a cute tech person, who says he's into Doctor Who. She answers:
    Carly: Oh. Well I wouldn't mind watching a little Doctor Foo.
    Tech person: [correcting her] "Who."
    Carly: Me.
    Tech person: No. "Doctor Who."
    Carly: I don't know. You brought it up.
    Tech person: I'm confused.
  • The Kids in the Hall started this sketch, but subverted it by having one character quickly realise the cause of the confusion and clearing up the misunderstanding, much to his partner's chagrin.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In the episode "Fair Game", the Goa'uld Yu led to this confusion. Often referred to as "Lord Yu" (the heroes never refer to any other Goa'uld by their title) to avoid confusion. And in a later episode:
      Dr. Weir: Yu?
      Daniel Jackson: Don't. Every joke, every pun, done to death. Seriously.
    • Then in later seasons, the main enemy is named "Baal" (which the characters pronounced identical to the word "ball"). Who cloned himself repeatedly. Then they had to go capture all the Baals.
      Cameron Mitchell: Chief, got a full count. Two strikes, three Baals.
  • In the first episode of Police Squad!, Frank Drebin questions a bank teller about the murder of her co-worker. Warning, Overly Long Gag via Chain of Corrections ensues.
    Sally: I was right here at my desk, working.
    Frank: And when was the first time you noticed something was wrong?
    Sally: Well, when I first heard the shot, and as I turned, Jim fell.
    Ed: He is the teller, Frank.
    Frank: Jim Fell is the teller?
    Sally: No, Jim Johnson.
    Frank: Who's Jim Fell?
    Ed: He is the owner, Frank.
    Sally: He had the flu so Jim filled in.
    Frank: Phil who?
    Ed: Phil Inn, he's the night watchman.
    Sally: If only Phil had been here.
    Frank: Now wait a minute, let me get this straight. Twice came in and shot the teller and Jim fell.
    Sally: No he only shot the teller, Jim Johnson. Fell is ill.
    Frank: Okay, then after he shot the teller you shot Twice.
    Sally: No, I only shot once.
    Ed: Twice is the hold-up man.
    Sally: Then I guess I did shoot Twice.
    Frank: Well, so now you are changing your story.
    Sally: No, I shot Twice after Jim fell.
    Frank: You shot Twice and Jim Fell.
    Sally: No, Jim fell first and then I shot Twice once.
    Frank: Who fired twice?
    Sally: Once!
    Ed: He is the owner of the tire company, Frank.
    Frank: Okay, now, Once is the owner of the tire company and he fired Twice. Then Twice shot the teller once.
    Sally: Twice.
    Frank: And Jim fell and then you fired twice.
    Sally: Once.
    Frank: Okay, all right, that will be all for now, Ms. Decker.
    Ed: We will need you to make a formal statement down at the station.
    Sally: Oh, of course.
    Frank: You have been very helpful. We think we know how he did it.
    Sally: Oh, Howie couldn't have done it, he hasn't been in for weeks.
    Frank: Well. Thank you again, Ms. Decker.
    Frank: Weeks?
    Ed: Saul Weeks. He is the controller, Frank.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • The Noh theater sketch, in which Mike Nelson drives the robots crazy by stating that he likes Noh theater while also liking all kinds of Japanese theater. Another example: "Will you tell me the name of your favorite form of Japanese theater?" "Yes! Noh!" (Mike reveals at the end of the sketch that he was doing it all on purpose; Gypsy is the only one who got the joke.)
    • Another episode, featuring Space Mutiny, had an odd variation where Pearl attempts to get Brain Guy, who isn't working at 100% due to not having his brain, teleport Mike down to their jail cell to free the two and Bobo. In order: Brain Guy gives Mike a pillow full of down feathers ("send Mike down"). Brain Guy insults Mike ("bring Mike down"). Brain Guy brings a CPO named Mike Down to their era ("bring Mike down here").
  • Fawlty Towers of course has this exchange between Manuel and a particularly troublesome guest:
    Mrs Richards: Now, I've reserved a very quiet room, with a bath and a sea view. I specifically asked for a sea view in my written confirmation, so please be sure I have it.
    Manuel: Qué?
    Mrs. Richards: K?
    Manuel: Si.
    Mrs. Richards: C?
    Manuel: No. Qué, "what."
    Mrs. Richards: K. Watt?
    Manuel: Si: qué, "what."
    Mrs. Richards: C. K. Watt? Is he the manager?
    Manuel: Ah! Manajer! Mr. Fawlty.
    Mrs. Richards: This man is telling me the manager is a C. K. Watt, aged forty.
    Manuel: No, Fawlty.
    Mrs. Richards: Faulty? Why? What's wrong with him?
  • A sketch on The Electric Company (1971) had reporter Norman Neat (Skip Hinnant) asking a woman (Rita Moreno) about her favorite word.
    Norman: Miss, could I ask you a question here? Which is your favorite word?
    Woman: "What".
    Norman: I said, of all the millions of words in the world, which is your favorite?
    Woman: "What".
    Norman: I don't seem to be getting through to you. There are millions of words, right?
    Woman: Right.
    Norman: Which is your favorite?
    Woman: "What".
    Norman: Which is your favorite word?
    Woman: NO! "What" is my favorite word!
    Norman: All right, I'll bite. What is your favorite word?
    Woman: That's right!
    Norman: [laughs nervously] What is right?
    Woman: Correct!
    Norman: [laughs nervously again] I'll try this one more time! Which is your favorite word?
    Woman: NO!
    Norman: [startled] I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Foolish of me, wasn't it? What is your favorite word?
    Woman: You're right again. Now it's very nice talking to you, goodbye. [walks away]
    Norman: Bye. You know, of all my years on the job, she's the first one who's refused to give me her favorite word!
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has some fun with this.
    Doctor: Mr. Burtenshaw?
    Burtenshaw: Me, doctor?
    Doctor: No, me doctor, you Mr. Burtenshaw.
    Burtenshaw: My wife, Doctor?
    Doctor: No, your wife patient, me doctor.
    Sister: Come this way, please.
    Burtenshaw: Me, sister?
    Doctor: No, she sister, me doctor, you Mr. Burtenshaw.
    Nurse: Dr. Walters?
    Doctor: Me nurse. You Mr. Burtenshaw. She sister. You doctor.
    Nurse: No, doctor.
    Doctor: No doctor. Call ambulance, keep warm.
    Nurse: Drink, doctor?
    Doctor: Drink doctor. Eat sister. Cook Mr. Burtenshaw. Nurse me.
    Nurse: You, doctor?
    Doctor: Me doctor, you Mr. Burtenshaw, she nurse.
    Burtenshaw: But my wife, doctor.
    Doctor: Your wife not nurse. She nurse, your wife patient. Be patient. Your wife, me doctor. Yew tree. U-trecht, U-trillo, U Thant, doctor. [knight hits him on the head with chicken] Albatross!
  • Quantum Leap did this during the episode "Glitter Rock", when Sam wasn't sure how to act like a rock star:
    Al: Do Hendrix... or do Townshend.
    Sam: Who?
    Al: That's right.
    Sam: What is?
    Al: Who.
    Sam: I don't know.
    Al: Townshend.
    Sam: Who?
    Al: Yeah, that's right, Pete Townshend of The Who.
    Sam: Of the what?
    Al: Never mind...If worse comes to worst, do Milli Vanilli.
    Sam: Who?
    Al: That's what I suggested in the first place! Now get out there.
  • Brazilian group Casseta & Planeta had a sketch, CCS (Sentral Cecret Cervice), about a spy organization with many Agents with Punny Names (since it sounds like "a gente", us). One example of such jokes were the protagonists saying "A gente resolve" ("we'll solve it") and Agent Resolve appears with helpful information.
  • Shooting Stars did this a lot, usually as "What is the unit of power?" Vic never got it.
  • Taxi...
    Jim: What does a yellow light mean?
    Bobby: Slow down.
    Jim: Whaaaaaaaat dooooes aaaaaa yeeellloooow liiiiiight meeeeeeaaaaan?
  • Subverted on the U.S. version of Deal or No Deal: The second million-dollar winner was a black woman named Tomorrow, but despite being a comedian, host Howie Mandel is not known to have joked about her name during the show.
  • An early '80s sketch from Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show had Carson as Ronald Reagan, talking with Chief of Staff James Baker for a briefing. Reagan is repeatedly confused by the names of then-Secretary of the Interior James Watt, PLO Chairman Yasser (i.e., "Yes, sir") Arafat, and fictional Chinese Premier Chung Dung Hu, as well as by an appointment to swim with Watt at the Y.
  • Subverted by The State, while positing a world in which comedy did not exist. The following quotation is not exact, but gets the gist across:
    Costello: Who is on first?
    Abbott: Johnson.
    Costello: Johnson. A good player. Who is on second?
    Abbott: Smith.
    Costello: Smith? Interesting choice.
    (and so on in this vein)
  • Have I Got News for You:
    • In Series 30, Episode 05, Paul Merton didn't know "Hu" the Chinese President (Hu Jintao) was, and "Wen", the Chinese Prime Minister was visiting.
      Ian McMillan: The thing with the Chinese bloke [Hu Jintao] is his name something like "Who's In Town", isn't it? So it's like: "Who's In Town." "Yes, I know." That Abbott and Costello routine. "Who's In Town?" "Yes, he is."
      Paul Merton: "Hu's the President." "Yes, that's right."
      Ian Hislop: The one they don't do: HUman rights. Doesn't come up.
      Alexander Armstrong: Well, now we know who Hu is. Who's Wen? And when's Wen here and why?
      Ian McMillan: What?
      Paul Merton: Is Wen his wife? Wendy? Wendy Hu? Wen and Hu? And they've gone to visit Where.
      Alexander Armstrong: Wen is the Chinese Prime Minister and he's visiting us in December.
      Ian McMillan: Who?
      Alexander Armstrong: Wen.
      Paul Merton: So, who's the bloke we just had here then?
      Alexander: Hu.
      Paul: Yes.
      Alexander: Hu's the bloke. [audience laughs and pause] Anyway, so who's been barraging Hu as he drove... [gives up]
      Paul: Was it Christopher Eccleston... as Doctor Who... has come along and is barraging President Hu? What am I talking about!
      Alexander: Who was barraging Hu?
      Paul: Yes. That's what I just said. When? She was getting her hair done. Where? That's to-morrow. Was it Peter Townshed and Roger Daltery from the rock band The Who? Yes! They were there with Christopher Eccleston...
    • In another episode, they discussed Sarah Palin. The host, Alexander Armstrong, asks Merton which US State she governs, he responds "Alaska" and the host asks when is he planning on seeing her.
  • Get Smart
    • Detective Hu. "Who?" "Ah, so you've met."
    • The episode parodying I Spy also had Max needing to go to Club Tonight to rescue Tomorrow's partner, Today.
    • And don't forget his nemesis, The Craw.
    The Claw: No, not the craw. The Craw!
    Smart: Ah, yes, The Craw.
  • While it doesn't involve people's names, the Are You Being Served? episode "Dear Sexy Knickers" has a variation of this trope: Mr. Lucas is called to Mr. Rumbold's office after tearing a pair of pants while attempting to stretch them over his knee.
    Lucas: It was like this, you see, sir...Mr. Humphries kneed the jacket...
    Rumbold: You mean Mr. Humphries needed the jacket. Let's get our tenses right.
    Humphries: No, you don't understand sir. You see, I kneed the jacket.
    Rumbold: You need it now?
    Humphries: No, I kneed it then.
  • On the January 13, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live, host Charlie Sheen and SNL cast-member Rachel Dratch performed a modified version of "Who's on first?" in a vaudeville reminiscent sketch wherein the names "Who", "What" and "I Don't Know" were used in reference to prostitutes that perform only one specific service but no others, culminating in a joke where Sheen says "You know what, I don't give a damn," to which Dratch replies, "Oh, you mean my crack dealer."
  • Remember WENN loved this trope. One example is a court case with a witness named "Iocek" (which sounds like "I object").
  • Good Eats does a version of this trope in an episode where Alton is trying to help his neighbor Chuck make pot roast.
    Alton: What we need is chuck.
    Chuck: Aw, that's nice of you to say.
    Alton: Meat, I mean.
    Chuck: Which is...?
    Alton: Chuck!
    Chuck: Yeah?
    Alton: I'm trying to tell you the name of the meat.
    Chuck: So what's stopping you?
    Alton: Chuck!
    Chuck: No, I'm the one that needs to know!
    Alton: The best thing for pot roast is chuck!
    Chuck: But I don't even know how to cook it!
    Alton: [shows Chuck a package of meat] See, "chuck"!
    Chuck: But what is it?
    Alton: [walks off, frustrated]
  • From The Adventures of Lano and Woodley , Col is asking Frank to cut some wood and is holding a pile in his arms.
    Colin: I don't think you're pulling your weight frankly!
    Frank: My name's not Frankly!
    Colin: What?
    Frank: You dropped the Wood!
    Colin: Where?
    Frank: You called me Frankly — my name's Frank Woodley. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable.
    Colin: What makes you uncomfortable?
    Frank: Frankly!
    Colin: Yes, I'm glad you're being honest with me, what's upsetting you?
    Frank: I don't like it when you drop the Wood!
    Colin: I didn't drop the wood! Frankly, I don't what you're talking about!
    Frank: Don't call me Frankly!
    Colin: Just cut the wood!
    Frank: I'm not cutting the Wood, it's part of my name!
    Colin: Grab an axe and cut up pieces of timber for me!
    Frank: ...Oh okay, why didn't you say so?
  • NCIS:
    • Abby and McGee do this with mucus samples. "It's snot." "It's not what?"
    • The episode "Moonlighting" did it between Palmer and Ducky. Palmer explains that he has disliked sand since he was a child, after playing in it one day and itching excessively afterwards. Then we get:
    Ducky: Well it wasn't the sand, Mr. Palmer, but the sand mite.
    Palmer: Sand might what?
    Ducky: The sand mite bit you.
    Palmer: Sand bites?
    Ducky: Well, sand mites might bite.
    Palmer: I'm grammatically lost.
  • Played straight (well, kinda) on NewsRadio in the episode "Balloon":
    Jimmy:'s there!
    Dave: What's there?
    Jimmy: What's where?
    Bill: Who's on first?
    Jimmy: I don't know.
    Bill: Third base!
  • Horrible Histories:
    "What's the name of our leader?"
    • Another skit had a teacher in the Victorian era named Mrs. Farting-Clack confused by her student's names.
      Toilet: Toilet.
      Mrs. Farting Clack: Here's the key.
      Toilet: No, that's my name. I have a sister named Baboon.
      Mrs. Farting Clack: Toilet and Babooon? Your parents must be evil.
      Toilet: No, that's Evil over there.
    • When Saladin is explaining his plan to some really dim warriors. "Without the water, they'll..." "Have nothing to wash their salad in! Get it, it's his name!"
  • Inverted in a Comedy Central special. The comedians Slovin and Allen did the original bit almost word for word... except they used the names of the actual New York Yankees team at the time. It was hilarious.
  • In an episode of The Daily Show where Aasif Mandvi visited the pre-existing Mosque/Muslim community in Tennessee, he repeatedly interpreted her saying she was "a mom" and her claiming to be an Imam, which was intercut with clips from The Three Stooges.
  • In That '70s Show:
    Red: It says here Eric got an INC in gym class.
    Kitty: INC...I bet that stands for "Incredible"!
    Red: Kitty, it's "incomplete".
    Kitty: I know, you have to add the "redible".
  • On Bill Cosby's version of You Bet Your Life, one of the guests was a woman from the town of North, South Carolina, which is southeast of Due West. Don't worry, Bill couldn't keep it straight either.
  • Brazilian sports show Rockgol thought having an Argentinian striker, an Argentinian coach and a player named Jô (which sounds like the Spanish word for "me", "yo") in the same team, like Corinthians had in 2005, would be problematic:
    Coach: Tévez! Pass it to Jô! (ball is kicked at him)
  • My Wife and Kids did this with Junior selling his car to a couple named Eddie and Annie Who and Michael buying it back. To add to the confusion, Franklin, whose Catch-Phrase is "anywho", was with Michael.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Gunfighters":
      Doctor: Allow me, sir, to introduce Miss Dodo Dupont, wizard of the ivory keys, and er Steven Regret, tenor. And lastly sir, your humble servant Doctor Caligari.
      Masterson: Doctor who?
      Doctor: Yes, quite right.
    • A special feature included with "The Dominators" featured a sock puppet asking another sock puppet for the Doctor Who production codes. He wants to know "An Unearthy Child" ("A?" "I said..."), "The Time Meddler" ("Are you going to tell me then?" "S." "In your own time!"), "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" ("K."), "The Chase" and "The Myth Makers" ("I'm cataloguing two at once!" "RU." "Yes."), "The Celestial Toymaker" ("Could I possibly trouble you for the code?" "...Y."). Eventually the sock asks for the code for "The Face of Evil" and is so outraged he storms off upon hearing the answer ("4Q").
    • Played for Drama in "The Face of Evil" in which a delusional computer that believes it is the Doctor repeatedly says "WHO am I-"
  • K-9 and Company:
    Brendon: Who is the Doctor?
    K9: Affirmative.
  • The Two Ronnies:
    • The two Yokels are called Arthur Watt and Leonard Right.
    • In the "Four Candles" sketch:
      • First, Ronnie Corbett's shopkeeper thinks Ronnie Barker's customer has asked for four candles, instead of fork handles.
      • Next, Barker asks for "plugs", then clarifying, "rubber, bathroom". When Corbett asks him what size (for a bath plug) he answers "13 Amp" - an insulated electric plug.
      • Next, Corbett hears him ask "Sore tips" and offers him ointment. Barker clarifies "Saw tips", which the shop doesn't have.
      • O's - this is first mistaken for a garden hoe, a roll of hosepipe, and pantyhose. He means letter O's for a gate sign.
      • P's - only after Corbett retrieves the box of letters from a high shelf does Barker explain that he wants tinned peas.
      • Barker asks for pumps, specifically "foot pumps". When offered a foot pump, he clarifies, "Pumps for your feet. Brown pumps, size 9."
      • Barker then asks for washers. Corbett irritably suggests a variety of cleaning devices before Barker answers half-inch tap washers.
      • Eventually an exasperated Corbett grabs the shopping list, reads it and finally has enough, storming off and calling out to the back for another employee to take over. Mr. Jones leads Barker over to a drawer of billhooksnote . In a later stage version, Mr. Jones is replaced by a woman who asks him, "What sort of knockers are you looking for?"note 
  • The episode "Hopeless" of How I Met Your Mother used this trope brilliantly with a sequence where the group, while hanging out with Barney's dad Jerry, try to decide which nightclub to go to:
    Barney: Let's see, what club should we hit first? There's Club Was, there's Wrong...
    Marshall: Um, those places shut down a long time ago.
    Barney: Oh no!
    Marshall: Oh No shut down too.
    Ted: There's Where.
    Jerry: Where's Where?
    Lily: Where's where Was was, isn't it?
    Barney: No, Was wasn't where Where was, Was was where Wrong was, right?
    Jerry: OK...
    Ted: Not Okay! That place is lame!
    Robin: Okay is Lame? I thought Lame was a gay bar. Or is that Wrong?
    Marshall: That's wrong, that's not Wrong.
    Barney: Guys, focus!
    Robin: Oh, I like Focus. Let's go there!
    Ted: Where?
    Robin: Not Where, Focus!
    Lily: I thought Focus was closed.
    Barney: No, Was was closed. Once Was shut down, it reopened as Closed.
    Marshall: So Closed is open.
    Robin: No, Closed is closed.
    Jerry: I don't know! Third base! Right?
    Robin: Ew, Third Base is all frat guys.
    Lily: I'll go anyplace, OK?
    Ted: Not Okay! Okay is lame!
    Robin: Okay is not Lame! Lame is a gay bar!
    Lily: Guys, shut up!
    Barney: No, Shut Up shut down. I can't believe I don't know the clubs anymore.
    Marshall: Guys, just pick a club, OK?
    Ted: Not Okay!
    Everyone: Okay is Lame! Gay bar!
    Marshall: For the record, I was in there once, by accident, I'm pretty sure it's pronounced "La-may".
    Barney: It's Hopeless, isn't it?
    [cut to Establishing Shot of the exterior of a nightclub named "Hopeless"]
  • There is a well-known Czech sketch featuring a confused old man, a cinema cashier and two films named Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. To say the least, it ends with the man buying "two tickets for today, two for tomorrow, none for yesterday, two for Saturday and two for Sunday".
  • An animated skit from Between the Lions had a beaver scoutmaster recruiting campers named "Who" (a frog), "What" (a rabbit), "When" (a mouse), "Where" (a duck), and "Why" (a pig). Just as he learns all of their names, his tardy camper "When" show up which leads to this reaction:
    Counselor: Now when—
    When: Here!
    Counselor: What?!
    What: No, I'm What!
  • The "Who's Playing Romeo?" skit from Zoom.
  • Parodied and lampshaded on one episode of Supernatural for a quick gag:
    Dean: There's too many angels, Cas. I don't know who's on first, what's on second?
    Castiel: What is second?
    Dean: Don't start that.
  • An old The Benny Hill Show skit revolved around an interview with two kids, one of whom said he'd climbed the highest mountain range in the world.
    Interviewer: Himalaya? note 
    Sister: No, he's telling the truth!
  • The pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire pulls one of these with Prohie Agents Sebso, who doesn't know any of the gangsters they're doing surveillance on, and Van Alden, who is The Unfunny.
    Van Alden: January 16th, 9 pm. Johnny Torrio meeting with Nucky Thompson.
    Sebso: Which one's Torrio?
    Van Alden: Grey tweed. And I've got a bead on Rothstein, he just came in with Luciano. The other fellow's Big Jim Colosimo.
    Sebso: Come again?
    Van Alden: [referring to Colosimo's hat] The Hamburg.
    Sebso: [pronouncing it wrong] Hamburg?
    Van Alden: Yes, the Hamburg. No, never mind. He just took it off.
    Sebso: Who's this fellow?
    Van Alden: Which?
    Sebso: The one in the brown.
    Van Alden: That's the concierge.
    Sebso: [writing] Serge?
    Van Alden: The manager. He works here.
    Sebso: So the man in the red tie, that's Big Jim?
    Van Alden: Does that man look "big" to you?
    Sebso: How's that?
    Van Alden: That's Arnold Rothstein.
    Sebso: Soooo... not Colosimo?
    Van Alden: Red tie. Arnold Rothstein.
    Sebso: And behind him's Nucky Luciano?
    Van Alden: Lucky!
    Sebso: Come again?
    Van Alden: Lucky Luciano. Nucky Thompson.
    Sebso: Then who's Colosimo?
    Van Alden: [hangs up phone]
  • This skit on Australian comedy show The Late Shift, parodying Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
  • The original is referenced on Modern Family episode "Me? Jealous?", when Phil objects to Claire laughing at another man's joke:
    Phil: Stop it! You're laughing like it's "Who's on First".
    Claire: What?
    Phil: He's on second. Don't try to cheer me up.
  • In the episode "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis" of The Big Bang Theory, Amy tries to sum up her unexplained reaction to a boy :
    Amy: Penny's friend's ex stop by and said hello and I said "Hoo"
    Sheldon: "Who"?
    Amy: Zack
    Sheldon: Then why did you ask?
    Amy: Ask what?
    Sheldon: "Who?"
    Amy: Zack
    Sheldon: All right, let's start all over: What did you say when Zack walked in?
    Amy: "Hoo"
    Sheldon: Zack
    Amy: Why do you keep saying "Zack"?
    Sheldon: Because you keep saying "who?"
    Amy: I'm not saying "Hoo" now, I said "Hoo" last night
    Sheldon: And the answer was "Zack", correct?
    Amy: There was no question, I simply said "Hoo."
    Sheldon: [beat] All right, I think I have enough to go on...
  • iCarly:
    Carly: I'm trying to learn Mandarin, but all I can say is "Wabujitao".
    Sam: What's it mean?
    Carly: "I don't know".
    Sam: How can you not know?
    Carly: I do know. It means "I don't know".
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures uses this trope in "The Empty Planet": When the robots demand "the son and heir", Clyde and Rani think they're asking for "the sun and air" (when they figure out the truth, Clyde thinks they mean the British "son and heir," leading him to remark that they can have Camilla, too.
  • Done in Pixelface when Alexia is solving a crossword:
    Alexia: I'm stuck on this last clue. Four letters, starts W A. 'A unit of power'.
    Claireparker: Watt.
    [hilarity ensues]
  • Done in This Hour Has 22 Minutes with Shirley and Bill discussing Telus and Bell.
  • In the Community episode "Pillows and Blankets", the narrator explains that the final conflict took place in the North Cafeteria, named for Admiral William North. The North Cafeteria is located in the western portion of East Hall, which is the gateway to North Hall (which is to the east of East Hall). North Hall is not named for Admiral North, but because it's north of the South Wall. At least it makes more sense than the English Memorial Spanish Center, which is named after a Portuguese sailor named English Memorial.
  • This skit (at 2:45 in the overall clip), which was originally from the audiobook "Spock vs. Q".
  • Cold Case: A short version happens in "The Long Blue Line" when Bell asks Miller out to see a band called 'The Ungrateful Bastards':
    Miller: Who?
    Bell: I wish it was The Who, but the venue's a little small.
  • In one episode of NUMB3RS, one of these is set up, but Nikki stops it before it gets started
    David: Who was Watts [the victim] busting if there wasn't anybody out here to bust?
    [cut to]
    Colby: Otter killers.
    Don: Ought to what?
    Nikki: Don't. We did the Marx Brothers thing already.
  • El Chavo del ocho had one of this between Chavo and Doña Florinda:
    Florinda: Have you seen Quico?
    Chavo: No, I don't knew where he is.
    Florinda: It's not "I don't knew".
    Chavo: "I don't now"?
    Florinda: No.
    Chavo: "I don't kneel"?
    Florinda: No!
    Chavo: Then how do you say it?
    Florinda: "I don't know".
    Chavo: If you don't know why are you correcting me?
    • There is a even longer (and funnier) one with "bycicle is with b or v."
  • Blackadder Goes Forth has a scene where General Melchett is rehearsing what he's going to say to his current crush (who's actually George in a dress) in front of Captain Darling. He repeatedly refers to "Georgina" as "darling"; Hilarity Ensues.
    • Much comic mileage throughout the series is got out of Melchett (unheedingly) and Blackadder (provocatively) addressing Captain Darling by his surname.
  • An episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon expanded this sketch by having Who and What get into the act along with the two guys discussing them.
  • On 30 Rock Liz says something catty (if true) about her ex-roommate and Jack responds with "Me-ow!" Liz then apologizes and Jack clarifies that he was introducing "Mi Au, the owner of the largest alternative energy corporation in Asia."
  • An episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy featured this exchange:
    Bill: That's a lot of watts!
    Narrator: What?
    Bill: Exactly!
  • The Chris Rock Show did a spoof commercial for a cereal called "Nigga Please".
    Husband: Hey, honey, what's for breakfast this morning?
    Wife: "Nigga Please".
    Husband: [annoyed] Hey, can't you just tell me what's for breakfast?
    Wife: [holding up box] "Nigga Please"!
  • In Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell, a conversation between Shaun and Chinese affiliate Clavis Sinica regarding the then-current state of Chinese politics apparently took over five hours due to various confusions.
    Shaun: Okay, so when is he leaving?
    Clavis: Yes, absolutely.
    Shaun: When?
    Clavis: Yes, Wen.
    Shaun: Yes, you understand my question, don't you?
    Clavis: Yes, "Wen, is he leaving?"
    Shaun: Yes.
    Clavis: Yes, he definitely is.
    Shaun: When? [beat] Okay, forget about him. Okay, tell us about the change of president.
    Clavis: Yes, sure. Communist Party chief Xi Jinpeng will become president, replacing Hu Jintao.
    Shaun: Okay— Sorry, who is replacing the president?
    Clavis: No, Hu is the president.
    Shaun: No, no, who is the new one?
    Clavis: No, he is being replaced.
    [1 hour, 47 minutes later]
    Shaun: Oh, that's his name! I'm sorry. Alright, so, so he'll become president?
    Clavis: Yes.
    Shaun: When?
    Clavis: No, he is the premier! We're not talking about him!
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has this when Jonathan Strange introduces himself at the military encampment. They were expecting Mr. Norrell, not him.
    General: Well, who are you then?
    Jonathan: I am Strange.
    General: Indeed.
  • One episode of "Tool Time" on Home Improvement involved Tim dealing with three generations of Al Untzer with Al Borland thrown into the mix.
  • This whole segment from Cleveland's Big Chuck & Lil John Show takes "Who's on first" and then rolls away into a huge argument over the name of every player on the team, specifically the player at first base is named "Who", second base is "What", and third base is "I Don't Know" plus a pitcher named "Tomorrow" and a catcher named "Today".
  • Deadwood of all places had an example, with Al Swearengen questioning Mr. Wu on who robbed Wu's opium shipment. However, since Wu is Chinese and the only English phrase he really grasps is "cocksucker", things get a little goofy:
    Swearengen: Who the fuck did it?
    Wu: Wu!
    Swearengen: Who, you ignorant fucking chink!
    Wu: Wu?!
    Swearengen: Who, who! Who stole the fucking dope?!
    Swearengen: Oh Jesus...
  • Blindspot: In the Season 3 finale, a major clue in the case of the week is three extra words added into a passage from The Count of Monte Cristo. However, since those three words are "what" "three" and "words", it takes a few minutes to properly explain the process of solving the puzzle.
    Weller: Which three words?
    Rich: No, "what three words".
  • Pair of Kings: In "Junga Ball", Boomer accuses Brady of being a chicken, leading to this exchange:
    Brady: Mason, will you please get this riffraff out of the plaza?
    (a guard walks off with his head lowered)
    Brady: No, not you, Riff Raff. (gestures to Boomer) This riffraff.

  • Not a pronoun issue, but a similar ambiguity: a song from the 1950s, popularized by the Kingston Trio, titled "To Morrow", about a guy trying to book a train to the town of Morrow, Ohio. Here's the Muppets' version — even with subtitles, it's brain-breaking.
    You should have gone to Morrow yesterday and back today
    For the train that goes to Morrow is a mile upon its way
    If you had gone to Morrow yesterday, now don't you see?
    You could have gone to Morrow and returned today at three
    For the train today to Morrow if the schedule is right
    Today it gets to Morrow and returns tomorrow night
    • Bandleader Buddy Morrow released an album called Dancing Tonight to Morrow in 1959. There's a possibility one inspired the other.
    • Played with, however, in that while the song is dizzying to follow, the two people within the song, never actually make a mis-step.
  • Done in the "Good Day, Good Sir" by OutKast on their Speakerboxxx album with Fantastically Well, Spectacular, and Ms. Fine. "Exactly" is also referred to.
  • Trout Fishing In America has a song about a boy who named his imaginary friend "nobody":
    I've got a friend that lives with me,
    My friend's name is Nobody.
    Nobody plays with me, Nobody loves me.
    I've got a friend that you can't see,
    My friend's name is Nobody.
    Nobody listens, Nobody cares.
  • Did you see The Band?note 
  • The Kinks made an album called Something Elsenote 
  • In his infamous teardown of Christian Rock band New Song's "Christmas Shoes", Patton Oswalt quips that the band's name is just an Abbott and Costello routine waiting to happen.
    "Hey, I was just listening to New Song!"
    "A new song? Who's it by?"
  • Hank Williams III has a song called "I Don't Know", which can be confusing when you're listening to the song at a friend's house.
  • The lead singer of alt-rock band A Silent Film has admitted in least one interview that the band name is "a little awkward". note 
  • As if The Who weren't bad enough, they decided to write a song called "Who Are You", call the album it was on Who Are You, and call their fifth album Who's Next. It's like they were trying. (We're lucky their proposed compilation album Who's for Tennis was never released.)
    • Their tribute bands either avert the possibility of this trope (The Wholigans) or create entirely new problems ("Have you heard the new Who tribute band?" "The What?")
  • Then there was that time in the mid-sixties when Pete Best came out with an album and some genius thought of calling it Best of The Beatles. Many an aging Beatles fan still bears a grudge.
  • Japanese music and Visual Kei are somewhat prone to this joke especially in the crossover to English, as a result of a lot of musicians being Name's the Same, names like Yo or Yuu or Yue or that are abbreviated to/pronounced the same, and some people's stage names. An unintentionally offensive variant can happen with the ones that are named "Die" or "Dai" - when someone told the bandman's name assumes they are being told to die.
  • A track on John Zorn, Derek Bailey and George Lewis's album "Yankees" (1983) carries this title.
  • Similarly to the Hank Williams III example, Peter Gabriel has a song called "I Don't Remember".
  • There are many jokes about two people listening to Rihanna's "Shut Up and Drive" in a car; when the driver asks what the song is called, and the other person answers, the driver invariably takes it the wrong way.
  • The Jadakiss song "Why".
  • The Monkees' "Gonna Buy Me a Dog":
    Davy Jones: I just got back from Africa, y'know. I was playing cards with the natives.
    Micky Dolenz: Oh, Zulus?
    Davy: No, I usually won.
  • Very early in their career, Radiohead were called On A Friday - part of the reason they changed their name was potential confusion about when their gigs were scheduled: a flyer for a show might end up reading "Tuesday night - On A Friday".


    Pro Wrestling 
  • For a short time, the WWF had a masked wrestler named Who (played by Jim Neidhart), who existed solely so that the commentators could do this bit during his matches. It sucked.
    • WrestleCrap made fun of it on their message boards; a Running Gag was following up an instance of the word "who" with (not Neidhart).
  • Haku/Meng's real first name is Tonga. He's from the Kingdom of Tonga.

    Puppet Shows 
  • It was even done on Sesame Street:
    • Ernie is singing "Happy Birthday to You!" not to Bert, but to the letter U.
    • Happens again in a Forgetful Jones skit.
      Forgetful Jones: Clementine, please tell me, what's the name of that song?
      Clementine: What's the Name of That Song!
      Forgetful Jones: That's what I've been asking you!
  • Crosses with Lost in Translation in Big Bird in Japan. Big Bird thinks everyone is from Ohio, when they're really just saying good morning in Japanese to him (which sounds like "Ohio").
  • The Muppet Show:
    • The "Good grief, the comedian's a bear" routine, where Fozzie tells Kermit to say the line when he says "Hear".
      Fozzie: Hey, hey, folks. This is a story you're gonna love to hear.
      Fozzie: Would you stop that?!
      Kermit: But you said "hear"!
      Fozzie: Not that "hear"!
      Kermit: Well, which "hear"?!
      Fozzie: ANOTHER "HEAR"!
      Kermit: HOW AM I GONNA KNOW?!
    • In the Dudley Moore episode, a Bug Band singing "She Loves You" performs the opening number. Afterwards backstage, Kermit the Frog recommends that the bug band find a name for their group. One of them mentions "The Grateful Dead" as a possibility. Kermit asks, "The who?" Alexander Beetle says, "It's been done already".
    • In one of the Muppet Viral Videos, Sam sings "American Woman" by The Guess Who and guesses John Phillips Sousa.
    • Also happens with Floyd and Animal.
      (Animal puts a nickel in a jukebox)
      Floyd: Hey, now we'll really hear some music.
      Animal: Yeah. What music?
      Floyd: "Put Another Nickel In".
      Animal: (Puts more money in) I put nickel in. What music?
      Floyd: "Put Another Nickel In".
      Animal: (And again) I PUT NICKEL IN! WHAT MUSIC?!
    • A Muppets Disney Xtreme Digital video advertising the Muppet Whatnot Workshop, had Kermit try to explain what a Whatnot was.note 
      Fozzie: Explain what?
      Kermit: No, no, no. Explain Whatnot.
      Fozzie: How could I explain what it's not when I don't even know what it is?
      Kermit: Well, I do know what it is.
      Fozzie: You know what what is?
      Kermit: Whatnot!
      Fozzie: What?
      Kermit: ...not! Say "Whatnot!"
      Fozzie: Why?
      Kermit: Why not?
      Fozzie: Why not? What happened to the Whatnots?
      Kermit: Well, I don't know.
      Fozzie: Third base!
  • In the Muppets' Dog City, there are a lot of puns on gangster Bugsy Them and the hero, Ace Yu ("I'm Yu." "You're me?"). At the climax, Ace proposes to Colleen Barker, who's always dreamed of the day...When I'm Colleen Yu....
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss had Fox in Socks and Mr Knox do a routine discussing Cindy-Lou Who.
  • In "Who Is Me?" from The Book of Pooh, Pooh receives a note that reads "Dear, Pooh. I miss you. Please come to lunch. Signed, Me." Since Pooh can't read, he ends up having Owl read the note. Owl reads it out loud verbatim, causing Pooh to think at first that it's Owl that invited him to lunch. After Owl finally gets through to Pooh that he didn't write the note, he spends the remainder of the story chasing the note through the pages of the Book of Pooh, trying to find out who did write it and confusing them, particularly Rabbit. In the end, it turns out that Kessie the bluebird wrote the note and she's forced to admit that, yeah, it would have saved Pooh a lot of trouble if she had actually signed her name.

  • As mentioned above, Abbott and Costello were masters of this style. Their Trope Namer routine manages to go on for fifteen minutes doing constant variations, without really repeating itself.
    • A minor variation was when Costello was being taught how to milk a cow by Abbott, who told him in a thick Brooklyn accent - "You gotta go to the source!" "The sauce?" "Yes, the source!" "If I wanted sauce, I'd go pick apples! I want milk!"
  • The Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show did the Seventies bands version, with Yes, The Band, The Who and Guess Who. Not to mention seeing Boston in Chicago. Eventually they concluded that "the greatest band of the Seventies was Abbott and Costello".
    • True to their nature, this eventually got (more than usually) ridiculous.
    "...And The Band backed Dylan."
    "The Band backed a Welsh poet from the early twentieth century?"
  • And there once was a "sequel" to the famous skit, wherein first baseman Who had retired and opened a bar: Who's Bar, of course.
    • Defictionalized when the bar "Who's On First" opened in New York City — on First Avenue, of course.
  • The Goon Show has many of these:
    "What are you doing in that piano?"
    "I'm hidin'."
    "Don't be stupid. Haydn's been dead for years."
  • In the New Year's Eve 2008 special of CBC Radio's The Irrelevant Show, some group did a comedy sketch about a fictional comedy duo who invented this trope and are bitter for not being credited as such, although their version went like this.
    Funnyman: Yes?
    Straight Man: No.
    Funnyman: No?
    Straight Man: Yes!
    Funnyman: ...yes?
    Straight Man: NO!!
    Straight Man: YES!!
  • Audio-comedy troupe The Credibility Gap recorded a variation in which Harry Shearer played a concert promoter and David Lander played an editor trying to write an ad for the Los Angeles Times for a rock festival featuring The Who, The Guess Who, and Yes.
    • The promoter, Dallinger, just wants the ad to list the three bands' names. However, he runs into problems immediately when he tries to communicate this to the editor, Higgenlooper.
      Higgenlooper: Okay, who's on first?
      Dallinger: ... Mr. Higgenlooper, if my secretary's already given you the information, you know, there's no sense for me to be here. I could be out booking Sly in Spokane, so if you've got it...
      Higgenlooper: No no, wait a minute, wait a minute, all I said was "who's on first?"
      Dallinger: That's right.
      Higgenlooper: Ah, That's Right. Oh, I like that name. That's Right. It's so affirmative, it's so - so sure of itself...
      Dallinger: Don't write "That's Right." That's wrong.
      Higgenlooper: That's Wrong? Huh, it's been more negative, I suppose with what with these times and all, That's Wrong. [mumbles]
      Dallinger: Mr Higgenlooper, it's not "That's Right". It's not "That's Wrong".
      Higgenlooper: Well, then... who's on first?
      Dallinger: Who's on first.
      Higgenlooper: Who is on first?
      Dallinger: Who. Is. On. First.
      Higgenlooper: Who?
      Dallinger: Who.
      Higgenlooper: Who.
      Dallinger: Who!
      Higgenlooper: Who?!
      Dallinger: Who!
      Higgenlooper: Who's on first?!
      Dallinger: That's right!
      Higgenlooper: That's Right! I got it down here!
      Dallinger: Look, Mr. Higgenlooper! You get on the Pomona freeway, you drive your car out onto Ontario Motor Speedway, you get out, you give the man a ticket, you sit down in your seat, the guy on stage comes out and says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to present, Who!"
      Higgenlooper: Who?
      Dallinger: That's right!
      Higgenlooper: That's Right! Alright, it's a fine group as far as I'm concerned.
      Dallinger: [sighs]
      Higgenlooper: Wait, you're upset.
      [overlaying arguments]
      Higgenlooper: We're having communication problems. There's nothing— there's nothing—
      [more overlaying arguements]
    • So they try moving on to the second act. Higgenlooper tries to choose his words more carefully, but to no avail:
      Higgenlooper: Let's just move over... we'll start with the second act.
      Dallinger: Fine. Fine.
      Higgenlooper: Okay, who's on second?
      Dallinger: [enraged] Who's on first! We wouldn't have them on second!!
      Higgenlooper: [overlapping] Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, no no no, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, um... Ah. What's the name of the second act?
      Dallinger: Guess Who.
      Higgenlooper: [long-suffering] Jeez, I'm not familiar with your genre, here...
      Dallinger: I don't have any genre, it's just three rock and roll acts. Guess Who!
      Higgenlooper: Uh... um... give me a ch- um... uh... the Dingaling Sisters!
      Dallinger: They're not even sisters, Mr. Higgenlooper! Guess Who!
      Higgenlooper: Um, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods!
      Dallinger: Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods?! I am not running no Goddamn Busch Gardens, pal, let's get that straight. This is Conquest Concerts...nothing but class! Guess Who!
      Higgenlooper: Well, I... well, I... I can't guess who!
      Dallinger: [frustrated] You don't have to guess who!
      Higgenlooper: So I won't guess who!
      Dallinger: So don't guess who!
      Higgenlooper: All right!
      Dallinger: All right!
      Higgenlooper: All right!
      Dallinger: I will tell you something frankly sir....I didn't have this much trouble with the free press.
      Higgenlooper: Oh, you didn't, huh? Well, I'll tell you something frankly, sir. I didn't have this much trouble with the Music Center and they put on Rigoletto one year.
      Dallinger: That's four acts.
      Higgenlooper: Not the year they did it.
    • They try moving on to the third act, to similar (lack of) results:
      Higgenlooper: All right, now let's move onto the third act. Who... er, wha... no, nnnn—-Ah! [carefully] Will you please tell me the name of the third act?
      Dallinger: Yes.
      Higgenlooper: Fine.
      Dallinger: Thank you.
      Higgenlooper: You're welcome.
      Dallinger: [leaving] Okay. Let me see a proof of the ad on Wednesday and...
      Higgenlooper: [outraged] Wait a minute! Where are you going? Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I asked you to tell me the name of the third act!
      Dallinger: [gibbers with fury] I told you the name of the third act! You want me to tell you again?!
      Higgenlooper: Yes!
      Dallinger: That's right!
      Higgenlooper: That's Right's on first!
      Dallinger: Who's on first, Guess Who's on second, and the third act—
      Higgenlooper: Yes????
      Both: THAT'S RIGHT!!! [Higgenlooper deteriorates into grumbling mumbo jumbo]
      Dallinger: What's your problem?
      Higgenlooper: I've been writin' for eleven minutes, I got nothing on the paper, that's my problem! Why don't you take the paper, you take the pen, and you write it down!
      Dallinger: Are you crazy!? If I could write, I wouldn't have had to steal this bit!
  • In one episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, the panel played The Quiz of Quizzes, a parody of all sorts of quizzes and gameshows. A who's-on-first joke was used as a one-off gag.
    Humph: Jeremy, who was Formula 1 Champion in 1975?
    Jeremy: Uhh...Lauda!
    Humph: [yelling] Jeremy, who was Formula 1 Champion in 1975?!
  • The Men from the Ministry episode "The Great Trouser Troubles" has a lot of fun with this with the China's ambassador Hu Flang.

  • The Pirates of Penzance has this exchange (which only works delivered in the right accent):
    Major General: I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?
    Pirate King: Often!
    Major General: Yes, orphan. Have you ever known what it is to be one?
    Pirate King: I say, often.
    Pirates: Often, often, often.
    Major General: I don't think we quite understand one another. I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan, and you say "orphan". As I understand you, you are merely repeating the word "orphan" to show that you understand me.
    Pirate King: I didn't repeat the word often.
    Major General: Pardon me, you did indeed.
    Pirate King: I only repeated it once.
    Major General: True, but you repeated it.
    Pirate King: But not often.
    Major General: Stop! I think I see where we are getting confused. When you said "orphan", did you mean "orphan", a person who has lost his parents, or "often", frequently?
    Pirate King: Ah! I beg pardon, I see what you mean. Frequently.
    Major General: Ah! You said "often", frequently.
    Pirate King: No, only once.
    Major General: Exactly! You said "often", frequently, only once.
    [cue musical number, as the Major General explains which one he meant]
  • En la calle Conesa, an Argentine one-act play. The realtor offers a house with two storeys to a customer. ("plantas") The customer states that the house feels dead because it only had two plants, one tall and one short. (also "plantas") Fast forward to another house advertised as "not noisy" (nada de ruido) but the client complains that it was demolished (derruido) In another house offered by the realtor:
    Realtor: I have something interesting.
    Client: Which street is it on?
    Realtor: Callao.
    Client: What did you say?
    Realtor: Callao.
    Client: What?
    Realtor: Callao, sir, Callao!
    Client: In no way will I shut up! (¡En ninguna manera, no me callo nada!) ...
  • The Foreigner: at one point Betty Meeks offers to make breakfast, just as Ellard is explaining the concept of 'a zillion' to Charlie Baker.
    Meeks: Hominy grits?
    Charlie Baker: A zillion!

    Video Games 
  • World of Warcraft played this trope hilariously straight with this machinima.
    "So Who's the Tank?"
    "I don't know!"
    "He's the Priest, we're not talking about him."
    • For the game itself, it's the WTF file format.
    GM: You should delete your WTF folder.
    Player: WTF?
    GM: Yes, this one.
  • Halo 3. The "What's the Password" Easter Egg on Legendary, featuring the Red vs. Blue cast:
    Marine: Hey! Open up!
    Voice: What's the password?
    Marine: Password? Oh, man, I forgot.
    Voice: Forgot...what?
    Marine: I forgot the password.
    Voice: See, that was almost right. Uh, see, the password begins with "I forgot", but ends differently. Um, try again.
    Marine: No. I mean, I forgot the password.
    Voice: No, okay, see, you— you got it wrong again. See, you said the same thing as last time.
    Marine: I'm being serious: I don't know the password!
    Voice: No, no, no, see, you changed the first part. See, that— that part was the right part. See, now, you've got the whole thing wrong!
    Marine: No! I forgot what the password is and I just need you to open the door!
    Voice: All right, c'mon, man, now, you're just guessing!
  • Even Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge has this trope:
    Bozzeye: You must be Banjo. A letter about you appeared in a flash, like you just did. Came from some Mimba Jimba fella.
    Banjo: Mumbo Jumbo!
    Bozzeye: No, it's true, I tell you!
  • The comic included with the first Turok ended with Joshua Fireseed stumping Big Bad The Campaigner with the classic baseball version. This didn't exactly set him up as a threatening villain.
  • Any game which allows you to name your characters can end up this way if you get creative. Try naming your character "nobody", for example.
  • Pokémon has Wobbuffet, whose original Japanese name is "Sonans", which sounds like sou nansu (A casual way to say "That's how it is!"). Its pre-evolution ramps it Up to Eleven, since not only does the Japanese name "Sonano" fit (sou na no?, "is that it?"), but its English name Wynaut is also punny ("why not?"). More explored in the anime, but still.
    • Pokémon Black and White brings us Audino ("I Dunno"). Its Japanese name is Tabunne (tabun ne, "maybe"), its German name "Ohrdoch" sounds like "Oh, doch!" ("Oh, yes!"), and its French name "Nanméouïe" sounds like "Non mais oui" ("No but yes").
  • The slightly obscure adventure game Inherit the Earth has your fox hero evade a checkpoint by having his companions introduce themselves as Hooryu and Yassir Iam. They keep the routine going for as long as you need to explore the next area.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening features a character named "Nah". Naturally, this happens when she's introduced.
  • In 3 in Three, "Dove Owls" combines this trope with Inadvertent Entrance Cue:
    A: And, as you know, only the A can form a one letter word!
    [enter I]
    I: Hey, what about I?
    A: What about you?
    [enter U]
    U: Someone call me?
    A: Oh be quiet!
    [enter O]
    O: I didn't say anything.
    A: Why did you answer then?
    [enter Y]
    Y: I didn't answer then.
    A: Fine. Now who's still missing?
    3: That's easy!
    [enter E and Z together]
  • There's a game developer named FromSoftware. Many, many game reviews are forced to feature the phrase "from From Software". (It's probably unintentional, as the company is Japanese and originally named "Kabushikigaisha Furomu Sofutowea".)
  • In the second Pajama Sam game, he's told that he can't access the office side of the World Wide Weather company without making an appointment. Once you find the number, this conversation happens:
    Receptionist: World Wide Weather, how may I help you?
    Sam: I'd like to make an appointment to see someone.
    Receptionist: Certainly! Let me check his calendar... yes, Mr. Someone is available immediately.
And when you meet him, he reveals that, indeed, his name is "George Someone".
  • In Mass Effect 2, there is confusion over how to refer to the geth that Shepard brings onto the Normandy, before EDI offers a solution.
    Shepard: Then what should we call you?
    Geth: Geth.
    Shepard: I mean you, specifically.
    Geth: We are all geth.
    Shepard: What is the individual in front of me called?
    Geth: There is no individual. We are geth. There are currently 1,183 programs active within this platform.
    EDI: "My name is Legion, for we are many."
    Geth: Christian Bible, the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, verse 9. We acknowledge this as an appropriate metaphor. We are "Legion", a terminal of the geth. We will integrate into Normandy.
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes invokes this with its "Who's on First" module. The defuser has to read the word on a display to the expert, then read the word on one of the buttons, and then the expert will read a list of words back so the defuser knows which button to press. Every single one of the words the game chooses from can be mistaken for something else. Just look at it -- pages 9 and 10. Yes, the display can both be blank and say "BLANK", so you'd better be very clear as to which one you're talking about.
    • One popular mod "Crazy Talk" goes further, into outright trolling. The following are all valid things that can appear on the Crazy Talk's module screen: a left arrow, "Left Arrow", "An Actual Left Arrow", "An Actual Left Arrow Literal Phrase", "After I Say Beep Find This Phrase Word For Word Beep An Actual Left Arrow", "Left", "The Word Left", "The Phrase The Word Left", "Left Arrow Symbol", a phrase which is "Left Arrow Symbol" spelt out in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, and a phrase which is "Left Arrow Symbol" spelt out in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet except that "Whiskey" is replaced with "Risky". Also valid are "The Punctuation Fullstop", "Three Words The Punctuation Fullstop", "Five Words Three Words The Punctuation Fullstop", and "Seven Words Five Words Three Words The Punctuation Fullstop".
  • In Legend of Mana, you meet a band of pirate penguins who ask you "What be the password?". And the password is? "What", of course! If you use that as your guess, the penguins are ready to accept you as one of their own until the captain points out that you're rather obviously not a penguin.
  • In The Darkside Detective, McQueen finds an abandoned Magic 8-Ball. Dooley asks what it says. "'Ask again later.'" "Aww, but I wanna know now!"

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: "Mr. Wrong, was it?" "Wright." The original Japanese version often played with that version of the character's name (Naruhodo, which sounds very similar to a word meaning "I understand now") in a similar way.
  • Ever17 gives us Yuubiseiharukana Tanaka. She rather understandably goes by You. (Perhaps a better romanization would have been "Yuu", but that wouldn't have been as funny. Naturally she introduces herself with "I am You" a line which gains meaningfulness when said to her clone.
  • A brief gag in Katawa Shoujo has Hisao say "It's me" to Kenji, who is legally blind. Mentioning that he doesn't know anybody named "me", Kenji immediately jumps to the conclusion that he's being confronted by a psychic spy. Uh...
  • One of the cafeteria events in Monster Prom involves Scott sitting with Vera and asking her what the drink she brought in to have with lunch is. She informs him that it's scotch... which he mishears first as his name and then as "Scott's", prompting him to try to ply it off her and asking her if it's "an energy drink for Scotts".

    Web Animation 
  • In Episode 18 of The Most Popular Girls in School, when Overland Park's Trisha and Atchison's Trisha first met:
    Trisha: Hmm... Hey, what's your name?
    Trisha 2: Trisha.
    Trisha: What?
    Trisha 2: Trisha.
    Trisha: Yes?
    Trisha 2: What's your name?
    Trisha: Uh, Trisha?
    Trisha 2: What?
    Trisha: Um, it's Trisha, with a T?
    Trisha 2: Yeah.
    Trisha: Uh—
    Trisha 2: That's how you spell it.
    Trisha: Yeah, Trisha?
    Trisha 2: Trisha.
    Trisha: Yeah, what's your name?
    Trisha 2: Nice to meet you, what's your name?
    Trisha: Um, Trisha.
    Trisha 2: Yes, what do you want out of me?
    Trisha: Yeah, Trisha.
    Trisha 2: Have you never heard this name before?
    Trisha: Um, I'm sorry, I pronounce it Trisha, what about you?
    Trisha 2: I pronounce it Trisha, that's what my mom says.
    Trisha: Okay.
    Mackenzie, Brittnay, Taylor, and Tanya: Trisha!
    Trisha and Trisha 2: What? ...Oooooh.
    Trisha: Wait, do you spell it with a T?
    Trisha 2: Which part?
    Trisha: The beginning.
    Trisha 2: Every time.
    Trisha: Me too. [Trisha and Trisha 2 laugh]

    Web Comics 
  • Rich Burlew, creator of The Order of the Stick, seems to like this joke.
    • The first iteration hinges on the two definitions of level (the floor of a building vs the experience of a D&D character). It's worth noting that this exact example is invoked in no less a book than the 1st Edition D&D Player's Handbook.
    • "Who's on the Throne?" has the strangely-named countries of Somewhere, Nowhere and Anywhere (and the democracy of Someplace Else). The confusion over the King of Somewhere with a hotel employee leads to Roy being mistaken for a king.
    • In "Negative Feelings", Xykon and Recloak have a little trouble discussing a paladin leader named Soon.
      Xykon: So, any ideas on how we should fight 'Stache boy, whoever he is?
      Redcloak: Soon.
      Xykon: I'd prefer to know now, thanks.
      Redcloak: No. I mean, that's his name.
    • A particularly epic example comes when Thog speaks of how Nale "nailed" (got put in jail) in his own place his identical twin Elan, whom Thog calls "not-Nale". It fits the trope definition but does things a little differently than usually; while the names sound like other parts of speech, the poor guy listening to this isn't so much confused thinking a name means something else as just clueless as to what any of it means, and for that reason it doesn't go on beyond the first line. It's too bad, since Thog is actually giving really valuable information, cluelessly confessing to everything and revealing Nale's plot.
      Thog: Not Nale, not-Nale. Thog help Nale nail not-Nale, not Nale. And Thog knot not-Nale while Nale nail not-Nale. Nale, -not not-Nale, now nail not-Nale by leaving not-Nale, not Nale, in jail.
      Officer: Pleading insanity, then?
    • Start of Darkness has an exchange between Redcloak and Right-Eye, with Redcloak talking about the werebears his goblins are fighting and Right-Eye wanting to know where the bears are.
  • 8-Bit Theater has two Elder Gods named Ur and Hu. The resulting confusion is a subtle Shout-Out to the original Abbott & Costello routine.
  • Cat and Girl features a discussion on where to visit: Sutton Hoo or Angkor Wat.
  • Sluggy Freelance
    • This strip, with the characters "Dan-Met" ("damn it") and "Killum" ("kill him"). Dan-Met's full name is later revealed to be Gahad Dan-Met.
    • A brief one in "Stick Figures in Space", where the spaceship's captain has found out that one crew member is actually an android. The real android manages to get through an interrogation of the crew while implicating another crew member even though all the android ever says is "zero" and "one" because he sounds like he's saying the same thing as everyone else. When he says "one", that's when everyone else (except Juan) says that the most likely person to be an android is Juan.
  • Done in this Irregular Webcomic! strip, with direct line from Who's on First skit in the end.
  • Set up in this Arthur, King of Time and Space.
  • Crops up whenever Kaitlyn Hu (or her family) is mentioned in Precocious. Played straight and Lampshaded in the strip "Hu's on first".
  • The routine is used (and quickly derailed) in this VG Cats strip.
  • Goblins has a team in a dungeon with a summoned guide. He's summoned any time his name is spoken outside his presence, and he will answer one yes/no question truthfully each of the first three times he's summoned. On the fourth time, he will kill everyone. His name? "Noe". He's accidentally summoned twice, once from the word "no" and once from "know", before K'Seliss comes up with a plan to kill him, deliberately using up the third summon to set up for it.
  • In the Crossover Wars there was confusion because of someone falsely using the name of one of the Evil Overlords.
  • Modernized by The Dugout.
  • Bar'd does this with the word "Dude!"
  • Questionable Content does this with Islands.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    Student 1:... You are an ass.
    Student 2: Uranium, Argon, Nitrogen, Arsenic.
    Student 2: U, Ar, N, As.
    • Parodied in comic 3051: The names aren't actually ambiguous, and it turns out Costello is only acting like he doesn't get it because he has a cerebral hemorrhage.
  • Used in Tales from the Pit #214 with the Working Titles of upcoming Magic: The Gathering expansions.
  • In Level 30 Psychiatry Trainee Nurse Audino accidentally leads Head Nurse Chansey to smack her head against the wall with this routine. Lampshaded by Gardevoir.
    Gardevoir: What is this, Vaudeville?
  • Dubious Company's Walter invokes this often.
    • He reminded Tiren that her "booty be mine ta use as I please".
    • His ship is named Arr and the island is named Nowhere.
  • PvP:
  • The original Trope Namer is subtly referenced and ultimately averted in XKCD:
    "You're both confused. He's just 'The Doctor'."
  • Speaking of The Doctor, Evil, Inc. has such confusion regarding Drs. Hu and Hau.
  • Darths & Droids has a full homage to the Trope Namer in the second strip of the Return of the Jedi arc. (The strip has a habit of writing low-level Imperial mooks in a deliberately silly way.)
    Captain Yorr: This is shuttle pilot Yorr requesting clearance to land.
    Peace Moon Technician: Uh, we're bigger than you. You're landing on us.
    Captain Yorr: That's what I said.
    Colonel Jendon: Requesting pitch and yaw settings.
    Captain Yorr: Huh?
    Peace Moon Technician: Our settings? You're the one who should be making settings.
    Captain Yorr: I know, what yaw settings?
    Peace Moon Technician: No, your settings! For your arrival.
    Captain Yorr: I'm whose rival?
    Colonel Jendon: Yorr's truly confused.
    Peace Moon Technician: You're confused? That makes three of us.
    Colonel Jendon: This happened at the last two bases I visited with Yorr.
  • Shows up in this Weregeek comic, for weird/wyrd. Lampshaded by Abbie.
  • Paranatural adapted this trope to a middle school setting, with typical flair:
    Ed: It's an EVIL BRAIN, MAN! Controlling people's bodies! It was in Jeff and then attacked all of us in gym!
    Isaac: An evil brain man in Jim!? Who's Jim!?
    Ed: Our gym! The only gym there is!
    Isaac: Dude, there are at least six Jims in this school.
    Isaac: That's a weird prejudice but OK.
  • Matchu has this bit about a broken printer.
  • Sexy Losers had a guest strip by Patrick Shaugnessy about the tragic love life of the letters F, A and P. To quote: Y?

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic employed one of these during his review of The Super Mario Bros Film
    NC: Whoa, whoa, we're gonna hear Mario's last name? Dude, we've never heard Mario's last name before! This ought to be interesting! Cool, alright, so what's Mario's last name?
    Mario: Mario!
    NC: Yeah, now what's your last name?
    Mario: Mario.
    NC: No, what's your last name?
    Mario: Mario!
    NC: No, OK... What's your first name?
    Mario: Mario.
    NC: Alright, now what's your last name?
    Mario: Mario!
    NC: Fuck you. [turns to Luigi] What's your first name?
    Luigi: Luigi!
    NC: And what's your last name?
    Mario: Mario!
    NC: Shut up! What's your last name?
    Luigi: Luigi Mario!
    NC: Those are both first names! What's your last name?
    Mario: Mario!
    NC: SHUT IT! What's your full name?
    Luigi: Luigi Mario!
    NC: Those are both first— OK, what's your first name?
    Luigi: Luigi!
    NC: And what's your last name?
    Mario: Mario!
    NC: SHUT THE FUCK—! What's your full name?
    Luigi: Luigi Mario!
    NC: What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine?
  • In the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions, were three lookalike ensigns named Who, What & was later revealed that Who was dating ensign First.
  • SMBC Theater does a take on this in its own... unique way.
  • This video seems like it's doing this. And then promptly destroys your expectations.
  • Played straight in this very nice modern take.
    • Played even straighter in this one, with perfect delivery.
  • When you add a lie detector, the misunderstandings (and humor) are easily resolved.
  • Used in Look to the West in a Homage to a Rudyard Kipling poem, listing the six men who masterminded the rise of the Feng Dynasty in China:
    I kept six honest serving-men,
    They taught me all I knew;
    Their names are Watt and Ouais and Waar
    and Hao and Wen and Hu.
  • Web-based video comedians LoadingReadyRun created "It's Very Simple," taking "Who's on First" to its illogical and very confusing conclusion.
    Graham: Alright, you see that guy?
    Matt: Which guy?
    Graham: The Guy on First Base.
    Matt: Who?
    Graham: [annoyed] You fuck off!
  • Space Tree has a character called Meelord Marone or Mee for short. This leads to me/Mee confusion, in this episode in particular.
    "If anyone respects the sanctity of marriage it's me!"
    "No, me."
  • "McSweeney's Internet Tendency" does a version with a guy that's trying to rent movies.
    • Here is the video version of it.
  • James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd) and Mike Matei do What's the Movie?, a variation with movie titles.
  • The Bum pulls this when he's reviewing The Neverending Story.
  • This happens in None Piece when Zoro asks Luffy what the initial D. in his name stands for.
    Luffy: [It stands for] "Dee."
    Zoro: Yeah, what's it stand for?
    Luffy: "Dee." [etc.]
  • Smashtasm:
    Super64: How's it hanging?
    1337Fox: How's what hanging?
    Super64: It's an expression.
    1337Fox: What does it express?
    Super64: What's up?
    1337Fox: Up is a direction.
  • This Sanity Not Included Sketch, playing with how "horror" and "whore" sound about the same.
  • Ultra Fast Pony, "The Longest Episode". Due to Pinkie Pie's accent, her pronunciation of "talking" sounds a lot like "Tolkien". Confusion ensues when she tries to ask who wrote the Lord of the Rings books. Also, The Stinger for the episode featured this scene re-dubbed with a snippet from Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" sketch.
  • At the first opportunity to present itself, SF Debris seized on the Stargate SG-1 example with "you" and "Lord Yu" and used it several times in a single review. He even did it in a subtitle once:
    Chuck: Is it divine intervention, or just good luck? You get to decide.
    Subtitle: You, not Yu.
  • The italian man who went to malta.
  • Two of these on Not Always Right and sister site Not Always Working:
    • In "Try Whoson First", the narrator/customer needed a mechanic who does body work on cars. His/her usual mechanic doesn't do such work, but suggested a shop called Wrech-a-Mended, which the caller kept mishearing as "recommended".
    • In "Saved by the Bell", a guest needs to talk to "Anita Bellman" but the clerk thinks he's saying "I need a bellman."
  • In NigaHiga's parody of The Powerpuff Girls, an extended pronoun gag is invoked with Him. He even manages to reference the original Abbott and Costello routine.
  • In Death Battle, during the preview for Sol Badguy, Boomstick gets completely confused when Wiz talks about Sol's enemy, That Man. Even Wiz saying things like, "When this person was born into the world, his parents looked at this child, and decided they would name him, 'That Man.'" doesn't help. The full version had Boomstick actually walk out in anger, then come back a few minutes later, apologizing as he looked up on the Internet that his name really was That Man.
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-SAFE-J. It's a series of three safes (a Safe safe, a Euclid safe, and a Keter safe). The Safe safe is always safe, the Euclid safe is safe except when near the Keter safe, and the Keter safe is never safe (though it is a safe). And don't get started on the researchers observing them...
  • Ross O'Donnovan (From among other things, Steam Train), envisions the art tool "Animate" that replaced Shockwave Flash to have this issue.
  • Rocketjump's "Worst Wifi Password Ever" features a man trying to tell his coworkers what the password is.
  • One episode of Hello From the Magic Tavern had as its guest the explorer team of Lewis A. Shark and Lois, a shark (who clarified that sharks pronounce the word a and AY rather than AH. Arnie mentioned the sketch by name, but nobody else saw anything confusing.
  • In one episode of Point vs. Point (which is meant to be a news show in-universe), Evan reads a story about a conflict between Iran and Israel, which Gareth mistakes for the phrases "is real" and "I ran", leading to a long string of misunderstandings. Evan even references "Who's On First?" by name in the middle of the bit, but Gareth of course doesn't get the reference.
  • Achievement Hunter Let's Plays occasionally feature this joke, since they use the Xbox as their primary video game platform and the buttons on an Xbox controller are ABXY. One member of the group will ask how to perform a function, another answering, "Y," to which the first explains, "'Cause I wanna know!"
  • In '80s All Over's October 1983 episode Drew can't understand why Scott won't tell him the title of the next film, only that it's Romantic Comedy. Scott bursts into tears ("I'm at the mercy of this horrible film!") as he explains that is the title of the movie: Romantic Comedy.
  • The Names Given to Computers page at the Portland Pattern Repository includes a story about a system administrator who named four Windows machines "shit", "fuck", "damn" and "hell". He had to change it after he realized this made the users' complaints really confusing.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged's version of "Cooler's Revenge", Goku confronts Cooler for the first time and mistakes him for Freeza. Sauza corrects him by stating that he's Cooler. Goku, being Goku, immediately thinks that if he's "Cooler than Freeza", then he's "ice cold". Cooler gets in on it by saying that that's his fathernote .

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs:
    • One episode has Slappy and Skippy Squirrel discussing whether it was the Who, The Band, or Yes on stage at Woodstock, leading to this sketch. (This is probably an homage to an old SCTV sketch that featured Eugene Levy and Tony Rosato discussing the same bands.)
    • A similar premise is used with a hapless Dr. Scratchandsniff playing bingo with Wakko and running into this problem.
    Scratchensniff: Oh Nein!
    Wakko: O-9? Bingo!
    • The episode "King Yakko" has one as a Running Gag; Dot would pull out some spotted dresses, and others would comment on the design with "Polka dot?" Dot would take it as an invitation to polka dance and accept.
    • "Very Pete Townshend-esque." "Who?" "Exactly."
  • A brief version of this comes up in the Tiny Toon Adventures "K-ACME TV":
    Gogo: Hey, who are you?
    Y: Y.
    Gogo: Because I wanna know, that's why!
    U: No, that's Y.
    Gogo: Who're you?
    U: I'm U. Who're you?
    Gogo: Why?
    U: You mean him?
    Gogo: Who do you think you are?
    R: You rang?
    • In another episode, Montana Max accidentally gives the right answer to a quiz-show question about a Chinese premier.
    "Name the Secretary-General of China from 1981 to 1987."
    "That's absolutely right! Secretary-General Yaobang Hu!"
  • From The Powerpuff Girls episode "The Power of Four" after the plates are broken:
    Bubbles: It was... Bliss.
    Blossom: [skeptically]: Riight. And where exactly is this "Bliss"?
    Bubbles: She left.
    Buttercup [skeptically]: Riight... With her elephant?
    Bubbles: Mee.
    Buttercup: You?
    Bubbles: No, the elephant.
    Blossom: Wait, who?
    Bubbles: Mee.
    Buttercup: What about you?
    Blossom: Oh, I think she means the elephant is "me".
    Buttercup: Wait, you're an elephant?
    Bubbles: No, that's his name, "Mee"; the elephant's name is Mee.
    Blossom: Okay, so "Mee", the elephant, was in this kitchen?
    Buttercup: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, great!
    Blossom: Bliss!
    Bubbles: You're free!
    Bliss: What happened?
    Blossom: Mee was Him!
    Buttercup: And Him was you!
    Bubbles: And you was Him, and who was Mee?
    Buttercup: Mee was Him.
    Blossom: Him was you?
    Bliss: And I'm confused.
  • Histeria!:
    • A variation of this sketch in the form of Father Time quizzing Lucky Bob and Susanna Susquahanna about the Zhou dynasty.
      Father Time: Next question: The Zhou dynasty was founded by...[Susanna presses her buzzer] Sue?
      Susanna: Who?
      Father Time: No, Sue, the correct answer is Wu! And Wu's father was...[Bob presses his buzzer] Bob?
      Lucky Bob: What?
      Father Time: Not "what", but Wen!
      Lucky Bob: Six-o'clock?
      Father Time: Follow me, Bob. Wen was his name, Wen!
      Lucky Bob: Now?
      Father Time: Not now, but Tao!
      Susanna: Who?
      Father Time: Not who, but Wu!
      Lucky Bob: What?
      Father Time: Not "what", but Wen!
      Lucky Bob: Six-o'clock?
      Father Time: That's when Bob has chow.
      Lucky Bob: And how!
    • Another one involves Lewis and Clark, with Lewis getting confused on which direction Clark wants him to take at a fork in a river, resulting in them going over the falls.
  • Count Duckula:
    • The episode "No Sax Please We're Egyptian" has a pretty original one, with two Egyptian priests who happened to be named "Hoomite" and "Yubi" (Who might you be?). Watch the madness.
    • In the episode "Transylvanian Takeaway", Duckula has some problems with the convention of ordering Chinese food by the number on the menu.
    Duckula: Now, I'd like one number forty-seven.
    Gaston: One number forty-seven.
    Duckula: One number fifty-three.
    Gaston: One number fifty-three.
    Duckula: Er, no, make that two.
    Gaston: One number two.
    Duckula: No, no, no. That's two fifty-threes.
    Gaston: One number two-fifty-three. But, er, we don't have a two-fifty-three.
    Duckula: No, I don't want a two-fifty-three!
    Gaston: Well, that's all right then.
    Duckula: I want two fifty-threes.
    Gaston: But you said you didn't want...
    Duckula: Hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it! Let us start again.
    Gaston: Very good.
    Duckula: One number forty-seven.
    Gaston: One number forty-seven.
    Duckula: One number fifty-three.
    Gaston: One number fifty-three.
    Duckula: And another number fifty-three.
    Gaston: That's two fifty-threes.
    Duckula: Yeah, you got it! Eventually...
  • Victor & Hugo: 'Victor & Hugo' has this, what? Yes? Not you Watt! What? Precisely.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Marge Simpson in: Screaming Yellow Zonkers", Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers try to perform this comedy sketch. Subverted when Skinner explains the point in the second sentence, as quoted above.
      • On Skinner's defense (if any), Chalmers is the one who asked "Who's On First?" first. On the routine, it's the Costello character (Skinner's) who starts the asking, and the "Abbott" character who continues to play the pronoun game, as well as (like mentioned above) it's important to not give an answer as direct as the one Skinner gave. Then again, Chalmers didn't made himself any favors by asking Skinner to do the "Costello" character.
    • Another episode, where Bart gets a divorce from his parents (read: gets emancipated), has an attorney go "You WHA?!" He's asking for his secretary — Yuwa.
    • Also, you have Bart constantly prank calling Moe's Tavern asking to speak to nonexistent patrons with names like "Seymour Butts".
    • In "Homerpalooza", Homer meets The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan:
    Billy: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.
    Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.
  • Garfield and Friends has a U.S. Acres cartoon in which three dogs named Who, What and Where are hired to work at the farm. At one point, Roy laments the bad Abbott and Costello routine they have gotten themselves into.
    • They explained their names by mentioning their father was a reporter who liked to make those questions. It'd also explain the name of their sister (Why).
    • Apparently, they also have an Uncle named Forget It.
  • Robot Chicken has an inversion of this: They show the Fourth Doctor standing on a baseball diamond for a few moments until he looks at the audience and yells, "Do you get it?!"
  • Men in Black: The Animated Series has fun with this, since agents are all named after single letters, leading to some confusion whenever Agent U was mentioned. This always elicited cries of "Not you U, Agent U!" Also inverted once, with J deliberately misinterpreting "We asked for you" as "We asked for (Agent) U", and getting a reversal of the standard line in response. Funnily enough, this almost never happened with Agent K, despite being simply called "K" several times; the one exception was when K was accidentally neuralyzed.
  • In the The Real Ghostbusters episode "Mrs. Rogers' Neighborhood," the guys face off against a particular demon. Its name?
    Wat: WAAAAAT.
    Peter: Who said "what"?
    Egon: What?
    Peter: Did you say "what"?
    Egon: Peter, I'm trying to work.
    Winston: Say what?
    Egon: I didn't say "what".
    Peter: Then who did?
    Winston: Did what?
    Peter: Say "what"!
    Winston: Man, I didn't say a word!
    Peter: Yeah, right. Then who did?
    (All hell breaks loose.)
    Wat: WatwatwatwatWatWatWatWATWATWAT!
    Peter: (is sent flying) YEEEAAAOOOOWWW!!! I withdraw the question!
    • After the perfect timing of the first scene, Egon getting annoyed is almost a letdown. Almost.
    Egon: The prime motivator is a demon named Wat.
    Ray: Named what?
    Egon: Wat.
    Ray: I asked you first!
    Peter: No, Wat is its name.
    Ray: Don't ask me, ask Egon.
    Egon: This'll show you Wat.
    Ray: Huh?
    Egon: Never mind. Let's just track it down.
  • An episode of Peter Pan & the Pirates has a Running Gag involving a gnome:
    Gnome: I am a gnome, like my father before me.
    Peter, Wendy, whoever: Gnome?
    Gnome: Of course I know him! He's my father!
  • Used in the Elefun and Friends short, "A Tangled Tale", when Elefun meets a panda who calls him "peng you," the Chinese word for friend:
    Elefun: Peng You is a pretty name.
    Pandarama: My name is Pandarama.
    Elefun: Then who's Peng You?
    Pandarama: You!
    Elefun: No, I'm Elefun.
    Pandarama: Of course you are.
  • Family Guy
    • In the subplot to the episode "Peter's Daughter", Brian and Stewie attempt to fix up an old house when they communicate via walkie-talkie. Brian gets confused over the whole "over" thing that people would do on these devices.
    • In the episode "Dog Gone", where Brian wants to found an animal rights group... (this works by the fact that due to Lois's accent, she pronounces "Peter" as "Petah"):
    Brian: See, I thought I'd start locally, and then maybe try to merge with one of the larger groups.
    Lois: That's a great idea, Brian! Maybe you could join PETA!
    Peter: Join me for what?
    Lois: No, PETA, the organization.
    Peter: What organization?
    Lois: PETA.
    Peter: What?
    Lois: PETA is an acronym, Peter.
    Peter: No, I'm not, I'm Catholic!
    Stewie: Are we really doing this?
    Lois: No, Peter, I'm just saying, maybe if this meeting goes well, Brian could be part of a PETA rally.
    Peter: Somebody is having a rally for me now?
    Lois: No, for PETA!
    Peter: That's me! I'm Peter!
    Lois: I'm not talking about you, Peter, I'm talking about PETA!
    Peter: Somebody better have something to say to me pretty damn soon, or I'm gonna have something to say to them! I'm very busy!
    Chris: I think Betty White is in PETA.
    • In "Extra Large Medium", Peter directly references the Abbott and Costello routine:
    Peter: I will now use my psychic powers to seek help from beyond! I shall now channel the ghost of Lou Costello who will guide us to this soul in distress! (minor seizure) Hi everybody, it's me, Lou Costello! All right, what's the name of the guy we're looking for?
    Joe: He's an Asian fellow, Melvin Hu.
    Peter: That's what I wanna find out.
    Joe: What?
    Peter: The name of the guy.
    Joe: Hu.
    Peter: Are you a cop?
    Joe: Yeah.
    Peter: You handling this case?
    Joe: Yeah.
    Peter: Then what's the name of the guy?
    Joe: Hu.
    Peter: The guy we're looking for.
    Joe: Hu.
    Peter: The guy who's buried.
    Joe: Hu!
    Peter: The guy with the bomb.
    Joe: HU!
    Peter: What street's he live on?
    Joe: First!
    Peter: Yeah, I'm not psychic.
    • Peter also mentions the routine in "You Can't Do That on Television, Peter", stating that he will perform it with a puma playing Abbott's part. The puma, confused by the routine, mauls Peter, but later visits him in the hospital to tell him that he understands the joke.
  • The PJs episode "The HJ's" features a "Who's On Crack" skit with Thurgood and Smokey:
    Thurgood: I'm trying to clean up this neighborhood, and I'm wondering if you could help me by pointing out some of the drug addicts.
    Smokey: Mm, okay, but uh, nowadays drug addicts have some pretty peculiar names.
    Thurgood: You mean nicknames.
    Smokey: Well, street names like uh, Who's on crack, Say What's on smack, and uh, I Don't Know freebases.
    Thurgood: Well do you know the fellows' names?
    Smokey: I said Who's on crack, Say What's on smack, and I Don't Know freebases.
    Thurgood: Well, who's on crack?
    Smokey: Yes.
    Thurgood: I mean, the fellow's name.
    Smokey: Who?
    Thurgood: The guy on crack!
    Smokey: Who?
    Thurgood: The crack addict!
    Smokey: Who is on crack.
    Thurgood: I don't know!
    Smokey: I don't know freebases.
    Thurgood: Who freebases?
    Smokey: No, who's on crack.
    Thurgood: Say what?
    Smokey: No, he's on smack.
    Thurgood: Who's on smack?
    Smokey: No, who's on crack.
    Thurgood: I don't know!
    Smokey: Freebase!
    Thurgood: Shut up, you damn stupid crackhead!
  • Done on the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, in which an Owl has the name.
    Robotnik: I've kidnapped Who!
    Sonic: ...Who?
    Robotnik: The very same!
    Sonic: Wait, do you mean Bert Who?
  • Used in the first episode of Adventures in Care-a-Lot, with Grizzle calling for his robot minion, UR-2, and UR-2 retorting, "I am not!"
  • One episode of All Grown Up! has Phil and Lil asking a beleaguered gardener, "What's that letter that's sometimes a vowel?" When she answers "Y", they think she's asking why they want to know, and the exchange continues in that way until the gardener has enough and snaps, "It's A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y!!"
  • Transformers Animated:
    Bumblebee: Hi, I'm Bumblebee!
    Sari: I'm Sari.note 
    Bumblebee: Oh, don't be, I like my name.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Good Ol' Whatshisname", Squidward asks a customer's name, but is seemingly asked "What's it too ya?" When he eventually looks at his ID, Squidward finds out his name is "What Zit Tooya".
    • In "Shellback Shenanigans", Karen is spying on Mr. Krabs and telling Plankton what he's saying to SpongeBob. When he says "What?", Plankton initially assumes Karen didn't understand him.
  • In the South Park episode "Terrance and Philip: Behind the Blow", when Terrance and Philip break up but Terrance tries to continue his comedy career, he combines this kind of joke with his usual style of humor, leading to this exchange:
    Gary Wallace: Excuse me sir, do you know who farted?
    Terrance: He sure did!
    Gary: What's the person's name?
    Terrance: Who!
    Gary: The guy that farted!
    Terrance: Who!
    Gary: The person that passed gas!
    Terrance: Who passed gas!
    Gary: Now why are you asking me?!
    Terrance: That's the man's name!
    Gary: That's whose name?!
    Terrance: Yes!
    Gary: Look buddy, all I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name that farted.
    Terrance: What's the guy that drank his own urine!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Used as a Running Gag in "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Owlowiscious' "hoo" is understood as the question "Who?" most of the time.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", at first, Spike's conversations with Owlowiscious seem like a reprise of their first meeting but eventually he starts responding to what the owl is saying.
    • In "Tanks for the Memories", four Pegasi on weather duty get into confusion over their specific pony names, three of which are Clear Skies, Open Skies, and Fluffy Clouds:
      Sunshower: So where do these clouds go?
      Open Skies: Over by Clear Skies.
      Sunshower: But there's clear skies everywhere.
      Clear Skies: Yo, Clear Skies right here!
      Sunshower: But there's clear skies over there, too! [points towards Open Skies]
      Clear Skies: That's Open Skies!
      Sunshower: There's open skies everywhere!
      Open Skies: I'm not everywhere. I'm right here!
      Sunshower: [sighs] Wait. So you're Open Skies, and you're Clear Skies. Then what's all that? [points to the sky around them]
      Clear and Open Skies: Open, clear skies!
      Open Skies: Hey, where'd our fluffy clouds go?
      Clear Skies: Fluffy Clouds? He's over there!
      [Fluffy Cloud waves]
  • Danger Mouse On The Orient Express has this exchange as Colonel K gives DM and Penfold the assignment of retrieving a stolen document:
    Colonel K: Some department I never heard of coughed up for tickets...for a train...Orient Express.
    DM: I beg your pardon, Colonel?
    Colonel K: Tickets for the Orient Express at your hotel.
    Penfold: What's the Orient Express doing at our hotel, Colonel?
    Colonel K: I don't know, Penfold. Are you staying at the station?
    DM: [extremely long-suffering] I don't think I can take much more...
  • Space Ghost tries this with Zorak in an episode of Cartoon Planet, but Zorak would have none of it.
  • In The Super Mario Bros Super Show! episode "On Her Majesty's Sewer Service";
    N: I am agent N!
    Luigi: I see.
    N: Not C! N!
    Luigi: Oh.
    N: Not O! Agent O's on holiday!
    [Marios exchange looks]
  • An episode of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures has the boys looking for Mark Twain. They find Sam Clemens on a riverboat, shouting "Mark twain!", causing them to ask "Where?!" Clemens explains what the term means, but the next time he gives out the call, they again ask "Where?!"
  • This exchange from Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    Traveler: Not to worry, Aunt Wu predicted I'd have a safe journey.
    Aang: Aunt Who?
    Traveler: No, Aunt Wu.
  • House of Mouse:
    • The short "Answering Service"
      Mickey: This place must be fully automatic. Nobody's here.
      Goofy: Ooh, who's nobody?
      Mickey: You know, nobody.
      Goofy: I know just about everybody, but I don't know a nobody.
      Mickey: No, there's nobody here.
      Goofy: But we're here. Does that make us nobody?
      Mickey: No, we're somebody.
      Goofy: Ah-ha, so somebody is here.
      Mickey: Yes!
      Goofy: Then where are they and why don't they help us?
      Mickey: We're the somebody! Him, you, me...
      Goofy: Well then help me! See, our phone's dead...
      Mickey: No!
      Goofy: Yes it is! Don't you remember?
      Mickey: I can't help you!
      Goofy: Then what are you doin' here?
      Mickey: I'm trying to find some help!
      Goofy: [beat] Hate to break it to ya, Mickey, but somebody told me that there's nobody here.
      Mickey: But you and I and...AW FORGET IT!
    • In "How to Be Smart", Goofy has ended up a contestant on a quiz show after following instructions about "How To Be Smart", but is asked a final question about a baseball play that he doesn't know. He blurts out "Heavens to Betsy", and is told that that's correct, as the play involved two players with the last names of Heavens and Betsy. (Unfortunately, he still doesn't take home any money.)
    • In another House of Mouse short, Mortimer Mouse is trying to get rid of Pluto for a while, so he throws the pup in a cab and says "Take him to the other side of town and step on it." The cab goes a short distance and then stops, revealing it's literally reached the intersection of two streets called The Other Side of Town St. and Step On It Lane.
  • Happens once on DuckTales (1987) when Scrooge finds his captain has been replaced by The Ditz:
    Scrooge: Where's my regular flagship captain?
    Capt. Foghorn: Goodness me, I thought this was your regular flagship!
    [pause as Scrooge no doubt wonders "Why me?"]
    Scrooge: [slowly] Where is the captain who regularly captains my flagship, Captain?
  • The Harvey cartoon T.V. Fuddlehead inverts the joke listed above:
    Game Host: Who was reponsible for the discovery of the electrical power of one ampere flowing across a potential difference of one volt?
    T.V. Fuddlehead: What?
    Game Host: You are absolutely right! It was James Watt!
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey does a joke like this as well.
    Principal Pixiefrog: [to the scientist in the office] I'm sure you'll be pleased with the candidates, Mr. uh, uh, what did you say your name was again, son?
    Scientist: I Didn't.
    Principal Pixiefrog: You didn't?
    Scientist: No, I. Didn't. My name is "I. Didn't."
    Principal Pixiefrog: Hm, oh, I'll just call you Larry.
    I. Didn't: [grumbles]
  • The Beatles: The episode "Little Child" has the group visiting an Indian village. As they approach an Indian guide:
    Guide: How.
    George: How? How what?
    Ringo: Not "how what." Just "how." [the boys now exchange "how you," "who me," "who how," etc. back and forth]
  • Bojack Horseman features this in the form of Dr. Hu, who Bojack assumed was Doctor Who.
    Sarah Lynn: Hu's not Dr. Quinn, Hu's Dr. Hu.
    Todd: I don't know!
    Dr. Hu and Sarah: Third base!
    • Slightly subverted when Bojack meets Cute Owl, Wanda Pierce.
    Pinky: Wanda, meet the one and only, Bojack Horseman.
    Wanda: Who?
    Bojack: Bojack.
    Wanda: Who?
    Bojack: Bojack Horseman.
    Wanda: That name supposed to mean something to me?
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Happens in a "Bullwinkle's Poetry Corner" segment doing the nursery rhyme "Simple Simon":
    Bullwinkle: Simple Simon met a pie-man
    Going to the fair
    Said Simple Simon to the pie-man
    "Let me taste your ware!"
    Boris Badenov: My what?
    Bullwinkle: Not your what, your ware.
  • In an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door guest starring The Upper Crust:
    Lord Bendover: We are The Upper Crust.
    Delightful Children: Who?
    Lord Bendover: No, The Upper Crust String Quartet.
  • An episode of The Flintstones has Fred going on a rampage at a restaurant called Mother's Place, run by a man named Sam Mother, where he smashes a TV set that's playing the show Wilma has been ignoring him to appear on. Afterward, Fred calls Barney to bail him out of jail, and he has this conversation with Betty.
    Barney: [on the phone] You broke up a television set? In Mother's Place? And hit Mother? Oh-oh, okay, Fred. [hangs up] I have go down and bail Fred out, Betty.
    Betty: Why you ought to leave him there! Anyone that would strike his mother and break her TV set should be in jail! Those old folks love TV!
    Barney: Not Fred's mother, Sam Mother.
    Betty: I don't care whose mother it is! It just isn't nice!
    Barney: But he runs a beanery, y-y-you know, a restaurant!
    Betty: It makes no difference what he does! We're concerned with his mother!
    Barney: But-But-But Sam Mother, who-who owns, er, er...Aw, skip it, I'll explain later.
  • One of the quiz gags with Fish on The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! involves an owl that keeps hooting when Fish is trying to ask us his question about what sound an owl makes.
    Fish: You got it this time, but next time I'll stump you for sure.
    Owl: [hooting] Whooooo.
    Fish: Me, that's who!
  • The "Shifu's Back" episode of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness features this dialogue:
    Hu: Ah, there you are, we have to talk!
    Shifu: This isn't a good time.
    Po: I'm going to bed.
    Hu: No, he wants to met you too!
    Po: Who?
    Hu: Woo!
    Shifu: Who?
    Hu: Yes.
    Shifu: What?
    Po: No, not Hu, Hu. "Who" Who?
    Hu: No, Woo Who.
    Shifu: [beat] What's he talking about?
    Po: He wants to know what— [Shifu rings a service bell] Okay, enough with the bell! [Po takes Shifu's service bell away] Stop with the bell!
    Hu: My supervisor, Superintendent Woo, is in town. He's none too happy about all the criminals running about, says the situation has gotten out of hand!
  • In one episode of Timon & Pumbaa, Timon is being chased by the royal guards of his meerkat colony. When he hails a taxi, his pursuers follow him in before he gets out and tells the driver "Far away and fast!". The driver then speeds off...only to instantly come back. Turns out they were at the intersection of Far Away Rd and Fast Lane.
  • Steven Universe: A surprisingly serious example is the key to a major plot twist in the fourth season finale. A very childlike gem asks Steven "Are you my dad?"—which confuses everyone because gems do not have parents. That's indirectly why she's asking. Three seasons previous, Steven introduced himself to Peridot, she asked if Earth still had humans, and Steven mentioned several of his friends. Those people became targeted for Alien Abduction because Peridot assumed those were types of humans, not individuals' names. Steven mentioned "my dad", and since gems don't know what parents are, they assumed "my dad" was one of the types of humans.
  • Woody Woodpecker: In "Queen of De-Nile" from The New Woody Woodpecker Show, after Winnie Woodpecker finds the lost tomb of King Tut's court jester, Izzy Whatsupwithat, she gets into this with archaeologist Wally Walrus:
    Winnie: (pointing at the mural on the front of the pyramid) Ooh, look, professor! Is he the court jester?
    Wally: Yah, Izzy.
    Winnie: I asked you first, who is he?
    Wally: No, Izzy.
    Winnie: That's what I'm asking you, is he the court jester?
    Wally: He's the court yester, Izzy!
    Winnie: Yeah, is he? What's up with that?
    Wally: EXACTLY! Izzy Vhatsupwithat! Yeepers...

    Real Life 
  • Hu, Watt(s), Ware, Nguyennote , and Howe are reasonably common surnames. Hence the well-known joke about the legal firm Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.
  • In 2002, Hu Jintao became president of China. A few months later, Wen Jiabao was named premier.
    • This video is another homage to the original Abbott and Costello sketch, features a George W. Bush who is confused by the names of various world leaders, Hu Jintao among them.
    • Ian McMillan did a similar routine on Have I Got News for You when Hu and Wen made a state visit to the UK, including using "Hu Jintao" as a vague homophone for "Who's In Town?"
    • There was a gift card with George W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice.
      Bush: Who is the Premier of China?
      Rice: Hu.
      Bush: Who is the leader of North Korea?
      Rice: Il.
      Bush: I know, he's sick today.
  • In 1964, when Murray Gell-Mann announced his theory of quarks, a journalist reportedly asked him whether science was ever gonna find the "smallest", truly elementary pieces of matter, to which he famously replied "Who knows?" The urban legend among scientists has it that the journalist misinterpreted the statement, and since a Chinese researcher by the name Hu was present at the announcement, he wrote down that "Prof. Hu knows".
  • This qdb quote features some confusion over the World Health Organization's acronym.
    • This site and both also house a repository of such confusion over Windows Millennium Edition, which sucked.
      A truly astounding number of people: [Subject] sucks worse than ME!
    • also has this shining example of this trope.
    • This quote, also on "watt" <-> what.
      • This was used in the movie Clue. Professor Plum worked at the United Nations Organization's World Health Organization or UNO WHO.
  • We also have Nowhere, Alaska. For when you really want to get to the middle of Nowhere.
  • When a Michigander or a Norwegian tells you to "go to Hell," he might just be giving you directions.
  • No, Hu is on second! (though he inspired an I Always Wanted to Say That)
    • I thought Watt was on second?
  • There is a lawyer named Sue Yoo.
  • There's a town in southeast England called Ware. When it's mentioned to someone unfamiliar with the area, or who believes themself to be funny, the conversation will almost invariably go this way. There's also a Ware, Massachusetts. This joke is naturally very common.
  • There's Wye, which can have the eyerollingly amusing joke of:
    Two men meet on a train.
    Person #1: Where are you going?
    Person #2: Wye.
    Person #1: I was just making conversation!
  • Suffolk and Kent both have a Hoo.
  • There's a village in Derbyshire where some resident has to have made a joke about living in Hope.
  • On the west coast of Scotland is the Isle of Ewe. Reading a map for one's partner can result in a uniquely heartwarming kind of frustration.
  • One of Bill Clinton's campaign slogans in 1992 was "The Man from Hope," Hope, Arkansas. (He also gave a speech about still believing in a place called Hope at the Democratic Convention that year.)
  • Conversation during a game of Battleship:
    "No you didn't, I still have three ships!"
  • Slogan of a popular Hawaii-based Asian seasoning company: "Say Yes to Noh"
  • Semi-example. In a programme by Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame about future technologies, he said that a new advanced robot had been built by "Doctor Who. No, really." Cut to a Chinese robotics scientist named Dr Hu...
  • Most of the stages and tents at the Bonnaroo Festival are deliberately given theme names that would make for confusing conversation among festival-goers: Which Stage, What Stage, This Tent, That Tent, The Other Tent, etc.
  • In Burmese, "U" (pronounced like "oo" in "food") is a male honorific roughly equivalent to "Mr." or "Uncle," included in the names of men with relatively senior positions but no higher titles. This has led to some amusing prominent Burmese names:
    • U Saw, Prime Minister of British-ruled Burma from 1940 to 1942.
    • U Nu, head of state of Burma from 1948 to 1958.
    • U Thant. (Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971)
  • In October of 1998, an E-commerce software company named itself Accompany. You can guess the rest.
  • There's an Urban Legend among biologists about a genus of insect which the original discoverers wanted to give the scientific name I. Their peer-reviewers made them name it Iii instead, as they didn't want there to be scientific papers containing sentences like "I have small genitalia."
  • In the great majority of British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province, most of the rest of the country's population centres are best reached by way of the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes through a town called Hope. If the Federal government is held in especially low regard, you can bank on "<x> is beyond Hope" shirts and stickers popping up, X being just about about any population centre outside of BC.
  • Ehara Yukiko, a Japanese actress who goes by the stage name of You. We're. Dead. Serious.
    • "Yu" and "Ai" are both common Japanese first names, and pronounced pretty close to the English pronouns "you" and "I".
    • Indeed, it is now grammatically correct to say Yu is on the mound.
  • There's a bar in Burlington, Vermont, named The Other Place. Most people avert this trope by referring to it as "The OP", but it's still frequent fodder for jokes and honest confusion.
  • There's a pub in Brussels, Belgium called "The Office".
  • There's a pub in Columbus Ohio, right outside Ohio State University, called "The Library".
    • A pub in downtown Gainesville, Florida (about 3/4 of a mile east of the University of Florida) which has undergone many name changes over the years was also known as "The Library" around the mid-2000s.
  • There is also a disco in Eichstätt, Germany, the name of which translates to "that (thing) there".
  • There's a small deli in Oklahoma City called "Someplace Else".
  • Anyone new to any given console-based video game has suffered a dialogue that goes something like this:
    "How do you...?
    "Because I don't know what button does it"
    "I just said; you press Y!"
  • When Nintendo announced that the enhanced version of their Nintendo 3DS would be called the "New 3DS", the gaming world erupted with jokes about the confusion this might cause, especially if you asked at a gaming shop for a "used New 3DS".
  • Try saying the phrase in a foreign language for "I don't know" and watch this erupt.
  • There's an apocryphal story about world famous alpine skier Picabo Street (pronounced just as in "peek-a-boo") getting a job in a hospital Intensive Care Unit after she retired from skiing. The story goes that she's forbidden from answering the phone, because the hospital's standard phone greeting of "<name>, <department>" would require her to answer the phone with "Picabo, I.C.U."
  • In March 2018, a lower-league English footballer named Sanchez Watt made the headlines after he was booked during a match. The referee repeatedly asked for his name, Watt repeatedly replied "Watt", and the referee mistook it for dissent and sent Watt off. He quickly reversed that decision once Watt's captain explained that that really was his name.
  • At the 2012 Discworld Convention, the Maskerade competition included Pam Gower as What, the Djelibeybian Sky Goddess. Her introduction by Pat Harkin was played for maximum confusion.
  • Raymond Chen, in a blog article on The Old New Thing, points out the issues caused by a team at Microsoft with the nickname YOU.
  • In 1939, King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth (a.k.a. in later life as the Queen Mother) were visiting Canada on a Royal Tour. On a stop in Winnipeg, they were greeted by the Canadian Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, and the Mayor of Winnipeg, John Queen, as well as Mrs. Queen (King was alas a lifelong bachelor). Needless to say, with the radio announcer talking about the King, the Queen, King, Queen, and Mrs. Queen, things got slightly confused. Excerpts from an unofficial transcript (no known recording survives):
    • "Here comes the Royal Family now. The automobile has stopped. Oh, there's the King. He's stepping out, followed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, nattily attired in a silver coat. Mr. King is now shaking hands with the King and introducing Mr. Queen to the King and Queen and then Mrs. Queen to the Queen and King."
    • "They are now proceeding up the steps to the well-decorated City Hall, the King and Mr. King together with the Queen being escorted by Mrs. Queen. The King has now stopped and said something to Mrs. Queen and goes to Mrs. Queen and the Queen and Mr. King and the Queen laughed jovially.
    • "And now the King and Mr. Queen and the Queen and Mr. King are moving into the reception hall. And now the King and Mr. Quing, I mean, Mr. Keen and the Quing. I'm sorry. I mean... oh s—."
  • An oft-cited story tells of beloved British cricket commentator Brian Johnston supposedly informing radio listeners to a Test match at The Oval in 1976 that Michael Holding of the West Indies was batting and Peter Willey of England was bowling to him — with the immortal line "The batsman's Holding the bowler's Willey." Alas, all indications from those present at the time are that the line is almost certainly apocryphal.
  • In Cincinnati, Ohio (and some other surrounding areas), it's fairly common to say "Please?" instead of "Huh?" or "What did you say?". This can cause problems for people who aren't from Cinci.
  • A Russian variant found on the other wiki, involving similarity of pronunciation between Russian swear words and the word for "socialism" in Chinese.
  • On this very wiki, North Koreans have Nodongs.
  • A fake news story, which was famously picked up and reported as real by KTVU News had an Asiana Airlines plane crash reported with pilot and crew member names "Sum Ting Wong" "Wi Tu Lo" "Ho Lee Fuk" "Bang Ding Ow". South Korea responded with a fake news story about an American airplane accident involving pilot "Kent Parker Wright" and similar puns.
  • The hacking technique known as SQL injection uses this. The bad guy enters SQL commands (along with some escape characters) into an online form that would normally contain other data for the SQL-driven back-end to receive. If precautions aren't taken, the back-end will interpret the input as a legitimate SQL command and alter, delete, or return normally inaccessible data.
  • There have been racehorses with names like "This Horse Here", "That Horse There", "The Other Horse", and "A Horse Withnoname".
  • Do not be alarmed when traveling to Vanuatu, if the words "Mystery Island" appear on your itinerary. This is the actual name of the island (although to avoid precisely this sort of confusion, it is often referred to as "Inyeug", the name given to it by the local indigenes).
  • Two major streets in Sacramento, California are named Howe and Watt, which has led to decades of these kind of jokes from locals and visitors.

"I said, I don't care!"
"Oh, he's our shortstop."

Example of: